Raising Our Kids to be More Tolerant

Shadows of friends holding and raising hands  together

‘During the last presidential election season, I visited a dear friend. In her front yard, I saw a sign for a candidate whom I vehemently opposed.

“Are you kidding me?” I thought, in a moment of disbelief. I knew my political views were different from those of my friend, and I have also known her for over ten years as a kind, generous, salt-of-the-Earth kind of person.

You might be wondering which candidate it was, but that’s not the point of this story. The point is about my attitude: While that sign wasn’t the end of our friendship, a similar sign on a stranger’s lawn might have deterred me from wanting to get to know them, and that’s concerning.

I’m not alone, for this is a time of intense political partisanship. One  new study from Stanford University even found that most Americans now identify more with their political parties than their religion or ethnicity—a mindset that, if unchecked, can breed hostility and discrimination.

As a parent, I don’t want to model this kind of dismissive thinking for my child, and thus contribute to an even more polarized future. So, how do we avoid programming children to think badly of people they’ve never met? How can we help them to keep open hearts, in part so that they can make up their own minds about the issues they’re going to face as citizens, as they grow?’

To read more click, ‘Recent research points to some clues.’


Ditching the Combustion Engine

chevy bolt

‘GM’s goal is to abandon the internal combustion engine entirely. At some yet-unspecified point, all of its products will draw power either from batteries or hydrogen. Fuel cells are sometimes referred to as “refillable batteries.” They rely on devices called stacks to combine hydrogen and oxygen from the air to produce water vapor and electric current. That power is used to drive the same sort of motors used in battery-cars.

Government mandates are clearly driving the industry’s current push to electrify.  And pressures are growing overseas. Several countries, including Norway and India, now plan to ban internal combustion engines entirely. The U.K., France, Germany, and China are considering similar moves. China has just laid out new guidelines for alternative propulsion and is now the world’s biggest market for electrified vehicles.

The key question is one of consumer acceptance. Last year, all forms of electrified vehicles, from hybrids to battery-electric vehicles accounted for barely 3 percent of the U.S. new vehicle market. Pure electrics, like the Chevy Bolt, generated only around a half-percent of total volume. But a number of recent studies have suggested that could top 30 percent or more within a decade.’

To read more click, ‘Leading the way’

Rebuild Puerto Rico’s Power Grid with Solar?

Tesla - Solar City

‘Renewable energy entrepreneur Elon Musk says he could rebuild Puerto Rico’s shattered electrical infrastructure with his solar energy technology.

The vast majority of the island territory remains without power, weeks after it was hit by Hurricane Maria.

On Twitter, Mr Musk said his technology, which powers several smaller islands, could be scaled up to work for Puerto Rico.

The island’s governor responded to Mr Musk with the message: “Let’s talk”.

“Do you want to show the world the power and scalability of your Tesla technologies? Puerto Rico could be that flagship project,” the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, said.’

To read more click, “Let’s talk.”

Some Good News for the Environment in 2016!

solar panels

‘When it comes to the environment, 2016 brought a steady stream of grim news.  At the same time, it’s not all bad news out there. The year saw some clear signs of environmental progress, too. Rare though they were, these five environmental stories were true bright spots:’

1) Global carbon emissions appear to have stopped increasing.

2) Worldwide, wind and solar are booming.

3) World leaders seem determined to combat global warming (well, most world leaders).

4) Technology is providing a glimmer of hope.

5) The oceans are finally getting the attention they deserve.

To read more click, ‘A blockbuster year for solar energy’ 




Covey Cowan, Mill Valley, California