Rampant denial of humanity’s contribution to climate change explains why I’ve been called an “eco-clown” and “nutstoponder”. Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma can toss a snowball across the Senate floor, declaring “God is still up there, and He promised to maintain the seasons and that cold and heat would never cease as long as the earth remains, the arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous,” and I’m the delusional nutter taking exception to Wisconsin Koch puppet Scott Walker “scrubbing” public Natural Resource websites of references to man made climate change. We’re asked to believe Trump’s appointment of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA will restore American greatness, and I’m the nutter.
If you visited the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources website on October 30, 2016, this is what you found –
Earth´s climate is changing. Human activities that increase heat–trapping (“green house”) gases are the main cause. Earth´s average temperature has increased 1.4 °F since 1850 and the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 1998. Increasing temperatures have led to changes in rainfall patterns and snow and ice cover. These changes could have severe effects on the Great Lakes and the plants, wildlife and people who depend on them. While no one can predict exactly what climate change will mean for our Great Lakes, scientists agree that the following changes are likely if climate change patterns continue.
Increased summer and winter temperatures will cause increased evaporation, lower lake water levels and warmer water, resulting in reduced habitat for cold water species and a loss of critical wetland areas.
Decreased winter ice cover will also contribute to increased evaporation and lower lake water levels which could have severe economic consequences for our valuable shipping industry, lakeshore recreation, and coastal businesses.
Changes in rain and snowfall patterns (including more frequent and severe storms) could change water flow in streams and rivers and increase stream bank erosion and runoff pollution.
The good news is that we can all work to slow climate change and lessen its effects. To find out more about climate change and how we can all help, please visit the following links.
Take a peek today and weep over climate change denying Governor Scott Walker’s obliteration of truth –
As it has done throughout the centuries, the earth is going through a change. The reasons for this change at this particular time in the earth’s long history are being debated and researched by academic entities outside the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The effects of such a change are also being debated but whatever the causes and effects, the DNR’s responsibility is to manage our state’s natural resources through whatever event presents itself; flood, drought, tornadoes, ice/snow or severe heat. The DNR staff stands ready to adapt our management strategies in an effort to protect our lakes, waterways, plants, wildlife and people who depend on them.
December 5, 1952 – residents of London, England woke to cloudless skies characteristic of a prolonged pattern of unusually chilly weather. Shivering citizens fed coal burning fireplaces with earnest, soot belched from thousands of chimneys. Within a few hours thick fog settled over the city, by afternoon fog began to turn “sickly yellow” in hue.
Unaware of temperature inversion caused by a stalled high pressure weather system, Londoners had no way of knowing warm temperatures 1,000 feet above ground blocked noxious soot’s escape. Reeking of rotten eggs, poisonous sulfur rich smog halted air, train, boat and surface transportation. Those who ventured outside reported streets thick with sticky goo and blackened faces of coal miners. Over 5 days an estimated 12,000 succumbed to the killer fog. A government investigation resulted in the Clean Air Act of 1956, restricting burning of coal in urban areas and grants to convert coal heat to gas, oil or electric.
Knowing coal emissions trapped in fog are lethal isn’t the same as understanding chemical interactions at play. It took a trip to China (a coal burning nation, home to 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world) by Texas A&M researcher Renyi Zhang to publish findings Oct. 9 2016 in Proceeding of The National Academy of Sciences. Research indicating the same phenomenon takes place today.
“People have known that sulfate was a big contributor to the fog, and sulfuric acid particles were formed from sulfur dioxide released by coal burning for residential use and power plants, and other means.
But how sulfur dioxide was turned into sulfuric acid was unclear. Our results showed that this process was facilitated by nitrogen dioxide, another co-product of coal burning, and occurred initially on natural fog. Another key aspect in the conversion of sulfur dioxide to sulfate is that it produces acidic particles, which subsequently inhibits this process. Natural fog contained larger particles of several tens of micrometers in size, and the acid formed was sufficiently diluted. Evaporation of those fog particles then left smaller acidic haze particles that covered the city.”
There are those who flatly deny man-made climate change, others who prescribe to global warming as a natural earth cycle, and scoffers convinced the whole thing is an elaborate hoax. Presidential wannabe Donald Trump contends climate change a conspiracy perpetrated by China to undermine the U.S. economy. Bastions of tight ass right wing patriotic duplicity, the likes of Heartland Institute, Americans for Prosperity and the Heritage Foundation, use their considerable non-profit resources to cast doubt on climate science – target of choice, the NOAA. Inhabiting the opposite end of the spectrum, a plethora of organizations from the David Suzuki Foundation to Greenpeace champion the result of humanity’s indifference to drastic warning signs of climate calamity.
On Monday UK climate scientist Ed Hawkins of the University of Reading, posted this “infographic” on Twitter. In a Washington Post article, Jason Samenow wrote –
“Over the years, scientists have attempted to visually communicate the Earth’s warming in many ways. They’ve developed an array of maps, charts, and animations that present an unmistakable picture of a warming world.
Ponder the Gaia hypothesis, suspend belief and imagine that “Earth’s living things interact with the physical world around us to form a self-regulating, complex system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on our planet.”
The notion that Earth interacted with its atmosphere as a “super-organism” was hypothesized by Scottish geologist James Hutton in the 18th century. Crazy talk at the time, it would be 200 years before English chemist James Lovelock wrote Gaia:A New Look at Life on Earth in 1979. Lovelock looked at chemistry and physics of Venus and Mars, suggesting that absence of life was the reason neither had an atmosphere to sustain life. In short – Earth’s atmosphere exists and sustains itself because of life, living things interact with the physical world to create a “self sustaining” environment conducive to life.
In 2010 a survey of 400 British scientists ranked the Gaia hypothesis alongside DNA, considered one of the top ten scientific breakthroughs of all time. Wow, that’s heady stuff.
“…once people could travel beyond the atmosphere of Earth and put enough distance between them and their planet, then they could view their home from an extra-terrestrial viewpoint. No doubt that the 1960s photographs of the blue, green, and white ball of life floating in the total darkness of outer space made both scientists and the public think of their home planet a little differently than they ever had before. These pictures of Earth must have brought to mind the notion that it resembled a single organism.”
The Gaia hypothesis suggests life on Earth regulates itself based solely on existence and interaction of living organisms. Left alone our world can stabilize itself, muck with it enough – we might find ourselves going the way of Mars.
Over 50 billion bottles of water are consumed each year in America. A United Nations study estimates our oceans contain 46,000 pieces of floating plastic per square mile. In America alone, 1.5 million barrels of oil (reported at the 2007 U.S. Conference of Mayors, likely much higher today) are needed to produce plastic for water bottles, that’s enough oil to power 250,000 homes or 100,000 cars for a year.
Enter Ooho, the edible water bottle. Brown algae and calcium chloride form a gel around water, the process of “spherification” (think egg yolk) forms a double membrane, keeping contents safe and hygienic while allowing a label to be placed between the two layers of membrane. Water is frozen before being “dipped” in calcium chloride, then bathed in brown algae to strengthen by creating a second layer. At a cost of 2 cents per “bottle” Ooho’s future should be bright, but it has a few problems.
London design student and creator Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez concedes container strength is akin to the skin of fruit. Toss in how to re-seal the vessel and ways to keep membranes sanitary for consumption. Technicalities aside, the edible water bottle demonstrates life without plastic water bottles is conceivable.
Ponder hungry microorganisms lurking within the Arctic tundra. Vast regions of permafrost – defined as permanently frozen layers of rock, soil and sediment – now thawing at alarming rates due to increased global temperatures. I’m not talking the thin “active” top layer of permafrost covering 24% of Northern Hemisphere land – ponder deep layers of ancient glaciated tundra surrendering to the elements.
Boreholes in northern Canada, Norway and Russia indicate a .4 degree increase in ground temperatures at a depth of 60 meters. It might sound like no big deal – let me assure you otherwise. In the last decade it translates to an increase greater than the last 100 years. So why worry about mushy tundra?
Trapped in that permafrost are enormous amounts of formerly frozen ancient carbon. As the ground warms, billions of voracious microorganisms belly up to the all you can eat buffet. Devouring carbon releases vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere – CO2 that contributes to accelerated global warming.
Robert Spencer from the University of Florida, lead researcher of a paper published April 23, 2015 in Geophysical Research Letters said –
“When you have a huge frozen store of carbon and it’s thawing, we have some big questions. The primary question is when it thaws, what happens to it? Our research shows this ancient carbon is rapidly utilized by microbes and transferred to the atmosphere, leading to further warming in the region and therefore more thawing. So we get into a runaway effect.”
While the climate denial camp busily pats itself on the back for convincing the masses we have nothing to worry about – stop and ask yourself why people gobble their self serving propaganda hook, line and sinker.