TEDx Plastic, Happy Meals, Art from Space, Recycling Day and Climate Negotiations – It’s a wRAP, November 5, 2010

Did you know November 15th is America Recycles Day? Just like we believe every day is Earth Day, not just April 22nd, we hope that you recycle everyday. However, you may want to check out the America Recycles Website, www.kab.org, with the kids in your life, and get their input and ideas for new and innovative ways to bring recycling into their lives, at school, church, dance class, and home! America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling programs in the United States. It is a day dedicated to informing and educating our communities about making recycling programs bigger and better, every day of the year.

Almost a year ago, in the USA and around the world, there was considerable excitement and media attention around a United Nations Conference scheduled to take place in Copenhagen on Climate Change. Not a lot of specifics came out of the meeting, and we in the USA, who are used to “quick fixes,” lost our focus and moved on. Unfortunately the problem of climate change only gets worse. The UN has been negotiating for many years on the complicated task of controlling carbon emissions and slowing and reducing the negative impacts of climate change. At the end of November, the next “formal” round of UN climate talks will take place in Cancun, Mexico. While little of substance can actually take place unless we in the US are engaged and given the climate of distrusted and dysfunction in the US government, expectations for a “big outcome” from these talks are low.

However, on a positive note and as a rallying call, 350.org is “calling all artists” to “re-inspire the world to act on climate change” in the lead up

Photo: 350.org/Spectral Q

to these international talks. The highlight of 350 EARTH (the tagline 350.org has attached to this event) will be more than a dozen large-scale aerial art pieces. In announcing the project, Bill McKibben of 350.org explains, “We’ll be gathering huge numbers of people—thousands at a time. Some will be in deserts, some on snowfields—any place with a good background. They will use their bodies to make giant pieces of art.”

These massive artworks will be large enough to be seen (and photographed) from space, and will depict climate impacts and climate solutions in all corners of the globe. In support of this initiative, New York artist Molly Dilworth completed an installation this week, on a rooftop in Brooklyn, imagining the new borders of New York Harbor after a +7 meter rise in sea level—The roof will be photographed by satellite. In addition to being a very special piece of art, the special paint used will create a solar-reflective coating engineered to decrease solar heat absorbed by the building, and will lessen the heat-island effect experienced in cities. To learn more about the project and to get involved, visit http://earth.350.org.

Molly’s painting will be contributing to the city-wide effort led by NYC CoolRoofs to paint roofs throughout NYC (for more information about NYC CoolRoofs please see http://www.nyc.gov/html/coolroofs/html/home/home.shtml)

In our Video Peek of the Week we are highlighting an event taking place this Saturday, November 6, in Los Angeles. The TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch event will bring together “thought leaders, innovators, and artists” to share what they know, explore solutions, and develop a plan for Action for conquering the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This “Patch” is actually a swirling gyre of trash estimated to be at a minimum the size of the state of Texas and possibly as large at the United States. 90% of this trash patch is comprised of plastic. And there are similar areas of plastic pollution throughout the world – in all the world’s oceans, in seemingly unlikely places like the Arabian Desert, along some of the most pristine beaches of the world, in our cities, in our rivers, and even in our bodies. Our own “Green Mom Carnival Blogger” extraordinaire, Beth Terry of FakePlasticFish is one of the speakers. The event will be broadcast live on the http://www.tedxgreatpacificgarbagepatch.com website and on Facebook starting at 8:30am PST/11:30am EST and continuing until 6pm PST/9pm EST. You can also come back to ClimateMama on Saturday and watch the live stream of the event under our Video Peek of the Week!

Finally, and on a somewhat related issue, San Francisco became the first major U.S. city this week to pass a law that cracks down on the popular practice of giving away free toys with unhealthy restaurant meals for children. The law, which takes affect December 1st, is similar to an ordinance passed earlier this year in nearby Santa Clara County, which requires that restaurant kids’ meals meet certain nutritional standards before they could be sold with toys, ie. MacDonald’s and Happy Meals don’t pass these standards.

Not only does this law address the mushrooming obesity problems in this country, but a positive by-product of the law is that it also keeps a huge amount of “unnecessary” and wasteful plastic out of landfills. As parent, it is often hard to resist the “call of your young child” who is seduced by a media blitz telling them they “must have” that most recent “toy” from the local fast food restaurant. After and if these toys make it home, they rarely see the light of day again. How many pounds of plastic waste do you think would be diverted from landfills if these toys were never produced?

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