First post

Occasional postings, mostly on the environment

A study of one group of highly religious people who believed that the Bible is the divine word of God revealed that the majority essentially never read it. We don’t put our time to what we value.

The goal of this blog is to explore the science of environmental changes, and the even more difficult psychological and spiritual issues. I hear from many a panic at the thought of changing our lives because we care about the Earth, because we care about people and other critters. There is an assumption that we are already living our lives so that we are happy with ourselves, that to live with less is to live a diminished life.

Many from both the left and right talk about government and scientists out to harm us. Yet the majority of US air pollution comes from transportation. The high level of divorce among conservatives is not a result of belief in evolution. Our behavior creates problems, changing our behavior is part of the solution.

Are individual choices on the environment important? Most important? Yes and it’s complicated.

Many of us in the US have bought into the dream of a long commute to a suburban wonderland, and high consumption in both day-to-day lives and vacations. Policy changes by themselves can only do so much. Many SUVs and other cars are now owned by people who can’t afford the car + insurance + fuel. So individual choices are important. Policy changes help many of us make choices we knew to be better: electric utilities implement 4-pollutant controls, and individuals use more efficient bulbs and appliances and more fuel-efficient cars, and use them less. Yet the individual aspect is important in another way: policy changes promoted by people who have examined their own lives are often more realistic and more important.

Questions on both personal and policy behavior:

Which of our consumption habits make us happier, and how? List all the positives.

Meeting the Climate Challenge recommends limiting our carbon emissions, keeping the atmospheric concentration below 400 ppm, or else. We are on track to reach that level by 2015. Who in the Senate and House is ready to implement every change recommended in the report, plus the recommendations included in the more comprehensive recommendations of the National Commission on Energy Policy?

(Senator Olympia Snowe was co-chair of the International Climate Change Taskforce, which produced Meeting the Climate Challenge. Aides from the offices of Senators Biden and Carper helped.)

Your patience requested — I am learning how to blog, and will be making many elementary mistakes for a while.

3 Responses to “First post”

  1. […] s. Please help us welcome Karen Street, Friendly Environmentalist to the site. Her blog, A Musing Environment, just blossomed over at Please visit her as you visi […]

  2. Michael A Moore says:

    what a way to go!

  3. robert says:

    Thanks for reminding us of the number one issue facing all of us-the environment. I think a large part of the inaction on the part of the public is that this issue just does not lend itself well to the kind of marketing that needs to be done. IOW it is unlikely to see demonstrators in front of the white house with “keep atmosphere carbon concentration below 400 ppm”. I think you have it exactly right that most people care about the environment, just not very much. We hear ads on the radio bragging about how our cars today are “99% cleaner than cars from the ’70’s. I don’t see any serious opposition to the lack of signing the kyoto treaty. I think a lot of people, maybe a majority believe that the earth is on a warming trend, probably almost that manner believe that man is largely responsible. Point me to a single American whose lifestyle has been compromised by global warming. If not when should we expect that to happen.

    Where the marketing problem comes in is that I believe that while a majority accept that global warming is likely to cause serious harm some day they simply do not see the threat as so imminent that they are willing to give up the kind of lifestyle that they have come accustomed to.

    I think the two things that need to be done are
    1. Work to develop technologies, etc. that will make the reduction in greenhouse gases less painful. Alternative fuels, etc.
    2. Show evidence that the rise in temperatures will affect a large swath of Americans now or very soon..

    They are simply not going to get excited about seeing carbon ppi above 400. They will get excited if millions of people have to move from their low lying houses..