Shrimp Is The New Plastic

flickr.com/photos/78559452@N08

A solution to the world’s plastic overload may have been found in a shrimp. Or actually, in the shrimp’s composition. A research team from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University are on to something huge. They have developed an interesting procedure for making bioplastic that is completely biodegradable and could someday replace commercial plastics that are not sustainable. The process uses a substance called chitin, which is an abundant natural source that can be collected from certain shelled organisms. Examples of the organic material can be seen in the protective coverings on shrimp and other crustaceous… read more

Eco Education For Tomorrow

Education for Sustainability

For those in the know there is a growing field called Education for Sustainability (EfS). This is now taking hold across the world (hailed by the United Nations) as a key strategy for raising awareness, knowledge and skills toward improved sustainability behaviours. It is also considered by some writers to be more inclusive and effective than its predecessor, Environmental Education. Whilst it could be argued that the differences between Environmental Education and Education for Sustainability (EfS) are negligible, differences exist. These may be attached to the changing definitions of these terms (in particular, “environment”, “education”, and “sustainability”) in response to… read more

Leading By Example

Leading By Example

Industry, though necessary in a modern world, has a big impact on the environment. It takes enormous energy to run places, and yet there are some organizations and workplaces making great efforts to reduce their impact. Great Britain is home to one extremely green hospital. Featured on Real Green TV, University Hospital of South Manchester is the first in the UK to install a large 4 megawatt biomass plant, which greatly decreases their carbon dioxide emissions. Implementing greener ways of doing things is a commitment reportedly taken seriously by staff. The goal is to become carbon neutral, and in addition to… read more

Try These All Natural DIY Potions To Ban Pests

Try These All Natural DIY Potions To Ban Pests

When the weather is nice outside, there is usually one thing that isn’t very pleasing – insects. They are annoying and can be worrisome. Keeping them out of your yard and off of your skin can be done without using ingredients that may be questionable. Keep outdoor pests away naturally with these DIY mixtures. Mosquitoes can sometimes be harmful and are definitely always irritating. Many over the counter chemical applications include the ingredient N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, or DEET. Though effective for keeping mosquitoes away and approved for use by the U.S. Envrionmental Protection Agency, there are specific application recommendations and it has many concerns when applied… read more

Art For Ransom In The Oceans

Art For Ransom In The Oceans

Recycled art from marine litter is an in your face reminder of manmade effluence. Ocean debris and water pollution are unacceptable proceedings of an unnaturally occupied culture. Artists who use the oceans’ trash as their bittersweet mediums help to spread the message of how large the consequences of careless disposal are. The nonprofit Washed Ashore Project is a conceptualization of the Artula Institute for Arts and Environmental Education. The project takes the issue into the forefront of the community through outreaches and volunteers. By utilizing the arts to communicate and educate the public about the devastating effects of plastics and… read more

Name And Shame

Nuclear_power_environmenal_collage

In many jurisdictions a distinction is made between company records that must be made available to the public by law, and records that companies may disclose at its own discretion. There has been some debate in the legal fraternity as to whether company documents pertaining to environmentally hazardous activity falls within the ambit of compulsory public disclosure. Looking at the nature and theme of records that are subject to compulsory public disclosure, the one underlying common factor is that disclosure of such records serves some or other public interest. For instance, laws of a country may require that a company disclose… read more

Recycling Nuclear Waste

Nuclear Recycling

Nuclear energy is often the only hope for power generation in countries without large deposits of fossil fuels. However, the presence of nuclear power plants compromise the security of that country, and most struggle to adequately dispose of the waste materials. Cumbria based British Sellafield has come up with an idea whereby nuclear waste is the key element. Nuclear waste in British plants mostly contains americium-241, and the organization plans to use this nuclear waste element to power long range spacecraft. This method of using nuclear waste is based on a design used in the Voyager probes, launched in 1977.  Even the popular… read more

Paddle-to-the-Sea Lessons

paddle-to-the-sea

  The children’s book turned film, Paddle-to-the-Sea was written in 1941 by Holling Clancy Holling. In 1966 it was turned into an educational adventure film by award-winning Canadian director and photographer Bill Mason. Presented for the National Film Board of Canada, it is a narrative tale of a handmade traveling canoe and its passenger voyaging through the waterways of Lake Superior, the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. The story highlights the wonder of the sun and water systems, and how the environment is affected by them. The seasons and their changing cycles are played out on page and on screen in… read more

The Change in Farming Practices

Sustainable agriculture

For thousands of years, human civilizations have flourished without causing damage to the earth, co-existing alongside other species without disrupting fellow eco-systems. Despite their name, early hunter-gatherer tribes subsisted predominately on gathering. The exceptions to this were the tribes, like those in modern-day Alaska, who survived primarily by fishing. Though it is easy to picture these tribes collecting an abundance of fish, this was not the case. Not only did they limit their harvests, ensuring they took only what was needed, but they would have been encumbered by the weight of large harvests, preventing efficient travel. Because of this, resources… read more

The Human Touch

Environmental education

It might seem obvious, but because environmentalists frequently focus on big issues relating to the non-human world, it’s sometimes easy to neglect the human element in our work as environmental educators and communicators. This “human touch” is best expressed in our people skills – our interpersonal (or relationship-building) skills and our ability to work effectively with groups. Most university degrees in biological science or environmental management tend not to emphasise knowledge, skills and practice in effective group work. And yet – in the big bad world beyond the hallowed halls – much of our environmental efforts operate within communities of… read more