Archive for December, 2009

Green Light Bulb

Ever since the beginning of time humans have been search for light. There was the discovery of fire by the cavemen, the candle stick, the light bulb by Edison. But there was never a energy efficient invention of light the which is something every need especially with global warming right around the corner. But luckily for us there’s the linear fluorescent light bulb aka the GREEN light bulb. One of these suckers can reduce your monthly lighting bill by 50% to 75% think of all the money you can save in just one year. Even though they do cost more than regular light bulbs but in the long run linear fluorescent light bulbs only uses 15 megawatts which is equivalent to 60 megawatts in a regular incandescent light bulb, which can SAVE A LOT OF MONEY. So the next time you go to Wal-Mart, Home Depot, or anywhere to buy light bulbs, remember to shine some fluorescent light bulbs into your shopping chart because going green saves you  a lot of green.

Phil Pham

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When Hurricanes Attack

Climate change might seem to only effect those poor unfortunate souls who have their homes built on plots of land only a few feet above sea level, but in actuality the Houston area is hit by the changes as well. While the temperature is still fairly constant, and even though it showed for the first time in several years, hurricane season is lurking right across the corner. For two consecutive years in a row, Texas was hit by these hellstorms and sent into a state of panic as aid was rushed to every corner to care for the wounded. These storms were the worst that have hit for a long time, and part of this can be attributed to climate change. As the temperatures rise over the Pacific Ocean, tropical depressions are able to be formed, which starts up a tropical storm, which finally ends with a full fledged hurricane. The effects during Rita were fairly evident, as large amounts of people from Galveston and Louisiana migrated to Texas for a time in order to continue uninterrupted public education. A huge group of students graced the Alief district schools, with a Mardi Gras celebration becoming a new hit holiday. When Ike came, this again happened as the destruction caused in Galveston forced many to move to higher grounds. The effect of global warming on the towns of Texas is self-evident, and this calls for new measures to be taken. The state has implemented better warning systems to avoid disaster on the same scale, and many in Houston learnt the value of electricity and basic plumbing as some were deprived of it for more then a week. People around the area helped provide food and ice to those who required it, and this in turn built a stronger, more unified community. By being more environmentally aware, us here in Houston are capable of changing the tides of temperature change to prevent these calamities from not just being stopped on the coast of Texas, but all across the world as well. We can all make a difference – one that many can only whisper a faint, hopeful “thank you” to.

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The connection between poverty and climate change is one that cannot be denied, yet many people choose to stay oblivious to the fact that increasing poverty is threatening our world by increasing instability in climatic conditions. Some people still choose to stay in denial and push the blame off on other factors. She states that, “the cause of climate change isn’t poor people it’s the middle class, the ones who can afford cars which pollute the air.” Though it is true that the middle class contributes to the change in climate, the even greater contribution to this influx in climate is related to poverty conditions. We see a direct link between people living in poverty and climate change in rising developing countries, such as Brazil and Egypt. When in poverty the mindset of any person or nation is to get out of it no matter what. These developing nations do exactly that as they demolish forests and increase the number of polluting factories to increase wealth no matter what the price to the environment may be. She sees this and concedes, “that poor people have to destroy the environment to live,” but refutes the direct link by claiming that, “we have laws to protect the environment.” Though that may be true, laws vary from county to country, and are often insignificant. The part of the environment that is protected by law is often minimal when compared to the increase of pollution and climate change.

Although people may not believe there is an actual connection between poverty and climate change, people all over the world agree that they both must be combated. Even she agrees that, “we all want to live in the best world.” The best world is one without poverty and with a stable climate as well.

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UN Predictions From Copen…, er Nebraska?

While most of the world is focused on the UN’s efforts in dealing with climate conditions in Copenhagen, Denmark, they are also busy in Lincoln, Nebraska.  During this busy December week, over 60 scientist from all over the world are gathering at this US backed conference, along with the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in order to help its 189 member nations to better coordinate their extreme weather predictions in order to better mitigate natural problems, such as the severe droughts that have become more prevalent in the last decade.

According to Mannava K. Sivakuma, Director of the UN World Meteorological Organization Climate Prediction and Adaptation Branch,  “Early warning systems for drought allow individuals and communities to act in sufficient time to reduce the possibility of loss of life, personal injury, and damage to property and fragile environments.” This  is another example of how there are multiple efforts going on to help deal with climate change issues, and that the UN is involved in many different efforts that often go unnoticed.

The question remains, will knowing about potential droughts really help us prepare for them better, or does it just mean we will know about our demise sooner, rather than later?

For more, go to the UN Newswire.

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The UN’s New Agenda: Killing Two Birds with One Stone

The U.N Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, recently reported to the General Assembly the new agenda for the United Nations. With their efforts in peace, justice, and guaranteed human rights for all, the United Nations has a long road ahead and a long list of items to address. However, the Secretary General has put climate change and poverty near the absolute top.

With the Copenhagen journey approaching, the U.N needs to set an example and make sure that countries around the world agree to reduce climate emissions. Also, the issues of food scarcity, energy, economic recessions, and the pandemic flu hitting hard in underdeveloped countries, green jobs and green growth seem to be promising transitions for the U.N to implement. Although energy is number one on the agenda, poverty doesn’t fall far behind as number three, behind nuclear weapons. The report indicates that “green shoots of recovery,” meaning green jobs to solve the issue might be the answer, but studies show that it might not be enough. Those hovering around the poverty line are soon falling way below it. The economy is making a quick recovery, but the jobs are just not there to support the world economy.

Killing two birds with one stone might be the answer. By promoting green jobs in lower-income communities around the world will directly target important agenda items by the United Nations. Not only will our environment be cleaner, but the poor can finally receive jobs to support themselves in our currently diminishing world environment.

The next two weeks at Copenhagen will reveal wether these goals can be accomplished, or if they are just the stuff of dreams.

 -Nicholas Chan

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The UN’s Efforts to Combat Climate Change & Poverty

The United Nations currently has 8 main goals which they hope to have accomplished by the year 2015. These Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will respond to global development problems, in the hopes of alleviating the negative effects of each issue.

First in line of the MDGs is the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. The United Nations is looking to reduce poverty through solving for climate change. Doing so will allow countries the opportunity to develop more efficient green technologies. According to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Report in 2009, “Managing the economic crisis can and should be turned into an opportunity to address climate change in a more efficient and comprehensive manner.”

Climate change threatens human well-being, with the worlds’ poor being affected at the greatest level. As a way of combating climate change, and thus helping to reduce global poverty, the United Nations is looking for a way to make green technologies around the world more available for developing countries. Transferring this cleaner technology to poorer countries not only ensures adaptation to climate change, but it also guarantees food security and sovereignty. Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang notes that “Global climate policy will succeed or fail depending on whether it brings low-emissions technologies and technologies for adaptation within the reach of poor countries, and poor communities, without further delay.”

Despite the fact that they have contributed least to climate change, it is the world’s poor that is being mostly affected by it. Without first solving for climate change, or at least finding a way to mitigate its effects on persons living in poverty, the United Nations cannot hope to achieve their full range of goals in the Millennium Development Program

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The problem with today’s society and going green can be simplified into two factors. First of all go green cost A LOT OF GREEN. Research shows that if you want to renovate your house to make it greener it would cost you an additional 5% to 20%. For many people and especially with today’s economy the green in their wallets and savings account matters more than the green in the environment. I suggest that the price should be lowered to compromise with to what people can actually afford.  Compact fluorescent light bulbs — which go for about five times the price of incandescent bulbs — pay back their extra cost in about four months. Such innovations can actually contribute going green which still not breaking the budget. Another thing about going green is that it’s rather… annoying. While comparing using electrical energy produced by nuclear power plants to solar panels, hydroelectric energy, or even wind energy, one can see that using nuclear energy much more convenient  than installing solar panels or having a disturbingly loud wind turbine in your backyard. So until these issues on global warming can be solve, I for one will have to Think twice before wanting to go GREEN.
This blog is mostly based off of my opinion and it is meant to promote discussion.  If I didn’t address any of your complaints or concerns on global warming I personally apologized. However if you post a comment addressing those complaints, I will write a blog about it, or you can be like me and write a blog about it

Phil Pham

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