This is exactly how we are feeling down under in 34 degrees Xmas Eve. Time to get out in one's undies!
Methodologies in sustainability teaching are broadening out and changing radically in schools. Education for Sustainability is no longer just taught as one single discipline but lessons on our impacts are taught across a whole range of topics and subjects as the way we treat our earth applies in every single aspect of our lives. Similarly, learning about an individual country’s progress on sustainability potentially cuts across its economy, political system, geography, history and social studies.
Here is a game to get the environmental Juices flowing:
Each student in a class-room focusses on a particular country eg European and UK countries could be the focus for Renewable Energy Uptake and reforms. Students do their research on how much electricity is being generated by Wind power (eg U.S, Scotland, Portugal, Germany, Spain, Denmark), or Solar Power (Germany, Italy, China).
Instead of solar and wind power, the group could focus on national campaigns to improve treatment of livestock animals, or Cash for Container Schemes, or changes to laws and projects to reduce air and marine pollution. Some groups might be more interested in the styles of environmental campaigning being tried across the countries studied.
The next step is to design interesting Infographics around the results compiled. Graph drawings could be in the shape of sea and land mammals – with results depicting Germany with the best environmental credentials as a Whale, the next best country Denmark as a Polar bear, the next best country as a Sea Lion and descending in size according to the mammals' green cred.
The element of competition between the countries represented by each student can increase the element of suspense and memorability of the exercise helping to build on a true environmental spirit and collective consciousness within the group.
In one of our Environmental Ed Slide Shares, we suggest classes hold their own Sustainability Olympics whereby students compete on behalf of each country to debate over which ones are the greenest, overall.
More games are being added regularly on to our Education page.
Autumn is well and truly here in Melbourne, Australia so it seems a good time to start planning some action in the garden, for the spring/summer. Am in the process of building a Hugel Kultur which combines to be a Tree Composter, Food Producer, Carbon Sink, Soil Improver, and Wicking Bed all in one. What is there - not to like - about this wonderful home spun eco-system. This is the baby of my idea to form the 'Carbon Gardeners' campaign and possibly leading in to a business idea. Here is a photo (courtesy of permaculture.co.uk) of the amazing Hugel Kultur or Raised Garden Bed which is constructed of logs, branches, compost, soil, and just about anything you can scrounge together from the garden (except the banana lounge!) - provided it doesn't exceed one metre in height - under most Planning Permit regulations in our city.
I have just collected some unwanted tree material from the side of a road, and been offered my very first 4 rotten logs to commence building and prepared the other materials for building up the Hugel - which is German for mound or hill.
So on the topic of good news for the garden, which a H.K certainly is - it seems timely to mention some other environmentally friendly - Good News. Us greenies are learning to be the bringers of good tidings rather as well as being the harbinger of bad news.
Here are some good news grabs to research further - many of whom are sourced from our recent Facebook posts - bearing in mind these facts do change on a daily basis, so these grabs are not intended to be definitive statements of the current state of play!
Fresh off the press - the latest Phone App is out for scanning of Australian products to detect palm oil (palmolein that is not of a sustainable source) in products via PalmOilInvestigations.Org.
Paris is said to be banning Diesel cars
A Cash for Containers scheme with refundable deposits on return of containers, has been introduced in NSW, Australia.
And Beijing is set to shut the last of its coal power plants.
Victoria and NSW have recorded their lowest electricity consumption for summer since 2001 according to AEMO on twitter.
South Australia achieved around 40% electricity generation from renewables, in recent times.
In New Zealand 80 % of electricity was sourced from renewables last year.
The largest solar farm in Australia is being established in Queensland with the potential for 2 gigawatts of power - equal to 1/5 of Australia's renewable energy target.
Porta Rico is performing extremely well with 100% electricity generated from renewables.
Scotland achieved a record use of wind power in recent months, with wind energy sources generating some 126 percent of the energy needed to power every home in Scotland. More good news in the comments boxes as this blog is not saving changes.
Of course the readers' reaction may be - the only countries worthwhile studying are the top emitters namely U.S, Australia, Canada and these nations are still not achieving anything akin to truly climate stabilising targets, namely the goal of limiting the average global surface temperature increases to 2 degrees Celcius as compared with the pre-industrial average.
Nevertheless, the aim for today is to take our mind off the immediate doom and gloom aspects of our campaigns, and to open up topics for study of a more heart-warming topic. I hope the reader is feeling slightly warmed and heartened as a result of reading this post. One feels that the material can become more appealing to know, the less gloomy it is. Well, that's at least the blog writer's opinion.
Yes, it's that time of year again for the Transitions Film Festival in Melbourne, Australia, which is a feast of documentaries for people interested in changing the world.
The ones that are taking my interest are The Yes Men are Revolting which is by and I quote from the blurb on the site: "activist-pranksters Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, the infamous culture-jamming duo known for courageously fooling big government and mega-corporations with their precision impersonations".
This film is absolutely hilarious full of environmental pranks, hoaxes and stunts, and is about fighting crazy with crazy. After all, why tackle something as non-sensical as the way corporates are ravaging our earth, by doing or saying something SENSIBLE?! Andy and Mike (not their real names of course) insinuate their way in to public meeting then televised press conferences masquarading as various corporates and public personalities. They bounce from one climate hotspot to the next apologising on behalf of Shell and with their theatrics, sense of irony, cynicism and black humour acutely highlight multinational MADNESS. With Survivaballs, Melting Arctic Prop and Crude Oil Drink Dispenser, Synthetic Polar Bear in tow, the film really works. With enough funding this film should come out on general release. Environmental pranks, stunts and hoaxes have always been a topic of interest to us on this site.
The other one of interest is Not Business as Usual, and again I quote from the site:
"Not Business as Usual showcases the world’s leading subversive businesses that are at the forefront of a growing Conscious Capitalism movement. These innovative organisations are disrupting the status quo by putting profits on equal footing with people and planet and driving large scale change as a result. "
Without the cooperation of big business, us campaigners have not a hope in achieving a cleaner, resource efficient world. We have a long way to go but every day we are achieving great strides in getting big business and governments to wake up to the global impacts being wrought on our earth. The decline in popularity of Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia is proof of the fact that the Australian population are not going to sit back and watch our nation's natural heritage be trashed by big business.
Ever been in a Shopping Centre or a department store and a burst of music or even some folks doing a dance routine distracts you from your shopping focus? Well, the phenomenon of the flash mob is increasingly making its appearance around the world to share a message, or simply inspire people to change their behaviour.
On Facebook this video was circulating and it's quite a cute one - Hijacking a Dept Store .... the message is pretty self-explanatory.
Some more socially aware flashmobs I've possibly already posted about on this site are intrinsically concerned with consumerist excess, such as plastic bag overuse.
Here's one with a Dance Party on a W.A train - could this happen in Melbourne or Sydney? One could say the underlying message is public transport is social and fun!
Environmental stunts and flash mobs are closely associated.
With the phenomenon of the Flash Freeze where a group of people suddenly all freeze in a public place - imagine a Dr Who-esque moment where across a whole city all consumers arrive at the shopping counter to purchase a thing and on the dot of one oclock they all freeze. This would be a great idea for an environmental stunt - the silence of inaction in the shopping queue would be deafening!
This post about environmentalism through music (not silence!) follows on from a theme a month or so back where I posted about songs which inspire us to take up bike riding or public transport.
Contributors to Converse Conserve.Com
Nicolle Kuna, Peter Nesbit, (cartoonist) Chris Palmer (film-maker), Jackie Eco (comedienne),
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