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John Mott-Smith

Per Capita Davis: Pieces of the puzzle

Sometimes random news items share a thread that, when linked together, become a theme for a column. Other times, like now, the thread and theme are not obvious, but the individual items are still of interest (at least to me) because they’re a part of the overall discussion about climate change. “More cars across the […]

March 07, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Living small

For your reading pleasure (I hope), a bunch of small items sent in by readers or culled from various news sources over the last little while. Small is beautiful (in the eye of the beholder): What do you do if you live in a city that’s surrounded on all sides either by other cities or […]

February 21, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: More than one new year’s resolution

It’s that time of year when couch potatoes put on their running shoes and the local gyms get crowded with good intentions and resolutions to, this year for sure, shed a few pounds and get back in shape. It was encouraging to hear one of President Obama’s new year’s resolutions. In his inauguration speech, he […]

February 07, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita: Feeling the heat

I find it difficult at times to get my mind around the scope or scale of global warming. We speak about this issue as affecting the “planet” or the “atmosphere” or the “weather” or the “oceans” (plural) or the “permafrost” or the ice in the Arctic and Antarctic but, really, how massive does a phenomenon […]

January 17, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Seattle, Portland are sustainability models

Davis is proud of its record on energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability, and justifiably so, but there are other communities that think they are the leader in pioneering efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I visited two of these recently — Seattle and Portland — to take their measure and compare our city to […]

January 03, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Climate change news in 2012? Mostly bad

Where to start? It’s the end of the year, time to look back and see what happened both good and bad with climate change in 2012. The easiest starting point is with basic data. The Scripps Institute, keeper of records back to 1958 (see www.co2now.org), reports average annual levels of CO2 in the atmosphere as […]

December 20, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: UC Davis is putting us on the map

For years, whenever I traveled outside of the Sacramento region, whether to Europe, Asia, New York or Los Angeles, when the question was asked “Where are you from?” my answer was always either “Sacramento” or “near San Francisco” or “a small town between SF and Sacramento.” If ever I said “Davis,” the follow-up question was, […]

December 06, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Do we need all these electricity-gobbling gadgets?

Everything, it seems, is getting more energy-efficient. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use a fraction of the energy of the old incandescent bulbs. Cars are getting many more miles per gallon than just a few years ago. Utilities, including PG&E, are rewarded for programs and technologies that reduce the amount of energy consumed. It’s all good, […]

November 15, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Cows, wind and airplanes

WEIRD SCIENCE: My last article featured a “Bluff the Reader” challenge to find which of three seemingly ridiculous scientific efforts was, in fact, under way in response to climate change. One of these was to genetically engineer the human body to make it smaller (less resource consumption) and another approach was to create drugs that […]

November 01, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Bluffing the reader

I guess I’m somewhere in between in terms of where I go for news and events. On the one hand, I still read the newspaper instead of getting news online. On the other hand, and I don’t know exactly where it falls on the spectrum between old and new news sources, but I listen to […]

October 18, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Cool Davis gets festive

It’s that time of year again, when the folks at Cool Davis put on the annual funfest to make real their organization’s promise to “promote sustainability and have fun doing it.” The issue of climate change and its potential adverse effects can be deadly dull and somewhat depressing. The Cool Davis Festival celebrates the positive […]

October 04, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Wind energy potential explored

When we think of renewable energy in Davis or Yolo County, we (or at least I) think almost exclusively of solar, with a bit of biofuels thrown in. But the county is currently assessing the potential for wind energy in the Dunnigan Hills and recently organized a combination symposium and field trip to explore the […]

September 20, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Short stuff on weeds, fish and meat

A benefit of writing this column is that lots of little things come my way; some from readers, some from my own reading, others from people I meet around town. These items don’t need a full column but I find them interesting and worth passing on. So here’s a collection of “short stuff” from the […]

September 06, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Things are heating up

Things are heating up, and not just in the presidential election. James Hansen, one of the first to sound the alarm about climate change, recently published the results of a study examining the percentage of the Earth’s surface (not counting the oceans) that experiences “extreme heat” in the summer. According to the study, this percentage […]

August 17, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,
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