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Convenient Truths: Numbers Never Lie

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Author: the Inkslinger

Our Convenient Truths contest may have ended last month, but as things turn out it’s impact is still going strong, which is great because that was kind of the point of the whole exercise.

I got an e-mail from Jessica at Treehugger with some cool news and numbers. According to the statisticians,

  • There were over 150 videos made
  • 200,000+ people watched some or all of them
  • 15,000 votes were cast
  • There were more than 20 media mentions from Britain’s Globe to Martha Stewart to Slate magazine.
  • We made 15,000 myspace friends
  • Between Treehugger and the Inspired Protagonist, there were 92 contest posts to get people thinking about climate changes

Though she can’t say anything more at the moment, Jessica also reports that there’s some major media interest in spreading the winning videos around even further and airing them on other web sites and even on TV.

That’s very cool news because, again, the reason we created this contest was not just so people could have fun with their video cameras (although that was certainly always part of it) but to spread the word about global warming and show people that they can make a serious difference. The more people who see the videos, the more that message spreads. We can also help propagate the meme by doing a little spreading of our own and taking the videos viral.. When you’ve got a spare second, send an e-mail to your tribe and tell them to take a look and then share whatever they like with whoever they want. How cool would it be if everyone in the country eventually saw these things and realized that preventing climate change is not up to somebody else. It’s up to each of us.

You can point your peeps to the winners of the contest here. Or send them to the contest site to see ‘em all. Let’s keep the wires humming and the actions coming.

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Happy Earth Day! (Here’s To the Only Planet We’ve Got…)

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Author: the Inkslinger

It’s Earth Day. That annual rite of spring where everyone becomes an environmentalist for at least a moment or two. For those of us who prefer to wear the label year-round (and increasingly that’s most of us), it’s a fitting occasion to pause for a moment, get out the imaginary camera, and take a virtual snapshot of sorts of today’s moment in time.

Such photos can tell us more than might be thought. For the big picture itself can often be found hiding in the details that the smaller image captures. So as we open the shutter and capture the light, what does our Earth Day photo say? That people are talking. People are thinking. People are acting. Awareness is reaching critical mass. That, above all else, is the reason to celebrate. Change is arriving. Here are the latest clues:

Let’s begin with a simple question: Why Earth Day? Here are a million wonderful, beautiful, magnificent, miraculous reasons you won’t find anywhere else. And that’s literally only about the half of it.

Weird weather? Melting mountains? Perspiring permafrost? Soaring sea levels? Color me officially concerned. Which is why it’s heartening to find our fellow Americans at last waking up and smelling the climatological coffee.

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Convenient Truths: The Envelope, Please...

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Author: the Inkslinger

It’s official! The Convenient Truths Contest is at its end, and moments ago the winners were announced to the world. Here’s the lowdown from Treehugger's Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

For the last four and half months, we've encouraged you to both reduce your personal carbon footprint, and to participate in Treehugger and Seventh Generation's Convenient Truths video contest. Today, we're pleased to wrap up the contest by announcing the winners. The Top Ten finalists were chosen by you and our expert panel of judges, and the Grand, second and third place prize winners were chosen by guest judge Ed Begley, Jr. In addition to prize packages described below, each winner's video will be featured on a DVD by Ironweeds Films, and also showcased at the Weather Channel’s Forecast Earth climate change site.

The winners of the Treehugger and Seventh Generation Convenient Truths contest are:

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Step It Up This Saturday

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Author: the Inkslinger

A reminder that this Saturday, April 14th is Step It Up 2007, a national day of climate action.

This is going to be a great moment in history, and it’s so simple to be a part of it that everyone easily can and definitely should. Just go to the Step It Up 2007 web site and find an event in your area. Or organize one yourself. It’s totally 100% completely uncomplicated and otherwise effortless. Here’s all you have to do:

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This and That From Here and There

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Author: the Inkslinger

Things are moving. Ideas are raining through the biosphere, percolating through the substrata, reaching down into the cultural aquifer where everyone can tap them and take a good long drink. Some days it’s hard to keep up with all these emergent memes. Feels like being in one of those game show money booths where high speed fans whip up a storm of $100 bills and you try to grab as many as you can. But do these embryonic notions represent lasting trends or only ephemeral fads? Me thinks the former because each one seems to be building itself in some way on those that have come before. Then it turns into a foundation for something that follows, and in this way a new vision is evolving faster than hope would previously allow. Grabbed like snowflakes from the building gale, here are some recent portents that a storm of change is coming just in time…

Great moments in pure genius: How does a simple three inch lump of black wax slash carbon dioxide emissions from one of humanity’s biggest sources? Like this.

Nice house. Nice car. Nice life. No power bills. No carbon footprint. No atmospheric impact.. We can do this
It is possible.

Now imagine this: No garbage. No trash. No waste. Anywhere. Ever.
We can do that, too.

Out in the woods, we’re losing less than we used to. And slowing the pendulum is the first thing that happens before it swings in the other better direction.

There’s even a much-needed breath of fresh air in the marbled halls, where we’re beginning to remember what it looks like when common sense and leadership replace delusional self-interested hackery.

As the poet said… The answers, my friends, are blowing in the wind.

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Carbon Consumer Clarity

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Author: the Inkslinger

Here’s a fantastic idea for which it’s worth interrupting a delightful weekend of shoveling snow (please make it stop…): a new product labeling initiative in Britain that seeks to declare each consumer product’s carbon footprint, that is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by the production of the amount of product in the labeled container.

The Carbon Trust Label is now starting to appear on a few test products in British stores, including bags of potato chips, a shampoo, and a brand of Smoothie drinks.

The label shows how much carbon dioxide was created and released over the product’s entire life cycle and is coupled with the manufacturers commitment to reduce this amount. Already, according to an article in the Independent, Walkers, the maker of the chips, has reduced the impact of its carbon labeled “crisps” (love those British terms) by a third because the labeling process identified all the links in the production chain that were (often needlessly) creating carbon dioxide and showed the company how its impacts could be easily and permanently reduced.

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Convenient Truths: The Top Twenty (Selected by You!)

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Author: the Inkslinger

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg from Treehugger.com checked in this morning with a look at the top 20 video entries in our Convenient Truths contest as voted on by We the People. Here’s his update as we proceed to the next phase of the operation…

Treehugger and Seventh Generation Convenient Truths contest, and it's time to announce the videos that will move on to the next round of judging. Here are the top 20 videos you chose (in no particular order):

These videos will move on for evaluation by our panel of celebrity judges; they'll choose the top 10. Then, in early April, eco-celeb extraordinaire Ed Begley, Jr., will choose the grand prize winner, as well as second and third places. Keep an eye on Treehugger for the announcement of the winners.

You don't have to wait until next month for everything, though: the winner of the EPIC International Prize will be announced this Friday.

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The Answers Are Blowing in the Wind…

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Author: the Inkslinger

Here are some words from intern Sophie, who asked me to post them here for her...

John Abrams (my father) is the founder and CEO of South Mountain Company, an employee-owned design/build firm on the island of Martha's Vineyard. South Mountain has a commitment to social and environmental responsibility. They do a lot of affordable housing work, renewable energy, and community work. John recently wrote the book The Company We Keep: Reinventing Small Business for People, Community, and Place , about his adventures in business, and when he’s not in the office you can find him traveling the country doing talks and workshops or hanging out at Island Co-housing where he lives with his wife, Chris. He has two children, Sophie (that's me!!) and Pinto, and three grandchildren, Kalib, Silas and Axel Leroy.

Here’s his recounting of the the raising of a wind turbine on Martha’s Vineyard.

Yesterday, we raised the ARE 442 wind turbine, which was donated to the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School by a wonderful woman who succumbed to cancer before she could see it turn (see plaque). Sophie bore witness to the raising. She knows that it really did happen, even though all known forces conspired to prevent it.

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Carbon 42 - a pursuit of audacious proportions

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On Groundhog Day 2007 a small team of people (Stephanie Lowe, Jay LeDuc, Sophie Abrams-UVM student, Tim Grenier, me and one chair for the 7 generatio

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