Denver Planeteer Network

On October 21, 2010, in Denver, by Nathan

Can you get to Denver on Sunday?

If so, you can be a founding member of the Denver Planeteer Network!

Havey Productions Studio
1836 Blake Street Ste 203.
Denver, CO 80202

Sunday, October 24th
5:00 – 6:30pm

Planeteers & Friends of Captain Planet Invited

Please RSVP: Nathan (at) CaptainPlanet (dot) Me
View the Facebook Invite

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The Great Plastic Island in the Pacific

On September 29, 2010, in Los Angeles, by Nathan

J. Basil Dannebohm is a Planeteer in Denver, Colorado

If you’ve ever seen the BBC’s documentary: “The Blue Planet Seas of Life,” you know that our planet’s oceans are some of the most gorgeous and mysterious of Mother Nature’s wonders. The deeper you dive, the more elusive and almost prehistoric-like the creatures. In the ocean’s more shallow area’s one can find sea turtles, orca whales, dolphins, sharks … and a mass of plastic and garbage twice the size of Texas.

You read that correctly, there is a massive garbage dump double the size of the second largest of the United States. The area comprises nearly 8.1% of the Pacific Ocean and contains somewhere around 100 million tons of debris, mostly plastic.

So now that you’ve picked your jaw up off of the ground, you’re next question is probably “how did all that garbage manage to make its way into the ocean and where exactly is it?”

While I do not have the assistance of Bill Nye the Science Guy, I do have Wikipedia, so I am able to break it down for you in some scientific terms …

The “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” as it is more commonly known is located in the central North Pacific Ocean located roughly between 135° to 155°W and 35° to 42°N.

Now that we’ve answered the where, let’s examine the how.

According to our good friends at Wikipedia: “The rotational pattern created by the North Pacific Gyre draws in waste material from across the North Pacific Ocean, including the coastal waters off North America and Japan. As material is captured in the currents, wind-driven surface currents gradually move floating debris toward the center, trapping it in the region.”

Oceanographer Charles Moore believes that 80% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is from land-based sources while only 20% of the mass comes from sea vessels. Moore further believes that ocean currents carry the debris from North America’s west coast to the patch in a year or less.

So how does all of this affect our ecosystem (as if you really have to ask) …

Well, aside from being a mass of waste floating around the ocean, over time the sun starts to break down the plastic into tiny particles. These small pieces of plastic resemble the plankton that is a vital food source for a wide variety of marine life. The sea creatures consume the plastic and either die or suffer from poisoning effects.

If the thought of marine life being jeopardized doesn’t tug at a heart string, think of the long term results of this island of plastic. Eventually it will catch up with humans as well. Nature has a delicate balance, when it’s interfered with; it’s only a matter of time before the damage becomes apparent … usually it’s too late.

Before I conclude today’s grim look at the deep blue sea, allow me to revisit the question of how this garbage patch originated.

Sure, we’ve examined how the patch managed to form scientifically, but the greater issue at hand is not ocean currents, the greater cause is you and me.

Now I realize that is a rather tough pill to swallow but sometimes the truth hurts. Think about how much plastic you use in the average week. When you get groceries, have you purchased those canvas tote bags or do you still resort to plastic sacks? Each time you go to the vending machine and purchase your favorite soft drink, do you recycle the bottle or simply toss it in your garbage can conveniently located in your cubicle? How about all that plastic that is used to package materials? You see … now that massive garbage patch is starting to seem just a little closer to home than the northern Pacific.

I know what you’re thinking … it’s impossible to change society, and to some degree, you are absolutely right. Certainly we cannot expect the beverage companies to stop using plastic bottles or grocery stores to get rid of plastic sacks. However, each of us can do a couple of very important things … recycle … and to quote our old friend, Woodsy the Owl, “give a hoot, don’t pollute.”

The power is YOURS to keep our land green … and our oceans blue.

J. Basil Dannebohm is a member of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs and the National Writers Union. He resides in Colorado.

 

One Bite at a Time

On September 16, 2010, in New York, by Nathan

Jessica is a Planeteer in NYC

If forced to make a list of the most enjoyable things life has to offer, most adults will list eating in the top three. There’s no denying it, human’s love to eat. Unlike the cow grazing or the bear fishing for dinner, food consumption means more than fuel to most humans. Dining has become sacred to us. We eat to socialize, to conduct business, to commemorate and to mourn. Food has become our culture. The question is – How can we celebrate our deep love of donuts, cheeseburgers and ice-cold beer without devouring our health and the health of our planet?

In 1991, my second grade year, I wrote and illustrated my first full-length storybook, The Year 2010. In less than fifty words, but with at least as many crayon colors, I detailed my wondrous vision of twenty years worth of innovation. The futuristic world of my imagination was complete with moving sidewalks, flying cars, neon miniskirts and meals served in the form of pills (this was clearly written prior to my discovery of homemade apple butter). The illustrations show no foliage, no fruit or flowers, just metal.

Almost twenty years later, the images bring me close to tears. Though I admit, New York City mimics my futuristic interpretation, I am certain I would be miserable in a world without farmer’s markets, fresh cut flowers and thousands of restaurants to choose from. Born in California and raised in Colorado, I have always had hippie roots, but it was in New York that I discovered my deep, unadulterated, often obsessive love of food. It was just recently, and with great thanks to Michael Pollen, Edible Manhattan and The Global Network of Planeteers that I found ways to connect my enormous appetite with my profound desire to preserve our precious natural resources.

Saving the planet one bite at a time is easy! Here are some useful tips on eating better, shopping safely, and reducing our negative impact on mother nature:

• Try to consume foods that occur naturally in the environment.

This includes fruits and vegetables, nuts and grains, grass-fed beef, organic free-range eggs and dairy, and wild fish. Taking a multivitamin is no substitute for acquiring your nutrients naturally. A diet of this sort is difficult to follow fully and may seem more expensive and time-consuming than fast food or a can of soup. However, if you look closely, you can find easy, inexpensive ways to eliminate overly processed, factory foods. For example, at my local supermarket one large bag of chips will cost you two dollars more than a bag of trail mix or six bags of all-natural popcorn. A carton of orange juice is the same price as seven oranges. Plus, fresh food is delicious and good for the waistline! There are a zillion places to find more information about all-natural diets and the power of eating “real” food, but these are my favorites:

www.eatwellguide.org
→ Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food and The Omnivore’s Dilemma
www.greensmoothie.com

• Try to shop fresh and local whenever possible. The local farmer’s market, fruit stand, or Community Supported Agriculture(CSA) group are better places to spend your hard-earned cash. First of all, the price is often better. Union Square’s Greenmarket sells free-range eggs for fifty cents more than the supermarket, but I get a dollar back if I return my egg carton and use my own bag. The milk I buy at the Greenmarket is two dollars more than at Trader Joe’s, but it comes in a glass jug, and the refund for returning it is $1.50. Secondly, the less distance food has to travel to get to your tummy the better. Can you believe the average carrot travels 1,838 miles to reach your dinner table? Transporting processed and packaged food puts a serious stress on our environment. Last but not least, buying food locally supports your local economy. By supporting a local farmer, you are funding the income of someone who is also shopping in your neck of the woods.

→ To find farmer’s markets, local growers and CSAs in your area, visit www.localharvest.org
→ To learn more about the difference between local and sustainable agriculture, visit www.sustainabletable.org
→ To find grass-fed alternatives to slaughterhouse beef visit www.eatwild.com

• Avoid the excess waste of disposables, prepackaged items and grocery bags. “Convenience foods” are not as convenient as you may be led to believe. It is less expensive to buy a box of crackers and separate them into reasonable quantities ourselves than it is to buy them pre-packaged into 100 calorie servings. It is also environmentally irresponsible to use ten baggies, and a box to enjoy what could come straight out of the oven and onto a washable plate. Purchasing an extra set of kitchen towels to clean up spills in place of paper towels will save you money and shrink your environmental footprint. The same goes for using real silverware, cups and plates. If forced to use disposable products, try to find products made from recycled materials. The environmental impact of manufactured food packaging is astronomical. It has become common practice for shoppers to bring their own reusable bags, and many local shops sell reusable bags and washable packaging for take along meals.

→ Buy a fashionable, reusable bag made from recycled materials at www.onebagatatime.com
→ Find lunchboxes and other reusable items as well as information about wasteful packaging at www.reuseit.com
→ Calculate your eco-footprint and get useful tips at www.footprintnetwork.org

• Support companies and restaurants that support you. Even if you’re not a cook, and would never go grocery shopping, there are ways to keep your food sustainable and environmentally loyal. In New York City there are hundreds of restaurants doing their part to use fresh, local ingredients. Throughout the country, companies are making promises to clients and customers to do right by planet Earth. Supporting companies and restaurants that share your belief systems empowers more businesses to take the plunge. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about recycling practices, political funding and the source of the product you’re purchasing. The more important these topics become to buyers, the more important it will become to the people selling.

→ Search a database of eco-friendly food products at www.ecofriendly.com
→ Find local and sustainable restaurants at www.dinegreen.com
→ Subscribe for your own local Edible magazine at www.ediblecommunities.com

• Get involved. Nothing forces a new lifestyle into existence like meeting other people who are interested in doing the same. One like-minded friend can turn itself into a community in no time, especially if food is involved! There are hundreds of ways to have fun, meet people and make a difference. For example, this week in New York happens to be Eat Drink Local Week, which is an annual statewide event hosted by Edible magazines and GrowNYC celebrating local food markets, sustainable restaurants, wineries, farmers and food artisans. Fun and inspiring events include wine tastings, cook-offs, vegetable auctions and even a food-themed film night.

From now through October 17th, The New York Botanical is hosting “The Edible Garden”, an elaborate garden of all edible local vegetables and herbs, complete with mixology sessions, cooking demonstrations and hands-on gardening classes.

This month also marks the twentieth birthday of Captain Planet, our famed eco-superhero! For those of you who are not in New York, find a food-concious community wherever you are by joining the Global Network of Planeteers!

→ Become a Planeteer at www.captainplanet.me

It is my goal, and the goal of many others to ensure a long and healthy life for ourselves, our friends and our planet. I hope these tips, paired with links to invaluable communities and information has helped inspire you!

Follow Jessica’s ramblings at www.sexyfork.blogspot.com

 

Captain Planet 20 Years On (Video Contest)

On September 15, 2010, in Uncategorized, by Nathan

It has been a long time since the Saturday mornings or weekday afternoons when we would hang out with Captain Planet and the Planeteers. Since then, you may have finished your education. You may have started a family, or a business. You may have had an impact on your community or, maybe you’ve changed the whole world.

Whatever you have done, and whatever you are doing now, if some part of it was influenced by your time with Captain Planet and the Planeteers, you should enter the Captain Planet 20 Years On video competition.

It works like this:

  • create a video 2-7 minutes in length which shows you and what you are up to – be sure to include how Captain Planet’s message is alive in what you do.
  • Submit a link to the video to 20captainplanet (at) gmail (dot) com by Midnight U.S. Eastern Standard Time (GMT-4) on October 23rd.
  • Your fellow Planeteers will vote for the best video from November 1 – 20, 2010
  • If your video receives the most votes, we will fly you and a friend to The Captain Planet Holiday Party in Atlanta, Georgia on December 10th, 2010 – and we’ll show your video at the party.
  • Then we will take all of the video submissions and edit them into a documentary film to be released in 2011.

OK – if you have any questions, email us above, or post them in the comments here. Now go get filming! 

The Power Is Yours!

 

Jonathan Kim is a Planeteer from LA and his blog was originally posted at the Huffington Post.

Captain Planet was an idea that was clearly ahead of its time when the show debuted 20 years ago, before “global warming” had become a household term. However, its creators were smart to realize that the battle to protect the environment would be a generational one, and they chose the side that always wins such battles: the future.

It has been heartening for me to see how enthusiastically children have embraced environmentalism — though when I think about it, I shouldn’t be surprised. When parents tell children to clean their rooms, eat a healthy but untasty food, dress in appropriate but uncomfortable clothes or do something else against the child’s will, it’s usually in service of a value system that children don’t understand, don’t see as their own, or don’t understand the consequences of. Why would a kid want to clean up his toys in service of “tidiness” when they’re so much easier to find on the floor? Why would a kid want to wear clothes he hates to spare his parents from a sense of societal shame he can’t understand? Being forced to do what someone tells them for little or no clear gain leaves a child feeling powerless at a time when kids are painfully aware that they have little or no power over anything.

On the other hand, kids very easily understand the value of nature and the consequences of its destruction. Just take a kid to a zoo, then ask them ask them how they would feel if all those animals were gone. Or take a kid to a lake, ocean or river, then ask them how they would feel if the water was so foul that you couldn’t touch the water and all the fish in it died. Show them a tree and ask them how they would feel if it was the last one on earth. Then tell them that if we keep polluting the environment and wasting our natural resources, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

Then tell them that they can stop this from happening. In fact, they’re the only ones who can stop it. Then see what happens.

There’s nothing that a kid wants more than to be treated like a grown-up, and nothing makes a kid feel more grown-up than being given responsibility for something that is important to them. And could anything be more important than our planet and everything that lives on it? Tell children that they are responsible for protecting the planet and they’ll find ways to do it that you couldn’t possibly imagine.

This is part of the genius of Captain Planet, whose parting phrase to his young, international Planeteers was always, “The power is yours.” Captain Planet was the Planeteers’ servant, not their leader, and it was the duty and responsibility of children around the world to take care of and improve the planet they have inherited.

It makes me think of another wonderful piece of environmentalist entertainment for kids — Pixar’s 2008 film WALL·E. See my ReThink Review of WALL·E below.

In the moment that comes closest to an overt environmental message in WALL·E, the Captain (voiced by Jeff Garlin) and Auto, the autopilot of the Axiom starliner, have this exchange about returning to an earth spoiled by pollution and waste:

Captain: Out there is our home. HOME, Auto. And it’s in trouble. I can’t just sit here and…and do nothing! That’s all I’ve ever done! That’s all anyone on this blasted ship has ever done. Nothing!

AUTO: On the Axiom, you will survive.

Captain: I don’t want to survive! I want to live!

Essentially, the anti-environmentalists are offering the Auto option: Do nothing. Change nothing. Improve nothing. We can keep cutting down trees, polluting the air and water and killing animals for a while longer until we need to start protecting them…someday. The world can get dirtier before we make it cleaner…someday. In essence, they are telling kids (and adults) to avoid responsibility, to remain babies forever, with the hope that some magical parent will come along to clean up our messes…someday. It’s hard to think of anything less inspiring.

But something we all want — adults or kids — is to be inspired. For millions around the world, Captain Planet did just that. And now, on his 20th birthday, he’s ready to do it again — but he can only do it with your help. If you or someone you know has what it takes to be a Planeteer, visit CaptainPlanet.me and join the Global Planeteer Movement.

Go Planet!

Follow Jonathan Kim on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ReThinkReviews

 

A Saturday Morning TwitterToon

On September 10, 2010, in Boston, by Nathan

In 1990, September 15th fell on a Saturday.  And it was on that morning, 20 years ago, that a generation of kids was introduced to a new superhero.  Unlike the characters they had met before, this superhero came into existence when – and only when – kids like them combined their powers.

For six more years, kids around the world would spend Saturday mornings with Captain Planet and the Planeteers, and this Saturday morning, 20 years later, the very first episode of Captain Planet and the Planeteers is being reproduced – on Twitter.

We’ve never seen anything like it and we are willing to bet you haven’t either.

Grab some cereal, Follow the cast of characters on twitter (below), and watch the show at 10:00AM USA Eastern Standard Time.

@Planeteeralert
@Hoggish_Greedly
@Rigger15
@Mama_Gaia
@EarthenKwame
@GiLovesWater
@LinkaWind
@mati_soamerica
@WheelersOnFire
@CaptPlanetSays

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Calling all Planeteers: Captain Planet is back!

On August 25, 2010, in Uncategorized, by Nathan

Once upon a time, Gaia, the spirit of the earth, saw that the planet was in great peril, and gave five young people rings endowed with special powers.  When combined, these powers would summon a great force that could overwhelm the efforts of polluters and other eco-villains.

If you know what I’m talking about then you, my friend, are a Planeteer.

On September 15th, 1990, Captain Planet and the Planeteers premiered on American TV.  It was an instant classic and the 113 episodes that comprised the original series were translated into many other languages.  Soon the message of caring about our environment was being taught to children around the world.  Then in 1996, Captain Planet was canceled.

September 15th, 2010 is the 20th anniversary of Captain Planet and the Planeteers, I am very pleased to announce, he is coming back – not yet to the airwaves, but to an internet near you.

Post your own Planeteer Profile in response to this video!

Today, there are literally tens of millions of people around the world who know the show.  Many of them can still sing the theme song.  They are in every country on earth.  They are in every sector of business and government.  They care about the planet and they have the ability to do something about it.  By their powers combined, they can command a force powerful enough to save the the world – no joke.

So, my friend, the time has come to reveal yourself as the Planeteer you are.  Plug into the Global Network of Planeteers, we need you to help organize projects in your community, and work in concert with Planeteers around the world to make the difference we have to make.

Help us find all of the Planeteers by linking to us on your social networks, and joining us on Facebook and Twitter.  Planeteers are everywhere, so spread the message far and wide.  Just last week, we found some British Planeteers spelunking in caves in Guatemala.  We must leave no stone unturned.

This is our time.  Let’s make our mark. www.captainplanet.me