35 Days

April 4, 2011 - Leave a Response

It’s almost hard to believe that 5 weeks from now, millions (ahem, MILLIONS!!!) of young peoplearound the world will be marching in the streets and standing up for their futures. But it’s really rightaround the corner; iMatter Marches will start on May 7th and continue for a week before culminating in Denver on May 14th. Seeing as the March is almost upon us, we at iMatter wanted to update y’all on what’s happening with the March.

There are over 30 Marches signed up in the U.S, and there are even Marches in South America,Africa, Asia and Europe! If you haven’t already signed up to march, check out this page to register. If there isn’t a March happening near you, it isn’t too late to organize one yourself!

Equally exciting are all the fantastic partner organizations that are working with iMatter! Everyone from the Sierra Club to Peace Jam, Mothers Acting Up to InconvenientYouth, and the Alliance for Climate Education to 350.org are supporting the March!

New developments take place daily, and it’s impossible to list everything here, so check the iMatterwebsite. http://imattermarch.org,  for all the details.
See you in the streets!
-Alex

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The End of Nuclear Power?

March 30, 2011 - Leave a Response

Several weeks ago the world watched as an 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck Japan. As a result a 33-foot tall wall of water hit a large portion of Japan’s northern coast. Because of the tsunami, one of Japan’s major nuclear power plants is suffering from partial meltdowns in several of its reactors. These partial meltdowns are due to the failure of the nuclear plant’s cooling systems.

Currently, Japan is flooding the reactors’ cores with water in an attempt to prevent full-scale meltdowns. Although a full meltdown has not yet occurred, Japan is already suffering repercussions due to the elevated radiation levels in the area.

The high radiation levels have had an especially negative impact on Japan’s fishing industry as the surrounding aquatic ecosystem has observed an increase in radiation. Radioactive particles have even become trapped in the clouds above the nuclear plant, which in turn may contaminate rainfall and damage Japan’s crops and milk supply.

Japan’s recent nuclear crisis has sparked questions about the risks associated with nuclear power and will hopefully lead to a higher usage of less dangerous and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. Could this be the end of nuclear power?

-Nathan

 

 

Endangered Species

March 29, 2011 - Leave a Response

It should be pretty obvious that climate change and the plethora of other environmental issues that we’re going up against don’t just affect humans—there are numerous direct and indirect consequences of our actions on all forms of life on Earth.

In recent years, the list of endangered species has grown exponentially. The emerging decline in bee colonies is just one example of the numerous animal species that have been negatively affected by human actions. Increasing use of chemicals (systematic insecticides) in agriculture had proven to be toxic to bees and other key-pollinating insects around the globe. It wouldn’t seem like fewer bees would do anything bad for our planet, but we cannot forget what a bee’s job is: pollination! Without pollination, flowering plants cannot reproduce and therefore habitats are lost, energy is lost, food chains are dismantled, ecosystems break down…this list goes on and on.

iMatter is just not about us humans—we’re marching for all forms of life on Earth to ensure that those that cannot speak for themselves are represented when it comes to their livelihoods. It’s time that we stand up for all life that exists and prove that we matter!

-Hannah

Creative Fundraising Ideas

March 24, 2011 - One Response

High school and college Environmental clubs are one of the best ways to educate young people about climate change and encourage them to lead more sustainable lifestyles. Yet sometimes it can be challenging to come up with progressive ideas for club events that are “green friendly” and that will get everyone involved.

If your club is looking for a way to raise funds (either for your own club or a non-profit), I have a wonderful solution. I recommend that you hold a benefit dinner, but not just an ordinary benefit dinner. Instead, cook an entire meal that uses locally grown ingredients (possibly from a community garden), and even invite student or local music artists to perform as entertainment. Proceeds from the event could then be donated to a cause of your choice.

If your looking for a simpler event, try organizing a school-wide, no-auto day where you encourage every student to not step foot in a car for the entire day, and instead use bikes, busses, and walk!

If you would prefer to arrange a long-term project, I suggest that you approach your administration about xeriscaping a portion of your school’s lawn. This will provide club members with a wonderful hands-on experience, reduce water usage, bring in an array of fascinating plants to your campus scenery, and offer a more aesthetically pleasing alternative to a water guzzling lawn.

I hope these suggestions serve your environmental club well with your future endeavors! Please comment if you have any other suggestions!

 

-Nathan

Facebook Shut Down!

March 23, 2011 - One Response

Hey all, I’m Chelsea, a freshman at CU Boulder, Environmental Studies and Policy major and loving every minute of it! I joined the iMatter blog team to be an advocator for our beautiful planet Earth through educating my generation.

March 28th, 2011 at 8:30pm wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, I encourage you to join the estimated 1.3 billion people in the largest voluntary action ever witnessed.  All you have to do? Turn out the lights! This simple act of environmental stewardship is a combined effort of more than 128 countries that comes together to prove that the world wants environmental justice! So basically… turn out the lights, turn off the computer (Facebook may shut down for the hour!) and TV. Use your hour to be with friends, family, go above a beyond and use the hour to make plans and actions on how you and your community can go beyond the hour and live and advocate environmental friendly lifestyles! The World Wildlife Foundation is a major supporter of Earth Hour 2011.

To sign the pledge and find out more YOU can do to go beyond the hour, check out: http://www.worldwildlife.org/sites/earthhour/

peace, Chelsea

Recycled Art

March 22, 2011 - Leave a Response

More and more contemporary artists have been kickin’ it old school these days…old school materials that is!

Recycled art is becoming increasingly more popular as these environmental friendly artists take their work mainstream. We’re talking apartment and home décor and furniture, sculptures, accessories, appliances, portraits, and other bizarre (and yet SO COOL) works of art that are diverging into a style all their own. And they’re all made of recycled…well, anything! —shoes, ping-pong balls, paper, plastic toys, aluminum cans, cardboard boxes, styrofoam. These artists are taking what would have been thrown into landfills and reusing them in a positive way.

Here are some of my favorite examples (more can be found at http://www.recyclart.org/)

-Hannah

A Slimy Green Sheen

March 21, 2011 - Leave a Response

“Green” is everywhere these days. As the environmental revolution gains momentum, everyone from bottled water companies to McDonalds seems to be scrambling onto the “eco-bandwagon.”

But how can companies like these—who’s industries are inherently unsustainable—claim to be legitimately good for the Earth, much less our future?

They can’t.  It’s called ‘greenwashing’—the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.

Of course, it’s hard to be an informed consumer in our society; from dusk till dawn, we’re bombarded with advertisements, jingles and every imaginable plea to consume, to buy and to indulge. As “sustainable” goods become more popular with consumers, companies (most often multinational corporations) prefer to simply say they’re eco-friendly.

Unfortunately, not everyone can be truly sustainable. Some things just aren’t green—“clean” coal just isn’t, the same goes for Big Oil or the auto industry or the fast food.

But their actions have real consequences, and it’s time these companies spent more time and money cleaning up their act, instead of their image. And it’s time for each of us to take a closer look at what we’re buying and who we’re supporting.

People before profits!

-Alex

 

 

 

Supermodel Turned Superhero!

March 21, 2011 - Leave a Response
Gisele Bunchen, a brazillian Victoria’s Secret supermodel, has always been an lover of the environment. She has been a goodwill ambassador for the United Nation’s Environmental Programme  as well as a generous donor of some serious cash to the Amazon Rainforest, Brazillian Atlantic Forest, and numerous other causes.
Now, Gisele has teamed up with AOL to create an online animated series about empowered teenage girls that lead double lives as supermodels as well as superheros. The website includes green tips as well as “inner and outer” beauty tips that encourage healthy self-esteem to young girls everywhere.
As a teenage girl in modern day society, I can really connect with what Gisele is trying to do for young girls. Not only is she empowering young girls to love themselves, but love the earth as well.
Check it out at: Giseleandthegreenteam.com

Dust Bowl

March 18, 2011 - Leave a Response

I look up from the grey highway ahead of me to the mountains. Their usually beautiful face is obscured by a huge cloud of dust.

“What is all this? I’ve never seen the mountains like that before,” says the girl in my passenger seat.

“It’s the wind. Everything is so dry, it’s just picked up all the dust,” I reply.

Even though it snowed last week, the parched ground has already devoured the moisture and is begging for more.

What will this view look like in ten years? Though I would like to pretend, like many of Albuquerque’s inhabitants, that this is just an anomaly, I know the wind will blow harder, the dust will become looser, and the water will seep farther away. My friend comments about another Dust Bowl, and I can’t argue her point. The very earth of the town I grew up in is blowing away.

Water shortages already trouble the Southwest, but exacerbated by climate change, the Stockholm Environmental Institute predicts the cost of climate change affecting water will be $1 billion in the Colorado River basin alone. The receding water will force already struggling farmers to abandon the ranches their families have worked since spanish settlement. The multi-ethnic agricultural heritage – corn mazes, harvest festivals, haciendas – will wither with the crops that brought it such vibrant color.

We’ve seen the numbers. NASA stated that 2010 tied 2005 for the hottest year on record; the amount of CO2 is 115ppm higher than 200 years ago; we could have up to 1 billion climate refugees by the end of the century.

We’ve heard the newsreports. Pakistan is under water; Russia is burnt; reconstruction continues in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

We know the consequences. But the issue, even for  those  who take action, is wrapped in scientific observations and political polarization.

The visceral reaction to seeing the effects, sweeping away the soil and obscuring the beautiful desert mountains brought in to focus just how close to home climate change will strike, for millions of other youth, who look out their windows to see the devestating effects of a problem they didn’t create wiping away the face of their homes and communities.

 

-Akilah

 

Chevron in Ecuador

March 16, 2011 - One Response

From 1964 to 1990, Chevron was involved in extracting oil from a very delicate region of the northeast Amazon rainforest. Due to the results of the methods used in the oil extraction, irreversible damage has been done to the Amazonian ecosystem (specifically many of its streams and rivers). On February 14th of 2011, Ecuadorian courts finally found Chevron guilty on charges for environmental contamination. As a result Chevron is being mandated to pay a $9 billion dollar sanction to the Ecuadorian communities to pay for environmental remediation, and provide health care and potable water to the thousands of people affected by Chevron’s toxic legacy in the region.

Since Chevrons departure from Ecuador they have abandoned 900 unlined waste pits in the Amazon rainforest and have neglected to establish an environmental response plan this catastrophe. There have even been reports of Chevron officials instructing field workers to destroy evidence of oil spills.

Having personally been in Ecuador for a month during the summer of 2010 and experiencing the beauty of this South American country first hand, it is unfortunate that such a unique environment is being threatened by the damages of a large oil company such as Chevron. During my month long stay, I was fortunate enough to participate in a guided tour of the Ecuadorian rainforest. During this tour I was delighted to see an abundant variety of wildlife and vegetation (much of which is unique to this region of South America) and was reminded how sobering it would be if a remarkable ecosystem such as this, was permanently impaired because of the Western world’s addiction to oil.

If you would like to find out more please check out this website: www.chevroninecuador.com

 

Note: To date, Chevron has refused to pay the $9 million and continues to battle the decision in the courts and in its public relations.

-Nathan