FAN Q&A with Exec. Producers Barbara Pyle and Nick Boxer!
Tomorrow, Sept. 15th is Captain Planet Day – the 22nd anniversary of the series premiere of “Captain Planet and the Planeteers!” Join series Co-Creator and Exec. Producer Barbara Pyle and Exec. Producer Nick Boxer for an AMA (“Ask me Anything”) on Reddit at 3PM Eastern, where YOU ask the questions directly to them!
Here’s the link! http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/zxr0j/we_are_barbara_pyle_and_nick_boxer_cocreators_and/
Moving in the Right Direction
European Mobility Week will be held the week of September 16-22 2012, September 22 being World Car-Free Day. European Mobility Week is a campaign for sustainable mobility. It runs each year from September 16 to September 22. The aim is to encourage Europeans and European local authorities to promote sustainable transportation and encourage their citizens to use alternatives cars, including bikes, walking, and using public transportation. The week culminates in a celebration, ‘In Town Without My Car!’ in which cities set aside several areas solely for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transportation for the entire day.
European Mobility Week was first introduced in 2002, and has been growing since, expanding into Asia as well as Europe. The impact of European Mobility Week has also increased each year. In 2010, the number of cities participating was 2,268, representing about 227 million citizens. So far, the total number of participating cities for European Mobility Week 2012 is 579, Spain having the most with 261 cities signed up. But there’s still time for your city to sign up, so find out if your city is signed up. If not, it’s not too late. Each year has its own theme, that of 2012 being ‘Moving in the Right Direction’.
The winning city is chosen by an independent panel of transport experts. The award ceremony for European Mobility Week 2012 will be held in Brussels in March 2013. The winning city is awarded a promotional video highlighting its achievements. The winning cities will also get to see their name on the European Mobility Week Hall of Fame.
The event has encouraged cities to go beyond only Mobility Week, and start encouraging cycling, walking, and public transportation by building bike paths and improving access to public transportation. It’s also a unique chance for city administrations to measure how well they are doing in programs for more sustainable travel.
Have you got a great project that needs a little extra push? The CPF was founded by the Exec. Producers of Captain Planet to fund programs and projects that enable children and youth to better understand our world through hands-on learning activities that improve the environment around them. So if you’ve got a great project underway that needs a little financial help, go for it – but don’t delay, the grant application cycle ends September 30th! Apply here >>
A group of youth activists from around the world are converging in Qatar this November to bring some real-world perspective to the climate change negotiations. This group aims to turn traditional reporting around by covering the negotiations from three angles: journalism, multimedia, and comedy. They’re open invite, so if you’ve got the funds to go, check out the application form on their page. Also check out their Twitter and Facebook pages. More info>>
Have you invented the next great energy-saving device, or do you have a project in the works that could change the way we interact with our environment? Timothy of the Ghana Planeteers tipped us off to this event that brings together the brightest minds and their visions for the future – and provides the winners with critical funding to make their projects go global. Check out the award, and sign up on the ‘Participation‘ page.
T. Mitchell Bell is a singer/songwriter Planeteer who reached out to us through Cap’s Facebook Page to see if Planeteers would be interested in helping with his latest project, an album dedicated to spreading environmental and social messages with the goal to unite people who hear it. It seems like Mitch is a great example of how an unconventional career-path could be used for positive change! Of course, getting a project like this out to the masses can be quite an ordeal, so he asks that you please check out his Kickstarter page.
Thanks for checking out this month’s opportunities to help out in so many various and exciting ways!
The Power Is Yours!
A Message from the Director of “Shattered Sky”
I recently received a call to action from Sabrina at the NWF regarding a documentary one of their partners is producing. Called “Shattered Sky,” the movie aims to take a look at how positive action has made a difference in the environment and encourage leaders to direct more focus to those behaviors which have benefited our planet thus far. A film with a positive message would definitely be an *ahem* breath of fresh air amidst the doom and gloom we environmentalists are so often bombarded with. Check out the trailer below, and the message from the NWF and “Shattered Sky” director Steve Dorst, who is calling for support via Kickstarter in helping launch the film globally:
The National Wildlife Federation is the education partner of Shattered Sky, a new documentary that uses the true story of the ozone crisis to inspire people on climate and energy issues.
Please support Shattered Sky’s Kickstarter campaign, which goes in part to support NWF youth leadership activities such as campus outreach and a civics and science curriculum for high school students.
You can help us remind all Americans and especially our youth that we have solved major health and environmental issues in the recent past and that sound policy should overcome politics today by: giving on Kickstarter, signing the petition, and forwarding the Kickstarter link to your networks: http://kck.st/QATQhC. And use the hashtag #ozone2climate so people learn from this great American success story.
Thank you and let us know if you would like more information or to be more involved with our efforts to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Ozone treaty this September.
Sincerely, Carey Stanton (NWF) & Steve Dorst (Director, Shattered Sky)
What did you think of the trailer? Sound off in the comments!
A Cyclist’s Dream
Probably the most known cyclist city is Copenhagen, Denmark. The bicycling culture in Copenhagen has led to the term copenhagenization, which is a term applied by other cities following Copenhagen’s example. 36% of all citizens use a bicycle for transportation. By 2015, the number is expected to rise to 50%. For those who find themselves without bikes, the city also provides city bikes which can be used for 20 kroners (~$3.37 USD). The city has extensive bike paths, which are well used. There are also plans to develop greenways and encourage more people to ride their bikes instead of drive.
Bicycling became common in Copenhagen in the beginning of the 20th century. Before that, when Christian IX was king and his extensive family visited Denmark for their yearly gathering, one of their activities was to go cycling. Although the first cycling paths were constructed much earlier, they did not become the norm until about 1892. Just a little less than 17 years later the number of bicycles in Copenhagen grew to almost 80,000 and the city was considered the most bicycle friendly city in the world, and in the 1920-30s popularity increased further.
During WWII, petrol was strictly rationed, and residents began looking for alternatives. After the war during the 1950s, however, the popularity of bicycles declined, due to the fact that more people were able to afford automobiles. Though none of the old bicycle paths were removed, no new ones or improvements on the bicycle paths were made. The space was needed to build new roadways for automobiles. As car traffic increased, bicyclists did not feel safe riding as much on the same streets. There was a decline in bicycles during the 1960-70s. With the energy crisis and environmental movement in the 1970s, the Danish Cyclists Federation which was almost in a coma, but woke up when suddenly it experienced a massive increase in membership. They began organizing massive demonstrations demanding better infrastructure and safety for cyclists. Now, Copenhagen has an extensive bicycling system; there are even further plans to create Super Bikeways!
In 1995, the city also began a program of shared bicycles. Riders pay a deposit to ride the bicycles around certain parts of town. The program is funded by commercial sponsors, and the bikes carry advertisements – usually on solid plates on the wheels. Although several initial trials were unsuccessful, it has now been a successful operation for 15 years. Plans are underway to modernize the program and launch a newer, better program in 2013.
Although cycling isn’t exactly new, there are still some difficulties to be worked out, including the question of bicycle parking. Even though there are a large number of bicycles, there is a lack of bicycle stands and many are located in inconvenient places. Thankfully, a number of projects have been in discussion as to how to solve this. One such project is to create a new bicycle parking facility for 7,000 bicycles above the rails at Copenhagen Central Station, which are due to open in 2013.
Check out this video about bicycling popularity in Copenhagen!
European Capital City Award 2015
Does your city have what it takes to win the European Green Capital Award? Hopefully the answer is yes. The winners have been:
2010 Stockholm (Sweden)
2011 Hamburg (Germany)
2012 Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain)
2013 Nantes (France)
2014 Copenhagen (Denmark)
Soon it will be time to choose the winner for 2015. There will be a workshop on applying for the award held in Brussels on Wednesday August 29th. Only two weeks from now!
The European Green Capital Award was first discussed in May 2006. The initiative was taken by 15 leading European cities (Tallinn, Helsinki, Riga, Vilnius, Berlin, Warsaw, Madrid, Ljubjana, Prague, Vienna, Kiel, Kotka, Dartford, Tartu and Glasgow) and the Association of Estonian Cities. The award is given to cities that are leading the way in environmentally friendly urban living. The award was first launched in May 2008, with the winner being Stockholm for 2010.
All cities in Europe with more than 200,000 inhabitants are eligible for the award. In countries with no cities with more than 200,000 inhabitants, the largest city is eligible. Entries are assessed in 12 ways: local contribution to global climate change, transport, green urban areas, noise, waste production and management, nature and biodiversity, air, water consumption, waste water treatment, eco-innovation and sustainable employment, environmental management of the local authority, and energy performance. The winner is chosen by an international jury with a panel of experts in different environmental fields.
The aim of the EGC is to recognize and reward efforts to improve the environment, the economy, and quality of life in growing urban populations. The aim is to provide and incentive to encourage cities to modernize more environmentally friendly ways, share environmentally friendly practices, inspire each other, and engage in friendly competition. The main message is that Europeans have a right to live in healthy urban areas. The slogan is ‘Green Cities-Fit for Life’.
Cities which have won the EGC also serve as Role Models. In 2010 Stockholm launched the Professional Study Visits program to share its best green practices. Stockholm is one of the best cities in term of freedom from pollution. About 30% of the city’s area are parks, and the Royal National City Park is the world’s first legally protected national urban park. Stockholm is known as the Venice of the North, the central part of the city being located in the Stockholm Archipelago. The water in the city is so clean that it is possible for people to dive and fish right in the center of the city! The city’s current environmental program is the fifth since the first one in the mid 1970s, and the plan is to be completely free of fossil fuels by 2050.
So…who will be the next European Green Capital? Cities can start applying now for the 2015 award. Hopefully, it will be yours. It’s definitely something to be very proud of.
Project: BEEHIVE BirdHouse Designed & Built for Architecture for Humanity Atlanta BirdHouseSocial Charity Auction on 8.18.12
In 2009, I came together with a group of passionate designers/professionals in Atlanta and we re-formed the Architecture for Humanity Atlanta Chapter [AFHA]. Our first project out of the gate was a Floating Clinic aimed to provide informal settlements with a local medical clinic and community center. We successfully launched the project in mid 2009, and it has provided hundereds of medical procedures to folks who would otherwise not have access to such. The project has taken on its own wings and recently has become a stand alone 501C3 organization and continues under the name Hope Builds. AFHA has continued strong since 2009 with great projects like:
Oasis Project –Design and construction of bus shelter in neighborhoods underserved by MARTA.
English Avenue Community Center – Community partnership with the Greater Vine City Opportunities Program to renovate the English Avenue Elementary School into a Community Center.
Band Director Observation TowerBoy Sout Troop 400 out of Richmond Hill, GA requested assists in developing permit drawings for an Eagle Candidate’s Eagle Project.
So this is my second year that I decided to accept the challenge of creating a birdhouse to be auctioned off at the Social, even though it is the 4th year AFHA has hosted the event. Maybe I was shy the first two years, or just skeptical about birds ~ who knows? It is a lot of work to build a custom birdhouse. Anyone who is a designer is a bit particular about how we represent ourself or our brand, so when you do something you want it to turn out extraordinary. Also, after several years of watching others do it, I knew I could create something worthwhile as well. It seems if your heart is in the right place, anything is possible!
I started off with a sketch concept. The idea was to celebrate the circle and the cyclinder, and use the dynamic relationship that these geometries create as a focus of the design theme. Last year I went rectangular in shape, so I wanted a nice contrast as well. In addition, I wanted to accept ALL the design criteria that I had last year that qualified my design as “Sustainable”, yet push the sculpture part of the concept a bit further while cutting back on time and materials. Was this possible? I didn’t know, but I like a good challenge!
After the initial sketch and design criteria were laid out, I went about town trying to find some reclaimed materials. I knew what I wanted, now I had to find it. This is the hardest part of the process, because you never know what, where, or how you will find things.
I started at the local dumpster like any good salvage-hunter. Then, I went to several antique and thrift shops. At one of the shops I found a wooden vase that had similar geometry to what I was looking for, but not exactly. It was a bit big and somewhat tapered. I bought it anyways, and decided to make it work. Next, I continued on to several other second hand shops. After I exhausted the second-hand shops on Day 1, I went to the Big Box stores: Wal-Mart, Lowes, Big Lots, Family Dollar, and some others. Finally I went home after a full day of searching. I was a bit dishearted, but knew I had the whole next day.
The next day, I again hunted for salvaged materials. I visited garage sales, and checked every other shop I could find, including Bed Bath & Beyond for the missing component: a round tin drum for the face. After a second day of hunting was exhausted, and with 5 mins left for the Goodwill to close, I made a purchase of the second component, an aluminium cake pan. It had more detail than I desired, but had asimilar geometrical shape to what I was envsioning. Afterwards, on the way home, I stopped by Lowes and bought some high quality stainless steel screws. My day of salvage searching had come to a close. I wasn’t happy when I got home, in fact I was a bit depressed that I couldnt find exactly what I was looking for and time was running out to work on the project. In fact I had other paying projects I was trying to balance as well.
My soul was low, and I was thinking I just wouldn’t make it this year. I’d use the vase for some newspapers in the bathroom, and make a cake with the newly aquired pan. I am never happy when I am not able to see my visions realized. I felt bad about the potential of letting my organization down. I sulked for a bit, and then saw that other folks, friends of mine were completeing their birdhouses. One by one, photos of their completed projects would pop-up on the Social Media feeds.
“I can do that,” I said after seeing a few images. “Wow, thats neat,” I said after seeing a few others. “I am just gonna have to make it happen,” I finally decided by the end of the evening……. but how?
I had found my inspiration again in seeing others finish their projects.Like all good designers, I now knew it was time to go back to the drawing board and make things work. I stared with what I liked and remembered a few keys to acheiving a unified design: “simplification, alternation, repetition.” I love the vase. It is warm, friendly, and made of wood, it has black bands in the surface pattern, so it was a keeper. I like the simple circular geometry of the cake pan, so it stays as well. I needed a way to tie them together. Then it hit me, of course, paint the cake pan and tin can black, and let the colors all work together. How simple, how appropriate. So, thats what I did.
I also coated the wood vase with 2 coats of marine grade varnish, to weatherize, protect, and prolong the lifespan of the birdhouse. It was a good idea, because I worried about the item falling apart after a good Georgia rainstorm. I then drilled three large holes in the center unit for drainage, and two small holes in the top to mount the eye hooks for hanging purposes once completed.
I sprayed the Cake Pan, and Tin can with several coats of gloss black anti-rust paint. I also sprayed all the hardware to make sure things matched. Once dry, I assembled the components.
It went together rather well, and extremely quickly (after being predrilled and fitted). I am pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
Now, it is time to bring it to the Social, and see what the public thinks. Im hoping to raise funds for some great projects as the AFHA organization continues to serve the local community.
See you at the Birdhouse Social on Saturday, August 18, 2012 from 4pm-8pm at Studioplex Lofts (659 Auburn Ave, Atlanta GA 30312)
Is it time for Cap to join the ranks of Batman, Spiderman, and the long list of superheroes who have been treated with their own summer blockbuster? Last summer, we got word that Cartoon Network was planning to produce a live-action Captain Planet movie with Transformers alums Angry Filmworks. Today, we get a snapshot of what a Captain Planet feature film could look like – via this unofficial fan-made trailer directed by Planeteer filmmaker Jay Diaz:
What do you think – Is Cap ready for the big screen? Sound off in the comments below!
(BTW – We got word of this trailer from Jay himself. We love seeing how Captain Planet and the Planeteers inspired our generation; if you’ve got some great Planeteer content, send it our way!)
When was the last time you had a hamburger? I’d be willing to take a gamble that (unless you’re vegetarian or vegan), it was within the past week – and more likely that it was even sooner than that! Research shows that Americans eat on average three hamburgers a week; I suppose unofficially making them America’s favorite food. Given the 313 million people in America, times 52 weeks a year, that’s almost 49 BILLION hamburgers in America alone. Good thing they’re on the dollar menu, right? Well, there’s a little trick to that.
See, livestock raising has obviously become extremely profitable; meat is something that people around the world want to consume daily. This has led to the production of massive numbers of livestock – so many, in fact that they cover roughly 1/3 of the earth’s landmass. Think about that for a second. One out of every three square feet in the world is being used for livestock production. And as our population grows, so does the demand for meat – causing rapid deforestation in areas such as the Amazon. That’s unfortunate, as the Amazon functions like an air filter, consuming massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere every year. Ironically, cows are one of the largest producers of methane and CO2, right up there with automobiles. So not only are we cutting off our planet’s main air purifier, we’re replacing it with mass numbers of a toxic gas producer – all in the name of the good ol’ dollar menu.
A “Meatless Mondays” movement has gained the support of the USDA, encouraging the notion that if all Americans cut our meat intake by one seventh, the environmental and health benefits would be astounding. Yet for some reason, as a culture, we’re pretty headstrong when it comes to making sacrifices – even in the name of our own health. Meatless Mondays is being met with backlash, and some are taking it as a personal attack on their lifestyle. Representative Steve King claimed that he would have “double rib-eye Mondays instead,” while Senator Chuck Grassley tweeted, “I will eat more meat on Monday to compensate.” The USDA has since redacted their support of Meatless Mondays.
A recent study cited that the average “hidden cost” of each hamburger – from the tolls on our health, to greenhouse gas emissions – is $1.51 per burger. Multiply that by America’s annual burger consumption rate, and you’re looking at an unaccounted $72 BILLION in damages. We’re paying for the convenience, but with our well-being rather than money. For an excellent report on the environmental benefits of reducing meat consumption, read more.
So, Planeteers, would you be willing to cut out meat for one day per week for the environment? What do you think of the Congressmen’s response? Sound off in the comments!
Check out the awesome video above for a great piece from the Center for Investigative Reporting!
Global Warming by the Numbers
“You know those new cigarette packs, where governments make them put a picture of someone with a hole in their throat? Gas pumps should have something like that.”
Environmental author Bill McKibben, organizer of 350.org, relates this quote from a senior scientist in his article to be published in the August edition of Rolling Stone. McKibben’s article, titled “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math,” highlights three numbers that should be brought to the attention of anyone who lives on planet Earth. I’ll do my best to sum it up here for information’s sake as the article, while an informative read, is rather lengthy.
1.) 2 Degrees Celcius
The failed Copenhagen conferences of 2009 brought forth one significant statistic: that scientists generally agree on two degrees Celcius (or 3.6 degrees Farenheit) as the absolute limit that the atmosphere’s temperature can rise before our planet’s ecosystems collapse. Frustratingly, we’ve already used nearly half (0.8 degrees Celcius) of that 2 degrees – and we’re seeing the results in the slew of unusual weather events from the past few years and over 2,000 temperature records that have been broken this summer alone. NASA scientist James Hansen claims that the full 2 degree rise would lead to long-term disaster, specifically in the way of creating an iceless arctic, meaning higher sea levels worldwide and the possible loss of island nations.
This June, a million square km of sea ice in Greenland recently melted in 9 days (as opposed to the usual 45). Read more..
It is becoming clear that while 2 degrees may be the absolute limit for human survival, it is being treated as a budget rather than as a point of no return. Rather than think of how we still have 1.2 degrees left to burn, we should be running as far away from that future as possible. Because that’s a future where no one wins.
2.) 565 Gigatons
According to scientists, 565 gigatons is the amount of carbon dioxide that can be released into the air before reaching the 2 degree limit. Though McKibben points out that even if we stopped releasing CO2 at all, previously released C02 could still heat the atmosphere another 0.8 degrees (so based on our behavior prior to this moment, we’ve already used up 1.6 of our 2 degree limit). Fatih Birol, the International Energy Agency’s chief economist, warns that even with the efforts such as recycling and hybrid cars, the impact is minimal. “When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of about six degrees (or 11 degrees Farenheit).” Any way you look at it, some things are going to have to change to maintain our survival on this planet.
3.) 2,795 Gigatons
You know how before, when we looked at the second number and agreed that we could only burn 565 more gigatons of C02 before reaching the 2 degree limit? Well, it turns out that fossil fuel companies have already stored up five times that much in their coal and oil reserves, waiting to be burned. Now, not all of that is immediately ready to burn – but that is the estimate for what has been claimed by the companies and countries who profit from the extraction of fossil fuels. McKibben makes an *ahem* sobering analogy in comparing the fossil fuel reserves to another notorious toxin: alcohol.
“Think of two degrees Celsius as the legal drinking limit – equivalent to the 0.08 blood-alcohol level below which you might get away with driving home. The 565 gigatons is how many drinks you could have and still stay below that limit – the six beers, say, you might consume in an evening. And the 2,795 gigatons? That’s the three 12-packs the fossil-fuel industry has on the table, already opened and ready to pour.”
This means that 80% of the fuels that have been discovered by the gas giants would have to be left untouched to prevent going over the 2 degree limit. And do we really think that an industry that our entire society is built around is going to think of the future and turn away money? I don’t see that happening.
So what can we do? McKibben argues that the real issue here is the profitability of fossil fuels – that since there is no price on carbon, there is no incentive to reduce their production and sale of it. So a financial penalty may be one possible solution – but even that doesn’t necessarily guarantee the prevention of eventually reaching that 2 degree ceiling. McKibben’s ultimate solution is that a dedicated Movement must arise to create the change we want to see in the world – as left to their own devices the powers that be will just continue as normal.
What do you think? Is a carbon tax the best way to derail the maniacal mining machine? Or is it an issue of personal responsibility? Sound off in the comments – and read McKibben’s full article for a more informed perspective!