Pick Up Your Butts

In Canada, like elsewhere with snow, when the spring thaw comes it reveals plants and it also reveals something gross: discarded cigarette butts. Everyone already knows that smoking kills, but some people may not know the damage done by butts.

Butt Blitz has set out to do two things: raise awareness of the harm butts case and clean them up. They are asking you to help out this weekend!

Cigarette butt litter is a growing problem everywhere. We need to raise awareness about the implications this has for the health of our ecosystems, wildlife, and our own health. The first step to reversing this problem is picking up the butts that are already on the ground, from there we can spread awareness and come up with solutions that will stop cigarette butts from being littered in the future. Did you know ONE cigarette butt PER LITRE of water can KILL the fish in a stream? (Slaughter et al). When did we get so careless? It’s time to make a change.

Check it out!

Infrastructure That Cleans the Air

Barcelona is going to build a road bridge which may be the cleanest bridge yet. Of course it’ll have pedestrian walks and bike paths, however, what makes the bridge really noteworthy is that it will clean the air.

Concrete is notoriously energy-intensive to create so any carbon offset is beneficial. The Barcelona bridge will make use of photocatalytic concrete.

But the real prize of this thing is its basic building material, photocatalytic concrete. The principal of photocatylitics is that ultraviolet light naturally breaks down dirt, both natural and synthetic. It’s that old adage about sunlight being the best disinfectant. Photocatalytic concrete is used with titanium dioxide, which helps accelerate the natural UV-breakdown process, turning the pollution into carbon dioxide, and oxygen and substances that actually belong in the atmosphere.

The actual process has to do with semiconductors and electrons and other things that you may or may not care to read about. (At any rate, the Concrete Society of the United Kingdom does a better job of explaining it.)

An air-cleaning bridge makes for a neat news story and a sci-fi-ish novelty that environmentalists can blog about. But the important point is that Barcelona has taken a piece of infrastructure that exists solely to accommodate car culture, and re-invented it to partially offset the effects of car pollution.

Read more.

Greenpeace and the Climate Investigations Center create Anti-Environmental Archives

Some nifty news out of Greenpeace’s PolluterWatch program and the Climate Investigations Centre. They have release an archive of documents that show the deceitful tactics used by climate change deniers and their ilk. A new tool to fight against people who deny the future.

In the spirit of the Tobacco Archives and Chemical Industry Archives, the new Anti-Environmental Archives provide historic reference material on organizations and people who have worked to counter the environmental movement and stop government action to protect the environment on issues from endangered species to property rights, and from pesticides to global warming.

 

This document archive provides researchers and journalists with thousands of documents posted for the first time on the web.  In total, there are over 3,500 documents, comprising some 27,000 pages, covering over 300 organizations and people.

 

The front page of the Anti-Environmental Archives features the entire list of organizations and people covered. Subpages contain search features and call out important individualsissuesanti-environmental organizationstrade associations, and front groups.

 

These files were curated by the Greenpeace Research Department over the past 15 years. Most of the material was collected in the 1990s by CLEAR (Clearinghouse on Environmental Advocacy Research) which was part of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) at the time.

Rethinking Environmental Education Under Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism is the current way of thinking about the economic state of the world. It’s the thinking that has led to the financialization of nearly everything in the world – think about how we justify our thinking in economic terms and not other terms.

The critiques of the mind-numbing neoliberal approach to thinking are growing and the most recent issue Environmental Education Research examines how neoliberalism is changing how we teach. This is good because we need to move our way of thinking beyond an economics-only framework, the more we critique neoliberalism the better the world we can create.

“Environmental education is political,” said Hursh. “People do not fully comprehend the meaning of neoliberalism, but often overuse it to blame or explain current environmental conditions and issues. We need to talk about the nature of environmental education within the context of the dominant economic and political system of neoliberalism.”

The 13 articles in the new special issue of Environmental Education Research challenge readers to consider the many ways that environmental education has been shaped by and interacts with the logic of neoliberalism.

Hursh focuses his research and writing on educational policy, neoliberalism, and teaching environmental sustainability and social studies, as well as public dimensions of environmental education, with a particular emphasis on how it applies to the energy system and climate change dynamics. In his most recent writing, Hursh describes how neoliberalism undermines education and democracy. His next book, The End of Public Schools: The Corporate Reform Agenda to Privatize Education, is scheduled to release summer 2015 by Routledge

Read Environmental Education Research.

Read the press release.

Happily Find Where You’re Going

This TED talk is all about modifying maps so that you can find the most joyous route to your destination!

Mapping apps help us find the fastest route to where we’re going. But what if we’d rather wander? Researcher Daniele Quercia demos “happy maps” that take into account not only the route you want to take, but how you want to feel along the way.

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