Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot…

“Think big, start small, act now.”
—personal motto of Governor Barnabas Suebu of Papua

Time flies. My blog started more than a year ago which means this is my second crack at offering some suggestions for New Year’s Resolutions. Last year’s recommendations were all practical and easy things to consider doing around the home, things that were maybe easier to achieve than losing weight or quitting smoking.

Looking back now I realize I wasn’t thinking big enough when it came to that advice. Like Governor Suebu’s motto suggests, we should consider starting small, but we need to think big. And we need to start right away with our changes if we’re going to make a real difference. So here goes, bigger and better than last year: Continue reading

"It's the End of the World As We Know It…"

“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”
—Niels Bohr

This will be my last blog. Unless of course the Mayans were wrong. And I expect that they were. (At least I sure hope so!)

But it raises an interesting point. Everyone has been making fun of this supposed apocalypse occurring today, predicted—misinterpreted is a more accurate description I expect—by an ancient calendar system from a long-dead civilization. But although the end of the world isn’t likely nigh just yet, we’re certainly heading for a number of destructive problems that should be dealt with sooner rather than later.

At some point with respect to global warming and climate change, we’re going to reach a critical tipping point where even the impossible reduction of emissions to zero won’t be enough to stop future global catastrophe. Most carbon dioxide lingers in the atmosphere for centuries and there are positive feedbacks that only reinforce the problem, such as melting ice leading to a lower planetary albedo (i.e. lower reflectivity, allowing more of the sun’s energy to be absorbed causing greater heating rather than being reflected back into space), and melting permafrost releasing massive amounts of methane in the process.

Experts debate when that critical tipping point might be: some say it’s decades off, some say it’s right around the corner, and some say it’s already passed.

I have a feeling the Mayans said it was December 21, 2012. And I fear they may have been right.


Greener Ways to a White Christmas

“A good conscience is a continual Christmas.”
—Benjamin Franklin

There are so many books, articles, and websites dedicated to ways for individuals to go green that it’s almost too much. And just like all of the weight loss and fitness information out there, advice about going green is having about the same degree of success. Which is to say nearly none at all.

However, the holidays are a time that offers some unique opportunities to be either extremely wasteful or extremely resourceful. And since many people are more committed to try to be better people this time of year, perhaps it’s the time they might actually choose to adopt some better habits that are easier on our environment with lower carbon footprints than the old tried-and-true routines from years past.

Here are a few suggestions for you to consider greener ways to enjoy the holidays: Continue reading

"I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas…"

“… just like the ones I used to know.”
—Bing Crosby (along with countless others since)

With less than one week to go until Christmas Day, weather forecasts are starting to predict what the weather will be like on Christmas morning. It somehow seems more like Christmas if there’s snow on the ground and a light snowfall, certainly much better than rain with green grass still visible, at least to me.

My recollection is that we had a lot more white Christmases when I was a kid than we do today. I started to wonder if that was simply selective memory or not, but Environment Canada has been able to help confirm my suspicions. Continue reading