Vol. 2, No. 6, March 2017
Could ReciclApp Be the Start of
Chile’s Recycling Revolution?

Laura Bernstein

Chilean university student, Cristian Lara, recently launched an app, ReciclApp connecting individuals, businesses, and institutions to trash collectors in hopes of reducing waste and providing more job security to collectors. As Tomas Urbina from Motherboard Vice noted, “Chile produces about 17 million tons of garbage per year. Less than 10% of that gets recycled.” Alarmingly, approximately 100,000 people in Chile try to earn money as recycling collectors.

However, since the release of ReciclApp, collectors are directly connected to people ready for their recycling to be collected. This app has virtually deleted the middle man, providing more opportunities to small-scale collectors barely scraping by. In fact, collectors involved with the app have more than doubled their recycling earnings, “on average from about $100USD per month to $250USD.” Although this may be a small increase in regards to the high living costs in Chile, particularly in the capital, it can be seen as a significant step forward in the country’s recycling initiative.

Click here for more information.

“The Natural Connection:
Norse Society & the Environment in Medieval Scandinavia & the North Atlantic” Research Summary

David Reedy

Fearsome warriors and bold explorers, the Norse of Medieval Scandinavia and the North Atlantic, commonly called Vikings, are known today for their influence on history and culture. Missing from the dominant narrative however, is an understanding of the role of the environment in Nordic society. During the period of 800-1200 CE, Norse society was intricately entwined with environmental realities. The Norse were mainly farmers, fishers, traders and political refugees. Nordic peoples often expanded in search of better land as competition over arable land increased. This competition led to political struggles as individuals and families searched for the resources to survive. These same people followed fish migration across the North Atlantic and settled in the harsh climates of Iceland and Greenland. To survive in these climates, the Norse needed to trade with mainland Scandinavia for resources, such as wood, while trading luxury items such as fur and walrus ivory to mainland Europe for necessities.

As time went on, the political structures of Scandinavia and the North Atlantic were shaped by how the Norse interacted with the environment. As the Norse in the North Atlantic needed to live far apart to produce enough food to survive, kings and warlords could not gain sway. This spread-out system led to the establishment of a parliamentary system, the Althing. In mainland Scandinavia, higher crop yields and easier access to resources allowed people to settle into towns. With higher population densities, kings and queens could rise to power and exert influence over large swaths of Nordic territory.

Not only did the environment shape Norse society, but the Norse also shaped the environment around them. The first settlers of Iceland talked about the thick forests which prevented settlement in the interior of the island. Within one hundred years these forests were cut down for heating and building. In Denmark and Sweden, large forests were likewise felled to support increased agriculture, necessary for the growing population; however, the prevalence of oak in Denmark up until the 1200s show that some forest management was practiced. In contrast to the destruction of forests, the Norse in Norway managed natural resources by introducing trout into high lakes to increase the resource abundance that could be harvested for Norse survival.

Although this is just a taste of the environmental history of the Norse, it is important to recognize the voices missing from the dominant historical narrative. The environment is a voice that is often not fully discussed or understood as an active player in shaping history. In my paper The Natural Connection: Norse Society and the Environment in Medieval Scandinavia and the North Atlantic, I have tried to bring the environment to the forefront of the historical narrative and frame the historical discussion within environmental realities.

Research Paper written for the Undergraduate Research Forum at Northeastern University. 

Infographic Spotlight
Designed by, Nina Rossiter
Click on the infographic to view it at a larger scale!
Click here for more information. And here too.
Will this Climate Change
Lawsuit Stop Trump?

Melissa Sonntag

Back in November, a federal judge cleared a monumental case for trial. Brought by 21 people between the ages of 9 and 20, the case claims the federal government is violating their most basic rights by not addressing the very real and very dangerous problem of climate change. This is the first case of its kind brought against the United States government, and has the potential to hold our system accountable for its failure to protect current and future generations from the disastrous effects of a changing climate.

Now, it is no surprise that earlier this month, the Trump administration filed two motions against the case in an attempt to halt its progress. The lawsuit has the potential to force the federal government, if found responsible, to take significant action to combat the negative effects of climate change and to decrease greenhouse gas emissions -- something that the climate deniers in Trump’s cabinet will surely have a problem with.

While this case is unprecedented in the United States, similar cases have been brought against the governments of Austria, Pakistan, the Netherlands and South Africa, and all were ruled in favor of the people.

Click here for more information. And here, here, and here too.

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What is NEJRC?

noun. [KNEE-jerk]

The Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative is a multidisciplinary research collaborative made up of scholars engaged in political ecology and environmental justice initiatives. Based at Northeastern University in Boston, the collaborative works on a wide range of local, regional, national, and international topics and issues. Professor Daniel Faber, a long-time researcher and advocate around environmental justice, serves as the Director.

Find more information here.

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"The Story of Stuff"
Anna Driscoll
In 2007, Annie Leonard published an illustrated, online documentary about our problem with stuff. There is too much, we have too much, most of it is harmful, and way too much of it ends up in landfills. The Story of Stuff Project is now comprised of multiple videos, study programs, calls to action, and environmental campaigns. We will be sharing their videos, podcasts, and other multimedia materials as a recurring section of NEJRC Reactions for the next couple months. Watch their very first documentary below!
Downloadable Fact Sheet
Articles We're Reading & Reacting to...
Just a Click Away!

‘Trump’s EPA Cuts: No One Will Protect Us’

‘California Dam Crisis Could Have Been Averted’

‘How to Provide Healthcare to Flood-Prone Areas? Floating Hospitals’

Trumps Clean Car Rollback

"Trump to Undo Vehicle Rules That Curb Global Warming"

How Companies Can Show Climate Leadership

Bill McKibben: Citizens Must Hold Government Accountable on Climate

"No One Will Protect Us"

How to Describe Sustainable Food

Kochs Bankroll Move to Rewrite the Constitution

"Why the Social Cost of Carbon is Critical for America to Make Sound Policies"

Noam Chomsky on Trump's first 100 Days

Heritage Foundation Gets It Wrong

American Doesn't Have to Choose Between the Economy and the Climate

Energy Department climate office bans use of phrase ‘climate change’

The Planetary Health Alliance, along with The Rockefeller Foundation, Wellcome Trust, American Geophysical Union, Ecological Society of America, and The Lancet is organizing the inaugural annual

Planetary Health & GeoHealth Meeting

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Copyright © 2017. Northeastern University: NEJRC, All Rights Reserved.

Contributors (In Order of Articles):
Laura Bernstein, David Reedy, Nina Rossiter, Melissa Sonntag, Anna Driscoll
Edited by Laura Bernstein CSSH'19
Designed & Edited by Anna Driscoll CAMD'18

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