Sunday, February 13, 2011

"Blind Spot" film review

The "Just Views" discussion group viewing of the "Blind Spot" found the film to be depressing, and reacted strongly to it. For an hour and a half, we saw a series of interviews of experts who opined about how America (and the world for that matter) is heading for an economic train wreck because we refuse to conserve oil. No one fully disagreed with the basic premise of the film that the era of cheap oil is ending, but we expected some discussion in the film about needed solutions to the problem. We stayed until late into the evening hours hashing out solutions of our own. Some of us wanted to nibble at the edges, while others wanted to discuss how social communities can restructure themselves in fundamental ways. At least we started some dialog. Imagine a community like Glen Ellyn facing $10 per gallon gasoline. Such a scenario would cause huge economic headaches, but the clouds may have a silver lining. If fuel costs are high enough, the world economy would contract, but local economies might step up. This suggests a vital role for Glen Ellyn's business district as it adapts to provide essential goods and services that it does not provide now.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"JUST VIEWS" Free Film Viewing and Discussion Program

The DuPage Peace through Justice Coalition & Sierra Club River Prairie Group present a Just Views program, at the DuPage Unitarian Church.

Friday, February 11, 2011 at 7:20 pm: "Running Out of Oil"

The documentary film Blind Spot, directed by Adolfo Doring, probes the current oil and energy crisis which we are facing. Through wishful thinking, indulgence, neglect, and/or ignorance, we have put ourselves at a crossroad and face future environmental and economic collapse. US fossil fuel production has declined and financial and environmental costs to extract oil have increased. This trend is occurring and impacting the world as a whole. Our film features interviews with leading scientists, economists, and environmental advocates. These experts challenge us to actively seek out energy alternatives other than fossil fuels and to transition to a slower-paced, low-energy, sustainable society. For more information and to purchase the dvd, the website is

Resource persons joining us for the viewing and discussion following include Issam Dairanieh, alternative energy sources scientist with a major international petroleum energy corporation, Lonnie Morris, Executive Chair of the Sierra Club - DuPage County River Prairie Group, and Mike Durschmid and associates, activists for climate justice dealing with fossil fuels. All points of view and active audience participation are welcome.

Just Views programs start at 7:20 pm, are sponsored by the DuPage Peace through Justice Coalition and are held in Naperville IL at the Unitarian Church at 4 S 535 Old Naperville Road (630/505-9408).

Directions: Go (south of Route 88) to the corner of Naperville Road and Diehl. Proceed one block east along Diehl, then turn left/north. Enter the Unitarian Church ahead on your right.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Winter weather and climate change

The horrific onslought of winter weather this year in some areas has left many wondering whether climate change is real. Despite the extreme weather events, the earth has in fact been warming up as a whole. There are some other blogs that have a history of covering this point well, including Jeff Master's WunderBlog

Two things that fuel winter storms - temperature and moisture - may matter the most. It seems likely that climate change could cause a change in storm tracks and access to more of the abundant moisture that the storms need. Still, when we look at Chicago's records, winter storms have impacted Chicago for a long time. Here are the top ten storms according to NOAA, not counting today's storm, which is now third largest at about 20 inches:

1. 23.0 inches Jan 26-27, 1967
2. 21.6 inches Jan 1-3, 1999
3. 19.2 inches Mar 25-26, 1930
4. 18.8 inches Jan 13-14, 1979
5. 16.2 inches Mar 7-8, 1931
6. 15.0 inches Dec 17-20, 1929
7. 14.9 inches Jan 30, 1939
8. 14.9 inches Jan 6-7, 1918
9. 14.3 inches Mar 25-26, 1970
10. 14.0 inches Jan 18-20, 1886

Some analysts say that meteorological records do not show an impact from climate change. Perhaps the trends over the last few years will change that assessment.