White House Delivers LOUD Msg: Create Jobs- Cut Pollution!

Commitments and Executive Actions Illustrate Federal, State, and Local Leadership to Create Jobs and Cut Carbon Pollution

“The Obama Administration is committed to taking action to combat climate change. As part of that effort, today, the White House is announcing a series of public and private sector commitments and executive actions to advance solar deployment and promote energy efficiency.”

HOORAY!

Last night, I attended a presentation and panel on Climate Change and why our brains tend to ignore it. It was fascinating. I’m looking forward to reading this book by George Marshall, who was leading last night’s conversation: Don’t Even Think About It: How our brains ignore climate change

The presentation was a really terrific conversation, but definitely still left me feeling a bit nervous and like I need way more tools to help others understand the importance of discussing topics of climate change!

My nerves were quieted and my hope, for a near future in which we call stop ignoring this

Major-Global-Will-Affect-Every-Single-One-Of-Us-Issue,

has been reinforced by today’s news from the White House. Here’s more:

“The executive announcements today altogether will cut carbon pollution by nearly 300 million metric tons through 2030 – equivalent to taking more than 60 million cars off the road for one year – and will save homes and businesses more than $10 billion on their energy bills. Those executive actions are:

  • Partnering with up to three military bases to create a veterans solar job training pilot;
  • Investing $68 million in 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in rural areas across the country, including 240 solar projects;
  • Proposing an energy conservation standard for commercial unit air conditioners that has the potential to save more energy than any previously issued standard;
  • Supporting funding for clean energy and energy efficiency for affordable housing;
  • Strengthening commercial and residential buildings codes; and
  • Harmonizing the power of national service and volunteerism to tackle climate change and its effects.”

Last night, George Marshall who goes by the twitter handle @climategeorge, said something to the affect:

Climate change is like the big elephant in the room… and right now, we’re INSIDE the elephant. It’s time to get out of the elephant and start talking about it!

So, are you ready to climb out of the elephant, the “let’s all ignore climate change elephant”, and look it square in the eye? YES! Begin to talk about climate change and help lead the discussion for solutions!

Read more about these new climate change addressing actions from the Obama Administration here.

 

weather stress, climate change, & < 28 year olds...??

Checking the Weather Channel’s online weather update is usually a quick in and out for me, as I am there mostly to answer one question: what’s the weather going to be like today? But sometimes the site has interesting articles, photographs, videos, etc. that catch my eye. Today was one of those times.

I found a brief article with interactive graphics depicting “what climate change looks like“. It’s a really concise view of the trends of our warming planet. Following the article is also a brief video about “Weather Stress” or the psychological threats climate change poses to our mental health.

Within, I found this fact to be particularly remarkable:

“In fact, according to NOAA’s data set, each month for more than 28 years has had a global average temperature that was above the 20th century average, meaning that anyone younger than 28 years old has never experienced a cooler-than-average month on earth.”

Whoa.

Of course, this Weather Channel’s article covers global trends. Want to see what’s been happening just in the States? ClimateCentral.com has some really interesting graphics (great classroom material!) that depict warming trends for the nation.

Read the full article and watch the video here.

Interestingly, the site has a lot about climate change and health impacts. In fact, there is another brief but informative article here about current climate change health risk factors. It’s not about the future, it’s about the here and now and it’s definitely time to pay attention and take precautions.

 

Melting permafrost exposes huge risks

Melting permafrost being ignored at climate talks, experts warn
More on the melting permafrost can be found in a story by Miguel Llanos of NBC News. Llanos sites an over view of the huge risks at hand and quotes U.N. Environment Program Director Achim Steiner who in announcing the report by top permafrost scientists said,

“Permafrost is one of the keys to the planet’s future because it contains large stores of frozen organic matter that, if thawed and released into the atmosphere, would amplify current global warming… Continuing to ignore the challenges of warming permafrost is not an option…”

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Food labels, what do they really mean?

I sometimes find myself in the grocery store saying, “What the heck does cage-free mean, anyway?” And then, what does free-range, farm-raised, etc… I have a clue, but probably not 100% of the correct information. Well, now there’s a great resource for me to reference when I get confused. I thought I’d share it with the readers of this blog, too.

This is the green blog, right? So what does food have to do with being green or sustainability? A lot. We need to eat, there’s no denying that. However, with every choice we make when considering “What’s for dinner?” (or any other meal) there is a direct impact on carbon emissions, land use, water use, clean air, waste and equally importantly – your health.  This label resource will also help you understand the impacts your diet may have on your health and your environment. We all know to eat less fat and high fiber. Eat some fruit and so on. But really, what do we know about what foods to choose if we also want to take care of the planet? Which is something we all need to consider, since our food- be it beef, greens, fish or tacos- comes from the planet. Without it being healthy- clean water and air, plentiful healthy soil- we will not be able to grow the food we need to survive.

Check out this link. What do you think about it? Does it influence your future food choices? Did you already know these things? This is only one of many really useful resources out there on food. If you want to know more or have a conversation or check out a book, article, etc. Stop by the Center for Sustainability in L242 or drop a line at sustainability@morainevalley.edu.

It’s Official, Summer is here~ Happy Summer Solstice!

Today is the summer solstice, the day that the sun reaches it’s highest point in the sky over the Northern Hemisphere. It’s the longest (sunlit) day of the year. So it’s official, summer is really here! And we should celebrate and spend time outdoors and visit national parks and natural areas and have bbq’s and pool parties… but we should do this with sustainability in mind.

Remember that our individual actions add up; there are a lot of individuals trying to make a difference. They make small changes, that might be the same you’re making…so if you recycle and your neighbor recycles, and the rest of the neighborhood recycles…well that certainly adds up! So as individuals we really can make a difference.  This summer, keep in mind how you travel, what you’re eating, how you’re cooking it, is it really hot enough to run the AC or does the fan suffice?…make individual decisions and changes and be confident others are too (I know I will be!).

What sparked this need to share and encourage you to have a fun, green summer? This article:

Summer Solstice Meets Record Low Arctic Ice http://www.huffingtonpost.com/benjamin-strauss/summer-solstice-meets-les_b_619416.html

In summary, this article helps us understand how over thousands of years we, people, have been following the sun and seasons and how we’ve recorded changes over those years. And what that information is telling us today.

“The solstice always keeps a steady beat; but lately, the rhythm of summer has been increasingly out of sync. As the climate has warmed over recent decades, high temperatures have arrived earlier on average, and a symphony of seasonal events along with them, from plant blooming dates to animal migrations to peak flow levels in snow-fed streams. Nowhere is this quickening more evident than in the Arctic — the fastest-warming region on the planet.”

Interesting about this article is that it examines the impact of the arctic melt vs. that of Greenland and how that might affect the United States. In my opinion, too often we’re told, think of polar bears!! Well, honestly that’s hard to do when we don’t have any here in the US or the Midwest for that matter…So, it’s good to get a perspective of things relative to the way we live.

“But why concern ourselves with the frozen crust of a distant ocean? The big question for Americans, as we move toward a national debate on energy and climate policy, is what comes next.”

I’ll let you read the article to find the thoughts about that question… and for now, I’ll bid you a  safe and fun Summer!!  But remember to keep in mind how you can make your summer activities green, be the 1 individual of the thousands of other individuals trying to make a difference! Of course if you have questions about how to green your summer, you have a resource in Moraine Valley- sustainability@morainevalley.edu – email anytime with thoughts, questions, ideas for you or our community.

Happy Solstice!

POLAR MELTDOWN:

(reposted from MNN Daily Brief, e-Newsletter, September 24, 2009) POLAR MELTDOWN: Ice sheets in Greenland and western Antarctica are melting faster than scientists previously thought, and some places are experiencing “a runaway effect,” according to a team of British scientists who analyzed laser readings taken by NASA satellites. Some Antarctic ice sheets have been losing 30 feet of thickness annually since 2003, and while many areas are up to a mile thick to begin with, the melting is speeding up – the rate of Antarctic thinning was 50 percent higher between 2003 and 2007 than it was from 1995 to 2003. The problem isn’t warmer air, but warmer water, which wears down the ice from the outside in. “To some extent it’s a runaway effect,” says the lead author of the study, which was published online today in the journal Nature. “The question is how far will it run?” (Sources: Associated Press, USA TodaySan Francisco Chronicle)

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