Saturday, April 21, 2007

Planet Green On-line Game

Today I saw a advertising link to a Planet Green Game, sponsored by Starucks Coffee Company in Collaboration with Global Green USA. The game is described as "a unique on-line game demonstrating smart climate solutions."

I played the interactive game part way through and found it quite interesting in the way it presented opportunities for my input into solutions to a number of climate problems my own community might face. The Planet Green Game also provides pages that help users learn how to Take Action, and learn About Global Warming, where you can download "10 things you can do to combat climate change," and become an e-activist.

I have seen other games that help young people and others of all ages gain a better understanding of the complex environments we live in. I am interested in knowing if anyone has compiled a list of good resources for such games that we can look at and build upon. If anyone has knowledge of such a list please comment here. Thank you.

Global Green USA is the US affiliate of Green Cross International, whose mission "is to help ensure a just, sustainable and secure future for all by fostering a value shift and cultivating a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility in humanity’s relationship with nature."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Barry Lopez Encourages Conversations

Tonight, in Boise, Barry Lopez told us about storytelling and how the words and ideas of a storyteller can, and should, have the outcome of encouraging new conversations and ideas in a community.

This Blog post gives me the opportunity to add my own comments to the story I heard Barry Lopez tell. I should note that an audience member asked Barry if the story he told tonight was written down anywhere for others to read? My interpretation of his response was that it was not written down anywhere except in the notes he held in his hand, and that we in the audience should go out and tell our own stories about what we think is important. He also said that if his talk stimulated this further conversation he had done his job. Here, tonight, I will add a few of my own initial comments to start doing my share.

Barry talked about the growing interest by individuals to participate in their communities and to take on the role of helping to solve problems and providing future opportunities that current Federal, State and local governments are not. He believes young people are especially motivated in this direction, but all of us, even older generations, can and should be integrally involved as well.

I met Barry a few times in the late 1960's when we both lived on the McKenzie River near Eugene, Oregon. He was a young writer, gaining a reputation and I was involved at the University of Oregon in a community outdoor recreation and environmental networking project that had connections in many colleges and communities in North America. For more than a decade from the early 60's until the late 70's much has been written about the tremendous citizen collaboration and community participation in environmental issues with people of all ages that helped create a positive environmental perspective on the future in America and around the world. Many people in the Boise audience tonight may have also been involved in this exhilarating and exciting process.

Somehow, this "flash" of energetic citizen involvement seems to have been diminished over the last 25 + years. I believe Barry Lopez told a story tonight about how these conversations and community involvement can be revived and that we should expect current and future generations to again imagine and shape the future in positive ways.

Barry Lopez left us tonight with a very positive message and "Hope" for the future.

There were many other parts to the story that Barry told tonight about polar bears, climate issues, and people he has met in other countries. As he writes and tells these stories I know people are encouraged to start good conversations with friends and neighbors in their own communities. And, as Barry also noted that the good storyteller fades into the background as this happens.

Thank you, Barry Lopez.

His talk and story in Boise was provided by "The Cabin Literary Center."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Very Good Google Earth Environmental Projects

Matt Fox has put together a project where some of the best Google Earth projects submitted to the Google Earth Community have been collected. This is called the Google Earth Library.

I found a reference to this project in the April 9, 2007 post on Frank Taylor's Google Earth Blog. Frank explains that "His new web site is kind of a blog focused on Google Earth content (not news, or simple placemarks), with an emphasis on education, environment, or science visualizations.... It is definitely worth browsing through his posts over the last two weeks. He has picked some really good examples of Google Earth content."

Interestingly, on April 1, among other projects, Matt chose to highlight the Jamaica Protected Areas Panorama project I had submitted the the Google Earth Community last summer and the Salmon Migration from the Pacific Ocean to Salmon River in Idaho project I submitted this winter.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

To Err on the Side of Caution

To err on the side of caution are words often heard today especially when globally we are concerned about human caused global warming that appears to be already causing problems that will be long lasting and probably irreversible. Given our current knowledge and technology there are some who believe we can slow down some of these effects, especially if the governments of the major polluting countries like the U.S. and China would act now.

However, there are others who believe that human caused global warming is not enough of a problem yet that we should take measures that would affect the growth of our current global economies. Economic growth is the mantra of the industrialized world, even at the expense of the biological world, and it is difficult for individual citizens to argue against this concept.

I, like many people worldwide probably, would like to have the intellectual ability, and time alive, to understand the profound and intricate complexity of ecosystems. This study would include an understanding of all of the scientific knowledge about the complex environmental factors that support the changing life forms on earth. I believe that this knowledge would certainly make us want to make different decisions about our economic growth and the future than we are today.

We would probably be much more cautious about how we affect the ecosystems that we humans and other species depend on.

As I write this I found an article in written on March 8, 2007 that notes that there is an ongoing effort to catalog every living species on earth and by 2011 it is expected to reach 1.75 million species. This is approximately 750,000 more species than has been catalogued to date. The article titled "Effort to Catalog Species Tops 1 Million" by Randolph E. Schmid.

I will add more of my ideas about related issues in future blog posts.