Last Chance

And speaking of climate change, and those who would deny its existence for the sake of their profit and convenience, fellow-blogger justdrivewillyou has written an excellent, hard-hitting post about the topic that I wish I could send to all those who simply shrug their shoulders at the topic. Thank you, justdrive, for an excellent post and your kind permission to re-blog!

just drive, will you?

524629971904

CLIMATE CHANGE, IF WE CONTINUE TO IGNORE IT, WILL LEAD TO OUR EXTINCTION.

Did anybody miss that? Let me say it again.

CLIMATE CHANGE, IF WE CONTINUE TO IGNORE IT, WILL LEAD TO OUR EXTINCTION.

There is no greater threat to humanity. Not ISIS. Not illegal immigrants.Not even delusional, despotic Presidents.

None of them are a match for Mother Nature.

If you’re still a Denier, well, pardon me but, pull your head out. This is real, it is urgent, and denying it won’t keep it away.

It’s not a Democratic issue, a Republican issue, or even an American issue. It is a human issue, and it demands all our attention.

If we fail to give it, we’re done for. Period.

Are you all with me? Good, listen up:

Last week, a resolution was introduced to Congress declaring a Climate Change Emergency. The resolution, H.Con.Res.52, sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders…

View original post 511 more words

Going … Going … Gone

This morning the United Nations released a report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the premise of which is that as many as one million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction.  Think about this one, folks … one million

That in itself is cause for grief, but the report goes a step further than previous studies by linking the loss of species to humans and analyzing its effect on food and water security, farming and economies.  According to the report, more plants and animals are threatened with extinction now than any other period in human history. Nature’s current rate of decline is unparalleled, it says, and the accelerating rate of extinctions “means grave impacts on people around the world are now likely.”

Now, personally I do not, as some do, see the human species as superior to all others.  Obviously, if the human species were so superior, we would not be willfully destroying every living creature on the planet.  No, I think humans are without doubt the greediest, most selfish species on earth.  But, since we broke it, it is up to us to fix it, and yet the very people with the greatest ability to do so, refuse, putting their own convenience and profit ahead of the future of all life on earth.

It isn’t only the effects of climate change that are causing the global crisis. The report emphasized the effects humans have on animals that are key to their own survival. Pesticides sprayed by farmers that kill pollinators such as bees and other insects will likely have a devastating effect on crops. Homeowners contribute to the problem by purchasing “bug zappers” that target mosquitoes but also eliminate key pollinators such as butterflies and moths, as well as common flies that some animals rely on for food.

The report has a positive spin, saying that “it is not too late to make a difference.” But that difference requires more than 100 developing and non-developed nations to work together to bring about change.  Today.  Not tomorrow or next year – TODAY!

A friend recently told me that she believes God gave the earth to humans for the purpose of their enjoyment and that there is nothing to worry about, for in essence God wants people to be happy and will replenish the earth without us changing our lifestyle.  Well, folks, guess what?  That is the biggest line of bullshit I’ve ever heard.  The owners of those factories spewing tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, the companies that produce the killing pesticides, the fossil fuel industry have all contributed to convincing people to “stay calm”, that the scientists are all wrong, and that everything will be alright.

EVERYTHING WILL NOT BE ALRIGHT!

So, why am I carrying on again about the same topic I’ve written about multiple times?  Because we’re not getting through to the politicians who can make the biggest difference through legislation.  Because we’re not getting through to our friends and neighbors.  Because … we all have children and grandchildren and we are allowing their future to be destroyed.  I know you’re tired and so am I, but we need to do more.  We need to do our own small part, sure, but we also need to get back on a letter-writing, phone-calling, e-mailing campaign and tell our elected officials to get off their sweet patooties and do the right thing.

An anonymous comment I read this morning in The Washington Post says it all …

“For many decades, environmentalists have been sounding the alarm that people are destroying the Earth through their callous disregard of nature, because of the misguided thought that we are supposedly lords over the planet instead of another species that is PART of the planet.

People who think of themselves as separate from nature rather than part of it fall in to the dangerous assumption that they can just keep on killing off whatever plants and animals they want, in as large numbers as they want, without it affecting human life too.

For many decades, politicians have been ignoring these calls for people to have a greater respect for the natural world of which we are a part. For many decades, those calls have been answered with criticism from those who believe there should be no environmental regulations, no protections for wildlife, and that humans should be able to just destroy whatever they want, whenever they want, as often and as much as they want, because to them, making money by destroying the environment is awesome.

Now they’re going to learn the hard way that it’s not awesome at all. The environmentalists have been correct about this all along, and the greedy selfish people who think environmental regulations are bad just keep on trying to claim they’re not.”

This isn’t just another political issue.  This should rise far above partisan politics, should take precedence over trade wars, over corporate profits, and every other issue, for frankly, if we don’t do this now, none of the rest will matter a whit by the end of the century.  You won’t be around to see it nor will I, but our great-great-grandchildren will.  Think about it.

The Virtue of Stupidity

Once again, dear friend Hugh has hit the nail on the head regarding the dangerous attitudes of this nation toward addressing environmental issues, most notably climate change, or global warming. Please take a minute to read his excellent post … and make note of his new “law” at the end! Thank you, Hugh, for the post and the permission to share!

hughcurtler

Temperatures around the country have recently been plunging and the nay-sayers once again point to the thermometer and tell us why they deny that the globe is warming. They ignore the fact that South Africa is experiencing the hottest summer on record and that what happens in Alabama or Alaska (or South Africa) is beside the point. Global Warming is a fact and it is not to be identified with passing weather events in particular parts of the world. Confusing the two and ignoring hard science are marks of the “virtue of stupidity” among those who remain with their heads in the sand — or somewhere equally dark. (This is a repost, which I have updated.)

In his remarkable book, Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free, Charles Pierce quotes Norman Myers of the Climate Institute who estimated that in 1995 [over twenty-four years ago!] there…

View original post 929 more words

Cause of Death: Donald Trump

This column by The Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson speaks for itself … in fact, the title says it all …

Our planet is in crisis. We don’t have time for Trump’s foolishness.

Eugene-RobinsonHere is how to interpret the alarming new United Nations-sponsored report on global warming: We are living in a horror movie. The world needs statesmen to lead the way to safety. Instead, we have President Trump, who essentially says, “Hey, let’s all head to the dark, creepy basement where the chain saws and razor-sharp axes are kept. What could go wrong?”

The answer is almost everything, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The impact of human-induced warming is worse than previously feared, the report released Monday says, and only drastic, coordinated action will keep the damage short of catastrophe.

To this point, climate change has been a slow-motion calamity whose impacts, month to month and year to year, have been hard to perceive. Unfortunately, according to the report, that is about to change.

The burning of fossil fuels on an industrial scale has raised global temperatures by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. That may not sound like much, but look at the consequences we’re already seeing: Stronger, slower, wetter tropical storms. Unprecedented heat waves. Devastating floods. Dying coral reefs. A never-before-seen summer shipping lane across the Arctic Ocean.

Meanwhile, humankind continues to pump heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a tragically self-destructive rate. The IPCC calculates that a further temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius — almost inevitable, given our dependence on coal, oil and gas — would be challenging but manageable. An increase of about 2 degrees, however, would be disastrous.

What’s the difference? With a 1.5-degree rise, about 14 percent of the world’s population would be vulnerable to severe and deadly heat waves every five years; with a 2-degree rise, that figure jumps to 37 percent. With a 1.5-degree rise, an additional 350 million city dwellers worldwide will face water shortages; with a 2-degree rise, 411 million people will suffer such drought. With a 1.5-degree rise, coral reefs will experience “very frequent mass mortalities”; with a 2-degree rise, coral reefs will “mostly disappear.”

Small differences can have huge impacts. Under the 1.5-degree scenario, up to 69 million people will be newly exposed to flooding. Under the 2-degree scenario — which the report estimates would boost sea-level rise by as much as 36 inches — the number rises to 80 million.

Please don’t dismiss all of this as just another boring compendium of carefully hedged facts and figures. I have followed the IPCC’s research since covering the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The new report strikes a different tone that combines weary fatalism with hair-on-fire alarm. In dry, just-the-facts language, it predicts declining fisheries, failing crops, more widespread risk from tropical diseases such as malaria, economic dislocation in the most-affected countries — and, by logical extension, greater political instability.

All of these impacts are bad with 1.5 more degrees of temperature rise. With 2 degrees they are much, much worse.

The obvious solution is to dramatically reduce carbon emissions. The IPCC says emissions need to decline by at least 40 percent by 2030 and to reach net zero by 2050, if we are to hold warming to 1.5 degrees. Yet last year, according to the International Energy Agency, global emissions hit an all-time high.

Since 2016, representatives of 195 nations — including all the big emitters — signed on to the landmark Paris agreement calling for systematic emissions reductions beginning in 2020. But Trump, who has ignorantly called climate change a “hoax,” decided to withdraw the United States from the pact. Even worse, Trump is aggressively trying to increase reliance on coal, which contributes a disproportionate amount of carbon dioxide emissions compared with other fossil fuels.

U.S. carbon emissions actually fell slightly in 2017, because of the expansion of the renewable energy sector. But Trump administration policies are designed to reverse that trend; and if they fail to do so, it will be because the rest of the world is already moving toward clean energy — a huge economic shift that threatens to leave the United States behind.

When you read the IPCC report, you see that what the world really needs is visionary leadership. As the world’s greatest economic power and its second-largest carbon emitter, the United States is uniquely capable of shepherding a global transition to renewable energy. Instead, the Trump administration rejects the science of climate change and actively favors dirty energy sources over clean ones.

Humanity has no time for such foolishness. “I’m the president of the United States. I’m not the president of the globe,” Trump thundered at a recent rally. On what planet does he think this nation resides?

A Few Bits Of Good News On The Environment

Yesterday the high temperature where I live was 76° (F), 24° (C).  Yesterday was 20 February 2018.  It is never 76° in my area in February, nor in March.  The average high temperature for this time of year is 43°. Perhaps by mid-April we see temps in the 70s on occasion, but never, ever in February.  Now, admittedly I enjoyed the warmth of the day — Miss Goose and I went for a nice walk … I only managed 3.2 miles, but she went 5.6, and we both felt good about our accomplishments after a winter of inactivity, but … You don’t believe in global warming or in climate change?  Well, I do.

bumblebee on flowerFor one thing, when nearly all of the world’s climate scientists confirm the same data and draw the same conclusion, I am convinced, for they are the experts, not me, not Donald Trump, Rick Perry or Scott Pruitt.  For another thing, I can see and feel the difference from, say, ten years, or even five years ago.  There are fewer bees about in the springtime, the air is harder to breathe, the humidity levels in summer are much higher and the temperatures throughout the year, on average, much warmer.  The sky never looks as clear (okay, sure, I am half blind, but still …) I can observe these things on my own.

Sadly, we are governed by a bunch of stodgy and stupid men who deny or choose to ignore the evidence produced by scientists, and who do not leave their air-conditioned offices long enough to observe nature.  Rather than consider the work of the scientists, they simply dismiss the scientists and remove the words “climate change” from their new, alternative vocabulary.  Problem solved, right?  WRONG.

I don’t do a regular feature on the environment, but when news crosses my path that I think matters, I try to incorporate it into my work.  Today, there is some good news (and some bad news).  But just for today, let’s look at the good news, for that always makes us feel a little better, and I find hope in some of the steps being taken to defy the administration’s destructive environmental policies, or rather undoing of policies.seperator

One of Michigan’s largest public utilities, Consumers Energy — which provides power for more than 60 percent of the state’s residents — has promised to stop burning coal completely by 2040 in an effort to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The company plans to completely phase out coal and generate 40 percent of its energy from renewable sources like wind and solar.

wind turbinesIn 2016, Consumers Energy closed down 7 of its 12 coal-fired power plants, which reduced its emissions by 38%.  They currently get 24% of their energy from coal and 10% from renewable sources.

“We believe that climate change is real and we can do our part by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, and we also believe it doesn’t have to cost more to do it,” Consumers Energy president and CEO Patti Poppe said, adding that coal has become less cost competitive as the cost of renewable energy continues to fall.

Michigan’s other major energy company, DTE Energy, has also pledged to shutter its coal plants by 2040 and reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

According to a recent cost analysis from the financial firm Lazard Ltd., it is currently cheaper to build and operate renewable energy projects than to operate coal and nuclear plants in many parts of the United States.

Despite Trump and Pruitt’s best efforts, many more power plants are steering away from coal and into cleaner, less costly renewable energy sources. seperatorJust the words “oil pipeline” raise the hackles of those of us who care about the environment.  Keystone, Dakota Access.  New Jersey Attorney General, Gurbir Grewal, is saying “hold on just a minute there …” in response to the 120-mile PennEast Pipeline. PennEast is seeking eminent domain over nearly 147 parcels of land in New Jersey and has started proceedings to condemn, or gain legal permission to take control of these areas.  Grewal, acting on behalf of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), has filed a motion with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), requesting information from PennEast regarding site-specific information detailing how environmental impacts would be avoided or minimized.  Thus far, the company has not provided any such information to DEP.

The pipeline would cross some 30 streams, and no information has been provided for how that would be safely done.  Additionally, there has been no study performed to determine whether the properties PennEast wants to condemn would even qualify for permits under the Clean Water Act.  February 1, the New Jersey DEP rejected PennEast’s application for a water quality permit pending provision of the requested information.

This is one to watch, and will speak volumes about whether FERC is serving to protect our environment or to lick Donald Trump’s boots, but I am pleased to see the DEP and New Jersey Attorney General taking a stand.seperator

Rick Perry

Rick Perry

Last week, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California took a stand against Trump’s destructive moves.  For 30 years, federal standards governing the efficiency of home appliances and commercial equipment have been updated with bipartisan approval, producing major cuts in energy usage and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Consumers also have saved money on their utility bills by using highly energy-efficient appliances. But in the Trump administration, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, has missed several deadlines for updating appliance efficiency standards and is expected to miss several more in 2018.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria ordered the Trump administration to end its hold on rules that would strengthen appliance energy efficiency standards and help consumers save money on their energy bills.  According to Kit Kennedy, a senior director of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) …

“The Trump administration’s baffling decision to block the final procedural step could have cost Americans $8 billion in higher energy bills and created uncertainty for U.S. manufacturers. Today’s ruling reaffirms that the Trump administration must follow the laws designed to ensure America’s consumers and businesses aren’t forced to pay needlessly higher energy bills.”

Score another one for We The People.seperatorSmall victories, of course, but victories nonetheless.  It is encouraging to see states, energy companies and the courts standing for protections for our planet, not afraid of Trump and his minions.

On the Fifth Day …

Yesterday I came across this poem, On the Fifth Day, by Jane Hirshfield.  The poem speaks simply and eloquently for itself and needs neither introduction nor explanation from me.

 

On the fifth day

the scientists who studied the rivers

were forbidden to speak

or to study the rivers.

 

The scientists who studied the air

were told not to speak of the air,

and the ones who worked for the farmers

were silenced,

and the ones who worked for the bees.

 

Someone, from deep in the Badlands,

began posting facts.

 

The facts were told not to speak

and were taken away.

The facts, surprised to be taken, were silent.

 

Now it was only the rivers

that spoke of the rivers,

and only the wind that spoke of its bees,

 

while the unpausing factual buds of the fruit trees

continued to move toward their fruit.

 

The silence spoke loudly of silence,

and the rivers kept speaking,

of rivers, of boulders and air.

 

Bound to gravity, earless and tongueless,

the untested rivers kept speaking.

 

Bus drivers, shelf stockers,

code writers, machinists, accountants,

lab techs, cellists kept speaking.

 

They spoke, the fifth day,

of silence.

 

Jane Hirshfield is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Her most recent collection is “The Beauty.” She will read this poem from the stage at the March for Science on April 22.

Live For Today, or Preserve For Tomorrow?

As humans, one of our less desirable traits is our attitude of “yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn’t promised, so live in the moment … live for today”.  On the surface, that seems like a decent philosophy, and I know many who follow it, but there are some big problems with it.  Personal finance, of course, is near the top of the list.  There are those for whom living “payday-to-payday” with no savings for emergencies is a way of life.  They spend and buy what they want today without concern for the future because “tomorrow isn’t promised”.  There is, however, a more global effect of the “live for today” attitude that humans tend to employ, and the one I have in mind at the moment is climate change and our environment.  I do not know how citizens in other nations view the threat to our globe but as a citizen of the U.S., I can tell you that Americans are short-sighted, selfish and arrogant when it comes to their willingness to make sacrifices today in order to save the planet tomorrow.  Apparently it is easier to deny that there is a problem than to suffer sacrifice or inconvenience in order to work toward solving the problem. There is very real and irrefutable evidence that we (and I use this term in the global sense) have contributed to changes in the environment, changes that will have long-lasting consequences and ultimately have the potential to make this earth uninhabitable for human life.  Yet rather than be inconvenienced, far too many people choose to turn a blind eye, declaring that climate change is some conspiracy dreamed up by politicians … to what end I do not know. Just this morning I read a post by a fellow blogger who referred to the concept of climate change as the “hoax of the century”.  Yet most all scientists now agree that climate change is a very real and lethal phenomenon.

gw1

gw2

The evidence is clear and overwhelming as seen in the effects of our environmental neglect:

  • Sea level rise – Global sea level rose about 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in the last century. The rate in the last decade, however, is nearly double that of the last century.
  • Global temperature rise – All three major global surface temperature reconstructions show that Earth has warmed since 1880.5 Most of this warming has occurred since the 1970s, with the 20 warmest years having occurred since 1981 and with all 10 of the warmest years occurring in the past 12 years. Even though the 2000s witnessed a solar output decline resulting in an unusually deep solar minimum in 2007-2009, surface temperatures continue to increase.
  • Warming oceans – The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969
  • Shrinking ice sheets – The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show Greenland lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometers (36 to 60 cubic miles) of ice per year between 2002 and 2006, while Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometers (36 cubic miles) of ice between 2002 and 2005.
  • Declining Arctic sea ice – Both the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice has declined rapidly over the last several decades.
  • Glacial retreat – Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa.
  • Extreme events – The number of record high temperature events in the United States has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950. The U.S. has also witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events.
  • Ocean acidification – Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 percent. This increase is the result of humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and hence more being absorbed into the oceans. The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year.
  • Decreased snow cover – Satellite observations reveal that the amount of spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased over the past five decades and that the snow is melting earlier.

The above information with supporting detail and much more from the scientific community can be found at: http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

The leading cause of climate change remains the burning of fossil fuels for power plants and transportation.  Though this is by no means the only cause of what is known as the “greenhouse effect”, it is the biggest culprit and the one over which we, as humans, have the most control.  I hear people say that it won’t make a big difference if the turn their thermostat up by 5 or 10 degrees in the winter, or if they make an extra trip to the market to pick up just one or two items.  The fallacy in this way of thinking is that of volume.  You may not save the world by turning that light out when you leave the room or donning a sweater instead of turning the thermostat up, but your efforts combined with millions of others just might contribute to making a difference.  On a larger scale, we can refuse to support businesses that are not environmentally-friendly.  We can elect politicians who support environmental legislation such as research for alternative, renewable energy sources.

I do not claim to be a scientist, nor do I entirely understand the science behind the data despite having taken two courses on Environmental Science.  Thus it is not my intent to go into the details of the science behind climate change, but merely to assert that there seems to be more evidence in support of the fact that mankind is destroying the global atmosphere than there is evidence to the contrary.  No matter how diligent or negligent you and I are at working toward solutions to the problem of climate change, we will not be around to see the effects, but other humans will.  Shall we not worry about the future and simply “live for today”, or shall we be responsible global citizens and do that which is in our power to preserve the world for future generations?

climate