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Sunday, November 25, 2012
Volume 5, No. 48
BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE
Well, hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea. As we head into the holiday season, I want to forget all the heavy-duty, angst-producing weltschmertz stuff and go through Christmas and Chanukah as an innocent idealist who still believes in Santa Claus and the Easter Beaver. (Americans have their Easter Bunny. Where I was born, it’s a beaver.)
But before I go off into that holiday space and for the sake of a lot more of them, I need to make one real strong point here.
If we, as a species ~ individually and by community ~ do not get off our collective butts and swing into high gear behind the green agenda, our holiday seasons are clearly numbered.
All the evidence is in now, all the math has been done; all the calculations have been checked, re-checked and checked again after that. There is no need for any more debate. There is no time for further rationalizing, procrastinating or waiting for the other person to do it first.
There are some new habits we need to acquire; some things we need to be doing; some measures we can take if we want to throw body and soul into this.
Recycle, which most of us are already doing with those plastic bins we put out for the city to pick up. Lots of cities, including Seattle, have two 20 gallon “cans” side by side on the sidewalk. One is for trash and one is for recyclables. There are pictures on the receptacles of what goes into each. Artists are starting to decorate them and it won’t be long now before those biodegradable, cellular plastic trans “cans” will carry advertising, like our buses do.
Be utility conscious, even when you’re not paying the bill. Usually around midnight, all the lights in this house are off except the hood light over the stove and the slim fluorescent job mounted above the mirrored medicine cabinet in the shared bathroom. Maybe that doesn’t seem like a lot. But when all the other stuff is running 16 hours a day instead of 24, it adds up fast. And so will the reduced drain on the energy grid. That in itself reduces toxic, ozone-destroying, climate-changing emissions across the board because not as much energy is generated.
Take a look at your own energy spending habits and do the same thing you do when you take a look at your personal budget. Most of us spend more than we need to and use more energy than we actually need. Fine-tuning that is not rocket science. You don’t need to be eco perfection personified. Even if it’s just one small thing, the planet and those who live on the planet are that much better for it.
Don’t drive if you can walk there in 15 minutes. You save gas and you get some good exercise. Also, take an empty knapsack or cloth shoulder bag with you. Lugging a full one of those on your back or over one shoulder is also good for the work out.
From now on, with any purchase you make, ask yourself one quick question. “Will this be good for the planet?”
If you’re competitive, work on being the greenest person you know. If you’ve got a sadistic streak, annoy your friends with how environmentally correct (ec) you have become. Brag about what you’ve done lately to save the planet. Then confront other people by asking what they’ve done. You’ll make lots of friends and everybody will want to be just like you.
If you’re really dedicated, from camping gear to home accessories, see what it’s made of and how it was made. Did a coal-fired hydroelectric plant produce the electricity involved? Is there a product of comparable worth made with “clean” energy? To the extent that we do that, we create a market for eco versions of the same things we use already. Clean industrial energy has also been around a long time. Make it the standard and the increased demand for the products more than pays the increase in already energy-efficient production costs.
We haven’t got much time left. Those Four Horsemen are approaching at a gallop. If we do not want an environmental Apocalypse by 2049, it’s best to get the hustle out. We do not have much time left.
On that note, happy holidays, gang.
IN OTHER NEWS
And speaking of fighting climate change, check out this YES magazine piece entitled Want To Fight Climate Change? Start By Turning To Your Neighbors.
If we want the ultimate in econ-friendly technology, all we need to do is turn to nature and look at engineering and construction that far surpasses anything humans have been able to accomplish.
No longer content to be a national meal but not a national emblem, turkeys in Brookline, Massachusetts are fighting back.
CLIMATE CHANGE/HURRICANE SANDY SHORTS
The City of Vancouver is making good use of plastic bags and bottles, thanks to the help of a Toronto firm. That recycled containerage is being used in a new asphalt mix to pave streets.
It’s getting easier for more Canadians to buy homes, according to a report issued by the Royal Bank of Canada. For more on this one, please go here.
In 1862, on Vancouver Island, two Hesquiaht men were hanged after being convicted of murdering two people who were shipwrecked. Historians have since concluded the two First Nation men were innocent. Earlier this month, BC Aboriginal Affairs Minster Ida Chong joined the descendants of one of those men in a feast of reconciliation. The band, in turn, forgave the provincial government.. For more on this one, please go here..
Here’s another victory for gender parity in America and it’s a dynamite example of how one individual doing something relatively simple can set an example for generations to come. If you’re a parent or the child of at least one, you’re going to love this.
We’ve had some real issues in the past with the Occupy Movement but here’s an offshoot we totally endorse.
There’s an evolution in education which is bringing it to the masses, via the Internet, cost-effectively and a great deal more creatively than the offline lecture hall modalities of the past. For more, please go here.
British Petroleum’s New Horizon oil spill settlement is not the only corporate-caused catastrophe for which the international fossil fuel giant is finally being called to task. Yep, for more, please go here.
FROM YOU GUYS
Good reading but… no news on the genocide in Syria… I am sorry they seem so forgotten…
Editor’s Note: This constitutes a reader’s request and we’ve since corrected for course. See Other News Shorts.
A.K. has asked that we sign a petition supporting the ongoing protection of wolves, something the present Federal Wildlife Management plan apparently doesn’t do very well. For more, please go here.
Editor’s Note: Yes, I signed it.
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, NATURE AND EXPLORATION
Albert Einstein’s brain is being studied again, with better technology, and researchers are absolutely amazed at what they are discovering. Yep, for more, please go here.
If you want to see what started the cyber age, one of the first digital computers is being re-booted. Yep, check it out here.
Is human intelligence on the devolve? There’s a new study out which suggests we just might be regressing, yep.
Editor’s Note: Mars Rover Curiosity has been busier than the Energizer Battery bunny so to keep up with the little dude, we’ve creating this special shorts section. Go, Curiosity.
It is estimated that influenza will strike as many as 25% of us this winter. Here are some foods you can eat to mitigate your risk and cope with it if you do come down with it.
In his play The Mourning Bride, William Congreve contended that music hath charms to soothe the savage breast. As it turns out, medical science agrees with the 17th Century English wordsmith. Yep, go here.
We’re back to hyping exercise again after learning that walking your dog briskly for just an hour a week can add two years to your life. Yep, for more on this one, please go here.
Which countries in the world are the most emotional? The answers just might surprise you.
Remember our discussion about going green? Go here to find out how to how to make your Christmas tree more eco-friendly.
ON THE CANCER FRONT
Is treating cancer ever optional? New York Times reporter Jane E. Brody explores.RESOURCES AND RELATED LINKS: Cancer: What You Need to Know American Cancer Society Canadian Cancer Society
If you could live forever on this plane, would you necessarily want to? To explore this one, yep, please go here.
BEST OF THIS WEEK’S NET MEDIA
For an absolutely enthralling essay on the global family, check out Canadian photographer (and Northstar Journal reader) Wally Zeisig’s photo essay in National Geographic. If you loved the photography in Look and Life, her work will definitely make your day.
All photos used in Seattle Scenes, unless otherwise noted, were taken by the editor. For a visual tour of the Northstar Gallery, please go here.
THE TODAY FILE — Whether you live here and just haven’t had a chance to keep up with local news; if you’re an impending visitor who wants a weather forecast and some cool things to do in your off time here; or, like a growing number of people, you and your partner are considering moving here, go to THE TODAY FILE, “Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest”
For those of us who live here? If you have an extra $15.00 in December and would like to play Santa Claus, we recommend a donation to Northwest Harvest. They’ve got a drive on now to make sure that especially homeless kids get Christmas dinner. For more, please go here.
Komo 4 News (ABC)
King 5 News (NBC)
ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL
A whale shark off the coast of Baja California owes its life to the intervention of some human divers. For an outstanding video, please go here.
Here’s an update on one of our favorite wildlife projects, the Great Backyard Bird Count. It is brought to you by our friends at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, The Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada.
It looks like there’s a subspecies of orca that is getting its own name, Biggs whales, after pioneer researcher Michael Andrew Bigg. The Puget Sound aka SalishSea has two resident pods of killer whales and one “transient.”. They look the same but there are some outstanding behavioral differences. The transients are constantly on the move and unlike their more sedentary cousins, who subsist primarily on fish, transients prefer a diet of marine mammals and sea birds. These two factors and apparently several more were why these particular killer whales are now their own species.RELATED LINKS: Living With Wildlife BBC’s wildlife finder National Geographic Daily News – Animals
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
And then there was the kayaker who (illegally) got away with shooting one of Europe’s tallest waterfalls. Not only did he live to tell the tale, he apparently escaped detection and arrest by the authorities. For the details of this particular insanity, yep, go here.
The Northstar Journal is one hundred percent supported by readers like you. If you enjoyed this edition and would like to contribute ~ however modestly ~ to the next, please go here and with our thanks. Rusty