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Showing posts from April, 2012

Coalition of the Willing

April 30, 2012 - A report in a recent issue of World Watch magazine maintains that livestock herds have grown to the point that their emissions are a primary driver of global warming.  The report's authors, Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang, in analyzing data regarding herds of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, pigs and poultry, find the livestock responsible for 51% of greenhouse gas emissions.   Goodland, a former World Bank environmental adviser, and Anhang, an environmental specialist for the World Bank Group's International Finance Corporation, believe meat substitutes offer the least painful way of decreasing people's consumption of meat.  In their report, they clarify the need for such action:

                     "Today, tens of billions more livestock are exhaling CO2 than in preindustrial days,
                      while Earth's photosynthetic capacity (its capacity to keep carbon out of the atmos-
                      phere by absorbing it in plant…

So Many Reasons

April 23, 2012 - Forty percent of something.  Is that a lot, or a little?  Let's see - a third of something is 33%, half of something is 50%.  A small amount, in my opinion, is less than 20 percent.  Any sale that offers less than 20 percent off just doesn't interest me.  A third off, on the other hand, interests me quite a bit.  Forty percent off is what I consider serious savings (half off makes me think there must be something wrong with the merchandise). So 40% is a substantial amount of something, a lot.  If someone is discussing 40 percent of something, I take that seriously.

Which means that the fact the U.S., along with Canada, Mexico, Bangladesh, Ghana, and Sweden, has launched an initiative to reduce emissions of soot, methane, and hydrofluorocarbons, is a serious effort to clean the air and mitigate global warming.  Research indicates that these gases may have contributed as much as 40 percent to global warming.  Were these gases longer lived in the atmosphere (I ha…

It Only Takes One

April 16, 2012 - I don't know about you, but I've had my doubts about Steven Chu at various points along the way.  He has sometimes come across as a "go along to get along" kind of guy.  (Then again, it may be naive of me to believe that science and politics shouldn't have a bearing on one another.)  Be that as it may, sometimes all it takes is one good idea to make a world of difference.  Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy, is enjoying a bit of recognition these days for an idea he proposed two years ago while speaking to the Royal Society of London.  A team of scientists, led by Dr. Hashem Akberi of Concordia University in Canada, has since delved into Chu's proposal.  Their conclusion?  It's the real deal.

Beautiful in its simplicity, Chu's suggestion sounds eminently doable.  By painting roofs white, and by paving roads with light-colored materials, Chu says gargantuan amounts of energy can be saved.  As much energy, in fact, as would be saved by takin…

Gadzooks - Marauding Woolly Mammoths!

April 9, 2012 - Roughly thirty years ago, I lived a little bit north of Dallas, Texas.  I'd been married for only a few years, and my husband had been offered a transfer with his then-employer.  We were given the choice of living in L.A. or Dallas.  Dallas was the winner, because we didn't think we could afford to live in Los Angeles (we were moving from the Chicago suburbs, which is where both of us grew up).

Anyway, I found a job, and began carpooling with someone who lived up our way.  One day, on the drive into work, the conversation wandered to our memories of the first moon landing.  We shared our pride in the country's accomplishment, and talked about how moon exploration had affected life here on earth.  My co-worker then remarked, "That's unless you don't believe it ever happened."  I was at a loss for words, and probably said something like "huh?"  He went on to explain that his neighbor, a lady of advanced years, did not believe that …

The Truth Can Be Expensive

April 2, 2012 - When I started writing this blog three years ago, it was difficult to decide what to write about from week to week, largely because of the paucity of information available.  Fast forward three years, and such is no longer the case.  Though mainstream media are still mostly absent from the conversation (recognition here for ABC news, who is suddenly on board, probably for marketing reasons), the abundance of so-called "alternative media" means I no longer have to search high and low.  Take this week, for instance.  Several days ago, I thought I'd be writing about the wind farm planned for construction in Lake Erie.  I was momentarily distracted by a story about the military's intention (all branches) to figure climate change into their plans for the future, to which Congressional Republicans are, of course, opposed.  Then I was almost lured into giving attention to the increased fire risk found throughout the United States.

These ideas have all been mo…