In January 2010, we completed a full 48-minute episode in a month! Feel free to watch the entire episode, or the individual stories below:
Eating Our Way to a Sustainable Future
Local food lies at the center of a sustainable way of living. Author and Environmentalist Bill McKibben speaks about the importance of local economies and his own experience eating food solely from the Champlain Valley in Vermont. Eating local not only fights climate change but also reconnects people to their communities and their land.
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It is a necessity to protect our resources. Quality water may not be a condition we can guarantee the following American generation. A citizen group, teamed with The Conservation Law Foundation in Vermont is fighting to make that a guarantee. In 2001, a landmark case reshaped the landscape regarding water policy and sustainable development. Lowe’s set an example, one that demonstrates that development does not have to degrade local water resources.
Nutrient pollution has been identified as one of the most harmful types of pollution to America’s waters. Phosphorous and Nitrogen are two of the primary agents responsible for nutrient pollution. Excess nutrients cause rapid plant growth, thereby feeding bacteria that consume oxygen in the water. Water without oxygen cannot support any life at all. Most of nutrient pollutants come from agricultural systems. A smaller still significant portion comes from the water used in our homes. About 15 % of the phosphorous that comes from our home’s water finds its origin in dish detergent. Phosphorous does not even make dishes any cleaner! Next time you buy detergent, check out if it has phosphorous. You will be making a difference.
Burnside, Catie; Mcdowell, William. 2001. Dishwater detergent phosphorus: its contribution to phosphorus load at a municipal wastewater treatment plant. Voluntary nutrient reduction program tri-state water quality council. Sandpoint, Idaho.
Weatherize Your Home
For this project we followed Thomas Hand from Hand Energy Service as he weatherized a restored Vermont farm house. Weatherization follows an energy audit in a two step process that can help to make your home more energy efficient. By identifying places where heat can escape in the winter the weatherization process ultimately redefines the house’s thermal boundary. This is the most cost effective way to reduce your carbon footprint. For more information about how you can reduce your energy consumption and your costs visit Hand Energy Services or check out the U.S Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program.
Seeing Earth and Sky
Can artists be environmentalists? David Brewster of West Halifax, VT challenges our notion that “environmental art” must mean paintings of environmental perfection or ruin, towering redwood trees or clearcut rainforest. Brewster encourages us all to instead think about how to adopt a “visual literacy” to read landscapes, including those of factories, suburbia, and strip malls.
Beyond the Car
Car and truck usage is responsible for about one-third of the United State’s total carbon dioxide emissions. Since carbon dioxide is a major contributor to global warming, it is imperative that we reduce our transportation-related emissions. One person switching to public transportation can reduce daily carbon emissions by 20 pounds, which adds up to more than 4,800 pounds a year. When compared with other household actions that limit CO2, taking public transportation can be 10 times more effective in reducing the emission of this harmful greenhouse gas. Alternatively, bicycling does not contribute to the consumption of fossil fuels, relying instead on modest calorie consumption to fuel muscular energy output. Bill Strickland, author of The Quotable Cyclist, explains, “Converting calories into gas, a bicycle gets the equivalent of three thousand miles per gallon.” A short, four-mile round trip by bicycle keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air we breathe. See beyond the car to reduce your impact on the Earth. For more information about alternative methods of transportation, visitwww.publictransportation.org, www.bicyclinginfo.orgor www.edf.org.
A look at the future of student activism. Interviews with several Middlebury students as well as one professor.
Human impact on the Earth is undeniable. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today is higher than it was at any time during the last 650,000 years. Greenhouse gases are released through the combustion of fossil fuels to power our cars, heat our houses and create the electricity we use everyday. The trouble is, even if carbon-dioxide emissions were to cease immediately, the extra gases already added to the atmosphere would linger for centuries, causing sea levels to rise and changing other characteristics of the Earth for hundreds of years. Earth’s clock does not run backwards, so we cannot undo the damage we have already wrought. Take a stance and make a change now, while there is still time to stop runaway global warming. For more information, visit www.thebulletin.org.
What is a Watt?
Ever wondered how much energy you consume? How about the amount of energy you can produce? And what is a Watt anyway? The average American consumes about 10,000 Watts of energy at any given moment. Given the fact that a human can produce about 100 Watts of power, it would take 100 people working around the clock to support your current high energy lifestyle. It’s easy to forget how valuable energy is.
Energy, Environment, and Climate Change (2008) by Richard Wolfson
Earth’s Ours to Share
Recycling seems so last-century. In the era of “green” products, it seems easy to forget the little blue bin that signified all things “envrionmental” before it became popular. This video and song celebrates recycling/reuse, still an easy and effective way to reduce your carbon footprint. In 2005 alone, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that recycling reduced the country’s carbon emissions by 49 million tonnes collectively. But what happens after you toss that bottle into the bin? The Middlebury Recycling Center sorts, prepares, and processes materials before shipment to major recycling facilities.