Grist on air conditioning in a warming world

Grist’s article today is on the possible ways to reduce the impact of cooling us on a ever-warming planet. The legal work globally to change manufacturing process (chemicals used to cool) is ongoing from work in the 1980s. But, i hold little optimism for global cooperation on climate … Paris worked out, right?

With that said, however, Grist gives good sound advice about what can be can be done while waiting, quote:

While we wait for government action on HFCs, we can reduce demand for air conditioning by designing buildings and cities that stay cool naturally.Read the rest


Dangerous trend – elective amnesia on climate consequences

Grist put out a couple of articles today that show who we (especially Americans) choose to forget (not remember) tales of natural disasters and what makes them worse / more frequent … oh, change MY behavior? You must be kidding, right!

#1 – The impact on mental health and the resources required to help

#2 – Amnesia about hurricanes

Here’s the gist, quote from #2 above:

After Laura hit on Thursday, smoke billowed across the sky from a chemical fire from a plant a few miles away from Lake Charles, where the poverty rate is almost double the national average.Read the rest


Mozambique makes 35 Africa countries to ban single use plastic

Greenpeace posted this today and provided a run down on the other 34 countries.

quote, “Out of 54 states, 34 have either passed a law banning plastics and implemented it or have passed a law with the intention of implementation. Of those, 16 have totally banned plastic bags or have done so partially without yet introducing regulations to enforce the bans. Compared to the rest of the world, the continent is seemingly doing a great job, but let’s look at the reality of plastic bans in Africa.”

Sad part is that in US, local cities are making these decisions, not the federal government as they should.… Read the rest


Solar panels – the next garbage problem?

The problem of disposing of expired / old solar panels came across on multiple news feeds this week. Like technological gadgets that we love to buy and then throw away (regardless of where they eventually end up), these solar panels are going to create a problem – somewhere. … ‘not in my backyard goes the familiar refrain’. Once a process is created to effectively and cost neutral recycle or at least safely dispose (it’s an engineering problem right?), there’s some money to be made eventually and a planet and its people to be better protected.… Read the rest


Lost ice

Statista quotes a research study from Leeds and Edinburgh on the amount of ice lost between 1994 and 2017. Lost. Gone. Melted.

Quote: “Their findings were published in online journal Cryosphere Discussions, stating that there can be little doubt that the cause is global warming.”

Infographic: Earth Lost 28 Trillion Tonnes Of Ice In 23 Years | Statista

Unfortunately, these numbers are so large that it’s way hard for me to internalize and visualize. Not to leave me helpless, Statista folks added an analogy, quote: “Group member Tom Slater was quoted by the Guardian as he put the figure into perspective. He said that “28 trillion tonnes of ice would cover the entire surface of the UK with a sheet of frozen water that is 100 metres thick,” and that “it’s just mind-blowing.””Read the rest


Environmental impact of the different ‘milk’

Statista put out this data, and there were some surprises for me. I knew that cow-milk was the most impactful but this data visualization and narrative makes it pretty clear that a better milk can be found – environmentally speaking.

Quote: “Since the production of oat and soy milk is so light on the environment, packaging and transport actually becomes the bigger component, according to a report by the BBC. Depending on the location of the drinker, one of the two could be more likely to have been imported from a far-flung location, but its not always easy to find out where the products used in a specific plant milk originated.Read the rest

Climate, Culture

Grist on power of story

Facts, figures and details sometimes get in the way of prompting people to both understand and take action … something we all need more of to reverse climate change.

Story telling has long be THE method of transferring information from one human to another … goes way back in our history as humans. I learned this first hand studying oral tradition with Lilyan Kesteloot in Dakar (bio). She understood the power of story and was taught by some of the last great African griots.

From Grist, “The research jibes with other studies suggesting that scientists and activists might rely too heavily on facts and evidence in their attempts to persuade people to take action, and not enough on stories like Mode’s.Read the rest

Climate, Culture

C-19, handwashing and an expanding global water crisis

Source: Bloomberg

If you accept the notion that handwashing will help control the spread of C-19, then access to running water (clean) and soap is critically important. Quote, “Yet, some 3 billion people don’t have access to running water and soap at home, and 4 billion suffer from severe water scarcity for at least one month a year, the United Nations group UN-Water said.”

What would it take to fix? Money.

Quote, The world needs to spend $6.7 trillion on water infrastructure by 2030, according to the UN, not just for the urgent sanitation needs, but to tackle longer term issues from the pandemic such as providing better irrigation to head off a potential food crisis, Houngbo said.”Read the rest


A map showing the change in CO2 emissions for U.S. states between 2005 and 2017. Maryland had the largest decrease (at 38%). Idaho had the largest increase (at 17%).

Grist quickly points out that that map can lead to incorrect inferences at a quick blush, quote:

“But there’s more to the data than meets the eye. Saha says that some of the states that seem to be lagging behind, including California and Washington, already had fairly low carbon intensity before the study period began. (Carbon intensity is a measurement of the carbon emitted per dollar of economic growth.) In other words, the large cuts in the Northeast may reflect the ways in which it was actually catching up with states that already had cleaner electricity systems in 2005: Washington has consistently pulled a lot of power from its giant dams, and California has powered its grid off of natural gas since the early 2000s.Read the rest


WAPO on temp changes in CO/UT – farmer hell

Quote: “Here, on Colorado’s Western Slope, no snow means no snowpack. And no snowpack means no water in an area that’s so dry it’s lucky to get 10 inches of rain a year. A few months after taking the photo, Kehmeier stared across the land his family had tilled for four generations and made a harsh calculation: He could make more money selling his ranch’s water than working his land.” (my bold) source

Here’s the area talked about

My gasp of breath is … a starting point and more to follow like this?… Read the rest


Some days, I read somehting and all i can say is ‘WOW’ – incredibly interesting and something that I did not know – one of those ‘blow me away’ factoids. A recent study of bumblebees and how they can influence flowers to accelerate pollen production was one of them … and scientists have yet to figure out how they do it – only that they can, and do! Source

Quote below is the kernel of their findings, “Based on their lab studies, the researchers were able to show that the bumblebees’ propensity to damage leaves has a strong correlation with the amount of pollen they can obtain: Bees damage leaves much more frequently when there is little or no pollen available to them.Read the rest


I can’t even comment on it except, “wish I thought of that”!


New carbon-intelligent computing platform

Our latest advancement in sustainability, developed by a small team of engineers, is a new carbon-intelligent computing platform. We designed and deployed this first-of-its kind system for our hyperscale (meaning very large) data centers to shift the timing of many compute tasks to when low-carbon power sources, like wind and solar, are most plentiful. This is done without additional computer hardware and without impacting the performance of Google services like Search, Maps and YouTube that people rely on around the clock.… Read the rest


Wow … this was eye opening

Quote: “Over the past century, the human population has exploded. At the height of the 1918-1919 Spanish flu pandemic, the global population was around 1.8 billion, less than a quarter of what it is today. In the past century, millions of humans have spent years slaughtering wildlife; cutting down trees; placing cows, chickens, and pigs in close contact with wild animals — providing ample opportunity for viruses to make a deadly leap.

Even in the face of enormous environmental changes, Epstein and other scientists are convinced that it wouldn’t take much to make a big difference, whether it’s shuttering wildlife markets or bat-proofing pots for date-palm sap with a small screen.Read the rest


A recent study on economic impact of adding bike lanes came back with interesting results. Quote, “Researchers studied 14 corridors in 6 cities — Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Memphis, Minneapolis and Indianapolis — and found such improvements had either positive or non-significant impacts on sales and employment. Essentially, adding improvements like bike lanes largely boosted business and employment in the retail and food service sectors.”

Adding bikes is one step to reducing cars … less carbon, less pollution, less noise, generally less bad stuff and all without material impact to business – seems like a fair trade to me!… Read the rest