Take a step back

Screen shot from a Big Question video

Whether you’re an environmental scientist working to restore biodiversity in the Amazon or just someone practicing an eco-friendly lifestyle to the best of your abilities, you know the little things are important. However, the day-to-day routine can give you tunnel vision. At some point we all need to step back and refocus on the global picture.

The Institute on the Environment’s “Big Question” video series can help you do just that. These four short animated videos provide a valuable reminder that there are more than a few environmental elephants in our global room – and suggest concrete ways we can work together to address them.

1. What Is Nature Worth?
What is nature worth? We’re talking about more than just the price of a bushel of corn – it’s the whole picture. Can we put a price tag on nature? Take a look.

2. Can We Make Plastics Sustainable?
Another aspect the series addresses is our plastic culture. Each year, U.S. residents produces more than 100 billion tons of plastic! How do we shift away from this nonrenewable consumerism? In essence, can we make plastics sustainable?

3. Feast or Famine?
One question that IonE has been on the forefront of answering recently is, “How do we feed a growing world without destroying the planet?” Check out this video to get a primer on the future of global agriculture.

4. Is Earth Past the Tipping Point?
In terms of big questions, this could quite possibly be the biggest of all: Is the Earth past its tipping point? Biodiversity has declined faster in the past 50 years than any other time in human history. Ice sheets are melting, water supplies are becoming polluted and depleted, and temperatures are rising. The wheels of climate change are already turning. So how do we proceed?

While these topics may be alarming, they serve well to help us all focus in on what we need to accomplish.

Justin Miller is a student communications assistant with the Institute on the Environment.