Politics and Climate Change Info

My views on our environment, sustainability and the politics of it all

Doing what you can September 29, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bowet000 @ 2:33 am
Tags: ,

Often when I discuss environmental issues with people, a common complaint or comment I hear is “Why try? There’s nothing I can do anyway.”

The past few weeks I have been finding a lot of web based information about climate change and what people are trying to do about it.  Some people are renovating homes in inner cities so they don’t have to drive everyday.  Some people are builiding homes with rammed earth, some are protesting and rallying to make themselves heard by the government and all these things show the government that as societies we are ready and willing to change.

This mentality of “I can do nothing of importance” frustrates and saddens me, because there are so many things one can do if they wanted to.  There are many groups that are trying to make themselves heard by governments (check out Avaaz (www.avaaz.org), there are many little things that you can do to change how you consume resources .  I know that not using a paper cup for coffee man seem little and insignificant but things like this do make a difference and they show you are willing to MAKE THE EFFORT TO CHANGE.

The Civil Rights movement only affected change  when the government saw that it was more painful to continue as they had been than to change. This was done by millions of people raising their voices and saying they were unwilling to continue as they had.  The environmental movement is similar, in that the governments won’t change until they are forced to, however it differs greatly in that if this movement isn’t taken up, it’s not just “rights and freedoms” that we will not gain.  It well could be that we are jeopardizing the future of the entire planet.

As such, I urge EVERYONE, to try to make small changes in your lives and lifestyles that can help.  We all know what these changes are, but I also to encourage you not to listen to those nay-sayers that seem to be lurking around every corner.  On multitudes of websites I visited there were always comment criticizing the efforts these people were making to make a difference, saying they weren’t doing things properly or “green enough”.  Well screw them! Don’t listen to those people who tell you you’re not making a difference.  Every little thing you do can make a difference, and if you need direction on where to start, please msg me and I’d be happy to discuss it with you.  Please make your voice heard!

Advertisements
 

Standing on a Soap Box September 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bowet000 @ 8:54 am
Tags: ,
soap box

soap box

As anyone who reads this blog is aware, recently I have become re-acquainted with concern for the environment and climate change.  I feel that this a  good thing, but at the same time, it’s quite difficult to know the things I’ve come to understand and not really be able to say anything about it without coming across like a soap box preaching lunatic. Especially because a lot of what I’m interested in, researching and spending my time on lately is related to this topic.  Therefore when anyone asks me “so what you been up to?” how should I respond? “Oh, nothing much?”
Mag mentioned today that no one wants to listen to someone preach from their soap box, and I totally agree.  I don’t enjoy listening to soap box preaching either, but then arises the question of – how do you make yourself heard without standing on a soap box?  How do you convince people to listen, as we all know that the soap box is ineffective.

I think it’s a very difficult line to walk.  I imagine everyone has to find their own way to be effective and meaningful in the topic they feel strongly about, but I’m just starting out in baby steps here, so I appologize if the “soap-boxing” gets out of control.

 

Green Links III September 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bowet000 @ 11:24 am
Tags: , , , ,

http://vtsenvirogroup.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/smartgrid_454570a-6.jpg

1.Something that is currently under discussion for action on development – a SMART GRID.  This grid will allow electrical companies to be integrated with one another. Not only that, but you will be able to regulate your household appliance through the use of smart box (a tiny comptuer) linked to computer chips in your appliances. This will allow you to turn off your house when you are not home, so your appliance are not sucking electricity, as well as setting your appliance on timers, so they only use electricity in off peak hours.

In doing this, electrical companies will be able to tell you what types of electricity they are providing you with, and theoretically you would be able to choose environmentally friendlier options.  Further, using electricity in off peak hours, would enable electrical companies to produce sufficient electricity to cover all usage, which would mean they didn’t need to build additional power stations.

Here is the US Department of Energy’s information on the US policy for the new Smart Grid:

http://www.oe.energy.gov/smartgrid.htm

2. If the US military is doing it, why aren’t we?

The below article is from 2 years ago in the Iraqi desert, where temperatures soar over 45C and airconditioners are a necessity. Air conditioning a tent can be a challenge… as only these military men know.  But my question is – if the US military realizes the usefulness and necessity of alternative sources of energy hopefully the American government will get on this too?

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/commanders-in-iraq-urgently-request-renewable-power-options-02548/

 

Trying to affect change to help those polar bears September 22, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bowet000 @ 5:37 am

https://i1.wp.com/img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2007/12_01/polar071207_468x393.jpg

Recently I watched on BBC Planet Earth as a polar bear, who had swum 60 miles out to sea, look for food, due to early ice break up in the arctic.  This male polar bear was starving in the middle of the summer, because he was unable to meet his caloric needs with the food he caught, because he had to swim so far to catch it.  In the end, instead of drowning, he found a small island covered in walruses.  Initially you think, “ok, now he’ll get to eat a walrus”, but such was not the case.  Instead he, in desperation, attacked the walruses, which weigh up to a ton and have huge tusks, and are not a food polar bears would normally attempt to eat.  In the end, he was stabbed by the tusks, unable to kill a walrus and died on that island.

Watching this made me cry.  This is something WE are doing to them.  It’s not nature.  It’s not, “life in the wild is hard”. We are killing them, via starvation.  Not even being humane enough to just shoot them.

Think about these bears on the ice above.  They may never be able to leave that ice, and will die of starvation, or, they will make a swim for it, and if they cannot find land will probably drown. It’s heartbreaking that we are doing this to our Earth.

I know everyone feels like they can’t do anything, or they’ve been conditioned to think this way.  But wouldn’t you rather try to help and fail, than just sit idly by and watch everything come crumbling down?

The non profit organization Avaaz.org works hard for a number of  different social programs, but they are currently lobbying the American government for Climate Change policy to be implemented in Copenhagen in December.  This is a following up to the Kyoto Protocol and Canada should be pushed to be responsible too.  In case you didn’t know Stephen Harper, at the Bali 2007 G8 meeting, backed Canada out of the goals that were stated in the Kyoto Accord, because he was too afraid of trying to meet targets.  Surprisingly, Bloc Quebec Party Leader, stated what a fucking idiot Harper was for doing this.  Now, we wonder why Quebec votes bloc?  I would rather vote for them, than Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.  At least they might give a shit about the land we’re going to live on, or the food we’ll have or where our clean drinking water will come from.

Check out www.avaaz.org ‘s website to see their latest campaign.  I know I’m in Taiwan right now, but I’ll be calling the minister of enviroment and our Prime Minister tomorrow morning in an effort to make myself heard.

 

Green Links September 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bowet000 @ 11:16 am
Tags: , ,

As stated last week, I want to try to provide some interesting green links for interested readers each week.  Here are this weeks:

1. Conservation International.  Although their webpage doesn’t seem like much, this NGO works with smaller communities  to convince them of the dramatic economic and life-impacting affects of protecting their natural resources.  The project I heard about encouraged local villages to maintain forests in order to provide some habit for the remaining wild Orangutans to have a place to live.

http://www.conservation.org/Pages/default.aspx

2.  Using alternative building materials is something every home builder can do to minimize CO2 emmisions.  Did you know that the production of concrete produces 30% of the USA CO2 emissions.  Here is one company that not only provides an alternative to concrete, but makes absolutely stunning homes.  Best of all, they are Canadian!

http://www.sirewall.com

 

Cool environmental acheivements September 15, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bowet000 @ 9:01 am

Now that I’m thinking about it and talking about it so much, a lot of new information is coming my way that I find AMAZING!

1. Tesla Motors. Opening soon with fully electric vehicles that not only look cool but drive faster than a Porche!!

http://www.teslamotors.com/

2.  The man who made his electric scooter solar powered.

http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/PV/pvscooter.htm

Will try to keep providing two or three really cool links every week, so if anyone is interested they can check out the sites.

 

Change in the government?

I have recently re-awakened a passion in myself for the environment and how to care for it, and although I am sure of many things that need to change, I am now completely unsure how to affect any change.  All of this is stemming from having read “Hot, Flat and Crowded” by Thomas Friedman, which I have to admit is one of the most life altering books I have read in the past 10 years.

I am hating that government is essential is setting environmental regulations and providing environmental incentives, which would cause companies to improve their current products and innovate new ones, because they (the gov) are not doing these things and resultantly, neither are any companies! Which makes it difficult to determine how as an individual, you can help affect change within your nation.

I feel currently that affecting change in the USA is too daunting a task at this particular juncture, HOWEVER, it has occured to me that potentially I could influence the mayor of Taipei.  As such, I am currently in the process of writing him a letter suggesting that Taipei pass a by-law requiring all people within the next 5 years change to electric powered scooters.

Electric powered scooters, or cars, would dramatically reduce the amount of air pollution in Taipei, and although people think – “well, yes, but electricity isn’t “clean” either”, in fact, it has been scientifically proven that even using electricity from coal fired burners is not only cheaper but 50% less polluting than using gasoline to power your vehicle.  Further, Taiwan (as with almost every other partially developed nation in the world) has the electrical capabilities during off peak times to charge these vehicles.  Why not utilize power stations that are being operated at minimal levels in off peak times in order to power the nation’s transport.  Especially given that Taiwan produces none of it’s own oil, and has had oil spills from oil tankers bringing oil to Taiwan, that have significantly negatively affected Taiwan’s coastline and environment.