Yo! We got this! CO2 removal

Big science is advocating carbon dioxide removal in an effort to combat climate change. The average everyday Jo can help remove CO2 emissions for a healthier land and people.

(I am being conscientious not to say planet or environment or earth. I think some concepts are either too big or have connotations that folks just don’t relate with.)

See here⇓

The Environment  (excerpt from https://www.soas.ac.uk/cedep-demos/000_P500_ESM_K3736-Demo/unit1/page_08.htm)

The term ‘environment’ is widely used and has a broad range of definitions, meanings and interpretations. What does the term ‘environment’ mean? In popular usage, for some people, the term ‘environment’ means, simply, ‘nature’: in other words, the natural landscape together with all of its non-human features, characteristics and processes. To those people, the environment is often closely related to notions of wilderness and of pristine landscapes that have not been influenced – or, at least, that have been imperceptibly influenced – by human activities. However, for other people, the term ‘environment’ includes human elements to some extent. Many people would regard agricultural and pastoral landscapes as being part of the environment, whilst others are yet more inclusive and regard all elements of the earth’s surface – including urban areas – as constituting the environment. Thus, in popular usage, the notion of the ‘environment’ is associated with diverse images and is bound up with various assumptions and beliefs that are often unspoken – yet may be strongly held. All of these usages, however, have a central underlying assumption: that the ‘environment’ exists in some kind of relation to humans. Hence the environment is, variously, the ‘backdrop’ to the unfolding narrative of human history, the habitats and resources that humans exploit, the ‘hinterland’ that surrounds human settlements, or the ‘wilderness’ that humans have not yet domesticated or dominated.


Ok so terminology aside, here is how you do it:

Excerpt from BBC Climate change: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and others have all stated that extracting CO2 from the air will be needed if we are to bend the rising temperature curve before the end of this century. […] the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine says that some of these “negative emissions technologies” are ready to be deployed, on a large scale, right now.

Five cheap ways to remove CO2 from the atmosphere (https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45967215)

  1. PRESERVE THE WETLANDS : The National Academies study says that by creating new wetlands and restoring and protecting these fringe areas, there is the potential to more than double the current rate of carbon extracted from the atmosphere. 

    Image result for wetlands

    https://www.chesapeakebay.net/issues/wetlands

  2. PLANT A TREE: Global deforestation has been a significant factor in driving up emissions of carbon, so researchers feel that planting new trees or restoring lost areas is a simple and cheap technology that could be expanding right now. 
  3. MAINTAIN EXISTING FORESTS: As well as planting more trees, the report says that we need to manage our existing forests in a better way to remove more carbon. Techniques can include the speedy re-stocking of forests after disturbances like fires […] extending the age of the forest when you harvest […] extend the amount of timber that goes into long-lived wooden products and limiting the amount that gets burned as biomass in power stations.
  4. FARMING TECHNIQUES: some simple changes in the way farmers manage their land can be a cheap and effective way of removing carbon from the air. Basically planting crops in between seasons. It helps with soil too. 
  5. Biomass energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS): The idea of BECCS is to grow energy crops that soak up carbon, which are then burned to create electricity while the emitted CO2 gas is captured and buried permanently underground.Everyday Jo probably doesn’t have access to this however be vocal to your government representatives.

 


Related Articles

 By Akshat Rathi: Silicon Valley is starting to work on a “Plan B” to fight climate change  (https://qz.com/1435452/y-combinator-wants-startups-that-remove-carbon-dioxide-from-the-air/)

Associated Press article: https://www.apnews.com/44e5cbe99231497593e5b6e0e310d33c


CUTE CREATURES THAT ARE NOT HUMAN:

https://www.foxnews.com/science/pea-sized-baby-octopuses-in-hawaii-floating-trash 

Two tiny octopuses were discovered floating on trash off the coast of Hawaii in August.

Two tiny octopuses were discovered floating on trash off the coast of Hawaii in August. (Ashley Pugh/National Park Service)


Donate or volunteer for wetlands through:

the scariest part about Halloween is how close it is to Christmas

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November first, before you can sober up and wipe the Halloween makeup off your eyes, the Christmas season has begun. But I am telling you now. Telling you so you can see behind the curtain, see the holly waiting in the wings behind the fog machine and the pumpkins and scarecrows. I am telling you so you can hold onto a thread of our own will and consciousness. I am telling you now before growling at strangers and maxing out your credit whilst carol of the bells intensifies at the most hurried tempo on electric violins.

before it is too late.

There are a lot of factors connected to environmental issues and mass consumption. First, the manufacturing of cheap, toxic, unnecessaries that we will ultimately fill the trash bin and land fills. “Overconsumption is really the mother of all our environmental problems,” says Kalle Lasn, publisher and editor of the foundation’s Adbusters magazine. “We are robbing future generations of their livelihood because of our excess consumption today. 
(https://www.pbs.org/kcts/affluenza/show/adbusters.html)

Related image

from Scientific America:

Shop Till We Drop: Does Consumption Culture Contribute to Environmental Degradation?

William Rees of the University of British Columbia reports that human society is in a “global overshoot,” consuming 30 percent more material than is sustainable from the world’s resources. He adds that 85 countries are exceeding their domestic “bio-capacities” and compensate for their lack of local material by depleting the stocks of other countries.Of course, every one of us can do our part by limiting our purchases to only what we need and to make responsible choices when we do buy something. But those who might need a little inspiration to get started should look to the Adbusters Media Foundation, a self-described “global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age.”Among the foundation’s most successful campaigns is Buy Nothing Day, an international day of protest typically “celebrated” the Friday after Thanksgiving in North America (so-called Black Friday, one of the year’s busiest shopping days) and the following Saturday in some 60 other countries. The idea is that for one day a year we commit to not purchase anything, and to help spread the anti-consumerist message to anyone who will listen, with the hope of inspiring people to consume less and generate less waste the other 364 days of the year. The first Buy Nothing Day took place in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1992 with a few dozen participants, but today hundreds of thousands of people all over the world take part.

(Above excerpted from: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/our-destructive-consumer/)

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[…]the plastic in these [plastic gift] cards is mostly Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC).

PVC isn’t the most environmentally friendly plastic, either in its manufacture or as a final product. The way that PVC breaks down is through granulation, so the pieces just become smaller; which can cause problems for creatures that may ingest the pieces.It may seem like a trifling issue, but according to the Sierra Club, six billion of these plastic cards are produced each year around the world. I’ve read other figures putting it at a staggering 17 billion when gift cards, cell phone top up and other cards are also incorporated into the figures.

Aside from PVC generally being non-recyclable; in some cases you certainly wouldn’t want to be putting cards into a recycling bin without at least attacking them with a pair of scissors first; particularly in the case of cards with information encoded on a magnetic strip on the back.So, there’s certainly a problem here – the cards need to be durable; but usually only for a few years. Yet we have a product that will be around for many years more than it will be used.

(Excerpted from: https://www.greenlivingtips.com/articles/greening-plastic-cards.html)

Shoppers will buy nearly $30 billion in gift cards this holiday season, spending an average of about $163 on the items, a 4% increase from last year, according to an annual survey sponsored by the National Retail Federation.

(from http://articles.latimes.com/2013/dec/22/business/la-fi-gift-card-pollution-20131223)

Gift cards are surprisingly complex in their makeup, so it can be difficult to recycle them properly and safely. They are made with one of the most toxic plastics out there and cannot go in your recycling bin.
Fight the instinct to take the easy route and throw them in the trash. 
Instead make plastic pocket cutlery as seen here
Or a gift card iphone stand as seen here:
iPhoneStand1.jpg

https://makezine.com/2009/03/22/credit-card-iphone-stand/

iPhoneStand2.jpg
iPhoneStand3.jpg
Or make gift card guitar picks, HERE

https://craftingagreenworld.com/articles/how-to-diy-guitar-picks/


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https://cladwell.com/blog/arentsweatshopsgoodforthirdworldcountries

What kind of People do we want to be?

Bit O’ inspiration: Paul Hawken and a random list to keep in your mind

Here is an incredibly inspiring speech by Paul Hawken. This speech actually changed my life in 2004 as I listened to it on public broadcasting. It was from Bioneers conference which was a movement that connected engineers, business men and social activists together for the sake of environmental change in the face of corporate America. Bioneers started before and perhaps inspired the now famous TED talks.

 

I recommend the book: Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken. The book is about the grassroots movement for social and environmental justice that has bloomed into something much larger. I read Blessed Unrest in 2009, and  think it would be interesting to go and reread it almost 10 years later. We have come a long way. This is apparent when you go into a grocery store and more local items, organic, and sustainably packaged items are available and at relatively low cost. In 2009, there were not so many choices on the mainstream. I remember searching health food stores for particular items.

I have not read any of his other books yet but Hawken is an incredible thinker. He is a business man with a conscious. His interviews, ideas and his speeches evoke hope and inspiration. He points out the good and speaks freely about corruption and demands new ways.  If you play this video for people, they will nod and say yes.

Paul Hawken on One Hundred Solutions to the Climate Crisis (https://e360.yale.edu/features/paul-hawken-on-one-hundred-solutions-to-the-climate-crisis)

Interview on Global Oneness Project (https://www.globalonenessproject.org/people/paul-hawken)

 


A random list of items to keep in your mind:

    1.  Cut up old ripped up and stained t-shirts and towels to use as cleaning rags – stop using paper towels
    2. Shop at thrift stores for clothes and shoes – buy a whole new wardrobe for a fraction of the price and without the production wasteand most used items are in almost new condition
    3. Shop at thrift stores, craigslist, and – or antique shops for furniture
    4. Consider biodegradable trash bags – they cost a bit more than plastic ones but this may make you more mindful of what you toss in them – this is like Chris Rock’s bit about raising the price of bullets as a means for gun control policy
    5.  Reduce trash and methane by composting scrap foods, tea bags, coffee filters
    6.  Use a reusable lunch box or bag and reusable snack containers inside your lunch bag as well a reusable beverage container
    7. Install a solar heating clothes dryer – by installing a rope from one end of your yard to another and pinning your clothes on it

Hallig Hooge, Germany, view from the Backenswarft.jpg
By Michael Gäbler, CC BY 3.0, Link

8 Ways to go Zero Waste brought to you by Martha Stewart (https://www.marthastewart.com/1520747/8-ways-zero-waste-home?slide=4082201)

In this crafty slide show, Martha Stewart (or one of her staff writers) offers suggestions for even the preppiest of hippies to cut back on disposables

  • Replace disposable kitchen sponges with a eco friendly scrubber brush that can be washed in the dishwasher from time to time to kill any germs
  • Instead of paper towels, she recommends something called a Swedish dish towel? I like the idea – the photo they present is a beautiful towel –  but t-shirt rags will work just as well to clean up a spill.
  • The interesting bit here is this swapping of disposable plastic toothbrushes for a bamboo handled castor bean bristled toothbrush. This is clever indeed. But a bit pricey ($20 for 4) and I like an extra soft bristle myself so I think I would hesitate before buying these (online at least – I would have to feel the softness of the bristles in person). The whole toothbrush can be composted which is impressive to say the least.
  • Another clever swap out is from bottled shampoos to bar shampoo. This one is fabulous – washing your hair with a bar of soap feels so rebellious in a silly, empowering, juvenile kind of way.  The Martha article advertises for Lush shampoo bars which smell really good but there are so many options on the market now. Shampoo bars really reduce a large amount of plastic waste, are incredibly economical, last longer than bottle shampoo and the look of the bath is so streamlined now.

 

In conclusion, the journey must begin with one small step. It is the repetition of the steps again and again that propel you forward.

thank you

 

 

POWER DOWN: literally the easiest thing you can do to consume less energy

Don’t be fooled by the hype. Natural gas is a dirtier fuel than coal,  says Mark Ruffalo. Sure natural gas burns less carbon dioxide than coal however it burns significant amounts of methane gas which is far worse.  

After I watched his 2016 documentary Dirty Fuel-Clean Energy: The Choice is Now” AKA/formerly: Dear President Obama, The Clean Energy Revolution Is Now I was alarmed at the rapid environmental destruction and human health crisis as a result from natural gas industry’s shale oil extraction known as fracking. The disturbing part is the concept of federal mineral rights. Landowners are forced to deal with invasive fracking well operations on their property. Water becomes contaminated as toxic run-off that was contained inside of the shale is released by the explosive extraction process.  Another side effect is earth quakes.

Landowners cannot say no to fracking rigs. This was the repeated message over and over again in the film. Federal law permits the leasing of privately owned land for its mineral reserves to oil extraction corporations.  If there were stronger property rights in place, federal government oil companies would not have the loophole to extract natural gas from any place with mineral shale. It’s a system of federal law over personal property rights. This needs to be challenged. But currently the mineral rights are given to these giant oil extraction rigs for the pursuit of natural gas.

At this point, with the data and the science, the big oil companies drilling and extracting must be accountable for the damage done to millions of people and the environment. Furthermore, the federal government must stop looking for profit and start taking responsibility for the destruction caused by leasing the mineral rights out to big oil.

Our country is 85% dependent on fossil fuels. Radical change in energy systems is needed. If we hadn’t discovered fracked natural gas, the effort to deal with climate change would have moved us far more quickly into renewables.

Advocate the willpower to restrain consumption.


WHAT CAN I DO TO SAVE ENERGY?

Harvard’s Top 5 Steps to Reduce Your Energy Consumption

Understanding Phantom/Vampire PowerImage result for vampire

INVEST IN POWERSTRIPS AND SURGE PROTECTORS  

Use a power strip to reduce your plug load 

to turn all devices off at once. Flipping the switch on your power strip has the same effect as unplugging each socket from the wall, preventing phantom energy loss. 

Devices like televisions, microwaves, scanners, and printers use standby power, even when off. Some chargers continue to pull small amounts of energy, even when plugged in (a good judge of this is if a charger feels warm to the touch). In the US, the total electricity consumed by idle electronics equals the annual output of 12 power plants (EPA).Image result for surge protector

Shutdown your computer – the biggest energy users in office buildings. Turn your monitor off at night and ditch the screensaver. Today’s computers can be turned on and off over 40,000 times. Opting to shut down over using a screensaver does not affect your computer’s lifespan. (EnergyStar). So power down!


Turn Off the Lights….       Just one switch and you’re done!  

Image result for most energy efficient light bulb Image result for most energy efficient light bulb

LED bulbs are the most energy efficient lighting option. LED bulbs use 75% less electricity than incandescent bulbs (Energy Star) – contain no mercury, and last about 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs (DoE).

Energy-saving links:

Knowledge is Power:

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