Check out this 5 minute video about making local food in the Chicagoland region a reality for all. There is a potential for not only increased health benefits for individuals, but also a healthier community that includes economic development (jobs).
Back in 2006, analysts from the insurance industries predicted the storm surge caused by Super Storm Sandy. Yet, they do not include this risk in their cost models. The US government is actually on the hook for flood insurance, not the industry. This piece from the PBS News Hour outlines the issues around this topic. Many analysts recognize that climate change is making extreme storms more possible, and they are able to identify areas where major storms are likely. But, the industry is still scared of climate skeptics who do not want to pay for models that incorporate the costs of climate change.
SUMMARY: The insurance industry looks at historical data, old and new, in order to assess the risk for potential disasters and put a price on premiums. But when Sandy hit the Northeast, some insurance companies reconsidered if they priced insurance high enough for the greater risks brought on by climate change. Paul Solman reports.
As our Thanksgiving turkey hangover fades away, I thought it appropriate to share this video from CBS’ Fast Draw guys. They use James Sterba’s book Nature Wars as one of their sources.
I thought that this was illustrative of how we remember the past. We tend to forget about the progress we have made in terms of conservation. The late 19th and early 20th century industrialization decimated our enviroment, and through government and private groups, we have preserved many lands. We also forget that people and other animals are creating a new equilibrium in how we live together. Clearly, this equilibrium is not perfect, but it also highlights how limited our perspectives can be on problems that span generations.
The Amazon has been viewed for ages as a vast quilt of rain forest interspersed by remote river outposts. But the surging population growth of cities in the jungle is turning that rural vision on its head and alarming scientists, as an array of new industrial projects transforms the Amazon into Brazil’s fastest-growing region.
The torrid expansion of rain forest cities is visible in places like Parauapebas, which has changed in a generation from an obscure frontier settlement with gold miners and gunfights to a sprawling urban area with an air-conditioned shopping mall, gated communities and a dealership selling Chevy pickup trucks.
Scientists are studying such developments and focusing on the demands on the resources of the Amazon, the world’s largest remaining area of tropical forest. Though Brazilian officials have historically viewed the colonization of the Amazon as a matter of national security — military rulers built roads to the forest under the slogan “Occupy it to avoid surrendering it” — deforestation in the region already ranks among the largest contributors to global greenhouse-gas emissions…read entire article here.
Yesterday, American Public Media’s show Marketplace had a story noting that the US will pass Saudia Arabia as the top oil producer (see below). The story concerned me because they were noting that this increase would come from the hydraulic fracking, which has caused concern about the sustainability of the practice. I have pasted the Marketplace story below. I am not sure that the story spend enough time discussing the nature of fracking, so it falls on our shoulders to do our research.
Pseudoscience and paranoia are the newest threats to implementing smart-grid technologies. A “smart grid” has the potential to increase efficiency within our electrical grid by collecting data. This could help ease environmental risks and improve service. But, there is a growing fear that the use of smart meters in homes could pose a threat to the health of the people living in the home. Liberal and conservative activists are opposing smart-grid technologies even thought they cannot really define the threat that these technologies post. The activists fear the transmissions that smart meters make but they fail to note that:
1. Smart grid transmissions are nothing compared to transmissions from radios, TVs, cell phones (which most of us keep on our bodies), wireless internet hubs, and countless other wireless technologies.
2. They note a fear of the technology but there is no solid evidence that actually defines harm from the technology.
The fear of smart meters echoes past fears of fluoride in drinking water and electricity in homes. There is a naturally concern over an innovation and benefits are discounted while fears are given more credit than they deserve.
SUMMARY: Within the next three years, it is expected that nearly 65 million homes in the U.S. will have wireless smart meters. But some California environmentalists, liberals, Tea Party supporters and other activists are not enthused by this. At the heart of the debate is whether smart meters can cause illness. Spencer Michels reports
A study from Illinois State University found that Illinois is missing out on potential jobs in the under-developed wind-power industry. These would be jobs in rural areas where manufacturing jobs are greatly needed. Here is a link about the study: Study: Ill. needs more wind-power manufacturing.
Do you want to learn more about living sustainably? Head on down to the Green Festival at Navy Pier this weekend. Noon – 8 Saturday and 11 – 7 on Sunday. All weekend there are great speakers like Jesse Jackson, Van Jones, Jeffrey Smith, John Perkins, Amy Goodman, Karyn Calabrese, Bill McKibbin, and more. There is a ton to do: free yoga classes, fun and games for kids at the Green Kids’ Zone, green cooking demos, DIY stage, environmental film shorts at the Sierra Club Green Cinema, fair trade stage, green business stage, and hundreds of vendors where you can buy green and sustainable goods. Last year I found a local mattress maker and purchased a completely organic mattress for my new baby as well as stainless steel baby bottles. It is definitely worth checking out. For more information: http://www.greenfestivals.org/chi/updates/ .