Malcolm Radio Show

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Archive for the 'Green Rant' Category

Is my opportunity to talk about sustainability, usually based on current events

Understanding the Rim Fire

Posted by Malcolm on 30th August 2013

Containment of the Rim Fire

So for next weeks Green Rant I will be talking about the Rim fire that is burning threw Yosemite National Park. More importantly I will be talking about the effects of climate change on wildfires, a phenomenon that has always existed. It has only been recently that wildfires have turned into an insurance nightmare as well as reaching new unbelievable sizes. Before you listen to the podcast there are a few links you should check out.

First is the Fire Tracker, from 89.3 KPCC. This widget has been tracking containment, acres burned, and the impact of the fire on homes/structures. Currently, about 228,670 acres have burned and over 5,000 structures are threatened. What is lacking from this tracker is the current impact on campgrounds in Yosemite, all of which have remained open despite concerns over air quality.

Second is a video that links climate change to wildfires. Like the many other impacts of climate change, it is impossible to say something like “the Rim Fire is the result of climate change.” It is not, however, impossible to say that the higher frequency and intensity of wildfires is the result of a changing climate. Essentially, warming temperatures, prolonged drought, and a century’s worth of fire suppression policy are “priming the system to make it more flammable.”

The last link ties into my GIS class this semester, which is a Perspectives Map. Geographic Information Systems, “lets us visualize, question, analyze, interpret, and understand data to reveal relationships, patterns, and trends.” (ESRI) The series of 4 maps visualize the Rim Fire in an easy to understand way. The critical points of interest and the power/water infrastructure maps relate the importance of containing the fire.

I have faith that the fire will be contained soon with few, if any, casualties. But without addressing climate change, can we say the same for all future wildfires?

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Malcolm Radio Show Episode 1

Posted by Malcolm on 26th August 2013

For the week of August 26th

This is my first attempt at podcasting so I am expecting everything to improve in future attempts.

Episode 1 takeaways:

– I love California

– The new students are eager to get involved

– Sustainability at an international school is tough

– Jessy Bradish is awesome

– The first Social Hour is this Friday, bring a cup,  student & government IDs, and a smile!

I’m also going to be expanding this blog a little over the next few weeks. New pages, more blog posts, ways to listen to specific parts of each episode, and much much more.

Stay awesome!

Posted in Green Rant, MRS, Student Interviews, What's What at MIIS | No Comments »

Earth Overshoot Day

Posted by Malcolm on 24th August 2013

For the first episode of the Malcolm Radio Show, the Green Rant was dedicated to the sustainability initiative at MIIS. I know that this topic will come up time and time again, but what I really wanted to rant about was Earth Overshoot Day. On August 20th, humanity exhausted nature’s budget for the year, but this is nothing to celebrate. From this point forward, we are borrowing resources from future generations, essentially putting humanity in debt to itself, with no means to ever repay (unless you count mass exodus or cultural collapse as payment). But how exactly did we get the idea of Overshot Day?

What I always heard growing up was that the amount of resources we consume on a yearly basis requires about 1.5 Earths. I’m not sure this is the precise number, but the idea is fairly straight forward. Garrett Hardin used the lifeboat metaphor, similar to the Spaceship Earth model but with the lack of a captain. Essentially, there is a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean with 50 people with enough provisions for an additional 10 people. around the boat are people, hundreds if you consider projected populations. If 20 more people got in, the resources would deplete before you get saved. Another way to put it, either you enjoy a hearty amount of provisions at the cost of hundreds of lives, you tough through a rationing of resources to benefit a greater number of people, OR you use up all your resources before everyone has a chance to get in the lifeboat.

Every year, Earth Overshoot Day has occurred earlier and earlier in the year and before long it will happen in June and we really will be using 1.5 Earths a year. So who’s to blame? Everyone! Well, those nations that have economies fueled by overconsumption. I mean, who doesn’t need 20 pairs of shoes, 50 shirts, and literally tons of food waste each year? It’s hard to deny the fact that we are raised from a young age to always want more, it is ingrained in every aspect of our culture. In Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael, the gorilla describes two cultures: the takers and the leavers. We live in a taker culture. Fisheries are collapsing, carbon emissions are skyrocketing, and there are still people starving all over the world. We can’t change the culture we live in, but we can change our own actions in response to it.

The first step is to open your eyes to the ecological footprint you have. Knowing where you have room to improve is essential. Writing out ways you can reduce your footprint and sticking to them is the next step. If you make one small improvement a day, before long you will be a crazy environmentalist like myself. There are tips and tricks galore to decrease your impact, from taking shorter showers to buying in bulk. Then you need to start spreading the word. If everyone knew their impact and how they can reduce it, it is more likely they will. Lastly, don’t just follow mainstream culture of taking and consumption. It is perfectly alright to indulge occasionally, but do you really need that 3rd iPad? You can get much more happiness from going to the beach, sitting under a tree, or hanging out with friends and family. So happy Earth Overshoot Day, go save the world.

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