It may be a colourless, odourless and completely natural gas, but carbon dioxide is beginning to cause us a lot of problems. It only makes up a tiny fraction of the atmosphere (0.04% of all the gas by volume – or 395 parts per million) but it has a huge effect on the Earth’s temperature. That’s because unlike nitrogen or oxygen, carbon dioxide molecules absorb the Sun‘s heat rays even though they let light rays pass through, like a greenhouse.
Scientists are looking at ways to modulate the global temperature by removing some of this greenhouse gas from the air. If it works, it would be one of the few ways of geoengineering the planet with multiple benefits, beyond simply cooling the atmosphere.
Every time we breathe out, we emit carbon dioxide just like all other metabolic life forms. Meanwhile, photosynthetic organisms like plants and algae take in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. This balance has kept the planet at a comfortably warm average temperature of 14C (57F), compared with a chilly -18C (0F) if there were no carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
In the Anthropocene (the Age of Man), we have shifted this balance by releasing more carbon dioxide than plants can absorb. Since the industrial revolution, humans have been burning increasing amounts of fossil fuels, releasing stored carbon from millions of years ago. Eventually the atmosphere will reach a new balance at a hotter temperature as a result of the additional carbon dioxide, but getting there is going to be difficult.
I drink prodigious amounts of black coffee daily and have done so for more than two decades. Indeed, I cannot remember the last day I went without a solid dose of the strong stuff. On more than one occasion, I have resorted to drinking tepid tap water laced with half-crushed coffee beans – or, “cowboy coffee” – rather than endure the slings-and-arrows of reality unmediated by caffeine.
Needless to say, I was saddened to learn that coffee makers are among the most profligate energy hogs in the contemporary workplace.
In a recent analysis prepared for the California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research PIER Program, Ecos Consulting found that the typical coffee makers in a California office building consumes nearly twice as much energy as a normally used desktop computer annually.
California’s office plug loads consume more than 3,000 gigawatt‐hours annually, costing business owners more than $400 million each year and producing a whopping 700,000 metric tons in annually carbon dioxide emission, which is roughly equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions produced by 140,000 cars during one year.
Strange Random Coffee Quote:
“No matter what historians claimed, BC really stood for “Before Coffee.” ― Cherise Sinclair, Master of the Mountain
The United States isn’t broke; we’re the richest country on the planet and a country in which the richest among us are doing exceptionally well. But the truth is, our economy is broken, producing more pollution, greenhouse gasses and garbage than any other country. In these and so many other ways, it just isn’t working. But rather than invest in something better, we continue to keep this ‘dinosaur economy’ on life support with hundreds of billions of dollars of our tax money. The Story of Broke calls for a shift in government spending toward investments in clean, green solutions—renewable energy, safer chemicals and materials, zero waste and more—that can deliver jobs AND a healthier environment. It’s time to rebuild the American Dream; but this time, let’s build it better.
Strange Random Being Broke Quote:
Human beings will line up for miles to buy a bucket of catastrophes, but don’t try selling sunshine and light – you’ll go broke. – Chuck Jones
- The Story of Broke (2011) (milkandcookies.com)
- The Story of Broke: Rebuild the American Dream, better (dangerousminds.net)
- The Story of Broke (2011) (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
- The Story of Broke – Annie Leonard’s new film (creativityland.ca)
- Teaser Trailer, the Story of Broke (exitlanguages.wordpress.com)
- Launched Today: The Story of Broke Puts the Real Crony Capitalism on Notice (Video) (treehugger.com)
- Join Annie Leonard (The Story of Stuff/The Story of Broke) for a Live Chat, Thursday 10th Nov 3e/12p (treehugger.com)
This year’s Earth Day theme is Billion Acts of Green®. The purpose of this theme is to mobilize one billion acts of environmental service around the world. The campaign calls for people of all nationalities to commit to an act that helps reduce carbon emissions and promotes sustainability. The act can be a simple gesture, such as washing laundry in cold water, or immense, like picking up a million pounds of trash. Whatever the act may be, Earth Day is a great time to generate as many as possible in your community. Collectively, these acts will not only have an impact on global carbon emissions, but will also demonstrate the power of small every-day individual acts of green.
Earth Day 2011 Theme: Billion Acts of Green®
What are people doing to help the environment?
Strange Random Environment Quote:
There’s so much pollution in the air now that if it weren’t for our lungs there’d be no place to put it all. – Robert Orben
- [In the news] Earth Day rites moved to April 25 | The Philippine Star News Headlines (hronlineph.wordpress.com)
- Earth Day …. Action Day for the environment! (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- Gearing up for Earth Day: Pledge an Act of Green (fldpi.wordpress.com)
- Just In Time for Earth Day – EnviroCitizen Just Got Better!! (prweb.com)
- Facebook and Earth Day Network Release Billion Acts of Green App (treehugger.com)
- Earth Day 2011: A Billion Acts of Green (bespacific.com)
- 6 Savvy Ways the Corporate World is Celebrating Earth Day (treehugger.com)