Saturday, February 03, 2007


This photo is of Don and a boatman in Ireland last summer. The inland waters were very low from extreme heat and lack of rain, We had to disembark from the boats so each boatman and a volunteer could navigate the boat through the shallows. Will the "Emerald Isle" become the "Brown Isle"?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is finalizing its report, confirming that humans have caused the greenhouse gases that are putting too much carbon into the air, and that our temperatures will continue to rise at alarming rates if emissions are not seriously curbed.

I will watch with great interest in the coming days as politicians spin the scientists’ research and conclusions. I believe the scientists. Those who created the report are not paid for their efforts.

But mostly, I want to grab this opportunity to alter my own behavior as needed to align with my view that each one of us can make a difference. Over the centuries we humans have created a separation of ourselves and nature, using up precious resources for our own purposes, giving scarcely a thought to the effects of our gargantuan consumption. I want to do my part to slow down this wildness so my grandkids (future) might have a chance to live on a decent planet.

I already have a car that burns about 35 mpg. What else can I do?

- Drive less: Plan trips ahead so unnecessary travel is eliminated or minimized.

- Recycle more and better: Landfills are a huge source of methane emission.

- Home heating & cooling: Use AC less and keep the winter heat lower. Improve insulation.
Watch for new appliances that don’t use hydroflourocarbons, especially refrigerators. Not yet available in the U.S. due to monopolies by Dupont and others who are trying to convince the regulatory that non-HFC fridges are unsafe, even though they are safe.

- Go “carbon neutral”: This means offsetting the emissions you create by contributing to green technology. For instance, when my airplane flies to Ireland in July, each passenger on the jumbo jet will use 432 kg of fuel and emit a warming equivalent of 4031 kg of CO2. Here’s a web site I’m going to study to find an investment-worthy travel offset program.

Go here to calculate your carbon emissions.

Thanks to the David Sazuki Foundation web site, which offers lots of ideas for making a difference individually.

If I’m educated, I will also be better equipped to keep my government accountable.


Ginnie said...

This is very timely, of course, Ruth, and very well written. I have clicked on all the links but want to go back later this week and study them even more. It IS one person at a time right now until all our governments get it together and start figuring this out!

Mei Shile said...

I contribute each year to the David Suzuki Foundation. DS has a program since years on CBC (gov-owned television in Canada, English side), called "The Nature of Things". He is less known on the French side. I ask myself what I can do more: I don't have any car, have recycled for years. I am a bad citizen. I don't consume very much...

Ruth said...

Ginnie, I do hope the governments will move quickly. I hope Mr. Bush will finally step from denial to acceptance and use his influence to make changes. But I don't want to sit and hope. I want to make changes until I say "ouch" if you know what I mean.

Mei shile, that's funny, unfortunately. We aren't "good" citizens unless we're contributing to the economy in ways that use up the earth's resources completely selfishly and thoughtlessly. Let's all be worse citizens! Good for you for being "bad"! :)

rachel said...

I'm a terrible citizen!!! And I'm ready to get worse!!! I'm proud that I don't contribute to consumerism! Even the hobby that I have that requires you turn inward (YOGA) is materialistic. Everyone has to have the newest yoga outfits, and mats and props. Consumerism is making me crazy. What about cheap contests? They are so much fun. Who has the oldest pair of jeans? The oldest car? The oldest shoes? Bike? I say the person who spends the least wins!

Ruth said...

Rachel!! Hello! I've missed you, first of all. Secondly, I love your idea so much. We had a friend who would never buy anything new unless it replaced something old. So many old things are fine, and let's compete, who can spend the least. Brilliant!

Rauf said...

Yes Individuals can make a difference Ruth. Good move. Hope every one is as responsible as you are.

I am not sure about humans being the cause of global warming. But let us accept that we are, for our safer future. Absolutely no harm in accepting it. Its a move in the right direction.

I am so afraid of Bangalore now that I always skip it or change trains and buses from there. My eyes start burning and my skin gets itchy in just one day of living in Bangalore. I have to cross Bangalore to go to the villages of Karnataka which i love so much.

the migratory birds are silently suffering Ruth, they are confused.
they over stay in colder regions and start migrating and reach here when it is too hot and its time for them to leave. No time for them here. the locals tell me that they arrive in small groups and not like before in large groups.
just enough time for them to build a nest lay eggs and it gets too hot and its time for them to leave before threir chicks have time to learn to fly. Many chicks die. Its sad.

Ruth said...

Rauf, it is sad. Animals can do nothing to change how they are treated, and they suffer. With awareness comes responsibility. So I will do what I can. The rest I must let alone. But my awareness also spreads to others, including agencies and governments. When I think back on civil rights in this country, and what happened because of just a few people, it gives me hope.

Lesley said...

yes yes yes!!

you could also visit:

if you haven't. this is Al Gore's website about global warming and his attempt to educate the population.

yay for awareness!
and i'll participate in this competition! oh my it's difficult living in THE city of consumerism...but i think i can do it. YES!

Ruth said...

Weswey! Yay! Thanks for the link to the Gore site. Cool!

You already don't drive a car. I wonder what else you can do in NYC . . . I'm thinking about how to launch a real competition here . . .

sex said...