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Buying a compact fluorescent light will not solve Global Warming by itself. Do it anyway. It is an essential component in the grand strategy by which we build ourselves into the foundations of a mass movement, constructed piece by piece, to the point where our opposition cannot resist us, and we can bring the Age of Carbon to its rightful end. One of the key sets of pieces is knowledge spread as widely as possible about how to do that, of which more below.

Mass movements are necessarily made up exclusively of individuals who would not be able to get what they want and need on their own. If you belong to a union, if you have the vote but are not a rich White male, if you benefit from Social Security and Medicare or plan on doing so, if you are part of a mixed-race couple or LGBT couple who got legal permission to marry, you didn't build that on your own. Our ancestors and many of us today did, and we all have to keep doing that and more.

Our enemies are implacable, but diminishing in numbers, and becoming louder and much nastier as they do so, and as they purge themselves of their less extreme members. They have lots of special-interest money rallying them to the causes of selfishness: racism, bigotry, misogyny, Mammonism, rejection of science, and the like. But money can only go so far in motivating those disposed to support it. It can spread lies, but it cannot manufacture more support for those lies among those who have gotten a taste for truth, as the young increasingly have.

Saul Alinsky laid out the overall strategy and tactics for mass movements in Rules for Radicals. His work is so effective that Republicans hold their noses and use it to train their own operatives.

But we also need specifics on the Global Warming issue. What can be done? How much of it can I do? Follow below to learn more.

What, indeed, can I do about Anthropogenic (human-caused) Global Warming?

I can learn more about the issues.

  • How do we know AGW is real, and a threat? (Science! I don't have to tell Kossacks how to find that, do I? Wikipedia links to some of the essential research and to popular explanations of it.)
  • How much of a threat is it? (Try this assessment (PDF): National security implications of global climate change)
  • What measures would reverse it? (Conservation, efficiency, renewable power, a smart grid, a carbon tax)
  • Would they cost the economy, or boost the economy? (Increased efficiency flows straight to the bottom line. At some point soon, renewable energy would be cheaper than carbon fuels, if we could end carbon subsidies and institute a carbon tax that covered the environmental damage from carbon and its contaminants.)
  • Where is the opposition coming from? (Big oil and big coal, allied with the Religious Right anti-Darwinists and the I want what I want when I want it brigade)
  • Why are so many Progressive organizations failing to push this? (Beats me. Let's ask them.)
  • What is Congress doing about it? (See the Select Committee on Energy independence and Global Warming (Rep. Ed Markey, D-MA, Former Chair until Boehner shut it down), and support the former members. Also, Markey for Senate!)

I can be an example in my personal life, by adopting energy-saving technologies, by insulating my home, by buying green energy if it is available, by driving less, and so on. My direct contribution is piddling, but most of it saves me money, so it would be stupid not to do it. Anything I can do to help build the movement is not piddling.

I can press the issue politically, working for more and better Democrats with more and better understanding of and commitment to science and effective action. That means doing away with the excesses of the filibuster and with gerrymandering and voter suppression, among other things.

I can spread the word, not just here in dKos or on the Net more broadly or in the Letters column of my local newspapers, but by speaking out, or supporting those speaking out, in every relevant organization I belong to, religious, political, civic, charitable, governmental, corporate, or other. Or even at the cafe or the grocery store.

I can work on education. Real education. Not teaching to the test. I can assist in the Open Educational Resources movement to create digital learning materials to replace printed textbooks, with free distribution under Creative Commons licenses. It is the only way to break the stranglehold of Texas and the textbook publishers on much of the textbook industry. (California, the other dominant influence, is better on printed textbooks, but not actually good. See Judging Books by Their Covers, by Richard Feynman, and the much better California Free Digital Textbook Initiative.) The Sharealike version of the CC license allows students and teachers to improve the OERs, to translate them to other languages, and to adapt them to local conditions. The Gulf Coast, for example, needs different materials on AGW than Alaska. Bangladesh and some island nations have it even worse. The science is the same everywhere, but the resources and the impacts are not.

I do all that. In particular, I manage the Replacing Textbooks program at Sugar Labs, a partner of One Laptop Per Child.

How about you? What do you do? What could you do? What do you know about that I don't?

Note: I wrote most of this as a comment in BREAKING RumINT: Obama to host Climate Summit (?), by A Siegel for the Climate Hawks group. I must go and join them.

Originally posted to Mokurai on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 12:30 PM PST.

Also republished by Climate Hawks, DK GreenRoots, Climate Change SOS, Kosowatt, Meatless Advocates Meetup, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I insulated my house better- saved hundreds of $$$ (41+ / 0-)

    per year.

    We use a programable thermostat and let the temperature go way down at night.

    We got rid of all of our incadescent lights years ago.

    During the winter we exhaust our clothes dryer indoors. It heats the house and humidifies it at the same time. (Sorry, in this climate a dryer is necessary to prevent mold). A couple of loads of clothes keeps the furnace off for the day.

    I walk to my office or take a bus. I don't have a parking pass so there is no opportunity to cheat.

    My wife bought a Prius when she wanted a new car.

    It isn't enough, but it all helps.

  •  Here's what you can do (20+ / 0-)

    There is a petition to help get us off fossil fuels within 40 years

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/...

    Please look at it - then, if you feel it has merit, sign it.
    Needs 150 signatures to become generally visible on the site
    Might give POTUS a push to do something.
    Why not try this
    Thanks
    Barry Allen

    •  I don't think that it will take 40 years (10+ / 0-)

      Once we reach the tipping point, Renewable Energy < Coal, the market will do the rest. Yes, existing plants will stay in production, some for decades, but from that moment on, no more will be built. Not in the US, not in China, not in India, not anywhere that can get wind, solar, or biofuels.

      Left to itself, it would then take centuries to get the excess gigatons of CO2 out of the air and oceans. We might think of something for that, too, but I don't have any idea what the cost would be.

      America—We built that!

      by Mokurai on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 01:47:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, at the moment, virtually NO ONE is (12+ / 0-)

        talking seriously about eliminating all CO2 emissions within 40 years.

        Even the 350.org types are shooting for 80% by 2050 as a currently "safe" target, to the extent that ANY further emissions are "safe".

        Also, there's a leap from recognizing that the economic impact of Climate Change will ultimately drive a mass joint public and private response and saying, as I believe you are implying, that that will produce all the necessary emissions reductions in less than 40 years... At the very least, it's quite probably that the mass response will begin too late and proceed on a trajectory too shallow to prevent whizzing past 2 degrees Celsius.

        Anyway, a petition to set and clarify the target is at a minimum a useful messaging tool. Put the meme in the meme-sphere.

        The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

        by Words In Action on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 02:19:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Even that isn't a safe target. (11+ / 0-)

          From what i have read 80% reduction by 2050 will not be enough.  It seems to me we are in a race where we reduce rationally or due to economic collapse.

          One thing I look forward to is the day when Alan Simpson and Pete Peterson go to meet their maker and the rest of us can concentrate on global warming rather than the purported debt crisis.

          I predict that by 2020 the debt will be totally forgotten as we deal with what will be far faster warming than even what is predicted right now.  Carbon taxes, pollution taxes, excessive consumption taxes, there are lots of ways to pay for the adaptations and motivations that will be needed.

          The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

          by Mimikatz on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:50:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Nobody takes a broad enough view (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence, A Siegel, Words In Action

          There are lots of politicians who know no science, technology, or economics, and economists who know no science, technology, or politics, and so on. I am a generalist, with an interest in all of them, and some appreciation of the limits of knowledge in all of these areas.

          We know that the science is wrong, but not in the way that the deniers claim. Every year, the reality turns out worse than the worst prediction. Similarly, the doomsday scenarios are all wrong. The political reality has been getting worse for some years, but not at the rate often claimed. I know of nobody who has put the technology, politics, economics, and market information together about what happens at the carbon tipping point even in the US, much less worldwide.

          Republicans successfully pushed back on public opinion about Global Warming during the Bush administration, but that opinion is turning, and could with relative ease be pushed to the point of action, but for the inertia built into our politics. Sometimes political inertia works in our favor, preventing too-rapid swings based on shifts in public ignorance. Sometimes it slows down what we need to do.

          But when technology reaches a market tipping point, politics goes out the window.

          America—We built that!

          by Mokurai on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 09:05:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  First thing i did (16+ / 0-)

    were those compact fluorescent lightbulbs. What an immediately noticeable difference in my electric usage! Dropped dramatically.

    Unfortunately I own a nice big old (1790's old) drafty house in the northeast and the economy has been hard enough that I haven't had money to invest in many of the much needed home improvements that could continue to drop my carbon footprint. But I do what I can as I can to better insulate and use less oil.  

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 01:53:38 PM PST

    •  Two super cheap things for this winter (8+ / 0-)

      V-seal: it's a plastic strip that you insert into the gaps in your window sashes. It will drastically reduce window drafts.

      Shrink-wrap window plastic: Use the double-sided tape to stick the plastic up, then use a blow dryer to shrink to fit. This will also reduce drafts and add an insulating air gap, further reducing heat loss.

      You can probably do an entire house for very little (maybe $80), and will save substantially on heat. If you can't do the whole house for that, then do the rooms people spend the most time in, and the bathrooms. This will allow you to keep the thermostat a degree or two lower, without complaints about drafts.

      With the window plastic, if your walls are in good shape, and are painted, not wall-papered, you can get even more bang for the buck by putting the tape on the wall instead of on the window frame. This makes the plastic more obvious, but the old windows in those historic houses have a HUGE air infiltration issue due to the sash weight pockets. This method entirely eliminates a huge draft source around the outside of the frames.

      This is a nice article about preserving historic windows, without sacrificing heat (it costs way less than replacement).

  •  We need to invest a lot of (15+ / 0-)

    time and energy in figuring out how to bring about rapid, effective change.  One mode might be through think tanks dedicated to coming up with strategies for everything from education to getting policies passed.  That has worked well for the Neocons.  Let's make it work for us.

    We need to pay attention to how the GOP has been building political power.  They've gone in at local levels, packing local governments & school boards.  They are way ahead of us in affecting the education of our youth.

    W need to work out ways to affect whole communities.  For instance, developing and promoting a model of neighborhood carpooling for groceries and other errands, so that becomes as common as carpooling to work.

    We should learn from other movements, past and present: e.g., organize and train groups to do teach-ins, and guerrilla performance art followed by discussion and education.  Produce educational flyers, and small, local movement newspapers, etc.  

    The GOP figured out that if you repeat a lie often enough, people start to believe it.  We need to apply that same principle to the truth.  

    Pe'Sla isn't safe until the loan is paid off. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe could use some help with that.

    by Kay Observer2 on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 01:59:14 PM PST

  •  Backyard Composting done correctly (20+ / 0-)

    ..can increase the carbon holding content of your garden's soil and reduce methane emissions at your landfill.

    I'm actually wondering if one of the reasons that all things climate always seem to be worse than predicted is due to discounting the effects and amount of Methane we're releasing and creating.

    Poor people have too much money and vote too often. Republican platform plank, 1980 - present

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 02:02:53 PM PST

  •  Brilliant. Thanks for posting. (17+ / 0-)

    And thanks for doing what you're doing.

    The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

    by Words In Action on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 02:07:07 PM PST

  •  I recommend a book called Beautiful Trouble - (10+ / 0-)

    A Toolbox for Revolution - from the People Who Brought You the Yes Men, Billionaires for Bush, etc.
    Assembled by Andrew Boyd

    I purchased one from a fundraising table at McKibben's / 350.org's "Do the Math Tour" event here at the U. of UT in Salt Lake City in November.

    The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

    by Words In Action on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 02:11:43 PM PST

  •  Liked this as a comment ... (15+ / 0-)

    and far more as a diary.

    1. Reposted to three groups and otherwise shared.
    2.  Mind if I repost as a guest post to http://getenergysmartnow.com?

    I really like the "I can".  It is a positive affirmative statement and every one is true.

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 02:21:25 PM PST

  •  Do it Anyway! (10+ / 0-)

    Brilliant diary - thanks!

    It's not just the specific improvement than you can achieve.  

    It's not just how those improvements add up.

    I can be an example in my personal life
    One big effect is that it is empowering for people so that, when they advocate for good policies and get the inevitable and stupid "you're guilty too" backlash, they have a good narrative about how personal-level efforts are a strong match for improved policies.  

    Both are required, either will fail without the other.

  •  I'm working on a plan to downsize from our (15+ / 0-)

    5,000 sq ft house to something in the 500-1500 sft range  when our younger daughter graduates from H.S. in a couple of years.  At the same time, we will be moving very close to where we both work. We love our house and more importantly the idyllic setting, but it has been 10 years since our older daughter graduated, when we could even marginally justify it. Unfortunately, there are just no small homes in this area; also, once our daughter graduates, there is no longer any reason to commute so far to work.

    In the process, I am researching sustainable housing using natural and reclaimed materials, which includes the zoning and building code issues. I am networking with those in the non-profit community who are working on this and/or related affordable house construction, because I am also interested in that as a part of the solution to the class war, and will shortly be making volunteer commitments to those best-suited for my goals, which is to contribute to the process of moving the culture to more environmentally and economically sustainable housing practices. My volunteer work is going to be nearly full-time and focused on these goals.

    We have already made a number of personal adjustments to reduce our carbon footprint, but downsizing, hopefully to a sustainably created and maintained home, while at the same time cutting our transportation footprint by 80-90%, will be huge. Also, this means donating and recycling tons and tons of stuff--which is already underway--from the home, which should be a contribution to the socioeconomic half of the equation. And we are consuming less and not expending resources on developing unfinished space. By the time we move, our consumption will be cut to fit the "space" we are moving to.

    Part of the final equation is going to have to involve dramatically reduced (eliminated?) air travel. We intentionally do less than we otherwise could but still do a lot. Until we establish zero-carbon flight, there is no sustainable future in which the inhabitants of this earth, including my family, fly around the planet the way we do. That is going to be a difficult step, because it involves important personal and career choices.

    Compared to some, I know, I am late to the party. And there are others to whom I will still compare poorly after the transition, no doubt. But compared to many, many, many others--I know of very few people who are making any plans to significantly reduce their currently bloated, outrageously excessive carbon footprints, the kind of changes that are necessary to limit ourselves to 2 degrees C. Judgments aside, that is what worries me.

    This why individual efforts are not ultimately anywhere near sufficient. If our efforts aren't leveraged into much larger cultural shifts, they will have largely been for naught, because the pain and suffering will be great.

    The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

    by Words In Action on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 02:53:20 PM PST

  •  Plant trees (14+ / 0-)

    Nothing is going to take CO2 out of the atmosphere except more plants.  Plants are what brought the CO2 level down to where it is, and man is not going to invent some new technology to take the place of plants.  

    Deforestation is one of the great contributors to CO2 rise, and reforestation is what we should be working on to get the CO2 out of the atmosphere and back into the ground.  

    Had we been doing this all along, planting forests, burying biochar, tying fossil fuel use to planting more trees, we might not be in the predicament we are in.  

    •  We need more plants in general (4+ / 0-)

      I have to wonder whether trees are the best way to scrub carbon.  There's probably other plants that are more efficient.

      The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 05:18:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I heard that certain grasses are even more (6+ / 0-)

      effective than trees, especially prairie grasses that have very extensive roots. One neglected area is to grow halophytic (salt-tolerant) plants in arid regions and water them with sea or brackish water. Apparently there are about 6000 species of this type of plant. One would think that the shores of the Arabian gulf, etc would be useful.  

      For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

      by Anne Elk on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 05:38:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not just grasses with extensive roots. (6+ / 0-)

        Go back to grass-fed animals for what meat we do eat, and have responsible numbers of animals per acre grazed.

        One of the details in Omnivore's Dilemma is that the farm the author visited had gotten its soil quality back because of an interesting feature of grass: it seeks to maintain a certain root to leaf area ratio. When an animal grazes, the grass abandons the extra root mass. It regrows the root matter as the above ground leaf grows back, BUT all the carbon for both come from the CO2-O2 cycle, not the ground. The carbon from the old root just sits there, along with all the other nutrients in it.

        That was just everyday southeastern pastureland 'nature let it grow' field grass. The farmer never seeded it; it was there when he started.

        Graze sustainably, and the grass gets nibbled again right at the point the recovery growth slows down... which maximizes the calories taken in by the livestock but also (and the book didn't point this out but it follows) maximizes the abandoned root material's mass and carbon content.

        It wouldn't be as fast as making terra preta, but it might still be a source of carbon sequestration over time, while still allowing for (a lesser amount of) dietary meat.

        Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

        by Cassandra Waites on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 07:52:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Salt marsh (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel, kyril

          fed animals are very good. They raise them in coastal areas around here and can get premium prices for them (or did before we all went  broke and started eating beans, thereby adding to the methane problem).

          "We are monkeys with money and guns". Tom Waits

          by northsylvania on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 03:11:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Stop burning forests in South America (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northsylvania, Debby
  •  buy something wrapped in green (5+ / 0-)

    buy a green car, like a Prius or something

    buy a special lightbulb or ten

    buy anything

    ride a bike

    walk

    write stern letters to public officials and editors

    hope for a miracle

    pray

    kiss your ass goodbye

    Me,  I don't think we have any more chance of halting our slide into extinction than a lemming does.  Whatever hope there is will not be coming from politicians unless we shell out the dough to buy our own.  I would love for time to prove me wrong.

    don't always believe what you think

    by claude on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:02:09 PM PST

  •  Nice diary! (14+ / 0-)

    We see so many diaries predicting catastrophe, yet far too few offering solutions.

    Tipped and recced and republished to Kosowatt.

    P.S. - I would suggest going for LED light bulbs instead of CFLs.  They're even more efficient, they have a better light quality, can be used in rooms where lights get switched on and off a lot, they last longer, and there's no mercury contained in them.  I've replaced 7 of my CFLs with them and am very happy across the board.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:18:21 PM PST

    •  Just bought our first LEDs (6+ / 0-)

      from Home Depot. But they're very expensive. I got four to start with because it's all we had money for at the moment. I figure we'll start replacing the CFLs one at a time as they burn out.

      Beyond that, I walk to work and hubster rides his bike almost everywhere. I do, however, drive my kids places. My son rides his bike to high school in warm weather.

      I use an outdoor clothesline, weather permitting. I brew sun tea in the summer. I use a re-usable coffee filter instead of disposable paper filters. We compost. We recycle what we can. I use my own bags at the grocery store.

      We do live in a big, old, drafty fixer-upper of a house. But we added a bunch of insulation last year. We installed a new storm door the year before that  - had to have it custom-made, which is why I think it's a big enough improvement to mention. Hubs seals the windows with plastic every winter. I put a bunch of those foam draft-blocker things in behind our light switches and electrical outlets.

      If it seems overwhelming and un-doable to change everything you do, then pick one thing you think you can handle and focus on it. Once that becomes a habit that doesn't seem like an extra chore, then choose one more thing to improve. That's how I do it. My next goal is increase the amount of local food I buy.

      •  Yeah, they're still pricey. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        northsylvania, pedmom, A Siegel, Debby

        I started out with LEDs the same way you did.  One of my most expensive CFLs didn't last anywhere near as long as advertised(a 15 watt globe).  By the time I bought the second replacement, I was so sick of replacing them that I figured I might as well try an expensive 6W LED bulb.  When I bought that LED, I decided to replace a 35 watt halogen spot with a 7 watt LED spot, as well.

        So, with those two bulbs I dropped my watt usage on two lamps from 50 to 13 and was so convinced by their quality that I haven't looked back since and have now installed LEDs in all the lamps that I use the most.

        It's incredible to me just how little electricity they use while providing excellent light.  If I have all the lamps on in my living room, kitchen, and hallway(5 lamps), I'm pulling a mere 40,5 watt.  I used to use that much electricity just in my desktop lamp.....

        BTW, you can find pretty good deals on name brand, quality LED bulbs online nowadays.

        "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

        by Lawrence on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 03:09:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  "Expensive to buy ..." (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lawrence, Nowhere Man

        but less expensive to own. We need to focus more on Cost to Own rather than Cost to Buy.

        This is a sticker price shock issue that overwhelms us in our 99 cents Walmart culture.

        PS: I understand that there are real issues with that cost-to-buy.  My house is about 10% LED, 85% CFL, 5% incandescent in part because of that.  Buying 25 LEDs would be $500+, easily, upfront which is not an insignificant money outlay for most of us.

        Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

        by A Siegel on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 06:42:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Here's what some guy named Hansen (6+ / 0-)

    The "invisible hand" doesn't regulate the market - it wanks it. -- SantaFeMarie

    by Dinclusin on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:19:14 PM PST

    •  We're working on (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      beach babe in fl, A Siegel

      the vegetarian thing. I used to be - now the kids are pushing me back that way. It's a good thing.

    •  Live plant-strong & save energy on health too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      beach babe in fl, A Siegel

      So right, Beach Babe. We've gone flexitegan, eating meat or dairy only very rarely, when the choice is between ribs or rude. I'd love to see the progressive movement make it a standard practice to feature mostly plant-based food at events and always have a full vegan option.

      If you don't want to do the Full Vegan, limit animal products to one meal a day and check out the Environmental Working Group's Meat Eater's Guide. Make sure the animals you eat are part of an integrated organic farm, like Polyface Farm.

      Once you see you delicious it can be, you may find yourself moving closer to the all-plant end of the spectrum. I've got lots of free recipes and menus ideas at Cook for Good to help you get started.

      Eating a plant-based diet also reduces your risk of the diseases of affluence (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, ...). You'll feel more like walking or biking if healthy and won't have to burn oil on medical treatment.

      While you're at it, go organic.

      What is a food system but a multitude of bites? Visit Cook for Good and vote with your fork!

      by Cook for Good on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 04:40:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Create the meme (15+ / 0-)

    by recommending all diaries and comments relating to climate change. Sign the White House petition noted above. Stop eating meat. Make noise, but use the power of the purse by not making the carbon polluters richer. Government will not step in for us. We have to make fossil fuels not profitable. Ripples become (eventually ) tsunamis.

    Tell me a story of deep delight. - Robert Penn Warren

    by bisleybum on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:45:41 PM PST

  •  We switched out the bulbs in our house to the (14+ / 0-)

    compact florescents,  recycle everything, plastic, paper, aluminum cans, tin cans, and kitchen waste, and talk about the problem with anyone who will listen.  We have twenty acres and we manage it for wildlife, which means zero pesticides and keeping it as natural as possible, with the exception of planting more trees and other plants than were here when we came. We joined with an environmental group fighting the local electric company over their coal ash storage system, which we lost the fight but we fought like hell,and at least slowed them down and made them spend some money.  We lost solely due to the county commissioner being bought and paid for by the electric company. What  we do isn't even a drop in the bucket but if we all do what we can it will make a difference.

    Great diary. Do it anyway, I like that!

    Just give me some truth. John Lennon--- OWS------Too Big To Fail

    by burnt out on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:55:26 PM PST

  •  My Dear One was worried about earth's future back (14+ / 0-)

    in the '50s.  Our plan: have one child only and then adopt a child of the opposite sex.  Population control, you-all.

    Second: Grow as much of our own food as possible.  Big Agra business is bad for the planet.  

    Third: Live simply.  We were both Southerners, but he ascribed to the New England Yankee saying: "Plain living, high thinking,"

    Living simply is easier in a rural setting--but even when we were in town, we worked to minimize our requirements.  

    PS, he would have been totally happy living in pre-Columbian North America.  I would have been less so.

    Fiscal conservative: a Republican ready to spend $5 to save a dime--especially if that dime is helping a non-donor.

    by Mayfly on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:55:55 PM PST

  •  Environmentalist can’t screw in a light bulb (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, burnt out

    'Environmentalist' can’t even screw in a light bulb

    I joke that the 'environmental movement' can’t even screw in a fluorescent light bulb... But it seems I’ve been proven wrong...  

    Fluorescent light bulb? That’s like 1990!

    Love Me, I'm a Liberal!

    by simplesiemon on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 05:21:57 PM PST

  •  I'm encouraging people to skip CFLs, go to LEDs (12+ / 0-)

    They use even less energy, don't contain mercury, don't emit UV, and are better suited to use in cool locations (like the garage). There are now LEDs in the 2700 to 3000 kelvin color range, so they give a light much more like people are accustomed to. Even at current high prices, the energy savings will still save more money than CFLs.

  •  Now I need to pull out "Surely You're Joking (0+ / 0-)

    Mr. Feynman"; I'd forgotten that chapter.

    ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

    by slowbutsure on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 05:44:48 PM PST

  •  Here's one thing you can do: (4+ / 0-)

    stop pretending that consumer-oriented approaches will amount to anything under capitalism.  We need a producer-oriented approach -- close the coal mines and oil wells.

    "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

    by Cassiodorus on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 06:09:21 PM PST

    •  We've achieved almost nothing with that method in (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LakeSuperior, northsylvania, Lawrence

      30 years except more mines and more wells.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 06:22:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If the fossil fuels are extracted -- (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gooderservice, Cassandra Waites

        they will be burned.  If you don't burn them, some middle-class aspirant in India or China will burn them.

        If you want to stop burning them you have to stop extracting them.

        "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

        by Cassiodorus on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 06:33:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We only extract that which we wish to burn (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence

          We don't extract it and then look for a use. If no one wants any, we will extract less, look around.

          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

          by ban nock on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 06:43:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  If we contribute to making wind and solar (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          2thanks, DawnN

          so inexpensive that it's cheaper than fossil fuels, however, then middle-class aspirants in India or wherever will use them instead.

          That's already happening with wind, and is starting to happen with solar.

          "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

          by Lawrence on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 03:51:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If we consume less fossil fuel -- (0+ / 0-)

            fossil fuel will become cheaper.  Less demand means lower price for the same commodity.

            "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

            by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 07:14:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  By the time that happens, it'll be too late for (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              2thanks

              the fossil fuel industry.

              The theoretical and practical minimum production cost for renewables is much lower than with fossils because the wind and the sun don't cost anything.  The only reason that some renewables are still more expensive than fossil fuels is because we've been working on the tech and economies of scale for far shorter periods of time than with fossil fuel based energy production.

               

              "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

              by Lawrence on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:49:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Power Past Coal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel

      Visit PowerPastCoal.org to find out what you can do (yes, it's NW and MT and WY, but leaving the coal in the ground is good for everyone on the planet).

    •  Hence the carbon tax, removing subsidies, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence, A Siegel, Nowhere Man

      and pushing as hard as we can to get the cost of renewables down.

      We don't have a Soviet-style command economy in which we can order whole industries out of business.

      America—We built that!

      by Mokurai on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 09:15:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Commiephobia is important y'know! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        I suppose that further global warming will just have to be the price we pay for not creating an international treaty to phase out oil and coal production, then.  We can celebrate our victories over communism from our broiling-hot Arctic Ocean beachfront McMansions!

        "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

        by Cassiodorus on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 10:38:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh and another reason your answer is lousy (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marsanges, A Siegel, 2thanks

        Our government regulates things which are dangerous to the public safety.  Oil burning is dangerous to the public safety, when done on the scale we use now, as is DDT use.

        Does that mean we live in some kind of "Soviet-style command economy"?

        "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

        by Cassiodorus on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 10:42:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  No you don´t? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lawrence, A Siegel, 2thanks, DawnN

        riddle me this then, from Wikipedia.

        The War Production Board (WPB) was established as a government agency on January 16, 1942, by executive order of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

        The purpose of the board was to regulate the production of materials and fuel during World War II in the United States. The WPB converted and expanded peacetime industries to meet war needs, allocated scarce materials vital to war production, established priorities in the distribution of materials and services, and prohibited nonessential production. It rationed such things as gasoline, heating oil, metals, rubber, paper[1] and plastics. It was dissolved shortly after the defeat of Japan in 1945, and was replaced by the Civilian Production Administration in late 1945.

        ...

        The national WPB's primary task was converting civilian industry to war production. The board assigned priorities and allocated scarce materials such as steel, aluminum, and rubber, prohibited nonessential industrial activities such as producing nylons and refrigerators, controlled wages and prices, and mobilized the people through patriotic propaganda ...

        emphasis mine ...

        thats what the capitalist US did then. Why can´t it use such measures today?

  •  I especially liked this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pedmom, ybruti, Lawrence, NoMoreLies
    I can be an example in my personal life
    What do I do?

    Mostly it's what I don't do. I don't consume. I try to limit my travel by car or air, re use older house, I monitor what our trash output is and our utility bills are.

    I eat lots of meat that comes from a carbon free source with little off gassing. I like to say my meat uses less carbon than tofu.

    We garden, a lot, and our seeds come from old vegetables.

    We dry all laundry outside in the sun, yes it still works in the winter.

    We live near a school the kids walk to.

    We live as close as we can to our work.

    The manure from the chickens that lay the eggs fertilizes the garden, and the old chickens become soup.

    I

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 06:20:58 PM PST

  •  I grow most of my own vegetables... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pedmom, ybruti, Lawrence

    ...do most of my work online (no driving needed for my students), and write a LTE on climate change every single day.  Among other things.

    Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

    by WarrenS on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 06:31:29 PM PST

  •  My new Energy Star refridgerator (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elizaveta, pedmom, Lawrence

    reduced my monthly electric bill by about 100 kwh per month.

  •  Here's what I've done so far (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, Lawrence, A Siegel

    Thermostat is at 64 in the winter (58 at night) and 76 in the summer.

    Our daily driver averages 42 mpg.  I continue to look at EVs and PHEVs, waiting for the right vehicle for our needs.

    Replaced all conventional incandescent bulbs with CFLs.  Looking for LEDs to replace our low voltage halogen lights but so far I haven't found what I want.  I'll keep looking.

    Installed more insulation for the house.

    Installed rooftop solar PV system last year that is large enough to supply 100% of our annual usage plus replace most of our natural gas usage, since we now heat the house with a heat pump.

  •  I often talk with my students (5+ / 0-)

    about what individuals can do about global warming, and feel like they can make a difference. I teach at a high school with a large proportion of students in poverty. When I was hired I was told to take over the "greenhouse" class. The previous teacher focussed on flowers but i net with the cafeteria manager and he enthusiastically supported my plan to grow greens for the cafeteria salad bar. His new saying is " From plant to plate - without leaving campus." Our school (Turners Falls High School in the Gill-Montegue Regional School District) just received the State award from MA Recycle as the K-12 School Recycler of the year. This was based on our intensive recycling and compost program.

    We do it in baby steps, but these kids will hopefully go on and continue this work in the next generation.

    Thanks for staring this conversation.

    Birdfeeder

    •  That's what I am talking about (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      birdfeeder, A Siegel

      Are you sharing this program with other schools?

      As with the CFL where I started off, doing something all by yourself is piddling. Doing something that millions, possibly billions can also do is not. It accomplishes a little bit, but more importantly it shows how individual action can grow into a mass movement, and it awakens the "Yes, we can!/Sí, se puede" spirit.

      Learned helplessness, which I have written a little about here and there on dKos, and will again in more detail, is our greatest enemy.

      America—We built that!

      by Mokurai on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 09:21:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Any social movement worth its salt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    javan, northsylvania, A Siegel

    has to be based on a foundation of personal change. In other words, if we want to tackle climate change, we have to begin by changing the way we live and reducing our own impact. Otherwise, we're just a bunch of hypocrites and just provide ammunition to those looking to dismiss us. In that sense, thank you for this diary.

    Personally, I farm for a living. I eat much of my food from local sources, including the farms I work for. I garden extensively. I don't buy much--books are my continuing weakness. But I've cut way down. What I do need, I buy used as often as not. I should buy more used. I do homesteading activities--make butter, can and freeze food from the garden for winter eating, make sauerkraut, bake bread, even little things like grind my coffee by hand and avoid using electronic gadgets when I can do it as well or better by hand. I use a years-old, handed down laptop. I didn't buy a new ipod when my seven year old one finally stopped working recently. In other words, I sometimes just do without. I put on layers rather than turning on the heat. I don't use air conditioning. I live in a rural area, so I do drive, but I mostly just drive to one of my farm jobs twice a week. That's still too much, but it is what it is for now. One of my resolutions for the year is to take the bus for my occasional trips into Portland here from the Oregon coast, rather than driving. I use whole ingredients and make food from scratch--I buy and eat very little processed foods. Today I hauled in a whole bunch of carrots, parsnips, beets, cabbage and kale from the garden. I still have more carrots, parsnips and potatoes in the ground.

    I do other things too, but that's a lot of it. I plan to add more things. I'm going to make an enzyme cleaner, get back into my butter making, and work on perfecting home-baked sandwich bread. The garden's going to be great this year.

    Personally, I think industrial society's on the way out. It'll take a few hundred years, but I don't think we can run anything like what we have now in industrialized nations without fossil fuels. Renewables are great, but PVs and large-scale renewables I believe aren't going to function without a backing fossil fuel infrastructure, so I suspect we're early on in the decline of industrial civilization to, eventually, some other way of living that works primarily with the natural flows of solar energy that can be captured through creatures (human, animal, plant) and through clever design (i.e. passive solar, as opposed to PVs.)

    I know many here, perhaps most, won't agree with that assessment and it doesn't necessarily matter. Whether industrial civilization eventually fades away or we continue on in a similar vein with renewables taking the place of fossil fuels, either way is necessarily going to involve conservation, reduced energy and resource usage, and change at the personal level. Getting ahead of that curve works well in numerous ways: it puts you personally in a more resilient position to face a future in which energy isn't going to be as cheap and abundant as it has been in the past (whether or not we go full bore toward renewables) it helps mitigate climate change, even if in the tiniest of ways, and it provides the basis of an authentic social movement--one that could succeed in making some changes. But if we refuse to make personal changes and sacrifices and demand that everyone else--politicians, leaders, the rest of the population--make those changes and sacrifices instead, then we're bound to fail.

    Thanks for the diary, Mokurai.

    Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

    by aimlessmind on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 09:38:18 PM PST

  •  eat more beans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    I just discovered a new recipe: olive oil with garlic and lemon - cook canned white beans in this for a while - add salt to taste.  

    www.tapestryofbronze.com

    by chloris creator on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 10:14:25 PM PST

  •  I posted this comment on MB's report of a (4+ / 0-)

    possible climate summit hosted by the WH.

    Way past time, but it must happen for all our (0+ / 0-)
    sake.

    Thanks for bring this to our attention. What is it I remember: the first election cycle where there was not one question on global environment.

    I hope the rumors/leaks are true.

    btw: we did a review of our energy savings at the Kit House:

    baseline=21,000kwHrs/year. New normal=12,031kwHrs/year. So far a 43% reduction in energy use. Aiming for 8,000kwHrs/year. I think we can do it. Some of the most basic changes  are yet to be done.

    What we really need is some help with the capital costs. We will get some tax rebates, but may have so many deductions they will not be see. A subsidy would be more helpful.

    Solar production for late Feb - end of Dec 2012= 3.58 Mw. Yay us.

    Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

    by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 08:45:22 PM PST

    [ Reply to This ]

    It is really nice to have the stats that show there is a real difference as a result of our efforts.

    Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

    by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 10:24:57 PM PST

  •  3 areas (5+ / 0-)

    There are 3 areas of a person's life that make the biggest impact:

    1) Your residence
    Don't live in a McMansion just because you can. Also, locate where you live close to your work and where you shop, go to school, doctors, etc.

    2) Your car
    Self-explanatory

    3) The food you eat
    Dont' eat meat or at least drastically reduce the amount of meat you eat.

    Everything else is trivial by comparison to these three.

    •  one to add: no-fly (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence, A Siegel

      if at all possible, don´t fly. As far as I am aware, that is one of the big hitters in carbon footprint.

      •  That one really sucks, as I love to travel and (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel, kyril

        often have to travel for my job.  :/

        It pisses me off a whole bunch that we aren't making air travel the absolute priority when it comes to making fuel from biomass., ie. instead of making ethanol, we should be making jet fuel.

        Cars can be powered by electricity.  Airplanes, on the other hand, can't.  Not for another couple of decades, at least.

        "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

        by Lawrence on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 03:59:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is serious work (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence, kyril

          going on re renewable fuel sources for aviation.  US military efforts for "drop-in ready" fuels are being strongly coordinated with what the aviation industry is doing.  We could see 10,000s of barrels/day (preferably 100,000s or millions) before the end of the decade coming online to go into aviation.  

          Also, of course, the efforts to improve efficiency -- of airframes, of operations, etc ...

          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

          by A Siegel on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 06:58:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, it's pretty cool that the U.S. military is (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marsanges, A Siegel, kyril

            becoming a positive force in combatting climate change.

            As it currently stands, it really makes a lot of sense to replace fossil jet fuel with biomass-based jet fuel.

            It actually wouldn't even eat up all that much land since airline travel only uses about 2% of all fossil fuels used for transport.

            "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

            by Lawrence on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:32:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  My adaptations (0+ / 0-)

      1) Right now I live in a shoebox-sized studio in a green-certified building in a walkable neighbourhood. Rent went up, though (lots of Seattlites taking the same approach) so I'm downsizing to a room in a small 3-bedroom duplex that I'll be sharing with two other people, one neighbourhood over.

      So I'm going from 550 square feet of residential footprint to 1/3 of about 900. The building's older and possibly more expensive to heat, but that should be mitigated by shared cooking, cleaning, and entertainment.

      2) I quit driving 4 years ago. I walk to most things, bus to the rest.

      3) I'm really bad in the food department. Being a picky eater sucks.

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 01:32:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What I do: OceanWeb student resources & projects (4+ / 0-)

    I teach college level intro oceanography (which includes a good deal of climate science) and have been experimenting in recent semesters with not requiring a textbook.  As part of the course I developed a web site with links to information on major topics in these fields.  Most are sites of research organizations with educational pages, articles, or current data, and are grouped together so they can be used instead of a chapter in a standard textbook presentation of the course.  

    I also set up part of the site as a guided tour through climate change science for students or the public.

    OceanWeb: Links to ocean, climate and related sciences -- from the scientists who do it

    Climate Change & the Ocean: A Journey Through the Science

    I'm very interested in open ed materials.

    In my experiments with no-textbook-required classes, I have seen no real difference between students' performance on standard exams in classes with or without textbooks.  Until this past semester, when students in classes with very strict textbook reading requirements did much worse.  Of course there are many other factors that can affect outcomes each semester.  But in my own classes I have yet to see anything that convinces me there is justification for students paying $100-200 for something that does not seem to help their understanding of the subject, and may even reduce the time they can spend learning in more productive ways.

    As for "What You Can Do" -- that is a question I got so often from students that I replaced student "term papers" with projects where they either write letters to the editor, write govt reppresentatives, or come up with a hands-on activity that will have a lasting effect on the health of the ocean.  Among these I have had students convince coffee shop owners to stop using styrofoam and plastic, conduct entertaining presentations and activities to educate kids groups, and initiate changes on campus to increase energy efficiency and conservation.  

    It often has the side benefit of empowering students who never realized they could go out and actually do something that makes a difference.  And on my end, there is no paper to grade!

    Correlation may not cause causation, but I find that they often occur together. -- Mike the Krugman commenter

    by carlylu on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 11:51:44 PM PST

    •  No-text is best (0+ / 0-)

      1) Your students probably don't even read the book. I'm an avid reader. I don't read textbooks, whether reading is 'required' or not. I have yet to meet a student who actually sits down and reads a textbook. (Sitting there with a book open highlighting semi-random sentences that look like they might be on the test is not reading.) Actual books that are made for reading are different; if you're assigning real books, more power to you.

      2) Modern textbooks suck. They contain far too much information, packed far too densely, for anyone to reasonably retain from reading. Compare the physical size of modern textbooks to the ones used in similar classes before 1950 or so. Most have multiplied by a factor of 4 or more. We're not that much smarter. Some of my instructors who have used textbooks effectively have done so by using the same book for 2-3 consecutive terms, and even then, they don't usually cover the whole book.

      3) Book format isn't great for modern students, if in fact it ever was great for course materials. The linear approach doesn't fit with the way we think and remember stuff. A 'web' model of related and interconnected information, like the Internet, works much better (which is why young people can spend hours at a time reading Wikipedia or TvTropes but can't sit down and read Intro to Oceanography.) It also doesn't help that most instructors don't cover the material in the same order as it's presented in the book, so what little help the linear format might have provided in building connected understanding is lost.

      4) Students who think they ought to be studying a textbook waste a bunch of time doing useless things (like the above-mentioned highlighting) when they could be doing something productive (like reading primary sources and writing research papers, or doing problems, or collecting and analyzing data).

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 01:58:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tar Sands Blockade and Idle No More (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Agathena, DRo, Eowyn9, A Siegel, DawnN

    These movements should be mentioned.

    Everything you listed is great. I rec'ed the diary. But this diary could have been written 10 years ago. What progress has been made? This is what we have been doing. Consider the way in which Occupy Wall Street forced a national conversation about economic injustice and wealth inequality. To avert the climate crisis we need to shift the public and the media's attention. We are in a world historic struggle against a grave global injustice. In the American history context this is up there with the revolutionaries, the abolitionists, the suffragettes, and the civil rights movement.

    The things you list are worthwhile, but they are things that lots of people have been doing for a while now. The progress is not nearly as fast as the warming. The last great natural warming was the PETM. The rate of warming was 6c/20000yrs. The current rate is 6c/200yrs. The time has come for more direct action. A fact's a fact. Blockade.

    Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

    by play jurist on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 12:45:36 AM PST

  •  I expect my classroom and those who enter it to (4+ / 0-)

    be as Earth conscious as possible.

     We are as paper less as possible, except when paper is absolutely needed to learn.  We use modern manipulatives that are reuseable whenever possible. I ask that my students recycle and use topics of debate that focus on the need to live a life that is full of effort to protect Earth.  We study the effects of neglect and how change can happen. I praise those who go the extra mile to make a difference.  I show those who do not the error of their ways.  I insist on a classroom that is full of fact and not fallacy.

    I call myself a "Green Teacher"....both when I taught elementary and now as a Professor.  I hope that phrase "I am a Green Teacher"  goes viral one day....it would be a honorable endeavor for educators to try to make their classrooms the first step in a child's future life as an Earth protector. :)

  •  Walk whenever, wherever you can, and... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, marsanges

    don't "over-light" your environment. Use just the amount of light you need.

    That's what I'm doing. And soon I'm giving up driving  altogether.

  •  At this point, only two things are worth doing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, A Siegel

    1.) Electing more and better Democrats

    2.) Breaking the political power of the fossil fuels industry.

    Everything else needed for action on global warming is more than ready, and cosmetic changes like lightbulbs, as you say, won't do much.  Even educating the populace won't do much unless it results in the above two changes.

  •  You have to throw (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, A Siegel

    everything you have at the wall and see what sticks. Most people don't have the money to build a 100% passive house in cold country, but if you do, here's an outstanding one. Or if you have the bucks to hire a big name architect, David Salmela has designed some very efficient houses. If you're like us, you just have to take a page from their books and insulate, insulate, insulate. Then buy cfls, turn down the heat, and wear woolies.

    "We are monkeys with money and guns". Tom Waits

    by northsylvania on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 04:13:04 AM PST

  •  Most important thing you can do! ! ! ! ! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, Brooklyn Jim

    . . is to limit the size of your family. There are 7 BILLION people on the planet all burning fossil fuels or otherwise contributing to greenhouse gasses. ENOUGH ALREADY. Keep your dick in your pants. Otherwise, wear a goddamned raincoat!

    Choose to have an "only child" if you must procreate. Lonely Only does not mean lonely.

    •  last line is incorrect. (0+ / 0-)

      It was supposed to read, "Only does not mean lonely.

    •  Well ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence

      There are many things that complicate this.

      1.  While I have been attentive to / concerned re population for decades, "limit" includes when you procreate and not just number.  Having 1 at age 18 has same impact (perhaps more) than 2 at age 36.  (Time between generations and all ...)

      2.  We need to recognize that human population will be peaking -- even without climate chaos impacts which portend massive die off potential -- in the 9 billion range due to demographic drivers.

      3.  Always have an issue to consider -- if thoughtful, concerned, capable people do not have children, who is creating  and forming the future citizens (future voters)?  

      However, going back to 1, population is absolutely a serious issue and, well, contraception was one of the top three technological leap forwards of the 20th century.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 07:05:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Population will not peak (0+ / 0-)

        I know that's what the "experts" say, but it simply isn't true. Just watch how women react to babies. The only thing that will stop the trend is some brutal shock, disease, starvation, etc.

        I would love to see the human race get smart enough to realize that over population is the single greatest threat, the driver of all other problems that mankind faces. Unfortunately, I know that isn't going to happen either. Nonetheless, I will continue to speak out about it and hope you will too.

        •  Huh ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence, Cassandra Waites

          the peaking is occurring. Do you realize that predictions were 15 billion for mid 21st century 40 years ago?  Predictions are for 9 billion or so right now.

          Take a look at Hans Rosling's material.

          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

          by A Siegel on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:01:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  this is simply incorrect. (3+ / 0-)

          if anything is established in the study of human demographics then it is the well known fact that birth rates fall faster then death rates as populations get richer.

          we know this here (in central Europe) very well because it is actually one of our more serious problems. Child rates per woman in countries like Germany are down to 1.3, FAR below the level needed for even keeping up population (2.1) and it is only immigration that will keep our welfare system viable.

          We had the best demonstration of the effect when the GDR (East Germany) collapsed and was taken over by West Germany, which provided riches enough to cover all the pent up consumption need of the East. Birth rates collapsed dramatically.

          War and starvation have nothing to do with it. To the contrary, if you want to stabilize a human population, make it rich and satisfied. Then they won´t have babies.

  •  We can do a lot (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, Lawrence

    I added insulation to my attic. I replaced my washing machine with a high efficiency washer. I long-ago replaced incandecent bulbs with CFL's and I'm now beginning to buy LED light bulbs. I replaced my old, drafty storm door with a new, more air-tight one. I insulated around my doors. My windows are fairly new but others would likely benefit from installing newer windows. And last but certainly not least, I bought a Mitsubishi i MiEV all-electric car

    I highly recommend the i MiEV to anyone whose daily commute is 40 miles or less, which is probably 80% of us. It is the least expensive all-electric on the market, although Nissan is supposed to come out with a cheaper Leaf soon. It has a summer range of at least 65 miles per charge and a winter range of at least 45 - the heater draws a lot of battery charge which reduces winter range. It seats four and although the trunk is tiny when the back seats are up, when you put the seats down it has more cargo space than the Leaf or the Volt. Also, there is a $7,500 tax rebate on all-electric cars. Between that and the dealer discount I received, the net cost of the MiEV was $20,000 plus tax. I've had mine since May and I've traveled 6000 gas-free miles on it.

  •  Donate to solar science! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    Want to really help? Donate to my non-profit! We're working on an open source, ultra low cost solar steam engine. We'll have the prototype working by around summer time and where we stand now it should be a fraction of the cost of the cheapest solar power on the market.

    Like any non-profit we need more funding. Don't just buy new lightbulbs. Donate to solar science!

    http://www.zenmanenergy.org/

    It's time for cheaper solar power! Zenman Energy

    by ZenManProject on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 06:18:56 AM PST

  •  adapt, minimize, pray (0+ / 0-)

    and don't buy oceanfront real estate.

    the biggest threat to 7 billion+ brothers and sisters:
    elusive, insidious, global, and dangerously underreported.

    thanks for post- keep in the limelight.

    People who say they don't care what people think are usually desperate to have people think they don't care what people think. -George Carlin

    by downtownLALife on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 06:39:07 AM PST

  •  As we do one thing at a time we can ask (0+ / 0-)

    what's next?"  Attitude change is the first step.

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:01:29 AM PST

  •  The Religious Right are friends in this fight. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies

    Great diary! But it needs to be mentioned that the Christian Coalition endorsed Proposal 3, Michigan's proposal to increase its renewable energy standard to 25% by 2025. The Religious Right, as much as we may disagree on other things, are friends in this  fight and we should recognize that and embrace it.

    http://www.cc.org/...

    "There are other reasons to support this proposal:

    * We recognize the Biblical mandate to be good stewards of God’s Creation and protect the future for our children and grand-children.
    *  Military leaders tell us that “homegrown”, clean energy is critical to national security.
    *  More than 60% of Michigan's electricity comes from coal - and pregnant women and children are put at risk by eating contaminated fish from waters polluted as a result of excessive coal use.
    * Increasing Michigan’s renewable energy standard to 255 by 2025 is projected to create at least 74,000 jobs and spark over $10 billion in investment.

    Clean energy technology is one of Michigan’s fastest-growing economic sectors, growing at a rate of around 30 percent.  "

  •  Well (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence

    Don't drive (yay NYC!)

    Changed to CFL

    Have bought all wind power through ConEd for some 10 years now

    Donate to plant trees and support solar power to heat Native American homes

    And starting a project to provide solar cookers for a community in Uganda (follow link for anyone who wants to donate to get the first stage going).

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

    by mole333 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:11:49 AM PST

  •  Do what you can to influence changes at work (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies

    I’m an architect and in my job frequently see incredibly short-sighted and, frankly, stupid decisions made by clients when it comes to their buildings. An example from the recent past: A client tells us to design a building to last at least 80 years. A few months later during design review they don’t want to pay for a mechanical system upgrade that has a 5 year simple payback period.

    The employee managing the project for the client doesn’t want the administrative headache of going back to a manager and asking for more money for the construction budget. It doesn’t matter if spending $x today will save $15x over the life of the building. The prime directive is to meet the current construction budget. No one is responsible for what happens 10 or 20 years into the future, nor does anyone get rewarded for reaping long-term energy savings for the owner.

    If you are in a position to influence these types of decisions where you work – please advocate for higher efficiency. Do some simple life cycle analysis and spend more on efficient equipment when it has a clear payback. It doesn’t even have to involve building construction. Do you buy IT equipment? Look at the specs and see if they include the Energy Star label. Do you buy desk lamps and light bulbs? Buy LEDs instead of incandescents or fluorescents. If you can change 10,000sf of office space lighting from fluorescent tubes to LEDs the energy savings is going to dwarf anything you do at home.

    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

    by Joe Bob on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:18:35 AM PST

  •  need to get our universities out of RW radio (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies

    and that is doable.

    https://sites.google.com/...

    Of 120 top ranked football programs, 71, or approximately 59% broadcast on Limbaugh stations (see below). Some broadcast on more than one Limbaugh station and accounted for 170 of Limbaugh's approximately 600 stations, or 28%. 15 of last year's final 16 NCAA tournament basketball teams (except BYU) broadcast on Limbaugh stations.
    The Limbaugh stations they broadcast athletics on are licensed to operate in the public interest but instead form part of a nationally coordinated radio megaphone for global warming denial. It is used to attack educators and scientists and distort their work. It has been undoing the hard work of millions of concerned citizens for more than 20 years.

    Associating with a university through its athletics program gives those radio stations and their talkers strong community standing and credibility. It is an endorsement. Those associations help attract local and national advertisers.

    there is no reason for any university to be endorsing those stations, which do the groundwork denial and enabling of the deniers in media and congress.

    if our environmentalists made it a priority some universities some unis will start looking for alternatives and others will be forced to  follow. just announcing the intent not to renew the contract might be a death sentence for those stations- they may have to change format or offer balance.

     students will get involved. the RW radio monopoly will not survive as is, and the denial industry will lose its loudest weapon.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:30:53 AM PST

  •  Ed Markey, if anything, is the reason why climate (0+ / 0-)

    change has no chance of being addressed.

    It's done.   It's over.   We're cooked.

    Like many who pretend to care about climate change, Ed Markey hates the world's largest, by far, source of climate change gas free energy:   Nuclear energy.

    He does this totally and wholly out of ignorance of nuclear science, including the work of one of the the United States' greatest Democratic scientists, Glenn Seaborg, who when he wasn't discovering elements, serving as an important educator, serving as a scientific ambassador in negotiating the nuclear test ban treaty for the Kennedy administration, when he wasn't heading the University of California, serving as President of the American Chemical Society, and oh yes, receiving the Nobel Prize and the unique honor of having an element in the periodic table named for him in his lifetime, was, also administering the construction of this nation's nuclear infrastructure, once the greatest and most important in the world, when he was appointed by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to head the AEC.

    Markey wants to destroy this infrastructure, even though 50 years of uncricitical cheering for the so called "renewable energy industry" - I call it the "gas, oil and coal fig leaf industry" - has never, not once, produced as many exajoules of primary energy in any year that the oft unjustly maligned nuclear energy industry has done.

    The fact is that fear, ignorance and superstition have won the day.    The data is in for the increase in dangerous fossil fuel waste in the atmosphere in the period between
    December of 2011 and December and 2012.    It is the third highest such increase ever recorded.    Apparently all the wishful thinking in the world has been entirely and totally ineffective.

    Heckuva job humanity.

    Have a nice weekend.

  •  I have a bad back and two bad knees, but I walk (0+ / 0-)

    almost daily, as much as I can stand. All the appliances where I live are energy efficient. I turn off anything electrical I can when not using, and the apartment building I live in recycles everything.

  •  Something to consider: How much mercury in the (0+ / 0-)

    environment is too much and how long before we reach the tipping point with respect to it?
    http://www.epa.gov/...

    LED's seem so much better.

  •  global warming (0+ / 0-)

    I've been so worried about global warming that I've been paralyzed.  Your diary helped galvanize me into action.  I decided my New years resolution will be to work on the issue of climate change.  I followed a link in one of the comments to the Ctizens Climate lobby, and I wrote a letter to President Obama.  I already don't eat much meat (never beef)and I live in NYC so I almost never drive my car.  (use it to visit family in Mass) I'm thinking of  getting a new air conditioner as NYC's summers are getting more brutal, (more enegy efficient)and I find that as I get older I am less and less able to tolerate heat.  I've got 2 teenagers, and I want to pass along a livable planet

  •  Great post and perspective. Join all (0+ / 0-)

    the groups that published your diary.  We need all the voices we can get.  Thanks!

    If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

    by John Crapper on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 06:11:49 AM PST

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