In August, NBC ran a story on “a growing wave of Swedes who’ve given up flying because of carbon emissions produced by air travel…
“’Flying is an extremely carbon-intensive activity, and every flight avoided is a substantial emissions savings,’ said Kimberly Nicholas, a climate change researcher and lecturer at Lund University in Sweden.”
Can’t we escape those pesky Swedes? Next thing you know little Greta Thunberg will be telling U.S. senators – only Democrats in attendance – “Please save your praise. We don’t want it…Don’t invite us here to just tell us how inspiring we are without actually doing anything about it because it doesn’t lead to anything.”
Yeah, she did that last month. The Huffington Post posted the story from The Guardian: “If you want advice for what you should do, invite scientists, ask scientists for their expertise… We don’t want to be heard. We want the science to be heard.”
With the U.S. government led by greed-ridden despoilers of the only Earth we have, who are determined to wreak as much damage as they can in the name of short-term profits, individuals, organizations and educators have stepped into the leadership breach to provide direction for a sustainable world.
Mid-month, Common Dreams noted, “More than 700 scientists—and counting—have signed a declaration of support for the people around the world engaging in non-violent civil disobedience to pressure political leaders to act on the climate crisis…
“’As scientists, we have an obligation that extends beyond merely describing and understanding the natural world to taking an active part in helping to protect it,’ the document says.”
And individuals, many under the umbrella of Extinction Rebellion have protested in many nations to bring attention to the problem. And some voices are being heard.
One Republican (Stop the presses! senator, Mike Braun of Indiana, returned to D.C. last week after town hall meetings back home (again in Indiana) to join with Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat, to introduce “the first-ever bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus,” according to NBC News.
“Through this caucus,” Braun said, “we can have real conversations about protecting our environment, securing American’s energy future and protecting American manufacturing jobs.”
About the same time, the mayors of Paris, Los Angeles and Barcelona presented a Clean Air Cities” plan at a summit of global cities in Copenhagen “to discuss local strategies to combat climate change,” according to Catalan News.
Another story from Catalan News indicates why Barcelonans might be concerned: “The Mediterranean Sea has warmed up 20 percent faster than the world average since pre-industrial times.” And this means?
“The study forecasts significant damage to the human population and biodiversity in the area, due to the increase in frequency and severity of droughts, heat waves, and wildfires, with the level of the sea to increase by a meter by the year 2100.”
Gosh, sounds like the climate-change enhanced wildfires that have become the norm in California and the situation facing U.S. coastal cities such as Miami.
Reporting for Gray Television, Alana Austin recently reported, “on the large-scale efforts underway in South Florida to tackle climate change and sea level rise. Through millions of dollars in investments and coalitions across local governments and businesses, leaders hope to tackle these long-term public safety challenges.”
As she points out, one of the immediate dangers along coasts is that rising sea levels make hurricanes and tropical storms even more dangerous. Worse is that, “By the year 2100, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projects global sea levels could rise by more than six feet.”
One of the most effective non-governmental, pro-environmental strategies is also one of the cheapest.
The Nature Conservancy has called for the planting of a billion trees “across the planet. Trees provide so many benefits to our everyday lives. They filter clean air, provide fresh drinking water, help curb climate change, and create homes for thousands of species of plants and animals.”
And, yes, strategically planted, those trees can provide shade to our homes and reduce our air conditioning bills.
Oklahoma’s wind energy business is among the best in the country. Some countries are generating energy from the tidal waters – coming and going.
Blogging for the Union of Concerned Scientists Sept. 16, senior energy analyst John Rogers explained “five signs of clean energy progress.”
Topping his list is, “Solar power’s growth in the U.S. over the last decade has been a sight to behold…we’ve added enough solar panels on rooftops, in large arrays in deserts and everywhere in between in each of the last few years to generate zero-carbon electricity equivalent to 1-1.5 million typical household demands.”
Placing second is wind power: “With the growth to some 100,000 megawatts of turbines, we now have enough wind turbines to meet the electricity needs of some 30 million U.S. households.”
The combined effect of these clean energies rates third place on Rogers’ list: ‘We’ve upped the electricity contribution from solar and wind from one in every 71 kilowatt hours in 2009 to one in every 11 in 2018.”
The decline in dirty coal generating plants garners fourth spot, though Rogers points out that other fossil fuels have made coal an economical loser.
And, to spur the development of wind and solar energy, Rogers notes the improving quality of storage batteries for still or cloudy days.
KOTA TV in Rapid City reported Sept. 13 that more than 80 people had been at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology for a two-days “talking about the next generation of batteries.”
The goal is “to establish an international center at Mines to develop solid-state batteries that will be safer, cheaper and more efficient than what we have now….
“Entrepreneur in residence Kathryn Fitzgerald says, ‘Every person will be touched by this. If you use a cell phone or a smart phone, the devices you use will eventually have this. We had Medtronic here. It will eventually go into medical technology, implantables and wearables, electric vehicles, once they take off. By the way, that’s coming faster than anyone realizes probably in this area.’”
With no leadership from Dirty Donald Trump and his fossil fuel fools, it is good to know that some folks are looking out for our future.
(Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: scdpok.us or facebook.com/SCDPOK/.)