IBI Watch 9/23/12

23 09 2012

Paying the Price of Change   //

Each week, we see new  havoc that our greenhouse gas emissions are wreaking in the world.  Sometimes the changes are linked to the obvious culprit, and sometimes we pretend not to notice.  Here are several examples of both, and some hopeful signs that many of us are making the connection and working on solutions.  Too bad that does not include our American federal government.

First, the clearest and most ominous.  Every spring in Minnesota, weather forecasters make a big deal over ‘ice-out’ dates on lakes.  Well, we are getting damned near ‘ice-out’ time on the Arctic Ocean, at least in summer.  Our 2012 melt season absolutely smashed the old (2007) record for Arctic melt.  This video interview with Walt Meier, a scientist at the U.S. National Ice and Snow Data Center, explains the science, the context and the significance for us non-Arctic residents.  Note Meier’s key quote – ‘much faster than expected.’

Next, this article (and a linked video) from Huffington Post charts 10 expected consequences of global warming, ranging from inconvenient to devastating.

Here is a video posted by Sarah Seltzer on AlterNet that details all the extreme weather phenomena piling up over the past few months.  Any day now, people will notice the trend.

Global warming is of course not limited to the land.  Check this account from Mother Jones’ science reporter, Julia Whitty, about the incredibly warm ocean depths.

Next, a friend sent me a link to a story on a new cloud formation.  Granted, there is no explicit link established between greenhouse gases and undulatus asperatus clouds, but 90 million tons of CO2 per day spewed into the atmosphere is going to cause some change, right?  (Note – the linked video is strictly for laughs.)  I have seen these incredible, ominous clouds several times this summer – and they sure look new and different to this longtime observer.

And finally, the esteemed Noah Adams missed a big opportunity with this story.  Since I began observing and studying global warming in the late 80s, I have been expecting events like the one described – the disastrous Michigan apple harvest now playing out.

The weather phenomenon that killed all the buds – a late April freeze – is all too normal. But the setup – ridiculously warm fall and winter, followed by summer in March – in no way normal. Until now. Welcome to Eaarth.

So what are we doing about this?  If you’re Rex Tillerson, not much (except making lots more money – he always adapts, via his engineering solutions!)  But if you are James Hansen, plenty.  I like his fee and dividend idea – a fee on carbon-generating fuels that is used to incent consumers to make sustainable choices.  Also plenty, if you are former Vice President Al Gore.  And finally – if you are a large corporation whose livelihood depends on a stable climate, more than you might think – real support for regulating carbon.  Too bad these guys are drowned out right now by the siren song of pignorant corporate cash from the likes of Big Oil and Big Coal.  But it won’t always be that way.

Joe Romm from Climate Reality shares some powerful advice on winning the climate argument.

How We Wreck the Place (And Fix it, Sometimes)

Human impact on the planet is shocking and constantly growing.  This surprises little, considering we have passed the seven billion mark in population.  A book I am currently reading, The End of the Long Summer, describes the ways – climate change being only one – we have transformed the planet.

Here are three wildlife stories that are in the news right now.  First, a maritime view – tropical fish in the Bay of Fundy.  Hmm, wonder how that happened.  (See the Julia Whitty piece above for details.)  Second, what’s with all the confounded spiders in Guam?  This lesson in ecology might surprise you.  (Snakes on a plane, man!)  Third – an absolutely heartbreaking story about African elephants and the illegal ivory trade – which is booming.  An excellent, devastating investigative work from this month’s National Geographic.  Good thing all this slaughter is being done in the name of God, or at least, the God industry.  This video explains the religious link (hint, it’s ecumenical), and points toward hope.

So, I promised some good news.  Here is one happy story about a tech fix for an unfortunate eagle.  Of course, too bad the poor bird had to have her beak shot off in order to benefit from this new wizardry.  But that’s another tale for another time.  And then, there are always those deserving organizations doing fine work on behalf of wildlife – that merit our support.  Here are a few of my favorites.




Hey, Protect This!

Pity the poor American conservative.  He looks at the future, and what does he see?  Immigrants, an aging population, and a minority majority, that’s what.  So, how can he maintain the status quo, i.e., a government that does big business’s bidding, no questions asked?  Well, there’s always fear – that works wonders.  Then there are Karl Rove’s oily, well-funded, Supreme-Court-blessed lying campaigns.  But nothing works like culling the herd – of voters, that is.  I will have lots more to say about this hugely important issue in coming weeks, but for now I cede the floor to the amazing (and potty-mouthed, be warned) Sarah Silverman.  Tell those &%)@s to go   )%_)@*!

“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group,”

― Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Blogger – Michael Murphy, St. Paul MN

Contributed links to this posting – Jeanine Bontrager, Cassie Callan, Jeff Carlson, Allyson Harper




2 responses

23 09 2012

Oh man, let me get this straight. If you guys go to one of those banks that give out guns when you open a new account, and you open a new account and get a gun, you can vote? Did I get that right? Your country cracks me up! (Okay, we have bad $#@! here in my country too, but it’s never as ingeniously devious as you Yanks come up with. 😉

23 09 2012
Mike Murphy

Yes, you have it right. You just can’t make this stuff up.


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