Earth Day, India’s seaweed machine, UK’s forest eye, eco-bouncy castle
Apr 20, 2022 Episode 95
Earth Day history, how to celebrate it, India’s seaweed harvester, UK’s forest art keeps “eye on climate,” eco-bouncy castle
OPENING STING – LEELA: “New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”
LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi – the news pod for curious kids and adults! I’m Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and…
MAMA: I’m Lyndee Prickitt. And since we broadcast out of India –
MAMA: Haven’t said that in a while, have we?
LEELA: No – we haven’t. Well, whether we’re in India or America or England – all the places we have actually produced this podcast from – we are all citizens of planet Earth. And guess what big event is happening this week?
MAMA: Earth Day.
LEELA: Uh-huh. We’ll tell you how it started, why it matters and what YOU can do to celebrate it.
In fact, our whole episode has an earthy-vibe to it today.
We’ll hear from an American mom and teacher on a mission to make her kids globalkid-i-zens.
So, if I say seaweed, you say…? Sushi, right? Well, that’s not all we can do with this powerful waterweed.
Find out how an artist from England is helping kids keep an “eye on the forest” – in more ways than one.
And, spring is in the air! That means it’s time for outdoor parties – with bouncy castles, right? Well, you’ll never believe what your bounces can create on a special eco-friendly party machine.
So, let’s kick this earthy episode off first with…
BIG NEWS STORY STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The big news story of the week!”
MAMA: Friday, April 22 is “Mother’s Day.”
LEELA: What?! Mother’s Day is on a Sunday and like, I thought, two weeks from now. (Nervously) Uhhhh, isn’t it?
MAMA: Oh, you’re right – I’m just messing with ya. Mother’s Day in most countries is May 8th. April 22 is Earth Day – which IS the day we celebrate the supreme mother… Mother Earth!
LEELA: Mama. You’re confusing everybody!
MAMA: Nope – I’m just trying to make sure everyone knows when Mother’s Day is – at least in many countries – so a little head’s-up to our listeners to get those gorgeous cards made and an epic day planned for May 8th. But I do also want to draw the connection between mothers who create and/or nurture new life and the Mother Earth we live on, which creates and nurtures new life again and again, despite the pain and suffering, pollution and destruction we unleash upon it.
LEELA: Yeah, like a mama. I get it. So how did Earth Day start, anyway?
MAMA: Well, it began in the US over 50 years ago, back in 1970. But actually, it’s what happened the year earlier that was the horrible inspiration.
SFX OF OCEAN
MAMA: The scene was sunny southern California about six miles out at sea where oil rigs were drilling for oil.
LEELA: Uh-oh, an oil spill?
MAMA: An oil blowout in fact that spewed three million gallons of the sticky, black stuff across 35 miles of ocean. Or put another way, enough oil to fill four-and-a-half Olympic swimming pools, but all spread out and floating on the top of the ocean and into the beaches of Santa Barbara.
LEELA: And lots of animals died?
MAMA: Oh, yeah. Over 3-and-a-half thousand birds, as well as dolphins, seals and sea lions. But instead of getting weepy and helplessly doing nothing, a senator from way up in Wisconsin called Gaylord Nelson decided to organize a “teach in.”
LEELA: A whatta?
MAMA: Well, it’s like a protest but raises awareness at the same time.
LEELA: Huh. Did people show up?
MAMA: Did they ever! 20 million Americans – 10% of the population back then took to the streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate against the impact of 150 years of industrial development that was taking its toll on Mother Earth.
LEELA: Ohhh, yeah, the Industrial Revolution – we’ve covered that before.
MAMA: Yes, way back in episode 9 about melting glaciers in case anyone wants to go back and have a listen.
LEELA: But now Earth Day is international, right? I mean we’re doing stuff here in India.
MAMA: Yep, Earth Day got global in 1990 and now is huge. And pretty effective. We all know the problems – too much plastic, air and water pollution, too heavily dependent on dirty fossil fuels – but this campaign for change has thrown up a lot of solutions too.
LEELA: And, boy, do we have a lot of them to mention in this episode!
MAMA: We sure do.
LEELA: Like the rhinos are back in India.
MAMA: Yep, the greater one-horned Indian rhinoceros were almost completely wiped out in the 1990s – killed by hunters and human development moving into their habitats. But after a big conservation campaign, they’re back, with dozens and sometimes hundreds in various wildlife parks across the country.
LEELA: Hooray! But that’s not all.
MAMA: Nope. Staying in India… If I say seaweed, what comes to mind?
LEELA: SUSHI! Or seaweed salad. Maybe even seaweed butter, as a matter of fact! Aah, you’re making me hungry!
MAMA: That’s true. But could you imagine seaweed battling something that’s ruining the environment – like plastics, or maybe even crude oil, like petrol?
LEELA: You mean, like a muscly superhero covered in green seaweed holding a spear and –
MAMA: No, no, not literally silly! I meant figuratively, like can you imagine seaweed taking the place of plastic or petrol?
LEELA: Uh, no. I mean, what are you gonna do, wrap foods in soggy green seaweed or fill your car up with greeny slimy liquid?
MAMA: A company called Sea6 Energy from Bangalore, in southern India, is trying to mechanize – or use machines in – ocean farming, just like tractors did to agriculture on land – making this powerful resource easier to get.
LEELA: What? I think we need to go to our New Delhi environment correspondent, Reyaansh Zaveri!
REYAANSH: Thanks, guys! So, seaweed is not just for eating.
Like most land plants, it’s great at sucking up carbon dioxide, which makes our air cleaner.
And because it grows super-fast, it can do this at a phenomenal rate.
Not just that, but seaweed can be used to replace plastic.
And, get this, it can be used as a fuel – turning into various forms of energy through different chemical processes.
But… the problem with biofuel – as in fuel that comes from living matter, like plants – is you need LOADS of it.
And that requires land that might otherwise be used for farming food.
Of course, there’s loads of space at sea!
But… farming seaweed can be really hard.
Enter: a team of super smart Indian innovators!
Sea6 Energy is an Indian company that’s developed an easier way to farm seaweed, thanks to their new “sea combine.”
This uses a catamaran boat to move back-and-forth between lines of seaweed, gathering up the fully-grown plants and planting seeds in their place.
It’s like a tractor – but on water!
Making the “seaweed biofuel revolution” a real possibility.
Never mind even more sushi!
Pass me the chopsticks, Leela.
In New Delhi, India, I’m Reyaansh Zaveri reporting for Newsy Pooloozi.
LEELA: Thanks a lot, Reyaansh. I’ll see you at the sushi bar!
MAMA: So while you’re snacking over some sushi, why not give a thought to what YOU can do for Earth Day.
LEELA: Well, not buy a plastic bottle of juice to go with my sushi, that’s for sure. And choose a place that uses paper straws…
MAMA: Good. Anything else?
LEELA: Will you let me roller-skate to school?
MAMA: It’s four miles away! But we have started carpooling and campaigning for the school to start a bus route near us. But, yes, we should definitely drive less. But we’ve got more interesting and fun ideas to consider too – thanks to science teacher and sustainability activist Jess Purcell who’s also the co-founder of a group called Raising Globalkidizens.
LEELA: You mean global citizens but for kids? Ha ha – good one. So, tell us what we should be doing on Earth Day – and every day, come to think about it.
JESS: Earth Day is one of my favorite holidays.
Tip 1: Save your family’s breakfast scraps. Did you know the coffee grounds and eggshells are excellent food for plants? Simply rinse the gum from inside the empty egg shell, Let them dry… Then crush them up next time when you use coffee grounds and sprinkle them around your garden along with your basic things.
Speaking of food scraps, did you also know that you can regrow food from scraps!! That’s right! Lettuce, green onions and celery are some of our favorite vegetables to regrow.
Tip 2: If you save the basic stem of any of these veggies, place them in a shower dish or in fresh water in a sunny window, and daily water changes you should see roots begin to grow in 10 days or less anytime you can work as a food base for landfill. You are being an earth hero… Alrighty go warriors let’s move onto the tip 3
Tip 3: Focus on Barling, instead of buying near your book tree or game to play, visit your local library and look for a new look for summer swap closer to the friend. Bar laying saves resourcing to the mind, harvest and make new transfer new materials, which means trapping gasses which were in the air. It also saves money which your parents will totally dig.
Maybe you got palette t-shirts sitting in the corner in your closet that you can’t share. They have seen better days. Well last but not least “tip 4” don’t toss them we use them, can’t t shirts make great paper towel replacements to clean up spill and dust on the desk, just simply cut them in a rectangle and keep them applying them in cleaning supplies, a side benefit parents are shocked when they see kids cleaning without making a mess. Want more tips to become even stronger earth heroes, check out my resources at thoughtfully sustainable and raising globalkidizens. Happy Earth Day
LEELA: Awesome ideas – especially the upcycling. I’m all about upcycling.
MAMA: Yep – that was great, thanks a lot Jess. And we’re planning to have a longer discussion on InstaLive Thursday, April 21 – in the run-up to Earth Day, so do check that out. Either join the live
LEELA: And give us some hearts!
MAMA: Or watch the replay on IGTV.
LEELA: Or you can give us hearts there too. Pretty please!
WORLD WRAP STING – LEELA: “What’s that? I’ll tell you what. That’s the halftime bell! Which means… It’s time to hear what’s making news around the rest of the world. Hold on tight, it’s around the world in 80 seconds.”
MAMA: Russia is trying to capture the eastern region of Ukraine after being unable to do so elsewhere in the country. Frustrated, Russia sets its sights on the port-city of Mariupol, warning troops there to surrender. Meanwhile, the US is likely to announce another $800 million-dollar military aid package for Ukraine.
In the run-up to Earth Day eco-activists are ramping up their drive to save the world from climate change. In cities across the globe, climate protesters are blocking roads, buildings and oil storage facilities in hopes of bringing more attention to the climate crisis and convincing people to embrace sustainable living.
Speaking of… the US Energy Information Administration says one day last month, on March 29th, wind power was the second largest generator of electricity in the US – not coal or nuclear sources. This is because the US has been steadily creating wind farms over the last decade.
And for the fifth year in a row Finland is rated the happiest country in the world. Check out our episode 39, when we covered why they received this honor last year. The northern European country might not get much sunshine, but is noted for its gender equality, work-life-balance and the small gap between rich and poor.
LEELA: Thank you Mama for that –
MAMA: Can I say it?
LEELA: (laughs) OK. Go for it.
MAMA: For that whippity-whappity-zippity-zappity wrap of what’s making headlines elsewhere in the world, Mama.
LEELA: Well done, Leela. Wait. No.
NATURE STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The call of nature. Get on your safari suit. Or squeeze into your scuba gear. And get ready to hop into a jeep. Or submarines. Submarine. Because Mother Nature is calling! Nature.”
MAMA: We know practically this whole episode is focused on nature, but we couldn’t resist playing this buzzy sting just to remind you.
LEELA: And because we like the burping frog at the end.
MAMA: That’s true. So, talk about keeping an eye on the planet… in an effort to make a statement about the importance that forests play in our lives a group of artists are going to use trees as paint.
LEELA: Huh? Like the twigs will be paint brushes? And the leaves will make the color for the paint?
MAMA: Oh… no. Something that’s both much simpler and grander. Thanks to the Forestry England and the Environment Agency, and the arts organization Sand In Your Eye.
LEELA: Huh? Sand? In your eye? That doesn’t sound nice.
MAMA: (laughs) But it gets your attention, doesn’t it? And it is relevant, as Maya Bull, our North England correspondent, is about to tell us.
LEELA: Alrighty, then. Take it away, Maya.
MAYA: Thanks, you guys.
British artist Jamie Wardley is usually busy making sculptures from sand or ice.
SFX OF SAND AND OF CHISELING
But his concern for the environment – and his love of trees – has given him a new palette –
a 300-metre-wide patch of the Dalby Forest in the English county of Yorkshire.
That’s about the size of 13 tennis courts, by the way.
So I know what you’re thinking – is this artist going to create sand sculptures all over the woods?
He’s going to plant trees in a special design to make sure we keep an “eye” on the environment.
He and his team are preparing seedlings for 5,000 beech, alder and maple trees to form the shape of a child’s eye.
Of course, it will take six years before the trees mature.
And, yes, the eye will only be visible from the air.
But the trees will, of course, create more habitats for animals.
Never mind absorbing nasty carbon in the air and providing us with the oxygen we need to breathe.
Win-win, I’d say.
And did I mention the eye is only the beginning?
Eventually the artist hopes to create the whole face of a young girl.
Perhaps… she’ll look like me…?
In Nottingham, I’m Maya Bull, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!
LEELA: Wow – if it looked like you that would be sooo cool. Thanks a lot for that report, Maya. Keep us posted on how it grows.
MAMA: And finally, let’s see what the lucky dip machine has for us this week.
ODDBALL STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? An oddball, no doubt!”
LEELA: What? You thought since this was an “Earth Day special” there’d be no oddballs? Are you kidding?!
MAMA: Solutions to ecological problems can often be a little odd, it’s true…
LEELA: Yep, we’re talking about more weird things to do with seaweed. But with… Hold on. Cue the music, Mama, we need to do the science bit first.
LEELA: So you know – as we’ve already mentioned on this episode, and many others, that trees and plants are great at sucking up carbon dioxide from the air?
MAMA: Ah-huh. They feed off of it and then release oxygen in the process, which we need to breathe.
LEELA: Right. Well, algae – you know, the slimy, green stuff with no flowers, leaves or roots, that grows across water – does the same thing.
MAMA: Another carbon sucker, huh? Like seaweed.
LEELA: Well, actually seaweed is the common name for countless species of marine plants and algae that grow in water.
MAMA: Huh – guess so.
LEELA: And since algae lives and prospers off carbon dioxide, well, imagine if you had microscopic algae in tidy little tubes all around you, sucking the carbon out of the air.
MAMA: I guess you’d have clean air and a lot of oxygen.
LEELA: Well, then imagine if you had a party with a lot of energetic, bouncy people creating A LOT more of CO2 that was being pumped directly to the tubes?
MAMA: Then you’d stimulate the growth of a lot more algae, right?
LEELA: Exactly. Which can be used as biofuel or eco-friendly plastic, as we heard earlier. And what, you may ask, is helping pump CO2 into these algae tubes?
MAMA: Uhhhh… A special sustainable scientific device?
LEELA: Well, you got the sustainable bit right. I’m talking about the endless energy of… kids – at a party… jumping up and down and up and down and up and…
SFX OF BOUNCING
LEELA: Yep, we’re talking about eco-warrior bouncy castles – otherwise known as the moon bounce – thanks to the clever folks at the ecoLogicStudio that created it.
MAMA: What? You mean the never-ending energy of kids can be used to not only clean the air but create loads of algae that can be used to create clean plastic and clean fuel.
LEELA: I told you this was odd! But it’s true.
MAMA: Wowzers. That’s so awesome. Hey, where are you going?
LEELA: Well, it’s spring and that means party season! I’m gonna find this bouncy-carbon-buster and get jumping! All in the name of saving the planet, you see.
FAB FACTS STING – LEELA: “And it’s time to wrap up the podcast with the top five fab facts heard today. Here goes…”
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 1 – Earth Day, on April 22, is a day to reflect on how to live more sustainably on Mother Earth so her resources are around way into the future. When and where did Earth Day start?
In the USA in 1970.
LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – And what was the horrible environmental disaster that inspired a senator from Wisconsin to start the first Earth Day?
The Santa Barbara oil spill
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – An Indian company has found a way to harvest seaweed underwater more efficiently than ever before. What can seaweed be used for?
Making sushi, biofuel and even biodegradable plastic
LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – Seaweed, like most plants, is also great at sucking up carbon dioxide, which makes our air cleaner. But it also has one other factor in its favor, which is?
It grows super-fast, so it can suck up carbon at a phenomenal rate.
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – A carbon-busting bouncy castle is using tubes of microscopic algae AND the endless energy of kids to clean the air AND create more algae, which can be used to create biofuel and an alternative to plastic. What is the common name for countless species of marine plants and algae?
And don’t forget, if you want to test yourself later on, then go to the Lucky Dip page of our website, newsypooloozi.com, that’s pool-o-o-z-i, and take this quiz online in your own time!
LEELA: And that almost brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi!
If you enjoyed this dip in the pool of news and information then why don’t you tell a friend about us? Like our favorite listener in San Francisco recently did – thanks a lot, Nirvaan Bellman! I hope your friends and teachers take your advice and listen up! And thanks to your dad for letting us know!
Alrighty then – See you next week in the happy, splashy giant Newsy Pooloozi!