Make Your Own PLANETEER T-SHIRT!

On April 15, 2013, in Lifestyle, by Kyle

What’s up, Planeteers? Have you seen all the awesome pictures of Planeteers wearing the classic ‘Globe T-Shirt’ on (shameless plug) planeteermovement.org, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube? Like the ones in this video? What’s that, you wish you had your own? Well, your wish is our command!
Now Presenting: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CREATING YOUR OWN PLANETEER SHIRT!!!

Creating your own Planeteer shirt is a super-easy DIY way to show off your Planeteer Pride and rep your favorite eco-superhero! First, let’s round up our supplies. There are multiple ways to make a shirt, so we’ll list the most important materials first:

You can be one too!

    YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED:

  • A blank T-shirt or Tank Top
  • A flat surface
  • Cardboard or a shoebox lid
  • A 6″ circular plastic lid (or a paper-size hard plastic sheet)
  • A Planeteer – To wear the shirt, duh!
    Once you’ve got that stuff, there’s a few different ways to go about making the actual design. For lighter colored T’s, we suggest using fabric markers from an arts and crafts store. For darker T’s, you might want to try fabric paint. You’ll need paintbrushes if you’re using paint. You’ll need black and green – we suggest neon green for darker shirts so that it will pop!1. First off, take the cardboard and put it inside your shirt. This will give you a nice flat canvas to work on. You might have to cut it to size.

    2. Then, take your plastic lid and place it on the chest of the shirt. For T’s, you might want to go 4-5 inches below the neckline. For Tanks, you’ll want to go right up to the neckline.

    3. If you didn’t have a plastic lid, but do have a piece of plastic (like a divider, or a folder), you can trace a bowl with about a 6″ diameter and cut the circle out, then you can use the inside of the stencil. You’ll need scissors for that.

    4. Make sure your shirt is face-up! If you’re using the cutout stencil, move on to step 5. If you’re using the lid, ready your paint or marker, and draw or paint a black circle around the edge of the lid. It should be about 3/4 of an inch thick.

    5. Fill in the circle with green paint or marker. Go on, fill’er up! You might want to take a break and let it dry if you need to do a second coat.

    6. If you’ve already painted your black circle, move on to step 7, if you used the cutout stencil, paint a black ring around the edge of your green circle. It should be about 3/4 of an inch thick.

    7. Mark the inner North, South, East, and West points of the black ring with a little black paint. These will be guidelines for step 8.

    8. Connect East to West and North to South. Be careful! These lines should be as straight as possible.

    Step 4

    Ring it!

    Fill it!

    Axis it!

    Globe it!

    9. It gets a little tricky here. Draw four slightly curved lines between the axes and the edge. They should be just shy of straight, and curve inwards (towards the axis). The goal here is to give the globe that 3-D feel. Use those geometry skills and this Globe Template to help!

    10. Let it dry, and voila! Mama Gaia herself would be proud. Send us a picture of yourself wearing it to mail@planeteermovement.org – Planeteers who have made their own shirts have been featured on www.CaptainPlanet.me, our 415,000 Facebook Page, and in official Captain Planet videos! That’s an easy jump start on your 15 minutes of fame!

    Another idea would be to download our Planeteer Globe template, get some iron-on paper, and follow the instructions on the packaging. Do you have your own ideas about how to make a Planeteer shirt? Let us know in the comments!

    Til next time, The Power Is Yours!

 

OMG: Doing Our Part Both Locally and Beyond

On November 18, 2012, in Environment, by Captain Planet

The following is written by Jim Ries, father of One More Generation (OMG) founders Carter and Olivia Ries.  Visit OMG online >

Ever since we were down in the Gulf during the BP oil spill where we first learned about Plastic Pollution, OMG founders Olivia and Carter have been doing everything they can to share their knowledge on the issue of plastic pollution while trying to encourage others to get involved.  The first thing they did was to form a coalition of like-minded organizations who are equally as passionate about seeking a solution.  Our Plastic Awareness Coalition currently boasts over 70 local, national and even international members and the list keeps growing.

The next thing the kids did was to seek-out educators who could help them create a curriculum program that could be brought into elementary schools across the country.  We successfully launched our Plastic and Recycling Awareness Week program last year and as the word gets out, we continually get schools from across the country that are interested in implementing the program for their students.

Write your own letter for the Rhino Conservation project and submit it on OMG’s site!

Beyond finding ways to reach out to help deliver educational programs to communities, OMG founders also realize the need for each and every one of us to get involved and that needs to start on a local level.  OMG regularly participates in local community clean-up events.  We realize that the first step to affecting change is by doing and Carter and Olivia are not shy about it.  They love to get out into the community and join with others who also care about cleaning up our environment.

There is so much plastic trash in our landfills, waterways and oceans that it can never be removed.  Plastic does not biodegrade so it is going to be here for hundreds of years.  The only way any of us is ever going to make a difference for future generations is to get out there and start cleaning up the mess we created.Everyone needs to realize that not all plastic types are considered recyclable by most community recycling programs so we can make a concerted effort to avoid even bringing such items as Styrofoam into our homes.  That is the first step towards change.  The next thing we all need to do is to reduce our plastic output.

We’ve got a lot of work to do – Reduce, reuse, and recycle!

Simple things like no longer buying or using plastic water bottles or single use shopping bags will have an immediate positive impact on our community.  The third step is to commit your self to trying to recycle 100% of all the trash we generate.  Recycling is a great way to cut the amount of plastic trash that ends up in the environment.  And finally, we all need to make an effort to educate others on the issue and to help everyone realize that we created the problem and only we can fix it.  No one is exempt from this simple responsibility and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we will see change.We hope that you agree with some if not all of our comments and that you too will soon join us during the next community event.  Together, we can fix this problem but it is going to take all of us to do it together.

Thanks for caring from all of us at OMG ;-)

Hope Islands?

On October 28, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Carmen

The notion that islands can be self sufficient has been around for quite a while.  In 1990, a Danish island, Samsø, which has about 43,000 inhabitants, invested heavily in solar and wind technology.  Now, not only is the island completely self sufficient, but also exports power to the mainland, which has greatly benefited the economy.  It brings in about $7.3 million dollars of revenue a year.  This has sparked a movement of other islands aiming to be self sufficient.  Many are investing in renewable self sufficiency projects.  This is very good for all islands, but especially for those far away from the mainland.  Islands usually have to rely on shipments of oil for electricity, which can be polluting in more ways than one.

 

Inspired by this, The Isle of Wight, probably best known for its pop music festivals, will hopefully be known as England’s first Eco Island.  Ecoisland is an effort to turn the Isle of Wight into a test bed for green technology in the hopes of making the Isle of Wight a self sufficient oasis of renewable energy by 2020.  The project already has at least 70 major corporate partners who are eager to test some of their environmental innovations to a real world test.

 

The idea to Ecoisland was inspired by people who live on boats around the island and sometimes have to be self sustainable for weeks at a time.  The project encourages sustainable food and water initiatives, but the major thrust is to generate 60.5 megawatts of energy using solar, tidal, wind, and other renewable energy sources.  The Isle of Wight is sufficiently close to the mainland that it can draw most of the power it needs from the mainland.  There is also a natural gas fired back up plant, which is being decommissioned.  The largest share of clean power is to be solar powered, which will be installed in homes and businesses.  Also in the works is tidal power.  Tidal power is still in its infancy compared to other renewables, but islands are promising territory.

 

With 65,000 houses, Eco Island expects to have 90% of them using renewable energy.  As an incentive for customers are lower bills, and the project will also cut energy costs in half.

 

New Lake in Greenland

On October 25, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Carmen

 

Everyone knows that ‘Greenland’ is a misnomer.  There’s not really much green in Greenland, as about 84% of Greenland is covered in ice, and just about all the land is permafrost.  Greenland was named by Eric the Red when he was exiled from Iceland.  He named the land to where he was exiled Greenland in the hopes that it would attract more settlers.  Or maybe he named it because he was predicting a not too bright future.  In the not so far off future, Greenland might be the proper name.  I’m not talking about plate tectonics that might move the continent south, but about climate change.

 

Close to the coast of Greenland, one of the world’s northernmost lakes, Kaffeklubben, has come back to life.  Being situated at such a northern latitude, it has been frozen for over 2,000 years.  However, thanks to global warming, the ice is beginning to thaw and populations of diatoms, which are small, microscopic algae, have been discovered.  These diatoms were once common in Kaffekluben, but have been absent for almost 2,400 years, when they were killed off due to the thick ice, which kept light from penetrating the lake.  With the melting of the ice, which was once 34 feet thick, that allows light to go through the ice and for the algae to grow.

 

Only in 1920, Kaffeklubben was still completely frozen.  Now, since 1960/1970, there has been a growth in the diatom population, due to the warmer summer temperatures.  Although the summer temperatures don’t rise more than a few degrees Celsius every few summers, in Greenland, this makes a lot of difference.

 

A large study was done to determine if this diatom algal bloom was caused by nitrogen pollution, but there was no evidence of excess nitrogen.  Therefore, there is a very strong argument that the increase in diatoms is due to climate change.  Right now, the current diatom population Kaffekluben is the highest in recent memory.

 

Storage of Nuclear Waste

On October 17, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Carmen

Not too long ago, an article on the front page of the West Valley View was given announcing that the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station has set a new record, with unit 2 being operational for 518 consecutive days.  It might be a record, but they forgot to mention how much nuclear waste came from that ‘clean, reliable, and low cost energy’, where it’s stored, and most importantly, if it’s stored safely.  For being low cost, paying for the storage of nuclear waste comes from part of your electric bill(about one percent), if you live in a city/province where energy is produced from nuclear power.  1% might not be too much, but that would only be in terms of money, because nuclear power costs much more in other ways.

 Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station Unit 2

 

The chances are that the nuclear waste is probably still at Palo Verde.  Since in 2009, it was announced that the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository will not be considered the answer to the problem of nuclear waste, there is currently no plan for disposing nuclear waste, and nuclear power plants are required to keep it on the premises indefinitely.  This means it might not be too far away from your house or work in case of an earthquake, tsunami, accident, or an unforeseen event.

Other ways in which nuclear waste is dealt with includes dry cask storage, geological disposal, and space disposal.  Dry cask storage consists of cooling the spent nuclear fuel, and putting it in containers which are bolted shut.  These containers, in turn, are then put in another container which acts as a radiation shield.  These are then stored above ground.  Geological disposal is when an appropriate spot is chosen and then making a structure like a mine to store the nuclear waste below the ground.  Other geological disposal possibilities would include digging such tunnels into the ocean floor, where the nuclear waste would eventually leak down into the Earth’s interior, where it would be unable to do harm.  Space disposal would basically be shipping nuclear waste out into space.  It’s a good idea in that it will remove nuclear waste permanently, but impractical.  It would be very expensive, for one.  A lot of rockets would be needed.  There is also the possibility of an accident or failure, which could spread radioactive material into the atmosphere and the entire world.

 

Gas Prices Hit All Time High

On October 14, 2012, in Environment, Lifestyle, by Carmen

On Sunday October 6th, people awoke to an unpleasant surprise in some parts of California.  Gas prices hit $5 overnight.  Some gas stations were forced to shut down because of fuel shortages.  Refined petroleum supplies are very low around the West Coast.  Although people have been assured that gas prices will fall again in a few weeks, will they?  Gasoline prices are dependent on the price of crude oil, and gas prices have become a political issue.

Gas prices have a huge effect on people’s daily lives, especially in automobile dependent cities where other transportation options are low.  The most immediate thing people can do is reduce their use of gas by driving less.  But this would only be a temporary solution.  We need to find long term solutions, such as using alternative fuel vehicles, better public transportation and new urbanism.  Of course, the switch would not happen overnight.  It would take a lot of time and effort on peoples’ part.  Cars have become such a part of daily life, that people might find it impossible to live without a car.  That’s one reason why a gas boycott would be extremely difficult to carry out.  A gas boycott would also serve to increase gas prices rather than decreasing them.  One way to lower gas prices would be to reduce the demand for oil.  That might even lead to reduce the demand for oil to zero.

Although they’ve hit an all time high in California, high gas prices or rationing is not such a new thing.  During WWII, gas was rationed, and people only had so much.  In Copenhagen, Denmark, the response to this, cycling became the most dominant form of transportation.  Copenhagen is one of many examples of how cities can indeed be more environmentally friendly without affecting the economy in a negative way.

Time to start thinking about alternatives.

The car has become a status symbol and the use of the car is deeply ingraned in many cultures.  Reversing this will take time and it will require a sustained information and awareness campaign to open people’s hearts and minds to the possibility of change’-a quote from advocates for the In Town Without My Car! celebration which culminates European Mobility Week.  Perhaps it’s time to start thinking about Doing the Right Mix in North America as well as Europe.

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Endangered Cacti in Arizona

On October 11, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Carmen

When thinking of the desert, most people think of it as barren.  It certainly seems that way especially in the middle of a hot, summer day.  However, the desert is just as full of diverse life as any other habitat on Earth.  Surviving in the desert is not easy for even the toughest and most resilient xerophytes.  The droughts, soil chemistry, and extreme temperatures make it hard enough.  However, desert flora have been facing other challenges that are much more difficult to overcome than droughts and three digit degree summer weather.  Despite the fact that they have survived in the harsh environment of the Sonoran desert for millions of years or more, in only these last couple of decades, certain desert plants have made it under the Endangered Species list, and there are still others who have not yet been listed under Endangered, but are candidates.

The challenges these plants are facing include habitat loss, trampling or damage from livestock, off road vehicles, illegal collection and smuggling, and road development.  Many desert plants are unable to survive in any other habitat.  Although not endangered yet, the saguaro cactus, for example, is endemic to the Sonoran desert.  It is found in no other desert in the world.  Other cacti endemic to the Sonoran desert are the Fickeisen plains cactus and the acuña cactus, which are both candidates to being an endangered species.  Two that are already endangered are Nichol Turk’s Head cactus, and Pima Pineapple cactus.

 Although they have spines, Fieckesen plains cacti can easily be crushed by hooves.

The acuña cactus was actually once found in the Arizona counties of Pima, Pinal, and parts of Maricopa as well as in Sonora, Mexico.  However, now there are only four known populations.  It is protected by the Arizona Native Plant law and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).  Apart from habitat loss, it is also threatened by illegal trade.

The Nichol Turks Head Cactus has been listed as endangered since 1976, and is also protected by CITES and the Arizona Native Plant law.  Apart from off road vehicles, it is also threatened by mining and collecting.

The Fickeisen plains cactus is limited to Kaibab limestone.  This presents a major problem as it might not grow in other soils.  Kaibab limestone is a geological formation which exists in the southwestern United States.  I’m not sure how similar other types of limestone are to Kaibab, but it’s probably possible that the Fickeisen might not grow in it.

 Kaibab Limestone     A fossil in the Kaibab limestone

 

A Helpful Reminder

On October 10, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Carmen
Autumn is finally here.  What that means is freedom from the indoors and the constant ‘cfc hum’.  Now that the weather is finally out of the three digits, one can now forget about the high summer energy bills, but not quite.  Now is probably the best time to get your ac tuned up.  Including the one in your car.
Like everything, the air conditioning units have parts which need to be replaced so that it works at maximum efficiency.  Not only checking to see if any parts need to be replaced, but also to check for any leaks, whether it’s leaking the cool air or refrigerant.  And, of course, make sure you dispose of the different parts, especially the refrigerant, properly.
Something else would be to have the vents cleaned, especially if you have pets indoors.  It’s amazing all the dust(and pet hair)that can make it into and gather up in those vents.  By keeping them clean, it assures that the cool air makes it all the way into the room, where you want it, and not get trapped in the vents.
It’s also a good idea to check the insulation in your attic.  The temperature in the attic can make a lot of difference.  Usually, when the attic is not ventilated well, it can raise the temperature in your home up to about ten degrees.
With it being only autumn, it probably does seem a bit early to start getting ready for the next summer, but I personally think that it’s never too early to prepare for the next summer.  Of course, what would be most ideal would be not to have to use it all, but at least here in Phoenix, AZ in those 110-115 degree summers, there’s sometimes just no getting out of it during the summer months.  So you want to try to use it as little as you can, and keep it in good working order so that it cools better.
 

Lions saved from Poisoning

On October 8, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Carmen

For a long time, habitat loss and poaching is not the only threats lions and other animals face.  There is also villages where they sometimes attack livestock.  This has led to problems with the people living there.

The Warriors for Wildlife is a group dedicated to helping coexistance between lions and people.  These are young people trained by the African People and Wildlife Fund.  One of the things they do is to help prevent lion killings or poisonings by helping protect the lions’ wild prey and their habitat, as well as helping build enclosures to keep livestock safe as well as keeping lions out.

Some time ago, they came across a cow carcass.  The vultures which had been feeding on it were also found dead nearby.  Upon closer inspection, they saw evidence of Furadan which is a chemical used to poison lions and other carnivores.  The cow had been killed by lions and this was put on the carcass in the hopes that the lions would come and feed again.

The carcass was burned to prevent any further poisoning of lions or any other animals.  Livestock-predator conflicts are a major problem in some parts of the world.  Livestock is some peoples’ livelihood, and the attacks by predators can cause huge losses.  Many people such as the African People and Wildlife Fund are working to help protect both the lions and livestock.

 

 

FanPlastic Girl: Giving New Life to Old Plastic

On October 8, 2012, in Environment, Lifestyle, by FanPlasticGirl

“When your bottle of Cheer has done its last cheering, no need to fear – I’ll make you some earrings!“

Hey Planeteers! When I was offered the opportunity to contribute to this blog, I’m not going to lie, I was pretty stoked.  I’m quite sure I spent much of my childhood chasing other kids around with my Ring Pop yelling “WATER” and “WIND” in their faces… So, who am I? Well, I’m the owner of FanPlastic Girl Gear; a little business I started a couple years ago on a mission to provide planet friendly alternatives to wearable accessories.

I make jewelry out of all the plastic disposables that you would normally put outside on the curb on garbage day. Why? Well, anything plastic is here…basically forever. And, I believe that if everyone took responsibility for just ONE piece; that would make about seven billion less pieces of plastic floating in our oceans!  So, instead of carrying it, or storing it, why not wear it?

How? First, I soap up! I wash all my recyclables very well before doing anything else.  I have a basement full of donated plastic containers and beach combed items….and who knows where they have been! So, to the tub with them!

Next, I cut the plastics into large chunks and dry them thoroughly. And, yes I have cut myself many times, let me tell you – tin snips cut more than tin. So, DO NOT try this at home. I have serious safety equipment and years of practice, and am still a hazard to myself!

I used to hope that Edward Scissorhands would show up at my door and help me out with the total destruction of my pieces, but I got some equipment instead. (For the record, Johnnie Depp, if you’re reading this… You’re still more than welcome on my doorstep.)

After that, I process;  Depending on the style I’m fabricating, I am either left with smooth perfect shapes, OR very rough cuts that I have to polish out and heat seal later – where I will undoubtedly burn myself several times, jumping up and down and whining in the process.


Once I’ve finished the polishing, I grab some shiny hardware and assemble the collection: CD Earrings, Peanut Butter Jar Lid Head Pieces, Laundry Bottle Necklaces  Every item gets its own “tree-free” paper display card that is made from scraps from cotton mills and dead plant fibers. When I see the final products like this, I smile.  What is it they say? “Blood, sweat, and tears”‘ check, check, and yep, check. Let me tell you, Captain Planet is blue for a reason!


I’ve recently teamed up with an amazingly talented artist by the name of David Ayala, to create a comic strip called Ocean’s Entourage. Based on the teensy bit over exaggerated tales of FanPlastic Girl and her mean, green eco-friends, Raina The Halifax Mermaid and Sola. All based on real people and our real work (ok…we can’t REALLY fly, or lift tons of weight… but I think you will get it)!  This strip will be available monthly starting in the end of October.

I LOVE what I do. And, I love getting to share it with all of you!  So, I would like to take this opportunity to extend an invite to all the planeteers out there to join me on Facebook and Twitter.

And, know this, you don’t have to change EVERYTHING to make a difference. Doing just ONE thing helps. After all, it all happens by your powers combined…. ;)

 Find FanPlastic Girl on Facebook and twitter!

Visit her store!