Living

Youth activism guy talks about the youth, the activism

MTV-approved advice on reaching those who aren’t paying attention

He seems cool.Courtesy Energy Action CoalitionPete Griffin spent three years working at Think MTV, the “social issues” and volunteering arm of the entertainment behemoth. He helped run its Choose or Lose election campaign and its Break the Addiction environmental series. He knew these do-gooder campaigns were far from MTV’s sexiest offerings. “Social issues weren’t why people tuned in to MTV,” he said. “They tuned in to watch The Hills or Real World and that’s why they interacted with our brand. My challenge there was figuring out to engage people who weren’t interested in an issue. Or they’re interested but don’t …

Straight from the Resource's mouth

Ask Umbra on giving advice

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, This fall, as part of an environmental ethics course, I would like to create a class blog somewhat along the lines of your column, with students posting questions and answers to environmental quandaries specific to our campus. I wonder if you have any words of wisdom. What sort of education and skills are most helpful to you in researching and writing about environmental questions? What are the most valuable resources you use in answering questions? Thanks for any help! Brian C.Atlanta, Ga. A. Dearest Brian, Dispense with care.Solo with others via flickrAdvice …

Paved paradise put up a lot of parks

PARK(ing) Day puts people and greenery, not cars, in transformed parking spaces [SLIDESHOW]

I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who thinks parking spaces are prettier and more fun to relax in than public parks. Which is one reason you may see people parallel parking themselves instead of their cars on pavement for PARK(ing) Day 2009, which is September 18. Across the world artists and citizens are adorning urban parking spots with flowers, benches, turf, tents — heck, maybe even a ball pit — to transform them into one-day public parks the size of a car (or a couple of them, if it’s a parking lot). Originally dreamed up by Rebar, a …

It's the end of the world and we know it

Climate doomsday film ‘The Age of Stupid’ still hopeful, says director in video interview

We can’t believe what’s going on today either, Pete.Courtesy of The Age of Stupid “Why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?” asks the main character of Franny Armstrong’s new film, The Age of Stupid. Living in a world of climate catastrophe, this solitary character, played by Oscar-nominee Pete Postlethwaite, serves as humanity’s moral hindsight from the year 2055. He scans video archives of events unfolding between 2004 and 2008, shocked that the world at that time knew it was flushing its future down the drain. Humankind’s stubborn refusal to act on climate compels him to dub …

It Could Be Verse

Climate-news poem: Shush edition

As our throngs of loyal poetry readers no doubt noticed, the weekly climate poem took a bit of a breather after its last appearance. Apparently it has senatorial aspirations and was just “trying on the whole multi-week break thing for size.” But it’s now back in session. Like students overwhelmed by back to school, Our senators their heels are keeping cool. By which I mean they’re not in a great rush To float some sort of climate legis — HUSH! Not true, says Reid’s man Manley, it’ll pass. That’s right, says Gibbs: we’re gonna kick some ass! There’s so much …

The toxic assault on our children

Can we protect kids from the toxic trappings of modern life?

From Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring to current headlines in the news, there’s long been mounting evidence that we’re being poisoned by everyday items in our lives. I was crushed by the revelation that my trusty Nalgene bottle was leaching bisphenol A into my Brita-filtered water. The first time I had to purchase my own housecleaning supplies, I found myself torn between a well-marketed fear of germs and a wholly legitimate fear of toxic compounds. Like it or not, the unnatural creations of the chemical industry are everywhere. The facts of our chemical-laden reality are at once alarming and overwhelming. Philip …

Market rules in D.C.

White House hosts farmers market

Michelle Obama at White House Farmer’s MarketPhoto: Obama Foodorama Cross-posted from Obama Foodorama. Despite rain and cold temperatures, today’s opening of the new White House Farmers Market drew quite a crowd. “I’ve never seen so many people so excited about fruits and vegetables!” First Lady Michelle Obama told the crowd gathered a few blocks from the White House. Agriculture Secretary Secretary Tom Vilsack turned out for the Market’s debut, along with White House chefs Sam Kass and Bill Yosses. The White House Farmer’s Market will run through the fall. Mrs. Obama selected some fresh produce from The Farm at Sunnyside, …

It won’t stop burning, Doc

Burning Embers climate design contest has a winner [UPDATED]

Update! The people have spoken; we have have a winner. Presenting the nifty Tracing Emissions mobile (and a gallery of entries). Photo courtesy spike55151 via FlickStory: In June I wrote about Burning Embers, an art and design competition that invited students to create illustrations that reflected the causes and effects of climate change. The idea was that we need more compelling imagery than the sometimes-drab, sometimes-confusing graphics in policy reports. Well, four intriguing finalists have been selected—a video, a photo essay, a set of “animal cards,” and a mobile (the last is my favorite). Ji Lee, creative director of the …

Bag it!

Plastic bags are the enemy of the ocean

Courtesy Save the BayListen up all you Gristers who live along the California coast: This Saturday is Coastal Cleanup Day. Join your friends, neighbors, frenemies and complete strangers in a community-wide effort to get the plastic crap out of the ocean. Plastic isn’t just a problem way out in the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch. For example, the folks at Save the Bay have put together a pretty neat interactive to show you just how bad plastic pollution is in the Bay area. Find out how you can join the Coastal Cleanup fun: S.F. Bay Area, San Diego, Los Angeles. And …

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