Saturday, August 25, 2007

10 Things You Can Do to Fight Global Warming! - A list from the Environmental Defense Action Fund

Hey everyone, I just received my care package today from the Environmental Defense Action Fund, including my free tote bag to bring to the grocery store. One of the goodies in it listed 10 things we can do to fight global warming.

10 Things You Can Do to Fight Global Warming!

1. Recycle and buy minimally packed goods as much as possible.

2. Wash clothes in cold or warm water, not hot.

3. Install low-flow shower heads to use less water.

4. Run the dishwasher only when full and don’t use hear to dry dishes.

5. Replace standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.

6. Plug air leaks in windows and doors to increase energy efficiency.

7. Replace old appliances with energy-efficient models.

8. Walk, bike, carpool or use public transportation whenever possible.

9. Adjust your thermostat—lower in winter, higher in summer.

10. Share these simple steps with friends and family and increase awareness!

Follow these easy steps to fight global warming!

You can link to the EDAF site here: Environmental Defense Action Fund - Finding the ways that work. Since we tend to be creatures of repetition (until we make it part of our everyday lifestyle), I’ll try to reprint these sorts of lists when I come across them. S

Friday, August 24, 2007

DiCaprio's envirodoc "The 11th Hour" expands on what we already know about our climate crisis and searches desparately for solutions.

I just came back from Leonardo DiCaprio’s new envirodoc, The 11th Hour. …and I’m not crying in my scotch, nor feeling suicidal, nor beyond depressed; mainly because it’s not telling me anything new but reinforcing information I already have upstairs. It shows that information in a different, broader light, basically expanding on An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s envirodoc from last year. Thankfully, it's much less scientific and less of a brainiac exercise. I didn’t feel like I was sitting in an introductory version of “Global Warming for Dummies,” having to take careful notes like I did with the prior docthe mere reinforcement of information was good enough and a nice approach.

Instead of focusing on the finer scientific details, The 11th Hour assumes the accuracy of the data presented in Truth and pans the camera back even further to take a broader, almost spiritual angle on what is happening to the planet and the consequences for human habits and thinking of the 20th Century. In many ways it’s the fraternal twin to its predecessor.

Like Truth, is takes the audience through the consequences of a bleak future, interviewing the scientific community. It seems to wallow a bit in the darkness until it finally makes the upward climb and begins to present solutions to the current global climate crisis. It focuses on solutions involving outside-the-box thinking with renewable resources, green design (thinking of a building as sustainable like a tree, rather than existing as merely as a roof and bastion of energy consumption), and rethinking industrial waste and how such byproducts can be altered or refurbished to make it another entity's fuel (or food, in the case of fungi and mushrooms). Then of course there's the inevitable reality of having to overturn “big spoil” (a term I believe I came up with) and the political mechanizations that are working against such a transformation to a greener society living off cleaner energy methods.

It goes into how we can learn from the structure of nature in order to ensure our own survival as a species. As I indicate in my comment in my margin about the polar bear, this film pointed out what is all to obvious to anyone who is in tune with environmental realities: that EVERYTHING on this planet is connected, and when we destroy the environment, we are destroying ourselves. WE ARE the environment.

The industrial revolution taught us differently and exists as an obsolete ideology that lives in a fantasy world; the notion that natural resources are abundant and that we can go on producing and expanding without any consequences for the planet. That ideology is archaic and narrow in its thinking, much like a child brought up in an abusive household. A lifetime (or generation, figuratively) of rehabilitation is necessary to amend the problem—and more realistically, it will involve a new generation to rethink how humans interact with their environment and built society around them, more than likely having to tear down and rebuild the 20th Century society as we knew it.

It’s merely a shift in thinking that needs to occur, and it doesn’t mean we need to erode our lifestyles as we know them. It’s an adjustment in thinking and approach. Rather than thinking of a built world vs. nature, think of everything as THE environment—YOUR ENVIRONMENT.

Make everyday decisions that embrace sustainability, and think one step beyond to expand your own life choices. When you consider transportation choices that embrace efficiency and promote health, why not also seek out telecommuting options—or when presented with the choice, go with the employer who will provide them? Be a taskmaster when driving around town and be efficient with your driving to reduce oil consumption—or why not try taking the bus? Turn the shower off while you lather up—why do you need the water on during that part of bathing anyway? Seriously, why? If it’s because it’s inconvenient to turn off the water, then you have bigger issues than what I’m trying to get at here.

What other examples can I think of… Don’t just purchase local produce, plant your own garden for that matter and grow your own produce, feeding it with food waste to produce mulch and carbonize the soil. Take a step back in your life and ask yourself if you need all that material “stuff” around you, and you might find that you won’t need ALL of it—and therefore won’t need to work and travel as hard to attain it. I know that sounds “countereconomic” at first, but think about it for a minute. Slowing down a bit and being frugal about your consumption does not mean a sacrifice in lifestyle… and according to The 11th Hour, if we don’t start changing our habits about how we live—and changing them quickly—we’ll have bigger issues to contend with than worrying about our dainty little lifestyles and the apathetic entitlement issues that tag along with them.

So that’s enough pontificating from me today. Go see the movie for yourself to enhance your understanding on what you should do be a better member of a democratic consumer-based society (remember what Obama says: "Make yourself useful!"), or check out the website if you can't make it to the theater. You might have to seek it out a bit, like in your progressive moviehouses in your “liberal” part of town, but it’s worth it. Hey, I even picked up several postcards and a free movie poster, suitable for framing… with a frame made from sustainable materials, that is… see? I’m faced with a choice right there as a direct result of seeing the movie… but will I take the bus to the framing store?

Hmmmm... facing another lifestyle choice, am I? ...or merely a choice involving frugality? S

Friday, August 3, 2007

Sicko movie, Moore's best work, drives home that America's all about "ME" and not "WE."

I recently saw the new Michael Moore movie offering, Sicko. It's well worth checking out.

I tend to be a bit of a skeptic when it comes to Michael Moore, well, probably more like having my filter on... however in this one he really sits back
and lets the facts speak for themselves rather than shoving a shtick sandwich down our throats (minus the spicy mustard too, how pleasant of him).

It's true, in that when one compares our health care system to that of Canada, Britain, France, or even Cuba, it's a sad scenario... and I don't see it changing in my lifetime without some serious guts being spilled on the floor in the political universe... boy is that going to be ugly, but bring it on.

The issue of our broken health care system is intensely personal for me. I watched my parents in the 1990s, who were self-employed and paying full premiums for coverage, lose their entire life savings from a doomsday scenario that nearly took my father's life. They did nothing but bust their ass for their whole working life---and for what? Unfortunately 3 brain surgeries in the span of a year tend to add up. When total costs exceed a million, covering 10% is going to kill your savings if you're an American self-employed working family in your mid-50s and just coming off helping a son through college. You're screwed, and there's nothing you can do. I don't believe there was better coverage available at the time.

My mother is about to turn 70 and still working to keep the ship afloat. My folks should be retired enjoying their golden years in sunny Arizona, but it hasn't worked out that way.

In any of the other countries I called out earlier, they would be doing exactly that. But noooo, we're in America, where you kindaaaa don't wannaaaa get sick...

Screw the health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. Once again, we're dealing with a situation and folks that simply have no soul. So to hell with them. Drop the bomb on them. Regulate their asses.

I saw an interview on television recently where a man made a comment to the effect of: "Well, currently there are 40 million Americans without health insurance, so obviously the system of privatization is not working." ...and that doesn't even include the horror stories about those that do have coverage. my folks...

So bring them down and don't break their fall. I'm willing to go toe to toe with them on this issue, hath blood shall spill, and while I'm sure some of it will be my own, I'm bringing those fucks down with me (but hopefully I don't end up in a hospital, where I fall prey to my health insurance). So bring 'em on. I'm a cat who wants to clean its claws.

I have one word for y'all:

In terms of the movie, I won't give anything away to spoil things, but the most aggravating part of the film was a small detail in which King George II is sitting down to sign some joke of a bill screwing seniors out of affordable prescriptions, and you can see him snickering as he signs it. I don't think I can accurately describe how much I wanted to jump through the movie screen and strangle the guy.

Mostly, and sadly, if you think anywhere in the ballpark that I do, you'll walk away realizing once again---as if you didn't already know---that we're a nation of "me" and not "we."

I can assure you everyone's holding their breath, Barry.

To update the last blog, we're now one HR away from having the all-time record tied. Things have been at a standstill I believe for over a week now.

I'm just waiting on the edge of my seat with baited breath. where did I put that nail file? My toes need clipping... S