Friday, March 20, 2015

Our Precious Earth

I've experienced a shift in my perspective on climate change, but the terrain is the same.  
The name of the blog remains unchanged, we're just going to explore a sunnier path. 

Profoundly positive emotions pay a primary part in predetermining well being throughout our lives. Is that something we can all agree on?

For each of us, many of the most memorable, even riveting, episodes that produce these compelling emotions arise from magical encounters with NATURE---generously provided by our Earth.  

Such intensely positive emotions create ripples that strongly influence all aspects our lives. In fact, those vibrant images and deep feelings stay with us throughout this lifetime and beyond. 

This means that a dynamic, healthy Earth plays a significant part in our very well being, as well as in providing us with life's basic needs. Therefore, the Earth is truly precious to each of us and any of our acts of caring on its behalf resonate in all dimensions. 

A heightened understanding of our intimate connection with the Earth lowers thresholds of change. This growing sense of ease about change gives rise to positive momentum. Acts of caring for the Earth become a central part of our awareness, nourished by an array of individual and mutual benefits stretching across all times. Importantly, moving toward the increasing light of positive momentum creates a cascade of possibilities missing from efforts to merely escape darkness. 

So what acts might produce positive momentum in caring for our precious Earth? All kinds--SIMPLE LIFESTYLE CHANGES, NEW TECHNOLOGIES, WISER BUSINESS DECISIONS and UNEXPECtED DISCOVERIES. These things have one thing in common--they express deep caring for our precious Earth, benefit all the Earth's inhabitants and contribute to a contagious enthusiasm born of EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS. 

Here's one outstanding example: Alaffia Sustainable Beauty Products
Positive Momentum!

Alaffia's Reforestation Project
~42,625 trees planted since 2006 to reduce impact of global climate change and desertification.
~Supporting women farmers with supplemental income
~Planting fruit and forage trees has multiple benefits
  • Provides important food source (trees from first plantings are already producing!)
  • Provides forage for livestock during dry season
  • Reduces erosion, improves soil quality


Friday, January 2, 2015

New book arrived--

by John Blewitt

This is second edition of earlier work--much revision and clearly a timely effort.

It will be interesting to read from the perspective of some recent land use decisions made by local municipalities. Did they understand the word "sustainable"?

The blueprint for the future is likely to become a little smudged along the way. It's still a "business (and development) as usual" climate out there--the key word is climate.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Just saw this today

Haven't read through  in enough detail for note taking/incite yet, but it's about 18 pages of big print and has some new perspectives that may warrant consideration in directing near term policy.

That's assuming that policy is going to create the path. Nonetheless, it seems clear that any strategy based on knowledge current even 2-3 years ago is out of date and may, in some instances, do more harm than good in the all important SHORT TERM.

Looking at long range timing ignores the fact that we need to get to those far off dates with an environment of habitable quality. Short term factors are important--and actually need more urgent policy attention and action. Without that, tipping points may trigger with irreversible results.

More on this piece in a few day--do find time to read through!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Changes everywhere.

Well--there's been another long gap, lots of changes for me and for the Earth, plus I read another book that hooked my attention and offered inspiration--so here we go again!

The book that offered inspiration is WHAT TO DO WHEN IT'S YOUR TURN (and it's always your turn) by Seth Godin.

I recommend Seth's innovative effort highly and warn you that the messages touch every part of your life--business, spirituality, leisure and the full gamut of relationships. I printed out my Mastermind goal sheet and tucked it in the back to remind myself not to limit focus--on Climate Change or anything else.

Of course, I've read other books recently--always reading, sometimes learning.

Recently, Naomi Klein produced a book entitled This Changes Everything. It has received generally positive attention and is selling well. Some reviews of her book are interesting in their own right-----most agree that Naomi covers important new ground and new perspectives are explored. Some reviewers note the lack of a definite path to sustainability in the concluding pages. Others are negative about prospects for creating critical change, unless a major deconstruction of the world's political and economic foundation is successful---in the relatively near future.

More recently, The New Climate Economy was published by The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate This 300+ page report takes a more optimistic position suggesting that economic growth and addressing climate change are not incompatible. Most importantly, land use is a key element in the discussion (more on that coming up in subsequent posts). 

If you haven't read these publications, please do--they are thought provoking. 

My own opinion is that the kind of proximal change needed to avert climate disaster is dependent on MANY individuals making relatively modest alterations in their decisions, based on new perceptions of the Earth and their interaction with it. That can happen very quickly and the aggregate impact could be quite significant. I've expressed that view before--but here's a new wrinkle. 

One of the obstacles to achieving that sort of change is that NONE of the present paths proposed to address Climate Change shows a strong chance of leading to actual success at attaining sustainability. Does anyone think AB32 is THE answer to a sustainable future? It's captured the attention of many in California for nearly 10 years, but the premises within are out of date and in many cases irrelevant. 

The negativity that surrounds most current writing on climate change adds to the growing feeling that there is NO solution to this accelerating problem. Heaping ominous data on the growing stack, partly to "convince" those who deny Climate Change (and how's that effort working out???) only fuels futility among the very populations that should be receptive to making modest lifestyle changes for the sake of future generations of humans and other living things.  

Where does that leave us? People will indeed walk a difficult path that involves some sacrifice --- if they believe that path really leads to a worthy destination. Extending the life of the planet that we all occupy as a suitable habitat for ourselves must surely rank as a worthy destination!

That leaves creating the path! 

That may sound simple, but there's a flip side. Do those who have the knowledge and determination to create that special path truly believe that sufficient numbers among the populations of the world would follow it for enough time to produce a sustainable future? 

There's a clear need for increased mutual faith, respect and cooperation in this matter. It is also clear than not meeting that need creates risk beyond reason, although we are presently playing on that very landscape of probability. 

Next blog I'll delve into some of the messages in Seth's book and why they are particularly apropos to these times. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Resuming Climate Change Posts!

A long period has passed since the last post. During that time, the climate has experienced significant change and so have I. The various and powerful human institutions, governments and organizations--not so much. 

My changes produced new perspectives on the problems, solutions and opportunities arising from climate change encouraging me to resume posting. 

You'll see much less science in these future posts---not to say the science isn't important and continuing at an accelerated rate. The science isn't going to create the changes that are needed for the Earth to serve as a quality habitat for the remaining animals and plants. Those few people who are interested in the hard science can find it easily enough. 

Meetings with city planning officials in December and the first quarter of this year regarding Climate Action Plan implementation proved informative. I've also had conversations with energy raters, home inspectors and, of course REALTORS. Many of the important pieces are present--but the jigsaw puzzle able to produce required CO2 emission reductions is far from complete. 

Following posts will address why that's the case and lay out the immediate timeline created by California law. The key messages: change is coming; opportunities are too--for those who see them and plan ahead. For others, the next few years may be particularly interesting.  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Reduced CO2 emissions are the currency of growth

Reduced carbon emissions as the CURRENCY of growth, development and real estate commissions. 

AB 32 set a standard to be achieved by 2020--- 1990 CO2 emissions. That created a limited commodity--like a finite money supply (an allowance--not like our government's crazy printing presses), CO2 emissions are now limited in CA to 1990 levels. Unlike the money supply, you can’t just flip a switch to create more CO2 capacity (currency), because the Earth itself represents the ultimate zero sum game and the FED doesn't control the Earth, even under Bernancke. 

Any future growth, to the extent that it produces increased CO2 emissions, must have those emissions directly offset by reductions in CO2 emissions somewhere else. The beauty of CO2 is that it’s like currency, it’s transportable and universal. You can increase CO2 emission in one sector, housing, for instance, but you can offset that increase--ANYWHERE--the offset doesn’t need to come from cutting CO2 emissions in the housing stock. The offset could some from simple conservation--many people cutting their personal CO2 emissions by 10% -- or it could come from lowering CO2 emissions associated with transportation or water/sewer processing. Obviously, increasing use of renewable energy represents and decreasing other energy sources is an offset too. 

It follows that REALTORS need to become more aware about CO2 emissions because without sufficient offsets, in terms of reduced CO2 emissions, their very near future business success will be shaped by the 2020 CO2 emission ceiling. That ceiling could mean less growth and more expensive growth that produces more costly houses that are forced to be net zero or close to net zeroFor older homes there are likely to be complications and expenses in reselling because those houses tend to be more energy inefficient (the low hanging fruit) and are prime candidates for mandated energy saving retrofits to generate offsets needed to meet 1990 CO2 emission levels. If growth is limited, new jobs, income and purchasing power will be too--there goes the housing recovery. 

Local communities can continue to grow, but only if sufficient CO2 offsets are achieved. Growth without offsets creates CO2 debt that must be paid back before the 2020 AB 32 deadline. 

Recently, the accelerating growth in The City of San Luis Obispo is generating much more interest and enthusiasm than the modest progress being made in the implementation of the Climate Action Plan that was passed nearly a year ago. REALTORS, developers and citizens should rethink their priorities by considering whether the near term convenience of business as usual is really worth inevitable constraints on growth and likely increases in complications and expenses imposed on the resale of the existing stock of residential and commercial property. 

It's really simple!

Below is an email in response to finding yet another Climate Change Science website with more information that most would or could wade through. I wouldn't suggest that the science is unimportant, but it's fine tuning from the viewpoint of a society that is headed toward a cliff and is so concerned about how fast it can proceed toward the brink that it may not be able to stop before plunging over the edge--that would leave the learning how to fly part to subsequent generations--I hope they are quick learners. 

I think one of the perceived problems is that there is now an overabundance of information about climate change. Defining the scope of the problem, creating a plan and implementing that plan draws on science, sociology, psychology, ethics , etc, etc. 

No one is well versed in all that stuff---nor can most even keep pace the advances in knowledge in just one discipline 

BUT we don't need to understand the details. The right wing nuts keep suggesting that if we don't understand climate change we shouldn't do anything to curb CO2 emissions. 

That's a logically flawed argument. We understand LITTLE about our world these days, but that doesn't stop us from interacting with it. 

We drive cars on the freeway--but we don't know what makes a car work or how the freeway was constructed. We fly on airlines--not knowing how the plane was designed or how the air traffic control technology operates.

We use our planet, but understand little about it. 

We can see that what our ancestors did had an impact on our present lives. Cities are located in certain places because of our ancestors--natural resources are depleted--landscape changes--all just in a matter of decades. We KNOW what we do in the present will impact later generations. 

Does anyone really believe that population and energy use can continue to expand indefinitely without dire consequences? 

Is is really VERY simple--LOTS of people (how about everyone?) need to reduce their CO2 emissions NOW.  
Timing is critical--more critical than the amount. 

Renewables and big initiatives are also important, but behavior can change fast and little changes multiplied by millions of people equals a big reduction--and it doesn't matter WHERE it happens--it's one atmosphere.

Affluent countries can reduce CO2 use by a greater amount than poor countries--and hardly notice a change in lifestyle. That's OK--the only equity we need to worry about is that we all live on ONE planet. 

The politics just gets in the way and encourages buck passing.