These are the changemaking skills of empathy, innovation, new teamwork and new leadership. As STEM skills help us learn the latest technologies—changemaking skills can help us flourish in a society transitioning from hierarchical to flat, fast moving networks.
Each of the changemaking skills is key, but I’ll focus on the most important one—empathy.
In our increasingly interconnected world, one’s actions have a bigger impact on others and can create tremendous positive or negative outcomes in record time. From the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, ISIS, the Ice Bucket Challenge, and the increasing rate at which new companies and industries are forming and collapsing—change that traditionally took decades is now happening in months.
Hierarchical systems of authority are increasingly struggling to keep up. The systemic solution is to help everyone develop the new skills needed to get along with others in a flat, fast-moving world.
We have already seen the power of empathetic and decisive people successfully leading and navigating in this new world.
When trying to raise young stewards of the planet, it's never too early. Here are 4 unique Earth Day traditions you can start this year as a family.
1. Think outside the tree
Many people choose to plant a tree to honor Earth Day, and this is an honorable and beneficial tradition, of course, especially if your city or town organizes a tree-planting event at a local park. However, your family can take this idea to another level by starting a garden on Earth Day that can be tended to by the entire family year round.
2. Start a neighborhood or school recycling program
Spearhead a block-wide or even school-wide recycling initiative by going door to door as a family to enlist neighbors who are willing to cans, glass or plastic water bottles. Or speak with your kids’ school administration about placing recycling bins in the classrooms and cafeteria.
3. Make a green pact - as a family
Bond through your earth-friendly efforts by make a concerted effort to "go green" as a family this Earth Day. Gather together and decide which go-green tasks most interest each member of the family.
4. Make an earth friendly dinner
Little kids may not fully understand the significance of Earth Day, but they can certainly be part of a simple family tradition this April 22 — a special meal. Bring the family together for dinner honoring Earth Day. The ingredients of this meal should be conscious of the environment in any way possible. For example, make a meatless meal or use ingredients bought entirely from a local farmers market. Instead of scraping remnants into the trash or even thecompost heap, turn the leftovers into a second creative meal for the following night. This Earth Day meal can be the very beginning of a new tradition to make every meal just a little bit more earth-conscious.
The winter ice pack in the Arctic was once dominated by multi-year*, thick ice. Today, very little old ice remains. This animation shows maps of sea ice age ...
Since 1988, Arctic sea ice is getting younger, and young ice is not a good thing. In 1988, ice that was at least 4 years old accounted 26 percent of the Arctic’s sea ice. By 2013, ice that age was only 7 percent of all Arctic sea ice.
The vanishing act is occurring because climate change is helping warm the ocean waters in parts of the Arctic. Those warmer temperatures are whittling away at older sea ice during the summer melt season.
Replacing this thicker, harder old ice with young ice, which is generally thinner and melts more easily, is also contributing to the steep decline in summer sea ice extent and could trigger a feedback loop. That’s because less ice means more dark ocean water is exposed to the sun, which absorbs more of the incoming sunlight than white ice. That means warmer waters, which could in turn mean even less old ice and ice cover with each passing year.
Droughts appear to be intensifying over much of the West and Southwest as a result of global warming. Over the past decade, droughts in some regions have rivaled the epic dry spells of the 1930s and 1950s. About 37 percent of the contiguous United States was in at least a moderate drought as of March 31, 2015. Things have been particularly bad in California, which has just imposed its first mandatory water restrictions, the latest in a series of drastic measures to reduce water consumption. California farmers, without water from reservoirs in the Central Valley, are left to choose which of their crops to water. Parts of Texas, Oklahoma and surrounding states are also suffering from drought conditions. The relationship between the climate and droughts is complicated. Parts of the country are becoming wetter: East of the Mississippi, rainfall has been rising. But global warming also appears to be causing moisture to evaporate faster in places that were already dry. Researchers believe drought conditions in these places are likely to intensify in coming years. There has been little relief for some places since the summer of 2012. At the recent peak last May, about 40 percent of the country was abnormally dry or in at least a moderate drought. The patterns above come from the Drought Monitor, which has data going back to 2000. A different measure, the Palmer Index, goes back more than a hundred years. It does lag the Drought Monitor data by more than a month, so it’s less useful for measuring what’s happening right now. But the Palmer Index shows how unusual the current period is. A 10-year average of Palmer values has been increasing for most of the last 20 years, which is to say that the country is in the midst of one of its most sustained periods of increasing drought on record.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Tired of renting and of roommates, this Vancouver woman decided to get a relatively spacious tiny home custom-built instead.
Faced with this dilemma, Mori got a tiny home builder, John McFarlane of Camera Buildings, to build her a custom-designed tiny house. Mori spent about CAD $39,000 (USD $30,995) to create a home that is well-lit, and packed with lots of transformer furniture for her and her two cats. A sense of financial security -- without having to shell out a fortune for a condo -- was her top priority, as Mori told The Province:
Basically, I was looking for some kind of housing security in Vancouver — which we all know is hard to find — and also not having a lot of money to go out and buy something. I was having to seriously think about looking at what’s going to happen to me.
It's one of the better designed tiny homes we've seen: the elongated layout, with the galley kitchen to one side, and the full wall of slatted windows to the other side, makes it feel much more spacious. The home has two levels, with the entry, closet and kitchen on the lower level, and up a couple of steps is the mezzanine, which has a lovely workspace, another closet and a 6-foot by 27-inch washroom with shower and composting toilet (the kitty litter box is in here too, with kitty poo smells vented out with the help of a computer fan).
One of the best parts of the design is the awesome pull-out bed, which is hidden under the mezzanine level. It solves that head-conking problem with conventional tiny home gabled roofs, with the exposed steps also serving as extra storage.
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