Educating, informing and motivating website visitors on a wide range of environmental topics. That has been the mission of Our Environment since the early 1990s. Each column features "What We Can Do" information to assist in acting on important and timely topics. Here are a few examples of our current work.
WE'RE ALL KNOW IT ALLS
by Jeff Stark
One of the most interesting characteristics of the climate change phenomenon is the fact that we're all know it alls. We have known how to solve this global threat for a long time. We've had windmills since the pioneer days when the prairies were dotted with primitive machines which pumped water to farmers, ranchers and growing towns. Solar panels made their debut in the public psyche when they supplied electricity to the first spaceships and orbital habitats. There was something magical about photovoltaics, and adherents tended to be off-the-grid, and sometimes off-the-wall. They even, occasionally, acted like know it alls. This undoubtedly accounts for some of the reasons that solar power had a difficult time breaking through as a mainstream product.
Even though the current versions of these technologies have evolved considerably the basics are relatively unchanged. Both wind and solar devices are more efficient, and less costly, than in the past. They still operate as harvesting technologies for energy from the sun. Most experts believe that solar photovoltaics, both residential and industrial, have the capability to provide over 40% of US energy. Some locales, for example the island of Maui, are already approaching that figure. Today's sunshine harvesters are exponentially more efficient ... More
THE BOOKS OF LIFE
by Jeff Stark
The summer reading season is approaching. This might be a good time to review the impact books can have on presenting environmental topics and ideas. It is also a good time to consider the fact that many of our old favorites, and new favorites, are life-affirming. By and large, the environmental literature educates and informs us and then gives us hope that we can make positive changes in our daily lives. This has been true since the early days of the environmental movement.
Many environmental volumes, written primarily by scientists, have led the way to education, enlightenment and action. Scientists have done the science, measured and observed, recorded their data and written their articles for the scientific journals. Most of those articles went mostly unreported and were noticed only in the scientific community if at all. Others, a small number, broke out and made an impact on ... More
HERE COMES THE SOLAR
BY Jon Bunyataran
Every passing year, the need for renewable energies becomes more apparent. The burning of fossil fuels is pumping
carbon into the atmosphere at an alarming rate, and the global
community can no longer ignore the catastrophic effects of this
practice. What was once a whisper of danger -- that unknown
species were going extinct in a remote part of the world, that
sea level rise is encroaching on poor island nations - is now a
dull roar. The majority of scientists and an international panel
of international climate scientists sounding the alarm bells.
good news is that there is a virtually inexhaustible fuel source
projecting energy towards the Earth every single day. Every
second photons traveling from the sun, at the speed of light,
strike our planet and produce an estimated 175 quadrillion watts
of energy, put another way, ... MORE
GREEN? NEW? DEAL?
By Jeff Stark
As President Trump's psychotic meltdown accelerates to its inevitable conclusion a new force is exploding on the scene. The optimism, enthusiasm and outright joy that the new membership of the House of Representatives brings is exuding a healing energy that we all have craved these past few years.
For those of us committed to environmental action this is literally a breath of fresh air. Day after day we are treated to new ideas, actions and the promise of more good news to come. Perhaps nowhere is this phenomenon as exciting as the explosion of new ideas known as the "Green New Deal." This initiative is unique in several ways. It has burst on the scene as an amorphous policy-like movement, instead of as a fully formed piece of legislation. It has originated largely from the House of Representatives "freshman class" rather than the established leadership of the house. It is very much a work in progress and will require a good deal of work to progress. ... ... MORE
CAN WE INNOVATE OUR WAY OUT OF OUR CLIMATE CHANGE CHALLENGES?
While opinions differ and climate change believers and non- believers gird their loins for battle, most people agree that climate change is happening now. This is one of the inevitable conclusions that the latest Intergovernment Panel On Climate Change annual report presents. The report states that "Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Centigrade would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society." Put simply, the scientific consensus makes it clear that climate change is everyone's problem. This, in turn means that the only viable solution is for all of us to become actively committed to work for a solution.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. While the report, and many other scientific studies, reveal a building crisis and accelerating timeline, active engagement of large portions of the population is still not where it should be ... MORE
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