Posts tagged carbon

BOOK REVIEW: Power Down: Options for a Post Carbon World

It’s book review time again!  If you’re the type of person who wants to read about the miracle technology that will single-handedly save humanity from the energy crisis… this book is not for you.  No, Power Down is decidedly pessimistic about our near-future options for creating a sustainable energy economy without major human sacrifice along the way.  After all, as Heinberg argues, in past societal collapses, evidence shows that an average of about 90% of a given population dies off in the wake of the social unraveling.  Those that survive are deligated to a life of hardship.  Heinberg puts forth a good case for why we should be comparing ourselves with collapsed societies in the first place, and includes a brief discussion of several promising energy technologies that may impact, if not invert, the current energy market.

So all is not doom and gloom.  To be honest, I felt inspired after reading about the necessary sacrifices that we will have to make in order to usher in the new sustainable global energy economy.  In all the heavy thoughts lie opportunities for change, and Heinberg makes a decided point of keeping a silver lining even on the cloudiest day.  The book also includes inspiring stories about nations that have made the rough transition to energy autonomy with varying degrees of success.  I learned as much about foreign policy from this book as about alternative energy technologies.

Overall, Power Down is a good read, and has been included on many prominent environmentalists’ must read bibliographies.  It is a tribute to the swiftness of developments in the energy industry that some passages in the book seem dated, though the book was published as late as 2004!  If you’re looking for a book that looks the problem squarely in the eye and suggests solutions, check out Power Down.

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Saving the Planet from your Browser

I’ll admit it – I’m addicted to the web. Putting in around 50 hours a week, it’s more than a full-time job! So when I see way that I can help the planet without even getting up from the computer, it’s a big deal. Here are a few “goodies” from the internet that I’ve come across lately. None require more than a minute or two to make a real contribution to a world-saving cause.

Surf the Web, Save the Planet

First up, Friends Green. This Google replacement allows you to run a search using Google technology. The bonus? For every search you run through their site, they make a donation to saving the rainforest. There aren’t a ton of features, like with Google, but if you know “Search engine speak”, you should still be able to find everything you need. Including a piece of pristine rainforest when you need one.

Next, email. Planet Save has been providing planet-friendly email accounts for years. Their service is reliable and fast, and every time you send an email, they donate to a worthy cause. Their site is also a storehouse for environmental news and activism opportunities.

Want to donate to someone in need? Here are four sites that let you do it (for free!) with the click of a button. Visit each often, or if you use iGoogle, get a widget that places all four links together for easy access here: Add to Google. Poverty Fighters even lets you count clicks toward your college alma mater, keeping tabs on the most philanthropic school out there.

Hunger Site
Hunger Fighters
Por Los Chicos
Poverty Fighters

Finally, when trying to cut down on your carbon consumption, it can be hard to tell when you’re making progress. Enter The Carbon Diet. This site lets you create a profile and enter your daily carbon expenses, based on the carbon “accounts” you set up (these are the sources of your carbon emissions). It will then make a nice “diet chart” for you, showing your progress. You can even compete with your friends to see who makes the biggest cuts. Kind of like Weight Watchers for greenies.

So next time you think, I’m too _______ to do anything right now, you can jump online, make a quick contribution to the greater good, and get back to your excuses.

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