Tag Archives: Environment

Lexington 2030 – A Vision

What will we be like in 20 years?  20 years ago this summer, the first Bush war for oil began its intial stages.  Tim Berners-Lee was formulating his idea for the world-wide web – yeah the web as we know it hadn’t been born.  The world’s population was 5.2 billion humans.  (Today, it’s 6.8 billion. When I was born in 1964, it was 3.2 billion)

This vision acknowledges the imminent threats of energy descent, and climate change, and the end of globalization.  It accepts the fact that “local” is the path to independence.

This is based on Portland’s climate action plan primarily, as well as other peak oil plans such as Bloomington’s.

I’ve been thinking about what Lexington should be doing to prepare for its next comprehensive plan.  I’m betting on business as usual – denial is very strong here - but I’m also beginning now to sound the alarm:  business as usual will not improve or even maintain our quality of life.  And that’s really all we have, isn’t it?

This is not about my values.  This isn’t a choice between values.  The world is changing rapidly to the negative. We must act now to protect ourselves and our place.

Here’s the goal:  An 80% reduction in carbon usage by 2030.   

An 80 percent reduction of carbon emissions by 2030 will entail re-imagining the entire community— transitioning away from fossil fuels and strengthening the local economy while shifting fundamental patterns of urban form, transportation, buildings and consumption.

A vision:

■ In 2030, Lexington and Fayette County are at the heart of a vibrant region with a thriving economy, rich cultural community and diverse, ecologically sustainable neighborhoods.

■ Personal mobility and access to services has never been better. Every resident lives in a walkable and bikeable neighborhood that includes retail businesses, schools, parks and jobs. Most people rely on walking, bicycling and transit rather than driving. Pedestrians and bicyclists are prominent in the region’s commercial centers, corridors and neighborhoods.

Public transportation, bikeways, sidewalks and greenways connect neighborhoods. When people do need to drive, vehicles are highly efficient and run on low-carbon electricity and renewable fuels.

■ Green jobs are a key component of the regional economy. Products and services related to clean energy, green building, sustainable food, green infrastructure, and waste reuse and recovery providing living-wage jobs throughout the community, and Lexington is one of North America’s  hubs for sustainable industry and clean technology.

■ Homes, offices and other buildings deliver superb performance. They are durable and highly efficient, healthy, comfortable and powered primarily by solar, wind and other renewable resources.

■ The urban forest and green roofs cover the community, reducing the urban heat island effect, sequestering carbon, providing habitat, and cleaning the air and water.

■ Food and agriculture are central to the economic and cultural vitality of the community, with backyard gardens, farmers’ markets and community gardens productive and thriving. A large share of food comes from farms within the region, and residents eat a healthy diet, consuming more locally grown grains, vegetables and fruits.

■ The benefits of green infrastructure, walkable and bikeable neighborhoods, quality housing, and convenient, affordable transportation options and public health services are shared equitably throughout the community.

■ Residents and businesses use resources extremely efficiently, minimizing and reusing solid waste, water, stormwater and energy.

■ The Bluegrass region has prepared for a changed climate, making infrastructure more resilient, developing reliable supplies of water, food and energy and improving public health services. Policies, investments and programs are in place to protect the residents most vulnerable to climate change and rising energy prices.

What do you think?

If you care about these issues at all, the City of Portland and Multnomah County Climate Action Plan is a must read:  http://www.portlandonline.com/bps/index.cfm?c=49989&a=268612

Leave a comment

Filed under Economy, Environment, New World Planning, Peak Oil

Climate Deniers: Dont Watch This

Leave a comment

Filed under Environment

The Climate Deniers Will Lose;But They’ll Lose Because We’ll All Lose

This is one of most powerful pieces on climate change I’ve ever read.  Absolutely stunning in it’s revelation of what is happening to our planet, and to that race of humans  who happen to inhabit it.  The hateful, greedy, and/or willfully ignorant minds in our country are doing everything they can to ensure our ruin.

The attack on climate-change science

by Bill McKibben

Why It’s the O.J. Moment of the Twenty-First Century

Twenty-one years ago, in 1989, I wrote what many have called the first book for a general audience on global warming. One of the more interesting reviews came from the Wall Street Journal. It was a mixed and judicious appraisal.  “The subject,” the reviewer said, “is important, the notion is arresting, and Mr. McKibben argues convincingly.”  And that was not an outlier: around the same time, the first president Bush announced that he planned to “fight the greenhouse effect with the White House effect.”

I doubt that’s what the Journal will say about my next book when it comes out in a few weeks, and I know that no GOP presidential contender would now dream of acknowledging that human beings are warming the planet.  Sarah Palin is currently calling climate science “snake oil” and last week, the Utah legislature, in a move straight out of the King Canute playbook, passed a resolution condemning “a well organized and ongoing effort to manipulate global temperature data in order to produce a global warming outcome” on a nearly party-line vote.

And here’s what’s odd. In 1989, I could fit just about every scientific study on climate change on top of my desk. The science was still thin.  If my reporting made me think it was nonetheless convincing, many scientists were not yet prepared to agree.

Now, you could fill the Superdome with climate-change research data. (You might not want to, though, since Hurricane Katrina demonstrated just how easy it was to rip holes in its roof.) Every major scientific body in the world has produced reports confirming the peril. All 15 of the warmest years on record have come in the two decades that have passed since 1989. In the meantime, the Earth’s major natural systems have all shown undeniable signs of rapid flux: melting Arctic and glacial ice, rapidly acidifying seawater, and so on.

Somehow, though, the onslaught against the science of climate change has never been stronger, and its effects, at least in the U.S., never more obvious: fewer Americans believe humans are warming the planet.  At least partly as a result, Congress feels little need to consider global-warming legislation, no less pass it; and as a result of that failure, progress towards any kind of international agreement on climate change has essentially ground to a halt.

Climate-Change Denial as an O.J. Moment

The campaign against climate science has been enormously clever, and enormously effective. It’s worth trying to understand how they’ve done it.  The best analogy, I think, is to the O.J. Simpson trial, an event that’s begun to recede into our collective memory. For those who were conscious in 1995, however, I imagine that just a few names will make it come back to life. Kato Kaelin, anyone? Lance Ito? Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Environment

Uh oh – Arctic sea ice vanishing faster than “our most pessimistic models”

From the Vancouver Sun 2.06.10: “Sea ice in Canada’s fragile Arctic is melting faster than anyone expected, the lead investigator in Canada’s largest climate-change study yet said Friday — raising the possibility that the Arctic could, in a worst-case scenario, be ice-free in about three years.

University of Manitoba Prof. David Barber, the lead investigator of the Circumpolar Flaw Lead System Study, said the rapid decay of thick Arctic Sea ice highlights the rapid pace of climate change in the North and foreshadows what will come in the South.

“We’re seeing it happen more quickly than what our models thought would happen,” Barber said at a student symposium on climate change in Winnipeg. “It’s happening much faster than our most pessimistic models suggested.”

“The impact means more variability in the Earth’s climate — warm trends are warmer and cold trends are colder.” (Fox News Fans, see below)

“Dr. John Hanesiak, an associate professor at the University of Manitoba’s Centre For Earth Observation Science, said that due to human actions and the release of greenhouse gases, those extremes may include more frequent summer droughts and more spring floods in southern climates.

“We know that we’re part of the problem,” he said. “There’s no question about that. The models are telling us that now.”

Read it here: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Arctic+vanishing+fast+researcher/2532081/story.html

(Note to Fox News and it’s wonderful viewers:  Global Warming doesn’t mean that it will never snow again….Morons – my favorite was a piece where they took a copy of Inconvenient Truth and put in the snow while laughing about it….watch it here unless you are prone to righteous vileonce against inanimate objects:

Leave a comment

Filed under Environment

Its Climate Clown Time Again In Frankfort

(This is Gooch)

Our state is falling apart by any measure you want to look at and yet we have absolute clowns in the legislature saying shit like this: (from the Herald Leader)

“House Resolution 132 urges Congress to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon dioxide emissions until the federal government “adopts a balanced approach to address climate and energy supply issues without crippling the economy.”

Gooch said the measure is an attempt ‘to fight back’ against reports that greenhouse gases are contributing to global warming. He noted that the media have dubbed him ‘a global warming skeptic.’

He said the booming population worldwide ‘probably has upset the balance’ of the planet, ‘and we probably should mitigate that.’

But ‘now is not the time to be continuing this hysteria of imminent doom of our planet because of man-made global warming,’ Gooch said.

Co-sponsors of Gooch’s resolution include House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, and Majority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook.”

One brave but anonymous soul had the courage to stand up and try to introduce some reality to the proceedings, “but ‘You are not going to do that,’ House Natural Resources Chairman Jim Gooch, D-Providence, said as a Kentucky State Police trooper escorted the man out of the room.”

Folks, this isn’t helping us improve our stature in the eyes of our fellow Americans or the world.  We are moving backward….

Leave a comment

Filed under Environment

Wake Up, Freak Out – Then Get A Grip

Here’s a very well done clip about global warming – its been out for over a year but I just now saw it. 

Visit the site: http://wakeupfreakout.org/index.html

Leave a comment

Filed under Environment

Post Carbon Institute: Some Consensus

The PCI had its first ever Fellows Retreat last weekend.  Asher Miller recounts the big themes:

  • The next five, ten, twenty years are going to be remarkably different than the last. We have effectively reached the limits to growth, the nearly simultaneous crises of global climate change, peak oil, fresh water scarcity, debt and economic growth, population, biodiversity loss, top soil erosion, etc.
  • We must prepare for uncertainty. How events will transpire we can’t fully predict.Think about how complex climate models must be. Multiply the complexity of that system 1,000 or 1 million fold and the only thing that becomes clear is that nothing can be fully predicted. Nothing but rapid and massive change that is.
  • We need to focus on responses, not just solutions. There is no silver bullet, no combination of solutions that will allow us to maintain the status quo or avoid hardship. Does that mean there is no role for innovation, technology, or other advances? Of course not. But to think that we can invent our way out of these crises is just sheer folly. Dangerous folly.
  • We can do something. The good news is that there is no shortage of places or ways to exert our energies: building awareness and understanding, supporting individual and community preparedness, foster experimentation and re-localization in food and energy production, and—trickiest of all—changing behavior.
  • Whatever we do, it won’t be enough. There will be victims (there already are). There will be suffering. There will be loss. This reality, personally, is the hardest to bear. But that doesn’t mean we can or should give up.
  • Life can be as good, or better, than the present. It’s circumstantial, of course, but the consumer-driven way of life is not particularly fulfilling. Levels of depression, obesity, debt, social disconnection, etc. are at historic highs, at least in the industrialized world. A life more connected to community, more grounded in ecology, with the fruits of our labor more tangible and meaningful, can and will be more fulfilling.

Check the PCI out here:  http://www.postcarbon.org/

Leave a comment

Filed under Economy, Environment, Peak Oil