Surferbird News-Links, 33rd Edition


Welcome to the 33rd edition of Surferbird News-Links! Today's edition is a little different. After exploring the Larsen Ice Shelf and other serious matters in yesterday's edition, today, I'm sticking with environmentally friendly clothing, gift-wrapping, and upcycled sweater projects. However, we'll start out with a short economics lesson - just for fun. :)

Warm up

Can optimism increase life expectancy? Despite all my reading and writing about the environment, believe it or not, I'm an optimist - even if we can't stop runaway global warming. I guess I enjoy applying the creative process to all kinds of problems. Furthermore, I continue to be astounded by the resilience and ingenuity of the human spirit. I don't know if optimism will extend my life, but it's a lot more fun than being pessimistic.



It's both economically and technically possible to reduce the risks of climate change (

Well, it sounds easy enough. All we need to do is electrify our homes and cars, decarbonize electricity, and become more energy efficient. So, why aren't we doing this? Um, do you remember this blog post I wrote about Arcadia Power? You can decarbonize 50% of your home electricity by switching to wind power at no additional cost. Additionally, by spending a little extra, you can power-up with 100% wind energy. Remember, focus on what you CAN do, not on the impossible.

In a time of anti-globalization, there's much more to come.  (

It's bragging time. I made an A in economics. However, that means absolutely nothing except that I can learn stuff and spit it back out. So, by reporting on this article, I'm stretching my bird brain. Although, I think I get the main idea.

In a nutshell, technology will replace many jobs, and we can't stop the process, according to Richard Baldwin, the author of The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization. The interview with Baldwin explains much of the backlash against globalization that we saw in recent elections. Interestingly, Baldwin feels we need to protect people, not jobs, because many jobs will be replaced by robots or be exported to other countries. Automation is coming, and many types of jobs will disappear forever. We need to prepare for inevitable change.

It all feels somewhat frightening. Change is like that. But I appreciate this perspective and recognize the importance of reporting on articles that challenge my world view. Many voted in recent elections for a return to the familiar, when in fact, that isn't possible. We're all stepping into the great unknown. I just wish we could navigate it together, instead of divided, because I'm apprehensive, also.

A cleaner environment through our banking choices (

Many of the poorest and most vulnerable countries are forging ahead with renewable energy. It's embarrassing, really, that the developed world isn't doing more to mitigate the effects of climate change. One place to make a difference is your savings account. Does your bank invest in fossil fuels? Do they back the Dakota Pipeline? By divesting in fossil fuels via our personal banking, we're supporting these vulnerable countries in their renewable energy goals.



Snappy gifts made from recycled sweaters (

What makes this article so user-friendly is that you can watch the videos on the treegugger website. I love these upcycled projects. I didn't watch all ten videos, but so far, my favorites are the monster pillow, mittens, and scarf. Hang on to all those old sweaters as this is a creative way to upcycle, which conserves our planet's resources.

Buying clothes that last - the best gift for the environment (

One of the best ways to help the planet is to stop buying so much stuff. Fibers grown for textiles require a lot of water, space, and often pesticides and herbicides - even organically grown fibers, minus the pesticides and herbicides. I enjoyed this helpful guide on recognizing quality clothing, so, over the long run, we buy less.

Eco-friendly clothing - holiday gifts (

It's daunting to buy clothes for someone else. But this article contains excellent suggestions that are eco-friendly. And the manufacturing process upholds fair labor practices. Maybe it's time to be selfish and purchase something for yourself!


Creative, sustainable gift-wrapping ideas (

After taking a look at these ten projects, I feel inspired to write another eco-friendly gift-wrapping post. I'll be referring back to this article in treehugger, often. I suspect you'll gleam some ideas of your own, also!

Ecovative's new line of furniture grown from mushrooms and microrganisms (

I learned about Ecovative shortly after I started this blog. In fact, they're already on my green products resource page. But when I first heard about them, they weren't making furniture. For more information, here's a link to their website. And their packaging materials are eco-friendly, too - no more polystyrene!

Environmentally friendly mason jar attachments (

Mason jar attachments make excellent gifts! Options include: a cheese grater, a lid with a straw, and a soap pump. And as a benefit to the environment, the attachments are made mostly from stainless steel. Only the small parts, such as the soap pump straw, are plastic.

Green Tech

UPS delivery on wheels! (

You won't believe this one - a UPS delivery e-trike. Seeing the photo alone is worth the click. It's currently being tested in Portland, Oregon, and can haul up to 600 pounds.

Today's video

Thank you, Grist, for this video on how our buying habits affect the planet. It's an excellent way to roundup today's post because we need to think beyond what's simply on the hanger. Enjoy.   Laura