Impacted by No Impact

Impactful Climate Action
Impact Climate Action

We’ve been in the process of moving and I have also ramped up my studying for the professional engineers exam (taking in 3 weeks), so the posting will be a little light for the next few weeks. We did manage to break away last Friday to see Colin Beavan’s book signing at our local bookstore. It was quite illuminating, here are my thoughts on his book No Impact Man.

It is pretty easy to fall into habits that we know are bad – but we do them anyway. Maybe yours is coffee or alcohol or TV. It doesn’t really matter, in the end these things provide escape from “the daily grind” or the all-consuming weight of things (e.g., “real life”). What happens when our life becomes just the means of escape? When do we stop to face it and all the questions it has for us?

When the end comes and the final breathe leaves my lips I hope my last thought is not about stuff I wish I had in my life. When I make that final thought I hope it’s not a worry that I could have gotten a better score on a video game. I hope my last thought is of the life I lived, the love I was blessed with, and the difference I made for the better in the world.

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Age of Stupid Premier

Tomorrow is the worldwide release the much talked about climate change drama/documentary staring Pete Postlethwaite “as a man living alone in the devastated future world of 2055, looking at old footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?” The Guardian calls it “the first successful dramatisation of climate change to reach the big screen.”

There are tons of evens coinciding with the premier around the world, from Thom Yorke playing at a premier to Greenpeace live at the Himalayans. Check out the preview if you haven’t hear of it:

The same people who bring you this great film also helped to start the 10:10 campaign and run the climate-change action site Not Stupid. Please take time from you busy schedule to go see this movie tomorrow (or Tuesday, depending on where you are – look for screenings here).

Blueprint For A Better World

New Scientist Sets Out To Make The World a Better Place
New Scientist Sets Out To Make The World a Better Place

New Scientist‘s next three issues will follow up on what this week’s issue started: defining world problems and finding solutions. I have been continually impressed with New Scientist, from their articles on economic growth, endorsing the steady state economy, and their article about the nature of greed. I am one of the few Americans I have met that actually subscribes to this great weekly UK periodical, though I hope more will follow my lead.

Their ambitious premise on this four-part serious entitled “Blueprint For A Better World” is to “explore diverse ideas for making the world a better place, and the evidence backing them.” [emphasis added] It is one thing to talk the talk, but now it’s time for decisive action. We can no longer wait around for the change to self-manifest, we have to deliver it ourselves.

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Climate Change Follow-Up: Wake Up!

I know I promised my next post would be back on the topic of the Steady State Economy, but I have another word on climate change first. Seriously, this is important stuff – survival of life on Earth sort of stuff. Creating a sustainable economy is crucial to stopping runaway climate destabilization. They go hand-in-hand, as you will see in Leo‘s last point about growth in this video…

I’ll be short and sweet: WATCH THIS VIDEO. Please also support the Age of Stupid by watching the film (when it debuts in the US) and above all being Not Stupid. It is high time we Wake Up and Freak Out:

Wake Up, Freak Out – then Get a Grip from Leo Murray on Vimeo.

Rationing Carbon: A Solution to Climate Change?

Heat: How To Stop The Planet From Burning
Heat: How To Stop The Planet From Burning

George Monbiot‘s book Heat covers the limits of our climate-changing actions and the actions that need to be taken immediately in order to avert catastrophe.  Here’s the skinny: there is a limit to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere before we set into motion devastating, irreversible consequences. If we reach this limit we will go past the “tipping point,” the global point of no return.

Malte Meinshausen, a climatologist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research quoted in a ScienceNews article, says “If you want to limit the risk of exceeding 2 degrees C global warming to one in four, or 25 percent, then total CO2 emissions over the first half of the 21st century have be kept below 1,000 billion tons.” We’ve already emitted half of that, but that does leave a decent amount left to fill the gap (though we don’t need to fill the gap).

We’ve talked about this limit before: a concentration limit for atmospheric CO2. We want it back to 350ppm from the current level of 389ppm. There are other guesses to this number: some say 400ppm or 450ppm, while others insist we’ve passes it (remember 350ppm). If we continue on our current path without serious emission cuts we’ll hit this upper limit in just a few decades.

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Beyond Talk: Climate Action Now

Time For Action
Time For Action

I have written in the past about climate change and the need for decisive action. You might think this odd for a blog about economics to be talking about climate change. How can I not talk about it? Climate change poses the greatest threat to human civilization since the atom bomb. It is the ecological part of ecological economics. But I digress…

As a blog I hereby official support the Beyond Talk Campaign. It is time for non-violent civil disobedience to make change happen. The Copenhagen Climate Conference is now less than 100 days away and we need a groundswell movement to make change happen NOW.

Beyond Talk is a great campaign originally conceived by The Yes Men and initiated by a group of organizations to “turn up the political heat” and push for a global climate agreement NOW. Check out the founders:

Take the pledge and make a difference – be a true activist!

Climate Change: Do Something Already!

fear-global-warming
What's to Fear?

I am writing this post in a somewhat balmy, 80-plus degrees in my house (at 10:30pm). In Seattle air conditioning in homes is nearly as unheard of as the robin is in the Inuit’s land. Of course, now that the robin is in the arctic the Inuit have to come up with a word for it. Why has the last ten days been the hottest streak of temperatures in Seattle history? Why is the robin suddenly so far north? Why was last night the first night in recorded history that it stayed above 70 degrees in Seattle?

Simply put the Earth is warming. Rather, the climate is changing. In some places it is cooling, but most of us are experiencing the beginnings of climate destabilization. Why? Because we have insisted on releasing vast amounts of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, altering the interaction of our planet and the sun’s energy.

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