Saturday, November 28, 2020

Giant Sequoia National Monument

Today I continue my series on all 129 U.S. National Monuments. This is in follow up to my series that featured open access photos of all of the U.S. National Parks. In the coming years, I will highlight open access images all of the U.S. National Monuments in alphabetical order.

Today's featured monument is Giant Sequioa National Monument in California. This is one of the monuments that was under review for delisting as per executive order by the president. Following the photos is a list of U.S. National Monuments previously featured on this blog.

Click for photo credit.
Click for photo credit.
Click for photo credit.
Click for photo credit.
Click for photo credit.

Previous On the Brink posts on the U.S. National Monuments

Admiralty Island National Monument
African Burial Ground National Monument
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
Agua Fria National Monument
Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument
Aniakchak National Monument
Aztec Ruins National Monument
Bandelier National Monument
Basin and Range National Monument
Bears Ears National Monument
Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument
Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument
Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument
Booker T. Washington National Monument
Browns Canyon National Monument
Buck Island Reef National Monument
Cabrillo National Monument
California Coastal National Monument
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Cape Krusenstern National Monument
Capulin Volcano National Monument
Carrizo Plain National Monument
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
Cascade Siskiyou National Monument
Castillo de San Marco National Monument
Castle Clinton National Monument
Castle Mountains National Monument
Cedar Breaks National Monument
César E. Chávez National Monument
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
Chimney Rock National Monument
Chiricahua National Monument
Colorado National Monument
Craters of the Moon National Monument
Devils Postpile National Monument
Devils Tower National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument
Effigy Mounds National Monument
El Malpais National Monument
El Morro National Monument
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Fort Frederica National Monument
Fort Matanzas National Monument
Fort McHenry National Monument
Fort Monroe National Monument
Fort Ord National Monument
Fort Pulaski National Monument
Fort Stanwix National Monument

Friday, November 27, 2020

Sustainability Case Studies Chapter 15: Emerging Social Movements for Sustainability: Understanding and Scaling Up Upcyling in the UK

This is the 15th post in this blog series, Sustainability Case Studies, that is based on the book The Palgrave Handbook of Sustainability: Case Studies and Practical Solutions edited by Robert Brinkmann (yours truly) and Sandra Garren and published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018. Each post in the series will comment on the content of the chapter as well as some general take-aways or practical teaching or personal/organizational initiatives that could be gleaned from the chapter. Links to previous posts on the series (including the post that introduced the series) follow after the chapter review.

This chapter, Emerging Social Movement for Sustainability:  Understanding and Scaling Up Upcycling in the UK by Kyungeun Sung, Tim Cooper, and Sarah Kettley focuses on the social movement of up cycling and how it can be advanced within the United Kingdom. The chapter starts with a review of upcycling, which is the creation of high value products from lesser value used materials. Upcycling takes many forms. For example, you could make a nice dining room table by repairing and enhancing a used or broken table. Or you could make a nice cooler box from old discarded pallets (as I did). Or, you could make jewelry from discarded watch pieces. The authors note that upcycling is somewhat related to the maker movement which is a movement focused on making new things, invention, and tinkering with existing objects.
Old doors on their way to becoming tables.
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The authors link the upcycling movement with a number of other emerging social movements including the degrowth movement, socially responsible investment, and sustainable food production. Together, they highlight how social movements can effectively help to transform current unsustainable practices. The goal of the case study was to identify different approaches to upcycling and factors that influenced behavior toward upcycling in order to identify any policy interventions that could be deployed for scaling up upcycling. A series of interviews with 23 participants were conducted in the study.

The results show that most engaged with upscaling used wood and textiles and that most upcycled products were used personally and not resold. Many found the benefits were economical. However, respondents also noted that reducing waste and feeling good about their work were also motivators for taking on upcycle projects. Many people who participate in upcycling also had early exposure to arts and crafts. 

A bag made of upcycled fabric. 
Click for photo credit.
The results indicated that the target population for expanding upcycling in society is people 30 and older and that a key strategies would be to build greater positive attitudes toward upcycled products and build community-based family events for upcycling workshops. In addition, intervention strategies were reviewed in a focus group of experts in sustainability and social change. This group suggested that there needs to be better access to used materials that could be available to those interested in upcycling. There is much more in this chapter that those interested in sustainability and social movements would find interesting. 


Here are some discussion questions when using this chapter for a unit on social movements and sustainability, upcycling, or waste.

1. What is upcycling and what do you own that is an upcycled product?

2. Have you ever made anything that you could consider upcycled?

3. How can we use interviews to understand a social movement?

4. What other social movements can you think of that are like the upcycling movement?

5. In this study, the two most upcycled resources were wood and fabric. What other types of waste materials do you think could be used for upcycling?

6. The article notes that there is a need for greater access to used materials for those interested in upcycling. How do you think we could provide greater access to these materials?

7. Economic factors were one of the top motivating factors for people to engage with upcycling. What would motivate you to get involved with upcycling? 

8. How do you think we could educate people about the benefits of purchasing upcycling goods?

Previous posts in this series:

Thursday, November 26, 2020

General Motors Now Supports California Air Quality Standards Regulations

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I have written quite a bit about the attempted changes to fuel efficiency standards by the Trump administration--most recently here (which has links to earlier posts). It was reported this week by the New York Times that General Motors, which had supported an administrative lawsuit that was trying to strip California of the right to set their own fuel efficiency standards, no longer supports this initiative and will work with the Biden administration on climate change goals.

The Clean Air Act grants California the right to set fuel efficiency standards separate from national standards. Because of California's unique geography, air pollution is a significant problem in the state because polluted air gets trapped in heavily populated valleys. Because car manufacturers don't want to make cars with different fuel efficiencies for different states, they tend to manufacture all cars based on California standards and U.S. policy has largely followed California's lead on the issue. The Trump administration was trying to change this policy. Now, however, it appears that the issue is dead. According to the Times piece only major car manufacturers that still publicly support the change advocated by the Trump administration are Fiat Chrysler and Toyota and I suspect that their support will fade.