Tuesday, July 28, 2009

yup, it sure is getting hotter

Check out the spreading red thanks to climate change + heat island effect. And that last one is 10 years ago. Wonder what today's would look like.

"Tokyo has turned into a nightmare caused by government policy that prioritises the economy over environmental protection," said Komichi Ikeda, deputy director of the Environmental Research Institute Inc., a private organization comprising environmental scientists.

A report released by the Tokyo Metropolitan government shows that average temperature rise in the capital over the course of the 20th century has been 3 degrees C.


we are Yetis

I get so angry when I hear people parroting the whole "China/India are going to cause climate disaster" line that I must pass on this Reuters story from a few days ago, in an effort to arm you to debate people who use that argument on you!

Americans, Australians, Canadians top greenhouse gas emitters

The United States is by far the biggest greenhouse gas emitter ahead of China if consumers in rich nations are given responsibility for energy used to make imported goods, a researcher said on Wednesday.

Greenhouse gases, including by factories making goods such as cars or televisions for export, usually count towards the total of the country where they are made. Such data indicate that China has overtaken the United States as top emitter.

But adjusting emissions according to the country where consumers of goods live swells emissions by developed nations, said Glen Peters, a researcher at the Center for International Climate and Environment Research in Oslo (CICERO).

"The ranking makes a lot of rich countries look worse and a lot of poor countries look better," he told Reuters.

In the ranking of 73 nations, Americans have the biggest annual "carbon footprint" at the equivalent of 29 tonnes of carbon dioxide per capita, ahead of Australians at 21 tonnes and Canadians at 20 tonnes.

Each Chinese citizen in the survey, based on 2001 data, accounts for just 3.1 tonnes. Adjusted for China's much bigger population, U.S. emissions were 7.9 billion tonnes and China's 3.9 billion.

"The U.S. is increasingly shifted towards a more service-based economy, importing more of its products from China," Peters said of the ranking, published online last month in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

"A lot of China's emissions growth is production of exports," he said of the ranking produced with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Economic trends since 2001 confirmed the United States as number one.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

growing food movements

Interest sprouts in local, low impact grub

This week over at Our World 2.0 we take a look at how “voluntary simplicity” is making a comeback in the rich industrialized world. With climate change and oil depletion issues looming large and recession hitting hard, more people are realising that our way of life is unnecessarily resource-intensive.

Of particular concern to such “slow livers” or “downshifters” is their reliance on a food system that is dependent on massive fossil fuel inputs. (Not to mention the health impacts of a diet based on chemical-drenched produce, processed foods and hormone-filled animal products).

For some insight into these interesting movements, I talked to a couple of inspiring characters: one who has not only become an urban gardener extraordinaire but has also taken up eating wild foraged edibles as well, and another who practices something called freeganism.

Please give it a read and leave a comment as to whether you agree that it really is "time for the consumer to step up and be responsible for what is put in their mouth."

Monday, July 20, 2009

tops on my DIY to do list

Just discovered a super-interesting site and am posting this as a kick in the butt to myself and Aran. I've wanted a solar oven and a dehydrator for awhile now and it would be ideal if we could get one of the two done before winter (when it's awesomely sunny and dry here).

I've bookmarked Build it Solar and hope to actually do it!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

whiplash and a double rainbow

Well this afternoon's G-walk was not a typical one. Damn pooch took me unawares when she ran like the wind to the end of her lead after a crow and gave me whiplash that I've gotta go rub some arnica on or I'll be sorry tomorrow.

Anyway, on the way home, we came to a spot where the sidewalk was blocked by a crowd of people shooting the sky with their cell phone cams. Lo and behold a fabulous double rainbow was arcing my 'hood. It was so vibrant that it had a pale double above it. I rushed home to snap the shot I posted here from the balcony but by then it was already fading and our view only encompased a slice.

Today would've been my brother's 52nd birthday - maybe he's celebrating.

Friday, July 17, 2009

luxury cars and lunatics

I realized today that I've had the wrong approach to blogging. I don't post much anymore cuz after 3 yrs abroad, the number of people who originally wanted to stay updated has dwindled and I don't know (or care much) how to please anonymous lurkers (stats show people read, though few comment).

Anyway, I'm not complaining! This is natural cycle of human relations stuff. What I decided is that I should be posting simply for my own future reminiscing pleasure. See, since I was about 13 years old, I sporadically kept a journal. Until I started blogging that is.

I also realized there's a lot of things about Tokyo I've never recorded. Day to day life here is old hat to me now but it is nonetheless markedly different than life back home. In the details.

Today was a quirky day that would serve as a good example. I walked the G at 4 p.m. today, earlier than I have of late because it was cloudy and therefore cooler (uh, well, less hot anyway - around 30C) than normal for this hour. Perhaps the hour change could be blamed for the memorable array of moments and sights, some usual, some bizarre.

First, after our daily visit to the spot in the cemetery drainage system where G's friend the rat lives (so Aran tells me anyway, I've never seen it, no matter how many times G leads me there), the mutt lunged into a bush after what I thought was a cat.

Nope, she came out chewing something smaller than a cat. I yelled at her, to no avail of course, except to prompt a quicker swallow. Shortly thereafter however, dog-brains has to stop walking in order to scratch at her muzzle with both front paws as she does when something unpleasant hits her palate. This time around, I suspect it was a big ole dose of wasabi! Scavenging sucker!

And little Ms Inu didn't have much time to recover before we crossed paths with a strange man holding a big umbrella (it wasn't raining) and swinging a huge stick. The grrrl don't like big sticks unless I'm holding one horizontally in the air for her to jump at. Nothing to worry about though, just one of a handful of homeless men that live amongst the graves.

Just seconds later, I'm the one shocked to find a rich lady has driven her sports coupe into a part of the cemetery that does not permit cars. She smiled at us as she was climbing back in. Oh well, at least she was friendly.

Later, in a quiet cat-less corner of the graveyard, I let dog-brains off the leash and we played fetch with her baseball after I bribed her with a cookie to drop a small cell-phone charm ball she found that woulda choked her.

As we played, a helicopter passed by on its way to the nearby American army landing pad and when I glanced up at it, I noticed a blimp cruising through the low clouds. I also noticed how many cranes are sprouting in the 'hood, despite the recession and housing glut.

Last and perhaps weirdest was the origin of a sound that caught my attention on the way home. We were passing through a small park when I heard what sounded like a remote control toy. I looked around curiously because I hadn't seen any children so was wondering about the source. Turned out it was a sparrow pecking at the belly of a huge cicada that was struggling to get away and whose beating wings were the what I heard.

A semi-typical Tokyo Friday.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

just a couple of clicks

I know I'm a broken record but are you not as ashamed of Canada as me with the whole emission cuts inaction thing?

So two clicks is all it would cost ya to help pressure your MP into getting on board! Go to this list, find your MP (just look for your district if you don't know the MP's name), and if they don't support KyotoPlus (ie., their profile says that they're on the "red list") then just hit the Click Here button and send the letter.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Who put the COP in Copenhagen?

Who put the COP in Copenhagen?

To most, the words COP15 and Copenhagen are sounding quite familiar these days. In millions of minds all over the world these terms are linked to the fact that we need to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

Check out the rest of this climate conference cram sheet I wrote on Our World 2.0.

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