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Green Dragon: John Cook

Tackling climate change is hard enough, without also having to tackle a vocal group of people who deny it altogether. John Cook’s answer is Skeptical Science, a blog which debunks climate change myths. Charlotte Reid spoke to him.

John Cook started his blog, Skeptical Science, after an argument with his father-in-law about global warming. “He would throw these climate myths at me”, Cook says, “so in anticipation of the next family dinner, I started building a database of climate myths and what the science said about each one.

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Tackling climate change is hard enough, without also having to tackle a vocal group of people who deny it altogether. John Cook’s answer is Skeptical Science, a blog which debunks climate change myths. Charlotte Reid spoke to him.

John Cook started his blog, Skeptical Science, after an argument with his father-in-law about global warming. “He would throw these climate myths at me”, Cook says, “so in anticipation of the next family dinner, I started building a database of climate myths and what the science said about each one.

Over time, the database grew, and eventually I thought others might find it a useful resource. So I turned the database of climate myths into a website.”

He studied physics at the University of Queensland, Australia which he followed up with a post-graduate study into solar physics. Cook is honest about not being a climate scientist, which is why Skeptical Science focuses on what peer reviewed science says about global warming.

The site gets about 500,000 visits per month – but the reaction to the blog varies depending on the reader.

Those who accept climate science send very positive feedback”, says Cook. “Those who are not convinced by the evidence for human-caused global warming tend to be not quite so glowing, which should surprise no-one”.

He is keen to point out that the point of the website “is to create an environment with civil discussion, free of politics and personal attacks.

So anyone who sticks to our comments policy, which is all about behaviour, not which side you’re on, can participate in constructive dialogue.”

He says that the “public opinion on climate change fluctuates”. For example, a recent report revealed that in Britain, there is a decline in public support for tackling climate change.

Although opinions on global warming are always changing, Cook points out that “one thing that seems fairly fixed is the small core who deny the full body of evidence”.

Unfortunately, the fact that they deny the evidence means presenting more evidence to them will have little effect.

Consequently, our goal is to get the climate science to the large majority of undecided, rather than change the minds of those who will never be changed.”

Throughout his work on the blog, Cook says the key lesson he has learned is “harnessing the power of community”, calling the authors who create the content for the site and review each other’s work “the website’s strongest feature”.

In the future he says he would like to experiment more with the website to “examine how people interact with the website, experiment with new ways of communicating the science”.

But before 2012 begins, there is Christmas Day. Cook has been working on several books about global warming. One is called Climate Change Denial, which looks at the phenomenon of climate change denial.

But he has another stocking filler to offer. “I don’t know if there is such a thing as an e-stocking”, he queries, “but a free online booklet I’ve just released, The Debunking Handbook, has gone viral, so is perhaps worth a look”.

His father-in-law is the reason why he started Skeptical Science, but Cook sees his daughter as a “very strong driving force” for his work on the website.

Every parent wants to give their child a life better than their own”, he says.

Sadly, my generation will be handing over to our children a world in much worse shape than what we received.

I work hard to try to minimise the damage done to the quality of life we’ll hand to our children.”

You don’t have to start your own blog to make a difference. There are a number of things you can do to help make tomorrow as blue and green as it was yesterday.

Talk to your financial adviser, if you have one, about ethical funds for your money. Or you can fill in our online form.

When shopping, visit websites like the Ethical Superstore. Switch to homegrown energy with Good Energy, instead of using fossil fuels and carbon. And consider sustainable travel when you’re thinking about your next holiday.

Picture source: Skeptical Science

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What Kitchen Suits Your Style? Modern, Classic or Shaker?

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shaker kitchen designs

A kitchen is the centre of the home. Your kitchen ranges between where friends and family gather, talk about their day, cook meals, have drinks, to somewhere you can just enjoy each other’s company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But, everyone’s lifestyle is different. Everyone’s taste is different. So, you need a kitchen that not only mirrors your lifestyle but matches your taste too. Whilst some prefer a more traditional design, others want a modern feel or flair – and it’s all down to personal taste.

When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, what style would you go for? It’s a difficult one isn’t it. With so many different styles to go for, how can you know exactly what you want until you’ve seen it in action? Leading kitchen designer, Roman Kitchens, based in Essex, have provided three examples of bespoke kitchens and styles they specialise in, accompanied with beautiful images. This design guide will get you one step closer to picking your dream kitchen for your home.

1. Modern

New home in the city centre? Or even a sleek new modern build? You want a trendy and modern kitchen to reflect your city lifestyle. In modern kitchen design, colours are bolder and fresher, with sleek design and utilities that are distinctive and vibrant.

modern kitchen designs

This modern kitchen is sleek and smooth with flawless design and beauty. Minimalism doesn’t stop this kitchen standing out. Featured walls of wood and vibrant mint green draw the eye, whilst the white surfaces reflect the light, illuminating every nook and cranny of this kitchen. This kitchen features products from Rotpunkt, innovators of modern kitchen design. Made with German engineering, a Rotpunkt Kitchen is the ultimate modern addition to your home. Rotpunkt Kitchens have timeless design and amazing functionality, they work for every purpose and are eco-friendly. Sourced from natural materials, a Rotpunkt kitchen uses 37% less timber, conserving natural forests and being more environmentally conscious.

2. Classic

Prefer a homely and traditional feel? Classic kitchens are warm, welcoming and filled with wood. Wood flooring, wood fixtures, wood furniture – you name it! You can bring a rustic feel to your urban home with a classic kitchen. Subtle colours and beautiful finishes, Classic kitchens are for taking it back to the basics with a definitive look and feel.

classic kitchen designs

With stated handles for cupboards, Classic kitchens are effortlessly timeless. They convey an elegant but relaxing nature. Giving off countryside vibes, natural elements convey a British countryside feel. The wood featured in a classic kitchen can range between oaks and walnut, creating a warmth and original feel to your home. Soft English heritage colours add a certain mood to your home, softening the light making it cosier.

3. Shaker

Any kitchen planner will tell you that the meeting point between traditional and modern design, is a Shaker kitchen. They have a distinctive style and innovative feel. Shakers are fresh, mixing different colour tones with stylish wood and vinyl. The most important feature of a Shaker kitchen is functionality – every feature needs to serve a purpose in the kitchen. Paired with stylish and unique furniture, a Shaker kitchen is an ideal addition to any home.

shaker kitchen designs

The ultimate marriage between Classic and Modern kitchens, this Shaker kitchen has deep colour tones with copper emphasis features. All the fittings and fixtures blur the line of modern and tradition, with a Classic look but modern colour vibe. Unique furniture and design make Shaker Kitchens perfect for the middle ground in kitchen design. Minimal but beautifully dressed. Traditional but bold and modern at the same time. Storage solutions are part of the functionality of Shaker kitchens, but don’t detour from conveying yours as a luxury kitchen.

Whatever you choose for your new kitchen, be it Modern, Classic or Shaker – pick whatever suits you. Taste is, and always will be, subjective – it’s down to you.

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Features

Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy

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Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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