I should quit ripping National Geographic Magazine off – or at least add a link

OK so I am sorry about ripping off Nat. Geo. and especially their brilliant photogrphy. Plus the hours that it takes could be better used. Please click the link below and see the photos for themselves.


Dream On

Joining the mainstream never really interested Frank and Lisa Mauceri. Both proud dreamers even before they met at a Los Lobos concert back in college 20 years ago, the Mauceris use outside-the-box thinking as a creative technique to nurture their eco-friendly life. By merging their record company ambitions and their love of the environment they have created an environmentally inspiring live/work space they hope will ignite the imaginations of their Chicago community and colleagues in the recording industry. Their newly renovated building, a former old corner store and bar located in Chicago’s artistic Bucktown neighborhood, is the United States’ first and only residence that is LEED certified—a green-building rating system designed by the U.S. Green Building Council—generating its own electricity through the use of solar panels and wind turbines, and using geothermal heating and cooling.

Although the couple was on a traditional corporate track—Frank worked as an attorney and Lisa worked in finance—they dreamed of ditching the 60-hour work weeks that were feeling increasingly pointless. As devoted rock-and-rollers, they wanted to dive headfirst into their musical passions. After stints in Cleveland and Reno, the pair decided to reinvent their life in Chicago. “Chicago stood out to us,” says Frank. “The Windy City has one of the strongest green initiatives in the country and is striving to be the greenest metropolitan area in America.”

Photography made possible by National Geographic Image Collection; Dawn Kish, photographer.

With the help of a green-savvy architect, they en a building plan that includes two wind turbines, electric panels, geothermal heating and cooling 1,900-square-foot green roof that serves as the yard. “The wind turbines in combination with th< panels should create at least 40 percent of a electricity we need. Under ideal conditions it will 100 percent,” says Frank. And there’s even a d that the Mauceris’ system might produce more than is needed for their home, in which case trn electricity is distributed back to the city’s energj and they receive a credit on their electric bill. 1

As with any construction project, there were stm blocks. Despite Chicago’s green reputation, the residential height restrictions prohibited buildinj wind turbines. But by working with the city, the c helped Chicago create new ordinances which i exempt wind turbines from the height restriction

“Our neighbors are really fascinated by what’s hap on the roof,” says Lisa. “We had to get the okay them to do the wind turbines, and they were like go for it.’ They had no problems at all.” One of couple’s favorite design features is the use of o record bits in the flooring material, which they hi to create. Frank smashed the records with a ha and then Lisa ground the bits with a blender. *l really personal way to recycle and it really sere ‘us,'” says Lisa.

“I felt, and still feel, that the more people I tell i this way of living, the bigger positive impact I’ll I and the less negative impact we will all have on environment,” adds Frank.

Plan for the Future


The 5,600-square-foot structure offers plenty of room for their record company, Smog Veil Records.

Frustrated by the amount of waste in the music business the Mauceris are running Smog Veil under strict green guidelines. One first

step is starting to release in MP3 format instead of as CDs. “We’re are eliminating the use of jewel cases and using Cardboard packaging instead

, replacing paper press kits with PDF’s. offering downloadable  digital booklets from our website instead of CD inserts, and taking the

message of greening the music industry to others in the hopes that they will implement  those practices within their business,” says Frank.

 In addition to these moves, the Mauceris say they practice the everyday acts that anyone can do: being careful about the amount of energy

 they use in the office, recycling paper, and composting. “We’d also like to replace our inefficient delivery truck with a waste-vegetable-oil,

biodiesel, or electric model,” says Lisa. Measuring their efforts is an important part of the Mauceris’ plan.

“It’s important for us to be able to track what our efforts do,” he says. “We’re taking special care to measure how much

paper we’ve used in the past in our business and how much we’ll be using once our

 green agenda is fully implemented. “In the music industry, the one thing that’s going to make a difference is showing

 that the implementation of green practices within your business reduces your overhead and increases your net profits.

 Like so many people who crave an epic life they can be proud of, the Mauceris kept  their eye on the future and harnessed

their dreams. “Now I feel like I can go sleep at night under this very green roof and feel good about. myself, my house, and

 the way we choose is Lisa. “If I can make a difference, even if its avery small personal difference, I’m glad to do it.s our

dream come true.”

When asked if she and Frank view themselves as dreamers, Lisa responds with an affirmative

yes: “Absolutely. It’s always important to be optimistic about life and what you’re doing so you’re not stuck in a bubble.

I think you see limitless possibilities when you’re dreaming, and then it gives you excitement

 and the vision to keep going forward.”


National Geographic Says We Have Some Carbon Breathing Room

>But as you saw in the last article Carbon Estimates are moving higher as quickly as you can print paper. Maybe thats part of the problem..hahahah
<OK when discussing this stuff you have to laugh or you cry.



To deal with global warming, the first step is to do the numbers.  




HOW IT WORKS.   Before the industrial revolution, the Earth’s atmosphere contained about 280 parts per million of carbon dioxide. That was a good amount—”good” denned as “what we were used to.” Since the molecular structure of carbon dioxide traps heat near the planet’s surface that would otherwise radiate back out to space, civilization grew up in a world whose thermostat was set by that number. It equated to a global average temperature of about 57 degrees Fahrenheit, which in turn equated to all the places we built our cities, all the crops we learned to grow and eat, all the water supplies we learned to depend on, even the passage of the seasons that, at higher latitudes, set our psychological calendars. Once we started burning coal and gas and oil to power our lives, that 280 number started to rise. When we began measuring in the late 1950s, it had already reached the 315 level. Now it’s at 380, and increasing by roughly two parts per million annually. That doesn’t sound like very much, but it turns out that the extra heat that CO2 traps, a couple of watts per square meter of the Earth’s surface, is


 Global warming presents the greatest test humans have yet faced. New technologies and new habits offer some promise, but only if we move quickly and decisively.

enough to warm the planet considerably. We’ve raised the temperature more than a degree Fahrenheit already. It’s impossible to precisely predict the consequences of any further increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. But the warming we’ve seen so far has started almost everything frozen on Earth to melting; it has changed seasons and rainfall patterns; it’s set the sea to rising.

No matter what we do now, that warming will increase some—there’s a lag time before the heat fully plays out in the atmosphere. That is, we can’t stop global warming. Our task is less inspiring: to contain the damage, to keep things from get­ting out of control. And even that is not easy. For one thing, until recently there’s been no clear data suggesting the point where catastrophe looms. Now we’re getting a better picture—the past couple of years have seen a series of reports indicating that 450 parts per million CO2 is a threshold we’d be wise to respect. Beyond that point, scientists believe future centuries will likely face the melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets and a subsequent rise in sea level of giant proportion. Four hundred fifty parts per million is still a best guess (and it doesn’t include the witches’ brew of other, lesser, green­house gases like methane and nitrous oxide). But it will serve as a target of sorts for the world to aim at. A target that’s moving, fast. If concentra­tions keep increasing by two parts per million per year, we’re only three and a half decades away.

Bill McKibben’s llth book on environmental topics, The Bill McKibben Reader: Pieces from an Active Life, will be published this winter.


So the math isn’t complicated—bul doesn’t mean it isn’t intimidating. So fai the Europeans and Japanese have even 1 to trim their carbon emissions, and th not meet their own modest targets. Me U.S. carbon emissions, a quarter of the total, continue to rise steadily—earlier thi we told the United Nations we’d be prod 20 percent more carbon in 2020 than we i 2000. China and India are suddenly starti produce huge quantities of CO2 as welL per capita basis (which is really the only s< way to think about the morality of the situJ they aren’t anywhere close to American 5) but their populations are so huge, andl economic growth so rapid, that they mal( prospect of a worldwide decline in emid seem much more daunting. The Chinese an rently building a coal-fired power plant i week or so. That’s a lot of carbon.

Everyone involved knows what the basid lines of a deal that could avert catastrophe « look like: rapid, sustained, and dramatic d emissions by the technologically advanced^ tries, coupled with large-scale technology! fer to China, India, and the rest of the develi world so that they can power up their emJ economies without burning up their coaL 1 one knows the big questions, too: Are sudd cuts even possible? Do we have the politic^ to make them and to extend them over

The first question—is it even possib usually addressed by fixating on some technology (hydrogen! ethanol!) and i: it will solve our troubles. But the scale problem means we’ll need many strategi years ago a Princeton team made one of assessments of the possibilities. Stephi and Robert Socolow published a paper i detailing 15 “stabilization wedges”-enough to really matter, and for which nology was already available or clear horizon. Most people have heard of them: more fuel-efficient cars, better-b wind turbines, biofuels like ethanol. newer and less sure: plans for building power plants that can separate carbon

 exhaust so it  can be “sequestered” underground. Those approaches have one thing in common:They’re more difficult than simply burning fos-sil fuel. They force us to realize that we’ve already had our magic fuel and that what comes next will be more expensive and more difficult. The price tag for the transition will be in the trillion dollars. Of course, along the way it will create myriad new jobs, and when it’s complete, it may be a much more elegant system. Once built the windmill, the wind is free; you don’t need to guard it against terrorists or build a massive army to control the countries from which it blows.  And since we’re wasting so much energy now, some of the first tasks would be relatively easy.  If we replaced every incandescent bulb that is burned out in the next decade anyplace in the world with a compact fluorescent,we’d make an impressive start on one of the 15 wedges. But in that same decade we’d need to build 400,000 large wind turbines—clearly possible, but only with real commitment. We’d need to follow the lead of Germany and Japan and seriously subsidize rooftop solar panels; we’d need to get most of the world’s farmers plowing their less, to build back the carbon in their soils have lost. We’d need to do everything all at once. As prescedents for such collective effort, people sometimes point to the Manhattan Project tobuild a nuclear weapon or the Apollo Program to put a man on the moon. But those analogies don’t really work. They demanded the intense concentration of money and intelligence on a single small niche in our technosphere. Now we need almost the opposite: a commitment to take what we already know how to do and somehow spread it into every corner of our economies, and indeed our most basic activities. It’s as if NASA’s goal had been to put all of us on the moon.

Not all the answers are technological, of course—maybe not even most of them. Many of the paths to stabilization run straight through our daily lives, and in every case they will demand difficult changes. Air travel is one of the fastest growing sources of carbon emissions around the world, for instance, but even many of us who are noble about changing lightbulbs and happy to drive hybrid cars chafe at the thought of not jetting around the country or the world. By now we’re used to ordering take-out food from every corner of the world every night of our lives— according to one study, the average bite of food has traveled nearly 1,500 miles before it reaches an American’s lips, which means it’s been mari­nated in (crude) oil. We drive alone, because it’s more convenient than adjusting our schedules for public transit. We build ever bigger homes even as our family sizes shrink, and we watch ever



bigger TVs, and—well, enough said. We need to figure out how to change those habits.

Probably the only way that will happen is if fossil fuel costs us considerably more. All the schemes to cut carbon emissions—the so-called cap-and-trade systems, for instance, that would let businesses bid for permission to emit—are ways to make coal and gas and oil progres­sively more expensive, and thus to change the direction in which economic gravity pulls when it applies to energy. If what we paid for a gallon of gas reflected even a portion of its huge envi­ronmental cost, we’d be driving small cars to the train station, just like the Europeans. And we’d be riding bikes when the sun shone.

The most straightforward way to raise the price would be a tax on carbon. But that’s not easy. Since everyone needs to use fuel, it would be regressive—you’d have to figure out how to keep from hurting poor people unduly. And we’d need to be grown-up enough to have a real conversation about taxes—say, about switching away from taxes on things we like (employment) to taxes on things we hate (global warming). That may be too much to ask for—but if it is, then what chance is there we’ll be able to take on the even more difficult task of persuading the Chinese, the Indians, and all who are lined up behind them to forgo a coal-powered future in favor of something more manageable? We know it’s possible—earlier this year a UN panel estimated that the total cost for the energy tran­sition, once all the pluses and minuses were netted out, would be just over 0.1 percent of the world’s economy each year for the next quarter century. A small price to pay.

In the end, global warming presents the great­est test we humans have yet faced. Are we ready to change, in dramatic and prolonged ways, in order to offer a workable future to subsequent generations and diverse forms of life? If we are, new technologies and new habits offer some promise. But only if we move quickly and deci­sively—and with a maturity we’ve rarely shown as a society or a species. It’s our coming-of-age moment, and there are no certainties or guar­antees. Only a window of possibility, closing fast but still ajar enough to let in some hope. D

% Warming Trends For more on climate from National Geographic and NPR, visit ngm.com/ climateconnections and npr.org/climateconnections.

How to Cut Emissions

Scientists warn that current C ~ emissions should be cut by at least half over the next 50 yea-s to avert a future global warming disaster. Princeton researchers Robert Socolow and Stephen Pac have described 15 “stabilizatio-wedges” (far right) to realize that goal using existing technologies Each carbon-cutting wedge wou< reduce emissions by a billion me: tons a year by 2057. Adopting a-combination of these strategies that equals 12 wedges could iovm emissions 50 percent.

3.7 metric tons of CO2 emissions contains a metric ton of carbon


Al Gore Wins the Nobel Prize – nah nah nu nah nah


The above link will take you to a hysterical video that fuses a bit by Will Ferrell from Saturday Night Live and a kid (maybe 15 or 16 years old) lip sysnching the bit. The bit itself is funny and without his image it shows how well Farrell does George Bush II’s voice. But there is something about adding the kids image that ratchets up the hilarity level. It sums up the Bush administrations attitudes towards not only energy, but the environment as well. And the kid get George Bush’s ADD like movements so much better than Will.

Al Gore in this blog’s estimation may be single handedly responsible for saving this planet. Think how far we would have come on this issue if he had been President for last 7 years. No Nukes…like the Satan Dick Cheney is currently trying to spend 50 billion dollars on, and no pulling out of the Kyoto Accords. Instead we would have had massive spending on Solar and Wind. The economy must shift. Thank god Al Gore recognizes it. And told the rest of the world.

The Carbon Is Going To KILL Us Just as surely as the knife at our heart or the gun at our head

This articles demonstrates several things that I have long argued, but people said I was nuts. While global warming is scary its not the scariest thing going on. The globe should be cooling. By now we should down 1 degree faranheit (used throughout) at the equator and maybe 4 or 5 degrees at the poles. This discrepancy is really really frightening because it raises the chances that we will lose control entirely and the climate will “tip” or go haywire. And in fact you see a little of that already with the equator up a full degree but the poles are up 8 degrees in some places.

So instead of shrinking, our glaciers should be growing and our supply of fresh drinking water should go up as the cold rains fall as the oceans evaporate a tad. The ocean should be dropping a bit as should our food production (yah I know bummer). But tell that to Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. Why is this so dangerous. Well because the cooling that should be happening will not happen uniformly, there should be heat spikes and since the global cooling is being masked by the warming we won’t know in advance when that happens. But when it does in will exponentially hammer the environment.

In addition this article also makes the point that a warm ocean will cease to accept carbon. The single largest carbon sink we have, the bottom of the pacific ocean, will quit working and then, well, we are done. In fact, in the latest edition of National Geographic they claim that the Earth is currently at 380 parts/mill. of carbon above a baseline for the planet at about 250 parts/mill. It further argues that things will get really bad around 450 parts/mill. This article argues that we are ALREADY THERE!


Study: Carbon dioxide increasing faster than expected in atmosphere




WASHINGTON – Just days after the Nobel prize was awarded for global wanning work, an alarm­ing new study finds that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is in­creasing faster than expected.

Carbon dioxide emissions were 35 percent higher in 2006 than in 1990, a much faster growth rate than anticipated, researchers led by Josep G. Canadell, of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and In­dustrial Research Organization, re­port in today’s edition of Proceed­ings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Increased industrial use of fossil fuels coupled with a decline in the gas absorbed by the oceans and land were listed as causes of the in­crease.

“In addition to the growth of global population and wealth, we now know that significant contribu­tions to the growth of atmospheric C02 arise from the slowdown” of nature’s ability to take the chemical out of the air, said Canadell, direc­tor of the Global Carbon Project at the research organization.

The changes “characterize a car­bon cycle that is generating stronger-than-expected and sooner-than-expected climate forcing,” the researchers report.

Kevin Trenberth of the climate analysis section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo, said the “paper raises some very important issues that the public should be aware of: Namely that concentrations of C02 are increasing at much higher rates than previously expected, and this is in spite of the Kyoto Protocol that is designed to hold them down in western countries.”

Alan Robock, associate director of the Center for Environmental Prediction at Rutgers University, added: “What is really shocking is the reduction of the oceanic C02 sink,” meaning the ability of the ocean to absorb carbon dioxide, re­moving it from the atmosphere.

The researchers blamed that re­duction on changes in wind circula­tion, but Robock said he also thinks rising ocean temperatures reduce the ability to take in the gas.

“Think that a warm Coke has less fizz than a cold Coke,” he said.

Neither Robock nor Trenberth

was part of Canadell’s research team.

Carbon dioxide is the leading “greenhouse gas,” so named be­cause their accumulation in the at­mosphere can help trap heat from the sun, causing potentially dan­gerous warming of the planet.

While most atmospheric scien­tists accept the idea, finding ways to reduce greenhouse gas emis­sions has been a political problem because of potential effects on the economy.

Earlier this month, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and for­mer Vice President Al Gore for their work in calling attention to global warming.

“It turns out that global warming critics were right when they said that global climate models did not do a good job at predicting climate change,” Robock commented: “But what has been wrong recently is that the climate is changing even faster than the models said.

In fact, Arctic sea ice is melting much faster than any models pre­dicted, and sea level is rising much faster than IPCC previously pre­dicted.”

According to the new study, car­bon released from burning fossil

fuel and making cement rose from 7.0 billion metric tons per year in 2000 to 8.4 billion metric tons in 2006. A metric tons is 2,205 pounds.The growth rate increased from 1.3 percent per year in 1990-1999 to 3.3 percent per year in 2000-2006, the researchers added.

Trenberth noted that carbon dioxide is not the whole story — methane emissions have declined, so total greenhouse gases are not increasing as much as carbon diox­ide alone.

Also, he added, other pollution plays a role by cooling.

There are changes from year to year in the fraction of the atmos­phere made up of carbon dioxide and the question is whether this in­crease is transient or will be sus­tained, he said.

“The theory suggests increases in (the atmospheric fraction), as is claimed here, but the evidence is not strong,” Trenberth said.

The paper looks at a rather short time to measure a trend, Robock added, “but the results they get cer­tainly look reasonable, and much of the paper is looking at much longer trends.”

The research was supported by Australian, European and other in­ternational agencies.

Weird Bird Friday – heh little Johnny don’t you see a unicorn in that cloud?

Yes it true this is a weird bird. If you look at its head at the fair right you can see its dark eyes and mottled beak touching the tree. If you follow the curve of its wing to the left as it stretches to take flight. If you continue to the left to far left you can see its colorful tail and feet. Finally, you can follow the tree across the top of the pitcher (oh picture) you see the white outline of its body and its colorful spackling. 


OK OK OK its just a fungus but I was desperate and the weird bird pictures I took did not turn out.

Oh, I have let Susan down…head hangs …fungus…sigh.

Al Gore Wins The Nobel Prize! Congratulations

Yah I know this is old news, but I was busy with the Presidential Candidates for 2008 when he won the Prize. Al Gore was the best Presidential Candidate we never elected. Or at least the Supreme Court never allowed to be President.


I believe that one of the most obnoxious slanders of Al Gore was the ridicule he received about his statement that he invented the Internet. When in fact he advocated for and helped sign the bill that DID create the backbone of the Internet.

 In the 1970s universities and the military had access to 2 long distance telephone lines that had been put up and paid for years before. These lines were termed WAIS lines and WAIICS lines that only the military and universities had access to transmit data around the country for free or dramatically reduced rates. This was when there was only one telephone company, AT & T. Though it was only a few years from being broken up into the Baby Bells.

Al Gore, in the early 80’s shepherded a bill through congress that opened those lines to commercial activity forming the backbone of the modern Internet. As a user, you only pay for the telephone connection to your ISP, not the connection between your ISP and other ISPs your Internet travels will use. This birthed the Internet, as we know it. It was a tough bill to pass. The Military, the Universities, and AT&T opposed it! But it was passed and that led to the expansion of the ARPnet into the Internet that we know today. Without it the Internet would have been too expensive for any private citizen to use.

Yeh and Thank YOU Al Gore.!!! Congratulations on your Nobel Prize. You deserve it sir.

Create Springfield’s Clean Energy Future

Monday, October 29, 7pm, Lincoln Library

Join the Sierra Club Sangamon Valley Group for the first meeting of our new Clean Energy and Climate Change Committee

Last year, Sierra Club negotiated a groundbreaking agreement with Citv Water Light & Power that will make Springfield a leading example for its investments in wind power, reduced air pollution, and energy conservation programs. The Sierra Club Clean Energy and Climate Change Committee will work locally to support continued implementation of the agreement and to promote further actions to address the problem of global climate change.Please join us in shaping this new committee: Monday, October 29, 7pm Lincoln Library, 3rd Floor Bicentennial Room 326 S. 7th St., Springfield



Diane Lopez-Hughes, (217)544-3997

The Nice Thing About Concrete Domes are that they are Energy Efficient and Tornado Safe Up to F4 Winds

So FINALLY  I am back to local issues. This is a blog that will bridge over to CES’ BB Sound Off in the menu choice on the CES home page. There is a list of energy efficient homes in Central Illinois on a thread at the BB’s General Discussion Board. The Sullivans are wonderful people, gracious and tenacious in everyway. They will probably be a lead article on our next enewsletter.



Area home is part

of national event

Under the round roof

For more information about the Fall Dome Home tour, including pictures and descriptions of dome homes across

 the country, go to www.monolithic.com.

Other domes in Illinois open for tours Saturday:

    Miller-Kroenlein residence, 16900 Goeken
Road, Green Valley.

    Pekofske’s Polish Party, 710 Oregon St., Polo.


RIVERTON – – Homeowners who like to think outside the box may want to head to the Riverton area Saturday to check out Steve and Sheila Sullivan’s residence, a 47-foot diameter monolithic dome made of concrete.

The 6424 Barlow Road address is one of 33 domes across the country that are part of the Fall Dome Home Tour. People can tour the unusual house Saturday and learn about some of the ad­vantages to living in a concrete dome.

“It’s definitely living up to its reputation for its energy efficien­cy,” said Sheila Sullivan. “We have one room air conditioner that does the entire (three-bed­room) home. During the summer, we only ran the air conditioner in the evening when we were home and shut it off at night.”

David South, president of the Monolithic Dome Institute in Italy, Texas, said that because domes are so energy efficient, they can cut a household’s power bill in half. The buildings also are fire safe and “as disaster proof as you can build a building,” he said.

To build the domes, a circular concrete foundation is poured, and a large balloon is attached and inflated over the foundation.Workers then go inside the bal­loon, and spray it with polyurethane, which provides in­sulation. Steel rebar is tied to the polyurethane, and then concrete is sprayed over the rebar.

The balloon is left on the out­side to serve as a roof membrane, and the exposed concrete forms the interior of the home.

Most of the residential domes are about 2,000 square feet and take three to four weeks to build. South said his company also works with much larger domes when building gymnasiums or churches.

The Sullivan home is the only dome in central Illinois that’s list­ed on the fall tour. Two other Illi-nois homes — one in Polo and the other in Green Valley — also are listed, along with homes in Texas, Arizona, Florida and California.

The Monolithic Dome Insti­tute’s Web site lists the hours of the tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but Sheila Sullivan said her home will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday only.

To get to the Sullivan home from Interstate 55, take exit 105 at Sherman. Turn left at the first stoplight onto the Sherman black­top and proceed four miles east to Barlow Road.

John Reynolds can be reached at 788-1524 or john.reynolds@sj-r.com.



The Best Energy Policy in the Presidential Race – Drum roll please

The real Difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats recognize that the carbon economy has to end if we are to survive as a species. The Republicans still believe that the carbon economy is here to stay, we have just have to make it “better”. That was a tenable idea (though wrong) 30 years ago. It is dead wrong now.

Richardson is by far the best candidate on Energy Issues. However, the Democrats get it – the Republicans don’t.  Energy will be one of most important issues if not THE most important issue of the 2008 race.