Category Archives: Environments
TED 2012 is underway and they have been posting some of the talks to their website. Here is a pair of talks which showcase different views of where we are in the world right now – each of them linking to our units on Environmental Science. You can also follow them on the Guardian’s liveblog.
In the first, Paul Gilding states that “The Earth is full,” but that it takes times of real crisis for us to create solutions and climb out of the hole we have dug for ourselves.
In this one, Peter Diamandis argues that we are living in a time of abundance and that human ingenuity will get us out of our problems.
EDIT – 4th March
These talks which have also been published are relevant to the issues we are studying in class. Have fun watching them!
Daniel Pauly: The ocean’s shifting baseline
Paul Snelgrove: A census of the ocean
In topic 5.1 we learn that energy flows… but nutrients recycle. We are made of organic molecules – nutrients. So why not truly go green?
Watch the TED talk below and think about how many connections across the course we can make so far.
I want one!
For more on how saprotrophs such as fungi can be harnessed to solve pollutant problems, check out Paul Stamet’s talk: 6 ways mushrooms can save the world.
In other grisly news, a UK taxi-driver has donated his body to science – to become a mummy (in the ancient Egyptian sense).
Mummy image courtesy of halloweenclipart.com.
The recent floods in Thailand have killed many and displaced many more. John Burrell, author of Click4Biology, lives and teaches in Thailand and has posted an appeal for donations to relief charity Shelterbox. If you have taken advantage of his free site over recent years, please pay it forwards – visit the site and make a donation.
“This turtle gonna go to rehab, to make its flippers go, go, go…*”
In a recent BBC documentary, Stephen Fry and Mark Carwardine head to the USA to see the damage and recovery from the Deepwater Horizon oilspill:
“Stephen Fry loves Louisiana. Four months after the BP oil spill, dubbed the worst ecological disaster in the history of America, Fry returns to the Deep South together with zoologist Mark Carwardine, to see what the impact has been on the people, the vast wetlands and the species that live there. What they find both surprises and divides the travelling duo.”
From the BBC Website (you might get it in your area)
The Deepwater Horizon spill would make a great foundation for an interdisciplinary science unit or Group 4 project, looking at ocean chemistry, waves and dispersal, remote sensing technologies, geological resources, ecology, marine biology and food chains, economics, politics, ethics and much more.
*Amy Winehouse, if you didn’t get it.
In 2007, Leonardo DiCaprio released his environmental call-to-arms, The 11th Hour. And it’s very good. It really knocks home the old proverb that we are not inheriting the Earth from our ancestors, but borrowing it from our children.
Update 2009: the whole film is available on GoogleVideo (as all good documentaries should be):
The movie contains contributions from the likes of Stephen Hawking, Nobel-winner Wangari Maathai and David Suzuki. Particularly useful is Gloria Flora‘s sentiment that we all vote, every day – even those who are too young to cast a ballot – by making informed choices about what we consume, spend our money on and throw away.
The first half of the movie is a talking-heads and imagery look at our impacts on the Earth, with plenty of soundbites and starting-points for further discussion. The political middle section describes how economic growth and interests are driving destruction. The final act is a great collection of ideas and hope – a call to arms and a realisation that the environmental movement is growing quickly and strongly. But is it going to be in time to save our species and the thousands that we drive to extinction each year?
Now here’s Leo’s video message (including the ‘vote’ quote from Gloria Flora):
For some further reading, go to the 11th hour Action website.
IB Biology students:
Higher Level students: pay attention to the parts about the role of trees in the environment, in particular through water-uptake. Also, do you understand how mycofiltration (using fungal mycelia) could be used to clean polluted soils?
For good measure, here’s Linkin Park’s accompanying music video, What I’ve Done :