For the Conservation Curious

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Earth Day is Coming; are YOU Ready? April 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — newdomino @ 3:31 PM
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April 22 is Earth Day.  2010 marks the 40th anniversary of the event.  What began as an environmental “teach-in” based on sit-ins of the 60’s to protest the Vietnam War is now a world-wide phenomenon that brings together non-profits, advocacy groups, educators, businesses, government officials and the general public.  While every Earth Day is important, on this, the 40th anniversary, it is even more worthwhile to look and this holiday and see what you can do for the sake of conservation.

No matter where you live there are probably one or more Earth Day activities taking place.  If not, why not organize your own?  Earth Day is the perfect day for the “conservation curious” to learn more about our natural world.  Go to a park you’ve never been to before and take a nature hike.  Plant a native tree in your backyard or donate one to a school near you.  Pick up trash and recycle the cans and bottles you find.  Read an environmentally-themed book like Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax to a group of kids.  Enroll in a science course at your local community college. 

No matter what you decide to do, share your experience with others, especially any young people you know.  Your enthusiasm for the natural world will be contagious and will spread to them.  In another 40 years those youths will share their love of Earth Day with their children or grandkids and the cycle will continue onward. 

There is the saying that “Earth Day is Everyday,” and that should be everyone’s motto.  Until that day, lend a hand toward conservation on April 22.

 

Energy Emergency April 6, 2010

Filed under: Science,Uncategorized — newdomino @ 3:03 PM
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The mine disaster that took place in West Virginia this week is a reminder that our need for energy carries with it a large and sometimes grave burden. My heart goes out to those affected by this tragedy. I cannot imagine risking my life as a coal miner, but for some it is their calling. They see coal as the bringer of a paycheck that will put food on their family’s table, while I (and the many other environmentalists out there) see coal mining as a dirty “necessity” of our current lifestyles. Both sides of the issue are right in their beliefs; you can’t blame anyone for wanting to provide for their family.

And coal is not the only energy industry that carries with it this duality. Here in Pennsylvania we are hearing a lot about Marcellus shale natural gas drilling – that it will bring new jobs to an economically depressed part of the state, and that it will pollute our drinking water and fragment the beautiful natural landscapes that abound in north-central Pa. Which is the truth? Most likely, they both are. Even wind energy, which so many conservation organizations tout as one of our best bets to an energy independent future, has its drawbacks – if turbines are improperly sited they can kill bats and birds, as well as fragment forested habitat. Hydroelectric dams can prevent fish from moving upstream; fields of solar mirrors can look like a lake to migrating birds, drawing them to their death; and offshore oil rigs are a scenic eyesore.

So what are we to do? How can we continue our way of life when posed with all these negatives – people dying, vistas permanently marred, habitats polluted beyond redemption? We are in the middle of an energy emergency, one that has been with us since the dawn of electricity and the age of the automobile (or theoretically even further back than that… think whale oil lamps!). I am not an alternative energy expert, nor an economist, nor a subsurface geologist, so I won’t hazard a guess at our best bet for one or more energy sources that have the smallest impact on our health and the survival of the natural world. What I do want to say, however, is that unless the majority of people in the world start to rethink how much energy they use and what they use it for, all the alternative energy sources in the world still won’t be good enough. Even small changes in our energy use patterns will go a long way toward improving the quality of our planet. If that means getting outdoor more, rather than watching so much television, washing clothes with cold water rather than hot, ditching the bottled water and walking once or twice a week rather than driving, is that too much to ask? While we have the option of making those choices we should take them. If we put it off too long someone will make the choice for us and we might not like the decision.

 

Now on Twitter

Filed under: Uncategorized — newdomino @ 10:14 AM

I’ll be micro-blogging on Twitter. Find me at “ConserveCurious.”

 

Conservation is a Load of B.S. April 1, 2010

Filed under: Science,Uncategorized — newdomino @ 3:26 PM
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I woke up this morning and realized that I have been wasting my life focusing on conservation. There is really very little that we can do to save the planet. I mean, who are we kidding? This is a huge planet with many complicated systems and we are just like ants crawling all over it. We can shape the land a bit and construct vast buildings to make us feel like we are the owners of this place, but in reality we are just one of millions of species here. We are pretty insignificant. What’s the use in postponing the inevitable? Let’s just keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere, heat this baby up and let the planet self-destruct!

April Fools, of course!

Conservation is certainly not a load of b.s., unless by b.s. you mean Big Stuff or Best Scenario or Better Scenery. On April 1st it’s easy to kid about things but in all seriousness we do have the power to affect change; we are not so insignificant that we can’t protect our natural resources and improve quality of life for all. If someone says you’re being silly for caring so much about the planet, that your efforts are futile and misguided, look them in the face and say, “Conservation is a load of b.s. – it’s the ‘best scenario’ for our planet!”