Category Archives: Uncategorized

Yeah + boooo

Good + Bad news on future gasoline prices  (fresh off the press):  The recent OPEC meeting in Doha failed to agree on an anticipated production quota for oil.  Markets are already starting to react and we’ll be in for lower gas pump prices for quite a while.   Good news for us, bad news for Gaia.

Looks like Iran + Saudi Arabia (Shia + Sunni ) will be waging an economic war of chicken, driving down global oil prices.

That may be good for your pocket book over the short term (and I will also be smiling at the gas pump only) – but it’s really, really sad for Gaia and our children’s future.  What it really means is that both Saudi Arabia (whose oil reserves are WAY overstated – insiders have known this for a long time) and Iran will try to outpump each other to break their opponent’s economic health.  The last, decades long war these two countries had killed 100’s of thousands – this one may last longer and be more devastating in the long run – globally.

Just when we think we may be coming out of an artificial bubble of low oil prices, another political twist continues to accelerate our inevitable rush toward post peak oil mayhem.

But stay tuned:  One little ‘incident’ in the Strait of Hormuz or OPEC country could spike oil prices at any time.

The ‘great unraveling’ (WTR) of our fossil fuel bubble continues at an accelerated rate now.

Repel mosquitoes naturally

With the fear mongering over mosquitoes (West Nile and Zika virus) perhaps we can forgo chemicals and pharmaceutic industry’s advertising/marketing of toxin loaded  (nanoparticles, DEET, etc) products and stick with Gaia’s own solutions:

Rub any of these on your skin before going out:  Lemon balm, Catnip, Basil, Lavender, Peppermint, Citrosom, Rosemary + Sage.   I’m going to put these into some outside water containers and see if they can deter larvae from forming.

http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/wellbeing/8-plants-repel-mosquitos-naturally?cid=soc_Rodale%27s%20Organic%20Life%20-%20RodalesOrganicLife_FBPAGE_Rodale%27s%20Organic%20Life__

 

great unravelings

One of the teachings within WTR (work that reconnects) is about the great unraveling calling us to do the great turning.  It’s best put by a 14 yo      posted on WTR website          04/20/2015     “This time we are in is to me an opportunity. I believe we are faced with an incredible challenge to take part in the Great Turning or the Great Unraveling. There is no guarantee either way but as Joanna Macy once said, it is in uncertainty that we are our truest selves. I think that we have to take action in every way we can to shift our consciousness and sense of community. It is critical that we take charge right now, and open our eyes to the true need of the Earth and the state we have put it in. I think that it is schools like Manzanita and communities like the one we have, that will thread the importance of earth connection and social connection back into our society, which I believe will eventually result in the Great Turning.”– Puma B., age 14, Manzanita School, 1/30/15

TWO current  unravelings:

Earth wobblings:   Hold steady now… our 60,000mph ride seems to have a front end misalignment.  Seems the melting ice in the Artic is causing a bit of an imbalance and increasing Gaia’s wobbling.  The pop media claims its the 900m tons of melting ice in the Artic.  NASA  JPL scientists claim: The finding was a surprise. This region has lost water mass due to depletion of aquifers and drought, but the loss is nowhere near as great as the change in the ice sheets.  So why did the smaller loss have such a strong effect? The researchers say it’s because the spin axis is very sensitive to changes occurring around 45 degrees latitude, both north and south. “This is well explained in the theory of rotating objects,” Adhikari explained. “That’s why changes in the Indian subcontinent, for example, are so important.” 

Another pop media comment (mostly by climate change deniers) was that we’ve only measure earth wobble for 35 years).  Scientists actually have wobbling data (peer reviewed) dating back 44,000 years.  But (this is what alarms me!) scientists are saying that the  current increase in wobbling is generally meaningless!  say what?   My intuition and 15 billion year connection with Gaia tells me otherwise.  Perhaps the increased wobbling is another part of the great unraveling, and we need to double down on the great turning.

I’ll put my creds with the Inuit elders in the Artic:

The elders maintain the Sun doesn’t rise were it used too, they have longer day light to hunt and the Sun is higher than it used to be and warms up quicker than before.  The elders who were interviewed across the north all said the same thing, their sky has changed.  The stars the Sun and the Moon have all changed affecting the temperature, even affecting the way the wind blows, it is becoming increasingly hard to predict the weather, something that is a must on the Arctic. The elders all agree, they believe the Earth has shifted, wobbled or tilted to the North.

 

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The Zika virus is now being raised to ‘alarm level’.  The Zika virus may be associated with an autoimmune disorder that attacks the brain’s myelin similar to multiple sclerosis, according to a small study that is being released today …

For those familiar with biomimetics, nature has several processes at play:  daily happenings,  systems + processes and strategies.  It’s this last one that we really know little about.  Seems to me that each couple years nature throws another virus or disease at us that confounds all our science + medical knowledge.  It’s almost as if nature was spying on our research and devising new ways to circumvent our vaccines, antibiotics, etc.  So maybe the Zika virus will take center stage for a while, we may or may not get the better of it… but WAIT, nature has more in store for us.  Why don’t we just simply honor nature’s resilience and stop declaring war on it?  Perhaps we can just embrace a great turning toward Gaia and trust in her rather than science + pharmaceuticals…  just sayin’

 

WTR path for LeLc

I just got back from a weekend workshop with Joanna Macy and the Work That Reconnects (WTR) and it has re-inspired me to focus more. We will be taking the LeLc (Living Energy Learning Center) and this web page more in the direction of WTR and its network.  We have finally found a ‘home’ of like-minded people where our work can bea very small niche within a larger movement – it fits perfectly, as it always does.

Joanna is SO amazing.  Just to be in her presence is a gift, and to talk directly with her is to be in the presence of higher being.  I’ve met very few people in my life so gentle + fierce at the same time, so compassionate and driven, so humble and inspiring.

The next few blogs will be about how the ‘energy infrastructure’ is unraveling, and how there are all kinds of ‘new paths’ that are bringing a sustainable life to our energy futures.

‘Sustainable’ – no more = ‘sustainable life

Joanna stated that the word ‘sustainable’ is really not a good word anymore.  It is a ‘sustainable life’ that we need to start calling it.  These two words together present a more clearer picture of what many of us mean to say.

no fly zone

I’ve been touting a ‘no fly zone’ for myself for over a year now. I talk to people about it and many dislike the idea for various reasons. I used to compromise and say – longer trips, bigger + newest planes – as a way to reduce the eco-footprint of flying. But no more. I am back to a total ban: a ‘no fly zone’. This article by Dr. Kalmus convinced me: “ How far can we get without flying?”

There are so many dubious facts in the pop media. The one I had a hard time accepting, and not enough time to recalculate it was that flying coast to coast was better than driving. Bullshit. Dr. Kamus states: ‘Four people in a plane produce 10 to 20 times as much CO2 as those same people driving a 25 to 30mpog car the same distance.” He also states: “climate impact of planes is likely two to three times greater than the impact from CO2 emissions alone… planes emit mono-nitrogen oxides into the upper troposphere…”

But the beauty of Dr. Kalmus article is that he stopped flying for social and personal rewards.

There should be frequent non-flyer miles for people like him. Who wants to start one?

From article in:  YES magazine http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/life-after-oil

by    Dr. Peter Kalmus (NASA, JPL atmospheric scientist)  http://becylcing.life

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Another great article in this issue YES magazine… ‘After Oil’ #77, Spring 2016

..asking whether renewable energy can maintain our current lifestyle… is like asking if renewable energy can keep us living unsustainably.”  by Richard Heinberg

“100% Renewable energy – as with anything hard, first we start with the easy stuff”

 

 

 

Energy Turnings

I’m an advocate for Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects (WTR)  it also implies that we need to undertake a GREAT TURNING.

Work that reconnects

So I am going to start using the concept ‘making turns’ in the right (or wrong) direction as a pseudonym for ‘good or bad’, right or wrong direction, positive or negative, optimistic or pessimistic, etc.

BTW: WinSol’s LeLc will be hosting and facilitating a WTR introductory workshop in the near future – stay tuned.

Part of living energy is also the energy we use everyday as we make the great turn from dead energy to living energy. Over the last month there have been developments in our current energy markets. Here’s a summary of those energy turnings. You can click on each one to find the details:  under construction… pardon our dust…

turning in the right direction

1. the largest fossil fuel leak ever, has been capped.  

2. The airline industry has agreed to emission standards

turning in the wrong direction

5. oil price continues to slide as suppliers quarrel over market share

6. Iran will start marketing its oil soon and drive prices even lower

7. We’ve built the largest ever freight ship, and LNG ship in the USA

8.

Continue reading Energy Turnings

Shrimp with bacon + olive oil?

 

mmm……looks appetizing right?

well, I won’t be saying this at any dinner parties:  But shrimp, bacon and olive oil are not what we think they are.

I can’t seem to get away from blogging about food. Why are there  so many food distortions, outright lies, and hidden secrets?  Here’s the latest:

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I’m a regular fan of CBS  60 minutes… I know, I know: they are heavily edited + scripted for THEIR agenda,  but they still produce original investigative journalism – unlike 90% of web content.

Let’s start with olive oil, or what olive oil isn’t.  Look at a bottle of olive oil.  Chances are it will say ‘Made in Italy’ well it’s neither from Italy nor is it olive oil!

Check out ‘Agromafia’ a 60 minutes segment that aired on Jan 3, 2016. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-agromafia-food-fraud/

Here’s some highlights:  Olive oil is a $16 billion industry.  Generally olive oil costs $50 agallon.  But sunflower oil costs $7 a gallon.  Add a little chlorophyll to sunflower oil and it’ll look just like olive oil!  Let’s see $50 vs $7… quite a margin!   So the Italian mafia brings in sunflower + canola oil from North Africa, reprocesses it with Chlorophyll, relabels it  – and walla:  a whole new profit center is borne:  3x more profitable than cocaine.  Allergy people BEWARE :  some of this fake olive oil is based on nut seed oil.

anecdote: just yesterday I bought some italian pasta instead of USA pasta (thinking I would avoid the inevitable GMO that most USA wheat has) … but alas! italian pasta is neither also!  At best it’s contaminated with pesticides and poisons.

Italy appears to have its own hideous, fake food supply chain …  just like China++   So sad!  The ‘made in Italy’ label has been altered forever. I stopped trusting Italian leather decades ago, ever since an Asian store keeper in Venice tried selling me a fake leather jacket .  A little due diligence revealed cheap China crap with ‘made in italy’ knockoffs that were everywhere – even in some  hi-end stores.

Nothing seems to be immune  from the mafia’s food altering cartel: Italian wines are altered with poor quality table wine, relabeled ‘made in Tuscany’;  40,000 gallons worth >$5mil last year alone.  Tomatoes, sauce, pasta, milk, bread… nothing seems to be immune from the mafia’s reach.

From farm to fork:  from supermarkets, to transportation, to farm harvesters, growers + seeds… the entire supply chain!!  The Italian mafia appears to controls everything: especially in Sicily, where the majority of food vendors and restaurants are controlled by the mafia.

The 2007 New Yorker magazine was the first publisher of this phenom.  Why has it gone unnoticed for so long  (8 years!)?

So step aside China, we have a new wiener in the food deception game!  The real sad losers in all of this are the Italian people. Gone will be their ‘made in Italy’ reputation and pricing premiums.  The real Italian artists and artisans could be driven out of business. Hopefully they’ll re-label themselves, and be able to market their wares under some new ‘unalterable, non-mafia’ controlled label.

Thank you New Yorker + CBS/60 minutes – there are still a few investigative journalists around… I might just start subscribing to the New Yorker!

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 let’s look at shrimp.

Have you noticed how cheap it’s been for the last year?                    There’s a reason for that:    In Thailand + Mynamar +, poor migrant kids are being sold to and locked inside shrimp factories to peel Red Lobster, Kroger, Olive Garden, Wal-mart and others’ cheap shrimp. They get paid $3-4 for a 16 hour day peeling shrimp.

In 2015 alone, over 2,000 shrimp slaves have been freed as a result of an ongoing AP investigative series.  42% of Thai shrimp are contaminated.  Heavy antibiotics are used by shrimp farmers. As much as 38% of the mangrove forests being cut, can be directly linked to shrimp farming.

To escape detection, Asian shrimp are often combined with other seafoods and sold as combo patches to unsuspecting western markets. Last week, even Whole Foods had to admit it didn’t know if its Thai suppliers were mixing ‘slave shrimp’ into its seafood supplies.

sources: SF Chronicle page A6, December 15, 2015 and Mother Jones Jan6, 2016:  http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2016/01/six-reasons-think-hard-about-shrimp-craving

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And now for some GOOD NEWSbacon

Everything’s better with bacon – right?

You may have seen the latest WHO (World Health Organization) report that a couple slices of bacon are equivalent to two packs of cigarettes a day – what BS!  Here’s the real story behind the NPR + pop media story:

WHO merely put cured meats on its list of likely carcinogens.  Within three days, over two dozen social media outlets posted that bacon was hazardous to your health — they ramped up the WHO listing to an become an edict on avoiding bacon + ham. The Spanish were pretty pissed about that!

Here’s the real story: There’s always been a correlation linking nitrates in cured meats to cancer. BUT  ‘correlation does not imply causation’. The WHO did not imply causation – they merely put cured meats on their ‘links to cancer’ list – not an increased risk!

Smoking increases lung cancer by 2,500%, eating two slices of bacon each day increases cancer risk by 18% – and even that is misleading, since the average person has about a 5% risk of colorectal cancer.  When you put the two together it comes out to about a 1% increased personal risk – unless of course you’re driving a car while eating your bacon burger.  So… enjoy your bacon!

(source: Catalystmagazine.net page 16, December 2015)

let’s stop poisoning ourselves…

Most people thought that the teflon issue was settled a few years ago and that DuPont and others have moved away from PFOAs (teflon coating) .  Not so!

Products that involve stain resistance, flame proof, moisture proof, odor proof, bacteria resistant, WATERPROOF or have non-stickiness in them –  ALL have flourochemicals (PFASs) in them and are proven carcinogens – thanks to Mr. Rob Bilott at Taft Stettinius & Hollister (a large law firm in Cincinnati) who has been dogging DuPont and PFOA’s + PFAS’s for decades.

I just read a comprehensive report:

‘The Lawyer Who Became
DuPont’s Worst Nightmare’

about Dupont’s PFOA (Teflon coating)  saga and the lawyer that wouldn’t let it go away… wow!  My heartfelt thanks to the major law firm and big time lawyer who saw it through for over 20 years.

Hollywood couldn’t write a fictional saga this devious!

From the NYT article (link at bottom): “PFOA is in the blood or vital organs of Atlantic salmon, swordfish, striped mullet, gray seals, common cormorants, Alaskan polar bears, brown pelicans, sea turtles, sea eagles, Midwestern bald eagles, California sea lions and Laysan albatrosses on Sand Island, a wildlife refuge on Midway Atoll, in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean, about halfway between North America and Asia.”

And to think that this goes on – continually – as more ‘safer’ chemical coatings are now in our supply chains that will play out this same scenario decades from now.  The chemical industry continues to get a free ride.  It is by far the largest industry in the world.   Climate change issues?  We are poisoning ourselves way before we’ll ever heat ourselves up.  How about saving humans  – and then saving the planet.   OR…

…maybe this is the answer to population control 🙂 let the chemical companies continue to go astray – it’ll reduce our population which will help the planet.  Maybe they should get a gold star for helping fight climate change   (nahhh… my cynical side lives!)

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update:  DuPont Chemical Co. no longer exists.   Chemours                (new name for chemical company ) is now the proud stepchild of two chemical behemoths: DuPont + Dow.

As if a merge and re-org along with a new name will make them better. ha!

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NYTimes article link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/10/magazine/the-lawyer-who-became-duponts-worst-nightmare.html?src=me

turning down the noise

One person’s opinion, call it my op ed:
In our social media, twitter sound-bit driven world – it’s more about emotional attention than meaningful content. We are getting bombarded with increasingly meaningless noise – call it a dumbing down.     In electrical engineering there’s a concept called SNR (signal to noise ratio) and I gotta say the noise is drowning out important ‘signals’

We are relying on uninformed peers to inform us. I used to peruse the NYTimes most popular list and find it increasingly meaningless. I used to look at popular magazines + news sources to inform me. I used to listen to NPR to inform me. I’ve changed all that.

There are three new things that I do:

Can’t get enough of this

(a) download specific podcasts, listen to peer reviewed science + opinions

(b) subscribe to online NYTimes to peruse daily articles not picked up by twitter + ‘noise’ harvesting streams + to support them.

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(c)  go to the library regularly:

I biked to the public library in Eugene the other day and found things I would not have easily found on-line. Maybe this library is unique, but I think modern libraries have successfully reinvented themselves. In some cities (like South Lake Tahoe) I go to the library at the local community college or university.

My criteria for a good library is simple: Lotsa computer work stations long sections of current magazines + newspapers, and endless array of books and multimedia to choose from.

Here’s a sample of what I found at the Eugene library and three things that have influenced my thinking profoundly. Subsequently, I had a hard time finding these three articles on line (except for the Orion article), and had to dig hard to unearth them. I’ll try to devote a future blog to each of these topics:

(1) Orion: ‘Peak oil Fantasy’
on-line there the first comment was by Richard Heinberg (one of my heros)  Orion: Peak oil Fantasy
(2) FT’s Natural Born Chillers how Japanese cool themselves (and they don’t have central heating).  They cool and heat the body rather than the whole room or house!
(3) Newsweek’s the future of farming. This Newsweek web site itself wouldn’t yield the article, but a general search found it. It was fascinating to read how the dude that sparked the ‘green revolution’ in the 1970’s and fed millions, also ended killing thousands of farmers… was held up as a hero. And that we can ‘rewild’ the world by concentrating our farming with an aquaponics greenhouse style ‘agriculture’.   Newsweek: The future of farming

 

original thinking on sustainability

images.duckduckgo.com

Rarely do I find anything original in the ‘sustainability noise’   worthwhile sharing or blogging about.   This NYT article has some fresh, interesting information.

I hope you find it motivational.   It will be driving my behaviors.

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There are two things that caught my ‘cautiously optimistic’ curious brain: ‘beyond environmentalism’ which purports to impact consumerism, materialism and an ever increasing GDP requirement  of nations.   WOW, finally.  That only took 40+ years, to spiral down to one of the root causes behind our runaway industrial freight train. Stay tuned for a future blog about this wonderful new directio.

And then there’s this article.

NYTimes article link – click here

What You Can Do About Climate Change

Global climate: it’s complicated. Any long-term solution will require profound changes in how we generate energy. At the same time, there are everyday things that you can do to reduce your personal contribution to a warming planet. Here are seven simple guidelines on how your choices today affect the climate tomorrow.

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1 You’re better off eating vegetables from Argentina than red meat from a local farm. 
Eating local is lovely, but most carbon emissions involving food don’t come from transportation — they come from production, and the production of red meat and dairy is incredibly carbon-intensive.  Emissions from red-meat production come from methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Experts disagree about how methane emissions should be counted in the planet’s emissions tally, but nearly everyone agrees that raising cattle and sheep causes warming that is an order of magnitude more than that from raising alternate protein sources like fish and chicken (the latter of which have the added benefit of creating eggs).
According to researchers at Carnegie Mellon, a typical household that replaces 30 percent of its calories from red meat and dairy with a combination of chicken, fish and eggs will save more carbon than a household that ate entirely local food for a full year.
Yes, eating nothing but locally grown fruits and vegetables would reduce your carbon footprint the most. But for people not ready to make that leap, reducing how much meat you eat matters more than going local.
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2 Take the bus.  To give ourselves a good shot at avoiding severe effects such as widespread flooding of coastal cities or collapse of the food supply, scientists have determined there’s only so much carbon dioxide we can safely emit. Divvying up this global carbon fund among the world’s population (and making some assumptions about future emissions) gives you the average amount each person can burn per year over a lifetime — an annual “carbon budget.”
The current per capita emissions for Americans is about 10 times this limit, and given the relative affluence of this country, our emissions will not get down to the average anytime soon. But they can still fall from where they are. Consider this: If you drive to work alone every day, your commuting alone eats up more than your entire carbon budget for the year. Taking the bus — or biking! — would sharply reduce your output.
3 Eat everything in your refrigerator.  Scientists have estimated that up to 40 percent of American food is wasted — which amounts to almost 1,400img-3 calories per person every day. Food waste occupies a significant chunk of our landfills, adding methane to the atmosphere as it decomposes. Even more important, wasted food adds to the amount of food that needs to be produced, which is already a big part of our carbon load.
How can you waste less? For food shopping, plan out meals ahead of time, use a shopping list and avoid impulse buys. At home, freeze food before it spoils. If you find yourself routinely throwing prepared food away, reduce portion sizes.
img-44 Flying is bad, but driving can be worse.  Remember that annual carbon budget we talked about? One round-trip flight between New York and Los Angeles, and it’s all gone. Fliers can reduce their footprint somewhat by traveling in economy class. First-class seats take up more room, which means more flights for the same number of people. On average, a first-class seat is two and a half times more detrimental to the environment than coach.  But as bad as flying can be, driving can be even worse. A cross-country road trip creates more carbon emissions than a plane seat. And while a hybrid or electric car will save on gas mileage, most electricity in the United States still comes from fossil fuels.
If you really want to mind your carbon emissions, taking a train or a bus is best, especially for shorter trips. Or try that Internet thing: A Skype call or Google Hangout produces very little carbon dioxide.
img-55 Cats and dogs are not a problem.  Every so often, a news outlet points to pet ownership as being bad for the climate. At first, the argument might seem to make sense: Dogs and cats eat mostly meat, which is extremely carbon-intensive, so they must be driving carbon emissions.
But our pets generally aren’t chowing down on prime cuts of steak; they’re eating the leftover parts that people don’t want. When a cow is slaughtered, almost 50 percent of the animal is removed as unwanted or unfit for human consumption. The meat that ends up in pet food is a byproduct of human meat consumption, not a driver of it.   If you do get a dog, you can use it to the climate’s advantage. A dog will help you get in the habit of taking walks. The next time you need to run a quick errand to a nearby store, you can walk rather than hopping in your car.img-66 Replace your gas guzzler if you want, but don’t buy a second car.   Before you even start driving that new car to add to your first one, you’ve already burned up three and a half times your annual carbon budget. How? By encouraging the manufacturing of all of those raw materials and metals. Yet there’s a break-even point at which the carbon savings from driving a new, more efficient car exceeds the carbon cost required to produce it. For example, on average, trading in a 15-mile-per-gallon S.U.V. for a 35-m.p.g. sedan offsets the extra manufacturing costs within two years. Anything you do to improve mileage will reduce your carbon output. Keeping to the speed limit and driving defensively can improve your mileage by more than 30 percent, according to the Department of Energy. Even something as simple as keeping your tires inflated and having your engine tuned up can give you up to a 7 percent bump in m.p.g. — and an average carbon savings of about what you’d save from eating only local foods all year.

img-77 Buy less stuff, waste less stuff.   It’s not just car manufacturing that adds to carbon emissions. Other consumer goods can have a huge impact: Making that new MacBook Pro burns the same amount of carbon as driving 1,300 miles from Denver to Cupertino, Calif., to pick it up in person. At the other end of the product life cycle, reducing waste helps. Each thing you recycle is one fewer thing that has to be produced, and reduces the amount of material that ends up in landfills. But the recycling process consumes energy as well, so — depending on the material — it may not be as helpful as you might think. Recycling a magazine every day for an entire year saves less carbon than is emitted from four days of running your refrigerator.  It’s better not to consume the raw materials in the first place, so you may want to think carefully about whether you’re really going to use something before you buy it.

Of course, these individual choices are all small measures.  A sustainable solution that avoids severe damage to the planet will require fundamental changes in the global energy system: transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy and sharply reducing the number of cars that run on internal-combustion engines.  Advocating public policies that support the development of clean energy and efficient transportation is probably the most climate-friendly thing you can do. But cultural and behavioral change can be part of the solution as well. Might as well start now.

Fred’s comment:  Cultural + behavioral changes are the MOST IMPORTANT  way toward a comprehensive global solution.  Scientists and technologists can only point us in the right direction.