Can you own the rain…

A column in the Denver Post this morning by Daniel Fitzgerald asked that very question.  Can you own the rain?
Kris Holstrom lives on the western slope of Colorado and wanted to capture the rain that fell off her roof to be able to water her yard and her burgeoning organic farming business.  It wouldn’t have been that much and she applied to do that through the State of Colorado.

But the State Engineer said no and the Water Court of Colorado agreed.  They ruled that the rain that fell on her house was tributary to the San Miguel River and thereby previously appropriated.  She can’t capture rain and use it on her garden.

This is the same thinking that is causing water problems in the western United States, prior appropriation or otherwise known as first-in-time, first-in-right.  This is the same rule that has applied to water appropriation since the west was settled.

Since there is a tremendous increase in population the consumption and need of water is ever-growing.  We (the residents of Colorado and the West) need to start planning and developing innovative solutions to water management.  Being stuck in the same ol’ ways will not help us, but hurt us.

Studies have been done in capturing water that runs off the roofs and used to water gardens and also for waste supply (like toilets) and it will save a lot of water while still returning it to the river or transpired into the air to fall as rain somewhere else. 

Most likely, the water from this persons roof would not make it to the river.  It would have either evaporated or transpired through the vegetation.

We in the West need innovative technologies and a new thinking of water management.  If we don’t the water crisis will only get worse.

Fly away little birdy

While I was traveling for work, the little birdy who was growing in a nest on our front door decided to leave the nest and fly away.
It was nice to see it leave.  Now the fun stuff begins.  I get to clean the door and throw away the wreath and nest.

We will be more deligent next year and make sure the wreath is gone before spring so another birdie does not build a nest there.

A little birdy growing up…

About 3 weeks ago I noticed a bird had built a nest, a finch to be specific, in our wreath on our front door.  I took a look and noticed there was an egg in it.
We’ll I just let it go.  I never saw the mother, so I thought the egg was dead.  Well a week-in-a-half later I took another look and there was a chick.  Then I tried to watch it, I neve saw it move.

I even checked it last week and I couldn’t see if it had moved or not.  But I still saw the mother flying in and out.

Well yesterday I saw the chick and it was moving.  It’s eyes were moving and I could see it breathing.

So after thinking it was dead twice, we are trying to minimize our use of the front door so it can continue to grow and not have a lot of interruptions.

It is getting feathers now and it shouldn’t be much longer.  We’ll do our best to help it get a good start into the world.

I just have to keep the kids away.  I will show them what it looks like though.

Ace Hardware To Start Recycling CFL Bulbs

cbs4denver.com – Ace Hardware To Start Recycling CFL Bulbs
I just want to say that I will probably be shopping more at Ace Hardware.  I think that this is a pretty good deal.

I use CFL’s in my house and just had a couple fail and replaced them and I didn’t know where to recycle them. Most of the places that I have seen want to charge me.

But having a place where I can recycle it for free and get my other hardware needs, I can’t beat that.

I just want to thank Ace Hardware, Xcel Energy, and others for doing this.  A great decision!

Earth Hour is a waste of time and energy

I just want to say that Earth Hour is just a waste of everyone’s time. Turning off power for one hour on a Saturday evening around the world is a novel idea, but it won’t do anything to reduce carbon emissions.
It is just a symbolic ploy by people who have no clue how energy is developed, generated, and distributed.

For those of you who don’t know, Earth Hour is an international event that asks households and businesses to turn off their lights and non-essential electrical appliances for one hour on the evening of 29 March at 8 pm local time until 9 pm to promote electricity conservation and thus lower carbon emissions. (Wikipedia)

Power companies plan their power generation based on historical averages and will have that power available to deliver during Earth Hour whether it is used or not. They will also have reserves available in case demand is greater than the historical averages.

So turning off your power and non-essential appliances for an hour will not save any electricity or reduce carbon emissions for that one hour. Nice idea, just wrong.

A more novel approach is to get people to reduce their consumption permanently. People should replace all their light bulbs with CFL’s and make sure your appliances are energy star compliant. (My family has.)

There should also be better ways to generate power individually. I am thinking the cost of putting solar panels on our homes should be cheaper. It shouldn’t cost $20,000 to $30,000 to do this. My parents just did this and it was nothing but a hassle to get it installed and for PG&E to get it hooked up to the grid.

We should use water efficiently in our homes and we should reduce the impact of our vehicles by combining as many trips as possible or by taking public transportation. (I just wish public transportation was a lot better in Denver than it is.)

By doing what we can do as individuals and as a society, we can have a bigger impact on energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions than the Earth Hour claims to do tonight.

Daylight Savings Time Begins…

Well this is the second time that Daylight Savings Time is beginning the second Sunday in March. Even though I like the sun being out later, it is quite dark in the morning.
I have been quite exhausted at work and this will only intensify this week because of the lost hour of sleep tonight.

Congress passed the new Daylight Savings Time rules as part of the Energy Bill a couple of years ago to save energy. But there are reports recently that more energy is used than saves because we switch so early.

As mentioned earlier I like the sun, but I am not sure it is worth the additional energy.

Home thermostats: Big Brother’s next target?

Home thermostats: Big Brother’s next target? – Engadget
As reported on Engadget, the state of California is considering whether or not to require a thermostat that they can control in times of need to raise or lower the temperature to help reduce load.

This sounds and means well, but won’t work and is an invasion of what temperature I want my house set at.  Don’t get me wrong, we should be doing whatever we can to reduce our energy footprint, but if want my temperature set at a temperature, the government shouldn’t set it for me.  I have even installed a programmable thermostat to help us better manage the temperature in our house.

There are many reasons why I want a temperature set where I want it.  For me, I have an elderly family member living with me and she needs the temperature a little higher in the winter and cooler in the summer.  It just something she needs.

The temperature in our house should be managed by the homeowner, not the government.  The government should be working to better develop the energy in the state so their is enough, not reducing or increasing the temperatures remotely.

Non-smokers hit jackpot at casinos

Non-smokers hit jackpot at casinos : Updates : The Rocky Mountain News
Yeah! No smoking at casinos in Colorado. This is the main reason why we don’t go there. It was horrible to walk into a casino and be greeted by a wall of smoke.

The smokers are complaining that there rights are being violated, but what about my rights to breath clean air? I have that right to and I should not have to put up with someone smoking next to me.

The casinos are complaining that they are going to have a decline in revenue, but economic studies tend to indicate otherwise. Business will increase over time.

It was stupid for the legislature to exclude casinos the first-time the smoking ban was passed. I am glad they addressed it again and finally banned smoking in casinos.