Category Archives: Energy Conservation

Gifts from Nature: Autumn’s Look Within, by Kevin McGrath

As I sit amongst the trees on the banks of the Chocolay River, on this summer-like autumn day, gazing at the placid lifeblood of this Greatest Lake of ours, I can’t help but realize the correlation between the trees’ evolution with nature’s flow, dropping their color and beauty to become future fertilizer and soil, their trunks and branches sending energy inward and down toward their root systems, and us humans sending our kids and students back to school.

This back-to-basics time, working on a core human feature – our brains, can be likened to the inward journey of our hardwood brethren, the aspens, tamaracks and birches, to name a few, as we potentially learn to reclaim ourselves from the inside out.

For me, as I contemplate this renewal, I ask myself, “Am I living up to my personal standards? Am I living life on my terms? Am I being the person I truly want to be?”

I have more questions than answers at this point, but as fall starts giving way to winter, my contemplation period can develop into devising a plan in early winter, so that sometime during the new year, a personal yearly manifesto is constructed and written down, enabling me to look back at it when the need is there. It’s a New Year’s resolution of sorts on how I plan on being a better person. I observe shortcomings in myself and attempt to rectify them through new actions.

For example, I never used to dance. Somewhere along the line in growing up, my perception was that real men didn’t dance. Even though it looked like a lot of fun, I avoided dancing at all cost. I was afraid of appearing vulnerable and inept, and becoming the target of jokes.

As I turned middle aged, I had an a-ha moment, realizing “Who cares what others think or say? Deep down I want to dance!” Now I dance whenever I can, and to help with my two left feet, I started taking Zumba, an exercise dance class, where to my surprise I discovered I love it, even though I’m often the only male there. I move a little more smoothly now, and it’s really helped my city league basketball game.

So as I take this time to evaluate where I am in life, like the trees focusing inward and our schoolchildren going back to learning, I look to this time of renewal to help tweak the real me into becoming the person who feels completely happy and comfortable with himself.

Kevin McGrath can be found dancing amongst the trees, tweaking the direction of his life, or as Jim Carey told Marshall University graduates, “hitting the reset button as often as it takes” to become the true him.

Reprinted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Fall 2014 issue, copyright 2014, Intuitive Learning Creations.

*Did you know you can find exclusive Solar Products for the U.P. online at www.upgreen.org? Great hiking and off-grid products included!

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Filed under Energy Conservation, Gifts from Nature, green living

Are We Being Manipulated?

A Green Living article by Steve Waller

Something strange is happening. The Oct. 4, 2009 national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds fewer Americans, (57%, down from 71% in 2008), think there is solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades.
In January 2009, global warming ranked at the bottom of the American list of policy priorities. Only 30% of Americans said it should be a top priority, down from 35% a year ago. Global warming is the lowest-rated priority for both independents and Republicans and ranks sixteenth for Democrats among 20 issues. Across all age groups, except those younger than age 30, the percentage who think warming is a very serious problem has declined since 2008.
Independents’ belief dropped dramatically, from 75% in 2008 to 53% in 2009. Just 35% of Republicans see solid evidence today, down from 62% in 2007. The drop among moderate Republicans has been particularly steep; only 41% now say there is solid evidence of global warming, compared with 69% last year. Even Democrats see less evidence — 75% today compared with 83% in 2009, (91% in 2006). What evidence changed their minds?
Oddly, Americans claim to see less evidence as credible agencies that track global warming data around the world see more evidence. Arctic ice is a global thermometer that clearly reflects global temperatures. The National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado at Boulder (NSIDC, http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/) has monitored arctic ice conditions daily since 1976 and clearly shows more evidence of warming.
Since March 1958, average carbon dioxide (CO2) levels have been measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii (available on http://co2now.org/) and show more evidence that atmospheric CO2 levels are rising. Antarctic ice cores indicate that in 800,000 BC(!) CO2 levels were only 220 parts per million (ppm) (see http://www.terranature.org/antarcticIceCore.htm). During those 800,000 years prior to industrialization, CO2 was between 172 and 300 ppm. In 1850, CO2 was at 280 ppm; in 1958, 315 ppm; and in 1990, 350 ppm (considered the highest tolerable global level). As of Dec. 2009, CO2 was at 387 ppm.
The only evidence for carbon dioxide similar to today’s levels was 15 to 20 million years ago when the planet (and mankind) was dramatically different. During this timescale, methane was never higher than 750 parts per billion (ppb) but now it stands at 1,780 ppb.
The rate of change is the most dramatic, with carbon dioxide increases never exceeding 30 ppm in 1,000 years – now carbon dioxide has risen by 30 ppm in only the last 17 years. That’s evidence Americans suddenly stopped seeing last year!
What’s obvious is that those who claim to see less evidence are simply not looking for evidence. You can’t see what you don’t look for. Instead, Americans must be mistaking opinions for evidence. Americans are certainly saturated with opinions, but apparently not with evidence. That puts Americans at odds with the rest of the world which has a much higher concern about the evidence of global warming.
Could TV, promoting status-quo opinion, be persuading you that everything is OK and that evidence isn’t worth looking at? Might language testing and specific wording that turns public opinion on an issue, be turning on you? Has brain scan neuro-marketing learned what part of your brain helps marketers promote “don’t worry” campaigns without your conscious reasoning?
Before you express another mis-opinion about global warming, make sure you look for the evidence other Americans stopped seeing. Start at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming . There is great pleasure in clarity and clarity needs to be restored. Don’t be manipulated by opinions. Seek evidence.

Steve Waller’s family lives in a wind and sol powered home. He has been involved with conservation and energy issues since the 1970s and frequently teaches about energy. He and a partner own a U.P. wind/solar business called Learn Clean Energy. He can be reached at Steve@UPWallers.net.

 Reprinted from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Spring 2010. Copyright Steve Waller, 2010.
Sources:
http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1386/cap-and-trade-global-warming-opinion
http://people-press.org/report/485/economy-top-policy-priority
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Council on Foreign Relations
http://www.cfr.org/publication/20029/world_opinion_on_the_environment.html?breadcrumb=%2Fthinktank%2Fiigg%2Fpop%2F
World Opinion on the Environment 11/09 – From a variety of polls
http://www.cfr.org/content/publications/attachments/POPCH5aEnvironment.pdf
U.S. Opinion on the Environment 11/09 – From a variety of polls
http://www.cfr.org/content/publications/attachments/USPOPCH13aEnvironment.pdf
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Arctic Ice Cores
http://www.sustain.ucla.edu/news/article.asp?parentid=4676
http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/22071
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v453/n7193/full/nature06949.html
http://www.terranature.org/antarcticIceCore.htm

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Filed under Energy Conservation, Global Warming, green living, Steve Waller