Archive for June 2011
You may consider that climate change and fixing environmental issues is a huge undertaking and that you as an individual can do nothing to assist with keeping our planet green. Well there are a large number of things individuals can do, to ensure that our environment stays clean, green and sustainable.
Firstly, lets look at your home. Do you consume large amounts of electricity and water? Do you think you could reduce your water consumption? Could you survive with having half the amount of shower time? Is your garden suitable for your climate, or does it consume large amounts of water?
These are some of the areas where water savings can be made and therefore reducing your water costs and also saving the environment. The recommended level of water consumption is approximately 140 litres per person per day. Do you exceed this level?
Look at ways of reducing your water consumption. Take shorter showers, turn the water off when brushing teeth and only back on to rinse off. Plant drought resistant plants, or suitable plants for your climate that don’t require large amounts of water. Remember if you reduce your water consumption you also reduce your water rates and taxes, thereby saving you money.
Next let look at electricity consumption and whether or not you can reduce your energy needs just by managing the lights around your home, and turning off appliances that are not in use, just don’t leave them on stand-by. There is a wide range of energy efficient appliances and star rating systems that let you know which appliances and devices are energy-efficient and to what level. When buying new appliances, choose an appliance that displays high star energy rating that will not consume as much power as other models.
Have you replaced all your light bulbs with energy efficient ones? Just by replacing the light bulbs in your household will reduce your energy consumption. Also look at turning lights off, as soon as you leave a room and perhaps not have as many lights on in your home. Yes, it might be nice to light up your garden at night, but unless you are entertaining is it necessary to have them turned on every night? Think about the money you will save, just by saving electricity in your home. And remember electricity is set to increase by 30% over the next few years and possibly more once the carbon tax is introduced in Australia.
Other ways of assisting the environment is to choose products and services that have been certified green and environmentally friendly. You don’t need to stop purchasing items, but just choose products that assist with the environment. Here is a list of things you can do which are easy to achieve and all assist with keeping our environment clean and green:
Purchase your fruit and vegetables from local markets and choose organic produce. Avoid buying fruit and vegetables from the major supermarkets where the produce has been stored for up to 6 months using additional electricity and a range of chemicals to keep it fresh.
Reduce your electricity consumption and offset the costs by buying green power which comes from renewable energy sources such as solar power, wind power and even natural gas.
Reduce your water consumption and utilize water savings devices where possible.Look for green products when buying. Green products include products and services rated as carbon neutral. Carbon neutral products and services have offset their carbon footprint by purchasing carbon credits in green projects and schemes.
Buy organic foods, skin care and personal care items. If we increase the demand of organic products not only will the cost come down but the range and variety of products will increase and eventually become mainstream.
Only use re-useable shopping bags. Never use plastic ones, or if you do make sure you use them again as garbage bags. Never let plastic bags be disposed of in water ways.
Consider walking or riding your bike to the shop instead of driving. Not only will your health and fitness benefit from this, it will save the environment, reduce wear and tear of your vehicle and save you money as well.
There is a wide range of things that you can do, without having to change your habits too much, that assist in keeping our environment green and clean. Do you want your children to live in a healthy environment or one that is polluted? It is the little things that matter and if we all contribute equally we can make a change. We can assist in climate change and can make a difference to our environment.
Buffers are found in all ecosystems. Why should you care enough about that to invest time reading this? I think the exercise will explain a lot about how and why climate change will affect your life as it continues to increase in its intensity. It is not particularly complicated.
The dictionary defines the word buffer as: A person or thing that lessens shock or protects from damaging impact, circumstances, etc The buffering capacity of an ecosystem (and all ecosystems have this, including our atmosphere), is much like the bumper on a car. On a car, the bumper is there to absorb the minor impacts experienced in everyday driving but, no one believes it will provide much protection in a full on accident. The size or capacity of any physical feature of a natural system, buffers included, is determined by two rules of the natural world: the Use it or lose it, rule and the other, the What you need is what you get rule. A buffer that is either seldom or, infrequently tested, will see its buffering capacity shrink over time while on the other hand, a system constantly attacked by forces equal or greater than the size of existing buffers, will see its buffering capacity increase. The Vostok Ice Core studies established that our atmosphere has been remarkably stable for several million years. That being the case we should expect the use it or lose it rule to have reduced the atmosphere’s buffering capacity to a minimum.
To be considered destabilized, an ecosystem must have experienced a sufficient amount of unintended change or, disruption in its operation, that it can no longer return to its original stable form. If the change or disruption had been within the capacity of the ecosystem’s buffers, it would be able to reestablish its equilibrium just by doing what it had always done and you probably wouldn’t even notice that there had been a problem. However, once an ecosystem becomes destabilized, its elements begin to thrash about as they seek out new relationships that could lead to establishing a brand new ecosystem. That struggle would be readily apparent to an observer since it would be characterized by a severe increase in the extremes of behavior of its various members. Bottom line: Once you exceed an ecosystems buffering capacity and destabilize its operation, it is no longer possible to return it to its original form by simply removing or reducing the source of the instability.
Applying all of that to climate change; has the 40% increase in atmospheric CO2, exceeded the buffering capacity of our atmospheric ecosystem? If the answer is no, then we should still be able to reestablish equilibrium by eliminating our greenhouse gas emissions. That would allow the atmosphere to continue doing what it has always done (as mentioned above) and the currently high levels of CO2 would naturally decline and things would return to normal. If the buffers have been exceeded, destabilizing the atmosphere then reducing our carbon footprint will not solve the problem even though it might be an important component of a strategy for long term survival on earth.
Given the evidence, all solid, believable stuff, there shouldn’t be the slightest lingering doubt that the atmospheric ecosystem has exceeded its buffering capacity and is now fully destabilized. One of many the signs should explain. For the past 17 years earth’s temperature has been steadily increasing. Over the same time frame the total quantity of ice (polar caps, glaciers, etc) has been in decline as melting exceeds new snowfall most years. Add to those to events the fact that CO2 levels will remain at their current, unstable level for thousands of years and you have the â€œno going backâ€ scenario described above. More heat less ice no relief in sight before the ice is all gone. You don’t need to figure out the rest of it, do you?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change went ‘beyond its remit’ according to the latest independent review into its work.
Last night (August 30) the IPCC said it welcomed the findings of the independent review by the InterAcademy Council an umbrella group for various national academies of science from around the world.
According to the report the process used by the IPCC to produce its periodic assessment reports has been successful overall, but it needs to ‘fundamentally reform its management structure’ and ‘strengthen its procedures’ to handle ever larger and increasingly complex climate assessments as well as the more intense public scrutiny.
“Operating under the public microscope the way IPCC does requires strong leadership, the continued and enthusiastic participation of distinguished scientists”, said Harold Shapiro, president emeritus and professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University in the United States and chair of the committee that wrote the report.
“An ability to adapt, and a commitment to openness if the value of these assessments to society is to be maintained.”
The review, which took nearly four-months, examined every aspect of how the IPCC’s periodic climate science assessments are prepared, including the use of non-peer reviewed literature and the reflection of diverse viewpoints.
The review also examined institutional aspects, including management functions as well as the panel’s procedures for communicating its findings to the public.
“The IPCC will be strengthened by this review and by others of its kind this year,” said its chairman Rajendra Pachauri.
“We already have the highest confidence in the science behind our assessments. We’re now pleased to receive recommendations on how to further strengthen our own policies and procedures.”
National governments, which form the IPCC, will study the review at a plenary in October, the 194 governments will determine what action to take then.
Six other independent reviews have looked at various aspects of climate science this year. Of those that examined the quality of the science itself, all of them found that the IPCC’s work had been carried out appropriately.
Mr Pachauri and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon jointly requested the IAC review in March 2010.