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Thursday, May 5, 2011

How long before Columbia has beachfront property?

Good news! Our drive to the beach should be getting shorter. With the lasted news that the average temperature in Greenland last year increased by over 5 degrees I guess we are on a path to global changes that may now be irreversible. Oceans rising by 3 feet by 2100 seem to indicate that much of Manhattan and other seaside cities will have to look into the dike building business. Of course the disbelievers of global climate change being real always seem to view any scientific data through political glasses. They view any data such as this as the natural climate change cycles the earth has always experienced and deny that increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere could be the chief cause of this change. To hold otherwise they would to have to accept that our dependence on fossil fuels is unsustainable and we will have to develop cleaner forms of generating our power needs.

One bit of good news with the high gas prices is that it seems to be the only thing that causes people to look at buying more fuel-efficient cars. At what price point do we Americans decide that our need for SUV’s is irrational? Do all those drivers of large trucks work in the construction or materials hauling business? Do men’s egos really need the boost from gas guzzling vehicles? I have always heard that the biggest job for women was to civilize men. Looks like a mighty big job when it comes to the vehicles we drive.

All the previously mentioned news items seem pertinent after I attended a meeting of a local group of activists for climate change. The Climate Change Initiative of Howard County provides a focus for discussion and action on a local level to address issues of climate change. Their motto is “Think Globally, Act Locally.” Their interest in promoting energy alternatives recently has been to advocate for the development of wind power off the Maryland coast. Wind power as a source of a significant power for this country is controversial but it has to be one consideration until over forms of power are developed.

In the near future Maryland will be addressing whether we want to follow other states in the exploration for gas using the controversial method of “fracking.” This method of fracturing the underground shale to release the gas uses a mixture of water and chemicals that have unknown environmental damage. Wells in areas where this method has been used have seen water pollution that in its extreme can cause water coming out of taps to be flammable. So far the drilling companies have been reluctant to release information on the chemicals they use. A good movie showing this controversy is “Gasland” and available from Netflix.

Our county has been working on environmental sustainability on many fronts. The County Executive has created an Office of Environmental Sustainability that has looked at how county agencies can be more energy efficient. An Energy Sustainability Board has put out an Annual Report that outlines many goals for the County. A web page has been set up for county residents who want to “go green.” The county has pushed for builders in the county to build “green” buildings. It is really nice that we live in such a progressive county. The county is moving toward hybrid vehicles in the county car fleet. This is quite a change from the time when the county vehicles used by county employees were recycled police vehicles. I remember driving them as a county employee in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The county took out the police radio equipment but didn’t change the engines. I learned why you should never try to outrun a county police vehicle! You had to take your foot off the gas sometimes going uphill! The county then bought fuel efficient Chevettes that you had to pedal uphill. Quite a change. But I digress.

P.S.

Join runners at Rockburn Park this Saturday to raise money for the Route 1 Day Center for the homeless in Howard County. http://www.hopeforhomeless5k.com/

P.S. 2

I know that it is a little far to go to do good but if anyone wants to donate books (preferably children books) to Baltimore Reads (a great nonprofit) this Saturday you can at

Baltimore Reads Books For Kids Day

DATE: May 7

TIME: 9am- 2pm

LOCATION: Poly Western High parking lot 1400 W. Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, MD 21209

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