Thursday, January 11, 2007

Respecting Our World Results In Greater Self Respect

When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.—Aldo Leopold

What is true to live in America today? We are a nation of $18 trillion dollars of personal debt. In the last few years we have amounted $260 billion dollar deficit that to $1.5 trillion dollars. Also we continue to sink down further into this black hole. We live in a land where our government has subcontracted out energy, environmental, labor, health and even our voting machines to private interests. Inequality, injustice, and inhumanity seem to be the by-products of a nation that generates 18 billion tons of materials each but we are unable to measure how regrettable our nation’s greed impacts those less fortuned especially the land and its creatures. We are facing an inner form of poverty but the denial of our actions.

Our very democracy is in question since our quality of life reflects are country’s inability to be fully honest with our self. Our addiction to material things has created a culture of denial. As an alcoholic who bottoms out we must undergo some form intervention and rehabilitation of beyond our “affluence and effluence.” We need to undergo a moral trial balance to not only undergo a national inventory but see that there is a bottom line to our consumer driven insanity.

Recovery = Discovery All I have control with is my own self choices. Creating sacred relationship gives me both greater purpose and a richer life. When I remember my interconnection with the earth I feel a profound sense of joy. All indigenous beliefs do not separate themselves from their surroundings. Understanding my link with all things provides me with a sense of harmony and well being.

When I expanding my consciousness to see I am interdependent I become liberated from my ego self. Can we deny that we dependent upon this world to survive? Simply it is a greater extension of us. Can we possibly deny this link? If we separate ourselves from our world then we disconnect our soul from our very nature. Simply we come from the land we must breathe, eat, drink, and eventually return to this planet. Modern life has created many illusions that contradict this relationship by placing us indoors most of our time. While interacting with the natural environment is represents us coming back to our first home.

Shakespeare once said action is eloquence. Our decision-making process allows us the possibility for new freedom. Any action that defends of our environment is similar to a mother protecting their child. Harmony in this world is not about sacrifice but demonstrating ones appreciation for our Gaia surrounding. As we shift from consumers to citizens we can excel to higher level of democracy through motivating others to take action? As we individuals develop greater compassion, wonder, sensitivity, respectfulness, courage, love, appreciation, tenacity, and gratitude then we can fully engage in the kind of stewardship that is calling to us now.
A new dimension of environmental mind set is sees that trees have standing as do people. Without one you will not have the other. Deforestation, stripping mountaintops, landfilling wetlands, and numerous other forms of reckless environmental exploitation is may satisfy human needs in the short run will rob generations of future life. Emerging is a new spirit to improve our environment thus stimulate life-affirming and life enhancing choices.

Our surroundings provides us both physical things (drinking water, garden soil and air to breath) and aesthetic, recreational and numerous other benefits. It benefits us so obviously then to preserve these opportunities and goods makes moral sense. This natural relationship is so meaningful that for many individuals it borders on worship and divinity.

Conserving, preserving and protecting our environment is tied to the very notion of environmental of human excellence. Humans can demonstrate their virtue and flourish the human experience by promoting healthier relationships with our planet. Just a simple act like riding a bicycle instead of driving a car serves to better our world. Any actions that directly promote the well-being of the larger ecological community serve to show our gratitude for the earth. Any choice that for example that lessen the threat for further habitation fragmentation and biodiversity loss invests in resources for the future. So any way we can better this planet directly betters ourselves.

We all act as environmental role models when we act to become sustainable in our everyday lives. As we engage in a greater environmental ethic act to do the right thing and to do it for the right reasons.

Moreover, environmental virtue might provide the sensitivity or wisdom necessary if we incorporate action-guiding rules and principles to concrete situations. Developing sensitivity is required to determine which rules or principles are applicablegiven the specific situation. Also what course of action is recommended given any whatever the nature of the crisis. Juggling between conflicting moral dilemmas we must value a more wholesome lifestyle if we are going to prosper in these very stressful times.

Simply, the more we show respect for our surroundings the greater self respect we behold!

Exploring a Ethic for Our Earth

We may be approaching a crossroads today in the emergence of the human spirit. Those aware may question if our future is ecologically more endangered each day. Given the exponential growth of our human footprints our world’s survival depends upon sustaining life. As we become more sensitive to how delicate the carrying capacity of our eco-systems we can see a direct connection to our very soul. This is reflected by diverse spiritual and religious leaders appeal to one common universal concern- the fate of our beloved planet earth.

Simply we depend on our environment to live. Everyday you see increased evidence of how people of all walks are sensitive whether our distant generations are left a legacy. Without investing in our future a pandemic of despair may erupt among the young and cause unprecedented societal problems.

Developing more sustainable ways of living are becoming critical. For example European agricultural subsidies now are economically encouraging farmers to become better land stewards. In other parts of the world two-thirds of water goes to irrigation sparking an enormous debate on what make the best overall sense. Quickly, we are finding how important our environment is with everything we do instead of isolating this as just another societal concern. The canary in the coal mine is looking for air.

Increased attention by all religious organizations is awakening humans to the divinity of our ecological interrelationships. This is a powerful force to shape new lifestyle and attitudes regarding the ills of over consumption of natural resources. Spiritual leadership also is supported by increased scientific findings that the earth is requiring not just increased care but such mending is essential to preventing global destruction.

The real question is can interfaith alliances work together to converge people to unified efforts toward conservation and preservation. Many misperceptions and divergent worldviews require not only dialogue but religious involvement to overcome the barriers for the human species to act. Also there are numerous success stories such as the Sri Lanka- Sarvodaya movement to moderate consumption.

One striking fact is that in religious institutions are responsible for 34 percent of the United States volunteerism. This human capital is focused on how they can best serve to better society. What better way to show our ecological gratitude. One potential showcase is the almost 300,000 American houses of worship ( 5 percent of the commercial building floor space) shifting to more energy efficient upgrades reducing 6 million tons of CO2 saving these sacred locations roughly a half a billion dollars.

However, there has not been a rocky marriage between conservation/ environmental groups and religious organizations in speaking a common language to develop such partnerships. Even though similar values may be shared these two groups in many instances are not singing to the same sheet of music.

The Dali Lama in the last few decades has stressed environmental protection as a central theme starting with the Earth Summit in 1992. Also of note is that the late Harvard Scientist and world expert, Stephen Jay Gould remarked that this battle to save the environment requires… forging an emotional/spiritual bond between nature and ourselves”

David Orr cites that what is missing is love to engage the many polarized organizations to champion a relationship emulating the compassion of Greek God of nature, Pan. Our ultimate question is when and how will religious and spiritual groups going to awaken a significant amount of humans toward collective action. Can we as human invest in making our tomorrow more promising? Finally we will need to pray together not on each other and ask for divine forgiveness since we may have trespassed upon something more grave then our final resting place.

"We join with the earth and with each other
To bring new life to the land
To restore the waters
To refresh the air
We join with the earth and with each other
To renew the forests
To care for the plants
To protect the creatures
We join with the earth and with each other
To celebrate the seas
To rejoice in the sunlight
To sing the songs of the stars
We join with the earth and with each other
To recreate the human community
To promote justice and peace
To remember our children
We join with the earth and with each other
We join together as many and diverse expressions of one loving memory: for the healing of the earthand the renewal of all life."

- U.N. Environmental Sabbath Program

LED Lights Are Lean and Green

Time for Green Lights! The journey of energy independence begins with proper lighting management

It is time we go look beyond just jokes about how many people it takes to change a light bulb. Lighting consumes up to 20% of our home energy and up to 30% our work electricity.

Light-emitting diode (LED) is a 45 year old technology that delivers n heat output and deliver an average of 32 lumens of light, and they burn about 50 times as long as the average incandescent bulb. The Department of Energy estimates that LED lighting could reduce U.S. energy consumption by 29% by 2025, slicing $125 billion off our national energy bill in the process. Recent university research and other advancements have help LEDs to replace incandescent light bulbs in the next five to seven years. Over the last few years there has been advancements increasing the light output per chip. Once you get more light out of the chip, then the cost goes down in terms of how much light it produces.

There are three major types of lights, incandescent, fluorescent and LED. LED is to fluorescent or mercury bulbs as incandescent are to fluorescents in energy savings, duration and cost. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are not a new technology (1970s). LEDs offer benefits such as small size, long lamp life, low heat output, energy savings and durability. They also allow extraordinary design flexibility in color changing, dimming and distribution by combining these small units into desired shapes, colors, sizes and lumen packages. LEDs have advanced from use as indicator lights and in numeric displays to a range of innovative and new applications, including accent lights, task lights, traffic lights, signage, outdoor lighting and down-lighting.
LEDs have many useful applications, are on the threshold to revolutionize many new light sources. The advent of great visible/white light LED has awakened lighting industries to new savings, reducing heating costs and minimized maintenance possibilities with this light source. White light LEDs, currently may produce enough lumen output to make them competitive with many general light sources.

LEDs are solid state semiconductor devices and their LED illumination happens when a semiconductor crystal is stimulated so producing visible light. When an LED unit is electrified, a power supply converts AC voltage into sufficient DC voltage, illuminating the diode semiconductor crystal. The LED is sealed in a clear or diffuse plastic lens that can provide a range of angular distributions of the light.

Efficient LEDs are low-voltage, low-current devices and efficient light sources. Phillips Lighting cites, “In 1993 an array of 200 LEDs was required whereas only 18 LEDs achieve the same performance today, with prediction of further reduction to only 10.” Progress continues. Efficacies as high as 100 LPW have already been achieved in laboratory conditions. According to Steve Johnson, group leader of lighting research for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, “It is not unrealistic to expect the efficacy of solid-state sources to achieve 150-200 lumens per watt in the coming decades.”

Several manufacturers currently offer a range of LED fixtures for replacing MR16 lamps, display lighting, cove lighting, underwater lighting, architectural details and other applications. Designers should carefully consider requisite lumen packages, source brightness, viewing angles and color rendering when considering use of this technology.

LEDs are becoming extremely attractive. As the demand for these lights to conserve more of energy so will the need for greater supply to keep us out of the dark.

The Climate is Changing and So We Must Too!

Never in human history have we faced a planetary crisis of this magnitude. Climate change is our world’s greatest form of global terrorism. Over 150,000 people each year die due to climate change events according to the World Health Organization. The National Academy of Science report on climate changes confirmed this last decade hotter than any other time in 400 years or more. Scientists are now the prophets of seriousness of climate sensitivity rising-- likely greater than 2 degree Celsius, could be as much as 5 or 6 degrees.

A October 2006 British 700 page report cites if no action is taken, rising sea levels, heavier floods, and more intense droughts could displace 200 million people by the middle of this century. The report estimates that climate change will cost the equivalent of 5 to 20 percent of the global domestic product each year. Acting now to cut greenhouses gas emissions would cost about 1 percent GDP per year but only with U.S. and China’s cooperation. This report also indicates that economic growth and environmentalism can go hand and hand in reducing global warming

Our leaders must not act like a doctor waiting for certainty in diagnosis as the patient rapidly perishes. Our manmade particulates in atmosphere, largely as a result of burning coals, other fossils fuels are prime culprit. Arctic sea-ice retreat documented by our satellites show a 5 percent or more per year loss. This has lead to increased emissions of CO2 and methane. Soil and vegetation that absorbed CO2 are shifting and expelling it. Increased heat and widespread fires are just another effect. Changes in air and sea circulations are also caused. As huge ice covers (more of land area of US) of Arctic and Antarctic contract, less reflection of solar radiation back into atmosphere, more oceanic absorption of warmth. 3 percent per decade diminution of winter ocean cover in Arctic.

Sea ice cover in Arctic - 3 percent loss a decade, in Antarctic 1 percent an increase (following major losses in ‘70-- decreased overall since the 70s). We are seeing not just Arctic and Antarctica melting but increases of Category 5 hurricanes.
These weather changes are highly correlated with temperature rises. All these factors are connected. Global warming is leading to increased biomass factors that adds to more melting of ice changing surface of ocean impacting major circulation patterns

The rapid rate of climate change threatens not just our energy and food but our very quality of life. We need local, state, national and world-wide action to buffer against global warming. We know enough to act now, to put us on a path to slow, and if science permits, stop global warming. However, we lack an American will to agree that climate change is a serious and long-term crisis with potential to affect every part of the globe.

First we must recognize the program, second working out possible solutions, and three to take the necessary steps. President Bush has already cited US dependence on fossil fuels. Independent states and cities are taking action however the US government has made little investment in industries to reduce carbon emissions. The fact is that are still rising in this country. Potential Presidential candidates’, Senator John McCain and Hilary Clinton, have visited the Norwegian Islands on the Arctic Circle to see for themselves the rapid rate of ice melting. We are now at the “tipping point” where reduction of climate change may be not enough on its own.

8,000 years ago- humans’ first impacted this planet with great deforestation. European heat wave used to be 1 in every 500 year event, now there is the potential for this to happen every other year.

Our entire world culture must adapt its ways to survive. First, human population growth must be moderated. Our entire consumption society must shift to one of conservation. We can adapt ourselves as a well rounded society without extremes of poverty, and wealth. Also we can find prosperity when we juggle the shortages of water, accumulation of wastes and the damage to biodiversity to show respect for all things in this world.

In order to survive we must change our attitude of denial. Also required is both a bottom-up as well as top-down approach to “reduce, reuse and recycle”