Monday, May 29, 2017

How to get people to care about the planet

Here's an academic paper on what does and doesn't work regarding getting people to internalize climate change and care about the planet. One of the authors is Christie Manning, daughter of a local resident and professor of environmental psychology. It includes links to videos so this could be a helpful resource for educators.

Main take-away:

...developing an ecologically-consistent worldview may benefit from reconnecting with nature so that humans actually experience and develop a dynamic understanding of the world’s systems and human-environment interdependence.

Although worldwide trends toward accelerating urbanization have generally meant fewer opportunities to encounter and build a connection to nature, urban dwellers need access to nature in order to rediscover their interdependence with it and deepen their sense of place. This, in turn, fosters understanding of the natural environment (51) and inspires efforts to protect and preserve landscapes and their inhabitants (4).

Valuable nature experiences do not require trips to “wild” nature such as old growth forests, but can be found in urban areas as well (53). Fortunately, new trends in urban design may help heal the human-nature divide.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Save the climate with one change: Beans, not beef

We know that we should eat more fruits and veggies. It's good for your health and climate. In a recent study they found if we traded beef for beans it would make this much of a difference:

Around 42% of cropland, or 400 million square miles, currently used for beef production, would be liberated for other uses. [Photo: Elenathewise/iStock] Before we get sidetracked by the myriad “one gas for another” jokes to be made, let’s first get through the science of it all. This one change, the researchers found, would lead to the United States immediately hitting 50 to 75% of its GHG reduction targets for the year 2020. Beef is the most emissions-intensive food to produce, but–despite the fact that we, as a nation, have collectively reduced our consumption of it by 19% since 2005–it’s among the most popular proteins of choice in the country. Beans and legumes don’t carry the same all-American cache as a burger, but the researchers found that their production results in one-fortieth of the emissions produced by the livestock industry. 
Eating Beans Could Be A Magical Solution To Climate Change - Fast Company

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Worker owned business is bipartisan approach to building wealth

Most are aware that there is a huge gap between the highest and lowest incomes. This is largely a consequence of traditional capitalism where "capitalists" with the money own the company and workers are viewed as an expense to be minimized.

But change one element in that equation and suddenly things become more equitable. Make employees owners. Then the employees can grow wealth. The Mondragon Cooperatives in Spain are the most famous example. But Cleveland has been turning around their blighted inner city with the Evergreen Coops. Those employees, some of whom used to be in trouble with the cops, are putting away tens of thousands of dollars, a nest egg that could make a big difference. And the pride that comes with this is priceless.

One caution. Government tax incentives have driven some companies to rush into ESOPs (employee stock ownership plans) but they kept their top down, paternalistic management style. Years ago I was consulting with United Airlines and I told them their effort would fail unless they shared real power, real decision authority with employees. They didn't and it did fail. Ownership won't make much of a difference if employees have no control over their workplace.

Anyway, there's a push in Congress to reenergize worker owned business. Check this out: Bernie Sanders and Ronald Reagan on the same side of on issue?

"There are more than 10 million employee-owners in the United States today who work and own a stake in companies like Publix Supermarkets, Wawa Convenience Stores, or New Belgium Brewing. And while there are a wide range of social enterprise approaches being piloted in communities across the United States, none can match employee ownership for proven, scalable impact, with models that are nationally vetted and that have been successfully deployed for decades."

Is this the simple solution to poverty?

This TEDTalk reviews the research on a guaranteed basic income. What the speaker asserts is...

...the poor make poor decisions (e.g., worse health, eating habits, etc.) because of a scarcity mentality
...a basic income has been found to eliminate poverty but most people don't quit their jobs (although new moms and dads spent more time with baby, and students spent more time in school.) would be dramatically less expensive to do this than pay for the effects of poverty estimated to be $500 billion in healthcare, crime, etc.

As technology and artificial intelligence gobble up jobs, this may be a solution that the currently affluent will want as well.

Watch this and tell us what you this a giant welfare boondoggle or an obvious and effective solution to the problem?

Poverty isn't a lack of character; it's a lack of cash

The Conservative plan to fight climate change

This TEDTalk takes NASA's James Hansen's idea of cap and dividend (where you tax carbon and return that money to the people) and wraps it in a package that could appeal to the Republican-dominated Congress. It claims to produce larger greenhouse gas reductions while eliminating regulations. The plan has some big names behind it and appears to have some momentum. Listen and let us know what you think.

A climate solution where all sides can win

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Can you make a 100 year old house net zero?

Apparently the answer is yes. Windows that open themselves? Way cool.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Rainbow chart interesting way of showing global warming

In this article, you'll see a chart that looks like a rainbow. It shows how the planet has warmed since 1880. This is an interesting way to display the data.
El NiƱo May Be Over For Now, But Record-Breaking Heat Swelters On - HuffPost