January 5, 2012

Mitch Epstein

Photographer Mitch Epstein won the third annual Prix Pictet, the recently established Geneva-based photo prize for excellence in environmental photography.  The Prix theme in 2011 was “Growth.”  (This year, it’s going to be “Power.”)

"Amos Coal Power Plant, Raymond City, West Virginia, 2004," Mitch Epstein

Epstein’s epic images of energy consumption in the United States are truly breathtaking, in all senses of the word.

December 14, 2011

Change By Us

“Hey NYC!  How can we make our city a greener, greater place to live?”

That’s the question that Change By Us wants you to help answer.  It’s an interactive place to share and read ideas on an interactive bulletin board, create or join a project, and reach out to a network of local leaders to get your idea heard.

Their homepage is a colorful electronic “bulletin board” where you can put your idea on a Post-It.  You can search other people’s ideas and projects, or start your own.

I think every city should have something like this.  The hard part is getting people to do stuff, right?  Sigh.  I know I’m only in high school, but I feel like it’s OK for me to say that in a jaded voice.

Later, Tater (tots).


December 14, 2011

L.A. Urban Rangers

When many people (including Angelenos) think of L.A., they think of smog and unending stretches of traffic.  But one playful group of artist-environmentalists wants to open its neighbors’ eyes to the natural wonders of the City of Angels.

How do they do it?

The Los Angeles Urban Rangers develop guided hikes, campfire talks, field kits, and other interpretive tools to spark creative explorations of everyday habitats, in our home megalopolis and beyond.

Join their mailing list, check out their toolbox, or take a peek at their field site projects and find out about how easy it is to engage with some pretty amazing nature in Los Angeles.

November 28, 2011

Naomi Oreskes and Merchants of Doubt

Historian and author Dr. Naomi Oreskes is someone who believes scientists need to be communicating with the world at large, not just in a lab or field.  She was named a 2011 Climate Change Communicator of the Year by George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication.  She was the lead author of the multiple award-winning Merchants of Doubt, published earlier this year.

The book exposes how a small number of scientists worked (at the behest of industrial partners) to delay social action on smoking, acid rain, stratospheric ozone depletion, and climate change.

Her peer nominators wrote:

In a fascinating detective story, she was able to identify a common “playbook” of messaging – and messengers – that resurfaced continuously in the U.S. as these four issues received political and public attention. Through her work, she has made clear to a wide audience that a relatively small organization of powerful individuals and corporations has effectively disseminated doubt (rather than knowledge) in pursuit of their own ideological agenda. The impact of Dr. Oreskes’s work cannot be overestimated.

She has also (critically) defended her colleagues in the face of fierce opposition from non-academic sources [...] In summary, working climate scientists have come to view Dr. Oreskes as their champion. Her fearless work – often performed in the face of threats of legal action – has helped to expose the non-scientific pressures climate scientists have encountered during the course of their research. Her courage and persistence in communicating climate science to the wider public have made her a living legend amongst her colleagues.

She’s talking the talk, and walking the walk.

November 28, 2011

CNN’s Ecosphere

Who’s talking about climate change?  Now there’s a way to track the conversations taking place on Twitter via an achingly lovely visualization tool.  The “information aesthetics” blog Infosthetics has a great post today about CNN’s brand new Ecosphere.  It’s a real-time Twitter 3D visualization which aims to illustrate how the online discussion is evolving around the topic of climate change.  It aggregates all Twitter messages hashtagged #cop17 (which is an abbreviation for ”The 17th Conference of the Parties [COP17] to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC]“).

The online visualization is an interactive globe described by its creators as a “lush digital ecosystem” in which the #cop17 Tweets look and act like actual plants and trees. Each Tweet about climate change feeds into a plant representing that topic or discussion, causing it to “grow” – a fascinating real-time representation of how the world “sees” climate change at any given moment.  Try clicking one of the Tweets and see for yourself.

CNN’s Ecosphere works best with Google Chrome or Firefox, but if you use Safari, you can enable WebGL in your preferences.

Happy marveling…

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    "The Next Forever" is a song from The Great Immensity. The footage was taken on Barro Colorado Island in the Panama Canal by videographer David Ford. Music and lyrics by Michael Friedman.
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