Media


Beijing at night. (Do you see any energy police?)

A small update on my last little bit on China’s battle against global warming. Chinese government’s latest weapon against the cruel climate change? A sort of “Energy Saving Police” out to make sure all buildings in Beijing are obeying energy saving rules, like making sure their air conditioning is set to no cooler than 79 degrees. The Chinese government also has a phone line set up just so people can call in and report people disobeying these Energy Laws.

The effort to save energy has even become somewhat of a political campaign, considering the 2008 Beijing olympics are approaching and they truly want to get rid of all the pollution by then. The People Daily, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece in China, says: “All regions and sectors must thoroughly grasp the importance and urgency of saving energy and reducing emissions,” showing the government’s desperation to urge things forward. According to the China Youth Daily, 84.6 percent of almost 5,000 Chinese citizens found global warming and energy conservation to be considered an urgent issue. It seems to me that China is certainly keeping its’ promise so far!

S O U R C E S:
Article about China’s efforts.
Article mainly about the energy police.

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A panel of nutrition and health experts, with the support of the Unilever Health Institute, recently concluded that around 21% of calories consumed by Americans after the age of 2 come from beverages. The panel put together a Beverage Guidance System detailing both the health benefits and detractions of popularly consumed drinks from water (the preferred beverage of the panel) to alcohol, coffee, tea, milk and soy milk. Barry Popkin and George Bray, the two authors of the paranoia-inducing high-fructose corn syrup study from a few years ago, are also on this panel.

Here’s a post from one of the guidelines’ authors, Balz Frei, and here’s the New York Times’ take on the story.

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There’s a new organization in Jacksonville devoted to climate change awareness! The Jacksonville Greenhouse Alliance was founded with the express intention of getting our civic leadership to sign on the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. The Agreement is an effort begun by the mayor of Seattle, Greg Nickels, to encourage local governments in the United States to adopt Kyoto Protocol standards. As of December 2006, 353 American mayors had signed on to the agreement, which has three key components:

  • Strive to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets in their own communities, through actions ranging from anti-sprawl land-use policies to urban forest restoration projects to public information campaigns;
  • Urge their state governments, and the federal government, to enact policies and programs to meet or beat the greenhouse gas emission reduction target suggested for the United States in the Kyoto Protocol — 7% reduction from 1990 levels by 2012; and
  • Urge the U.S. Congress to pass the bipartisan greenhouse gas reduction legislation, which would establish a national emission trading system

Go check out the site and sign the petition! There’s a list of upcoming JGA events as well as information on things that you can do to be more climate-friendly.

In the last 6 years, science has taken a backseat to faith in America. Our government, for reasons both spiritual and economical, has refused to acknowledge irrefutable evidence regarding, among other things, global warming, carbon emissions, stem cell research, water and air pollution and the environmental impact of oil drilling. And while we can’t expect any drastic changes overnight, the results of the recent midterm elections will hopefully usher in a new era of legislative concern for the environment and scientific research.

We hope Cantwell, Tester and McNerney all treat us right in the years to come. Check out this WIRED article that came out before the elections. It gives you a pretty good idea of which agencies and programs have suffered at the hands of scientifically skeptical lawmakers. With the election of so many green and progressive representatives, we’re hopeful for the future.

And, to get a little more specific, here’s another article on Global Warming with specific examples of how climate change is affecting wildlife in certain regions. And since it’s always good to have some ammunition when dealing with skeptics, here’s Grist.org’s guide to climate change discussions. It’s a thorough outline with talking points, scientific evidence and strategies to help you convince the naysayers that the problem is real.

And lastly, here’s the Panasonic Eco&UD House website. The Eco&UD house was designed to maximize comfort and quality of life while minimizing environmental impact. the house has all kinds of cool stuff built in to it like a rainwater pooling and purification system. Plus, the site’s got a decent amount of Engrish on it, so you can have a laugh while you learn.