Tuesday, March 13, 2007

must replace the tube in my front tire

According to a leaked report that will be given by scientists from the International Panel on Climate Change at a meeting next month in Belgium, "hundreds of millions of Africans and tens of millions of Latin Americans who now have water will be short of it in less than 20 years. By 2050, more than a billion people in Asia could face water shortages" as a result of anthropogenic global climate change.

The report predicts that polar bears will be extirpated in the wild by 2050, and that half of Europe's plant species could be threatened, endangered, or extinct by 2100.

The toll on the human population is likely to be severe. Conditions such as malnutrition and diarrhea are likely to be greatly worsened. Hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires will ratchet up the economic cost. The poor, especially in coastal areas, will --as always -- be the hardest hit.

Although it's clear that some negative effects of global warming are already occurring and that more are inevitable because the effect of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is delayed by years or even decades, I still hold out some hope.

Based on what I understand of global climate change, its effects can be halted -- or at least slowed down. This could make all the difference. Things everybody can do: buy energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs, lower your thermostat (and use clock thermostats), increase the insulation in your house, get window and door quilts, recycle, buy a hybrid car (if you can), ride your bicycle (or walk), use mass transit when possible, call your power company and ask them to use renewable energy, vote for leaders who take the issue seriously, write your congressman, plant lots of trees, call radio shows, write letters to the editor, insist that the U.S. freeze its carbon dioxide emissions and join international efforts to reduce global warming, insist that the U.S. reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, insist on raising fuel efficiency standards, and educate yourself and others about the crisis.

I've done the ones I can afford, although I need to start riding my bike to work more often, now that I'm over my month-long sickness and the weather has begun to improve. What are your plans for reducing your carbon footprint?


Radiant Times said...

We use a wood stove, ride our bikes and don't buy a lot. We also cook our own meals and don't buy a lot of convenience foods. Our clothes are practical - business casual (although I have formal wear since I'm a professional musician and singer), and our kids don't spend their lives in front of a playstation or block out their lives with Ipods or other such devices. We have only one cell phone in this family and we turn our lights off when we don't need them.

We are not 'environmentalists' but we are conservatives who believe in good stewardship. We don't go over the deep end to "reduce our carbon footprint" but we strongly believe in choosing alternative energy sources. Living in the southwest, we can use evaporative coolers which are more frugal in their energy consumption than air conditioners.

I'm just rambling, but you get the idea.

Jim said...

It sounds like y'all are way ahead of me. My work keeps me at the energy-consumptive computer a lot more than I'd like. And I'm well aware of how poorly insulated my house is--an obvious waste of energy. I'm working on it, within the constraints of my budget.

Your post reminds me of something very important, which is that a person need not define himself/herself as an environmentalist, or to think in terms of "carbon footprints" in order to live in an environmentally sustainable way. I've always believed that my own conception of "environmentalism" is really conservative at its core--it's about old-fashioned simplicity, frugality, and common sense. I appreciate hearing from those who feel the same way, even if our values on other issues may be different.

Radiant Times said...

Thank you for your elegant, kind and respectful response to my post! It is totally moral to want to make our world better, and that is humanitarianism at it's best.

Sadly it is greed that makes waste and ruin, and we try to avoid that as much as possible.

If you are ever in New Mexico, I'd be glad to make you a beautiful pot of green chile stew.

Jim said...

Thanks for the kind words. I agree that greed is frequently the source of our troubles, and ironically the people who are most greedy are also often very unhappy. The people I know whose lifestyles are simplest are also the happiest people I know. There is much to be learned from this, and I'm working on it.

And thanks for the invitation in New Mexico. I'll keep it in mind. Likewise, you've got a friend in Nevada.

Radiant Times said...

Gratitude flies in your direction as well.

If you like some good "high-brow" music, we are performing Beethoven's Missa Solemnis on April 27 and 28. I'll post information about that on my blog starting next month.