Monday, December 21, 2009

Copenhagen Over, Now What?

UPDATED - 12/21/09, 5:40 PM

Many of the world's leaders have now returned from Copenhagen's climate summit talks -- to some it was a real disappointment, to others it was a start.  This was supposed to be the opportunity talked about for over a year, when the world would come together and make binding agreements to reduce emissions to levels that would safeguard the planet.  They were also to make agreements to protect and restore forests, a huge necessity for reducing greenhouse gases.  Instead, as is so nicely outlined at The Daily Beast, politics reigned.

That said, the NRDC has some thoughtful information (here) about what happened and how we can all think about the summit, including a list of what really was successfully accomplished and what needs to be done to build on the summit.  In the NRDC summary:

  1. "Heads of Government from key Countries are engaged" -- not just a few heads of state and world leaders showed up.  Instead, nearly all of them, which underscores the importance of the summit.
  2. "All major emitting countries will have to commit to take action and solidify them in the international agreement" -- while we didn't get written how's in their commitment at the summit, those how's are due the end of January 2010.  So, you can guess that there will be a lot of phone calls, e-mails, and tele/video-conferencing over the next month as countries work with each other to come in with equal and just commitments ... not to mention the strategic PR that's going to be part of whatever is committed.
  3. "We will have a system to regularly know whether or not countries are making progress towards their commitments" -- another forthcoming.
  4. "We secured real commitments to finance for investing in efforts in developing countries to reduce deforestation emissions, and adapt to the impacts of global warming" -- yahooee! that we could make headway on deforestation issues.  But the whole adaptation thing, while a devastating reality, just makes me shake my head that we have to do any of that at all.

Sitting here at home, one can only wonder "what can one person do to help keep things moving forward?"
  • You can continue to do your part to choose products and behaviors that would lessen your family's impact on contributing to greenhouse gases on this planet.  I truly believe solutions start at home.
  • You can influence your friends to make the same climate friendly choices you do.
  • You can write your local, state, and federal government officials to implement regulations that would have the U.S. set the example in greenhouse gas reduction.  Any reduction the U.S. does will IMMENSELY help the situation because the U.S. is such a heavy emissions polluter and purchases such a large amount of products (i.e., beef, oil, non-certified paper, etc.) that contribute to greenhouse gases in a major way.   You can also ask that the U.S. take the lead in continuing talks with countries, one by one, so that they come together with the U.S. and other leading emissions-reducing countries to work together to reverse climate change.
One person, each of us, can make a difference here by showing that we still care about these issues that are slowly changing the world.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

NY Times' New Series on Toxics in Waters

The New York Times has done an amazing job of putting together a new series on the safety of the water we use.

You can also click on an extensive interactive feature that let's you know how tainted/untainted is the water in your state, county, and city.

It's worth your time being informed.  Click here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Al Gore's Thought-Provoking, Emotional Comments at U.N. Climate Conference

Al Gore - Call for Action from Project Survival Media on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Join in Terra Madre Day!

Tomorrow is "Terra Madre Day"!! Never knew I had such an influence that Slow Food would name a sustainable food day after me. But, heh, it's okay to give myself a pat on the back now and then.

All kidding aside, tomorrow is Terra Madre Day but not named after me. It is day Slow Food has set aside to promote local, sustainable, ethical food.

This week, make a point to buy from your farmer's market or from a store, like Whole Foods, that is carrying more locally and organic-produced foods.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

NPR's "Tell Me More" - Are You An Ethical Omnivore?

More on supporting your local farming community from my earlier post.

WORD TO KNOW: Biomimicry

What if nature had all the answers? Well, there's a new science afoot that is increasingly looking to the way the world works on its own to spawn new ideas to solve old and new problems. It's called biomimicry.

Says the Biomimicry Guild "Biomimicry is an emerging discipline that studies nature's best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems."

The reason why biomimicry is becoming more important is that we are increasingly looking for more simple and cost-saving ways to make our world "go round." And nature knows how to do it sustainably, integrating each part of itself into the surrounding world without taking more than it needs and not harming the future cycle of life. So with nature as the template, you get the best of both worlds -- efficiency and sustainability.

Examples from the Biomimicry Institute are -- "non-toxic adhesives inspired by geckos, energy-efficient buildings inspired by termite mounds, and resistance-free antibiotics inspired by red seaweed."

If we ever needed yet another reason to protect nature, this promising new science makes nature a valuable natural resource that should be undeniably safeguarded.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Way to Support Your Rural Economy

The New York Times has an article today about adding yet another pharmaceutical to your beef to try and stem E. coli bacteria contamination from entering slaughterhouses. But, I say that it is only a band-aid. What really needs to happen is a change in culture that demands humane meat (which will immensely cut down the need for pharmaceutical intervention) and probably eats less meat overall, so that we can produce humane meat sustainably and economically benefit our small and regional cooperative farmers.

Here's a great video from Certified Humane to explain some of the issues -- don't worry, it's not a shock video:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sign GMO Petition! Protect Your Ability to Know What You Eat

Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs) are a serious health and food safety/security issue that is coming to public light. Documentaries like Food, Inc. and The World According to Monsanto have recently exposed in a more mass media way many of the serious GMO issues. The Center for Food Safety has been feverishly trying to protect the public from GMO's, including now going to The Supreme Court on the public's behalf.

Jeffrey Smith of the Institute for Responsible Technology is a vocal advocate of eliminating GMO's and requiring GM labeling. Mr. Smith appeared on this radio program (captured on YouTube below) talking about GMO's -- although this program has a Christian slant, don't be turned off by that. It's the info that is important to help you quickly get up to speed on the issues. It's the first in a 9-part taping posted on YouTube.

Here is a way you can get involved in protecting your food supply by signing this petition to require mandatory labeling of GMO foods.