My favorite New Years quote (NYTimes 12/28) comes from Dr. Frank Convery, an economist at the University of Dublin, and refers to the strides made by Ireland to reduce their overwhelming fiscal deficit while creating low carbon emissions with the introduction of a carbon footprint tax. By introducing the tax and changing behavior, Ireland has reduced its emission by 15% since 2008. Dr Convery: “You don’t want to waste a good crisis to do what we should be doing anyway.”
Some of us know the terrible feeling of calling for a child in a crowded mall or on a busy street and realizing that your cries or the cries of your child might be drowned out by the noise around us. Now the ocean most precious mammals are sharing our dismay and being drowned out by noise pollution in our oceans, making it difficult for them to find their offspring, mate and prey. And we are to blame.
A recent New York Times article describes the underwater noise as deafening with blasting and gun firing for exploration of gas and oil and roaring noise coming from commercial and cargo ships traversing the seas at an ever more frequent rate. An amazingly distressing photo mapping image from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows just how much of the area around your coastal waters is an underwater cacophony. NOAA ‘s mapping results highlight the urgency of protecting our ocean inhabitants-from ourselves.
Whilst the Doha Conference on Climate Change focuses on policy-driven initiatives to limit CO2 emissions, an article in this month’s National Geographic demonstrates the importance (and questions) of commercially-driven action.
Fracking, the process of accessing natural gas deposits in shale, has reduced US reliance on dirty fossil fuels, such as coal and oil and helped reduce CO2 emissions by more than 7% since 2005 ( US Environmental Protection Agency).
The picture sounds rosy, except that as CO2 emissions have declined, methane emissions have risen and methane traps at least 25 times as much heat. Just last week the EPA released a study of its final research of hydraulic fracking and its effect on the environment. The Huffington Post published an article with the pros and cons that outlines the risks and the benefits. Could shale gas be worse for the environment than coal? Should we be investing in hydraulic fracking or look to renewable energy to help curb our emissions?
Still, some hope lies in the fact that the capture of methane is a great opportunity to slow global warming, since it is much easier to capture than CO2. Moreover, as a valuable fuel, it raises the possibility of its capture as a commercially-driven prospect rather than policy-driven. One thing that is very clear; there isn’t an easy answer and something needs to happen to protect our already fragile environment and the health of future generations.
Claire Calleawart is a W2O Board Member. She has her Masters in Zoology from Cambridge University. Read more about Claire in the November Board Member Profile
NPR’s Richard Harris’ report about the talks in Doha this month continue to highlight the need for countries to step up efforts to support treaties that will unite nations in the fight against climate change. There are so many complicated issues; can there be a single agreement, how will wealthy nations support vulnerable ones and protect them from loss, damage, disaster or even disappearance because of rising sea levels. 2020 is too late to rein in global warming.
Our friend, Susan Tamoney, reminded us that “Chasing Ice” the poignant movie about the diminishing glaciers in Greenland and Iceland by National Geographic Photographer James Balog is now here in Boston Theaters for a limited engagement.
Susan, an ocean lover and activist for OxfamAmerica, calls herself “an unapologetic optimist” hoping that with hard work we can ensure that our children and grandchildren inherit a beautiful world. She calls this movie an urgent message about global warming and climate change and describes the film as “stunningly beautiful and heartbreaking-the images “give us a visual understanding of the effects of climate change and our warming planet.”
The movie is currently at Kendall Square
I think I am a typical Sunday NYTimes reader. I scan the front page, flip to the Style Section (I grab it protectively from the pile in front of my husband-silly really-would he actually be interested in the Style Section!?) and then look for Maureen Dowd (especially interesting today, btw) or Nicolas Kristoff. But lately I am stealing the Sport Section. So unlike me- but I now know that if the Sunday Times has any noteworthy car articles, there is a secret (well, maybe just to me!!) “Automobile” section at the rear of the Sports page. Every since W2O’s “Roadside Assistance: Driving Change on our Streets and In Our Oceans” event last month, I am very interested in how I can get my hands on a Ocean/Earth friendly automobile. Today’s article (yes, that is at the end of the sports page on page 9-or here -) not only describes the new technology and features of the Prius, but it has a nifty chart (not on line) at the bottom that helps consumers decide which Prius might be right for them. Check it out…and then read Maureen Dowd.
W2O would like to thank Lisa Hughes for her cleaver questions, clear objectives and never ending picture posing at our Roadside Assistance: Driving Change on our Streets and In our Oceans Event on October 23rd. To our Panel-the day was clearly a success and our audience feedback is that each of the panelists inspired them to think of cars and the purchase of their next car as a catalyst for the opportunity to make a difference for our environment and our oceans. The big take away-consider changing habits about how we choose when buying a car (and we are reminded that there is so much to look forward to with new technology and design)
and never ever idle!
Boston Globe October 21, 2012
By Cindy Cantrell
DRIVING CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION: Since founding W2O (Women Working for Oceans) last year, Weston residents Barbara Burgess and Donna Hazard have raised awareness of the importance of sustainable fishing practices and the danger of plastic residue to fish and seabirds.
On Tuesday, they will host a discussion of how limiting fuel consumption and car emissions can lessen global climate change. The event, “Roadside Assistance: Driving Change on Our Streets and in Our Oceans,” will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the New England Aquarium Simons Imax Theatre at Boston’s Central Wharf.
A panel discussion will feature Arlington resident Ray Magliozzi of “Car Talk” on National Public Radio; Herbert Chambers, owner of Herb Chambers Companies; Scott Griffith, chairman and CEO of Zipcar; and Eric Evarts, associate auto editor of Consumer Reports. The moderator will be WBZ-TV news anchor Lisa Hughes, with additional remarks by Boston resident Bud Ris, president and CEO of the New England Aquarium.
A selection of environmentally friendly cars will be displayed outside the aquarium, courtesy of Herb Chambers, which is also donating a blue Vespa to be raffled off.
Hazard and Burgess, whose husband, Bill Burgess, is the aquarium’s trustee chairman, said their nonprofit organization’s mission is to inspire and empower families to make responsible consumer decisions.
“Buying a ‘green’ car isn’t a sacrifice anymore,” Hazard said. “It’s smart and innovative, and with gasoline selling at about $4 per gallon, it can also save you a lot of money.”
Tickets, including a vegetarian boxed lunch, cost $50 and may be purchased at 617-226-2143 or womenworkingforoceans.org.
Women gathering to talk about cars? A novel idea that is the focal point of the upcoming “Roadside Assistance” event sponsored by W2O, but not surprising, since women increasingly are making the decisions about what kind of vehicles to buy for their families. This event will “connect the dots” between climate change, the oceans, and the choices people make every day about buying cars and trucks. I look forward to outlining the ways in which the oceans and marine life are being impacted by climate change, how humans will be affected, and why personal decisions about cars and trucks are so important. That will set the stage for a conversation with the other panelists about “green” cars: What are the choices out there? What do consumers look for when buying a new car? Do they work? Are they safe? It should be a very informative discussion – something that can provide a lot of hope for the future.
See you on the 23rd! (And by the way, men are welcome to attend also.)
We hope you can join us on October 23rd for our Climate Change event, Roadside Assistance: Driving Change on our streets and in the oceans. There is so much to talk about and we are excited to have the expertise of Bud Ris, Pres. and CEO of the New England Aquarium to guide us through the basics of the concerns about climate change and its effects on our oceans and on us. Before you come, visit the NEAq’s quick reference guide to the issues of climate and how it is already impacting New England.
Our panel, moderated by Emmy award winning journalist Lisa Hughes and featuring some of New England’s best known, car savvy professionals will inform, debate and educate about car emissions and what you can think about when making your next car purchase to insure that you have made the decision that will help protect our oceans and our health.
Join us! We look forward to seeing you on October 23rd!!