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Category: Climate Change

It’s so pretty, but… Stunning Video reveals pollution paths

NASA recently released a video, A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2, a super computer model that shows pollution in action. I’ll admit I thought it would be boring or obvious, but the imagery drew me in immediately, and I learned a great deal about both carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide pollution, its sources and how it spreads globally. It’s just three minutes long and includes good music and compelling graphics. I had no idea pollution could look so pretty, well in a graphic that is, in our lungs and in the our atmosphere? Not so much.

Hat Tip to Dailykos and Prescott Allen Hazelton

Disruption Film & Review

If you have 53 minutes today or at any time this week, you have the time to watch 350.org’s film, Disruption. It’s captioned in English.

“DISRUPTION” – a film by KELLY NYKS & JARED P. SCOTT from Watch Disruption on Vimeo.

“Climate change exacerbates every kind of social injustice that faith communities have fought against for centuries.” —Rev. Fletcher Harper, Executive Director for Green Faith (@greenfaithworld)

What’s Good About Disruption and What’s Not So Good

What I like about Disruption: it foregrounds the broad spectrum of people and organizations engaged with climate justice right now, from the Sierra Club and Green Faith to the New York Environmental Justice Alliance and the World Wildlife Foundation.

What I don’t like: the soundtrack is very thriller-ish, and I don’t think it’s necessary. The visual editing of Disruption clarifies the significance and stakes well enough.

I’m all for emotional impact: people move when they are moved. But I don’t think fear and anxiety are viable emotions to build a long-term change movement on, and I don’t see the point in adding to the US’ 13-year track record of perma-fear.

I agree with Disruption‘s filmmakers that the time for talk is over, that it’s time for personal, community, local governmental, national, and international action. And I’d like to contribute not only to the disruption of apathy but also to the disruption of fear-based engagement. I hope we can do both.

“We didn’t want to leave it to world leaders: their track record isn’t very good in dealing with this question.” —Bill McKibben (@billmckibben), co-founder of 350.org (@350)

So since we can’t expect elected/selected political leaders to abandon fear as strategy, it’s going to fall to us. Are you up for it?

We’ve created the Climate Stew podcast to help people learn how to engage the seriousness of climate change with lots of humor and without lots of fear.  There are many other ways to get involved too. Next week, for instance, I’ll be at the People’s Climate March in New York with more than 100,000 other people so look out for post-March comments from both Peterson and me.

There’s no better time for ordinary people to demonstrate our stake in keeping this planet hospitable for all of us—and not just for the wealthy and mobile. Disrupt the status quo with us!

"It's not just about the environment. It's about the community. It's about public health. It's about jobs. It's about justice." —Eddie Bautista, NY Environmental Justice Alliance

Eddie Bautista (NY Environmental Justice Alliance) on the wider significance of climate change. Image via Twitter.

Welcome to Climate Stew!

The Climate Stew Team welcomes YOU!

  • We are a group of friends concerned about global warming.
  • We come from a variety of backgrounds–scientists, artists, researchers, parents, students, religious, non-religious, white folks, people of color, ethnically diverse, straight, and queer.
  • We all currently live in the USA, but we are not all American by birth. Some of us are from or have lived in South Africa, England, Spain, Zambia, Ecuador, and Jamaica.
  • We are serious about climate change, but fear not: we don’t want to scare the snot out of you.

This website and the Climate Stew podcast are part of our creative response to global warming. We are each learning about global warming–not only the facts about climate change and climate projections, but we are also learning how to respond to a crisis that is bigger than anything any of us have ever experienced before.

Dr. Jennifer O'Brien

Dr. Jennifer O’Brien

Keisha McKenzie

Keisha McKenzie

Peterson Tosano

Peterson Tosano

IMG_0788

This could be you! Apply to be a team member

Now I don’t know about you, but we have been ALARMED by the climate change reports. Still we quickly figured out that we cannot live in a constant state of alarm. Fear and panic do not contribute to effective critical thinking. So we have been looking to the past at other big crises and how our ancestors responded. We also consider our own personal histories and the crises we have each faced, and the often amazing, novel strategies we developed to survive and not be crushed by adversity.

And in spite of feeling the direness of the situation we are in (both with the climate crisis and the agonizingly and annoyingly slow response from our leaders) we still have hope. We look for hope. We believe in the future, so much so that we are trying to figure out what our roles will be on this new planet. We are also trying to figure out what our immediate roles are in helping other people to understand the issues and act.

Glen Retief

Glen Retief

Lori Hayes-Kerhner

Lori Hayes-Kerhner

Prescott Allen Hazelton

Prescott Allen Hazelton

Alex Skitolsky

Alex Skitolsky

We see climate change as a human rights issues, an environmental justice issues, a personal issue for each of us, and an issue that throws us all together. It is an issue that demands we get off our asses and do something. “Facebook activism” and a successful on-line petition is not gonna cut it. Although we never asked for it, we are present in this weird time in history that requires each of us to be informed, engaged, and determined. We realize we cannot do this alone. We need a lot of cooks in this kitchen.

So check out the blog, listen to our podcast, share your comments, sign up for Peterson’s periodic newsletter and dig into Climate Stew.

Got a sense of humor? Believe climate change is a nasty slap in the face? Interested in creative ways to communication climate change? So want apply to be a Climate Stew Team Member? Let us know if you are interested.

I’m Wet for Climate

There is movement afoot among LGBTQ folks concerned about global warming. Queers for Climate, a group out of New York City, is trying to creatively communicate the threat of sea rise and flooding in the NY Metropolitan area. New York City will get wetter as lots of other places dry out. Turns out this is what alarms me or than all those poor polar bears stranded on ice flows. It’s easy to ignore those distant white bears, but in this short video in voicing what alarms me, I reveal just how shallow I am .

We’re Here. We’re Queer, and we are concerned about the climate.

I have gotten involved with a new group, Queers for the Climate, which is organizing to take part in the big People’s Climate March on September 20 and 21 in New York City. While lots of LGBTQ people have shown real concern for environmental issues, recycling, and buying eco-friendly products, when it comes to Global Warming, I find that many of my queer peers seem to live on another planet, one that does not see the possible extinction of humans along with a bunch of other species. That is changing, and it is a good thing because we come to the table with lots of experience and skills to help us address Climate Change as the world’s biggest threat to human rights.

We can be funny, irreverent, edgy, and creative in our climate activism. We can also look beyond ourselves to consider the wider world and the intersection of LGBTQ lives affected by the climate change crisis that is upon us.

Here are some memes I created on the theme of Queer Climate Action. Enjoy and share. Yo, Global Warming activism, it’s not just for heterosexuals anymore.

 

gay marriage end of world

drag queen anger

save heterosexuals

penguin meme

chad and lance save world

goats meme

 

 

The Climate Change Movement and Ferguson, MO

Here in the USA we were gripped, shocked (or not so shocked), and moved to anger and action over the shooting death by a white police officer of Michael Brown, an 18 year old Black man in Ferguson, MO. Our own team member, Dr. Keisha McKenzie, wrote about Ferguson and her thoughts and feelings in the post: On #NMOS14, Ferguson, and Rooting for a New World.

At this blog we have been highlighting the intersectional nature of the climate work we are pursuing. We have been learning and sharing about how environmental injustice affects people of color, indigenous populations in North America and Australia, and adds to the disproportionate suffering of people living in the Global South.

Our last article this week: Why the Climate Movement Must Stand with Ferguson, is a powerful essay by Deirdre Smith, 350.org’s Strategic Partnership Coordinator. In it, she helps us see the connections to climate change and on-going discrimination. This gets played out dramatically in times of crisis.

'We are in this together and our fights are connected,' writes Smith. (Photo: flickr / cc / Light Brigading)

‘We are in this together and our fights are connected,’ writes Smith. (Photo: flickr / cc / Light Brigading)

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.

Read the entire article here:

Major disasters linked to extreme weather

Now for some disturbing but not surprising news. Major Disasters Linked to Extreme Weather, Climate and Water Hazards on the Rise by Chris Rose for Alternet.  

Far Rockaway, NY after Hurricane Sandy Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

Far Rockaway, NY after Hurricane Sandy
Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

Recently published data collected by the World Meteorological Organization shows there were close to five times as many weather- and climate-change-related disasters in the first decade of this century than in the 1970s.

As many as 1.94 million people lost their lives due to these catastrophic weather events between 1970 and 2012, which cost $2.4 trillion U.S. in economic losses, according to the  Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes (1970–2012).

The 44-page atlas, a joint publication of the Geneva-based UN agency WMO and the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) of the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, examined major reported disasters linked to weather, climate and water extremes.

Read the entire article here.

Ebola and Climate Change

Ebola has dominated the news the past few weeks with the largest outbreak in history. Below you will find a link to a story looking at deforestation and extreme weather. Last week the World Health Organization says that the current outbreak, with its highest concentrations in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, could reach up to 20,000 cases, many of those ending in death.

Ebola and Climate Change: How Are They Connected? New research hold climate change accountable for uptick in viral diseases. By Ziona Eyob in Ecowatch (via Alternet)

 A Ugandan man displays a bat he captured for food December 1, 2000 in a cave in Guru Guru, Uganda. Bats are being studied as one possible carrier of the Ebola virus. (Photo by Tyler Hicks/Getty Images)

A Ugandan man displays a bat he captured for food December 1, 2000 in a cave in Guru Guru, Uganda. Bats are being studied as one possible carrier of the Ebola virus. (Photo by Tyler Hicks/Getty Images)

In 2006, a study published in the journal Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene revealed that Ebola, a “ violent hemorrhagic fever that leads to internal and external bleeding,” would be more frequent with global warming due to its intermittent connection to wildlife and climate. In 2008, another study reiterated the same fears, noting that Ebola outbreaks would be among a cluster of other diseases gaining momentum, such as bird flu, cholera, plague and tuberculosis.

South African Anglicans Reflect on Global Warming. Excellent New Resource

Religious institutions have some of the biggest global networks reaching millions on a regular basis. The Anglicans in South Africa have created a new resource for churches to help educate congregants about global warming and provide direction. One message they stress is that environmental work is not just for middle class, a privileged hobby. Rather it is an essential spiritual practice.

Social and Environmental Justice are intimately and profoundly linked. Anglicans in South Africa have produced resources for the Season of Creation. ACNS News

Kenyan environmental and political campaigner Wangari Muta Maathai by Bob Mash

Kenyan environmental and political campaigner Wangari Muta Maathai by Bob Mash

“Sleeper awake!” is the opening call of a new Anglican resource for the Season of Creation, the third in a series published by the Anglican Church in Southern Africa.

The resource has sermon notes and liturgical materials covering the themes of climate change, eco-justice, water, creation and redemption and biodiversity.

It is dedicated to the memory of Professor Wangari Muta Maathai who in 1971 founded the Kenyan Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and the empowerment of communities.

–snip–

 “There is a danger that care for creation and environmental concern are seen as a luxury for middle class Christians in leafy suburbs. So-called ‘Greenies’ or ‘tree huggers’ are perceived to be more concerned about the plight of the rhino than the plight of the vulnerable child. The connections between social and environmental justice are more intimately and profoundly linked. Ecological justice is relevant to everyone’s life, to everyone’s faith.” (Revd Dr Rachel Mash, Environmental Co-ordinator Anglican Church of Southern Africa.)

Read the entire article here.

When you hear the very worst news, it changes you.

Every week when I open Prescott’s climate links, I read a lot of bad news. Sure there are some signs of hope, great innovations, encouraging movement, but when dealing with Global Warming, right now we need to face the music and dance, which means ingesting some bad news.

How do we face the current crisis that is upon us? With honesty. It’s like when my sisters and I first learned our mom had lung cancer. We wanted to hear all of the potential good news, all the the hope for recovery. We needed to hear these possible positive stories because the news that we were losing our mother was far too devastating to accept. But a day came when we had to hear and receive the bad news–there was no cure for her, just palliative care to help her feel as comfortable as possible. When we finally were able to receive that bad news, it opened our hearts to action, to deep love and caring. We knew our time was precious, and we didn’t want to waste a second.

The downfall of humanity and most other species is not at all set in stone, not yet. We have time to act–precious, vital time to act. To get to the place of action, we need to swallow some bad news. So take a deep breath and read about the wars, the waves, and the uncertain promises.

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The age of climate warfare is here. The military-industrial complex is ready. Are you? For the Guardian by Nafeez Ahmed, author of A Users’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: and How to Save It.

To be sure, the link between climate change and the risk of violence is supported by many independent studies. No wonder, reports NBC News citing various former and active US officials, the Pentagon has long been mapping out strategies “to protect US interests in the aftermath of massive floods, water shortages and famines that are expected to hit and decimate unstable nations.”

But the era of climate warfare is not laying in wait, in some far-flung distant future. It has already begun, and it is accelerating – faster than most predicted. Pentagon officials and the CNA’s new study point to the Arab Spring upheavals across the Middle East and North Africa as a prime example.

Read the entire article here.

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Bad News: Scientists Have Measured 16-Foot Waves In The Arctic Ocean by Robert T. Gonzalez for io9

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For the first time, waves as tall as 16 feet have been recorded in Arctic waters. If these waves are speeding the breakup of the region’s remaining ice, as oceanographers suspect, they could signal the birth of a feedback mechanism that will hasten the Arctic’s march toward an ice-free summer.Read the entire article here.

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Wishful Thinking About Natural Gas: Why Fossil Fuels Can’t Solve the Problems Created by Fossil Fuels by By Naomi Oreskes for TomDispatch/Truth Out

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As a historian of science who studies global warming, I’ve often stressed that anthropogenic climate change is a matter of basic physics: CO2 is a greenhouse gas, which means it traps heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. So if you put additional CO2into that atmosphere, above and beyond what’s naturally there, you have to expect the planet to warm.  Basic physics.

And guess what? We’ve added a substantial amount of CO2 to the atmosphere, and the planet has become hotter.  We can fuss about the details of natural variability, cloud feedbacks, ocean heat and CO2 uptake, El Niño cycles and the like, but the answer that you get from college-level physics — more CO2 means a hotter planet — has turned out to be correct.  The details may affect the timing and mode of climate warming, but they won’t stop it.

In the case of gas, however, the short answer may not be the correct one.

Read the entire article here.

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Check out previous editions of Prescott’s Climate Links. (It’s NOT all bad news. I promise.) And Let us know what you are interested in understanding better. Where do you find hope?

(photos come from articles listed)