Here are some stories that I have found interesting in the past little while:
- MACLEAN'S magazine, Canada's answer to Time Magazine has an August 30, 2010 cover story entitled, Extreme Weather Warning: Fires. Floods. Freak storms. Droughts. Why it’s only going to get worse. My question is, are we gong to fritter away the next two decades, just as we have from the time when Time magazine warned us of the same problems in their first cover story of January 1989, entitled, "Endangered Planet"?
- The Confused Capitalist has, at least, highlighted some investment things to think about on a warming planet. He says that Compass Minerals (CMP), a highway salt distributor, is one stock to stay away from. In the broader view, he says that "Climate change investment strategy, as I will begin to explore over the coming while, involves a very few great opportunities, some good opportunities, and a whole lot of businesses to stay away from ..."
- Created some 700 years ago, Delhi's 18 major "nullahs," or storm drains, and their 15,000 sub-branches originally provided a drainage system for excess rainwater. Now, most carry household sewage into the heavily polluted Yamuna River. Cleaning them up won't be easy, but urban planner and architect Manjit Rastogi says his Delhi Nullahs revitalization project would have extensive environmental, cultural, and transportation benefits, and make India's capital safer for its 17 million residents. (via TreeHugger)
- Bamboo Houses from Tonji University built for a solar decathlon is a beautiful house design containing "bamboo solar power arrays capable of producing 9 kilowatts of electricity for the bedroom and living room. As houses with a combination of traditionalism and modernity, the state-of-the art technology and traditional Chinese architecture, they include a humidity and temperature control system, a bamboo garden and have a high level of thermal insulation systems." (via materilicious)
- And from the same company that brings you the Discovery Channel, green sex tips (warning, mature content). Whodda thunk it? Not me.
- "How did you become an activist?" I was surprised by the question. I never considered myself an activist. I am a slow-paced taciturn scientist from the Midwest US. Most of my relatives are pretty conservative. I can imagine attitudes at home toward "activists". - NASA climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, describes his turn towards activism. (via Guardian).
- Ideas like the recently completed sun umbrellas (see above) in Spain's Cordoba city can help to connect neighborhoods and promote pedestrian use in hot climates. (via inhabitat). A wonderful idea, but would it be too much to ask that all skyward facing areas be colored white, in order to increase the albedo effect, and help provide a cooling effect until we move to a greenhouse-gas-free future? (via St. Petersburg Times/tampabay.com)
- Any move to educate the public and change habits involves "propaganda" (defined as highly targeted messaging). Here's some propaganda from the past that have informed and inspired previous generations of Americans, during past war era imperatives. (via Grist). Changing behaviours in the face of climate change is no less an important battle than fighting current and past "real" wars. Climate activists, particularly those in government, could do a lot worse than to lift some of these ideas straight into today's world.
- An unfortunate glimse of the future can be seen from the unprecedented (at least in the past 1000 years) Russian heat wave. Economic losses from the forest fires alone are estimated to top $300 Billion (AFP via Google), while food inflation in Russia has turned markedly upwards (AFP via Yahoo).
- At the European Solar Decathlon contest earlier this year, university students compete to build green sustainable housing with solar advantages. Unfortunately, the two American entries come up well short, placing 10th and 16th (out of 17 entries), behind such "solar hotbeds" as Finland, and Britian. (via US Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon)
- For those hoping that some future technological answer will magically eliminate all climate issues, geoengineering has a lot of potential problems (via BBC)
- And our highlighted link today, over at the Climate Change Leadership Forum, they have an absolutely frightening "doomsday clock" - take a look.
- In some good news on the chemical front, Canada is in the process of a historic move to add bisphenol-A (BPA) to its list of toxic substances, Environment Canada confirmed Wednesday. The chemical used in making plastic has become increasingly controversial since the Canadian government promised two years ago it would designate it a toxic substance. Its estrogen-like effects are suspected of creating havoc with hormone levels (via The Star)