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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.


October 2019

DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE PLANET
By Jeff Stark


Save The WhalesThere is no doubt that the environmental movement is built on science. From the very beginning, the days of John Muir and Henry David Thoreau nascent environmentalists have relied on the science of the day to fuel their work and writings on the state of the natural world. As time went by the science of science evolved and we began to hear more about emerging environmental problems. This was in part because more of us were discovering more and more as science became better at identifying, characterizing and reporting.

Over time this new focus on the scope and origin of environmental threats began to focus on global problems. We began to understand how diverse ecosystems were interconnected and how a seemingly benign phenomenon in one area could be ... MORE


September 2019

SOLAR SURVIVAL
By Jeff Stark


There is no doubt that the environmental movement is built on science. From the very beginning, the days of John Muir and Henry David Thoreau nascent environmentalists have relied on the science of the day to fuel their work and writings on the state of the natural world. As time went by the science of science evolved and we began to hear more about emerging environmental problems. This was in part because more of us were discovering more and more as science became better at identifying, characterizing and reporting. Over time this new focus on the scope and origin of environmental threats began to focus on global problems. We began to understand how diverse ecosystems were interconnected and how a seemingly benign phenomenon in one area could be ... MORE Backup power from the sun Few scientific issues feature the near complete agreement that climate change does. According to the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change well over 95% of the thousands of scientists working on climate change science share the same interpretation of the massive store of climate data. The scientific consensus is firm and unshakable. Climate change is here, it is happening, and it needs to be effectively addressed.

With this in mind it seems clear that our task as a species is to prepare for the changes we know are happening, as well as the ones we have not yet identified. It is also time to make our protocols for dealing with climate change fully reflect ...MORE



August 2019

ENDANGERING SPECIES
by Jeff Stark


we're all know it alls Once again President Trump has shown us all that his lack of care for the state of the environment is second only to his lack of ability to manage the state of the economy. His latest outrage came in the form of announcing a new set of regulations that reduce the protections that the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has provided to wildlife and habitats of animal, fish, and plant life forms by reducing the efforts of the federal government to protect species that are in danger of disappearing forever.

The ESA was signed in 1973. Its basic mission requires the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service, to identify and protect species facing the risk of extinction. When a species is identified it is listed as endangered or threatened. It is then protected from hunting, harvesting or threatening the species by damaging its habitat. The government is then also required ... More



July 2019

WE'RE ALL KNOW IT ALLS
by Jeff Stark


we're all know it alls 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% and more of US all energy. Some locales, for example the island of Maui, are already approaching that figure. Today's sunshine harvesters are exponentially more efficient at ... More



June 2019

IT'S ABOUT TIME
by Jeff Stark


we're all know it alls For decades environmental advocates, here on Maui and around the world, have felt that time was on our side. The topics that consumed us - climate change, global warming, loss of species, pollution, and more - were pressing but not necessarily imminent. We knew the overall situation was getting worse every day. However, we felt that, if we continued our educational and field activities, that we had time to reverse the trends that the global efforts of climate scientists were reporting. In most cases we were able to tell our audience and our colleagues that time was on our side. Unfortunately, that time has now come and gone.

We know this because the scientists that study all aspects of global environmental issues are now reporting that, if we are to avoid global catastrophe, we have no time to waste. According to the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC), in their latest annual report, we will be on a path to ... More


May 2019

THE BOOKS OF LIFE
by Jeff Stark


Environmental ReadingThe 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

April 2019

HERE COMES THE SOLAR
BY Jon Bunyataran


Solar Power For All 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.

The 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



MARCH 2019

GREEN? NEW? DEAL?
By Jeff Stark


Green New Deal For AllAs 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 Potential Futuresideas 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



WINTER 2018

CAN WE INNOVATE OUR WAY OUT OF OUR CLIMATE CHANGE CHALLENGES?
ByJeff Stark


Citizens Climate Lobby volunteers 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