October 28, 2006

A little math...

Wind + Rain = Sideways Rain

This is an exciting new concept in weather that has been around for as long as hurricanes, tropical storms, and monsoons have been part of the planetary defense system, but here in Wellington this equation is not associated with extreme weather. Or even Xtreme Weather. It's associated with spring.

You know that old saying back in North America that April showers bring May flowers? And that's how you know it's spring? Well faugh to that nonsense. Wellington is kicking it up a notch, my friends. Like Emeril, Welly has tossed chili powder into the frey and BAM! - we've got weather! For the past several weeks we've been enduring sideways torrential rain in between aggravatingly brief spurts of searing sunshine and, of course, mudslides.

Currently, the only way to improve upon this situation is to factor in earthquakes. And since we had one that actually rattled the entire house for long enough to force us up off the couch and under the nearest doorframe only about a month ago, we're due.

It's like Nature Vs. Humans in the ultimate showdown. And anybody who has seen Al Gore's brilliant environmental apocalyptic film An Inconvenient Truth will know that this sort of weather is now the norm. Look for it to spread. The CO2 levels in the atmosphere are making global warming much more than a "theory" or "hoax pulled on the public" (as one US politician called it). Water tables rise as the glaciers melt and the Earth's ability to maintain temperate climates disappears without those glacial caps operating the global cooling system. Not to mention the increased rate of species extinction and dramatic weather changes. The point? Unless we neutralize our own presence so we're no longer a heinous threat to all other living things on the planet, including ourselves, one day Earth will muster weather so bad it will literally drive us clean into oblivion.

You only wish I was kidding.

What can you do? As it turns out, lots.

Replace a regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (cfl)

CFLs use 60% less energy than a regular bulb. This simple switch will save about 300 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.

Install a programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats will automatically lower the heat or air conditioning at night and raise them again in the morning.

Choose energy efficient appliances when making new purchases
Look for the Energy Star label on new appliances to choose the most efficient models.

Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket
You'll save 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple action.

Use less hot water
It takes a lot of energy to heat water. You can use less hot water by installing a low flow showerhead (350 pounds of carbon dioxide saved per year) and washing your clothes in cold or warm water (500 pounds saved per year) instead of hot.

Use a clothesline instead of a dryer whenever possible
You can save 700 pounds of carbon dioxide when you air dry your clothes for 6 months out of the year.

Turn off electronic devices you're not using
Simply turning off your television, DVD player, stereo, and computer when you're not using them will save you thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide a year.

Unplug electronics from the wall when you're not using them

Even when turned off, things like hairdryers, cell phone chargers and televisions use energy.

And of course, carpool, bus, or walk to work whenever possible.

Those aren't the only ways to help. Don't be shy in finding out more. It's your planet too.

The preceding information on energy saving is courtesy of climatecrisis.net. To learn more visit the website or watch the film An Inconvenient Truth. The planet belongs to all of us and it's time we stopped leaving things in the hands of politicians who don't give a damn and took a stance on behalf of nature and ourselves.