Al Gore premiered his new climate change talk and slide show at the recent TED conference.  I tried to embed the video here, but it didn’t work, so here is the link.

Here is the blurb from the site:

In Al Gore‘s brand-new slideshow (premiering exclusively on TED.com), he presents evidence that the pace of climate change may be even worse than scientists were recently predicting, and challenges us to act with a sense of “generational mission” — the kind of feeling that brought forth the civil rights movement — to set it right. Gore’s stirring presentation is followed by a brief Q&A in which he is asked for his verdict on the current political candidates’ climate policies and on what role he himself might play in future.

It’s almost CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) season! I just re-subscribed to the CSA I joined last year and am looking forward to the local, organic food that will be delivered weekly for distribution to my nearby synogogue. It’s important to eat local and organic food for a variety of reasons including reduced carbon emissions from transport, reduced packaging waste, reduced/eliminated herbicide and pesticide application to the land and exposure to your body, and supporting your local economy. There was a great article in the New York Times last week called Did Your Shopping List Kill a Songbird? about the effect of imported fruits and vegetables on songbird populations. Here’s an excerpt:

Migratory birds, modern-day canaries in the coal mine, reveal an environmental problem hidden to consumers. Testing by the United States Food and Drug Administration shows that fruits and vegetables imported from Latin America are three times as likely to violate Environmental Protection Agency standards for pesticide residues as the same foods grown in the United States. Some but not all pesticide residues can be removed by washing or peeling produce, but tests by the Centers for Disease Control show that most Americans carry traces of pesticides in their blood. American consumers can discourage this poisoning by avoiding foods that are bad for the environment, bad for farmers in Latin America and, in the worst cases, bad for their own families.

If you want to find a CSA, farmer’s market, or other source of local, organic food, check out Local Harvest, a website that lets you search by city or zip code along with a lot more information about the local/slow food movement. Enjoy your fruits and veggies!

I made a discovery today that makes me so incredibly happy.  For months, I’ve been wondering why Atlanta can’t get with the program and submit its public transportation data to Google Transit.   I still don’t know why it hasn’t happened, but now we have something better: A-TRAIN Atlanta Transit/Bike/Walk Trip Planner.  This site is so smart it can tell you how long it will take you to get from point A to point B using whatever mode or combination of modes you choose, and it even takes into account topography and lets you change your personal walking or biking speed so you can get an accurate reflection of how much time you will need.  So. Incredibly. Awesome.

The mountains of Canada have inspired a line of rugs by Maude Decor in Vancouver.

These colorful designs features handpainted canvas rugs in the shape of such natural wonders as The Three Sisters (picture above), Tip Top Mountain, Mt. Logan, and seven others. They are not inexpensive, but they are beautiful to look at.

Green Maps Project

I have been waiting to post on this for over a week while I became inspired to add some value to simply linking to Green Maps Around the World, but I really can’t add anything to their own self-description:

Green Map ® System promotes inclusive participation in sustainable community development around the world, using mapmaking as our medium.

GMS supports local Green Mapmakers as they create perspective-changing community ‘portraits’ which act as comprehensive inventories for decision-making and as practical guides for residents and tourists.Mapmaking teams pair our adaptable tools and universal iconography with local knowledge and leadership to chart green living, ecological, social and cultural resources.

Over 300 vibrant Green Maps have published to date, and hundreds more have been created in classrooms and workshops by youth and adults. Both the mapmaking process and the resulting Green Maps have tangible effects that:

  • Strengthen local-global sustainability networks
  • Expand the demand for healthier, greener choices
  • Help successful initiatives spread to even more communities

Green Map System has been developed collaboratively since 1995, and is now active in 400 cities, villages and neighborhoods in 50 countries. GMS and its network of regional hubs and community-led Green Map projects share the award-winning outcomes through their online profiles, blogs, Green Map books and media productions, workshops and other public presentations.

This website is the gathering point for both the makers and users of Green Maps, and offers many inspiring resources including our new organizational booklet to anyone interested in a sustainable future.

Online since 1995, GreenMap.org was re-launched in May 2007, with an exciting new presentation-collaboration-resource center for Mapmakers (we named this content management system the Greenhouse for its ability to cultivate and preserve our diverse ‘garden of Green Maps’). At that point, there were 400 registered Green Map projects from 51 countries. Find a List of all at About the Mapmakers along with more background. In the continually expanding Maps section, find fresh, new locally-authored illustrated profiles and Green Maps from all parts of the world!

If you haven’t heard of mountiantop removal, you are about to be in for a shock. Many people do not realize that a large portion of our electricity still comes from coal and that the preferred method for mining coal today involves the literal removal of the tops of mountains in the Appalachians. This method is extremely damaging to the forest, rivers, and to communities. I read an excellent book about the process called Lost Mountain by Erik Reece last year, which I highly recommend.

A non-profit group called Appalachian Voices has created a fantastic mapping application that you can use in Google Earth or on their website to view images of the destruction and now to figure out how you are directly connected to this awful process. Robert F. Kennedy has written about the website more eloquently as have several other scientists/activits/authors here.