Tag Archive for 'global warming'

A SuperForest-y Comic

To those who say the present situation surrounding the climate “debate” is not a Pascal's Wager sort of ditty:

I see it like Pascal's Wager in a very direct way — there are four possible scenarios and they are as follows:

1. Climate change is a true problem. We do nothing about it, and therefore loss of life on a unseen level occurs.

2. Climate change is not a true problem. We do nothing about it. Asthma rates continue to go up, cancer rates increase, extinction of many species of animals occurs due to loss of habitat, cities become engulfed in smog, and to top it off: no one is happy!

3. Climate change is a true problem. We do something about it. Solar energy becomes a viable option, cheaper than gasoline, and we cut our dependence from countries we don't necessarily want to associate with in the first place. Many beautiful landmarks remain as they are: beautiful. The developed countries will see the growth of the “Green Sector,” a source of steady, specialized jobs that the U.S. so desperately needs. You get the picture.

4. Climate change is not a true problem. We do something about it nonetheless. As you can see, all the aforementioned benefits still hold true.

It's not a very hard concept to understand. This morning I found myself talking with Carla, Jackson, and Mrs. Salehian about this very topic. The technologies are definitely out there, but what is required of us is commitment. Commitment is easy!

In commi

ment,

Chris

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On Health and Animal Agriculture


I’d love to offer you a little food for thought without being very ‘preachy’, if that’s at all possible. As you may have noticed, health care has been center stage as of late. The U.S health care system is the most expensive in the entire world (31% of our total expenditures in 2007, not to mention private investment in health insurance corporations), and yet there are numerous inherent problems in the way we’ve been doing business (because that’s exactly what it is, a multi trillion dollar investment opportunity). If everyone reading this post was diagnosed with cancer tomorrow (God forbid!), the Gross National Product, or GNP, would go up in the short term. How terrible is that?

That said, health care shouldn’t be about sick care. We should be concerned with our health day to day, not to mention the health of the environment, and something tells me both are inexorably linked. We all know that hamburgers and red meat aren’t necessarily good for our bodies, but they definitely are not good for the environment either. Maybe we should consider taking more bike rides to help our bodies and the planet. But did you know that a vegetarian driving a car is using less fossil fuels than a omnivore uses riding a bike? How crazy is that?

Not so crazy when you realize that 1/3 of our fossil fuels (coal, petroleum, etc) is allocated for the production, upkeep, and transportation of animal agriculture. Not only that, but it’s a double edged sword when you consider that we actively cut down forests for grazing ground and waste insane amounts of water in production. It’s a “food factory in reverse”. Consider this: one pound of beef requires an input of roughly 2500 gallons of water in contrast to a pound of soy, a source of all 9 essential amino acids, which requires 250 gallons. Animal agriculture “consumes an amount of water roughly equal to all other uses of water”! Absurd!

I know, you’re saying, “But Chris, meat is such a good source of calories and protein!” Sure, if we were living in the 18th century I might have agreed with you. Times have changed; however, and with the current challenges (opportunties) we face, it’s useful to note that one calorie of animal protein requires about ten times the fossil fuels (ten times the C02) than one calorie of plant protein. Wicked, right? Consider the enormous amount of carbon sucking, oxygen spewing forests that could have filled the land that is instead filled with the nearly 1.3 billion cows in the world. The U.S. imports 200 million pounds of beef from Central America every single year. A Smithsonian study in 2002 showed that in order to make room for all of those cows, highways, railroads, power lines, etc, an area equivalent to seven football fields of forest are clear cut every minute, and here in the United States we have so far cut down 260 million acres of forest for agricultural animals.

What does this mean? This means that our eating habits are undermining all of our natural resources. We’ve only got one body and we’ve only got one planet. Something tells me we should treat each with the respect they deserve. I’ve only touched the tippy top of a huge iceberg (something I hope stays the same size for a long time). I realize many of my facts have gone uncited, but I’ll list every website I read here. There’s a whole spider web of sources out there. Have fun. You’ll learn something new.

http://bicycleuniverse.info/transpo/energy.html – A very cool website outlining the simple facts along with a very handy carbon calculator that takes diet and activity into account. It’s great.

http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/100303_eating_oil.html – Very indepth breakdown of the problems we’ve so far accepted as status quo in the animal agriculture industry.

http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianvegan101/f/environment.htm – More of an argument for vegetarianism, but there is a wealth of interesting facts here.

Have a great, healthy day!

Love,

Chris

(image courtesy of flickr user TerData)

Clever Global Warming Gimmick

You gotta hand it to ‘em, sometimes advertising folk really hit the mark. Late last year, an aerial photo of NYC was pasted to a pool floor in Mumbai, India, to remind us of the very real threat of sea level rise due to global warming.

global-warming-pool

Advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather came up with an innovative way to show the adverse impact of global climate change. They glued an aerial view of a city to the base of a swimming pool. When the pool was filled with water, it gave a shocking effect akin to a city submerged in water. The visual of a sunken city shocked swimmers and onlookers, driving home the impact of global warming, and how it could destroy our world someday,” Ogilvy spokesman Nabendu Bhattacharyya said.

Thanks to Indianexpress.com

Epic Win: The EPA Declares Co2 a Pollutant!

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(Here’s our boy, Carbon Dioxide. Two oxygen atoms sandwiching a carbon atom.)

Good Morning SuperForest!

This Friday is a very special day, as today the EPA formally declared Co2 to be a pollutant, and thus subject to the same regulatory strictures that other pollutants fall under.

Epic win.

Says Lisa Jackson at the EPA:

“This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations. Fortunately, it follows President Obama’s call for a low-carbon economy and strong leadership in Congress on clean energy and climate legislation.”

Here’s the full story via the Times.

Obama, Springtime, new growth everywhere you look, and the term “recession-ista”, all of these things are making me really happy right now. That and thinking of the new buds that are poking out of the Obama’s White House victory garden.

Green growth, son! And the U.S. is where it’s happening!

Good news all around.

Love.

350.org

Watch this. So clean and so clear!

Much love,

J

Good Press

Want to make an individual difference in the world, or… at the very least garner your cause national attention? Apparently it ain’t that hard.

All you need to do is get together 5 friends, 5 bikes, and 5 bright green shirts and then do something other people might find radical. Like biking around in freezing weather

(can’t embed this video, so follow the link to watch, it’s only 30 seconds):

“Cyclists Stop in Utica Promoting Climate Change”

That doesn’t look so bad. They hardly even seem cold. We could totally rock that!
What do you say, Team SuperForest polar bear swim the East River to promote well… polar bears as an endagered species? Pollution of our water systems? Anything? Jackson’s already got his speedos out. Who’s with him?

(Thanks to drudgereport and WKTV for the news scoops, and seattlepi for the pic!)

Rubber Duckie, you’re the one

Word on the street is that NASA is using rubber ducks to fight global warming.


“NASA scientists have dropped 90 ducks into holes in the Jakobshavn glacier – Greenland’s fastest moving glacier – in a bid to understand why glaciers speed up in the summer in their march to the sea.

The toys have been labelled “science experiment” and “reward” in three languages, and carry an email address.

The ducks, if found by someone who emails NASA about their discovery, could tell scientists how melting water moves through ice, said Alberto Behar of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.”

Save The D.C. Polar Bear

It’s true, the polar bears are emigrating to Washington D.C.. Probably due to unbearable conditions on the pole. Don’t believe me?

Ok, this is the work of a magnificent street artist but still, it put a big smile on my face. It’s the result of a collaboration with Greenpeace and Mark Jenkins, a street artist. Throughout D.C. they installed four bears like the one in the photographs.

The ultimate goal is to rise awareness about global warming through this bear. So will you “help a brother out?”

-jdh

Aalto Vase v2.0

When talking about vase design the Aalto Vase is probably one of the most famous designs. It was designed back in 1937 by the Finnish Alvar Aalto and rumor has it he inspired the vase upon a lake. Lake Aalto.

But after more than 70 years of climate change Lake Aalto isn’t the same Lake Aalto anymore.


Ouch, it shrunk for a bit. That’s just a fact. But recently a bright Czech (someone from the Czech Republic, a European country) named Jan Ctvrtnik (try pronounce that) redesigned the classic for a competition. The aim was to visualize climate change. Take a look:

To me it wasn’t a surprise that Ctrvrtnik won. It’s just such a simple adaption to a conventional design with a brilliant story behind it.

-jdh

NY Times: Learning To Speak Climate

Morning Lovelies!

The NY Times has a thought-provoking opinion piece up about Thomas L. Friedman’s recent trip to Greenland. It’s called “Learning to Speak Climate.

To save you the onerous chore of clicking the above link, here’s the piece:

“Sometimes you just wish you were a photographer. I simply do not have the words to describe the awesome majesty of Greenland’s Kangia Glacier, shedding massive icebergs the size of skyscrapers and slowly pushing them down the Ilulissat Fjord until they crash into the ocean off the west coast of Greenland. There, these natural ice sculptures float and bob around the glassy waters near here. You can sail between them in a fishing boat, listening to these white ice monsters crackle and break, heave and sigh, as if they were noisily protesting their fate.

You are entirely alone here amid the giant icebergs, save for the solitary halibut fisherman who floats by. Our Greenlandic boat skipper sidles up to the tiny fishing craft, where my hosts buy a few halibut right out of his nets, slice open the tender cheeks and cut me the freshest halibut sushi I’ve ever tasted. “Greenland fast food,” quips Kim Kielsen, Greenland’s minister of the environment.

We wash it down with Scotch whiskey cooled by a 5,000-year-old ice cube chipped off one of the floating glacier bits. Some countries have vintage whiskey. Some have vintage wine. Greenland has vintage ice.

Alas, though, I do not work for National Geographic. This is the opinion page. And my trip with Denmark’s minister of climate and energy, Connie Hedegaard, to see the effects of climate change on Greenland’s ice sheet leaves me with a very strong opinion: Our kids are going to be so angry with us one day.

We’ve charged their future on our Visa cards. We’ve added so many greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, for our generation’s growth, that our kids are likely going to spend a good part of their adulthood, maybe all of it, just dealing with the climate implications of our profligacy. And now our leaders are telling them the way out is “offshore drilling” for more climate-changing fossil fuels.

Madness. Sheer madness.

Most people assume that the effects of climate change are going to be felt through another big disaster, like Katrina. Not necessarily, says Minik Thorleif Rosing, a top geologist at Denmark’s National History Museum and one of my traveling companions. “Most people will actually feel climate change delivered to them by the postman,” he explains. It will come in the form of higher water bills, because of increased droughts in some areas; higher energy bills, because the use of fossil fuels becomes prohibitive; and higher insurance and mortgage rates, because of much more violently unpredictable weather.

Remember: climate change means “global weirding,” not just global warming.

Greenland is one of the best places to observe the effects of climate change. Because the world’s biggest island has just 55,000 people and no industry, the condition of its huge ice sheet — as well as its temperature, precipitation and winds — is influenced by the global atmospheric and ocean currents that converge here. Whatever happens in China or Brazil gets felt here. And because Greenlanders live close to nature, they are walking barometers of climate change.

That’s how I learned a new language here: “Climate-Speak.”

It’s easy to learn. There are only three phrases. The first is: “Just a few years ago …” Just a few years ago you could dogsled in winter from Greenland, across a 40-mile ice bank, to Disko Island. But for the past few years, the rising winter temperatures in Greenland have melted that link. Now Disko is cut off. Put away the dogsled.

There has been a 30 percent increase in the melting of the Greenland ice sheet between 1979 and 2007, and in 2007, the melt was 10 percent bigger than in any previous year, said Konrad Steffen, director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado, which monitors the ice. Greenland is now losing 200 cubic kilometers of ice per year — from melt and ice sliding into the ocean from outlet glaciers along its edges — which far exceeds the volume of all the ice in the European Alps, he added. “Everything is happening faster than anticipated.”

The second phrase is: “I’ve never seen that before…” It rained in December and January in Ilulissat. This is well above the Arctic Circle! It’s not supposed to rain here in winter. Said Steffen: “Twenty years ago, if I had told the people of Ilulissat that it would rain at Christmas 2007, they would have just laughed at me. Today it is a reality.”

The third phrase is: “Well usually …but now I don’t know anymore.” Traditional climate patterns that Greenland elders have known their whole lives have changed so quickly in some places that “the accumulated experience of older people is not as valuable as before,” said Rosing. The river that was always there is now dry. The glacier that always covered that hill has disappeared. The reindeer that were always there when the hunting season opened on Aug. 1 didn’t show up.

No wonder everyone here speaks climate now — your kids will, too, and sooner than they think.”

Alright! So, we know the score. We have the tools, and we have the talent.

Rolling up the ol’ shirtsleeves and setting down to amuse and inspire…

Love to All,

Team SuperForest

A to the G @ TED

“How many generations in all of human history have had the opportunity to rise to a challenge that is worthy of our best efforts?
We ought to approach this challenge with a sense of joy and profound gratitude…”

-Al Gore

This TED talk is most definitely worth a watch.

WeCanSolveIt.org!

Yay!!!

Here’s a nice refreshing does of positivity to put the sparkle in your Tuesday.

What is wecansolveit?:

“The We Campaign is a project of The Alliance for Climate Protection — a nonprofit, nonpartisan effort founded by Nobel laureate and former Vice President Al Gore. Our ultimate aim is to halt global warming. Specifically we are educating people in the US and around the world that the climate crisis is both urgent and solvable.”

We love this. Positivity, solutions, togetherness.

There is no problem too great for human ingenuity, global warming included.

Saunter over to wecansolveit.org

Special thanks to SuperForester Christine for the wonderful tip!

Svalbard Global Seed Vault



Apparently, some folks are taking our rapidly changing climate seriously. Hence the construction of a seriously well thought out seed vault on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen near the town of Longyearbyen (population 1900) in the remote arctic Svalbard archipelago.

Think of it as a Noah’s Ark for plants.

From wikipedia:

“The Svalbard International Seed Vault’s mission is to store as many seeds known to humans as possible, under the terms of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The goal is to prevent important agricultural and wild plants from becoming rare or extinct in the event of a global disaster such as global warming, a meteorite strike, nuclear or biological warfare, or gene pollution from transgenic plants. There are already over 1400 local seedbanks around the world, but many are in politically unstable or environmentally threatened nations. When this seedbank is built, the vault will be secure and isolated from much of the world’s population.”

It’s nice to know it will be there. Let’s hope we don’t have to rely on it.
Wait a second, I think we should immediately begin construction of our OWN seed vault! We cannot allow a seed vault gap!

Here’s their site: Svalbard Global Seed Vault