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Showing posts from November, 2010

Regulatory Progress Abhors a Vacuum

November 30, 2010 – It’s funny how the United States has had to go about tackling alternative energy. A vocal minority of climate change deniers, most recently in the guise of the so-called “Tea Party,” won’t permit action on the national level. It appears they will continue drowning out the voices of the better informed as long as they have an audience. Because the media decided inserting themselves into the story is OK , they keep prodding deniers with gleeful, rhetorical questions, all with this noble purpose in mind: let’s you an’ him fight. Thereby creating a story for the aforementioned audience. Sort of the way they insist on treating Sarah Palin as if she were capable of serious thought. No one believes it, but pandering is such fun.

While these shadow puppets provide infotainment, the real story continues to unfold at the local, regional, state and – brace yourselves – corporate level. At least that’s what Bloomberg Businessweek claims in this week’s article, “Unlikely Allies …

The Most Important Subject

November 22, 2010 – My long-ago introduction to caring about the world around me was bird watching. From there I quickly moved on to conservation. At some point during the late ‘70’s I learned about global warming and its attendant problems. Jimmy Carter made his famous malaise speech. I kept on reading. By the early 80’s, it had been made apparent to anyone who cared to pay attention that Ronald Reagan had no intention of doing anything about global warming, other than (allegedly) studying it. I began writing letters to elected officials, insisting upon the urgency of the matter. It was at about this juncture that I discovered an amazing organization called The Worldwatch Institute, and decided that I wanted to subscribe to their papers. My global warming education was truly underway.

Before going on, let me urge anyone reading this blog to avail themselves of this treasure trove of information. The Worldwatch Institute can be found on the web at http://www.worldwatch.org/. These days…

Planning for an Unknowable Future

November 15, 2010 – Back in 2009, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a report saying that temperatures will remain hotter than average for 1000 years after greenhouse gases cease being emitted. How much hotter? Another NOAA report says 9 – 11 degrees Fahrenheit hotter across the United States. That, of course, is an average: some places will experience even hotter temperatures, others cooler temperatures. The hottest, it appears, will occur in the Arctic. Moscow is feeling the pinch already, with temperatures 20 degrees above normal this November. 2010, NASA tells us, will be the hottest year in 131 years of record keeping. What will life be like, when winter is the season everyone looks forward to, and summertime temperatures cause human beings to work, and play, in the dark? How will future generations teach our great-great grandchildren to look forward to a better time they will never know? Tree planting will become a human being’s sacred duty, and se…

Measure Twice, Cut Once

November 8, 2010 -I’ve been waiting for this one, and Jonathan Bloom has finally written it - a new book called American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of its Food.Don’t worry: no one’s going to lecture you about children in Haiti starving.This might be a very good time, though, to give thoughtful attention to the adage “Waste not, want not.”It all has to do with the human tendency to disregard that which is plentiful. Funny, isn’t it?We worry constantly about the lack of time, but steadfastly believe that food will always be there when we’re hungry – or even if we’re not.To all appearances, we have the food to waste, if that’s what we want to do with it.There’s a vague sensation that this might be wrong, but with each meal relentlessly pressing down on us, who has the time to worry about matters like portion sizes, buying unusable quantities in the name of variety, and forgetting what we still have back home in the fridge?If the head cook works outside the home, tha…

White House Takes the Lead

November 1, 2010 – October was National Energy Awareness Month. A lot happened, I’m happy to say. It was NOT brilliant of President Obama to say that much of what he does goes unrecognized (Jon Stewart wanted to know if he was going to throw a surprise party so he could tell us), but here’s some of the stuff he was talking about:

I’m guessing you’ve heard that SOLAR PANELS will once again reside atop the White House, along with a solar water heater. The need for the President to set this example is so painfully obvious it sets my teeth on edge to realize it’s been lacking for 30 years. As you may not be aware, Bill McKibben and a fearless band of environmentalists had trucked the Jimmy Carter originals to Washington, as a way of pushing the issue. Good for them – they got results!

The DOT and EPA announced the first-ever proposed NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS and fuel efficiency for HEAVY-DUTY TRUCKS, vans, and buses. This translates to a savings of 500 million b…