31 January 2008

7 years and baking soda

I watched Ed Mazria's "Face It" Web cast yesterday, and at about an hour long, it was certainly a lot more modest than last year's 2010 Imperative Web cast, with a live audience and over 2 solid hours of speakers and information. For those of you who don't have time to watch it yourself, I will sum it up for you:

1. We only have 7 years to level out global greenhouse gas emissions before we pass the point of no return.
2. The best way that we can greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the scale that is needed is to stop coal.
3. Architects and designers can be part of the solution by following the guidelines of Architecture 2030, which call for carbon neutral buildings by 2030.

This discussion was interspersed with some always-unsettling images of what coastal American cities will look like under 1 meter of water, and the following graph, which shows levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and corresponding average temperatures over the past 400,000 years. The extremely high spike on the right hand side shows the CO2 level we're at right now - 385 parts per million. This is the highest we've seen in recorded history!


image courtesy of architecture2030.org

After viewing the Web cast, I went back and had a stimulating discussion with the 2nd-year students in my program (who must surely think of me as "that 1st-year girl who comes to class when she doesn't have to"). During the course of this talk, I learned about another way that we can "cure" global warming: by turning the carbon dioxide into baking soda. And why not?!? We've been looking for unique and innovative ways to solve the problem of global warming and I think we may have found one. Granted, it would yield massive amounts of baking soda, but 4th graders everywhere would be more than happy to use it in their paper-mache volcanoes, and the rest of it would go towards odor-free kitty litter and other worthwhile projects. Then, in the second week, we would have another crisis: what do we do with all of this baking soda? Who knows, but at least it wouldn't be in the atmosphere, melting our arctic ice.....

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