Friday, February 24, 2006

Friday Hope Blogging

At Gristmill, David Roberts reports on a new study showing that climate-change deniers represent about seven percent of the American population. They’re even lonelier in the UK, Sweden, and Japan, where they comprise a maximum of three percent of the population. In short, they have about as big a following as the Flat Earth Society. The reality-based community has pretty much won the day, and it’s time for us to start ignoring these know-nothing lunatics, and start concentrating on practical steps that people can take to improve things…not because these steps will necessarily save the world, but because encouraging personal responsibility and local involvement is the right thing to do no matter what happens.

In a nice symbolic gesture, 100 percent of the energy for the Statue of Liberty and the immigration museum at Ellis Island will soon come from wind power. Meanwhile, Iowa’s Woodbury County is turning its back on industrial agriculture:

The county intends its organic-conversion tax break to help farms break away from the ruinous commodity system, in which prices have been falling steadily for 50 years. By selling real food -- as opposed to industrial inputs -- to a local market, farmers can charges prices that reflect the value of their goods, not machinations on the trading floor of the Chicago Board of Trade.
In Utah, duck hunters are calling for stricter mercury regulations in Nevada. And Willits, California is building a green hospital:
Some of the project goals identified for the new hospital and supported by the Howard Foundation are: water-efficient landscape design, light pollution reduction, water use reduction in building systems, CFC reduction in HVAC & R equipment, optimization of energy performance, storage and collection of recyclables, low-emitting paints and adhesives, indoor chemical pollutant source control, elimination of mercury, lead and cadmium, continuous thermal monitoring system, and full commissioning of the project into post occupancy.
In somewhat related news, the British Medical Journal reports on the feasibility of using behavioral medicine techniques to reduce the need for prescription drugs.

Also, a bacterium may be able to convert Styrofoam to a biodegradable plastic:
The microbes, a special strain of the soil bacterium Pseudomonas putida, converted polystyrene foam — commonly known as Styrofoam™ — into a biodegradable plastic, according to Kevin O’Connor, Ph.D., of University College Dublin, the study’s corresponding author. The study is among the first to investigate the possibility of converting a petroleum-based plastic waste into a reusable biodegradable form.
Last, I urge you to go and visit Collected Visions, a wonderful searchable archive compiling thousands of snapshots from family albums.

1 comment:

KM said...

They seem like opposite stories: Woodbury County helping their farmers get away from "machinations of the trading floor" but Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty buying wind energy credits, i.e., "machinations of the trading floor," instead of actual green energy.