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February 26, 2015

Weather, recycling and the One Earth Film Festival 2015

Tune in to any day this week to hear the latest installment of The Mike Nowak Show. I just added one of those gizmos that allows my smartphone to play through my car radio (it cost me all of about $20, unbelievably), then called up the GDGDRadio app, and there I was, listening to Internet radio in my own vehicle. It's that simple, folks. Of course, you can use other apps as well, like Tunein, Spreaker and more. You can also follow The Green Divas on their Facebook page.

Let's get to what's on this week's show.

  • Any time I get the chance to talk weather and climate change with meteorologist Rick DiMaio, I jump at it. In this conversation, Rick and I chat about the second of back-to-back cold, nasty winters in the eastern part of the U.S. (California is another matter altogether.) At the same time, however, you can take a look at an article like this one in the Washington Post with the headline, Even as the eastern U.S. freezes, there’s less cold air in winter than ever before.


Believe or not, that's true. From the story:

One may wonder how the cold air supply is so compromised after the relentless blasts of frigid air in the eastern U.S. the past two winters.

“You just need to look around and see how big the globe is,” Martin says. “The thing this simple analysis makes clear is that there is such an obvious difference between regional weather and global climate. There’s a better way to measure global change than backyard thermometers.”

Martin points out that while the U.S. has shivered, Alaska and northern Europe, in particular, have been much warmer than normal. And he is convinced the hemispheric warming signal reflects growing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels.

“The only way to have systematically smaller pools of cold air is to have greater retention of infrared energy [from greenhouse gases],” Martin says. “The planet can’t cool the way it used to.”

Rick DiMaio has been talking on my show about the important difference difference between "regional weather and global climate" for almost seven years! Which is just one of the reasons why he's back on the show this week.

Believe it or not, Cook County is becoming a national leader when it comes to environmental efforts, which includes a law that went into effect in 2012 called the Demolition Debris Diversion Ordinance. In an article for Index Publishing Corporation, Deborah C. Stone, Chief Sustainability Officer and Director for the Cook County Department of Environmental Control writes that

The ordinance requires that a minimum of 70% of all demolition debris generated in the demolition, dismantling or renovation of single-family, commercial and industrial structures be diverted from the waste stream.

It further mandates that a minimum 5% of the material in residential structures be reused. Reuse has even more environmental benefits than recycling, as it uses the components in their final manufactured form and avoids the energy use needed to recycle into new components, and wastes less of the materials.

Under the ordinance, contractors are required to submit a demolition debris diversion plan at the beginning of demolition projects that meet the 3D criteria, as a condition of receiving a demolition or renovation permit from Cook County.

That has resulted in a diversion of more than 500,000 tons of material away from landfills! Bryant is on the show today to talk about webinar that the USEPA is co-sponsoring, which will focus on the ordinance, which is sometimes known as "3D."

The webinar happens on Thursday, March 5 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. CST and concerned communities and businesses that would like to learn more about 3D can register here.

The One Earth Film Festival is hosted by a group called Green Community Connections, which calls itself a "deep roots" organization. They state that

One Earth Film Festival is the Midwest premier environmental film festival, creating opportunities for understanding climate change, sustainability and the power of human involvement through sustainability-themed films and facilitated discussion.  We engage private, public and non-profit sector community partners in the sponsorship and production of the film festival.  The 2014 festival drew 2500 from throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.

I went out Forest Park to meet with three of the folks from Green Community Connections--Cassandra West, Gina Robbins and David Holmquist--to talk about the films and the criteria for choosing them.

I also managed to have a conversation with filmmaker Marcy Cravat, who directed and produced a remarkable documentary called Angel Azul, which I the opportunity to view before we chatted. That film alone is a reason to spend some time at the One Earth Film Festival. Here's how Marcy describes her own film:

Angel Azul explores the artistic journey of Jason deCaires Taylor, an innovative artist who combines creativity with an important environmental solution; the creation of artificial coral reefs from statues he's cast from live models. When algae overtakes the reefs however, experts provide the facts about the perilous situation coral reefs currently face and solutions necessary to save them.

If the rest of the entries are as good as Angel Azul, this is going to be one heck of a film festival. You can follow the action on Facebook here.