Tag: sustainability

Why I Must Speak Out About Climate Change

I've been a committed believer of climate change for at least 10 years, but I have to admit that in the last few years I have started to have my doubts. The reading that fixed my mind in the first place (The Weather Makers, Boiling Point, etc) has diminished in my memory, the movement seemed beset by scientific scandal, and there seems to be a fog of FUD obscuring the issue. This video provided a timely reminder of the urgent need for action if we are to avoid destroying ourselves and huge parts of the world around us. It is important to focus on the message provided by the science, and in the strength of the scientific method, which is, after all, one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal.

EAG Camp 2011

Last weekend my wife, a colleague and I took 7 deserving students from our Environmental Action Group (EAG) on a 4-day, 3-night camp to a remote beach in Hong Kong. The idea was to get them out of the classroom and give them a chance to learn more about the environment, whilst taking action to improve it. We camped on Lo Kei Wan beach, on South Lantau, and when we arrived the beach was filthy. Over our time there we cleaned up the majority of the waste, did some experiments, cook, cleaned, swam, fetched water from the village and talked. I felt that a lot of the social constructs and restrains from school fell away, and we started to get to know each other in new, less formal ways. Despite the rain, heat, mosquitoes and garbage, the students had a great time and learned a lot. Hopefully, they have some memories and lessons to last a lifetime, and to prompt them to further environmental action. I would recommend this kind of trip to anyone, but would advise to keep student numbers low and staff numbers high. If you want any advice on this (including my wife's delicious camp cooking menu), let me know. Looking for a way to try and interest more students in the EAG, and to help parents see the multiple educational benefits of such a trip, I produced the video below on return from camp: Interestingly, just as I sat down to produce the video, I received an email from a student with the following video, which I found to be very inspiring. Thanks Lars!

The Majestic Plastic Bag

Despite the fact that sarcasm is often held to be the lowest form of wit, a mockumentary can be a great way to introduce students to a topic.This beautifully crafted video gives plastic bags the full nature documentary treatment, and in doing so provides a humorous way for students to approach a very serious topic. For environmental leaders, this can provide a great jumping-off point for school-based action. From a Media Studies perspective, it also provides a way for students to think critically about the distinction between content and presentation. This can lead to discussions on the production of persuasive, emotive content that is not necessarily grounded in truth (such as propaganda).

Silent Spring

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p009xbbf

Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, is the one publication that is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Carson, a marine biologist, raced against her own advancing breast cancer whilst attempting to publish the book before it was too late. Sadly, although she …

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Nature loss ‘to damage economies’

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and…

All too often we are presented with a false choice between the economy and the environment. This situation seems to occur because economics is primarily concerned with the short term, and measures designed to protect the environment are seen to immediately hinder economic growth …

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No Impact Man

http://noimpactman.typepad.com/

Colin Beavan (a.k.a No Impact Man) dedicated a year of his life to trying to reduce his environmental impact to zero. He stopped taking taxis, trains and elevators, only ate food grown within 250 miles of his home, left the power grid, stopped buying …

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Puma’s New Super-Green Shoebox

http://www.fastcompany.com/1614807/puma-and-yves…

Puma’s “Clever Little Bag” is an interesting approach to the issue of packaging and waste. Rather than having a complete box, which consumers will put into a (usually disposable) bag to carry home, the design combines a cardboard skeleton in a reusable bag made …

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Come Back Home: Eco Coke Bottle design

http://designfabulous.blogspot.com/2010/03/eco-coke-bottle-design.html

An interesting study into the environmental impact of square drinks containers…

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Helping The Needy Get Nerdy

Free Geek, "Helping The Needy Get Nerdy", is a great organisation based in Portland, Oregon. The belief behind the organisation is very simple: many people discard IT equipment that they don't want, that other people need.

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