Blogs

Ashley Arden • July 31, 2013

The New York Times featured Australian artist Natalie Jeremijenko's "Amphibious Architecture" installation this week, where you can text and even share a meal with fish in the East River. A professor at NYU, Jeremijenko's work is addressing  environmentalism's 'crisis of agency' through 'interspecies congress' – creative installations that facilitate interaction between humans and non-humans. Her lab, the Environmental Health Clinic, blends art, engineering, environmentalism, and biochemistry to create real-life perscriptions that improve the 'impatient'...

Jim Hoggan • July 23, 2013

Brilliant new piece by Atul Gawande in the New Yorker about human change resistance and how to overcome it. The article touches on lessons from behavioral economics to explain why we still resist change in spite of overwhelming evidence scientific evidence of a destructive warming climate and the health damage that comes from high sugar and high-fat diets. These kinds of problems worsen every day because they're invisible, tedious and involve self-sacrifice. So when problems seem distant, sacrifices high and benefits low, we tend to resist change – even when we know better.

Atul writes about the brilliant public intellectual Everett Rogers who argued that hard changes are...

• May 11, 2013

Now that the amount of carbon in our atmosphere has officially reached 400 parts per million (a level only previously experienced on earth 3 million years ago), what now? Maureen E. Raymo, a scientist at Columbia University told the New York Times: It feels like the inevitable march toward disaster. No doubt, she is not the only one feeling this way.

We’ve got to keep believing that we can turn things around because if we don’t, there’s no justification for our continued existence. Finding the power to turn things around depends on...

• April 21, 2013

The first Earth Day, in 1970, was marked by the presence of some 20 million bodies in the streets, twelve thousand events, and more than thirty-five thousand speakers. I wasn’t there, but it  seems that alongside all of the street-sweeping, learning and protesting, there was a whole lot of celebrating. The next few years brought reason to celebrate with creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.

In the April 15th edition of The New Yorker, Nicholas Leman points to the death of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (better known as the Climate Bill) in 2010 as a defeat to the...

• April 16, 2013

I figured they’d make good decisions for me, since they had money on the line and wanted to see their investment appreciate. - Kenneth Michael Merrill, “KmikeyM”

In February, 2008, Kenneth Michael Merrill sold shares in his life to investors, offering them the opportunity to reap the rewards of his successes, and have a say in the process. Merrill’s story, and a number of the key decisions made by investor votes since the initial public offering (and their impact) are well outlined by Joshua Davis in Wired Magazine. The story provides a unique perspective on profit-driven decision-making and its outcomes. It proves that the market is neither...

• April 7, 2013

Until two weeks ago, I had never heard of Mount Milligan, but I have not been able to stop thinking about it since the day I did. I’ve even dreamt about it, and I’ve been wondering if it is actually possible for me to make all the complicated arrangements necessary to make the twelve-hour road-trip with my car-seat-hating baby to this place I’ve never been. I’ve also wondered whether it is possible for me to not make the trip, and acknowledge the sacred value of the place before it is destroyed in the name of resource extraction.

Such is the power of story.

The Stonehouse Institute brought together some 150 amazing people to participate in the Leaning Forward, Leading Change: Storytelling & Community Organizing Training at VanDusen Gardens in...

• March 31, 2013

In his call for localized and culturally sensitive stories on climate change, M Sanjayan brought forward the example of restoring a local water shed to deal with Santiago’s climate-related tap water shortages. While I am all for cultural sensitivity, I can’t help but think that such actions fall short - taking appropriate short-term action to a long-term problem. Similarly I can’t knock local action, or local stories - both are necessary - but if we want to tackle a global problem it seems necessary to address it as such. Making connections between localized events and actions seems to me like a sound approach.

A recently released study by The Center For Climate and Security might...

• March 20, 2013

Tell unique, local stories. Know the norms of your audience, and don’t be afraid to speak with emotion.

These tips on communicating climate change came to mind for M. Sanjayan after being bombarded by media during a recent trip to Santiago, Chile. He was as part of an expedition to the receding Tupungato glacier, but the local media wanted to talk to him about water - or more precisely, why water had ceased to flow through their taps. Changing weather patterns as a result of global warming threatens municipal water supplies everywhere, not just in Chile,  but Sanjayan chose to focus on water, as the local media preferred, instead of carbon dioxide emissions and their effects.

...
• February 16, 2013

You guys aren’t popular. Maybe your medicine’s too bitter. Or you’re not selling to us. Maybe you’re writing us off, thinking we won’t get it....

Just a few reasons, as articulated by the protagonist of Barbara Kingsolver’s latest novel, why scientists who step up to talk about the facts on climate change are so often ignored.

The novel, Flight Behaviour, covers an incredible amount of territory in four-hundred and thirty-three pages. The ICCP has come up with 40 narratives about climate-affected world, but Kingsolver focuses on just one - and it is not set in the future, but in a fictional town that feels very...

• February 9, 2013

In his documentary, Occupy Love, director Velcrow Ripper looks to the Arab Spring, Movimiento 15-M, a Tar Sands Healing Walk and Occupy Wall St. to answer the question: how can the crisis we’re facing be a love story? Footage of Tahrir Square, in particular, draws the viewer into the emotional experience of a mass of humanity, coming together for a common purpose. And yes, it feels a lot like love.

But as Naomi Klein states in the documentary, overthrowing a dictator and drastically changing a complex and over-arching global system, like neo-liberalism, are very different things. Difficult to explain, even.

Nicholas Kristof described the Occupy as a movement to...

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