December 10, 2007

Out of Many, One (or: E Pluribus Unum)

I feel like there is so much I could talk about today. But I have to narrow it down to keep your (and my) attention. Therefore, I say: Once more unto the breech, dear friends, once more!

Living in a simple way is important to me. This is not confined to issues of global warming, in fact some environmentalists think that the recent barrage of press on the subject might be a little too much. I definitely agree that the pendulum might be a little on the global warming side of things, but regardless, there are three (3) different stories I want to talk about in areas closely related.

From the Bad News Department first. The 10 million diesel trucks in China have recently propelled the country past the United States as the world's largest emitter of global warming pollutants. The trucks create so much exhaust that it dims the headlights of oncoming vehicles. For fear of rationing, drivers wait hours idling in line to get as little as five (5) gallons of gas (pictured).

After I began reading the article, I was hoping for the answer. The solution to the problem of large amounts of diesel exhaust. But to no avail. China's economy is so volatile that raising standards - and thus the cost of transporting goods - would crumble entire industries. This would cause incredible inflation among the Chinese economy, and would be sure to ripple across Europe and the Americas. This prognosis provided little hope. Trucks meeting the Euro 4 pollution standard cost upwards of $35,000 US dollars, whereas the Euro 2 standard trucks cost $23,000. In addition to those numbers, let's take a quick look at these: Sulfur concentrations are limited to 15 parts per million in the US. In China, 2,000 parts per million are allowed. So there you have it: Lower pollution standards with a higher concentration of pollutants. Not a good combination, if you ask me. This New York Times article is part of a comprehensive series on the subject of the Chinese environment. There are some really interesting graphs, maps, and other cool toys on the site. Enjoy.

Let's move onto some Good News. Researchers from Oregon State University began testing a high-tech buoy to capture wave energy in the Pacific Ocean this fall. Pretty cool. There is a lot of complicated science behind it all (full text), but this graphic should help:

Basically, the extremely-renewable energy of a wave is going to be captured and converted into usable, electric energy. That's awesome.

And finally, Local News. Super Bowl XLII (42) will be green! AZ Super Bowl's campaign, Go Green, AZ! is more than just a couple of billboards. Some highlights of the program:

- 100% of the power for the Super Bowl will be renewable. Salt River Project will be donating the renewable-energy credits from wind and solar sources.

- AZ Super Bowl is teaming up with the NFL Environmental Program to plant thousand of trees on more than forty-two (42) acres in the area devastated by the Rodeo Chediski fire.

The website also has a list of forty-two (42) recycling facts. There are some really interesting things on the list. Definitely worth a peek.

That's all for now. Four finals down, only one to go!

"I pray what I am feeling in my heart will be communicated clearly that those who hear me will say, 'We must act!'"
Nobel Laureate, Al Gore
(In his acceptance speech December 10th, 2007)


Kim said...

The news about China doesn't surprise me. While I was visiting friends in Beijing a few years ago, my asthma flared up and I was sick for most of the trip. Although the parts of China I experienced were still really amazing to see, my eyes and lungs burned and made the journey less fun. China's expansion is really similar to Stalin's economic success at the expense of the environment. The land area near the Aral Sea was considered the best to farm on and Stalin's plan was to create a self sufficient society. In doing so, he drained most of the Aral Sea for cotton fields. Besides that, Eastern Europe has struggled to recover from countless other environmental catastrophes under the order of Stalin. So maybe communism is to blame for global warming? This is the address to a NY times article from 1990 about the state of Eastern Europe's polluted countries and what it's taking to revive the land/waters.

or just google Stalin and the Aral Sea.

Kim said...

Sorry, here is the actual working link...Stalin and his filth

Quinn Patrick Kelly said...

I think Kim may be onto something with communism being a source of this problem. During my trip to China I noticed something peculiar. There were no birds anywhere. Mao decided that the birds were eating too many crops, so he put up large nets and killed a lot of the population of birds in China. I guess if Mao didn't kill the birds the exhaust probably would have.

Kim said...

You are quite link-happy, and I like it. I hope you get to cover a few or all of the topics in your first sentence. Nice throw back to Willy Shakes too.

Lewis Cash said...

Sam, thanks for all the links to cool articles, even if you didn't delve into each of them.

I am happy to hear that my current state (Oregon) is researching how to make renewable energy, while my former state (AZ) is hosting a huge event and making it green!

Also, I don't know Dustin personally, just linked him from your links.

Krystle M said...

I was so sad with all of the energy that was going to be "wasted" from the super bowl in PHX and all of that blah blah. I had NO idea Arizona decided to go green for that event until i read your precious article.

Now i'm really happy.
And i'm learning that we should've been married about 2 years ago.

i will now turn to your blog..all the time. :)

much love

brittany said...

it seriously took me like 20 minutes to get through all of those links. there were some gems, i'm glad you didn't choose to write about sports though; i would have nothing to contribute to that conversation.

i was recently at a party, where the topic of 'going green' was brought up. my friend said, 'green will be out in no time.' the party go-ers exchanged looks around the table wondering what green he was referring to, money, the color, weed? it took a few moments for everyone to realize he was talking about the environment, and a part of me really agrees with that statement.

i have a hard time buying into the, 'it's green, so it's good' mentality. a particular local green business was giving me problems, and when i expressed these frustrations to a friend, he honestly looked at me and said, 'i know, but they're green.' neat that they care about the environment; i still think they're assholes. i feel that 'being green' is this trend, that i fear will lose stamina, and the people who think they care now, will go back to their ways of hummers and littering.

historically, there have been groups of people who have deeply cared for the environment, but we're still where we are now. our laziness, selfishness, and lack of commitment generally put us in a bad position in the end. .

Liana said...

Well, I am certainly grateful for the trees. Now if the state could just see its way clear to make sure to have such a nurturing environment for its workers! Are the people who will be servicing all the hotel rooms getting the same applause as the tree planters? Will the majority of the guests at local hotels tip their maids in a slight nod to the incredibly difficult conditions in which they work for such measly wages so the hotels and the state can claim what a tremendous economic success this Super Bowl is? Will the restaurant staff feel it was worth the pain and suffering after all the out of town guests have been so generous with their tips? Minimum wage doesn't feed families you know. What about the airport shuttle drivers? I'm impressed at how forward thinking the SB committee is to tap into folks' newfound energy/green consciousness! Is that where justice ends?