Thursday, October 15, 2009

blog action day 2009: climate change

i am honored to take part in the global initiative, blog action day, for 2009. this year's topic: climate change. not being terribly scientific but, rather, somewhat observant i thought i'd write about what we personally have experienced this year and what we can do to maybe shift the...shift.

albuquerque, traditionally the high and dry desert, has an average rainfall of about 9 inches a year. over the past several years albuquerque has far outpaced that average. it is rainier than normal, and of course few people are complaining. i remember living there in 1995 and there was a record stretch of absolutely no precipitation for over 9 months straight. extra rain in the desert doesn't seem like a big deal--no water restrictions, the plants look better, it smells nice--but it is not the norm; it is likely a symptom of climate change.

here in eastern iowa, it is a very different story as this year alone several undesirable records were set: one of the coldest months ever recorded in january, a late last frost date, coldest average temperatures in july on record, rainiest august on record...and this october is on track to be much colder than average, too. why is this important? because iowa is a farm state; we grow copious amounts of corn and soybean here. without those two crops our food industry, for better or worse, would fail. and despite personal opinions about the viability of the american model of agriculture, and i admit to having very strong ones, crop failure due to climate change is something we should all care very much about. of course, the corn and soybean reports for 2009 in iowa say this was a bumper i'm not really sure where i'm going with this. perhaps i should have examined the melting of the ice caps and the reduction of polar bear habitat. i do know that there was a ton of blight on veggies of the non-corn and soybean variety here because of the lack of sun...

back to the issue at hand: if we accept that climate change is a very real shift in our world, which i do, even if i can't prove that it is happening exactly where i live (sorry), what can we do to slow or halt the progress of such? MANY THINGS.

this is a selection of what we as a family do:
1. rich rides his bike, every day, rain or shine or snow or freezing whatever, to work and back.
2. gus walks, every day, rain or shine or snow or freezing whatever, to school and back.
3. i shop at farmer's markets and buy locally-grown (i.e. not transported from another state or country) meats, fruits and vegetables.
4. i try to limit the amount of meat our family eats, but i admit we still probably eat too much.
5. i drive a hybrid car when i need to drive (please no emails about how bad the batteries are for the environment).
6. we turn off lights when we leave a room and unplug appliances when they aren't in use.
7. we reuse then recycle everything possible.
8. we keep our house well-maintained.
9. we teach our children about the importance of hindering global warming and to make mindful choices in order to combat it.

of course, i am always open to other suggestions and i would love to know what you do to lessen your impact. interested in rapidly reducing your personal carbon footprint? join me (and lots of others) for no impact week (a carbon cleanse) starting on october 18th. it should be an adventure; i'm sure i will be terrified to learn exactly how bad we are.

be good, use common sense.

1 comment:

  1. 11. You inspire your little sister by setting good examples and giving her a copy of "An Inconvenient Truth".
    12. Because of your inspiration, your little sister only uses Green Mountain Energy - Wind and Solar to add to the grid of Houston.
    13. You blog instead of sending letters (though I know you love pretty pretty paper ;).
    14. Don't you use recycled bags? I always forget to put them back in my car. At least they are owned.
    15. Someday we both aspire for solar panels!!! -- We have a Father who bought (then sold) a house with solar panels.
    16. Jake drives our glass to the recycling center - awaiting the day for curbside pickup in our neighborhood (which is despicable Houston is without). We even have bins to sort them into colors.
    17. Right now, our paper/plastic/aluminum recycling bin consists of two full 10 gallon containers and 4 brown paper bags (after only 1 week.. however, this is a little skewed.. we are status post party).

    We do get negative one point for buying a non-efficient new car - a truck, no less. They didn't have a prius for him to test drive. BUT, He is willing to trade it in when there is a Tacoma hybrid...

    xoxo - I am proud of you! L