How Asia’s air pollution spreads across Earth

I saw this interesting video on how Asia’s air pollution spreads across Earth. I’m posting this here because I live in Asia—and a tropical country at that! And when you watch Hollywood disaster movies from recent years, tropical countries like the Philippines almost always gets immediately wiped out when doomsday comes. Not only are we vulnerable in Hollywood, we are vulnerable in real life, as well. Case in point: Stronger typhoons in the Philippines year after year. Onday. Haiyan. What’s next?

According to this Salon.com article titled

“Frightening video shows Asia’s air pollution spread across Earth”

this video from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, taken from 2006 to 2007, shows how aerosols travel via wind patterns across the planet. This results to stronger cyclones especially in tropical countries. How? When more water condenses onto the increased aerosols, this action releases more energy and eventually creates stronger Pacific storms.

Scary.

My latest ukay-ukay finds

It’s been a while since I visited Querra Thrift Shop. I prioritized the completion of my grad school coursework, so I was practically buried in journals and books and constantly tapping on the keyboard to finish my final papers (Take note of the “s” in papers). So when I saw the 3-for-100 sign at Querra last Monday, I knew I had to pay this place a visit.

But it seems every student in the area had it easy in school. Almost all the good second hand clothes were taken. I had to wade through the seemingly endless rack of rags before I got my “shortlist” of six blouses, which I later narrowed down to three–for the 3-for-100 deal, of course!

Having been made to attend a ” corporate image workshop” at work in Summer 2010, I have learned to train my eyes to chuck colors outside of the winter color palette. That is, cool colors reminiscent of winter. According to the workshop trainer, I am a “winter person”, so only cool and pure colors suit me. This is well and good, because this means I can easily weed out clothes on racks with colors that don’t suit me. Ergo, I can quickly zoom in and choose from clothes whose colors fit my supposed skin tone.

Anyway, here are my finds, and why I like them.

Trendy black tee. Photo by Me.

This is a trendy black tee. I like it because it’s a t-shirt with a twist. The cream-colored cord wrapped around the neckline and the bottom edge of the shirt lends this piece a trendy and creative vibe. The lace detail at the bottom adds a sweet girly touch. This is a great top to wear on casual Fridays at the office and on weekend trips to artsy places, especially for people working in the creative field. It gives off the right impression and makes you look the part of the mysterious and young lady writer.

Peasant blouse. Photo by Me.

I couldn’t remember if something light brown (with hints of gray) suits my skin tone but I bought this piece anyway for the sweet and innocent vibe it evokes. I already have a blouse that looks somewhat like this, but the cloth and the drawstring detail at the bottom made all the difference. This is a nice summer piece that I can see myself wearing with khaki clam diggers or khaki capri pants.

Denim button-down blouse. Photo by Me.

This denim button-down blouse barely made it to my top 3 picks. What made me decide to buy it was that it looked new and hardly used. The material was light enough, even if it’s denim. The embroidery at the top was a nice touch, too. So I can see myself wearing it this summer, maybe with navy blue capri pants or with walking shorts. In cooler months, I can layer it on top of a white tank. Or maybe I can wear it with a vest or with a sleeveless sweater for a preppy look.

LG’s Cookie Pop phone is solar-powered

LG Cookie Pop might be of interest to those looking for a green phone. Aside from being an affordable touchscreen phone (priced at Php 9,990) equipped with a 3-megapixel camera and social networking functions, it also showcases a host of green features, foremost of which is its solar cell powered battery cover. With this, users can utilize the sun’s energy to charge their phones in the absence of a normal charger. This, of course, also saves on electricity, which is a good thing since our collectively energy consumption is the number one cause of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a National Geographic documentary I watched before.

Other green features of the LG Cookie Pop phone are:

* It does not contain any polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and is made free of BFR (brominated flame retardants) and CFR (chlorinated flame retardants) almost up to 99.9 percent

* When using the accompanying charger (not the solar powered battery cover), the phone beeps when fully charged to signal to the owner that it’s time to unplug it, thus saving energy

* It is equipped with Eco-tree and Eco-calculator which tracks how users have reduced carbon emissions by charging through the solar cell battery

* The packaging is made from recycled paper and uses soy ink for printing

There are other phones in the Cookie range, such as the LG Cookie Wi-fi and the LG Cookie Ultima, but these don’t have a solar cell battery. I wonder why, since a solar cell battery is a good thing. Any answers, LG?

My carbon footprint

carbon_dch_footprint

After reading a newspaper article where the writer measured her carbon footprint online last week, I decided to try calculating mine today.

For some reason, I decided to visit Loren Legarda’s website first before googling “carbon footprint calculator”, and lo and behold, Legarda actually has one such calculator embedded on her site!

Not that I am undoubtedly voting for Legarda at next year’s national elections. There’s also Mar Roxas who I’m thinking about. But I must admit that I am seriously contemplating Legarda. I’ve always remembered her as an environmental advocate since she started out her political career when I was in grade school, and she has steadily advocated for climate change up to the present time.  Aside from that, she is also pro-women and pro-education, which makes my heart melt.

AND (and!) she was the only guest politician who came on time to speak to public relations practitioners about our role in making change during last September’s public relations congress, an annual event organized by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines.

In fairness, Chiz Escudero apologized for being late, citing the unexpectedly heavy rain as culprit. Then there was Dick Gordon, who was just…plain late.

But back to my carbon footprint, which I pegged from October 1, 2009 to November 1, 2009. After inputting the numbers for my flights (I took the plane route Manila-Laoag-Manila during my Fort Ilocandia vacation) and my secondary footprint, I found out that my total carbon footprint is 0.40 tonnes of CO2, which equates to 4.46 tonnes per year.

But of course, I know that that’s not entirely the true picture. I didn’t fill in the numbers for house, car, bus and rail simply because I am not sure of how I fare in these factors. I’m not sure how much electricity I personally consume at home. And while I don’t own a car, I take the jeepney, but there’s no jeepney option at the carbon footprint calculator I used.

So if I include these yet-to-be-measured factors, my carbon footprint will surely increase. I might even exceed the Filipino average of 0.97 tonnes, given my penchant for malling and eating out.

Some other data from the website:

  • The average for the industrial nations is about 11 tonnes
  • The average worldwide carbon footprint is about 4 tonnes
  • The worldwide target to combat climate change is 2 tonnes

I must help get the worldwide target of 2 tonnes. For one, I never ever want a repeat of Typhoon Ondoy again. EVER. Funny, but while home-hunting these days, real estate brokers have started to put “Ondoy-proof” and “40 meters above sea level” and other such comforting things to their marketing materials.

Another reason is that (cheesy, hehe) I would want to take my beautiful future children to the Philippines’ (and the world’s) beautiful islands when the time comes.

And last but not least, taking care of the environment is (seryoso ito ha) a great way of honoring God. So ayun.

So I clicked on the link outlining suggestions on how to reduce our carbon footprint and I must say some things really hit some guilt in me:

* Buying bottled water instead of bringing my own portable water container (I actually have two containers, which were freebies–one from a PR partner and another from a cooperative I am part of)

* Not growing my own vegetables (I actually tried to plant basil for my pesto before, but got discouraged when the maya birds feasted on them before I did)

* Eating too much meat (chicken and fish, mostly)

* Not minding too much if a certain product seems to be overpackaged, thinking that it’s part of what I paid for, anyway (Note to self: Start bringing a reusable canvass bag to the supermarket and the mall)

Okay then. I guess the changes start now. Must. Reduce. Carbon. Footprint.

Join me. =)