All things environmental

Musings about the environment and all it touches, from education to city planning

Open House Video Night

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A view of the Langley campus of Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Kwantlen’s Langley campus is hosting an open house this Wednesday (November 9th between 4 and 7:30), at the same time as my class.  I thought I’d take advantage of this to show a bunch of videos we don’t usually have time to see in class, and invite whoever’s interested to come and discuss afterwards.

I have basically an hour and a half of short videos, including some TED talks, and I’ll follow with a presentation of Chasing Ice (at 5:45, room 1305), a documentary about glaciers with images that are just amazing.

The problem I faced was picking the videos.  There are a jillion videos about the environment.  I narrowed the field by opting for the ones that are optimistic – but that’s still a large field.  I’ll list my second choices below, but first here’s what I’ll be showing – everyone welcome! The links are there for anyone who’d like to see any of them some other time (I think they are well worth it).

I could not not show Rose George’s TED talk; she goes over the key points of her 2008 book The Big Necessity, which is fabulous.  Hey, sanitation is at the beginning of environmentalism, and there’s nothing like talking about poo.

Many people haven’t heard of the beautiful Flathead River valley in Eastern BC, so that very short clip was a go, as was George Monbiot’s fabulous TED talk about rewilding.  Every environmentalist wants to save wil areas, and Monbiot shows how that affects all of us.

But the key issue we’re facing nowadays is climate change, which is tied to how we use energy.  So I chose the very inspirational TED talk by Monica Araya, who shows how a country who got rid of its army afer a civil war can also get rid of fossil fuels – entirely.  I follow that with two clips from Germany, one that shows similarly how Germany could realistically get rid of fossil fuels without sacrificing its industrial power (it’s a bit geeky), and the other on the miond-blowing BIQ, the Hamburg appartment building that uses algae to harvest the sun for power and heat.

But that left many on the cutting floor.  Here’s what didn’t make the cut, and I sure wish I had time to show them.  So here are the links, if anyone wants some upbeat videos full of hope.

There’s a British show called Fully Charged, with a whole series about the energy situation in Germany.  The one I (almost) picked is a ten-minute intro found at .

I also was partial to a short TED talk about the energy budget of building a new house from the ground up, found at

I really liked the TED talk where architect Aziza Chaouni expalins how her team rehabilitated the stream that flows through Fez in Morocco: the old walled city (or Medina) is the largest pedestrian-only zone in the world, but there are no open spaces nor green parks, and whatever part of the stream that wasn’t paved over was terribly polluted – but not any more.  The six minute clip is at

I also picked a sweet talk by two Balinese schoolgirls, whose doggedly persistent campaign pushed the Island to ban single-use plastic bags.  Ifthis doesn’t convince you that young people will be theones saving us, nothing will (to say nothing of the importance of a good education system!).  The video is at

I rejected Christina Figueres talk about what went on inside the Paris climate accord as a bit too geeky, but it’s well worth watching at

For the same reason Gavin Schmidt didn’t make the cut – but for anyone who doesn’t get the idea behind climate models, it’s a must.  The video is at

Oh, how could I not show this? It’s funny (especially the comparison between politicians and vultures) and inspiring, at

And here’s another favourite, which unfortunately at over twenty minutes is too long for what I could show.  But Allan Savory’s TED talk about how grazing cattle, well managed, build soils and prevents desertification is fabulous (though Savory’s conclusions remain controversial), and it’s quite handy for  showing anyone who takes you to task for eating meat.  It’s at



Written by enviropaul

November 7, 2016 at 5:27 pm

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