I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas–and July 4th


Above_the_Cloudsphoto by Arun Kulshreshtha

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Here's a thought for the day: Given the embarrassing inability of our political leadership to rein in the worst greenhouse gas polluters, alternative ways of cooling the planet will probably become necessary.

We'll probably have to increase the earth's "albedo"–or ability to reflect sunlight rather than absorb it.  Easy albedo fixes might include making both our roofs and our roads white.

We gardeners will probably need to rethink our color schemes when our front yards appear to be floating on clouds. But it sounds kind of dreamy nonetheless.  What say, we quit burning dirty fuels and paint all the asphalt white just for the heck of it?


  1. Merry Christmas to all you garden rant readers. I see no snow in our northern Florida yard this morning, but hundreds of gold finches and other small birds flitting around the front meadow, which used to be lawn. A pair of piliated woodpeckers, dressed in their red-headed Christmas outfits, cruise between the trees.

    I’m grateful for the bounty from our vegetable garden this year and we’ll be dining on home-grown carrots, radishes, sugar-snap peas, green peppers, and turnips later today. Cheers!

  2. Having a white or light colored roof really helps.
    When I had to re-roof I did my research on the U.C. Berkeley website which helped me calculate my heat loss and gain and assisted in choosing the right light color roof.
    My house is one of the few that does not have a air conditioner and doesn’t require one due to proper placement of shade trees ( actually timber bamboo ), insulation and a light colored roof.
    Next step, new windows …. as soon as the stimulus bill kicks in for the weatherization rebate for our homes.

  3. I always thought that they should develop a way to make our roadways act as solar power receptors. I’m not sure if they would need to be dark to work better as a solar panel but in the meantime I’m all for taking some sort of action. I’m a “doing something, is always better than doing nothing” sorta guy.

  4. Merry Christmas! Needless to say we have a white one up here, but sunny, not particularly cold and altogether lovely. Roads for generating solar power, now that is a thought.

  5. I think Michele is dead-on right in her assessment: “…alternative ways of cooling the planet will probably become necessary.” The Earth Train is moving too fast to slow down, much less stop. And new tracks are being built every day. But then I’m a pessimist.
    On a brighter note, Merry Christmas from the Washington, DC, area where it’s been misty and drizzly all day. The foot and a half of snow shows no sign of going anywhere. It was an Amy Stewart xmas for me: I gave away two copies of Flower Confidential and received Wicked Plants. I can see why WPlants was nominated for design: great cover and interior layout. Plus I’m always a sucker for off-beat sizes; the book is about 5 1/2 x 7 1/4. Feels good in your hand.

  6. Hey Greg,

    The white roof will help keep the house coooler, which reduces the need for air conditioning and thus reducing the need for energy supplied mostly by burning coal. So maybe the white roof does help cool the earth after all.

  7. The white roads and rooftops are a good start, but we can’t stop there. Driving a Hummer on a white road and parking it in a white-roofed garage won’t solve our problems.

  8. Ten years of slight cooling continuing through an El Nino period, acknowlegment by the head and many lead authors of the UN IPCC. Close to or perhaps the coldest December in “history” as defined by the UN IPCC. Projections by almost all climate scientists on earth that cooling will continue for another 10 to 20 years or more.

    Climategate which showed the leading provider of temperature data showing warming has for at least 13 years coruupted data and models to enhance warming and hide the decline in temperatures. Ice area in the Artic, Greenland and Antarctica increasing. Cold temperature and snow records all over the earth.

    The man made warming myth has imploded, but it seems there are still some dead-enders that live in some sort of cocoon isolated from reality still clinging to the cause.

    Happy New Year and please stay warm.


    PS- Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is a gas essential for life. Real measurements of carbon dioxide have shown that there has been no increase in the CO2 fraction in 160 years http://bristol.ac.uk/news/2009/6649.html despite 17 times more CO2 being emmited than was 160 years ago.

    I think it is a travesty to waste billions on trying to limit a necessary gas that is doing no harm and taking money away from fighting real pollution.

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