Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Big Bust...

That ought to bring the punters in, but we are referring in disgust to the dismal failure of COP15 to achieve any meaningful action. All I can say is I hope science discovers the secret to prolonging life indefinitely, and can administer it to the politicians who refused to take responsibility at COP15. Let the buggers live 100 more years and see the results of what they have done - and have not done. I don't want to be here myself.

And so, as I walked the cat beneath the bare willow trees this morning I turned my attention to what I can do. It's something we should all do. This is not just my problem, Tuvala's problem, or your problem, it's everyone's problem. Thankfully many cities, states and provinces in the US and Canada are committed to reducing CO2 emissions and supporting sustainability. Many of these have exceeded the feeble Kyoto targets, and put the national governments (and politicians) to shame.

What to do?

We need a grass-roots movement to green our communities, one by one. That begins with education, and a call to action that individuals can participate in.

Vandana Shiva philosopher and environmentalist, has said; "A shift from industrial agriculture to ecological, local food systems would be the biggest single step to move towards 350 and a safe climate, while simultaneously solving the food crisis."

So one very effective way a community of any size could reduce environmental impact is to encourage gardening and urban or SPIN farming. Urban farms could go a long way toward establishing food security as well.

There's a local food movement in the "fine dining" restaurants here. Some restaurants are seeking to serve nothing but locally grown food year round. But there's very little locally-grown food available here in the winter. We need to change that and I think we could.

This is a picture of the kale growing in my garden as of noon today. We've had -12 C (10 F) lows for several nights, and two weeks of well below-freezing daytime temps. The kale was covered in snow for several days, and for about 10 days it was a limp, dead-looking mess. I thought it was done for. So I was astonished this morning when I went out and found it not only looking vigorous, but larger, crisp and even growing new leaves! We have above freezing temperatures forecast for the next few days, so this means we'll have fresh kale from our own garden on the Christmas table. The carrots are also growing, and I might get a few of those to toss in the dressing mix.

What is apparent is that a lot of the factors responsible for climate change are up to us. We need to approach the problem from all sides. Among some of the actions that promote sustainability in a community are:

◦ Minimizing waste - composting, recycling and freecycling
◦ Engage the community in actions which promote sustainability.
◦ Local distinctiveness - local over multi-national
◦ Make walking and cycling safe alternatives to driving
◦ Encourage shopping at locally owned stores
◦ Farmer's market that offers local food direct from the grower year-round.
◦ Local production of energy through home-based wind and solar energy
◦ Local production of goods
◦ Local processing of local produced food,
so bakeries, dairies, butchers, cold storage, canneries, freezing
◦ Improving building standards to decrease resource usage

The city of Malmo, Sweden is one of the greenest in the world. After the Rio conference on climate change in 1990, Malmo made the decision to go green. Not only has the city experienced regeneration as a result, it draws people from all over the world to study their success. Wouldn't it be wonderful to make every village, town and city green?

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