TED Talk: How the Oceans Can Clean Themselves

This kid is 19. He has figured it out. Let’s do this.

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Why our rivers and lakes are not as safe as we think they are

By Erica


424787_377628258987813_1990258022_n While doing my daily Facebook cruise I came across a picture stating that Canadian rivers and lakes are no longer protected thanks to Stephen Harper (see pic on right).    In hopes that it was one of those weird Facebook trends that go around (i.e. if you like this photo of this sad puppy, some organization that does not exist will donate a dollar to nothing), I did some research.  While I am unsure if the exact numbers are right, the premise behind the picture is sadly true.  While this can have a number of implications (developers have more freedom to do what they want.. technically the lakes and rivers could apparently be pumped), word on the street is Harper did this  as a sneaky, low publicized move to let pipelines run through what, ever body of water they choose.  Which means many of our lovely lakes and rivers are now prone to the risk of oil spill.  Another controversial item relating to this, is the rivers and lakes that are still protected seem to hold some bias (for example, lakes in Muskoka where many wealthy people have cottages are safe, but all rivers in Nova Scotia do not, according to Macleans Magazine).  What can be done about this? Not sure, but Harper tried to do this quietly, so perhaps getting the issue some publicity and raising some awareness would be the first step.




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Supporting Fair Trade Coffee through Micro Finance

By Erica

I have previously written posts on both fair trade and micro finance, and the pros and cons that go hand-in-hand with both.  Fair trade is often a topic riddled with controversy surrounding what is actually fair trade and is it actually supporting who it needs to support.  Often farmers who are actually fair trade may struggle with start up costs or wind up paying hefty fees to support a fair trade or organic status.  This often winds up in a familiar scenario of the big guys once again winning out due to their more substantial finances.  However, a new consumer finance model called Grow Ahead is looking to solve this problem and support small scale coffee farmers through consumer lending.  Farmers need money to plant/grow their crop, but if they don’t have left over money from last year, and they have not yet turned any profit this year, they struggle to make that initial investment into this years crop.  This is where Grow Ahead comes in.  In a nut shell, they ask you, the consumer, to loan money to the farmer.  So just say you loan $25 dollars to a farmer through Grow Ahead.. your loan, along with the loans of others, lets this farmer plant his crop.. once the crop has been harvested, and the farmer has sold his crop, you get your loan back.. pretty cool!!  Click here to check out their site!

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Hey Americans!! Obama vs Romney and the Environment

by Liz

I stumbled upon this great article that is a must read for a couple of reasons:

  • it addresses the issue of the environment in the upcoming American Presidential Election which was widely left out in the debates
  • it addresses climate change and how it affected Hurricane Sandy
  • it was an interview with Bill Nye, the Science Guy!

Click here for the article.

To sum it up Bill Nye explains how climate change made Hurricane Sandy worse in very understandable terms.  He said, “Climate change amps up… basic factors that contribute to big storms… The oceans have warmed, providing more energy for storms, and the Earth’s atmosphere has warmed, so it retains more moisture which is drawn into storms, and is then dumped on us.”

What Bill Nye thinks about Obama and the Republicans:

President Obama, Vice President Biden and the Democratic Party’s position is consistent with what 90 percent of scientists say — that humans significantly cause the world to warm and climates to change and that, in order to slow climate change and eventually control its effects, we must slow down and regulate the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane… and develop clean, alternate forms of energy, like solar, wind, geothermal, tidal and biomass.

What Bill Nye thinks about Romney and the Republicans:

Governor Romney, Congressman Ryan and the vast majority of those in the Republican Party, however, strongly disagree and they cite a small number of researchers who say that any warming and any climate change is a natural cyclical phenomenon that has been occurring on Earth for millions of years and that human activity is not a significant factor.

Bill Nye then continues to use facts to back up his beliefs.  Click here to read more.

So Americans, come Tuesday who will YOU be voting for?

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By Erica


Whenever a new technology comes out, something else becomes obsolete. DUH. So with the entrance of e-readers into society.. guess what it replaces…. good ol’ paperback and hard cover books.  While I see the convenience of an e-reader (I guess), it raises some issues.  Primarily.. what will happen to all the books? On a personal level, does this mean libraries will close eventually? Where will all the librarians work? Anyways, getting off topic.. the world already has too many books. But, generally, pre e-reader, books would circulate rather than end up in the dust heap. You loan them to your friends, sell them, borrow them, etc.  Now as the world turns away from traditional reading material, what will happen to all the millions of books? And think of all the trees that gave their lives to make those books. Sadness. 

Currently, I am using old books to prop up the sides of my futon.  As a reading traditionalist, I can’t bring myself to throw books in the recycling bin.  Second Hand stores are full of them.  Every time I travel, I bring as many books as possible from Canada and leave them in hostels, where maybe they will get read.  I am having a panic attack as to what will happen to all the books.  Until I think of a solution other than my futon support system, here are some interesting sites for book recycling…

Books for Africa: Donate old children’s books to those who need them in Africa (you can also get rid of old computers this way.. anyways who has seen Manufactured Landscapes knows that computers don’t recycle well)

Or you can try BookMooch to trade books with other fellow book worms. Reddit.com also had a book trade, which may or may not still exist.

In the long run, e-readers mos def have the potential to become more sustainable, especially as publishers reduce the amount of books released the traditional way each year.  Now if only we could find a solution for the books already in existence…..


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Baby, it is HOT outside!

by Liz,

I don’t know where you live but where I am it is HOT!! It was 32 degrees before 8am! That means I was sweating even before I left to go to work! Tomorrow is supposed to be even hotter! As you can see below I have a ladylike “glow” or let’s be honest, I am sweaty!

With heat comes air conditioning.  I don’t have a/c but I am sitting in front of a fan.  With the high temperatures comes high energy consumption.  There are a lot of things we can do to keep cool AND save energy!

Some tips:

  • Keep your shades and curtains closed to keep the cool in and the hot sun out!
  • Don’t use appliances you don’t need! For example if you have to cook something, cook it in a toaster oven and not the big oven.  And unplug everything you aren’t using!
  • Keep your air conditioning at 78 when you are there and 85 when you aren’t, or even better turn it off when you go to work!
  • Turn off the lights! They produce more heat you do not want!

Here is a great comparison of fans versus air conditioning from www.weconserve.ca :

A stand up fan uses 75 watts, and a window unit will use 100 watts.  Running continuously for twelve hours a day they will use 2.1 KWh of electricity. A 1,000 watt air-conditioner, running all day for 75% of the time will use 18 KWh. A central air-conditioning unit can use up to 3,500 watts, and will use about 63 KWh.

Using the two fan system can save between 16 and 60KWh of electricity each day.”

So do what you can to keep cool and save energy! Happy Summer everyone!

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Generation Waking Up

by Liz

Generation Waking Up is igniting a generation of young people to bring forth a thriving, just, sustainable world.  I’m not doing enough, you probably aren’t doing enough.  Let’s be part of history in a good way.  Please watch the video below:

What will our legacy be?

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