Monday, October 08, 2007

Arctic ice loss hits the Walrus

This article from the International Herald Tribune details how thousands of Walruses have migrated to Alaska's rocky shores as their usual summer home, the ice pack, has receded way too far north.

The remaining ice pack was way north of the edge of the continental shelf, which is where their staple diet lives. The ice pack was over water too deep for them to dive for food, so the poor Walruses have had to find other locations to lay around on whilst bringing up their pups.

This raises the distinct possibility of mass starvation, as too many walruses migrating to the rocky coastline consume a diminishing supply of clams, snails etc. closer to the shore.

This is just another in the long line of indicators of what climate change just might do to various life forms on this planet. The thing is, Walruses will simply starve, pretty much until the population has dropped low enough to survive on the remaining food supply. Were a similar scenario to occur where humans are involved, the consequences will inevitably be much nastier, as we've learned to create, cherish, and use, to devastating effect, all manner of lethal weapons.

An Englishman's home is his (draughty) castle

Little demand for zero carbon buildings?

As with all things green and consumer, there is a basic 3-legged stool upon which anything sits.

First there is 'us', the public who buy. Or don't.

Then there are those who sell to us. Or don't.

And then there is that funny old collection of folk who charge taxes aplenty to fund all manner of officers and heads of and departments and ministries and things to shape what gets bought and/or sold, how it gets bought and sold and often when it gets bought and sold.

So if there is any lack of seriousness in this little balancing act, whilst I can see the very real, selfish and/or greedy reasons for two of them being a little less than proactive (though why building, buying and/or living in a house that costs less to heat, etc in a reasonable lifetime would be a negative escapes me) I'm wondering if we are not remiss in looking more critically at the guys in charge and the track record of their boss, who currently seems to be trying to dig himself out of the current sticky affair by having his chaps big him up for avoiding the 'green trap' the other parties have been suckered into.


A day goes by and we get the same thing. This time... pumpkins!

It's bad enough that most of the blasted things are not eaten but carved, rot and then thrown out to rot, but now 'we' find that 'we' are responsible for hot air blowers going 24/7 to turn them from green to orange.

And everyone is pointing at each other. The retailers say the public demand it. The growers say the supermarkets demand it. The media just go tut-tut and the government stays out of it. No change there, then.


Foraging with the Freegans

No, I haven't made the term up, its a composite of Free and Vegan. This from CBS News explains how 'Freegans' forage through dumpsters at night looking for food and clothing.

They "oppose over-consumption and capitalism. They live their lives using what others throw away."

"This is like living in the woods: You have to know where the mushrooms grow. You have to know where the stores are that throw out the things you want."

And what scares them the most? The garbage truck!

PROF'S POSER - Paper vs. Hard Drive

I just got a PDF. Read it and was about to archive it on my PC when I wondered... is that better in enviROI terms than printing it out?

It was 1.5M. Not huge in the great scheme of things (well, these days), but 99 more and I have a Gig. 99 more of those and I have my hard drive. And when that's full, I need a new one, plus backup.

Is that one sheet of A4 (Viking recycled) I have printed out really so bad?

Note: Prof's Posers appear on the site and also in newsletters. We've had a few interesting bits of feedback. See what this one may bring.

Can science really save the world?

A question posed in The Observer yesterday which I was intending to pass comment on; only to find that the ever amusing Anorak site had already done it for me!