Blog Action Day 09 - Climate Change

By Murray Bourne, 15 Oct 2009

This year's Blog Action Day topic is "Climate Change". It's today - 15th October.

From their blurb:

Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world's bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day on their own blogs with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. Blog Action Day 2009 will be the largest-ever social change event on the web. One day. One issue. Thousands of voices.

Answering their own question. "Why Climate Change?", they say:

Climate change affects us all and it threatens more than the environment. It threatens to cause famine, flooding, war, and millions of refugees.

Given the urgency of the issue of climate change and the upcoming international climate negotiations in Copenhagen this December, we think the blogosphere has the unique opportunity to mobilize millions of people around expressing support for finding a sustainable solution to the climate crisis.

I've given up on the hope that politicians will do anything intelligent in Copenhagen in December (where they need to decide on a replacement for the heavily flawed Kyoto Protocol). The climate change issue is way too politicized and there are too many rich, self-serving lobbyists from the loony right (especially in the US, the main country that needs to make the right decision on this issue) for there to be a positive outcome. They will dither and lobby, storm out of meetings and do everything they can to be voted in again in their respective countries. So don't worry about them. It's too late.

Nope - the only hope is action at the grassroots level. We have to do it ourselves.

Reduce your carbon footprint. Sell that SUV. Walk. Ride your bicycle. Ride the bus. Or better - work (or study) from home. Grow food in cities so transport pollution is minimized. Use solar power for your heating and cooling. Cut down on wasteful consumerism. Plant trees. Use your building's roof for water collection, solar panels, growing food. Stop buying any product that contains palm oil (it's the main reason for equatorial rainforest destruction, including the burning of forests that release huge amounts of carbon. The Indonesians do it every year. Not good.)

Naive? Yes. The only hope we've got? I believe yes.

For those looking for a math angle in this rant, here's some things I've written since last Blog Action Day:

Real World Math: Engaging Students through Global Issues

Math of plastic water bottles

Friday math movie – The Miniature Earth

Kindle math

The coming EcoBounty

What’s that smell? The math of air quality

And good luck.

4 Comments on “Blog Action Day 09 - Climate Change”

1. alQpr » Blog Archive » Blog Action Day says:

[...] year’s Math Awareness Month emphasized this connection, and Murray Bourne at squareCircleZ  today points to a number of articles in which he has used related topics as a source of examples for teaching [...]

2. Murray says:

Alan (follow the link above) was disappointed that I neglected to mention population pressures in my Blog Action Day post. [See World Population for a glimpse at the current world population, updated each second.]

Here's the thing. There are those that believe the Earth can carry the current population and quite a few more, as long as the over-consumers (and over-polluters) mend their ways.

Maybe - but as that's not going to happen any time soon, then perhaps we do have to consider curbs on population. Or a better solution (as Alan mentions) is to ensure all women in the world are well educated, since this has the effect of reducing the birth rate.

But while China has almost achieved zero population growth, its use of energy (especially carbon-based) continues to sky-rocket.

And India? India has no interest in arresting its population AND as more of them join the middle class, they also become greater polluters.

Conclusion? Educate the women - all women...

3. Alan Cooper says:

Wow! I am flattered that you clicked back to my earlier post which alluded to the education of women as a means of solving the population problem (since I can't claim to have mentioned that directly in the trackback above). But let me reiterate that this is essential. The education and liberation of all women everywhere is our ONLY hope for survival.

And since this is a Math blog let me add that Mathematics is the key. Despite historical predjudices it is my experience, from more than a third of a century of teaching, that women are at least as capable in mathematics as men, ...and since the ignorant are unaware of its utility, it is something that the guardians of knowledge are prepared to allow women to waste their time with (while their menfolk retain the privilege of having an education devoted to more 'serious' subjects like religion).

4. Richard says:

Dr.Murray, I bring you warm greetings from Uganda(East Africa), as a maths instructor an greatly inspired by your monthly editions now that we have learn't to practically use math to solve or reduce substantially our environental hazards. I reiterate the fact that maths is mean't for the girl child as well, with women emancipation, more so through education we can overcome the global warming effects.
Iam indeed grateful for this maths edition and looking forward for the next.

Comment Preview

HTML: You can use simple tags like <b>, <a href="...">, etc.

To enter math, you can can either:

1. Use simple calculator-like input in the following format (surround your math in backticks, or qq on tablet or phone):
a^2 = sqrt(b^2 + c^2)
(See more on ASCIIMath syntax); or
2. Use simple LaTeX in the following format. Surround your math with $$ and $$.
$$\int g dx = \sqrt{\frac{a}{b}}$$
(This is standard simple LaTeX.)

NOTE: You can't mix both types of math entry in your comment.