Politics and Climate Change Info

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

Avatar January 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — bowet000 @ 3:12 am
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Last night I went to see Avatar in 3D with Mag and Melissa.  It was a little challenging to get tickets and we were almost ready to give up, but I am sooo glad that we didn’t.  To say that it was spectacular doesn’t even remotely do it justice.  The cinematography was phenomenal, I loved the characters, and I thought the storyline was very apt given the times we are currently living in.

I know a lot of people have complained about how they thought that the plot was lame.  Of those people, I have to ask, how jaded have we become as a society that people would think that the idea of a circle of life, interconnected energy and people who care for a planet is a stupid idea?  Our planet is in dire need of some love and attention and yet, here we people sit saying “oh, climate change is a hoax” or “I don’t care about that, I just want to buy a new car” or “fuck that asshole who cut me off at the gas station”.  At times I succumb to these feelings too, but that doesn’t mean that i don’t want to change, don’t want to be better, don’t believe we can change.

I loved the people of the planet in Avatar, and was blown away by the amazing imagination that went into developing the scenery and their connectedness to the planet.  I just wish that everyone else could see our own planet with the awe that everyone watched Avatar’s planet with.  Especially because our own planet is equally amazing and wonderful.

Watching this movie made me, for the two hours of the movie, come into a presence that I have been trying to achieve for a while now.  I write this blog post, so that i remember that, if only because so far,that I have this is the longest i have been able to maintain this feeling.  I wrote about “The Power of Now” recently, and in it, the author talks about being present and how doing this may be the only thing that saves our species.  I fully agree with this point of view, and seeing Avatar made me think of what kind of presence might be necessary.  I can’t do anything to change anyone else, but I am certainly going to try my hardest to be the change i want to see!

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12/12 Day of Climate Action December 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bowet000 @ 2:22 pm
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Last weekend there was yet another worldwide day of climate action.  As before, on October 24, this day of climate action centered around supporting a fair, binding agreement at the Copenhagen conference to curb CO2 production.

350.org has been playing a big role in lobbying policy makers at this meeting, and has been one of the driving forces behind these international Climate action days.  They have joined forces with Maldivian present, Mohamed Nasheed, in order to put forth information and pressure to keep CO2 levels below 350ppm and prevent not only the Maldives but many other countries from being submerged under ocean water as the polar ice caps melt.

I hope they continue their wonderful work and I am incredibly impressed that at least one government cares about the environmental state of our planet.   It’s so ridiculous how so many other governments are simply ignoring the issue, clearly thinking ‘yeah, but we’re not an island nation, it won’t affect us’, or just not thinking all, or ‘ well if I bow to this issue, then I won’t get my big pay cheque from big oil”.  It’s wonderful to see someone who isn’t bowing to corporate bullshit when dealing with the future of the people and nation that elected them.

http://www.350.org/vigil-vid Check out the link.  It’s a short clip of what went on Dec 12, to support strong action in Copenhagen.

 

My revulsion towards the Canadian Government December 11, 2009

Go Canada!!!Currently climate change negotiations are going on in Copenhagen to establish a new binding agreement in order to replace The Kyoto Protocol, and in order to address climate change.  I’m very proud to say, as a Canadian, that the other day Canada received the Fossil of the Day award at Copenhagen.  This is awarded to the countries that are doing the LEAST to further a binding accord.

How can the Canadian government stand there and say “we don’t care about doing anything to change Canada’s consumption or CO2 production because it might affect our economy” when climate change has already demolished millions of acres of Western Canadian forests due to pine beetle population explosions.  Pine beetles were never an issue 15 years ago, because the weather was cold enough in the winter time to kill them off.

Futher consider that there has been a statement made by leading scientists that the reason the sockeye salmon fishery has collapsed is in major part due to warming temperatures.  Not something we didn’t already know!!!

It is so upsetting that our leadership of today cannot see beyond their own noses to implement protocols that are going to preserve our planet.  If  stopping climate change meant to said leaders that they would be preserving the lives, health, well-being of their own children, do you think they would understand what is at stake?  Instead they only view the potential of not getting re-elected.  Really? Is the well being of your child worth sacrificing so you can keep a job?

I know that most of our leaders today, won’t really see climate change affect their lives.  That’s mainly because they are archaic fools, who will likely die in the next 10-20 years.  BUT, I AM ONLY 30!!! I sure as heck don’t want my retirement plan to mean: “trying to find food and clean drinking water”.   Because trust me, at 60 or 70 years old, that’s gonna be a tough gig!!  I laugh when I think of people back home, who are all worried about their 401K or their RRSPs, because that’s what the government has told you to worry about.  Yes, save, save, save, little worker bees.  They when you’re old enough to use that money to go on all those vacations you wanted to take, well, Spain and many places in Europe might be submerged under 8 ft of water and it’s likely that it’s gonna be tough, if not exorbitant to buy drinking water or food.  But hey, at least you’ll be 70…. almost time to bite the bullet anyway.  However, I worry about the kids of today.  If nothing is done, they are going to get a raw deal.

I’m sure if you’ve read to this point, you probably think I’m a raving nutter now.  You’re sitting there thinking, “how can you buy into all this crap drama about the environment? Scientist have been all doom and gloom for the last 20 years”.  Yes, they have been, unfortunately no one listened and now it’s crunch time.  We have 5-8 years to change the way we live, or global temperatures will go beyond 2C increased warming and then things like Hurricane Katrina will be the norm.  There are NOW countries that are sinking into the ocean, due to rising sea levels and predictions indicate that California’s sea ports will no longer be usable in 15-20 years due to rising water levels.    If we’re looking for an adventure ride, it seems we’re sure gonna get one.

 

I’m a Grass Farmer December 6, 2009

Although I found this interesting, I didn’t really think to post it until Mag mentioned how she thought it was quite cool and I should talk about it on here.  So here it is: I am a Grass Farmer.
This is from the book Omnivore’s Dilemma, and is regarding a farm that he writes about called Polyface Farm (link to Polyface’s website) in Virginia.  He writes about this farm, and so am I because the farmer strives to maximize grass growth, which maximizes growth of everything else, if the farm is kept in  balance.

The farmer works like this:

1. He plots the growth of grass in the fields with a computer model, and rotates the cows to new fields with use of moveable electric fencing when the grass has reached max growth, before it goes to see.  This takes about 2 weeks during the growing season.

2. 3 days after the cows have grazed that area, he moves in moveable chicken coops and releases the chickens to eat the grubs out of the cow patties.  The chicken poop provides the nitrogen for the ground to maximize grass re-growth and the chickens get good protien from the fly lavae incubating in the cow poop, which causes the chickens to lay beautiful eggs, and the cows to have tons of grass to eat to get fat.

3. In the winter, the cows are moved into the barn.  He allows the cow poop to pile up in order to start decomposing in the shed.  This causes heat to be released and warms up the cows without having to pay for electricity.  Further, he tosses wood chips, straw and dry corn into the cow manure throughout the winter, which allows it to compost better and ferments the corn.  In the spring the pigs are allowed into the barn when the cows go out.  They love fermented corn apparently, and root around with their noses in the cow manure looking for corn.  This gives the pigs a tasty treat and aerates the cow manure, which then means it’s ready to be put back on the fields to provide fertilizer to help maximize grass growth.

I love how inter-related this farm is and how this farmer has worked to keep his systems in balance.  He has a portion of his lands as forest, which he cuts a few trees out of each year for wood needs, but the forest keeps the water table clean.  Further he limits the number of chickens, turkeys, cows and pigs he raises so that the grass he grows is more than enough to raise them all without putting huge strains on his lands.  I almost want to visit this farm to see what I can learn from this guy.

 

Carver Car December 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bowet000 @ 4:11 am
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Although the Carver Car has recently gone under due to the expenses associated with the vehicle, this is seriously exactly what I think the world should be driving.  Especially the world that doesn’t have snow.  This car/motorcycle can come with a hybrid engine and I don’t see why they couldn’t make it with an electric engine, especially given the progress that is being made in that field.    I hope that they are able to get back on their feet, make this vehicle affordable and I would be all over buying one.

http://green.autoblog.com/2006/08/19/three-wheeled-hybrid-carver-bike-car-on-the-way-can-you-say-coo/

 

Being Vegetarian or Reducing your Meat Consumption November 7, 2009

I am currently reading a book called “The Ominivore’s Dilemma”.  A friend of mine recommended it, after I was talking about “Hot, Flat and Crowded” as it distinctly relates to the environment we are currently living in.  The book breaks down three different food cycles – The Industrial, The Pastoral (organic farming), and The Hunter-Gatherer food cycles.  I am right in the middle of the Pastoral food cycle and while I am a little surprised by some things I’m reading, I’m not nearly as horrified and shocked as I was by the Industrial food cycle, which mainly serves to produce cheap meat.

To summarize 120 pages of the book into 500 words: The Industrial Food Cycle stemmed from over -production of corn.  Due to programs sponsored by the government, farmers can’t make a living producing corn and to have to grow more and more to eke out a living. This has been an ongoing problem since then end of WW2, and has resulted in annually massive surpluses of corn. This surplus of corn needed to be utilized, so scientists used it to develop almost every food additive we have, and feedlots started feeding it to cattle.

Cattle have bacteria in their rumen (the rumen is similar to their stomach), which help to convert grass into nutrients that help them gain weight.  However, feedlots discovered that due to the concentrated calories in corn, they could force the cows to gain weight faster by feeding them corn.  NOW HERE IS THE SHOCKING PART – little does anyone know that cow’s rumen’s and bacteria cannot properly digest corn.  So, as a result of eating corn the rumen gets acidotic and the bacteria starts reproducing out of control.  This causes the cows to get incredibly sick and the only way they can survive on the feedlot for the year required to be big enough to go to the slaughter house is by being pumped full of anti-biotics and hormones.  Every day they are fed anti-biotics and hormones for an entire year!!!!  As a result of consuming all of these antibiotics, the manure that the cows lay in every day now houses large quantities of drug resistant E.Coli bacteria, which recently paralyzed a girl for life, who ate a contaminated hamburger.

I don’t really care about animal rights.  I’m a cold hearted bitch when it comes to animals.  HOWEVER, I certainly want to take care of my own body.  And in order to do this I certainly don’t want to be eating anti-biotics or hormones every day.  I am so shocked by this because I know so many people that go on and on and on about how they don’t want to take a Tylenol for their headache, but then they eat TONS OF MEAT!!  I can guarantee you, that the hormones and anti-biotics that are present in the meat you are eating are far far far worse for your body than that measly Tylenol.

Further on the topic of what they feed to cows, did you know that although the USFDA has banned feedlots from feeding the same species of animal to the animals they are raising (ie. chicken meat can’t be fed to chickens, nor cow to cow), cows still get a vast amount of their protein from beef tallow (essentially beef lard residues left over from the slaughterhouse), and if that isn’t disgusting enough, please consider that it is common practice to feed chicken pellets, bedding and excrement to beef on the feedlot as a source of protein.  That is just downright DISGUSTING!! Who wants to eat that?  If only because it’s truly harmful and damaging to your own body, never mind the environment or the actual animals.

And on that note, were you aware that more than 50% of greenhouse gas emissions are produced from livestock and the transport of meat around the world.  This figure includes the emissions by the animals, which is significantly higher than grass easting animals because their stomachs are essentially rotting, the oil needed for transport and the oil (yes, actually crude oil) required to GROW THE CORN!!!  Say what??? Why would you need oil to grow corn???

Well, as it turns out, oil is used to make the fertilizer that is used to grow the corn.  Farmers need to put this type of fertilizer on their fields so that the ground has enough nutrients to actually grow the corn because the farmers are not responsibly rotating crops so the soil is losing all it’s nutrients.  Further, in order to grow corn as close to each other as farmers do now, the soil has to have massive amounts of nutrients.  This fertilizer inevitable washes away during rains, gets into the fresh water supply and into the ocean and resultantly causes over production of algae, which removes oxygen from the water and kills all the other organisms in the water.

Fun Statistics:

  • Eating one lb of meat is will emit equivalent greenhouse gases to driving an SUV 40 miles
  • One c ow, before slaughter will have consumed equivalent to 2 BARRELS of oil in its’ lifetime

So by stopping eating meat, or at least drastically reducing it, you are single handedly reducing your Eco-footprint by 50%!!!  There is literally nothing else you can do that would be more beneficial to the environment than that.   NOTHING!!!!

 

Bullfrog Energy November 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bowet000 @ 7:06 am
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I’ve been meaning to post this link for ages, along with some others, but the others are just not materializing, so I’m going to post this one on it’s own because it’s something important for people to know back home.

Although Canada only derives 19% of their electricity from coal, that amount is significantly higher in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia – at 70% of electricity being generated by coal.  Canada is attempting to reduce this number by 2020, to make Canada a non-emitting electricity producer.  However, in so doing, that means that this 19% of electricity is going to have to come from somewhere else. 

 

Bullfrog energy is doing a wonderful job in BC and Alberta, providing an alternative to naturally damaging hydroelectric energy and coal, providing electricity from wind and conservationist hydro.  Their prices are slighty more expensive than the regular electricity at home, but only minimally, and it’s possible to switch from BC Hydro at any point to support a company that is trying to make a difference in our world. 

 

http://www.bullfrogpower.com/