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 during summer to bring the temperature up to about 72 degrees. Once the air in the hole is pulled into the house, outside air would rush in through a conduit to refill the hole. Air-conditioning is normally an energy-intensive utility, so the savings to be derived, both financially and in energy usage, from simply combining two sources of air would be beneficial both to the homeowner and society at large. Brilliant!
June 4, 2009 – Awhile back, I wrote about the cost of addressing global warming. Cost was what, up until very recently, had everybody wringing their hands. Now that the United States has finally admitted there’s a problem and pledged to devote certain monies to solving it, a quiet inertia seems to have taken hold. Now I’m wringing my hands. Perhaps the problem is mine.
I guess what I had hoped for all along was a general recognition of the very alarming problems we face, followed very soon thereafter by the masses demanding quick action. I’ve finally realized I can stop holding my breath. That’s never going to happen. The roadblock appears to be people’s ability to absorb bad news: global warming is just too big, with too many component parts. It defies understanding, it’s too complicated, it’s too awful. Big, bad, and ugly: the trifecta.
Because I’m one of those people who tends to expect a great deal from others, and winds up shaking her head in disbelief when they fail to come through, I continue to
expect that they will finally See The Light and Do What’s Right. Meanwhile, time passes. And passes. We’re running out of time, folks. The fact is, the water will be up to our chins and there will still be people bawling that global warming “hysteria” is all a terrorist plot.
Bob Dole asked, Where’s the outrage? I’m asking, Where’s the Urgency? The train is barreling down the tracks, it’s going to hit us, and no one cares if it does. How is that possible?
June 9, 2009 – I wrote, on June 4, that masses of people were never going to demand quick action. That’s unfair. Masses of people have been demanding action for a long time. They are outnumbered, unfortunately, by even larger numbers of people who either don’t care or are actively opposed to what they have to say. But the activists, whose numbers continue to grow, are out there, doing what they must, and it’s wrong to overlook their valiant efforts.
Yesterday I learned that Diane Rehm will be talking about climate change all this week on her NPR talk show. Her first guest was Jane Lubchenco (I hope I’ve got that name right), who is the new head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA) under President Obama.. She previously taught Marine Biology at Harvard and Oregon State University. It was balm to my aching heart to hear her say that she believes the scientific community is now united in its understanding that global warming is a real phenomenon, and that it is mostly caused by humankind’s various extractive and industrial activities. One item she touched on, which I wish I could have heard more about (I was listening in the car and had to get out and go to my appointment) was the increasing acidity levels of the world’s oceans. I’ve heard and read about this problem previously, but would have liked to know more about the latest thinking. My suspicion is that it is linked to the bleaching of coral reefs all over the world. I’d like to encourage readers of this blog to listen to the rest of these programs this week. In Cincinnati, her show is on from 10am until 12pm on WVXU (there are several public radio stations in Cincy; I’m sure she’s on all of them).