Tag Archives: global warming



OK, it’s time to talk climate change. I know it’s a touchy topic for some bartblog readers (and I love you anyway), but let’s just get something clear: climate change is happening, fast. And it’s mostly our fault.

All the really smart scientists say so, and so did South Dakota legend Tony Dean. And experts say it’s worse than we first thought, especially those who study the poles first hand (like Minnesota uber-explorer Will Steger). If we keep up the status quo, our changing weather will be particularly painful for lots of South Dakotans, like hunters and farmers (and people who like to drink water). So enough about some sort of debate about wether climate change is for real. (It’s as silly as a “debate” about evolution.) The only worthwhile and super-important debate is how we (as in humanity) should do something about it. There, now that’s out of the way…

Leaders from all over the planet will be gathering in December at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.  One of those leaders will be my friend and intern–if we all pitch in to help get her there.

Jamie Horter works with me at the Sioux Falls Green Project. She’s also a senior at Augustana College in Sioux Falls. Jamie was picked by Will Steger to be part of his foundation’s Expedition Copenhagen, a group of Midwest youth who will travel with him to the Climate Change Conference next month. Jamie has been interacting with kids and grown ups around South Dakota, gathering up hopes and dreams for our state’s future. She’ll be our messenger in December, talking about stuff near and dear to our hearts here in good ‘ol SD. Things like our place in the clean energy future, and our love of the land, rural communities and agriculture (see her video on YouTube). You can get more details on a blog post I wrote for the Green Project here.

Please help Jamie get to Copenhagen. She’s too shy to ask you, so I will. We need to raise some bucks to cover her travel expenses from South Dakota to Copenhagen and back. Her travel is not covered by Will Steger, and she’s a college student. You can drop a dime or two here, or give me a shout. Every dime will be used to help Jamie connect us to the talks in Denmark December 7-13. If you can’t chip in, that’s OK. Just help me spread the word, and this link: I promise she’s way worth it.

We can’t all go to Denmark. If you live in the Midwest, please connect with Jamie to share your message. If you live somewhere else (or not), there’s a really cool project out there gathering up hope from all over the world and plastering it on the leaders who will attend the conference in Copenhagen. Please share your dreams and hopes and fears at Hopenhagen.


Above is a shot of one of the awareness campaigns Jamie recently helped organize. Check that stunning little activist in the colorful hat on the far right!

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Posted by on November 2, 2009 in activism, global warming, South Dakota


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Nudging the Clouds: Blog Action Day 09

Today is Blog Action Day. For one day each year, the folks at invite bloggers everywhere to unite around action on an important topic in the world. Today, there’s nothing more important and scary than climate change. There are crazy big changes coming that will effect the life of everyone on this planet, and much of it was done by us. We didn’t mean to screw things up, we didn’t even realize we were doing it. But now we know, and now we can change.

So, how do we change our behaviors–the way we go about everything–in one big swoop? We can’t. Humans have designed and built a society and life infrastructure that doesn’t work without messing up countless ecosystems, from our own bodies to our backyard to the other side of planet Earth. Reconstructing those social and built norms is like trying to push a cloud with our hands. It would be easier to just say screw it.

That would be normal. After all, despite overwhelming evidence that all those Big Macs and desk jobs and video games and chemical cocktails in our food are killing us, we keep up behaviors that doctors tell us will give us cancer or a heart attack or some other disease. Over and over again. It seems there are only two things that can change that kind of normal behavior: Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 15, 2009 in activism, Food, global warming, Mother Earth


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Birthday Breakup: Bye Bye Ice Shelf (plus a dare for you)

Wilkins Ice Shelf Breaks up on Antractica

Antarctica is breaking up. We’ve all heard about the polar bears near the North Pole losing the ice they hunt on. God knows what’s going on at Santa’s workshop.  Now, on my birthday April 5, a huge piece of the ice shelf on Antarctica shattered into thousands of pieces and began floating, and melting, away.It was called the Wilkins Ice Shelf, and now it’s mostly gone. Forever.

The European Space Agency reports, and shows in pictures, how the over 200-square-mile chunk of ice shattered. Scientists say there is no doubt the break up was caused by climate change (global warming), not the paparazzi photos taken of the Wilkins Ice Shelf on a romantic beach with a stunning young Emporer Penguin just last fall.

Seriously: this is one of eight major ice shelves that are giving way right now near the South Pole. All are being blamed on a steadily warming atmosphere. The weather is changing. Which changes everything. Even if you think humans’ role in creating global warming is hype (yes, all two of you), isn’t it maybe worth it to give some of these things a look? Like most rational people, I believe we’re heating this place with our cars and power plants and ravenous hunger for more and bigger stuff. My fingerprints are all over it too–I’m part of the problem (I drove 30 miles to work today, for example). That’s the thing, no matter how hard environmental groups–and even the President–try, changing the rules will only move the needle a little bit. We have to all get to a point where we recognize our own handprints on all of this. Personal responsibility is the answer. A smart guy I once met said, “If you are not part of the problem, you can never be part of the solution.” (Adam Kahane)

You Get This

Sometimes it’s hard to see those handprints, becuse the problems always seem to first hit somewhere else. Someone else. It’s hard to see how everything–I mean everything–is totally interconnected. But it shouldn’t be. I’d guess that most bartblog readers are at least a bit the spiritual type. Maybe you’re a christian, maybe you’re tuned in to some other form of the great spirit at the center of it all. Either way, it’s not such a leap to think about this whole Earth–all of creation–being hitched together in ways we don’t begin to understand. If you believe, like I do, that it’s all from one Source.

I Dare You

So, here’s my challenge for you. Spend an hour in nature, by yourself, in the next week. No book, no ipod, no texting. Just you and the trees and spring flowers and grass and critters. Just get out there, spend some time in the quiet wild, just contemplating nature. I beleive that’s the doorway to a more clear understanding of this global warming/love the Earth kind of thing. And a whole lot of other things. Please try it. The worst that could happen is you spend an hour in a calm, beautiful place, and you can go back to living and being just the way you did before.

Let us all know how it goes for you…


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Help Send Obama and McCain to Poland

I only want them to go there for a little while. 🙂 Who ever wins, we need him to attend this meeting. Tell the candidates, and tell your friends. Thanks.

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Posted by on October 14, 2008 in global warming, going green, politics


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100 Months and 350

Please help send our next President (whoever he is) to the big UN climate change meeting. They won’t go unless we ask.  Click here to see what I’m yapping about.

Also, I just joined the effort to spread the word about 100 Months.

I’ve posted this video before, but it’s worth another look…

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Posted by on October 9, 2008 in global warming, going green, politics, Weather


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Clean Coal?

photo from an old treehugger article on Big Stone II

photo: old treehugger article on Big Stone II

I watched the debate last night. Both Veep candidates did pretty well, I guess. If you’re keeping score. I heard things I like and things I don’t from both. One thing that intrigued me was the multiple mentions by both candidates of “clean coal.” I’ve of course heard of this future technology. That’s the thing that intrigued me–as far as I can tell (and I know very little about coal power), there is no such thing as clean coal technology, yet. It’s a so-far-unfulfilled promise of the coal energy industry. An idea without any reality yet. But the candidates talked about it like it’s for real. That was interesting to me.

So, if (according to 1Sky, anyway) there is no such thing as clean coal, and coal fired power plants are our biggest contributor to CO2 spewing into the atmosphere, then why keep building more coal plants instead of alternative, clean energy (like wind and solar)?

Or, to get even more radical, what if we stopped using so much energy in the first place. It wouldn’t be so hard or horrible.

Anybody out there know anything more about ‘clean coal?’ Please share in the comments.

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Posted by on October 3, 2008 in global warming, going green, politics


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