Weather Wake Up Call for U.S. as Congress Keeps Pushing for More Fossil Fuel Energy

I know I’m not the only one linking greenhouse gas emissions to global climate change to all the horrendously bad weather pummeling the U.S. lately. The east coast is still without power from Hurricane Irene. A new hurricane Katia is churning up in the Atlantic along with a new tropical storm promising to drop a huge amount of rainfall on New Orleans again missing Texas for relief from the record drought there.

At the same time, it’s been a busy 24 hours for earthquake activity in the U.S. In the late morning hours today, 3 earthquakes hit Alaska’s Aleutian Island area. One was 6.8 that triggered a tsunami warning for the U.S. western coastline between 7:30 and 8:00 am while another 4.2 earthquake shook the Los Angeles area yesterday at 1:47 in the afternoon. If we look at the world map for earthquakes there was substantial seismic activity from the southern hemisphere along Australia north to the ring of fire areas of the Indian Ocean arcing around the pacific basin up to Alaska.

Worldwide earthquakes with M4.5+ located by USGS and Contributing Agencies.
(Earthquakes with M2.5+ within the United States and adjacent areas.)

If all of this challenging weather isn’t a wake up call to get moving on sustainable alternatives, then our reps in Congress and some presidential candidates pushing the filthy tar sands project that will ultimately burn 6X dirtier than usual and hawking our substantial caches of coal are representing Big Oil/Gas/Coal and not our health and welfare.

There is no denying the entire world is suffering from increasingly greater extremes of weather with summers at record highs and winters with increasing precipitation in the form of snow in places like Florida. But politics, at least in the U.S. continues to polarize viewpoints about global climate on behalf of Big Energy Industries, using jobs vs. environment as a ploy to divide U.S. citizens once again. Divide and conquer is not just a saying—it works. Because while were fighting/arguing climate change points with each other, congress is passing anti-environmental laws right under our noses. These laws are a direct affront to our clean air, water, and the EPA that is in place for our safety and welfare and have less to do with jobs than deregulation. Think about it. Jobs can be created in many industries. New jobs in new industries would be nice expanding all sorts of related jobs in engineering, science, and the technical fields for a new generation looking to the future not fearing it. On the other hand, once Mother Nature turns on us that’s it.

Are we absolutely positive human activity is not affecting climate change because I’m seeing videos of huge cesspools of plastic gyres growing in size in our oceans? Just because we can’t see pollution is no assurance it’s not there.

So as Mother Nature bears down on our east coast, the gulf, and rumbles the west coast to Alaska, maybe we should forget politics entangled with enormous lobbyist activity from the wealthiest of industries Big Oil/Gas/Coal. Maybe we should use some good ole street smarts believing what we see and experience because what we’re experiencing is advancing global climate change whether it’s politically correct to believe it or not.

To those that continue to follow a political line concerning global climate change that diss the idea that man’s pollution is a catalyst for the horrendous weather we’re experiencing, than why not apply the same 1% principle as we did to enter a war with Iraq that half our citizens never wanted. Former VP Cheney’s one percent principle as applied to global climate change would read like this:

If there is even a 1% chance that human activity such as greenhouse gas emissions is causing accelerated global climate change, then it is our duty to do all that we can to stop that activity for the welfare of mankind everywhere.

There is little argument against this principle because while deniers claim science can’t prove greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change, deniers can’t prove those greenhouse gas emission aren’t causing a problem either. This principle covers the bases. If was good enough for the U.S. to wage war in a country that had nothing to do with the U.S. terrorist attacks or WMD’s, than it’s good enough to save citizens of this country from the devastation Mother Nature can cause that can far exceed any war. Because while we were battered with fear tactics for almost a decade regarding terrorism, no one has stepped forward to churn the same fear for the wrath of Mother Nature when we can clearly see that she is indeed our greatest threat. Attacks by her are happening along our coastlines all at once right now and fewer dollars to recover from it. There may be more, increasingly worse weather if we fail to act.

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/

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Lake Erie Wind Farm Coming Soon

According to an article on inhabitat.com:

Lake Erie is about to join Cape Cod in hosting one of the first offshore wind farms in the United States. For a while now, plans have been underway to construct a wind power site on the Great Lakes after a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between GE Energy and the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation. Then earlier this month Ohio Governor Ted Strickland announced that there were plans for the development of five wind turbines on Lake Erie to generate 20 megawatts of power by 2012, with additional turbines to generate 1,000 megawatts by 2020.

It may not be much as far as freshwater farms, but it’s a start. Most of the problem has been citizen’s complaints that the turbines will ruin the view and/or tourism, which doesn’t appear to be true. As a matter of fact, one of the most beautiful places I can think of is Oahu, Hawaii’s north shore. On a point where the road turns from the northern end of the island and heads down the east coast is a bluff that boasts wind turbines. They’ve been there for years. I find it to be a serene sight. Wind turbines represent our willingness to help the planet. Something about this picture in Timon Singh’s article about Lake Erie’s wind farm represents that serenity.

http://www.awea.org/faq/wwt_environment.html#Will wind energy hurt tourism in my area.

Like anything new naysayers have warned that whole economic sectors will collapse if we change too quickly. I read an interesting article about that. It went back to other inventions that were touted to be the ruination of huge industries. Those predictions never panned out, and as a matter of fact, the industries that were supposed to go under not only benefited but adopted the new changes in a big way. One example: seat belts. According to the article when seat belts were first considered, naysayers claimed it would ruin the auto industry:

Does anyone remember their bitter lamentations over automobile seat belts? If the auto industry was to be believed, passage of regulations requiring seat belts would prompt Americans to become a nation of lawbreakers and to abandon their cars, collapsing the auto industry. Twenty-six states passed mandatory laws, seat belts save an estimated 15,000 lives a year, and the auto industry now runs ads promoting its safety equipment, having found — gasp! — that consumers want more safety.

The same goes for naysayers relative to energy progress. We hand out $36 billion in subsidies to the oil industry to drill, and one wind energy project in California gets 1.2 billion this year. And it will be the largest in the U.S. Who thinks that’s fair, especially when big oil is going to drill anyway?

Even though wind power funding lags behind and wind power has slowly progressed, wind turbines have already improved. Gearboxes have been replaced by magnets, making the turbines much lighter and improving efficiency. They turn more easily in much lower winds. We really do need new innovation to reduce the size of wind turbines. Like many environmentally minded people, I see there is a finite end to just how many of these large turbines we can actually erect across the country. There simply isn’t enough land. But, I’ve reminded readers that until we actually unleash new alternatives we simply will not advance quickly to smaller, more efficient, and cheaper alternatives. Think digital watches, portable radios, laptaps. The precursors to all of these products were huge and/or expensive and/or unreliable.

I know. I worked on keypunch machines before the computer terminal. Looking back that was so archaic. Then I worked on a computer terminal in 1974 in U of M’s personnel dept. That system would dump everything we did the prior week for whatever reason. We would walk in on Monday morning with the bad news all had to be input again. It was so unreliable that we continued to type 4-5 carbon copies AND input the same info into the system on a daily basis. The main frame for that system took up an entire room. I marvel the way our cell phones have morphed into the pc’s of the future. To think we will hurt the U.S. economy with more opportunities in that economy is convoluted thinking. Competition is supposed to be the back bone of the free market, if there is a free market when it comes to energy.

Read more:

About Lake Erie’s Wind Farm

http://inhabitat.com/2010/07/06/lake-erie-to-become-the-united-states-first-fresh-water-wind-farm/.

About Doomsayers and New Innovation:

http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2009/05/29/dont-believe-climate-bill-doomsayers#ixzz0ut6eLNpz.

About Improved Wind Turbines

http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/25188/.

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Germany Sets Goal High; 100% Renewable Energy for Electricity by 2050

Remember when I wrote about the incentives the German government offered to its citizens to get solar panels? It was such a success that people in apartments wanted to know how they could get in on the deal. Plus the government itself lined the autobahn highway with miles of solar panels too. This effort by Germany paved the way for their latest push to power all their electricity needs with alternative energy by 2050. That may sound far away, but hey we’re going into double digits in the 21st century already.

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2007/10/germany-jump-starts-alternative-energy-push/.

An article on guardian.co.uk stated:

Thanks to its Renewable Energy Act, Germany is the world leader in photovoltaics: it expects to add more than 5,000 megawatts of photovoltaic capacity this year to reach a total of 14,000 megawatts. It is also the second-biggest wind-power producer after the United States. Some 300,000 RENEWABLE ENERGY JOBS have been created in Germany in the last decade.

The government has set goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40% between 1990 and 2020, and by 80-85% by 2050. That goal could be achieved if Germany switches completely to renewable sources by 2050, Flasbarth said.

About 40% of Germany’s greenhouse gases come from electricity production, in particular, from coal-fired power plants.

Flasbarth said the Environment Agency’s study found that SWITCHING TO GREEN ELECTRICITY by 2050 WOULD HAVE ECONOMIC ADVANTAGES, especially for the vital export-oriented manufacturing industry. It would also create tens of thousands of jobs.

Well so much for the free market system here that is supposed to spur innovation and progress and create jobs ey? It’s not a theory anymore that new ways of doing things can indeed create more jobs while being good for the environment. Germany is actually doing it.
Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/07/germany-renewable-energy-electricity.

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Detroit, the Great American Experiment

I don’t know if anyone else caught a segment about Detroit on ABC News World News Tonight the end of last week. I caught it. It was short and fast, but yet I was excited by the quick glimpse of what I did see. It was about plans to clear the blight and rebuild Detroit. So I dug around more and found an article on money.cnn.com about plans in the making for Detroit that’s being called the Great American Experiment and that it beats anything going on anywhere else in the country. It would include 1200 new businesses collectively.

Everyone in Michigan probably knows by now that there are plans to tear down the empty buildings in Detroit beginning with vacant homes. That’s quite a feat because Detroit in square miles is huge compared to its population, (900,000 down from 2 million at one time). Detroit is so big San Francisco, Boston, and Manhattan could fit inside of it. Once they are gone the amount of empty acreage provides an unusual oppotunity for Detroit with endless possibilites, one of which is to become the country’s greenest city.

Watch the video.

The article on money.cnn.com went on to talk about some of the plans for Detroit and all that bare acreage, “Detroit is particularly well suited to become a pioneer in urban agriculture at a commercial scale.” That’s where a businessman named John Hantz comes in. He has plans for Detroit that would include pods of farms around the city complete with lakes, 7 lakes. This isn’t your grandpa’s farm either. The urban farm would be the latest technology with the help of Michigan State University, and a futuristic wonder to behold. There would be nothing like it in the world. The local farms would provide clean jobs, and fresh produce to local markets and restaurants in a city currently devoid of decent super markets of any type. Imagine the restaurants that would accumulate around those lakes drawing more and more business and entertainment. People would be drawn to see it:

Detroit, the Great American Experiment

http://money.cnn.com/2009/12/29/news/economy/farming_detroit.
fortune/index.htm
.

I believe Detroit will have its urban farming at some level, since there are already around 900 small gardens, (1/4 acre), strewn about. We know the will is there. To the extent Hantz wants to do it—we’ll see. Detroit demographer Kurt Metzger sees small communities connected by bike and walking paths with parks along the way. Detroit has a habit of getting embroiled in arguments whenever big developments are in the plans.

In any event there will be plenty of land to develop in the near future as progress to tear down 3,000 decrepit homes is set to start soon. Watch the whole ABC news segment about Detroit.

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Nuclear Power Getting a Second Start

Nuclear power is getting a second start in the U.S. with president Obama’s recent thumbs up for 2 nuke plants in Georgia. The president will roll out the first nuclear plant loan guarantee next week. From what I read, the article stated Southern Company/Georgia Power is building the 2 new plants right on the Plant Vogtle site in Georgia.
http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/80993-obama-to-roll-out-first-nuclear-plant-loan-guarantees-.

Stephen Smith, head of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy says that everyone is concerned with what to do with the nuclear waste, that there is currently no national repository for it. Smith also said that nuclear power plants are extremely expensive to build and the same amount of money, (in the billions), could be used for conservation programs, to build greener buildings, wind production, and to take advantage of the biomass opportunities in GA. The head of Georgia Power is all for renewable energy, especially the biomass market, and responded on CNN that he agreed with Stephen Smith.

My greatest concern is about the radioactive waste too. Waste has always been the biggest drawback to nuke plants. But like I said about the Fermi project, the property is already purchased and radioactive waste is already present, likewise for Plant Vogtle. Georgia Power is simply using the same site for newer facilities. Besides, in the past few decades since any reactors were built in the U.S., science has been working frantically to come up with ways to either disable radioactive material and/or shorten the time for radioactive material to dissipate from millions of years to only hundreds of years.

Here are links to some viable possibilities for limiting radioactive waste produced by nuke plants. There is so much coming out of India these days, I can’t begin to tell you. I’m not surprised that a team of German and Indian scientists have come up with a polymer that absorbs cobalt, so it reduces the amount of radioactive waste produced during routine operation of nuclear reactors. When I read about this I thought of the gel like beads that absorb excess water for release later. This process won’t disable radioactive waste but it will decrease the amount we have to dispose of.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090511090842.htm.

There is also a process that may increase the deactivation time for radioactive waste from millions of years to 300-500 years. While this still seems like a lot of time, it’s a start and sounds like something we really need to get moving on if we’re going to start building nukes again.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080922100148.htm.

Here is a government website that lists all the methods to deal with radioactive waste. We may as well get informed, because nuclear is happening.

http://www.ocrwm.doe.gov/factsheets/doeymp0017.shtml.

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The Campaign to Stall Global Warming Policy

I’ve been saying for a while to look for the money motivation behind skeptic’s opinions regarding global warming and a current article in Rolling Stone by Jeff Goodell, titled: “: “As the World Burns,” documents an outright campaign to distort, create a chasm, and stall progress for a greener economy and jobs, jobs, jobs in America. Who would do that? No one stands to gain on the path we appear to be taking more than big oil and coal. We should have done a real heads up and kept them up when Exxon Mobil earned 40.1 billion dollars NET in ONE quarter while we paid high dollar at the pumps. They’re using it to stall everything. The world should wait while they get one last good year in. Then it will be another good year, and another…All the wealth in the country belongs to 1% of the citizenry. That should tell us something.

The cover of the same magazine was quite blunt in trying to tell readers something about the forces preventing progress in the U.S. It was titled in big red letters: “You Idiots! Meet the Planet’s Worst Enemies.” It’s simply white hat, black hat here. Say for instance, I’m a billion dollar corp., and I see that the worldwide competition and sentiment is moving toward cleaning up our acts relative to global warming. I remember Cheney’s 1% doctrine too. It was good enough to reason a war in Iraq. In the context of global warming the 1% doctrine dictates that if there is a 1% chance that we are exacerbating global warming, then we have the duty to combat the source. I see brand new innovation for fuels that looks promising like algae, methane, recycled grease, etc., and I’m reminded that America has always been a leader in innovation. We nurture that type of progress here. As this corporation I have great wealth, clout, and access to the technical ability to choose to:

A. Invest in new innovation while I’m still at the top of the game in the fossil fuel sector. By doing this I insure that I will always be a corporation associated with progress and prosperity well into the future, where I will probably advance and adapt over and over in step with newer technologies as they come up. I am still employing workers in the fossil fuel industry but am setting up programs for job transition in the future. Eventually, I phase out the polluting industry, and become totally vested in the new, and maintain my fortune while continuously providing jobs for old and new employees.

B. Use my money and clout to block progress not only to a cleaner way of life for the world, but also block the chance for all those young, eager, innovative minds to create. I would also block new jobs in a brand new green economy. Heaven forbid anyone finds out these jobs do indeed help boost the economy, and prices for alternatives begin to fall. I would continue to offer only those jobs in polluting industries that ravage the land, air, and water in my own country and eventually the world, as well as, expose workers to an unhealthy working environment. I might also affect the health of those that live in close proximity to my operations. In the end, the world moves forward and I am so far behind. But who cares, I’m still rich.

There you have it, black and white. We see what road corporations are choosing to take The very next article after “As the World Burns” is even better. It’s titled: “The Climate Killers,” and names the top 17 polluters/deniers “derailing efforts to curb global warming,” by Tim Dickinson.

After reading this, the question people should be asking themselves is, “What would have happened if the technology boom was continually stalled? What if there was a massive campaign by old school America to keep us on corded phones forever? All the Silicon Valley innovation, jobs, and even the stock market associated with it would never have been realized. We could use another immediate surge like that in the U.S., and it’s got green written all over it.

Take the time to read the articles. They are important, as the U.S. seems to become ever more increasingly ruled by corporate America

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/31633532/as_the_world_burns.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/31633524/the_climate_killers.

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Powerful Investors Demand Climate Change Action Immediately

Today, a group of U.S., European, and Australian investors who “represent $13 trillion in assets, called for “a price on carbon emissions” and “well-designed carbon markets” to provide “a cost-effective way of achieving emissions reductions,” according to an article on ENS.

They cited the fact that “some 85 percent of the financial resources needed to cope with climate challenges must come from private sources. In effect, the battle over climate change will be won – or lost – in the hands of private investors.” But they also recanted that no one will put a foot forward without governments playing a role. Policies create a stable investment environment. Only policy can make clean energy cost-competitive with fossil fuel.

The investors claim they and others like them are ready to stoke clean energy investments if governments begin to implement strong policies and quickly. It seems they are encouraged by the fact that China, India, and the U.S. came to a verbal agreement in Copenhagen, but they want more and now. What is needed most from national and state legislatures is “transparency, longevity and certainty.” That would be a strong RPS as far as the states are concerned. Michigan doesn’t have one as yet thanks to our Republican Senate who trashed that effort at the last minute. It wasn’t even a strong RPS, but it was better than none at all.

These guys aren’t fooling around. As stated: “We underscore the importance of concluding a legally-binding agreement this year with comprehensive long-term measures for mitigation, forest protection, adaptation, finance, and technology transfer, including a global emission reduction target of 50-85% by 2050, consistent with estimates from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

They are investors after all and they estimate that transforming to clean energy is completely doable.

In their statement, the investors observed that the costs of action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are “both affordable and significantly lower than the costs of inaction.” [] The UNFCCC Secretariat estimates that more than $200 billion in total additional investment capital for mitigation is required each year by 2030 just to return greenhouse gases to their current levels by then.

The International Energy Agency estimates that additional investment of $10.5 trillion is needed globally in just the energy sector from 2010-2030 to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at around 450 parts per million, the investors noted.

This equates to roughly 0.1% of the total value of world financial assets and approximately 0.23% of the total value of debt and equity securities, so this is certainly an achievable level of investment – and one that would yield returns in terms of energy savings, energy security, reduced capital expenditures for pollution control, and avoided climate damages, they said. But it is also well above current investment levels.

So there you have it. People with deep pockets other than OIL/COAL/LUMBER that want to go green “yesterday.”

Read the article: http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jan2010/2010-01-14-01.html.

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Detroit Makes 5 Best Cities for Green Jobs List

I’ve been reading about green jobs and a growing green sector in Michigan but I never ran across a real tally of just how many jobs have been created within a given time span until I read that Detroit made, “The 5 Best Cities for Green Jobs” list per an article on the dailygreen.com.

Like the article said, Detroit seldom makes the top ten list of anything, but it seems that the Motor City and Michigan in general are slowly pulling ahead on the green front. I just didn’t know how well we are actually doing in Michigan. The article reports:

Michigan lost 3.6% of its jobs between 1998 and 2007, but clean jobs were a bright spot: Some 1,932 new clean businesses were started, offering 22,674 jobs. Some $55 million in venture capital was invested between 2006 and 2008. The state was 10th in the nation in adding new jobs in conservation and pollution mitigation in 2007.

It went on to say that the 22,000 plus “jobs numbers will jump impressively when the 2009 DOE funding puts spades in the ground.” Michigan is slated to receive a nice chunk in the form of green-tech grants from the federal DOE, which is meant to fund factories and create jobs for a “vast pool of skilled auto talent in the metropolitan area.” And the Ford Wixom Plant’s sale to Xtreme Power that makes power systems for wind and solar, and Clairvoyant Energy, a solar energy company, should result in even more green jobs all around.

It appears Governor Granholm’s vision of diversifying Michigan’s economy is coming to fruition. A little over a year ago in December 08, the governor signed legislation that helped Michigan’s No Worker Left Behind job retraining program that she initiated in 2007.

As of 2008, 31,000 Michiganders participated in the No Worker Left Behind program with 11,000 completing it. One of the companies to benefit greatly from the retraining program was Demmer Corporation that hired 1300 retrainees to its staff. Demmer creates and executes “world-class engineering and manufacturing solutions” in the defense, aerospace, and automotive industries,” according to its website.

If we hang tight, we can accomplish great things for Michigan. There is a link in the article for green jobs available in Michigan.

Read more: http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/best-cities-green-jobs-461209-2#ixzz0cLIh28Pe.

http://www.mlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2008/07/green_jobs_expand_michigan_wor.html.

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New Urbanism; the Most Important Green Trend for 2010

I happened across Original Green’s website and spotted an article “The Green Top 10 for 2010″ relative to issues about sustainability. The trends described come from Steve Mouzon, a new urbanist architect that see his predictions coming to fruition over the next decade. They are in New Year’s countdown mode starting with:

# 10 Offshoring Reversal

There will be more interest in not only buying American but buying local as fuel costs make shipping products thousands of miles less cost effective as producing it ourselves.

# 9 The Sustainability of Preservation

Saving a building is in essence saving the environment as one headline of this article
stated: “The greenest brick is the one that’s already in the wall.” There is a trend to develop a viable method to “factor in the true value of preservation, both within the U.S. Building Council and elsewhere, because how can we say that we’re being green if we keep throwing buildings away?”

Another headline here is that GE targets net zero energy homes by 2015. These homes will sport photovoltaic sources, and windto produce energy. There will be efficient lighting, and on demand appliances, a place for energy storage, water filtration systems, a heat pump water heater utilizing the geothermal heat pumps that also contribute energy to the home. All is controlled through a master energy manager control panel and monitored with a smart meter for the home’s input/output to a smart grid.

#8 Gizmo Green Gets Exposed

This trend stems from the realization that going green is expensive and what with the economy the way it is, greening up homes to lower utility costs probably won’t happen as quickly as returning to passive heating and cooling methods.

If you’ve kept up with my blogs, I’ve blogged more than once that even on the coldest days in the winter if the sun is out in full, I shut off my main heat, open my blinds to 12 ft. of southern exposed windows, as well as, my front door. The sun warms the entire front of my house! That’s passive heating. In the summer we utilize 2 overhead fans, awnings, and shades to keep cool without a/c. Block the sun, and you will usually block the heat. True passive cooling would only use natural breezes, but my overhead fans use far less power than a/c.

#7 The Meltdown Vacuum

Because the construction industry and all related industries took a hit during this economy, overdevelopment of strip malls and subdivisions has stopped. What the arrested economy and construction business really did was bolster the courage of do it yourself homeowners. The advent of more and more do it yourself cable shows for home improvement wannabes unleashed a grassroots construction industry that is expected to keep growing.

#6 A Return to Gardening

Gardening is a real no brainer for anyone who cooks every night and wants to be economical and healthy. Usually people who would have a garden are also people who eat crops du jour “of the day.” Whatever is ripe is what is eaten that evening. By eating seasonal crops and buying locally when weather doesn’t permit a garden, we get a greater variety of natural vitamins and minerals, and many times without the pesticide problem. It’s cheaper, healthier, and easier to have a garden no matter how small. Believe me, I hate paying $3 for a bunch of fresh basil for a recipe when in the summer… Home gardening looks to increase everywhere even in urban landscapes.

#5 The ReCoding of a City

This trend reverses urban sprawl where going just about anywhere, to a convenience store, or the doctor’s office requires riding in a vehicle. The zoning code that works to reverse urban sprawl and concentrate people in cityscapes again is called the “Smart Code.” As the article states: “2010 looks like it might be the year that’s the tipping point with cities choosing this very smart way to reverse the tide of sprawl and make green cities possible.”

#4 The Return of Durability

Another no-brainer for me. In this post-melt-down economy people will return to buying better and more durable products to avoid tossing and buying new again because they simply can’t afford it. The article says: “High consumption is unsustainable.” Could our bulging trash dumps be an indicator?

#3 The Emergence of the Live-Work

We will either be working from home via the Internet or walking to work because the office is in the neighborhood once again, at least close enough to get there without the use of a car.

#2 The Big Convergence

There are three major components that mark this era happening right now, “the Meltdown, Peak Oil, and Climate Change.” This economic downturn ruined people. It was truly an economic meltdown. We know that oil has indeed peaked in production and is a finite source that will not last forever. And finally, climate change reality may be taking a back seat to economic suffering now but the “convergence” of all three of these things has created quite a movement, and an opportunity to return to what Mouzon calls “a Golden Age… something that would have been impossible in our previous sprawling, over-consuming, debt-ridden condition.”

#1 The New City

This is the top trend. It’s really a return to the old urban neighborhood where you walked to work, shops, school, clinics, and church. Entertainment and restaurants are within easy reach too. The only twist is that the rooftops of urban buildings will more than likely sport solar panels and wind turbines while grass and trees replace tarry surfaces. And anywhere there is available space to contain earth material a garden will grow.

Read the whole article: http://www.originalgreen.org/OG/Blog/Entries/2009/12/29_the_Green_Top_10_for_2010.html.

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Hierarchy of Needs Explains Our Attitude Toward Climate Change

The bad weather we had last week wreaked havoc on my broadband signal. I could go online only so long and then nada. There were new things that came up that I was going to blog about first but since the Copenhagen climate summit has begun with a lot of controversy I figured I would write about it.

I watched Governor Schwarzenegger of California on Good Morning America reporting from the conference. He was asked about former Governor Palin’s comment that we should boycott the summit because it will hurt the economy. The reporter then stated that 7 out of 8 people in the U.S. want the economy fixed first before climate change is addressed.

The first thing I thought about was Maslow’s hierarchy of needs most people recall from psychology class. A big chunk of the U.S. population is currently stuck in the first two levels of this hierarchy that states needs like breathing, food, and water must be fulfilled before humans move on to concerns about safety/security, which is home/shelter, one’s health, and EMPLOYMENT.

Mind you Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is the basis for his “Theory of Human Motivation.” At the moment we’re not motivated to help others because we’re busy looking to fulfill basic needs.  The 3rd tier is the need for personal friendship, family, and love, which still concerns self more than anything. It isn’t until the two upper tiers that we find that the self esteem and confidence gained through tackling the first 3 levels finally allows us to think of others. It encompasses both respect for others and respect FROM others. The top tier relates to morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, no prejudice, and acceptance of facts.

http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/committees/FacDevCom/guidebk/teachtip/maslow.htm.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs.

So it’s not surprising that 7 out of 8 people in the U.S. want the economy fixed first and foremost. Doing that would greatly scale down the journey to the top of Maslow’s hierarchy where we feel good enough in our own boots to help the world. Unfortunately, these same people fail to realize that one of the quickest ways to satisfy our basic needs and jump start our economy is to simultaneously tackle global warming, which would unleash green industry.

As governor Schwarzenegger stated, “The fastest growing economic sector in his state of California is green industry.” They have a 33% renewable energy goal that is driving it. Time Magazine devoted the cover of their Nov. 2nd issue to this fact. It was titled: Why California is Still America’s Future. Inside it stated that California is “still the cutting edge of the American future—economically, environmentally, demographically, culturally, and maybe politically. It’s the greenest and most diverse state, the most globalized in general and most Asia-oriented in particular at a time when the world is heading in all those directions…an unparalleled engine of innovation, the mecca of high tech, biotech, and now clean tech.”

The New York Times this summer ran an article highlighting a Pew Charitable Trusts Study about the steady, fast growing “clean energy economy,” and that it’s poised for explosive growth.
http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2009/06/10/10greenwire-green-jobs-sector-poised-for-explosive-growth-63481.html.

Although the green sector may be poised for explosive growth, the fossil fuel industry is poised to stall that growth by throwing millions at congress in the coming year. In 2009 when global climate change and alternative energy took a back seat to job loss and health care, the fossil fuel industry still spent $120 million to weaken energy bills in their favor, and back skeptics. Their biggest fear is that the more green sector jobs created the more people realize a quick green economic fix  with the added bonus of cleaner air, water, and food. And the more the green sector grows the lower the costs of alternative energy. The opportunities are great and varied. As the New York Times stated: “Everyone from energy-efficiency consultants to wastewater plant operators” will be needed.

The green sector might do well to disavow itself from the global climate arena and stand on its own merits. In and of itself green industry should be viewed as competition for the fossil fuel industry, part of America’s free market system, and a vehicle for creating a plethora of jobs quickly. U.S. economic health hinges on our ability to constantly move forward, improve, and produce not only for greatest profit but with concern for citizen’s health.

The question posed to our citizenry should be, “Do you want green jobs now that will mean a secure future for all,  or continue with polluting industry and an uncertain future? Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy, the top levels deal with respect for others and from others.  The Copenhagen conference started out with controversy when developing nations walked out of talks due to disdain for countries like the U.S. who are simply not doing enough.  Americans are not thinking about “respect” for or from others, a shame since we do have a great opportunity at this time to cover all bases—create jobs and get back to work, become secure homeowners again, and be creative spontaneous innovators that garner respect from the world again because we have shown that same respect.

As for the skeptics, until they can explain

  • The massive iceberg floating past a drought stricken Australia
  • The complaints of almost ½ million people on the island nations of Kiribati and the Maldives that the sea is rising
  • The melting glaciers everywhere that are already causing water shortages in some countries

SEEING IS STILL BELIEVING

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