Meaghan

Think living with zero waste is impossible? Check out this 23-year-old New Yorker who has been doing it for the past two years—and is now sharing some of her tips. One takeaway: go stock up on (second-hand) mason jars!

Eric

“My life is worth the price of a pie.” That’s how a steelworker describes operations at the same Northwest refineries that aspire to become major players in oil-by-rail. And that’s why he’s on strike.

This video of a train plowing through deep snow is weirdly riveting and beautiful—right up until you realize that it’s an oil train and traveling fast in potentially hazardous conditions.

Keiko

For all you environmentally conscious high school and undergrad students in Washington, the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences is hosting a climate change video contest! For the contest, students are asked the question: What does climate change mean to you?

  • Not only will you receive eternal fame and glory, you will also win $5,000! Wow…I could’ve used both of those as a student.

    Get out your camera, phone, tablet, or whatever your preferred device is, and in three minutes or less, show the world how you feel about climate change! It’s time to get creative.

    Anna

    You probably already saw the video, Breaking Up With Fossil Fuel is Hard to Do, released the other day by Big Oil front group Environmental Policy Alliance. It had me laughing. It’s just so weird! But it also has me wracking my brain about the psychology that prompted them to do this. Some ideas (please chime in):

    1. Make it crazy and funny and odd enough that the “green radicals” themselves send it around to everyone they know. Hard not to play right in to their hands on this one. Guilty! I can see the PR agency folks sitting around the drawing board laughing their asses off.
    2. No matter how ridiculous and bizarre it is to doll up an oil barrel (what?!) and sexualize or romanticize our relationship with fossil fuels, on some level it maybe succeeds in tapping into fears that just about everyone might harbor (even “green radicals”) about giving up creature comforts that are brought to us, cheap and easy, by fossil fuels. They are linking the things we love (Our phones! Please please please don’t take our PHONES! And our CLOTHES!) with fossil fuels. Some kind of brain circuitry is being established here or existing circuits are being lit up, circuits that are good for them and bad for “green radicals.”
    3. Ditto: tapping into fears about crazy, wild-eyed radicals in general (Eek! Protesters with signs! Run away!) These are people wanting to take things away from us. Think: Jimmy Carter’s wool sweaters.
    4. Ditto: tapping into everybody’s fear of being sad and alone after a breakup. Love hurts. (See #2 re: brain circuitry).
    5. What about the sardonic tone paired with the sunny, cute graphics? I bet it’s meant to be inviting and visually appealing and then royally confuse people. I think they might even want people to think it’s tongue-in-cheek. Who cares? As long as it’s an efficient delivery system for the messages they want to convey. And the message is (wrongly) that divestment means we instantly go from having everything we need and love and want to having nothing, zero.
    6. Of course it’s a classic narrative with a hero (you—regular, average, guy just trying to have a girlfriend and enjoy some creature comforts) and a villain (sinister, brooding, scheming Bill McKibben — leader of the “green radicals” and not like you at all. This bad guy definitely does not share your values. Look what he’s wearing for just one illustration of that! Fleece! Worse: a FLEECE VEST!!!! EEEEEWWWWWWW!) and a quest (I guess…to be comfortable and surf the web and text on your phone and maybe…get laid? Really? With a barrel of oil in lipstick!!!???)
    7. At least your girlfriend is not a pile of coal, right?

    In all, it left me dumbstruck.

    In any case, everyone knows that bad relationships can be toxic. And most of us know that breaking up is going to be awesome. So, I was pleased to see that on Global Divestment Day—that’s today, Friday, February 13th—hundreds of events like this one are being staged around the world: A Mock Marriage Between the University of Washington and Fossil Fuels. Perfect!