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#Art4Climate is a joint initiative of UNFCCC secretariat and Julie’s Bicycle on the work of artists who make the issue of climate change more accessible and understandable by featuring it in their work. Young people in Portugal are being educated about the risks of climate change and the opportunities of climate action with the help of comic art.
Bruno Pinto is the writer of “Special Report: Adaptation to Climate Change in Portugal”, a publication developed as part of the award-winning project ClimAdaPT.Local. He says the book is a great resource to teach about climate change in classrooms, as well as a way to reach young people who otherwise might not see this global issue as something that affects them personally.
The book tells the story of a TV reporter who is working on a story about climate change in Portugal. The protagonist embarks on a trip around the country, where she meets with academics, climate change experts and government employees to get a complete overview of what climate change entails.
The project is not the first time that comics are deployed to build awareness about climate change. In 2015, to coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), UNICEF launched Comics Uniting Nations, a comic series targeted at younger audiences.
“The successful implementation of the Paris Climate Change Agreement depends very much upon the actions of citizens, NGOs and other organizations and their ability to work with governments. Media such as comic books are important to raise awareness about the issue of climate change and to stimulate the involvement of citizens”, says author Bruno Pinto.
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David Whitley, a lecturer at Cambridge University says that Disney’s films have helped generations of children develop “a critical awareness of contested environmental issues” since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released in 1937.
Bambi, Baloo, the bear from The Jungle Book, and the clownfish in Finding Nemo are some of our favourite green heroes. But, there are others too! Frankly, we debated a lot to finalise our top favourites.
Check them out! Do you find your favourite here?
Okay! It’s debatable whether this is a kids’ movie, but it’s clearly a film with environmental themes. A paraplegic soldier travels to the planet of Pandora, where he, in the form of his avatar, integrates with the indigenous Na’vi people. He is supposed to help conquer the foreign land, but soon finds himself siding with the Na’vi. There are many themes in this 2009 film, but among them are a respect for the environment (demonstrated by the graceful Na’vi), our ultimate reliance on nature and the destructive nature of humans and how it affects the planet.
The classic animated film from 1942 tells the story of a young deer and his friends who live in a forest threatened by hunters. When Bambi is still a fawn, his mother is killed by one of those hunters, and he must grow up without her. Bambi and his friends get older and he falls in love with another deer, Faline. Everything is peachy until the next day, when the forest goes up in flames and Faline is attacked by hunting dogs. Bambi is able to save her, and the couple eventually escapes to an island in a lake, where they live (at least we expect) happily ever after. The scene where Bambi’s mom dies would make even the most hardened hunter think about setting down his gun.
2003 favourite tells the tale of a clownfish named Marlin and his regal blue tang friend Dory as they travel all the way to Sydney Harbour to rescue Marlin’s son, Nemo, who had been stolen from his coral reef home to live out his numbered days in the care of a dentist’s deranged niece. It’s a touching, funny, and inspiring tale that taught a generation many life lessons. “Just keep swimming” was the new “Hakuna matata.” The film also taught us a lot about the beauty of the ocean and its coral reefs, and some of their most famous and attractive inhabitants. We all certainly fell in love with the clownfish and blue regal tang – two glamorous species in the wild, and lovable characters in the film.
The main message of this 2006 Disney movie is that it’s okay to be different, but environmental themes work their way in as well. The film focuses on a young penguin, Mumble, with a talent for tap dancing—something none of the other penguins can do. It follows his adventures and quest for acceptance throughout the plot, but the environmental aspect shows up when Mumble is blamed for the scarcity of fish in the ocean, a nod to overfishing. In addition, one of Mumble’s friends wears a set of plastic six-pack rings around his neck like jewelry, only to later be choked by the piece of trash. Happy Feet is an example of the environment showing up in movies that are not directly about the environment.
The list can go on and on. Other must watch movies are Finding Dory, March of the Penguins, Over the Hedge, Free Willy, Chicken Run and more!
Institute of Public Policy Research’s 2014 Report on Silver Cities talks about the impact of two great global trends upon developed economies: urbanisation and demographic ageing. With falling birth rates and most people living longer and healthier lives than previous generations did, population ageing is now the dominant demographic trend in advanced economies. While different places experience it in different ways, this trend is clear everywhere.
An increasing number of the over 50 set are not satisfied regarding this period, the “Autumn years” of their lives, simply as the doorway opening to the decline into old age. They want to remain productive and fulfilled and many are guided by the desire to give something back to the community. That can mean making the most of their knowledge and experience to become their own boss, often for the first time, and start their own business.
The generations that have been labelled many things – Baby boomers and Generation X, Hippies, Yuppies, Sloane Rangers – can now add “Quintastics” (healthy and good looking) or even “Olderpreneurs” as some have coined to describe the considerable proportion that have become entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs are realising that they can benefit from the practical skills they amassed during their careers spanning many years. They have also come to realize that they can benefit by using the internet which can help entrepreneurs start a business in a small yet effective way and run it from the comfort of their home.
Businesses started by olderpreneurs cover various businesses from printing and tea shops to theatres. Contrary to expectations, many of the businesses started by this group are those that deal with the latest areas of communications and technology. There are very many advantages older people have over young people in terms of starting a business. Older people have chalked up many years of working experience, knowledge, skills, contacts to draw on and the confidence to guide them through tough times. A young person may not have all these qualities the olderpreneurs have. Statistics have shown that old entrepreneurs are more successful than those who start at a younger age.
According to the charity Age UK, more than 70 percent of businesses started by people in their fifties survive for at least five years compared to 28 per cent of those started by younger people. Indeed, McDonald’s franchise founder Raymond Kroc was 52 when he began working with the McDonald brothers to create the world’s most famous food chain in 1955. He was 59 when he bought them out and took over completely.
While much of the focus and support for startups by the governments and other organisations has been aimed at younger people, the over 50’s have been applying their skills and experience much to the benefit of small medium enterprise economy worldwide.
So next time your grand parent, father, mother or you come up with a business idea, don’t think it’s too late!
Becoming an entrepreneur is not only for the young
“Is it sustainable?” It’s an increasingly important question to ask when it comes to what to eat.
The United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO) defines sustainable diets as:
“Those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations. Sustainable diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources.”
But what does that mean in practice?
Sustainable eating is all about choosing foods that are healthful to our environment and our bodies.
Food is responsible for 30% of UK greenhouse gas emissions. The Brazilian savannah is being destroyed faster than the Amazon due to soy production – most of which is fed to the animals we eat. Over in Borneo, ancient tropical forests are being felled to plant palm trees to provide palm oil for our bread and low-fat spread. Daily reports of rising food prices – not to mention civil unrest arising from food insecurity – mean that what we eat matters more than ever before. Taking personal responsibility for our eating habits and understanding as much as possible about the food we eat is a matter of urgency.
The issue of sustainable diet may be complex, extending beyond the systems and structures of food production. But on a micro level, maintaining a diet in which processed food is kept to a minimum (it is resource-intensive to produce and unhealthy to boot) is a simple and effective solution. By knowing your ingredients, you can feed a family for far less than by buying the equivalent amount of ready-made meals. Farmed livestock can be consumed in moderation. Eating seasonally also makes a big difference – there’s a myriad of reasons why we should all be eating more fruit and vegetable.
Shop locally. Shopping locally is a healthy and fun way to support your community. It keeps your money in the community in which you live, supports the families producing your food and fosters a healthy environment of diversity. Plus, getting to know the people producing your food is like getting to know a neighbor. Through this relationship we can know exactly how the food we eat is produced.
Grow something. It could be herbs in a pot, tomatoes on a patio or a small plot in your yard. Not much gives you a greater appreciation for what it takes to create food than to grow your own. You understand the multitude of factors involved in making plants thrive, the attention needed to successfully grow food and how precarious the process can be. Those insights likely will influence how you buy, use and dispose of food.
Initiate conversations about food. Talk with the farmers at your market, personnel at your grocery store and restaurateurs, or the growing number of people who are paying attention to how foods get on their plates. You can discover new tips, learn about new resources and find more local, sustainably-minded food producers and providers.
Eat seasonally. Blueberries don’t grow in Montana during January, yet you can still buy “fresh” at this time. This means they’re likely coming from far, far away. When possible, focus on foods that are available in season where you live and you’ll be supporting sustainability.
Tap your tap. Liquids are some of the heaviest items to ship around the country and lots of fossil fuel is needed to tote them. Instead of purchasing bottled beverages, use a refillable bottle and fill it with water from the tap or filter.
Retool your grocery list. Think bulk foods, more minimally processed foods and more plant-based meals. Doing so translates into less packaging and waste, less energy used to produce certain foods and fewer artificial ingredients — those not found in nature — and chemicals in the food system.
Eat mindfully. One of the simplest things you can do to eat more sustainably is to practice mindful eating. Focusing on what you’re eating allows you to reflect on where your food came from and how it is nourishing your body. Additionally, by tuning in to your hunger signals you may learn that you don’t need as much food as you thought, and resize your meals accordingly. By paying more attention to how we eat and thinking about the “bigger picture,” we may alter our food consumption and reduce food waste, as well as become encouraged to seek out more sustainable food sources.
It’s clear that what we put on our plates has a big impact on the environment. Eating more healthfully and more sustainably go hand-in-hand, meaning we can develop sustainable eating practices that improve our own health while also benefiting the health of the planet.