The energy being released in Japan has exponentially increased over the past few weeks and the Northern Hemisphere is basking in the glow of invisible radiant energy. Imagine not only leaving a giant oven door wide open, but surrounding it with energy consuming appliances of all types. We run more equipment for longer periods, travel further and further to secure our food, water and in some cases, clean air. Even if we all just held up one candle in the stillness of the night, billions of tiny fires would surely change the climate. I recently looked at Great Lakes Ice Cover Maps and it is impossible to not see the changes that have taken place over the last twenty-five years or so. The science is in and human caused climate change is fact. There is no running from it, there is no lie that can undo this truth. There are many scientists that feel that we have passed the fulcrum and that drastic and jolting catastrophe looms.
Some think that since we made the change, that we have the power to reverse these trends. I hope this shrinking faction is right but fear that the growing evidence suggests that without massive and rapid change, dislocation, disruption and greater and greater instability will be the rule. this year, for instance, we are having the January Thaw before the ground has even frozen. My Longest Night of the Year Fire had to be held on wet ground, in a light jacket rather than the usual parka this year. although i appreciate the extra month of time to do fall clean up and last minute yard work, it is ominous because I’m not sure that winter is even going to comer this year. Two years of record snow seem to be ending with a winter of record warmth. Last summer, record drought was punctuated by record rainfall. several storms last summer dumped twice what the local weather reporting stations claimed by a factor of two! We are just five miles by air from where the measurements are taken, but we are under an invisible ridge of high pressure created by burning millions of BTUs of energy in the river valley, which can only rise, forcing warm moist air further up into the stratosphere. I saw clouds forming the other day over a point source of energy and moisture. It is becoming commonplace to see the results of mankind’s heavy hand and the need to reverse this trend is becoming more and more evident to more and more folks around the planet.
small changes times billions of individuals can make significant differences and that is why we continue to search for ways to meet our needs with less. After nearly a decade in our current home, we were finally given the ability to make some changes around here and things like increasing the efficiency of appliances, insulation, window coverings and our vehicles, we may be slashing our energy requirements by 1/3 or more. we produce more and more of our own food each year and are looking for ways to extend the season that do not rely on climate change.
On the agenda for 2012 is a rainwater collection system that will allow us to leave more water unchlorinated and un-pumped from Lake Michigan. (35 miles away) We are going to try to start more veggies earlier in a cheap little greenhouse that we built over the chicken coop and the shade trees, that we planted when we moved in, and love so much are finally large enough to cast shade on the majority of the house during the summer months, drastically reducing our cooling budget. the things we have done in the yard to encourage nature have now been mirrored inside the house as well. What we need now is to use our place as a living laboratory to teach others how to cut costs and enhance their lives as we have done. The biggest single factor in our race to achieve sustainability has been to continuously evaluate the difference between wants and needs, make tiny steps in what we hope to be the right direction and sit back, taking the time to seriously evaluate the results.