Planet Earth Weekly

Climate Change and Renewable Energy: Saving Our Planet for Future Generations


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Climate Change and Overconsumption

Sustainable living

“Overconsumption exists when resources are consumed at an unsustainable level as measured by the ecosystem’s capacity.” Pielc.org

By Linn Smith

“Medical researchers and climate scientists note that viral outbreaks may become more common with the progression of the climate crisis, which is affecting the movement of humans, animals and pathoogens.”
Earth Institute/Columbia University.

Sitting here quarantined in Colorado I have consistent reminders to stay home. This isn’t too hard for me… yet…as a green belt along the creek is just a few steps away, enabling me to walk the dog or ride bike for miles. I am also fortunate to have good neighbors that are taking advantage of the same thing….but we do stay 6 ft apart!

Working toward 100% renewables

Making Changes to Save Our Planet

I have wondered if this is the kind of drastic measures we need, not only to stop the spreading virus, but also to make the changes necessary to save our planet. For years I and many others have been preaching ways to consume less. We are now making the changes out of fear and responsibility to save our population. We find ourselves using less because we don’t want to make those dreaded runs to the grocery store or order from Amazon, where warehouse workers have now been diagnosed with Covid-19.

I can’t help thinking that this is the type of fear we need to sustain humanity on our planet in the future…..for those are the beings that are going to be hit hardest by climate change and possible lack of food. Dr. John J. Hidore and I have provided the public with many articles stating scientific facts to support the future outlook of our planet, so I won’t bore you with statistics here.

Landfill

The Arizona landfill

This past winter I have spent many days hiking up the side of a mountain in Arizona, looking over my shoulder at the valley below. Deep in the valley appears to be a sizable mountain, but in actuality it is a landfill made into what appears to be a mountain, radiating toxicity. When I see this site I often think, “We can do better!”

The Effect of Impulse Buying on our Environment

We are an impulse-buying nation with very little thought into the future of how the products and packaging we purchase will eventually be that great mountain of garbage which dresses the landscape in every city, county, state and country. We fail to ask ourselves,”How will what I buy effect our environment in the future?”

I grew up on a farm in the Midwest. We grew and canned our own food, had dairy cows and chickens and were pretty self sufficient. The nearest neighbors were at least half a mile away. I learned to be resourceful and inventive out of necessity. It seems we have lost the ability to use our imaginations, accepting the fact that hopping in our gas guzzling vehicles and traveling to the store is the answer to all of our problems, i.e. our needs and wants. We fail to ask ourselves, “If I want this, what resources do I already have that I might use to make something that is close to what I want?” (This was pretty easy as a kid with a big imagination!) We can ask ourselves, “Can I borrow something that I need? Can I repair something? Can I convert something no longer useful to something I want?” Yes, many of us have lost the ability to create, convert or adapt!

Recycle

Create, Convert, Adapt

If it’s food, can I make what I need instead of buying it prepackaged at the grocery store? For example, I have lived, at least part-time, in the southwest U.S. for many years, beginning my teaching career in New Mexico. There I learned that you can eat just about anything in a tortilla and this habit has stuck with me throughout the years. I recently ran out of tortillas….but I have flour and I know they are very easy to make! (Just for fun here is a song about tortillas that depicts my sentiment exactly. It is sung by Petey Ronstadt, Linda Ronstadt’s nephew. I was fortunate to see him and talk to him a few times in Tucson. For a little entertainment, take a listen https://youtu.be/7-qQJzOq7u8)

So, swinging back from tortillas to climate change, is there something we can learn from these times of turmoil? Can we use less, drive less, stay at home more, borrow, make or ask ourselves, “Do I really need it? If I really do need it, could I buy quality goods that last longer, and have a plan to reduce, reuse or recycle?” The answer is yes. We can do it!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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The Future of Electric Cars: 2020 and Beyond (Part 1)

The electric car

Electric vehicles are on the rise.

“The spread of EVs may also open up opportunities to provide storage support for renewables.”

By Linn Smith

Elon Musk and Tesla are always igniting my interest in electric vehicles! My fascination with the Cybertruck first appeared a few months back when Tesla revealed this truck on Instagram. My first thought….what a really odd truck! But then appeared the tug of war between the Ford F-150, the most popular gas guzzler, and Tesla’s Cybertruck. The Ford truck wasn’t one of the heavier duty trucks produced by Ford, but it was a fun match to watch and the Cybertruck won hands down!

The Cybertruck

Cybertruck wins!

Why does the Cybertruck look so odd? Musk states this prototype contains layers of metals which are so heavy and thick they lack flexibility as in the typical auto, which often has softer curved lines. Musk says the actual truck will not go into production for at least a year and that the design will look “slightly better!”

The Cybertruck

Tesla’s newest creation!

Tesla and Rapidly Falling Prices

Musk recently stated on Twitter, “The first models, which will sport a trimotor setup, are set for production in late 2021. Less powerful models will begin production in 2022. Tesla has something for the here and now, too: The Tesla Model Y SUV is set to enter production next month.”

The Model Y starts at about $40,000 and will be Tesla’s first advance into compact SUVs. This will be offered for sale in the summer of 2020. As the price for a Tesla continues to decline (the Model 3 starts at around $35,000) profit for the company has shown growth in the last quarter….so Tesla continues strong!

Electric vehicle

Charge stations across the nation.

Electric Cars and the Source of Power

Before the critics start rolling in with negative comments, I am quite aware of the environmental impact of electric cars and the dependency on electricity, whether the power is produced by renewable resources or from coal burning power plants. Yes, it does make a difference, but we as a planet are moving toward renewables so, as I see it, this is no longer a point of debate. How we reach our goals may not be perfect, in fact it may be one step forward and two steps back, but the important thing is, we are headed in the right direction!

Electric Cars: Returning Power to the Grid

In a recent article at Physicsworld.com titled, “An Electric Car Future”, Dave Elliot states, “The spread of EVs may also open up opportunities to provide storage support for renewables via the so-called “vehicle-to-grid” (V2G) option. In this case, EV’s batteries could be used to balance the grid and its use of variable renewables. EVs will be charged from the mains supply at home or elsewhere, and at times their batteries could provide a source of power when there are shortages on the grid. There could be significant advantages from using vehicle-to-grid and associated home-based smart power and storage systems. Some see V2G as a way to convert cars from being an environmental problem into part of the “clean–energy” solution that would enable variable renewables to spread. V2G would also enable EV owners to earn some income from “renting out” their batteries. Obviously, V2G is only viable where there are grids and in many parts of the world that is not the case. Where there are grids, however, V2Gs must overcome potential real or perceived inconvenience issues. For example, in the worst case, car owners would not be happy to have their EV batteries drained flat when there was a power shortfall on the grid.”

So many possibilities with renewable energy and the possibilities are fast becoming realities.

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Electric Vehicles


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Generating Electricity at Night

solar at night

The new technology would allow panels to generate solar during the nighttime hours.

“The heat engines are made from a different kind of cell than a photovoltaic cell”

Linn Smith

When we think of solar panels we think of the sunshine bearing down on photovoltaic cells used to produce clean electricity. The big drawback has been lack of sunshine, which diminishes their ability to produce electricity during the nighttime hours and on cloudy days. For households surrounded by trees, I often hear the excuse, “We can’t install solar because the sun doesn’t hit our roof, yard, ect.”

There is some recent exciting news! Scientists have discovered a new way that solar can generate electricity with lack of sun and during nighttime hours. Researchers have discovered that if you want to generate electricity at night you need a system that does the opposite of what solar panels do during the day. They are calling the new tehnology anti-solar or “heat engines.”

nighttime solar

New panels for nighttime generation of clean energy

Photovoltaic vs Thermoradiative Cells

These “heat engines” are made from a different kind of cell than a typical solar photovoltaic cell normally thought of when producing clean energy. The new cell is called a thermoradiative cell and works the opposite of the photovoltaic cell.

Jeremy Munday, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UC Davis is currently busy developing nighttime solar cells that can generate up to 50 watts of power per meter with hopes of improving the power output with further research. Munday states, “Our device couples the cold side of the thermoelectric module to a sky-facing surface that radiates heat to the cold space and has its warm side heated by the surrounding air, enabling electricity generation at night.”

Nighttime solar

Anti-solar panels can generate nighttime energy.


In a recent paper published in the journal of ACS Photonics, Jeremy Munday explained, “A regular solar cell generates power by absorbing sunlight, which causes a voltage to appear across the device and for current to flow. In these new devices, light is instead emitted and the current and voltage go in the opposite direction, but you still generate power. You have to use different materials, but the physics is the same.”

With the ability to generate electricity around the clock, overcoming the lack of sunshine on cloudy days and long nights, we can move towards a sustainable planet, one more effort in combating our changing climate.

Renewable Energy

Resources:
Sciencedaily.com
http://www.inverse.com


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Success of the Ocean Cleanup Project

“The latest announcement has plans for the collected ocean plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to prevent its return to the ocean.”

By Linn Smith

Boyan Slat is one of my environmental heroes! At the young age of 25, he is leaving his legacy in the world by sustainably creating a healthier planet. (Also see my previous article at https://planetearth5.com/2018/10/08/boyan-slat-and-the-ocean-clean-up-project/)

The Ocean Cleanup

The last several weeks Slat’s non-profit company, The Ocean Cleanup, has reached a milestone in cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) and cleaning up the rivers at the source of garbage dumping with the latest operation called The Interceptor, a floating operation that extracts garbage in rivers. As he stated, “We need to close the tap.” to the garbage entering the ocean.

A Message from Boyan Slat

Boyan’s message on December 12 was, “Mission one completed– The plans to make products from the plastic catch. Welcoming the first of the plastic on land is the moment we’ve been looking forward to. I believe we can use this trash to turn a problem into a solution by transforming this unique material into products. As most people will never go to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, through these products we aim to give everyone the opportunity to take part in the cleanup.” After many months of trial and error and years of planning by Slat and his crew to get to this stage of the cleanup, success has been achieved!

Products from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The latest announcement are plans for the collected ocean plastic to prevent its return to the ocean. Sustainable products, launching in September 2020, will be made from the ocean plastic and sold to the public. Profits will be returned to the company to fund the continuation of the ocean cleanup.

How to Help

Go to link and fill out your contribution information:
https://products.theoceancleanup.com/26534150221/checkouts/094f916cf683ef170d11caa5d627736b?locale=en

The site states, “You are about to take part in the largest cleanup in history!
With a $50 donation you will:

*Help us remove more plastic from the oceans.

*Follow the plastic journey with front row seats to original content and other perks.

*Get early access to the first products ever made of verified plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which, if we succeed, we aim to launch in September 2020”

This is one of the many worthy causes that need your participation to clean up our Planet Earth!

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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Recycling: Creating Hope for a Greener Planet

Recycle

Recycle and Conserve

“European countries are recycling 35% to 40% [of their plastic waste]. The U.S. only recycles 10%.”

By Linn Smith

I am spending time in a suburb in the Southwestern part of the United States. After being a diligent recycler most of my adult life, I have come to realize that many households do not share my passion for doing their part to prevent further negative impact on our planet. Even though I’m conscientious about buying goods in bulk from local health food stores, I still accumulate some bottles, cans and plastics. It’s the world we live!

I have been in the Southwest for several weeks and have repeatedly asked people and businesses about a drop off place for glass and plastic. The answer is always the same….the surrounding suburbs no longer take drop off recyclables as rates have gone up and in some sections there has been complete halt on even curbside recycling for glass and plastic. Cans are less of a problem, as many are willing to turn them in for cash, but plastic and glass? My efforts have produced nothing.

Recycle

Recycling Shut Down!

Following is the message I found when trying to locate a place to drop off my recyclables:

**CLOSURE NOTICE**
All City of *****recyling Drop-off Centers Are Indefinitely Closed
Due to increasing recycling processing fees and decreasing commodity values, the City of **** has found it necessary to reevaluate its entire recycling program. While we value the importance and place high priority on conserving our natural resources, we must also take into account financial considerations to ensure we are able to maintain a sustainable program. The total operating cost for the City of ***** three recycling drop-off centers is approximately $250,000 per year. While we have been pleased to offer this service for many years and appreciate you visiting our centers, unfortunately the decision has been made to indefinitely close all three locations.”

Landfill

A newly formed mountain of waste.

The Landfill: A Mountain of Garbage!

I then sought out the local landfill. I couldn’t enter as the truck in the picture was on guard to keep out private citizens. But standing on the road running parallel to the landfill, I took in the site of a mountain newly produced by garbage from the city that won’t allow recycled dropoffs. As I stood in disgust of this newly formed mountain of garbage in our once beautiful desert Southwest, I wondered, “Where did we go wrong? Was it just a hundred years ago that people were growing their own food, canning, reusing their jars, sewing their own clothes, living what would now be called a sustainable life?”

Landfill

Guarding the landfill.

The site of all those recyclable materials sitting in a landfill in our beautiful desert for a hundred years and accumulating day by day, year by year is almost too much for me to comprehend. To me you either care about out planet, leaving future generations with at least the knowledge that you tried, or you don’t…..you further the “pig sty” concept of what use to be our beautiful earth. The choice is ours to not be lazy!

Where will our Recyclables Go?

The excuse for many cities is this….China quit taking our dirty waste which we had been shipping over to them since 1992 and that alone broke the recycling system in the U.S. Keefe Harrison, CEO of the Recycling Partnership, a nonprofit that seeks to boost the industry, stated “European countries are recycling 35% to 40% [of their plastic waste]. The U.S. only recycles 10%. How tragic is that? We’re fighting an uphill battle to make it cost competitive from day one. The U.S. has previously outsourced so much of its recycling to Asia that the domestic industry languished. And there’s the fact that plastic manufacturers keep making more and more of it, and consumer brands like Procter & Gamble, Nestlé and Walmart keep wrapping more consumer goods in it.”

According to an article in the Sierra magazine, China’s refusing to take our recyclables has given us the opportunity to develop a plan of our own if we care enough to go down that avenue. “The whole crisis narrative has been wrong,” says Steve Alexander, president of the Association of Plastic Recyclers. “China didn’t break recycling. It has given us the opportunity to begin investing in the infrastructure we need in order to do it better.”

Alliance to End Plastic Waste

There are many different types of plastic. Some can be recycled, some cannot. In the past companies have used the plastic most profitable without considering what happens to their product packaging.

Several petrochemical companies have joined big consumer brands in pledging to make most of their plastic recyclable, reusable or compostable within the next decade or two. Their group, Alliance to End Plastic Waste, has promised to spend $1.5 billion over five years to recycle their packaging products.

Every Bottle Back

Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper recently announced a plan, Every Bottle Back, to reduce their dependence on new plastic by collecting, recycling and remaking plastic bottles from plastic they have already produced. “Closed Loop Partners, the leading investment firm in sustainability, will manage upgrades to recycling infrastructure and fund upgrades to equipment at bottle recovery systems. The fund will also be used to help businesses that turn recycled bottles into plastic pellets for reuse in many products.”

The Ocean Clean Up

The Ocean Cleanup.

The Ocean Cleanup

Then there are the heroes of our planet.The Ocean Clean Up nonprofit organization, started by 25 year old Boyan Slat, is not only working on the clean up of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but has recently unveiled technology to clean up rivers that are streaming garbage to the ocean.
“The Interceptor is The Ocean Cleanup’s answer for river plastic waste. It is the first scalable solution to prevent plastic from entering the world’s oceans from rivers. It is 100% solar-powered, extracts plastic autonomously, and is capable of operating in the majority of the world’s most polluting rivers.”

The Interceptor

The Ocean Clean Up, Boyan Slat

But we cannot depend on a young man in his 20’s to clean up our planet, even though he has diligently done more than his part. We must all do our part also!

Sources:

*Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Dr Pepper team up for recycled plastics drive
Toby Hill,October 31, 2019
*NPR U.S. Recycling Industry Is Struggling To Figure Out A Future Without China August 20, 2019

Recycle

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Unethical but not Illegal: Feeling Indifferent about Our Carbon Footprint

Sustainable living

It’s our responsibility to change.

“The most environmentally friendly product is the one you didn’t buy.”

Joshua Becker

By Linn Smith

What is unethical? According to vocabulary.com it means, “Going against social or professional expectations of what’s right. It’s a word that’s often used to describe bad behavior or immoral conduct.”

What is the definition of Illegal? Laws and consequences that regulate human behavior.

Legally Destroying our Planet

Currently there are very few regulations on carbon dioxide and toxins we pour into our atmosphere, landfills and oceans. Most regulations are voluntary. What makes it unethical? The practice of adding more greenhouse gases and toxic materials to our earth and our atmosphere is a destructive force that negatively impacts our planet…but it’s not illegal!

We have produced generations of people that have lost all human memory of survival by using their own resources to live, such as growing gardens, canning, freezing, sewing their own clothes, harvesting their own honey….having the ability to live independent of industry. It’s the Industrial Revolution of destruction… consumers dependent on mass production which is destroying our planet!

The earth continues to warm

Fight against global warming!

Unethical but not Illegal

It’s not against the law to:

•Manufacture, transport and toss millions of plastic materials which, not only leave a huge carbon footprint in manufacturing, but end up in our lakes, rivers, oceans, landfills and falling from the sky in raindrops. Unethical but not illegal!

•Purchase gas guzzling vehicles that have left huge carbon footprints even before being purchased.

•Spend thousands on the latest fashions. The fashion industry leaves a huge toxic trail before you see it on the racks of your favorite retail outlet. Unethical but not illegal.

•Buy the latest and greatest cell phone….huge carbon footprint!

Fossil Fuels

Coal and Oil Formation

The Most Environmentally Friendly Product

Here’s a suggestion. Why not buy used and donate the difference to The Ocean Cleanup (which is currently cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage patch), a nonprofit clean energy organization, homeless shelters, a children’s hospital or a horse rescue, just to name a few possibilities. There are many horse rescues around and they always need hay! Just google one and offer to buy a few bales once in awhile! (I volunteer at horse rescues so I know this firsthand.)

The most environmentally friendly product is the one you didn’t buy!” and I will insert “buy new!”

cop21

Extreme Weather

The Industrial Revolution cannot continue. Underdeveloped countries need to develop in an environmentally friendly direction and developed countries need to take a look at the meaning of economic growth if the meaning of economic growth is further destruction to our planet!

How much extreme weather can we endure and how many species will become extinct? Can we just turn our backs and say it’s too late or worse, nothing I can do will matter?

Tagore had it right! “The one who plants trees, knowing that they will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life.”

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Coal: Still Visible but on the Decline!

Coal Plant

Coal waiting to be burned at the local utilities plant.

“Our time is up! We no longer have time to sit back and say it’s someone else’s concern!”

By Linn Smith

During my annual trek back to the Midwest where I call home, I had plenty of chances to observe that coal is still alive and well, although in my home state, wind turbines are popping up by the hundreds.

Coal sits at the local utilities plant in my hometown.

Yes, piles of coal are still scattered throughout the region and being hauled on trains, but the overall growth rate of coal use has diminished. According to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, the use of coal in the energy sector of the U.S. is declining.

coal train

A frequently seen site along the tracks in the midwest.

Coal is on the Decline

The reason for coal’s decline is mostly economical. Here are several reasons for the decline:

1. Good or bad, the nation has turned towards greater use of natural gas. Even though fracking is the method of extracting natural gas, it burns cleaner than coal. Hopefully it’s just the middleman as we move towards clean energy!

2. Declining costs of renewables.

3. Aging of our coal plants which are leading to greater cost to the consumer.

4. Climate change and extreme weather have caused greater concern in public opinion, leading to a willingness to move toward renewables.

5. Corporations and oil companies have adjusted their economies towards public concern. They may still lack the concern for our planet…but money speaks, and if public opinion and price of renewables are telling them to move away from fossil fuels, then they are forced to listen!

Coal Consumption

Coal is on the decline, but is it fast enough?

Someone once said that people wouldn’t listen to the concern about climate change until it was in their own backyard and that seems to be what has happened! Extreme weather, a predicted effect of climate change, is happening around the world in the form of floods, water shortages, depletion of rivers, storms, heat and extreme cold. Our time is up! We no longer have time to sit back and say it’s someone else’s concern!

Coal or Renewables


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Renewable Energy: Hatch, New Mexico

“The systems are best for high and dry climates, which makes Hatch an optimal location.”

As a resident of New Mexico for 6 years, I have long known the value of Hatch green chili…the Best in the West! But the past several years I have traveled Hwy 26, a lonely stretch of road through seemingly baron land just west of Hatch, passing massive wind and solar fields.

Solar Power

According to VillageofHatch.org here is the data on the impressive energy produced by these solar fields, plus pictures I was able to snap along my route recently:

“The Hatch Solar Energy Center consists of 84 Amonix 60-kW systems on 41 acres of land. The platform and panels are each 50 feet wide and 55 feet high tall. Each panel is made up of three different photovoltaic materials in a single cell so they extract more energy from the range of wavelengths in sunlight. Dual-axis tracking systems maximize energy production throughout the day by allowing the CPV systems to follow the sun. The systems are best for high and dry climates, which makes Hatch an optimal location. The systems require no water in power production, use land better, and produce more energy per acre than any other solar technology— equivalent of planting 3,500 trees every year it operates.”

Wind Power

The Macho Spring windfarm is nearby.

Wind Turbines

Along my route I also passed a train carrying at least 30 wind turbine blades…the trip was a visual feast for my “build it green” eyes!

And, while you’re on the drive, stop at Sparky’s in Hatch and get some green chili lemonade, it’s a treat your taste buds won’t soon forget!

Happy Trails!

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Cities: Combating Climate Change and Pollution

Working toward 100% renewables

Working Toward Renewable Energy

“Innovative thinking must solve our current and future climate and pollution problems as cities grow, and individuals must do their part in leaving a planet that future generations can comfortably occupy!”

By Linn Smith
January 26, 2019—I live part of the year in a city that is rapidly growing. Along with this growth comes air pollution, traffic congestion, increased construction and industrial businesses which spew toxins into the air as they burn fossil fuels. Gone are the days of vacant lots, laid back life styles and traveling anywhere in the city or suburbs in under 20 minutes. Now every hour of the day looks like rush hour!

Plans to combat this city’s growth include expanding the transit system, which has greatly fallen short, as many times it’s down or not functioning at full capacity. There is a great need for more innovative solutions!

Rapidly Expanding Cities

According to UN Habitat, cities consume 78 per cent of the world’s energy and produce more than 60 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, they account for less than 2 per cent of the Earth’s surface. It’s predicted that 2/3 of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050.

Sierra Club

Sierra Club for Clean Air

Urban Heat Islands

As temperatures increase due to climate change, urban heat islands will be created by concrete and buildings holding in the heat. (See, https://planetearth5.com/?s=urban+hot+spots). As I wrote in this article, “If you live in a city you probably have noticed how much cooler it is in the summertime when you take a drive in the country. Drive back toward the city, with its concrete buildings, and you feel the great intensiveness of a hot summer day. There’s a name for this city heat….the Urban Heat Island Effect. An Urban Heat Island describes a large area of buildings and concrete (cities) that has temperatures which are higher than the countryside surrounding them. According to http://www.epa.gov, “ ‘The annual mean air temperature of a city with 1 million people or more can be 1.8–5.4°F (1–3°C) warmer than its surroundings. In the evening, the difference can be as high as 22°F (12°C).’ ” With global warming the temperatures of the heat islands will continue to increase.”

building green

Cities, states and individuals must do their part in preventing climate change.

Cities, Health and Pollution

Pollution, a by-product of urban living, is also linked with climate change. Both climate change and air pollution are a direct result of burning fossil fuels, which increase CO2 emissions causing the greenhouse effect in our planet’s atmosphere. The Energy Policy Institute in Chicago found life expectancy is reduced by almost 2 years from air pollution, driving up health care costs. In rapidly growing cities respiratory disease is on the rise causing many to wear facemasks as smog grows severe.

All change is not growth

Moving Backwards

Cities and Smart Growth

The article, published by http://www.epa.gov titled, “Smart Growth and Climate Change,” outlines the following smart growth policies for managing city growth:

1. Reuse existing infrastructure and buildings to take advantage of previous investments and energy already used to build them.
2. Put homes, jobs, stores, parks, schools and public transportation near each other. This could reduce Co2 emissions by 7-10%.
3. Preserve green space and promote development in previously developed areas.
4. Discourage building in areas that are currently or projected to be vulnerable to climate change related disasters, such as fires, storms, flooding, ect.
5. Preserve areas that will mitigate the disasters of climate change, such as coastal areas which can absorb the water from floods and hurricanes.
6. Encourage water and energy efficient buildings and land use patterns which can better prepare communities for drought and disasters.
7. Use green infrastructure to reduce the amount of runoff from paved surfaces.
8. Encourage green roofs, parks and planting of trees and shrubbery.
9. Design buildings for passive survivability that will remain habitable even if they lose external power for extended periods, and save on energy bills as well during normal operations.

Researchers also have found that roadsides plantings of hedges and shrubs were effective at reducing pollution exposure, cutting black carbon by up to 63 percent.

China's Giant Air Purifer

China;s Air Purifier fights smog.

China’s Skyscraper Air Purifier

Another recent invention to fight air pollution is taking place in China. NBCnews.com published an article in 2018, “This Skyscraper-sized Air Purifier is the World’s Tallest”, stating, “It may look like just another giant smokestack, but a 200-foot tower in the central Chinese city of Xi’an was built to pull deadly pollutants from the air rather than add more. And preliminary research shows the tower — which some are calling the world’s largest air purifier — has cut air pollution significantly across a broad swath of the surrounding area. Built in 2016, the $2 million Xi’an tower, dubbed the solar-assisted large-scale cleaning system, stands atop an enormous glass-roofed greenhouse. Sunlight heats the air within the greenhouse, causing it to rise through the tower, where a series of air filters trap soot and other noxious particles. Xu, who wasn’t involved in the tower project, added that it’s important to take into account the energy costs involved with building and operating the towers. If the structure requires electricity from the grid that is fueled by coal, then operating the purifying system will itself generate harmful emissions. “That will be not so clever,” Xu said.

Dr. Robert Harley, Professor of environmental engineering at University of California says, “Real progress in solving outdoor air pollution problems will require reductions in emissions from the major air pollution sources, such as heavy industry, coal-burning power plants, motor vehicles, and residential cooking and heating, especially if people are still using solid fuels such as wood or coal for those purposes.”

Innovative thinking must solve our current and future climate and pollution problems as cities grow, replacing rural life, and individuals must do their part in leaving a planet that future generations can comfortably occupy!


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Cities Accept the Challenge of Climate Change

“It seems clear now that political organizations other than national governments are going to lead in taking actions to reducing climate change.”

Sustainable living

It’s our responsibility to change.

By Dr. John J. Hidore

November 19, 2018—–Earth’s climate has been changing from the time the planet came into being. It has gone through times when it was much warmer than today and others when it was colder. The climate of today is one that is inseparable from the growth of the human population. The industrial revolution began about 1770 AD and is synonymous with the advent of the steam engine. Steam engines burned fossil fuels, primarily wood or coal.

Planet earth is a single system in which nothing or no process exists in isolation. The burning of fossil fuels began to change the composition of the atmosphere. The temperature of Earth began to warm above what might be expected from natural causes and the term global warming started to appear in literature. Professional conferences by groups of scientists and others began to occur.

In 2015 an international conference on climate change was convened in Paris, France to discuss the problems associated with a changing climate. What is known as the Paris Agreement was ultimately approved by representatives of nearly 200 countries. However, the Agreement does not dictate any actions to be taken by the signatories. Many have done little or nothing concrete to stem climate change

Sierra Club

Sierra Club for Clean Air

Cities, Provinces and Other Regional Governments Take Charge

Many homogeneous political units such as cities, states or provinces began to respond to climate change because governments of these units began dealing with problems of flooding, unhealthy air to breath, increasing heat, etc.

Cities and towns are home to the majority of people now living on the planet. The number living in cities is growing by more than a million each week. By mid-century the percentage of people living in urban areas is estimated to reach 70%.

Groups of cities are now actively working together to reduce greenhouse emissions. As of June 6, 2018, approximately 250 mayors of American cities have officially adopted the Paris agreement. These cities contain about 60 million people. They are part of a group called Mayors National Climate Action Agenda. Among the cities that have agreed to support the Paris Agreement is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This is the very city where U.S. President Trump stated he did not represent Paris and might withdraw the United States from the agreement.

building green

Cities, states and individuals must do their part in preventing climate change.

Reducing Carbon Emissions

Perhaps the most concerted effort being made is to reduce carbon emissions. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary gas in the absorption of energy in the atmosphere. Cities account for about 70% of carbon dioxide emissions. A major part of the effort to reduce emissions is reducing carbon emissions from motor vehicles. Another is switching to renewable fuels for generating electricity. This means eliminating power plants using fossil fuels.

The Sierra Club recently estimated that encouraged by their Beyond Coal campaign, coal-fired power plants have been closing at times at the rate of one every 16 days. This month representatives from more than 70 countries are gathering in Edmonton, Canada, to explore how to develop cities that can create and maintain a climate that adds a minimal of carbon to the atmosphere.

While some national governments, such as that of the United States, refute the whole concept of climate change and do not want to take any action, the people are taking combined action through more localized governments. It seems clear now that political organizations other than national governments are going to lead in taking actions to reducing climate change.

Planning Sustainably

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