Friday, July 28, 2017

Love to travel but worry about the climate?

For many Americans, air travel is their largest source of greenhouse gases. One international trip can be the equivalent of a year's worth of driving. So what is a responsible climate-citizen to do? Of course, you could stay home, but what's the fun in that? Sustainability doesn't have to be about not having what you want; it should be about finding sustainable ways to get what you want.  This article has several suggestions and mentions which airlines offer carbon offsets and use biofuels.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Shell strategy is moving away from oil

For many who studied Peak Oil, we feared a spike in prices and perhaps even shortages and chaos.  Of course, oil did spike over $100 a barrel, helping to precipitate the 2008 financial crisis. (Oil spikes are often followed by recessions.) But few expected oil, so enmeshed in our economy, to go out with a fizzle. But it appears that demand for oil is waning at least as fast as reserves.

Shell is planning for oil to continue in the $40-50 a barrel range and is already switching toward natural gas. (Note natural gas is mostly used for heating and electricity generation, not so much for vehicles. So it doesn't replace oil, at least not directly.) But Shell sees the switch to electric cars inevitable and is developing strategies to be a player in the renewable energy field.
"Shell plans to spend $1bn (£760m) a year on its ‘New Energies’ division, which was set up last year to develop hydrogen fuel cells and biofuels that could be used by the aviation and shipping industries to cut their reliance on oil.

Shell is already the largest trader of renewable power in the US and said it would look at the role it could play as a system integrator or aggregator of renewable power in addition to its existing solar and wind power assets."

Towns can switch to renewables and save citizens money

San Diego is planning an end-run around their electric utility and they figure they can save their citizens quite a lot of money in the process.
Because of separate state mandates, 50 percent of SDG&E’s power needs to be renewable by 2030. The city said it can hit that 50 percent target faster and cheaper: The city’s rates would be 2 percent higher than SDG&E’s in the first year of its government-run program but then less and less expensive until 2026, when the city’s rates could be 11 percent lower.
Unfortunately we can't do this in AZ yet because our legislature hasn't allowed us to have Community Choice Aggregation System. Why not?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Home-schooled kids are saving the ocean

Heirs to Our Oceans is a group formed by some enterprising home-schooled kids in the Bay Area. They are passionate about the seas and climate change. They, with the help of stem grown-ups, created this podcast about their program...

...and kids/parents from all over the world can join their efforts here ...

Their main message is that kids are angry they are inheriting such a mess but together they can solve the problems of the world. You don't have to be an adult to make change happen.

How to tell if your tap water is safe

The Environmental Working Group has a database of contaminants in drinking water. In addition to telling you What's in your Water, it shows you where it comes from and how to filter it out. It includes contaminates that aren't regulated. Simply plug in your zip code and choose your water company.

Here's an article about it:

Here's a link to the database:

But please don't react by buying rafts of bottled water. Instead put pressure on your water utility and get a good tap filter.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Does it annoy you when stores leave doors open?

In Sedona, stores want to be welcoming. But when it's 100 degrees outside, leaving their doors open wastes energy. Apparently we aren't the first to mull this. (This practice is apparently illegal in places like New York.) Here's an app for your smart phone that lets you send a friendly reminder to the store. It also lets you reward stores that are not wasting their AC this way.

Canada promotes plant-based diet

Canada has been a major beef producer but they are promoting a healthy, plant-based, light-on-the-environment diet. They even go as far as reminding people to enjoy the food and family/friends together.