Celebrate Earth Day 2014 with environmental documentary Trashed at its Houston premiere

The beauty of Earth from space stands in stark contrast to the view from the ground. There is now more human detritus across the globe than ever before. Industrialization, coupled with exponential population increases, pose a serious threat to the life and health of humans and ecosystems across the world.

A scene from the documentary Trashed, making its Houston  premiere Thursday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in celebration of Earth Day 2014.

A scene from the documentary Trashed, making its Houston premiere on Thursday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in celebration of Earth Day 2014.

Vast landscapes in China are covered in tons of rubbish. The wide waters of the Ciliwung River in Indonesia are now barely visible under a never-ending tide of plastic. Children swim among leaking bags; mothers wash in the sewage-filled supply.

On a beach in Lebanon, a mountain of rubbish towers — a pullulating eyesore of medical waste, household trash, toxic fluids and dead animals. It’s the result of 30 years of consumption by Sidon, just one small city. As the day’s new consignments are added to the top, debris tumbles off the side and into the blue of the Mediterranean.

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“There is an equally urgent need for the most imaginative and productive solutions to this troublesome subject to be understood and shared by as many communities as possible throughout the world. This is where movies can play such an important role: educating society, bringing ‘difficult’ subjects to the broadest possible audience,” says Irons on the urgent need for addressing the problem of waste and sustainability.

In the North Pacific, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch shows the detrimental effect of plastic waste on marine life. Chlorinated dioxins and other man-made persistent organic pollutants are attracted to the plastic fragments. These are eaten by fish, which absorb the toxins. We then eat the fish, accumulating more poisonous chemicals in our already burdened bodies.

Meanwhile, global warming, accelerated by the emissions from landfill and incineration, is melting the ice caps and releasing decades of these old poisons, which had been stored in the ice, back into the sea.

Trashed Blog 3Each year, we throw away 58 billion disposable cups, billions of plastic bags, 200 billion liters of water bottles, billions of tons of household waste, toxic waste and e-waste. We keep making things that do not break down.

You have all heard these horrifying facts before. In Trashed, you can discover what happens to the billion or so tons of waste that go unaccounted for each year.

The documentary Trashed makes its Houston debut Thursday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in celebration of Earth Day 2014.

The documentary Trashed makes its Houston debut Thursday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Houston Museum of Natural Science

In the award-winning documentary Trashed, Academy-Award winning actor Jeremy Irons travels to locations around the world to see how natural landscapes are now tainted by pollution to discover the extent and effects of the global waste problem. He then turns to hope and searches for solutions. From individuals who have changed their lives and produce almost no waste, to increasing anti-waste legislation, to an entire city which is now virtually waste-free, he discovers that change is not only essential, but happening.

Join Dr. Herb Ward, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University for the Houston premiere of Trashed on Thursday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. This is a great way to celebrate Earth Day 2014.

Click here for advance tickets.

To learn more about the film, visit trashedfilm.com or watch the trailer for Trashed below.

 

Still yearning for Earth Day learning? Join us April 28 for HMNS’ museum-wide celebration!

Founded in 1970 to commemorate the birth of the modern environmental movement, Earth Day (April 22) aimed to capitalize on an emerging national consciousness about the natural world and channel the energies of anti-war protests in a new direction.

earth day

Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin Senator, conceived the idea of a national holiday devoted to environmentalism after a devastating 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, Calif. With bipartisan support, the first-ever earth day inspired 20 million Americans to hit the streets and pour into public parks to rally for sustainable living.

Earth Day eventually lead to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts — but the battle for our earth is far from over.

Keep the celebration going at HMNS this weekend with Mobilize the Earth, a museum-wide event that teaches participants how to make their lives more sustainable and do their part for the planet.

Register an act of environmental service and join with Keep Houston Beautiful and the Hermann Park Conservancy to clean up the green space just north of HMNS, play around in recycled art at the booths inside our Grand Hall and learn about recycling, energy and water conservation.

What: “Mobilize the Earth” Earth Day celebration
When: April 28, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: HMNS grounds at 5555 Hermann Park Drive.

To purchase tickets to Mobilize the Earth, click here.

To learn more about Billion Acts of Green, click here.

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HMNS thanks the Marathon Oil Corporation for their continued support of the HMNS Energy Conservation Club, which sponsors HMNS’ annual Earth Day celebration.

Calling all creatives: The 2012 Art, Essay and Media contest is accepting entrants grades K-12

Know a creative kiddo with a penchant for all things scientific? An enthusiasm for energy? A fervor for fuel, or a curiosity about where it all comes from?

earth science week

Enter Energy Day. Now in its second year, the Energy Day Festival, held downtown Oct. 20 at Hermann Square Park, aims to teach kids to be better stewards of the earth while propelling interested students to explore careers in science and technology.

In collaboration with the Energy Day Academic Program and Energy Day’s year-long efforts to engage students in energy education, HMNS’ Wiess Energy Hall‘s Energy Conservation Club has partnered with the Houston Geological Society and the Consumer Energy Alliance to put on one of six city-wide competitions designed to motivate students interested in science and technology careers.

For the 2012 Art, Essay and Media contest, students grades K-5 are encouraged to submit a work of art that illustrates the connection between the energy sources we use and our lifestyles — both today and in the future.

Students grades 6-9 may submit an essay imagining themselves as scientists or engineers 20 years in the future. How are they ensuring the U.S. has the energy it needs for future generations? That’s the challenge.

Finally, students of all ages may compete in the media and photography contest documenting “Energy Choices for Sustainability.”

The entry deadline is Monday, April 30, so get those entries in! Prizes from $50 to $250 will be awarded to the first, second and third-place entrants in each category and will be presented during Energy Day on Oct. 20, where winning projects will also be on display from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Hermann Square Park downtown.

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Additionally, teachers of the winning students are eligible to win a matching award as well as teaching materials. Educators can find resources for teaching about earth science and energy here and here.

Can’t wait ’til October? Come celebrate Earth Day 2012 at HMNS April 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about Energy Day or enter the Art, Essay and Media contest, click here!

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HMNS thanks the Marathon Oil Corporation for its generous support of the Energy Conservation Club.

Earth Day at HMNS April 30, 2011

Earth Day 2007 - Atlantic Reflection
Creative Commons License photo credit: FlyingSinger

April begins the Spring season.  The sun lasts longer, flowers start to bloom, and romance can be in the air.  April was originally the second month of the Roman calendar and is probably named for the Latin word aperire, meaning “to open.”  It is always a wonderful thing to see animals born during the winter come out, to have days where the daytime requires shorts and a t-shirt, but the nights need a jacket. April is also Jazz Appreciation Month.  Some nice lively music for a lively month (if you’re in Houston check out the Discovery Green on Thursdays). The gem for April is a diamond and the flower the daisy.  Both are bright and shiny.

So what else happens in April?

One of my favorite holidays of the year is on April 1.  Although in recent years I have tried to tone down my pranks after the incident with the fencing equipment room and the new lock.   Some of the other celebrations that passed this month are just for fun (like Caramel Popcorn Day on April 7 or Scrabble Day on April 13).  Other celebrations are more serious such as the celebration of the first man to leave the atmosphere (Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961) or the sinking of the unsinkable boat (RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912).

The big thing in April for the Wiess Energy Hall and the ECC is Earth Day.

Earth Day was on April 22 and is a celebration about conservation.

Senator Gaylord Nelson

The first Earth Day was on April 22, 1970.  It was created by Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin.  He wanted to generate political concern for the environmental movement.  While there was another Earth Day proposed to President Kennedy, Senator Nelson decided to have a decentralized, bottom up approach.  Instead of having Congress enact something on a national scale, the senator wanted the events to come from local interests.  He also thought of it as a teach-in (for those of us who are not from the 1970’s a teach-in is where a bunch of people, usually students and teachers, get together and talk about a broad issue.  It’s like a forum, but with specifics.  Silly ‘70s).

On the first Earth Day, over 20 million Americans participated, mostly on college and university campuses.  April 22 was chosen because it was between Spring Break and exams (and had nothing to do with Vladimir Lenin).

Since then, Earth Day has evolved into a global celebration.  In 1990, the 20 Earth Day, 200 million people celebrated in 141 countries.  With the invention of the internet, more and more organizations have been able to get involved.  In 2009 the United Nations recognized April 22 as International Mother Earth Day.  This year the tag line is “A Billion Acts of Green.”

On April 30, the Houston Museum of Natural Science will have its big Earth Day celebration from 10-2 (and it’s free). I’ll be helping to make paper wind turbines.  Drop by and join me.