Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Arrival of Environment as Restoration

Just imagine this. Your arctic environment is melting, and threatens the world as a whole with an extenuating  release of migraine level climate warming gas known as methane. OK, now what do you do?

Well of course, you take measures to restore the environment to how it was some 10,000 years ago.

Sergei Zimov is the environmentalist who was also featured in my previous post.

Fortunately for Missouri students and hobby level environmentalists like me we have some judicious journalists who are interested in this subject and willing to post AP news stories about the likes of Sergei Zimov.

Thank heavens for small favors and the irrepressible spirit of science to search for hope.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Is permafrost losing permanency?

Putting things into perspective, we live on a finite planet. Russia is close enough to Sarah Palin that she says she can see it across the Bering Strait from her back yard. With this map you can examine the fact that the methane leak reported in the above article is not all that far away from us. The atmosphere is in danger according to scientific discovery. That is where the methane will end up.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Here is an excellent article in Grist that spells out the difference in land depletion between the use of coal and the use of solar .

Meanwhile, our friends in Labadie, MO are still working hard to convince the EPA that a coal ash dump site out there should not be allowed. It sits right on the Missouri River. Coal use has become a dastardly act in my mind, and Ameren UE is providing us electricity from its use. Well, what can we do?

Couldn't we simply install residence by residence solar that can be plugged into the grid? How long might this concept take to get into successful replacement of fossil fuel? How many panels per residence, etc.?

In a small town in Portugal a solar plant was established within range of the community. How was this worked out, I wonder-- as a countryside version of space use, or integrated into the town itself? These articles don't go into specifics to such a degree.

We have so many flat roofed big box buildings in the USA that are nothing but wasted space in my own aesthetic mind. They have impacted some communities positively economically, but in other ways destroyed small communities in our urban towns that often were originally populated by poor or middle class home owners of specific minority or ethnic backgrounds. In some cases they have been positioned in close competition with other such stores, and have since gone out of business or relocated, leaving behind the empty large spread of a building surrounded by parking lots. This has been occurring so rapidly since the 1980s that they have virtually "paved paradise . . . ."

I can still remember the brand new Farmington Walmart filling up with wide-eyed country folk who looked up at the high shelves and the expanse of the whole place with wonder. Boxes and boxes of stuff. The small stores in small towns thereabouts were hurting over it.

My small daughter was fascinated until she saw a large aquarium filled with catfish. She was used to seeing them swimming free in a lake. She was furious that they were trapped them into such a small space in order to be fed to people-- thinking of them as beings.

Couldn't some of those buildings be advantaged into usefulness for the good of the community in a broader sense? A lot of us are still angry about this slow economy, & some will be suffering until it is really back in business. Perhaps some of us could come together in our own residential areas to stun up some responsibility out of especially the larger chain stores which do want to attract us to shop at their businesses. Couldn't they invest in solar panel gardens on their roofs and unused parking expanses? It would be a simple way for us to demand that they look at their bottom lines as dependent on their shoppers, remembering their good fortune, indicating that they can accept cultural responsibility for the greater good of all. Local ordinances might help. Utility companies could be regulated into cooperating with the right push from responsible legislators.

This is a proposal that I am just thinking up by myself, but if you would like to consider working towards a similar goal for a more sustainable urban environment I hope my good karma will carry me toward you in the coming months, while I am also tending to the home fires of my health and, hopefully, some new residential address that works better for me.
You might notice more and more solar panels have been installed on private residences in the inner suburban town where I live, Maplewood, MO. Most of them are on the older homes of relatively prodigious size that were built a century more or less ago. Homeowners are definitely looking for solutions to their heating and energy costs.

More to come.