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TRVST | Act for Change & Social Impact

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  • Ben Hart
  • August 08, 2019 04:20:01 PM
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We connect people passionate about social impact championing changemakers, their projects, stories & empowering actions for social change purpose and the sustainable development goals. Our content inspires actions for good covering climate change, plastic waste, mindfulness and social responsibility across the board.

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How Does Renewable Energy Reduce Climate Change?

There are many contributors to the dawning epidemic of climate change. But studies show that our use of non-renewable energy sources is the major culprit. So how does renewable energy reduce climate change? First, we take a look at the climate impact of non-renewable energy.  Read more How Does Renewable Energy Reduce Climate Change? › The post How Does Renewable Energy Reduce Climate Change? appeared first on...

There are many contributors to the dawning epidemic of climate change. But studies show that our use of non-renewable energy sources is the major culprit. So how does renewable energy reduce climate change? First, we take a look at the climate impact of non-renewable energy. 

Non-Renewable Energy and Climate Impact 

Non-renewable energy is derived from what we know as fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are natural energy sources which include coal, natural gas, petroleum, bitumen, and shale oil. Drilling contractors retrieve these energy sources from below ground level. Following extraction energy companies refine the raw materials into fuel. From the moment we extract fossil fuels to the final consumption stage, these energy sources pose a number of climate risks.  Here are some of these risks. 

Oil spills and drilling accidents 

The technology for oil drilling has improved, but spills and accidents are still frequent. Drilling contractors extract crude oil from the ground. Crude is only found in underground reservoirs (usually in water bodies). Energy companies then use this oil to make fuel and petroleum products. 

The problem starts with exploration. To determine how much oil is in a place, surveyors use explosives. These explosives have an impact on the animals living within that area, both on land and water. The explosions can kill marine life. They can ruin their hearing, and affect the migration pattern of fish. 

Once the extraction begins through drilling, another set of problems come to light. Experts consider drilling the most harmful stage. Continuous drilling results in more accidents. And thus we experience increased likelihood of negative impacts. When accidents or spills occur pollution leaks into our environment. 

The two major substances are hydrocarbons (which cause water toxicity) and drilling fluids (which contain metals). Even small leaks result in these materials collecting on the seafloor. They smother organisms and cause malformation in their structures. Pollution kills embryos, and can even kill fully developed fish. 

Spilt waste doesn’t only impact aquatic animals. Water in such regions may become too toxic for people to use safely for leisure activities. Fishing industries may lose their sources of income. In less developed countries where people live on the water, they may also lose their homes.  

High waste generation

Oil rigs generate toxic waste at an alarming speed. Their drilling fluids (or muds) can contain arsenic, zinc, benzene, iron, mercury, barium, chromium, and other metal substances. 

They also generate a lot of other waste which they move to land. As a result, oil rigs also contribute to land pollution. Some of these waste products include crushed rocks and discarded mechanical parts from machinery. 

In cases of land mining, such as coal mining, a lot of similar problems are also present. First of all, coal mining destroys the surrounding habitat for animals, plants, and other organisms. Similarly, it also produces a lot of waste, with disposal options being land or water bodies. This pollution interferes with animal lives and the quality of the environment. 

Greenhouse emissions and air pollution 

We release greenhouse emissions whenever we use fossil fuel products. Greenhouse gases are good, in the right amount. They are responsible for keeping the earth habitable. They keep our atmosphere at the right level to regulate heat and protect us from UV radiation. Some of these greenhouse gases are CO2, methane, water vapour, nitrous oxide and more. 

However, the process of refining and consuming fossil fuel also produces greenhouse gases. And too much greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is not a good thing. These gases trap more heat than necessary, warming the surface of the earth beyond its regular temperatures. This effect is what we know as global warming. 

Whenever we use non-renewable sources for our electricity and transportation, we contribute additional greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Albeit in a relatively small way with each commute or spin of the tumble dryer, it all adds up. As such the widely-spread form of non-renewable energy pollution is greenhouse gas emission. Furthermore, researches have found concentrated pollution levels in places close to mining or drilling sites. 

The amount of human-generated gas in our atmosphere is increasing at an alarming rate. This isn’t an issue that can be fixed easily. Data shows that greenhouse emissions are steadily climbing, with no hope of reduction soon. These gases will remain in our atmosphere for a long time. For example, 20% of our CO2 will remain for tens of thousands of years. The only solution is to reduce the amount of these greenhouse gases and move as fast as we can to emission-less energy production.

Renewable Energy to Reduce Climate Change

Electric Car Renewable Energy Reducing Climate Change
Image Credit: Mike Bird from Pexels

All over the world, renewable sources are being explored for energy. Today, we currently see them as alternative options. However, the future goal is to shift completely to clean energy sources in order to realise the many advantages of renewable energy. Current progress and projections already show that by 2050, 50% of the world’s energy will come from renewable energy.  

But why is the shift to renewable energy so important? And how does renewable energy reduce climate change?

Renewable energy sources are important because they are clean. They avoid burning polluting dirty fossil fuels. This is energy derived from natural resources which cannot be depleted over time and can be replenished within a short period. Some of the widely used renewable energy sources include solar power, wind energy, hydropower, biomass, geothermal, and waste conversion. Different Types of Renewable Energy gives an in-depth explanation of how energy can be harvested from these sources. 

Switching away from fossil fuels

To reduce the progress of climate change, we should all work towards switching from non-renewable sources to renewable power sources. This is because the harmful processes and emissions that come with the former, have little to no presence with the latter. 

Let’s take a look at some of the renewable sources available and their potential impact on the climate. 

These sources don’t have the impact that non-renewable sources have on the environment. Gas emissions (such as CO2 and methane) are low, or non-existent in some cases. The structure of the earth does not have to be compromised through drilling or blasting. Generating energy from these renewable energy sources doesn’t require a constant release of metal and toxins into our water bodies. 

Here are some of the potential climate impacts and benefits of renewable energy we expect as more communities switch to large scale renewable energy production and consumption. 

How Renewable Energy Reduces Climate Change

Wind Turbines Renewable Energy
Image Credit: Narcisa Aciko from Pexels

Cleaner atmosphere

The burning of fossil fuels is responsible for the increased greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. As explained earlier, these gases contribute (largely) to what we know as global warming. As energy production shifts to renewable sources, we expect that there will be a reduction in such gas emissions. Fewer emissions mean less pollution in our atmosphere.  

Better air quality

Refineries expose plants, animals, people, and organisms living within close proximity to poor air quality. They receive a concentration of harmful gases which could affect their health and development. 

Air pollution affects urban dwellers significantly too. The daily commutes with thousands of cars on the same roads at the same time can be threatening. This is because most vehicles are burning non-renewable fuels, and these fuels release gases which pollute the air that we inhale.

Many non-renewable sources also require the felling of trees. For example, if coal is found in an area, miners will cut down all the trees within proximity to access the resources underground. Unfortunately, with the removal of each tree, we reduce the absorption of CO2 that they provide. Of course, trees also help to provide oxygen which humans and animals need to live. 

With renewable energy, we no longer have to cut trees down to access fossil resources. We can plant new trees in deforested areas. As a result air quality in any area with more trees improves.

Improved public health

Many communities where solid fuels (such as coal or crude oil) are found usually become at risk of poor public health. This is because the harvesting and burning processes pose occupational hazards, waterbody contamination, and air pollution. 

The production of non-renewable energy does not pose the same risks.

Some of these sources do in fact produce some amount of waste. However, having better controls in place limit the impacts. For example, the amount of CO2 released while burning a tree for biomass is around the same amount which that tree captured in its lifetime. This can make biomass carbon-neutral (zero impact). 

Protection of natural habitats

Fuel extraction processes have an impact on natural habitats. Human activity drives out animals and can disturb the migration patterns of fish.

This contributes to the extinction rates of animals that can only survive in their natural habitats. 

Renewable energy production is a lot more responsible. As a result, contractors pay better attention to their energy plant locations. They also consider the potential impact on the animals who live there. In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency carefully assesses land use for renewable energy development potential. 

In the U.K., with offshore wind, approval from the government must be received. The government will verify that the intended area is not an exclusion zone: nature reserve, shipping lane, lighthouse cone, exploration area, or possible site for finding archaeological remains. Several of such policies are active in various regions of the world. 

Conclusion

The switch to renewable energy is just one contributing element towards a solution for climate change. But it’s a big one. Of course, the adverse impacts of climate change are not linear. They affect plants, animals, humans, and other organisms alike. To make a change, we can start by redirecting our energy needs to more sustainable sources. Read Renewable Energy Tips to Help Transition to Cleaner Energy to get started.

timJ

Further Reading:

Different Types of Renewable Energy

Advantages of Renewable Energy

Advantages and Disadvantages of Wind Energy

How Green is Green Energy?

Companies that Use Renewable Energy

Sources & References:

The post How Does Renewable Energy Reduce Climate Change? appeared first on TRVST.


17 Interesting Renewable Energy Sculptures

As climate change concerns continue to rise, we need to increase the uptake of renewable energy to help reduce the use of polluting fossil fuels. Art and creativity can work with renewable energy too and creative types are using innovation to contribute in their own way. Art is known as one of the oldest methods of gaining public interest. So these artists use renewable energy sculptures to create messages for the public. And generate clean, green renewable energy. Read more 17 Interesting...

As climate change concerns continue to rise, we need to increase the uptake of renewable energy to help reduce the use of polluting fossil fuels. Art and creativity can work with renewable energy too and creative types are using innovation to contribute in their own way. Of course, art is known as one of the oldest methods of gaining public interest. Each of the artists we’ve featured have used renewable energy sculptures to highlight the possibilities of renewable energy. 

There are many different types of renewable energy sources available. However, the statistics on our global use of renewable energy highlights that we still have a way to go. In fact, 80% of the energy we use today is still non-renewable. Therefore every step to help make renewable energy more accessible has to be a good thing. Only by gaining momentum and increasing awareness can we move faster to realise the advantages of renewable energy.

As such, there is much interest around renewable energy and its applications. However, for the most part, the design of renewable energy is often less than inspiring. Think black slabs of solar roofing and white wind turbines dotting the landscape. 

Therefore through creativity and sculpture, the artists below have all played a part in raising the bar. After all the idea of moving beyond bland slabs of black solar roofing has appeal well beyond the functional win. Through their ideas and creativity, they’ve created renewable energy sculptures that provide talking points and intrigue.

Below we highlight and celebrate some of the renewable energy sculptures that have caught our attention and interest.

(in no particular order).

17 Interesting Renewable Energy Sculptures

1. Ross Lovegrove’s Solar Tree

Ross Lovegrove Solar Tree
Image Credit: Ross Lovegrove

Former Apple and Sony designer, Ross Lovegrove, modelled this sculpture. He created it for the Museum for Angewandte Kunst (MAK) in Vienna. The solar tree provided street lighting powered entirely by the sun. The project aimed at incorporating design, nature, and art. 

Lovegrove designed the bright green stalks to bring nature into the grey sidewalks where the sculpture was placed. This sculpture served to demonstrate how we can use aesthetics to promote environmental science. MAK displayed the sculpture between 2006-2010. 

2. Airway Gateway El Paso Airport

VAir Wind Turbines
Image Credit: Vicki Scuri

This installation can be found just outside El Paso airport in Texas. It consists of an array of 16 15ft vertical wind turbines. Each is lit from below with LED lights. The lights can even be programmed to celebrate the seasons or other events in the area. 

The company behind the technology is V-Air, a designer and manufacturer of small wind technology. They worked with Vicki Scuri SiteWorks, Alexandr Polzin and Jacobs Engineering Group. They not only wanted to provide a visually striking gateway to the airport but also to highlight the sustainable advantages of wind energy. And these structures are not just striking. Each can generate around 1.5 kWh of energy which helps to offset the cost of lighting the structures. 

3. Wind Trees by New World Wind

New World Wind Wind Tree
Photo Credit: New World Wind

New World Wind has designed and developed “wind trees” for use by communities and businesses.  Each tree consists of branches topped off by a green leaf that turns in the wind to generate renewable energy. 

On their site, you can even configure a wind tree to your specification. The manufacturers claim that each wind tree can power 15 street lights or charge up an electric car for 16364 km of running. The wind tree is a product of years of research and development and the brainchild of inventor Jerôme Michaud-Larivière. 

Famously the company planted two of their wind trees during the 2016 COP21, the sustainable innovation forum in Paris. They’ve since branched out to bushes and modular versions alongside the original tree all with similar advantages of being able to generate electricity from the wind. All whilst being visually appealing and artistic additions to any public place. 

New World Wind Wind Tree
Photo shows two wind trees installed at COP21. Photo Credit: New World Wind

4. Spotlight Solar at Sandy Grove Middle School

Spotlight Solar At Sandy Grove
Photo Credit: Spotlight Solar

Sandy Grove is at the forefront of both using and promoting solar energy use. Not only do they generate their own electricity, but they also generate 30% more than they need. Sandy Grove installed the Spotlight solar structure on school grounds as an emblem of their accomplishment. 

Sandy Grove built the project in conjunction with FirstFloor, MetCon, and PowerSecure. The bright blue colour was chosen to be eye-catching, helping to position Sandy Grove as a brilliant example of renewable energy usage in schools. Perhaps also setting an example for companies using renewable energy too?

If you’re interested in further applications of renewable energy in schools check out our guide on teaching renewables energy for kids. We’ve included some ideas to make renewable energy interesting and relevant as part of school curriculums too.

5. Ondine by Elena Paroucheva

Ondine by Elena Paroucheva
Photo Credit: Elena Paroucheva

Elena Paroucheva is popularly known for her wind sculptures. Ondine is one of her well-recognized works. Elena created this sculpture in 2004 using copper and soldering. The sculpture took the form of a woman with what seems to be jewellery around her neck and on her wrist. A closer look will reveal that the jewellery is a set of wind turbines. 

Elena’s art is designed to draw the attention of passers-by with their thought-provoking designs. She also aims to give them an artistic answer to their questions about energy consumption whilst growing awareness of the advantages of wind energy.

6. Lux Gloria by Sarah Hall

Lux Gloria Sarah Hall
Photo Credit: Grant Kernan

This award-winning design is not just an eye-catcher. It also serves as a solar power generator. Sarah Hall lined the church’s coloured glass with photovoltaic cells for the production of energy. Hall, the designer, partnered with Glasmalerei Peters GmbH, solar engineer Christof Erban and architect Henry Downing. 

The team estimates that the glass will collect 2500 kilowatts of electricity per year. This stained glass sits high in a Cathedral window and is aptly named Lux Gloria or ‘light of glory’. 

7. Sunflowers, an Electric Garden by Mags Harries and Lajos Heder

Sun Flowers Solar Garden Renewable Energy Sculpture
Phot Creddit: David Newsom via Mags Harries & Lajos Héder

This electric garden is truly a sight to behold. Not just because of its striking blue colour, but because each sunflower is gigantic. Designers, Mags Harries and Lajos Heder created 15 solar sunflowers for an Austin electric garden. 

The energy generated from each sunflower is fed back into the grid to contribute to the city. During the day, the huge petals act as shades for passersby while absorbing solar power. At night, they light up to create a beautiful ambience. 

8. Spherical Sun Power Generator by Andre Broessel 

Beta Ray Solar Power Generator
Photo Credit: Raw Lemon

This sculpture is not just an artistic interpretation of renewable energy. It is also a renewable energy invention. The Sun Power Generator is a structure that generates twice the normal amount of solar energy possible with a solar panel. This also works using significantly less surface area. 

The prototype is called beta.ray, and has been publicly tested. Beta.ray is captivating because of its Ball Lens; a translucent sphere through which sunlight passes. We can use this invention to charge an electric car or serve as a high-power lamp at night.  

9. Solar Collector by Gorbet Design

Solar Collector Gorbet Design
Photo Credit: Gorbet Design

The group fondly refers to the Solar Collector as “a collaboration between the community and the sun”. Gorbet Design made this exhibition using 12 metal shafts planted on a grassy hill. The region of Waterloo commissioned the project. This sculpture is truly interactive with both the sun and people. 

During the day, the panels collect solar energy. Meanwhile, people can go online to submit light patterns based on sine waves- a dance routine for the shafts. At nightfall, the shafts begin to sway and perform, using the instructions from its global online community. 

10. Saskia by Elena Paroucheva

Saskia Elena Paroucheva
Photo Credit: Elena Paroucheva

Saskia is another popular installation by Elena Paroucheva. It depicts a woman covered in what appears to be purple jewellery and a hat. Upon closer inspection, we can see that the jewellery and hat are a collection of purple-coloured wind turbines. 

Paroucheva works to counteract the popular belief that wind turbines are big and ugly. She creates sculptures that can fit into both urban and natural landscapes. Paroucheva designed Saskia to withstand mechanical, climatic, or wind challenges. 

11. The Verdant Walk by North Design Office

Verdant Walk North Design Office
Photo Credit: North Design Office

The Verdant walk was temporarily installed in Cleveland between 2008 and 2010. This exhibition aimed to bring a green touch into the middle of an urban dwelling. The designers recreated a 4,000 square feet garden with seven green sculptures. 

These sculptures also generated energy. The design team created them using solar fabric panels woven with LED (for illumination). At night, the LED would illuminate the sculptures with a soft but vivid green. The area was open for the public to walk through and enjoy not only the installation but also the beauty of nature in the surrounding parkland. 

12. Sonumbra de Vincy by Loop.pH

Sonumbra De Vincy
Photo Credit: Loop.ph

Loop.pH created this sculpture to represent Europe’s changing climate. With three spiralling vortices, the cities of Madrid, Geneva, and London were represented visually. The team connected the sculpture to a database that would feed real-time information to its control panel. 

Whenever one city was experiencing significant weather change, the spirals would react. Their reaction was an animated pattern of colours. Sonumbra de Vincy was designed to draw attention to each city’s rapidly changing weather conditions. 

13. Seed Pod by Dee Dee Morrison

Seed Pod Dee Dee Morrison
Photo Credit:  Deedee Morrison

Deedee Morrison designed The Seed Pod to give a visual representation of how solar energy works. It demonstrated the process of solar energy conversion using the pattern of how a seed pod becomes a new life. The designer, Dee Dee Morrison, is known for her ability to use art to mimic nature. 

A vibrant yellow colour depicts evening bloom as the pods come to life. Renaissance Park, Tennessee, installed this sculpture for 18 months. 

14. Solar Peace Sculpture by Fred George

Solar Peace Sculpture Fred George
Photo Credit: Fred George

For his sculpture, Fred George used a symbol that is recognized globally; the symbol of peace. George created the sculpture using 80 oil barrels. Each barrel had a solar panel attached to it. Energy generated from the sculpture was fed back into the electrical grid. 

George used his renewable energy sculpture to represent a need for better environmental responsibility. He also depicted the human casualties and lack of peace from oil wars in several regions. 

15. Sun Catcher by Dee Dee Morrison

Sun Catcher Dee Dee Morrison
Photo Credit: Deedee Morrison

The Sun Catcher depicted the process of solar energy conversion. During the day, the tall, yellow structure would capture sunlight and store it as energy. Later, at night, that energy would be used to illuminate the sculpture. 

Morrison used the Sun Catcher to mimic the process of photosynthesis; in the way plants store the sun’s energy, convert it to chemical energy, and blossom. 

16. Sun Boxes by Craig Colorusso

Sun Boxes Craig Colorusso
Photo Credit: Craig Colorusso

Craig Colorusso is an artist who explores how light, sound, and energy intersect. The Sun Boxes are part of his latest work. Colorusso made this installation using 20 speakers, each of which plays independent notes. Thus collectively, the boxes form a range of unique sounds as you move amongst them.

The artist powers the boxes through their individual solar panels. According to Colorusso, the public has described the Sun Boxes as soothing and energizing. 

17. Shoe by Elena Paroucheva

Shoe Elena Paroucheva
Photo Credit: Elena Paroucheva

Unlike most of Paroucheva’s work, this sculpture isn’t shaped like a person. It’s a shoe. It is also adorned with accessories, which upon a closer look, are wind turbines. This sculpture serves a functional purpose; generating electricity, but also an aesthetic one. 

The Shoe sits on a grassy field where Paroucheva’s vision of “an artistic answer” could come to life. 

Do you know any renewable energy sculptures (from the past or still on display) which should have made this list? Share them with us and other readers in the comments section below. 

Further Reading:

Different Types of Renewable Energy

Advantages of Renewable Energy

Advantages and Disadvantages of Wind Energy

How Green is Green Energy?

Companies that Use Renewable Energy

Victoria Palacios

The post 17 Interesting Renewable Energy Sculptures appeared first on TRVST.


Plastic Straws Infographic The Last Straw – Calling Time on Plastic Straws

Plastic straws get a bad rap. These ever-present modern-day tools serve a simple function, helping us suck our drinks down without putting cups to our mouths. Arguably totally un-essential (except those that may require them due to physical limitations) we use them once and throw them away. But times are changing. Companies are choosing to replace them with paper straws or other eco-friendly alternatives. Consumers are saying no. Governments are working towards banning plastic straws. Is it all...

Plastic straws get a bad rap. These ever-present modern-day tools serve a simple function, helping us suck our drinks down without putting cups to our mouths. Arguably totally un-essential (except those that may require them due to physical limitations) we use them once and throw them away. But times are changing. Companies are choosing to replace them with paper straws or other eco-friendly alternatives. Consumers are saying no. Governments are working towards banning plastic straws. Is it all but time for the last straw? Check out our plastic straws infographic below.

Click To Jump Straight To Our Plastic Straws Infographic

In many ways, plastic straws typify our wasteful habits and have become something of the poster child of the plastic-free movement. We’ve had a long history with plastic straws. From drinking beer through reed straws in ancient times. Through their use to help prevent the spread of disease in America’s soda fountains. Of course, the really big increase in the use of plastic straws came about with the growth of fast food and takeaways. It’s hard to picture a burger meal sold anywhere in the world without an accompanying soda and plastic straw. 

Plastic Straws & The Environment

So what’s the problem with plastic straws? The environmental impact of plastic straws is well documented. Horrendous pictures of beaches littered with plastic can now be seen across the mainstream press. Plastic straws in the ocean washed up on beaches are the 7th most collected item. 

Meanwhile, anti-straw movements have popped up across the internet. 

Of course, plastic straws don’t just mess with the beauty of our beach walks. Marine life is impacted too. Single-use plastic doesn’t biodegrade. Rather it breaks down into smaller microplastics which marine life often consumes. In fact, a study by the UN states our plastic mess is negatively affecting more than 800 animal species. And costing economies millions.[ref]

One of the questions that regularly gets asked is are plastic straws recyclable? The answer is yes and no, often because of their weight they don’t pass well through recycling processes. There are also a few tricks to dispose of plastic straws correctly

It’s worth noting that plastic straws are a relatively small part of the overall plastic problem. A 2015 study suggests that between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tonnes of plastic gets dumped into our oceans every year. Needless to say, straws make us just a small fraction of the total.

The Last Straw

However, the thing with straws is that we can all chose to make a difference. Some have called them “gateway plastics.” Each change away from plastic straws to more eco-friendly alternatives helps to raise awareness of the plastic waste issue. Choosing eco-friendly straws or asking for non-plastic straws is a conscious step towards reducing the environmental harm of single-use plastics. It’s a step in the right direction for all involved. 

At TRVST we connect people to create positive social impact. By inspiring people to make small changes we hope to play a small but important role in helping to address some of the big issues of our time. Plastic waste is one of those. 

Sharing is Caring:

To help spread the message about plastic straws we’ve created the infographic below. We hope you like it. If, like us, you believe in helping to raise awareness of single-use plastics and their harm please do click the buttons below to share it on social media. We’d really appreciate it. 


 

Share this Image On Your Site

If you own a blog or website and would like to include our plastic straws infographic you are very welcome. All we ask is that you please use the below embed code which is easy to copy and past in or simply include a credit linked back to www.trvst.world

Copy and paste the code below into your webpage or blog post. You’re free to do so, go on 🙂

Thank you

Thank you for your help and support helping us to help the planet reduce plastic pollution. Our aim here is simple, with each share we hope to encourage a handful more people to reduce their use of single-use plastic. Together we can create the change we all want to see.

 

Plastic Straws Infographic:

[download pdf]

Plastic Straws Infographic. The Last Straw. Calling Time on Plastic Straws
Design Credit Pete Duggan

Further Reading:

Eco-Friendly Straws

Can plastic Straws Be Recycled? How to Dispose of Plastic Straws?

Ask for Non Plastic Straws

History of Plastic Straws – How Did They Become So Popular?

Banning Plastic Straws – All You Need To Know

Plastic Free Gift Ideas

Sources & References:

The post Plastic Straws Infographic The Last Straw – Calling Time on Plastic Straws appeared first on TRVST.


Fixed versus Growth Mindset

Why do we go after the things we want? Science says motivation. If we really want something, we work for it. Or at least, that’s what we expect. In reality, people don’t always go after the things they want. The “Why?” of this realization brought about a concept; fixed vs growth mindset.  Read more Fixed versus Growth Mindset › The post Fixed versus Growth Mindset appeared first on...

Why do we go after the things we want? Science says motivation. If we really want something, we work for it. Or at least, that’s what we expect. In reality, people don’t always go after the things they want. The “Why?” of this realization brought about a concept; fixed vs growth mindset. 

Picture this. A high school’s board has given a teacher great news. One of their students can win a ‘Best Improved’ award. The prize is a university scholarship. What this means, is that the student who can raise their GPA by the highest points in a semester wins the scholarship. Now, in this scenario, there will be two types of students. There will be students who say “I’m already doing the best I can. There’s no way I can significantly improve my grades in just one semester”. There will be another group who says, “You know what, I think I can do this. I’ll have to study a lot more, go out less…. but it’s possible”. 

This is a simple illustration of fixed vs growth mindset. The first group has a fixed mindset, and the second has a growth mindset. The first group believes that they have a limit to what they can achieve. They’re not interested in trying, even if doing so may provide a scholarship and a better quality of school life. The fixed minded group prefers the assurance that comes with not trying. The second group, the growth-minded group, is not opposed to changing their beliefs. They’re open to trying new things, changing their routine, and so on, for the promise of something better than what they currently have. 

The Difference between Fixed and Growth Mindsets

Carol Dweck, a psychologist and Stanford professor has explored the concept of fixed vs growth mindset. Here’s how she describes both mindsets in her book, ‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Success’. 

Fixed Mindset

The people who have a fixed mindset see intelligence, physical strength, and other characteristics as predetermined. They believe that their traits, strengths, and weaknesses cannot be changed. The fixed mindset allows people to put limitations on their own capabilities. If they aren’t good at something, then they believe that they never will be. 

The fixed mindset also gives people tunnel vision on the abilities which they are good at. They often tend to focus on the things they can do well, and ignore everything else. For example, someone who has a fixed mindset and is a great swimmer may believe that their only career choice is competitive swimming. They may say something like “I was born to swim.” Or “If I don’t swim, what else will I do?” As you can imagine, the effect of this type of mindset could be limiting to an individual. Both in their private and professional life. 

Growth Mindset

People with a growth mindset believe that they can grow and cultivate their abilities. They believe that they can achieve any goal, as long as they can commit to it. They are open to challenges, but more importantly, they are open to failing. This appreciation for failure makes it easier for them to try things they may not be “good” at. They are not ignorant of their weaknesses, they are willing to work on them. 

This does not mean that people with a growth mindset are good at everything. In fact, it is the recognition of all the things they are not good at, that pushes them to pursue change. They are usually focused on the next improvement they can make, rather than wondering if they’ve reached their peaks. 

Now, at first glance, we may all like to think “I’m the person with a growth mindset.” But, are you? Let’s look at the different approaches of people with fixed vs growth mindsets. 

The Responses of People with Fixed vs Growth Mindset

When put in similar situations, people with fixed and growth mindsets will respond differently. To demonstrate, here are some scenarios which we may come across. Here’s how someone with a fixed mindset will react vs someone with a growth mindset. 

Getting passed over for a promotion

You’ve been counting down the days to your company’s annual review. After the review, you find out that your management gave a colleague the promotion you were expecting. 

A fixed-minded response will be to put yourself down and lose trust in your efforts and contribution to your department. It could also be to (falsely) accuse your department of unfair treatment and give less effort to your tasks. 

A growth-minded response will be to approach your manager and directly inform them that you’re interested in moving up the ladder. It will also be to put more effort into your work and learn from + collaborate with colleagues, rather than blame them. 

Missing the bus

Whether you slept late or hit ‘snooze’ too many times, missing the bus can be a bad start to a good day. 

A fixed-minded response will be to go into a mood, curse at the driver, or choose to stay home that day. Anything but make the needed adjustments to ensure that you are on time the next day. 

A growth-minded response will be to make changes and adjustments to your night or morning routines. These changes may help you to get to the bus stop on time. 

Failing a test

You get to class and find out that your test grades are out. Despite how hard you worked, you failed. 

A fixed-minded response will be to berate yourself for even trying. You may even go a step further to say that you’ve given it your best, and that’s the most effort that can come from you. 

A growth-minded response will be to go over your test script to review your errors and learn from them. You may also approach your teacher to explain why you failed certain questions and learn from their response. 

Saving for a trip 

You have a bit of wanderlust, but you’ve never been able to save up enough to travel anywhere. Your last savings plan just fell through and you’re disappointed in yourself. 

A fixed-minded approach will be to say something like “Well, I’m just horrible with money. I’ll never be able to save enough. It’s just who I am.”

A growth-minded approach will be to try another savings plan, ask for advice, consult with a financial advisor, and so on. A growth-minded person will keep trying. 

Misunderstanding with a friend or partner

Your friend or partner keeps complaining about certain behaviour of yours. This issue has finally driven you to a misunderstanding. 

A fixed-minded response will be to say something along the lines of “Well, that’s just how I am. If you can’t accept that I’m *insert toxic behaviour*, then there’s nothing I can do.”

A growth-minded response will be to evaluate yourself and recognize that behaviour they keep complaining about. It will also be working on yourself to improve your behaviour and protect that relationship.

Mindsets are not Linear

One misconception is that people either have a fixed or growth mindset. We identify with one or the other. But humans are not so linear. For example, someone could be growing at a fast pace at work, but slacking on their health and fitness goals. Why? Because they believe that “They’re just not that gym guy”. They may have a growth mindset when it comes to working, but a fixed mindset regarding their health and fitness. 

It is important to take a proper look at your life and perform an honest evaluation. Are you growth-minded in all areas of your life? 

How to Cultivate a Growth Mindset

How to Cultivate a Growth Mindset
Photo by Alena Koval from Pexels

Thankfully, a fixed mindset can be changed. Thinking otherwise will be… well… a fixed mindset. A fixed minded person can become growth-minded. The human body makes this process possible through neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change how it responds to situations through exposure to new practices and experiences. 

Regardless of how fixed your actions, behaviour, and beliefs seem, they can all be altered thanks to the process of neuroplasticity. By creating new habits and repeating certain growth-focused actions, you can initiate neuroplasticity for a better mindset.  

We explain the qualities of a growth mindset here. You can also read up a bit on using mindfulness practices to help develop your growth mindset for change. Below are some important changes to consider making. 

Embrace failure

“If you don’t try, you’ll never fail” is not a good piece of advice. It never was. Change your view of failure by seeing it as a learning opportunity. Every time you fail at something, you’ve learned a new way to not do that thing. Accept that you’ll likely fail at most things, and that’s okay. Once you get a win, the failures will no longer matter so much. 

Ask for help

Not everything can be self-taught. Sometimes, you need an experienced eye to look over your work, practices, methods, and so on. When you feel yourself losing motivation due to a particular roadblock, don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

Get inspired by others

Representation matters. People often feel like they cannot do something because they’ve never seen someone like them achieve the same thing. If you’re at this point, it is important to seek out people in your area of interest who have succeeded. Learning about their process, failures, and wins can serve as an inspiration for you. 

If you can’t find anyone to look up to, take that as a challenge. Become the person who others will look up to. 

Don’t overthink it. Take the dive

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” ―Dale Carnegie

Sometimes, there’s no way to tell what lies ahead of you from the start. You need to take the dive and see where that leads you. 

Conclusion

It’s easy to see that between a fixed vs growth mindset, being growth-oriented is the better option. This mindset allows you to pursue the quality of life you want while enjoying the process. Growth itself is a continuous process, so remember to measure your progress in small milestones rather than big changes. There’s no perfect yet. Only better.  

Irina Iriser

Further Reading:

Growth Mindset For Positive Change

What Are The Qualities of a Growth Mindset?

What is Mindfulness?

5 Mindfulness Talks To Inspire a Great Day

Fun Mindfulness Exercises for All

Health Benefits of Mindfulness

Mental Health and Mindfulness: Let’s All Take a Deep Breath

Sources & References:

The post Fixed versus Growth Mindset appeared first on TRVST.


Buying into responsible and conscious consumerism

What exactly is conscious consumerism? It's actually about being informed. It's about getting to know the businesses that you buy from, and deciding whether or not you support their ethics and ethos. You might agree with their approach to animal testing, sustainability and/or equal pay.  Or you might oppose their use of certain ingredients. As responsible and conscious consumers, each time we make a purchase we have a choice to support great companies or "buycott" those who follow negative...

Welcome to #TRVSTLOVES. We curate news, ideas and inspiration from across the world which demonstrate how real action can accomplish positive social impact. This month we’re looking at responsible and conscious consumerism. We explore why it’s so important, and what you can do to make informed purchases.

The post Buying into responsible and conscious consumerism appeared first on TRVST.


Guide to Teaching Renewable Energy for Kids

Teaching kids about anything is an exciting but challenging task. Not only will your skills at simplifying concepts be tested, but kids can ask the most unexpected questions. However, some important lessons should always be tackled. Such as teaching renewable energy for kids.  Read more Guide to Teaching Renewable Energy for Kids › The post Guide to Teaching Renewable Energy for Kids appeared first on...

Teaching kids about anything is an exciting but challenging task. Not only will your skills at simplifying concepts be tested, but kids can ask the most unexpected questions. However, some important lessons should always be tackled. Such as teaching renewable energy for kids. 

As kids become aware of their actions and decisions, they should also learn about the environmental impacts of such actions. This includes the electricity they use, where it comes from, and why they should manage it. These early lessons will also task the creative part of their brains. And who knows, the next innovation or renewable energy invention might come from a young person who still truly believes that anything is possible. 

Why do We Need to Teach Kids about Renewable Energy?

Today, 80% of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels. It is primarily what we use for electricity, heat, and transportation. Fossil fuels are the raw materials for our gas, petrol, diesel, and oil. The problem is, every stage of mining and using these fuels contributes to climate change. 

The extraction process of fossil fuel causes both air and water pollution. In some cases, all the trees and vegetation in a location may be removed to access the materials underground. 

The process of refining these materials into usable fuel produces greenhouse gas emissions. These are the gasses which trap heat in our atmosphere, causing global warming. Transporting these fuel and fuel product also contribute to the emission of greenhouse gasses. 

And of course, when our cars, homes and factories burn the resulting fuel for heat or electricity further emissions are produced. 

Renewable Energy is Growing in Importance

Various types of renewable energy are being explored to tackle the effects and growth of climate change. They include solar energy, wind energy, hydroelectric energy, biomass, and other emerging sources. 

These are energy sources which can be used without depleting the resource e.g regardless of how much energy we convert from the sun, our use will not impact its form.

If we do not redirect our energy needs to renewable energy, the predictions for our environment are worrying. We are expected to experience rising temperatures, heatwaves, droughts, hurricanes, rising sea levels, and more concerning changes. This future being predicted will be lived in by our children today.

Therefore, kids need to learn about renewable energy practices which could potentially salvage their futures. They can grow up with these practices, as opposed to adults who have to adapt. 

Also, research shows that when we teach kids about climate change, parents become more climate concerned. Some adults are resistant to climate education, but parents are usually willing to listen to their children. Educating children about climate change will have a ripple effect on the energy practices of their family. And also of their immediate community. 

Teaching Renewable Energy for Kids at Home

When your kids get home from school, the last thing they want is more studying. This does not mean that you should leave all the environment-focused lessons to their teachers. Especially since data has shown that schools are not providing enough of these lessons. 

Like every other life lesson you’ve given them, your kids can learn the practical aspects of renewable energy from you. All you need to do is to integrate renewable energy into their home lives. 

Conscious screen time

Online games, YouTube videos, and animations can be used to teach your kids about renewable and non-renewable energy. A good resource is NASA’s Climate Kids page. It has everything from games to videos, mysteries, and activities all on ‘Energy’ as a section. There are other sections dedicated to other environmental concerns available too.

Get them involved in conscious local communities

Both the National Geographic Education and Alliance for Climate Education partner with schools on creating conscious groups for kids. They bring environment-friendly activities to communities and build a local presence there. 

Your kids can benefit from being a part of such communities. These alliances usually happen through schools, so ask/encourage your local schools to seek them out. 

Have honest conversations with your kids

You don’t need all the science-y words to speak to your kids about renewable energy. Instead, break the topic down to them using casual conversations. Explain how the world has been dependent on non-renewable energy, why we’re thankful for it, and why we need to get off it. 

Give details on some of the changes that these energy sources have caused on our environment. Use some of the sources above to find visual representations if needed. 

Set a good example

Get your kids interested in energy conservation and renewable energy by bringing these practices into the home. You can’t ask your kids to turn off their lights while leaving yours on. You stand to lose the intended impact. The same applies to renewable energy. For example, share with your kid’s tips to save electricity at home

If you’re only talking about it, but still fully depend on fossil-fueled sources of energy, they may assume that your environmental concerns aren’t so bad after all. 

Teaching Renewable Energy for Kids in School + Resources

Teaching Renewable Energy For Kids At School
Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

This year, NPR/Ipsos conducted a national poll to determine how much climate education students might be getting. Their results showed that less than half of K-12 teachers talk about climate change [4]. Their top reason? Because it’s not related to the subjects they teach.  

This reason may apply to you if you’re a non-science teacher. But it doesn’t have to be that way. So here’s how to include renewable energy topics into your lessons, whether you teach math or literature. 

Assign reading assignments

If you teach English or a related topic, then reading assignments will be common in your class. As such, you can introduce lessons about renewable energy this way. Besides the books on your lesson plan, select a list of books on renewable energy for your kids to read. You can go through these books firsthand to ensure that they are kid-friendly. You also want to ensure that the students in your class’ age category can fully understand the intended message. 

For a start, here are some books to check out: 

For younger ages, you can read these books in class and have an open discussion on what they are about. Draw lessons and interpret the messages as you go. 

Visit a renewable energy plant 

Your students can get a first-hand experience of how renewable energy works from a field trip. Schools often organize at least one of these during the school year. As a teacher, you can bring up the suggestion of a trip to a renewable energy plant for a change. There, your students will not only see energy production in action, but they can also find the right answers (from experts) to any questions they may have. 

A quick online search will show you renewable energy locations in your city or state. Most of these places have an allowance for visitors interested in learning. They are often willing to educate others using tours, videos, and other information. There’s also the option of virtual tours. IVANPAH, a solar electricity generating plant offers one. 

Teaching kids renewable energy plant visit
Visting solar and other renewable energy installations can help educate kids as to the advantages of renewable energy. This picture shows students in Reno visiting the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Museum and Cultural Center. The Black Rock solar array who played a role in organising the visit partially powers the centre. Photo Credit: BlackRockSolar via Flickr under CC BY 2.0.

Give a talk

You’ll know never to underestimate the power of your voice and how it can impact younger people. Many people have admitted that their interests and career choices were shaped by a teacher’s talk at one point in their younger ages. Of course, you don’t need expert knowledge to do this. 

For example, you can use your personal experiences and speak on some popular issues in the media e.g. polar bears losing their homes. Explain to them how the energy we use affects the environment. Then explain the available solutions, and how we can make the shift to these solutions. 

Show a movie

Movies help provide visual illustrations of the things you teach. The words “pollution” and “climate change” may not mean much to a kid who has no idea what those things look like. Seeing these things will make a better impact. 

A number of kid-friendly movies exist which you can use to further your renewable energy lessons. Please preview these movies before showing them in class. Here are some recommendations:

Build DIY energy projects together

Reading about renewable energy and how it works can get boring, especially for younger children. Creating small DIY projects for your students to explore is a more hands-on process. There are small scale renewable energy products that you can introduce to class activities or projects. Check out ScienceBuddies and YouTube to find renewable energy project ideas for your kids. 

Set the example at school

Schools use a lot of electricity. Keeping the lights one, heating in winter and powering all that learning takes energy. IT also costs a lot of money. 

As a teacher concerned about the environment and climate change you can proactively help your school become greener. Consider your school’s energy conversation, looking to ways to save electricity at school.

There are also a number of benefits in your school switching to solar. Still using polluting fossil fuels from the grid at school. Consider making the switch to solar.

Other Sources for Teachers 

The NPR/Ipsos national poll shows that more teachers are interested in teaching about climate change and energy [4]. 4 in 5 parents wish they would. For teachers taking their first step into this field, here are some helpful resources to help your students learn. Therefore, these resources will also be helpful for parents who homeschool their child(ren). 

Conclusion

We should get kids involved in conversations and practices surrounding renewable energy. The future of the renewable energy system lies with today’s kids- to use, improve, and advance. Of course, by taking the right steps, we can raise a generation that is not yet (and will avoid being) dependent on non-renewable energy. This is, perhaps, the best strategy against the gloomy predictions of the future of the earth. 

Further Reading:

7 Solar Energy Myths – Discussed and Debunked

Renewable Energy Tips To Help Transition to Cleaner Energy

Renewable Energy Inventions – Driving Us Forward

Why Should My School Go Solar?

What makes Solar Energy Green?

Different Types of Renewable Energy

Advantages of Renewable Energy

Sources & References:

The post Guide to Teaching Renewable Energy for Kids appeared first on TRVST.


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