Monday, April 22, 2013

EarthDay2013: Reflections on Sustainability: Earth Day, April 22, 2013

Reflections on Sustainability: Earth Day, April 22, 2013 ( … (or International Mother Earth Day)

Earth Day 2013: The Face of Climate Change

It’s not so much that people don’t care. . .

Being green, and being sustainable, is something that we all would happily do, if it wasn’t inconvenient to do so. And if it was easy to do. And if we knew the best place to start. And if it wasn’t too complicated to do so, we would all be more sustainable.

That’s a bit of a problem because there is no sense of urgency. There is, however, a sense of urgency about getting the economy going stronger and getting more people back to work. But reducing pollution and improving our water footprint and addressing our carbon footprint, not so much so.

This is something like saving for retirement. There’s no urgency to save for retirement until age 65, but it’s a whole lot easier if you started 35 years earlier. $:-)  We need to get the magic of compounding working for us, not against.

There is no question that we all have to get sustainable, sooner or later.  “Achieving sustainability will enable the Earth to continue supporting human life as we know it” (Sustainability, 2013, Blue Marble caption). That’s the definition of “sustainable”, something that can be done indefinitely and that does not have external costs or place a burden on future generations.

The American Planning Association’s four sustainability objectives are to use planning approaches that:
1. Reduce dependence upon fossil fuels, underground metals, and minerals
2. Reduce dependence upon synthetic chemicals and other unnatural substances
3. Reduce encroachment upon nature
4. Meet human needs fairly & efficiently (James & Lahti, 2003).

We all have to get started. Sustainable starts at home, at church, in business, in government and at school.

We need to take better care of God green earth. Stewardship is a responsibility, not a luxury.

See these topics below:
I. Global Warming/Climate Change
II. What BIG Feet you Have! … The Human Footprint
III.  Sustainable Solutions
IV. Global Acts of Green on Earth Day 2012
V. Become More Informed

Safety & Recycling. Carefully and correctly dispose of stuff like electronics, paints, oil, florescent light bulbs. Visit to see how to recycle stuff, and extremely local details of recycling centers. Eventually everything will be recycled; until then, let’s try to work it out together.

This is the 43rd Earth Day event since it started in 1970. And still we have yet to take significant measures to protect the earth we all so clearly need for survival. We all need to become more informed, as a great place to start. See the book outlined below, created from the best information anywhere about sustainability issues, Wikipedia. (Free book, no advertising in it.)

Sustainability is a journey that is started by us today, but continued by future generations.
"The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." (
Psalm 24:1)

God bless,
Elmer Hall
Strategic Business Planning Company
Planning for Sustainable Success™
954.704.9100 (blog)
P Before printing this e-mail think if it is necessary.   Think Green!

I.  Global Warming & Climate Change. The statistics for climate change and global warming seem to only be getting worse, with all continents experiencing extreme weather of hot-cold, wet-dry, often in the same year. We have the hottest decade in modern history (based on land, water and air measures). April 2012 was the 5th hottest April on record, April 2010 was the hottest (CO2Now, 2012). Glacial ice is melting, and melting at an accelerating rate. There’s evidence the ice in Antarctica, which should be expanding, is shrinking, and it appears to be melting from the inside out!

What about Greenhouse Gasses (GHGs) that trap sunlight in the atmosphere and cause warming, just like a greenhouse in winter? By burning fossil fuels we are pumping gigatons of GHGs such as Carbon Dioxide (CO2)  and Methane (CH4) into the atmosphere, GHGs above and beyond what the earth systems were used to processing prior to industrialization starting more than a century ago. And carbon dioxide persists in the atmosphere for some 100 years. Many scientist had high hopes of reversing the steady climb of CO2 in the atmosphere and bringing it back down to 350 parts per million (ppm) that we blasted through in 1985. The hope was that the US, slowed by a sluggish economy, combined with a switch to cleaner natural gas would help to lower the CO2 buildup in the atmosphere. Nope. China and India with their coal-power craze, more than wiped out any slowing from the US and Euro-zone. As measured by the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii we just blasted through 397 on our way to 400 ppm. (See

This chart, and what it represents, scares the bejeebers out of me!!!!!  I don’t know about you?

In the 1990s, the IPCC came up with many projections from the best case where countries was very proactive and reduced greenhouse gases to the worst case with business as usual (BAU). The estimates then showed an increase in temperatures of 2 to 6 degrees centigrade by the end of the century. Since water expands as it warms in addition to glacial melting, this atmosphere increase would eventually result in about a 3 to 10 foot rise in sea levels. That would be devastating to coastline areas. Maybe half of the Florida Keys would be underwater, for example.  Right now, about half of the greenhouse gasses are produced by China and the USA, with the US pretty much going as BAU and China totally out of control. China now burns half of the world’s coal and adds another new coal power plant each week. In short, the problem is real, it is big, and it is getting worse. Not only that, but it is getting worse at an increasing rate.

With all that gloom and doom, what are sustainable solutions?

II. What BIG Feet You Have! … The Human Footprint
A picture is worth 1,000 words, a video must be worth millions. We humans have been having a gigantic impact on our environment. How big, you might ask? Really BIG.  A couple of the best visual representations of this are the Human Footprint series by National Geographic, which follows two humans from birth to death, as well as, The Story of Stuff and The Story of Bottled Water (Leonard, 2010a, 2010b).  There are a couple things I don’t think to be totally accurate, but you be the judge.
·         The Human Footprint, by National Geographic Special. Several 10 minute episodes. (10 minute segments; 87 minutes total, easy to find on YouTube as well). Note that it is a couple years old. They say 6+B population, but it is now >7B. Watch #1 and #8.
·         The Story of Stuff (, ~18min)
·         The Story of Bottled Water ( 

III.  Sustainable Solutions. We all – everyone, everywhere – have to start being more sustainable. Well, dah! But that is easier said than done. We have our entire life and economy and culture built around non-sustainable practices.

To start, it is relatively easy, and profitable, to cut back on 25%-30% of utilities. Start with an energy audit from your friendly local power company.

Smarter transportation will save huge amounts. Telecommuting saves $30,000 to $50,000 per full-time equivalent employee, with more than $20,000 savings to the employer. Yes, you might want to read that sentence again. The actual savings seem to be, all things considered, are at least 10 times the savings in fuel… That is, $5,000 in fuel saved related to telecommuting really represents $50,000-$60,000 in total savings.

Or we could build more roads, buy more cars, spend more of our lives in gridlock traffic and continue to accelerate our increase in GHG emissions? I vote for taking our foot off of the GHG accelerator, and starting to tap on the brake. Just because we may have another 100 years of fossil fuels left, doesn’t mean that we have to try to burn what’s left over the next century.

IV.  A Billion Acts of Green. Earth Day commitments are entered into the earth day website under the “Billion Acts of Green” campaign. The campaign in 2012 world-wide brought in 1,021,021,112 pledges.
See These were the commitments last year at the university!:-)

Re-cycle- 9 people
Eat Local Food- 2
Wash clothes in cold water- 3
Use re-useable shopping bags- 3
Pick up litter- 6
Turn off the water tap when brushing teeth- 4
Turn off the computer and the x-box when not in use- 5
Turn off the lights when not in use- 10
Eat all the food on my plate – 3
Re-cycle water bottles- 3
Don’t buy anything new for a month- 3
Share rides- 4
Encourage others to pledge an act of green- 3
Plan a green event- 2
Print on both sides- 2
Use cloth napkins- 2
Write your legislature- 2
Use energy-efficient light bulbs- 1
Eat vegetarian; Plant a tree; Plant a garden; Collect plastic from the neighbors for 2 weeks;
Reduce beef consumption; Repurpose; Conserve fuel; Plant a tree; Walk or bike instead of driving; 

V. Become More Informed
It is critical to become more informed. Companies and governments have millions – trillions, really – worth of revenues to lose. Think about who wins, when you spend $.005 per gallon for water from the tap. You win. The environment wins. Coke and Pepsi (the largest producers of bottled water) lose. 

Companies can make healthy products that are sustainable, and they will. Eventually. We could try to get the government more involved; but I generally don’t like that. We all need to become informed and let our money do the voting for us.

The trick is to only accept accurate facts. The first question of the Four-Way Test from Rotary International ( is critical: 1) Is it the truth?

Of course the rest of the Four-Way test is pretty important too – it is kind of the definition of sustainability when you think about it. Of the things we think, say or do
1.      Is it the TRUTH?
2.      Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3.      Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4.      Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Contact: Elmer Hall. I do consulting and coaching on Sustainability and sustainable innovation. Please feel free to contact me for help, advice, or just moral support on your sustainability issues.

References & Links

Climate Changes and Sustainability. (2013, April 22). A WikiBook created in Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 22, 2013, from and downloadable from:

James, S. & Lahti, T. (2003). Eco-municipalities: Sweden and the United States: A Systems approach to creating communities. Retrieved April 22, 2013 from:

Leonard, A. (2010, March 22). The story of bottled water: How “manufactured demand” pushes what we don’t need and destroys what we need most. Story of Stuff. Retrieved from:

Leonard, A. (2010b). The story of stuff: How our obsession with stuff is trashing the planet, our communities, and our health – and a vision for change. New York, NY: Free Press. 

LINKS: (Info about recycling, including local drop-off.)   (International Mother Earth Day) (Actions you can take to make a difference.)  (WikiBook: Climate Changes and Sustainability) (Monitors GHG emissions.) (Calculate how much water you use.) (Calculate how much CO2 you use.)  (Great, including Florida specific info.) (All about water and economic development.)  (For details & water-saving tips.)

WikiBook: Climate Changes and Sustainability. Following is the outline of a WikiBook created from 38 Wikipedia articles on Earth Day, April 22, 2013.  Because of all the graphics, the book is 60MB as PDF (or 8MB as ePUB). Note that the ePub has Earth Day and World Water Day included. Please downloading it, but you can get the most recent version of each article by going to and enter the article title in blue below.

Each article has high ratings for accuracy and reliability. The entire WikiBook is downloadable from: (63MB).

Climate Changes and Sustainability
Table of Contents
Introduction to Sustainability Issues 1
Sustainability 1
Population density 22
Ecological footprint 24
Earth Systems and Climate Change 31
History of climate change science 31
Atmosphere of Earth 36
Global warming 45
Climate change 64
Scientific opinion on climate change 75
The Carbon Cycle 101
Organic compound 101
Carbon 104
Carbon dioxide 120
Carbon cycle 134
Greenhouse gas 139
Photosynthesis 156
Hydrocarbon/Fossil Fuels 169
Fossil fuel 169
Redox 174
Coal 181
Petroleum 197
Gasoline 218
Natural gas 230
Power and the Nexus of Energy, Water, Paper, Plastic, etc. 241
Electricity generation 241
Water 248
Water-energy nexus 266
Plastic 267
Carbon Emissions and Sinks 280
Carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere 280
List of countries by carbon dioxide emissions 286
Carbon sink 293
Sustainable Solutions 304
Education for Sustainable Development 304
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy 308
Recycling 313
Recycling by product 325
Paper recycling 330
Plastic recycling 334
Sustainable development 340
Glossary of climate change 350
Index of climate change articles 356
Article Sources and Contributors 360
Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 375
Article Licenses
License 385

This entire WikiBook is retrievable from: (~60MB PDF or ~8MB ePUB)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wisdom for Kids from Warren Buffet. Even the Gov might understand.

Warren Buffet had these pearls of wisdom to share with Kids:

  1. Never spend more than you have.
  2. Save for the unexpected
  3. Never borrow without a payback plan

I like it. Short. Sweet. Accurate. Simple... Sustainable even.

So simple even a caveman could understand it.

I'm thinking that we need to transmit this repeatedly up to our friends in the Federal Government (and maybe even to the States).

Never spend more than you have. Boy do we break this rule. And we have broken it so long that it somehow seems normal. Over decades, there has only been a couple years during the Clinton era that we haven't run an annual deficit. Of course, debt builds over time (unless you go bankrupt).

Make no doubt about it, there are any number of things that will make our current level of borrowing infinitely worse than it is right now. Slower, lower or negative economic growth. Interest and inflation could sink us based on the percentage of government revenues that goes to interest on the debt (debt-servicing). On average we are probably paying about 1% interest on government debt, and that represents about 9-10% of the government revenues. (I hate to use the word revenues for the intake of taxes, let's call it government inflows.)

Sooo, if interest rates go up to 10% that would mean that almost all of the gov inflows would immediately become outflows to service the debt.

That brings us to #2, save for the unexpected. Ops. Didn't do that, did we!

That brings us to #3, never borrow without a payback plan. Ops. Didn't do that, did we!

Now we are in a sequester situation. That is a lot like your parents cutting off your credit cards. . . Painful. Not very sophisticated. Only partially effective. Lot's of side effects.

And that is our after-the-fact payback plan? It's not even a plan; it was the trap door contingency that legislators came up with for the unlikely event that they couldn't come up with a plan.

Keywords: Sustainable and non-sustainable (gov) spending, deficit, interest, payback, funding, budgeting.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference

Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference:

Well, shouldn't they all be GREEN jobs?

Looking for a few good jobs.

Looking for a few green jobs.

Looking for a few Good GREEN Jobs.:-)

Before the recession, green jobs were outpacing others, both in terms of pay and number. It will be interesting to see what the conference stats have to say about this.

Of course, there are about 50 shades of green!... Seems like a book, doesn't it.:0)

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bill Gates gives boost to renewables storage - PV-Tech

Bill Gates gives boost to renewables storage - PV-Tech:

This is pretty cool. Use salt water as a storage medium for energy (battery, if you will). This is probably not a good solution for every occasion, but stationary power should work well...

'via Blog this'

City of Melbourne Certified Carbon Neutral | Pro Bono Australia

City of Melbourne Certified Carbon Neutral | Pro Bono Australia:

Wow. Melbourne is Green!:0)

Aiming for Neutral CO2 by 2020.

Of course that is a long way from having the whole of the city run at Zero-emissions. Especially Transportation & Electric.

But you gotta complement them. That's a big effort.

'via Blog this'