Today’s Advice: Kick the gadget habit.

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” Some “innovations” are utterly useless and create complicated machinery meant to perform simple tasks. Do we really need special machines to sort our loose change, a heated bin to warm our bathroom towels, or digital devices (in addition to our computers, TVs, and PDAs) just to give us the weather forecast? Does an able-bodied person even need an electric can-opener?.

Don’t be fooled into replacing functional objects with appliances that require electricity or batteries and may break down quicker-and be harder to fix-than simpler tools.

      Also think twice before purchasing travel-size versions of all your life’s accoutrements. Traveling light is more luxurious anyway. Will the mini ionic air purifier really be that useful? “.

-Abrams, “365 Ways To Save The Earth”, 2008

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Food For Thought: What is the point of doing anything, when China opens a new power station every week?

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 What is the point of doing anything, when China opens a new power station every week?  

Answer:

“The defining challenge of our age”, is how Ban Ki-moon, the united Nations General Secretary, describes climate change. It will affect all our lives, whether we take an interest or not. The biggest need is for society’s climate of opinion to change.

China is making a huge effort to raise the living standards of its people. With limited oil reserves, it is turning to coal for its energy. Clean coal technologies, where the carbon is sealed underground, are expensive, but China says it will pursue this option if wealthy western nations take the lead. So far none has done so. This attitude shows the importance of leading by example: China won’t do it unless our governments do it, and our governments won’t do it because “it will make our industry uncompetitive”. We, the electorate, must show by example that we consider the fight against global warming to be more important than commerce. Each of us is at the beginning of a chain that could influence first our own reluctant governments and then global agreements.

Three-quarters of global warming is due to the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) when fossil fuels – coal, gas and oil – are burned. On average each person in the world is responsible for 4.6 tonnes a year. In Britain each person is responsible for 12 tonnes. A Chinese is below average at 4.2 tonnes (actually less, because many of the goods they make are exported so emissions should be counted as the responsibility of the country of destination) and an Indian is well below average at only 1.4 tonnes. An American is responsible for a whopping 20.2 tonnes (26 tonnes if you take into account the goods made abroad and imported). It would be reasonable for China to claim that its emissions per person should be allowed to rise in order to lift its struggling population out of poverty – particularly since the west has benefited historically from huge emissions over many years and is responsible for 80 per cent of the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

A change in attitude is just beginning. In the USA, due to pressure from the public, over 30 states and 600 cities have adopted policies aimed at cutting carbon emissions. WE are all in this together. China is taking global warming seriously. It is phasing out incandescent light bulbs, it is building the world’s most carbon-neutral city with more to follow, it has banned plastic bags in major cities, it is putting immense research into photovoltaic (PV) cells (see page 48) and other renewable technologies that convert the Sun’s energy into electricity, and it is turning out thousands of graduates with expertise in these fields. Its State Council is struggling to restrain provinces and municipalities from pursuing development regardless of the effects. China’s efforts to combat global warming put western governments to shame. C S Kiang, who advises the Chinese government says, “Humanity made a mistake 200 years ago and now east and west does not matter – everyone is involved. China’s problems are the problems of the world. If we do not solve them together the world is going to be in a bad shape.”

Human society, with its politics, world conferences, competition, economic imperatives and broken promises, could be seen as a super-tanker speeding towards the rocks and unable to stop.

But then think of those flocks of starlings you see in the evening sky:  suddenly, without warming, they change direction. Our own society may suddenly change direction when strange events, or even the media, move us to a tipping point where we become alarmed that we are at the mercy of the most finely balanced and infinitely fragile of all components of this plenty – the atmosphere.  

Alastair Sawday (2008: 9-10) What About China?

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Food for thought.

Hello there readers,

I had bought a very interesting and fruitful book on climate change a couple of months ago. The book is one of its kind, it discusses everything we need to know about climate change and global warming in a very unique and appealing manner which I believe can attract all kinds of readers who are interested to learn about the most crucial aspects of climate change in a few paragraphs. The book is like a compressed version of all the books on climate change which makes it easy to read and understand.

Unfortunately due to busy life, and also because I was busy reading other books so I didn’t really get the time to go through it. As the title implies, I will be dedicating Food For Thought posts on Climate change, where the information included in each post will be taken directly from the same book, word by word. I thought that this would be the best way for me to share the information published in this amazing book with the world.

I advice all of you visiting  my blog to take your time and read as many Food for thought posts as possible, I guarantee that by the time I’m done sharing all that the book has to offer, you will be equipped with all there is to know about climate change and global warming.

😀

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Today’s Advice: Do not use chemicals near water.

 

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” A garden is like  miniature field; even on this very small scale, it is essential not to contribute to water and soil pollution by using too many chemicals. Sixty-seven million pounds of lawn pesticides are used in American gardens every year. Homeowners have been found to be much worse about application of pesticides than other users. They apply 3.2 to 9.8 pounds of lawn pesticides per acre; agricultural land generally receives 2.7 pounds of pesticides per acre”.

“Do not use fertilisers, pesticides, or herbicides if you are near water, such as a well, stream, pool, or marsh. After each application, these products soak into the soil, sometimes permanently polluting aquifers”.

-Abrams, “365 Ways To Save The Earth”, 2008

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A Perfect Environmental Ecosystem!!

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” Let’s fantasize for a moment and ask: What would an ideal farm in Brazil that was operating as part of such a Clean Energy System look like? Imagine Senhor Verde has a thousand-acre farm, with a river full of fish running through it that is adjacent to an expanse of natural forest loaded with a rich diversity of plants and animals. Here is how he would operate:

He would start his day using a smart tractor, the kind already made by john Deere. As he plows his filed, the tractor takes real-time measurements of the moisture and nutrient content of each square meter and automatically inserts only the exact amount of fertilizer needed to produce the yield he seeks, taht way there is no fertilizer left over to wash into his river and harm the aquatic life there and downstream. Less nitrogen fertilizer also means fewer emissions of nitrogen oxide-a potent greenhouse gas. Thanks to this technology, he is taking advantage all the time of the most productive parts of his land for farming, so he has less incentive to go into the rain forest or to denude the riverbanks of trees just to plant a few more acres of crops. In fact, he and his neighbors have worked with a local conservation NGO to zone their farms so that the most productive areas are farmed, and other areas are set aside and restored to their native vegetation, which protects the streams and allows wildlife to migrate across a much larger area of natural habitat. That smart tractor, by the way, is a plug-in electric hybrid, with a backup motor thjat runs on biofuel made from switchgrass planted in Brazil on degraded lands that were specifically set aside as part of a national plan to protect the Amazon from biofuel encroachment. All the information amassed about the amount of fertilizaer that went into every square meter of his land, and the yield it ultimately produced, is captured on the onboard computer so he can make smarter decisions next year and increase his yield, even as he reduces his inputs. The sprinkler system is also a smart system and adds only the precise amount of water per square meter that is needed. The crop itself has been engineered to grow with the least amount of fertilizer and the least amount of water and fewest pesticides, so it is much stronger and produces a higher yield than non-bioengineered crops. It has also been engineered to be more nutritious, so people get healthier and healthier from less and less foodIn addition, because he is using fewer and cleaner fertilizers, the impact on the local river is tiny, so the water can be recylced with less energy and fewer chemicals. Also, by not cultivating the banks of the river and by maintaining the trees, he is preserving from erosion his most valuable asset – the arable land that produces his crops – and providing through the roots of trees and wetlands a natural water filter, which keeps sediment out of the river and prevents degradation of the wetlands downstream. Because the rover is healthy, he can enjoy fishing it or swimming in it much more, but he can also license others to come and fish for peacock bass on it each summer, making another nice little side income. On the part of his land that abuts the tropical forest, he has built a small ecolodge, which draws all its electricity from a one-megawatt wind turbine and attracts hundreds of ecotourists each year “.

Friedman, TL. (2009: 243-244) Hot, Flat, & Crowded, Release 2.0,

 

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Today’s Advice: Don’t burn the midnight oil.

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Long exposure to artificial light at night can affect the body’s ability to produce melatonin, which helps to regulate sleep. It can also weaken the immune system and disrupt hormone production. In addition to the detrimental effects it has on our bodies, routinely staying up late also increases the amount of energy our homes use.

So, unless you work the night short, try to maintain reasonable sleep patterns. You will find yourself feeling better and conserve energy at the same time.

-Abrams, “365 Ways To Save The Earth”, 2008

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Today’s Advice: Find a better dry cleaner.

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Traditional dry-cleaning operations use a solvent called perchloroethylene, which is toxic enough to be treated as hazardous waste by the EPA. Millions of pounds of this chemical are used every year. It can cause minor allergic reactions among customers and far more serious health problems for workers who are constantly exposed to it. Small amounts of perchloroethylene can seriously contaminate groundwater.

The best alternative is not to purchase clothes that require dry cleaning. Know that you can often hand wash silk, wool, and linen clothes that are tagged “dry clean only.”. Otherwise look for operations that offer either “wet cleaning” or a system that uses liquid carbon dioxide, both of which are safer treatments.

-Abrams, “365 Ways To Save The Earth”, 2008

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Today’s Advice: Follow the rules in protected areas.

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About 34,000 plant species throughout the world, or a quarter of the total species of flora on the planet, face extinction in the coming years. Nearly 600 plant species in the eUnited States are listed as endangered; 448 animal species are considered endangered. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has also prescribed habitat conservation plans for 480 areas, where measures have been taken to minimise the impact on habitats, restore ecosystems, and sometimes relocate plants and animals.

Observe the instructions displayed at the entrances to parks – they are there for a reason. You will not disturb the wildlife if you keep your dog on  a leash, and by following the marked trails you can avoid accidentally stepping on protected plants.

-Abrams, “365 Ways To Save The Earth”, 2008

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Today’s Advice: Consider using rechargeable batteries.

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The manufacture of a battery uses 50 times as much energy as the battery itself will produce during its life. The only exception is rechargeable batteries. A personal stereo battery lasts 6 days; if you use a rechargeable battery, it can last up to 4 years. Like disposable batteries, some rechargeable ones contain cadmium, but since they can be recharged between 400 and 1,000 times, their impact on the environment is considerably reduced (if they are properly disposed of at the end of their life).

The best alternative for most portable electronics is nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), as these batteries are rechargeable and contain no cadmium. The upfront expense of these and their charger is soon recovered: Their lifetime cost is 3% of the comparable amount of disposable battery power.

-Abrams, “365 Ways To Save The Earth”, 2008

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Today’s Advice: Cook with gas rather than electricity.

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The 1,500 researchers of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCc), set up jointly by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organisation, now agree that human activity is affecting the world’s climate: Every year, human beings emit more than 30 billion tons of greenhouse gases as they meet their energy needs in transportation, heating, air-conditioning, agriculture, industry, and so forth.

We should be equally aware of this when dealing with the little, day-to-day things in life. On average, a gas cooker uses half the energy of an electric cooker, as long as the burners are regularly cleaned. A clogged burner can use up to 10% more energy than a clean one.

-Abrams, “365 Ways To Save The Earth”, 2008

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