How CO2 is Measured

Today, world leaders are meeting in Paris to discuss climate change at the COP21 conference. They are going to be discussing many issues around climate change from how to lower emissions to how to deal with rising sea levels. It is up to every country to change how their policies to be more sustainable and the wealthy countries that made their riches by exploiting the environment need to do even more. How then, do they decide what to do and based on what information?

The CBC is doing a series of investigations into issues and the like related to climate change that people may still be unclear on. One of their first articles is about how CO2 is measured.

When we measure carbon dioxide, can we tell how much came from burning fossil fuels?

Yes. The carbon in carbon dioxide comes in different forms called isotopes, namely carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14. Levels of each vary depending on the source of the carbon dioxide, says Doug Worthy, study lead for Environment Canada’s greenhouse gas observational program.

Natural gas, coal and oil each also have distinct signatures for carbon-13, Worthy said.

Meanwhile, higher levels of carbon-14 mean that carbon dioxide sample is mostly from natural sources, such as plants. Lower levels mean it’s mostly from burning fossil fuels.

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Children Should be Taught Philosophy

Studying philosophy has greatly influenced my life and I encourage everybody to also study the field and practice. Engaging in philosophy can improve one’s sense of self while improving their ability to discern which arguments have value.

Teaching critical inquiry through philosophy to children can have a very positive impact on them as human beings. We should have every kid engage in philosophy in their schools because kids are want to know about all aspects of what’s around them. That is what philosophy is about at its core.

Since then, training in various jobs has made me into various kinds of professional, but no training has shaped my humanity as deeply as philosophy has. No other discipline has inspired such wonder about the world, or furnished me with thinking tools so universally applicable to the puzzles that confront us as human beings.

By setting children on a path of philosophical enquiry early in life, we could offer them irreplaceable gifts: an awareness of life’s moral, aesthetic and political dimensions; the capacity to articulate thoughts clearly and evaluate them honestly; and the confidence to exercise independent judgement and self-correction. What’s more, an early introduction to philosophical dialogue would foster a greater respect for diversity and a deeper empathy for the experiences of others, as well as a crucial understanding of how to use reason to resolve disagreements.

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Do What Norwegians do to Enjoy Winter

Winter can be tough for some people. If you are a person who feels down and out during the colder months there is an easy thing you can do to improve the season: change your attitude. Seriously. Recent research into how Norwegians relate to winter can help you in the times of snow.

Don’t deny the troubles of winter, instead, think about all the great things winter brings.

Changing your mindset can do more than distracting yourself from the weather.

Most likely you can’t cross-country ski straight out of your house, and while Norwegian sweaters may be catching on, restaurants and coffee shops in more temperate climates don’t all feature the fireplaces and candles common to the far north. Still, there are little things non-Norwegians can do. “One of the things we do a lot of in the States is we bond by complaining about the winter,” says Leibowitz. “It’s hard to have a positive wintertime mindset when we make small talk by being negative about the winter.”

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Alberta Finally Understands That the Environment Exists

Alberta has finally decided to update their energy and environmental policies after years of ignoring the fact that their policies are killing nearly everything within the province. Premier Rachel Motley has announced sweeping changes that will bring Alberta into the 21st century. They are going to phase out their coal plants and put on caps on how awful the tar sands can be!

Notley and Environment Minister Shannon Phillips dropped nothing less than a policy cluster-bomb of mandated targets, rules and often the mere hint at mechanisms and subsidy packages to enact it all. Alberta will follow British Columbia in introducing a cross-economy carbon tax, $20 per tonne in 2017 and $30 the following year—rebate and offset programs to come. The province will mimic Ontario and mandate the end to coal power by 2030—compensation and negotiated phase-outs to come. Methane emissions from venting, flaring and leaking, will have to be cut nearly in half in a decade—a goal that drillers and others will struggle now to meet in near-lockstep with the Obama administration’s approach on the greenhouse gas that’s more intense than carbon.

Lastly, there’s the oilsands policy, designed to get the biggest nods and high-fives out of foreign partners and environmentalists: a hard cap on emissions from that sector, 100 megatonnes. When Notley was asked about Oil Change International’s tweet that this means “no new tar sands growth,” the premier furrowed her brow and said no. Furrowing and shaking their heads along with her were four oilsands executives invited to share the announcement, from Suncor, Shell, Cenovus and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. Murray Edwards, the CNRL chairman few watchers expected to appear at such an event, was gushing in his congratulations about the collaboration between industry, the province and green advocacy groups: “This plan recognizes the need for balance between the environment and the economy.” The cap was set at 100 megatonnes, with more room for bitumen upgrading; Alberta’s oilsands currently produce 70. So there’s room to expand the traditionally vilified resource for years to come, and much more if they make good on pledges to slash the per-barrel emission rates. CNRL and counterparts get room to grow, and the climate change panel report by University of Alberta economist Andrew Leach predicts that in most cases, the designed changes won’t cost more than $1 per barrel for most operators.

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Stop Worrying About Being Clean, Just be

We are obsessed with cleanliness in he developed world and it is likely killing us. The over use of cleaners in the built environment and the use of biochemical cleansers (like antibiotics) are weakening out immune system. They may also be negatively impacting our mental health as well. So relax with all that germaphobic behaviour.

Just chill. Killing microbes just because they microbes is not a nouns strategy for survival. We need exposure to all those tiny things to improve our health and out well being.

The overall message, then, is not that we should return to living in squalor as to try to embrace good bacteria; we need to be just as vigilant without our homes to keep them free from germs. Instead, Ilkka Hanski, a biologist at the University of Helsinki in Finland, says, it’s important to get out of the house and spend time in woodlands and forests. “Let your children play in places where they have contact with soil and vegetation, which are rich in beneficial microbes,” he says. “If you have a house, don’t maintain a lawn, let native plants take over and grow taller. Cut them once or twice a year.”

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