Plastics and Recycling

EXCELLENT article (with images) related to recycling.

Plastics: What’s recyclable, what becomes trash — and why

Where I live, we can no longer put any kind of plastic in the recycle bin … only cans and cardboard boxes. We do take our soft drink cans and bottles to a local recycle center, use cloth bags for grocery shopping, and ask for paper at other retailers. But there’s still SO MUCH that we must toss in the regular trash.

One can’t help but wonder where all this is going to end up. We worry about climate change, but the plastics may take over the planet long before the weather does.

*Sigh* Human innovation may be the death of us all.

A Brief Absence

You may have noticed (and then again, maybe you didn’t 😉), but I’ve been off-line for the past few days. We experienced an unusual (for this area) snow storm over the past few days. It started Sunday as something light, which is not unusual for the area, but then, it kept coming! We ended up with about 8″ overall. (Yes, I know. It’s nothing like what happens in other parts of the country, but …)

Anyway, we lost power on Monday evening. Lucky for us, this area has natural gas and even luckier, the original owners of this house had installed a gas heating stove in the family room so we were able to stay comparatively warm. Also we had warm water for showers … but boy-of-boy was the bathroom cold!!

To keep some of the more perishable stuff, we put snow into an ice chest. Ordinarily, we would have fired up the generator, but wouldn’t you know it? It wouldn’t start. (That is most definitely something we’re going to correct!)

Naturally, without power, there was no way to go online OR to recharge our phones! Fortunately, we had car chargers so we could keep them at least somewhat operable. But wouldn’t you know it? Phone service was practically nil … one bar or less. *sigh*

Anyway, the power finally came back on last night so life is returning to normal. But we learned a few things from this experience. Even though my other-half has lived by the Boy Scout motto (Be Prepared) for many years, there were a few things we will need to look into for future reference. Especially since we live in an area (West Coast) that could be massively affected by a major (9+) earthquake.

I suppose if I were a believer, I’d be thanking some invisible being right now. As it is, I just accept this whole event as part of “life.” Calamities can and do happen to all of us. How we make it through them (physically and mentally) is up to us. It’s my belief that relying on ourselves and the strengths of other human beings will always be what counts in the long run.

Glad to be back! 😍

P.S. I categorized this post as “Climate Change” for a reason. I’ll leave it to each of you to agree or disagree with my decision.

Global Warming or Ice Age?

A blogger that I follow has been writing several posts discounting climate change/global warming. According to his sources, we are instead experiencing a Grand Solar Minimum, which would bring on cooler temperatures (ice age) rather than warmer. He notes the recent climate events (unusual snow and cold) on the West Coast, and the (relatively unpublicized) ice accumulation in Greenland and at the South Pole as being counter-intuitive to global warming.

I was intrigued by his perspective and did a bit of research …

According to NASA, every 11 years or so, sunspots fade away, bringing a period of relative calm known as a “solar minimum.” It’s considered a regular part of the sunspot cycle.

During the late 17th century, an analysis of historic sunspot observations shows the solar activity cycle was interrupted and the sun appeared without sunspots most of the time. The event was called the Maunder Minimum.

According to this article

The Maunder Minimum falls within the climatically cooler period of the “Little Ice Age”, during which temperatures were particularly low over continents in the Northern hemisphere (especially in winter). It has long been suspected that the low solar activity during the Maunder Minimum was one of the causes of the Little Ice Age, although other factors like a small drop in greenhouse gas concentrations around 1600 and strong volcanic eruptions during that time likely played a role as well.

In one study, it is said that a new Maunder Minimum would lead to a cooling of 0.3°C in the year 2100, depending on assumptions about future emissions. However, physicists believe “a 21st-century Maunder Minimum would only slightly diminish future warming. Moreover, it would be only a temporary effect since all known grand solar minima have only lasted for a few decades.”

Further, the article states …

(E)ven if one multiplied the solar effects by a huge factor of 5 (which is unrealistic), no absolute cooling would take place (the temperatures would be temporarily cooler than the base scenario, but the trends would still be warming).

As regards the increased ice at the South Pole and its effect on climate change, this article offers some perspective … and addresses the question of how Antarctica can be gaining ice mass in a warming world. (Hint: “More snow accumulation is, counterintuitively, a sign of global warming; more precipitation happens when there is more moisture in the air, and more moisture in the air is a product of higher temperatures.”)

One final word. This blogger also mentions that we’re about to be subjected to the planet flipping its magnetic poles (gasp!). While it is a possibility, this article explains why it’s not something to be concerned about.