Monday, January 25, 2010

e2 Series

Morgan Freeman narrates this great series of energy reports into different energy stories. Community windfarms in the US; poorer nations using renewable energy; the possible future of cars ... there are many examples of how becoming more sustainable in our energy use also helps our economies.

Episodes are also available as webcasts from the e2 website. I highly recommend this series. It's theme is very well summed-up in the pre-amble at the beginning of each episode.
Was it a conscious decision or a momentary lapse of reason? How did progress take priority over humankind?
Could harnessing the world's energy that allowed our ascent, now be the lynchpin of our downfall?
It's about facing what seem to be insurmountable challenges and seeing them for what they really are - opportunities to reinvent and redesign.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

50 Tips in One

50 Ways to Help the Planet is a collection of little ideas that are easy to do. Some of them save money, most of them save energy, and all of them play a part in reducing greenhouse emissions.

50 ways

There's also a well-designed desktop background with all the symbols on it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mark Lynas - Quotes

I was re-listening to ABC's Science Show which interviewed British climate change author Mark Lynas. He has a great way of summing up the situation in a few quick sentences. About Australia:

Australia is a case in point of a country that could transform itself onto solar power - in the blink of an eye, essentially. It's got huge areas of landmass which are essentially unproductive for agricultural pruposes and have wall to wall sunshine for most of the year and they're just lying bone idle - and yet you're busy burning coal. I mean nothing could be more insane.

And about the climate change situation in general:

It's not as if we're completely stupid. I mean we have all these scientists out there telling us what we need to do. We have all these sociologists and politicians who know how to do it. And yet somehow we're still staring at the headlights like a startled rabbit.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Journey Through Climate History

The ABC have recently put together a timeline of climate history, which is very user friendly. Hovering over a timeline icon brings up a summary. More info can be found by clicking the icon.

Some events are temperature and CO2 measurements - and you can see them change as you move through the timeline.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Public Enemy No 1

That's the moniker given to carbon in this documentary that was recently on SBS. It's a great introduction to climate change as well as looking at some of the solutions.

In one part they interviewed one of they guys that helped on the Stern report, looking at how much climate change would cost the economy if we do nothing about it. The answer? 5,500 billion dollars.

I guess this is why people are starting to realise that a good economy relies on a good environment.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Here's One Tonne!

I've previously shown what one tonne of carbon dioxide looks like. But i like this demonstration - captured by environmental photographer Gary Braasch.

Remember, each year in Australia we release the equivalent of almost 30 of these for each person in the country!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Nick Stern on Climate Change

In 2006, Sir Nicholas Stern was commissioned by the UK government to do a analysis of how much climate change will cost the British economy (known as the Stern Report). In the lead up to Copenhagen, the ABC broadcast a speech he gave in Britain. [here's the mp3]

At the start he gives a quick summary of climate change. He explains what a 5 degree increase means. Humans have never seen it. It was 30 million years ago. Humanity has only been around 200,000 years. Even a 3 degree increase hasn't occurred for 3 million years (still before humans). He sums it up as follows:

...what we can now see is that the risks that we run are not small probabilities of something unpleasant, they're big probabilities of something catastrophic."

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Hottest Decade

Yesterday i showed the 2009 climate. But for me, this is the scarier graph:

The red line is the year-by-year temperature (and 2009 is the 2nd hottest ever) but it's the grey bars that make it super-serious. They are the decade averages, and since the 1940s, each decade has been warmer than the last, with the 'noughties' the warmest so far.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

2009 in Australia

In Australia we have a couple of traditional new year events emerging. One is Australia having an amazing win in the cricket. Another is the Bureau of Meteorology announcing the previous year's data. This is Australia in 2009.

The small blue areas were cooler than average last year. White areas were about average. Yellow indicates warmer than average. Orange means last year was in the hottest 10% of history. Deep orange areas had their hottest year ever.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Dr Seuss on Copenhagen

OK, it's not the actual Dr Seuss, but the guys from the Now Show put together this poem about the goings-on at Copenhagen last year. Obviously, there's no visual - it's a radio show.

There's lots of funny bits throughout, but it ended like this...
...and decided decisively, right there and then
that the best way to solve it's to meet up again
and decide on a future that's greener and greater
not with action right now, but with something else later.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Help for Renters

Sometimes it can be tricky being a renter. We'd like to install solar panels, solar hot water, water tanks etc, but we can't. However, i have discovered a good booklet of tips that renters can do to save money and the environment.

The Renter's Guide to Sustainable Living has actions for each room of the house, shows which ones might need owner permission, and gives advice for communicating with landlords.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Bedtime Story

Apparently this ad caused a bit of a stir in the UK for its potential to scare children. It was suggested that it only be shown after 9pm. I can't help but think that if a mere story-book-ad about climate change is too scary for children, then perhaps we should be doing more about the real-life climate change these children will face (rather than complaining about ads).

By the way, there is an accompanying website called Change how the story ends.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Places To Remember

More than just a collection of photographs, 100 Places to Remember (before they disappear) features places that are either threatened, or will be completely destroyed, because of climate change.

There is also an interactive map of the 100 places - with pics, video and info about each place and its future. On a more positive note, there is also a section entitled 100 solutions which lists some of the actions that can counteract the problem.

Friday, January 01, 2010

A Green Year (and Airconditioners)

I figured that January 1 is a good time to start reading the book The Green Year. It's basically a diary-format book with a tip per day of things we can do to be green.

One of the tips i read today was about airconditioners. (Yes, i'm kinda cheating by reading more than a day at a time - it's a library book, so i don't have all year). Anyway, the tip: Clean the filter - easy airflow makes the unit much more efficient.

Oh, and a couple of things about the book: some of the tips don't specifically relate to greenhouse emissions (it's more about being green in general) and coming from america, a lot of numbers are in pounds, gallons and degrees Fahrenheit.