Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What will the coastline look like in the future?

Many highly populated areas are now directly adjacent to the coastline or in very close proximity to the coast. This is lovely for those that get to live with lovely views of the ocean or live there because of proximity to trade routes or similar.

However, with climate change and sea level rise there are likely to be significant consequences for all those people that live near the coast. Not only are people going to be directly affected with houses being inundated, but much of our society's infrastructure is located in close proximity to these areas and will likely have significant challenges because of these environmental issues.

(Source: The Guardian

In light of these significant impacts that will be faced by millions of people, I cannot see anything but gloom for coastal environments and coastal processes that remain intact nearby these large human populations. 

Do you think governments will stand by the ecological value of the community of mangroves or salt marshes when the people that live behind them face imminent inundation and furthermore the government could take the easy option for these people through the construction of a seawall or similar? 

I feel so pessimistic about this. My professional world is immersed in this reality based economic development sector and I can't see the broader community supporting the retreat of communities (and protecting the coastal environments) over the "easier" solution of building walls and providing coastal engineering solutions (due to the externalities associated with these strategies).

I would love to hear your opinion about this and perhaps lift my mood about this. Perhaps you have some of the picture that I have forgotten to consider in the first place. 

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Salesman's worse nightmare

I am in the market for a new fridge/freezer and a chest freezer. We have had the main house fridge/freezer for about 10 years and it is still kicking along quite nicely with the exception of the seal but with the improvements in technology I see a lot of merit in upgrading our refrigeration situation.

Benefits primarily relate to the improved electrical efficiencies that the new model refrigerators have experienced in recent years, which will in turn help out my hip pocket (cheaper electricity bills)!

So after some research on the government's efficient efficiency appliance website, calculation on size requirements, preparation of my list of possibilities, cut out a size guide for some of the larger items I plan on storing in the fridge/freezer, I have started to visit some of the shops that sell these appliances.

Since I started this process a couple of weeks ago, all I can say is that I am highly disappointed with the attitude of sale persons and the stocked range of fridge/freezers (brands) that the I have experienced so far.

It must be said that I haven't visited some of the bigger chains yet, as where I live these two stores are currently in sales/moving mode and I can't bear to think of going to these places with a whole bunch of sale driven customers added into the mix.

But nevertheless, the stores that I have been to so far either:

  • showed me products that weren't in my list because they aren't energy efficient, but was told by the salesperson that I would love them because of the technological features they supported (I mentioned that one of my criteria was that it had to be energy efficient) - ice dispensers in the door and a tricky little door that opened so that I could get the milk out of the door without opening the entire door; or
  • considered me a bit of a disappointment as a potential customer (well that was the impression I got) and was just told the star ratings had change several times over the years and the kWh give you an idea of how much the fridge would cost me to run per year. After thinking about this for a little bit, I just think I was a disappointment because he wouldn't be able to upsell some random product or feature to me.
As you my expect from this post, I haven't bought any of my required appliances yet, but at least have ruled out two stores in my purchase process.

The thing that surprises me most about this process is the number of brands and models that are being sold by appliance stores that aren't energy efficient and sales peoples' attitude/lack of information to be able to respond to queries about energy efficient appliances and the amount of personal effort I have to go to to know the energy efficient models and time to go to the variety of appliance stores to even find the models. Hope this all changes in the future and these energy efficient appliances are easy to come by and sales people become well armed with the "right" information!

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