24 Hours of Reality: Reasons to Be Hopeful in the Face of Climate Change
Today at noon, the Climate Reality Project will kick off 24 Hours of Reality: 24 Reasons for Hope, our fourth-annual 24-hour live broadcast on climate change. We’ve had great success with millions of viewers around the world for three years now, so naturally this year we are doing something different.
In the past, we’ve talked about Dirty Weather and the Cost of Carbon, focusing our broadcast on the negative impacts of climate change. This year, we are bringing you a different message. We are shifting the conversation to instead focus the spotlight on the reasons to be hopeful in the face of climate change. We hope to inspire viewers worldwide to join us in this effort as we celebrate innovative solutions, the courageous leaders, and the benefits of climate action.
Every hour during the broadcast, former U.S. Vice President and Climate Reality Chairman Al Gore will introduce a new reason to be hopeful about solving the climate crisis. Then we’ll spend the hour explaining why viewers should be hopeful, by featuring reports with activists, town hall-style discussions with experts like Reed Hundt and Dan Esty, and one-on-one interviews with celebrities like Maggie Grace and Bradley Whitford, man-on-the-street interludes with Ian Somerhalder, and artistic performances, covering everything from the benefits we are already seeing to the leaders in the global arena.
Click here for a full schedule of the hour-by-hour broadcast.
In addition to former Vice President Al Gore and the Climate Reality Project, a variety of international celebrities, musicians, advocates and other special guests will join the broadcast, including filmmaker Vanessa Black, singer-songwriter Jason Mraz, actor Mark Ruffalo and featured partners like Interfaith Power and Light, among many others.
But the broadcast won’t just be interesting people talking about what they’re doing—throughout the program we’ll be asking viewers to do their part, by dedicating a day to making a difference in the climate fight. Climate change is a massive and highly complex problem, but the combined efforts from viewers around the world help in hundreds of different ways. We will suggest actions which you can take, but you can also contribute in your own way using your own time: if you are a parent, maybe you’ll choose to organize a renewable energy fair at school; a young professional might pledge to become a Climate Reality Leader; a student might work to elect a clean energy candidate … Each and every one of these actions plays an important part in this global fight.
It is my hope that we can come together as a global community and make a commitment to fighting climate change every day for the next year.
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Returning the ‘Three Sisters’ – Corn, Beans and Squash – to Native American Farms Nourishes People, Land and Cultures
By Christina Gish Hill
Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.
Abundant Harvests<p>Historically, Native people throughout the Americas bred indigenous plant varieties specific to the growing conditions of their homelands. They selected seeds for many different traits, such as <a href="https://emergencemagazine.org/story/corn-tastes-better/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flavor, texture and color</a>.</p><p>Native growers knew that planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers together produced mutual benefits. Corn stalks created a trellis for beans to climb, and beans' twining vines secured the corn in high winds. They also certainly observed that corn and bean plants growing together tended to be healthier than when raised separately. Today we know the reason: Bacteria living on bean plant roots pull nitrogen – an essential plant nutrient – from the air and <a href="http://www.tilthalliance.org/learn/resources-1/almanac/october/octobermngg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">convert it to a form that both beans and corn can use</a>.</p><p>Squash plants contributed by shading the ground with their broad leaves, preventing weeds from growing and retaining water in the soil. Heritage squash varieties also had spines that discouraged deer and raccoons from visiting the garden for a snack. And sunflowers planted around the edges of the garden created a natural fence, protecting other plants from wind and animals and attracting pollinators.</p><p>Interplanting these agricultural sisters produced bountiful harvests that sustained large Native communities and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/eam.2015.0016" target="_blank">spurred fruitful trade economies</a>. The first Europeans who reached the Americas were shocked at the abundant food crops they found. My research is exploring how, 200 years ago, Native American agriculturalists around the Great Lakes and along the Missouri and Red rivers fed fur traders with their diverse vegetable products.</p>
Displaced From the Land<p>As Euro-Americans settled permanently on the most fertile North American lands and acquired seeds that Native growers had carefully bred, they imposed policies that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/ahr/87.2.550" target="_blank">made Native farming practices impossible</a>. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the <a href="https://guides.loc.gov/indian-removal-act" target="_blank">Indian Removal Act</a>, which made it official U.S. policy to force Native peoples from their home locations, pushing them onto subpar lands.</p><p>On reservations, U.S. government officials discouraged Native women from cultivating anything larger than small garden plots and pressured Native men to practice Euro-American style monoculture. Allotment policies assigned small plots to nuclear families, further limiting Native Americans' access to land and preventing them from using communal farming practices.</p><p>Native children were forced to attend boarding schools, where they had no opportunity to <a href="https://doi.org/10.5749/jamerindieduc.57.1.0145" target="_blank">learn Native agriculture techniques or preservation and preparation of Indigenous foods</a>. Instead they were forced to eat Western foods, turning their palates away from their traditional preferences. Taken together, these policies <a href="https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-0802-7.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">almost entirely eradicated three sisters agriculture</a> from Native communities in the Midwest by the 1930s.</p>
Reviving Native Agriculture<p>Today Native people all over the U.S. are working diligently to <a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reclaim Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and other crops</a>. This effort is important for many reasons.</p><p>Improving Native people's access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods will help lower rates of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aian-diabetes/index.html" target="_blank">diabetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/native-american/obesity" target="_blank">obesity</a>, which affect Native Americans at disproportionately high rates. Sharing traditional knowledge about agriculture is a way for elders to pass cultural information along to younger generations. Indigenous growing techniques also protect the lands that Native nations now inhabit, and can potentially benefit the wider ecosystems around them.</p>
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