I N · T H I S · I S S U E
The Power of the Increment
Just back from an inspiring trip to Mammoth Lakes, California where I spoke at the Off-the-Grid Energy Fest. What “Simple Steps” can we all take to be more energy conscious and responsible? What are the no and low-cost measures that make sense now?
EcoMotion’s guiding principle is the Power of the Increment -- that concerted small actions will inspire greater and greater steps to accrue fantastic benefits. How could I motivate workshop participants? My idea was simple: Draw a collection of simple steps from the audience, and let the power of the increment do its magic!
With the help of a makeshift white board and single black pen, in less than an hour the group had put 37 steps on the board, actions that they had individually completed, from no-cost measures to reducing ecological transportation, lifestyle, and diet footprints.
One gentleman offered up his solution: sleeping with his beagle to stay warm at night! “Will all dogs work equally well?” We had a lot of fun.
Participants then rated the “simple steps.” Which ones are really low cost -- less than $100 -- and really simple? This drew significant comment. Consensus was reached that 16 measures were indeed “simple.” Thanks to group dynamics, participants gave themselves the message this time. The 16 are basic actions that immediately save energy, money and the environment. Each of us will likely go home and take a simple step!
Japan hopes to slash greenhouse gas emissions and fight global warming by pumping carbon dioxide into underground storage reservoirs. The country proposes to bury 200 million tons of carbon dioxide a year by 2020, cutting CO2 emissions by a sixth.
Many believe that underground storage – one form of carbon sequestration -- underlines the new urgency felt by industrialized countries to rein in the effects of global warming. By capturing carbon dioxide from power plants and factories and pressurizing it into liquid form, it can be injected into underground aquifers, gas fields, or gaps between rock strata, safely keeping it out of the air. One concern, however, are massive releases caused by earthquakes; another is the $52/ton “prohibitive” cost.
Japan’s project would dwarf similar underground carbon dioxide storage operations in Norway, Canada and Algeria, each of which sequesters about 1 million tons a year. Tackling carbon dioxide is a top priority for Japan, a key driver behind to the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement to cut global output of carbon dioxide by 2012. Still, Japan is the world's second-largest economy and one of the world's top offenders, expelling 1.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year.
In related news, Kansas University hosted a conference this week on carbon sequestration. The process isn't new, scientists noted: For years, oil companies have used carbon-dioxide injections to better exploit a field's dwindling oil supply. And the risk of CO2 releases? Very little, according to the Kansas Geological Survey. "The oil stayed down there 50 million years. As long as we're careful, the carbon dioxide will stay down there another 50 million years."
Celebrities and the Environment
Look who’s driving a hybrid! (Circle the ones you know.)
Patricia Arquette, Kevin Bacon, Ed Begley, Jack Black, Hart Bochner, Prince Charles, Billy Crystal, Ted Danson, Larry David, Ellen DeGeneres, Kirk Douglas, Cameron Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio, David Duchovny, Will Ferrell, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Woody Harrelson, Salma Hayek, Arianna Huffington, Billy Joel, Bill Maher, Ewan McGregor, Donna Mills, Jack Nicholson, Donny Osmond, Alexandra Paul, David Hyde Pierce, Brad Pitt, Rob Reiner, Tim Robbins, Kurt Russell, Oliver Sachs, Susan Sarandon, Alicia Silverstone, Andrew Weil, Robin Williams
• Mandy Moore had her car adapted to run purely on vegetable oil.
• The Prince of Monaco is traveling to the North Pole to bring about awareness of the shrinking ice caps.
• Brad Pitt is narrating a new series on PBS called Design: e2 that investigates environmental issues and encourages smarter solutions.
• Willie Nelson and Bonnie Raitt are touring the country in biodiesel-powered buses. Willie Nelson is marketing his own fuel called BioWillie.
• According to London’s Daily Mail, Hollywood stars Brad Pitt, Daryl Hannah and Sir Ian McKellen have all installed solar panels or wind turbines on their homes.