This morning my sister sent me some new information to read. It's a fact sheet for people who want to lobby their representatives ahead of the international talks in Copenhagen this October. It was put out by a group of scientists calling for a new, lower limit on carbon emissions. Previously, the number kicking about for an upper limit before catastrophic feedback loops start to kick in and begin an out of control spiral of warming was 450 ppm. This group - along with others around the world - believe that actually that number is closer to 350 ppm, a number we surpassed some time ago. They believe this because of the many-times-faster than predicted summer melt of the polar sea (a few years ago, they were predicting ice-free summers by 2060, now they say 2012), by recently measured spikes in methane believed to be caused by melting permafrost, and by the disappearance of the world's glaciers.
Here's the super scary part: the ppm of carbon is increasing by 2 per year. We need it to be reducing by 2 per year, and fast.
Also, I was reading about the critical shortages of fresh water all over the world. During the same time period in which the world's population tripled, the usage of fresh water increased nine-fold. Most of the people on earth depend on glaciers for drinking water; what are they going to do when it's gone? Come here, I think.
Arizona now imports 100% of it's drinking water. The article didn't say from where, but I know the Pacific northwest is a prime candidate. I don't want to subsidize the stupidity and recklessness of people who choose to live in that hellhole.
Okay, okay. Calm breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth. I better quit reading again. Don't worry, just prepare.
Okay. Alternative utilities. We were still on heating. I need to get an estimate for doing the attic and crawlspace before oh, say, October. Can't do more than that this year because we are flat broke.
However I can still talk about plans. A woodburning insert for the fireplace. Will cost approximately $4,000, installed. It's so expensive because the installation requires not just running a pipe up through the chimney, which I thought, but actually lining the entire inside of the chimney with sheet metal. Everything is three times as much as I thought it would be. Might be able to find one cheaper if I do more hunting around. Wood shouldn't be a problem. Let's try to get that in place by NEXT winter.
Now I've covered solar before, but I haven't made any decisions. Another thing I'd like, however, is a diesel generator. Then it can run on Homero's biodiesel. He made a thirty gallon batch last week, his first, but it look all wrong and still smells like veggie oil. I think Homero's problem with making biodiesel is analogous to my problem with making a wedding cake. Neither one of us is precise enough for that sort of thing. I'm a soup cook, not a pastry chef. And he's a shade tree mechanic, not a chemist. Nonetheless. Generator.
And the water cistern. Want to do some research on that soon. This summer has been so dry that I have to get rid of animals because I have no grass for them. That could be every summer.
Okay that covers alternative utilities: electricity, heat, water. I guess there's garbage and sewer too but I'm not going there just yet. More fun to talk about category two: Food Security.
Worry time is over so I'll talk about it tomorrow.