Biden to Increase Solar Production

With everything going on in the news, it was so easy to miss a major announcement by the Biden Administration  last week about renewable Energy. Biden has chosen to activate the Defense Production Act for the purpose of increasing domestic production of clean energy equipment, particularly as it relates to solar energy. Such action could not come soon enough.

As massive heatwaves sweep the nation and many places in the west face a real threat of the loss of hydroelectric sources of electricity production, the dangers of climate change have become far more salient in the day to day lives of millions of Americans. The Department of Defense has long recognized the dangers that climate change would bring for the US, with risks to the electric grid being one among a number of significant problems that must be addressed. One of the biggest threats are the stresses that would be placed upon the electrical grid.

By pushing for a greater degree of production of solar panels and related infrastructure, great steps can be taken to help protect the lives of millions of Americans. Europe saw a loss of over 30,000 people in 2003 during a major heatwave while millions more American’s are living in places at risk for far greater temperatures. A proliferation of renewable energy sources will help mitigate these risks by providing greater electrical capacity for such periods of extreme heat, avoiding the risk of brownouts or rationing. Greater use of renewable energy sources will also reduce the dangers of air pollutants during times of such extreme heat and reduce the number of lives lost by air pollution in the US as well.

In short, this is a welcome step from the administration. But more needs to be done. Renewable energy is a promising source of economic stability and will help make the US truly energy independent. Climate change isn’t waiting for humans to adapt and the sooner we take these critical steps, the better it will be for everyone.

Climate & Disaster- Preparing for the Worst

Preparing for climate change often focuses on the steps you can do to mitigate your environmental impact or on what systemic steps will be required to make a meaningful transition away from fossil fuels towards a cleaner energy future. These are important issues, but there is another aspect of climate change that often goes unaddressed that I want to discuss with you all today. How should we prepare for climate disasters?

Natural disasters aren’t anything new. Tornadoes, floods, wildfires, hurricanes, and so many other hazards are an unfortunate part of life.  However, climate change is projected to increase both the frequency and intensity of such hazards. This means you might be faced with an unexpected flood or storms far stronger than you have experienced in the past. With this in mind, it is important to take steps to make sure you are safe should one of these hazards strike in your community.

The most important step you can take is to familiarize yourself with what dangerous weather hazards are common in your community. The National Weather Service has many resources that can help one learn about what types of storms or other dangers are common to an area. More importantly, these resources also provide information about how to prepare for such events, what the warning signs might be, and how to protect yourself during and after such an event.  I would highly recommend checking out Weather Ready Nation to get more information like this[1].

In a more immediate sense, it’s also wise to consider what supplies and tools you can have on hand in order to prepare for severe weather. A basic weather radio is a commonly suggested tool for those living in Tornado Alley. It’s also wise to keep a basic cache of essential supplies for times of extreme weather. Bandages, a small store of clean water (jugs are a common choice), some non perishable food, weather proof matches, etc. You never know when you might be out of power or in a bind for a few days, so keeping these basics can really help make a difference.

Lastly, its wise to consider more specialized materials based on the weather hazards you might face. For example, with climate change making hurricanes more severe and frequent, it may be wise to familiarize yourself and your family with hurricane evacuation routes. For those in places prone to tornadoes, practice safety drills may be a good step. Those vulnerable to fire may want to be familiar with their evacuation routes, as with hurricanes, or work on developing a go-back, just in case. Of course, investing in portable solar rechargers for electronics so you can continue to access information is never a bad choice either.

In summary, climate change may make natural hazards more dangerous, but you can still take steps to be prepared. These steps don’t have to come at the cost of personal steps to reduce and recycle either. So keeping these tips in mind can help you both protect the environment, and yourself.

 

[1] https://www.weather.gov/wrn/

3 Quick Tips for Protecting the Environment and Your Wallet

Green plant in shape of dollar sign grows at green field. Nature landscape with summer meadow and blue sky. Friendly ecosystem for business and investment. Banking and foreign exchange market.

Climate Change and pollution often dominate the conversation around the environment and can appear to be large and intimidating problems. This doesn’t mean one is powerless to make a difference. We would like to share 3 tips we have found to be exceptionally helpful for protecting our environment while also helping to pad your pocket book. These tips may seem obvious to some, but a surprising number of people overlook these simple ideas to help make a personal difference with environmental and financial benefits!

  1. Consider a thermos instead of using bottled water:  Bottled water has become a popular go to solution for staying hydrated on the go. But unfortunately this convenience comes at the cost of an extensive contribution to plastic pollution and worse, often uses water sourced from places that are significantly water insecure. Instead, consider investing in a simple thermos and using it while on the go. The costs of water from the tap are far below the distorted costs of bottled water and will quickly make up for the cost of a few thermoses.

Some quick math show’s how quickly this environmentally friendly shift can benefit you. A basic thermos can cost anywhere from $15 to $30. In contrast, a 24 pack of bottled water will cost you a little over $5 (though many places may cost more). If you consume a single bottle a day, you will spend on average about $6.25 a month. At this rate, a thermos would begin to save you over the long term in as little as 2 and a half months, last far longer, and not contribute to the problem of plastic pollution. And with a recent report finding less than 6% of plastic is recycled in the US[1], this can be a good first step for addressing plastic pollution in your community.

2)A home rotary fan: It gets hot in the summer and turning up the a/c is perhaps the most soothing way to deal with this problem. Unfortunately air-conditioning can be a very expensive service, and lead to significant spikes in your power bill. Worse still, the energy consumption of cities worth of such devices can strain local power grids, leading to brown outs or leading to significantly increased emissions from unclean fossil fuel based power plants. A simple rotary fan can sometimes be sufficient for helping to reduce ones energy consumption without forgoing the ability to cool off during the hot summer months.

3) A home garden: While a fun hobby for some, growing your own food can be both a fun way to help the environment while also protecting your wallet from the challenges of inflation. From backyards full of rows upon rows of vegetables, to the simple 2 pots of tomatoes on the back porch; growing food in a local garden can help you save money while mitigating the environmental impacts of relying upon food transported hundreds (or even thousands)  of miles from farm to plate.

 

 

[1] https://www.beyondplastics.org/press-releases/the-real-truth-about-plastics-recycling

Climate Migration

 

Esquire photo
Apocalyptic Photos of the Wildfires and Smoky Skies on the West Coast

Climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes and other severe climate events.  We often think of migrants as people from other countries, often wanting to come the the United States. But what may surprise you is that some people inside the United States are becoming climate migrants. Check out the CNN article below for more information on what some people are experiencing.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/12/opinions/climate-migration-in-america-california-duluth-sutter/index.html