Tag Archives: Environmentalism

No Impact Man: The Documentary. Abandoning Consumption, this NY Family Lives a Year Without Harming the Environment

“What if we called it the year I lost 20 pounds without going to the gym once?  Or the year we didn’t watch TV and became much better parents as a result?  Or the year we ate locally and seasonally and it ended up reversing my wife’s pre-diabetic condition?”  -Colin Beavan, the No Impact Man

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No Impact Man came out in 2009.  It’s a fascinating, multifaceted story.  Simply put, a man goes on a mission to see what it’s like to live a whole year without any negative impact on the environment.  In the middle of New York City, Colin Beavan experiments with a zero carbon footprint lifestyle, stringing along his wife and young daughter.  They give up driving, eating out, toilet paper, Pampers, coffee, plastic anything, etc.  As a family, they struggle and they fight, but they are ultimately brought closer together.  I finally got to watch No Impact Man last night (it streams on Netflix, fyi).

The root of No Impact Man is the journey of a family that tries to live a zero-impact lifestyle in our consumer world.  They give up air travel and driving, they compost and practice zero waste, they only eat local food grown within 250 miles, and they live without electricity for six months (minus one solar panel that power’s Beavan’s laptop).  But the conflicts behind No Impact Man run much deeper then a green lifestyle Continue reading

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We Can’t Let Tar Sands Destroy Our Land and Drinking Water

As we move into an era where peak oil production is behind us, we need to focus our efforts on developing new energy resources.  We can’t afford to stand by and allow dirtier, more expensive, and less efficient tar sand oil become the energy that drives our nation.  What is tar sand oil?

[RewindHow Climate Change is Fueling the Need to End Our Fossil Fuel Addiction]

Tar sand oil is harvested in Alberta, Canada.  Thousands of acres of pristine, ancient forest are clear cut (see picture below) so refineries have access to the soil.  The soil, called tar sand, contains a small amount of oil that can be harvested through chemical processes.  Comparing input energy (the energy required to set up refineries, transport crews and supplies, and power the chemical reactions) versus the energy yield, tar sand oil production is one of the least efficient methods of harvesting oil.  In fact, oil companies have only started harvesting tar sands quite recently, as we run out of options to satiate our oil addiction.

Tar Sand Oil Production: Before and After

In production, tar sand oil is inefficient; in transportation, it is very dangerous.   Continue reading

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Leaving a PhD Program: Part 2 – Pursuing the American Dream

It’s been a little over a month since I’ve left neuroscience graduate school to pursue a new career.  My journey is currently facing the double edge sword brought about by change.  Early on, I quickly realized that with avid support comes great cynicism.  Handshakes and hugs are equaled by looks of misunderstanding and intimidation, and admiration is met with jealousy.  And yet every morning I face the world with a smile, my head held high as I keep on truckin’, because after all, America assures us that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” -Bobby Kennedy

My biography is about as unorthodox as the trail that I’m currently blazing.  Born in Moscow (Russia), my family and I moved to Munich (Germany) at the age of 4.  I spent my golden years of childhood there, years that pass too quickly we can all agree.  Before my 10th birthday I was back in a foreign land, finding myself outcast, deaf and mute to my English speaking surroundings – welcome to America! Continue reading

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Upcycling: Making Art, Furniture, and Everyday Objects Out of Trash

As I perused the eco friendly informational display booths of organizations such as the Appalachian Mountain Club and Mass Energy at Earth Night 2010 in Boston, a vibrant object in the corner of the room caught my eye.  As I looked closer, I realized it was a stool, full of vividly interspersed color that resembled modern art more than a piece of furniture.  I was immediately drawn to the object and decided to admire it up close.  I quickly realized this was no ordinary stool, but a stool made out of old magazines.

 

Cameron's ReVision Stool

 

Luckily, the artist that designed this piece, Cameron, caught me ogling and came up to talk to me.  He explained that the stools are constructed from old rolled up magazines that are held together by rubber bands and fit into a square resin mold.  The stool stands on legs made of steel rods that are also adorned with magazines, providing not only style but extra support.  Cameron is a sculptor for an organization called Artists for Humanity (AFH).  Founded in 1990, AFH was created to provide Continue reading

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Filed under Greener Lifestyle - Hobbies

IGORoamandreport: A Personal Quest to Make a Difference

Lindsay Clark, a rising star in the world of travel writing and founder of nomadderwhere.com, gets the inside story about my life-changing adventures, my application for The Best Internship on Earth, and my decision to leave the stability of graduate school to pursue a lofty, uncertain dream.  A personal friend and mentor, Ms. Clark will undoubtedly take over for Anthony Bourdain on the Travel Channel one day, so this is an interview you don’t want to miss!

Check it out here.

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Leaving a PhD program: Part 1 – Are you crazy???

On March 19th, 2010, I finally parted ways with the world of science and academia.  After 8 months of doubt, deliberation, and debilitation, the chains of an unpleasant and unhappy future were broken.  For the first time, I find myself in the great unknown, but my dreams are in sight.  I hope my story inspires lost souls to look up at the stars and believe it’s possible to pursue their passion.

Flash back to spring 2009.  I am 21 years old, about to graduate college, and I’m looking ahead at the fork in the road of my life.  Where to go?  What to do?  At the time, attending graduate school in neuroscience made perfect sense.  I was graduating from Indiana University with a degree in psychology and a certificate in neuroscience. I worked in a cocaine addiction lab at IU, and I also interned in the pharmaceutical industry at Eli Lilly.  I had the experience.  On top of that, graduate programs in medical sciences typically pay PhD candidates to go to school.  It’s a great deal; they pay full tuition, offer a healthy stipend, and provide free health insurance.  Lastly, and maybe most importantly, I needed financial stability because my girlfriend and I decided that we would remain together as we moved to a new place.

I never did much soul searching in college.  Maybe the social life of a Big 10 school kept me distracted from figuring myself out, maybe I wasn’t far enough away from home Continue reading

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