We have written previously about environmental justice and environmental swaps you can incorporate into your day-to-day life, but sometimes, reading isn’t the best medium to convey an idea. Other times, we just want to sit back and watch someone explain things to us. For those days and the visual learners among us, here are several critical environmental concepts explained via video clips.
Kids Academy: Recycling for Kids (~5 minutes)
A simple animated video for children that introduces the recycling symbol, the concept of recycling, and the difference between recycling paper, glass, and plastic.
Sesame Street: Murray Visits a Recycling Center (~6 minutes)
For the littlest ones, Sesame Street’s Murray and Ovejita are learning what happens to plastic after it gets recycled. They visit a recycling center and see examples of how the recycling process separates different materials.
Vox: The environmental cost of free two-day shipping (~5 minutes)
This video explains the environmental impact of online shopping, particularly free two-day shipping, and how this creates a whole chain reaction of negative environmental decisions by companies. This video also talks about what are the solutions to make it more sustainable.
You might not be able to see them, but they’re in the water. Although trash heaps are easier to spot in waterways, microplastics—pieces of plastic smaller than five millimeters—have started to stir more concern. Acting as sponges, the pieces soak up the chemicals around them and often make their way through the food chain, ending up on dinner plates. Most microplastics are created over time from larger pieces or directly from microbeads in products like face washes or toothpaste. The pieces are so small they pass through waste treatment plants and into waterways. This video gives a quick explanation of microplastics and why we should be concerned.
Marketplace journalists go undercover overseas and pose as recycling brokers to expose the lucrative plastic recycling business. They reveal that Malaysian companies are willing to break the law to buy Canadian plastic and show how some of it is dumped and burned in illegal landfills, where the toxic fumes and run-off appear to be making people sick. Back in Canada, they then buy nine tons of plastic and secretly track where big companies are taking it.
The greatest trick corporations ever played was making us think we could recycle their products. In the Video Op-Ed, the New York Times debunks a recycling myth that has lulled us into guilt-free consumption of plastic for decades and ends with the reminder that we should ‘start buying as if nothing gets recycled at all’.
From whirlpool turbines to edible cutlery, water blobs, and package-free shampoo and toothpaste, this video compiles a list of 22 inventions that could help us cut back on plastic, reduce garbage in the sea, and make the Earth a better place. A great video to watch to feel inspired by innovation when you feel overwhelmed by the vast challenges that face our planet.
Grist: Environmental Justice, Explained (~3 minutes)
We already know that pollution and climate change negatively affect people’s health and quality of life. But we’re not always clear about which people are most exposed and impacted. The harm that comes with rising seas and contaminated water systems isn’t evenly distributed. To the contrary: Those who are already disadvantaged by race, wealth, and income are usually the most affected by environmental disasters. Without recognizing that inequality, we’re not always solving the problems with our water, air, and soil in ways that serve the people who need it most — which is why environmental justice is a critical part of planning a green future that’s good for everyone.