Green vs Sustainable

Posted on June 18, 2014 04:06 by Sabineah
We have become accustom to hearing the word "Green" and many of us associate the term as defining a product, practice or event as being proven to be environmentally safe or at the least friendly. 

There is a huge difference between "Green" and "Sustainable". When defining the reality, Green is the bare minimum and Sustainable is the ideal. 

"Green" is used to distract us, make us feel better about our purchases and/or actions - but quite often, the result does not equal a true gain in it's implied suggestion of being better for the environment. It is a marketing term, and is a lie.

For example: Biodegradable. This term makes one think that this item will miraculously disintegrate once it reaches the landfill. The reality is that this item has been shown in testing to degrade at a faster rate than it's comparable non-biodegradable version. There is no easily found conversion chart for the defined rate difference. Some items that are biodegradable still take 100's of years to degrade... granted, it may be compared to 1000+ years, but this can not be considered a "gain" for the environment overall. The effects of this one item still span more than one generation. This amount of "better" does not equal real, tangible and valuable change. We must reach deeper and higher in our aspirations to define "better" for real and significant change.

This link has examples of "green" happening - some of these ideas will have a greater impact than others. If we are to really begin making a difference, the changes we must face and embrace will require real dedication and while some consider this to sound like sacrifice - the end result will not be by giving up anything, but simply making up our minds to commit to making decisions based on sustainable reality rather than hoping we can mask the issues by putting on the "green-colored glasses".

http://guidetogreeningcities.org/

Link with descriptions about biodegradability: <
http://wwf.panda.org/.../webfieldtrips/bio_nonbio_materials/>

Conversations

Posted on May 28, 2014 11:05 by Sabineah
As I engage myself deeper into the Sustainable movement, I feel more and more conflicted.  Not about what I believe.  My scientific nature doesn't allow me to ignore the understanding that the Earth is a system and much like our own physical bodies, when sick the system adjusts to attempt to fix what is causing the sickness.  This is my most simplistic explanation of the Climate Change phenomenon as I have at the moment.  

My sense of conflict comes from the individuals with whom I communicate regularly.  There is a substantial divide between those who understand, those who sympathize but desire no action and those who simply have written it off as not concerning them.  There is a political divide, a corporate divide, a religious divide, a monetary divide, an educational divide... all of these divisions make the conversation a delusional maze of miscommunication. So, the question on everyone's lips is "how do we become unified, in what ways can we discuss this concept together and act to progress toward real and substantial change".

That is a great question and the truth is "We need to talk".  It's time.  And to quote Victor Hugo "Nothing is so powerful as an Idea whose time has come".

Peace,
Sabineah 



System's Thinking

Posted on March 29, 2014 20:03 by Sabineah

A little Earth System's Science and Environmental discussion


The ocean's currents are one of the major controls for the Earth's weather. The acidity levels (salinity) of the oceans are already rising due to pollution and climate change. The temperature of the water and the salinity of the water (density) help regulate the natural system of currents within the ocean... (it's called the global conveyor belt). <http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/earth/oceanography/ocean-current.htm>

 

The process of desalination, extracts "clean" water from the ocean by filtering out the "brine" - that "brine" is concentrated salts/minerals/etc... the "brine" is poured back into the ocean. This article, posted by a provider of water desalination, explains monitoring and best management practices for return to the ocean and claims positive impact results for the process. As with any article, there is a bias and it is up to the reader to do research to find the knowledge behind what information is being provided. The article does confirm the link between some of the other points mentioned in my post. <http://www.watersecure.com.au/pub/community-and-environment/release-monitoring>

 

Israel has been developing and using desalination practices for years now and has shared it's technology with California who has a few small desalination plants in use already (so do Florida and Texas). California will be breaking ground (2016) on a new facility in light of the extensive drought they are currently experiencing. The article claims, "the plant is expected to provide up to 50 million gallons of fresh drinkable water–enough for 112,000 Californian households–every day." (how much ocean water is extracted daily to provide that amount?) <http://inhabitat.com/desperate-for-water-california-breaks-ground-on-the-largest-seawater-desalination-plant-in-the-western-hemisphere/>

 

Here are a few quotes and articles with more information. "Food & Water Watch advocates instead for better fresh water management practices. "Ocean desalination hides the growing water supply problem instead of focusing on water management and lowering water usage," the group reports, citing a recent study which found that California can meet its water needs for the next 30 years by implementing cost-effective urban water conservation. Desalination is "an expensive, speculative supply option that will drain resources away from more practical solutions," the group says." <http://environment.about.com/od/biodiversityconservation/a/desalination.htm>

 

"Of course, as supplies of fresh water dwindle, the economic cost of desalinization‚ especially in coastal areas with easy access to ocean water‚ begins to look competitive with traditional water sourcing. To date there are about 300 desalinization plants in the United States, with 120 in Florida and less than 40 each in Texas and California. Some 20 additional plants are planned for the coast of California in the coming years, unless environmentalists extolling the virtues of conservation and wielding low-flow shower heads and toilets prevail."<http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-impacts-of-relying-on-desalination/>

 

So, where is the tipping point? The truth is, we don't know and our actions prove we don't care. It works now, and it can be done now... this is an immediate gratification solution available and in true human form, we will develop and use that one solution as much as and as fast as possible until something breaks and then attempt a reactive fix for whatever problems arise down the road. In the back of our minds (those who try to at least pay some attention) we simply hope that a fix is possible for whatever ends up broken by our short-sighted, singularly-focused, immediate-gratification/selfish practices (anthropomorphism). 

 

The Jevons paradox was first described by the English economist William Stanley Jevons in his 1865 book "The Coal Question". Jevons paradox is the proposition that as technology progresses, the increase in efficiency with which a resource or technology is used tends to increase the rate of consumption and practice of that resource or technology. 

 

So, why did I take the time to post on Facebook? Because, I'm concerned - this concerns me... I am curious - this interests me. I'm hoping some of you might be curious and will read and learn something about environmental sustainability as well. Energy can not be created or destroyed - only changed (2nd law of thermodynamics). For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (3rd law of thermodynamics). Everything is a system, everything has a balance (balance is delicate) and every balanced system works together - a balanced Earth system is important!!! *How do you feel when you get sick? If you have a prolonged fever of 106 you could lose brain cells or even die! why? because your systems are designed to function within a specific temperature range, when unbalanced - the system can not function properly!* 

 

Humans "should be" ethical, responsible, intelligent and wise stewards of the environment which it has learned to manipulate (with great power comes great responsibility). As a whole (en masse) we have shown the inability to regulate ourselves properly in a way that respects our unique human-brains' infinite capabilities. Individually we feel secure in our lifestyles, but as a population our cumulative actions tip the scales of balance. (united we fall, divided we stand? what?? that's not right...) The connections are easy to make when connecting the dots, but the conundrum of determining solutions is mind-numbing in it's complexity. 

 

I do not propose to have the answers (I am not perfectly environmentally sound in my own lifestyle - but everyday I actively seek out and learn new ways to do my part). In beginning discussions - enough people with ideas and actions can become answers... so, why not? There's no legitimate reason not to start the conversation - even if someone disagrees, doesn't believe or if no one replies/comments at all, hopefully someone will read and learn something... 


Housework

Posted on March 28, 2014 14:03 by Shana
Few love it, but it still must be done to keep the living space...well...livable.   So please read the two sections below: "What the hunh?" (what is this) and "Just don't, ok!?!" (basic rules). Thanks ~S

"What the hunh?"
What are we doing here?  Well, The Hedge is a natural extension of V.I.N.E.S, which started as a thought experiment in idea sharing and networking for sophisticated, environmentally conscious inhabitants of the world.  It's predicated on the idea of everyone doing a little toward accomplishing something larger than oneself.  

It's a big world out there, and we each run across so much information in our daily lives- - fascinating articles that make you think, a cool seminar or conference, a great training website, an amazing resource, an astoundingly innovative new idea, a job opportunity or idea that simply needs the right person(s) to make it sing....you get the idea.

What would happen if a lots of individuals - - students, consultants, government officials, educational experts, career professionals, and environmentally conscious individuals - - started sharing the little bits of information they ran across in their daily lives?  Is it possible this would make each of us more effective, more satisfied, and more informed?

Well.....let's find out!

but first...."Just don't, ok!?!" 
  1. No restricted/proprietary items should be posted
  2. No personal promotion items in the comments/posts
    1. this is not a jobs board or a personal marketing site.
    2. this is an information, idea sharing, networking site.
  3. Nothing offensive (Examples shouldn't be necessary, but just in case: no demeaning or derogatory items that target anyone's personal race, gender, faith, orientation, etc.)
  4. Moderators discretion on what is considered personal promotion and offensive, but use your common sense.
    1. We believe in freedom of speech, but don't push the envelope.
    2. Remember, freedom of speech doesn't give you the right to yell "fire!" in a crowded theatre.  It also doesn't in our opinion, give you the right to be hateful, demeaning, or derogatory in this space.  
    3. Moderators reserve the right to warn and delete content, if necessary, but please don't make us go there. 
  5. Finally, we are not aligned with any specific Environmental Groups, and respect for all opinions is a requirement to play.