Today's Tiny Tip
It's much easier to recycle printer ink cartridges than you might think.
Find out how.

Did you know?
More species of birds exist in one square mile of Amazon rainforest than exist in all of North America. More factoids...

This is Our Home

Welcome to Earth 101, the first in a series of PintSites. The PintSite concept is, simply stated: Less is More. Our mission is to deliver a manageable amount of quality content — text, photos, video and games — to busy yet thoughtful people. Each PintSite has a theme, and as the name implies, Earth 101 focuses on the environment.

Any topic worth reflecting upon is likely to be complex as well, and the environment is no exception. It's simply not possible to cover all modern ecological issues, crises and progress in a single PintSite; fortunately, that isn't necessary given the holographic nature of our world. One good article on the struggles of an environmental activist provides insight into the daily struggles of thousands; one essay on the Left's inability to coordinate their Earth Day celebration is relevant the rest of the year as well; one reflection of a media company (ours) wrestling with how best to lead employees to greener pastures speaks to all such efforts.

And yet, complexity is particularly burdensome for those attempting to comprehend what is and is not happening to our environment. Even those with sufficient biology training to appreciate mutual dependence of ecosystems won't necessarily know enough chemistry to distinguish fact from fiction in the press release of a pesticide manufacturer. Even those with enough geology to grasp the Carbon Cycle aren't prepared to score debates on global warming between experts incapable of agreeing on the color of the sky on a clear day.

Furthermore, the escalation of political rancor and the new fungibility of fact makes rational analysis and discussion of environmental issues all but impossible. Our last presidential election demonstrated that verifiable data has become all but irrelevant to politic campaigns, to the point where the very idea of objective reality now appears to be under assault. The rise of Fox News and the rest of the Right-Wing echo chamber can be neatly graphed against the media's abdication of their once fiercely-defended role as arbiters of reason. "News" now spins into existence — if we don't drill in the Alaskan Wilderness, the terrorists win — and polls meticulously document the denting of American minds by repeated hammering.

Complexity and politics are not the only problems facing would-be environmentalists; there is also our low tolerance for bad news — and few stories are as grim as that of Mother Earth. The prominent environmental activist, Robert Kennedy, Jr., often discusses degradation of our land, air and water by first reading from the long list of toxic chemicals found in his own body. While a select few agitate for greater awareness of our pending collective demise, the rest of us pick at our swordfish in capers and beurre blanc sauce while fish stocks collapse world-wide; line up with the other SUVs outside our children's schools while global temperatures rise dramatically; and notice, casually while munching honey-roasted peanuts at 35,000 feet, how much more earth and sea is visible on the polar route this January than last. It's all so painful that at a certain point, Seinfeld reruns, flavored malt beverages, trips to the mall — anything that promises to lift us from despair — all start to look pretty good.

Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy, in her modern environmental classic, World as Lover, World as Self , writes of the need to maintain our focus: "It is essential that we develop our inner resources. We have to learn to look at things as they are, painful and overwhelming as that may be, for no healing can begin until we are fully present to our world, until we learn to sustain the gaze." Development of "inner resources" for Macy involves serious spiritual practice, yet those of us who wish we had the time and discipline to mediate still want to understand at least some of what's happening to our world, and do what we can. Earth 101, then, is for you: busy people who care enough to focus on the environment — at least for a little while.

What's at stake?
See the disastrous consequences of failed environmental policies on our nation's natural resources.

Photo Essay
What's your GQ?
Think you’re up to speed on the complex environmental issues facing us today? Test your Green Quotient to assess how environmentally savvy you really are!
Tell us what you think
We'd like to hear your reaction to Earth 101. Like it? Hate it?
Let us know.