Thursday, April 21, 2022

Earth Day 2022 Who Killed the Electric Car?

 Earth Day 2022 (April 22, ’22) Who Killed the Electric Car?

The statistics and the forecasts for Global Warming and Climate Change are increasingly dire. The decision – and it is a decision – to do business as usual (buy big gas guzzlers) is becoming increasingly costly to the world. And the window to avoid the worst warming scenarios is closing. The CO2 and methane that we have been pumping into the atmosphere will persist for decades (centuries really) continuing to heat a warming world.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Planting trees and getting reforestation right

Reforestastion in order to bring back something similar to native forest, and to draw down carbon dioxide levers, is actually rather tricky. You can't plant a monosystem of, say, pine tries, especially if they are not native. 

One cool approach is to take acorns from an anchient native oak tree as one of 27+ natives in a reforestation areas. Check out this detailed article on BBC, 1,000-year-old oaks used to create 'super forest', by Hellen Briggs.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The EV Hurricane Disaster: a 1-sided scenario, part 2

Read  The EV Hurricane Disaster: a 1-sided scenario on our sister blog (also The EV disaster article analyzes a viral email that talks about how horrible it will be when a hurricane is storming into a population center and the electric vehicles are all stuck on the road with no possibility for charging.

The unauthored and undated email makes the implied conclusion that we shouldn’t go to EVs because they could be problematic in a disaster, stuck in a mass exodus from a hurricane with dying batteries and no place to charge.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

When are Bird Feeders Bad Feeders?

The unintended consequences of helping out where help may not be needed: your fav garden birds.

(Along the same line is humming birds, if you don't keep the feeder water clean and safe, you might be endangering all those hummers you were trying to encourage.)

Sustainability means doing the right thing, as well as making sure that you watch to see if things that you do, don't do what you thought they were designed to.

Friday, May 21, 2021

World Bee Day, May 20

 It's World Bee Day, May 20th. 

There are lots of people worried about bees, and rightly so. To mix a metaphor, bees are the canaries in the coal mine.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Composting Week & Food Waste

Compost Week 2021
Question: What Percentage of food goes to waste?

This question is appropriate because this is International Composting Week, May 2-8, 2021, with a theme: Grow, Eat…COMPOST…Repeat.

Some foods don’t make it out of the fields. Potatoes, corn, and tomatoes that are too small, or too ugly, may be left behind in the fields. In some cased, the farmers announce that the edible, but ugly, food is available for gleaning – all you have to do is drive over and gather it.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Earth Day 2021 Quiz

Earth Day 2021 Quiz (April 22, 2021)

    Test your knowledge of a few Earth related topics on Earth Day. Note that when you Google some of these topics, you can get rather wide ranges of answers. Make sure you are looking at the US (if that is the target region), rather current information, and rather reliable sources. Or, just wait a day to see what we think the correct answer should be. 

Answers will be forthcoming today or tomorrow.

1.  Plastics. Approximately what % of the US’s plastic gets recycled?

a.  8-10%

b.  14-15%

c.  25-30%

d.  45-50%

2.  Plastics. Approximately what % of the US’s plastic makes its way into lakes, rivers, oceans?

a.  0.5%

b.  1%

c.  3%

d.  5%

3.  Plastic in the environment (on land or in ocean). About how many years does it take to decompose a plastic bottle in the ocean?

a.  Plastic decomposes in about 20 years.

b.  Plastic decomposes in about 50 years.

c.  Plastic decomposes in about 150 years.

d.  Plastic doesn’t really decompose, but let’s go with 450 years.

4.  Plastic in the oceans. Approximately how many years before the plastic in the oceans will exceed the fish? (by weight). 

a.  Too last, plastic already exceeds fish in oceans (by weight).

b.  2030. In 10 years, plastic should exceed fish (by weight).

c.  2050. In 30 years, plastic should exceed fish (by weight).

d.  2100. In 80 years, plastic should exceed fish (by weight).

5.  Manatees in Florida are dying at an unusually high rate recently. What is the primary cause of deaths in 2021?

a.  Boats

b.  Cold

c.  Disease

d.  Starvation

6.  The artic is melting enough that ships can now travel through the Arctic to the North during the summer and avoid the Panama Canal or longer routes? Approximately how long during the summer can ships now navigate through the Arctic?

a) About 4 weeks of thaw sufficient to navigate in the summer.

b) About 8 weeks of thaw sufficient to navigate in the summer.

c)  About 3 months of thaw sufficient to navigate in the summer.

d)  About 365 days a year.

7.  About, what percentage of the US lakes, rivers and streams are polluted (according to US EPA)?  (Polluted, as in no swimming and you should not eat the fish, if there are any.)

a.  4%-5%

b.  10%-15%

c.  25%-30%

d.  40%-45%

8.  Soil. The current “industrial” farming methods deplete the topsoil. No topsoil, little or no farm crops. At the current rate of topsoil depletion, how many years do we have before we “run out” of topsoil? [Ooops.... Things changed... problems with this question... Well, with the answers...]

a.  About 20 years until the world’s topsoil will be effectively depleted.

b.  About 30 years until the world’s topsoil will be effectively depleted.

c.  About 60 years until the world’s topsoil will be effectively depleted.

d.  About 100 years until the world’s topsoil will be effectively depleted.

9.  Extinction. Out of about 8 million plant and animal species on earth, approximately how many are in threat of extinction?

a.  100K, 1.2%

b.  300K, 3.7%

c.  500K, 6.2%

d.  1M, 12.5%

10.  Earths. Current estimates are that we significantly overuse the earth’s resources (overshoot the earth’s carrying capacity). We currently need part of another earth to be “sustainable”. But, if the rest of the world consumed at the same rate per person as we do in the US, how many earths do we need?

a.  2 earths (+1)

b.  3 earths (+2)

c.  4 earths (+3)

d.  5 earths (+4)

11.  What is the depth of the oceans? (Plus, water expands when warmed about 0.000214 per +1C for seawater, so how much would sea levels rise based on a +1 degree Centigrade increase in global temperature that transferred throughout the oceans.)

a.  Average ocean depth is 1,000ft (+1C temp increase = +2.6in increase in avg ocean level.)

b.  Average ocean depth is 2,500ft (+1C temp increase = +6.4in increase in avg ocean level.)

c.  Average ocean depth is 1.2 mile (+1C temp increase = +16.3in in increase avg ocean level.)

d.  Average ocean depth is 2.3 miles (+1C temp increase = +31.2in increase in avg ocean level.) 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

World Water Day 2021 in Review

 World Water Day 2021 (in the rear-view mirror): Valuing Water.

World Water Day (March 22, 2021) is past (   By now you should have taken the Water Day Quiz at SustainZine. It’s been about 10 years since I developed such a quiz. I had to work to improve and update the original quiz… It is still tricky to get good answers to some of these water-critical issues. Often the water usage is available to the homeowner, but gets confusing as the data is aggregated for the state and for the nation. The more abstract uses of water, like virtual water, are erratic and imprecise. Important concepts, but the answers are fuzzy.

Monday, March 22, 2021

World Water Day 2021 Quiz

World Water Day 2021 (March 22) Quiz    Name/Team: ____________ 

(See SustainZine blog post related to this quiz and World Water Day.)
1.      Approximately what percentage of the adult human body is water (H2O)?

a.       10-15%
b.      20-30%
c.       40-50%
d.      55-65%

World Water Day: 2021 Valuing Water (Quiz your Water Knowledge)

It’s World Water Day, March 22, 2021 (  
Time to test your water knowledge with a World Water Day Quiz
Some days we wish it would rain. Some days, we wish it would stop. But every day, not just March 22, we should stop and appreciate the importance of water. How important it is to out our being, to our lives, to our living and to our existence.