Organizing and Growing Individual Efforts: What Can I Do? (3)

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 2:33 AM GMT on April 10, 2013

Share this Blog
21
+

Organizing and Growing Individual Efforts: What Can I Do? (3)

This is the continuation of a series in response to the question, “What can I do about climate change?” I thank Doug Glancy who helped me out last week with a blog Smoking, Marriage and Climate, which discussed the role of peer pressure and social networking to organize and develop a growing movement. These are ideas I will come back to later in the series.

In the first entry of the series, I set up the discussion with the definition of mitigation and adaptation. In this blog, I will focus on what individuals can do to mitigate climate change. That is, what can individuals do to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases?

The easy answer is to be more efficient. I included a complicated graph in the first blog that provided a foundation for thinking about efficiency. The message of that blog is that insulation improvements in building, fuel efficiency in transportation, elimination of standby losses, and more efficient lighting, air conditioning and water heating not only reduce emissions in a significant way but in a very short time they save money. “Standby losses” refers to computers that are left in a state of reduced power rather than being turned off. Chargers and adapters that are left plugged in when they are not being used also contribute to standby losses. According to Energy Star the average U.S. household spends about $100 per year on standby energy.

More efficient use of energy means less money spent buying energy. Over time, the savings in energy will pay for the upfront cost, for example, of installing better insulation or a more efficient water heater. Earlier, I wrote about personal barriers to taking action. Happily, federal and local governments and corporations have taken steps to reduce upfront costs, which many people cite as the reason they don’t spend on more efficient buildings and appliances. In other cases, there are local regulations and coding requirements that demand improving efficiency. A place, therefore, that an individual can contribute is to advocate and to support policies and corporations that advance more efficient use of energy. This helps to provide an environment that encourages better use of resources.

Individuals can and do make choices about fuel-efficient cars, public transportation, appliances and light bulbs. If your concern, however, is climate change, then you make these decisions and then don’t see immediate benefit to the climate. In fact, mostly we hear that carbon dioxide emissions continue to go up and that the planet is warming and changing in profound ways. Therefore, it is easy to become discouraged that an individual does not have a lot of impact. Turning this problem around, however, provides a different framing. Our individual behavior in the consumption of energy has, collectively, led to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere: it has made the problem. Therefore, we have ample evidence that the collective behavior of individuals can have global consequences. This suggests that individuals should look at ways to promote the emergence of groups of people to enhance adoption of more energy-efficient buying and behavior.

Many individuals have the opportunity to contribute to the emergence of societal groups because they are part of organizations ranging from community associations to civic organizations – the list is long. As a member or leader of local organizations, you have opportunity to have a more direct impact. Students of mine have worked in efforts to improve insulation in entire neighborhoods and in the development of recycling and composting programs. Working in small organizations is also a place where people can take advantage of our natural competitive instincts and peer pressure to incorporate the power of social behavior.

A local activity that especially appeals to me is to get involved in local government and schools boards. This can either be as a citizen speaking at the meetings, volunteering, seeking appointments to committees or even getting elected. Activities range from working to assure excellent science education to asking for and developing weather and climate preparedness plans. Thinking about weather and climate in planning (adaptation) is a good way to make mitigation seem real.

Finally, individuals are often not individual in the resources they influence and control. People own businesses and work in management in companies. These are places where there is often strong attention to reducing cost; hence, efforts to reduce cost through efficiency are likely to be well received. Good businesses are often thinking long term – energy costs, appeal to customers who might be environmentally interested, emerging technology, protection of property, buildings and resources; therefore, business might see advantage in taking up initiatives that are beneficial to climate change. Businesses are places where individual influences have impacts that are far greater than that of a single person (UPS and Sustainability).

Here, I have provided a list of possibilities where the influence of an individual can reach beyond that of a single person. However, referring back to an earlier entry, I would argue that rather than a list of things that one can do, it is at least as important to state what to do and then provide the skills on how to do it. I need some help on skills of how to get things done, people with experience - perhaps the next guest blogger.

r

Some Resources

Here are a couple of the better web sites I have found with the basic information of what individuals can do. Please send me more.

EPA: What You Can Do

Union of Concerned Scientists: What You Can Do About Climate Change

Links to the Series

Setting Up the Discussion Deciding to do something, definition of mitigation and adaptation, and a cost-benefit anchored framework for thinking about mitigation

Smoking, Marriage and Climate Behavioral changes and peer pressure

Organizing and Growing Individual Efforts A little detail on efficiency and thinking about how individuals can have more impact than just that of a single person

The Complete List Eight categories of things we can do to reduce greenhouse gases

We Are What We Eat Food and agriculture and greenhouse gas emissions

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 290 - 240

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16Blog Index

Quoting goosegirl1:


Wow, what a rant concerning something that was NOT the point...snip...
Well, look at the up-side. At least he's not confused any more.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting allahgore:



Well go back and look at Dr Masters blogs when the drought was occuring; I did not see him say flash drought. Also we were suppose to get majors hitting the USA after the 2005 hurricane season, well that never panned out did it? I understand the game, change the names, Great big drought, flash drought, global warming, no AGW, No let's just call it climate change to cover ALL events!


Wow, what a rant concerning something that was NOT the point. You said "flash drought" was a new name, I provided 2 links from last summer that used the same term. The third link was from just a few days ago. I think, by most standards, we can say that the term "flash drought" was in use before this week, when the report was issued.

I personally said nothing about any of the rest but...

Link

Link

Link

... if you want to learn more about hurricanes and climate change. The evidence of an increase in US landfalls does not seem concrete, and obviously has not been occurring as of yet. Unfortunately, it also does not provide concrete proof it will never happen, either.

Thus- we did not change any names, no one claimed there were more major storms hitting the US, and we did not make up the term "flash drought" this week.

Member Since: December 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1225
Flash Drought in U.S. Explained in 21 Seconds

www.climatecentral.org
Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 25 Comments: 948
Bill in Kansas to Outlaw Sustainability

Bloomberg.com

The state’s “Committee on Energy and Environment” is proposing a law that would prohibit spending on anything that won’t set Kansas on a course to self-destruction. House Bill No. 2366 would ban all state and municipal funds for anything related to “sustainable development,” which it defines as: “development in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come."

For the record, Hedke said House Bill No. 2366 shouldn’t affect the wind industry, because Kansas already doesn’t support wind development with public funds. In fact, he says, “we don’t have laws in Kansas right now that relate to sustainable development.” It’s more about preventing sustainable development in the future.

In any event, the bill isn’t likely to get on the books any time soon; Kansas’s 90-day legislative session ended without a hearing on the bill. Hedke said they may revisit it next year.

Kansas has the wind-energy potential of 3,102 terawatt hours a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That’s about 80 percent of the annual electricity consumption of the entire United States. If Kansas developed just a tiny fraction of that -- 7,158 megawatts -- by 2030, it would provide economic benefits of about $7.8 billion for the state, according to the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Lab. And it would do so without contributing to the global warming that’s frying the state’s wheat and corn and pushing America’s breadbasket north.

That’s sustainability. In fact, there’s so much sustainable profit to be had in Kansas, it should be outlawed.
Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 25 Comments: 948
Quoting barbamz:
Fitting the ongoing debate above ...

Natural Resources Minister under fire for climate-change comments
HEATHER SCOFFIELD, OTTAWA — The Canadian Press, 12.04.2013

Interesting link. Led me to this. I never hear this news.

"Alberta’s energy industry is pushing for carbon taxes half as high as what government has proposed, with oil sands companies lobbying for less stringent goals that would leave the province short of meeting its emissions goals.

"The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has suggested the province target a 20-per-cent reduction in per-barrel emissions, and a $20-per-tonne tax on those unable to comply, according to a provincial document."

So the oil industry is content with a $20/tonne tax? That would be remarkable news in the U.S. I'd think.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting allahgore:


I did read it a few times; I don't like to label people but one side is making many excuses providing new names like "flash drought" when in fact they always just said the big drought of 2012. That same side would like to only cherry pick certain NOAA data. Now I know the cherry trees are in bloom but why would "any" side want to cherry pick data?


We used the term flash drought because that's what was used in the report, not because we made it up just for this occasion.

Link

Link

Link

Member Since: December 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1225
Report: Solar Scores Big Gains in Electricity Generation

For the first time, solar accounted for all the new electricity generation capacity added to the U.S. grid in March 2013.

USNews.com

Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 25 Comments: 948
Quoting allahgore:


1. 2012 drought it was caused by AGW, now a new report comes out to show it was not caused by AGW now the new word of the day is "flash drought". How come there was no mention of "flash drought" before? I think the reason why because if people would have used that word a yr ago it would have taken away from the over hype.

Sigh
'Flash Drought' Threatens To Destroy Mo. Crops
by Adam Allington
May 28, 2012 3:00 PM
Climatologists call it a "flash drought," a sudden, unexpected burst of high temperatures and low humidity that can wither crops in a matter of days. And with temperatures hovering above 90 degrees, farmers worry the weather could have disastrous consequences on corn and other crops.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting barbamz:
Hey everyone. I caught a flu the last days and now I'm only slowly catching up the blog. These news from a german institute are on Science Daily:

Carbon Dioxide Removal Can Lower Costs of Climate Protection

Apr. 12, 2013 — According to the analysis, carbon dioxide removal could be used under certain requirements to alleviate the most costly components of mitigation, but it would not replace the bulk of actual emissions reductions.

...

Serious concerns about large-scale biomass use combined with CCS

"Of course, there are serious concerns about the sustainability of large-scale biomass use for energy," says co-author Ottmar Edenhofer, chief-economist of PIK. "We therefore considered the bioenergy with CCS option only as an example of the role that carbon dioxide removal could play for climate change mitigation." The exploitation of bioenergy can conflict with land-use for food production or ecosystem protection. To account for sustainability concerns, the study restricts the bioenergy production to a medium level, that may be realized mostly on abandoned agricultural land.


...

Read the whole article


Anyhow, I'm sure the paper makes a lot of sense except - on what land is all that biomass to be grown? Using what water?

I just read this book (after getting a recommendation from reading a forum which was recommended here :-) )

What is new now is the scramble to secure land abroad for more basic food and feed crops— including wheat, rice, corn, and soybeans— and for biofuels. These land acquisitions of the last several years, or “land grabs” as they are sometimes called, represent a new stage in the emerging geopolitics of food scarcity. They are occurring on a scale and at a pace not seen before.
...

The state-owned Chinese firm Chongqing Grain Group, for example, has reportedly begun harvesting soybeans on some 500,000 acres in Brazil’s Bahia state for export to China. The company announced in early 2011 that as part of a multibillion-dollar investment package in Bahia, it would develop a soybean industrial park with facilities capable of crushing 1.5 million tons of soybeans a year.
...

Compiling data on 12 confirmed projects with a combined area of 343,000 acres, they calculate that if this land is all irrigated, as seems likely, the irrigated area in the region would increase sevenfold. This would reduce the average annual flow of the Blue Nile by approximately 4 percent. Acquisitions in Ethiopia, where most of the Nile’s headwaters begin, or in the Sudans, which also tap water from the Nile, mean that Egypt will get less water, thus shrinking its wheat harvest and pushing its already heavy dependence on imported wheat even higher.
...

Ethiopia’s huge land leases to foreign firms have led to “human rights violations and the forced relocation of over a million Ethiopians.” Unfortunately, since the Ethiopian government is pressing ahead with its land lease program, many more villagers are likely to be forcibly displaced.

Brown, Lester R. (2012-09-24). Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity (p. 107). Norton.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Fitting the ongoing debate above ...

Natural Resources Minister under fire for climate-change comments
HEATHER SCOFFIELD, OTTAWA — The Canadian Press, 12.04.2013
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hey everyone. I caught a flu the last days and now I'm only slowly catching up the blog. These news from a german institute are on Science Daily:

Carbon Dioxide Removal Can Lower Costs of Climate Protection

Apr. 12, 2013 — Directly removing CO2 from the air has the potential to alter the costs of climate change mitigation. It could allow prolonging greenhouse-gas emissions from sectors like transport that are difficult, thus expensive, to turn away from using fossil fuels. And it may help to constrain the financial burden on future generations, a study now published by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) shows. It focuses on the use of biomass for energy generation, combined with carbon capture and storage (CCS). According to the analysis, carbon dioxide removal could be used under certain requirements to alleviate the most costly components of mitigation, but it would not replace the bulk of actual emissions reductions.

...

Serious concerns about large-scale biomass use combined with CCS

"Of course, there are serious concerns about the sustainability of large-scale biomass use for energy," says co-author Ottmar Edenhofer, chief-economist of PIK. "We therefore considered the bioenergy with CCS option only as an example of the role that carbon dioxide removal could play for climate change mitigation." The exploitation of bioenergy can conflict with land-use for food production or ecosystem protection. To account for sustainability concerns, the study restricts the bioenergy production to a medium level, that may be realized mostly on abandoned agricultural land.


...

Read the whole article
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


240-244

If one is sufficiently brilliant no words are needed. :-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Xandra:
Climate Trolls %u2013 An Illustrated Bestiary

"As you travel the inter-tubes in search of learned discourse, understanding and information to prepare you for the coming climate cataclysms, you will see many curious creatures, some common, some rare, who are here for the sole purpose of deterring, deceiving and confusing you. Some will pray on your admitted ignorance or uncertainty. Some will pray on your subconscious wish that climate change not be real or if it is, it will be benign. Some will seem to engage sincerely but seek only to lure you so deep into the rabbit hole you will be unable to return. Some will dazzle you with words so long and unfamiliar and thoughts so obscure and eccentric that you%u2019ll feel you must believe. Some will simply badger and harass you until you can take no more. It is a harsh and dangerous world. This is why I wish to provide you a guide to these many and varied beings you will surely come across as you venture ever deeper into their native realm. May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out."

Thanks. Good article. I don't know which label applies to the one who seems to "engage sincerely", but that's the one who usually gets me. But I guess recognizing my own weakness is a start at avoiding the rabbit hole, right?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Keeper,
You are scaring the Children....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Climate Trolls – An Illustrated Bestiary

"As you travel the inter-tubes in search of learned discourse, understanding and information to prepare you for the coming climate cataclysms, you will see many curious creatures, some common, some rare, who are here for the sole purpose of deterring, deceiving and confusing you. Some will pray on your admitted ignorance or uncertainty. Some will pray on your subconscious wish that climate change not be real or if it is, it will be benign. Some will seem to engage sincerely but seek only to lure you so deep into the rabbit hole you will be unable to return. Some will dazzle you with words so long and unfamiliar and thoughts so obscure and eccentric that you’ll feel you must believe. Some will simply badger and harass you until you can take no more. It is a harsh and dangerous world. This is why I wish to provide you a guide to these many and varied beings you will surely come across as you venture ever deeper into their native realm. May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out."

An Illustrated Bestiary of the Climate Blogworld >>

Member Since: November 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1281
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


who knows cb
this is uncharted territory friend
iam just here for the ride
and what a ride it will be

iam gone later be nice to one another


Correct who knows? Anyone here know?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20396
Now taking Keeper's advice to use the available tools. If anyone infers from that that I have "lost" this round, well, c'est la guerre.

Edited to add: sorry, Keep, I accidentally minused your tools comment. Not my true response!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cyclonebuster:


Do we get Hypercanes when the summertime Northern Arctic Ice is gone?


who knows cb
this is uncharted territory friend
iam just here for the ride
and what a ride it will be

iam gone later be nice to one another
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting allahgore:


Why would "any" side cherry pick data? Do you think both sides do it?
what did you learn when you were reading up on climate change?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:



That variability would make one good cherry pie...
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20396
INFOGRAPHIC: 13 Oil Spills in 30 Days

Moving oil is a dirty business, and never has that been more clear than this past month. Since March 11, the global oil industry has had 13 spills on three continents. In North and South America alone, they’ve spilled more than a million gallons of oil and toxic chemicals – enough to fill two olympic-sized swimming pools.

How bad was it?
Here’s an infographic of all the oil spills, leaks and derailments in the past 30 days.


Member Since: November 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1281
Quoting FLwolverine:
Sheesh! One last post before I pouf you from my screen. You know one giant difference between the hurricane predictions and the silly bet you propose? The hurricanes are going to happen, regardless of how many people make predictions. An increase of 2C or 3.5C or 6 C doesn't have to happen (although 2C does look almost unavoidable right now). But as long as you and others keep denying that global warming is man-made, and thereby keep encouraging the public and politicians from doing anything to curb it, those temps will just keep on climbing. You and I won't be around to see if you're right (Ha!), but our kids and grandkids will know long before 2100 if the world is going to see the catastrophes of a 4C climate or the lesser disasters of a 2C climate.

BTW, you remember that I asked you a straightforward question in a civil manner? Well, the cheap shot about "basic maths" in your answer was entirely uncalled for and illustrates one of the reasons the posters here (now including me) are not interested in discussions with you.

I repeat: Sheesh!

Edited to add: Thanks, Keeper, for proving my point on the temp increases.


Can we get hypercanes with a 2c warmer change?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20396
see ya all later play nice
remember your tools

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Do we get Hypercanes when the summertime Northern Arctic Ice is gone?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20396
Quoting RTSplayer:
So, why not do a "call the numbers" thing on GW, much like is done in Dr. Masters' tropical blog with the numbers for tropical season?

For example, I might say warming by 2100 will be just 2C at a maximum.

Now I'll bet my 2C ends up being much closer to the real change than Dr. Hansen's fanatically exaggerated numbers.

I also doubt the IPCC's new assessment which claims a global average change of what, 4C to 6C?! We'll "C" about that. Now their average if 5C, so if I say 2C and the real number is anything less than 3.5C, then I've won, because I will have been closer than their average.

I have very rational and science based arguments for why that is the case. However, I'll no longer be bothered with that.


Are you Rush Limbaugh?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20396
Chinese industrialists back to razing forests after government arrests, silences prominent critic

RawStory.com (AFP)

Vast swathes of Hainan in the South China Sea have been cleared — a quarter of its woodlands in the last decade according to environmentalists Greenpeace — for golf courses and exclusive hotels in an attempt to create a tourist paradise.

Liu Futang, a former forestry official disgusted by the destruction, campaigned against damaging developments for years.

The People’s Daily, China’s most circulated newspaper and the ruling Communist Party’s mouthpiece, even lauded him on its front page as an “environmental warrior” after he stopped a mining firm cutting down swathes of palms around two kilometres from the golf course site in Wanning.

But Liu now stands as a symbol of Chinese suppression of environmentalist critics after he was tried for publishing books on the subject, jailed, convicted and released on condition he does not speak to the media.
Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 25 Comments: 948
Quoting allahgore:


I did read it a few times; I don't like to label people but one side is making many excuses providing new names like "flash drought" when in fact they always just said the big drought of 2012. That same side would like to only cherry pick certain NOAA data. Now I know the cherry trees are in bloom but why would "any" side want to cherry pick data?
I may have to rescind my remark about the Stanford degree. This is an excellent example of the technique of writing ambiguously so each reader may infer their own meaning. Because you said "one side is making many excuses" and cherry picking, some readers will infer that you mean Hoerling, and others will decide you mean Trenberth, Dr Masters, Neapolitan, et al. Well done!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting allahgore:



What was the conclusion based on? "hint"- data.
Maybe you should go over and read Dr Masters' 4/12 blog a couple of times. No one's quarreling with the data, just with the way it was used. Misusing data is, as I'm sure you are aware, a common practice among skeptics and deniers.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RTSplayer:
So, why not do a "call the numbers" thing on GW, much like is done in Dr. Masters' tropical blog with the numbers for tropical season?

For example, I might say warming by 2100 will be just 2C at a maximum.

Now I'll bet my 2C ends up being much closer to the real change than Dr. Hansen's fanatically exaggerated numbers.

...snip...
Sheesh! One last post before I pouf you from my screen. You know one giant difference between the hurricane predictions and the silly bet you propose? The hurricanes are going to happen, regardless of how many people make predictions. An increase of 2C or 3.5C or 6 C doesn't have to happen (although 2C does look almost unavoidable right now). But as long as you and others keep denying that global warming is man-made, and thereby keep encouraging the public and politicians from doing anything to curb it, those temps will just keep on climbing. You and I won't be around to see if you're right (Ha!), but our kids and grandkids will know long before 2100 if the world is going to see the catastrophes of a 4C climate or the lesser disasters of a 2C climate.

BTW, you remember that I asked you a straightforward question in a civil manner? Well, the cheap shot about "basic maths" in your answer was entirely uncalled for and illustrates one of the reasons the posters here (now including me) are not interested in discussions with you.

I repeat: Sheesh!

Edited to add: Thanks, Keeper, for proving my point on the temp increases.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting allahgore:



Well,Is that the same for NOAA data?
Poor dear, still confused? Haven't learned the difference between data and conclusions? Maybe Stanford should reimburse you for that degree.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RTSplayer:
So, why not do a "call the numbers" thing on GW, much like is done in Dr. Masters' tropical blog with the numbers for tropical season?

For example, I might say warming by 2100 will be just 2C at a maximum.

Now I'll bet my 2C ends up being much closer to the real change than Dr. Hansen's fanatically exaggerated numbers.

I also doubt the IPCC's new assessment which claims a global average change of what, 4C to 6C?! We'll "C" about that. Now their average if 5C, so if I say 2C and the real number is anything less than 3.5C, then I've won, because I will have been closer than their average.

I have very rational and science based arguments for why that is the case. However, I'll no longer be bothered with that.
"I'll no longer be bothered with...rational and science-based arguments". I gotta say, such refreshing candor from the anti-science side of the aisle is so seldom heard around here. So there's that...

Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13471
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 290 - 240

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16Blog Index

Top of Page

About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.