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Jared Leto Tour Guides Alaska's Melting Glaciers in 360°
What One Person Can Do to Make 100% Clean Energy Possible
This World Should End
June 25, 2011 - Hands Across the
Coming to a Beach near You
Source: Andrews McMeel Publishing Calendar, www.andrewsmcmeel.com
If you are interested in having a fishing and timber future, why then do you ignore the possibility of global warming? If you think the dramatic increase in heat waves, air pollution, storms and floods, droughts, mass migration and crowding are just a coincidence and that things will return to normal on their own, while we are still inhabitants of this earth, and you're willing to be your children's lives on it, then, I guess, doing nothing is one way. I guess I'm not interested in sitting around to see if you might be right.
Going, going, gone
This Is What Global Warming Looks Like
U.S. ranked a pitiful 26th among greenest nations
A preview of what the classroom might look like in 2025 is also a look into our planet's future.
A powerful 360° immersive video tour of Alaska's gorgeous melting glaciers, narrated by Jared Leto.
See how much the world has physically changed since you were born. Hint: It's more than you realize
One U.S. island people lived on disappeared right into the ocean. Another one is on its way
Requests for This Year's Activities
How the West was Lost
Erotic in Nature
What's more dangerous, a city or a forest? Depends on if you're a tree.
Commonly Asked Questions and Facts
What difference can one person really make in fighting climate change? More than you might think
Related issue: Environment
Resources Earthshare , How to Start a Recycling Program in Your Home or Community www.earth911.org
What's more dangerous, a city or a
forest? Depends on if you're a tree.
Once upon a time, there was a lonely tree in the rainforest.
He was lonely because many of his tree friends were being cut down. Just how many?
The range is anywhere from 40 to 62 football fields of trees being leveled on Earth EVERY MINUTE.
The Rainforest Foundation says, "The current rate of destruction is about 1 acre each second, which is a bit less than a U.S. football field. Expanded, that amounts to 60 acres/min., 3,600/hour, 86,400/day, 2.6 million/month, and 31.5 million acres per year."
So this tree decided to go to the only place he felt safe: the nearest city.
Yes, that's a tree on a bridge.
(And yes, this tree has feet. Stay with me here.)
What does it say about Earth that a tree is safer in a city than in its original home?
Well, it says that we as humans aren't paying attention.
At a time when even aliens could tell us that we're kinda going a bit heavy on the whole "chopping down the rainforest" thing, maybe this tree visitor is just what we need.
It's hard to place a number on how valuable trees really are to Earth.
I'm sharing this because when you add up what trees do for Earth's magical ecosystem, each one is worth our personal attention.
And none of them should be lonely.
So here it is, just what we humans need a visit from a tree
to remind us to pay attention in this goofy, adorable little
This Is What Global Warming Looks Like
"Beautiful British Columbia," the tourist brochures call it. Fires raging across B.C.
This is due to very hot weather and months without rain, in our rainforests. And higher temperatures than ever before, all part of a warming planet. This is an example of what we risk when we do not do ENOUGH to mitigate climate change. Will you hear me in Paris?
We have an air quality advisory in BC that we must stay in our homes especially the very young and the very old. The air is heavy, it burns to breath it in. Breathing as an issue trumps everything.
The West Coast rainforests are at risk.
Rainforest Fire in Washington May Be Ominous Sign
The Queets rain forest in Washington states Olympic National Park is the American jungle one of the last remnants of the primeval temperate rain forests that once stretched from southern Oregon to southeast Alaska. But now, that precious ecosystem may be endangered by fires, due to climate change and a punishing drought that has affected even the normally moist Pacific Northwest.
Fires have burned holes into some of the trunks of the centuries-old Sitka spruce and western hemlock trees, causing the massive trees some of them up to 250 feet tall to come crashing to the ground, the Seattle Times reports.
Interior Alaska fires still growing; more hot, dry weather on the way
The seven named fires grew to a total of 235,783 acres, although heavy smoke made it difficult for fire crews to map exactly where and how much some of the fires moved.
In particular, the Hay Slough, Harper Bend, Bering Creek and Blind River fires all made significant runs. Crews are working to protect cabins in the area, and all miners and other landowners have been advised to leave the area. The Tozitna fire jumped fire lines near Site Road, but was still 2 miles north and 1 mile west of the closest inhabited structure.
With temperatures expected to hover near 90 degrees through Monday, officials expect fire activity to increase in the Interior. A voluntary evacuation notice is still in place for Tanana, with dense smoke creating sometimes hazardous conditions in the area.
As of Saturday, 299 fires were burning in Alaska, 36 of which are staffed.
West Coast temperatures
We've seen numerous daily record highs the last few days, and more are expected the next several days in Oregon, Washington and northern Idaho.
Here are some of the recent daily records that have been set:
The culprit in this hot setup is a blocking pattern aloft, known as a "Rex block" that is keeping cooler Pacific air from pushing much farther inland from the typically cooler areas near the immediate Northwest coast.
Some relief for the Pacific Northwest ahead - at the end of this week. One forecast predicts rain by Monday. I am going to walk in that rain, no umbrella, and get soaking wet. Let's hope it is not a dry thunderstorm where the rain does not hit the ground.
It's interesting to observe how people around me are coping, first
with the heat and then with the smoke. I had never seen "SMOKE" in a
weather forecast before yesterday. The record breaking heat before
that was unrelenting. Almost everyone was seeking shade and cool
places. I can speak for my family and friends and how they reacted.
Following the heat, the heavy polluted air made us feel tired and
listless but at the same time the smoky skies provided relief from
the burning sun. Under apocalyptic skies, we continued with our
routines and plans as much as possible. With the feeling of utter
helplessness against these conditions, it seemed the natural thing to
do. We are ALL dreaming of rain on Monday.
U.S. ranked a pitiful 26th among greenest
The U.S. falls in between Canada and the Czech Republic, and well
below such world superpowers as Estonia, Malta, Luxembourg, and
Latvia. Who is No. 1? One of those annoying Scandinavian countries,
of course. Scandies took slots No. 3 and 4 too.
A preview of what the classroom might look
like in 2025 is also a look into our planet's future.
'The children are our future' takes on new meaning when you think about the world we're leaving for them to inherit.
Climate change is putting a lot of Australia's natural wonders in danger.
We currently know the Great Barrier Reef as the world's largest coral reef system at over 1,400 miles long. But as climate change continues to affect our earth's natural resources, students 20 years from now might be looking back on the reef like this:
And do you know about the Great Australian Bight? It's the home of many endangered and threatened species and includes a baby whale nursery. But new drilling developments are threatening their home.
So what'll happen to the Great Barrier Reef if nothing is done to slow the effects of climate change? According to greatbarrierreef.org, the results could be quite disastrous:
Increasing acidity of the ocean
Coral reefs deteriorating to a crumbling framework with very few reef building coral
Erosion becoming a serious concern for coastal communities
A weakened reef being further compromised by the increased frequency and severity of cyclones and storms
Serious consequences for all organisms which depend upon it, including humans
"Fracking" may sound like a funny word, but the damage it might do is anything but.
What exactly is fracking? Besides a great substitute for that other not-so-nice f-word?
"Hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking,' is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside." dangersoffracking.com
So what's the danger in pumping chemicals into the ground?
Well, for one, those chemicals could end up in our water supply. What's worse is that in some communities near fracking sites, residents have found their water is filled with so many toxic chemicals, it has become flammable.
Sherry Vargson of Pennsylvania knows all too well how fracking can turn regular drinking water into something more dangerous. After an energy company began drilling not far from her home, her water became cloudy and bubbly due to increased levels of methane. And to illustrate just how dangerous these methane levels are, take a look at what happens when Sherry brings a match to her tap water.
Oh and one last thing: Forests could someday be a thing of the past.
Forests worldwide are being destroyed through deforestation and acid rain caused by pollution. And trees aren't just pretty to look at. They're essential for our survival and the health of our planet they create the air we breathe, control climate stability, and aid in water purification. So once the forests are gone, we'll lose out on a lot more than just scenic views.
So while Show-and-Tell 2025 was made specifically about Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, there's no denying that the effects of climate change are something all of us need to think about.
The truth is, the way we're treating the planet today has an effect on what's left behind for our children and their children.
The kids in this video no doubt are adorable, but this isn't the
kind of future I had in mind.
See how much the world has physically changed
since you were born. Hint: It's more than you realize.
Sure, you might notice that first fallen leaf of autumn as it crumbles underfoot or the glimmer of a flower bud bursting the snow. But for the most part, we're not actively aware of the effects of time as we go through it. It's only when we look back that we can see difference by comparison.
But there are a lot of other things that have been changing around us while we've been alive, and I'm not just talking about the seasons. Maybe you've come to expect the annual cycles of the weather, but what about the rest of the world? And what's the difference from one winter to the next?
Let's take a look at how the world has changed since you were born like physically changed, in ways beyond strip malls and landfills.
Are you a Centenarian? (a) Congrats! (b) The average temperature has increased 2 degrees to 3 degrees Fahrenheit since 1915.
It goes from almost all blue that's -1 degree to 0 degrees Celsius (aka that tens-based temperature measurement used in the rest of the world that makes a lot more sense) to almost all reds and oranges. It might not seem like the biggest deal, but remember: This is just an average.
But you might not be that old. Let's jump ahead to the mid-1960s specifically 1965.
See how similar the average temperature in 1965 was to 1915 above? That means most of that change has happened in the last half-century, a fact which probably has very little to do with Dylan going electric.
If you were born a decade later in 1975, things were just starting to heat up.
Things were really gettin' hot around Antarctica and Australia, which I'd much rather attribute to the release of the first AC/DC record than to something ridiculous like carbon emissions.
Generally speaking, people born in 1985 came unto this sizzling Earth with hopes for good luck and a sparkling wit.
There's an entirely logical reason for the world being so much hotter all the sudden, and it's not "Howard the Duck."
You 1995ers were the first to face a world without Kurt Cobain (and the climate felt sad about it, too).
For those of us in America, this decade got just a little bit warmer, but probably not enough that you would notice. But there are a lot more red spots all around the globe.
As for those of you born in 2005, I admit: I have a hard time believing you're real and on the Internet right now.
I'm not sure which is scarier: that you never knew a world without Facebook or that you never knew a world that wasn't already covered in the orange temperature zone. Honestly, it's a toss-up.
What about those who were born right on the decade lines? Let's go back to 1980 and check the view from the top.
Back in the day when the Clash was still a band, the "Star Wars" prequels were but a formative inkling in George Lucas's mind, and ... wait did that polar ice cap lose like half its landmass in the last 35 years?!
Then of course there are the children of 1990, who are same age as "The Simpsons" (the show, not the characters).
Compare that 1990 ice cap to the way it looked in 1980, and that's about as different as the bass line from "Under Pressure" and the one from "Ice Ice Baby." Oh hey, remember Vanilla Ice? He was something, huh?
And that brings us back to the turn of the millennium. How 'bout them polar ice caps, 2000 babies?
Oh, I'm sorry you thought all that melting was evenly spread across three long decades? Yeah, not so much. I guess we were all too busy freaking out about the Y2K bug-that-never-was to even notice.
But now we're gonna party like it's 1999, when the World Atlas map began to drastically change.
On average, the polar ice caps have shrunk by 12% each decade since the '70s, and that melting rate has become exponentially worse since 2007. The image above depicts the actual changes made to the world map between 1999 and 2014, according to the World Atlas. (You have to click on the source below to see these images. It's worth it.)
That's a pretty major change for 15 years, right? But get this:
The maps of the Arctic Circle as seen in 2014 edition of the World Atlas are already inaccurate.
Yeah. It really is that bad.
Ironically, the rate of Arctic melting has essentially snowballed the factors add up exponentially, and the effects get bigger and bigger and bigger (even as the snow itself disappears). So while yes, there are still winters and it still gets cold, the ecosystem is disastrously out of balance, and it's only getting worse.
But fear not! There's still hope!
Or maybe do fear a little bit, if that's the kind of motivation that you need to make sustainable environmental changes in your life or to urge President Obama to take action before it gets too late. Because we seriously need to do something and fast.
Here's a little more information, courtesy of National Geographic.
Mr. President, We Remade Our Atlas to Reflect Shrinking Ice"
A powerful 360° immersive video
tour of Alaska's gorgeous melting glaciers, narrated by Jared
Aside from being the lead singer and guitarist for the award-winning rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars....he's also an Academy Award-winning actor (and occasionally punching bag)......and a former teenage heartthrob.
Now he can add "Virtual Reality Tour Guide" to his resume as well.
Perhaps you've felt emotionally or metaphorically transported by the sound of Jared Leto's voice.
But thanks to a new collaboration between RYOT and the Sierra Club, you can be physically transported as well.
This short interactive film, titled "Act in Paris ," immerses the viewer in a 360° tour of Alaska's gorgeous melting glaciers.
Don't worry you don't need one of those big clunky virtual reality helmets or Google Cardboard or any other extra-fancy tech to enjoy the experience.
As with all YouTube 360 videos, you can use the directional buttons on the screen or the arrow keys on your keyboard to guide your way around the glacier while you listen to the mellow tone of Leto's voice.
You can also download the RYOT VR app and experience the whole thing on your smartphone, either by touching the screen....or by literally spinning around the room (although you might get some weird looks).
Pretty cool, right? But what does a VR tour of Alaska have to do with Paris?
This December, the United Nations is hosting a massive climate action conference in Paris with the goal of bringing the world together to enter into a universal and legally binding agreement to fight climate change before it's too late.
As for Alaska, it's ground zero for climate change damage, along with the rest of the Arctic Circle.
As Jared Leto's serene voice will tell you during your immersive video tour, melting glaciers and rising temperatures have had a devastating impact on the Arctic, and it's only getting worse.
Alaska's scenic landscapes show us just how bad the damage is and what's in store for the rest of us if we don't act.
The Arctic Circle might seem remote, but the effects of climate change have left their mark on the rest of the world as well. It's not quite as apparent yet, but it is happening and it's happening exponentially faster as the Arctic gets worse.
So as you soak in the sights on your virtual tour, consider what would happen if it all just disappeared.
And if by some chance you aren't feeling moved by the jaw-dropping beauty of the Arctic Circle, consider that wherever you live, the exact same things are happening all around you, whether you notice them or not. Check it out:
The time has come for us to make a difference because we might not have another chance to stop the damage.
to find out more and to demand that the world's leaders come together
with an action plan while they still can.
Commonly Asked Questions and Facts
Rainforest terms can be found here
What is a rainforest?
A tropical rainforest is an ecosystem distinguished by being warm and wet. To be considered a rainforest, annual rainfall in an area must be 75 inches at a minimum, and most rainforests get over 100 inches of rain every year. Moreover, temperatures in a rainforest are warm year-round. (There are other ecosystems known as temperate rainforests, which also get a lot of rain but have much cooler temperatures.)
Rainforests of the world:
Tropical rainforests surround the earth's equatorial zone and are warm and humid places. They provide shelter and sustenance to an enormous variety of plant and animal species, and they are also home to 50 million Indigenous peoples. Although tropical forests cover less than 7% of the earth's surface they are home to approximately 50% of all living things on earth.
What is Amazonia? Amazonia is a region that includes most of Northern Brazil and parts of the bordering countries of French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Amazonia can be visualized as a funnel (with its wide end at the Andes) draining some six million square kilometers through a complex of rivers that are tributaries of the Amazon River. The Amazon River has the greatest volume of water of any river in the world. It is navigable along its entire 4000 mile length (6,400 km). The Amazon is also extraordinarily rich in biodiversity. A very large number of Amazonian plant and animal species are "endemic", meaning that they are found there and nowhere else. Recent estimates from Conservation International indicate that in the Amazon one can find: 18,000 varieties of plants (c.13, 680 endemic)
Is all rainforest in Amazonia?
No! There are also very large and important tropical rainforests in Asia, Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, as well as a few temperate regions such as the Pacific Northwest. The largest expanse of rainforest in the world, however, is in Amazonia in South America.
How old is the rainforest?
Rainforests have been around for tens of millions of years. The geographical extent of this ecosystem has expanded and diminished under the effect of continental drift and glaciation.
How much rainforest is gone?
In many parts of the tropics, current forest cover is only a fraction of what it was 50 years ago. For example, only 5% of Brazil's incomparable Atlantic coastal forest remains. While the Amazonian rainforest is still largely intact due to its great size, recent data have shown that the scale and rates of deforestation there are actually greater than many published estimates, not less.
Are rainforests the lungs of the earth?
Not exactly they are often given this name because they produce about 20% of all the oxygen in the world. The real lungs of the planet, however, are the microorganisms in the worlds oceans which produce the other 80% of our oxygen. But rainforests do play a crucial role in many of our planets ecological cycles they maintain global rainfall and regulate climate patterns worldwide. Even more importantly, mature forests such as the Amazon and elsewhere store huge amounts of carbon in their vegetation. Burning the vegetation or cutting it down and allowing it to rot releases this carbon in the form carbon dioxide a major greenhouse gas. Keeping rainforests intact and healthy will go a long way towards combating the threat of climate change and global warming.
Will rainforests regenerate?
In some cases this is possible, but the new forest will be a much poorer habitat, home to many fewer species of plants and animals. Rainforest fragmentation leads invariably to biodiversity loss.
What do we use rainforests for?
Rainforests are crucial to all humanity. About 1.2 billion people in the world rely on the rainforest for their survival, directly or indirectly. In addition, the destruction of the rainforest creates greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change something that impacts us all. And rainforests provide many other important benefits that we all can appreciate. For example, approximately 121 useful drugs currently on the market are obtained from plants, and over a third of these originated in tropical forests. Similarly, much of the food we eat - coffee, bananas, lemons, oranges, cacao, cashews, peanuts, pineapples, papayas, and many more! - comes from tropical forests.
Forests regulate water and protect watersheds. Without the canopy breaking the force of heavy downpours, rain can dissolve pastures and cropland into mud slides. The canopy allows rainfall to slowly trickle down, rather than rush into rivers and flood the surroundings. In 1998, for example, Hurricane Mitch left 11,000 people dead and many more homeless in Central America. The destruction was caused primarily by deforestation.
What are the major threats to the rainforest?
Uncontrolled extractive industries, such as logging, mining, and oil, as well as road development and infrastructure projects (such as roads, dams, etc.) also threaten the people that live in and rely upon the rainforest for their survival.
Indigenous and traditional peoples
The rainforests of the world are the home and a source of life and culture for many unique and diverse indigenous and traditional peoples. As the rainforests are destroyed, their ways of life can change and become poorer economically, culturally, linguistically and politically.
According to Survival International (2000), 940,000 indigenous people live in the Amazon rainforest alone. In Brazil, at the time of European contact, indigenous people numbered around 5 million. The number has since dropped to less than 200,000, and anthropologists believe that a forest dwelling tribe has been lost in Brazil every single year since 1900. In addition, there are fisherfolk, rubbertappers, Maroons, Quilombolas, and other traditional peoples who depend on a healthy Amazon for their survival.
A crucial priority for indigenous people is gaining the rights to the land they live on. Obtaining the legal right to their ancestral land enables indigenous and traditional peoples to choose for themselves how the forests will be used and to prevent unwanted development such as mining, logging, ranching and deforestation.
Indigenous lands are 20% of the preserved lands in the Brazilian Amazon, and on satellite maps, one can see that indigenous and traditional peoples lands are some of the best preserved zones. Indigenous people of the Amazon in Colombia control 15 million acres of land among more than 50 ethnic groups and 70,000 people. Chiribequette Park, created in 1989, protects 2.5 million acres, some of which is the indigenous peoples territory. Colombian law protects the peoples rights to follow their own customs and traditions and develop and organize their own health and education services. 80 % of the world's biodiversity is found on indigenous lands!
Did you know?
Remarkable things you can find in tropical forests
One Guy With A Marker Just Made The Global
Warming Debate Completely Obsolete
The EPA recently released new rules to cut carbon emissions from power plants. (To learn more, check out this article.)
Of course, global warming is too colossal of an issue to summarize
on a whiteboard, but the way this guy divides the possible futures of
humanity makes a lot of sense. Skip to 1:28 for the whiteboard
Requests for This Year's Activities
WATCH the terrific HBO documentary "Too Hot Not to Handle" on the impacts of global warming in the United States. Produced by NRDC Trustee Laurie David, the film includes commentary from leading scientists and shows how businesses, local governments and citizens are joining forces to reduce global warming pollution.
JOIN the Virtual March on Washington at www.stopglobalwarming.org/sgw_partner.asp?376 This is a great chance for you to raise your voice with hundreds of thousands of other Americans and demand that governments, corporations and politicians act now to stop global warming.
SIGN our pledge to Move America Beyond Oil and help support a practical, concrete plan to curb global warming by slashing our nation's fossil fuel consumption. Go to www.nrdcactionfund.org/beyondoil/action.asp?step=2&item=53292
We hope you'll take some time this Earth Day to wander outside,
enjoy the spring weather and get energized.
Going, going, gone
It is predicted that the ice cover on Mount Kilimanjaro will be gone by 2040.
The last great reserves of healthy coral reef in the world is the Coral Triangle.
The lost Incan city of Choquequirao in Peru may suffer the same fate as Machu Picchu if plans go through to build a cable car to the isolate ruin leading to hundreds of people in any photo you take.
Greenland may truly become "green" land as wide sections of ice are deteriorating as rivers and sinkholes undermine the surface. There's still great hiking on the Northern Ice Cap but you'd better hurry if you want to experience it in your lifetime.
Even something as iconic as the Serengeti Plains, a 12,000-square-mile ecosystem that's home to the world's largest mammal migrations, is under siege from agricultural pressures and highway development.
The iconic lemurs of Madagascar are threatened by all sorts of pressures on their forested home land. from droughts, forest fires and growing human populations.
Several Pacific islands like Kiribati and Tuvalu may literally
disappear in the next century because of rising sea levels. TKiribati
is taking direct action, arranging to resettle their populations in
What difference can one person
really make in fighting climate change? More than you might
You're just like me a well-intentioned, well-informed, socially responsible, and ridiculously good-looking person who believes in a better world and is also completely and utterly overwhelmed by anything and everything relating to climate change and the environment.
It's cool. I get it. It's easy to feel paralyzed when you're faced with things like ...
The sea level rose twice as much in the last decade as it did in the entire last century.
The ten hottest years in this century happen to be in the past 12 years.
While everyone's dancing about numbers like 100% clean energy.but no one ever taught you the choreography.
After all, you're just one person (...right?). How can one person have an impact on such a worldwide problem?
Everyone's all like, "Renewable Energy! No more fossil fuels! Reduce your carbon footprint!" and you're over here like, "I'm trying but I can't afford the down payment on a hybrid car, and I still can't figure out what goes into each different recycling bin at my office!"
The start of a solution is simple: RAISE YOUR VOICE.
Right now, the leaders of nearly 200 nations are meeting in Paris to find a way to change the world. But nothing will happen unless the people the masses, the all-of-us, like everyone demands climate action.
Here's the deal: We all came into a world where things like gasoline and plastic are easy, cheap, and convenient. That's the way things work because that's the way that things have been working because someone made a profit once and said, "Yeah this works!" and the rest of the world just went along with it.
OK, so maybe that's a slightly oversimplified version of post-industrial world history.
The point is that renewable energy and cleaner living will actually be easier, cheaper, more convenient, and ultimately better for our health and the health of this floating space rock we call home but we need every informed, responsible, intelligent citizen of the world to make it happen.
The entire planet has to change The Way Things Are Done and find A Better Way. But that will only happen if we speak up and demand it.
You can make sure your voice is heard by signing this petition to demand climate action at the Paris Climate Summit.
Once that's done, you can share this video and tell everyone you know to do the same.
Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez was 6 years old when
he gave his first moving speech.
Nope. When the young Xiuhtezcatl (pronounced kind of like "shu-TEZ-cuht" in my embarrassing English phonetic approximation of the Nahuatl language) addressed that crowd of 200 people in Boulder, Colorado, cartoons weren't on his mind.
"I got up on stage ... and delivered a message about how we gotta educate kids differently and parents have to raise us differently to understand that it's important to take care of the planet," he tells Upworthy.
That's right: While most kids his age were still trying to figure out whether Santa Claus is real, Xiuhtezcatl was out saving the world.
That was 2007, and the then-6-year-old had just seen "The 11th Hour," a documentary about global warming produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio. "It was intense, it was like a total wake-up call. I was like 'Mom, I gotta talk to people, I gotta speak,'" he said.
Xiuhtezcatl didn't stop there. He could have settled with his 15 minutes of fame but he built an army instead.
As a young teen, Xiuhtezcatl began to organize his friends into local action committees to get pesticides out of parks as well as enact bans and other regulations on plastic bags, coal-ash drilling, hydraulic fracturing, and other unsustainable practices that had taken over the Boulder community he calls home.
"I had a lot of friends that I knew who were interested in this kind of stuff, that didn't really have a platform to engage," he explains. "And that's what you'll find all over the world."
With the help of his activist parents, Xiuhtezcatl created a nonprofit organization called the Earth Guardians, a self-described tribe of young activists, artists, musicians, and leaders.
"It started off as a simple little thing in our community, you know, just us kids," he explained. "And then all of a sudden social media got a hold of us and now we have 400 crews on 6 continents and it's a global movement."
Since then, Xiuhtezcatl has hung out with Pharrell Williams and been featured in Rolling Stone. He's also addressed the entire United Nations about climate action (we spoke to him back then, too) and, oh yeah, sued the U.S. government over the same.
Not slowing down, this guy. In fact, when I spoke to him during the 2015 Conference of the Parties in Paris, he had to cut our conversation short to go perform a concert for the United Nations at the Grand Palais.
Oh yeah did I mention that he's also a bomb-ass hip-hop artist?
When I asked him about his music career and the beats he's dropped with his younger brother Itzcuauhtli, Xiuhtezcatl and his friend started to stomp the floor in unison, claps slowly building on the offbeats as they chanted, "We got knowledge / and power / and justifiable rage / we know history / and this is me / writing a new page."
Xiuhtezcatl is no stranger to the power of protest songs.
He witnessed their effectiveness firsthand when he and Itzcuauhtli were performing at the Arise Music Festival in Boulder:
"This guy came up to me afterward and he was talking about how he has 400 acres of land, huge property. He was going to lease it all to the oil and gas industry, on his land. And he says, 'After I saw your performance, I realized that, you know, my role in this movement is to build a hub and a place for solutions, not sell it out to the industry for corporate dollars.' So he converted it into a total sustainable hemp farm to help build and create local solutions."
Xiuhtezcatl is as media savvy as you might expect from someone dubbed the "Anti-Bieber." But when he tells this story, he starts to shake his head, as if he's still in disbelief of his own impact. "It was really exciting to see how us educating people on the stage changes people's minds about a huge decision," he said, in a rare moment where he sounds less like a wizened climate warrior and more like, well, a 15-year-old kid grappling with the true scope of the world.
"That's 400 acres of land," he said. "I mean, how many fracking wells can go on there? How many thousands of barrels of oil and natural gas was not pumped because of that decision? It was cool."
Xiuhtezcatl has already accomplished some amazing things and we can't wait to see what his future has in store.
Here are some closing thoughts from Xiuhtezcatl himself, straight from this year's Earth to Paris event in December:
This is how Fox News creates ignorant
The video below is a classic example of how Fox News encourages one to allow themselves to be willfully ignorant. This is not restricted to conservative right-wing people, but to us all. To be clear, many Americans do very little reading of consequence and get most of their information from the mainstream broadcast media or the right-wing broadcast media like Fox News.
If many get their information from broadcast media, it is evident that the reliability or truthfulness of said media will determine their beliefs and to some extent their thought process. The mainstream and right-wing media are both very poor at providing thoughtful information one can use deliberately to come to sensible conclusions. There is, however, a difference. While the mainstream media is shallow and sometimes allows others to spread misinformation by fiat through their channels, Fox News simply lies in order keep their viewers ignorant.
In the video above, Geraldo Rivera makes the case that inasmuch as the leaders from around the world are concerned with climate change, the immediate concern for many European leaders is security. Steve Doocy calmly, artfully, and assertively states the lie that temperatures on the planet have either stabilized or have gone down. He then states climate change is not one of the biggest concerns for Americans.
Geraldo challenged the lie by pointing out that 2015 has been the hottest year and that nine out of the last 10 years have been the hottest. Doocy attempts to argue and Geraldo then says he simply would not argue the pojnt.
Those acclimated to Fox News are likely to accept Doocys numbers. Sadly, near the end of the segment Brian Kilmeade came in and stated again that polls indicate Americans are unconcerned with climate change. He then said even England is pulling out of activities to mitigate climate change. Kilmeade then says he hopes the president does not come back from the climate summit and attempt to force an executive order on climate change down Americans throat.
The segment inevitably did what it needed to do. It made the Fox
News viewer comfortable that climate change is not really occurring.
Temperatures have stabilized, and even our ally England, another
country like ours, does not see climate change as a problem. When the
president signs any executive order, Fox News viewers will be
predisposed to oppose based on artful lies.
The longest and probably largest
proof of our current climate catastrophe ever caught on
They were in Greenland, gathering footage from the time-lapse they'd positioned all around the Arctic Circle for the last several years.
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They were also there to shoot scenes for a documentary. And while they were hoping to capture some cool moments on camera, no one expected a huge chunk of a glacier to snap clean off and slide into the ocean right in front of their eyes.
t was the largest such event ever filmed.
For nearly an hour and 15 minutes, Balog and his crew stood by and watched as a piece of ice the size of lower Manhattan but with ice-equivalent buildings that were two to three times taller than that simply melted away.
As far as anyone knows, this was an unprecedented geological catastrophe and they caught the entire thing on tape. It won't be the last time something like this happens either.
But once upon a time, Balog was openly skeptical about that "global warming" thing.
Balog had a reputation since the early 1980s as a conservationist and environmental photographer. And for nearly 20 years, he'd scoffed at the climate change heralds shouting, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"
"I didn't think that humans were capable of changing the basic physics and chemistry of this entire, huge planet. It didn't seem probable, it didn't seem possible," he explained in the 2012 documentary film "Chasing Ice."
There was too much margin of error in the computer simulations, too many other pressing problems to address about our beautiful planet. As far as he was concerned, these melodramatic doomsayers were distracting from the real issues.
That was then.
In fact, it wasn't until 2005 that Balog became a believer.
He was sent on a photo expedition of the Arctic by National Geographic, and that first northern trip was more than enough to see the damage for himself.
"It was about actual tangible physical evidence that was preserved in the ice cores of Greenland and Antarctica," he said in a 2012 interview with ThinkProgress. "That was really the smoking gun showing how far outside normal, natural variation the world has become. And that's when I started to really get the message that this was something consequential and serious and needed to be dealt with."
Some of that evidence may have been the fact that more Arctic
landmass has melted away in the last 20 years than the previous
Worms that can eat plastic could save us from
destroying the planet.
Wait! Before you answer, what if it was more than just one piece of Styrofoam like 33 million tons of it?
And what if it wasn't just cups, but Styrofoam packaging, water bottles, and all different kinds of discarded plastic?
And what if it wasn't strewn across the grass, but instead dumped into one massive trench? Or worse, what if a bunch of it was just floating in the ocean, waiting to be swallowed up by some helpless sea creature?
When you put it like that, the answer seems pretty obvious.
But here's something new and surprising: Those wiggly little mealworms might just be the key to fighting plastic pollution all over the world.
Time for us to fess up: We, as a species, are not very good at recycling.
In the United States alone, every year we throw away about 33 million tons of plastic waste (including Styrofoam, which is basically fluffy plastic), with less than 10% of it being recycled properly.
Now, it's not all our fault. Modern recycling techniques have come a long way, but they aren't perfect. According to Popular Mechanics, materials like the ones used to make soda bottles can only be recycled (or "downcycled" into lesser products) so many times.
That means, one way or another, most of it will end up in a landfill eventually, where it could take centuries to biodegrade.
But it looks like we might be onto an amazing, if slightly unappetizing, solution.
Researchers just discovered that mealworms can eat nothing but Styrofoam, turn it into biodegradable worm poo, and get all the nutrition they need.
This is huge.
A collaborative study between Stanford University and Chinese researchers found that 100 of these mealworms, which are essentially baby beetles, could consume almost 40 milligrams of Styrofoam per day. Now, that's not a lot (it takes 453,592 milligrams to equal one pound), but the implications are much, much larger.
There are plenty of bugs out there that eat plastic, but this is the first time researchers have confirmed that what comes out the, er, other end is, in fact, totally natural. And even better? Eating the stuff doesn't harm the worms in the least.
In other words, something magical is going on inside these mealworms that lets them turn hazardous plastic into harmless organic waste.
Studying the chemical environment inside the mealworms' gut that makes this possible might lead to better recycling techniques.
When I first read about this, I imagined government officials unleashing hoards of mealworms on our landfills for an epic buffet, but unfortunately, that doesn't seem super plausible remember, they eat really, really slowly.
But what if we could emulate the mechanisms inside their stomachs that break down the plastic? If we could just recreate that environment on a larger scale, we wouldn't have to work so hard melting down bottles and turning them back into new bottles.
We could just transform them into the equivalent of worm poo, which the researchers say can be used as soil and is totally safe for the Earth.
But you know what? None of this will matter if we don't get better at sorting our trash and recycling the things that ought to be recycled.
I never thought I'd say this, but if we work together with the
mealworms, we really can make a difference.
How Old will You Be in 2037?
The White House Goal - Increase Pollution - Act Now!
Barely two weeks after the election, the Bush administration repaid big corporate campaign contributors with a massive new loophole in the Clean Air Act that will allow them to dramatically increase air pollution and harm the health of millions of Americans.Days later, it was the timber industry's turn to cash in. On Thanksgiving eve, the administration proposed new rules that would allow it to put all 155 national forests on the chopping block for logging and other commercial activities without having to take public input or study the devastating impacts on wildlife.It's no accident these special interest handouts were announced after Election Day. They are a radical departure from the values of conservation that most Americans hold dear.
But the worst is yet to come. The White House has signaled clearly that the sacrifice of our clean air and national forests is only the leading edge of a much broader attack that will come early this year. It will be a determined and systematic effort to dismantle our nation's entire framework of environmental protection. Last year, the U.S. Senate was the firewall that saved us from President Bush's most destructive raids on the environment. Not any more. Key Senate committees in the new Congress will be chaired by stalwart allies of polluting industries who are flat-out hostile to our environmental laws.
Industry lobbyists are already circling, ready to plunder the public treasures they have coveted for so long: the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Alaskan rainforest, the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, and many more of our last wild places. No one voted for these environmental disasters on Election Day, but they will come to pass if we don't unite right now to prevent them.
The president's campaign to undermine our environmental laws could be derailed instantly if millions of Americans would hold Congress accountable for its upcoming votes. The fate of our natural heritage will be determined by a handful of moderates, Democrat and Republican. Senators on both sides of the aisle won close races this past Election Day by promising to protect the environment. It's time to make them keep their word.
Please go to the BioGems website at www.savebiogems.org/takeaction.asp and send electronic messages directly to your U.S. senators and representative. Tell them to defend 30 years of bipartisan environmental progress by putting a stop to the Bush administration's assaults.
And if you want to do even more for the environment, please forward this message to as many people as you can. Remember, the White House can continue this sweeping attack on our environment only if Americans remain silent. Thank you for speaking out.
Sincerely, Robert Redford, Board of Trustees, Natural Resources
1 roll 1-ply bath tissue: 469,000 living trees or 1.2 million cu. ft. of landfill space, enough to fill 1,700 garbage trucks and 153 million gallons of water, a year's supply for 1,300 families.
1 roll 2-ply bath tissue: 423,000 living trees. 1 million cu. ft. of landfill space, enough to fill 1,600 garbage trucks and 153 million gallons of water, a year's supply for 1,200 families.
180 sheet paper towels: 1,450,000 living trees or 3.7 million cu. ft. of landfill space, enough to fill 4,100 garbage trucks or 526 million gallons of water, a year's supply for 4,100 families.
That's not much to ask, is it?
The Feds Won't Act, So California Does
California Takes Lead on Auto
The new law, to be signed today by Gov. Gray Davis (D), is the first in the United States to directly affect consumers and to enlist American drivers in reducing the potential of global warming. The law addresses not the gases that cause smog but the invisible, odorless emissions that scientists say appear to be contributing to slow but risky heating of the planet.
Although the new regulations will grant engineers wide latitude
for design solutions, the new greenhouse gas emission standards for
California will affect drivers nationwide, because California, with
its 35 million residents -- more than Canada -- represents 10 percent
of the national car market.
Source: William Booth, Washington Post. See the full story at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A41533-2017Jul21.html
The Fight Against Global
Assembly Bill 1493 requires automakers for the first time to limit carbon dioxide and other global warming pollutants from new cars and light trucks. It also will reduce other pollutants, and save consumers money at the gas pump.
The measure is the first of its kind anywhere in the world, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. It cleared the Assembly last night by a vote of 41-30. The State Senate passed the bill on Saturday. It's now up to Governor Davis to sign it. He has not yet taken a position on AB 1493, though he has expressed support for the concept. Please call him now:
Governor Gray Davis: Sacramento: 916-445-2841, Los Angeles: 213-897-0322, San Francisco: 415-703-2218, San Diego: 619-525-4641, Riverside: 909-680-6860, or Fresno: 559-445-5295
Resources: The Natural Resources Defense Council has good
information at: www.nrdc.org/air/transportation/fcacars.asp
Also, a recent study, showing that global warming will have
devastating effects on California's water supply because of severely
reduced snowpack, is at: es.ucsc.edu/~lcsloan/GRL_CACLIM.pdf
Roll Your Own Black Out the First Day of
It's a simple protest and a symbolic act. Turn out your lights from 7 pm -10 pm (your local time) on June 21. Unplug whatever you can unplug in your house. Light a candle for the Sun, kiss, make love, play games, tell ghost stories, do something instead of watching television, have fun in the dark.
Copy this and e-mail it as widely as possible, to your friends, to
your government representatives and environmental contacts. Let them
know we want global education, participation and funding in
conservation, efficiency and alternative energy efforts -- and an end
to over exploitation and misuse of the Earth's resources.
Vanishing Wildlife: White
House plan denounced as invitation to extinction'
Mounting Danger: Watch out
What They're Saying:
Environmental rollbacks earn rebukes
Loud and Clear: E-petitions
surpass 1 million to save Arctic refuge
Global Warming: Strongest
evidence yet that humans are to blame
Take the Pledge: Join the
Campaign to Defend America's Environment
That's why today the Campaign to Defend America's Environment has been launched. It's a partnership of concerned organizations determined to make the voices of all Americans heard in the halls of power. "The special interests now lobbying so hard to weaken our environmental protection laws have a huge financial advantage, and they've spent millions to influence politicians," Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen said. "But we've shown before that we can defeat the special interests if we work together and mobilize the vast majority of Americans who want to protect the environment for our children and future generations. This campaign will help us do both. It is a coalition of leading environmental groups and individuals joining together to make a difference."
Join today. As part of your Earth Day observance, go to our new
Web site, www.DefendEnvironment.org
and take the pledge to defend America's environment. Ask your family
and friends to take the pledge, too. By doing so, you will join in
sending the clear message that this land belongs to all Americans --
not the special interests. Defenders
Oil Drilling and the Arctic National
We have conquered the environment, and in our obsession for control, we no longer allow the environment to live in us. - Valerie Andrews
The world was not left to us by our parents.
It was lent to us by our children.
An African proverb
More than 45,000 pieces of plastic debris float on every square
mile of ocean. FHM,