10 Environmental Ideas That Are Actually Interesting

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Here's the problem with traditional environmentalism: it's boring. That's not to say environmental protection is not worthwhile. It is. It's just also boring. Recycling is boring. Not building coal power plants is boring. Conserving land is boring. Protecting whales is boring (unless you're talking about the Sea Shepherd). Even a radical environmental action like sitting in an old-growth tree so it can't be chopped down is boring.

But it doesn't have to be this way. Ideas about the human relationship with nature can actually be really exciting. And we need them to be! There are massive problems with the way our current society uses and abuses our global home. But stories of climate change and species die-offs have to compete with the Kardashians and economic woes for mindshare. It's not that people don't care about the environment, it's that they don't think of it very often. Here are ten thoughts about green topics that are more interesting than your average Earth Day fare.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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