Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Staggering Number

Yesterday, I told many of my friends about my recycled toothbrush and how excited I was to find a low-impact product that I could use everyday.   I felt like some of them didn't quite understand my excitement.  I sense that many people feel like I'm just the nerd that always talks about "saving the environment."  Last week, I wrote about how I was in disbelief that the temperature rose to a balmy 62F, and here we are in the beginning of February.  Walking around the city streets I actually saw people wearing short sleeves! Short sleeves, you would have thought we were in Miami rather than New York City.  Then I came across this giant billboard near Penn Station.  Whenever I see a digital clock, I always think it's a national debt counter.  However, on closer inspection, this counter shows the current metric tons of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The billboard definitely does it's job, I was shocked at this large number.  I stood there staring at it, and those words, "We're getting warmer."
Here's the more shocking part, the billboard belongs to Deutsche Bank, as in "one of the world's leading financial service providers." W O W.  I am so proud of a corporate company bringing this global warming issue to light in such a public forum, however I couldn't help but feel a little skeptical about why such a corporate entity would bring awareness to such a debatable topic.  A part of me feels that perhaps Deutsche Bank has interests in investments toward alternative energy like wind, solar etc. and that bringing attention to Global Warming may bring them future investors in these energy stocks.  However, I'm all for that strategy if that's what it is, since I'm all for greener energy! More info on the billboard can be found here. There has been such debate about global warming and whether it exists.  In fact, I've gotten into many arguments with close friends and family debating this exact issue.  Is the Earth getting warmer, is there such a thing as global warming?  I'm no scientist, but I do think that all the man made inventions and human activity on this Earth that produce emissions must definitely be impacting the atmosphere harmfully is some way.  One just has to look no further than the smog in Los Angeles to see that this is not normal.  And it's not just automobile emissions, the Energy Industry or the Manufacturing Industry that we should worry about, it also Agriculture.  In an article in The Independent, by Geoffrey Lean,  A "United Nations report has identified the world's rapidly growing herds of cattle as the greatest threat to the climate, forests and wildlife. And they are blamed for a host of other environmental crimes, from acid rain to the introduction of alien species, from producing deserts to creating dead zones in the oceans, from poisoning rivers and drinking water to destroying coral reefs...Livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together.  Burning fuel to produce fertiliser to grow feed, to produce meat and to transport it - and clearing vegetation for grazing - produces 9 per cent of all emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. And their wind and manure emit more than one third of emissions of another, methane, which warms the world 20 times faster than carbon dioxide. Livestock also produces more than 100 other polluting gases, including more than two-thirds of the world's emissions of ammonia, one of the main causes of acid rain."

Wow, it really makes me rethink beef consumption, milk drinking, and wearing leather.  After I told my friend Jason yesterday, about my 2012 goal of lessening my carbon footprint on the world, he said, "Mimi, you must first change your own mind, habits, ways of being, intentions. Vision the world you want to create." So in essence, changing the world, is done one person at a time, and it starts with YOU.  Change your lifestyle first, and "be the change."  Well said! 


  1. Yes, it is hard to live purposefully inconveniently. Thank you and others like you who care. I do too but it is a constant fight with my own personality.

  2. Loved the blog Mimi! Not only does it provide terrific information, but it also provides the generic blueprint for change; being the example of what you want to see in the world. No individual free will is taken away in the process, your simply becoming a light house of sanity, that will entice future change :)

  3. That seems like a huge #.

    Cows are responsible for all that...didn't know.


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