Reflections from the Durban Climate Negotiations

After two whirlwind weeks at the UN climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa, I’m finally back home in Chicago with some time to reflect on my experience. I was at the negotiations with SustainUS, a U.S. youth network for sustainable development. Run entirely by youth volunteers, SustainUS has been sending delegations to the climate talks since 2005. (You can meet this year’s delegation here!)

At the negotiations, we worked with hundreds of other international youth from six continents to push for stronger carbon emissions reductions targets and a fair and binding climate treaty. SustainUS delegates worked on a wide range of issues in Durban. Through actions, speeches at the plenary meetings, briefings with negotiators, and speaking to the media, we called for policy objectives and brought attention to youth involvement in climate change. Adam from Milton, MA, started a working group to highlight the importance of water management in climate change. Kate from Redmond, WA, focused on innovative financing for the soon-to-be-launched Green Climate Fund. Alongside Katherine (Manhasset, NY), Ellie (Asheville, NC), Ethan (Statesboro, GA) and MJ (Stow, OH), I worked on the communications and media team writing press releases, documenting events, and setting up interviews with reporters on youth activities at the talks.

Amanda (Washington, DC), who led the working group on youth actions, helped to fill the space between the convention and exhibition center with several creative actions. One in particular highlighted youth cooperation through an action that connected climate justice with Captain Planet. The spirit of working together by combining our collective energies was something that really came through while working with environmentalists hailing from Brazil to Bangladesh. Like the Captain Planet show, the action featured youth climate heroes from five different continents who told a success story on what they have done to fight climate change in their home countries — a reminder that climate change is a global problem that needs global cooperation to solve.

Outside of youth activities, the actual talks were at a gridlock. The United States was pushing to delay a new climate treaty until 2020 — a timetable that scientists have said would be too late to avert catastrophic impacts of climate change. Meanwhile, Canada dropped out of the Kyoto Protocol while Japan and Russia stated that they would no longer meet the Protocol’s targets. Feeling frustrated particularly by the United States for obstructing progress in the last week of negotiations, we decided that bolder action was needed. We wanted to call out the U.S. Congress for blocking climate legislation at home and for preventing our negotiators from actually negotiating the climate deal that was needed.

In the official plenary session, as lead U.S. negotiator Todd Stern was about to speak, Abigail Borah, a 21-year old New Jersey resident and student at Middlebury College, spoke up from the back of the room:

“I am speaking on behalf of the United States of America because my negotiators cannot. The obstructionist Congress has shackled justice and delayed ambition for far too long. I am scared for my future … You must take responsibility to act now, or you will threaten the lives of youth and the world’s most vulnerable. You must set aside partisan politics and let science dictate decisions. You must pledge ambitious targets to lower emissions not expectations. Citizens across the world are being held hostage by stillborn negotiations. We need leaders who will commit to real change, not empty rhetoric. Keep your promises. Keep our hope alive. 2020 is too late to wait.”

Although Abigail was removed by security and suspended for the remainder of the negotiations, she received an ovation and her words reverberated in the conference center. Her action was followed by an impassioned speech by fellow youth Anjali Appadurai about the need for urgency for young and future generations, as well as a sit-in organized by 350.org calling for climate justice. The United States began to change their tune, backing away from the 2020 position.

After 36 hours of overtime negotiations, a deal was passed – but not the ambitious deal that we were hoping for. A second, but weak commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, a green climate fund with no source of funding, and a promise to broker a new climate treaty in 2015.

But in the end, what I came away with was not pessimism that this could not be done. Rather, it was inspiration and hope from my generation and faith that together we hav the power to change things, whether at the UN or in our schools or hometowns. I met amazing people from all walks of life who were working toward sustainable development as journalists, activists, ecologists, and even young political leaders. And as I am writing this back in the United States, I know that this energy is not something that just happens two weeks a year at the negotiations, and that youth around the world are continuing to fight for climate solutions in their own communities every day.

Make your Christmas Greener with Orgone!

Orgone Accumulator

The use of a universal life force energy called chi/ki/prana/ether/orgone etcetra is well known throughout historical cultures of our past. Though that is not true; it was well known during our time too by two U.S. inventor/scientists, one being Willhelm Reich and Karl Hans Welz. Willhelm Reich was a man who came out of the way of Germany, coming to the U.S. hoping he would have the freedom to explore and practice psychology and what would later be called Orgonamy. He found that the blue haze that surrounds the planet is actually an identifiable energy all its own which fluoresces blue in a pure untainted state. He called the energy Orgone, after the energy of the libido. The creation of a box big enough to house a person called an Orgone Accumulator was found instrumental in restoring the libido in both male and female individuals, as well as accelerating the healing of burn wounds. He had created devices which could effect the weather. Eventually this man was put into prison where he later died, and his literary works were burned in a New York incinerator. An introductory video about this man and his achievements can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPV-JExUPns

Later on an Austrian man studied the works of this man and others of this field to come to the U.S. and create a fully automated generator of the orgone energy. http://welz.us/ This invention was named the Chi-Generator, and could be used to send messages across the Atlantic Ocean. This energy can be used for multiple purposes, and may quickly find its way into your household for its ability to both enhance food and drinks and make them stay fresh longer. Sending the energy to plants makes them grow faster and fuller, make seeds germinate sooner, and fruits and vegetables to mature faster than normal. Now however these machines are not marketed nor claim to have health benefits, those that are familiar with Willhelm Reich’s works know beyond a doubt this orgone energy does drastically help. If you have herbs or other natural remedies, or even alchemical/colloidal solutions, charging it with this energy will make them more effective. The uses for this energy is nearly unlimited. Too good to be true? Take the free test at http://chicard.net/

Want to see a catalog of these products and their possible uses? http://www.hscti.net/
I did not believe such a technology was possible, and for that, instead of discounting it as Alex Jones listeners well know, instead I followed the information from this scientist Karl Hans Welz and sought to disprove him and his technology. I went as far as to create my own generator of orgone energy, with results not even the scientist realized were possible! It’s worth looking into, and will make an excellent Christmas Gift for anyone interested in alternative sciences and technologies.

Planeteer Project trip to LA Meetup

The Planeteer Project journey to LA meetup on 10/17/11! The video is in multiple parts, so be sure to watch the playlist through to the end, or click to go to the full playlist!

Captain Planet was always Live Action!

Captain Planet!!!Here at the last Live Streaming Captain Planet Marathon there was a lot of talk of whether there would be a Captain Planet movie in the making, and who they would want to act as the characters. A few months afterwards we get the official press release saying that there will be a live action Captain Planet movie! Perhaps someone influencial was watching at the marathon? In any case, the power is yours, as we never grow tired of saying here, because what we are doing is having an effect.

Verminous SkummSpeaking of The Marathon, two of my favorite episodes are Skumm Lord and Missing Linka. The first I have taken as a spoof of sodium fluoridation of water supplies (the main ingredient in many rat poisons and is produced as a byproduct of making fertilizers, only calcium fluoride appears naturally) In Missing Linka you are given the direct impression that when an environmental disaster happens no one in local governments want to do anything about it (or pay for professional cleanup) and it comes down to Planeteers and intelligent, concerned locals to prevent disaster. How this impacted me was that as I grew older and began to learn of these things, I remembered and saw that Captain Planet had been preparing and warning me for it since childhood.

Oil Spill

The BP oil spill in the Gulf is a surefire example of just this type of pollution. The cleanup agent used by BP was called, COREXIT, which makes the oil on the water come together in globules and then sinks down to the bottom of the ocean. In reality this is the same idea behind sweeping dust underneath a rug; it’s still there, but maybe it looks a little better. The people hired to clean up the oil suffered illnesses from the cleanup chemicals, and one person on the Conspiracy Theory: Gulf Oil Spill show claims that it caused brown fluids to drain out of his ears. I also remember seeing in Youtube comments that the second half of the first CP episode was removed starting right after the oil spill, since that is what happens in that episode from drilling. A pertinet Captain Planet episode for this eco-disaster could be related to Season Two’s The Garbage Strikes episode where an experimental refuse eating microbe is stolen by Sly Sludge and is used to make fast cash to solve a trash overfill crisis. Everything seemed ‘ok’ with this quick fix, until it began multiplying and later congealing into a giant monster, eating everything in it’s path, then turning on the people themselves for a snack! Let’s hear some of your stories and favorite episodes! You might just see them in the next marathon if you do.

Captain Planet Foundation: The Power is Yours!

*The following was written by Marilyn Mosley of Laurel Springs Online Private School, Chair of the Education Committee at the Captain Planet Foundation.  Laurel Springs is a premier online school that honors each child’s individual learning style and educational needs. The original article is posted here.

Captain Planet was the first eco-hero.  Many young adults remember the Captain Planet cartoons, in which the hero would exclaim, “The Power is Yours!”  This educational series, which was co-created by Ted Turner and Barbara Pyle, delivered the message that individuals can be vehicles for positive environmental change.  Since the series started, proceeds from the show and generous donations from the community have allowed the Captain Planet Foundation to fund grassroots school and community micro-grants.

I was recently invited to join Captain Planet Foundation’s Board of Directors as a member of its education committee. One of the organization’s cornerstones is funding school and community environmental projects for grades K – 12. Grantees have recycled over 12 tons of waste, developed outdoor classrooms and gardens, organized cleanups, restored acres of polluted land, and turned gas cars into eco vehicles.  Since 1991, Laurel Springs has shared a similar commitment through our environmental videos, workshops, online courses, and virtual symposia series. Like the Captain Planet Foundation, our school’s focus has been to develop and support educational programs that enable youth to appreciate and improve the environment through learning experiences that engage them in active, hands-on projects.

On September 15, which was also the twenty-first anniversary of the cartoon series, I was honored to attend my first Captain Planet board meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.  Laura Turner Seydel has poured her heart and soul into the Foundation and has gathered together a dynamic and dedicated board.  As a way of connecting with the team, I read numerous comments on the Captain Planet Facebook site; these messages came from individuals and groups who support the environmental education mission of this organization.

I hope that the legacy of this organization will continue.  The current generation of capable young adults has grown up with an awareness of the crucial need to safeguard our environment. With respect for the mission and a strong sense of empowerment, they are forming a new community of leaders. One comment on Facebook read, “We are the next teachers, the next doctors, the next senators, and have lived all our lives with the Captain Planet philosophy.” It is my hope that young adults will to mentor the next generation and encourage them to care for our shared environment.

During my trip home, I reflected upon how grateful I feel to be able to work with such wonderful, committed people who are focused on improving children’s lives.  When we teach our students that giving back is an important part of life, we create a new paradigm for a healthy environment.

To learn more, please visit these websites:
Planeteer Movement
Captain Planet Foundation
Turner Foundation
The Captain Planet Facebook Page

PLEASE! help us save our LAST forest!!!

Mexico’s authorities and big international companies have lost their respect to nature and public spaces. They offer us a brand new futbol stadium, with the highest cost: to be built in the middle of our last live forest!!!

They want to cut our trees, kill our animals, and take our water. Monterrey is known to be the biggest industrial city in Mexico, a desert located in the north of Mexico. We need trees! We need green life! WE NEED YOUR HELP! Please don’t let this last beautiful forest die!!!

We say YES to the stadium… but somewhere else!

Please sign here:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/221/please-help-us-save-our-last-forest/

More information: www.sialestadioperoenotrolado.org

Happy Captain Planet Day!

Click for more concept art!
It’s amazing to think that it’s been 21 years since Captain Planet and the Planeteers first aired on TV screens around the globe, inspiring the Millennial Generation and becoming pop culture icons instantaneously. The series featured the world’s first eco-superhero, a crystal-skinned man with a famous grassy mullet, called by a group of five young people with elemental powers given by Gaia herself.

September 15th, 2010 was declared ‘Captain Planet Day’ one year ago today in honor of the series milestone 20th anniversary. To celebrate this year’s Captain Planet Day, I’ve sifted through series Co-Creator and Exec. Producer Barbara Pyle’s personal archives of the show’s creation and launch, pulling the best celebrity interviews, media coverage, concept art, and launch party footage to share with you on our YouTube Channel and Captain Planet’s Facebook Page. Check out the clip below for a montage of interviews and press coverage, and keep an eye out for a few of the original voiceovers from before the series’ final cast stepped in!

Today also marks the one year anniversary of the Planeteer Movement’s launch, and get ready for this: In the past year, we’ve gained over 200,000 Facebook Fans, had 19 MILLION individual post views, 85,000 pageviews on CaptainPlanet.me, and launched 43 Planeteer Networks worldwide!! You can launch your own or see if there’s one in your area on our Networks Page. 21 Years, and the Power Is still Ours. Incredible.

That’s not all! There’s a ton of original Launch Party footage from 1990, more clips from the Planeteer Movement, and interviews from around the world on our YouTube page to keep you entertained until next Captain Planet Day! What should we do next year?

Raw Food

Dan McDonald is not seeing golden arches. No, in fact, he is seeing green. Dan McDonald, the “other” Donald, is seeing green, but not from a solid gold toilet seat like “The Donald’s.” Unlike the McDonald’s, he isn’t going to be criticized for malnourishing over-processed synthetic food, and he will not be the next subject on the movie documentary, Super Size Me. No, he is that other man, the raw man, “Dan the Man” (with the master plan!) He reminds us that unlike a certain green muppet, it isn’t quite so hard being green.

Known through YouTube as the Life Regenerator, he has been bringing people a brand new chance at life by detoxing, alkalizing, and regenerating their bodies through wholesome fruits, sprouts, and vegetables. The Confucius of Blending, with a strange resemblance to a certain white Anglican, he is truly the man with a master plan for rejuvenating your life. All puns aside, he is greener than Captain Planet’s mullet, making the juicing power all yours.(Can you dig it?)

Gordon RamsayIf digging into fruits and vegetables isn’t your cup of kale, than maybe you would like a more Ramsay approach. Though he likes his meat and still cooks his food, he may be the next best thing, if you can get past The F Word and his signature rolling face. Gordon knows what fresh tastes like, and you won’t see his kitchen with rotting meats and veggies. The only thing rotten may be his attitude, but you will look past it after you’ve tried his food.

Though he may not be the next Raw Foodist, he explained his stance on the meat industry in this quote, “It’s enough to make anyone turn f–king vegetarian, for God’s sake. And I’ve always sort of knocked vegetarians and vegans for missing out on the most amazing flavour you can get from meat. But you can see why so many people change instantly.”
He also took on the Black Market Shark Fin industry in this quote from Wikipedia;

“In January 2011, while in Costa Rica, Ramsay was doused in petrol and held at gunpoint as he tried to uncover the dark world of illegal shark fin trading for a new TV show. Ramsay stated:

They told me they’d shoot me. At one, I managed to shake off the people keeping us away, ran up some stairs to a rooftop and looked down to see thousands of fins, drying on rooftops for as far as the eye could see. When I got back downstairs, they tipped a barrel of petrol over me. Back at the wharf, there were people pointing rifles at us to stop us filming. A van pulled up and these seedy characters made us stand against a wall. The police came and advised us to leave the country.”

Mike Arnstein, calling himself “The Fruitarian,” is the Flash of raw food, said to often run 100 miles a day, “..just as fast as I can.” What is his view on the necessity of a green diet?
“This is nature’s law and the world has been going in the wrong direction for far too long. This is the future! If humanity is to survive..humans are to continue to exist, they HAVE to come back to nature.”

Returning to nature is more than just what we put out, but what we put in. Juicing is the best, and is a super food for the body, but if your reaction is like Gordon’s, just do your best to eat fresh. The Power is Yours!

Every Team Needs a Captain, Every Captain Needs a Team.

Our world is in peril. I wanted to play my part to help combat this so, at the ripe age of 23, I summoned my inner Captain Planet and set out to launch a social platform, LifeKraze, that would reward people for taking action and ultimately change the world for the better. To make LifeKraze a reality, I dialed up the tall order of raising over a million dollars, creating a product, and building a team. The most important of these (while I was unaware at the time) was building the right team. Here’s what Captain Planet and the Planeteers taught me about great teams.

Diversify your team

The Planeteers are about as diverse as you can get. They have different powers, cultures, and personalities. While the Planeteers don’t see eye to eye all the time, their differences give the team the balance necessary to defeat various eco-villians (my personal favorite Duke Nukem).

My team is made up of ten people right now. We’re not each from a different country and we don’t have super powers (that we can speak of) but we all bring a unique approach and special skill sets to the team. This helps us to see things from multiple perspectives and rely on each other to operate efficiently. Diversity of thought and skill is critical for a team’s success.

Lean on your team

Let’s be honest Captain Planet has powers that make Superman jealous but his Kryptonite (any type of pollution) is far more plentiful than the green space rock. He relies on his Planeteers to come to his rescue at times. The Planeteers are also responsible for taking care of duties without Captain Planet.

At LifeKraze I don’t make every decision, I don’t handle every project, and I’m not the best option for everything that comes our way. I love having capable teammates that are better than me in certain areas because collectively it makes us a better team. Strong leaders surround themselves with the best.

Empower your team

The iconic parting phrase of Captain Planet “The power is yours!” returns special abilities to the Planeteers but is also a message to all Planeteers implying their task and ability to protect the environment. Captain Planet has extraordinary abilities but his greatest power is Planeteers.

I don’t have an iconic parting phrase but a major part of my role as the CEO of LifeKraze is to empower my teammates. I can’t give them the power of wind or fire but I can find ways that help my teammates enjoy their work and be more effective. Empower individuals in a way that leads to collective success.

I love my team and I’m proud that together we turned an idea into a celebrated community of 20,000 plus that’s motivating and rewarding thousands every day…and we’re just getting started.

You can’t be earth’s greatest company without building the world’s greatest team.

– Ben Wagner

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Taking the Meat Industry ‘Out to Pasture’

I recently had a talk with my doctor about the use of antibiotics, especially those used on animals in the meat industry. She expressed her concern because 80% of the antibiotics in the U.S. go to this purpose. Why? Is it because the animals are getting sick or to prevent the spread of sickness? No, the antibiotics are given in low doses over the life of the animal because it makes them grow faster! Not only is using human drugs needlessly on animals just to make them grow faster so they can be slaughtered quicker ridiculous, it’s a clear path to the creation of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria! While the drugs are intended to be flushed out of the animal’s system before they are slaughtered, this process is also leading to antibiotics being leaked into ecosystems. It’s an all around bad idea.

The importance of using antibiotics wisely can’t be stressed enough. When you go to the doctor and get a prescription for antibiotics, they always tell you to finish the entire bottle, even if you begin to feel better sooner. This is because you may begin to feel better before the bad bacteria is completely wiped out. Even with your body on the path to recovery, your immune system could help finish off the bacteria, but if you don’t finish that bottle of antibiotics and make sure the strain is completely gone, the strain could develop a resistance to antibiotics.

It’s similar to how a flu shot is supposed to work. The body is injected with just enough of the virus to build up a resistance to it. It doesn’t guarantee you won’t get the flu, but it’s supposed to help lower your chances. Well, the same things happens to the strains of bacteria when they get a low dose of antibiotics. By now it should be easy to see why giving animals low doses of antibiotics can be a problem. These doses aren’t usually enough to kill off strains of bacteria, and in the end they could very possibly be making the strains of bacteria stronger. Many of these animals are also given hormones, and the meat is treated with additives, “flavor enhancers,” and probably a few other chemicals. Because the animals are raised confined in small cages, forced to grow unnaturally fast, and given so many chemical additives, you don’t really know what you’re getting when you get to the grocery store, and the taste will be far from ideal.

One option is to avoid eating meat. For vegans and vegetarians, this is as much about the rights of animals, fighting the cruelty of slaughter houses and sustainability as it is about their own health. But the decisions of this minority aren’t really enough to change the big picture. The farming industry will continue churning and the same problem will basically continue, drastically impacting even those who do not eat meat.

Another option is to support natural free-range meats. Randolph, Ohio is home to the Salt of the Earth Farm, which raises animals humanely on an open pasture.

According to the Farm’s listing on localharvest.org;

“We do things as sustainably as possible around here. All the animals are pasture based and supplemented with boiled barley from a local brewery, locally grown grain, organic produce and locally made bread. It sure is a lot more work than feeding animals commercial feed, but the animals sure appreciate it and the taste is far superior to factory farmed grocery store meat. The animals are not caged at any point, and each life is precious to us.”

Farms such as this don’t produce nearly as much meat as industrialized farms, but the quality of the meat (and the quality of life for the animal) is far superior to the processed junk you’ll find frozen in most supermarkets and the price will reflect this difference accordingly. Obviously a small farm that lets animals mature naturally will have higher costs and a limited supply, but it’s really worth it. Supporting local farmers with sustainable practices, we can set the foundation for change while supporting our local economy.

Recently, Giant Eagle has also started carrying organic meat;

“All Giant Eagle® Nature’s Basket® foods are produced without artificial flavors, colors and preservatives. We support farms with earth friendly methods that are environmentally sound and resource conserving.”

This line may offer another alternative since these animals have also never been fed hormones or antibiotics, and the quality and taste are obviously better than most other brands, but their methods for raising these animals aren’t as clear as local farms like Salt of the Earth.

Whatever route you decide to take, you should know what’s in your food, and the processes it went through before it reached your table so you can make healthier and more sustainable choices.

~Akron Planeteers