In the near future, I will be discussing on Viridorari how the average citizen with a passion for the environment can make their voice heard in the government. As many of you know, I recently went to a program in Albany called Students Inside Albany, where I learned about lobbying and how to do it, along with how New York State politics work. I was fortunate enough to get a view of what really goes on inside the capitol.
The organization that sent me on this trip, the League of Women Voters, has a fantastic slogan: "Democracy is not a spectator sport." Too often, we mumble and groan about the issues in our country, but how many of us actually do something about it? Our first amendment right entails us to the freedom of speech, and you can use that right to make yourself heard in the government. Do you have an opinion on fracking? Pollution? The Keystone XL Pipeline? The availability of renewable energy? Okay, but does your area representative know what your opinions on those subjects are? If you haven't told him or her your ideas, chances are your representative is not psychic and does not know what you think.
I have recently turned eighteen, and I am excited about my new found ability to take part in my country's democratic government. I intend to vote as often as I can and use what I learned at Students Inside Albany to push for a healthier future on planet Earth.
Before I begin discussing lobbying and political involvement on Viridorari, I want to provide information about environmental debates that are happening and unfolding right now. Today's "Suggested Reading" is an article that will provide a foundation about fracking: what it is, the pros, the cons, and the debate. I hope you take the time to read this article, and I also hope that if the topic interests you, you will research further on your own. I do not agree with fracking, and I think the cons far outweigh the pros. But don't take my word for it. Educate yourself and develop your own opinion.
Read the article here: http://billmoyers.com/content/the-facts-on-fracking/
Picture courtesy of: http://guestofaguest.com/music/the-music-news-round-up-tuesday-may-15-2012&slide=10
According to scientists, in order to maintain a healthy earth, the content of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere must be below 350ppm (parts per million). In 2012, we came in at 393.85ppm. The last time the planet was below 350 was in 1987.
Introducing 350.org, which took this concept and turned it into a mission:
Picture courtesy of: http://iwanttowalkinbeauty.blogspot.com/2012/01/charity-spotlight-sundays-350org.html
350, an organization started by writer and environmental activist Bill McKibben (you know, the guy who wrote the article that was featured in last week's "Suggested Reading"?), has a mission of using online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions to change the direction our world is heading in and get the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere back down below 350ppm.
350.org is currently trying to rally people to submit one million online comments against the Keystone XL pipeline to the State Department in order to deter them from supporting the environmentally damaging pipeline. I have been participating in this "comment sprint" for a couple of weeks now, and today I signed the open letter to Obama encouraging him to take an active role in preventing the global climate change. 350.org says a recent report revealed that the Keystone XL pipeline will carry and emit at least 181,000,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, which is equivalent to the annual emissions of about 38 million cars.
Picture courtesy of: 350.org email
350.org makes it really easy for an average citizen, such as myself, to contact government officials and make sure they know you're not okay with augmenting the negative impact on the environment. The organization also makes it easy for you to start receiving information from them. Go to http://350.org/en, and the sign up is right at the top of the page.
350.org provides an awesome ninety second, wordless animation that explains the organization. Click here to watch it. The video is toward the bottom of the page.
To learn more about 350's history and successes and to watch some awesome corresponding videos, click here.
350 will be hosting its first movie premier with Do the Math on "Earth Night" (The night before Earth Day on April 21st). Do the Math is a 42 minute movie that shows the power of the growing climate movement. It features the cross-country tour 350 did last year, the latest dispatches from leaders in the fight to stop Keystone XL, and the campaign to divest from fossil fuels. This Sunday, you can go to 350.org/math to stream a Youtube version of the movie on your computer. At 8pm that same night, a live-streamed panel with climate leaders begins to supplement 350's movie, and will run for about 30 minutes. The link for the panel will be available soon, and I'll be sure to post it here on Viridorari. To view the trailer for the movie, click here.
I strongly encourage you to sign up with 350.org, and I hope you will watch the movie this Sunday. I'm planning on it.
Animal of the Month Update
Picture courtesy of: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/snow%20leopard%20cub
Because of the elusive nature of snow leopards, scientists search for three key signs that there are snow leopards living in the area: scrapes, scent marks, and scat. Snow leopards scrape their back legs in loose soil, which leaves a depression with a mound of soil beside it. The cats mark rocks, bushes, and boulders with a pungent spray, or scent mark, that comes from a gland near their tails. Scat, more commonly known as feces, is the third telltale sign of snow leopard.
In the Himalayas, snow leopards hunt blue sheep (known as bharal). In the Karakorum, Tian Shan, and Altai Mountains, they hunt ibex and wild argali sheep.
Picture courtesy of: http://purpleopurple.com/life-science/mammals/ibex.html