TED Conversations

Eduardo Henrique

Student - A.B. in Physics,

This conversation is closed.

What each of us could/should do to the world get better in terms of environment...

I am very concerned about the climate, fast increasing of pollution and, of course, careless people.
It's not difficult to put the waste in the dump. This is a matter of hygiene.
It's not difficult to stay under the shower for less time. This is a matter of economy.
It's not difficult to use a bycicle to get to the supermarket to buy few things, to school, to work etc.. This is a matter of practicality.
It's not difficult to separate waste kinds. This is a matter of recycling.

All these things are more than we could imagine. All these things are a matter of time saving, money saving, life quality, education, evolution, beauty creation. These things could make people smile much more. The question is why not do these things if they are easy to do? Why show that working in group is too hard? Actually, it's not. And this is a matter of wish. I think that We have to clean the world quickly, but We, human beings, need to clean our minds before.

I finish this issue to question:
- What do you do or not to clean the world?
- What would you also do or not to clean the world?
- What do you want people to do or not to clean the world?

Thank you very much!

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    Aug 14 2011: Only one thing is needed that is conscious effort of avoiding hyper consumption, denouncing all the psycho-commercial stimuli around which is pushing everyone for meaningless hyper consumption.
  • Aug 21 2011: i believe in this lines so much........

    "yesterday i was clever, so i thought of changing the world!!!
    but....
    today i'm wise...so i'm changing myself!!""

    so...one has to follow certain principles to teach the remainig world!
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    Aug 19 2011: Firstly Eduardo, we need more people who think like you. Also, every little bit counts so we can never do too little.
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      Aug 20 2011: not a good suggestion ... i have been a environmentalist in my country and nobody was there who was thinking like me.... now i have forced everyone around me to do so....YOU MAKE THE CHANGE....
  • Aug 27 2011: Would it help if everyone of us adopt conscious attitude and living? I certainly think so.:)
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    Aug 15 2011: plant lots of trees. Dont print docs untill badly needed, Use cloth bag instead of plastic bag.
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      Aug 19 2011: Hey Rafi, it's so good to see that although we are on opposite sides of the planet, we think alike nowadays. A benefit of the information age no doubt. I smiled when you say to use cloth bags. Keep it up and we will build the future.
    • Aug 19 2011: Whatever happened to paper bags? I remember those being so much more practical and cheaper than cloth bags.

      By the way, only about 9% of pulp for paper products comes from old growth trees, 16% comes from trees raised specifically for pulp production. (Rest from second and third generation - reforestation)
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        Aug 20 2011: We usually use paper bags single use while cloth bags can be used for long times.
  • Aug 15 2011: Every single waste that we throw everyday, even if its just a small candy wrapper it will still add up to the piles and mountains of waste in our world if it all adds up together.Continuously creating a threat to the future.
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    Sep 2 2011: it all starts at home and in your self: segregation...recycling...
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    Aug 27 2011: start an environmental revolution! vote for leaders with an environmental focus and mandate! Boycott products that refuse to change for the sake of our environment. Environmental SCIENCES get more funding for research.
    Make crazy laws that wake people up to pollution control!
    We can't go backwards to the past...we need to move farward in a way that makes SAVING THIS PLANET a Fashion, a law, a real major part of who we are...not what we believe...but what WE KNOW AND LOVE!
    • Aug 28 2011: Fully support your opinion! It's time to save the planet before it's too late (perhaps, it's a bit too late but better late than never). The earth is under "stress" just like our bodies do get sick if not balance or properly cared, the earth is very "feverish" as seen lately many weather related disasters occurring due to imbalance of the planet earth caused by mankind (got to be kind-er to Mother earth) imo. People may argue that it is natural or earth is expanding or contracting, but I think 70% were caused by our negligence. If trees were not cut down excessively, a lot of floor-related so called natural disasters would not have occurred (jmo). :) Trees are our natural source of oxygen but today we & mother earth breathe in more carbon dioxide.
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    Aug 23 2011: After the last post: The color, design, make, brand and price we look after. Its a cultural change happened in our societies due to economic development. For example, in our Indian culture we used to buy clothes once/twice a year for a festival or on any special occasion. Now what happened, people are not waiting for festivals. They came to know that for buying clothes we need money, not festivals. What we say for this change ? Yes, there is no single answer for this. But if we drill down to the root cause we end up with change in individual's attitude, approach and application. The very purpose of buying clothes (in this example) is lost. This applies to each and every product we are using now. Think over. And if we go back and change our basics to simplicity, the entire economy will shift to a new base point. And of course, the environment (our subject) will be put a little better place than now.
    Friends we need to talk extensively on this, for now I am taking break.
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    Aug 23 2011: Thank you Henrique, for surfacing such an important topic.
    I do regularly keep tab on my carbon foot print. Be it water, paper and fuel. At my office, I use the paper on both sides. Using less water, optimising the electricity, using public transport are all, I am doing. But these acts contribute a lot for the cause of environment protection, they are not enough. We need to go beyond that. These are just like small medicines for a chronic disease. Medicines are not enough as we know, we need to change the complete metabolism.
    Today we are leading lifestyles in a complexity that can never give you your life back. We are lost in that swirl. we need complete shift in our attitude, approach and application of of our thoughts. I believe spirituality have answers for every problem in this universe. we lost the very purpose of living. Though we get any good sign of reformation,rejuvenation and improvement, we see those something different. Something that are not connected with our lifestyles. As MK Gandhi rightly said, Everything is for your need,not for your greed. If we perceive for our greeds, then obviously we will land up in the situation where we cant meet our basic needs.
    The simple idea we need to follow is : Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. These are simple terms and they are self explanatory. Though everyone are saying on these lines, the extent to which we are thinking and implementing will differ to person to person. So for reducing to the least level (means consumption), you need to change our entire lifestyle drastically. With this knowledge and attitude, I doubt we can do that. It demands a major shift and ultimately...Simplicity is the best answer. Keeping it simple or being simple is not so simple..Simplicity demands for a sustainable lifestyle which we are far from. For example: If we go out to buy a shirt, we need to think first why we require that ? But unfortunately, that is the last question we are encountering with. ----to be continued..
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    Aug 20 2011: just start using these two simplest cheapest solar gadgets to change your daily life.. and yes .. motivate others also...

    i have been using these since two years... and my electricity and gas cost has gone to 1/3rd adding to it... its solar hence no footprints at all..... :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKmpP7uYIao

    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/01/07/article-1108343-02F9F1BD000005DC-409_468x516.jpg
  • Aug 15 2011: The real reason for all the pollution is the modern world's utter dependence on fossil fuels. Taking briefer showers, even if everyone does it (or has the water) just won't get the job done. Civilised life requires a lot of energy. As for what we can do: spread the word that there IS a cheap, safe, non polluting energy source: I'm referring to the OTHER type of nuclear fission plant, which can't blow up, melt down, or release unmanageable amounts of toxic waste. In fact , the Thorium LFTR type of plant USES UP existing nuclear plants waste as FUEL. See Youtube, Thorium, Kirk Sorensen , for some good videos about this. The only reason we haven't heard about this is that the project , after being invented, developed, and demonstrated (for 5 years) was abandoned and forgotten, mostly because this type of plant doesn't produce bomb making material. 50 years ago that was a deal-killer.
    • Sep 3 2011: I agree with Your view! Also agree with Kirk Sorensen!
      But the ongoing use of so called civillian use of nuclaer energy I despy!!
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    Aug 14 2011: strangely enough, eating meat is extremely bad for the environment. in the united states cows a fed a diet of mostly corn because it is cheap. when cows digest corn the produce a huge amount of methane compared to cows who are grass fed. livestock create more green house gases than automobiles worldwide.
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    Aug 14 2011: Whenever I happen to notice a piece of garbage in my path I'll gladly pick it up & put it in the waste. If there's no bin around sometimes I'll even put the garbage in my pocket. (Not a healthy choice) It is worth it to me because I believe the ground is more beautiful without garbage on it.

    I believe that people who keep their communities clean are collectively doing the world a great service.
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    Sep 13 2011: if we all bought loose fruit and vegetables instead of one packed in plastic wouldn't tones of plastic wrapping be saved from being sent to a landfill, or even just the waste of energy in creating this wrapping, maybe instead of plastic we use materials such as hemp sacks, which could be reused till they degrade, Or even better we grow our own vegetables, i know this isn't the easy thing for people to do, but it would make our fruit and veg carbon neutral, seen as there wouldn't be any tractors or machinery used to get it form a field to a supermarket, and by doing this we can reduce our carbon foot prints, and that would certainly have a positive effect on the environment
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    Sep 13 2011: I am walking to go to school everyday.It not only do good to environment,but also do good to my healthy~(I want to make friends with you~~)
  • Sep 13 2011: Hello Alex...maybe the right question is what is the incentive for anyone to do anything to support your statred mission. I have just recived my quarterly electricity account. I was shocked. Not because it was large, but because I cant pay it. Hence I now have an incentive to find a solution. The emotional images of the results of global warming are not person specific. I cannot feel the pain, at this moment, of how it will effect my life. I know some islands will be swamped , but that is their problem, not mine. People in central Jawa, Indonesia, have absolutely no personable connection to the enviroment changes ....on the other hand they are concerned about the polution of their streams and rivers....still not doing much about it ....for many reasons, an important one is that the do not know what to do, or because no one is providing community motivation to work together. If a thousand children were to suffer terribly and this was shown to be from the polluted river , there would be instant motivation to do something. There would be a community focus to act.

    I am an older person and whilst saving whales is clearly a nice thing to do, I am not sure how it improves my life in the few years I have left, hopefully more than less.

    What are the incentives, to the individual, that will have the power / effect of generating action.

    I suggest that there is not enough pain, caused by the threat of global enviroment damage / change, to the individual, to cause him to change.

    No pain..no gain.
  • Sep 12 2011: It sure is a difficult matter to change the habits of people, so that they will care about environment, and about what everyone can do to help take care of it.

    I think we have to educate people to care about their surroundings and the world, but I dont see it happening unless the authorities think it is important and decide to make a school program to teach how can we help to maintain a good environment.

    Most people is not used to recycle or to be conscious about the daily things they do that damages the wolrd, that is why I think the mental change has to be done when they are kids, so that when they grow up they will be used to do things that do not damage the envirionment.
  • Sep 12 2011: For me it’s obvious to agree with Eduardo because personally I know that the solution for the climate issue has to come from us, but also I think that one of the worst thing of our time is to feel that someone else have to do the change for us, it’s easy to criticize everything that we don’t like, but is not that easy when people ask you what do you really do about it.
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    Sep 9 2011: Live so well, so happily, with such harmony in nature that other people will WANT to do it. Even Better; but "Get PAID to do it." If you find something green that you can do an make a profit, do it. We need more geo-friendly people making geo-friendly small businesses. Sustainable energy pays for itself, no matter how cheap the alternatives are. Every penny saved can be re-invested until we are at 100% efficiency.
    Wherever you are start growing food. Find out what grows locally and plant. If you are in a tropical zone plant Moringa Olifera trees. You can keep them small or grown them to 30 ft. (no freeze temperature).
    Next time you move, get as CLOSE to your work as possible. It saves not only on money, emissions, and emotional turbulence, but the unreclaimable 4th dimension, TIME!
  • Sep 6 2011: I totally agree with the article presented by Eduardo. Nowadays we live in a society that has lost conscience about the environment and we have to think the world as a huge body that suffers with the pollution created by humanity irresponsibility. That is why I think the article was an assertive way to help people see that we need to change our minds in order to change our actions.

    I admit I am not an example of huge responsibility in terms of the environment but I know now that I am more conscience about the environment and that is a first step.

    Anyway, as Eduardo already said, making the changes is easier that we thought because it is just a matter of determination but we need a change in our behavior if we want to understand that our world is a big system that we need to look after.
  • Sep 4 2011: Ultimately, it's the matter of whether each of us acquires "environment-friendly decision making" or not. If the development of infrastructures or our lifestyle shift toward sustainable manner, carbon footprint can be drastically reduced. For instance, government should promote public-transportation-oriented township development or invest more on greentech. Also there are many things through which we ordinary people can contribute to sustainability. We can share things which each of us use only several times a year (or in a lifetime, perhaps). We can choose greener products or greener transits in our daily lives.
    What we need to realize these actions is the recognition that all of our decision lead to make some difference. Good decisions bring about good results, bad decisions bring about bad results. So we need some platforms to share and diffuse good ideas and actions that make our society better place.
  • Sep 3 2011: Be humple- and don´t use-/ spend- more than you need to survive! Share what you have with others and be kind to your neighbours!
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    Sep 2 2011: Make James Lovelock's Gaia Theory a compulsory part of the school curriculum.
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    Aug 31 2011: Take care of humans in a humane manner FIRST and the environment will take care of itself. ALL human misery at this point in history are a matter of POLICY and not ability. We can feed, clothe and house a hundred times the current population if the right decisions are made. Humans living in an environment of "total field" efficiency, an efficiency that understands emotional as well as physical needs, will result in that efficiency being extended to the environment automatically. As it is, environmentalism is a gigantic diversion and distraction away from solving problems of human want and aspiration.
  • Aug 30 2011: yes .we should protect our enviroment !we 'd better advocate more and more folks to do the meaningful thing .It's not difficult to make our enviroment better but it's hard to change the mind and change the habbit .
  • Aug 28 2011: First of all EDUCATE people! Changing people's mentality is ultimately essential! Increase the quality and efficiency of produced goods (less energy will go wasted that way). Recycling resources. Building massive efficient public transportation systems - eliminating need for personal transport and thus reduce the energy expenditure. Heavily invest in nuclear fusion research. Change of global socioeconomic order to one that is capable of setting and realising long-term goals using scientific method (I'm not talking about 5 or 10 years here but 100s, 1000s,...). Investing more in science and technology.

    Advocate use of nuclear energy and renewable resources (free solar power storage called "fossil fuels" is diminishing - and we just go on wasting the "free ticket" out of potential future/ecological energy crysis).



    Those links are dedicated to all nuclear fission power scared and greenwashed crackpots:

    http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html

    http://nuclearfissionary.com/2010/04/02/comparing-energy-costs-of-nuclear-coal-gas-wind-and-solar/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banqiao_Dam#Casualties

    http://www.the9billion.com/2011/03/24/death-rate-from-nuclear-power-vs-coal/

    http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/np-risk.htm

    Also coal burning releases much more radioactive substances like U and Th, than all reactor accidents combined (but surely over a larger area).

    Also look for thorium breeder reactors and development of newest generation nuclear reactors:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breeder_reactor

    I really cannot help to say, as a species generally speaking, currently - humans are idiots. And I'm really sorry I cannot change or influence that significantly - that's why I'm trying my luck in mathemathics and physics hoping I could help in any way to society.

    Oh by the way you cannot really "save the planet" on the long run - you can merely preserve it, sun atmosphere is going to expand into the region of the earth in few bilion years.
    • Sep 3 2011: As long the problems with the used fuel aínt solved nuclaer energy is OUT of question!
      • Sep 4 2011: Sorry, but problem is too many people are irrationally afraid of it. However I agree, fuel is problematic, that's why I also mentioned thorium reactors (I suggest you do some thorough research on concept). Or molten salt reactors (also search on those). But my point is (I backed it up with many sources) nuclear power is overall still much safer (http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html) and economical way to produce electricity - despite the fact it's harmful It is causing less impact on environment than coal power, oil power, solar power or wind power.

        Why do you possess souch bias towards it? I really don't understand...

        I would ban coal power instead - first of all think of all miners who get killed digging it (and nobody cares about them) it causes huge contamination to environment, lung cancer and other health problems (decreases lifespan of people on that area), produces greenhouse gasses, fine particulates etc. But when nuclear power plant in Japan suffers a meltdown, most of the people are going crazy, buying KI pills and spreading irrational fear and panic (all that while not realizing how nuclear reactors even work or how radiation dosage is measured), while not even mentioning alternative energy sources and staying ignorant of fact they are much more deadly/harmful at the moment than nuclear fission. Besides some isotopes, which are byproducts of nuclear power are also used in medicine, which helps save lives. Also nuclear power is slightly cheaper per kWh than coal (according to this page: http://nuclearfissionary.com/2010/04/02/comparing-energy-costs-of-nuclear-coal-gas-wind-and-solar/ ) . So I suggest you look at the FACTS next time you comment and get rid of irrational predispositions you have towards it.
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    Aug 19 2011: we have to show this careless people how water,electricity , plastic bottles are produced.Though in may country ,electricity is produced using renewable hydroelectric,in most countries it is produced using coal fired power plants. If they can see how wasteful,unsustainable the process is they might be less careless.
    and the second is correctly pricing .
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      Aug 22 2011: agree, perception is a key to behavior change.

      We just don't care because in most people minds eyes products are like coming from another galaxy (externalities) instead of their own ecosystem.

      If we have a good feedback system to perceive externalities + we de-externalize stuff, desirable change should follow