Environmental Concerns 2015

Mission Statement: The GMM Environmental Concerns Working Group hopes to raise awareness of environmental issues that affect the lives of everyone and about which we can make a difference, and the importance of a sustainable lifestyle.

–> See our Environmental Concerns page.

–> See our Environmental Events Calendar.

–> See our blog on Delaware Valley Environment.

–> See our Sustainable Living Resource page.

June 18, 2015

See the encyclical from Pope Francis on climate change.

See the rabbinic letter on climate change.

April 22, 2015

Read an essay encouraging scientists to speak up on fossil fuel divestment.

March 16, 2015

The IEA says energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide have leveled off.

Read about the optimism that Al Gore has about wind and solar energy and the environment.

March 12, 2015

See a discussion of clean energy paths in the future.

EQAT and other environmental groups have convinced PNC Financial to stop funding mountaintop removal.

March 2, 2015

Let’s use electric cars

A huge problem facing human civilization is the emission of heat trapping gases (carbon dioxide and methane) into the atmosphere from large scale production and burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas). Every gallon of gasoline burned generates about eighteen pounds of carbon dioxide which is dumped into our atmosphere. Trapping of heat is leading to warming of the earth, melting of polar ice and glaciers, rising sea levels, climate change, possibly more violent storms. If all the Greenland ice is melted the sea level will be raised about 100 feet, which will flood all the world’s coastal cities. If the Antarctic ice is melted as well, the sea level will be raised significantly more.

Electric motors are significantly more efficient than gasoline and diesel engines. (They are also smaller, lighter, simpler and require less maintenance.). The fuel to power an electric car is generated at the power plant, which can be solar or wind-powered. Estimates of the equivalent miles per gallon for an electric car are in the range of 80 – 100 miles per gallon for an all electric car compared to 15-50 mpg for cars with an internal combustion engine. The electric car can recapture energy when it brakes or goes down hill by using its motor as a generator to recharge its battery. Currently available models have a range of 80 to 250 miles. The drawbacks to electric vehicles include limited range, time required to charge the battery, and finite life of the main power battery (8-10 years). Heating the interior in cold weather is an additional drain on the battery as the motor does not generate as much heat. Air conditioning in hot weather is another significant drain on the battery.

In addition to less fuel consumption, advantages to electric cars include easy starting in cold weather and less maintenance as there is no crankcase oil to change; no spark plugs, so no tune-ups; no radiator, hoses, or water pump, so no anti-freeze; no fuel tank, lines or pump. In cases where the power is generated by alternate energy sources such as wind or solar, there are no emissions associated with the operation of an electric car. The operation of such a vehicle is less expensive. For example, my friend who drives a Tesla with a range of two hundred miles, uses about 60 Kwh to charge the battery. At ten cents per Kwh, it costs six dollars to go 200 miles.

We encourage members and attenders of Germantown Meeting and others to convert to electric vehicles as part of our efforts to preserve our environment. To help address the limited range and time required to charge the battery, we could install charging stations for electric cars on the Meeting’s campus. This would allow members to charge their electric cars while attending Meeting for Worship or other events on campus.


Jan 29, 2015

A recent article explains that large-scale solar and wind installations are now competitive without subsidies in parts of the US.

And, in 42 of the 50 biggest US cities rooftop solar is now cheaper than electricity from the grid.

Solar is creating jobs 20 times faster than the rest of the US economy.

China’s coal production is starting to fall as its government works towards energy efficiency and alternative sources.

A recent study by World Resources Institute explains that land used to grow crops for biofuels is inefficient and should instead be utilized for growing crops for food. Solar panels are 50 times more efficient at capturing energy from sunlight.

See a discussion of how a climate hawk separates thought experiments from road maps on energy issues.


Jan 18, 2015:

A recent study explains that ocean life faces mass extinction.

Two important boundaries for the planet earth as we know it are: Climate change and Biosphere integrity.

Check out how much of the available fossil fuels would stay in the ground to limit temperature rise to 2 deg C.


Dec 27, 2014:

The UK, Germany, and Australia all lowered their emissions and energy use in 2014.

This was an epic year for drought, floods, and extreme weather.

A recent article describes the need for livelihood resilience in the face of climate change.

Read a report about the cost of fracking to Pennsylvania residents.

A recent article explains that vegetarian diets that improve health are linked to environmental sustainability. But Congress wants us to ignore this fact.

Cutting tropical forests is likely to cause global warming.

The risk of very hot summers is increasing dramatically.

Read about the likely affect of climate change on our lives.

Corporate and government leaders are pushing to slow cutting of rain forests.

This year the palm oil industry has committed to halting deforestation.

A recent research article explains that soil loss to lakes is increasing.

Recently, President Obama protected Alaska’s Bristol Bay, which supplies much of our wild-caught seafood, from oil and gas drilling.

Here’s why some people don’t believe in climate science.

In a major victory for the environment, Governor Cuomo has banned hydraulic fracking in New York State.

Read about some of the reasons it’s time to drive on solar power.


–> See our Environmental Concerns 2014 Page.


Some slide shows about environmental issues:

Sustainable Solar
What is Our Carbon Footprint?
Home Energy Use
GMM Old Tennis Court Farm


Links to lists of top environmental blogs:

Top environmental blogs
Top 10 env blogs
Another top 10 env blogs
New York times Green Blogs
Nature News Blog
World Energy Outlook
Nature Climate Change

Climate Reality Project
Inside Climate News
Global Climate News
State Impact at NPR
DeSmog Blog for all aspects of climate
National Climatic Data Center
EPA Climate Change
GreenPeace Climate Change
NASA Climate Change
Good Planet
WHO Climate Change
Center for Sustainable Economy
Post Carbon Institute

Some environment blogs for Philadelphia:

Protecting Our Waters
Philadelphia Green
Green Philly
Earth to Philly
Green Living
Green Philly Blog
Urban Environment