Saturday, July 18, 2009

Roots & Shoots & White Roofs

Jane Goodall was interviewed in the LA Times today. I have always admired her dedication to her work, her sensitivity and her awareness of the interconnectedness of life on our small planet. Among her other accomplishments, she created Roots and Shoots, a non-profit organization for activist young people:

"Roots creep underground everywhere and make a firm foundation. Shoots seem very weak, but to reach the light, they can break open brick walls. Imagine that the brick walls are all the problems we have inflicted on our planet. Hundreds of thousands of roots & shoots, hundreds of thousands of young people around the world, can break through these walls. We CAN change the world."

When asked what just one person could do to help, she suggested that we all could ". . . spend just a little bit of time learning about the consequences of the choices you make each day – what you buy, what you eat, what you wear, how you interact with people and animals – and start consciously making choices that would be beneficial rather than harmful."

In other words, be thoughtful consumers.

Over the last several months of my blogging hiatus, I've read many news stories that I thought warranted a Thoughtful Consumer blog post. I found that I missed the opportunity to write about those topics that you, my readers, and I seem to agree are interesting. Reading the Jane Goodall interview made me decide to make time to return to blogging. The posts may be briefer and they may be sporadic, but I hope you'll enjoy continuing to ponder with me some of these issues, from architecture to advertising to clutter and whatever else affects us as consumers.

I also don't think anyone is ever too old to qualify as a "shoot" that can break down some of those brick walls of problems we face.

Retired Air Force colonel and chemical engineer Ronald Savin is a perfect example. In 2006, he invented a type of reflective paint that was recently used by the Anaheim Hilton Hotel on its roof. It creates a "blindingly white" surface that "deflects nearly 85% of the heat that hits it, reducing the surface temperature by as much as 50 degrees. That means less energy is needed to cool the hotel's interior, cutting air-conditioning costs and carbon emissions."

Savin was inspired by a documentary on the History Channel about recycling rubber.

"His Hyperglass top coat is designed like a Rice Krispies treat. Glass 'microspheres,' which are used to lighten airplane parts and bowling balls, are suspended in a paint that includes Teflon. The whiter the titanium dioxide tint, the more heat bounces off. Underneath, his Hyperflex primer serves as an insulation layer that also helps prevent water damage and erosion. And because it uses powdered recycled rubber, it helps address another thorny environmental issue: the millions of tires discarded annually in the U.S."

Although Savin's unique paint is a recent invention, the concept of using white roofs to save energy is not new. But the realization of its potential positive effect on curbing global warming is resulting in the idea slowly picking up steam (see a 2008 LA Times article).

An ABC Channel 7 News blog recent post about white roofs reported:

"Several states have already started to push white or light-colored roofs. Four years ago, California made it law that all new flat roofs be white. In July [2009], the state will demand that any new roofs that slope (including homes) be light or white. Georgia and Florida, among others, offer incentives for white roofs."

In May, Energy Secretary Steven Chu advocated white roofs to fight global warming.

In addition to the links above, you can take a look at a related Thoughtful Consumer post from 2008 (Green White Roofs) that provides more information about the topic.

Such a simple solution, at least for those of us in the Sun Belt. If you need a new roof, this will give you an opportunity to save money on your air conditioning bills and do some good for the planet.


© 2009 Cynthia Friedlob


Jeri Dansky said...

Hurrah - you're back to blogging, however sporadic! That's great news.

Cynthia Friedlob said...

Thanks, Jeri! I'm very glad that you're still going to be a reader.

Once I decided to post as often as I can rather than as often as I'm "supposed to" do it, it was an easy decision.

"Should" can be such a problematic word!

Claire Josefine said...

I'm so glad you're back, Cynthia! I really appreciate the information you find and share, as well as your presentation of it. As for being a sporadic blogger -- heck, so am I. Write when you have something to say, not just cause someone somewhere made up a rule that said you/we should. Or at least that's my m.o.

Looking forward to future posts.

Cynthia Friedlob said...

Nice to hear from you, Claire! And thank you.

You have a decidedly more "zen" approach than I do, and I admire that. My goal, in my older years, is to lighten up and just be content with offering my best effort.

Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

Cynthia - I was so happy to see your post in my inbox. You've always been one of my favorite bloggers and I've missed your insightful commentary. Glad you are back!

Cynthia Friedlob said...

Thank you, Liz! I appreciate your kind words and continued support. I'm happy to be blogging again and I'll look forward to your comments in the future.

John Trosko said...

Great to see you back and I will enjoy whatever time you are able to spend on your site. Keep up the good work...


Cynthia Friedlob said...

Thank you, John! I appreciate your support and encouragement.