Gas prices getting you down? No worries – we’ve got gas-free transportation options this week, including an electric skateboard that just requires your weight, and a poop-powered rickshaw.
Got a bike? It’s probably nothing like the pedal-powered vehicles brought to Bozeman, Montana a week and half ago for HPVC West, a design competition sponsored by ASME (the American Society of Mechanical Engineers). Student teams from nineteen university engineering departments showed up at Montana State University to display their human-powered prototypes… and, of course, to race them.
Walking to school seems like a quaint notion from decades past: whether for reasons of safety or convenience, the bus, the carpool, or the drop-off on the way to work have become the ways kids get to their schools. While the first two methods are definitely greener than the last, all deprive kids of an opportunity to get some physical activity on a regular basis… and walking definitely has a much lower carbon footprint than any motorized means.
In the UK, government agency Transport for London and company Intelligent Health have paired up to make walking more attractive for school kids… by offering rewards for getting to school on foot. The Step2Get program makes use of electronic cards that students swipe at various readers along designated routes, and a website were the kids can track their walks and rewards. Five walks to school earn a student a movie ticket; for eight walks, s/he receives a £5 shopping voucher.
College kids running around campus in various states of undress… doesn’t sound that unusual, huh? If you see such a thing this week, though, it may be an activism event. PACT Underwear, a company that makes its products from organic cotton, and donates 10% of its sales to a variety of environmental non-profits, has released its “Beyond Coal” line of underwear… and students are protesting coal power on campus in the fashionable undergarments… and nothing else.
How’d you spend your summers during college? Working a crappy job? Taking more classes? Laying around in front of the TV at your parents’ house? In Burlington, Vermont, a group of students undertook an internship under the tutelage of physics teacher Tom Tailer to eliminate the the electricity use of refrigerating and freezing food by building a passive freezer “out of mostly local, recycled or reused products.”
THE LAZY ENVIRONMENTALIST, hosted by Josh Dorfman, screens Tuesdays at 9PM on Sundance Channel.
Episode two is definitely one of my favorites. In “Lazy Principal” I get to hang out with kids, gauge their point of view, and see how effectively I can engage them in environmental action. I’m also helped by my good friend and outstanding green innovator and teacher, Mike O’Brien, who I call upon to help me implement change in a classroom and in other areas around the school.