Thursday, July 26, 2012
We’ve had our own Olympic training happening here at the Institute over the past seven months. We’ve been doing the program vault, the training stretch, the program toss, the program install, the question put, the data marathon, etc.
This past week has been the relay run as we’ve carried the torch from one programmer to another until the EPI team carried it across the finish line.
And the winners are EPI’s new mobile website and a sparkling new shopping cart! ... Take them out for a spin!
Medals go to the teams at Provoc, Sentrien, and our own intrepid crew of Millicent Johnson, Julianne Simpson, and Kristina Taylor (who passed the torch to Julianne early this year).
This victory comes at an especially exciting time as we are now accepting pre-orders for Lester Brown’s new book, Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity—a huge EPI team effort.
Now on to the next challenge!
Reah Janise Kauffman
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
FISH TANK: A Fable For Our Times (125 pages) by Scott Bischke is a creative and entertaining story for all ages. It is an innovative take on a very real and serious problem, climate change. The book takes place in Professor Brown’s aquarium where an assorted group of sea creatures are left for a year while he is on sabbatical and the person responsible for caring for them shirks his duty. Faced with finite resources and looming scarcity, the creatures must make tough decisions for their survival.
Fish Tank neatly symbolizes current human attitudes on climate change and global degradation, including greed vs. altruism. There are the scientists who try to educate the others on what will happen if they continue with business as usual, the selfish taking more than their share, and the skeptical who confuse the truth. The story illustrates the importance of getting involved, becoming a part of the solution rather than contributing to the problem. Whether you are interested in environment awareness or not, Fish Tank is a quick and original read that everyone can enjoy.
THE END OF GROWTH: Adapting to our New Economic Reality is by Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute. Economists insist that recovery is at hand, yet unemployment remains high, real estate values continue to sink, and governments stagger under record deficits. In The End of Growth, Heinberg says that humanity has reached a fundamental turning point in its economic history: the expansionary trajectory of industrial civilization is colliding with non-negotiable natural limits.
Heinberg goes to the heart of the ongoing financial crisis, explaining how and why it occurred, and what we must do to avert the worst potential outcomes. Written in an engaging, highly readable style, The End of Growth describes what policy makers, communities, and families can do to build a new economy that operates within Earth's budget of energy and resources. We can thrive during the transition if we set goals that promote human and environmental well-being, rather than continuing to pursue the now-unattainable prize of ever-expanding GDP.
Since its publication in August 2011, economic conditions around the world have reinforced the ideas presented in The End of Growth. The e-version of Heinberg’s best-selling novel was updated in June with more than twenty additional pages that take a look at what is happening right now in Europe, China, the United States, and elsewhere.
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
We are always thrilled to hear how our work at Earth Policy Institute is making a difference in communities around the world.
A few weeks ago we were pleased to receive an email form Gary Curtis, President of the Guemes Island Environmental Trust (GIET) in Anacortes Washington. He told us that after watching the documentary Plan B: Mobilizing to Save Civilization on PBS a group of people there brainstormed about how to get younger folks in their community to watch it too.
They came up with the idea of an essay contest for high school students. The topic was, “What is the biggest threat to humans from climate change and how will you engage your friends to turn it around?” Contestants were required to respond to the documentary. First prize was $1,500, second prize $1,000 and third prize $500. Local schools and other organizations were contacted to generate interest.
Below are excerpts from the top two essays, including something about each author.
“I know from my studies that the effects of climate change, while not entirely certain, are dire. More importantly, I know that it’s up to humans now to band together and do everything we can to protect the environment from further changes. While it won’t be easy, I believe that humans are capable of things beyond that which is expected.”
-- Kyle Mitchell is a senior at Mount Vernon High School and an active member in the school's choirs and cross country team. He hopes to continue a life full of learning, and is planning to major in Environmental Science with a possible minor in music at Pacific Lutheran University.
“Lester Brown, the environmental advocate great on the film, is doing all that he can to advocate to high-up officials the need to change. But he can't reach everyone. It is up to everyday people, everyday leaders in counties, cities, and homes to truly make the difference needed. The responsibility to change doesn't lie in the government. It lies with each and every person on this planet Earth.”
--Michael Giles lives in Mount Vernon with his parents, younger brother, and the family dogs. A freshman at Mount Vernon High School, he is involved in the orchestra and choir.
Awards were presented at the Anacortes Library on May 25, 2012, and the winning essays were sent to local newspapers and appropriate state and federal government officials.
As Lester says, “Saving civilization is not a spectator sport.” Our thanks to the Anacortes community, which has become a part of the solution.
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