Parents Need to be Nagged by Their Kids

Kids are always being told what they can and cannot not do, and new research says that when it comes to the environment it’s parents that should be told what to do. In a study by Stanford University they have found that children who nagged their parents about energy use made a measurable difference on their household’s energy consumption. The researchers used Girl Scouts as their little energy-conscious eco-warriors.

And these Girl Scouts trooped on home to spread their world-saving knowledge to clueless parents.

The results were promising for residential energy use: Both the girls and their parents showed immediate and long-term improvement. The li’l Scouts reported a 50 percent increase in frequency of energy-saving practices after the experiment, with a 12 percent improvement in parental behavior. Over the following seven months, that rate of improvement halved for both groups: Girls were only minding the light switch 27 percent more than they had been before the study, and their parents only 6 percent.

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Drone Built By A Small Tribe Is Protecting Land

We Built a Drone from Digital Democracy on Vimeo.

In Guyana there are a lot of illegal mining and logging operations that the government doesn’t pursue due to a lack of evidence. To protect their lands from such activity a small tribe, the Wapichan community, have built a drone to record the damage being done. They used videos on YouTube to find out how to build the drone and designed their drone to be repairable using locally found products (like discarded plastics). It’s a good story about how access to technology and knowledge by small groups can have a big impact!

“With the drones, we can go into really inaccessible areas,” Fredericks told Quartz. Using its footage, the Wapichan are assembling a “living map” to document their customary land use—and to demonstrate to the government how outside interests were impinging upon lands the Wapichan have safeguarded for centuries.
Their drone confirmed what the Wapichan had long suspected: In the south, close to the border with Brazil, illegal loggers were harvesting trees in lands that were supposed to be protected. And the gold mine at Marudi Mountain, to the southeast of Shulinab, appeared to be leaching pollution into the headwaters upon which the Wapichan depend.

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Be a Part of the Future: Sign the Leap Manifesto

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Canada has been destroying it’s own environment (and trashing international environmental policy) for way too long. As a result of this ignorant neglect a bunch of prominent Canadians have produced the Leap Manifesto.

And it’s good. Really good.

Here’s just a snippet of the Leap Manifesto:

A leap to a non-polluting economy creates countless openings for similar multiple “wins.” We want a universal program to build energy efficient homes, and retrofit existing housing, ensuring that the lowest income communities and neighbourhoods will benefit first and receive job training and opportunities that reduce poverty over the long term. We want training and other resources for workers in carbon-intensive jobs, ensuring they are fully able to take part in the clean energy economy. This transition should involve the democratic participation of workers themselves. High-speed rail powered by just renewables and affordable public transit can unite every community in this country – in place of more cars, pipelines and exploding trains that endanger and divide us.

And since we know this leap is beginning late, we need to invest in our decaying public infrastructure so that it can withstand increasingly frequent extreme weather events.

Moving to a far more localized and ecologically-based agricultural system would reduce reliance on fossil fuels, capture carbon in the soil, and absorb sudden shocks in the global supply – as well as produce healthier and more affordable food for everyone.

The Leap Manifesto has gotten international attention too because of the upcoming Canadian federal election.

A powerful movement in Canada, animated by a compelling and positive vision for the climate and economy, can force the hand of whichever government comes to power in October. Even if the entire political class has forgotten this, Canadians haven’t.

Check out (and sign!) the Leap Manifesto.

Greenpeace’s Efforts Lead to Fishing Changes in Nauru

The tiny nation of Nauru (which has one of my favourite flags) has changed its laws thanks to the work of Greenpeace. The environmental organization found that fishing trawlers were catching fish at sea then offloading them to essentially a larger factory boat. This practice has been banned in many places because of the severe damage it causes to the fish populations.

The NFMRA, which credited Greenpeace’s exposure of an “illegal operation” for prompting the Nauru government ban, said it regularly observed “longliners in the high seas acting suspiciously and intruding on our borders”.

“These seas act like a safe haven for pirate boats, and transhipment allows them to stay at sea even longer, and launder fish out of the area,” it said.

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Nauru has become the third Pacific nation to issue a blanket ban on transhipments in its exclusive economic zone, after Marshall Islands and Tuvalu.

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Get Informed with Pollenize Canada

pollenize-canada

Pollenize for iOS and Android can help you navigate the upcoming Canadian election. I’ve checked out the app and it’s a really great way to see where the parties stand on popular issues. I recommend Pollenize if you’re looking for an easy way to understand the election.

Pollenize is free so they can reach as many potential voters as possible. Let’s hope that Pollenize gets into the hands of every Canadian. An informed populace may help Canada avoid another Harper-led recision and ongoing destruction of the environment and Canada’s overall wellbeing.

Nonpartisan and tailored to young voters, Pollenize breaks down each of the main parties’ platforms point-by-point to give users all the information they need to make an informed decision on election day. This modern approach to politics proved especially successful during the 2014 Toronto mayoral election, where our coverage contributed to a record voter turnout of 60 percent, with more than 980,000 Torontonians casting ballots.
“Young people want to make a difference in their country’s political picture, but it’s confusing and difficult to get the information necessary to make an informed decision at the polls,” says Pollenize co-founder Trevor Blades. “Pollenize makes it easy to understand what each party stands for and helps people cast their vote with confidence.”
A recent study by the Broadbent Institute found that one of the main reason Canadians under age 35 don’t vote is because they don’t know enough about politics. Pollenize aims to fill the gap by giving individuals the necessary tools to become educated on all active political agendas without doing the overwhelming research.

Check out Pollenize.