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The Trump Effect


“If Trump wins the nomination, prepare for the end of the conservative party.” George Will [1]

“If any of these candidates end up in the White House in 2016, America is in deep, deep trouble. Just by commanding the national stage, Republicans are already pushing dangerous ideas into public discourse and fueling a climate of violence and vitriol.” Robert Reich

By Tony Noerpel … Continue Reading

End of Year Wrap Up

December 21, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on End of Year Wrap Up

In the middle of 2013, oil prices began to tumble [1]. Economists predicted that cheap energy would be good for the economy. People would spend the money they saved buying cheaper gasoline on more stuff made in China that they don’t need keeping the economy healthy, said the pundits. Many experts predicted that Saudi Arabia, a country which produces oil, would defend the price by cutting production, i.e., a government would bail out the private sector. … Continue Reading

Telling the Truth

December 9, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Telling the Truth

“..[W]orry only about being more honest. It may take a long time for the truth to come to light but it will remain long after the lies have faded.” Jang Jin-Sung [1]

“If a lie is told a hundred times even the liar begins to believe it.” Korean proverb from Jang Jin-Sung [1]

“Dear Leader” is an autobiographical account of Jang Jin-Sung’s daring escape from North Korea. It is also about how an entire country became overwhelmed by lies and deceit. The big lie in our country, global warming denial, has completely engulfed one political party, one broadcasting network, and much of the rest of the corporate owned main-stream-media. Of course being able to blame ExxonMobil, Peabody Coal and Lamar Smith, though guilty as charged, does not absolve us. We could exercise free will and stop believing the lie, can’t we? Well, maybe not. … Continue Reading

Trusting Science

November 14, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet 1 comment

“The Four Corners of Deceit: Government, academia, science, and media. Those institutions are now corrupt and exist by virtue of deceit. That’s how they promulgate themselves; it is how they prosper.” – Rush Limbaugh [1]

I previously reported [2] on two papers by sociologist Lawrence Hamilton and colleagues concluding that Democrats and liberals accept science more than Republicans and conservatives across a broad range of topics [3-4]. Aspects of their survey raise some nuanced questions which likely do not affect their results but are worth discussing. The survey questions read:

“Would you say that you trust, don’t trust, or are unsure about scientists as a source of information about [topic]?”

People were asked about several topics including climate change, vaccinations, forest management and the safety of GMO crops. I thought they should have used “science” rather than “scientist‘. In a private email Hamilton wrote: “I interpret ‘trust’ responses on all questions not as indicating that nuclear power, GMOs, vaccines etc. are necessarily all good, but rather that people accept ‘science’ as a good way to find out.” … Continue Reading

Avoiding Stupidity on Election Day

October 30, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Avoiding Stupidity on Election Day

“We found that people called an action stupid for three separate types of situations: (1) violations of maintaining a balance between confidence and abilities; (2) failures of attention; and (3) lack of control. … These results bring us closer to understanding people’s conception of unintelligent behavior while emphasizing the broader psychological perspectives of studying the attribute of stupid in everyday life.” Aczel, Palfi and Kekecs [1]

In a recent paper Balazs Aczel, Bence Palfi and Zoltan Kekecs show that we share a common understanding of what “stupid” means or what we define as stupid behavior. The first type of situation described by the authors is nothing more than the Dunning Kruger Effect [2] which we have previously discussed. Humans (all of us) tend to believe we have competence in areas where we are entirely ignorant. Think of George Will writing about human-caused climate change. While we recognize this behavior in others we often fail to recognize it in ourselves. All the scientists in the world could not convince Will that he is being stupid. John Cleese points out [3] that “In order to know how good you are at something requires exactly the same skills as it does to be good at that thing in the first place, which means — and this is terribly funny — that if you are absolutely no good at something at all, then you lack exactly the skills you need to know that you are absolutely no good at it.” … Continue Reading

A Dialogue on Climate Change and Global Income Inequality


On October 23, Friday at 6:00 p.m. at George Washington University, Ashburn Campus, we (GWU, Sustainable Loudoun, 350 Loudoun, REHAU, Corcoran winery, your business our world, CCAN, and solar solutions for all), are hosting Klaus Hubacek, a professor at the University of Maryland, to speak and lead a discussion on Global Income Inequality and Carbon Footprints . We will have food, and wine, and vendors of sustainable products and non-profits will be tabling.

In my April 9, 2014 article I described well-known positive natural feedbacks in the Earth climate system. These feedbacks are amplifying the warming directly caused by our carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels. I posited that there is one more positive feedback which has never been identified in the scientific literature to my knowledge related to human behavior. While the paleoclimate record informs our understanding of the various natural feedbacks, human behavior is a new phenomenon. But it is predictable. I wrote: … Continue Reading

A Reflection on the Current Crisis in California

October 13, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on A Reflection on the Current Crisis in California

By Dr. David Goodrich
During his career in climate, Dr. David Goodrich was Director of both the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) Office in Washington and the Global Climate Observing System Secretariat in Geneva. He retired in February 2011 as Director of NOAA’s Climate Observation Division. Three months later he rode his bicycle from Cape Henlopen, Delaware to Waldport, Oregon. His first long bicycle ride was in 2000, across Washington state, Idaho, and Montana. This is excerpted from his forthcoming book, A Hole in the Wind: A Climate Scientist’s Bicycle Journey Across the US. http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/2015/09/18/montana-in-the-time-of-fire/

Dave is a good friend and serves with me as a board member of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. This article brings back memories of my own. I bicycled across the US in 1972 going 4500 miles in 45 days, through much of the same country. I have no fire stories to report from back then; not surprising as forest fires were seven times less likely than they are today. I was blissfully unaware of climate change. My good friend Paul Krizinauskas, had just mustered out of Army Special forces after his tour in ‘Nam from Fort Ord, California and we bicycled back East together with another good friend Ron Zrebec. We didn’t use a tent and showered every fourth day at a camp ground whether we needed to or not. We ate mostly at all-you-can-eat smorgasbords which dotted the praries, putting several out of business, I’m guessing. A dietician friend once estimated we were burning about 10,000 calories a day each. I don’t know but I do know that no matter how much I ate I could always eat more. … Continue Reading

Recognize Reality on Election Day


“There are constant assaults on the natural environment, the result of unbridled consumerism, and this will have serious consequences for the world economy,” Pope Francis.

Pope Francis did not make human-caused climate change a moral issue. It has been one for decades. He did not make inequitable distribution of wealth and income and its resultant wars, slavery and desperate poverty a moral issue either. Greed has been a moral issue for several millennia. But his holiness does make these moral arguments accessible to the general public and in a way that should bring shame and embarrassment to many American politicians. I’m thinking Rubio, Bush and Santorum who all admonish the Pope to leave science to the scientists, just like they do. … Continue Reading

Global Income Inequality and Carbon Footprints

September 29, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Global Income Inequality and Carbon Footprints

“Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.” Hope Yen, USA Today [1]

On October 23, 2015, we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of Sustainable Loudoun and the 9th year we’ve collaborated with George Washington University Ashburn Campus and other local organizations to present lectures and discussions on human sustainability in what we are now calling the Don Sandros Energy Summit. The doors open at 6:00 p.m. for a reception with our speaker and with local for-profit and non-profit vendors. We will have food and wine. The talk and discussion begin at 7:00 p.m. Our speaker is University of Maryland professor Klaus Hubacek and the topic is global income inequality and carbon footprints. The event is free to the public. … Continue Reading

Norfolk and El Nino

September 24, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Norfolk and El Nino

“In the waters of the Eastern Pacific, strong westerly winds have pushed a massive amount of warm water against the coasts of the Americas, resulting in one of the strongest El Niño events ever observed. Not only does El Niño impact atmospheric patterns, changing storm tracks and suppressing Atlantic hurricane frequency, it also typically resulting in an increase in coastal “nuisance” flooding at high tide along the U.S. West Coast and mid-Atlantic coasts. Nuisance flooding is expensive, causing frequent road closures, overwhelmed storm water systems, and damage to infrastructure. According to a September 9 press release from NOAA, some cities along the mid-Atlantic coast can expect record amounts of “nuisance” flooding at high tide during the coming winter—at Sandy Hook, NJ, Lewes DE, Washington D.C. and Norfolk, VA.” – Jeff Masters [1] … Continue Reading

The Limits of Price and the Club of Foam

September 15, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on The Limits of Price and the Club of Foam

“Excuse me; it’s not limited from an economic point of view. You have to separate the economic from the physical point of view. Many of the mistakes people make come from this. Like the stupid projections of the Club of Rome; they used a purely physical approach, without taking prices into account. There are many different sources of energy, some of which are too expensive to be exploited now. But if oil becomes scarce they will be exploited. But the market, which is fortunately capable of registering and using widely scattered knowledge and information from people all over the world, will take account of those changes.” – Milton Friedman when asked about limited resources. [1]

It is not just economists like Ha-Joon Chang, Steve Keen and Kent Klitgaard, and physicists like Reiner Kummel, Robert Ayers and Mark Buchanan, and systems scientists like George Mobus, or engineers such as myself who have observed that economics is not a science, even Milton Friedman distanced economics or certainly his own economics from science as we see in the quote above. … Continue Reading

Poseidon’s Misadventure


“A sea level rise of 5m in a century is about the most extreme in the paleo record (Fairbanks, 1989; Deschamps et al., 2012), but the assumed 21st century climate forcing is also more rapidly growing than any known natural forcing.” Hansen et al. [1]

In 2012 I forecast [2] that the planet was locked into at least 5 meters of sea level rise. I did not give a time frame other than to suggest that immediate action to limit fossil fuel consumption might slow the rise enough for relatively easy adaptation and keep the rise from being even higher. During the Melt Water Pulse 1 (MPW1) event 14,600 years ago, sea levels rose 5 meters per century for several centuries. Though such a rate is rare, one meter of sea level rise per century is common to abrupt climate change events such as Heinrich Events. Thus a rough estimate of the time frame would be 100 to 500 years or more. Of course it doesn’t necessarily stop there. We can make it worse. … Continue Reading

Not Your Father’s El Nino

August 15, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Not Your Father’s El Nino

NASA and other agencies now forecast the incipient El Nino conditions to continue at least into the winter and the early part of 2016. Figure 1 compares Pacific sea surface temperature anomaly for the El Nino of 1997- 1998 with the current sea surface temperature anomaly. These data are from August 6, 1997 and August 5, 2015. Note the huge impressive blob of heat on the west coast of Central America. So it looks the same but different and may not evolve in the same way.

In Figure 2 I’ve plotted the global temperature anomaly up to and including the July 2015 data published by NASA. If we assume that the 2015-2016 El Nino plays out similar to the 1997-1998 event and is followed by a strong La Nina, we can make a crude first order estimate of the global temperature anomaly out to 2025. The trend line of the anomaly from 1979 until July 2015 has a slope of 0.0165 degrees C per year. Since events are unfolding 18 years later, I’ve added 18*0.0165 = 0.297 degrees C to the monthly temperature anomaly for each corresponding month. We see that if the El Nino plays out anything like the 1997-1998 event, we may never again experience a year as cold as the year global warming “stopped” in 1998. … Continue Reading









2016 Energy Summit – George Washington University


On Friday evening, October 28, George Washington University, Virginia Campus in Ashburn will host the 10th annual Don Sandros Energy Summit in cooperation with local businesses and non-profits. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for a reception with wine donated by …

Attributing Disaster


“Humans are likely to create a catastrophe, and possibly an associated disaster, that vastly exceeds our own ability to recover from it. In the face of all our efforts, it will persist.” – Richard Guthrie [1] “Here we show that …

Concerned Parent


By Michael Oberschenider Psy.D. Dr. Mike, We recently signed our four-year-old daughter up for gymnastics. It wasn’t cheap, but her friends from the neighborhood do it, and she has been begging us to go. It turned out to be a …

Invisible Illnesses

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde It is general knowledge that when people think about illnesses, they don’t think about illnesses that aren’t physically apparent. Sure, people know about conditions such as multiple sclerosis and other diseases with visible symptoms, but many …

Robinson Park

robinson park

Looking back, now – I’m glad it wasn’t what most people would’ve considered a nice day; I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my share of hot and sunny to last me for at least a generation (especially since …

Are Your Estate and Financial Plans Shock-Proof?


Don’t wait until “what if?” becomes “what is.” Where will you live as you age? Think about your housing options now, so you have choices and won’t have to make a hasty decision should an unexpected health event force you …

In Defense of ‘Adulting’


By Samuel Moore-Sobel Most friends transitioning from college to the workforce long for the days of college, wishing to be back in class and participating in campus life. To be honest, I may be in the minority, but I have …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016


Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

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Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016


Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

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Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016


Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

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October 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
September 26, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 27, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 28, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 29, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 30, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

October 1, 2016

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

October 2, 2016
October 3, 2016 October 4, 2016 October 5, 2016 October 6, 2016 October 7, 2016 October 8, 2016

Virginia Outdoors Foundation 50 years of Conservation Celebration

October 9, 2016
October 10, 2016 October 11, 2016 October 12, 2016

Barefoot Puppets: Dreamtime, Tales From Down Under

October 13, 2016 October 14, 2016 October 15, 2016

Loudoun Centre Theatre: The Scamps Of Scapin!

October 16, 2016

Harvest Celebration & Fall Farm Tour


October 17, 2016 October 18, 2016 October 19, 2016 October 20, 2016 October 21, 2016

Anthony Semiao Live at North Gate Vineyard


October 22, 2016 October 23, 2016

Come Paint with us at Breaux Vineyards

October 24, 2016 October 25, 2016 October 26, 2016 October 27, 2016 October 28, 2016

October Fourth Friday

October 29, 2016

2 Pound Sterling Live at North Gate VIneyard

October 30, 2016

Music With A Cause - Music of Colonial America

October 31, 2016 November 1, 2016 November 2, 2016 November 3, 2016 November 4, 2016 November 5, 2016

OysterFest at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

November 6, 2016
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Steady and NoBull


Veteran’s Day 10k Raises Funds for Veteran Causes

13 Oct 2016


On November 6, the Loudoun County Road Runners Club will again conduct the annual Loudoun 10K Trail Race in order to raise funds for veteran causes. Since it’s origin in 2011, the trail race has generated more than $90,000 with 100 percent of proceeds going directly to veteran’s charities, specifically Boulder Crest Retreat and Pets for Vets.

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FBRM Clean-Up Day at Blue Ridge Regional Park

6 Oct 2016


Join Friends of the Blue Ridge Mountains for an Autumn clean-up to remove invasive vegetation from Blue Ridge Regional Park on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Some tools and equipment will be provided, but please bring your clippers, pruning shears, or saws if you can. Directions: From Leesburg, drive west on Route 7 past the turnoff …

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Painted Barrel Auction Saturday, October 8

6 Oct 2016


The Auction for The Painted Barrels around Purcellville will be held on Saturday, October 8 at 7:00 p.m at the Bush Tabernacle – 250 S. Nursery Ave. Purcellville. Thirty-Five local Loudoun County artists were given an oak wine barrel to create a Purcellville / Loudoun theme on it. Each barrel was sponsored by a local business and was displayed throughout …

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Grief and Greed


By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …


Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!


– By Nick Reid world can be a very dangerous place sometimes, especially for a nation state such as the United States. Although danger is always present, the number and …

Metro Money Mess Pushing West


– By Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33rd) A local paper recently quoted Loudoun Board Chair Phyllis Randall as saying that in her observation “some of the concerns raised by the people …

Dear Editor

New Proposed Uses for Western Loudoun

Loudoun County Seal Color

If you live in the middle or western part of Loudoun where you enjoy a parcel of open space near your property (which probably was put into an open space …

Bennett Knows How To Make Economy Work for All


In the election for the 10th District House seat, only one candidate has a more than three decades of success growing a local business. As the owner of a successful …

View From the Ridge

Broken Promises, Hidden by a Six-Foot Berm


By Andrea Gaines On August 9, 1825 at the age of 69, French military officer the Marquis de Lafayette was honored in Leesburg by former President James Monroe. The French-born …

Around Virginia

History’s Holy Places: Four Local Sites Worth Exploring This Fall


The Journey through Hallowed Ground is a 180-mile long, 75-mile wide trek from Gettysburg to Monticello, encompassing nine presidential homes and places, 18 national and state parks, and thousands of small and large historical sites. Dozens and dozens of these sites and related museums are short ride from just about …

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Land Trust Receives Large Donation

land trust

On August 22, The Land Trust of Virginia received a $10,000 gift from the Sharon D. Virts Foundation, based in Herndon. The presentation of this grant was part of the Foundation’s official launch event, held at Selma Plantation in Leesburg. Notable speakers included Sharon D. Virts, FCiFederal Founder and Chair, …

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Farmers Urged To Be On The Lookout For Marijuana


Farmers in Southwest Virginia are being urged to check their property for marijuana planted by trespassers. Within the past year, hundreds of marijuana plants have been discovered between rows of hay bales on farms in and around Pulaski County, according to the Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force. “Unfortunately this …

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Hunter’s First Professional Race

7 Sep 2016


Drew Hunter and Loudoun Valley classmates at his first professional race, Sir Walter Miler in Raleigh, NC in early August , l to r:  Marcos Pierce, Matt Slook, Drew Hunter, Max McNerney. Hunter finished with a time of 3:57.15. Hunter turned professional and signed with Adidas.

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Let’s Make Some Memories

3 Aug 2016


American Legion Baseball At Fireman’s Field, August 3 – 7 By Andrea Gaines American Legion Baseball is here at Fireman’s Field in a big way, featuring five consecutive blockbuster Mid-Atlantic Tournament games – August 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Our local Leesburg Post 34 Rangers had some nice wins …

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