We’ll Always Have Paris

Is the Paris agreement (now back in the news with President Trump addressing the United Nations) enforceable and would it meet its purpose even it were? Imagine if the US Environmental Protection Agency and the states decided to abandon the NPDES permitting process in favor of voluntary discharge goals. Each industry and municipality would decide its own discharge levels with no permitting or reporting process and no legal framework or enforcement mechanisms.

If you believe that we in the US face a climate crisis and action must be taken to reduce carbon emissions and maintain temperature rise below 2C, the Paris Agreement is ineffective. So why support another ineffective agreement on climate?

If you believe that we do not face a climate crisis and that the impact of climate change will be moderate or non-existent, your position is less subtle. The Paris Agreement is, at its best, a superfluous international “feel good” agreement that accomplishes little. At its worst, it puts the US at an economic disadvantage, complicates our national sovereignty, and allows the world to vote itself access to our treasury. Again, this is not something that deserves your support.

Much has been made about the Paris Agreement, largely because so many countries are signatories. Most of the signatories also would be on the receiving side of the $100 billion per year funding, regardless of attainment of their individually nationally determined contributions (INDCs). For example, it allows China, Russia, India, and Brazil to allow its CO2 emissions to continue to grow until 2030, and only then, if they choose, do they have to do anything to stabilize or reduce emissions. Even if the fund falls short of the $100 billion, there will still be a lot of money involved, so it is fair to question whether those countries’ motives are entirely pure. As George Bernard Shaw said, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul, can always depend on the support of Paul.”

Personally, I reject the correlation that if you are in favor of action on climate change then you must automatically be in favor of the Paris Agreement. I also do not believe that someone who opposes action on climate change must automatically oppose the Paris Agreement. It is also important to distance ourselves from the notion that we have only two options: adopt the Paris Agreement that moves us towards a clean, efficient and prosperous future, or reject the agreement and return to the 1960s era smokestacks and a rapid destruction of our environment. Neither scenario is likely.

The good news: The US INDCs were to cut emissions to 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Estimates believe we are already at the halfway point to meeting this goal by replacing coal and oil with lower emission shale gas from fracking. Speaking of renewable sources, 2016 estimates 30% of US electric generation was from coal, 35% from other fossil fuels, 20% from nuclear and 15% from renewable sources, including nearly a 7% contribution from hydro-electric dams, and another 7% contribution from wind and solar combined.

Might it not be preferable to meet those reductions sooner than later and then continue the conversion away from shale gas and other non-coal fossil fuels to renewables? It is going to take a village to change how we do what we do and its going to take time to turn the Titanic around. What is one small thing you can do today to contribute towards a brighter future for your children and grandchildren?


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Youth Mission to Mazatlan, Mexico Sponored by MBC

In July MBC was asked to help sponsor the Christ United Methodist Church’s youth mission group’s trip to a village outside of Mazatlan, Mexico.  Fortunately for me, I was able to be in a position to contribute to their trip two fold: One by donating monies to improve the facilities and secondly, by flying down as a chaperon for the two dozen youth from the CUMC program.  The Salvation Army provides room and board to nearly thirty children, ages 4 to 17.  These are not homeless children but instead, children who come from homes who can no longer support them. What an incredible experience for me. On our trip, three buildings were painted inside and out, some 30 meters of concrete was poured, roads were mended, some of their property was re-graded, and an overhang/roof was built.  Quite a productive couple of weeks if you ask me, but the real work was watching the teens from the CUMC program connect, play, support, challenge, and “lift-up” their newfound friends from Mexico. Check out the article I wrote on the subject of water posted on the website for even more insight to this wonderful trip. The theme of our trip comes from John Wesley: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” What a wonderful life philosophy. When I put my own “house in order”, I am freer to doing such. I can be used as an instrument for a cause greater than myself. What a gift.  Thanks CUMC for the opportunity. I will never forget it.

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myCharity: Water

President Mark Schwietz’s myCharity: water page. Donate today!

On November 7 I am going to be running 26.2 miles along with 10’s of thousands of others in the ING NY Marathon. For the first time ever, CrowdRise is making it possible for runners and supporters alike to contribute towards their favorite charity. I chose Charity: Water

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Composting: Tumbler Method

I have been learning more and more about gardening this last year, and finally this spring I am starting my first vegetable garden. From what I’ve read, and learned through talking to people, composting is a must for a good garden. I am doing a few different forms of composting right now. One is a real simple chicken wire method of composting leaves and yard waist. Bokashi which is a way of fermenting your kitchen waist. And a tumbler method using a 55 gallon drum, recycled. It was a boiled linseed oil drum that I got for free.

For constructing the tumbler barrel I used an electric hand saw to cut out a door in the middle of the drum. Drilled holes in the door to make a hinge using galvanized steel wire, I screwed in a piece of wood to make a stop for the inside of the door, and just used a garden string around a bolt method for a lock to the door. Next I drilled 1 5/8″ holes in the top and bottom to place a galvanized steel pipe I had through the barrel. Pipe is 1 1/2″ so barrel can rotate around the pipe. The barrel is then raised on it’s side. I used 2 cinder blocks to hold it up. Then you need to drill tons of holes all over the barrel to let air and moisture in and out. And when you add new waist to the barrel you rotate it to help it brake down into beautiful rich organic soil. You should use a compost starter to help break down the material and that’s where my Bokashi comes in. It is a way of fermenting you kitchen waist that is filled with effective enzymes. Worms love it and so does the earth!


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No Place For A Short Cut

No Place for a Short Cut” an article written by Paul Rankin of RIPA discussing the dangers of scrapping HAZMAT containers.

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