Fields of tulips in Netherlands. Source: Yann Arthus-Bertrand
Happy Spring Break if you’re in college! Spring break is time to kick your feet back and relax. . .but not if you’re an Earth savior! The Earth doesn’t wait to be saved, and an Earth savior sure isn’t going to relax and start eating hamburgers on break. No; an Earth savior is always true to the principles of Earth-saving, even on break – but that doesn’t mean that there are other ways to let off a little steam. Continue reading
Disrupting the carbon cycle has serious impacts on the planet. Something as “little” as offsetting the natural flow of carbon affects everything that is linked to carbon (in other words, all life on Earth). Let’s take a look at how pumping more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and the ocean impact the planet. Continue reading
Like I mentioned in Part 1, the scary part about analyzing the carbon cycle is realizing how much humans are affecting it. If we look at the diagram of the carbon cycle, one of the ways carbon transits from sphere to sphere is from the subsurface (fossil fuels) to the surface by extraction, then to the atmosphere by burning the fossil fuels. The atmosphere also exchanges with the hydrosphere, so part of the carbon that we burn is then absorbed by the ocean. Continue reading
The most powerful way to learn something isn’t to read it in a paper somewhere – it’s to actually do it. That’s why I love teaching – there’s a lot I get out of it for my own learning. Often the best way to teach something is to let the students arrive at their own conclusions and construct their own knowledge. That’s why today, instead of explaining something, I’m presenting the carbon cycle and (hopefully) letting people arrive at their own conclusions. Continue reading
An eroded iceberg in Greenland. If all the ice in Greenland melted, the oceans would rise by seven meters. Source: Yann Arthus-Bertrand
A lot of the world’s problems came to be because…well…people didn’t plan ahead. Continue reading
Sunrise seen from 175 miles above the Earth. Source: NASA, 1996
Happy March! As sun begins to rise earlier, I find myself not using the light switch as much in the morning. Not only is it nice to walk to my car in a sunlit road instead of groping my way through the dark – it saves electricity!
As the sun rises even earlier, we should take advantage of the available sunlight and rise earlier with the sun to perform our daily tasks using the natural light that’s available, instead of artificial light. Getting up early to use more natural light is compensated of course by going to sleep earlier and using less electricity at night. This is where the idea of Daylight Savings (the period of time where our clocks jump forward to accomodate the sunlight) was born. Adapting one’s schedule to use more sunlight and less electricity makes complete sense for an Earth-savior. Here’s why:
- Using more sunlight and saving electricity is good for the planet because it means using less fossil fuels and producing less CO2.
- Natural light has Vitamin D and more good stuff than artificial light, like the ones that come from computers that don’t let us sleep at night.
- Regulating your body clock to use more natural sunlight fixes insomnia as your body begins to release more melatonin (a hormone that induces sleep) when the sun sets. This happens if you’re in tune with the sun, and not bombarded with other light sources after the sun sets, like from electronics. It also helps you to wake up when your body perceives sun rays in the morning.
- Sunlight is good for your emotional and mental well-being (for example, lack of sunlight is related to higher suicide rates)
- Rising with the sun allows you to listen to the birds more – if you love birds, this is an extra benefit.
- If you pay your own electricity bill, you’ll notice the difference too – getting up with the sun is cheaper, too!
My brother makes fun of me for being sleepy shortly after sunset, but I love getting up early in the morning and being in sync with the sun. Something about seeing more of the sun every day feels right to me. After all, it’s the energy source for all life on Earth – it makes sense to appreciate it more!
Who here doesn’t love the idea of owning a personal library? Having a book collection is a symbol of how much knowledge you have, how “wordly” you are, or how much effort you put into understanding the world. There’s something about owning books that makes all that knowledge yours.
But in reality, how many times will you use a book? Maybe once, twice? (Sometimes not at all!) Once you’ve read a book, do you really need to keep that book? Isn’t the knowledge inside it more important?
That’s my understanding as I progress towards having less books and leaning more on my local library. I don’t need to have fresh, new, smelling-like-it-just-came-from-the-printer books. I need what’s inside them. That’s why I believe that having book collections is a thing of the past and what we need now are community libraries – a network of people that exchange all kinds of books. It’s better for the planet, and it’s better for the people.
So, to save the world, use a library instead of accumulating books! Lend out your own books, too. The less we buy, the less impact we have on the world, which really needs to be our goal as we produce WAY too much waste on the planet. Libraries only aren’t for books, either! You can find CDs, DVDs, and audio-book collections in libraries. And the variety of books you’ll find in a library is quite astonishing.
Dip your feet in the pools of knowledge and help make the world a better place by reading and encouraging people to read without creating an impact on the planet!