Just came across this tool from Yale, the Climate Opinions Maps- 2016, and its fascinating and disturbing at the same time. Something great about the United States is that we are free to express our thoughts and ideas without fear of persecution. However, that freedom also comes with a responsibility to be informed, ask questions, seek out truths and remain open-minded, trusting of experts but also learning for yourself.
Two words that are very important: Fact & Opinion.
a thing that is indisputably the case.
a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
Now, back to the Yale tool. These are the opinions of polled Americans. It’s alarming to know how many people still think there is a reputable dispute over climate change being real, that it is or is not caused by humans, and if it’s something to be concerned about. Facts, not opinions, about the science of understanding climate change and its impacts on our quality of life are easy enough to find. NASA is a good place to start.
However, from this Yale tool we see that 26% of those polled still believe climate change is the result of “natural causes”, 32% are not worried about its impact on our health or economy (but maybe they should be!), 40% do not believe it’s already harming people in the US (think Sandy & Katrina or any of the recent droughts, heat waves, crazy blizzards…) and 75% do not hear about global warming in the media at least once a week!
Can that really be true?
The Washington Post, The New York Times, NPR, even Fox News have stories about climate change or its impacts on the world around us at least once a week. The hyperlinks are an example of simple search on each site for the past 7 days.
I find hope in the fact that these opinions are not the majority. And I find even more hope in the fact that there are people in Congress, right now, building a coalition of legislators that are looking at policy changes to help mitigate climate change impacts.
“The Climate Solutions Caucus is a bipartisan group in the US House of Representatives which will explore policy options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our changing climate. The caucus was founded in February of 2016 by two south-Florida representatives Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) who will serve as co-chairs of the caucus.
The Caucus will serve as an organization to educate members on economically-viable options to reduce climate risk and protect our nation’s economy, security, infrastructure, agriculture, water supply and public safety,” according to documents filed with the Committee on House Administration.”
This historic undertaking is supported by several groups who care about climate policy. As mentioned, it started with 2 Representatives. Since 2016 it has grown to now 46 members! It is always to be bi-partisan, so when a Republican wants to join, a Democrat must also join and visa versa. To learn more and to be involved the Citizens’ Climate Lobby
is a good place to start.
Another thing that provides some hope is even though President Trump has backed out of the Paris Climate Agreement, many other important leaders in the US have not. The “We’re Still In” initiative
is a growing body of “mayors, governors, college and university leaders, businesses, and investors [that] are joining forces for the first time to declare that [they] will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.”
Check out the Moraine Valley Community College Library and resident Center for Sustainability
if you want more academic, scientific-based information on climate change and how to get involved to make positive changes for today and tomorrow.
Whenever (and it is rare) I find myself with a night of nothing to do, I always think: well, I should watch a movie! But then I am overwhelmed by my Netflix choices. Sometimes I want to be entertained and sometimes I want to learn something, a lesson, some facts, etc. Actually, this weekend I think I have a night that I’ll be able to watch a movie…so what will it be?
I often turn to a theme I personally love: Sustainability. And there are a lot of sustainability-related movies available today. One of the first times I remember when I made a conscious connection to enjoying a cartoon and learning an eco-lesson, was FernGully: the last rainforest, in 1992. But it was, according to Karl Burkart of MNN.com, 1973 that the environmental film-making was born. That year, Chinatown and Soylent Green both hit the big screens. From there, we’ve enjoyed (and possibly been frightened by or disgusted by): The Day after Tomorrow, Whale Rider, Avatar, Erin Brockovich, WALL-E, March of the Penquins, and Happy Feet. Even Finding Nemo has an sustainability-story as viewers explore the exotic fish trade, diversity issues, and water/ocean pollution.
and then there are the eco-mentaries, more documentary than entertaining and mostly fiction like: Inconvenient Truth, 11th Hour, Who Killed the Electric Car, Food, Inc., Crude, Forks Over Knives, King Corn, and The Cove just to name a few.
Want more? There are repeats of above, but there are some others not yet listed in the following articles and lists.
Here’s a list of the Huffington Post’s top picks for the 2000-2010 decade.
And, Jill from OdeWire, asks “Are These the 11 Most Inspiring Eco Movies Available Online?”
Mother Nature Network shares several movies in this entry: The best of 2010: environmental picks that include documentaries, fiction and even kid movies.
Earth911.org, one of my go-to-favorite sites for a lot of really useful green info, shares this top 11 eco-flicks the kids and adults can enjoy together and then this top 5 eco-documentaries they think are must-sees (I have to agree) that are all available on Netflix!
So what’s your top eco-flick? Have you watched any of these listed here? Have a suggestion for something missing? Head on over to the Moraine Valley Sustainability Facebook page and let us know.
Boo! Happy Halloween!
If you’re still working on your ideas for Halloween or want some ideas for next year, check out these sites to get you on the green-fright-train!
Top 10 Ways to Go Green This Halloween – The Daily Green
TheGreenGrok’s Top 10 Most Sustainable Halloween Costumes
25 Homemade Costumes from Recycled Materials
Remember, the best way to minimize impact is to minimize use and waste. If you can re-use something, that’s great! If your something doesn’t create a lot of waste, at least a lot of non-recyclable waste, even better! Candy and stuff is great and for special occasions it’s fine; but you could start the neighborhood trend of giving Fair-Trade chocolates (usually sans HFCS too!) and promote social justice during the holiday. What else can you do to green your Halloween? Go over to the Moraine Valley Center for Sustainability Facebook page and let us know!
The Moraine Valley library has several themed blogs, which anyone can find them on its homepage. Of particular interest to me lately is the Film Blog series posted by Moraine Valley Librarian, Sarah Ando. Sarah has been reviewing several films on food, carbon & climate change. Check it out!
Or if you’re interested in personal liberty and freedoms of expression, Librarian, Troy Swanson has a really interesting piece on Bassem Youssef of Egypt and his fight for free speech.
Librarian Jen Kolan wrote about “a breakthrough in hydrogen fuel production” and its potential impact on how we might fuel our vehicles in the near future. Jen also directs readers to more books and resources that can be found in the Library to learn more on the topic.
I share all this to highlight the Library, the great resources within (including the Librarians!) and to also show how integrated sustainability topics are in our current events, in research and in the Moraine Valley culture. Check out the blog to learn more or peruse the Center for Sustainability website to find out what Moraine Valley is addressing to ensure a sustainable today and tomorrow.
I sometimes find myself in the grocery store saying, “What the heck does cage-free mean, anyway?” And then, what does free-range, farm-raised, etc… I have a clue, but probably not 100% of the correct information. Well, now there’s a great resource for me to reference when I get confused. I thought I’d share it with the readers of this blog, too.
This is the green blog, right? So what does food have to do with being green or sustainability? A lot. We need to eat, there’s no denying that. However, with every choice we make when considering “What’s for dinner?” (or any other meal) there is a direct impact on carbon emissions, land use, water use, clean air, waste and equally importantly – your health. This label resource will also help you understand the impacts your diet may have on your health and your environment. We all know to eat less fat and high fiber. Eat some fruit and so on. But really, what do we know about what foods to choose if we also want to take care of the planet? Which is something we all need to consider, since our food- be it beef, greens, fish or tacos- comes from the planet. Without it being healthy- clean water and air, plentiful healthy soil- we will not be able to grow the food we need to survive.
Check out this link. What do you think about it? Does it influence your future food choices? Did you already know these things? This is only one of many really useful resources out there on food. If you want to know more or have a conversation or check out a book, article, etc. Stop by the Center for Sustainability in L242 or drop a line at email@example.com.