Tag Archives: climate change

Good News, Major Insurance Companies Recognize Climate Change is Happening…But will that make a difference?

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How will insurance companies handle increased risk of disasters, like flooding?

During the Q&A session I asked speakers at a March 19, 2015 Weston Sustainability Round Table about insurance and climate change.  Did insurance companies have the clout, perspective and willingness to advocate strategies that reduce the magnitude of climate change?  Would such businesses support a carbon tax?  For the record, “murky” seemed to characterize the situation as they described it.  Their answer parallels comments made by an Insurance industry expert who spoke on a Citizen’s Climate Lobby monthly conference call in 2014.  According to both presentations, insurance companies, and reinsurance companies in particular, recognize the reality of climate change and its human causes.  Unfortunately they have not, and likely will not, advocate for mitigation strategies (policies and techniques that dramatically reduce carbon pollution) to reduce the size of climate change.  Instead they will continue to modify their business models so they continue to make money.

That seems to mean they will assess and adapt to changing risks with tactics like higher premiums, higher deductibles, more exclusions and more property owner precautions.  More likely than not, they will at best advocate for adaptation strategies (e.g. better sewers and other flood control infrastructure).  Practically speaking, mitigation strategies such as Revenue Neutral Carbon Fee and Dividend, while good for humanity overall in the long run, won’t likely save the companies any insurance claims payouts in the next 10-30 years .   Steps today to  reduce green house gas emissions and carbon pollution won’t eliminate the impacts of climate & weather changes already happening due to current  levels  in the atmosphere.  Lobbying for mitigation, for cures to climate change, instead plunges them into a political firefight without improving next quarter’s, next year’s or even next decade’s profits. Lobbying for adaptation, on the other hand,  avoids politically contentious questions of human cause and responsibility while keeping them profitable for the time being.  It reduces the amount of damage and associated insured costs from the inevitable climate change induced extreme weather events.

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What Role Does Faith Play? God Draws Straight with Crooked Lines…

Kermit Hovey pausing during a bike ride through a forested path in 2013.
Kermit Hovey pausing during a bike ride through a forested path in 2013.

“What role does faith play in you discovering and living your purpose?”  Last year I met Sterling Lynk, strategist and coach, at the Madison Non-Profit Day conference. He chose to interview me about that question and the particulars of my story of faith, purpose and work at Care of Creation.

In his article at www.mightypurpose.me, Sterling introduces the topic before sharing both an invitation to Care of Creation’s April 18th Tenth Anniversary Celebration and his interview with me.  A partial excerpt follows:

“Sterling Lynk: Tell us a little about Continue reading

Insects: A Climate Change solution?

Too cute to eat?

One UW-Madison grad student was not just driven buggy by the climate change crisis, she was driven to bugs for a solution. My interview with Valerie Stull about her and Rachel Bergmann’s mighty MIGHTi project (Mission to Improve Global Health Through Insects)aired on WORT-FM March 17, 2015. Their unconventional idea brings a small solution – insects – to help with two big problems: hunger and climate change. As Stull explains, meal worms provide a highly efficient source of edible protein requiring 1/5th the feed per pound than beef. Additionally, meal worms produce none of the potent green house gas methane that beef cattle does.  Listen here (about 4 minutes).

By Mnolf (Photo taken in Rum, Tirol, Austria) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Larvae of the meal worm beetle (Tenebrio molitor), before (dark) and after skinning (light)
How does raising meal worms and other insects equal a “win-win-win?” In their own words,

“Insects can feed people, serve as an inexpensive feed source for poultry as well as fish, and are relatively easy to raise. Farming insects is also climate smart, as they require less energy to produce and emit fewer greenhouse gases than other livestock. They can even recycle agricultural waste products, not edible for people. In areas where food is not always available and protein sources are scarce, insect farming offers an inexpensive, environmentally friendly option. (1)

What creative problem-solving!  UW Madison’s Climate Quest competition awarded Stull and Bergmann top prize for their project’s creative potential to impact climate change in 2015. It may even have more potential than those of us acculturated  in the industrialized west may give it credit for.

In case you’re still skeptical about eating bugs, remember that John the Baptist did just fine on a diet of locusts and honey (Mark 1:6 ; Matthew 3:4 ).  For more examples of insect eating (called “entomophagy”) throughout history, check out National Geographic’s “Bugs As Food: Humans Bite Back” and“For Most People, Eating Bugs is only Natural”.

(a version of this post by Kermit Hovey originally appeared at www.climatechangehope.wordpress.com )

Energy Slavery and What it Means to be Human

Two of the cutest energy slaves in cinematic history.

Following last week’s post by Brittany Ederer, Standing Face to Face with Injustice, today we explore what seems to be a quite different topic – our dependence on what some call “energy slaves” – and we discover that the similarities to and connections with human slavery and injustice are deep and real.

Make no mistake:  “Real” human slavery remains a serious issue in our modern world.  By some estimates, there are more slaves today than there were at the height of the slave trade,  perhaps as many as 35 million human beings trapped in some form of slavery.  This is tragic and shameful – and those organizations dedicated to confronting this problem and correcting it are worth noting and supporting. Continue reading

On living on a finite planet

Originally posted January 6th, 2011.  

 

Do we live in a world of limitations or one of potentially inexhaustible resources?

Wayne Grudem, writing in Politics According to the Bible, makes this rather astounding statement in an attempt to persuade his reader that there’s really nothing to worry about with regard to the global environmental crisis:

“Long term trends show that human beings will be able to live on the earth enjoying ever-increasing prosperity, and never exhausting its resources.” (p. 332)

I’ll be doing an in-depth review of Grudem’s book in the near future – let’s just say for now that it’s kind of hard to believe that he and I are living on the same planet.  Case in point: two different news items over the last couple of days: Continue reading

Intimations of Mortality

Originally published August 13, 2010.

William Wordsworth’s most famous work is Ode: Intimations of Immortality From Reflections of Early Childhood.” It is one of my favorite poems, exploring the lost pleasures of childhood that Wordsworth believes are hints of the immortality we left behind:

It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

And again,

Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

Setting aside theological mysteries and controversies for another day, what has preoccupied me for that last month and a half has not been immortality, past or future, but increasing intimations of mortality:  My own,as I have experienced an unusual and thought provoking spell of genuine illness, something unusual for me; but also increasing intimations of mortality in the world in which we live, highlighted by the Gulf oil spill but buttressed by a host of other events. Continue reading