Sunday, November 30, 2008

10 Forest and Climate Change Facts

This powerful list of facts comes from Conservation International.

4 - hours in which the world loses acres of tropical forest equivalent in size to the island of Manhattan

20 - percent of all global CO2 emissions caused by deforestation

2 trillion - amount in dollars that burning and clearing forests costs the global economy every year as valued through lost fresh water, food and timber and carbon reduction

70 - number of species of South and Central American frogs that have gone extinct, likely due to climate change

95 - percent of living coral Australia’s Great Barrier Reef may lose by 2050 due to climate change

25 - percent of all land animals and plants at risk of extinction due to climate change

25 - percent of all emissions reductions called for by 2050 that could be achieved by conserving and restoring tropical forests

143 million - acres of forest Conservation International has helped conserve over the last three years

40 - number of cars, trucks and SUVs’ yearly emissions offset by conserving just one acre of threatened tropical forest

15 - the cost in dollars for protecting one acre of forest with Conservation International.

... So buy recycled paper products! Re-use and recycle writing paper! And, if you can afford it, log on to the Conservation International website to protect an acre or more of tropical rainforest from destruction at a minimum cost of U.S. $15 . I did that in lieu of giving Christmas presents this year. So far, 18,234 acres have been protected in Madagascar and Peru. (warning: the site is a little bit funky in that it appeared that I accidentally purchased more acres than I intended, but it turned out they were not actually charged to my credit card. I have lodged a complaint about this glitch.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Roundabout Way to Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

First, The Personal Stuff

I've been away from my blog for two months, having gone through, among other things a very personal economic crisis since my husband and I decided four months ago not to trade in our lives for radically different ones in L.A. While being nouveaux pauvres has put us on the cutting edge of the latest global socio-economic trend as it turns out, it hasn't been easy, let's just say. After a year of enforced joblessness, fortune suddenly smiled upon me in October, when I landed a one-year employment contract with the beneficent Heart and Stroke Foundation. And my husband's freelance business is slowly taking off. It's still early days, but it looks like the worst of the crisis might be over (here's hoping), and with it a world of stress and anxiety. So I'm breathing a tentative sigh of relief and enjoying the return of a more normal life that once again includes fun stuff like blogging!

To be fair to myself, I haven't been totally wrapped-up in my own problems these past months. Called to action by the recent federal election, I spent a fair amount of time educating and expressing myself on political issues, rallying around the anti-Harper cause and public-health care. My foray into grassroots activism (letter-writing, rallying, attending Council of Canadians meetings and a public debate, not to mention the first-ever AgendaCamp) has been enlivening, empowering and at times powerfully inspirational. And then, the outcome of the Canadian election took some of the wind out my sails, as I know it did for the actual majority (62%) of Canadians.

AgendaCamp

Attending the TVO Windsor AgendaCamp was a high point of this difficult period. The AgendaCamps are loosely-structured, yet professional-level discussion forums organized by TVO in five Ontario cities variously affected by the declining Canadian economy: Windsor, Sault St. Marie, Kingston, Thunder Bay and Waterloo. The AgendaCamp I attended was held on October 19th at the Art Gallery of Windsor. I'm still pinching myself in disbelief over how incredible the experience was! I got to meet and talk candidly with Steve Paikin, host of The Agenda! And I found out that a lot of other people, from different walks of life, yearn to participate in grassroots dialogue and leadership on a range of local and national issues, including the economy and the environment. I am still staggered by the level of community leadership and commitment shown by TVO and Steve Paikin in organizing the AgendaCamps. My AgendaCamp experience was a high point in my life as a fledgling activist.

Light Bulbs

That said, I'm easing myself back into the blog-o-sphere with an easy piece. A few months ago my cousin, a nurse, told me she'd heard that compact fluorescent bulbs were toxic. They do contain a tiny amount of mercury which is released when a bulb is broken, but my net-search turned-up only refutations from many reputable sources of this being a serious danger. I refer you to a an excellent article on MSN titled "11 Myths about Compact Fluorescents." It addresses not only the toxicity issue, but the various environmental considerations, including disposal. Thank-you, Naomi, for the topic!