Category Archives: Climate Change/Science

Rappin’ on Climate Change and Other Interesting Ideas at Solutions Twin Cities

We attended the 4th Solutions Twin Cities event yesterday night, “showcasing future-positive creativity in action.” It’s organized by Works Progress and was attended by 250 of the most interesting people you’re likely to meet in Minneapolis/St. Paul. What a great opportunity it was to hear from 11 local people/groups who are doing wonderful things, all in their own way.

A couple of speakers who might be of particular interest to those involved in sustainability are:

  • The young folks over at the Kitty Andersen Youth Science Center. WOW! I wish I had some teens I could send on over there. They are doing great work educating young people about the science of climate change and other environmental issues, and then those young people are going out and educating others. Hey, they won a contest recently for a video they created. Watch it at “Change is Needed.”
  • Daniel Klein, video blogger at The Perennial Plate, talked about his foray into local food, how his video blog challenged him to embrace not only a variety of foods, but also the wonderful people who grow our food, and where he’s taking the blog next — on the road! But you can still watch all 52 episodes of Minnesota-grown food at his website.
  • Speaking of gardens, how about the combination of community gardens and opera? We heard a preview of this summer’s picnic operetta from Mixed Precipitation.
  • Worried about water quality and the pollution in storm water runoff? Kurt McIntire of St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL) talked about the SAFL Baffle — a mesh that fits into storm sewers. The baffle allows large amounts of water to flow through the sewer during a severe storm but prevents that flow from stirring up the polluted sludge that rests at the bottom of the sewer pipe. It keeps the toxins in the sewer and out of our rivers and lakes.

The next Solutions Twin Cities is slated for fall 2011. You will want to be there.

An Interview With Naomi Kline About Climate Denial

It’s not about the science…

This is a really interesting interview with Naomi Kline and Amy Goodman about climate denial and identity. Finally, I get why some otherwise smart people are denying the reality of climate change.

“We’ve just ended the hottest decade on record. There’s overwhelming evidence that climate change is real now. It’s not just about reading the science. It’s about people’s daily experience. And yet, we’ve seen this remarkable drop, where (in a 2007 Harris poll) 71 percent of Americans believed climate change was real, and two years later, 51 percent of Americans believed it. So, a 20 percent drop. And we’ve seen a similar dramatic drop, just the floor falling out, in the same period in Australia and in the U.K.

“It’s not happening everywhere. It’s happening in countries that have very polarized political debates, where they have very strong culture wars.”


House Committee Rejects Climate Change… cites faulty claims of “climategate”

So 31 Republicans and 3 Democrats voted to repeal the EPA’s scientific endangerment finding on greenhouse pollution. This blog in Wonk Room shows who voted and quotes their past statements rejecting the “theory” of climate change.

Quite a number of them focused on the hacked emails of climate scientists that have been called “climate-gate,” as proof that climate science is fake. They fail, of course, to mention the number of scientific investigations into the matter. If you are interested in learning about the findings of these investigations undertaken by the scientific community, the Union of Concerned Scientists has a page that discusses it, with a number of links to reports.

Why I bother, by Peter

Peter user pic

Peter Foster

When I talk about “sustainability” to people who aren’t already on board, it’s not unusual to hear: “Why bother? The problem’s so big, what you’re doing doesn’t make any difference.”

It’s hard to respond to that because a lot of people are unaware, or are in deep denial about how serious and immediate the problem is and I’m not comfortable trying to convince them. For one thing, I’m not very good at reciting sources and statistics. For another, I don’t want to sound like a doomsday prophet or backwoods survivalist. I also tend to feel like a hypocrite because I still have so far to go.

But my reply goes something like this:

We have already reached peak oil.  As oil becomes increasingly expensive and scarce, there is going to be a huge impact on virtually every aspect of our oil-dependent lives—in transportation, food, housing, employment. I believe we must do something now to change the way we live in order to avoid – or at least minimize – the crisis.

I am not willing to just wait and see what happens. I do not believe that government or science or market forces or divine intervention will figure it out and save us at the last second. I don’t believe that we will suddenly, painlessly switch to clean, renewable energy and use it sustainably.

It is up to us, as individuals (in our small ways) and as communities (in bigger ways), to “be the change we want to see in the world.” And I believe that change can actually be fun, rewarding and sustainable. I want a healthy, secure, vibrant future for my kids, and their kids. What we’ve been doing isn’t working. So I’m willing to try something new in the hope that we can make it better.

And for people who claim it’s too late anyway, I like this African proverb: “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

Check out this great song by Judy Small about the value of individual effort. Listen to the sample on iTunes to get a sense of how joyous it is!

One Voice In The Crowd by Judy Small

I’ve lived a life of privilege, I’ve never known what hunger is
I’ve never labored with my hands except to play guitar.
Middle class my middle name, life’s been more or less a game
But in the end it’s all the same, the buck stops where you are.

We are foolish people who do nothing
Because we know how little one person can do.
Yes, we are foolish people who do nothing
Because we know how little one can do.

It’s not my issue, not my scene, I’ve got to get my own house clean
I keep it neat and tidy just in case the Queen should call.
Come back to me another day and gladly I’ll join in, we say
And I’m just one voice anyway, just one brick in the wall.

One brick in the wall you may be, one voice in the crowd
But without you we are weaker and our song may not be heard.
One drop in the ocean, but each drop will swell the tide,
So be your one brick in the wall, be one voice in the crowd!

And we are foolish people who do nothing,
Because we know how little one person can do,
Yes, we are foolish people who do nothing
Because we know how little one can do.

Explaining Global Warming: How Can It Be Warming When It’s So Cold?

I’ve heard it many times. I’m sure you have, too. Obviously there is no such thing as global warming because it’s cold in winter. Uh huh… so, here’s a video from Dr. Heidi Cullen, CEO of Climate Central, explaining the effects of global warming on the weather. Hope it helps you talk knowledgeably to those who want to understand.