How far would you go to save this?

Fill your eyes with all the stunning colours and natural splendour.

Take deep breathe and smell the white sand and crystalline water.

Then think about how far you would go to save this.

A visit to the  Great Barrier Reef is a life-changing experience. One of the natural wonders of the world.

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Photo By Ciambue – https://www.flickr.com/photos/ciamabue/6106191035/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40691429

Sadly, new aerial surveys have found that back-to-back severe bleaching events have affected two-thirds of Australias’s Great Barrier Reef. This is the second year in a row that the reef has been hit by severe bleaching. This year, the bleaching has spread further south. The underlying cause for the bleaching is global warming.

A proposal to pump cold water on the Great Barrier Reef to help stave off the bleaching has been described as an band-aid solution. Admittedly to use $9m to pump water does not address the underlying problems linked to rising water temperatures. Yet, few of us would say that using a plaster is a waste of time and money to dress a wound.

What do you think? How far should go we go? What kind of solutions are required to save the reef?

Go here for more blog posts about coral reefs.

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coral colors from myLapse on Vimeo.

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Biodesign – Intersection between Art, Design and Biology

Creating a closed loop economy for the fashion industry!
An industry where the textiles are biodegradable and also serve as nutrients for future textiles and products.

Biodesign is an exciting approach to design and fabrication. The term refers to the incorporation of living organism as essential components in design. The underlying idea is that the incorporation enhances the function of the finished work. This approach is different from biomimicry, there the idea is to use nature as inspiration for new ideas and ways to solve a problem. It is a brave step away from imitation and mimicry to use and integration. Boundaries are dissolved and new hybrids of living objects are created.

“biodesign is not about merely taking cues from organic structures and operations. It’s about harnessing the machinery of the natural world to perform as nature does: storing and converting energy, producing oxygen, neutralizing poisons and disposing wastes in life-sustaining ways… In the wonderland of biotechnology, bacteria is beautiful, moss is electric and decorative tiles are animated.” New York Times

The overall winner of the Biodesign Challenge this year was taken home by artist Luke Jerram. His Glass Microbe is a symbol of mixing art, design, and biology.

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His sculptures have been shown in museums all over the world and you can buy limited editions print of his sculptures here.

Book Tips

Bio Design: Nature Science Creativity

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Vultures Help to Detect Illegal Dumping of Rubbish

Vultures are nature’s trash collectors and now they are helping Lima
to spot human litterbugs.

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Photo: Wikimedia

Lima is a city filled with black vultures or gallinazos. The black rather big birds can be seen perched on the most iconic building in Lima. Just like pigeon remind humans in many cities of aspects that we would rather ignore so does these birds with their wrinkly heads and glowing beady eyes, remind the residents of Lima about the neglect, trash and poverty.

Now these birds who are often linked to death and decaying things are helping the residents to improve the environment. the birds have been equipped with GoPro video cameras and GPS trackers and they are helping the to track down humans who engage in illegal dumping and fly-tipping.  The trash on Lima’s street are a serious health risk particularly in the poorer areas which are drowning in rubbish.

After a walk with my dog, I wonder what animals that can be used here to track down the humans who have dumped all the cans and the paper rubbish not to mention all the broken glass. My dog loves to sniff at everything, but broken metal cans are really dangerous for not only dog’s sensitive noses but all wildlife. What does it look like where you live? And what animals would you like to equip with a GoPro?

 

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Day 2 – Christmas Sustainability Challenge

Welcome to the second challenge. A challenge filled with a dollop of fun, a spoon of seriousness and an ocean of thinkibility.

And yes, if the introduction sounds familiar, you are right. This challenge is about repetition.

On the Second day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

First-light

The Christmas Carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, is based upon repetition of pattern and the gift of the previous day is added to the new gift. Bringing conscious awareness to activities you repeat every day during the Festive Season can lead to powerful insights. And repeating an activity everyday can also get your creative juices flowing.

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Cristian Marianciuc made a New Year resolution to be more creative so he embarked on his 365-day origami crane challenge. Every day he folds an origami crane and although this may be a simple act and sometimes even a boring act, it can also be a powerful tool. Cristian incorporates a range of art mediums and techniques like watercolor painting, stitching, paper quilling and beading. He also uses organic material like flowers, leaves and lichen.

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Why not select a common activity during the festive season and repeat it every day?

You can make a Christmas card every day.

Sustainable Xmas card made out of organic material, paper infused by seeds, or cards that can be transformed into painting.

You can expand the idea behind sending a card and turn into a social innovation. Leaving cards for homeless people to find. . . people in nursing homes. . .

Happy thinking! And we love to hear about your ideas, big or small, serious or silly. . .

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Hopelessness and Hope -The Role of Psychology in Environmental Work

Sense of Loss and Hopelessness

Working with environmental issues and being aware of the changes that are occurring on our planet can be an inspiring process but it can also make a person feel depressed. Watching some of the damages and predict what the future will look like can leave a person with feelings of anger, frustration and despair. It is difficult to change people’s perceptions and behavior and this may further enhance the feelings of hopelessness.

Yet being resilient to the “gloom and doom” is important and psychology and thinking skills may not only help a person to deal with these issues but also to provide insights into the underlying reasons for some of the human behaviours that have a negative impact on biodiversity and ecosystems. Psychologists may provide insights into factors that are driving consumption as well as barriers to engage people in making a contribution towards creating a better foundation upon which to build our societies.

Changes in the environment and climate changes are usually not sudden, rather they are a slow process where the quality of life is degrading over time. The uncertainty and the roller-coaster ride where one day the changes seems like the end to life as we know, while the next day they seem like exaggerations, creates an uncertainty about the future. And this uncertainty can have a negative impact on a person’s psychological health.

We have a preference for short-term gain, we try to fix things here and now. Yet, the effects our actions have on the climate and the environment are in the future. This means that it is difficult for us to make the changes. Social psychology research suggest that telling people about the benefits for changing their behaviour does not necessarily change their behaviour. A more fruitful approach is the influence of other people.

So if we build communities where people are recycling or reducing their consumption of certain products more and more people will eventually be influenced and the chances are that they also will make better choices.

Of course, not only psychologists can make a contribution to discussions about the environment. Other social scientists can provide insights into human, group as well as organizational behaviour, philosophers can provide insights into underlying ideas about the importance of nature, and artists about the aesthetic value of nature. By working together across disciplines a broader platform upon which ideas and solutions can be developed are created and we increase the chances that more people will become involved and that they will actually chance their behaviour.

We may gain inspiration and enhance our well-being by interacting with nature, but we also need to seriously explore questions such as “What is the best way to motivate people to change behaviours that have a negative impact on the environment?” Telling people that their behaviour is bad is not an approach that is going to make people change.

We need to do things together that shows people why we care and love nature.

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Interested to learn more? The article, Thoughts on Psychology, on Leaflitter is warmly recommended.

The Rights of Nature

An underlying assumption in today’s legal systems is that nature is a property
and humans and corporations are seen as its property holders.

Every year, animals and nature are exposed to injustices as a result of human “progress” and “development”. What if animals and nature had rights? Does it sound like a weird or perhaps even crazy idea?

Leaves

The falling leaves drift by the windows.
The autumn leaves are red, gold, orange, pink and maroon.

It is understandable that we become more aware of leaves during autumn. The changes that occurs in autumn leaf colour affects deciduous trees and shrubs. The phenomenon affects normally green leaves and green leaves are green because of a pigment known as chlorophyll.  When this pigment is abundant, which it is during growing season, the chlorophyll’s green colour dominates. This means that all the other colour are masked out but during autumn the level of chlorophyll drops and we can see all the other colours that have been hidden during spring and summer.

Autumn

But there is more to leaves than their vibrant colours. There are many different leaf shapes in nature and nature has designed some of the most amazing shapes to solve problems.

The leaves of some trees such as sacred figs has a unique shape that helps to channel water off the surface. The water is dripping off from the tip –  drip tips! These types of leaves are more common in shady and humid conditions and after a heavy rain the leaves dry quicker as compared to leaves without drip tips. Under these conditions it is good to stay dry since a wet surface may enhance the leakage of nutrients from the leaves. In addition,  this shape may also increase photosynthesis.

bodhi-leaf-90454_1280Photo: Pixabay

Green leaves of plants are the equivalent to photovoltaic panels and leaves absorb solar light. Yet excessive heating of leaves can damage the chemical structure of the leaf. A temperature above 40-45 degrees C (104 – 113 Fahrenheit) can damage the leaf and many leaves have a very light structure to avoid overheating. The size of leaves are also related to the temperature where smaller leaf sizes are found in warm places. Many leaves capture water, like bromeliads, and some are built to minimize the damage of strong winds.

Looking at the shape of leaves can inspire new ideas such as how design roofs to minimise the effects of heat, how to divert water or indeed how to collect water. Admittedly, looking at the spectacular autumn colours may be more visually satisfactory, but the way leaves change colours might also spark new ideas. Seeing possibilities with the way nature has solved problems is enormously fun and you are never bored even if the rain is pouring down.

Enjoy your autumn walk.