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In 1991, Cuba's economy began to implode. "The Special Period in the Time of Peace" was the government's euphemism for what was a culmination of 30 years worth of isolation. It began in the 60s, with engineers leaving Cuba for America. Ernesto Oroza, a designer and artist, studied the innovations created during this period. He found that the general population had created homespun, Frankenstein-like machines for their survival, made from everyday objects. Oroza began to collect these machines, and would later contextualize it as "art" in a movement he dubbed "Technological Disobedience." motherboard.vice.com
Al Gore is worried about the future. We're at a point, he says, where the very survival of civilization as we know it is at risk. But he's optimistic, too, for a number of reasons. Motherboard sat down with the world's most famous—and certainly busiest—vice president to talk about two possible futures.
In one, Americans kick-start an "Occupy democracy movement" to restore our political system, which Gore says has been "hacked," to come together to fight climate change. In the other, human civilization literally lies in ruin. Here's how Al Gore thinks things will unfold.
Over 6,000 pounds of food per year, on 1/10 acre located just 15 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. The Dervaes family grows over 400 species of plants, 4,300 pounds of vegetable food, 900 chicken and 1,000 duck eggs, 25 lbs of honey, plus seasonal fruits throughout the year.
From 1/10th of an acre, four people manage to get over 90% of their daily food and the family reports earnings of $20,000 per year (AFTER they eat from what is produced). This is done without the use of the expensive & destructive synthetic chemicals associated with industrial mono-cropping, while simultaneously improving the fertility and overall condition of the land being used to grow this food on. Scaled up to an acre, that would equal $200,000 per year!
To follow the Dervaes and their Urban Homesteading activites, you can find them at urbanhomestead.org
Urban and near-urban farming can be highly productive, causing whatever size of land you have to work with to produce with more abundance. It is time to solve hunger worldwide, through creating local food abundance.... Anyone can do it, once you learn how.
A venomous, invasive predator lurks within the Atlantic Ocean.
Lionfish are not native to the Atlantic Ocean. The venomous, fast reproducing fish are aggressive eaters and will consume anything and everything, gorging so much they are actually getting liver disease. With no known predators -- except human beings -- they can wipe out 90% of a reef.
Lionfish were first recorded decades ago and their population has grown quickly. They produce 30,000 to 40,000 eggs every few days and are sexually mature by 1 year old. Today, you can find them throughout the Amazon, the Bahamas, the Caribbean and in the waters along North Carolina.
"The lionfish invasion is probably the worst environmental disaster the Atlantic will ever face," said Graham Maddocks, president and founder of Ocean Support Foundation, which works with the government and research agencies to help reduce the lionfish population in Bermuda. Katie Linendoll gives a special report for CNN. www.cnn.com
Biologist Mohamed Hijri brings to light a farming crisis no one is talking about: We are running out of phosphorus, an essential element that's a key component of DNA and the basis of cellular communication. All roads of this crisis lead back to how we farm -- with chemical fertilizers chock-full of the element, which plants are not efficient at absorbing. One solution? Perhaps … a microscopic mushroom. (Filmed at TEDxUdeM.)
Mohamed Hijri is a professor of biology and a researcher at the plant biology research institute (l'Institut de recherche en biologie végétale) at the Université de Montréal. His work focuses on the most common and widespread symbiotic relationship on earth -- between plant roots and a type of fungi found in the soil called arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). These fungi improve plant growth by increasing roots' ability to absorb phosphorus, while also boosting resistance to pathogens.
As Hijri points out in his talk, the study of AMF and a deeper understanding of them could have big implications for agriculture and could help divert us from an impending crisis -- that we are quickly running out of phosphorus.
Tigers, Lions & Leopards love boxes too!
To find out more about Big Cat Rescue, their mission and volunteer opportunities please visit their website: bigcatrescue.org
GMO Free USA produced this video to aid Washington voters in making an informed decision this coming November. There is much misinformation coming out of the "NO ON 522" campaign and one of the untruths being told is that GMO food labeling will increase food prices. There is nothing farther from the truth. Chemical companies like Monsanto and Dow are deceiving the public in pursuit of profits. They're producing genetically engineered foods that have not been tested for long-term human health safety and are pouring millions of dollars into preventing you from knowing what foods contain GMOs.
Washington has a RIGHT TO KNOW. Please lend your support here: yeson522.com
Britain Newsnight's reporter Jeremy Paxman talks to Russell Brand...
Brand was the guest editor of a revolution-themed issue of Britain's New Statesman magazine, released in October, that includes a 4500-word manifesto by the actor/activist. In the current interview Jeremy Paxman asks why anyone should listen to a man who has never voted in his life.
Brand explains why he doesn't vote:
It's not that I'm not voting out of apathy, I'm not voting out of absolute indifference, and weariness, and exhaustion from the lies, treachery, deceit of the political class that has been going on for generations now and has now reached a fever pitch, where we have a disenfranchised, disillusioned, despondent underclass that [is] not being represented by that political system, so voting for it is tacit complicity with that system."
"I don't get my authority from this preexisting paradigm which is quite narrow and only serves a few people," says Russell. "I look elsewhere for alternatives that might be of service to humanity."
"The burden of proof is on the people with power" and "we are exploiting poor people all over the world" and "the genuine legitimate problems of people are being ignored".
Brand feels a revolution is inevitable and that one of the triggers of the revolution will be Climate Change.
How do we solve the problem of the suburbs? Urbanist Jeff Speck shows how we can free ourselves from dependence on the car -- which he calls "a gas-belching, time-wasting, life-threatening prosthetic device" -- by making our cities more walkable and more pleasant for more people.
Jeff Speck is a city planner and architectural designer who, through writing, lectures, and built work, advocates internationally for smart growth and sustainable design. As Director of Design at the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 through 2007, he oversaw the Mayors' Institute on City Design and created the Governors' Institute on Community Design, a federal program that helps state governors fight suburban sprawl. Prior to joining the Endowment, Mr. Speck spent ten years as Director of Town Planning at Duany Plater-Zyberk and Co., a leading practitioner of the New Urbanism, where he led or managed more than forty of the firm's projects. He is the co-author of Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream as well as The Smart Growth Manual. He serves as a Contributing Editor to Metropolis Magazine, and on the Sustainability Task Force of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. His new book, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time, is now available in print, digital, and audio format.
A bit of an ad for Ikea - but sets an optimistic tone that many other companies will follow suit.
The big blue buildings of Ikea have sprouted solar panels and wind turbines; inside, shelves are stocked with LED lighting and recycled cotton. Why? Because as Steve Howard puts it: “Sustainability has gone from a nice-to-do to a must-do.” Howard, the chief sustainability officer at the furniture megastore, talks about his quest to sell eco-friendly materials and practices -- both internally and to worldwide customers -- and lays a challenge for other global giants.
More than 690 million people visited an Ikea store in 2012; the company sold €27 billion worth of low-priced sofas, lamps, bookshelves and other goods (including €1.3 billion just in food) from more than 1,000 suppliers. Steve Howard, the chief sustainability officer, is charged with making that supply chain, and the company's 298 stores and almost 3,000 products, live more lightly upon the earth.
Coming to Ikea from the nonprofit consultancy Climate Group, Howard has embraced the challenge of working with a single big company, and the improvements he's made so far include helping farmers grow more-sustainable cotton around the world, remaking classic products to use fewer parts, and investing €1.5 billion through 2015 in renewable energy sources, notably wind and solar. (Like the rollout in the UK of Ikea solar panel systems for the home.) And if you've been to an Ikea lately, you probably already know this, through signs and explainers posted all over the store. Telling the story of sustainability is key, Howard believes, as companies like his become agents of transformative change. As he says: "I don't think we've fully realized the extent to which sustainability is going to shape society and the business landscape over the next couple of decades."
The Solar Decathlon is training and inspiring the next generation of architects, engineers and entrepreneurs. The two-year competition challenges collegiate teams to build energy-efficient, solar-powered houses.
Over the course of the competition, students gain hands-on experience in everything from fundraising and marketing to design and construction. Showcasing their houses to the general public allows students to get feedback on their designs and how they work in the real world -- something that many of them would never get in the classroom.
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. www.solardecathlon.gov
2013 Top Five:
The biological purpose of sleep, to flush out toxins:
A study by University of Rochester Scientists in the journal Science reveals that the brain's unique method of waste removal -- dubbed the glymphatic system -- is highly active during sleep, clearing away toxins responsible for Alzheimer's disease and other neurological disorders. Furthermore, the researchers found that during sleep the brain's cells reduce in size, allowing waste to be removed more effectively. This revelation could transform scientists' understanding of the biological purpose of sleep and point to new ways to treat neurological disorders.
Helene Benveniste of Stony Brook University has also been studying the glymphatic system and its capacity to remove toxic waste from the brain. youtube.com & www.jci.org
The neuroscience of sleep:
Russell Foster is a circadian neuroscientist: He studies the sleep cycles of the brain. And he asks: What do we know about sleep? Not a lot, it turns out, for something we do with one-third of our lives. In this talk, Foster shares three popular theories about why we sleep, busts some myths about how much sleep we need at different ages -- and hints at some bold new uses of sleep as a predictor of mental health. Learn more here: blog.ted.com
Residents of Ikaria are healthier and live longer than the rest of us -- so what's their secret?
Rules: Do not wear a watch. Garden. Eat only yours and your neighbors home grown food (including honey and wine). Socialize, walk and dance. Optional: stay up late and take an afternoon nap...
The must read article here: www.nytimes.com
'You'll never get your head around how big the universe is,' warns astronomer Pete Edwards of the University of Durham in this film about measuring astronomical distances. 'There are as many stars in the universe as there are grains of sand on the Earth.' So how far is a light year? And supposing our galaxy were the size of a grain of sand, how big would the universe be? www.theguardian.com
Education is the key. In this exclusive, unedited interview, "I Am Malala" author Malala Yousafzai remembers the Taliban's rise to power in her Pakistani hometown and discusses her efforts to campaign for equal access to education for girls. Malala Yousafzai also offers suggestions for people looking to help out overseas and stresses the importance of education. An amazingly inspirational young woman.
The Last Stand of the Orangutan: The Power is in Your Palm - a new national campaign exposing the US snack food industry for putting Conflict Palm Oil into the food products we buy everyday.
Palm oil is found in roughly half the products sold in grocery stores and its production is now one of the leading causes of rainforest destruction worldwide. It is the single biggest threat driving orangutans toward extinction and is responsible for widespread human rights violations including displacement of Indigenous Peoples, land conflicts with forest dependent communities, and forced and child labor.
On top of that, deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia, where palm oil is grown, is pushing more carbon pollution into earth's atmosphere each year than all the cars, trucks, planes, trains and ships in the United States combined. In fact, due to deforestation, Indonesia has the third largest greenhouse gas emissions behind China and the United States.
But we can do something about it!
The most popular and influential snack food companies using Conflict Palm Oil, dubbed the “Snack Food 20” by RAN, control some of America’s most well known household brands including Pepsi, Heinz, Hershey’s, Kraft and Smuckers. They spend millions a year to instill brand loyalty and trust in their customers - us - and they really care what we think. It is crucial that these companies hear from you right now. Tell them that you will not stand for Conflict Palm Oil in your food. Together we can convince these brands to take action and change the destructive way Conflict Palm Oil is grown.
Learn more, upload your photo, and join Rainforest Action Network's Palm Oil Action Team at InYourPalm.org or www.laststandoftheorangutan.org
The Coolest Nature Video Ever Edited By Roen Horn.
One of our biggest potential climate allies is directly under our feet: soil. Healthy, living soil has an enormous capacity to store carbon. In fact, carbon stored in soil accounts for roughly three times the amount stored in the atmosphere! Improving the health of degraded soil holds tremendous potential to mitigate climate change.
There are a wide variety of ways for everyone to contribute to increasing soil organic matter (SOM). Composting food leftovers, kitchen scraps and garden waste are primary methods. Cost-effective local, municipal composting programs are on the rise. On farms, cover crops and agroforestry methods work to increase SOM, and the regeneration of natural grasslands and reforestation are other strategies for improving soil health.
For more information, visit the Center for Food Safety's Cool Foods Campaign: www.coolfoodscampaign.org
Christine Amanpour spoke with Jane Goodall, a primatologist best known for her work with chimpanzees, and Doctor Vandana Shiva, an environmental activist who fights for changed agricultural practices.
“I really believe the time has come for sanity, for responsibility,” Shiva told Amanpour, “for recognizing the rights of Mother Earth, for recognizing a deep science that works in accordance with the laws of Gaia” – the Greek personification of Earth – “not the shallow and irresponsible science that works only in the marketplace for profits and power.”
Goodall and Shiva spoke with Amanpour as they were attending the International Women’s Earth and Climate Change Summit in New York. Co-organizer of the summit, Osprey Orielle Lake stated that "Nature will not wait while politicians debate, women around the world are facing the impacts of a changing climate every day, and we are coming together to say 'Enough is enough. It is time for action that addresses the roots of this crisis and fosters just solutions." www.iweci.org/summit
In Singapore, the challenge of feeding a growing population is pushing the concept of urban farming to new heights. A super-efficient vertical farming system is producing greens for 5 million residents.
"Can we supply enough food for everyone on the planet?" It's a question plaguing leaders around the world. In Singapore SkyGreen offers one example of how this might be possible, "not just technically, but economically". By increasing their food security while reducing the impact of food production on global climate change, SkyGreen is 10 times more productive per square foot than conventional farming.