Improving learning: Greening Schools, the real payoff

The Washington Post featured a local high school’s green renovation in Titans of Ecology, which began

At the brand-new T.C. Williams High in Alexandria, a modern “green” school, students say the environmentally friendly design has led to a serious lifestyle change: They can’t doze in class anymore because sunlight pours in from practically every angle.

Going green means more attentive students … at least, fewer students napping.This one of those benefits from Going Green, being more environmentally and energy sensitive (aware) when building, that many don’t realize. Putting aside all the environmental benefits (real benefits), being Energy Smart, Environmentally Smart is, well, simply being smart. Continue reading

Nuclear energy: What role should it play in tackling global warming?

Here, in very simple terms, is what CCAN thinks:

In terms of greenhouse gas reductions [nuclear energy] is not a deal breaker. Despite the many negatives of nuclear energy, one positive is that it generates almost no carbon dioxide. [CCAN does] not advocate building a single new nuclear power plant, but neither [does it] advocate shutting down existing ones in the face of rapid global warming.

What do you think? What role, if any, should nuclear power play in the face of rapid global warming? Continue reading

New Orleans was a Curtain Raiser

On the August 27th Tavis Smiley show, Mike Tidwell discussed his newest book, The Ravaging Tide, which focuses on Hurricane Katrina and what it means for the future of the US and global warming.

Click below to watch Mike’s interview with Tavis Smiley.

Tidwell on Climate: Forget the Darn Light Bulbs

Enough with the bloody lightbulbs already!

By Mike Tidwell
Published in Grist,
04 Sep 2007

Strange but true: Energy-efficient light bulbs and hybrid cars are hurting our nation’s budding efforts to fight global warming.

More precisely, every time an activist or politician hectors the public to voluntarily reach for a new bulb or spend extra on a Prius, ExxonMobil heaves a big sigh of relief.

Scientists now scream the news about global warming: it’s already here and could soon, very soon, bring tremendous chaos and pain to our world. The networks and newspapers have begun running urgent stories almost daily: The Greenland ice sheet is vanishing! Sea levels are rising! Wildfires are out of control! Hurricanes are getting bigger!

But what’s the solution? Most media sidebars and web links quickly send us to that peppy and bright list we all know so well, one vaguely reminiscent of Better Homes and Gardens: “10 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet.” Standard steps include: change three light bulbs. Consider a hybrid car for your next purchase. Tell the kids to turn out the lights. Even during the recent Al Gore-inspired Live Earth concerts, the phrase “planetary emergency” was followed by “wear more clothes indoors in winter” and “download your music at home to save on the shipping fuel for CDs.”

Nice little gestures all, but are you kidding me? Does anyone think this is the answer? Continue reading

Arctic Sea Ice at All Time Low

Arctic Ice Melt

On August 9th the Northern Hemisphere sea ice area broke the record for the lowest recorded ice area in recorded history. The new record came a full month before the historic summer minimum typically occurs. There is still a month or more of melt likely this year. It is therefore almost certain that the previous 2005 record will be annihilated by the final 2007 annual minimum closer to the end of this summer.

The University of Illinois Ice site, which monitors Arctic sea ice, is reporting:

In previous record sea ice minima years, ice area anomalies were confined to certain sectors (N. Atlantic, Beaufort/Bering Sea, etc). The character of 2007’s sea ice melt is unique in that it is dramatic and covers the entire Arctic sector. Atlantic, Pacific and even the central Arctic sectors are showing large negative sea ice area anomalies.

Read more on Daily Kos.

The Arctic ice cap is melting much faster than expected and is now about 30 years ahead of previous predictions made by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change. This means the ocean at the top of the world could be free or nearly free of summer ice by 2020, three decades sooner than the global panel’s gloomiest forecast of 2050.

Carbon Neutrality Rocks the House

Sunday, Mike Tidwell, hosted his quarterly open house at his home in Takoma Park, Maryland. This was Tidwell’s 44th open house to display a wide variety of alternative energy products such as a hybrid car, an electric car, a solar oven, and a corn powered grill that cooks a great veggie-burger!

In case you missed the event, here are photos and descriptions of all the exciting products at the open house:


The Buckner Corn Grill is the newest attraction at the Clean Energy Open House. This grill runs solely on corn and electricity and makes a great veggie-burger.




Climate Scientists: "A Clear Human Fingerprint on Changing Global Rainfall Patterns

It’s official: human activities that cause climate change are changing global rainfall patterns. Earlier today the “BBC Newshour” interviewed one of the authors of the study just released in the British journal “Nature.” The scientist said his study is the first to show that human activities are largely to blame for changes in rainfall patterns over the last century. The author hopes his report will serve as a wake-up call that we need to act now to curb global warming.

The report was released as record rains caused severe flooding in Britain, China and Indonesia.

Flooding in Britain
Tewkesbury, Britain, and its famous Abbey are seen swamped by floodwaters on Monday.

I can’t help but notice a very disturbing discrepancy here:

When it rains in biblical proportions in Europe, conversations understandably turn to global warming. Not so in the U.S. Continue reading

Shocking News! Global Warming Affects the Chesapeake Bay

Today the Chesapeake Bay Foundation came out with a study on how climate change threatens the Bay. It’s an important resource and anyone who cares about the Bay should check it out.

For those of us who have been working at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network fighting global warming in the Chesapeake region for almost five years, however, this does not come as a shock.

We’re excited that CBF has stepped up their advocacy around climate change and are looking forward to a strong ally in the fight to curb global warming pollution in this region. But, as shown by the fact that we had no idea CBF was coming out with this report, the organization has not entirely realized the potential of such an alliance.

You can read what the Washington Post has to day about the report on our website. And if you’re looking for more info on how climate change is affecting the Chesapeake Bay, check out our award-winning documentary, “We’re All Smith Islanders.”