Let’s see: a conservative court, a conservative congress, a conservative administration—something tells me this isn’t going to change anything. Up for discussion is whether or not the Bush Administration must regulate CO2 to combat global warming. A dozen states, several cities, and environmental groups have convinced the Supreme Court to take up the case–after a divided lower court ruled against them. The administration continues to push forward on the claim that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant under the Federal Clean Air Law–and even if it was, the EPA would have discretion over whether to regulate it or not. (Riiiggghhhttt…I’m sure the EPA in not influenced in any way by this administration) From the article,
“In their appeal, the states argued that the case ‘’goes to the heart of the EPA’s statutory responsibilities to deal with the most pressing environmental problem of our time’’ — the threat of global warming.
This is something Dr. Evil would have planned: “Give me one MILLION dollars, or else I will unleash the worst pollution on Earth–the crap frozen in Siberia.” There’s a reason I’m not involved in writing scripts for Hollywood–but nevertheless, this is pretty disturbing. From the article, “Ancient roots and bones locked in long-frozen soil in Siberia are starting to thaw, and have the potential to unleash billions of tons of carbon and accelerate global warming, scientists said on Thursday.” Supposedly, this vast carbon resevoir (one of the few oil companies are loathe to pursue) is loaded with 75 times more carbon than all that is released into the atmosphere each year through the burning of fossil furls. Covering nearly 400,000 square miles, Siberia has about 500 billion tons of carbon to hand out. “You have anthropogenic (human-generated) carbon that’s making things a little bit warmer, and that causes the permafrost to warm up and carbon is then released from the permafrost,” he said. “It goes into the atmosphere and makes things warmer yet again, so then more permafrost thaws.” So, for those of you that believe nature is causing global warming–hey there may be some actual truth to that. However, whereas thawing permafrost may be the bullet, you can bet sure as hell that we’re the ones pulling the trigger.
Cell phones are cool and all–but most people simply shove them in a drawer–or worse–chuck ‘em when they’re finished. In fact, almost 130 million surplus cellphones are created each year in America–weighing in at clost to 65,000 tons! Well, TerraPass has some up with a unique way of solving this problem by partnering up with RIPMobile. From the press release, “RIPMobile recycles used cell phones and PDAs. They also happen to be leaders in their industry for environmental best practices. Unlike many recyclers, RIPMobile will accept any used cell phone, regardless of economic value. They’ll even pay your postage. RIPMobile handles all materials according to EPA standards and in compliance with the stringent requirements of the Basel Action Network.” The great thing about this new partnership is that TerraPass will pay you in gift certificates for your old phones. So, if you’ve been delaying off-setting your SUV with some carbon credits, now’s your chance to kill two birds with one stone! Almost every phone will net you some type of value–from a lowly old Motorola for $2 to a new RAZR for $75. (My expired Samsung came in at $32–not too shabby!). Check it out at TerraPass and–while your’re there–get that car taken care of!
Anyone else here dig the TV Series, “Buffy, The Vampire Slayer“? Giles and the gang always foiled evil plots to destroy the world while Joss Whedon integrated humorous banter and creative twists to the storyline. Awesome show..but I digress. Anyways, apparently California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine is a fan of the show, since his aptly titled “The Vampire Slayer Act of 2006″ has recently been approved by the California Assembly. From the release, “AB1970 would force companies to put labels on devices that tell consumers how much energy is being used while the device is in standby mode. AB1970 supporters claim that the average household will pay an additional $200 per year due to electronics on standby.” In the other corner of the arena are the Vampire Sires, the Consumer Electronics Association, Electronic Industry Alliance, etc. They’re all claiming that such a move will simply confuse consumers; just like the early complaints issued by the Tobacco Industry when health warning stickers were placed on cigarettes. C’mon–anything to save a few bucks is worth it and I would love to know what’s eating from my outlet well after I’ve turned off the lights. If Assemblyman Levine has any trouble at least Buffy and the gang are a stones throw away in Sunnydale. Nice job, CA!
President Bush did something for only the second time in his two-term presidency: he created a national monument. No, not with building blocks, but by invoking the 1906 National Antiquities Act and protecting over 139,000 square miles of largely uninhabitated islands, reefs, and atolls. Once under jurisdiction, the area would be protected by the strongest environmental laws available and actively monitored by state and federal agencies. While not certain to happen, a ban on commercial fishing in the area would “create the largest no-take marine reserve in the nation, second in the world only to the Great Barrier Reef.” Currently, there are ships in the area that use the coral-damaging “bottomfishing” technique to troll for snappers and seabass. Such a ban would help alleviate stress on the reefs and wildlife. While conservatives will certainly use this latest good news to prove to environmentalists that Bush is paying attention to the natural world, one should note that President Clinton created 19 national monuments and expanded existing legislation to set aside 5.9 million acres in the West. It’s nice to see that the administration is following in his footsteps by expanding existing legislation created under his tenure….at least until natural gas is discovered under the sea-floor.
Think picking the color of your new car is tough? Try picking a car that will still be road-worthy 20 years from now and use the latest and greatest in alternative fuel technology. Well, Volvo–the leader in ‘inherited’ vehicles–is solving that problem with a concept car that runs on FIVE different fuels. “The Volvo Multi-Fuel is a five-cylinder, 2.0-litre prototype car (200 bhp) that runs on five different fuels; hythane (10% hydrogen and 90% methane), biomethane, natural gas (CNG), bioethanol E85 (85% bioethanol and 15% petrol) and petrol.” This feature effectively allows you to run your car on any fuel source, anywhere in the world. “The idea is to make use of the fuels that are produced locally, says Mats Mor’n. This means that less fuel needs to be transported between continents, and you can fill up the car on the fuel that is available wherever you are.” Excellent idea and wonderful ‘transition’ vehicle towards whatever fuel becomes the standard down the road. Let’s hope this vehicle becomes a reality one day. Your unborn children one day heading to college will thank you for this fully functional “hand-me-down”!
I wrote this article 13 months ago, and while I am proud of the steps that my family has taken over that time, I can see that I still have many goals to accomplish. I am republishing it in its original form, with an update, and a few more “thoughts for 30-somethings.”
Well, I have been digesting The Long Emergency, by James Howard Kunstler. It is a bleak vision of the future of America, with declining oil supplies. I, like the author, would not live to see many of the changes that he describes in his idea of the future, but I do believe that there are many things that people in our generation could do to prepare to face any eventual hardship. I will lay out what I plan to do personally to get myself, my finances, my family and my home more self sustaining, and ready for whatever may come our way.I, and others my age have grown up in a time of plenty. Most of us are used to an abundant opportunity of education and employment, compared to any time in our nations history. Born after Vietnam, witnessing the end of the cold war, seeing decisive victories in the first Gulf War, no causalities in the Bosnian conflict, we have seen little in the way of war growing up. (No disrespect for those who have lost their lives fighting for our country during our developmental years.) Our battles were fought in our imagination with sticks and toy guns, or against aliens on video games. The Dow Jones Industrials were at 703.69 on Jan 1st 1975, and as I type the Dow closed at 10,471.91 this past Friday. This is a 1,448% gain in my lifetime. Energy prices, unemployment and interest rates fell. Home ownership, investment in the stock market and personal wealth increased.
Potatoes without effort: Aaron tells how to grow a high calorie food in your backyard. Click for a food you’ll never tire of.
Any time I talk to people about growing their own food whether it’s in the context of gardening for fun, farming for food post peak petroleum, or freeing themselves from the grips of agrobizcorp giants like Monsanto I often get one of two responses- “I can’t grow things!” or “I don’t know where to start”. Here is an easy way to dip your toe in the waters of home food production.
One of the side effects of our automotive way of life is an inordinate amount of old tires lying around. They are great for growing things. I applaud those who work to rebuild the depleted soil around their homes through composting and the addition of organic material. I do this work myself. But I also grow potatoes the lazy way- right on top of the ground.