Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
So why has it taken so long for politicians and the general public to become alarmed about human impact on climate change? We noted that the issue seemed to drop out of general public consciousness during the 1980s and and early 1990s. Kolbert even-handedly and succinctly outlines what happened during those years--environmentally, scientifically, and politically--while we were not paying attention.
We acknowledged that global warming could become more than a media buzz word for those of us here in Charleston, SC who own or rent houses at or below sea level. Our discussion revealed that we are ambivalent about whether man or nature will prove more powerful--whether we will cooperate and use technology or find other solutions to potentially catastrophic climate change, or whether we will continue to put personal comfort and corporate profit before the collective good. However, we did agree that there seem to be many grass roots movements to offer hope, such as The Compact, which encourages people not to buy anything except essentials such as food and medicine for a period of time, and the local food movement. We shared the small ways we as individuals try to make a difference, such as using refillable water bottles rather than disposable plastic ones, carpooling, shopping at the local farmers market, reducing or eliminating meat from our diets, taking reusable shopping bags to the grocery store, replacing incandescent bulbs with fluorescent ones, and using heat and air conditioning moderately. And we are encouraged that grade school, high school, and college students are much more aware of the immediacy and importance of the issue of global warming than we were at their age.
Here is a brief list of resources Kolbert presents for learning more about climate change and how we as individuals can reduce our "carbon footprints." For others, see the Resources section at the end of her book.
- Cities for Climate Protection Campaign http://www.iclei.org/
- Southern Alliance for Clean Energy http://www.cleanenergy.org/
- RealClimate http://www.realclimate.org/
- Goddard Institute for Space Studies/National Aeronautics and Space Administration http://www.giss.nasa.gov/
- National Environmental Trust http://www.net.org/
- American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy http://www.aceee.org/ and http://www.greencars.com/
- Natural Resources Defense Council http://www.nrdc.org/
- Union of Concerned Scientists http://www.ucsusa.org/
We hope you will add your thoughts to our discussion and consider joining our next discussion, about Timothy Egan's book The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl, either Tuesday, July 1, at 7:00 p.m. in Meeting Room A of the Main Library on Calhoun Street, or here on the blog.