Doing a Good Thing

Guest Opinion by Kip Hansen


flowersThere are a lot of good things that you can do in your life.  In fact, doing good things is one of the greatest privileges of being a human being and the opportunities to do good are myriad and diverse.  Many philosophers and religionists claim that one can judge the success of one’s life, the value of one’s life, by the good that one accomplished in their lifetime.  Most of our decisions in day-to-day living are not choices between good-and-evil or right-and-wrong, but fall somewhere along the lines of “Should I do this good thing or that good thing?”.   Thus life gets complicated by the pressures to choose between things that might be characterized as Good, Better, Best choices — and for many of us, such choices are the hardest because each option is itself good and often necessary.

The lovely folks at the New York Times’ Climate Team have made a habit of offering their readers things that they can do to help save the planet — mostly how to save the planet from the humans.  Each week the Climate Team sends out a little email newsletter, called “Climate Fwd:” filled with a mix of scary stories about the climate and “things you can do” to save the environment or stop global warming.  Recent topics included “Climate change is a man-made problem that requires a feminist solution” and “One thing you can do: Think Dairy” —  which suggested that to have a “huge impact” you should consider switching from dairy milk to  “pea milk and yogurt, made from yellow split peas.”  Seriously, I encourage you to sign up for the newsletter — it is an opportunity to be amused by the inanity of “green journalism”.

Last week, the Times’ Smarter Living section teamed up with Climate Fwd: “to pull advice from a recurring feature in their newsletter: One thing you can do.”  Below are eight things that you — yes, you! — can do to care for the planet.

Many of the suggestions are good ideas, good things, that you could choose to do.

SPOILER ALERT:  None of them will have the slightest effect on anything outside of your little tiny one-person world.

Since I’m sure we all want to do our best and save the world (yes…ok…you can put on your favorite super-hero suit and cape so you feel the part…) here are the “8 Things You Can Do to Care For The Planet”:


1.  Hang on to your smartphone

A GOOD THING — “The little computer you carry with you requires a lot of energy to assemble. The production of an iPhone 6, for example, released the equivalent of 178 pounds of carbon dioxide, or about as much as burning nine gallons of gas….”  So try to keep it working as long as you can, you see, and if it breaks, consider buying a used replacement.  Besides, it cost upwards to a thousand dollars.  This is sure to have an planet-saving effect on the international cell phone market and you’ll be able to feel proud and publicly exhibit your virtue by making sure all your friends see that you are using an out-dated, scratched-up old iPhone6s.  Hint:  Repeatedly upgrading to the latest model phone just eats up your budget — a bad thing.

2.  Leave leaves

POOR ADVICE — “Leaves provide shelter for worms, moths and some butterflies, which then become prey for neighborhood birds. They also help nourish and fertilize soil, and you won’t burn fossil fuels by using a lawn mower or leaf blower.

Yes, there are better things to do with fallen leaves than the suburban neighborhood solution of raking them up, putting then in bags, and leaving them on the curb for the trash man.

Those of you who live in Fall Leaf Season zones know that the leaves can create an inches thick layer and suffocate any and all but the toughest lawns.  We have three fully mature maples in our yard (think 50 feet tall) and they drop a prodigious amount of leave matter.  While real gardening advice differs, most call for you to use your gas-guzzling lawn mower and  special mulching blades (which we use for all mowing) to reduce the leaves into tiny pieces and spread them evenly over the lawn in the fall while still dry — by mowing over them several times (in other words, extra mowing — not less).

At our house (now that my wife and I are back on land) we mow, mow, mow the leaves on the lawn, leave leaves in the perennial flower beds as mulch and put any extra leaves in the compost pile. (When I say “we” I mean my big strong adult boys.)

3.  Use a dishwasher, not the sink

A GOOD THING, MAYBE —  “Dishwashers have improved over the years: Average models certified by the government’s Energy Star program use 3.5 gallons or less per cycle.”  Compare that to 1.5 gallons of water down the drain if you’re washing under a running faucet.   Putting the day’s dishes in the dishwasher when there are only two of you eating 1.5 meals at home each day can also lead to running a dishwasher 1/4 full and wasting water and electricity.

Maybe the author has always had a dishwasher (he may not be old enough to remember when a family’s enslaved children were made to wash the dishes after dinner). For instance, he suggests: “If you don’t have the luxury of owning a dishwasher, try to do the two-bucket method: When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run. Fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.” (Duh…that’s why there are two basins.)

Note that “saving water” is a good thing if you live in an area that has a water shortage or gets it water pumped up from a deep aquifer.  If your use of water simply diverts water that would otherwise flow into the sea, it is a moot point.  (Water is complicated….)

4.  Buy fewer clothes

A GOOD THING —   but not because they use water and chemicals to make clothes!  And not that not all clothes are biodegradable, so “it’s best to wear your clothes for a long, long time.” (hey, but please, wash them regularly, even though it uses water!)  However,  over-consumption is not a good thing — so buying fewer clothes is a positive.

woodstockYou can clearly see the tremendous impact you will make in the global environmental footprint of the fashion industry by wearing used ripped-knee blue genes instead of buying brand new ripped-knee blue genes.  If your fashion sense needs greening-up, visit the lovely little hamlet of Woodstock, New York, where the date never changes — it’s always 1968.

5.  Consider your online order, from click to carrier

A GOOD THING — Buy in bulk to reduce number of shipments, don’t buy-try-and-return.  Good ideas — and just think of the difference that will make in the Global Average Surface Temperature in the year 2200!

6.  Divest from fossil fuel

DUMB  — To his credit, James K. Williamson, author of these “8 things…” correctly offers no reasons why this is a good thing — as it is not.   If you do so publicly, and make a big fuss about it to make sure people are watching, you might get a little boost of virtue signaling — or — others might just think you need a better financial advisor.

Divestment is a strategy that neither fights climate change nor saves the planet.  It just changes who owns the world’s most valuable resources — fossil fuel reserves — and who shares in the profits.

7.  Be mindful of your food waste

A GOOD THING —   But not because “A massive amount of energy goes into producing the food we eat, especially meat and dairy. For example, the production of a single hamburger uses the same amount of water as a 90-minute shower.”  (Note that a long shower is NOT an example of  a “massive amount… of energy” — it is wasting fresh water — a problem in some areas.)

It is morally wrong to waste food.  This includes over-buying resulting in food that goes bad in your cupboard or refrigerator.  Smart buying and better storage avoids waste.  However, not wasting food in your home does not feed the starving children in China — however,  donating the money you save by not wasting food to reputable charities does feed hungry kids.

8.  Tune your heating system

A GOOD THING — “…poorly maintained systems can burn more oil or natural gas than is necessary.”  That is wasteful and hits your budget.  However, the Times’ falsely claims that tuning your heating system willto cut down on indoor particulate matter.

Your furnace or boiler does not contribute to indoor particulate matter air pollution (unless it is seriously broken and vents directly into the house —  you would already know this from the smoke and smell or finding that someone in your home has died due to carbon monoxide poisioning — another reason for getting that tune up.)  While tuning the heating system, check and clean your HVAC system’s outdoor machinery as well — often the heat transfer fins will be clogged with dirt and debris making the system less efficient and eating up your electrical budget.



However, “Caring for the planet” is not a reason to actually do any of the 8 Things — none will have any discernible effect on the planet or on the environment.   Several will make your family budget go a little further — which is a good thing!

Suggestion: File the article under “Climate Silliness” (along with the pea milk and feminist-climate-solutions).

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Author’s Comment Policy:

One thing about being human is that we like to think we are rational beings and that we do things for perfectly good reasons.  This proposition is dubious.  Far too often we are just bumbling along and bobbling the balls life has thrown at us — mostly trying to do the right thing.

It does not improve your life to do the right thing for the wrong reasons — or to do the wrong things for the right reason — and by this I mean fooling oneself into thinking your actions are having a bigger or different effect than they really are.  This is where many activists and advocacy groups go wrong — they mean to do good, “Save the Birds” or whatever — but they go off the rails, like the National Audubon Society which sends out strings of misleading scare stories, misinformation, (both Bad Things)  to garner donations to fund their good work of bird conservation.

The Climate Activist Propaganda machine has determined that people will support climate activism if they feel they are really contributing — so they foist off on the public long lists of SILLY THINGS, which are really totally ineffectual, that people can do to “save the planet” thus buying into the whole climate/environmental  craziness.

Address your comments aimed at me to “Kip”… so I’ll see them.

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Pop Piasa
March 5, 2019 7:21 am

People tend to elevate concepts they subscribe to into religions, letting their faith overpower their perception. This applies to politics, medicine, education, and anything else an individual needs to feel secure about. Much easier to follow authority than question it.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
March 5, 2019 7:36 am

Pop ==> On the other hand, many people, including 51% of scientists, believe in God (or something like) and 48% express membership in one religious group or another. Only 28% of scientists self-describe as Atheist or Agnostic. [ source ]

Only those who lack a active spiritual understanding need to fill that hole in their lives with something/anything.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 7:44 am

Much agreed, Kip. There one needs the wisdom to choose what is truly spiritual and what is only material.
By the way, great article my friend.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 7:49 am


I’m not religious but I respect those that are, and I still can’t resist a little prayer now and then.

However, what puzzles me is that, as I understand it, during the last ice age atmospheric CO2 dropped to around 180 ppm, as near extinction for all meaningful life as I image we would all like to get.

Around the same time, in geological terms, strangely, man popped up and discovered how to create a fire.

The rest is history.

Which makes me marvel at the extraordinary coincidence that in 65m (?) years of the planets life, those two events occurred so close in time.

One might thing someone got something wrong and figured out a way to put it right.

No idea who that might have been though. 🙂

Reply to  HotScot
March 5, 2019 8:18 am


“No idea who that might have been though.”

The same One Who observed and therefore caused all of those original probability distributions to collapse into actual particles that form all that we have per quantum mechanics?

Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 8:05 am

Greens are the most atheistic of all groups. Only 1% of self-identifying UK greens believe in God, or in worship a conventional religion.

Source: Poll from 2015 UK general election.

Reply to  Mark Pawelek
March 5, 2019 8:29 am

In 2016 53% of all adults describe themselves as having no religious affiliation (British social attitudes survey). so I expect the figure is not much different for climate skeptics?

Pop Piasa
Reply to  griff
March 5, 2019 9:00 am

As an american I would consider your expectation to be baseless, old chap. You may however, be speaking from your corner quite accurately. Statistics are only the products of the samples chosen for comparison.

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
March 5, 2019 12:22 pm

A Vast Difference between having “No Affiliation” and having “No Belief”

Dave Fair
Reply to  griff
March 5, 2019 12:42 pm

“No religious affiliation” is not the same as not believing in a God. And what the hell does that have to do with “climate skeptics?”

Reply to  griff
March 5, 2019 3:25 pm

Dave Fair

It’s griff you’re talking about here. Things don’t have to make sense to be pertinent to him. He’s a keyboard warrior who discovered Google therefore he’s righteous and informed.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Mark Pawelek
March 5, 2019 2:55 pm

They may say they are atheists, but that does not mean they do not have a religion.

Green Alarmism does not derive from science. It comes from a religion, the faux pagan worship of Gaia, the earth goddess. She is angry and must be propitiated by the sacrifice of human babies. The white liberals who are votaries of this religion have chosen brown and black babies to be the victims of the rituals of “population control”, “zero population growth” and “reproductive choice”.

Why has this bizarre cult arisen among what are supposed to be our most intelligent and skeptical class?

First we must observe the collapse of Christian belief in this class.

They are all Marxists now, not industrial grade Stalinists, but cultural Marxists theorized by Adorno, and Gramisci, and the French lumpen-philosopes such as Foucault and Derrida. But, even those variants of Marxism demands atheism.

Also atheism, allows them to indulge their favorite passion — Contempt for the unwashed masses of Americans — the obese bitter clingers who inhabit fly-over country and cling to their guns and religion.

Having chosen atheism does not mean that they believe nothing. As Umberto Eco wrote:

“G K Chesterton is often credited with observing: “When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing. He believes in anything.” Whoever said it – he was right. We are supposed to live in a sceptical age. In fact, we live in an age of outrageous credulity.

“The “death of God”, or at least the dying of the Christian God, has been accompanied by the birth of a plethora of new idols. They have multiplied like bacteria on the corpse of the Christian Church …”

Tom Abbott
March 5, 2019 7:37 am

“Hang on to your smartphone”

I guess I done good! I’ve had this same smartphone since 2012! Works great! No need to get another one.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 5, 2019 8:02 am

Tom ==> I carry a “dumb phone” quite intentionally — all I need are calls and txt messages. I have (far too) many computers in my home, I don’t need one in my pocket.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 8:24 am

I have a Motorola on Pay as you go, it sits in the bureau until I go out somewhere unusual and then I take it to contact my wife if necessary. Nobody knows its number as there is not point as it is switched off the rest of the time.
I still use a 3 unit home phone for phone calls.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 9:50 am

I too have a dumb phone which spends most of its time turned off. ( After 20 y of refusing to even own a mobile. ).

Compare that to 1.5 gallons of water down the drain if you’re washing under a running faucet.

That’s a key sign of a false motivation: set up a straw man reason for not doing something else. Clearly the writer feels a little non PC about his dishwasher so makes up a contrived false logic to make using it “green”.

If you want to stop eating dairy , stop eating dairy. Just don’t pretend that watered down pulse flour is some kind of “dairy substitute. Possibly one of the most disgusting things I’ve every attempted to eat was a “vegan pizza”. When I got the faux goat’s cheese the rest went in the bin.

Bryan A
Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 12:26 pm

Fair advice Kip, also no one wants to steal or clone a Dumb Phone.
I still have ALL of my phones. from the original brick, through the Flip and slide, into the current semi smart, dumb phone. All prepaid (Tracfone, T-Mobile) and all costing not more than $100 annualy for service

Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 5, 2019 8:30 am

I’ve got an original Nokia… which has just become fashionable again!

Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 5, 2019 8:42 am

My LG flip fone works great and cost me nothing. It’s most useful state is often the OFF mode…surprised the world saviors didn’t suggest going back more ecologically friendly fones….

March 5, 2019 7:42 am

A 90 minute shower!!!!!?

That’s about 18 x 5 minute showers for me, and as I usually shower every three days that’s 54 days worth.

And no, I don’t smell or my wife would turn the garden hose on me for 90 minutes!

PS I also shave in the shower so more water saved.

However, it’s funny. I only became aware there was a shortage of water in the UK (yes, even Scotland!) when the industry was privatised and water became a chargeable commodity.

Dodgy Geezer
Reply to  HotScot
March 5, 2019 7:58 am

There is no shortage of water. There never can be. Water flows in a cycle – it is neither created nor destroyed.

There can be, however, a shortage of water storage, purification and distribution equipment in a specific place. This happens when companies don’t invest adequately – preferring to take a quick profit.

It is then in their interest to pretend that there is a water shortage. and get people to use less. That means they don’t have to fork out more money for another pumping plant…

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
March 5, 2019 10:04 am

I tell people this often. Water is water and it doesn’t fly off into space. We can use it in ways that are not beneficial to our needs and we can over/underestimate what those needs will be. However, the supply remains the same.

Reply to  Sheri
March 5, 2019 11:26 am

Sheri ==> There are localities that depend on deep aquifers that are being depleted (not being replenished as quickly as they are used up). This is a rather serious problem in those areas.

Pumping out aquifers is also causing horrendous subsidence in some cities around the world….for example Jakarta.

In my area, we get out water from a reservoir that has a little dam — water continuously flows over the dam, down the stream, into the Hudson River and out into the Atlantic Ocean. Our towns use of the water simply diverts some of that to our homes, most of which ends up, eventually, in the Hudson River and flows out into the Atlantic Ocean – with a little detour.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 12:48 pm

Its “with a little detour” through your intestines.

dodgy geezer
Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 1:58 pm

yes – they may need to put some water back, or get it from somewhere else. but this is not a water shortage – it’s a reservoir shortage…

dodgy geezer
Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 2:01 pm

it doesn’t end up ‘eventually ‘ in the ocean. it’s in there for a while until it evaporates, comes down as rain, and the whole cycle begins again…

Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 5:58 pm

No, I live in a high plains desert.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 6:20 pm

I don’t wash my car, nor do I water my lawn.

Water only escapes through the ozone hole and now it’s getting smaller, so things are looking up.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 11:33 pm

And instead of building more reservoirs, the elites gave you water flushing for endangered smelt. I was there; it smelt bad.

Reply to  HotScot
March 5, 2019 8:05 am

Hot ==> Both my wife and I were merchant mariners in our youth — and the rule was “5 minute ship showers” — get wet, turn off the water, soap up and wash and shampoo, turn on the water and rinse off.
Long showers (more than 5 minutes) afre still a guilty pleasure all these years later.

John in Oz
Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 12:57 pm

This is normal policy on destroyers when I was in the navy or the fresh water tanky (the person making the fresh water with evaporators) would be mightily angrified.

When short of water, this was preferentially given to the boilers and there was none for showering (which is similar to the policy for power from wind generators).

Dave Fair
Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 11:31 pm

Please note, Kip, in your water rationing, you are describing the differences between the elites and the commoners. Socialism gives us that result; allocating shortages based on your position in society. Capitalism gives people what they want. Socialism gives people what the elites want them to have.

All people are equal; but some people are more equal. I don’t like people telling me what I need.

Gerald the Mole
March 5, 2019 7:43 am

The two most important things that I got from my chemistry degree course (1955-1959) were:

– don’t sub-contract your thinking.

– don’t be impressed just because people have letters before and/or after their name. History is full of huge blunders made by such people.

Reply to  Gerald the Mole
March 5, 2019 7:50 am

Gerald the Mole

don’t sub-contract your thinking.


Pop Piasa
Reply to  Gerald the Mole
March 5, 2019 7:59 am

Yes, words of wisdom for future generations, if I might be so bold as to add:
“…and learn all the history you can”.

Dodgy Geezer
March 5, 2019 7:54 am

“..It is morally wrong to waste food. .”

No, it’s not. Depending on what you mean by ‘waste’, it might be a sub-optimal use of resources, but that’s all.

Claiming that efficiency has a moral aspect simply tells me that you are trying to use emotion to win an argument.

Incidentally, we optimise our logistics systems to distribute food to a whole population at minimal cost . This is a system working optimally, and it may involve complex inefficiencies at various points. For instance, it may be more efficient to pack and ship bananas in 20 lb units, and if a shop can only sell 95lb per day, 5lb may spoil. Is that morally wrong? Or should the shipper use a less efficient packing system, but one which can divide into 5lb units, and take a systematic efficiency hit?

Almost all food waste arguments are emotional twaddle on a par with telling your kids to eat up their greens because children in Africa are starving.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
March 5, 2019 8:06 am

Put your greens in the sink disposal, because the bacteria in the sludge digesters at the sewer plant are starving. How’s that? 😎

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
March 5, 2019 8:11 am

Dodgy ==> Morals are based on values — and values differ between individuals. In our area, Upstate New York, grocery stores and bakeries donate food that is nearing its best-by date to local food pantries, soup kitchens for the homeless, and old folks housing units where the elderly live on limited fixed incomes.

And because I knew I would be mentioning values and morals, I wrote this as an Opinion essay.

Dodgy Geezer
Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 9:08 am

Morals may be based on values – but you were claiming that ‘waste’ was somehow a moral issue. I made two points in relation to that:

1 – Waste is an efficiency issue, which is essentially thermodynamic. As such, it is amoral. For instance, isn’t it a waste of social resources to keep old people and homeless alive? Would it therefore be better to starve them to death?

2 – Even if waste WAS a moral issue, where do you measure it? The excess food we have in shops is an essential logistics buffer which enables full food provision for everyone at all times. Trying to minimise it at the individual level will impact the system efficiency.

I have no difficulty with moral issues and opinion – but I prefer them not to be based on emotion. Too much ‘feelgood’ advice is based on actions that make people feel good but are either useless, or, worse, actively damaging. Which is, of course, what your article was about….

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
March 5, 2019 11:33 am

Dodgy ==> The issue in this essay is home-based food waste, which is under the control of the family. How a family deals with such issues is based on values and their moral understanding.

The waste you are referring to are the inefficiencies in the national/regional food distribution system — which may be regarded as “the cost of doing business”.

Business is not exempt from the values and morals of their community — and thus, the community can influence local businesses to rein in excessive and unnecessary waste and to attempt to find uses for what might otherwise be unnecessarily wasted.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 9:16 am

And here is Southern Maryland, grocers donate their wilting produce to local farmers for pig feed.

Curious George
March 5, 2019 8:01 am

One more reason to avoid the New York Times. Not that we need one more.

March 5, 2019 8:12 am

My back yard is surrounded by mature maple trees. My first autumn here had me raking up something in the order of 60 yard-waste bags of leaves… too much work! Leaving that many leaves where they fall would choke out the grass underneath, so I acquired a very good gas-powered mulching mower. The mower shreds the leaves, which in turn helps fertilize the lawn.

Reply to  PaulH
March 5, 2019 8:57 am

Are you sure the leaves would ‘choke’ your grass? I don’t bother raking the leaves in my backyard (peer pressure and a spouse forces me to rake the front). The yard becomes covered in leaves, but the grass goes dormant in the winter. By late Spring, the leaves have ‘magically’ disappeared, and the grass looks fine. IMO, the leaves give protection to the plants from the cold of winter (I think everything kinda evolved that way).

Reply to  jtom
March 5, 2019 11:09 am

JTom ==> If the leaves are sufficiently thick and wet, they can create a suffocating layer and one can end up with a patchy lawn. There are a lot of approaches, and if one has just a grassy area (and not a Homes and Gardens “lawn”) sometimes you can get away with just leaving the leaves, but not if want a classy looking lawn. Researching the matter turns up lots of opinions and differing ideas.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 6, 2019 3:49 am

I have found the best way for me is to pick up the leaves with the mower which chops them up a bit and make a large heap, then mix the grass mowings the following summer with the leaves.
The high nitrogen in the grass cutting balances the high ‘carbon’ in the leaves so the bacteria can work efficiently breaking down both.
Turning the heaps to get a bit of air into them speeds the breakdown so that you are left with friable compost that is ideal for mulching flower beds and the vegetable garden.
The only bit of the paddock I don’t know is a six foot strip round the edge where I let it grow partly for the wild flowers and also for the voles that give the local owls something to eat.

Joel O’Bryan
March 5, 2019 8:13 am

9. Encourage Good Intentions be used to pave roads.

March 5, 2019 8:20 am


I expect the last anti-christ to be a woman and the false prophet is probably coming from Islam, where currently an extraordinary amount of money is spent on AI…

March 5, 2019 8:28 am

Hi Kip, – I thought of you when came across the following a few months ago & in case you haven’t seen it here’s the citation. The research (2018) is by the Tamil Nadu team of Thilagavathi, Gomathi & Kumar titled “An approach to low density polyethylene (LDPE) biodegradation by Xylaria sp. from termite garden.”

Reply to  gringojay
March 5, 2019 11:04 am

Gringo ==> Thanks for the tip — which led to several papers on bio-degradation of plastics by bacteria. All combined they will form the basis for a new follow-up essay on plasrics.

A C Osborn
March 5, 2019 8:28 am

Use a dishwasher, waste both Water and Electricity.
Plus you have to keep the Dishwasher clean as well.

Reply to  A C Osborn
March 5, 2019 9:04 am

Clean the ddhwasher? I’ve used dishwashers for five decades and have never needed to clean one. They clean themselves everytime you wash dishes.
I disagree that they waste water and electricity, neither water nor energy is ever destroyed. I, OTOH, have a short shelf-life, and washing dishes would definitely be a waste of my time.

Dodgy Geezer
Reply to  jtom
March 5, 2019 9:12 am

Take an uptick for accurate appreciation of physical phenomena. You would have got another one if you had mentioned the second law of thermodynamics, and the Heat Death of the Universe… 🙂

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
March 5, 2019 10:20 am

The heat death of this universe.

Reply to  jtom
March 5, 2019 9:18 am

Have you ever cleaned your clothes washing machine? Yuck that thing gets filthy. Soap, food, grease buildup. I have to clean my clothes dryer even though it only dries clean clothes.

I do, however, have a self-cleaning dishwasher, she showers daily.

Reply to  A C Osborn
March 5, 2019 11:15 am

Dishwasher discussion=> My Personal Experience: When we had our first two kids and I was a working slob getting in as many hours as I could to support the family, I once had the opportunity to skip a day at work (don’t remember why) — and observed that my wife spent an inordinate amount of time washing dishes and pots and pans. Her time was worth more than that, so I went out and bought a roll-around dishwasher with a butcher-board top and solved the counter space and dish washing problems with one blow. Even though we couldn’t “afford” a dishwasher, I was (and still am) convinced that we couldn’t afford to have the wife waste all that time at the sink washing dishes by hand.

March 5, 2019 8:41 am

Plant a tree

Reply to  Hans Erren
March 5, 2019 11:19 am

Hans ==> Another good idea! Planting long-lived street trees and yard trees for their beauty is a great thing to do, especially if you live in one of those “new neighborhoods” that were bulldozed flat before the houses were built.

In out area, I encourage planting of fruit trees, standard fruit trees adapted to the local climate — not the mini-trees used for orchards. In the mid-Hudsom Valley of New York, this means mostly apples and pears.

You may not be saving the planet, but you will be making the world just a tiny bit better place.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 2:35 pm

Our new house was build on what used to be farm land, so there were no tress at all. So far we have planted quite a few fruit trees and some bushes, but what I’m most proud of is the 10 Shagbark Hickory trees, which are native to this area, but now rare. At my age I will never get to see them in their full grown glory, but according to Nelson Henderson, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit .”

Reply to  Paul Penrose
March 6, 2019 3:35 am

I have got the most satisfaction from the 4 acres of mixed woodland we planted ten years ago which has grown fast so that the woodland floor is getting established.
Looking back I would have planted more understory trees such as hazel and box, and I wonder if the ash is going to get infected with Chalara disease (brought over to the UK with young plants from Europe, although why we couldn’t grow our own I don’t know. Something to do with the free movement of goods and services mandated by the EU. Roll on Brexit!).
However the oaks are growing slow but steadily and will make a nice sight when I am six feet under.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
March 6, 2019 6:53 am

Paul ==> Love shagbark hickories — we have them native in the Central Hudson Valley and nearby Catskills. Once mature, they feed squirrels, bears, and other animal life — when planted on the roadside, they drop their nuts onto the road, where the cars crack them making a feast for the wildlife.

James Clarke
March 5, 2019 8:57 am

I printed up some bumper stickers that say “Save the Planet. Emit CO2!” I believe I have far more actual science to back up my bumper stickers than the NY Times has to back up any of their silly ideas!

Tom in Florida
March 5, 2019 9:14 am

I did not see anything about a washing machine or a dryer. I suppose you could take your clothes down to the nearest crick and use a wash board, hand wring and put them on a clothes line. But then what would you do with the remaining 2 hours of your day?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Tom in Florida
March 5, 2019 12:58 pm

The PC police will be at my door, but meeting up at Starbucks, gym, tennis court, etc. has replaced gathering at the riverside to pound clothes on the rocks in order to practice gossiping skills.

March 5, 2019 9:24 am

The whole “Save the Planet” thing irritates the crap out of me. “Save” it from WHAT, exactly? Please show me indicators that “The Planet” is in any kind of trouble we have either created or are capable of fixing. The problem with the silly MSM is that their reporting becomes nonsense in the absence of background CONTEXT–show the whole range of historical “climate changes” and the present becomes a yawn, if not gratitude for its mildness. Show extinctions of species against historical background numbers, you realize this is Nature in action and it has been ever thus. Species arise and go extinct as part of the Way Things Work. Will we miss that obscure island rat so much? What makes this a tragedy we should be mourning?

The bottom line is we live in a time of fluid employment and relationship uncertainty, even for (maybe, espeicially for) the educated and well-to-do. They have a secular education and are therefore unable to put “control” of fate and destiny in the Hands of God. Therefore they try to hyper-control EVERYTHING in their lives; from tenths of percentage point “risks” to health right up to the weather a hundred years from now.
They are also the “useful idiots” being manipulated into supporting Agenda 21 and its encroachment. Much of what is being fed them (literally, like EAT Lancet) is not remotely “scientific” at all.

It’s just another form of narcissism. Millennials, in particular, agonize that their ~every~ personal, minute choice affects “The Planet,” much as the silliness that a butterfly’s wing-flap off Madagascar could cause a Cat 5 hurricane in Florida. They truly BELIEVE that their fair-trade coffee, legume lunch and bicycle commute make them “part of the solution instead of part of the pollution.” And that by making these choices, and endlessly virtue-signaling with their fellow “Cool Kids” in-group makes them much, MUCH “better” people than we Deplorables who drive pickups and grill burgers and drink non-artisanal beer. Which makes them Our Betters, who therefore deserve to control The Narrative, and thereby dictate the terms of all of our lives.
But note carefully that this “lifestyle” of virtuous abstemiousness only gives them the DELUSION of the control over their fate which is what they desperately seek. It’s all rather pathetic really.

Meanwhile, I hang with George Carlin that I’ve yet to see this “threat” The Planet is supposedly under!

Reply to  Goldrider
March 5, 2019 12:51 pm

Sound theology. Thank you muchly…

March 5, 2019 9:24 am

These are the anti of the big game. In for a penny, in for a pound. Once they get people invested in the process, then they can ask more, and then more. The more invested, the larger the asks become.
The goal is to destroy borders, create a one world government, and enslave humanity to a global elite. This is part of the process.

March 5, 2019 9:32 am

Sooooo, I recycle my beer cans and hamburgers, albeit in different ways, does that count in #7? 😉

Steve O
March 5, 2019 9:37 am

I strongly encourage liberals and greenies to base their diet on insect proteins.

March 5, 2019 9:38 am

“Climate change is a man-made problem that requires a feminist solution”

Seriously, what does that even mean?

Tom in Florida
Reply to  mpcraig
March 5, 2019 9:57 am

It means eat, drink and be Mary.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
March 5, 2019 11:36 am


March 5, 2019 9:53 am

“…not wasting food in your home does not feed the starving children in China..”
It didn’t when my mother said that either. At the time I would gladly have donated the food I found unpalatable to them but Mom didn’t see it that way. Today however, with China modernizing (using a lot of fossil fuels) and allowing capitalism, China has food surpluses.

Reply to  Art
March 5, 2019 5:15 pm

Art ==> The planet as a whole has food surpluses — the problem (POLITICS) prevents the surpluses from reaching places that have food deficits.

March 5, 2019 10:01 am

I finally bought new long-sleeve tshirts—the old ones had the cuffs all frayed and the ribbing was coming off, holes in the seams. I am a terrible consumer. Sadder yet, the TV situation required giving up on the analog TV with converter box (they are all garbage now) and actually buy a “real” TV. I am soooo depressed…….It arrives Friday……

Food waste—I blame those stupid “sell by” dates and the massive recalls for contamination for the majority of food waste.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Sheri
March 5, 2019 10:28 am

Then you will have to get a digital outdoor antenna for your new digital tv. It improves on the analog antenna because it actually supplies programming information with the digital signal, and some channels are all digital so can’t be recieved by the analog antenna.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 5, 2019 6:02 pm

I already have a small digital antenna that came with the last failed converter box. I may have to build a DIY outdoor one, but we’ll see how it goes. My analog antenna kind of came apart in the wind while back, so no real value in that anymore!

Leo Smith
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 5, 2019 9:22 pm

you guys still HAVE analogue TV?

i think our last analogue TV transmitter went off air 10 years ago or more…
I no longer have a DVD, CD player or radio tuner either. CDs and DVDS are all on the home network and the Internet provides more radio stations than you can shake a stick at. The TVS still receive digital signals, but spend almost as much time reading movies off the network…

I built a replacement for CD player and radio for the hifi out of a Raspberry Pi. I control it with a smartphone instead of a custom remote.

PS there is no such thing as absolute morality in a rational world. Unless you believe in a some sort of external Principle or Purpose, ultimately there is nothing to guide one’s actions. Merely a sort of spiritual Darwinism which ensures that people who believe in cosy lies survive better than those who come face to face with the stark truth, that no one knows and most likely no one cares.

I.e. it is not necessary for God to exist, for belief in God to be beneficial to survival.

As to whether human survival itself is a Good Thing? Ask the dinosaurs.

Reply to  Sheri
March 5, 2019 10:47 am

Just get a Roku Express + Sheri. It will work on your old analog TV, and most cable TV providers have an app that will work on it to provide access to whatever you pay them for through it. No cable box required, except for Fios I think.

Reply to  ossqss
March 5, 2019 6:05 pm

Hadn’t considered that. I have one good analog TV left, so I’ll keep that in mind for when my nearly useless converter becomes a paperweight. Thanks.

John F. Hultquist
March 5, 2019 10:52 am

Apparently there is massive waste of food in school cafeterias.
This is based on reading, not on being in a school or a cafeteria.

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
March 5, 2019 11:40 am

John ==> Thewre are some dpressing studies that have been done on what happens when kids are forced to make healthy choices in the cafeteria — like “Everyone must take one fruit”. They found most of the fruit ended up on the trash bin, so some schools set out milk crates near the trash in whoich the kids could put the fruit they had been forced to take but hadn’t eaten.

It is a funny old world.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 1:04 pm

Kip, conscious control of anything is like putting a fat lady in a girdle; things pop out in unexpected places. Bureaucrats of all stripes will carry on, none the less.

March 5, 2019 11:25 am

Everything needs a reality check, this one by an old-time sour, dour New Englander:
1) Smartphones –
What smartphone?
2) Leaves –
Mulch pile, then garden.
3) Washing dishes –
The sink, minimal hot water. I was one of those child dishwashing slaves.
4) Buy less clothes –
If I bought any fewer clothes, I would get arrested for public indecency when I go out.
Also freeze in the winter.
5) Shopping online –
????????? (Returning things? Why would you buy something you did not want???)
6) Divest –
Really? Really???
7) Wasting food –
Anybody who wastes food has never been hungry.
8) Heating system –

Reply to  TonyL
March 5, 2019 11:41 am

Tony ==> Cantankerous old coot! (that’s a compliment, by the way.)

March 5, 2019 12:05 pm

“Those of you who live in Fall Leaf Season zones know that the leaves can create an inches thick layer and suffocate any and all but the toughest lawns. We have three fully mature maples in our yard (think 50 feet tall) and they drop a prodigious amount of leave matter. ”

My comment comes from despising ‘well kept’ lawns as mostly sterile places to wildlife, except grubs, voles and moles.
I live on a plot of approximately seven acres, four of them forest. Mostly oak and chokecherry with a few poplar, beech, Virginia cedars, holly, dogwoods, a few pawpaw, hornbeam, maples and one sycamore.

After approximately 100 years of growth the white oaks are coming into their own and taking over from the red oaks. The remaining virginia pines are rapidly declining. Beech trees are making inroads into the forest tree population. Sadly, I doubt that I will get to see them bear beech nuts.

When maple, cherry and pear leaves fall during Fall, or when the oaks finally release their dry leaves when winter strikes; it only takes a pass or two with the lawnmower to return leaf debris back to a size that falls below grass leaves and to the soil.
Ideally, I mow fallen leaves before wind storms force me to share leaves with my neighbors. Though I do view leaves that blow in from upwind neighbor forests as mine, if I mow them quickly enough.

Any lawn/grass suffocation by leaves is from property owner inaction.

Though, if one lives in certain areas of the USA where invasive European worms have taken hold, any accumulated chopped leaf litter, or other humus applications, will quickly disappear.

In the north temperate forests of Minnesota, invasions of European earthworms resulted in
dramatic changes to soil structure; these changes were associated with declines in soil nutrient availability, as well as declines in diversity and abundance of tree seedlings and herbaceous plants (Hale et al. 2005). Also in Minnesota, one study linked the local extirpation of populations of a rare fern, Bostrychium mormo, with the presence of the introduced earthworms Lumbricus rubellus and Dendrobaena octaedra (Gundale 2002). ”

Still, a great article Kip!
I’m just teasing a bit.

Reply to  ATheoK
March 5, 2019 1:53 pm

“The presence of such earthworms as Lumbricus rubellus increases concentrations of vitamin B12-producing microorganisms and vitamin B12 in the soil. The result is an increased barley yield and an increased volume of organic material for the earthworms. In this way a positive feedback relationship exists between the barley, microorganisms and Lumbricus rubellus. ”

Hmmm…on the other worm, they appear on the Invasive Species Specialist Group web page with an interesting discussion.

Reply to  ATheoK
March 5, 2019 2:22 pm


I’m with you 100%. Lawns are a wildlife desert. When I lived at 53 N latitude, I eliminated mine, mulched and planted in a mix of native, fruit and ornamental trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials (and about 3000 spring bulbs). The increase in diversity was amazing – bees, birds, and small mammals especially. I left a metre wide strip of grass next to the sidewalk in front – some people think you must have a front lawn or you are ruining the neighbourhood – but most neighbours complimented me on my ‘wildflower meadow’. Leaves from the street trees were raked onto the garden and left to replenish the mulch.

Northern earthworms are an interesting problem – wiped out by glaciers and slow to recolonise except for introduced species that people have moved around. They certainly disrupt the forest floor flora and fauna that developed after the glaciers melted, but they do make for better garden soil.

John Bell
March 5, 2019 12:17 pm

She said, “Don’t waste your food, there are people starving in China.” And I said, “Make love to me, there are horny guys in Canada!”

Ill Tempered Klavier
Reply to  John Bell
March 5, 2019 7:04 pm

And I said, “Hurry up: I’m off to Canuckistan as soon as you’re done!” 😉 😉

March 5, 2019 1:47 pm

note, mulching blades and mulch adapter on mower decks uses a lot more fuel then very sharp (as in sharpen often) normal discharge blades.
when your average mowing runs 4 hours on a tractor you really see this effect.
also you will need to clean out deck itself a lot less often.

sharpen your blades often, use normal discharge. blow into piles (can use mower for this or use bagger) for your winter mulch and composting.
your gas cans, blade bearings and mandrels, wallet, etc will love you.

I run, on average, 60 to 150 cubic yard compost pile including leaves (use horse manure as base) and stopped dealing with mulch setups on decks. not worth the money.

Reply to  dmacleo
March 5, 2019 2:03 pm

dmacleo ==> Mulching blades do cause one to end up with a lot of very finely chopped gas plastered inside the mower deck — which I clean out once a season when I tip the riding mower up to inspect the blade for sharpness (again, when I say “I” I mean my big adult boys). This grass mush goes in the compost pile. As we have only “grassy areas” (not Better Homes and Gardens lawns) we are pretty lax about grass heights and don’t mow any oftener than necessary (I think this means when my oldest son’s socks get wet in the morning due, grass being higher than his shoes — though this is not a truly scientific observation).

If your average mowing task takes four hours, you have my sympathy

Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 2:23 pm

I only mention this as you mentioned an actual compost pile. I found non “mulched” BUT mowed leaves (I leave grass clippings where they lay, I run good blades sharpened weekly) to give higher heat in compost pile. even when I cannot get massey tractor on site to turn pile.
I also (weekly) sharpen blades for multiple zero turns and push mowers used by friend for commercial lawn care so….3 more blades each week nothing much to do. keep 2 sets, one always sharp swap out sharpen old ones when get chance.
since I converted sand (literally 12 ft deep) to lawn (around actual house site) got lot of experience seeing what worked best. mulch or sharp blades.
blades won. then rest of lot (old cow pasture so is really hay) surrounded by normal Maine trees so get ton of leaves there. plus the trees (used hybrid poplars here, 70+ ft tall in 10 years) I planted for shade and wind block drop a lot…..
just opinion of course, but I think mulching mowers almost as big a scam as AGW. not mulching left me less japanese beetle infestations, etc.
take a chance….try my thinking once season 🙂
worst case is you use less of that evil gasoline LOL
and of course, every lot/situation is different and what works best for me may not work best for you.
just a thought.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  dmacleo
March 5, 2019 2:57 pm

Ug, it’s a major effort to remove the 54″ mower deck on my tractor to get to the blades. Weekly sharpening is not in the cards for me. Yearly is the best I can manage, so I use mulching blades. As to the mess it leaves in the deck, I simply clean it after each mowing. Takes only a few minutes with the garden hose, an adjustable angle adapter, and a small nozzle. I have two acres to mow and this works great for me. I have a plot that was farm land just a few years ago, so there’s no trees or bushes. If I didn’t have a lawn of some kind, the weeks would be so tall and thick I would need a machete to move around the property. I planted fescue to have a more natural look and I cut it as high as the mower will allow (about 5″). So far this has been a reasonable compromise. I use as few chemicals as possible (mostly because they are expensive), but some of the weeds here a very aggressive, so I have to stay on top of them. It’s a lot of work, but my wife and dogs appreciate it.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
March 5, 2019 4:05 pm

I don’t bother removing deck, drive onto ramp of trailer (at angle/orientation that leaves deck room) reach under swap blades. course I do multiple “decks” a week so learned some tricks. I have air guns or (in case of 1 zero turn) air gun AND electric impact/long breaker bar so am used to it.

still…with all this talk about cleaning and blade swaps nobody else has actually checked fuel usage as I have on multiple sized decks (from 46 inch to 72 inch, 22hp to 30hp gas and 23 to 30hp diesel) which was really the big issue.
run your fuel figures.
figure out what works best for you.

March 5, 2019 2:39 pm

Darn Kip,

I thought you were giving me a chance to virtue signal about all the flowers I have planted and how the native bees love me for it. Instead, I probably shouldn’t even mention it, but in Australia rinsing dishes is not something one does in polite company. Scrub pan to the rack is the usual path and wipe off any suds with a towel before putting away in drawer or cabinet. When you are living on tank water and the rains are irregular and unpredictable, then you don’t want to waste any. When I lived in a wetter land I had one of those rolling dishwashers like you had and only ran a cycle when it was full. Had to clean out the drain regularly though.

Off this topic, but in reference to your Monarch essay, seems the Monarch people have been arguing for years about what the Eastern NA migration was like before forest clearing. A consensus may or may not exist that there was a smaller migration up and down The Great Plains before they were plowed and it moved east and grew larger as the forests were cleared and weedy milkweeds spread. Lincoln Brower wrote about it here:

Reply to  DaveW
March 5, 2019 3:16 pm

DaveW ==> Thanks for the Monarchs link — I will be doing a follow-up sometimes this month.

Our 12 years aboard our sailboat taught us a lot about how to conserve fresh water and when salt water was adequate to the tax.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 5, 2019 3:45 pm

….adequate to the task.

John Bell
March 5, 2019 3:56 pm

Kip – or anybody, okay I gotta ask, if a “god” exists, then where did it come from (what made god) and why can we not detect it? (the god) and what does god do, operationally speaking?

Reply to  John Bell
March 5, 2019 4:59 pm

John Bell ==> Try William Briggs’ site — where he has run a long-term series on such matters.

Leo Smith
Reply to  John Bell
March 5, 2019 9:43 pm

your question extends the notion of temporality and causality beyond breaking point.

Consider: ‘who made God’?

Now implicit in the question is the notion that causality is more fundamental than God, and that time is more fundamental than God. You are so to speak placing this putative God inside the space time causal universe that you consider to exist. In short you have assumed a temporal causal world without God into which a God is to be created.

That is circular thinking just as much as a world with nothing BUT God in it, that then decides, or whatever, to become phenomenal at which point space, time energy and causality appears simultaneously. I.e a sort of Godly Big Fart.

Science today is closer to re-stating Genesis as a creation myth than at any time in the last 400 years.

Of course the personality and intelligence and purposefulness of a Classic God is missing from Science. Occam deems it not necessary, to explain things. So it’s been discarded.

As far as 58% of (US) scientists believing in God. Well 97% of them believe in climate change, so statistically that’s not a big statement innit?

Yours, playfully, and philosophically,

Bewildered, of Britain…


Johann Wundersamer
March 6, 2019 2:47 am

“4. Buy fewer clothes

A GOOD THING — but not because they use water and chemicals to make clothes! And not that not all clothes are biodegradable, so “it’s best to wear your clothes for a long, long time.” (hey, but please, wash them regularly, even though it uses water!) However, over-consumption is not a good thing — so buying fewer clothes is a positive.”

Oh yah! Every green renewable environment protecting caring females is a role model :

Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
March 6, 2019 3:20 am

We are told that every time we wash synthetic fabrics significant amounts of ‘microplastics’ go down the drain and into the ocean where they cause problems with plankton.
It seems that we should all be wearing natural fibres?

Reply to  StephenP
March 6, 2019 4:05 am

well wool and coton wear well, and last if decent quality.
however Aussie wool os hitting 20$au perkilo or more this year
so woolen clothing blankets etc will be damned pricey very soon.
drought stock losses and possible wartimes tend to make wool a valuable commodity.
the price per kilo for wax has also risen substantially in the last year to well over 5x the price paid for wholesale honey. another hint its being bought up for a purpose we mightnt enjoy.

Reply to  StephenP
March 6, 2019 7:01 am

Stephen ==> Those microfibers are food for bacteria that eats them in the ocean….lots of research going on in this realm. The truth about pelagic plastic is that plastic items general break down into smaller and smaller pieces which then “disappear” — had people baffled until they looked at these tiny bits in an electron microscope and saw that the bits were simply being eaten by various bacteria.
I’ll be writing here about that soon.

March 8, 2019 8:07 am


Fine discussion — and a lot of interest in the best way to deal with fallen leaves — we ought to start a garden and lawn care site!

Seriously, I appreciate all the participation in the comments section here. I am repeatedly surprised by one of two things (and I have no way to determine which of these things it is) 1) The journalists at the NY Times think that their readers are imbeciles who can easily be led by the nose to follow such silly suggestions on “saving the planet” or 2) That the journalists themselves have been brainwashed-by-echo-chamber to be foolish enough to actually believe these things will have a planetwide impact. I grant the possinbility that both are true.

Thanks for participating and….

Thanks for reading.

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