Posted: 2009-10-29 20:00:00
Posted: 2009-10-19 20:00:00
Filed under: Climate Change
So, scientists (and politicians) have been studying climate change for decades now and what do we actually know about it, (other than the planet’s ice caps seem to be doomed)? What is the current status of our planet’s current status? And what can we expect in the near future?
Ask climate scientists what the effects of climate change will amount to in the next couple of decades and you’ll likely get a variety of predictions ranging from a temporary cool down to the record smashing heat waves. So, what gives? Why does it feel like these predictions are about as reliable as your local TV weatherman’s?
I’m no scientist — that’s for sure — and that’s exactly why I want short simple answers to the most basic questions at the root of climate change.
Today is “Blog Action Day“, an annual event held every October 15th, where blogs around the world all talk about the same topic. This year the topic is Climate Change, and can I just say, I’m so excited to see everyone writing about this!
Sometimes I feel like I’m harping on this topic again and again and again, but hey, it’s real, important and relevant to every single one of us. From the way the weather is changing around the world, to the causes of these changes, to the things you can do right now to reduce your carbon footprint and slow down the changes, all of us need to have a voice in the climate change discussion.
Since I’ve already written a lot of posts on the topic, today I’d like to go back and share my 10 favorite posts I’ve written on climate change:
It’s approaching holiday season. And we know what that means: catalogs. Each year, North American companies produce 17 billion catalogs (59 for every man, woman and child in the U.S.). They hawk every category of gift or good, from the ridiculous (redneck pacifiers and big foot garden sets) to the most mainstream. Yet we know that junk mail produces as much CO2 as seven states combined.
We were inspired by this great graphic over at TheCoolPrint.com. According to the site, the there are more than 100,000,000,000 pieces of junk mail sent in the U.S. every year (huge number!) — about 30% of all mail delivered in the world. Despite the Internet, the amount of junk mail has been snowballing, even though 44% is trashed without ever being opened (just ask this junk mail jihadist).
Want to see how much junk mail costs us in dollars, emissions, trees and time? Head over to TheCoolPrint.com.
Want to reduce your influx of junk mail? Register for the Mail Preference Service on the Direct Marketing Association Website. They will help remove your name and address from prospective mailing lists. Be patient, as it may take up to 90 days for most mail to stop.
The Tesla Roadster: Opting out of fake noises. (Flickr/e-connected)
I wrote a New York Times story yesterday about the idea of having very quiet plug-in hybrid and battery electric cars emit special sounds to let blind and other pedestrians know that they’re approaching. It made the front page, which was gratifying.
As soon as people start talking about issues like this, it unleashes the imagination: Soon carmakers are talking about emulating starships and Blade Runner cars, and consumers want to be able to download their own individual signature sounds. The result, of course, would be cacophony on the roads, which probably wouldn’t advance the original aim very much (but would be fun for some and make money for the “car-tone” vendors one imagines springing up.
The automakers are split on this. Fisker and Nissan are working up sounds, working with sound-effects people from the movie industry. But Tesla Motors, whose Roadster is a super-fast EV, is opting out: “We have been monitoring this issue very closely and do not plan to introduce fake noises into our cars at this time,” said spokeswoman Rachel Konrad. “In fact, one of the Roadster attributes that customers esteem most is the lack of over-the-top obnoxious noise.”
The fact is that EVs and plug-ins are a new paradigm for everybody, and will change society in ways we don’t anticipate yet. Just consider the issue of charging battery EVS: It’s my opinion that this will create its own momentum. As the cars start appearing, businesses will recognize the competitive advantage of offering fast charging in their parking lots. Nancy Gioia, the new director of global electrification at Ford, agreed with me that businesses might actually offer a 20-minute charge free to their preferred customers. Value added, indeed.
| Adrian Grenier Supports the GQ Gentlemen’s Fund
Contrary to what you might expect, the Gentlemen’s Fund isn’t designed to send beautiful women to bikini modeling school (it’s GQ not Maxim). The GF is about “ordinary
| Jessica Biel and Pete Wentz Run For Clean Water
LiveEarth, yes, that Live Earth, is sponsoring The Run For Water, a 6km run/walk (roughly the distance that women and children walk to access water in the developing world) that will be going on in cities across the planet on April 18th. Jessica Biel and Pete Wentz are in.
| PETA’s Confused About What Causes Swine Flu
A broad consensus of the scientific community has accepted the idea that the H1N1 “swine flu” is spread through microscopic pathogens called viruses. PETA, on the other hand, apparently thinks that it’s spread by eating meat. At least, that’s what their ad suggested.
| Are Carbon Offsets Counterproductive?
Is the act of buying “offsets” simply an expensive way to feel better about our eco-sins, while not making any real positive impact? In a word: No. Not unless you consider the fact that you’re funding new renewable energy projects and rainforest conservation counter-productive.
| Can Cyclists and Drivers Coexist?
As journalist Gary Mason studies Copenhagen’s bike-friendly transportation system, he’s discovered the secret: Make life easier for cyclists, even at the expense of drivers. They actually take space away from drivers and give it to cyclists. Could this ever happen in the US?
Green in a Flash:
- Check out this folding bike that can fit in a suitcase.
- Airlines have pledged to cut emissions in half by 2050.
- Next time you stay at a Comfort Inn, you might be sleeping under a solar roof.