Footprints Footprints Newsletter

 Newsletter #5 - Christmas edition 2006 
 The Crisis Coalition Team at


In this

. What you can do at home
. Consequence if we do not
. What you can do politically

Comparison of US and Australian ecological footprints with African. Every American puts 22 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year, every Australian 17 tons and most Africans a lot less than 1 ton each.

This is our fifth FOOTPRINT Newsletter
click for #1 - #2 - #3 - #4 or the full archive.

The Crisis Coalition aims to raise awareness and to galvanise action.

The truth of our situation is assembled in

Kindly send this newsletter to your friends and encourage them to read the material on our site and join our mailing list.

 What you can do at home - this Christmas.

These are the small actions you can take over Christmas - do them with your family, get the kids to join in - make it FUN !

For more see our site under "personally"

* Shift to Green Power. This is NOT expensive. See the page on our site for how to do it. This can save 5 tons of carbon a year.
* Check energy bills and set targets to reduce the power you use each day.
* Turn off lights when not in use. Dimmers do not save electricity.
* Use compact fluorescent or light emitting diode light bulbs. Halogen globes are not significantly energy efficient.
* Turn off equipment at the wall: computers, monitors, TVs, stereos, play stations, mobile phone and battery chargers.
* Dry clothes outside or on a rack.
* Read about more possible savings on our Personal page.

Heating: In cold places about 60% of energy is used for heating.
* Reduce temperature on thermostat
* Close vents to rooms where heating is not needed
* Hang curtains across stairs to stop heat loss
* Timer to turn heaters off at night and to restart before waking.

* Use rugs on bare floors
* Weather sealing the house is one of the most cost-effective ways * Fit draught stoppers to bottom of all external doors
* Block unnecessary ceiling and roof vents
* Close doors to bathrooms, toilet and laundry when using heating.

Windows: surprising how much heat escapes behind the blinds
* Stop air flow behind curtains that loses heat through the glass: cover top of curtain tracks and extend curtains to the floor.
* Install external shading to keep sun off windows in hot weather
* Plant deciduous trees to shade north, east or west windows

Cooling: Air con can be a very big energy user
* Close windows when it starts to get hot early in the day, and open them again when it cools off in the evening - this can be a fun thing for the family.
* Install external shades to keep summer sun off windows
* Use fans and evaporative cooling rather than air conditioning.
* Increase winter thermostat settings, reverse in summer.
* Install solar panels to power your air conditioning unit - there will always be enough sun to drive it and it saves building another power station to cope with the summer surge.

Hot water: After these, electric hot water takes the most energy
* Extra lagging on hot water pipes.
* If hot water unit is external, cover it against the cold.
* Reduce hot water temperature to 55-60 degrees C.
* Turn off electric hot water when going away.
* Wash clothes in cold water, its just as effective.

Kitchen Appliances: The fridge especially.
* Locate fridge out of sun, and away from the heat from the stoves
* Keep fridge defrosted and coils dusted
* Turn off second fridge or freezer when not in use.


Our kids would love to lead

 The consequences if we fail

The key fact is that warming above 2 degrees C is now inevitable. At this temperature all the ice caps will melt and sea levels will rise - slowly at first (say 7 meters, if you can call that slow!) and then fairly quickly to 80 meters or more.

As massive sea-rise could begin in as little as three or four years we need to plan for the consequences - though there is still time!!

Most coastal cities such as London, Rome and New York would become uninhabitable for many. Metros would be flooded, sewage and stormwater systems would be overwhelmed, and much telephone, electricity and broadband infrastructure would be out of action.

More drastically, docks would be underwater so that food and oil could not be landed, even if it could be loaded onto the ships in the first place.
Enormous areas of the most productive agricultural land would be underwater. One thinks immediately of Bangladesh and the North Sea farms in Holland and Anglesea. In addition frequent floods, droughts and storms would cause severe losses every year. The reduction in food production would be so grave that half the world's population would be hungry or starving. Where do you think they will go?

The alteration in the cold water flow that drives the great deep-sea currents of the world would have a profound impact on the Gulf Stream, with completely unpredictable results. The eastern US and Europe may become hotter or colder or more storm-ridden. No matter which, the outcome spells serious changes for some of the most advanced cultures on earth.

Transportation will be limited as deliveries of oil become more difficult. Paved roads will go unrepaired and become potholed, and gradually blocked by abandoned cars. Where have our railways gone?

Suburbia would break down, for shopping and income are dependent on the motor car and the truck.

Repairs to existing plant and machinery will become increasingly difficult as spare parts are used up and the industrial infrastructure declines. Those who can remember how they managed in the Depression years of the 1930s will be the experts.

World drought in equatorial and southern regions will bring hardship to more than a billion people. Melting of the Tibetan glaciers will deprive another billion in China and India of water for agriculture.

Lastly, and most significantly for a world that is now awash in guns, people, in their millions, will be on the move for survival. This would lead to economic and political instability, both nationally and internationally, and even to wars as refugees seek new homes and countries clash over scarce water and food supplies. The industrial countries would be under immense pressure from huge numbers of refugees.


                THEN START ACTING !

What you can do politically 

We suggest you join the Citizens Climate Campaign who aim to get thousands of Australians to send a short letter to politicians of their choice. [Is there a similar program in the US and EU?]

They ask you to make a commitment to send at least one letter a month on some aspect of climate change.

To make this as easy as possible, they will send you a short email each month with information, and a few points to make in your message. It will include contact details for politicians so you may choose whom to write to.

Then you write your own message, using their suggestions if you wish to. It takes only ten minutes once a month. To join this campaign: send an email saying "YES" to

This is what you can do personally.

Kindly send this newsletter to your friends and encourage them to read the material on our site and join our mailing list. Pin this up on notice boards - circulate this information.

What is a Footprint?

Special Christmas request: We now have charitable status so that donations are tax deductable in Australia.

Please consider sending us
$10 or $20 per month as our internet and email costs are far from negligible.

Thankyou, and greetings from the Crisis Coalition team.

Climate change is akin to the danger the Allies faced in WW2. We need to mobilise society and the economy. Remember that Roosevelt halted auto production by decree, ordered massive armaments production, instituted universal rationing, and mobilized the entire country, all in the first month. Do you think this crisis is less serious than the last war? Only regulation - that deeply unfashionable idea - can quell the destruction wrought by the god we serve, the god of our own appetites.

Street lights often malfunction. Lights that do not turn off automatically can waste around 14 hours electricity per day. Fixing the sensors can be expensive, but it is the Council's job. You may like to gather a group pf local citizens to make complaints. Max Stark estimates  one light wastes 7 kilowatt hours of electricity per day, which is around 2 kg of coal per light.

You don't have to be a Rhodes scholar to extend this to all malfunctioning lights in your suburb that are on 24/7, most of them through indifference. Clubs and commercial premises have the same casual unconcern. You can set up local area awareness groups to deal with unnecessary power use.

Where has all the snow gone?
In mid-December spring has already come to the roof of Europe. The Alps are covered in green meadows, not white pistes. International races are being cancelled for lack of snow. Average snow levels are half what they were in. 1960.

Daisies have been poking though the grass; alpine gentians are blossoming at 1,000 meters, spring forsythia are giving the valleys an unprecedented splash of colour. Fruit trees are already in bud.

Temperatures are 3 degrees higher than normal, and in some resorts it is so warm that artificial snowmaking machines will not work. The Tramontana that should have arrived in October hit Italy December 21.

Here is the most telling story: In Geneva's old town grows an official chestnut tree. Every spring since 1818 the city has noted when it puts out its first bud, usually some time in March, rarely in February. This year, for the first time ever, the tree burst into bloom in late October - and is still sporting flowers and leaves. Winter appears to have been cancelled

Masses of rock have started detaching themselves from mountains like the Eiger, and whole cliff faces have disin-tegrated as the ice that glues them together has melted.

Moscow has just had the hottest winter day ever at 8.6 degrees cemtigrade, compared to the usual minus four degrees. Jaguars have ventured out of their warm lairs in Moscow zoo to enjoy the balmy weather, and bears have refused to hibernate. Buds are sprouting on the trees and spring flowers such as violets and coltsfoot are blossoming. The Russian state weather centre says it is refusing to freeze "even beyond the Arctic circle".

In Scandinavia butterflies have been seen on the wing, heather is flowering in Poland, Daffodils are in flower in the Netherlands, where 240 wild plants are in flower, and people are still sunbathing and swimming on Spanish beaches.

UN report from the IPCC: Considerable publicity has been given to one aspect of this report: that man has had less impact on global warming than was thought. The headline is misleading. 
The report still warns that the rate of emissions is increasing, and that the annual CO2 level has risen during the past five years by 3%, well above the 2% per five years in earlier decades.

This will quickly take average European temperatures to those seen during the 2003 heatwave. Average, note - not exceptional any more. This was 38 degrees C in August . The report expects more storms and even tornados on the continent.

It emphasised that the cooling caused by the industrial haze called global dimming (as it reflects heat from the sun) is masking the true heat gain. When the glaciers melt there will be a inevitable slowing of industry. Then these particless will float back to earth, precipitating an instantaneous and additional temperature increase.

The slow heating of the oceans is another mask, for they have been acting like giant storage heaters. This is a time-bomb: as oceans stop sequesting CO2 as they get hotter, scientists are very worried about what will happen as the oceans heat up.
This is just one more tipping point, see our list. It is only one reason why the report states it is  critical to act now to compensate for the acceleration that will occur when the oceans stop taking in carbon.

In contrast to the headline, the report paints a bleak picture for future generations unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced - immediately.

Tories want deeper emission cuts. UK Labour government's aim of cutting CO2 emissions by 60% by 2050 will not be enough to stop temperature increases above 2 degrees C, stated the Conservative Party's Quality of Life Policy Group.

Instead, the government should plan to cut emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels. This Tory group has insisted that interim targets be set to make sure the long-term goals are reached.

We can transform our life on 
              this planet,
       maintain our lifestyles. 
            We can do both 
           - if we start NOW.

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