The Ecocapsule is a tiny off-the-grid home that claims it can bring the comforts of civilization into the wilderness. Between the turbine and solar panels, it is capable of not only generating sufficient energy for heating the pod, powering the kitchen, and heating your shower’s hot water, but also can contribute towards powering your electric car (if you connect it to your Ecocapsule, that is!). The design of the pod is strategized for efficient rainwater collection and purification, and then used in the kitchen and the shower. The Ecocapsule will be available for preorder in late 2015. 

(Gizmag article, Treehugger article, and Ecocapsule website)

infinitismal sordu:

(cont.) working to restore the environment. What would be your advice on what major would help me to be able to get in that sort of direction, and what job would best suit what I want to do? I'm just so scared that I won't be able to do /enough/, if that makes sense. Your help would really mean a lot to me.

Hi infinitismal,

Thanks for your nice note and sorry for the delay. Well, if you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I give unconventional, straight forward advice. I almost always say to young people that they need to understand how government works, and to do so involves voting. You have to vote or all environmental work gets destroyed by greedy politicians. The current stock of politicians are already trying to pass laws that reverse decades of environmental gains. You know why? Because young people didn’t vote in the mid-terms. Less than 30% showed up to vote. So, issues that they care about, like women’s health, racism, environment, climate change, are all managed by very dishonest people. I also recommend that you participate in the process of passing environmental policy by joining a committee or board in your local town. This is were the action is on environmental issues. Joining in on how your local community works will give you deep and incredibly valuable experience in understanding how ‘environmentalism’ actually, fundamentally, and realistically works.

In my opinion, therefore, in order to be an effective environmentalist, you absolutely need to understand how environmental laws and policies are created. The best way to do this is by reading and commenting on draft environmental bills, participating on boards and committees that write and pass these bills, and showing up for the meetings.

To understand bureaucracy is to understand environmentalism.

So, I think for you, think about not how to make a difference, but when? When do you want to ‘make a difference’? If you want to save some animals from being destroyed right now, volunteer in the animal shelter. If you want to change the conditions that caused these animals to end up in the shelter, get involved in your municipal government. It’s easy to join a crew and clean tires and trash from a river - you can do that tomorrow. Just know that the river will keep getting dirty without proper protections. And, like I said, it’s difficult to create laws that protect the river from pollution in the first place. One action is immediate. The other “makes a difference”.

You can join the Peace Corps for a year or two to drill some drinking water wells in rural Africa or distribute mosquito nets in swampy coastal villages. That’ll feel good for while. Peace Corps is also good networking and looks great on your resume. I work with a few people who started in Peace Corps, and went on to become effective environmental bureaucrats. But, if ‘making a difference’ is what drives you, what environmental changes occur during these two years?

When do you want to make a difference? I think you are right to feel scared. Working on environmental issues is hard work. It’s slow. It’s risky. It has lots of failure. It expensive, from a career and investment perspective. 

‘Making a difference’ is risky.

Often, a project takes years or even multiple lifetimes to start, never mind finish. Read Silent Spring. Read The Making of Environmental Law. Professors will rarely tell you how slow this is. And I cannot think of a single environmental research paper that convincingly emphasized the sisyphean temporality of environmentalism. Sure, research papers always conclude with ‘more research is needed’ or ‘with more time, data can be validated’ etc., but this doesn’t tell you or anyone that environmental work is like a slow walk through thick mud while wearing concrete boots. It’s a long, slow slog. Are you prepared for this? 

I’m also sorry to say that environmental work involves long hours staring a spreadsheets and analyzing data. You will be in an office environment. You’ll also have to work with people who don’t like, or share your goals.  Yes, you can make a difference, so long as you understand how it’s done, and are prepared for the long haul…Good luck, Michael

Planetary level climate shift, effects on regional climates and landscapes, ecosystem damage and food growing capacity reductions, negative human health consequences from reduced air quality.

The impacts of GHG emissions are dispersed over spatial and temporal scales- and, furthermore/consequently, lack integration at a policy/decision making level. 

However, the source is, in many ways, the same.

Reducing/eliminating emissions will have positive effects and co-benefits from a local to global scale, immediately and in the future. 

Image source, and more at: SEI Initiative on Integrated Low Emissions Development Planning

Our culture is afflicted with a vast disconnection, an abyss of ignorance that becomes apparent whenever an issue invoking the natural world arises. As a society, we are daily making decisions and setting policies that have enormous repercussions on the natural world. And those policies are being set by officials and approved by a public who are functionally eco-illiterate.

I was once giving a talk at a university about the need for earth-based spirituality, when I was stopped by a student with a question that stunned me.

‘Tell me,’ the young man asked, ‘why is the earth important?’

I almost didn’t know what to say. I bit back a snide retort–‘What planet do you live on?’–and realized with horror that he was quite serious, that somehow all his years of higher education and graduate school had not taught him that we are utterly dependent on the earth for our lives.
—  Starhawk

one of the big problem of tumblr is it’s focus and centralization on the u.s.a. . when something important (good or bad) happen somewhere else, people do not talk about it half as much as the most shitty thing happening in u.s.a at the same time. so as a french girl i’m just here to say that i’m particularly proud of the spanish people today for their choice of voting for “podemos” which is a radical left political party that serves the people and their rights in such a system that all folks can actually participate in this democracy by actually being active in their own city’s group of discussion - and all the cities can have them - and they’ll organize referendums for every major discussion- it’s a very green party that encourages solutions for the environment, they’re anti-capitalist (that’s badass as fuck) , they fight corruption and fiscal evasion and they’re super involved in human’s rights, equality, freedom, justice- after greece, it is spain that do not want to give any fuck anymore- more of that in other countries please!!