Author Topic: Radical environmental work - help wanted  (Read 1188 times)

SisterX

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Radical environmental work - help wanted
« on: October 31, 2018, 05:45:58 PM »
On the IPCC climate report thread we (I) started talking about the fact that this group of smart, dedicated, caring people with many talents and skills, and collectively a lot of resources should actually be doing something to help our planet and, thus, the people and creatures on it. Many of us do so much in our personal lives to reduce consumption and to make the eco-friendly choices. We buy products that are "green" and buy fewer things so that there aren't as many emissions spent making what is, in the end, garbage.

However, it has become clear that more needs to be done. Much, much more. We need radical actions and we need them now. I'm not talking about becoming a valve turner here (although if you feel moved to do that, I won't stop you) but instead radical acts of restoration.

So much of our wildlands is under threat and I think that with our collective resources we could make an actual difference in that. Putting our money, time, and energies toward rewilding and reforesting, in addition to urban projects that would create better and more sustainable cities (such as urban gardening and animal husbandry/beekeeping projects) we could have such a positive impact on our world. Reviving wetlands, adding forest land, restoring native grasslands. Even on small scales these can have such huge impacts for wildlife. Migratory birds and insects need their natural habitats along their routes. Animals need natural habitats for homes. Even small things, like planting hedgerows around fields, can significantly increase the biodiversity of an area. Swales can be used effectively in deserts to not only stave off desertification but also to create forests where there wasn't one, and where it was thought they couldn't grow. Permaculture has many great ideas for making marginal or "inhospitable" lands livable and even life-sustaining.

We can invest in microgrids, particularly in poorer areas to reduce inequality, and we could start in areas that are mostly reliant on coal. We can raise up urban farms that also offer things like cooking and gardening classes in the neighborhood where they are, to help people eat more vegetables and overcome many of the detrimental effects of poverty. This will help us all since lifestyle illnesses take so much from society and are disturbingly costly.

Instead of arguing about malaria nets vs. food in the third world, how about we help stop the habitat destruction that's going to create (is creating) climate refugees and wars? This is the biggest threat to anyone and everyone on our planet. How about we invest in our planet and our future? Many of us have kids, or at the very least there are children in our lives whom we care about, and we know that what we're doing is not enough to give them the futures we want. This doesn't even have to be about climate change, per se, but the effects of pollution itself are well known. It makes us dumber, fatter, sicker. You, me, your kids, my kids, everyone. Not a single human on this planet is immune to the effects of pollution. Why are the collective we not doing more and raising more of a ruckus about this? Well, if you've ever wanted to do that but haven't figured out how, here's your chance.

Introduce yourselves. What skills might you offer? What would it take to get such a project off the ground, and how should we go about doing this? How do we limit the carbon produced to get this going (via ground and air transport)? I'm thinking that we'd have to implement projects on a local scale, with input from everyone interested to crowdsource ideas so that a few people already in a place can get them going.

What ideas would you really like to see implemented, and how?

Hat tip to @chaskavitch @Malaysia41 @scottish @sol @magnet18 @norabird @PoutineLover @diapasoun

lhamo

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2018, 06:47:56 PM »
I know there are all kinds of issues with race/class/gentrification that could be discussed (and the author is  not oblivious to them), but ultimately I find the kinds of things that are going on in Detroit and other abandoned rust belt cities to be very hopeful and positive.  Not ready to pick up and start squatting in an abandoned house myself right now, but maybe somewhere down the road if such efforts are still ongoing (and I do hope/believe they will be):

https://www.buzzfeed.com/drewphilp/why-i-bought-a-house-in-detroit-for-500

I love the idea of harvesting hay in the middle of Detroit....

JoshuaSpodek

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2018, 06:33:13 AM »
Folks, I've never lived better than now. The changes I've made to live by my environmental values have improved my life more than I could have expected or imagined.

I write the following without pride or shame, but just sharing low-hanging fruit available for nearly anyone to do that has enriched my life and I wish I had done earlier. Also to share the resources I can contribute (mainly the media platform).

Took 16 months to fill a load of garbage to empty, mainly from avoiding packaged food. http://joshuaspodek.com/year-emptied-garbage

Haven't flown in 2.5 years (learning to sail for next trip to Europe) https://www.inc.com/joshua-spodek/365-days-without-flying.html

Have picked up at least one piece of trash per day to clean streets https://www.inc.com/joshua-spodek/a-millennial-making-america-clean-again.html

Post on the environment a lot in my Inc. column https://www.inc.com/author/joshua-spodek

Switched from jogging to plogging http://joshuaspodek.com/17-creative-weekend-routines-happier

Haven't eaten meat since 1990

Almost all my food from my CSA http://joshuaspodek.com/delicious-reason-community-supported farmers market and bulk food store

Ecological footprint: 0.4 earths http://joshuaspodek.com/my-ecological-footprint

Use the air conditioner and heater for a few hours per year (despite having to pay for my building's central air)

Typical average daily electrical use: < 1.3 kWh http://joshuaspodek.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/coned.png

Started a podcast to bring leadership to environmental action (not just telling people what to do) http://joshuaspodek.com/podcast

Incidentally, my diet is more delicious, inexpensive, convenient, varied, and local than ever. It's helped me become more fit than ever, enjoying defined abs at 47 years old.

I already to a lot of public speaking. As a result of learning to cook from scratch, companies are paying me to speak on sustainability including cooking. Here are pictures from an event where I cooked for 50 people with no packaging from my cooking (though the company got alcohol sponsorship): https://www.flickr.com/gp/fahertybrand/1H3090

I'm meeting sustainability people at a major fossil fuel company in Houston and fast food company in Atlanta to help them transition their culture

I've been invited to help a major clothing retailer to help reduce their waste

Top guest downloads on the podcast http://joshuaspodek.com/podcast

    Seth Godin, multiple #1 bestseller, teacher, marketer, 11+ million TED talk views
    Dan Pink, multiple #1 bestseller, 40+ million TED talk views
    Marshall Goldsmith, #1 ranked leadership guru and author
    Frances Hesselbein, Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree
    Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
    Ken Blanchard, author, The One Minute Manager, over 13 million sold
    Jonathan Haidt, #1 bestselling author, 8+ million TED talk views
    Vincent Stanley, Director, Patagonia
    David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, over 1 million sold
    Dorie Clark, bestselling author
    Jordan Harbinger, top 5 podcast, 4+ million monthly downloads
    Bryan Braman, Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagle
    Marquis Flowers, Super Bowl highlight reel star New England Patriot
    John Lee Dumas, top entrepreneurial podcaster
    Alisa Cohn, top 100 speaker and coach
    David Biello, Science Curator for TED
    Andrew Revkin, award-winning National Geographic and New York Times journalist
    Geoffrey West, Time Magazine “100 most influential people" theoretical physicist turned TED speaker

Our first in-person expert panel featured

    Vincent Stanley, Director Patagonia
    Robin Nagle, TED speaker, author, NYU professor
    RJ Khalaf, Dalai Lama fellow, TEDx speaker

Coming soon:

 West Point's head of leadership department
 West Point head of environmental engineering department
 First woman on an Americas Cup boat and winner of Americas Cup
 Nobel Peace Prize winner
 Olympic medalist
 
We've gotten social media support from Leonardo Di Caprio's foundation: https://twitter.com/dicapriofdn/status/1048989458027016193

If people step up to lead, I'd love to feature on my podcast or Inc. column. I'd love to feature MMM himself if anyone is in touch to nudge him.

SisterX

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2018, 10:03:51 AM »
These are great, but I was thinking more along the lines of what we, as a collective group of people, could do. Buying up some land in California and trying to see if we can get more redwoods to grow. Creating more grasslands in the Midwest. Working on coastal erosion. What are your ideas?

It would be a lot of work, far beyond what any one person could feasibly do. At this point, that seems to be our best option. Individual actions are having a marginal effect and are easily dismissed. "Oh, one person doing something doesn't make a difference, why bother?" is a very common theme not only against voting but also against doing things that will help the environment. So my proposal is that we all get together and work on some big projects, while maintaining the small ones in our everyday lives. Those are important--very!--but doing something collective will have a far larger impact.

lhamo

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2018, 10:15:21 AM »
Well, as I said I am not in a position to buy/rehab an urban homestead in Detroit at the moment -- but I might be willing/able to help support others who are.

haypug16

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2018, 11:42:13 AM »
I really love this idea and would love to be involved I just don't know what I can do to help. :/

diapasoun

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2018, 11:59:58 AM »
So, we've got some concrete possibilities already brought up here and in the original IPCC thread:

1. Buy and manage a plot (or multiple plots) of land for re-wilding, or otherwise support re-wilding.

2. Invest in microgrids.

3. Create/support urban farms, especially those offering cooking or gardening classes (NB there are already programs that do this in multiple cities).

4. Create/support community gardens.

5. Support the community efforts in Detroit mentioned in lhamo's link.

Other ideas? Two of my housemates are dating marine biologists, so I can also poke their brains for things involving supporting our oceans, etc.

I think it really boils down to how much effort everyone's willing to put in. There are other organizations out there already doing some of this work; we could easily select an organization and fund it ("The Mustachian Grant for Re-Wilding" etc). We could also create our own, which involves a great deal of effort from boots-on-the-ground work to stereotypical non-profit management issues. I think the first is something we could do easily without any problems; the latter will involve a lot more planning.

smalllife

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2018, 12:05:38 PM »
I think we can kill two birds with one stone.  Green spaces and social areas are proven to reduce stress, increase the resilience of neighborhoods, and a whole host of other things.

If I was in charge of a superfund, I would be buying vacant lots in cities and doing several things depending on the size and location.

1.  Pocket parks, with an emphasis on trees and pollinating flowers. 

2.  Community gardens and allotments for locals, this time with fruit trees if possible

3.  Wildflower meadows with meadering paths for the public to enjoy, and a few sitting areas

Another option I've been thinking through is how localities treat the medians, sides of roads, etc.   A campaign to turn these into meadows, rain catchments, or foraging areas (depending on size, location, etc.) would go a long way towards improving the water run off, green spaces (see above), and perhaps food resiliency as well.

I have seen pieces and parts of this done in other cities, does anyone know any organizations already doing this?  If I didn't have to re-invent the wheel I would already be diving in with both feet ....

Hirondelle

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2018, 12:22:31 PM »
Great initiative SisterX! I'd love to buy some plot but unfortunately my NW is around 26k and I'm across an ocean. But hey I'll support the mission :). I do like Diapasouns list a lot too!

I work(ed) in schooling and academic environments so this is where I could come up with most ideas. Some things I thought of that are doable by parents or employees that are involved in school boards or even just get an evaluation form once in a while:

- Encourage catereers at workplaces or universities or schools to offer vegetarian (or even vegan) food by default. Meat is available but has to be requested just like allergies do. This has been done at at least two universities in my country. Another option is 'meat free monday', where university canteens wouldn't sell any meat (it was still allowed to bring in your own meaty lunch). I know there's some discussion on to what extent we 'should' all go vegetarian or vegan but I think we can all agree that the current consumption levels are unsustainable and that a reduction would be good.

- Walk/bike to school options. This will heavily depend on the area and the infrastructure but I think it would be great for both fitness levels and the environment to set up things like "walk/bike to school week" where children get encouraged and rewarded for every day they got to school by bike or foot. This could btw also be done at workplaces. My own workplace had special information stands that promoted a "low-car diet" - employees could get extra compensation if they traveled to work by public transport rather than car.

- Get involved in your local government and lobby for bike paths, sidewalks and other sustainable end goals would be a next step and an excellent goal for FIREes I guess?

PoutineLover

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2018, 12:49:13 PM »
I bet a lot of cities already have some of these initiatives, so we don't even have to reinvent the wheel. I wonder if together we could gather say all the cities or programs that already do urban gardening, summarize what they do, what works best, what's a good model for other places, and create a sort of "best practices" blueprint that could be replicated and personalized for any city. Repeat for any other useful initiative. We'd make a website that users can contribute to and willing volunteers in a variety of places could populate it. My city happens to have a lot of parks and green space already, and we have urban gardens, so I'm sure I could find some information that might be relevant to other people.

gaja

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2018, 02:40:41 PM »
I bet a lot of cities already have some of these initiatives, so we don't even have to reinvent the wheel. I wonder if together we could gather say all the cities or programs that already do urban gardening, summarize what they do, what works best, what's a good model for other places, and create a sort of "best practices" blueprint that could be replicated and personalized for any city. Repeat for any other useful initiative. We'd make a website that users can contribute to and willing volunteers in a variety of places could populate it. My city happens to have a lot of parks and green space already, and we have urban gardens, so I'm sure I could find some information that might be relevant to other people.

I believe the bolded part is one of the most efficient things we can do. Not just for urban gardens, but for all types of measures. Campaigning for political goals will only take us a small part of the way. Both public and private actors need easy recipes that they can replicate. Just yesterday I had a meeting with real estate developers and producers of building materials. They really want to do the right thing for climate, but find it difficult to navigate in the vast flood of information that is out there. Sometimes it is the tiny details that make a big difference - like providing the exact wording the municipality should use when purchasing fossile free vehicles, or making a tool for institution cooks that shows them how to make climate friendly menus, and calculates how much of each ingredient they need to buy. 

A group of regions and municipalities in Europe are working on a ideas exchange forum for climate measures. It is brand new, so there are not a lot of stuff on it yet, but hopefully it will grow. Anyone can join the forum and share their ideas: https://pentahelix.eu/climate-forum-7/

SisterX

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2018, 05:39:32 PM »
I bet a lot of cities already have some of these initiatives, so we don't even have to reinvent the wheel. I wonder if together we could gather say all the cities or programs that already do urban gardening, summarize what they do, what works best, what's a good model for other places, and create a sort of "best practices" blueprint that could be replicated and personalized for any city. Repeat for any other useful initiative. We'd make a website that users can contribute to and willing volunteers in a variety of places could populate it. My city happens to have a lot of parks and green space already, and we have urban gardens, so I'm sure I could find some information that might be relevant to other people.

I believe the bolded part is one of the most efficient things we can do. Not just for urban gardens, but for all types of measures. Campaigning for political goals will only take us a small part of the way. Both public and private actors need easy recipes that they can replicate. Just yesterday I had a meeting with real estate developers and producers of building materials. They really want to do the right thing for climate, but find it difficult to navigate in the vast flood of information that is out there. Sometimes it is the tiny details that make a big difference - like providing the exact wording the municipality should use when purchasing fossile free vehicles, or making a tool for institution cooks that shows them how to make climate friendly menus, and calculates how much of each ingredient they need to buy. 

A group of regions and municipalities in Europe are working on a ideas exchange forum for climate measures. It is brand new, so there are not a lot of stuff on it yet, but hopefully it will grow. Anyone can join the forum and share their ideas: https://pentahelix.eu/climate-forum-7/

Calling @MonkeyJenga - Isn't this kind of thing in your wheelhouse? I know you're suuuuuuper busy right now doing other incredibly important work. However, I'm sure you know of others who could be tagged that would be good at this.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2018, 04:43:00 AM »
I'm not in the US but want to follow.

A group I'm vaguely attached to is investigating a virtual community based power plant by bulk buying solar panels and batteries. I will report back once I understand what they envisage and thought about other applications.

Also, here in Australia, our Ratesetter P2P lending platform offers loans for green technologies. There may already be something like that in the US where you can assist people who want to go green.

Thinking out loud, I guess there also could be a mustachian fund for people that couldn't otherwise afford the capital. It could be an interest free loan or just a grant for panels, even on social housing with the support of the relevant authorities. Thinking out loud again, a company that offers solar systems (and loans / grants) to renters where they can move the panels with them easily would be a really good idea.  It really bothers me that there is such inequality around power prices - the poorest are the most hurt by increasing prices but have no means of doing anything about it. Sorry for such a brain dump. On phone.

Malaysia41

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2018, 01:24:55 PM »
What do you guys think of joining the Extinction Rebellion?

https://extinctionrebellion.org/

lhamo

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2018, 03:32:42 PM »
I really like this movement:

https://www.npr.org/2016/11/18/502167512/how-does-food-become-a-tool-for-connection

Here in the Seattle area, I know we already have the Beacon Hill food forest.  There are old abandoned orchards in Carkeek park where you can pick apples for free (if you are willing/able to lug them back up the hill).  And of course we have tons of blackberries to forage.  But can we do more to create and promote a more edible urban landscape?  Can we find people who are willing to have their parking strips be converted to edible gardens and get them started or even install/manage them for those with limited mobility or interest?  Could we start herb gardens at the local park and rides?  Trying to brainstorm ideas that would work beyond my immediate neighborhood, as we dont have parking strips.  we do get a fair amount of foot traffic (people on their way to/from the BG Trail)....

libertarian4321

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2018, 04:45:41 PM »
These are great, but I was thinking more along the lines of what we, as a collective group of people, could do. Buying up some land in California and trying to see if we can get more redwoods to grow. Creating more grasslands in the Midwest. Working on coastal erosion. What are your ideas?


There is already an organization that buys up land and preserves it (including replanting trees and the like).  The Nature Conservancy is my favorite environmental organization because they do it without destroying anything or breaking the law (like those nutty "valve turners" you mentioned). 

https://www.nature.org/en-us/


letired

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2018, 04:46:07 PM »
I don't know if this is as direct as you are imagining, but The Nature Conservancy is a fantastic international organization that does a ton of great work around restoration and preservation of 'wild' land. When I was in research, they were an invaluable partner in terms of stewarding and allowing us access to their lands. There is no way we would have been gotten enough sampling sites without the land they preserve and restore. In addition to donating, you can sign up for their mailing list for events and volunteer opportunities: https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/volunteer-and-attend-events/

This seems like a desire where partnering with existing organizations can really multiply ones' effectiveness.

Places to look: your local botanical garden, the ecology or evolution department at your local college or university, your local land trust or agriculture university, your local water provider, city state and national protected lands/parks, Xerces Society (pollinators), the National Wildlife Federation (USA), and of course the World Wildlife Fund. There are also land conservation or land trust groups all over the country, so do a search with those terms plus your local geographic area. In my area, there are state, county, city, and general eco/geographic groups focused on local habitats of importance.

One related volunteer opportunity I find interesting: online distributed citizen science via Zooniverse. You help scientists process their data in various ways.  I can be anything from transcribing historical data or making identifications. Check out their Climate projects: https://www.zooniverse.org/projects?discipline=climate&page=1&status=live

letired

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2018, 04:51:50 PM »
For getting your hand dirty, look for the groups that partner with your local city or municipality. There is a group in my city that does regular tree plantings and maintenance  around here that also partners with the city to do tree giveaways to local homeowners to plant more trees.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2018, 05:12:03 PM »
I really like this movement:

https://www.npr.org/2016/11/18/502167512/how-does-food-become-a-tool-for-connection

Here in the Seattle area, I know we already have the Beacon Hill food forest.  There are old abandoned orchards in Carkeek park where you can pick apples for free (if you are willing/able to lug them back up the hill).  And of course we have tons of blackberries to forage.  But can we do more to create and promote a more edible urban landscape?  Can we find people who are willing to have their parking strips be converted to edible gardens and get them started or even install/manage them for those with limited mobility or interest?  Could we start herb gardens at the local park and rides?  Trying to brainstorm ideas that would work beyond my immediate neighborhood, as we dont have parking strips.  we do get a fair amount of foot traffic (people on their way to/from the BG Trail)....

In Australia we call the practice of planting things on unused land "guerilla gardening". Where there is publicly owned land, people start community gardens, like UK allotments but with a raised bed each and a shared compost. These are often on a scrap of land between things. One near me has developed into a magnificent place.

There is also a strong movement here around verge gardening, where people grow stuff on the strip outside their house. https://www.1millionwomen.com.au/blog/verge-gardening-revolution/ The biggest battle communities seem to have is red tape at local authorities that cite trip hazards, safety concerns of verge grown food, that sort of thing. I think people just get on with it, but every so often planters will get removed or fines issued by the non-cooperative councils. A simple sign saying 'help yourself' is all that is necessary to make it a community thing.

Also there is "Food is Free" and various similar things where surplus produce is left out for anyone to take. I think that one started in the US. In some places it's just like an open food bank.

In combination with things like street libraries they can really improve community spirit.

All these things require grass roots level stuff - an individual or small group in each area. We could create a network that links all these people?

Fresh Bread

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2018, 05:14:13 PM »
These are great, but I was thinking more along the lines of what we, as a collective group of people, could do. Buying up some land in California and trying to see if we can get more redwoods to grow. Creating more grasslands in the Midwest. Working on coastal erosion. What are your ideas?


There is already an organization that buys up land and preserves it (including replanting trees and the like).  The Nature Conservancy is my favorite environmental organization because they do it without destroying anything or breaking the law (like those nutty "valve turners" you mentioned). 

https://www.nature.org/en-us/

What are valve turners?

lhamo

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2018, 05:31:54 PM »
Um, I don't want to muddy the waters too much, but not all of the land TNC is trying to conserve internationally is "wild" -- in China, at least, most of the areas they are active in has been inhabited by minority groups (largely Tibetan or closely related) for centuries, and in some cases the policies they have advocated have intensified ongoing processes of land rights being taken away from those groups. 

It's complicated, to say the least.  I'm not saying don't support them.  But be sure you understand what you are supporting.

letired

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2018, 05:39:59 PM »
Um, I don't want to muddy the waters too much, but not all of the land TNC is trying to conserve internationally is "wild" -- in China, at least, most of the areas they are active in has been inhabited by minority groups (largely Tibetan or closely related) for centuries, and in some cases the policies they have advocated have intensified ongoing processes of land rights being taken away from those groups. 

It's complicated, to say the least.  I'm not saying don't support them.  But be sure you understand what you are supporting.

That's a very good point, and why I mentioned researching local land grant organizations! I was attempting to recognize that not everyone on the forum is USA-based :P I deeply appreciate their prairie conservation work in Texas.


Malaysia41

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2018, 10:15:53 PM »
What do you guys think of joining the Extinction Rebellion?

https://extinctionrebellion.org/

Seriously please check this out. I think this is exactly what this MMM group is cut out for. 

Don't worry - it's not a vegan thing. I write that because I get the sense that some in this group may be averse to the word vegan and/or have associated that word with my name. If that describes you, you can rest assured the link to extinctionrebellion is about direct action for the environment and there's no mention of the v-word AFAIK.

(but also - if the v word is something that repulses you, I suggest you look into the topic further to understand why. "some vegan was mean online once" is not a valid reason to reject a philosophy that can massively improve our chances for survival on this planet).
« Last Edit: November 07, 2018, 10:21:17 PM by Malaysia41 »

SisterX

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2018, 11:09:56 AM »
So, something I've been doing in my own yard is making simple, small changes that I can see are actually having some big impacts on my area.

I don't use artificial fertilizers or any pesticides/insecticides/fungicides on my property, as well as cleaning with things like vinegar and baking soda instead of harsh, toxic chemicals. There are huge numbers of insects on my property, it's really fun to see. Turn over and random dirt and there are worms, pill bugs, etc. Spiders, of course, everywhere. But then all the bugs brought birds too, so the trees around us are often teeming with birds.

Planting, in particular, bee-friendly plants and letting native wildflowers grow. Along one fence we have some wildflowers that have taken over and I'm sure others think it looks untidy but man, the number of bees I saw in that one little area all summer was incredible. They also liked it when my mint went to flower, I noticed a large number of honey bees in my yard. I counted, I think, five different species of bee just in my yard.

This year I'm going to put up a bee house for mason bees, hanging it under the eaves of my shed right next to my and my neighbor's fruit trees. (They love fruit trees.) These bees actually do more pollination work than honeybees and are just as threatened.

I'm working on converting much of my lawn to garden space. Not all of it, because kids and dogs, but a lot of it. What yard I do retain is going to be planted in clover eventually. No mowing! No watering to keep it green! (<--We only do the first a couple of times a year, and never do the second.) Bee-friendly flowers! I'm not allergic to it! What's not to love?

I garden. One of the problems with agriculture is how much land we devote to feeding ourselves. Also, how dependent we are upon the system working correctly. As we've seen over the past decade or so with price spikes, insufficient supply systems, and food-borne illnesses, maybe that's not such a good idea? So I garden, both reducing the amount of land needed to feed me/my family and also to not be quite as dependent on the system to provide all our needs. Plus, we eat more veggies this way and that both makes us healthier and less of a drain on the healthcare system. I'd rather leave those resources for people who genuinely can't help their health problems, you know?

We got our house insulated. Just the walls so far (attic still needs to be done) but combining that with keeping our heat down now means that our last bill shows us as being among the efficient neighbors in our area. I'm hoping to kick our neighbors' asses in that realm, and set the new bar for how little energy a family needs to stay warm over the winter.

I bike, and soon I'm going to get a cargo bike so that we can eliminate 95% of our car use even with two small kids.

I'm part of the sharing economy groups in my area, so we're not buying very much new.

This is all just the low-hanging fruit of what I can do on my own property, and taking into account that I live with others. (If it was just me I'd have no supplemental heat, since ours is nat gas and I hate that we're de facto supporting fracking.) If each of us could get even one more person to make small changes like these then things would be a lot less grim.

It's no reason to give up on the big actions, though, and I still want to take action on a lot of those.

Indio

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2018, 04:33:54 PM »
Count me in to help with the environmental work @SisterX. There might be a few people on the gardening and homesteading thread who would be interested also.

A few of the areas that I've done at a local level -
launched recycling programs in elementary and middle school cafeterias,
started 2 school veg gardens (created campaign to raise funds, designed and built raised beds, helped teachers create curriculum around garden)
1 community garden for elderly and disabled,
launched a seed lending library to encourage people to grow their own food and flowers,
launched an annual educational program at library to educate about composting, water harvesting, polinators, medicinal herbs, pollinators, etc
member of a beekeeping club and we participate in local fairs to educate about bees,
make soap that is sold at these events and all proceeds are used to fund booths at the next fair,
mentor new beekeepers,
assisted with lobbying town to overturn its ban on beekeeping.

I'm willing to donate my skills, time and advice to anyone who is interested in doing any of this where they live.


JoshuaSpodek

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Re: Radical environmental work - help wanted
« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2018, 08:28:43 AM »
These are great, but I was thinking more along the lines of what we, as a collective group of people, could do. Buying up some land in California and trying to see if we can get more redwoods to grow. Creating more grasslands in the Midwest. Working on coastal erosion. What are your ideas?

It would be a lot of work, far beyond what any one person could feasibly do. At this point, that seems to be our best option. Individual actions are having a marginal effect and are easily dismissed. "Oh, one person doing something doesn't make a difference, why bother?" is a very common theme not only against voting but also against doing things that will help the environment. So my proposal is that we all get together and work on some big projects, while maintaining the small ones in our everyday lives. Those are important--very!--but doing something collective will have a far larger impact.

I see you also shared your personal actions, "So, something I've been doing in my own yard is making simple, small changes that I can see are actually having some big impacts on my area."

This thread is showing what usually happens when people consider action without themselves doing something under their control. They overwhelmingly talk about academic, abstract stuff without acting.

Big things do more than small things, but I find the fastest, most effective way to lead people to do big things is to start doing small things.

Everyone reading these words has in mind something he or she wants to do but hasn't. If everyone reading made a SMART goal out of one of those things and achieved it, I bet it would lead to more action on a big thing faster than all the discussion already in this thread because they will have felt the emotional reward of accomplishment, instead of activating their discussion and debate motivations.