Update from the 7th Annual Upper Colorado River Basin Forum at Colorado Mesa University

Is there enough water available in the Colorado River Basin (CRB) to meet all our current and future needs and obligations? According to my synthesis of information from the 7th Annual Upper Colorado River Basin Forum on November 1-2, 2017, consider this:

·         Currently about 40 million people depend on CRB water for agriculture, domestic, and recreational supplies

·         The 1922 compact with 7 states overestimated supplies so now the CRB is overallocated

·         The federal government (Bureau of Reclamation) requires adequate reservoir levels for hydroelectric generation and could override the 1922 compact

·         States are developing Drought Contingency Plans with improved efficiencies increasing supply

·         Efficient applications of drip irrigation and native plants are encouraged but not yet required

·         A US treaty with Mexico attempts to deliver some water that historically flowed to the ocean

·         Farmers consume about 90% of CRB water and have some of the oldest priority water rights

·         Some farmers are reluctant to conserve in fear of losing water rights and money

·         Colorado water law of beneficial use makes the “use-it or lose-it” mentality illegal

·         In Colorado, about 70% of water originates in the Western Slope with only 30% of the population while 30% of the water originates in the Eastern Slope (including Denver) with 70% of the population

·         Denver’s population is expected to double in roughly 30 years so demand is increasing

·         Trans-mountain diversions and priority water rights can allow the Eastern Slope to take much more than current amounts

·         Wyoming is building new reservoirs (“water banking”) on the Green River

·         In New Mexico, the Elephant Butte reservoir near Albuquerque almost went dry during recent droughts which had to be channelized and loses 250,000 acre-feet to evaporation when at capacity

·         Most vegetables in US are grown in the Imperial Valley of California using CRB water

·         The recent 5-year drought resulted in many farms going dry (crops were fallowed)

·         Beyond CRB for human consumption, recreationists (boating, fishing, etc.) demand more supply

·         The climate is changing and resulting in more variability making long term predictions difficult

 

So is there enough water available in the Colorado River Basin (CRB) to meet all our current and future needs and obligations? I would say currently no and optimistically with significant changes in the amounts of water that we consume there is the potential for saying yes.  

The forum provided great examples of techniques to measure and forecast water supplies. I suggested to the organizers for next year that additional consideration be given to water quality that is degrading or improving depending on many factors.

In summary, the Upper CRB Forum organized by Colorado Mesa University provides an incredibly valuable exchange of information in a non-confrontational environment that seeks to improve our understanding of the world we live in and how we can become better stewards of our environment.

Celebrating the Life and Environmental Stewardship of the King of Thailand

This week, Thailand is celebrating and mourning the life and passing of King Bhumibol, with a cremation ceremony one year after his death. I've traveled to Thailand many times over the past 23 years and always felt greatly impressed by the love people displayed for their King. By learning more about his many accomplishments - especially with environmental stewardship, I began to understand the people's devotion. 

I experienced first hand the great accomplishments of the King regarding environmental and economic development. In 1994, I traveled to several Asian countries as a tourist and no where else did I feel so warmly greeted with great kindness as in Thailand - the Land of 1000 Smiles. One of the first things that I noticed was the caring and respect for family and especially the elders, the lack of homelessness, and genuine generosity. 

I traveled with an American doctor friend who volunteered at a hospital in Bangkok. When I saw the newspaper of an environmental conference in honor of the King to be held near Pattaya, I knew I had to go. The conference displayed technology from many countries for air and water purification and ways to improve agriculture. I became very impressed with the many accounts that I heard for the King's direct involvement and creativity to improve the lives of Thai people. One example I observed was the way he worked with rural farmers to improve rice crops, reduce flooding, and clean water.

Here is an article on the King's sustainable development practices and a thoughtful speech last year shown by video of U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power on the life and connections of the Thai King.

 

 

100 Solutions for Reducing Carbon Continued

As mentioned in my previous blog, I'm very excited reading the DRAWDOWN book! In addition to describing many currently proven and viable future high-tech solutions like harnessing renewable energy and electric vehicles, there are many low-tech solutions proven to make a huge difference.

Some of these proven low-tech solutions involve how we grow our food supply. Here are a few ideas the book discusses:

* Let rice field dry out in mid-season to prevent methane buildup

* Allow cattle to roam in forests to reduce deforestation

* Plant multiple crops together to improve biodiversity and health of soil; for example - in tropical areas can plant coconut, banana, and ginger together

* Keep fields vegetated rather than exposing soil to reduce erosion and loss of the carbon sink

100 Solutions for Reducing Carbon and Living in a Cleaner World

Finally there is an optimistic new compilation of current and future technologies to reduce greenhouse gas carbon emissions.  In the book "DRAWDOWN: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Produced to Reverse Global Warming."  Published by Penguin Random House and edited by Paul Hawkin, I found this book at the library on the new book shelf last month. 

Project DRAWDOWN included 70 research fellows from 22 countries and 120 person advisory board. The introduction states:

"Almost all of the solutions compiled and analyzed here lead to regenerative economic outcomes that create security, produce jobs, improve health, save money, facilitate mobility, eliminate hunger, prevent pollution, restore soil, clean rivers, and more."

Worldwide about 36 billion gigatons of carbon dioxide (including equivalent greenhouse gases) were emitted in 2016. To visualize one  "gigaton," imagine 400,000 Olympic sized swimming pools; so 36 gigatons is about 14.4 million pools. 

The DRAWDOWN approach is to evaluate 100 possible solutions and provide a ranking for the gigatons of carbon dioxide reduced over the next 30 years as a function of cost. Here are the top 10 solutions:

1. Refrigerant Management (replace hydrofluorocarbons with other chemicals)

2. Wind Turbine (Onshore)

3. Reduced Food Waste

4. Plant-Rich Diet

5. Tropical Forests (Restore over one billion acres of forests)

6. Educating Girls results in smaller families

7. Family Planning

8. Solar Farms

9. Silvopasture (integrating forests with pasture for cattle grazing)

10. Rooftop Solar

Implementing these 10 solutions is projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 750 gigatons and many other exciting solutions are described to improve our lives for a cleaner environment. 

 

Expressions of Concern from Natural Disasters

Worldwide, we are experiencing numerous natural disasters this week including record-setting hurricanes: Harvey in Texas, and Irma in Caribbean and Florida; flooding in Mumbai, India; wildfires in the Pacific Northwest; and earthquakes in Mexico.

We are closely monitoring these events and responses. Although it’s difficult to find anything good coming from these events, it is great to see many selfless citizens helping each other in rescue efforts and providing donations. Perhaps people will become more educated and aware of the potential causes and how to be better prepared for these events. These times also remind us of the essential importance of life and that worldly possessions – like houses and cars - can be replaced.

Schendler’s List for Corporate Sustainability

Auden Schendler shares compelling war (and peace) stories from the front lines of the sustainability movement separating corporate propaganda from real advancements. After reading his 2009 book, we shared some text messages and he says, “in short, if business doesn’t approach climate at scale, it’s not part of the solution.”

In the 2009 book, Getting Green Done: Hard Truths from the Front Lines of the Sustainability Revolution, he describes his influential role as sustainability manager for Aspen Skiing Company. Mr. Schendler points out that Aspen, Colorado is a mecca for the ultra-affluent, generating world-wide attention, so has a greater impact on corporate decisions. Aspen is also a poster child for the impacts of climate change where the winter season already lost a month due to early springtime just in the past few decades. The future of the ski industry (as well as the entire planet) is being jeopardized by global warming, aka. climate change.

More recently in 2013, Auden Schendler and co-author Michael Toffel provided a list of five actions needed for meaningful corporate sustainability programs:

1.       Lobby local, national and international political leaders to reduce carbon

2.      Insist trade groups give priority to climate policy

3.      Market climate activism

4.      Partner with effective non-governmental organizations

5.      Demand suppliers reduce greenhouse gas emissions

 

Sustainable Development Scenes from Los Angeles

This past week we took a family vacation to LA touring Universal and Warner Brothers studios, Malibu, Long Beach aquarium and whale watching, Legoland, and more. We visited friends in Koreatown and Burbank. Lingering effects from severe drought that ended last winter are still very evident. Burnt brush from an 18-acre fire in Burbank only six weeks ago is still very dramatic and fortunately no homes were lost but there was a lot of smoke.

Hollywood and Beverley Hills are well known style and fashion trend setters with the envy of the world watching so sustainable development actions taken here could catch on. Very noticeable and surprising are the variety of ways people are making sustainable actions including:

·         Planting a fruit and vegetable garden in their front yard

·         Replacing dead lawns with artificial grass

·         Using recycled water for large areas including parks and universities

·         Active solar collection

·         Charging stations for electric cars

·         Environmental education programs

For photo examples of these sustainable developments, see the picture gallery.

 

Interesting Eco Books for Our Reading Pleasure

Here are some books available at the local library that I’ve found most interesting reading this summer:

Edward O. Wilson, 2016 Half Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life

David Grinspoon, 2016 Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future

Auden Schendler, 2009 Getting Green Done: Hard Truths from the Front Lines of the Sustainability Revolution

Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2008 Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet

Independence Day 2017: Irrigation Returns and Enjoying Local Lakes

This morning at 5 am Redlands Water and Power Company began pumping irrigation water after a 4-day shutdown. Crews worked really hard to drive and get repairs performed in Denver. In addition to fixing the 85-year old hydroelectric generator, it appears obvious that the company could provide much more education to water users on their website.

I saw on our Nextdoor neighborhood account people asking if they should turn off irrigation pumps at home during the outage. Yes, when there is no water turn off the electricity to prevent the pumps from burning up before they run dry. Here are some helpful hints from Rain Brothers.

Also, people often do not know when or how much water to apply to grass. As we drove around the community at 4 pm today, we saw many people watering during the heat of the day. The best time to water grass is after the sun goes down when it is cool so the grass does not get burned. Overwatering can also cause grass to die and we see much of the irrigation water going down the drain.

This morning our son caught his first fish, two small mouth bass, at Connected Lakes State Park.  Then in the late afternoon he got to play with a remote control power boat on a pond at Canyonview Park. 

Balancing competing water demands of irrigation and recreation requires better understanding of sustainability and education. 

Happy Independence Day 2017!

 

Our Community Irrigation System Is Broken

Redlands is a community of Grand Junction, Colorado with about 10,000 residents living between the Colorado River and National Monument. Last Friday, a power generator broke down at Redlands Water and Power Company so about 4,500 irrigated acres will go without water for several days. This made front page local news! They report the golf courses have a backup plan to conserve water, limit players, and hand watering from ponds.

The company currently predicts the water will be back by July 4th and states, "We want to fill the ditches as soon as possible because we are not happy unless everybody has good water."

While this shutdown is temporary, we will be watching to see what impact occurs to the local community including peach orchards and lawns drying out.

The risk of wildfire is very high and, even before the irrigation shutdown, fireworks have been banned to non-professionals for the entire Grand Valley during the July 4th holiday.

Abnormally Dry In Western Colorado to Severe Drought in the High Plains

A couple of weeks ago I notice our desert landscaping needed more water. We usually apply drip irrigation for 10 minutes in the morning to keep the variety of flowering plants, shrubs, and trees happy. This worked in April and May. However, June became very dry so we've added another 10 minutes of irrigation in the evening. Right away the plants perked up. I hope it will be enough!

Looking at the U.S. Drought Monitor, Grand Junction area is listed as Abnormally Dry. We are fortunate to have an exceptional snow pack this year. However, the High Plains area of eastern Montana and the Dakotas that depend largely groundwater are not so lucky with experiencing Severe Drought. The drought.gov website states over 15 million people in the U.S. are affected by drought. Severe heatwaves in Arizona even grounded airplane flights!

How Do We Measure Progress and What is the Opposite?

Evolution is a theory that explains how living species change by adaptation. Humans evolved from hominids, that arrived about 15 million years ago, to Homo Sapiens roughly 200,000 years ago with tremendous intellectual progress. Earliest life forms began in the ocean over two billion years ago as single-celled organisms created from building blocks (elements) of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. Evolutionary biologists measure progress in species adaptation to changing environments while extinctions are the permanent opposite. I recall seeing in a German museum an extinct Irish Elk that grew antlers so large that eventually they could not lift their heads. Charles Darwin coined the term "survival of the fittest." Making progress for people may include diet and exercise that makes us healthier as well as improving our safety by making peace with our neighbors. Ironically, too much of anything (food, wealth, sunshine) can be detrimental so we must find a balance in everything.  Western society can greatly benefit through efficient and effective conservation.

So what is the opposite of progress? Considering pros and cons, perhaps it is congress! This is not a political statement on any one legislative body but rather reflective of polarizing partisanship which is off balance, no longer seeking common ground.

Labels have emerged for the “Do Nothing Congress, Gridlock, Nuclear Option, and Drain the Swamp.” Perhaps a deeply divided congress cannot function to make bipartisan decisions. By analogy, if two married people cannot work out their problems then they may need to get divorced. Anyone happily married knows it takes a lot of give and take, forgiveness, and compromise by putting the other person first!

I attended Guilford College, a liberal arts school founded by Quakers who strove to achieve consensus in decision making. Guilford’s website states the school provides, “a challenging academic program that fosters critical and creative thinking through the development of essential skills: analysis, inquiry, communication, consensus-building, problem-solving and leadership.”

Maybe all of us can work harder to understand diverse view points and strive towards building consensus by focusing on our commonalities rather than our differences.

Celebrating Mother's Day including Mother Earth

Today we celebrate our Mother's for giving us Live,Love, and Protection. My Mom, like many other's, took care of our home, the children, family finances, and shared strong moral values. Her career was never more important than spending time with us to make sure we stayed safe and thrived. She took the most interest in our education and school, relationships with friends, and eating healthy. She shared her wisdom and passion for nature by growing roses and other flowers.

Celebrating Mother's Day can include our gratitude towards Mother Earth for providing us with Life, Love, and Protection. We will always depend on our Mother Earth for all that we have in this World. Our Earth is the only place we know of that supports life.  May we share our love and respect for all that gives Life on this Mother's Day!

 

The First Earth Day Walk for Science

On Saturday April 22, we celebrated worldwide the first Walk for Science along with Earth Day that began in 1970. Ironically, the tremendous progress that scientists have made continues to be challenged for numerous reasons. To me getting scientists to emerge outside their comfort zone of the field, office or laboratory and be willing to publicly express their views is a tremendous leap in courage. What is causing scientists to emerge and unify their message?

Here in the small town of Grand Junction, Colorado we saw an estimated 750 people including doctors, paleontologists, ecologists and political scientists walk a few blocks to the city park and celebrate Earth Day. I've felt proud to choose a career in earth science to hopefully make improvements in our environment for current and future generations. I saw many people who've worked hard in school to get great educations and careers to make a difference. I also felt proud to see my son wear his Walk for Water tee shirt and be really interested in the people coming out to support science.

So that is what this first Walk for Science was all about: expressing the rights of scientific freedom to pursue the truth based on inquiry, evidence and peer review. How can we survive a pandemic without scientists developing effective vaccinations? How will we remove contamination from a water supply which could cause cancer if we fail to test and obtain the results? Protecting our air, food and water from natural and human events is a matter of national security. The climate is changing whether we like it our not and we better get moving on solutions rather than bury our heads in the sand! Most people are very grateful for our National Park system and the great natural environments that is such a treasure for Americans and tourist from around the world. Allowing nature to produce wildfires is beneficial to forest ecology as well as reintroducing predators like the wolf controls overpopulation of deer and elk that also benefits habitat for other species.

Despite current threats of funding cuts for scientists to perform unbiased work, I believe challenges to scientists and scientific evidence is not really a new fight with current politicians but rather the ongoing search for truth that has always been a struggle -- probably even before the seventeenth century time of Galileo. His evidence that the Earth was not in the center of our universe based on observation of planetary motion challenged conventional wisdom held by religious leaders. 

I heard speakers during the Walk for Science mention the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." 

I recall in high school being fascinated by the weather and how we could take simple measurements of barometric pressure to see if storms were coming when pressure dropped. This is before satellites and doppler radar revolutionized weather prediction including storms or droughts. Think for a moment how NASA, NOAA, USGS, and many other government scientists have benefited all of us for our food and water supplies! Why should our children be forced to return to primitive uncertainty?

One of the biggest changes occurring in science over the past couple of decades is the multidisciplinary collaboration required to solve complex, interrelated problems. Scientific education traditionally forces us into very narrow specialization with unique vocabularies. Luckily groups like the American Geophysical Union do a great job of promoting world-class science for all the disciplines to merge and became a big supporter of the Walk for Science. See the joint statement by over 25 scientific societies on the results of the Walk for Science.

Unshakeable Sustainability

A great new book by Tony Robbins -- Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook, Creating Peace of Mind in a World of Volatility.

The book is filled with inspiring wisdom from some of the most and least famous investors showing us how to create an all-weather portfolio. I mentioned this book to my stock adviser who said I should think about applying this approach to my passion for environmental sustainability!

In coming blogs, I will take on this exciting challenge to see what we can do to create PEACE OF MIND for current and future generations in terms of ensuring adequate supplies of air, energy, food, water, and other essential resources that are being extremely exploited.

 

Consumers in the 1960’s Dictated Frugality to Detroit

My first car that my parents let me drive in High School and College was a 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 convertible. The vehicle was already 15 years old when I started driving -- the 8 cylinder, 289 hp engine got about 10 -15 miles per gallon of gas and burned a lot of oil as observed by the blue smoke. So how did American cars companies in the 1960’s adopt to the megatrend change of smaller more fuel efficient cars?

Recall the counterculture hippy popularity of the VW Beetle and other small cars being made in Europe and Japan? For current fuel efficient vehicles, check out this DOE publication. The Toyota Rav 4 Hybrid that we purchased 14 months ago leads the small SUV category averaging 32 mpg.

The book Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street by John Brooks originally published in 1959 and updated yearly for another decade describes in one chapter “The Fate of the Edsel.” Ford Motor Company used public-opinion polls and motivational research to define what they thought American consumers wanted at the time. Ford invested over $250 million costing more than any consumer project in history (at least at that time). Brooks wrote, “…the fashion of the day…were cars that were long, wide, low, lavishly decorated with chrome, liberally supplied with gadgets, and equipped with engines of a power just barely insufficient to send them into orbit.”

The first Edsel’s came out in the fall of 1957 and just a few months later Consumer Reports published articles that were not complementary calling it “more uselessly overpowered…more gadget bedecked, more hung with expensive accessories than any car in its price class…The luxury-loaded Edsel…will certainly please anyone who confuses gadgetry with true luxury.” The 1958 Edsel E-475 V-8 contained 345 hp in a 410 cubic inch engine.

Brooks citing Consumer Reports concluded that the “car seemed to epitomize the many excesses with which Detroit manufactures were repulsing more and more potential buyers.” Many of the Edsels had serious quality control problems causing frequent breakdowns.

To break even, Brooks said Ford needed to sell 200,000 Edsel vehicles but after about 2 years sold only about half that number which was less than 1% of all passenger cars sold in the US during that period. Ford discontinued the series losing about $350 million. See Business Insider for details.

Brooks quotes Time Magazine: “The Edsel was a classic case of the wrong car for the wrong market at the wrong time.” The Wall Street Journal stated, “Large corporations are often accused of rigging markets, administering prices, and otherwise dictating to the consumer.” WSJ commented on lack of consumer support for the end of the Edsel after only two years, “When it comes to dictating, the consumer is the dictator without peer.”

Per Hennings.com, Ford made up for its losses with the frugal Falcon, a mega-hit that became the Mustang's springboard. Its sibling, the Comet, became a Mercury instead of an Edsel.

Battery Re-volt-lution

Oh, or should I say Ohm (a measure of electrical resistance), what would Mr. Volta be thinking now? The 18th century Italian inventor of the battery certainly would be 'excited' to see the 'current' revolution occurring in fuel cells.

Think of the various ways we need batteries to store direct current (DC) to power our cars, portable radios, flashlights, laptops, and cell phones. Popular types of batteries use heavy nickel-cadmium (NiCd) or lighter weight lithium ion (with carbon as the anode). Li-ion batteries are currently being used to power electric cars. You've probably heard about construction of Tesla's Gigafactory near Reno to build Li-ion batteries for the next fleet using a solar roof top capable of generating 70 mega watts!

But what if someone could invent a solar panel that also stores electricity? Oh yes, it's being done by researchers at Ohio State University!

Are there alternatives to Li-ion batteries that do not explode? Aquion Energy is making salt-water batteries available to home owners. Vionix Energy is using vanadium redox chemistry for grid scale applications. Some day we will be able to capture some of the wind or solar energy in batteries to use when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining. The world's largest battery uses hydropower turbines to generate electricity and recycle water for balancing peak demand.

We are living in exciting times with all of the technological innovations! You say you want a re-volt-lution...?

Living in the Now and Planning for More than Just Today

I've heard a famous spiritual teacher say the past is like a cancelled check and the future is not here yet. We can live with our full awareness on the present moment while at the same time consider living our lives for more than just today. Anyone who wonders where their next meal will come from or where they will sleep at night is living day to day. Most people with jobs are living month to month and spending most of what they make on expenses and saving very little if anything. Getting a financial education for most of us is learning by the school of hard knocks and there is also luck involved - who could have predicted the housing market crash? My parents taught us to be generous while also being aware of how to make and keep a buck. For years I've said at work - another day another dollar!

Over the course of a career, we've learned to spend no more than 25% of our income on housing and find ways to pay off loans as quickly as possible. I always prefer a 15 year over a 30 year loan for the lower interest rates and total savings. The real estate industry may want us to buy a larger home and spend more than we really need as they get paid by commissions. Living within our means, separating our wants from our needs, and conserving resources works for our family; however, this is not typical in the consumer society where we always seem to want more. Consider we bought our 42" flat screen TV nine years ago. It is the only TV in our home. We've been admiring all the fancy new sets with 70" curved screens as a major want but not a need - only when our TV stops working can we justify getting a new one as we are content and grateful for what we have now. One financial planner said to consider not only the present cost but also the future compound interest. For example, investing instead of buying that $1,000 TV today results in about doubling the amount at 5% interest over 30 years. 

By analogy, how do we want (or need) to save and spend our natural resources? Do we want to search for water and food supplies on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis? Sustainability is really all about wise planning so we do not waste what we have and need now and not forsake our future. Perhaps society focused on consumption rather than saving for the future is great for corporate profits but not so great for future generations as populations increase and natural resources diminish. A great book on the topic is by E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation who advocates we must save half of the Earth to protect many species from extinction and ultimately if we are to save humanity as well. The Hopi society promotes the idea of considering how a decision we make might affect the next seven generations. I think about all the great civilizations that have come and gone including the Puebloans, Greeks and Romans and wonder if global consumerism promoting wants will eventually be extinguished by sustainable survivalists, like the Hopi, who are careful to control what they really need.

 

2016 Year in Review of Conserving and Pro$pering

We’ve made great progress in our family lifestyle this year by conserving energy, food, and water to become more healthy, wealthy, and wise. This website blog exercised and demonstrated our sustainability mindfulness to:

·         Doing more with less – becoming more efficient!

·         Improving our diet, exercise, mediation, prayer, and balancing use of technology

·         Discovering benefits of acupuncture, massage, and confronting/reducing stressful situations

·         Learning to make our own meat jerky that is less expensive and delicious without preservatives

·         Growing and eating inexpensive, organic vegetables by volunteering at a community garden

·         Adding a HVAC electrostatic air filter to improve indoor air quality

·         Saving drinking water supplies with drip irrigation landscaping

·         Drinking mostly water or milk and no soda pop drinks

·         Attending conferences and workshops on water sustainability

·         Speaking to school groups about natural resources and conservation

·         Conducting a home energy audit that allowed patching of leaks and better air circulation

·         Driving a Toyota Rav4 hybrid as the only family car which saved about $650 in fuel costs, 6,000 pounds of carbon dioxide not emitted to the air, and much improved safety and power features

·         Reading many books on sustainability as reviewed in several blogs

·         Becoming more aware of risks and threats to our lifestyle such as overconsumption, population growth, food and water scarcity, ignorance and denial of scientific evidence, and needless wasting of precious resources in a “use it or lose it” mentality

Without sounding too self-righteous, we still have many more opportunities to improve our lifestyle in 2017, such as becoming more self-sufficient by adding solar panels to our home or maybe supporting newer technologies like community modular nuclear reactors; purchasing an electric vehicle; becoming less dependent on banks, credit cards, or investing only in the stock market by building a variety of diverse assets; collecting rainwater (legalized in Colorado this year); planting fruit trees and stocking up on long shelf-life food supplies. Please let me know if you have comments or suggestions!

Happy New Year!