Saturday, August 30, 2014

40 years baked in....

40 years baked in.... by moses seenarine

When I was a child in the 1960s, I cared deeply for the environment and wildlife, and I remembered at the time blaming adults for not doing more to stop the ongoing devastation of forests and animals. Few adults seemed to care, and less even tried to do something about a crisis I saw as real.

I am fifty years now, and have observed more ruined habitats and loss of biodiversity than I ever imagined possible as a child. Moreover, during the last three decades, I was witness to a new and rapidly increasing danger – severe weather and abrupt climate change.

Back in the 1960s, I did not know that the carbon, methane and other greenhouse gases (GHG) being emitted then, waited around forty years to take effect, and would cause climate change in the 21st century. In that peace-loving decade, under 10,000 Teragrams of carbon dioxide was being released annually, but by 2010, that amount had more than tripled.

At the start of this century, I began to notice increasingly devastating storms and higher temperatures, caused by GHGs emitted in the 1960s. How would the over 30,000 Teragrams of carbon dioxide released annually now, affect the world 40 years hence? How more severe will weather and storms get, and how much higher will temperatures be, with 40 years of GHG emissions baked in?

I have an eight year old child who cares a lot about the environment, animals and global warming, and who probably blames adults for not caring about the world he will inherit, like I did growing up. Forty years from now, I will probably be dead, but the children of today will exist in a world in crisis. caused by climate change. What is my responsibility to them and future generations?

By 2052, the average temperature will go from the current 0.8°C increase relative to pre-industrial times, to plus 2.0°C or more. For a given geographic area, the coldest year in the future will be warmer than the hottest year in the past. There will be more drought in drought-prone areas, more rain in rainy areas, more extreme weather (strong winds, torrential rains, intense heat spells), more melting of glaciers and the Arctic sea ice, somewhat higher sea levels, and a more acidic ocean. Ecosystems will move poleward and uphill.

There will be massive biological and social consequences, especially in the tropics where I grew up. Plants and animals in the tropics are accustomed to a narrow temperature range, and organisms that do not have the genetic capacity to adapt to rapid climatic changes will be forced to move, or will be driven to extinction.

During the last four decades, I was part of a world that created the emissions that my child now has to deal with. Each year, as I continue adding to my total GHG footprint, I am affecting future lives. Recognizing all this, I am trying to make a difference by eating plant-based foods, conserving energy and driving less. I started an organization, Climate Change 911 ( to raise awareness and encourage others to change. I am getting on-board the People's Climate Train to attend the People's Climate March in NYC to help bend the course of history. I am finally doing what I wanted adults to do when I was a child, and what my child would want me to do for the 40 years of emissions I helped to bake in.

Monday, August 25, 2014

$250 million per day

Global Ocean Temperature Anomalies, June 2014

"Global ocean temperatures have reportedly never been this warm, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)."

Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly 08 25 2014

Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly 08 25 2014.
The first large emission of methane came from the Beaufort Sea just North of Alaska. The Sea Surface temperature anomaly on the left in the Laptev Sea is concerning. Large amounts of methane hydrates are right below the brown area. The temperature anomaly continues to intensify. As you can see, the red in the Bering Strait is extending toward the East Siberian Sea, the Chukchi Sea and the Beaufort Sea. Large amounts of methane hydrates are found here as well. These areas are likely to become household words. - Harold H Hensel

Ecocide, the 5th Crime Against Peace: Polly Higgins at TEDxExeter

Friday, August 22, 2014

Words and Pictures on Climate Change

Words and Pictures on Climate Change
Michael Tobis

The reasons that stories told with pictures and text are called “comic books” in English, and the reasons that the medium is not taken seriously in the English-speaking world, are related but need not concern us here.

One, The Carton Introduction to Climate Change by “stand-up economist” cheerfully written by Yoram Bauman and winsomely illustrated by Grady Klein, starts out with the good news.
“Two stories are going to dominate the 21st century. Story #1 is about economic growth, especially in poor countries in Asia and Africa. Capitalism and free-market economics are going to create a lot of new wealth and give many more people the opportunity to pursue their seams. As families get wealthier they tend to have fewer children so the work population is likely to peak at about 10 billion people and then slowly decline. As a result, story #1 points in a direction that is nothing short of miraculous.
But what about story #2?”

This book, endorsed by a motley crew of climate celebrities (Jim Hansen, Bill Nordhaus, Annie Leonard, Jane Lubchenko, Mark Reynolds) does proceed to take on the daunting issues of climate change, giving a competent birds’ eye view of the situation for those who have just arrived on the planet. (Don’t mock them. This is an important audience; I would say a crucial one.)

With an amusing drawing attached to almost every sentence, the book starts with a paleoclimate perspective, covers the greenhouse effect, the energy problem, impacts, the deep future, the uncertainty issue and the “insurance” (risk management) perspective, and mitigation strategies, with a broad brush but memorably. Despite the cheerful tone, it avoids being polyannish:
Make no mistake, our task is daunting. [...] The amount of warming caused by humans is related to population and to activity levels. That’s why business as usual could result in a tripling of annual CO2 emissions this century. And remember that CO2 stays in the atmosphere for a long, long time …and that the problem is compounded by deforestation… …and feedbacks… …and that any solutions will have to overcome the tragedy of the commons. But daunting doesn’t mean impossible.
Philippe Squarzoni’s Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science is obviously (but mostly well) translated from the French. This gives Squarzoni a leg up, as the French (despite their reputation for arrogance) have long taken what we call “comic books” seriously as an art form. And Squarzoni, while he does attempt a very broad overview of the science, makes no effort to be comic. Given what is at stake, surely that is arguably appropriate.

Indeed, the book cover claims that it won the “Jury Prize at the 2012 Lyon Graphic Novel Festival”, even though it isn’t a novel at all, not by any definition. But try imagining a “Jury Prize” at ComiCon.

So we end up with a perspective that is serious, melancholy, and distinctly European.

It starts with a rumination on cinema, only eventually getting (on its seventh page) to
Yes. There are many ways to start a book. For this one I should start, well, at the beginning. With a memory. Actually, for this book, it’s not the beginning that’s the most difficult. The hardest thing is… how to end it.
There follow several pages of childhood memories of growing up in a beautiful ancient mountain town in the southeast of France, evocatively rendered. And this leads up to the author/artist, revisiting his birthplace, explaining to his wife why his next book (the one the reader is holding) will be about climate change. An odd topic for an artist.

This guy works alone, but he works hard. Every page, almost every frame (except for the odd completely blacked out one) is carefully thought out, precisely rendered, and in some way beautiful. Most of it is high contrast pen drawing, but some brush images and some photographs appear here and there. And as a fairly serious “comic book” reader I will assert that among these are some of the finest and most evocative drawings I have seen in a storytelling context.

The book has another innovation – lengthy interviews with scientists and professionals. For the most part these seemed legitimate. (I was a bit jarred by the “peak uranium” talk by one interviewee, which I believe is nonsense, but on the whole they knew what they were talking about, and they were uniformly meticulously drawn, talking heads varying only slightly from frame to frame, with the most daunting stuff in their word balloons.

I found Stephane Hallegatte the most terrifying of them.

For instance, on pages 246 – 247, in a series of ten frames showing him talking and gesturing, he tells us
There’s also rural exodus. Over the last fifteen years, large numbers of the farming populations of poorer countries have migrated to the cities because agriculture is no longer economically viable. But if, due to global warming we see more and more people who cannot make a living from farming pile up in the cities looking for jobs that, for the most part, do not exist… this situation is going to get very complicated.
Rural exodus leads to urban infrastructure that cannot stain the growth, so that’s no running water, no sanitation… so: illnesses, flooding as soon as there is a slight bit of rain, etc.
If rural exodus happens too fast, it’s certain that the cities will explode. Then we’ve fallen into a system that no longer functions in either the cities or the country.
There are [...] scenarios where the impacts of climate change force people to move from one country to another. Then the problems take a big jump. We’re talking about a different thing altogether. If 20 million people leave Bangladesh and head for India, what do we do? These are the sorts of things we aren’t really thinking about today, because they would be very difficult to manage.

Many of Squarzoni’s experts are happy to assert frank anti-capitalism. They are French after all, and the sort of radicalism that would be career suicide in America is expected of French academics. But in the end, with a whole bunch of personal ruminations and spectacular drawings, Squarzoni ends up telling in greater detail the same story that Bauman does, and coming to a slightly more honest, vastly more disturbing version of the same conclusion: it’s daunting.

But if I’m being honest with myself, I believe three things.
One: There’s a doorway we need to pass through. Technically it’s still possible to avoid the worst consequences of climate change and to take the necessary measures to manage the upheavals that are already inevitable.
Two: The doorway is not very wide. It closes a little more each day. And we have only a little time to pass through it.
Three: I don’t think we will pick that door.

In conclusion – if you know an open-minded person who hasn’t thought much about this stuff, especially a young person, you would be doing them a favor to give them the Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change by Klein and Bauman. Meanwhile, as someone seriously interested in the topic, and/or as someone interested in the words-and-pictures medium as a way of communicating, I highly recommend Squarzoni’s Climate Changed. Even though it is daunting.

July 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Published on Aug 20, 2014

CARBON is the first film in the Green World Rising Series. “Carbon” is narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, presented by Thom Hartmann and directed by Leila Conners. Executive Producers are George DiCaprio, Earl Katz and Roee Sharon Peled. Carbon is produced by Mathew Schmid and was written by Thom Hartmann, Sam Sacks, Leila Conners and Mathew Schmid. Music is composed and performed by Jean-Pascal Beintus and intro drone by Francesco Lupica. Carbon is produced by Tree Media with the support of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

Risky Business

A recent, non-partisan climate report — “Risky Business” (published by former hedge fund manager and climate activist Tom Steyer, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson) — states:

"… human-induced climate change leads to rising temperatures.

If we continue along our current path, with no significant efforts to curb climate change, the U.S. will likely see significantly more days above 95°F each year. By the middle of this century, the average American will likely see 26 to 50 days over 95°F each year—from double to more than triple the average number of 95°F days we’ve seen over the past 30 to 40 years. Climate change impacts only accelerate with time, so that by the end of this century we will likely see 45 to 96 days per year over 95°F. That’s between one and a half and three months of the year at what are now considered record hot temperatures. To put this in context, by the end of the century, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho could well have more days above 95°F each year than there are currently in Texas."

Arctic sea ice influenced force of the Gulf Stream

These maps give an overview of the reconstructed changes in sea ice conditions in the Fram Strait and their consequences for the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. 19,000 years before present permanent sea ice coverage had formed, which prevented any serious sea ice export from the Arctic Ocean (left). 1,400 years later this ice coverage brook up during an Heinrich Event 1 (center), starting a massive drift of sea ice and icebergs into the North Atlantic. Such an increased sea ice formation and discharge was also reconstructed for the period of the Younger Dryas, 12,800 years before present. The green shadings represent the extent of continental ice sheets; the points stand for sediment drilling sites. The sediment core used in this study was drilled at the site marked in yellow. Credit: Illustrations: Juliane Müller, Alfred-Wegener-Institute

Arctic sea ice influenced force of the Gulf Stream
August 21st, 2014

The force of the Gulf Stream was significantly influenced by the sea ice situation in the Fram Strait in the past 30,000 years. Scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) come to this conclusion in a new study that appears today in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters. On the basis of biomarkers in deposits on the seafloor, the geologists involved managed for the first time to reconstruct when and how the marine region between Greenland and Svalbard was covered with ice in the past and in what way the Gulf Stream reacted when the sea ice cover suddenly broke up. They concluded that when large amounts of Arctic ice drifted through the Fram Strait to the North Atlantic, the heat transport of the Gulf Stream declined noticeably.

For AWI geologist Juliane Müller the Fram Strait is a key region in the global oceanic circulation. "On the east side of this passage between Greenland and Svalbard warm Atlantic water flows to the north into the Arctic Ocean while on the west side cold Arctic water masses and sea ice push their way out of the Arctic into the North Atlantic. A considerable portion of the Atlantic water cools here on its way to the north and sinks to deeper layers. The circulation of the water caused in this manner drives the global band of oceanic currents like a giant pump and influences, among other things, how much heat the Gulf Stream transports towards Europe," says the scientist.

If the pulse frequency of this circulation pump changes, this gives rise to direct changes in the climate – for instance, at the end of the past glacial period and during the transition to our present-day interglacial. "In the past 30,000 years the Gulf Stream has lost an extraordinary amount of force at least twice – once 17,600 years ago and about 12,800 years ago. Both times the climate in Europe consequently cooled down significantly – and now we also know why," says Juliane Müller.

She and her AWI colleague Ruediger Stein were the first scientists to succeed in reconstructing the sea ice conditions in the Fram Strait for this critical period at the end of the last glacial and thus in finding a direct connection between changes in sea ice cover and fluctuations in the Gulf Stream.

An arctic sea ice floe with a small melt pond on it. This photo was takes during a Polarstern expedition into the Fram Strait in the year 2012. Credit: Sebastian Menze, Alfred-Wegener-Institute

A nine metre long sediment core served as a window into the past for the geologists. It was drilled on a Fram Strait expedition conducted on the research vessel Maria. S. Merian and has such clearly defined layers that the scientists can read it like a book. "This core stems from the western continental slope of Svalbard, a region with an unusually high sedimentation rate. That means a very large number of sediment particles – the stores of climate information – trickle to the seafloor. This is the only explanation for the fact that we find the climate data from five to ten years over a length of one centimetre in this core while it could easily be as many as 1,000 years per centimetre of sediment sample in cores from low-particle regions. And, of course, 1,000 years are much too long a period to be able to clearly identify short-term climate fluctuations at all," explains Juliane Müller.

Two kinds of fossil molecules, also designated as biomarkers, served as indications of the existence and the duration of an ice cover for Juliane Müller. One kind is produced by diatoms living in the sea ice, the other by algae that prefer the open water. "The markers provide us with astonishing insights into the climate history of the Fram Strait. For instance, we now know that a thick ice cover did not form until after the actual high point of the last glacial period. However, it held for around 1,000 years and influenced the oceanic currents in the North Atlantic on a long-term basis," says Juliane Müller.

The reason for this is that the ice cover delayed the breakup of the large ice sheets that covered large sections of Europe and North America at that time. "The sea ice stabilised the glacier fronts of these ice sheets like a dam wall and prevented icebergs from calving. Export of freshwater from the Arctic to the North Atlantic, which otherwise would have been enormous, was thus checked for a certain time," explains the geologist.

When the ice cover then broke up within an extremely short time 17,600 years ago, tremendous ice masses poured into the North Atlantic. There they melted and released large volumes of freshwater. "This sudden freshening of the North Atlantic altered the density structure of the water and led to significant weakening of the Atlantic overturning circulation, or to put it more simply, to weakening of the Gulf Stream," says Juliane Müller.

According to the study, a similar chain reaction occurred yet another time during the Younger Dryas around 12,800 years ago when enormous amounts of sea ice again left the Arctic moving towards the North Atlantic and heat transport via the Gulf Stream declined. "The results of our study show how important Arctic sea ice is for the global oceanic circulation and that sudden changes in the sea ice cover of the Arctic Ocean is directly connected with abrupt climate fluctuations," says the AWI scientist.

She will now provide the newly obtained data to AWI's climate modellers. "With the help of these specific data we can check how reliably our models depict the sea ice situation of the past 30,000 years. In this way the data from the past help us to improve our models and consequently enable us to make more precise statements on the future of the Gulf Stream," states Juliane Müller.

More information: Juliane Müller / Ruediger Stein: High-resolution record of late glacial and deglacial sea ice changes in Fram Strait corroborates ice-ocean interaction during abrupt climate shifts, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2014.07.016

Provided by Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
"Arctic sea ice influenced force of the Gulf Stream." August 21st, 2014.

Temperature Anomaly August 20, 2014

Methane Reading August 21st, 2014

Best I can do without the methane tracker. Yellow can be seen in the Arctic Ocean, Alaska and Canada which is around 2000 ppb and above. - Harold H Hensel

Cause of global warming hiatus found deep in the Atlantic Ocean

(Top) Global average surface temperatures, where black dots are yearly averages. Two flat periods (hiatus) are separated by rapid warming from 1976-1999. (Middle) Observations of heat content, compared to the average, in the north Atlantic Ocean. (Bottom) Salinity of the seawater in the same part of the Atlantic. Higher salinity is seen to coincide with more ocean heat storage. Credit: K. Tung / Univ. of Washington

Cause of global warming hiatus found deep in the Atlantic Ocean
August 21st, 2014

Following rapid warming in the late 20th century, this century has so far seen surprisingly little increase in the average temperature at the Earth's surface. At first this was a blip, then a trend, then a puzzle for the climate science community.

More than a dozen theories have now been proposed for the so-called global warming hiatus, ranging from air pollution to volcanoes to sunspots. New research from the University of Washington shows that the heat absent from the surface is plunging deep in the north and south Atlantic Ocean, and is part of a naturally occurring cycle. The study is published Aug. 22 in Science.

Subsurface warming in the ocean explains why global average air temperatures have flatlined since 1999, despite greenhouse gases trapping more solar heat at the Earth's surface.

"Every week there's a new explanation of the hiatus," said corresponding author Ka-Kit Tung, a UW professor of applied mathematics and adjunct faculty member in atmospheric sciences. "Many of the earlier papers had necessarily focused on symptoms at the surface of the Earth, where we see many different and related phenomena. We looked at observations in the ocean to try to find the underlying cause."

The results show that a slow-moving current in the Atlantic, which carries heat between the two poles, sped up earlier this century to draw heat down almost a mile (1,500 meters). Most of the previous studies focused on shorter-term variability or particles that could block incoming sunlight, but they could not explain the massive amount of heat missing for more than a decade.

"The finding is a surprise, since the current theories had pointed to the Pacific Ocean as the culprit for hiding heat," Tung said. "But the data are quite convincing and they show otherwise."

Tung and co-author Xianyao Chen of the Ocean University of China, who was a UW visiting professor last year, used recent observations of deep-sea temperatures from Argo floats that sample the water down to 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) depth. The data show an increase in heat sinking around 1999, when the rapid warming of the 20th century stopped.

"There are recurrent cycles that are salinity-driven that can store heat deep in the Atlantic and Southern oceans," Tung said. "After 30 years of rapid warming in the warm phase, now it's time for the cool phase."

Rapid warming in the last three decades of the 20th century, they found, was roughly half due to global warming and half to the natural Atlantic Ocean cycle that kept more heat near the surface. When observations show the ocean cycle flipped, around the year 2000, the current began to draw heat deeper into the ocean, working to counteract human-driven warming.

The cycle starts when saltier, denser water at the surface northern part of the Atlantic, near Iceland, causes the water to sink. This changes the speed of the huge current in the Atlantic Ocean that circulates heat throughout the planet.

"When it's heavy water on top of light water, it just plunges very fast and takes heat with it," Tung said. Recent observations at the surface in the North Atlantic show record-high saltiness, Tung said, while at the same time, deeper water in the North Atlantic shows increasing amounts of heat.

The authors dug up historical data to show that the cooling in the three decades between 1945 to 1975 – which caused people to worry about the start of an Ice Age – was during a cooling phase. (It was thought to be caused by air pollution.) Earlier records in Central England show the 40- to 70-year cycle goes back centuries, and other records show it has existed for millennia.

Changes in Atlantic Ocean circulation historically meant roughly 30 warmer years followed by 30 cooler years. Now that it is happening on top of global warming, however, the trend looks more like a staircase.

The temperature oscillations have a natural switch. During the warm period, faster currents cause more tropical water to travel to the North Atlantic, warming both the surface and the deep water. At the surface this warming melts ice. This eventually makes the surface water there less dense and after a few decades puts the brakes on the circulation, setting off a 30-year cooling phase.

This explanation implies that the current slowdown in global warming could last for another decade, or longer, and then rapid warming will return. But Tung emphasizes it's hard to predict what will happen next.

A pool of freshwater from melting ice, now sitting in the Arctic Ocean, could overflow into the North Atlantic to upset the cycle.

"We are not talking about a normal situation because there are so many other things happening due to climate change," Tung said.

More information: "Varying planetary heat sink led to global-warming slowdown and acceleration," by X. Chen et al. Science,… 1126/science.1254937

Provided by University of Washington

"Cause of global warming hiatus found deep in the Atlantic Ocean." August 21st, 2014.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why the Climate Movement Must Stand with Ferguson

Scene from post Katrina New Orleans

Why the Climate Movement Must Stand with Ferguson
By Deirdre Smith, Strategic Partnership Coordinator,

It was not hard for me to make the connection between the tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri, and the catalyst for my work to stop the climate crisis.

It’s all over the news: images of police in military gear pointing war zone weapons at unarmed black people with their hands in the air. These scenes made my heart race in an all-to-familiar way. I was devastated for Mike Brown, his family and the people of Ferguson. Almost immediately, I closed my eyes and remembered the same fear for my own family that pangs many times over a given year.

In the wake of the climate disaster that was Hurricane Katrina almost ten years ago, I saw the same images of police, pointing war-zone weapons at unarmed black people with their hands in the air. In the name of “restoring order,” my family and their community were demonized as “looters” and “dangerous.” When crisis hits, the underlying racism in our society comes to the surface in very clear ways. Climate change is bringing nothing if not clarity to the persistent and overlapping crises of our time.

Scene from Ferguson, MO

I was outraged by Mike Brown’s murder, and at the same time wondered why people were so surprised; this is sadly a common experience of black life in America. In 2012, an unarmed black man was killed by authorities every 28 hours (when divided evenly across the year), and it has increased since then. I think about my brother, my nephew, and my brothers and sisters who will continue to have to fight for respect and empathy, and may lose their homes or even their lives at the hands of injustice.

Can you tell whether this is from New Orleans or Ferguson?

To me, the connection between militarized state violence, racism, and climate change was common-sense and intuitive.

Quickly understanding interdependence and connectedness here, and often elsewhere is, in part, the result of my experience of growing up black in America, and growing up in New Mexico, a place ravaged by climate impacts. New Mexico is, as Oscar Olivera noted, showing the early signs of what sparked theCochabamba Water Wars, yet another example of how oppression and extreme weather combine to “incite” militarized violence.

The problems of Cochabamba and Katrina are not just about the hurricane or the drought – it’s what happened after. It is the institutional neglect of vulnerable communities in crisis, the criminalization of our people met with state violence, the ongoing displacement of New Orleans’ black residents through the demolition of affordable housing for high-rise condos — that all adds up to corporations exploiting our tragedy using the tools of racism, division, and dehumanization. (Naomi Klein calls it the Shock Doctrine.) And it’s also about what happened before too: how black and brown communities have coal refineries, tar sands, and gas wells in their back yards to extract fossil fuels in the first place.

These divisions imposed on us prevent us from building the movement we need to create a new future for ourselves, a future where we have clean energy that doesn’t kill us, and creates jobs that provide dignity and a living. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, black and brown people were seen as “disposable,” and the powers-that-be sought to divide us by once again painting the victims and heroes as villains.

How would you be portayed if unarmed and killed by police?

The hashtag #iftheygunnedmedown trended during the past week in reaction to the media’s portrayal of Mike Brown and countless other victims. Black folks asked: if I was killed by police, how would I be portrayed? It illustrated how a racist and victim-blaming cultural narrative is central to how the media responds to the victimization of a vulnerable community in crisis.

A discourse that dehumanizes and blames the victims makes black and brown communities even more vulnerable than they already are in the wake of climate disasters. If extreme weather is about droughts, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires, the way people get treated in the wake of disaster is about power.

Demonization and the illusion of the “other” allows mainstream US to feel unaffected and disconnected to the employment of unacceptable and institutionally supported militarized violence. If we hope to build anything together and employ our combined power we must deny that anyone is an “other” – denying this pervasive cultural norm isn’t easy but it’s a central challenge we face.

We’re all impacted by climate change, but we’re not all impacted equally.

Communities of color and poor communities are hit hardest by fossil fuel extraction, as well as neglected by the state in the wake of crisis. People of color also disproportionately live in climate-vulnerable areas. Similarly, state violence should concern us all, but the experience of young black men in particular in this country is unique. Those of us who are not young black men must step up to the challenge of understanding that we will likely never experience that level of demonization. That kind of solidarity is what it takes to build real people power — the kind of power that stands up unflinchingly to injustice, and helps us all win our battles by standing together.

This is difficult work. Some of it requires listening and working with racial justice organizations, and some of it requires introspection, questioning what we have been taught, and healing from internal oppression. Part of that work involves climate organizers acknowledging and understanding that our fight is not simply with the carbon in the sky, but with the powers on the ground.

Many people have pointed out that the climate movement needs to understand our internal disparity of power too: between mainstream and grassroots organizations, between people of color and white folks, between the global north and the global south. We need to account for these things if we truly want to build the diverse movement leadership that we will need to win.

The events in Ferguson offer an important moment if you’re a climate organizer, looking around the room, wondering where the “people of color” are. It’s a time to to dig deep and ask yourself if you really care why – and if you are committed to the deep work, solidarity, and learning that it will take to bring more “diversity” to our movement. Personally, I think the climate movement is up to this necessary challenge.

It isn’t incidental, it’s institutional, and it’s rooted in history.

I can’t stress enough how important it is for me, as a black climate justice advocate, as well as for my people, to see the climate movement show solidarity right now with the people of Ferguson and with black communities around the country striving for justice. Other movements are stepping up to the plate: labor, GLBTQ, and immigrant rights groups have all taken a firm stand that they have the backs of the black community. Threats to civil dissent are a threat to us all. We’ve seen this kind of militarized police violence in the environmental movement before: in the repression of the Global Justice Movement, pioneered by police with tanks on the streets of Miami during the Free Trade Area of the Americas protests in 2003, to name just one example.

Scene from the militarized police repression of environmental and global justice activists in Miami 2003. Since pioneering this model, local police forces across the country have been given military-grade weapons with little to no training.

It has happened to our movements before, and it will happen again. As James Baldwin expressed, “if they come for you in the morning, they will come for us at night.” But solidarity and allyship is important in and of itself. The fossil fuel industry would love to see us siloed into believing that wecan each win by ourselves on “single issues.” Now it’s time for the climate movement to show up– to show that we will not stand for the “otherizing” of the black community here in America, or anyone else.

We have a lot of learning to do about how to come together, but we are in process of learning how our fights are bound together at their roots. If we knew everything we needed to know about navigating the climate and ecological crises, we would have done it already. Now is a time to stand with and listen to the wisdom of our allies in movements that are co-creating the world we all want to live in.

As crisis escalates, as climate change gets worse, we better get ready to see a whole lot more state violence and repression, unless we organize to change it now.

The first step to understanding is listening. The second step is digging.

I could tell you all day about the brilliant and strategic analysis and leaders that exist in historically oppressed communities. I could tell you…but your path to understanding why solidarity is important is your own. Don’t miss this opportunity to dig in and show up. Don’t miss this opportunity to leverage our power together. If we mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis it, will be because we understood our enemies and leveraged our collective power to take them down and let our vision spring up. Take a moment today to read the demands of the Dream Defenders, Freedomside, and Organizing Black Struggle. Read about solidarity and white allyship, and identify anti-blackness showing up in your spaces. Take a moment today to really think about how we really should confront the climate crisis and ask yourself if you’re willing to dive into the long haul and complex work it will take.

I believe in us.

I am grateful that amidst all my anger, frustration, sadness, determination, and exhaustion that I am left with one resounding thought: I believe in us.

Doing climate work takes a lot of courage, and I am endlessly inspired by my comrades’ and colleagues’ abilities hold the contradictions, complexity, and overwhelming reality it is to take on this challenge. I am excited by the deepening and aligning I’ve been seeing happening in cross-sector movement spaces over the past year especially. The more complex (and less comfortable) we allow ourselves to be, the more simple things actually become: we are in this together and our fights are connected. We don’t know everything by ourselves, but together we know enough.

Globally, Last Month Was The Fourth Hottest July On Record

Globally, Last Month Was The Fourth Hottest July On Record

This July was the fourth-hottest July on record, and 2014 so far is tied for the third-hottest January-July period on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The rankings, which take into account average temperatures on land and ocean surfaces across the globe, come after a string of heat records from this spring and summer. NOAAranked June 2014 as the hottest June on record, with especially high ocean temperatures adding to the overall global heat, and May 2014 also ranked as the hottest May on record — the 39th consecutive May with warmer than average temperatures.

The Eastern half of the U.S. experienced lower-than-average temperatures this July, but the Western U.S. — along with much of the rest of the globe, was hotter than average. Warm temperatures in the Western U.S. combined with major drought in some places — California is in the midst of an extreme drought right now, and overall, the drought in the Western U.S.cost the U.S. $4 billion from January to May 2014.

Overall, July temperatures were 1.15°F above average for the globe. For comparison, the hottest July on record, which according to NOAA’s measurements occurred in 1998, had temperatures that were 1.31°F higher than average.

“Overall, 32 countries across every continent except Antarctica had at least one station reporting a record high temperature for July,” NOAA writes. “The United States and the Russian Federation each had several stations that reported record warm temperatures as well as several stations with record cold temperatures for the month. No other countries had stations that reported a record cold July temperature.”

This April also tied for the hottest April on record, with warm temperatures that are becoming common — according to NOAA, the last time the earth experienced a cooler-than-usual April was 1976. This April was also the first month in recorded history with carbon dioxide levels above 400 ppm. May and June continued that trend, with both months

This spring overall has also broken records — according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, this March-May period was the warmest ever recorded.

NOAA isn’t the only agency taking measurements of global temperatures, however, and rankings differ slightly from agency to agency. NASA’s temperature data ranked July 2014 as the 11th hottest on record, rather than the 4th.

Scientists, White House say ocean acidification is well under way

Scientists, White House say ocean acidification is well under way
Published 20 August 2014 Science 

The oceans aren’t vast enough to absorb growing amounts of carbon dioxide without ill effects to marine life and to the 1 billion people who make their living on the seas. Longer heat waves, drought, rising sea levels, more intense storms—these are some of the better-known impacts of climate change. Less familiar is the acidification of the oceans, which is well under way and will continue as the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide rises.

The oceans absorb about one-quarter of the CO 2 emitted from fossil-fuel combustion, about the same proportion taken up by land. The rest remains in the atmosphere, where its concentration steadily increases. The rate at which the oceans are acidifying, through chemical reactions with the CO 2, is faster than has occurred in at least 65 million years and possibly 300 million years, according to Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of the University of Queensland. Marine organisms that require carbonate ions to build their shells likely won’t have sufficient time to adapt to the changing pH. “We’re taking life outside the conditions that it actually evolved for,” Hoegh-Guldberg said at the Our Ocean Conference, sponsored by the US Department of State and held 16–17 June in Washington, DC.

A much slower acidification event that occurred 55 million years ago (the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum) caused a mass extinction of deep-sea plankton and a collapse of coral reefs, according to research published in May’s Paleoceanography.

Since the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of the oceans has jumped 25%, from a pH of 8.2 to 8.1, according to the US Global Change Research Program’s 2014 National Climate Assessment. If current trends in CO 2 emissions continue unchecked, acidity will increase by 100–150% from preindustrial levels by the end of the century, said Carol Turley of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the UK. “It is happening now, it’s happening rapidly, and it’s happening at a speed we haven’t seen for millions of years,” said Turley at the State Department conference.

The physical chemistry of ocean acidification caused by increased atmospheric CO 2 is straightforward: Some of the dissolved gas reacts with water to form carbonic acid, H 2CO 3. However, “it gets much more complicated in coastal waters, around a coral reef or shellfish beds and estuaries, because there’s other processes besides invasion of fossil-fuel CO 2,” says Scott Doney of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). “Coastal waters can be affected by a variety of biological processes, by chemicals, and by materials from the land,” he says. “In some places, fossil-fuel carbon may not even be the biggest contributor.”

Kramer D., 2014. Scientists, White House say ocean acidification is well under way. Physics Today 67 (8): 20-21. Article.

Afsana Akter on Climate Change

We had a chance to connect with Afsana Akter, an inspiring young woman from Bangladesh who lives in Brooklyn, who is also a Climate Action Fellow with Alliance for Climate Education and Global Kids.
We asked Afsana about her experiences facing extreme weather in Bangladesh and in NYC.
"I am from Bangladesh and I live in Brooklyn. In my life, I have been through hurricanes that snapped the old mango tree next to my house, like many others, and blew off many people's tin ceilings and left them bare. I have been through floods that leveled the rice paddies and ponds and water that reached my knee. However, I have never been through anything as intense as Hurricane Sandy. Although I was not affected by Sandy directly, I did see and hear what happened to NYC. All the schools were closed and people who were in dangerous zones had to evacuate. Many people thought this hurricane warning would not be a big deal, but it turned out to be just that. I remember the MTA was down and many people including my family couldn't use the trains to run errands. The wind was so high, as high as 80 mph, that it started a fire in Queens. People suffered by the lack of food, water, heat, and electricity. When I went back to school, my friends told me the horrific situations they had been in. One of my friends had not evacuated from Coney Island and later she when she was hit by Sandy, she had to move to her friend's house. A teacher told us how her close neighbors lost their lives when a tree fell on them as they were running. Although hurricane Sandy lasted a few days, its presence is still affecting all of us today. Even after 14 months, MTA is still working to fix the damage that was caused by Sandy. People who lost their loved ones still hurt today.
By seeing what has happened and what is still happening due to climate change, I am motivated to join the People's Climate March.
I am tired of people taking climatic issues lightly and thinking that ignoring them will somehow vanish them. I am frustrated that some states have banned and are still working to ban climate science in schools.
The future belongs to not only us, but those who are coming after us.
If we don't make any noise now, it will be too late when we something worse than hurricane Sandy hits us."

Interactive Wildfires Map Tracks the Blazes in the U.S. | Climate Central

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wasting Time....

1-The Future is now

Wasting Time, by moses seenarine

I have to move again. After twenty moves, moving and being a nomad is beginning to feel normal. I was seeking storage assistance from friends, and one became irritated and asked, "Why are you going to NY? You don't have a job, money or an apartment, so why are you going there?"
I replied, "To protest for climate change at the UN. Many heads of state are attending a conference on global warming, and we need to put pressure on them."
In a grave voice, his reply was immediate and emphatic, "you are wasting your time. You are wasting your life."
His criticism stung and I considered for a moment how much better off I would be in trying to find work and housing. Solving survival issues should come first, but of what use is personal survival if the entire planet is at stake?
Wasting... that's an apt word for these the current era. One could even argue that the fear of not wasting time and money is causing global warming, and this fear will eventually lead to wasting countless human lives.
We have polluted and depleted the oceans - over 90% of the big fish gone - while ocean acidification and warming is killing coral, shells, star fish, and other species across the globe. Deforestation and habitat-destruction is causing rapid biodiversity loss and extinction, while increased droughts and wildfires threaten many other species. Incredible warming in the Arctic is leading to loss of sea ice, glacial melt, and 'methane volcanos' in Siberia, as sea-level rise innundate millions living on the coast with hurricanes and storm surges.
In spite of daily signs of a rapidly changing planet, humans continue to waste time and delay our transition away from fossil fuels. In fact, the extraction and burning of carbon fuel is expanding in the interest of not wasting time. We could slow down the release of greenhouse gasses while renewable energy resources are developed, but not capitalizing on an existing demand would be wasting money. So we waste the planet rather than waste our time.
We must take immediate action and each moment we delay takes us faster and closer to the brink. We have no time to waste. We must remain alert and try to wake each other up. To do anything else, would be entirely a waste of time. The future is now and what we do now determines how we live tomorrow. This Sept 21st in NYC, The Peoples Climate March, the largest of its kind in history, offers a chance for all of us to bend the course of . Like so many others, I cannot waste this opportunity. The world cannot afford to waste this opportunity.
As Bukowski wrote, "To not to have entirely wasted one’s life seems to be a worthy accomplishment, if only for myself." Saving mother earth is not wasting time.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Marine Economy Takes a Dive as Ocean Acidity Rises

20 Powerful Photos That Show The Severe Reality Of Climate Change Today

20 Powerful Photos That Show The Severe Reality Of Climate Change Today
17 August, 2013

Climate change is already beginning to transform life on Earth. Around the globe, seasons are shifting, temperatures are climbing and sea levels are rising. Climate change may seem complicated or like a far-away thing that doesn’t matter to your daily life but it does. The images below do a pretty good job of showing what’s going on with our world.

Take a look at what we’re dealing with.
1.) Drought – Lake Powell, Arizona/Utah

2.) Fires – California

3.) Flood – Cambodia

4.) Typhoon – Philippines

5.) Mass Fish Death – Indonesia

6.) Glacier Calving – Antarctica

7.) Lake Change – New Mexico

8.) Fire – Colorado

9.) Lake Change – Iraq

10.) Lake Change – Lake Meade, Nevada

11.) Deforestation – Kenya

12.) Flood – Uganda

13.) Ice Melt – Ecuador

14.) Ice Shelf Calving – Antarctica

15.) Drought – California

16.) Deforestation – Argentina

17.) Glacier Melt – Chile

18.) Lake Change – Argentina

19.) Deforestation – Brazil

20.) Glacier Melt – Arctic Circle

Let’s start acting like we care about what kind of planet we’re leaving to our kids. We need to do our best to help keep the environment healthy and not further damage this beautiful world we were given.


Amazonas | Imagining Equality
In this captivating series of portraits, photographer Felipe Jacome profiles nine indigenous women who exercised their strength, voice, and power in order to defend the Ecuadorian Amazon against oil exploitation. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Climate Change and the Meat on Your Plate

Climate Change and the Meat on Your Plate
Julia Orr, 08/04/2014 huffingtonpost

Unless you are a climate change denier, it is inconceivable to ignore one of the largest contributors to global climate change -- industrialized animal agriculture. Is it because humans feel the right to eat whatever they want, even with a catastrophic impending disaster looming? Do we continue to ignore the facts to appease our palettes?

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction states that, "Indeed, climate change is no longer considered a problem of the future. According to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the effects are already present with a probable increase in the severity and frequency of disasters."

This is not new news; in 2006, a report by the United Nationals Food and Agriculture Organization stated that 18 percent of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) is attributable to livestock production. As if that wasn't bad enough, later analysis released in 2009 by Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang stated that the figure was woefully underestimated. The actual figure resembled closer to 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions result from animal agriculture. Now these guys aren't amateurs; Robert Goodland served as the lead environmental adviser for the World Bank Group for 23 years, and Jeff Anhang is a research officer and environmental specialist at the World Bank Group's International Finance Corporation.

In neither report is the word "Vegan" mentioned. I am sure that is because the word generally seems to throw people into a major panic. Co-authors, Goodland and Anhang suggest eating "less meat." But even with this watered down version of this much-maligned word, we still seem to be ignoring this incredibly important factor. A fact that could easily have a dynamic effect on the rapid increase in global warming, more so than even the much touted replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy. In fact, the production of meat for your plate contributes more to global warming than our entire transportation system combined.

A recent documentary, Cowspiracy, goes a long way to investigate the irrationality of many environmental groups who appear to be choosing popularity with members over fact. If people truly were concerned about global climate change and the environment then ignoring the horrific impacts of animal agriculture let alone the inherent cruelty involved is ... well, alarming and more than a little foolish. Are the vegans the Rachel Carsons of today? Carson who blew the whistle on the serious impact of DDT on wildlife but was viciously vilified for her efforts?

If it's hard to go vegan, how much harder will it be to either endure floods orextreme heat and droughts, which will lead to food shortages and power outages at the very least. If one feels it's their "right" to eat whatever they want then what about the "right" of every being on this planet to live without the impact of global warming? I am not a religious person, but it's hard not to feel we are in the midst of apocalyptic times. According to Hopi prophecy, global climatic changes are inevitable but we humans can still impact the ferocity of those changes.

Bosnia floods

The refusal to address this issue seems like nothing less than obstinacy in the face of utter disaster. It is inconceivable to me that we continue to ignore this fact at our peril. On September 23, there is a global summit for climate change at the UN Headquarters in New York and a Peoples Climate March on Sunday, Sept 21. I wonder if the summit will be vegan? How many people will be feeling good about riding their bikes and taking public transport to the march whilst chomping down on a burger? The People's March is calling for "climate justice," I for one am demanding justice; justice for the millions of sentient beings that live briefly in utter pain and misery and are then killed for profit. Maybe the animal's revenge will be the end of the world as we know it.