Archive for February, 2012
Wind is something we don’t think about much. It may change direction and velocity, it’s been the subject of a few phrases and songs, but it’s just something most of us take for granted because we know it will always be there. In actuality, the same wind we take for granted played a very important role in the history of mankind. When explorers began their journey that lead to the discovery of a new land we now call the United States of America; it was wind that lifted their sails and powered their voyage. Wind was used as a resource that helped man discover all of the continents on earth.
We now have the technology to harness the kinetic energy of wind and convert it into the electricity that can help to power homes and even cities, while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Yet, we’ve neglected to developed the full potential of wind as a resource. Seems like using more wind turbines to produce electricity would be a “win win” situation. According to California’s Center for Sustainable Energy, “Wind energy produces electricity without emitting any pollutants or green house gases at all, requires no mining or drilling, helps preserve habitat and open space, and poses no national security threats.”
It seems this would be obvious, but that’s not the case. According to an Energy Information Administration report published in 2008, wind only accounted for 1.3% of total electricity produced in the United States. It seems ironic when you consider wind is one of the cleanest, cheapest, and safest ways we can generate electricity. Wind only cost 3.5 per kilowatt-hour to produce. Compare that to fossil fuels which are much more costly when you factor in the initial cost, toll taken on the environment, and threat to national security. Wind farms don’t have catastrophic melt-downs.
There are many things we Americans have rights to brag about. We’re a super power that leads the world in technological advances, medical breakthroughs, and world economy. On a personal level, we as Americans are members of the greatest society this planet has ever known. We’re very capable of making wise decisions that benefit not just us here in our country but mankind as well. Anything we can to help the environment is not just a choice we make today; we’re making an evolutionary decision.
The Wind is a clean, cheap, and a safe resource; but it’s less than two percent of the electric we generate. You have the power to change this. You are the people, and that government in Washington D C was sent there to work for you. Do you even realize how much power you have; when a Senator or Congressional Representative receives a letter from a constituent, that one letter represents the views of 10,000 registered voters. An email represent 5,000 voters. A simple phone two-minute call to your representative’s local office represents the views 1,000 voters.
Contact your representatives at the federal, state, and even local level to increase the use wind energy here in the United States. Keep in mind, the simple action you take now could save money, make national security easier, and help preserve the Earth.
- Wind “Turbine Cowboys” Can Lasso Them Big Blades Well (earthtechling.com)
- Many Jobs May Be Gone With The Wind Energy Credit (npr.org)
Even though Earth Day is relatively new, it’s actually a significant holiday when you consider its only forty-two years old and now the world observes this day with programs and activities that have one common goal; to take care of this planet. Earth Day is a custom recognized by every country and it was started here in the United States. Its origins are a lesson of how individuals can unite with a common goal have the power to change.
On April 22, 1970, Americans gathered in several cities across the United States to protest the pollution of air, water, and our ecosystem. The world heard the message of those protesters, and a sense of environmental awareness became prevalent in many cultures. The first Earth Day was so significant it launched today’s environmental movement. Scientists from all over the world agreed that greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans are speeding up climate change and taking a toll on our planet. Washington also heard the message loud and clear. The U.S. government formed the Environmental Protection Agency which established laws to protect the environment that included Clean Air and Water Acts and the Endangered Species Act.
Fifty years ago, very few people were concerned with air and water pollution, wasting natural resources, or the condition of our environment. At that time, the word environment referred to immediate surroundings, and green was just a color. We’ve since learned the Earth is fragile with a limited number of the resources to sustain life. With this knowledge we’ve come to the realize we must change our behaviors that harm our planet.
There is an obvious need to have Earth Day, and the reason is pretty clear. We only have one planet with a finite amount of resources. It doesn’t take a scientist to figure that out, and you’ll have a hard time finding one that disagrees. We all need to be environmentalist on at least some level. Don’t let the title scare you, it easier than you think. There’s a good chance you’re already doing something to help our planet: if you drive a hybrid car, use public transportation, ride a bicycle, recycle your household trash, plant trees or a garden, or take your own bag to the supermarket.
Those efforts are important because even the smallest act makes a difference. In addition to those things you’re already doing, you’ll have more opportunity to make an impact on April 22nd. Earth Day is a global effort that you can localize to your city, your street, or even in your home. Start a Earth day Tradition and try to changing one thing in your daily life that will help the environment, and try to keep it throughout the year like a New Year’s resolution. It may be easier to start a series of small changes over a period of time that begin on Earth Day. You will quickly discover the things you do to help the environment will also save money. Modify your behaviors to include things like cutting down on the number of plastic water bottles you use by purchasing water in a larger container instead of several smaller ones, wash clothes in cold water, purchase household items in larger quantities to reduce packaging and gas used for shopping trips, consolidate your driving by running errands all at once when you’re coming to or from work.
Resolutions are hard to keep and may not last. But even if you can stick to it for a month, that will still make a difference. Try to keep focused on what you’ve accomplished and try not to get discouraged. If an Earth Day resolution is something you think maybe unpractical or difficult, there is another alternative; participate in a local Earth day event. Most communities have some type of Earth Day event planned. If not, start one. Get a group of friends together and clean up a park or field in your neighborhood. You’ve heard of a “Flash Mob”, this is when a group of people will meet at a specific time and place to do a specific activity. Organize a “Trash Mob” and have people meet but bring a trash bag. Simplify the task, if it is too difficult people won’t want to participate. You can do that by setting a guideline like once has filled a trash bag their task is complete.
Your participation, whether large or small, will have far-reaching effects and a greater power to change than you realize. You may think you’re doing something to help your local area like reducing consumption or cleaning up an a park, but what you do to celebrate Earth Day will be felt all over the world. Your accomplishments will be combined with similar accomplishments and efforts of a billion people, from all walks of life, in every country of the world. As a citizen of Earth, your participation on April 22, 2012 will be part of a global initiative can help raise environmental awareness and begin to reverse some of the damage we’ve done to our planet.
- What You Should Know About Earth Day (everydayhealth.com)
- This Island On Earth of the Day (thedailywh.at)
Its best described as a rough terrain with large boulders, a steep incline, and cruel vegetation with thorns. In spite of these conditions Tahquitz Canyon in Palm Springs is something everyone should experience. Technically, Tahquitz Canyon is what geologist call an alluvial fan. This is where melting snow and rainfall become purified as it moves through the sand, rocks, and harsh topography, while making its way down the mountain, and eventually drain into the flood plains below. The Cahuilla Indians were practical people. They first inhabited Tahquitz Canyon over three thousand years ago, probably because of the endless supply of water.
Tahquitz has uniqueness with mystical qualities. Even though it borders the southern part of the Colorado Desert, the majority of direct sunlight is blocked most of the day by the steep cliffs and mountain ridge to the south. It’s easy to get disoriented because it’s difficult to tell where the sun is in the sky. Yet this same rugged land was very significant because water wouldn’t have become purified enough to drink had it not been for this harsh environment. This could explain why Tahquitz Canyon is shrouded in folklore and superstitions by the Cahuilla people till this day.
Now, the name is difficult to say. Not one of the many tourists who visit Palm Springs has ever pronounced it correctly, [tah-quits]. This canyon was named after the first shaman or leader of the Cahuilla Indians. According to legend, deities gave Tahquitz special powers beyond human ability that would make him a powerful and fair leader. In exchange, he was to protect the Cahuilla people. Tahquitz didn’t turn out to be the leader his people were promised. He abused his power, as well as the people he was chosen to lead and protect. He was banned from the tribe and exiled into the narrow canyon that was named in his honor.
There are also superstitions; the Cahuilla Indians believe it is dangerous to fall asleep in the canyon. They believe while you’re sleeping, Tahquitz will swoop down from the cliffs above and steal your soul. There have actually been several deaths in the canyon. That doesn’t sound unreasonable for people to die in such a harsh environment. But the circumstances surrounding these deaths were very strange and unexplained. The deceased didn’t become dehydrated, slip and fall, or become victim to one of the venomous snakes or scorpions. Authorities reported there was no sign of a struggle or accident. All victims were all found the same way; sitting up against one of the large rocks, with their faces void of any expression as if they were calmly waiting to die.
When you hike in the canyon, you see the jagged rocks of the cliffs above that make strange shapes while partial sunlight peers through. It’s almost as if you can see Tahquitz lurking above waiting for any signs of venerability of those who pass.