February 8, 2012

Team Earth

Conservation International’s stunningly beautiful online magazine Team Earth has launched a new issue (#4 of a series), and it’s full of both amazing photos and stories of good news for the planet.

A family from a floating village, Prek Toal, on Tonle Sap lake in Cambodia.

You can read about the projects they help fund and focus on:  slowing deforestation, preserving healthy, adaptive ecosystems, and bringing oft-ignored indigenous groups to the forefront of political and economic decisions that affect them and their traditional lands.  This issue focuses on a life-giving lake in Cambodia (replete with floating houses!) and how CI is helping the people of Papua New Guinea  preserve their forests, as well as a look forward to the next Copenhagen climate summit.

It always warms our heart to see the good work that so many conservation-oriented organizations are doing in partnership with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government ministries all over the world.  CI is a terrific advocate for all of us who want to respect the Earth’s breathtaking diversity and the sustainability of its resources.

We laugh that these kinds of online treats are what naughty sites are for others.  If it’s wrong, we don’t want to be right. ; )


February 8, 2012

Sticking up for natural history

The Natural History Network is “a group of educators, researchers, and writers who are passionate about the importance of natural history and natural history education in the development of healthy people, vibrant human communities, and integrated learning institutions.”  Its mission:  “to promote the value of natural history by discussing and disseminating ideas and techniques on its successful practice to educators, scientists, artists, writers, the media, and the public at large.”

They recorded a bunch of members speaking to why studying natural history is so important.  University of Washington professor Julia Parrish talks about how environmental science is considered a “soft science”, for example, but how she believes natural history is just as if not more important than calculus, and why.  And Government advisor Gary Machlis talking about  how science is civics. And Gary Paul Nabhan (pictured above) talks about how understanding and engaging with natural history is an act of creativity.

And there are lots more.  It’s called “Conversations” and it’s a great listen.  Especially invigorating for teachers and artists who want to engage with science. Like me.

Fascinating, passionate, and a real shot in the arm.




January 10, 2012

Do something with the help of Earth Justice

Maybe you’re like me and you want to have some kind of effect on your President’s administration, your Congressperson, a government agency, or any other person or organization that needs to listen.   First of all, I really hope you are, and thank you.  Second, since I’m a member of Generation Hot (shut up), I highly suggest you check out a very good website called Earth Justice.  (Their slogan is “Because the Earth needs a good lawyer.”  It used to be known as The Sierra Club, in case you’re old (no offense).

Do you like arctic foxes?  Isn’t this one cuuuuuuuuute?  Perfect, because that’s how I’m luring you into sending emails from their website.

Their “Action Center” is awesome.  They have various issues with a little story describing the problem, and totally-easy-to-fill-out form letters.

Are they effective?  I’m not totally sure, but I would obviously rather do it than not.  Plus, I posted a picture of a totally cuuuuuuuuute arctic fox for you, so you owe me one. C’mon, just check it out already.

January 5, 2012

Inuit Knowledge Podcasts

My northern cousins now got their own podcasts, and it’s a great thing for all the people below who wonder what it’s like to live even further north than the Arctic Circle.  This is a pretty cool thing.  So warm up your iPod or whatever you use and check them out. It’s a project of the National Park system up in Nunavut, Canada/Inuit Territory, and it’s called Inuit Knowledge Podcasts.

Telling it like it is.

Scroll down the page a bit, and you can find out what Inuit folks know about polar bear behavior, cultural stuff like the qulliq (a traditional Inuit oil lamp that’s a symbol of knowledge and survival), and about how they transmit knowledge to each other, an, hello, some Inuit perspectives on the environmental changes they’ve witnessed in their lifetimes.  I like the Inuit sayings and indicators that have to do with the environment.

Check it out.  A real eye-opener, probably.

I gotta go ring this guy up.  See you later.


January 5, 2012

“Generation Hot”

So, this author & journalist named Mark Hertsgaard (who’s kind of old, no offense) wrote an article for The Huffington Post called “Meet Generation Hot.” It’s about how every kid born after June 23, 1988 belongs to “Generation Hot.” Not Generation Y or Z or whatever.  It’s based off the title of his book, HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth.

Anyway, his name for us younger people kinda makes me cringe a little bit because it can totally be twisted into something gross.  (I know you know what I mean.  Shut up.)  But basically, the idea is good.  What *he* means is that you’ve basically grown up under the threat of global warming:

This generation includes some two billion young people, all of whom have grown up under global warming and are fated to spend the rest of their lives confronting its mounting impacts.

So why June 23, 1988?

I date the beginning of Generation Hot to June 23, 1988 because that is when humanity was put on notice that greenhouse gas emissions were raising the temperatures on this planet. The warning came from NASA scientist James Hansen’s testimony to the U.S. Senate and, crucially, the decision by the New York Times to print the news on page 1, which in turn made global warming a household phrase in news bureaus, living rooms and government offices the world over.

He talks about how in 2020 there will be twice as many really hot days in the summer, and how growing enough food will be a challenge for the by-then even more populated planet.

Many members of Generation Hot are active in the climate fight, but they cannot succeed without much more help from their elders. The threat of nuclear annihilation — the other great peril of the last fifty years — called forth a powerful movement of parents, especially mothers, that eventually helped convince the superpowers to choose a safer course. Now, parents across the country and around the world should mount a similar campaign to preserve a livable future for our children, the precious young people of Generation Hot.

I wonder if enough parents are listening.

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