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Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change’

April showers are nourishing all the perennials we just planted, but if you are a migratory bird looking to nest in Florida, you’d be plain out of luck. Wading birds like egrets and herons depend on fresh, clean water from rivers meeting the sea in estuaries on our coasts for their food supply, and scientists have been putting on waders to count their nests this time of year. Considering Mr T’s deep cuts to the EPA, this Audubon report is troubling:

The latest South Florida Wading Bird Report, which was published last week, offers signs of trouble for the birds and the places they live. During this nesting season, which ran from December 2015 to July 2016, surveyors were disappointed to find 26,676 nests total. That’s just one-third the number of nests tallied during 2009, one of the best nesting years in decades, and the lowest nest census since the 2007-2008 season. Of the indicator species, only two (Great Egrets and White Ibises) met their nest recovery goals. The only bird to show an above-average nesting season last year was the Roseate Spoonbill. http://www.audubon.org/news/floridas-wading-birds-had-terrible-breeding-season-last-year

We had a Great Blue Heron swoop over our Rumson garage every morning to fish in the Shrewsbury River. When you live so close to the ocean, you begin to notice the rise and fall of tidewater by the line of black silt on your Corgis’ short legs, which would sometimes cover their bellies. “Swamp Dogs” was our affectionate term for Toots and Blaze. My sister Kay was kind enough to immortalize that mother/son duo in a 1993 watercolor.

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But it’s the long, stilt-like legs of Great Egrets that are helping them navigate the rising seawater levels due to Climate Change.

And now we have a circus/barker/climate/denier as the Leader of the Free World who would like to dismantle and disrupt the federal government, and return power to “the states.” I’ve always wondered why Republicans even pursue public service when they hate it so much! If any of you are still wondering about the loss of Arctic ice or if keeping that house your aunt left you on the Jersey Shore is a good idea, take a look at Leonardo diCaprio’s interactive global temperature map. It looks like there may be a quarter of Rumson left after the flood. Seriously.

“Every fraction of a degree of global warming sets in motion sea level rise that will profoundly threaten coastal cities across the world,” explains Dr. Benjamin Strauss from Climate Central. “[Our map] shows the incredible stakes and urgency of our climate choices.”

https://www.beforetheflood.com/explore/the-crisis/sea-level-rise/

Now that you’ve put in your city, and the visual has sunk in and maybe you’ve “woke up” think about these cuts to the federal budget. Keep calling your legislators people, dig out your Wellies (English for waders or rain boots), and start looking for higher ground while planning your retirement

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What is your carbon footprint? Do you know what (or who) is the biggest factor in greenhouse gas emissions? This is not a quiz, although this last question was on the GRE I took decades ago.   They are important questions if you are a believer in fact-based science; you understand that human development is responsible for climate change, and climate change is a factor in the migration and extinction of animals, while also contributing to the refugee crisis.

And since you are a believer and want to save the planet, if not for your grandkids then maybe for that condo you bought in Miami, may I suggest you light a candle today in the church of your choice.

Because today Mr T will be signing an Executive Order to dirty the waters around the Clean Power Plan and walk us away from the 2015 Paris Agreement – it’s like Kyoto all-over-again.

President Trump will take the most significant step yet in obliterating his predecessor’s environmental record Tuesday, instructing federal regulators to rewrite key rules curbing U.S. carbon emissions.

The sweeping executive order also seeks to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing and remove the requirement that federal officials consider the impact of climate change when making decisions.

The order sends an unmistakable signal that just as President Barack Obama sought to weave climate considerations into every aspect of the federal government, Trump is hoping to rip that approach out by its roots.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/trump-moves-decisively-to-wipe-out-obamas-climate-change-record/2017/03/27/411043d4-132c-11e7-9e4f-09aa75d3ec57_story.html?utm_term=.ec3f40a30921

In other words, IF we have any federal regulators left, they will not be asked to look ahead at the big picture when they bring coal back to coal country. This order will also allow drilling on federal land and accelerate fossil-fuel production by lifting President Obama’s cease and desist orders to the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. Remember all those Native Americans protesting those pipelines, and the Marines who joined them? Well Mr T just showed us what he’s made of, that he values corporate interests over American lives.

When I was growing up in Victory Gardens, we had a coal bin right outside our kitchen. Daddy Jim would shovel the coal into our furnace and toss the ashes outside, somewhere. Whenever we all piled into his little Chevy Impala, I would scream bloody murder to open the windows because both Nell and Jim smoked cigarettes non-stop. Camels I think. That’s probably why I never started smoking, I had been semi-tortured as a child. It’s a wonder my lungs are still functioning at all! Maybe it’s all those rosary beads I kept in my pocket?

It may seem antithetical to think that Evangelicals are also, as a group, big believers in climate change, but they are. In fact, it’s worth mentioning the Canadian climate scientist I follow on Twitter who manages to see no distinction between her Christian beliefs and science – the smart and talented Katherine Hayhoe @KHayhoe

Still, it may come as no surprise that a belief in human assisted climate change has become a political touchstone for our time, with the GOP digging their heads further into the sand of climate denial. Hence, with a stroke of the pen Mr T will take us back in time to America’s glory days of unregulated, polluted power. If you feel that politicizing science is just so 19th Century, you may be shocked by this graph from the Pew Research Center illustrating just how divided we are:  PS_2016.10.04_Politics-of-Climate_1-14

So dear readers, what can we do? Take a good look at your portfolio if you’re lucky to have anything left after 2008. Think about divesting in fossil-fuel companies, and investing in wind or solar. Think about global companies that are fighting the good fight. Use your economic leverage…call your legislators NOW…using your voting leverage. Our town hall tactics have stalled the rush to kill Obamacare, let’s use the same strategy to save our planet from this magalomaniac. Not only is Mr T’s pen poison, his policies are lethal.

And if you pray, this is our Hail Mary pass, in the name of Mother Earth.

 

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The house is empty today. No Legos on the floor, Puffins on the table, or Love Bug saying “Nana!” The kitchen is clean, towels are washed and the bed sheets have all been changed; Bob went into the hospital for a full day of meetings. Great Grandma Ada called to ask me how I feel, and I said, “Strange.” I was just getting used to children’s laughter and smiles. To cuddles for no particular reason. My back however, after picking up a red headed 25 lb Buddha Baby monkey time and again, was telling me another story. Yesterday was spent on a heating pad.

Today it’s not entirely quiet, the drumming rain on the roof is soothing. It’s a good day to write while the mountains are shrouded in fog.

Giving Tuesday is really a day of reflection. Before the holidays move into high gear, and just in time for year-end tax deductions, many of us tithe to the charity of our choice. You may remember that I have a special place in my heart for the Salvation Army. And no, it’s not because of Guys and Dolls, or their irresistible red buckets. The Salvation Army showed up in the Flapper’s life when she needed help and was too proud to ask for it. They knocked on her door in our Year of Living Dangerously, when the Catholic Church turned its back.

But this week is also highlighting Climate Change in Paris. World leaders have gathered to pledge an end to carbon emissions, to try and stem the tide of extreme weather and drought. And just like Bernie Sanders has pointed out, climate is interrelated to conflict, and is directly responsible for  hunger and forced migrations of people due to environmental degradation and natural disasters.

If temperatures rise by only 2C, then millions more people would be affected across Central America, Africa and Asia. If temperatures were to rise between 4C and 5C, the map becomes covered in hotspots – suggesting a semi-pemanent food disaster in many parts of the world. WFP executive director, Ertharin Cousin, will not predict the cost of providing humanitarian food aid on a much larger scale, but accepts it is likely to be many tens of billions of dollars a year. “Climate change has the potential to reverse the whole development path,” she says.              http://www.theguardian.com/environment/cop-21-un-climate-change-conference-paris

When Bob returns home, we’ll talk about giving to some different non-profits today. Like:

The City of Light has stood up to terrorism by hosting the COP21: UN Climate Change Conference following November 13. But the news I found most hopeful was the back-door dealings of President Obama and Putin. I don’t need to know what was said, if any agreement was reached. Both men could save face by staying behind a beautiful French silk curtain. Iron curtains are so last century. Because we need both of our countries to lead in this global struggle for Mother Earth.   IMG_3508

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Imagine where you were and what you were doing in 1970. I was finishing up college in Purchase, NY. while my first husband commuted to work in NYC. SUNY required a dissertation, so much of my time was spent driving to the Hartford School for the Deaf in order to test their students. I was only 22 and didn’t know yet we’d be divorced very soon. My single connection to nature in our little apartment was a cat I had rescued from the school, an Abyssinian I named Minnie Mama (instead of Minnie Mouse) because she promptly delivered six kittens.

Today the World Wildlife Fund WWF has issued a call to arms. The population of wildlife on this fragile planet in the past 40 years has decreased by half. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/wildlife-populations-halved-last-40-years-by-human-consumption-degradation-1467806

“The biggest recorded threat to biodiversity globally comes from the combined impacts of habitat loss and degradation, driven by unsustainable human consumption,” the report said. “The impacts of climate change are becoming of increasing concern.”Other factors that contribute to the populations decrease are the presence of invasive species, pollution, and diseases.The main threats to freshwater species, which have suffered the biggest decrease, are habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution, and invasive species.

It’s rather frightening to think that since the 70s, we’ve lost so many species. In other words, in our lifetime; it’s been on our watch and it seems somebody wasn’t watching. Of course it is guns and butter. Human population is exploding and we’re not just increasing our carbon footprint, we’re denuding habitat. But yesterday I took heart with a TED talk about “Rewilding” in the Yellowstone National Park.

So to watch the Youtube talk, you’ll have to click on over to the WordPress site. In a nutshell and not quite so eloquently as George Monbiot who advocates for “…the large-scale restoration of complex natural ecosystems,” he relates the story of reintroducing wolves in to the Park in 1995. Most thought we’d lose some species since they are such vital predators. But instead, nature did something truly grand. After a 70 year wolf absence, deer had grazed away most vegetation; now of course the wolves did kill some deer who were already overpopulating the Park.

But they learned to avoid the wolves by steering clear of fields, valleys and gorges. And you thought deer were dumb? This allowed the vegetation to grow, which brought in migrating birds and rabbits, beavers and hedgehogs…well you get the picture. Valleys became forests. Ecosystem engineers were fast at work! What happens next is truly amazing http://www.ted.com/talks/george_monbiot_for_more_wonder_rewild_the_world

“Rivers changed in response to the wolves.” 

This morning I watched a family of six deer graze through my shade garden while I showered. First the fawns come out of the woods, then the elders look me squarely in the eyes for a few minutes, and we decide to have an understanding. I keep Ms Bean in the house, and they keep feasting on my flora. What can I say? I think Buddha must have been a wolf. Buddha's new sister 001

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CLIMATE CHANGE RALLY MELBOURNE

Today is the People’s Climate March all over the World. My Twitter feed has been buzzing with all the climate scientists I follow, like Michael Mann, the ex-UVA prof who was actually sued by our AJ and WON his right to teach about the “hockey stick” stats of climate change https://mountainmornings.net/2012/01/14/baby-its-cold-outside/

Although 161 countries will participate, New York City will be action central today with thousands pouring into the streets (stay uptown Kay!) along with the United Nation’s Director, Ban Ki-moon. The UN will host a Climate Summit on Tuesday with 125 heads of state

He (Ban) will join thousands of people on the streets of Manhattan, including business leaders, environmentalists and celebrities. Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio will also attend, having been appointed as a UN representative on climate change last week. http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29301969

But here in Cville, volunteer marchers/searchers are combing the area for the second day in a row for any clues to the disappearance of Hannah Graham. It’s been a confusing weekend. Our Police Chief gave an inspiring press conference, saying they have a “person of interest” in their scope, that they have searched his car and his apartment, but they have yet to make an arrest. People are wondering what he’s waiting for, did they ever question him, do they need more evidence, or is their suspect in the wind?

Also his name, Jesse Matthew, was leaked on Twitter yesterday by our local newspaper, the Daily Progress, and by our NBC affiliate, some commenters said he was a UVA employee. However, this morning on the Today Show, they refused to name him! So they have this “person of interest” the last person seen with Graham, stalking her on video, they have his car and the contents of his place, and they have a witness who saw him buying her a drink…http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2759584/UVA-student-Hannah-Graham-FIFTH-young-woman-five-years-vanish-Route-29-corridor-one-body-found.html

Bob searched the brush around our yard in town, and all he found was a soccer ball. If someone saw her getting into Matthew’s car, she could be anywhere. He has been described as “…a black male, 6ft., 250lbs. with dreadlocks.” My prayers are with Hannah Graham’s family this Sunday. Latest update – police have confirmed his name, still no arrest. http://www.insidenova.com/headlines/updated-police-confirm-jesse-lj-matthew-person-of-interest-in/article_865681c2-4040-11e4-a18b-0710e0693940.html

I wonder if they put dreads on the police sketch they have of Morgan Harrington’s killer? I wonder if Bob ever met him in the hospital, where he works as a nurse’s aide?

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courtesy of Steff's Instagram

courtesy of Steff’s Instagram

The Supremes never fail to surprise me. Kudos to SCOTUS for protecting our cell phone privacy rights during a police search, and unanimously no less, which means really we blue and red states should all be able to get along.  And then they go and rule against buffer zones around abortion clinics in MA.

The court said the state law violated the First Amendment because its “buffer zone” limited speech too broadly, covering 35 feet from the doorway of facilities and including public areas like sidewalks.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/supreme-court-massachusetts-abortion-buffer-zone-mccullen-v-coakley-108348.html#ixzz362N9mDxe

So now anyone who would like to speak to a woman, a total stranger, kindly and gently about why she’s determined to do this procedure (not their words) and push graphic floating fetus leaflets into her hands is allowed to approach her on a sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood. The caveat was that the Chief Justice advised MA to consider doing what NY has done – make it a crime to harass anyone within 15 feet of a reproductive health care facility.

In other words, tighten up the language people!

I don’t know, I like the term buffer zone. I remember the buffer from biology 101 many years ago; it’s important in regulating the PH of a cell. Without a buffer zone, changes in the environment of all living things would go haywire. Adding a buffer keeps us all on an even keel so to speak.

I always pictured it as a moat around the castle, the castle might be a liver cell and the buffer moat is protecting its function…if the moat gets to flowing over its banks the liver can’t function. If the moat dries up, bad cells will invade.

Last weekend we had some friends visiting us from MN with their little boy, Opti. First of all, I love his name. And second I love boys in 6th grade, they are figuring out the world and willing to try just about anything. We watched the USA tie Portugal in the World Cup and he explained some of the rules of the game which was great.

But his mom, Steff, had to return to the Minneapple because she’s a commissioner on the Parks and Rec Board and POTUS was visiting the overflowing banks of their rivers and streams. Steff and her family normally ride their bikes to work and school, they keep bees in their urban garden – I like to think if I were younger and living in a city, I’d be as green and ecologically driven as she is. IMHO she is a rock star! And she got to shake the President’s hand, and be up close and personal as he delivered this speech http://www.scribd.com/doc/231560097/Remarks-by-the-President-at-Town-Hall

The President talked about many things besides the floodwaters. And it made me think that maybe the problem with this intractable Congress is their buffer zone, that place where lobbyists and money flow freely into and out of the castle Capital. That space where special interests and corporations get to frame our laws so that the Constitution becomes an instrument of power for some, and not for all.  And instead of suing our President Mr. Boehner, might you consider letting down the bridge over your moat?

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It’s almost summertime and the living isn’t so easy. Today, the third Climate Assessment has been released by the White House, and our general prognosis isn’t so good. We’re heating up the planet, severe storms are increasing and seas are rising. It’s like a set-up for a sci-fi horror movie with Tom Cruise, only it’s real. But we all know that. I have a friend who lives in town and sold her car. She’s happy walking most places and discovered Charlottesville’s excellent transit system. She gets an “A” in my book! For the rest of us, I’m afraid we’re failing miserably.

Living a green life isn’t so hard and it’s not so new. Back in the late 60s when I was in college, we learned about chemical dyes that didn’t degrade in sewers. We knew how to compost, and in fact we did back in the Berkshires. In Windsor in the 70s I had a solar clothes dryer – I hung my babies’ diapers on a clothesline.

My old fashioned diapers

My old fashioned diapers

We were all children at the dawn of the Age of Aquarius, and we felt an affinity for the land. The three Rs were real and we lived by them. I rescued my baby’s crib from the curbside, along with her rocking chair; we recycled all our friends’ baby clothes and toys. We planted a Victory Garden!

So what happened? The 80s happened. Right about the time we left the Berkshires, when the Rocker was just 2 and the Bride was 7, I noticed some distinct cultural differences. Maybe not as obvious as moving to the South, but strange just the same.

Moving back to suburban NJ from New England left me in super culture shock. Women thought I was odd because I mowed our lawn, with a push mower – was it because Bob didn’t do it or because we didn’t have a landscaping service? And I ground our coffee, with a coffee grinder… and I actually played with the kids on a field trip, instead of standing under a tree comparing nail polish. Reaganomics was the law of the land. If we didn’t eventually move closer to the beach, I might not have survived that transplant.

Ostentatious, obsequious wealth was flaunted by our neighbors with their MacMansions sitting nearly empty of furniture and their big SUVs in 3-car garages. I put up a clothesline even though one mom told me she didn’t think the town allowed them. We always believed in asking for forgiveness instead of permission. Then I got back to the business of reporting on town meetings and school budgets; interviewing interesting people and writing biographies.

And it didn’t much concern me when the town’s Annual Meeting on January 1st started with an Anglican minister and a prayer. He was a hospice preacher and an EMT who rode on the ambulance. His yearly prayer (they didn’t do this before every meeting) was pretty interfaith and profoundly peaceful.

But praying for this planet won’t stop our reliance on fossil fuels and the corrupt lobbying by corporations to keep the status quo.

The assessment warns that current efforts to implement emissions cuts and to adapt to changes are “insufficient to avoid increasingly negative social, environmental, and economic consequences”. According to the White House, climate and weather disasters cost the US more than $100bn in 2012, the country’s warmest year on record.http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-27296417

I’ve started following a Canadian climate scientist on Twitter, Katherine Hayoe @KHayhoe, along with Michael Mann the “hockey stick” scientist. She is sort of an anomaly since Hayoe is an Evangelical Christian, with a compelling world view. It would seem that religion and science CAN co-exist! Chris Mooney at Slate just wrote an excellent essay, “Why Should Evangelical Christians Care About Climate Change?”

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/climate_desk/2014/05/conservative_christians_and_climate_change_five_arguments_for_why_one_should.html

Why indeed. Here’s one reason – our grandchildren.

Visiting with Great Grandmamas

Visiting with Great Grandmamas

The Bug's new-fasioned diapers

The Bug’s new-fasioned diapers

 

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