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Showing posts from June, 2009
June 28, 2009 – Before proceeding to more serious matters, I really must mention the new, online version of The Ecologist magazine.What a gift!It’s ALL covered here: the global warming effects on housing, transporta-tion, energy use, family, education, farming, social effects, political effects, psychological effects and more, More, MORE: everyfacet of life and how it is or will be affected by the changing climate.The authors are not only passionate, but knowledgeable.The articles are, bless us, well written, and they convey an enormous amount of timely, useful information.I don’t understand why my blog link doesn’t go to their website, unless it’s because they’re overseas.However, you can definitely find this marvelous publication at www.theecologist.org.READ IT!By Julie Cart April 9, 2009“Reporting from The Murray-Darling Basin, Australia -- Frank Eddy pulled off his dusty boots and slid into a chair, taking his place at the dining room table where most of the critical family issues…
June 23, 2009 – Now there’s an interesting riddle: How does one go about making people less afraid of acknowledging climate change?I think that if this riddle could be untangled, it might also provide an at least partial answer to the question about avoiding panic. In my opinion, one primary reason people are afraid of the subject of climate change is that they are bombarded with information about a host of very serious problems, all of which need to be addressed.Here’s where we make use of a gift that just keeps on giving.Division of labor.Does everybody in the world need to become involved in this discussion?Thank goodness, the answer is No.A significant number of people?Yes.Here’s where overpopulation may actually work to our advantage.There are enough of us to work on all the problems that confront us.Enough brain power, enough ideas, enough muscle, enough good will.In a sense, this division of labor has already taken place.Those of us who are active members of Sierra Club, the Nat…
June 22, 2009 – I had hoped to discuss the toxicity of warfare in today’s post, but I’ve been trying for the last hour, and it seems I inevitably wind up writing about it on a sociological, rather than an environmental, level.Of course, climate change IS a sociological problem. In fact, now that I think about it, climate change produces some of the same results as warfare. -It makes people afraid; so afraid, in fact, that people won’t even talk about it. -It causes dislocation of people. -It will cause panic, which reduces the ability of people to respond in a reasoned manner. -It will cause people to have to fight for their survival, if they have done nothing to plan for the inescapable problems. -It could very well cause wars between groups of people, probablyover clean water. What would be the best way of avoiding panic?By planning for climate change now. What would be the best way of assuring people’s survival?By planning for climate change now. What would be the best way of avoiding wars?…
“Washington, D.C.-A perfect storm in the Rocky Mountains driven by population growth, a warming climate, and economic development has put both the region's ecosystems and its economy in jeopardy, according to the latest issue of World Watch magazine."If the Rocky Mountain states want to continue to see growing, robust economies and levels of personal income as well as the quality of life that is so appealing, then the smart money is on investing to protect natural, amenity-producing areas throughout the region from the impacts of spreading development," writes Lina Barrera, who examines the ways in which a changing climate is affecting this vast mountain range and its surrounding areas in the first installment of the World Watch occasional series "Portraits of Climate Change."The average winter temperature in the U.S. West has risen roughly 1.4 degrees Celsius over the last century. Residents have witnessed the manifestations of this change in smaller mountain …
June 17, 2009 – Continuing with the train of thought I began yesterday, it seems to me that attacking this problem from two sides might yield good results.Since the problem is two-fold – too many people requiring too much stuff – the answer needs to be, too: fewer people who live more simply.The first element of the problem will be rectified, one way or another.Either people can choose to slow their rate of procreation, or global warming will reach such an advanced stage that deranged ecosystems will unleash death and disease.Sound melodramatic?It will be!!What did you think of the entertainment value of Hurricane Katrina?How about watching people die of malaria, dengue fever, or the flu?You will, once the United States becomes warm enough.And remember, it’s not daytime temperatures we’re talking about.Temperatures have warmed the most at night.Bugs like that!Mosquitoes and ticks are on their way in increasing numbers, coming to a neighborhood near you!!Ok, enough sarcasm.How do we de…
June 16, 2009 – Time after time, I read about an environmental problem and realize that its severity is directly related to the fact that the Earth has surpassed its carrying capacity.How many times have you read, or heard, that something was a problem because there was too much of it?For instance, think of the last time you called your doctor’s office to find out the results of a test.You call, you are put on hold or you must select a service from a menu, you are transferred, you leave a message, no one calls back.The reason you are never called back is because your doctor is seeing too many patients, and cannot give you the level of service she would like to give.Picture your commute to work.You only live twelve miles from work, yet your commute takes a half-hour, sometimes longer.That, of course, is because you are sharing the road with too many other cars.If you leave late and are on the road the same time school buses are, your travel time doubles.Your asthma started when you wer…
June 15, 2009 – It was a pleasure to look at the Greenpeace website today (See “Blogs I Follow”).It struck me as very logical in its presentation, with easy access to writings about a host of environmental issues.As a matter of interest, their brief explanation of the why’s and wherefore’s of geothermal (see my post, June 2) makes for informative reading.So does their article “The Nuclear Fallacy.”I sure didn’t know this: if all fossil fuel applications were replaced by nuclear energy, the world would run out of uranium in four years!!!Like the man said, it’s the things you don’t know that will kill you.While there is no one advocating such a wholesale transition to nuclear power, therelatively small amounts of uranium available for energy generation make its use cost prohibitive.Why on earth spend billions of dollars on nuclear power plants when the limited supply of uranium will turn them into white elephants, possibly before their normal lifespan of 50 years?Since we all know that …
June 12, 2009 – I saw a couple of articles worth commenting upon recently.One referred to a report that was recently issued which said that winds in the middle of the United States are dying down because of global warming.It went on to say that this would hurt attempts to harness the wind in order to generate electric power.“Experts” were then quoted saying that indeed, the winds have died down, while other “experts” said that no such decline in winds and their speed has been recorded.Based on my own increased awareness of the number of windy days we experienced during the latter half of 2008 and the first half of 2009, I would have to say that here in the Cincinnati area, we’ve seen an increase.My awareness was increased, of course, because the winds were strong enough that they could not be ignored!That, coupled with the fact that Doug and I see blue tarpaulins on people’s roofs everywhere we go (indicating that shingles have been blown away, thereby allowing water to leak into the …
June 10 – There was an article in the paper this morning about the Army Corps of Engineers removing trees from levees that hold back river water during times of flooding.Their thinking is that the trees destabilize the levees.Apparently they’re encountering a certain degree of opposition in a number of communities.People love trees – you can see that in the Midwest as you drive past one overplanted yard after another.Trees give us such pleasure, and worrying about 100-year floods probably seems like overkill to most people.One individual quoted in the article said that just the opposite was true; that, in fact, tree roots stabilize levees.So which is it?The little bit of knowledge I’ve managed to glean about trees and their roots being destabilized was acquired in North Carolina during Hurricane Fran.It rained for two weeks almost non-stop before Fran hit.All of that water, penetrating the ground over an extended period, loosened the hold tree roots had on the soil, and when the 70 mi…
June 2, 2009 – There is a new housing development going in just around the corner from us.It’s small – 14 homes – all of which will be warmed and cooled geothermally.Geothermal is apparently the way to go in this part of the world.I think I understand the concept: a large, fairly deep hole is dug in the ground near the building to be heated/cooled.Since I’m no expert, I don’t know how large or how deep it would need to be.At a certain depth, however, the air pumped into the hole would remain at a constant temperature – I’m guessing 50 degrees?As this air is then sucked into the house, it would be either warmed in winter, or cooled in the summer.Since the air is already 50 degrees, instead of, say, 40 degrees like the wintertime air outside, it only has to be warmed about 18 degrees rather than 28.Conversely, this same 50 degree air could be mixed with the outside air duringsummer to bring the temperature up to about 72 degrees.Once the air in the hole ispulled into the house, outside …
BOOKREVIEW
Ecological Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman.Broadway Books: New York.2009.
I’ve read Goleman’s two other “intelligence” books, Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence, found them both to offer a new way of looking at an old subject, and thought I would give his latest issue in the series a read.While emotional and social intelligence would be considered inherent gifts or traits that we all possess to some degree, ecological intelligence differs from the other two in that it is an ability the author says we all need to develop in ourselves.Because it is our natural inclination to follow the path of least resistance – i.e., use the product most readily available instead of first determining which product has the smallest carbon footprint - developing ecological intelligence takes extra effort.Goleman’s book explains why the extra effort is worth it.
Because businesses and the products they make are major players in both causing and remedying global warming, Ecological I…
February 1, 2009 – It seems that everyday there’s new evidence that concern for the environment, coupled with a willingness to act, has moved into the mainstream.The February issue of Hadassah magazine is designated their “Green Issue.”Story titles include “A Time to Save the Planet,” “The Greening of Kashrut (kosher foods),” “Jewish Environmental Resources,” and “Season to Taste: Greener Kitchens.”While young adults were taught in school to prepare for what’s coming, those of us who get our information by reading paper information sources, i.e., baby boomers, still need teaching.This is the kind of thing that will get that job done.One aspect of climate change that has been discussed only in the vaguest terms so far is the cost.It’s hard to know what it will ultimately be, though it is my opinion it can accurately be described with words like astronomical and colossal.There are many reasons it is difficult to come up with an accurate estimate of climate change-related expenses.Certai…