Environmental Awareness

Stories and commentaries about environmental awareness and ideas for how to make the world a better place.

A dramatic picture of water droplets (clouds). A metaphor for the mass of oxygen on Earth.
Big Ideas

How much oxygen is in the atmosphere?

I demonstrate how to calculate the mass of oxygen in the atmosphere. And I talk about nine reasons why the accepted values may be wrong.

Natural gas stove burning blue.
Big Ideas

How much oxygen is consumed by fossil fuels per year?

Oxygen depletion compared to carbon dioxide emissions. Author’s note: This isn’t one for my usual audience. It’s super heavy on the science. If you want to know the answer to how much oxygen is consumed by fossil fuels and three reasons why oxygen depletion may be the bigger problem, just skip to the bottom. (One

PWM-teacher-student-releasing-monarch
Books

Help Save the Butterflies

And make the world a more beautiful place Monarch Resources The #1 site for everything about monarch butterflies: monarchwatch.org including how to track the butterflies. How to plant a butterfly garden or waystation. How to fix a butterfly’s broken wings Monarch Migration Google Earth Tour Educator resources by grade. Cincinnati Resources Cincinnati Butterfly Show Cincinnati

Rain Barrel
Backyard Adventures

Rain Barrel

This rain barrel took me about 2 hours to install and cost only $50 USD. The next day there was a huge rainstorm and it filled up in about 10 minutes.

Street retrofit optimized for humans
Big Ideas

Retrofit street design optimized for humans not cars

Does anyone describe the philosophy of our roads in one word? Is it efficiency? Is it cost? It appears to me there is no guiding principal. So why not build stuff optimized for what it means to be human? Not only is this street redesign optimized for health and happiness, but it also 2–4 times as safe and energy efficient. These ideas have been rattling around in my head for years, and I’ve finally decided to give them life in this quick sketch.

Grow grass not food sign for front lawn
Backyard Adventures

Grow Food NOT Grass

What better way to have a backyard adventure than to grow a garden? Here is my new “Grow Food NOT Grass” sign that I made using a wood burner, a nice piece of walnut and some scraps. This goes with the terraced garden that I built in the spring. Actually, this is the front lawn,

The world population growth chart of homo infographic sapiens infographic. At the rate we are going the line will be off the chart in a few decades.
Big Ideas

Human Population Growth Chart

This graph illustrates the exponential growth of the human race and the consumption of non-renewable resources. The question isn’t if the population will stop growing/consuming, but when?

Hand signed letter from congress Congressman Sensenbrenner
Big Ideas

Hand-signed letter from congress

Today I received a hand-signed letter from Congressman Sensenbrenner: “I’m proud to have a constituent who dedicated 4 years of his life to cycling the world. You have a wonderful story to share with the world. And I am pleased that you continue to advocate on behalf of an issue you care deeply about.”

Todd Hall Elementary elephant sculpture
Big Ideas

An elephant-sized lesson in recycling

Last week I got to visit a school in the Chicago area. The art teacher Ms. Holly, of Todd Hall Elementary School, thought of making an elephant sculpture out of recyclable laundry detergent bottles. This is a great, life-sized example of just how much stuff we use — most of it, unfortunately, doesn’t get recycled.

Students examine red worms and compost bin
Backyard Adventures

Classroom composting

Illustration of the new children’s book has begun at the Waukesha STEM Academy charter school. Above one of 18 art classes is working on their drawings for “Ruby the Red Worm’s Dirty Job”.

Will Allen and Scott Stoll
Big Ideas

Growing Power

Sustainable Living: As seen by a man who cycled the world. I am excited to participate in the Growing Power Conference this week.

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