Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Natural Selection

Hey, sweetie...maybe it's because you're wearing a BABY SEAL hat on your head.


I don't know the story behind this, so I'll give the benefit of the doubt that she was put up to it, or it's staged, because I don't really understand her reaction.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Bush Greenwatch

Speaking of Bush in the previous post...I guess updating this website could be a full-time job.

"First, we would not accept a treaty that would not have been ratified, nor a treaty that I thought made sense for the country."

-President Bush on the Kyoto Climate Change Treaty, Washington Post, April 24, 2001

Makes perfect sense, George. Keep up the great work.

This helps.

I posted a little earlier about not really knowing what to believe when it comes to global warming, since different sources give different theories. One NASA employee spoke to support the belief in global warming, and yet the very same man finds himself making the news again...
NY Times:

The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

The scientist, James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in an interview that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists.

Dr. Hansen said he would ignore the restrictions. "They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public," he said.

Toast the Earth!

Never let it be said that Treehuggers don't have a sense of humour, I guess...Check out the Toast the Earth cartoon!

Not sure if it'll work, so my apologies if I got it wrong.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Shop MEC

Or if you already did, shop MEC more.

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), Canada's largest outdoor clothing and equipment retailer, has renewed its commitment to the environment by making its Alberta stores 100% emissions free.

This year, MEC has doubled its wind power purchase — which offsets emissions caused from the electricity its Edmonton and Calgary stores use — from 50% to 100%.


Tip Clips

As election coverage was plodding along, one site I came across reviewed and ranked various aspects of the parties involved. The one that stood out to me was the category for "best innovation" (being that it was won by the party for which I planned to vote).

The main Green Party site was singled out for David Chernushenko's energy/money saving tips. These aren't the obivous ones about turning out lights you're not using and not letting water run when you brush your teeth, but more having to do with the best appliances to use, how best to use them, and so on.

I include the link here, and hopefully you'll find them useful for saving one, the other, or both.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Energy Police?

That term sounds weak. They need something more bad-ass, like "shock cops" or something.

BEIJING - Beijing is setting up an "energy police" force to crack down on excessive lighting and heating and other power waste in shopping malls and office buildings, the China Daily said on Wednesday.

The 20 energy-efficiency supervisors would be the front line in the capital's campaign to curb power use, echoing a national drive to improve energy efficiency to curb pollution and dependence on imported oil as the economy grows.

"We have been advocating energy saving for years but it has remained only a slogan because of a lack of a supervising system," Beijing vice mayor Zhang Hao was quoted as saying.

The "energy police", as Zhang called them, would be authorised to fine owners of buildings that used too much power, adding teeth to city orders to improve energy efficiency that carried no penalties, the newspaper said.

China has struggled to generate enough power to keep up with its breakneck economic growth, about 9 percent annually, and has faced severe energy crunches the past two summers.

China consumes over four times more energy to generate a unit of GDP than the average Group of Seven developed country, according to the Asian Development Bank.

Wild Dogs Kill Croc

My Pappy sent me this picture a few days ago. A part of the attached message really struck a cord with me. It said "Sometimes nature is cruel but there is also a beauty in that cruelty."

This is a good example of that. The picture is said to be taken from Nature Magazine.
The crocodile as one of the ultimate predators can fall
victim to the kind of implemented 'team work' strategy
which is possible due to the pack mentality and social
structure of canines.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bullfrog Power

Some of you know this already but here's a change Christine and I are looking at making.

I'll plainly admit, and have, when I'm not sure when I'm talking about, but this is something I believe in. If I recall correctly, Christine brought these guys to my attention.

Bullfrog Power is the only electricity retailer in Ontario that buys power exclusively from wind and low-impact hydro generators who meet or exceed the federal government's Environmental Choice Program EcoLogo standard for renewable electricity.

For the moment, I have them on Google alert to see what kind of news they make. If it remains good, we'll probably switch in the spring. Damn it, if it's good enough for the Tragically Hip's Gord Downie, it's good enough for me!

In the meantime, I'm trying to get in the habit of turning off lights when they're not needed. Even more difficult is trying to get Christine to do that. She doesn't read this stuff so don't tell her I said that. ;-)


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Is It Getting Hot in Here?

Or is that only in Calgary? :-)

Here's kind of what I was talking about in my first post about struggling to determine who to believe:

Global warming skeptics have regularly put forth the theory the comparative warmth of cities via the "urban heat island effect" -- whereby metropolitan areas register considerably higher temperatures than their surroundings -- has skewed the global temperature record. For instance, at JunkScience.com, a website founded by Steven Milloy, who has claimed that global warming represents "flawed science," a September 12, 2004, article suggested that the urban heat island effect "create[s] the illusion of 'global warming.'

Meanwhile, NASA says...

A NASA official said researchers have calculated that 2005 produced the highest annual average surface temperature worldwide since they began keeping records in the late 1800s.

James Hansen, of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said they can't be 100 percent certain of last year's record warmth because they had to estimate temperatures at the Arctic. However, Hansen said he's "reasonably confident" that last year was the warmest year.
Earth is now the warmest it's been in 10,000 years.
Ah. So who do you believe?

I think my strategy with this one is to err on the side of caution. If I'm wrong that Global warming is real, what's the worst that could happen? I'd look like an idiot. Big deal. Not the first or last time. In fact, if I stopped doing it, I think I'd miss it in a weird kind of way...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Orphaned squirrel monkey Loki clings to his toy duck at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2006. Loki, who lost his mother shortly after birth eight weeks ago, has been hand raised by zoo staff and will be introduced to the rest of the Squirrel Monkey's when once he is weaned and learns to regulate his body temperature.

Nothing Says "I Love You" like Your Own Forest!

How well would this REALLY go over, ladies?

SUFFOLK, UK — World Land Trust has announced a special way to say "I Love You" this Valentine's Day; 'Heavenly Chocolate with a Heart' and an acre of tropical rainforest in Ecuador. Rather than a rose which will wither and die within days, the World Land Trust suggests buying the object of your affections a real acre of rainforest. This alternative lasts forever, shows how much you care, and protects endangered tropical orchids and other flowers.

The Rainforest Acre package contains a special Valentine's Day card and Certificate bearing your loved one's name to inform them you have made a donation to purchase one acre of tropical forest for them. They can also indulge themselves with a 100g bar of Divine Fair Trade chocolate while thinking about you.
Oscar would dig it. He'd chase butterflies around and lick caterpillars which, unfortunately, triggers his gag reflex.

The Greens need me.

Despite spending more on this campaign than all previous ones combined, the Greens ended up only doing marginally better.

Walking to my bus stop this morning, I saw all the various headlines about the Conservative win. I was reminded that many people, right or wrong, are concerned that Harper will bend over for the Americans.

Then a bit of inspiration hit me for a Green Party t-shirt slogan. Get a load of this:

"I'd rather hug a tree than shake hands with a Bush"

Genius! I'd buy it. I'd buy two if they were made from hemp!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Anything Good on TV Tonight?

Christine and I have gone to do our duty and cast our votes a little earlier. As you could probably anticipate, we voted Green, like last time. That's not something we just sort of do because it sounds like something a treehugger in training would do, we like (most of) what they have to say.

For those who don't know, I actually joined the party a couple of months ago. No big deal, it's not as though I know a secret handshake now or anything, but I get access to the Member's Only part of their website (that's why they call it that) and a slightly louder voice. Anyway, I received an e-mail from them inviting me to an election party, since they're pretty optimistic about their chances.

It's difficult to shed perceptions. When I received this invitation, I had a vision of sitting around a table with a bunch of hippies eating sun flower seeds and drinking carrot juice all night. It's probably not like that at all. I hear that to watch the debates, those wacky bastard were munching on organic chips and salsa!

I kid, but really, at least it's a small indication of practicing what they preach. In any event, I didn't go simply because I wouldn't have known a soul there, but it might have been an interesting experience. I plan on keeping an ear to the ground with them, and maybe the next time around I'll attend, just for a new perspective.

So the results don't start coming in until 10PM. Yikes. I guess I'm in for a long night!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Nation States

I've added a new link to a game that I've come across recently, and that I used to play regularly, called Nation States. It's a low-maintenance simulator where you run a nation to your liking. Your levels of interaction and involvement is entirely up to you, but it's interesting to see what you end up with.

I've obviously exaggerated mine a fair bit, but it makes a nice change to all the nations based around whip-cracking dictatorships.

Anyway, great way for the author to promote his book, because there have been a staggering amount of nations created since the game's inception, and I believe he only recently celebrated the game's 3rd anniversary. Pretty cool.

Blue Flag Beaches

Something to look out for. Doesn't mean you won't end up standing in a warm spot next to the little kid trying to look inconspicuous though, but still...
Blue Flag Canada

The Blue Flag is an internationally recognized and respected eco-label awarded to beaches that achieve high standards in water quality, environmental education, environmental management and safety and services.

In 2005, Blue Flags are flying for the first time on Canadian beaches.
Link: blueflag.ca/

Saturday, January 21, 2006

M'Man Dave!

The sharp-eyed among you may have noticed a link at right to the David Suzuki Foundation.

As part of the process of trying to get smart about this stuff, I went around checking all kinds of websites and signing up for newsletters and such. No problem there.

But in terms of actual involvement and/or donations, things got a little cloudy. I don't know most of these organizations from a hole in the ground, and I have no idea where my money is really going. Am I saving a patch of grass somewhere, at least, or buying a couple of lap dances for some dude? You see the dilemma I was faced with? What to do?!

At first I thought I should only subscribe to organizations that give a little something back. Maybe I get a crappy ballcap from organization-x when I subscribe, but at least I have something to show for my hard-earned coin if it goes to waste. Worst-case scenario, I'm not getting a sunburn on my forehead again at Bluesfest this year, right? And let's face it, I won't have this beautiful head of hair forever!

Then I came across David Suzuki's Foundation and thought that would be a pretty good start. I figure I'm pretty safe there; Dave probably won't be spending my $$ on strippers any time soon. Furthermore it came with a certain stamp of approval that I didn't know existed.


The Canadian Centre for Philanthropy? I thought philanthropists were stamp collectors. Apparently not. I need to look that up. Something else to learn. I believe I have a source in the family for that one though.

In any event, it seems to legitimating (if that's a word; it seems about four syllables too long) something that didn't really need it all that badly.

So now I'm a "friend" of David Suzuki. If Dave's going to check out strippers in the area, now he has someone to go with.
All right, so I'm back. I just shovelled 15 feet of snow! Incredible. Or was that 15 centimetres? I'm pretty sure the newsguy said 15 feet. It FELT like feet!

Anyway, mission accomplished. And frankly, Oscar was no help. He just looked confused by the whole thing.

Treehugger in Training


I'm not sure what I'm doing here, exactly, but in a way that's the point of this whole exercise.

Over the past couple of years, I've become more and more interested in green stuff. I don't really know what happened, or when. I think the credit goes to my lovely wife Christine and/or the official T.H.I.T. mascot Oscar, seen here looking a little drowsy.

In any event, I started looking into it a bit as part of the approximate 22.8 hours a day I spend on the computer, and came to a very simple conclusion:

I don't know $#!t about that stuff, really.

Millions of links, conflicting information and a tendency on my part to not believe everything I read doesn't help things at all.

Neither does the fact that I simply didn't get a whole lot of it. Hey, I don't mind admitting it! It probably won't come as a shock to anyone who knows me anyway...

So I'm going to sit down and learn. It may increase my computer time from 22.8 hours a day to an arguably excessive 23.1 or so, but whatever.

So if you've actually made this far, well...First off, let me praise your endurance.

Second, you're probably (not) wondering why I'm blogging all this crap. Couple of reasons: For me to do this, I have to make it entertaining for myself. This should help.

Also, I wanted to keep something of a diary so that I didn't end up covering the same ground twice. Otherwise, I could conceivably extend my computer time to something like 24.8 hours a day and cause a rift in the space-time continuum.

And don't say it couldn't happen! I saw it in a Justice Society comic book once! See, Dr. Fate was being hounded by this ancient wizard bastard named Nabu, and...

But I digress. I'll be recording what should a pretty steep learning curve. We'll see where it leads. There should be a fair amount of stuff at first because I have to catch up on what I've learned so far.

On second thought, that probably doesn't qualify as "a fair amount". Besides I have to go and shovel all the goddamn sno...huh...Lovely white powder that we've been...Blessed with. Then hug the snow bank. I think that's expected of me.

P.S. I know that "treehugger" is actually one word, but if I used it that way, my abbreviation would make a dirty word. And while that would cause me endless hours of giggling, I have some research to do. And shovelling. And hugging.