Polar Bears International

1/25/2013 6:00:00 AM

Good News Friday, Jan. 25, 2013

It's Friday and we want to share some good news. There's a lot of doom and gloom out there regarding climate change--and there should be. It's a serious problem that we all need to be taking action on.

But on Fridays, we like to highlight some of the good news, and focus on what people and communities are doing right now to reduce their carbon footprint and help polar bears.

  • L.A. Unified and five other school districts are striving to make wholesome food a national standard. They're working on biodegradable trays and utensils as well. Each district has been assigned a specific project. School districts in L.A., New York, Chicago, Dallas, Miami and Orlando, Fla., plan to use their collective clout — 2.5 million daily meals served and $530 million annually spent — to make wholesome food a national standard. The districts are also aiming for more eco-friendly practices — replacing polystyrene and plastic with biodegradable trays and flatware, for instance.
  • We love that people are always coming up with new and better ways to harness energy from the sun, wind, and water. For example, Sandia National Laboratories scientists in New Mexico have developed tiny glitter-sized photovoltaic cells that could revolutionize the way solar energy is collected and used. The tiny cells could turn a person into a walking solar battery charger if they were fastened to flexible substrates molded around unusual shapes, such as clothing.
  • While some scientists are looking at the sun, others are seeing energy in water. In the future, a newly created film might be able to harvest energy when placed above a lake or river, making energy from water vapor.
  • About 2,500 families living in Cateura, a landfill outside Paraguay's capital city, Asuncion, make their homes-and their livelihoods-in and around this dump. They sift through 1,500 tons of solid waste each day to pluck out items for recycling. Recycling is a grim way of life in Cateura, but it also provides a ray of hope, in the form of an unlikely orchestra. On instruments lovingly assembled from trash-discarded tin cans and utensils, sheets of x-rays, forks, bottle caps, pipes and oil cans-the children of Cateura are learning to play music. Hear their story, and their music, in the video below.
  • We're glad to see President Obama is getting to work on climate change. Representative Henry Waxman and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse announced the creation of a new bicameral task force on climate change. It's open to members of both parties in both houses of Congress.  

Have a great weekend!

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