Remember Beauty

It’s easy when discussing all the problems in our world to forget how beautiful and wonderful this world is.

All around us is a natural beauty that’s there, waiting for us to stumble over it at almost every turn.

As you go through your next few days, try to remember this: There is beauty all around you if you look for it. And that beauty is part of the joy of being alive — remember to look for it and find it when you can. The hard part is simply remembering to look for it.

And when your thoughts weigh you down, that beauty will remind you of the better days you’ll have up ahead.

Next Steps:

Make It Real

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We can all envision the world as a better place. Each of us can imagine a better life — better government, better living habits, better environment. We can all imagine these — but can we make them real?

“When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.”

–Pauline R. Kezer

Many of the challenges of the 21st Century will be big. Issues like Global Climate Change can seem so overwhelming. They can make you feel powerless. But there is still always hope.

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”

– Sir Edmund Hillary (New Zealand-born mountain climber and Antarctic Explorer. Famous for being first to successfully climb Mount Everest)

So take the better world of your imagination, and take a step today toward that place. Take some sort of action. Talk to someone, change a personal habit, write a letter. Do something.

Or better yet, join with a group of others who are like-minded. Commenting on this blog or others like it is a good way to start — its connects you with other people who, like you, have this better world in mind.

Remember, you as an individual can change the world — there are examples of the power of individuals everywhere. But banding together with others who are like-minded can magnify your impact.

So take a step today — a small step or a large step — but take some step. Take a step toward making the better world of your imagination real.

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

– Lao Tzu (Chinese taoist Philosopher, founder of Taoism)

The 21st Century is here. The world is in our hands — and we are up to the challenges we face, I know it.

But to get to the better world of our imagination, we need to begin. We need to begin to make it real.

Next Actions:

A simple step you can take: Love Each Other!

Love XOXO, originally uploaded by Pink Sherbet Photography.

A lot of the time blogging (and reading) about environmental issues and global climate change can be depressing. So let’s lighten up today and talk about love.

In the end, it’s love for each other — and those close to us — that will motivate us to make the changes we need to make. It’s love that helps us put the good of others before our own wants and desires. It’s love for future generations (our grandchildren included!) that drives us to leave the world in good shape for them.

So today, focus on love. Focus on being loving and remembering those who love you.

Because when you love other people, you don’t mind so much making changes in your own life to make their lives better.

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What is Government’s Role?

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A sign stating it is law to not allow your car motor to idle while stopped

This sign is from the city of Vancouver in British Columbia and it’s purpose is to inform motorists that letting their cars idle is against the law and punishable by a fine of $50 to $100.

Vancouver’s “Motor Vehicle Noise and Emission Abatement By-Law No. 9344″ [PDF] went into effect in Spring of this year after being adopted in July, 2006.

Here are some details:

“2.7 A person must not cause or permit a motor vehicle to idle:
(a) for more than three consecutive minutes in a 60 minute period; or
(b) while unattended and unlocked.

The City’s stated goals for the bylaw are to:

  • protect air quality
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • reduce urban noise
  • reduce vehicle theft
  • save money on fuel.

The website Trans-Talk has details on how it’s been going, along with some good reference information other towns in Canada (and even some in the US) that have similar laws.

What do you think? Should we push to change our laws to force behaviors that are good for the environment? Or should government stay off our backs and allow people to do what they want?

Next Actions:

Still Life With Produce

Still Life With Produce, originally uploaded by shawn schreiner.

More local food shots today. It’s almost August and we’re at just about the peak of gardening and local produce season. The tomatoes this time of year are about the best food on earth (if you ask me!).

This week, make an effort to buy some local food. Look for a sign at your local store, or find a farmer’s market nearby.

If you’re at the store, ask someone in the produce department if they have locally grown produce. They may have it, but not have it marked.

Let them know you’re interested in it and they’ll remember — and it may make it easier for local farmers the next time they try to sell their goods to that store.

If you don’t know where to buy locally grown food, try searching – they have databases of local growers and community supported agriculture (CSA) farms.

Eating local will taste better because the food is fresher. It will also make your soul feel better because of the good your doing for the planet and your community.

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Capitalist Climate Cola (with a side of global warming hockey stick info)

Capitalist climate cola, originally uploaded by oxpeaceart.

It’s the real thing.

This picture is superimposed over the now well-known ‘hockey stick’ graph showing temperature compared to CO2 concerntrations.

The hockey stick graph superimposed on the image here (here’s an original version of the chart) has been used by climatologists to underscore their claims that recent temperatures on earth are significantly higher than in past centuries. It’s among the most compeling arguments in support of global warming.

But it’s not without its detractors. Some have argued that the graph is faulty, phoney and misleading. Supporters of the research, in turn, have charged that those who are against it have been funded in part by oil compnies.

According to Michael Mann, one of the developers of the original research, “Ross Gelbspan—he’s a former editor of Boston Globe—has written two books on the connections between industry funding, in particular funding by ExxonMobil, and these climate contrarians. The vast majority of them appear to receive funding from industry sources.”

For background and to inform yourself on this debate, here are some sources for information on this debate:

1. The wikipedia entry discussing the issues surrounding the graph as it was published.

2. Ain interview on Mother Jones magazine with Michael Mann, on of the developers of this data and a founder of

3. This article which questions the accuracy of the hockey stick graph

4. Another article questioning the hockey stick data

5. A detailed, annotated response to the criticism of this data posted on

FYI – Here’s the original hockey stick graph:

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Global Warming Photo of the Week: Green Train Crossing

Green Train Crossing, originally uploaded by Go Green Charleston.

This is a great sign as it works to institute a new way of thinking in people. Turning off your car while waiting for a train make sense and costs you nothing, but most don’t think of it.

It’s this fundamental change in values that we’re trying to work toward. Getting people to change what’s important to them — and highlighting those who have.

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Global warming image of the week

Berg at Portage Lake, originally uploaded by ‘SomewhereinAK’.

Thursdays each week we’ll be posting an image of the week having to do with one of the topics that is important to us.

This week we’ve chosen a picture from Alaska. The photographer tells us:

“Tourists and residents alike, gawk at a huge iceberg that drifted aground off the shore of Portage Lake. When I first visited this site in 1979, I could see Portage Glacier from where they are standing. Now it has receded miles back and around a bend in the mountain pass; and no longer visible from here.”

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