Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hot Streak

For Blog Action Day this year [the theme is climate change], we thought we'd share a quick, drive-by list of some new social media plays and other offbeat-but-hot bits on the subject:

* Dear Old People Who Run the World, a post by Umair Haque, who writes the Edge Economy blog for Harvard Business Publishing (Awesomeness Manifesto). Haque, a brand advisor and writer, has some thoughts on what he calls "Generation M" [for movement]. Haque begins his rant, reposted by GOOD magazine, with the title of his piece, "Dear Old People," and takes it from there:

"My generation would like to break up with you. Every day, I see a widening gap in how you and we understand the world—and what we want from it. I think we have some irreconcilable differences..."

* Rabbi Julian Sinclair's lovely piece on finding green in Harlem, from the Jewish Climate Initiative's Climate of Change blog, posted here.

* The International Advertising Association's "Hopenhagen" campaign/social video series, chiefly its map showing some 77,000 people's hopes plotted on an interactive world map. Each person who signs the Hopehagen campaign's UN Climate petition describes what most gives them hope in everyday life, and it's weirdly spiritual.

* Data rock star Hans Rosling's lecture on climate change. Which country in the world emits the most carbon dioxide per person? [Think per capita energy use here, folks.] Watch Rosling's dynamic data defeat some myths with facts and tout some novel theories, here.

* Climatelab, a wiki about collaborative problem-solving on the environment.

* Debategraph's social engagement map on climate change, here.

* Cartoonist Lynda Barry's concern about wind farms—she calls them "the SUV of renewable energy"—is excerpted here from Being Undigital, Cause Global's recent interview with Barry during the CUSP conference in Chicago last month:

"...It sounds crazy, but if you live downwind from one of these wind farms, it can sound sometimes like a train coming through your house. Other times, it can be quiet. These wind turbines—they call them 'turbans' in Wisconsin—are huge. Frequently, when that blade passes the tower, you can get a low-frequency thump that you can feel in your body—exactly what happens when a car goes by that is playing loud music but all you hear is the bass because the walls of the car stops the high frequency sounds. Another problem is shadow flicker. These things are 40 stories tall, and the blades are 13 stories each, so when the sun is behind it, it throws a shadow a half-mile long and it can cover your entire home in every window of your house if you’re living next to one of these turbines. The flashing shadows can be so violent, it’s like a strobe light, and for some people it makes them very sick.

There’s one woman I interviewed who is a cardiac nurse and she says when shadow flicker starts, she either has to leave her house or she goes into the bathroom, the only room in her house to escape without windows. I’ve interviewed people from 20 households now, and I’m following what scientists studying the problem are finding out about the affects of sleep deprivation. It’s becoming a problem all over the country and there is incredible pressure being put on people not to talk about it. I’ve been called everything from a wind-hater to a 'wind jihadist.' Wind power definitely has a place if it is sited correctly but people need to understand it’s kind of the SUV of renewable energy. It’s big industrial, and it impacts wildlife and alters mountaintop terrains and requires back-up energy, such as coal power, to operate. All sorts of progress is being made in solar and biomass; I think we should have a mix..."

Not up to your ears in climate change yet? The day is still young. If you have 10 minutes more and wish for more provocation, don't miss environmental writer Bill McKibben's piece for Orion magazine called Beyond Radical, suggesting "what conservatives could bring to the climate conversation."

Send us your favorite examples and rants and we'll post them.

(Illustration, from Hopenhagen campaign, IAA)
(Photograph of New York City roof garden courtesy of Treehugger)

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