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On several occasions before the ride, I had a recurring dream. It was the year 2031 and l was now in my 70's. In the dream, I found myself in a house that was very cold. Although the lights were on, the room felt dark, although I had enough light to read a book. Then, my grandson walked in. He seemed to enter the room through some type of vacuum transition chamber. It seemed as if each room was "purified" before someone could enter or exit.
My grandson had a magazine with him and he wanted to discuss an article with me. A look of concern--maybe anger--was on his face. I noticed that the magazine in his hands was TIME, and the article he was pointing to was titled, "We Lost the Ecosystem. How?"
The article took the reader through a chronology of environmental and economic decisions, both bad and good, spanning 80 years. It explained why these decisions were made--economic and political reasons that were fueled by a growing population and a throwaway society.
The article declared that in the 1980's, the environment became a trendy issue and many celebrities became involved. People worked very hard to bring attention to the issue and several even walked across the United States. Others circulated petitions, organized sit-ins and participated in protest marches.
One person even rode a horse across America.
The article then gave a detailed account of all the symptoms of environmental disease that were apparent to everyone: acid rain, global deforestation, ozone depletion, and so on.
My grandson then looked at me, not smiling, and asked, "When all of this was going on, what were you doing?"
I replied: "I rode the horse."
He walked over to the window and looked outside. Then, very slowly, he turned back to me and said: "Is that all? Is that it?"
At that point, I arose from my chair and walked to the window to look outside. There I saw a crow sitting in a dead tree. It was springtime, about 1:00 p.m., just after lunch.
And it was dark outside
Today, when I look back on my youth, my memories are of my days in Latourette's Forest, Essex Pond, and Dobson Hollow in southern Ohio. There were animals everywhere: deer, hawk, quail, largemouth bass, frogs, fireflies and turtles. I had the unique opportunity to gain an appreciation for the natural world through these sometimes aimless wanderings and explorations. I would spend many hours and sometimes days on my horses, Buck and Tim, or hiking with friends through the area.
My beagle, Skipper, accompanied me on many of these trips. Our favorite game was, "I hide, you seek." I'd leave home and hike into the woods, sometimes several miles and try to disguise my trail. Then, I'd find a high vantage point--often a ridge--and watch my dog pick up my trail, following me through streams, over logs, from rock to rock and across wooden fences. I'd learned how to elude him by watching fox and rabbits as they were being trailed. (Rabbits always return in a complete circle home).
I also learned a lot about patience and persistence, both from my dog and from these forest animals and through these childhood experiences, I became educated, fascinated and appreciative of the natural world.
I sense that today, children and adults rarely take advantage of, or are exposed to, these kinds of opportunities, and because of this children today do not feel a connection to the natural world. We have grown away from nature, thanks in large part to technology, that double-edged sword, with its computers and video games substituting for the appeal many children once found in nature. Without the most basic exposure, we will miss the vital connection we have with natural systems.
We as a society have isolated ourselves within our technology, and no longer feel the real cold or the rain or heat. Few of us question how or where the food we eat is produced. How many of us even know how it gets to our grocers? We need to rediscover nature and the fascination it held for many of us in years past.
In 1989, I decided it was time to bring back this awareness to the rest of America--by riding across it by horse and talking along the way with people who became interested in the horses and the event and in turn, these issues.
LUCIAN SPATARO JR. is an environmentalist, businessman, educator, and adventurer whose accomplishments are international in scope and local as well. He is currently President and CEO of the Joe Foss Institute, which works with youth in schools and youth groups across America—with those who will defend our freedoms in the future—encouraging & teaching democracy, patriotism, integrity, and public service. He continues to write and speak on sustainability to audiences from kinder to college and to civic, business, and environmental groups. He calls Scottsdale (AZ) home, where he lives with his wife Lori, daughter Lauren, and their black lab Dallas and endurance horse Masquerade. www.thelongride.com
Lucian Spataro is the author of The Long Ride: The Record Setting Journey by Horse Across the American Landscape. The book is already the recipient of awards such as, the 2012 IPPY Outstanding Book of the Year Gold Award for the book “Most Likely to Save the Planet,” 2012 Benjamin Franklin Bronze Award for Autobiography/ Memoir and 2012 ForeWord Book of the Year Award Finalist in Environment, Nature and Travel Essays. Lucian continues to speak to civic, business and environmental groups and to students on sustainability.
Recycle, Reuse, Rejoice!
Enter the GoodGuide app. Available for both iPhones and Androids, this mobile application helps consumers make smarter decisions about everyday products such as toothpaste and mascara. How it works is simple. Just download the free app onto your smartphone, aim it at a product’s barcode and wait for the results. The user will instantly gain environmental, ethical and safety information about the item, making it easier for people to make informed choices about the companies they support.
Now, I’m not saying this app was made exclusively for college students, but it is definitely college-friendly. Think about it, kids these days never go anywhere without their phone. Plus, with crazy school and work schedules, they have little to no time to research each and every purchase they make BEFORE heading to the store. So, considering their lifestyle the ease and convenience offered by GoodGuide app just makes sense.
With detailed information on over 150,000 products and feature such as the purchase analyzer, this application promotes all-around transparency and consumer advocacy. Run by professors and grad students at UC Berkeley, GoodGuide users, rest easy knowing they are getting quality information they can trust.
So, before you buy that next bottle of shampoo or reach for that supposed “miracle” moisturizer, for check its stats with GoodGuide to see if it helps or hurts Mother Nature as a whole. Planet Earth will thank you!
Mariana Ashley is a freelance blogger who writes about education topics, college trends, student lives, post-college careers, and online colleges in Colorado. Feel free to leave any questions or comments below.
Recycle, Reuse, Rejoice!
His most ambitious statement issued is his recommendation to cut CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030 and 60% by 2040 at the European Union level. Current EU targets are 20% reduction of 1990 levels by 2020.
Hollande stated that he would like to see more global dialogue on environmental issues, citing the lack of a renewed agreement on climate goals reached internationally so far makes this an urgent and important matter. The Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of this year so climate talks are expected to once again take priority at the upcoming November Doha COP 18 conference. According to the Paris-based International Energy Agency, CO2 emissions rose by 3.2% last year to 31.6 billion tons, spurred by increases from China.
More initiatives he announced/ launched:
- New tenders for solar and offshore wind power by end of 2012.
- Closing of Fessenheim's Nuclear Power Plant by end of 2016.
- Rejected applications for shale gas exploration.
- Cut France's nuclear power from 75% to 50% by 2025.
Recycle, Reuse, Rejoice!
Environmental reporter Andrew Blackwell was inspired to write Visit Sunny Chernobyl after realizing he hadn't had much personal contact with Eco Disaster Sites. Before writing the book, he did a sort of Eco Disaster World Tour as research.
His book is an exploration in contradictions. Such as how is it that a radioactive site like Chernobyl becomes a defacto wildlife refuge/ nature habitat? Read more in this insightful, humorous and also penetrating look at how our Eco Disaster Sites have greater breadth in their identity than simply locations of extreme environmental degradation.
When it comes to design, nature is hard to beat - and with food packaging nature is no different. Can you think of a package more perfect than a banana skin or an orange peel? With millions of tons of plastic packaging adding up in landfills each year, it's time to try and replicate nature's designs with natural wrapping for manufactured food. Two new companies are currently developing fully edible and delicious wrappers for their products – a step in the right direction.
WikiCells - founded by David Edwards, a chemical engineer at Harvard - are currently working on products surrounded by soft skin that can be composed of an edible mixture of biodegradable polymer and natural ingredients. These ingredients include everything from chocolate to dried nuts and seeds. While currently still in the development stage at present, future products include a tomato membrane stuffed with gazpacho, a fanciful chocolate-flavoured skin filled with hot chocolate, and a wine-filled grape shell. At the moment WikiCells products are targeted towards food businesses and restaurants, but will soon make their way into supermarkets for the general public.
Another company developing edible wrappers is MonoSol, which has already produced water-soluble casings for washing detergent. They plan to use this same technology to create single servings of porridge, hot chocolate and other food items with no need to throw away the wrapper. In the future it's thought that this technology could be applied to packaging for everything from milk to yogurt, potentially doing away with the need for plastic packaging forever. This would be great news for the environment and consumers, as natural packaging is likely to reduce the cost of produce in the long-term. However, if you're not so keen on eating your bottle after drinking its contents just yet, Vegware and other similar companies are currently manufacturing fully compostable containers - a crucial first step towards eliminating the throwaway wrapper.
Eco.Luxury.Style - Men's Sustainable Fashion Issue
by Nadine Weil
Recycle, Reuse, Rejoice!
GREAT BEAR RAINFOREST SET TO SHINE IN WORLD PREMIERE