♫ Earth Song ♫

Much of my writing of late has been about the environment — climate change, the IPCC and NCA reports, the utter failure of the U.S. government to address the obvious and imminent threat.  When our friend David mentioned this song a few days ago, I went back to listen to it for the first time in years, watched the video, and knew the time was right to remember this song.

Michael Jackson, known for his socially-conscious music, released this song, dealing with the environment and animal welfare, on November 27, 1995.  The music video you are about to see was shot in four separate geographical locations, including the Americas, Europe and Africa.  According to Michael Jackson …

“I remember writing ‘Earth Song’ when I was in Austria, in a hotel. And I was feeling so much pain and so much suffering of the plight of the Planet Earth. And for me, this is Earth’s Song, because I think nature is trying so hard to compensate for man’s mismanagement of the Earth. And with the ecological unbalance going on, and a lot of the problems in the environment, I think earth feels the pain, and she has wounds, and it’s about some of the joys of the planet as well. But this is my chance to pretty much let people hear the voice of the planet. And this is ‘Earth Song.’ And that’s what inspired it. And it just suddenly dropped into my lap when I was on tour in Austria.”

The song has won numerous awards, perhaps none more important than the Genesis Award: 1995 Doris Day Music Award, given each year for animal sensitivity.

In 2008, a writer for the Nigeria Exchange noted, “Earth Song drew the world’s attention to the degradation and bastardization of the earth as a fall out of various human activities”.  Ten years later and we still haven’t gotten the wake-up call.

The video, directed by fine art photographer Nick Brandt had an environmental theme, showing images of animal cruelty, deforestation, pollution, poaching, poverty and war. Jackson and the world’s people unite in a spiritual chant—”Earth Song”—which summons a force that heals the world. Using special effects, time is reversed so that life returns, war ends and the forests regrow.

Earth Song
Michael Jackson

What about sunrise
What about rain
What about all the things that you said
We were to gain
What about killing fields
Is there a time
What about all the things
That you said were yours and mine

Did you ever stop to notice
All the blood we’ve shed before
Did you ever stop to notice
This crying Earth, these weeping shores

Aah, ooh

What have we done to the world
Look what we’ve done
What about all the peace
That you pledge your only son

What about flowering fields
Is there a time
What about all the dreams
That you said was yours and mine

Did you ever stop to notice
All the children dead from war
Did you ever stop to notice
This crying earth, these weeping shores

Aah, ooh
Aah, ooh

I used to dream
I used to glance beyond the stars
Now I don’t know where we are
Although I know we’ve drifted far

Aah, ooh
Aah, ooh

Aah, ooh
Aah, ooh

Hey, what about yesterday
(What about us)
What about the seas
(What about us)
The heavens are falling down
(What about us)
I can’t even breathe
(What about us)
What about apathy
(What about us)
Drowning in the seas
(What about us)
What about the promised land
Preachin’ what I believe
(What about us)
What about the holy land
(What about it)
What about the greed
(What about us)
Where did we go wrong
Someone tell me why
(What about us)
What about baby boy
(What about him)
What about the days
(What about us)
What about all their joy
Do we give a damn

Aah, ooh
Aah, ooh

Songwriters: Michael Jackson
Earth Song lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Killing Us For Profit

It’s a familiar scene in households where a toddler or two reside.  Mommy is going through the house picking up the toys, and other detritus left behind by the toddler, and the toddler is going right behind her, tossing all the toys right back into the middle of the floor.  Only in this case, “Mommy” is all the nations on the globe except the U.S., meeting in Poland for the COP24 where they debate the best ways to keep greenhouse gasses out of the atmosphere.  And the “toddler” is Donald Trump, alleging to represent the United States, seeking to put more of those same gasses into the atmosphere.  Only difference is that mommy can pick up the toddler and stick him in a playpen or high chair, distract him momentarily, and finish the clean-up.  Unfortunately, the other nations have no power to curb Donald Trump’s destructive urges.

The latest is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to revise its “New Source Performance Standards” for coal power plants, allowing coal-fired generators to emit more CO2 per megawatt-hour of electricity generated.  In short, it is a reversal of one of the Obama administrations regulations that requires new coal plants to invest in technology such as carbon capture and storage.

Andrew WheelerEPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, made quite clear what the priorities are, and a clean environment, a sustainable Planet Earth, are definitely not in the equation:

“By replacing onerous regulations with high, yet achievable, standards, we can continue America’s historic energy production, keep energy prices affordable, and encourage new investments in cutting-edge technology that can then be exported around the world.”

I’m not sure who Mr. Wheeler thinks will be buying all that coal, though, for most all nations are investing in renewable energy sources and are hoping to sever the bonds of fossil fuels as soon as possible.  And who, Mr. Wheeler, will mine that coal or buy it when there are no humans left on this earth?

Think of it this way … a classroom of children are each making cards for their mother for Mother’s Day.  Every child is engrossed in cutting, pasting and colouring that special card for mum.  Except one … little Donnie.  Not only is little Donnie sitting with his fat little arms crossed and a scowl on his face, making it clear that he has no intention of making a card for his own mother, but he periodically gets up, walks over to another student and rips their card, or pours ink on it, throws it on the ground and stomps on it.  This is what Donald Trump is doing … he is refusing to allow the U.S. to do our part to try to combat the disastrous effects of climate change, but he is determined to ruin the efforts of other, more conscionable nations.

“This is just one more foolhardy move by a misguided administration that will be judged harshly by future generations.” – David Doniger, senior strategic director of the Climate & Clean Energy program at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Today’s proposal is nothing more than another thoughtless attempt by the Trump Administration to prop up their backwards and false narrative about reviving coal at the expense of science, public safety, and reality.” – Mary Anne Hitt, senior director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign.

This is not the first action of Trump and his minions to attempt to revive a dying coal industry.  Prior to this, he rolled back regulations regarding carbon emissions and mercury emissions, as well as coal ash.  What’s next?  A requirement that every household install a coal-burning furnace?

The reality is that his actions will not save the coal industry.  It is a dinosaur headed for extinction, and in this case, the sooner the better.  U.S. coal consumption has declined over the last decade and this year is expected to be at its lowest level in 39 years. Coal has struggled in the U.S. to compete with cheaper electricity produced from natural gas and renewable energy.  And along those lines, there is some good news …

Xcel Energy, which provides electricity to 3.6 million customers in eight states, has become the first major U.S. utility committed to delivering 100 percent carbon-free power by 2050.

Equally remarkable, the plan Xcel announced on Tuesday promises an 80 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. The company stated that “its 2030 goal can be achieved affordably with renewable energy and other technologies currently available.”

According to CEO Ben Fowke …

“This risk of climate change isn’t going away and we want to be the company that does something about it and hopefully inspire others to do something about it too.”

Do you hear that, Mr. Donald Trump???

Xcel has said it can already buy new renewable power plants for less money than it costs to simply operate existing coal plants.  In August, Colorado state regulators approved an Xcel plan to shutter two Colorado coal plants and replace them with renewables plus a battery storage, while saving consumers hundreds of millions of dollars.XcelColorado’s governor-elect, Jared Polis, said …

“One of the great things about this transition is it will create tens of thousands of good, green jobs that will never be outsourced. It’s not only about carbon; it’s also about cleaner air, which means people will be healthier. We’re showing the country the way.”

Do you hear that, Mr. Donald Trump???

There are cities, states and corporations within the U.S. that are determined, despite the whims of Trump and his wealthy cronies, to work toward a sustainable environment, but they cannot do it alone.  We need a federal government that puts life before profit.  We need a federal government that helps and supports efforts such as those being made by Xcel Energy and others.

Lest you fail to understand the urgency, a report released Wednesday by a consortium of researchers known as the Global Carbon Project finds that global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are likely to have increased by about 2.7% in 2018, after a 1.6% increase in 2017.  That’s a 4.3% increase in just two years!

Do you hear that, Mr. Donald Trump???  You are killing us all in your quest for more wealth!

Good People Doing Good Things — Greta Thunberg

After the Parkland school shooting last February, we saw many of our young people step up to the plate and become … well, the adults in the room, quite honestly.  They declared they had enough of adults being so stupidly in love with their guns that they were willing to sacrifice the very lives of these young people, and in nearly the blink of an eye, these young people became activists for meaningful gun regulations.

On Monday night, our dear friend Colette sent me an email with a suggestion that I look into another young activist fighting for a cause that we should all be fighting for.  Her name is Greta Thunberg, she is 15-years-old and lives in Sweden.  Greta is, as the Parkland kids were, being the adult in the room.  Her cause?  Climate change.

“Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago.”

It takes a lot of courage for a teenage girl to make such a statement, and she is spot on!Greta-2Greta is the daughter of Svante Thunberg, an actor, and Malena Ernman, a well-known opera singer, both people of conscience, as you will see.  Greta developed her special interest in climate change when she was nine years old and in the third grade.  As she tells it …

“They were always talking about how we should turn off lights, save water, not throw out food. I asked why and they explained about climate change. And I thought this was very strange. If humans could really change the climate, everyone would be talking about it and people wouldn’t be talking about anything else. But this wasn’t happening.”

Nine years old, and she had better sense than many world leaders today.  She began researching climate change and has stayed on the topic for six years. She has stopped eating meat and buying anything that is not absolutely necessary. In 2015, she stopped flying on airplanes, and a year later, her mother followed suit, giving up an international performing career. The family has installed solar batteries and has started growing their own vegetables on an allotment outside the city.Greta ThunbergAll of that would be enough, in my book, to dub her a “good person”, but it is barely even the tip of the iceberg.  Fast forward to mid-August when Greta Thunberg went on strike.  That’s right … she went on strike, refusing to attend school until Sweden’s Parliamentary election on September 9th.  Every day, Greta sat quietly on the cobblestones outside parliament in central Stockholm, handing out leaflets that declare: “I am doing this because you adults are shitting on my future.”

When people tell her she should be at school, she points to the textbooks in her satchel …

“I have my books here. But also, I am thinking: what am I missing? What am I going to learn in school? Facts don’t matter anymore, politicians aren’t listening to the scientists, so why should I learn?”Greta-3As word of Greta’s protest spread, so did the protest itself.  At last count, more than 20,000 students around the world have now joined her. The school strikes have spread to at least 270 towns and cities in countries across the world, including Australia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the US and Japan. Greta is amazed by the rapid spread of school strikes for climate around the world: “It proves you are never too small to make a difference.”

Greta has since returned to school four days a week, but on Fridays she pursues that which is closest to her heart these days, her activism, her attempt to wake us all up, to help us save ourselves.  Every Friday, she and others sit outside Parliament to raise awareness amongst legislators and passersby.  I may have forgotten to mention that Greta is autistic and has both ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and Asperger’s Syndrome, all of which makes it very difficult for her to speak to other people, yet look at what she has done in spite of her obstacles!

This Monday was the opening of COP24, the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change being held for twelve days in Katowice, Poland.  Greta Thunberg held a press conference.  The sound quality is poor on the video, and I tried to find a better one, but no luck, so instead I am providing a transcript of her speech.

Greta-COP24For 25 years countless of people have stood in front of the United Nations climate conferences, asking our nations’ leaders to stop the emissions. But, clearly this has not worked since the emissions just continue to rise.

So, I will not ask them anything.

Instead I will ask the media to start treating the crisis as a crisis.

Instead I will ask the people around the world to realize that our political leaders have failed us.

Because we are facing an existential threat and there is no time to continue down this road of madness.

Rich countries like Sweden need to start reducing emissions by at least 15% every year to reach the 2 degree warming target. You would think the media and everyone of our leaders would be talking about nothing else – but no one ever even mentions it.

Nor does hardly anyone ever talk about that we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, with up to 200 species going extinct every single day.

Furthermore does no one ever speak about the aspect of equity clearly stated everywhere in the Paris agreement, which is absolutely necessary to make it work on a global scale. That means that rich countries like mine need to get down to zero emissions, within 6–12 years with today’s emission speed, so that people in poorer countries can heighten their standard of living by building some of the infrastructure that we have already built. Such as hospitals, electricity, and clean drinking water.

Because how can we expect countries like India, Colombia or Nigeria to care about the climate crisis if we, who already have everything, don’t care even a second about our actual commitments to the Paris agreement?

So when school started in August this year I sat myself down on the ground outside the Swedish parliament. I school striked for the climate.

Some people say that I should be in school instead. Some people say that I should study to become a climate scientist so that I can “solve the climate crisis”. But the climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions.

And why should I be studying for a future that soon may be no more, when no one is doing anything to save that future? And what is the point of learning facts when the most important facts clearly mean nothing to our society?

Today we use 100 million barrels of oil every single day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground.

So, we can’t save the world by playing by the rules. Because the rules have to be changed.

So, we have not come here to beg the world leaders to care for our future. They have ignored us in the past and they will ignore us again.

We have come here to let them know that change is coming whether they like it or not. The people will rise to the challenge. And since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago.

This young lady has courage beyond what I could have even begun to imagine when I was her age — or even now, for that matter!  She is an inspiration to so many others who have joined her in the good fight.  Every Wednesday I write this post about ‘Good People Doing Good Things’ … Greta Thunberg is by every measure a good person, and she is doing good things, not just for a few people, but for every living, breathing organism on this planet.  She is doing what our leaders haven’t the courage to do.  She is doing what none of us have the courage to do.  She is trying to save our lives.  I hope that the people with the money and more importantly, the power to do something listen to Greta and her words of wisdom, for all our lives depend on it.  If future generations stand a chance, it will be because of young people of conscience like Greta Thunberg.  Thank you, Greta.

Many thanks to Colette for this suggestion, and also for a number of emails containing links to information and video!  There is much more I could write about Greta Thunberg, but in the interest of time and space, I have included a few links below, for those who would like to know more.

Greta Thunberg: “Sweden is not a Role Model”

Greta Thunberg speaks in Katowice: ”Our leaders behave like children”

Greta on Twitter

The Conversation — Part III (Conclusion)

This is the third and final part of my series about … anything and everything!  I’ve really enjoyed this, felt like I was actually chatting with Mary all the time.  I hope you guys feel free to chime in on any aspect or topic addressed here.  As with the first two, Mary’s comment is in normal text, my responses are in blue.

paragraph divider 2

And none of this mentions the third world countries and the horrible living conditions and poverty and starvation that are in their daily lives. And we think this will change?

No, sadly the situation in the third world countries is likely, with the effects of climate change, to become far worse in the coming years.  It would take the cooperation of all the industrialized nations and their willingness to work together to help those in poor nations, to make a concerted effort to combat the loss of arable land, to help find solutions to provide potable drinking water, and to help them become economically stable, not to mention providing a wide array of health services.  All of which is a pipe dream, when the industrialized nations cannot even agree on the simplest of concepts.

Some may say I’m pessimistic, but I feel I’m realistic. Maybe it’s just the way of Mother Nature. We are the destroyers and the only ones who can bring about a possible eventual return of a healed planet, when we are gone and nature can flourish once again in peace.

Until recently, at least a few of my friends said I got on their nerves with my optimism.  But that optimism has faded with the things I have seen from the human race in the past few years.  Like you, I consider myself neither an optimist nor a pessimist, but rather, a pragmatist, a realist.  The reality is that the human race is not living up to its potential, and in the process of destroying the planet, we are also destroying ourselves.  There is still time for us to start listening, learning and trying to change, and there are signs that some are, but unfortunately not enough.  I liked a comment Robert Vella made on Part I of this series … that we have to find a way to make Joe Blow feel like he is part of the solution.  When we figure out how to do that, then perhaps there will be hope.

And although the environment is of the utmost peril to fix if at all possible, something must be done to change people’s minds about the validity of science and the scourge of racism.  Education, to me is key. The two things that work against it are far right religion and racism pure and simple.

You are spot on!  Education is the answer to both of these things … making people realize that science is not a hoax, and that all people are equal, regardless of skin colour, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identification, height, eye colour, language, culture, etc., etc., etc.  And education begins where?  In the home.  We can blame the Department of Education for a lot, rightfully, and we can blame the colleges for not stepping up to the plate, but we, as parents and grandparents, have the most influence over our children in their early, formative years.  Racism breeds racism, bigotry is carried from one generation to the next.  The question, then, becomes … how do we break that cycle?

Future generations could maybe slowly reverse this environmental damage through scientific research and new technologies, but not if science is not taught and respected.

I think that if we wait for ‘future generations’, based on what I have read of the IPCC and NCA reports on climate change, it will be too late.  We have to convince governments and industries that if we don’t act now, the human race won’t survive, and it won’t make a damn bit of difference how much money they had or how large their investment portfolio, how many rooms in their mansion, or how many trips to the Riviera they took.  In truth, I suspect that those who claim to deny a belief in the science behind climate change know that they are being obtuse, know that the science is real, but are just too stubborn to act, for it might require sacrifice on their part.  And some of the extremely religious, I imagine, believe that their god will not allow anything bad to happen.  Blind faith, they call it.

Wars will continue as long as politicians and big business makes money off of them.

Agreed.  Many profit greatly from wars, especially arms manufacturers.  Others lose their lives, their sons, their husbands …

Racism and bigotry in the US will continue as long as religion castigates other non Christian beliefs and lifestyle choices.

Bigotry in all its forms will continue as long as people believe, whether because of religion or society, that they are somehow superior to others based on some irrelevant criteria.  We keep fighting the same battles over and over, thinking that we’ve finally learned something, and then, a generation or two later, we fight the same battles again.  It’s the fatal flaw of the human race.

And thus concludes this three-part series.  I hope you found it interesting, found some food for thought, and maybe even shared your own opinion on some of these topics.  Special thanks to maryplumbago for sharing her thoughts, and for agreeing to participate in The Conversation.

Links to Part I and Part II, in case you missed them:  The Conversation — Part IThe Conversation — Part II

Mind-Numbing, Jaw-Dropping Moments …

Two things in yesterday’s news were “Say WHAT?” moments.  Mind-numbing, jaw-dropping … the things that make you want to go live somewhere inside the Arctic Circle and forget you ever heard of the United States.

Ugly Trump“One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers. As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it. You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean.” – Donald Trump in interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, 26 November 2018

One of the problems I have with that statement is that I cannot decide whether it sends me into gales of laughter or fits of rage.  “High levels of intelligence”???  Even his most avid followers must surely be either shaking their heads or laughing hysterically at that one!  Intelligence is definitely not one of the words I would use to describe this pimple on the posterior of humanity!!!

People who are truly intelligent have no need to point it out to others.  People who are truly intelligent realize that there are some topics on which others may be more well-educated, and therefore they listen to the opinions of scientists, advisors, etc.  People who are truly intelligent do not act stupidly 99% of the time.  People who are truly intelligent read books.  I could go on and on in this vein, but I think you get the picture.  Trump is undoubtedly the least intelligent person to have been in the Oval Office in my 67 years at least.  And no, I don’t say that because I dislike him immensely.  I immensely dislike Vladimir Putin, but I consider him a fairly intelligent man.

The second problem I have with this statement is that the thing Trump was claiming to be “not necessarily” a believer in was man-made climate change and the need to work cooperatively toward cleaning up our planet.  That, in itself, is proof enough that he is not possessed of ‘high levels of intelligence’.pollution-2And, it goes without saying, the third problem I have with his statement is the lie that our air and water right now are “at a record clean”.  He removed regulations that prohibited coal companies from dumping sludge into creeks and streams, he has reversed other regulations that controlled the amount of CO2 industries could put into the atmosphere.  Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed to weaken or roll back three key public health safeguards directly limiting particle pollution: the Clean Power Plan, clean car rules, and methane standards for the oil and gas industry. These safeguards also indirectly cut particle pollution by fighting climate change—which is fueling larger wildfires and unhealthier wildfire smoke.  Compared to China, our air and water may be relatively clean, but we are doing a lousy job keeping them that way, and in the last week or two, since the smoke from the California wildfires made its way across the nation to the East coast, people with asthma can tell the difference.

So no, there is nothing highly intelligent about either Mr. Trump or his statement of ignorance.  But since he disgusts me, let’s move on to Mississippi …


Hyde-SmithThis is the face of an extreme racist.  This is the woman who will be sitting in the U.S. Senate for the next two years, fulfilling the term of former Senator Thad Cochran, who resigned earlier this year due to illness.  This is the woman who has said she would like to sit in the front row at a lynching.

Yes, Cindy Hyde-Smith won the run-off election against democrat Mike Espy on Tuesday night.  For a brief time, when the returns first began rolling in, Espy was ahead by a slim margin, but with only 1% of the votes counted at that time, I was pretty sure I knew what came next.  When next I glanced over that way, she had a 9% lead and so it remained for the rest of the evening.

As Hugh reminded me not long ago, we must be careful about painting an entire group with the same brush, but I still contend that for this racist woman to win by 7.8%, or 68,585 votes, tells us some things about the majority of people in Mississippi.

The headline in the New York Times read …

In Electing Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mississippi Stays True to Its Conservative Roots

Okay, ‘conservative roots’ are one thing, but blatant, crude, cruel racism is quite another – it is dangerous.  Regarding her win, Ms. Hyde-Smith said …

“The reason we won is because Mississippians know me and they know my heart. This win tonight, this victory, it’s about our conservative values, it’s about the things that mean the most to all of us Mississippians: our faith, our family.”

Translation:  The reason she won is that she is anti-immigration, pro-white supremacy, and her “values” mirror those of at least 54% of the state.  How much of this is due to voter suppression methods, I do not know.  Either way, though, 479,278 people voted for her.  479,278 people voted against Civil Rights, against equality, against LGBT rights, against women’s rights, and more.  Way. To. Go. Mississippians.


On that note, I am going to bed.  Good night, folks.  😴 💤

This Is Not A Game!!!

There are some stories that you can just look at the headline and call “BULL!”  Here are a few such:

Trump dismisses US climate change report

Trump: ‘We’re the cleanest’

Sen. Mike Lee gives a perfectly ridiculous reason to ignore climate change

G20 draft statement on climate change crafted to appease Trump, report says

California wildfires are the fault of ‘radical environmentalists,’ says Zinke

On Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when most people were either sleeping off the calories from the day before, else out pushing, shoving and fighting for the best deals on Christmas gifts, the NCA climate report, which had originally been scheduled for release in early December, was quietly released on what is known as “Black Friday”.  There may have been hopes on the part of Trump and his fellow climate change deniers that it would go largely unnoticed, but that wasn’t the case.Climate change Portland paperMajor national and regional newspapers such as the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Mercury News, Miami Herald, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times and Washington Post carried stories about the report on their front pages.

The National Climate Assessment (NCA) assesses the science of climate change and variability and its impacts across the United States, now and throughout this century.  The report is required by Congress every four years and is issued by 13 federal agencies and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.  More than 1,000 people contributed to the report, including 300 leading scientists, roughly half from outside the government.

The report (link below) is 1,656 pages, but is handily broken into groups, with a nice summary.  I highly recommend you take at least a brief look at it, for this is important. Let’s take a look at the twelve key points:

  • Communities – Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth.
  • Economy – Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century.
  • Interconnected Impacts – Climate change affects the natural, built, and social systems we rely on individually and through their connections to one another. These interconnected systems are increasingly vulnerable to cascading impacts that are often difficult to predict, threatening essential services within and beyond the Nation’s borders.
  • Actions to Reduce Risks – Communities, governments, and businesses are working to reduce risks from and costs associated with climate change by taking action to lower greenhouse gas emissions and implement adaptation strategies. While mitigation and adaptation efforts have expanded substantially in the last four years, they do not yet approach the scale considered necessary to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades.
  • Water – The quality and quantity of water available for use by people and ecosystems across the country are being affected by climate change, increasing risks and costs to agriculture, energy production, industry, recreation, and the environment.
  • Health – Impacts from climate change on extreme weather and climate-related events, air quality, and the transmission of disease through insects and pests, food, and water increasingly threaten the health and well-being of the American people, particularly populations that are already vulnerable.
  • Indigenous Peoples – Climate change increasingly threatens Indigenous communities’ livelihoods, economies, health, and cultural identities by disrupting interconnected social, physical, and ecological systems.
  • Ecosystems and Ecosystem Services – Ecosystems and the benefits they provide to society are being altered by climate change, and these impacts are projected to continue. Without substantial and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, transformative impacts on some ecosystems will occur; some coral reef and sea ice ecosystems are already experiencing such transformational changes.
  • Agriculture – Rising temperatures, extreme heat, drought, wildfire on rangelands, and heavy downpours are expected to increasingly disrupt agricultural productivity in the United States. Expected increases in challenges to livestock health, declines in crop yields and quality, and changes in extreme events in the United States and abroad threaten rural livelihoods, sustainable food security, and price stability.
  • Infrastructure – Our Nation’s aging and deteriorating infrastructure is further stressed by increases in heavy precipitation events, coastal flooding, heat, wildfires, and other extreme events, as well as changes to average precipitation and temperature. Without adaptation, climate change will continue to degrade infrastructure performance over the rest of the century, with the potential for cascading impacts that threaten our economy, national security, essential services, and health and well-being.
  • Oceans & Coasts – Coastal communities and the ecosystems that support them are increasingly threatened by the impacts of climate change. Without significant reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions and regional adaptation measures, many coastal regions will be transformed by the latter part of this century, with impacts affecting other regions and sectors. Even in a future with lower greenhouse gas emissions, many communities are expected to suffer financial impacts as chronic high-tide flooding leads to higher costs and lower property values.
  • Tourism and Recreation – Outdoor recreation, tourist economies, and quality of life are reliant on benefits provided by our natural environment that will be degraded by the impacts of climate change in many ways.

The report supports the data from the IPCC report, issued last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. The IPCC was established by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to review and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change.  Currently 195 countries are Members of the IPCC, and thousands of scientists from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC.

So, we have two independent reports with data from a wide variety of the scientific community, both saying essentially the same thing.  Both should be a wake-up call to everyone.  But is the so-called leader of the United States, Donald Trump, awake?  No.  He told reporters on Monday that he had “read some of” Friday’s report, but the ‘man’ who still doesn’t understand the difference between ‘climate’ and ‘weather’ takes no responsibility and largely says he doesn’t believe either of these reports.

“You’re going to have to have China and Japan and all of Asia and all these other countries, you know, it  addresses our country. Right now we’re at the cleanest we’ve ever been and that’s very important to me. But if we’re clean, but every other place on Earth is dirty, that’s not so good. So I want clean air, I want clean water, very important.”global warmingThink of the wildfires in California.  Take a look at this graph showing the increase in expenditures to fight wildfires since 1985:

wildfire graph

Consider the severe hurricanes we have experienced over the past two years.  There can be no doubt in any thinker’s mind that we are destroying our environment.  Trump and the other climate change deniers claim that increased fossil fuel use creates jobs and boosts the economy.  They claim that removing constraints and regulations from industries enhances corporate profits, thereby adding to the economy.  All of which is, first off, lies, and secondly, irrelevant if we bring about the extinction of not only the human race, but every other living creature on this planet.  And that, folks, is exactly what we are doing.  You don’t have to understand the science to know that it is credible. All you have to do is look around, read the newspaper, think!

Other nations would be well within their rights to be furious with the U.S. for pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord and reversing course on environmental protection.  I would hazard a guess that ultimately, the United Nations will issue an edict that, if ignored, will lead to a war.  This is too important to ignore.  Trump thinks this is a game, thinks it is all about money.  It isn’t a game, and frankly, all the money in the world won’t matter if we don’t wake up and smell the coffee … SOON!

Links to reports (all links open in separate tabs):

NCA Report

IPCC Report

Meanwhile, Back in Hawaii …

Amid all the news of bombs sent to former leaders yesterday and the surrounding conspiracy theories, you may have missed the fact that the U.S. has shrunk by approximately 11 acres.  More to the point, we have lost one of the Hawaiian Islands.  Yes, folks, it is true.   East Island has vanished after coming into contact with Hurricane Walaka, an intense storm that hit Hawaii earlier this month.  You remember that, right … I mean, all the news outlets were covering it, right?  No?  Hmmmm …

According to a story in The Guardian:

Scientists have confirmed the disappearance of the 11-acre island after comparing satellite images of the surrounding French Frigate Shoals, part of an enormous protected marine area in the north-western Hawaiian Islands.

“I uttered a swear word. I had a ‘holy cow!’ moment, somewhat in disbelief that it had disappeared,” said Chip Fletcher, a professor of earth sciences at the University of Hawaii. Fletcher and his colleagues were in the process of researching East Island through drone videos and taking samples of sand and corals to ascertain the age of the island and gauge its future prospects in the face of climate change.

“The island was probably one to two thousand years old and we were only there in July, so for it to be lost right now is pretty bad luck,” Fletcher said.

“We wanted to monitor the island so we are disappointed it has gone, but on the other hand we have learned these islands are far more at risk than we thought. I thought the island would be around for a decade or two longer, but it’s far more fragile than I appreciated. The top, middle and bottom of it has gone.”

Despite its size, the island played an important role for wildlife, including the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal, a species that numbers just 1,400 individuals, with many of the seals raising their young on East Island. Green sea turtles, which are also threatened, and seabirds such as albatrosses, which often had their young preyed upon by circling tiger sharks, also depended on the island.

And just what, you may ask, does it matter if such a tiny little island is lost?  Nobody lived on it, right?

If conditions align, an atoll would always be at a small risk of being erased by a powerful hurricane. But climate change is causing the ocean and atmosphere to warm, making storms fiercer, while there’s evidence that hurricanes are moving further north into the latitudes where East Island once lay.

Rising sea levels are also eroding away low-lying islands, with several fragments of land in the Pacific vanishing in recent years.

“The take-home message is climate change is real and it’s happening now,” Randy Kosaki, a senior official for the Hawaii monument at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told Honolulu Civil Beat, which first reported the disappearance of East Island. “It’s not a hoax propagated in China as some folks have said.”

And then, just this morning in The Washington Post

Extreme Category 5 typhoon, the worst U.S. storm since 1935, leaves Northern Mariana Islands devastated

The Northern Mariana Islands are yet another U.S. territory to have been pummeled by a strong hurricane in the past two years. The U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico suffered calamitous strikes in the 2017 hurricane season, and Guam was recently struck by Typhoon Mangkhut.

Overall, the escalating impacts on U.S. island territories in the Pacific and Caribbean underscore that as seas rise and storms worsen in the face of climate change, small islands face some of the most extreme risks on Earth.

And despite all this, the U.S., the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide (China is #1), not only refuses to acknowledge the cause and effect of carbon dioxide emissions on the environment but refuses to acknowledge climate change altogether!  Worse yet, the government of the United States is actively doing everything in its power to increase the burning of fossil fuels and cancel or impede regulations on industries that are intended to help slow the effects of climate change.

Today, it was an 11-acre uninhabited island.  Tomorrow?

Rainy Day Snarky Snippets

I slept poorly last night, waking about every 20 minutes.  I awoke to a number of unpleasantries, such as a set of dirty sheets in the hallway because Princess Nala had an accident in Miss Goose’s bed, an extra large package weighing about 5,000 pounds being delivered in the rain, and a cat fight.  As such, I am feeling rather snarky this afternoon and so, you know what that means, right?  Snarky Snippets!


heineken-lager-beer-amsterdam-netherlands-10519080A portion of the population in the U.S. and Canada scoff at the notion of climate change.  Rather than believe all of the highly-educated scientists worldwide who have studied the data and done the research, they follow Donald Trump’s lead 🙄 and claim it is a hoax, it is a scam, or that “sure, the weather is changing, but that’s a natural phenomenon – remember the ice age?” No, actually I don’t … it was a bit before my time.  But take heart!  I have found something that is going to make those skeptics sit up and take notice!  Check out this headline from The Guardian

Trouble brewing: climate change to cause ‘dramatic’ beer shortages

Extreme heatwaves and droughts will increasingly damage the global barley crop, meaning a common ingredient of the world’s favourite alcoholic beverage will become scarcer. Key brewing nations are forecast to be among the worst hit, including Belgium, the Czech Republic and Ireland.

The researchers said that compared with life-threatening impacts of global warming such as the floods and storms faced by millions, a beer shortage may seem relatively unimportant. But they said it would affect the quality of life of many people.

“There is little doubt that for millions of people around the world, the climate impacts on beer availability and price will add insult to injury,” said Prof Dabo Guan at the University of East Anglia, one of the research team. “There is something fundamental in the cross-cultural appreciation of beer.

“If you still want to still have a couple of pints of beer while you watch the football, then climate change [action] is the only way out. This is the key message.”

This, even more than food and water shortages, even more than un-breathable air, even more than the threat of extinction, will be a wake-up call to Trump’s base!


I typically think that it is wrong for the media to critique a politician’s family.  Wives, husbands, and children ought to be off-limits, for they are not responsible for what their political spouse or parent says or does.  There are exceptions, however, in the case of either grown children or spouses when they act in ways that seem to invite criticism.  Melania Trump is one such exception.Melania-jacketWhen she went to visit the New Hope Children’s Shelter in McAllen, Texas, on 21 June, wearing a jacket (it was hot that day, no need for a jacket at all) that read, “I really don’t care, do U?” she came under fire by the press, and many of us were seeing red, myself included.  Her staff insisted there was no message intended, but nobody fell for that.  The jacket was ugly, and Melania typically dresses like a high-class call girl, so it was quite outside her ‘norm’.

Now we get the real story.  In an interview with ABC News on Saturday morning, she said …

“It was for the people and for the left-wing media who are criticizing me. I want to show them I don’t care. You could criticize whatever you want to say. But it will not stop me to do what I feel is right. I often asking myself, if I had not worn that jacket, if I will have so much media coverage. I would prefer they would focus on what I do and on my initiatives, than what I wear.”

So, first of all, her ‘initiatives’ amount to nothing.  She is against bullying, but thus far has done next to nothing toward ending bullying, and in truth, she is the exact wrong person to convey that message, for she is married to the biggest bully the world has ever seen.  Secondly, let’s think about something for a minute … she was on her way to visit a detention center where, because of her husband’s actions, 55 immigrant children were being held apart from their parents, and her primary thought is to send a message to the press and by extension, those of us who don’t support her husband.  Okaaaaaayyyy

In the same interview, she claimed that she is the most bullied person in the world.  Back up a minute … Hillary Clinton was slammed by the republicans, most notably Donald Trump, for her husband’s affairs.  It was claimed that she “enabled” him, although I always felt that what was really being said is the same tired old story that if a man cheats, it must surely be because his wife isn’t taking good care of him at home.  But has anybody blamed Melania for Donald’s affairs?  Not that I’ve heard.  Michelle Obama was slammed for wearing a sleeveless dress … a dress that was quite conservative but just happened to be sleeveless.  And yet … Melania, once a nude model, cries because her style of clothing is critiqued?  It sounds to me like somebody has some growing up to do!

As I said, I don’t typically believe in picking on the president’s family, but in this case, Melania is getting exactly what she deserves from the press.


More than once, Donald Trump has belittled Senator Elizabeth Warren for claiming Native American ancestry, even going so far as to routinely refer to her as ‘Pocahontas’.  Nice way for a nation’s leader to behave, right?  He even went so far as to renew his diatribe against her at a November 2017 White House event honoring Navajo code-breakers.Trump-Navajo-code-breakersIn July, Trump again returned to the attack, offering a $1 million personal donation to Warren’s favorite charity if she took a DNA test and it confirmed her Cherokee ancestry.

“I will give you a million dollars to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian [sic].

This morning, Senator Warren called Trump’s bluff and released a genetic analysis done by Stanford University geneticist Carlos Bustamante who stated that the facts support her claim to Native American ancestry.  So, Trump picked up his pen and wrote a check, right?  Surely you jest.  Kellyanne Conway responded …

“I haven’t looked at the test. I know that everybody likes to pick their junk science or sound science depending on the conclusion it seems some days. But I haven’t looked at the DNA test and it really doesn’t interest me…”

And Trump simply denies he ever said it, despite the fact that his statement, made at one of his annoying rallies, was recorded by none other than Fox News!  Senator Warren has requested that he make the check to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.  Any bets as to whether the check ever gets written?trump-native-Am-toon


Thus concludes another episode of Filosofa’s Snarky Snippets, as I have sheets to wash.  Have a great week!