About this Blog
(Last updated: January 5, 2016.)
My name is Mike Neuman and I live in Madison,Wisconsin. I am presently a school crossing guard for the City of Madison. I was born and raised in Appleton, Wisconsin into a family of 7, which included my late identical twin brother, Patrick J. Neuman (1950 – 2009) who shared my concern for the environment.
My proposal “Conserve, NOW!” is for governments to offer their citizens “positive financial incentives” ($) to reduce their annual greenhouse gas from their homes, the miles they drive and fly. You can hear a narrative of this proposal on the WORT-FM’s Access Hour radio broadcast for September 2, 2014, 7:00 pm -8:00 pm, called “Planet Earth: It Needs Our Help Now More Than Ever”, HERE.
The proposal also would reduce poverty levels and income disparities, particularly among African-American individuals and families while, reducing aggregate greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels burning, known to be changing Earth’s climate as more greenhouse gases are added to the accumulating totals levels in our atmosphere.
Depending on how successful each individual or family was at minimizing their driving mileage and flying, and minimizing their energy use in their home, they could earn up to $22,800 in a year. African-American individuals and families would be eligible to earn a higher maximum of $30,400 per year. The higher amount for African-Americans is a token amount for having gone through centuries of slavery. The tables used for these calculations can be found in the original report. Because the problems of global warming and income inequality have reached the level of urgency since I initially proposed this plan to my elected government official in May 2000, I recommend the incentives be increased by at least a factor of 3 for most people and, and by a factor of 4 for today’s African-Americans.
Conserve NOW!1.doc; Final
Conserve Now ex sum
Polluters have been getting a free lunch with their CO2 emissions. It’s time to give non-polluters what they rightly deserve – MONETARY COMPENSATION!
I was inspired to become an activist devoted to help promote just solutions to environmental problems by the unrelenting and passionate work of Wisconsin’s great Earth Day founder from Clear Lake, Wisconsin, Senator Gaylord Nelson. He founded the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 and was a U.S. senator for 18 years. He began his career in government as a Wisconsin state senator and served 2 terms as Wisconsin’s governor. After his 18 years in the Senate he served as the Wilderness Society’s counselor.
I became inspired by Gaylord Nelson while I was pursuing a degree in economics at the University of Wisconsin Madison from 1968 to 1972, and Masters Degrees in water resources management and agricultural economics, also from the UW-Madison, in 1975 and 1976.
I was an environmental impact specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for the majority of my employment career and decided to retire early from DNR in June, 2007, because I believed the agency was becoming too political. Moreover, my duties at DNR were preventing me from pursuing what had become my primary passion: working on alerting my family, friends, neighbors, the general public, the mass media and my representatives in government of the growing threat of global warming. Both Pat and I (Pat was a National Weather Service flood forecaster and shared my passion regarding global warming ) were particularly concerned about the human cost of global warming and the great many economic and social injustices that it will cause, especially on the poor and on future generations. We began voicing our concerns about the impending threat of global warming in January 2000.
I receive no monetary benefit from writing this blog http://www.allthingsenvironmental.com. In my current position as a “School Crossing Guard”, my job is to make sure kids who walk or ride a bicycle to school (bicycles must be walked in the crosswalks) cross the streets safely. It saddens me to see the kids sometimes, knowing that the world they are inheriting is already a much less hospitable and sustainable place to live than it was for people born in 1950 as I and Pat were.
Those of us who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s had the “good fortune” of not knowing the problems we humans began creating for our planet and ourselves by our excessive fossil fuel burning – in cars, trucks, factories, electricity generating plants, boats, ships, trains, plans and the like, and the many pollutant discharge to the state’s rivers, streams and lakes that we used. There was actually noticeable pollution going on all around us, affecting our not only our air, soil, the many rivers, streams and lakes in Wisconsin we could still find fish or perhaps swim in. Little did we know the water and fish were likely tainted with PCBs, mercury and other harmful substances, and that the environment we were a part of was actually starting to become dangerously polluted.
In the 1950-60’s, not only were factories and coal burning electricity generating plants spewing out increasing tons of harmful particulates (soot) that contaminated the air, land and waters of the state, but also the increasing number of motor vehicles being owned by Americans and driven daily (and also driven longer distances, on average) leading to higher motor vehicle tailpipe emissions (catalytic converters had not yet been invented), more vehicles pieces, particles, oil and Freon leak as well as many other pollution sources.
It use to be that all lands, soils and properties located adjacent from high motor vehicle traffic highways and streets ended up being laden with lead, which had been emitted from all motor vehicle tailpipes until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned leaded gas. Small particle pollution in breathable air remains a concern in areas adjacent to high traffic volumes since the combustion process emit small particles; moreover, road dust, pollen, tire and vehicle wear may also become airborne and raise havoc for people if breathed into the lunges and can contribute to asthma attacks and breathing problems in people susceptible to breathing disorders. Carbon monoxide levels near heavily travel intersections particularly in area protected from wind circulation can create health risks, and the odorless and invisible emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) from motor vehicle tailpipes – about 20 pounds of CO2 gas is emitted to the atmosphere as a direct consequence of the internal combustion process. [If the vehicle is powered by electricity that is produced by burning coal, natural gas, or combustion of some other product, the greenhouse gas emissions occur at the plant, unless the electricity is generated by wind, water or solar power. There may still be particle or dust emissions and wear and tear on the highways being driven on and the highway right-of-ways. In the event of an unfortunate vehicular crash, emissions can be generate by the emergency and towing motor vehicles necessary and vehicular crashes with trucks or trains can result in explosions and fires, which release substantially more pollutants on the landscape and into water bodies and groundwater, and greenhouse gases and other pollutants to the atmosphere, depending on the substances being ship and their characteristics.
But the greenhouse gases that were being emitted were not a part of people’s ordinary vocabulary in the 1950s and 1960s. Except for a maybe a small number of scientists, few people considered the CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere over time (CO2 remains in the atmosphere for over a century), or the absorption of CO2 into the ocean waters (has caused a 30% increase in acidity levels in the oceans since the early 1900) as problems to be concerned about.
Today, because of the scientifically certain reality of global warming and climate change and our knowledge of global warming’s primary causes – rising greenhouse gas concentrations in our atmosphere from human burning fossil fuels and deforestation of the tropics – we have a much tougher and long term problem to grapple with. Due to increasing scientific consensus on global warming and political pressure from environmental groups, modifications to the United States energy policy and limits on greenhouse gas emission have been proposed, but such efforts have made limited progress and are still being legally contested by several state attorney generals. With the end of Obama’s presidency drawing nearer, his climate efforts have become increasingly entangled in the next presidential election. The power plant rule won’t go into effect until long after Obama leaves office, putting its implementation in the hands of his successor. Among other Republican critics, 2016 candidate and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has said he would drastically scale down the EPA if elected and shift most of its duties to state regulators.
The environmental effects of the most abundant greenhouse gas “carbon dioxide” are of significant interest. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is the primary source of carbon in life on Earth, and its concentration in Earth’s atmosphere has kept the Earth warm enough for life to develop and proliferate.
However, since the time the Industrial Revolution began, around 1750, human activities have contributed substantially more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The amount of greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere began growing much faster as the developed world expanded. Many countries, including the U.S., began burning coal to generate electricity, and many still do that. Coal burning releases the greatest amount of greenhouse gas and other pollutants and is significantly less efficient in generating electricity than natural gas. There has been an increase in burning natural gas for electricity generation in the U.S. and elsewhere, as well as burning natural gas, propane or fuel oil in homes, commercial buildings and industrial buildings, for the purpose of heating the buildings.
In the early 20th century, automobile driving began getting popular, and doing so became much more popular after World War II, with the benefits provided by the GI bill, more money in the economy, and improvements to the convenience of owning and using an automobile.. The popularity of the automobile allowed urban areas that were prosperous enough (enough people living there could afford to buy automobiles) to spread out, which enabled individuals and families to have a residence that was at a considerable distance from their place of work, recreation, etc., which put more pressure on the highway industry and government to expand the highway system even more to allow more “commuting” to work by the general population. This continues, unwisely I might add, to this day, costing huge sums of money for highway and bridge expansion and upkeep and taking large acreages of woodland, wildlife habitat and valuable agricultural land out of production.
The locations between home and work began to be determined in terms of the number of minutes it took a person to drive their car at 65 miles per hour to reach a destination, rather than by the actual physical number of miles that existed between two locations. Gas was cheap. (It still is.) But the more gallons of gasoline collectively burned in motor vehicles throughout the U.S. and world, the higher the amount of greenhouse gases (mostly carbon dioxide (CO2)) gets emitted to the atmosphere (about 20 pounds per gallon burned). Since CO2 either stays in the atmosphere upwards of 100 years (it gets absorbed in the oceans, too), it has accumulated to higher and higher levels of concentration in the atmosphere. CO2’s concentration in the atmosphere presently (February 2015) stands at 400 parts per million (ppm), which compares to the level of roughly 270 ppm CO2 that was in the atmosphere at the beginning of the 19th century and 10,000 years previous to 1800 hundred. Since 1850, CO2 has consistently increased to it’s present dangerously high level, trapping and holding more of the Sun’s energy close to the earth surface, where things warm up, including the ocean waters. The CO2 that is absorbed by the oceans has caused ocean waters to become more acidic (30% more acidic than 1900), which harms the shellfish and other aquatic invertebrates used as food.
People traveling regularly by commercial airline – sometimes thousands of miles between one location and another, and back, have increased greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere from flying by millions of tons of greenhouse gases, annually, beginning at the onset of the 20th century and increasing dramatically to this date, as air travel is at an all time high and projected to continue increasing. It still seems that people don’t realize how much greenhouse gas is emitted by their long-distance, round-trip flying trips as and they pay little, or no, attention to the tremendous volume of greenhouse gases released by the airliners the fly in for these trips. The consequences of millions of people flying this frequently to the buildup of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions and the warming of our planet is almost mind boggling. It has unintended consequences for future generations, who will have no choice other then to live in a hotter world, more violent world, a world with more extreme weather events, rising sea levels and more acidic oceans. Future inhabitants of Earth will suffer the consequences from the excessive fossil fuel burning by people living and needlessly burning fossil fuels now. Jet airline travel the world over is predicted to double by 2050.
Some entrepreneurs will buy up forested land with money paid to them by the flying public, making a profit from the sale and easing the conscience levels of frequent flyers. This sets up a false dichotomy as the forestland which was already carbon sink. Far better for the planet would be to cancel those trips if it were not imperative that they be there in person.
“Environmental impact” is defined as any action, or set of actions, that, when undertaken, either directly or indirectly affects the quality of human life, or what’s left of the natural world, in a negative manner. Whenever and wherever possible, this blog identifies preventative and mitigation measures to reduce or lessen the severity of such impacts.
We are not going to solve the global warming crisis by taking baby steps. We need our government to be taking GIANT STEPS, AND WITHOUT DELAY! Funding “Conserve, NOW” would be one such step for our government to take for the sake of today’s children and succeeding generations, and the positive benefits to our economy would be substantial as people would have higher disposable incomes which are now at record low levels.
People who make a minimum global footprint – who don’t drive much, if at all; who don’t fly jet airliners over the year; and those who minimize their annual greenhouse gas emissions in burning fuel for the year, and the amount of electricity they use that is generated by burning fossil fuels – should be paid for NOT polluting the atmosphere. Heavy polluters of greenhouse gases should pay through government programs – one government official has suggested those who drive over 1,000 mile in a year should be taxed on the mileage driven over 1,000 miles per year. Individuals and families who don’t pollute by burning thousands of ton of greenhouse gases over the year should be financially rewarded for conserving energy.
My proposal “Conserve, NOW!” is for governments to offer their citizens “positive financial incentives” ($) to reduce their annual greenhouse gas from their homes, the miles they drive and fly. This proposal is described in articles posted on this blog on August 16 and September 19, 2014, and in a one-hour radio broadcast I did last Labor Day at WORT-FM Community Radio (blog post of January 15) called “Planet Earth: It Needs Our Help Now More Than Ever”.
Depending on how successful each individual or family was at minimizing their driving mileage and flying, and minimizing their energy use in their home, they could earn up to $22,800 in a year. African-American individuals and families would be eligible to earn a higher maximum of $30,400 per year.
Please sign my latest petition and share it with others for them to consider.
Gaylord Nelson said “Some people who talk about the environment talk about it as though it involved only a question of clean air and clean water. The environment involves THE WHOLE BROAD SPECTRUM of man’s relationship to ALL other living creatures, INCLUDING OTHER HUMAN BEINGS. It involves the environment in its broadest and deepest sense. It involves THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE GHETTO, which is the WORST environment, where the worst pollution, the worst noise, the worst housing, the worst situation in this country — THAT HAS TO BE A CRITICAL PART OF OUR CONCERN and consideration in talking and cleaning up the environment” [Emphasis added]. If implemented, THE CONSERVE, NOW PLAN WOULD REDUCE POVERTY AND INCOME DISPARITY; it would also discourage unnecessary and environmentally disruptive government expansion of transportation construction , power plant and transmission lines proliferation, which cause habitat destruction and deforestation. Forests are “carbon sinks” and naturally store atmospheric greenhouse gases . This website is dedicated this site to my late twin brother, Patrick J. Neuman (1950 – 2009), who first raised his concerns about global warming, and the need to inform the public about the threat of global warming, while he was employed by the National Weather Service as a senior flood forecaster at the NWS’s Midwest Office in Chanhassen, MN. Pat had proposed to inform the public about the growing threat of global warming as part of a public display by the NWS at the Mall of America in Minnesota in 2000; However, to Pat’s great dismay, the NWS prevented him from doing that. Thus began a period of personal employment turmoil for Pat at the hands of the NWS over several years, during which Pat received numerous disciplinary actions against him, for his raising the issue of global warming at the NWS workplace. Thw NWS eventually FIRED Pat for his continuing to raise the threat global warming and how it was influencing NWS flood forcasting; HOWEVER, the day after being issued NWS’s orders to vacate his office and not return, NWS lawyers discovered NWS supervisors had failed to take action on a discrimination complaint Pat filed months earlier, alleging the NWS had violated Pat’s right not to be discriminated against for his religious beliefs, which Pat had filed a written complaint on, and therefor had violated his civil rights. NWS subsequently reversed its decision to terminate Pat’s employment with NWS, and instead offered Pat a secret agreement, allowing him to continue working for the NWS at his home until the day he could legally retire (six months later, in the spring of 2005), provided he not disclose the details of the agreement to anyone. ATE is also dedicated to John Lennon, who wrote and sang “Give Peace a Chance” and “Gimme Some Truth”, and “Power to the People”; to Sam Cooke, who wrote and sang “Change Gonna Come”; to Billie Holiday, who performed “Strange Fruit”, and Joe McClain, founder of “Arts Are Prevention” in Madison, Wisconsin, to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who once said: “INJUSTICE ANYWHERE IS A THREAT TO JUSTICE EVERYWHERE”, to the organizations “Black Lives Matter”, “Greenpeace”, “Sierra Club”, “Wisconsin League Conservation Voters”, “Clean Wisconsin”, “Wisconsin Environment”, “Wisconsinwave.org and WORTFM.ORG Community Radio in Madison, Wisconsin, and last but not least, the musician Neil Young, a true American environmental hero, who has spoken out for saving Earth since the 1960s thru the lyrics of his songs and his voice numerous times and places.
Who’s Gonna Stand Up (and Save the Earth) – by Neil Young. The “who” he’s talking about is all of us, and there’s no time like the present for us all to minimize doing thing that burn fossil fuels for energy.
Fly-over of Tar Sands Area, Alberta Canada, Where Neil Young grew up. See the area being mined while listening to the Natural Anthem “Mother Earth”
How Long? (Song by Jackson Browne) I think our government has things ass-backwards. People who make a minimum global footprint – who don’t drive much, if at all; who don’t fly jet airliners over the year; and those who minimize their annual greenhouse gas emissions in burning fuel for the year, and the amount of electricity they use that is generated by burning fossil fuels – should be paid for NOT polluting the atmosphere. Heavy polluters of greenhouse gases should pay through government programs – one government official has suggested those who drive over 1,000 mile in a year should be taxed on the mileage driven over 1,000 miles per year. Individuals and families who don’t pollute by burning thousands of ton of greenhouse gases over the year should be financially rewarded for conserving energy.