Youtube’s Best Sustainability Shows
By: Tajiya Holland
You’re more than satisfied as sunbeams warm your skin, one random summer feeling autumn day. It should be colder out, but you think to yourself, it’s simply a fluke. Although you’re not being personally affected by the climate crisis, it’s real, and that hot day when it should be cold is a consequence of how we’re treating the planet.
You may find the drive to and from the office mundane or work in the comfort of your home at times boring. But last year, more than 30 million people globally were displaced by climate-related tragedies and disasters. The climate crisis doesn’t affect us equally. “We, the developed countries in the world, have created this crisis. And the people who are paying most as a consequence are the poorest in the world. What a gross injustice.”— Sir David Attenborough, an English natural historian, and broadcaster.
Youtube has created UnF**k It, five original shows developed to inspire action on climate change. Google, which owns Youtube, is dedicated to organizing information about the planet to make it accessible and actionable through technology. To travel and shop more efficiently, support clean energy from home, fuel-efficient routes through maps, and Ai usage for traffic lights are only a few ways they’re providing sustainable choices. The shows below discuss various topics with the commonality of finding solutions to the climate crisis and how you can help.
A Seat At The Table
Documentary filmmaker and climate storyteller Jack Harries travels to COP26, making stops along the way to witness people’s stories. These activists, inventors, and experts whose voices ignored strive for a better future. Episodes discuss sea-level rise, food security, air pollution, extreme weather, wildfires, deforestation, clean energy, and carbon capture. The first story told is of Chhum Shim in Cambodia. She owned a rice field, and due to climate change, there wasn’t enough rainfall and water for farming. Borrowing $2,000 for fertilizer and a water pump, she still didn’t make enough to pay back the loan, and selling the rice field her family lived off of wasn’t either. Her debt, becoming $7,000 due to the interest, she has to work seven days a week, only hoping to pay it off one day. Throughout each episode, many stories are told with the fear of losing a home, a loved one, or their own life is present.
“A Seat at the Table” exhibits how one individual cannot control the fates they face. Although faced with tribulations, one individual can make an impact. While accomplishing small tasks together as a community, not only can the vulnerable be protected, but so can the whole planet. A Seat at the Table has partnered with Count Us In to help reduce carbon pollution and Earth Rise, a creative studio dedicated to climate crisis storytelling.
Shut It Off ASAP!
Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown from Toronto, Canada, make informative videos to help science make sense to their audience. In this series, they decide to go off-grid, shutting off their necessities such as power, food, and water and only relying on science for self-reliance. They experiment with new and old traditional technology to find solutions that promote sustainability. Moffit and Brown explore generating electricity from biking, harvesting water from the air, making beer from foot microbes, solar powering a fridge underground, and foraging from the wild.
Although their experiments are not conventional for most to perform at home, they advise on how to interpret them into at-home methods. For example, instead of seeking earthworms from the neighboring woods and building aquaponic cycles, find access to green spaces or create community gardens. “Shut it off ASAP” is also partnered with Count Us In to help reduce carbon pollution.
The adventurer, Mark Vins, sets out on a “Brave Mission” he deems to be one of the most important in world conservation. Expecting to find danger and desperation, he visits the Virunga National Park in eastern Congo, Africa where the last remaining silverback gorillas remain. Due to decades of civil war, an Ebola outbreak, and a recent volcanic eruption, there is a rise of terrorist organizations and armed rebel militia. They are not only harming and killing civilians but illegally hunting the gorillas, hippos and burning the forests for the illegal coal trade. Although poaching and charcoal sales have the short-term gain of revenue for the militia, it leads to the long-term detriment not only for the surrounding communities but for the world. Over 1,000 species live here in the 2nd largest rainforest on Earth, meaning this is a critical battleground in the fight against climate change.
Clean energy is needed as opposed to oil and charcoal. A hydroelectric plant is in place in Virunga, and eight more plants are to be built. The success of this strategy would create between 80,000 – 100,000 jobs to draw out young men and women in the militia. It can create stability within the region as rangers who protect the park are being supported monetarily. Leonardo DiCaprio (founding board member) and Jane Goodall have partnered with Re:wild to raise awareness and money to do so.
“Countdown” is a global initiative to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis. These actions start with how to turn ideas into action and shift mindsets along with systems. Watch the live stream that highlights the Countdown Summit that took place Oct. 12-15 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The program consisted of talks, case studies, and workshops that created new commitments and showed effects in progress from the people driving them. Politicians, policymakers, business leaders, scientists, indigenous leaders, artists, philanthropists, and youth activists together, show the collective efforts needed. Advice given throughout the event is linked with realistic pathways to have a net-zero future (balance between the amount of greenhouse gas produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere).
To comprehend what is happening to the world and the science behind it, Countdown has provided a climate starter kit. It’s filled with TED talks, video infographics, and essential readings. Also, there are addressed ways to join Countdown and take action within your company, city, school, or even a sports program.
As comedic education engages its viewers, “Signals” introduces an experimental program to listen to the stories of everyday objects. We meet a plastic bottle named Poly, voiced by Bretman Rock, and learn the truth about plastics. Although we are encouraged to recycle, 91% of plastic is not recycled even if it can be. We have heard of plastic harming and killing marine life, but microplastics are ending up inside us humans as well. Even if you don’t consume fish, microplastics are in water supplies and the air we breathe. There is a new technology, which if shifted to, the environment would take over and regenerate itself. Biopolymers can be used to create packaging and are biodegradable. Natural resources such as orange peels and starches are manufactured into juice and sauce pouches. Seaweed is a favorite as it biodegrades in just a few weeks, and mushroom root can help bind material used for flooring, cabinetry, and insulation.
Corporations produce more waste in a single day than the average human will in their lifetime. Therefore the continuation of personal recycling and less/no waste practices are necessary it’s not enough. We must push to have producers be responsible for waste. Economically pressuring major corps to change to long-term sustainable solutions is a necessity. Signals is pairing up with Ocean Conservancy to fundraise to help clean the oceans.