thursday, january 04, 2007

Spring is here!

Not really.  But we're still waiting for the snow.  I'm considering starting some of my early spring projects a few months early, as the weather might be suitable for a few concepts.  It's been warm enough, certainly.  Which brings me to my next topic...

I’ve spent about the last week laid up in bed, sick with various flavors of whatever is going around.  In doing so, I had the chance to enjoy a few movies.  Two of these impressed me, and I thought I’d share. 

There have been times I’ve been labeled as a tree hugger… or whatever.  I’ve been known to transplant the trees that the power company had marked to cut down on my property because they were under power lines.  In other cases, I might a bit outspoken in instances where people might cut down 300+ year old trees because they feel their grass isn’t green enough, which I find to be somewhat insensitive and selfish.  I catch and release.  Regretably, I do drive a bit of a gas hog, which was probably a poor choice in retrospect.  I buy local and organic produce whenever possible (it just tastes better anyway).  I try to do what I can.  I’ve always had a bit of a sentiment toward nature and the outdoors, as I spend a great deal of my time there - shooting, wandering - and in many ways, it is my haven.  I've always been like that.  But I digress, to get to the point... 

The first movie, An Inconvenient Truth, never made it to a theater in this area, but is available on cable pay per view or on demand and DVD now.  This is an insightful and interesting, if not saddening, movie addressing the facts behind the global warming crisis. 

The second movie, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” is more related to the auto and oil industries and their “efforts” toward producing lower or zero emission vehicles.  Overall, this movie offers some reveleations regarding the efforts of some businesses when it comes to greenhouse gases, the environment and factors contributing to global warming, among other topics. 

Unfortunately, global warming has been a back-burner topic of discussion in the mainstream media for many years, taking second to whatever high priority topic of the week / month the media may be focusing on – Iraq, social security, Britney and K-fed, Rosie and Donald, etc – and has also been a topic for which there has been much false doubt created by various large companies and politicians in recent history years.  This is really something that needs to become an issue in the forefront of people’s minds – particularly considering some of the recent intense weather patterns as a result of a warming atmosphere, shifting of ice shelves and melting of glaciers.

While it is encouraging to see a bi-partisan effort rallying around the idea of making progress in these areas, the reality is that we rarely begin making real progress on solving anything in the US until things have reached a critical stage, particularly if it is something as non-visible as global warming.  Recent efforts by the current administration seem very much counter to these goals and ideals.  My feeling is that this will take time.  Aside from personal consumption of electricity or gas / oil, some of the biggest contributing factors toward global warming are big corporations, who are going to be hard to persuade to make any changes unless laws and regulations are changed and enforced.  Since being more eco-conscious will most certainly have an impact on profitability, this reduces any internal incentive for these companies to make any efforts in these areas. I managed to find an interesting site which allows you to obtain details on commercial sources of pollution in your local area, and the results are sometimes quite surprising. 

Both of these movies really got me thinking, more so than I do already about these topics, so I started looking around and doing my own research.  Realistically, some of the biggest impact can come from making a personal effort toward change, simply because there’s power in numbers, as they say.  For example, if every house in the US swapped out a regular 60 watt filament bulb for an equivalent LED Light bulb, we would effectively save 24,184.4 mega (million) watts per day, basically the eliminating the need for one of the largest power plants in the US.  Now imagine if you changed two or three bulbs (and think of the reduction in your monthly energy bill).  Tankless water heaters were something else I looked into, which seem like a really cost effective alternative to traditional water heaters.  There are a lot of new technologies out there.  Note that there are also some tax credits available for home improvements that offer some energy improvement or environmental benefit.  A number of other tips can be found here, some of which you really should know already. 

In any event, these are must-see movies.  Check them out when you get a chance.  Join the global warming virtual march, another site which I’ve referenced a few times which is a good starting point for information on these issues.

More photos coming soon ----