A1: Air

I begin the year with something that connects everything on the planet. Air is the most important thing in the world today. It is incumbent upon me to act and act now. It is about the air and America is very, very guilty of fouling the atmosphere.
Today America remains the leading producer of one product: greenhouse gases. Congress finally passed an energy bill that will raise fuel standards for cars to 35 miles a gallon by 2020. After 30 years of stalling, we are moving into first gear, too little and maybe too late. Meanwhile, the EPA just denied the more ambitious attempts by California and other states to control emissions. Political will as a renewable resource?

The following is a choice quote from respectisthehub of Earth family alpha that captures my own sense of urgency and provides a workable visualization.

We need to stop talking about the blue marble, and start emphasizing the thin shell of human life between The Dead Sea (elevation -1360 feet) and Llasa, Tibet (elevation 12,002). If we can do that, then the advice about not dumping where you breathe might start to make sense.

Let's sell a little thought experiment. The diameter of the earth is nearly eight thousand miles. Let's be very generous and say that the oxygen rich shell around the earth is about 4 miles above sea level, the height at which a mountain climber typically requires oxygen on Everest.

That means that for a representational planet 1 meter thick, the space that air breathers occupy, is about a 0.5 millimeter halo. Paint the earth a dark solid color, and bring up that halo as a light blue.

We need to show people that this thin blue line is where we live, under the thinning atmosphere that extends about another centimeter.

Once we move people's vision from the big ball of matter beneath our feet to the very delicate place where we actually live, then it will be easier to intuitively convince them that millions and millions of cars and smokestacks and power plants chugging away for a century could produce enough CO2 to act like plastic wrap on our breathable space.

So talk about the halo, talk about the biosphere, talk about our breathing space, but stop talking about the planet. It's going to hurtle around the sun just fine, with or without us.

This year ended with Chimpy McStagger blundering around in his pResidency tendancy. His goal is opposite that of humanity’s as he attempts to roll back standards and penalize California for legislating stricter air standard.

Air that Kills
Since the passage of the Act California has been given permission to regulate smog-forming pollutants 50 times. With respect to man’s best friend, the automobile, statistics show that 30 percent of the total U.S. creation of heat-trapping gases is attributable to motor vehicles. Under the energy bill signed by Mr. Bush in December 2007, the federal goal was to reduce those emissions by 40 percent by 2020. California applied for a waiver so that it could require automakers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2016. That’s where “policy-relevant science” entered the picture.

What am I doing in the next year that will help with global warming – clearing the befouled air, that halo of atmosphere?
• Water I use
• Gas I burn driving
• Electrical energy I use
• Factory made food I consume
• Food from outside local area
• Factory products I consume
• Waste I produce
• Paper & Cardboard (or compost)
• Glass
• Fabric
• Plastic
• Cloth shopping bags
• Cloth napkins
• Cloth hankies
• Cloth wipes
• Glass jars

This is just a general list. Notice that the category ‘Eliminate’ isn’t even included. I believe this may well be one of the most effective lists we could all create (Stop Consuming). I will be describing more specifics as I go. The important thing for me is doing something. I am throwing myself into the challenge. I am proclaiming my aspiration to commit to (to make public?) my profound inner sense of my ability to walk the talk. I want to live simply, to aim for self-mastery on essential human themes. Aligning my personal values with my planetary sensibilities, I will continue to list goals in an A-Z way. This is a solitary challenge. I experience it alone and strive to avoid self-righteousness and sanctimony.