Monthly archive: April 2011

by Jacob Corvidae

Saving the world is hard enough without it also being boring. So here’s a smattering of ways to have fun while being more eco-friendly.

  1. The Fun Theory - a great competition that came up with a bunch of creative ways to get people to do more eco-things by making them the more fun option. Their site features a bunch of videos of the entries. Shown here was a great recycling bin design that got people to run around gathering recyclables to use it.
  2. Japan’s Fun Train – Want to make more people use trains? What if they were great places to be in? These two trains from Japan are great examples of using this idea to make trains more kid-friendly. But really the idea could be taken in many different directions with amazing results.
  3. Seed bomb vending machine – Treehugger pointed this nice one out, and I don’t know if it really makes anything more fun, but it tickled me pink, so here it is.
  4. Designers’ eco- coloring book – Now, I know that many alterna-folks aren’t crazy about coloring books, because of the notion that it’s spoonfed “coloring-in-the-lines” instructions. But that wasn’t my experience at all as a kid. Rather, it was a great way to get comfy with using color, discovering color combinations and playing with different techniques and materials. In any case, this book is even more fun. Professional illustrators were asked to contribute pages on an environmental theme, making for a fun, arty coloring book that you can also use to indoctrinate your child into the eco-hegemony! Shown here, an illustration from the book by Delphine Vaufrey.
  5. Rep. Markey’s statement on Climate Change Deniers – This just stands as a great example of how activism is far more fun when we bring in humor instead of just polemics. It’s only a little over a minute and really worth a listen.  See vid clip below.

by Jacob Corvidae

Music is a powerful force in the universe: it can inform, inspire, move and enlighten us. Except when it sucks.

And sure enough, it’s easier to write a sucky song about politics than a good one. In fact, Grist provided a whole list of songs about climate change that suck [Link corrected - sorry 'bout that]. So I went on a quest to find songs about this topic that don’t suck. And it wasn’t easy. I couldn’t even get 10. But it’s a start, and I’m hoping you can let me know of any others.

My criteria were pretty simple and completely subjective: it had to be intelligent and sophisticated in it’s handling of the subject, or fun and clever, but anything insipid or trite was not allowed.

So, in no particular order, here’s the list:

Climate Songs That Don’t Suck

This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven – Pixies – lyrics

Idioteque – Radiohead – lyrics

Watershed – Vienna Teng – lyrics

Tables and chairs – andrew bird – lyrics

The Clock – Thom Yorke (and ALBUM: The Eraser) – lyrics

And note that this entire album (!!) is apparently about climate change, but this one stands alone in a way that I don’t think the others do.

Sleeping in – postal service – lyrics

White Light – Vienna Teng – lyrics

While I’ve been told this may not be strictly about climate change, I think it works well for it – and the sounds like a tea-pot heating up and whistling puts it in place for me.

Yes, that’s it. 7 songs. Despite a list of over 350 climate related songs that others have put together. Now, maybe some of those don’t suck. I didn’t listen to or know them all.

But here are 2 Special Mentions to at least boost the list a little:
Thanks – Erin McKeown, Amy Martin and Missoula Coyote Choir – lyrics
A sweet song off the great biomimicry kids album by Amy Martin.

Long Line of Cars – Cake – lyrics

Enjoy – and let me know if you know of any others.

by Jacob Corvidae

As I’ve said before, I got all excited this winter about Jane McGonigal’s TEDtalk and the notion of making the task of changing the world FUN.  So imagine my thrill, when my first draft of an idea was listed as Game of the Week (for several weeks) last month at McGonigal’s Gameful website (home of games of the social good).

Some details still need fleshing out, and it needs some real-time play testing. If you’re interested, write to boltofninjas [at] Meanwhile, here are the basics:

Bolt of Ninjas!

Your friend’s house has a Ninja infestation… started by YOU!

One of the problems with saving energy or water, is that to most people they’re invisible. No one can see the difference. Home improvements are more fun when you can see them right? Invisible is bad, right? Wrong! Invisible is good… when you’re a Ninja!

Bolt of Ninjas! is a real-life game that is a designed to be a bunch of fun, while also helping out your friends and making the world a better place. What’s not to love?

The goal: Help make a friend’s home more energy efficient.

The challenge: You have limited time in which to get the work done — without being caught!

The rules for Bolt of Ninjas! are really pretty basic and explained in detail below: