Gold mining today is far from the charming, if soggy, practice of standing in a river and trying to sift out gold nuggets. Today, miners sift out gold from a river of cyanide, basically: they mine rock with tiny concentrations of gold in it, crush it up, and use cyanide to pull the gold molecules out. This is terrible for the environment, as you might imagine. Mother Jones pulled these statistics togethera few years ago:
Mining gold to create a single 1/3-ounce 18-karat ring produces at least 20 tons of waste and 13 pounds of toxic emissions.
Those emissions contain 5.5 pounds of lead, 3 pounds of arsenic, almost 2 ounces of mercury, and 1 ounce of cyanide.
But now scientists think they’ve come up with a way of extracting gold using a compound much more benign than cyanide. Instead, they think they can use cornstarch.
During a bit of esoteric chemistry research, a group of scientists who were trying to make cubes out of molecules of gold and starch found that instead they kept making needles. Each needle was made of thousands of nanowires, Popular Science reports, and each nanowire had a string of gold atoms inside.
In other words, they found accidentally that they were able to isolate gold from all the other stuff around it. Now they’re working on developing this into a cheap way to extract gold commercially. It won’t solve all of gold mining’s problems, but any time you can switch out cornstarch for cyanide in an industrial process, you’re doing well.
It’s always a pleasure when scientific studies confirm your own long-held opinions, especially when what you think flies in the face of all conventional wisdom.
For instance, who knew that chocolate éclairs and triple fudge caramel brownies actually contain fewer calories than a 12-ounce glass of skim milk? Or that every $1,000 you spend on lavish vacations before the age of 65 will, over the long run, provide you with more retirement income than if you’d stashed that same $1,000 in a savings account?
Well, to be honest, I made up the fact about the éclairs. And the one about vacations, too.
But here’s bona fide scholarly research that excites me in the same way: Biking for transportation appears more helpful in losing weight and promoting health than working out at the gym.
This means I can spend less time wearing a grimace as I endure mind-numbing exercise routines at the Y — and more time wearing a smile as I bike to work, shopping, and social events. Just what I always thought.
But hey, don’t take my word for it. According to Australian epidemiologist Takemi Sugiyama, lead author of a recent study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, “Commuting is a relevant health behavior even for those who are sufficiently active in their leisure time.”
Analyzing the research, The Health Behavior News Service notes, “It may be more realistic to accumulate physical activity through active transport than adding exercise to weekly leisure-time routines.”
The four-year study of 822 adults found that found that people commuting to work by car gained more weight on average, even if they engaged in regular exercise, than people who did not commute by car. The authors of the study recommend creating more opportunities for everyone to walk or bike to work.
An earlier study by researchers at the University of Sydney School of Public Health published in Obesity Reviews (the journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity) supports the thesis that leisure-time exercise alone is not enough to prevent obesity. Sixty to 90 minutes of daily physical activity is recommended to curb obesity, which is more time than most people can fit into their busy schedules. That’s why the study’s authors recommend “active transport” like biking and walking for commuting other common trips.
Beyond fighting fat, biking and walking for transportation also boosts overall health. A 2007 paper in the European Journal of Epidemiology concludes, “Commuting physical activity, independent of leisure time physical activity, was associated with a healthier level of most of the cardiovascular risk factors.”
The key advantage of traveling by bike over working out at a fitness center is that most people find it easier to do. Instead of vying for scarce free time with many other fun and important things, exercise becomes something we do naturally as part of daily routine. As a study by Portland State University professor Jennifer Dill in the Journal of Public Health Policy shows, 60 percent of Portland cyclists ride for at least 150 minutes per week (the recommended exercise minimum for adults) and that “nearly all the bicycling was for utilitarian purposes, not exercise.”
She adds “a disproportionate share of the bicycling occurred on streets with bicycle lanes, separate paths, or bicycle boulevards” — confirming the importance of bike infrastructure improvements to public health.
In my opinion, all this research also suggests that if I bike a lot for everyday transportation I can sometimes ditch the skim milk in favor of the brownies, and may save enough on auto expenses to both take a cool vacation and fund my retirement account.
Oh help. I’ve really done it this time, guys. I wrote a column for Black Friday asking my friends and relations to get my kids nothing for Christmas. Now I know what you’re thinking: What a noble request! A father trying to introduce his children to the joys of a simple holiday! What could possibly go wrong? Well, let me tell you.
First, let me say that, contrary to what you may have read in the comment section below that column, I was not scarred by horrible holidays as a child. I grew up in a mountain town. My Christmas memories are made of snow crystals and red plastic sleds, ski days and spruce boughs. Yes, Santa came to our house, and we exchanged gifts, but the highlight of the holiday season was the time we spent outdoors.
Let me also say that my wife, Tara, and I have some rich holiday traditions of our own. We celebrate Santa Lucia Day, a solstice tradition that is strong in Scandinavia. (Our eldest daughter is named for the saint, whose surrogate appeared in my bedroom late one wintry night when I was in college, bearing candles, mugs of hot chocolate, and a tray of saffron buns.) Each year, we have a solstice fire in our backyard and host a feast for family and friends. One of my favorite traditions involves an annual running race around Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park, which we follow with a great wassail-drinking fest and an off-kilter run home through the snowy streets, exchanging greetings with the local denizens as we pass.
On Christmas, Tara and I always get the whole family outside for some frolicking in the snow (or mud, which is almost as much fun) — and yes, Santa does come to our house. Tara is amazing at whipping up holiday magic for Lucia, who is 8, and her 4-year-old sister, Chloe. The trouble, as I said in my oh-so-tactful “nothing for Christmas” column, is the sheer volume of gifts that spill from the UPS truck, er, St. Nick’s sleigh, from the far corners of the country.
To cut down on the clutter and send a message of simplicity, I have always opted against getting my kids things for Christmas. Instead, I give them experiences — a sleep-out in a snow cave or a day on the ski hill. But come to find out, my holiday cheer leaves something to be desired. Like, a lot to be desired. Apparently, I’m a total Scrooge McDuck.
This came to my attention last week, when someone asked me to name the worst present I’d ever given Tara. Worst present? Have I ever given a bad one? I sent her a text message to inquire. The response arrived about 30 seconds later:
“Well the first thing that comes to mind is when you gave me the flower bulbs and then got mad at me when I didn’t plant them … The 11th commandment: And ye who so giveth bulbs shall plant them in the earth and witnesseth the delight upon the receiver when said bulbs spring forth without effort.”
Note to self: If you’re going to give a gift that involves an “experience,” be sure it’s one your giftee is interested in having. Also, bone up on those commandments.
My failures as a holiday sprite were thrown into the spotlight, literally, after I wrote the “nothing for Christmas” column. Last Tuesday, I got a call from a producer at 20/20 — you know, the TV news show — asking if I might be interested in talking about my no-presents crusade on national television. Sure, I said. “This has got to be one of the world’s greatest ironies,” said Tara, when I called her: “You’re going to be on a show about Christmas traditions.”
I really am bad at this, aren’t I?
Right, well, fast-forward 48 hours, and not one, but two camera crews show up at our house. A few hours later, a reporter arrives from L.A., and a producer flies in from New York. We spent the entire day with them. By now, you may have seen the resulting spot. (I haven’t yet. 20/20 airs at 10 p.m. Eastern time on ABC.) Tara was a star with her talk of making the holidays special while trying to keep the materialism in check. The girls, only semi-aware of what I’d written, seemed bemused. I, no doubt, dug myself in even deeper.
And this is where you, dear readers, come into the picture. I’ve committed myself to giving my kids no things for Christmas, and I’ve asked the family to do the same. So far, we seem to have pretty good buy-in. Here’s one representative response from Tara’s brother via email:
“Loved your article … very funny … but as the #1 Uncle I’m sorry to report that I can’t abide. Promise that I only picked out 1 item for each of the girls … and I think they will be fun ‘activities’ rather than random toys.”
Progress! I love this man! But now it’s up to me to show that I am capable of celebrating the holiday in style — nay, that I am the very embodiment of the Christmas spirit, dropped to Earth to spread joy to one and all! (Only, sadly, armed only with my wits and lacking a sack full of gifts.)
What should I do? How do I make this Christmas magical for Tara and the girls without giving in to the urge to get them more stuff? (We have quite enough stuff, really!) What sort of outings or adventures or expressions of love should I regale them with? Post your best ideas in the comment section below, if you’d be so kind, or send out a tweet with the hashtag #shiftthegift. (“Shift the Gift” is Grist’s theme for December.) We’ll retweet the best ideas from @ghanscom and @grist.
My holiday promise to you: I’ll let you know what I end up doing, and get an honest reaction from my girls. With any luck, this will be the Best Christmas Ever, even if they do have to spend it with a recovering McDuck.
Visit the Grand Army Plaza farmers market in Brooklyn on any given Saturday, and you’re likely to find my favorite food movement hero: my mom. She’s not a farmer. She can’t always afford to buy organic or fair trade. And she does not know who Michael Pollan is. Yet for over 25 years, my mom has been serving up a daily feast of colorful fruits and leafy greens, handcrafting shrimp and chive dumplings on Sunday afternoons, and slow-cooking economy-size batches of spicy and savory mohinga on a shoestring budget.
My mother is the reason that I believe another world is possible. Growing up with her home cooking, I learned that eating food that expresses my identity, culture, and history can be a powerful act of self-determination. Despite the pressures for us — as working-class immigrants — to assimilate into the homogeneous industrial food system, my mom chose instead to celebrate our food culture and its diversity of whole foods. She sent my sister and me off to school with steamed rice, sautéed gazun yuet (water spinach) and see yu gai in our lunchboxes. Many of the other kids had string cheese and Lunchables.
The U.N. Declaration of Human Rights defends the universal rights to food and to culture. For me, to trade in the foods and traditions of my Chinese and Burmese heritage for hot dogs and hamburgers or even the most sustainably grown kale would be to cede these important rights. Luckily, my mother and other working moms like her are not giving in to a monoculture of fast and processed food. They fight to feed their families fresh, nutritious, culturally meaningful food every day. In fact, a recent study by the organization Cooking Matters showed that — contrary to assumptions about families needing to learn to cook — most low-income families cook at home an average of five nights a week. Yet our stories, wisdom, and resilient efforts remain largely invisible in the national and international dialogues around good food.
I went to work for Slow Food USA — the national branch of the Italy-based nonprofit — to make it easier for diverse communities including mine to realize our right to define and choose food that is healthy, culturally meaningful, just, and sustainable. And to be honest, when I first heard about Slow Food, I was skeptical. Sure, I was down to have a local, sustainable meal — but, I asked, what was Slow Food doing to promote food sovereignty for every community and culture?
And then a mentor of mine inspired me to approach the organization with a different question: What are the opportunities to bridge the gap between the good food movement and other social justice movements?
Slow Food stands for food that is “good, clean, and fair.” Some organizations focus only on good food (culture, taste, etc.). Others focus on clean food (organic, local, etc.). And some focus on fair food (labor, sovereignty, etc.). By uniting all three, Slow Food has the potential to bring together a diversity of unlikely stakeholders and issues. Take, for example, Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto, one of the world’s largest events dedicated to diverse food cultures, sustainable development, and biodiversity in both the global South and global North. This year’s U.S. delegation — chosen by our grassroots leaders to represent Slow Food USA and the U.S. food movement — is by design the most diverse it’s ever been. About 20 percent of delegates are people of color and 30 percent are low-income. The delegation represents more than 50 food communities, from Slow Food chapter leaders to food justice and labor activists.
The small but significant changes in Slow Food’s orientation to defending the rights of diverse communities point to a shift in consciousness for the food movement at large. With Occupy the Food System and other food sovereignty initiatives like Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers gaining national media attention, the public dialogue around food is becoming more justice-oriented. Food justice freelancers as well as mainstream food blogs such as Grist, Civil Eats, and the like are chiming in on topics like access, sovereignty, and even race and class inequities. In recent months alone, we’ve also seen the launch of the Real Food Real Jobs campaign, The Hands that Feed Us report, and the Good Food Good Jobs study — each exploring a distinct intersection between sustainable food and race, class, and gender equity for food workers. All in all, the effect has been to challenge assumptions that a story about food and culture cannot also be a story about justice, and vice versa.
While many people may not see justice embedded in the “good, clean, and fair” pillars of Slow Food, I am encouraged by the words of our founder, Carlo Petrini: “Slow Food protects the right to pleasure, and pleasure based on the suffering and slavery of others cannot exist.”
The point is: No justice, no pleasure.
Developing a deep understanding of the pleasure of food and culture as justice is critical to building a united food movement powerful enough to transform the food system. There is both pleasure and justice in the simple belief that all communities should have the right to delicious, sustainable, and ethically sourced food that resonates with their identity, culture, and history. To get there, good food supporters and food justice advocates must find solidarity at the intersection of “good, clean, and fair.” We need all hands on deck to challenge industrial agribusiness’s status quo of a fast food monoculture; environmental degradation; corporate consolidation; race, class, and gender inequities; unjust working conditions … and the list goes on. It certainly isn’t going to be easy, but I believe it’s possible!
Folks in my generation are already forging a multi-issue, holistic food movement that sees “good, clean, and fair” as inherently interlinked. Young people in diverse communities across the U.S. are breathing life into Live Real’s vision for “real food, real culture, and real jobs.” CoFED is “inspiregizing” a growing network of student teams to create ethical, cooperatively run food businesses on dozens of campuses, including community colleges. Drawing inspiration from the long history of various social movements, from youth organizing to civil rights to cooperative economics, we are leading the food movement into a new era where cultural diversity, justice, and sustainability are reflected in the foods we eat and in society at large.
As we continue to build the food movement we want and need, let us also draw inspiration from everyday food heroes like my mom, who forages for the bhat gua (gingko nuts) to put in the juk (congee) she cooks almost every day. A few months ago, my mother even lugged a sizable patch of soil and Chinese mustard or guichoy (Chinese chives) all the way from her friend’s organic garden in New Jersey. She took it onto the subway and up the stairs to her Brooklyn apartment like it was no big deal. It was unlikely that the transplanted guichoy was going to survive (in a plastic container indoors), but that wasn’t the point. If my mom, a 58-year-old immigrant, can make nothing of the significant daily effort to procure, cook, and share the foods that represent “good, clean, and fair” to her, then we had all better step up our commitment to food, culture, and justice for all.
I’m moving this summer and we have tons of cutting boards! I might get rid of a few. Are any of the especially old ones (25+ years old) hazardous to my health? Especially the ones I’ve used to cut meat? And which is the more sustainable and healthy choice: plastic or wood?
The only thing worse than moving in the summer must be moving in the summer in the Southwest. Just the thought of lugging boxes and bags and ottomans (ottomani?) around in Arizona makes me sweat. I hope you are moving to a cooler place, so you’ll at least have relief on the other end.
But you didn’t ask me to analyze your life choices. Let’s talk about your cutting boards.
We should start by praising the loyal cutting board, in all its unheralded glory. This is one of our most durable household goods. It stands by us through thick chops and thin juliennes, never complaining, rarely breaking, always doing its job. Thank you, cutting board.
As a refresher, it is generally considered advisable to have at least two of these items on hand: One board should be designated for raw meat, seafood, and poultry, and the other board(s) for everything else. This helps avoid cross-contamination for purposes of health (keeping bacteria from sneaking into our produce, bread, and other non-fleshy items) and for purposes of hospitality (vegetarians and vegans will thank us).
In fact, this question of bacteria helps answer your question about plastic vs. wood. Plastic gained favor for a while because it is non-porous and dishwasher-safe, two qualities that made it seem like a healthier, cleaner choice. But it seems this was just another PR coup by the plastics industry. According to research, including a study at the UC-Davis Food Safety Laboratory, wood wins the bacteria battle. While bacteria such as salmonella and listeria are easy to clean off brand-new plastic boards, these boards become, say the researchers, “impossible to clean and disinfect manually” once damaged by knives. In other words, the sneaky little bacteria hide out in the cracks and crevices. Wood cutting boards provide a home for bacteria too, but only for a short time, and the little critters actually scoot down under the surface and die.
Because wood is magical! And if you buy a cutting board made from sustainably harvested sources, or even bamboo, it is definitely a greener choice than fossil-fuely old plastic. Of course, there are other options, like glass, marble, and ceramic — though purists will tell you they dull your knives (and not everyone can stand the noise they make). There’s even a disposable “cut and toss” paperboard version of the cutting board. Do not buy that one.
When is it time to retire cutting boards? According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA, it is when they “become excessively worn or develop hard-to-clean grooves.” Of course, fans of wooden cutting boards also like to point out that they can be sanded or shaved to create a nice, new, smooth surface. You could keep yours through two or three more moves!
So Tina, I think your cutting boards are probably fine, and their advanced age poses little risk — the greater health risk is in the short-term after each use, which is why properly cleaning cutting boards is key (say hello to our old friend white vinegar!). If you do decide to winnow your collection, keep the wooden ones and part with the plastic. Best of luck with your move, and give my regards to Tucson.
Plucking seemingly random weeds out of the dirt and sticking them in your mouth may be disconcerting to most city dwellers, but that’s exactly what a group of New Yorkers traveled to New Jersey to do recently.
Squinting in the sun on a patch of meadow, we watched as our fearless guide, Tama Matsuoka Wong, author of the new cookbook and guide Foraged Flavor, expertly scavenged delectable weed after delectable weed. From dainty yellow wood sorrel to aromatic garlic mustard, we smelled the newly picked shoots, and then gingerly took a nibble. Our taste buds were rewarded by flavors that were bright, fresh, and alive. And by the time we’d made our way past the meadow and into the forest, we were like a pack of hungry rabbits, chewing away at whatever tasty morsel Wong handed us.
A professional forager, Wong co-authored Foraged Flavor with Eddy Leroux, chef at the New York restaurant Daniel. The book offers up detailed instructions on the when, where, and how of foraging and presents dishes centered around 72 of Wong and Leroux’s favorite wild plants. Their resulting recipes are easy yet unique, and include dishes like dandelion flower tempura and grilled daylily shoots.
Of the approximately 300,000 wild plants in the world, experts say that between 4,000 and 7,000 are known to be edible. Compare that with the measly produce selection in your local grocery store (where it’s rare to see more than 60 types of fruits and veggies) and it’s clear your taste buds are missing many an opportunity.
“The way we farm has become so industrial and seems to focus less on the flavor and variety of food,” Wong says. It’s only in the last century that small, local subsistence agriculture has given way to large-scale commercial food production. Along with this shift, most traditional foraging knowledge has disappeared. The result is a loss of variety, but also of biodiversity — a crucial element of food security.
While Wong’s not suggesting we raze the big farms and return to the caves, she does encourage readers to open their eyes to the medley of dinnertime opportunities that may be growing smack in their own backyards. (As many as 20 different plant species can be found in one nine-inch square patch of meadow, she says.)
Wong wants to introduce the crazy and unique to the dinner table, but she also points out that many wild plants are highly nutritious. For example, purslane, a Persian herb that appears in the book’s eggplant caponata recipe, is a little known source of omega-3, while sumac, a bright red berry that makes for a mean jelly or tart, comes locked and loaded with vitamin C.
In addition to all of these priceless benefits, foraged foods are, well, priceless. Nutritious, yummy, and free — what more could an adventurous diner want? Spring and early summer are some of the best times to hunt for your favorite wild foods (it’s pineapple weed, lamb’s quarters, and wild garlic season in New York), so get ye to a meadow or vacant lot for some quality foraging.
With the revitalization of American cities has come increased excitement about public parks; we may have less land to spare than in Frederick Law Olmsted’s day, but we’re finding creative ways to squeeze more open space and greenery out of brownfields, empty lots, and old train tracks. The mayor of Ithaca, N.Y., even turned his unused parking space into a mini-park.
Now, the nonprofit Trust for Public Land (TPL) has devised a system that allows you to keep tabs on your city’s progress, and compare your hometown to the burg next door. It’s called ParkScore, and it measures and ranks the park systems of the country’s 40 largest cities. It’s not like Walk Score, where you can type in your address and get a walkability rating for your immediate neighborhood, but I’m sure the data could be used the same way (and similarly co-opted as a real-estate selling point).
And the winners? San Francisco came in first, followed by Sacramento, New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C. Bringing up the rear is Fresno, Calif., where more than 60 percent of the population lacks easy access to public parks. Charlotte, N.C., Louisville, Ky., and Indianapolis are also at the bottom of the heap.
TPL calculated the rankings using a formula that gives equal weight to acreage (both median park size and park acres as a percentage of the city area), service and investment (park spending per resident and playgrounds per 10,000 residents), and access (how much of the population lives within a 10-minute walk of a city park). While dense San Francisco got high marks for access, spending per resident, and park land as a percentage of city area, it fell short on playgrounds and median park size (1.97 acres); other than the famous 1,500-acre Presidio, most of the city’s parks must be pretty damn small. In Phoenix, on the other hand, median park size is 14.5 acres, but at least half the population lacks easy access.
TPL mapped areas in need of more parks by looking at population density, percentage of population 19 and younger, and household income. They assumed that lower-income neighborhoods are generally more in need, which makes sense: higher-income neighborhoods already have more greenery, more single-family homes with yards, and streets safer to play on. Imagine being among the 60 percent of Fresno residents more than a 10-minute walk away from a park, and imagine living in a small apartment with no balcony on top of that. It would be hard to stay sane.
Surprisingly, TPL actually found little discrepancy between low- and high-income groups or old and young when it comes to existing park access. This is a good thing, because it means that although young, dense, lower-income neighborhoods should be prioritized, it’s still in everybody’s interest to advocate for more, and better, parks.
And ParkScore’s ratings suggest that we should be doing just that. The fact that San Francisco came in No. 1 with only 74 points out of 100 shows that there’s plenty of room for improvement in every city.
We millennials may be more interested in urban living than our baby boomer parents, but city dwellers still crave open space and delight in the sight of things growing. In order to thrive in cities, we’ll need better park systems.
And in case your mayor isn’t already as pumped on parks as Ithaca’s, maybe ParkScore can help get the message through.
We knew this sucker was going to be expensive. The number that was floating around was $40, and green commentators near and far thought most consumers would have sticker shock at that price.
Turn out, Phillips is selling the bulbs for $50. Fifty bucks! That is HALF OF A HUNDRED DOLLARS.
I know — rationally — that the bulbs will last for 10,000 hours and will save money in the long run. But that’s a huge investment to make in a light bulb. I just bought shoes that cost less than that! I could splurge on an amazing dinner for that! More topically, I could buy a whole bunch of CFLs for that!
This is exactly the problem. Humans are not very good at delayed gratification. Even if a $50 bulb works forever, people are going to balk at handing over five Hamiltons for an LED — “forever” is pretty far in the future, and the sting of spending $50 is happening right now.
But actually, the “working forever” bit is part of the problem, too. It doesn’t do me too much good if my lightbulbs last 22 years — to a 20-something like me, 22 years is an eternity. I don’t want to schlep my lightbulbs from house to house! And while I know none of this is entirely rational, for whatever reason, $50 is just past my lightbulb price point, unless the thing also makes a sandwich and does my taxes. Especially when perfectly sufficient CFLs are still out there.
For those of you who are out of touch with what the young people and Mormons are all about these days, Pinterest is this really big, Facebook-but-for-images type thing, and it’s kind of wild that the Army is on it, because it’s mostly pictures of cats, clothes, and cupcakes. They even have a collection of images for their “green” efforts, from which we plucked a few of our favorites.
MODOC, Ill. — Visiting Patriot, an 11-pound female Bald Eagle and World Bird Sanctuary bird expert Sara Oliver. The meeting took place Feb. 4, 2012 at Eagle Trek 2012 at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kaskaskia Lock & Dam.
Sgt. 1st Class Juan Silva, Support Operations, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, fills a Humvee with B20, a biodiesel, for the first time, recently. The tactical vehicle is participating in the DoD’s Tri-Service Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants Users Group Evaluation. Data from the 8th TSC evaluation and five other B20 evaluation test sites will be compared, later, to determine the future of biodiesel fuel throughout the military.
U.S. Army at Chicago Auto Show 2012: The Army is participating in the Chicago Auto Show 2012. The show runs through next Feb. 19th at the McCormick Place Convention Center. The U.S. Army has several exhibits including two concept lightweight, diesel-electric hybrid prototypes.
James Muldoon, science officer, U.S. Army Pacific, explains hydrogen fuel cell technology to Sen. Daniel Inouye, Feb. 22, 2012, during a commissioning ceremony at Fort Shafter, Hawaii. The vehicle in the image generated the electricity needed to power the public address system during the ceremony.
It is possible that we are suckers for this NorthFace campaign because it instructs participants to read Grist every day. But even before we noticed that part, we thought it was one of the best templates for taking green action we’ve come across.
The Protect Our Winters pledge has seven ways to fight climate change. And, no, Jon Meacham, none of them involve composting shredded tote bags. They are:
1. Get political
2. Educate yourself
3. Find your biggest lever
4. Be vocal, bug your friends
5. Talk to businesses
6. Change your life and save money
7. Join POW
What’s so great about this list? It’s about fighting climate change as a community and expanding that work beyond your front doors. Retrofitting your own house is great, but convincing ten or a hundred people to retrofit their houses is better. Convincing the government to incentivize retrofits so that thousands of people you don’t know can afford to retrofit their houses is even better than that.
Climate change is going to screw all of us; we have to fight it together. You don’t necessarily have to sign onto this campaign in particular, but think of number 7 on this list as “Join a group — any group — that will amplify your voice.”