Saturday, February 23, 2013

Help Fight Global Warming!

     "Why should I care about global warming?  It doesn't effect me."  This was a question that was recently posed to me by a friend.  Granted, the fact that he is actually acknowledging global warming is a huge step for him, still the question left me sputtering.  "You have a home that you heat and cool, and you own land.  You are trying to grow things on your land.  You eat food and complain about the high prices of food and fuel and yet you don't think that global warming effects you?" was my reply.  This was actually pretty nice and controlled.  I had some much stronger things running around in my head, but they would have offended without getting the point across.  They might have made me feel better but not him.
     Global warming is an all pervasive problem.  It is already effecting the weather both in terms of temperature extremes (higher highs and lower lows) and in precipitation amounts.  Some parts of the world are seeing greater amounts of rain than they have ever experienced and others have had five or more years of deficit - enough to lower their permanent water tables.  If you are trying to grow plants on your land, these things seriously effect you.  If you even remotely care for the wildlife of the world, this translates to animals that cannot get enough food at the right times of the year to survive, exposure to greater temperature extremes the cause greater stress, and exposure to more violent weather that puts them in peril.  Ignoring the problem or waiting for the other guy to solve it is really no longer an option for any of us.  We all have to do our part!
     To that end, there are a couple of things that are currently available to anyone who cares to try them.  Although they are very small in their impact, they are a start and a lot of tiny efforts can easily lead to a noticeable change in the right direction.
     The first thing that you can do is to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count.  Although this count is over for this year - it happened last week - it is an ongoing effort.  This count tracks birds throughout the world to get a better idea of the numbers and species of birds inhabiting locations around the world.  It is backyard amateur science with some very real results for the collective world scientific body of knowledge.  It is also easy and fun.  To participate, you simply go to the website: and sign up.  During the appointed week, you take a little bit of time out of your day to record the birds that you see in your location over a specific period of time (in fifteen minute intervals).  Then you post that information on the website.  This does not help reduce global warming, but it does help scientists work to help wildlife through the changes that they will need to make.
     The next thing that you can do will help slow global warming.  You can work to use less energy and to ensure that at least some of the energy you use is renewable.  We all can find ways to save energy, from switching our incandescent light bulbs to less consumptive ones to walking instead of taking short car trips.  Be creative.  To help you in this effort, National Geographic has put together an energy calculator.  This lets you see how you measure up against others in your area and the world.  It's easy and informative.  This can be accessed by going to the following website: and selecting energy.  You will be directed to take the energy challenge.  By the way, I scored in at 65% less than the average energy usage for this area.  It helps to live in a passive solar house!  I challenge you to beat my score.
     Finally, I challenge you to participate in Earth Hour.  This is the World Wildlife effort to make people more aware of their energy use.  This year it will occur on March 23 and as always is only an hour of your day.  For one hour WWF asks people around the world to turn off the lights and electricity and go dark.  This is not such a hard task and it has some real impacts.  For information on this event go to: .
     Global warming is real and it is effecting everyone whether they are willing to admit it or not.  Fight back.  Do your part to help solve the problem.

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