Category Archives: Environmental Issues

Green Book Awards Announced

Organizers of the Green Book Festival, to be held later this month in San Francisco, have announced the winners of book awards in over a dozen categories.*  I learned of this because a book to which I contributed a chapter was the winner of the Business category.  The book, Greening Libraries, published by Library Juice Press in 2012, showcases librarians who have pioneered ways to educate their patrons about environmental and sustainability issues.

My chapter, “Library-Sponsored Sustainable Living Outreach in Denver,” describes programs I and a few other librarians working for the Denver Public Library have implemented toward that goal. [I am now retired, but worked as a DPL librarian for 14 years.] These programs included successfully urging a large library fundraising event to “go green” with recyclable table service, locally produced foods, and website information about libraries’ environmentally beneficial aspects.  Continue reading Green Book Awards Announced

Chasing Ice–a must see!

I had the opportunity to attend a pre-release screening of a new documentary, Chasing Ice.  The title might sound like another travel/adventure film, and it is, but much more.  It may finally take us to the tipping point in convincing the general public that climate change is real and that we must not delay in addressing it.
Environmental photographer James Balog and his crew placed cameras at a couple of dozen places in the Arctic to take time-lapse photos of glaciers over a period of several years.  The results are startling and undeniable: glaciers are melting at an unprecedented and astonishing rate.  Such indisputable visual evidence, obtained at great expense and under difficult conditions, reaches viewers in a much more dramatic way than previous films like An Inconvenient Truth.  We follow the crew as they penetrate remote and highly inhospitable locations to place the cameras and later to retrieve the images.  We gain a sense of Balog’s determination to produce the evidence that will stimulate a mass movement to take action.  The livability of our planet is at stake, and time is critical.
Find out more, watch the trailer, and check showtimes here.  In the Denver area, see it at Chez Artiste Nov. 23 – 29.

Reflecting on Colorado’s Wildfires

Wildfires have burned in Colorado early and often this year, with unprecedented losses of personal property and forest acreage.  Increasing numbers of people–now 1 out of 5 in Colorado- -live in so-called “red zones,” areas at high risk of fires. Climate change has also been a factor, bringing warmer and dryer weather.  Throughout the centuries, naturally occurring fires kept forest acreage healthy, but in the last century fires have been largely suppressed, contributing to more growth of underbrush. This growth, allowed to accumulate, gives pine beetles more to chew on, creates more fuel for fires, and makes new fires harder to control. Continue reading Reflecting on Colorado’s Wildfires

Of Dishwashers and Durability

When we bought our present home in 1999, the dishwasher was, shall I say, vintage.  In recent months it had become noisy and wasn’t cleaning well; we were looking forward to replacing it with a more efficient model.  After some days spent researching and shopping, we chose one that qualifies under the improved 2012 Energy Star rating system.  I was amazed at how little water this model uses: less than three gallons per load.  You’d have trouble washing dishes by hand with that amount of water, as just filling the sink would take about two gallons, plus you’d need rinse water.  Its electricity use is modest too, although we don’t worry too much about that because our solar PV panels generate more electricity each year than we use. Continue reading Of Dishwashers and Durability

Wealthy Business Leaders Told To Go Vegan

Here was a surprising link in my inbox: CPI Financial, a website dedicated to offering advice and analysis for bankers and business leaders throughout the Middle East, headlined the recommendation to go vegan.

The article,  begins as follows:
Ok, here’s the bad news. You’re going to have to become vegetarian. Sorry. As soon as possible, so you may as well put down that chicken sandwich and start now. Not just you though, all of us are going to have to stop eating meat and dairy products if the world has any hope of not going to hell in a hand basket.  

What?  Did I read that correctly?  Of the myriad reasons for veganism, why were investment bankers being urged in that direction?  Continue reading Wealthy Business Leaders Told To Go Vegan

Not Enough for Everyone’s Greed

We don’t have to look far to learn of ways we have exhausted the resources of our planet, and driven countless species to extinction, by our addiction to more, more, more.  Recently I read an example of how this played out on the American continent over 150 years ago.  The following is not meant to support meat-eating, but rather to relate how another group depleted their food supply past the point of no return. Continue reading Not Enough for Everyone’s Greed

Making Meat-Eating Look Green

In the current (July/August) issue of Mother Jones, Associate Editor Kiera Butler questions the “greenness” of eating plant foods vs. eating meat in “Get Behind Me, Seitan: Why the vegetarian-equals-green argument isn’t so cut-and-dried.” Right out of the starting gate, Butler tells us that until recently she had been a lifelong vegetarian.  Wow, lifelong– that’s unusual and, among longtime committed vegetarians and vegans, enviable.  Yet Butler tells us this in the context of being in a restaurant ordering a burger, that is, a dead-flesh type burger.  What gives? Continue reading Making Meat-Eating Look Green