Author Topic: Sustainable Living: Going green grows more urgent each day  (Read 4243 times)

Lunican

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Sustainable Living: Going green grows more urgent each day
« on: June 08, 2008, 10:37:27 PM »
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Sustainable Living: Going green grows more urgent each day

June 01, 2008

Our population is expected to hit 7 billion soon, leading some to wonder if we have already passed our planet's carrying capacity. It took thousands of years for us humans to first establish a firm presence on this Earth. Then, our population began doubling very quickly. If you are a baby boomer, and were born in 1945, you have seen the population double with your birth, to 2.3 billion. Then double again around 2003. If you live out your life expectancy, you will see the population more than triple in the span of one single lifetime to 7 billion in 2012.

Looking at Earth as a whole, we have about 22 billion acres of usable land. This contains about 3.3 billion acres of farmland, 8.4 billion acres of pasture land and 10.1 billion acres of forest land. Not all of the land is fertile, which will affect its ability to produce food. We also must share this land with other species already dependent upon that land for survival.

According to Dr. Sidney Liebes' book, "A Walk Through Time," if the Earth were the scale of a ball that you could hold in your hand, the amount of usable farmland would look like a tiny speck of dust by comparison. Additionally, all the drinkable water would look like a tiny water droplet, while the breathable atmosphere would be a thin coating of shellac.

Estimates of the Earth's carrying capacity vary according to which population you are measuring, since some populations live more sustainably than others. Some scientists say that not only are we living beyond Earth's carrying capacity, but we are also eating up future generations' ability to live within the Earth's means. We are literally emptying the Earth's bank account rather than living off the interest as our ancestors have done, and leaving a "balance due" for future generations.

British geographer Ernst George Ravenstein is credited with first estimating the carrying capacity of the Earth at around 6 billion. Now, at 6.5 billion, at least a billion of our population does not receive enough food energy to carry out a day's work. Even though Ravenstein was operating on statistics from last century, he hit fairly close to home.

Before Ravenstein, the English clergyman Thomas Robert Malthus argued that human population always increases more rapidly than food supplies and that humans are condemned to breed to the point of misery and starvation. The 200 years since Malthus' essay was first published have proven him wrong. We can artificially increase food production above birth rates, and even decline in numbers in the presence of plenty.

The World Hunger Program at Brown University estimated, based on 1992 levels of food production and an equal distribution of food, "the world could sustain either 5.5 billion vegetarians, 3.7 billion people who get 15 percent of their calories from animal products (as in much of South America), or 2.8 billion people who derive 25 percent of their calories from animal products (as in the wealthiest countries)."

Clearly we have passed all sustainable estimates and are now entering the "borrowed time" area of the population chart. In order to provide the projected 9 billion people in 2050 with 2,100 calories per day (what food aid agencies declare as the minimum caloric intake) we would have to double our global agricultural production. Humans already have plowed over most of the usable farm land on the planet, and there is a limit to any field's fertility. Could Malthus be right after all?

This is not a new chapter in human history. We have faced starvation before, and triumphed. According to Lester Brown, "In the 15th century, Icelanders realized that overgrazing of their grasslands was leading to soil erosion. Farmers then calculated how many sheep the land could sustain and allocated quotas among themselves, thus preserving their grasslands, and a wool industry that thrives today."

Here are some steps you can take to reduce your ecological footprint:

# Measure your ecological footprint at www.myfootprint.org.
# Walk, bike, or share a ride instead of driving or flying.
# Have a home energy audit and increase your home's efficiency.
# Adopt energy-saving habits and use "low tech" clotheslines and curtains.
# Eat local, in-season and organic.
# Eat less meat.
# Invest in a greener home instead of a bigger home.
# Buy less, reuse more.
# Have smaller families and support zero population growth.

Shawn Dell Joyce is a sustainable artist, founder of the Wallkill River School in Montgomery, and an author of "Orange County Bounty" local foods cookbook.

http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080601/NEWS/806010329

BridgeTroll

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Re: Sustainable Living: Going green grows more urgent each day
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2008, 01:41:34 PM »
I have already done many of these listed above but I need some help...

I want to collect rainwater from my roof runoff for outdoor irrigation.  I am looking for 2 or 3 of those blue  plastic barrels... I think they have a white screw on, or snap on top.  I think they are used to transport non hazardous chemicals.  I have seen them used as garbage bins or storage for long tools such as shovels etc...

Where can I find these?   ???
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

Jason

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Re: Sustainable Living: Going green grows more urgent each day
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2008, 02:00:34 PM »
Check the web.  Sites like E-Bay or CraigsList.com.  I'm sure there is somebody out there trying to get rid of some.

gatorback

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Re: Sustainable Living: Going green grows more urgent each day
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2008, 02:02:42 PM »
I have already done many of these listed above but I need some help...

I want to collect rainwater from my roof runoff for outdoor irrigation.  I am looking for 2 or 3 of those blue  plastic barrels... I think they have a white screw on, or snap on top.  I think they are used to transport non hazardous chemicals.  I have seen them used as garbage bins or storage for long tools such as shovels etc...

Where can I find these?   ???

The City of Austin has a program where you purchase them for I think $45.00 each the 1st one and each additional is like $90.00.  In other words, the city is promoting this by giving you 1/2 the price.  The true cost of each is $90.00 I've been told so the city isn't making any money off the program.   It's horrible that Jacksonville doesn't have a similiar program.
'As a sinner I am truly conscious of having often offended my Creator and I beg him to forgive me, but as a Queen and Sovereign, I am aware of no fault or offence for which I have to render account to anyone here below.'   Mary, queen of Scots to her jailer, Sir Amyas Paulet; October 1586

BridgeTroll

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Re: Sustainable Living: Going green grows more urgent each day
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2008, 02:43:12 PM »
There are sites devoted to selling rainwater barrels but I was hoping to recycle an existing container and make my own.  Someone here in Jacksonville collects and disposes of them or gives them away.  Yesterdays storm probably dumped two inches of water on my house and if collected from the downspouts I figure I could fill two or three during one storm for irrigation during a dry spell later.

http://www.rainbarrelguide.com/
http://www.aquabarrel.com/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGFDlkJOdaM
http://www.cityofbremerton.com/content/sw_makeyourownrainbarrel.html
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

Driven1

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Re: Sustainable Living: Going green grows more urgent each day
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2008, 06:29:28 PM »
i noticed today, in particular, a certain urgency about going green.  it was definitely more urgent than the feeling i had yesterday.

Dog Walker

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Re: Sustainable Living: Going green grows more urgent each day
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2008, 05:23:47 PM »
There are sites devoted to selling rainwater barrels but I was hoping to recycle an existing container and make my own.  Someone here in Jacksonville collects and disposes of them or gives them away.  Yesterdays storm probably dumped two inches of water on my house and if collected from the downspouts I figure I could fill two or three during one storm for irrigation during a dry spell later.

http://www.rainbarrelguide.com/
http://www.aquabarrel.com/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGFDlkJOdaM
http://www.cityofbremerton.com/content/sw_makeyourownrainbarrel.html

I was once told that you can buy white 50 gal plastic drums from the St. Nicholas Car Wash.  Their soaps and waxes come in them.  They were supposedly selling them for $10.00 each.  This was a couple of years ago, so don't know if it is still true.

LOL
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Driven1

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Re: Sustainable Living: Going green grows more urgent each day
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2008, 06:01:46 PM »
my energy bill was $279 this month!!  granted, it is a 1950 ranch-style house with limited external insulation - and it included probably $40 of electric bill from a rental property - but still!!  i was trying to keep the air at 78 degrees, so it would not be so bad.  sucks.

and it was that much worse because of our recent JEA rate increase - 15% right?  would've been $230 without that. 

jacksonvilleconfidential

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Re: Sustainable Living: Going green grows more urgent each day
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2008, 07:08:22 PM »
my energy bill was $279 this month!!  granted, it is a 1950 ranch-style house with limited external insulation - and it included probably $40 of electric bill from a rental property - but still!!  i was trying to keep the air at 78 degrees, so it would not be so bad.  sucks.

and it was that much worse because of our recent JEA rate increase - 15% right?  would've been $230 without that. 

Join the club Driven, my 2BR Riverside bungalow is costing me about the same.
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BridgeTroll

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Re: Sustainable Living: Going green grows more urgent each day
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2008, 07:24:59 AM »
There are sites devoted to selling rainwater barrels but I was hoping to recycle an existing container and make my own.  Someone here in Jacksonville collects and disposes of them or gives them away.  Yesterdays storm probably dumped two inches of water on my house and if collected from the downspouts I figure I could fill two or three during one storm for irrigation during a dry spell later.

http://www.rainbarrelguide.com/
http://www.aquabarrel.com/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGFDlkJOdaM
http://www.cityofbremerton.com/content/sw_makeyourownrainbarrel.html

I was once told that you can buy white 50 gal plastic drums from the St. Nicholas Car Wash.  Their soaps and waxes come in them.  They were supposedly selling them for $10.00 each.  This was a couple of years ago, so don't know if it is still true.

LOL

Cool... I will stop by today.  Thanks Bro!
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

gatorback

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Re: Sustainable Living: Going green grows more urgent each day
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2008, 02:25:47 AM »
my energy bill was $279 this month!!  granted, it is a 1950 ranch-style house with limited external insulation - and it included probably $40 of electric bill from a rental property - but still!!  i was trying to keep the air at 78 degrees, so it would not be so bad.  sucks.

and it was that much worse because of our recent JEA rate increase - 15% right?  would've been $230 without that. 

Join the club Driven, my 2BR Riverside bungalow is costing me about the same.

mine was 38 but then again, my a/c comes from a chiller that isn't included since my a/c runs on water, the chilled water for me is about 18 plus 2 for trash.  My 1 bedroom at 900 sq. ft. is the lowest utils i've ever enjoyed and I keep it at 70's something all day.  I guess a chilled water a/c is a huge savings.  I have one external facing wall with 2 windows both doubled pane.  Move to a mixed use/TOD type apt./condo and you'll love it.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2008, 02:28:00 AM by gatorback »
'As a sinner I am truly conscious of having often offended my Creator and I beg him to forgive me, but as a Queen and Sovereign, I am aware of no fault or offence for which I have to render account to anyone here below.'   Mary, queen of Scots to her jailer, Sir Amyas Paulet; October 1586

kellypope

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Re: Sustainable Living: Going green grows more urgent each day
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2009, 03:07:33 AM »
To follow up on the post at urbanjacksonville.info,

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/07/recycling-goes-from-boom_n_149134.html

But despite this, you can recycle your level 5 plastics at Whole Foods now.
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samiam

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Re: Sustainable Living: Going green grows more urgent each day
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2009, 09:07:32 AM »
The city of Jacksonville has a wonderful opportunity to be in the forefront of the green movement. Let me first state my opinion, the greenest house is a house that is already built, (I cant understand why this is not stated by the more people or groups) The longer a house is in use the less impact it has on the environment. Even if a house goes though a major remodel or renovation as long as new energy saving technologies are used it has far less impact than a new house. A house or building that already exists, especially a historical house has materials incorporated into it that are no longer available or would have a major impact if where used today.
Jacksonville has a vast amount of historic houses close to the downtown area as well as land for mixed-use development and urban in fill with the infrastructure already in place.  I’m not sure but I believe there is more environmental impact installing infrastructure than the actual buildings themselves. If you need an example of this just take a look in St Johns County off of HW 210. They took farm, pasture and old growth forest and turner it into a mega-develoment filled with cookie cutter house that might last 30 years do to the poor quality of the construction and materials used to build them.
The City could package the down town inner circle of historic districts as a green zone and present a proposal to the current administration in Washington for federal funding. (I would think this is the kind of outside the box thing that would get the attention of the bean counters giving out the funds) Not only would the current owners have the opportunity to obtain funds to update their historical house or building, it would be an incentive for people to purchase homes in the green zone and use an infrastructure already in place (In some cases for more than 100 years).   

samiam

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Re: Sustainable Living: Going green grows more urgent each day
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2009, 10:16:24 AM »
As an addition to my previous post this could also give the city the opportunity to create jobs that are meaningful. It would also give the city a reason to creating a trade school in an existing downtown building (i.e. the old Jewish center in Springfield) for lost arts, historic construction, wood carving, stain glass, masonry, historic landscaping and furniture construction as well as other lost or endangered arts

samiam

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Re: Sustainable Living: Going green grows more urgent each day
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2009, 11:13:51 AM »
Another program that needs to be implemented in Jacksonville is the deconstruction of building that have to come down (you cant save them all) so the materials can be reused in other historic buildings. Currently the city bulldozes them down and send them to a landfill