Sunday, May 26, 2024

My plan to produce a few more hand painted greeting cards

 Abbott’s Pass
watercolour greeting card
©2024 Charlene Brown

My semi-successful project to paint Christmas cards last year ─ only six turned out, and another was Photoshopped into an acceptable jpeg suitable for getting prints made  ̶   used up my supply of blank watercolour cards.

I decided to buy another six-pack and try painting Other Occasion, Congratulations, Get Well or whatever-came-along cards. Turns out they don’t sell six-packs or even ten-packs anymore.  I had to buy a set of 50!

The painting I used on my April 7 blogpost was the first painted card from this enormous supply, and is actually quite a bit smaller than it appears on the screen.

The greeting card painting above, Abbott’s Pass, shows one of the many individual Google Street Views I painted prior to combining several (not including this one) into a  multi-viewpoint picture of the Plain of Six Glaciers.  I’ll write about another one that didn’t ‘make the cut’ next week.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Climate change and global decarbonization

I follow The Daily Difference Newsletterwhere the winners of the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) Pioneers 2024 Awards were announced on May 3.

BNEF Pioneers is a program that identifies "game-changing innovations with the potential to accelerate global decarbonization and halt climate change.”

In 2024 the program focused on the following three areas, and other projects were allowed to apply in a Wild Card category:

·       Helping the deployment of clean energy
·       Decarbonizing the construction industry
·        Creating alternative fuels

Of the 240 companies from around the world that applied to be considered, 11 were selected to receive awards this year. 

I thought I was keeping up pretty well with climate change mitigation research   ̶  reading online, and in newspapers and magazines    ̶  and have written a book, Inventing the Future (shown above), as well as several blog posts on related topics

However, when I tried guessing what specific research would be included before reading the Daily Difference article, I barely came close on only four of them (identified with asterisks in the outline below). 

Although I agree with the aims of the first, second, and fourth of these project categories, I remain somewhat dubious about the objectives of the third. 

1. Deployment of clean energy:

  •  envelio - intelligent power grid design
  • PVcase - PV site selection and design
  • TS Conductor - high performance conductors for modern power grids

2. Decarbonizing the construction industry:

3. Creating alternative fuels:

  •  CoverCress - advanced breeding and gene editing to create climate-smart winter-growth cover crop that can be refined to produce ethanol.*
  • XFuel - conversion technology producing waste-derived bio synthetic fuel.*

4. Wild Cards – outside these categories:

  • ElementZero - converts metal ores to pure metal with zero carbon emissions
  • Li-Metal  creating scalable technologies for next-generation batteries
  • NatureMetrics  scalable nature intelligence & biodiversity metrics powered by eDNA

Climate change and decarbonization research is a much wider field than I imagined.  And it’s growing exponentially!

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Reducing the food component of your carbon footprint

 Mt. Meager
atercolour and crayon
©2020 Charlene Brown

A Canada/UKstudy published in Nature Food, a peer-reviewed online journal covering research, reviews and comment on all aspects of food production, processing, distribution and consumption, outlined the environmental and nutritional benefits of reducing consumption of red meats (significant) and dairy products (not so much).

They found that replacing half of the red meat in the average Canadian diet with plant proteins would shrink an individual’s food-related carbon footprint by a striking 25%. But replacing half the dairy products with plant alternatives only erased 5% of dietary emissions.

The relatively small size of the environmental gains for dairy substitutes were put into perspective when they were weighed against some of the nutritional losses which would result from such a shift.  

The most striking figure was that a 50% dairy replacement would lead to a 14% increase in the number of people experiencing a calcium deficit in Canada—an ingredient that is critical for the growth of healthy muscles and bones.

The study produced much more detail, and many more measurements, ratios, and percentages, but I am only mentioning the most easily interpreted results   ̶  coincidentally, the results which lead to dietary recommendations I agree with.  To a certain extent, I'm already following these recommendations in an effort to reduce my own carbon footprint. It’s not difficult to eat red meat less frequently, but I’d hate to try to live without cheese.

I’ve used the painting of Mt. Meager to illustrate this post because it seems to be my only painting that includes livestock. They started out as horses (by no mean a significant part of the Canadian diet) but for now they are going to be cattle.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Google Street View − the ultimate multi-viewpoint presentation!

Plain of Six Glaciers above Lake Louise
Watercolour, crayon and computer
©2024 Charlene Brown

In the late 1950s when I was in high school, it was our custom to hike to the Plain of Six Glaciers after work on the August long weekend – a distance of about 5 km with an elevation gain of about 500 m. After camping overnight on the Plain of Six Glaciers, we would continue up a much steeper, more rugged trail along the crest of a moraine to a ‘corn snow’ slope at the north end of Victoria Glacier. Carrying our ski equipment! 

Most of us had only enough stamina for one or two careful runs down the slope, stopping well short of the precipitous drop-off for which Mt. Victoria is famous.  The (barely) skiable part of the glacier is on the right edge of the painting above.   

To my amazement, I recently discovered that the trail can be found on Google Street View – I can’t believe somebody got a Google camera up there!

Have a look at this link or this one  Swivel the camera at each location and you’ll see a few of the many shots I used to produce the telescoped and manipulated composition above.