Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day – Kids Can Fight Climate Change in the Kitchen

I have a few pet peeves.  One is when people chew with their mouth open.  Another is when people assume that kids can’t make a difference (except to sully an otherwise clean room).  While we, as adults, have lots of power (we do all of the driving and buying, at least for now), it’s best not to overlook the influence that children can have on the world.  For this reason, I wanted to focus my Blog Action Day post on what kids can do in the kitchen to prevent climate change.  It’s their future – it’s time we let them have some power.
Talk to your kids about climate change and how “going green” can help.  The EPA has a fantastic page, written in kid-lingo that explains “the big deal” about climate change.  Your children will probably surprise you – they might know more about the suggestions below than you do.  Regardless, with a little encouragement, they can help you stay on track, and can learn to take actions that will make a positive impact on our planet.
Kids can…
Encourage you to eat out less and help to prepare meals at home.
  • When you cook at home, you won’t use to-go containers or doggie bags.
  • If you make a shopping list for the whole week, you won’t have to shop as often.  Less time in the car means fewer climate-changing greenhouse gases and less air pollution.  Oh yeah – it also saves you gas money!
  • Keep a stash of healthy snacks in the car so you don’t rely on over packaged / processed junk food or fast food
Ditch the Disposables
  • Instead of using paper towels, use cloth rags.
  • Try not to use paper napkins.  In our house, we cut up old t-shirts and use them in lunch boxes and at the dinner table (when guests aren’t over).
  • When guests are over for dinner, we use matching cloth napkins (classy, right?).
  • Kids can avoid using paper plates and napkins and can encourage their friends at school to do the same.
  • If necessary – try buying recycled content paper goods.  These use less energy to produce, and don’t require any new trees to be chopped down (remember The Lorax?).
  • Go bento (or use other reusable containers) at lunch.  All the cool kids are doing it.
Food Shopping:
  • Help you select fresh produce at the store instead of frozen or canned, which takes more energy to produce and package
  • Bring your own bags…to the grocery store and farmer’s market.  Why consume disposables when you don’t have to?
  • Eat less meat – farm animals produce lots of methane, which is the second most significant greenhouse gas.  If we reduce the demand for meat production, there will be fewer animals producing methane with every breath (and fart, sorry, that was rude).
  • Buy Locally Grown and Organic food, when possible
    • Local food doesn’t have to travel very far, which reduces carbon dioxide emissions from transport.  Some produce has to travel on planes, boats, trains and trucks to get to the table.  That’s can’t be good for our air quality. If you don’t buy it, maybe they won’t ship it!
    • Food from local farms is unlikely to come pre-packaged.  This prevents waste and pollution from the packaging process (and keeps the landfills free from additional junk.)
    • Organic soil captures and stores more carbon dioxide than the soil on conventional farms.  Nice.
Miscellaneous Ideas for the Kitchen:
  • Save one-sided school notices and old homework.  These make awesome  grocery lists and meal planning notes.
  • Go on a kitchen scavenger hunt: unplug electric appliances, such as the toaster or blender that are not being used.  Even when they aren’t on, they suck up a little bit of electricity just from being plugged in!
  • Green your Kitchen

Massive Destruction of Typhoon Ondoy and Typhoon Pepeng

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Ondoy mild compared to Pepeng, approaching typhoon may hamper relief and rescue

Still steeped in the flood waters brought by Typhoon Ondoy, the Philippines now has to brace itself for Typhoon Pepeng which is due to make landfall on Saturday afternoon.

With hundreds of thousands still suffering from the flooding caused by Typhoon Ondoy, relief and rescue operations have to be sped up before the next Typhoon unleashes another wave of destruction.  Otherwise, Typhoon Pepeng's rampage could very well increase the number of disaster victims and further intensify the suffering of people already left homeless by Ondoy.

Flood waters have not yet receded in some parts of Metro Manila and provinces just outside its boundaries, the arrival of Typhoon Pepeng could dump more rain water thereby causing flood waters to rise again.

This early warning about Pepeng's arrival should get the government moving but more importantly, it should get every Filipino preparing for what may be an even more destructive typhoon.


If the government must forcibly evacuate people in low-lying areas and areas prone to landslides, it must do so TOMORROW.  It cannot waste time.

I'd even go so far as declaring a suspension of certain rights in order for government to move more efficiently in taking people out of harm's way.

Anyway, here is a report from abs-cbnnews on Pag-ASA's  analysis of the coming typhoon:

Major dams to release water for buffer storage
MANILA - Weather bureau PAGASA on Thursday said typhoon Pepeng (international codename Parma) is forecast to bring more rains and very strong winds in Northern Luzon including Metro Manila once it makes landfall Saturday afternoon.

"There is a big possibility that it will become a supertyphoon. This is a very strong storm, packing winds of 175 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 210 kph. Most likely it will make landfall in the afternoon of Saturday. That is when it is most critical," Nathaniel Cruz, PAGASA director for operations, said in a press briefing.

Cruz said Pepeng is much stronger than last Saturday's tropical storm Ondoy (international codename Ketsana), which brought record amounts of rainfall and triggered the worst flooding in Metro Manila in 40 years.

"In terms of wind intensity, Ondoy was only half of the strength of Pepeng. When it made landfall, Ondoy only had winds of 85 kph while Pepeng is 175 kph. However, we cannot really compare the two because it was the rain that was really destructive about Ondoy," he said.

He added: "Our major concern with Pepeng is the disastrous winds - 175 kph to 210 kph. We expect typhoon Pepeng to intensify further as it moves towards northern Luzon."

He said the weather bureau will give a forecast on the typhoon's estimated rainfall intensity before it makes landfall.

As of 10 a.m., the new typhoon was sighted 520 km east of Borongan, Eastern Samar and is moving 24 kilometers per hour in the general direction of Northern Luzon and the Taiwan area.

Cruz said the typhoon is forecast to make landfall over Aurora-Isabela by Saturday morning. It said the typhoon will bring occasional rains over the eastern section of Luzon and Visayas and more frequent rains in Samar and Bicol Thursday afternoon.

Storm Signal no.1 remains hoisted in  Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Catanduanes, he added.