Evidence-based climate solutions

Katharine Hayhoe shared this TED talk by climate scientist Jonathan Foley. It has really succint explanation of what we should be emphasizing in attempting to make positive changes. It’s a great resource to know about, with valuable visual aids and graphics.

“Now is better than new, time is better than tech.”

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Seems his first two plans are to stop deforestation and fix methane leaks.

Here is a link to some of the main causes for deforestation.

What’s interesting to note is that one of the tops one is agricultural lands. A lot of forest is cut down under to grow crops and pasture animals like cows. Around 80% of all crops and pastures are for meat production.

I think everyone , especially those who eat animals, should visit an animal sanctuary for freed farm animals and see how happy and loved they are. Then go to a ranch that raises them for slaughter and then go to a slaughterhouse. See how much suffering happens in these places. We are all guilty of it. Even me. But if everyone just reduced the animals in their diets a lot of deforestation could be ended. But it is a sacrifice. It does mean forgoing bacon biscuits most weeks and having a fried green one instead. Meat does taste good. It’s just a choice to place other things over tastebuds. It really can help by just starting with one day. Like meatless Monday.

Another one it mentions is expanding communities. I’m sure we all see more and more people buying homes. We see more and more wild spaces cut down, paved over and turned into subdivisions. You can create native gardens and don’t use pesticides to try to help put some nature back. You can spread awareness for things like tiny homes. I often hear people talk about feeling claustrophobic in their house…… to me it’s just… try adding windows and going outside lol. It’s literally a prison of your own making. If you feel like your bedroom is two tiny and dark, get rid of some stuff and add another window or two and maybe sit outside in your backyard nest a water fountain and plants to death scroll instead of doing it in your bed. I’ve been in houses where the kitchen is bigger than my house. Just left a place where the kitchen is 16 foot walls and 40x40. They still have a living room, entertainment , food pantry and dining room too.

I still feel we should pressure celebrities and famous people to drop their private jets.

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Thanks for sharing the video. The crucial elements are as he says the When, Where, and How. I firmly believe that, at some point, we all possess the power to implement immediate changes. It’s not just about electric vehicles and transportation; we must also focus on other sectors like agriculture and industry.

The primary challenge with deforestation is that, in many cases, it’s driven by the need to produce large quantities of crops to feed growing populations. As Christians, we grapple with how to contribute to the well-being of our fellow beings because hunger is undeniably evil. Deforestation and reforestation are complex issues that won’t be solved overnight.

My commitment lies in regenerative design for consumer products. This dedication didn’t arise solely from convictions but emerged after working closely with the industry and witnessing the damage being done and the good things that are happening. Over 25 years, I’ve also encountered ready-to-implement, more efficient, and often cost-effective options that are within our reach.

As a Christian, I believe it all boils down to celebrating and cherishing the Kingdom. The solutions are right in front of us, but we need to have open hearts for divine guidance. We all can Be Part of the Change.

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I was reminded of an example I read about and can’t find online now: A village whose land was slowly turning to desert made two changes: instead of sending their sewage down a big pipe to a treatment plant they started composting it, and instead of burning off or burning up plant waste they put most of it into compost while shredding and spreading the rest over areas where compost was spread. The only covered about a hectare a year, but what they covered they seeded with native grasses and forbs, and those areas stayed green, so after a half dozen years the village stood in the middle of a big green patch. Trees showed up as volunteers, and they let those grow, working around them.

They made another change that I think all cities and towns should make: every roof got painted not just white but a shiny white; they also connected buildings by covering alleys with more shiny white roofs.

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I just wish that in North America laws would require logging to follow practices established thirty years ago by the leading forestry universities in the U.S., starting with don’t clearcut – leave at least 5% of the canopy in place. Then instead of burning all slash (woody debris):

  • burn no more than one third, and spread the ashes
  • chip about a third and spread it across the logged area
  • turn about a third into low piles, both round or long

These actually reduce the amount of carbon lost to the atmosphere after clear-cutting and increase the ability of the forest floor to retain carbon. I don’t know about more arid areas, but in the Pacific Northwest these practices can store carbon in the forest for centuries.

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If you find the source of that story, I’d love a link. I’m trying to make stories like this into books that can be translated into minority languages.

I’m trying to figure out how to make my house roof more reflective. I don’t remember the numbers but I remember watching a guy take the area of the U.S. that is dark roofing and show the impact if we were to make every roof light-colored’ the result would be a significant change in the country’s albedo. Then he showed how much change would result if we planted trees down the medians and along the sides of all highways; pavement absorbs a lot of heat, and adding trees would provide shade.

It’s something most people don’t even think about but our civilization soaks up a lot of heat that would otherwise be reflected back to space.

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I’ve been trying to find it and another one. The other comes from Australia and showed how one guy took over a failing ranch and turned it from dry and brown most of the year to green and wet: almost the entire result came from building weirs of loose stones across creeks. These slowed the water when it rained, causing the ground to absorb more, and that resulted in vegetation at first along the streams that continued to flow more and more of the year then slowly spread out from the streams. Added vegetation also resulted in more water retention, so he had a self-feeding cycle.

This got applied somewhere else where he taught a whole village how to build the rock weirs, just a few each year, and over four years the landscape changed drastically. There was a video on YouTube showing the project at the village, but I haven’t been able to find it again.

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I wholeheartedly agree with your approach, emphasizing that meaningful change begins with our individual actions. By incorporating sustainable practices into our daily lives, we can serve as catalysts for positive transformation. The ripple effect of these small actions can extend to our families, friends, and colleagues, fostering a collective commitment to a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.

On the topic of roofing color, it’s undeniably a location-specific consideration. The choice of color should be tailored to the unique climate and conditions of each area. Your example relates to the practices in the north of Argentina, where indigenous people historically used something similar to bamboo for insulation in their roofs, illustrates the importance of adapting building practices to local contexts. This not only enhances energy efficiency but also contributes to the comfort of homes, maintaining warmth in winter and coolness in summer.

In regions with less defined seasons, a single-color roofing solution might be more practical. However, in areas with distinct seasons, the color choice becomes crucial. The physics of color absorption and reflection come into play, with darker colors like black absorbing light and providing warmth in winter but potentially causing overheating in the summer. On the other hand, lighter colors like white reflect light, offering a cooling effect in summer but possibly leading to heat loss in winter. This highlights the necessity of a thoughtful and region-specific approach when considering roofing solutions for optimal energy efficiency and comfort.

Yes – everything outside the tropics should have highly reflective roofing! Dark roofing traps heat that should be reflected back into space and thus contributes to warming the planet.

A positive alternative is to cover much of the roof with solar panels. The ‘home-made’ electricity can also be used to cooling the house during hot days. That is what we do. Really nice to have comfortable inside temperatures during hot days without having to buy electricity for the cooling.

Solar panels are still expensive but the prices are coming down while the efficiency goes up. It takes less time to pay the investment with the profits from the solar energy production.

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While roofing prices in general keep going up as well, making solar shingles attractive.

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