Climate Change

“…surely not alarmed enough.”

February 11, 2018

“Complacency is much more dangerous than fatalism.’

New York Magazine:

There’s a lot of scientific debate about the future of climate change. But have you ever considered the worst case scenario? David Wallace-Wells gives us one terrifying glimpse into the future after consulting experts from various fields.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html

But no matter how well-informed you are, you are surely not alarmed enough. Over the past decades, our culture has gone apocalyptic with zombie movies and Mad Max dystopias, perhaps the collective result of displaced climate anxiety, and yet when it comes to contemplating real-world warming dangers, we suffer from an incredible failure of imagination. The reasons for that are many: the timid language of scientific probabilities, which the climatologist James Hansen once called “scientific reticence” in a paper chastising scientists for editing their own observations so conscientiously that they failed to communicate how dire the threat really was; the fact that the country is dominated by a group of technocrats who believe any problem can be solved and an opposing culture that doesn’t even see warming as a problem worth addressing; the way that climate denialism has made scientists even more cautious in offering speculative warnings; the simple speed of change and, also, its slowness, such that we are only seeing effects now of warming from decades past; our uncertainty about uncertainty, which the climate writer Naomi Oreskes in particular has suggested stops us from preparing as though anything worse than a median outcome were even possible; the way we assume climate change will hit hardest elsewhere, not everywhere; the smallness (two degrees) and largeness (1.8 trillion tons) and abstractness (400 parts per million) of the numbers; the discomfort of considering a problem that is very difficult, if not impossible, to solve; the altogether incomprehensible scale of that problem, which amounts to the prospect of our own annihilation; simple fear. But aversion arising from fear is a form of denial, too.


To The Best of Our Knowledge:

There’s a lot of scientific debate about the future of climate change. But have you ever considered the worst case scenario? David Wallace-Wells gives us one terrifying glimpse into the future after consulting experts from various fields.

https://www.ttbook.org/interview/how-bad-can-climate-change-really-get


The Call of the Earth
by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
‘The search for meaning.’

And while many people are working to try to counter this imbalance, most are approaching it with the very same mind-set that has created this predicament. Before we can begin to redeem this crisis, we need to go to the root of our present paradigm—our sense of separation from our environment, the lack of awareness that we are all a part of one interdependent living organism that is our planet. This can be traced to the birth of the scientific era in the Age of Enlightenment and the emergence of Newtonian physics, in which humans were seen as separate from the physical world, which in turn was considered as unfeeling matter, a clockwork mechanism whose workings it was our right and duty to understand and control.

While this attitude has given us the developments of science and technology, it has severed us from any relationship to the environment as a living whole of whose cycles we are a part. We have lost and entirely forgotten any spiritual relationship to life and the planet, a central reality to other cultures for millennia.1 Where for indigenous peoples the world was a sacred, interconnected living whole that cares for us and for which we in turn need to care—our Mother the Earth—for our Western culture it became something to exploit.

But there is an even deeper, and somewhat darker, side to our forgetfulness of the sacred within creation. When our monotheistic religions placed God in heaven they banished the many gods and goddesses of the Earth, of its rivers and mountains. We forgot the ancient wisdom contained in our understanding of the sacred in creation—its rhythms, its meaningful magic. For example, when early Christianity banished paganism and cut down its sacred groves, they forgot about nature devas, the powerful spirits and entities within nature, who understand the deeper patterns and properties of the natural world. Now how can we even begin the work of healing the natural world, of clearing out its toxins and pollutants, of bringing it back into balance, if we do not consciously work with these forces within nature?

Nature is not unfeeling matter; it is full of invisible forces with their own intelligence and deep knowing. We need to reacknowledge the existence of the spiritual world within creation if we are even to begin the real work of bringing the world back into balance. Only then can we regain the wisdom of the shamans who understood how to communicate and work together with the spirit world.2

While there may be a growing awareness that the world forms a single living being—what has been called the Gaia principle—we don’t really understand that this being is also nourished by its soul, the anima mundi—or that we are a part of it, part of a much larger living, sacred being. Sadly, we remain cut off, isolated from this spiritual dimension of life itself. We have forgotten how to nourish or be nourished by the soul of the world….3

We cannot return to the simplicity of an indigenous lifestyle, but we can become aware that what we do and how we are at an individual level affects the global environment, both outer and inner. We can learn how to live in a more sustainable way, not to be drawn into unnecessary materialism.

We can also work to heal the spiritual imbalance in the world. Our individual conscious awareness of the sacred within creation reconnects the split between spirit and matter within our own soul and also within the soul of the world: we are part of the spiritual body of the Earth more than we know.

The crisis we face now is dire, but it is also an opportunity for humanity to reclaim its role as guardian of the planet, to take responsibility for the wonder and mystery of this living, sacred world.

 

Full article:

https://parabola.org/2018/01/10/the-call-of-the-earth-by-llewellyn-vaughan-lee/

THE WIRED GUIDE TO CLIMATE CHANGE

How this Global Climate Shift Got Started

“If we want to go all the way back to the beginning, we could take you to the Industrial Revolution—the point after which climate scientists start to see a global shift in temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. In the late 1700s, as coal-fired factories started churning out steel and textiles, the United States and other developed nations began pumping out its byproducts. Coal is a carbon-rich fuel, so when it combusts with oxygen, it produces heat along with another byproduct: carbon dioxide. Other carbon-based fuels, like natural gas, do the same in different proportions.

When those emissions entered the atmosphere, they acted like an insulating blanket, preventing the sun’s heat from escaping into space. Over the course of history, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have varied—a lot.”

https://www.wired.com/story/guide-climate-change/

Beyond why.

September 9, 2017

“For so many years, talking about the weather was talking about nothing. Now it really is our survival.”

-Terry Tempest Williams

“Climate change debate is over, now it’s about climate adaptation.”

-Craig Fugate, former director of the Federal Emergency Management

︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶

We must change the narrative. The planet has drastically and rapidly moved beyond the ‘why’ of climate change. The collective needs to desperately and pragmatically admit the climate has indeed ‘changed’. The Earth’s equilibrium has been altered. How do we live in this new ecosystem while protecting, and taking care of each other…and Gaia? The earth needs to know we are trying.


Inside Climate News

Potent Mix of Record Heat and Dryness Fuels Wildfires Across the West

by Georgina Gustin

“These unprecedented extreme events are exactly the types of events that are more likely due to the global warming that’s already occurred.”
“These unprecedented extreme events are exactly the types of events that are more likely due to the global warming that’s already occurred.”

Wildfires burned across hundreds of thousands of acres in the American and Canadian West this week, fueled by scorching temperatures that are breaking heat and fire records across the region.

In California, while temperatures have eased, at least 15 cities have seen record-breaking heat, and the state has experienced its hottest summer on record. San Francisco hit 106 degrees over the weekend, breaking its previous high by 3 degrees. Stoked by unusually high temperatures, fires burned on thousands of acres just outside Los Angeles, while firefighters in Washington, Oregon and Montana battled dozens of blazes across those states.

By the end of the day Tuesday, at least 81 large fires were blazing across 1.5 million acres of the U.S. West, from Colorado to California and north to Washington. Over the Canadian border, British Columbia has already had a record-breaking fire season—and it’s not over yet. Cities including Seattle were shrouded in a smoky fog. In satellite pictures, the smoke could be seen traveling the jet stream and reaching the East Coast.

As firefighters battled the blazes, climate researchers pointed to studies finding that a warmed global atmosphere, with increasingly clear human fingerprints, will continue driving a potent mix of heat and dryness that’s projected to escalate in the West.

“These unprecedented extreme events, on the daily to the seasonal scale, are exactly the types of events that are more likely due to the global warming that’s already occurred,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA. “That’s not so much a future projection, but an observational reality, and that’s something we expect to increase in the future. When we get these extremes, there’s a human fingerprint.”

Swain co-authored a study led by Stanford researcher Noah Diffenbaugh published earlier this year that found human-caused greenhouse gas emissions have increased the chances of extreme heat across more than 80 percent of the globe’s surface area.

“The increased occurrence of severe heat, and the role of global warming on the occurrence of severe heat—that’s already happening,” Diffenbaugh said. “It wouldn’t be scientifically credible to make attribution statements without analyzing the event. That being said, we can see the odds of setting new records based on the global warming that’s already happening.”

While drought and high heat aren’t the only factors making wildfires more intense and frequent—researchers also blame encroaching development into wild areas and certain wildfire management practices—they are key drivers.

Nine of the 10 worst fire seasons in the past 50 years have all happened since 2000, and 2015 was the worst fire season in U.S. history, surpassing 10 million acres for the first time on record. So far this year, wildfires in the U.S. have burned 7.8 million acres, but the fire season is far from over. (In 2015, 8.4 million acreshad burned by early September.) The average fire season is 78 days longer than it was in the 1970s—now nearly seven months—beginning and extending beyond the typical heat of summer. By April of this year, wildfires had scorched more than 2 million acres in the U.S.—nearly the average consumed in entire fire seasons during the 1980s.

Last fall, researchers published the results of a study that found human-induced climate change accounted for about half the observed increase in fuel aridity, or forest dryness, in the western U.S. since 1979 and had nearly doubled the area of the U.S. West affected by forest fires since 1984.

During that same time period, temperatures across the West have risen. Temperatures are projected to rise further—and along with them, the tinderbox conditions that fuel wildfires.

“We know that global warming has already increased the probability of unprecedented high temperatures in the western U.S., including in California,” Diffenbaugh said. “And we know, with high confidence, that continued global warming will continue to intensify those increases.”

A forest fire spread along the Columbia River Gorge on Sept. 5, 2017. Credit: James C. Kling/CC-BY-2.0

The Atlantic

Has Climate Change Intensified 2017’s Western Wildfires?

It was supposed to be a quiet year.

by Robinson Meyer

Last winter, a weak La Niña bloomed across the Pacific. It sent flume after flume of rain to North America and irrigated half the continent. Water penetrated deep into the soil of Western forests, and mammoth snowdrifts stacked up across the Sierra Nevadas. California’s drought ended in the washout.

Yet fires are now raging across the West. More than two dozen named firescurrently burn across Washington and Oregon. More than one million acres have burned in Montana, an area larger than Rhode Island, in the Treasure State’s third-worst fire season on record. And the largest brushfire in the history of Los Angeles currently threatens hundreds of homes in Burbank.

A firefighter battles the Ponderosa Fire east of Oroville, California, in late August. Noah Berger / Reuters

Canada may be experiencing an even worse year for wildfires: 2.86 million acres have burned in British Columbia, the largest area ever recorded in the province.

So what happened? How did a wet Western winter lead to a sky-choking summer?

The answer lies in the summer’s record-breaking heat, say wildfire experts. Days of near-100-degree-Fahrenheit temperatures cooked the Mountain West in early July, and a scorching heat wave lingered over the Pacific Northwest in early August.

“This will become an important year for [anecdotes about] the importance of temperature. Despite the fact that these forests were really soaked down this winter and spring, these heat waves have dried things out enough to promote really large fires,” says Park Williams, a research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.

In other words, the weeks of heat that baked the West in July and August were enough to wipe away some of the fire-dampening effect of the winter storms.“The last 60 to 90 days have been exceptionally warm and dry, the perfect recipe for drying out fuels (the one ingredient besides ignitions you need for fire in these systems),” said John Abatzoglou, a professor of geography at the University of Idaho, in an email. “I was running a few numbers this morning, and the last 60 days have been record warm from Spokane, Washington, to Medford, Oregon; both Seattle and Missoula earlier this summer set records for the longest number of days without measurable rain.”This excessive heat can have an outsize effect on the size of forest fires. For more than three decades, wildfire researchers have known that fire and aridity, which is controlled by heat, exist in an exponential relationship. Every degree of warming does more to promote fire than the previous degree of warming, Williams said.
 “Now, thinking about temperature trends due to human-caused climate change, we think that the western United States is 1.5 [degrees] Celsius, or 3 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than it would be in absence of climate change. And there’s a heat wave on top of that,” said Williams. “Because of the exponential influence of temperature, that means that this heat wave is having a way worse influence on fire than it would in absence of human-caused warming.”
In the runaway consequences of each additional degree of warming, wildfires are a “canary in the coal mine” for the effects of climate change, Williams said.And global warming is already having an effect on wildfire. In a paper published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Williams and Abatzoglou found that the total area burned in the western United States over the past 33 years was double the size it would have been without any human-caused warming.“The added forest fire area—due to just the degree and a half Celsius of warming—equaled the area of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined,” Williams told me.Fires have not only been increasing in size due to climate change. In the early 20th century, state and federal governments began aggressively fighting wildfires and trying to keep them as small as possible. This has caused denser and more fire-prone forests than the long-term average for the West, which has led to more massive and uncontrollable fires.People have also lengthened the season by starting fires—through errant fireworks, unattended campfires, or arson—earlier in the spring and later in the fall. In a human-free environment, fires could only start after a lightning strike, which only follow from summertime thunderstorms.

“Since the 1980s, we’ve only burnt about 10 percent of the western U.S. forests. And that number to me means that there’s still a whole lot more to burn,” Williams said. He estimated that it would take another several decades for that excess century of fuel to burn out of the American woods. And in the meantime, the planet will only get hotter.

“According to climate models, by the end of this century, the western United States is still projected to warm by about another 3.5 degrees Celsius,” he told me. “And when we remember that the relationship between temperature and fire is exponential … we’re really talking about a very different western United States in 50 years.”

AXIOS

April 22, 2017

The Ultimate Megatrend

N.Y. Times Magazine’s forthcoming Climate Issue

Our Climate Future Is Actually Our Climate Present

How do we live with the fact that the world we knew is going and, in some cases, already gone?” by Jon Mooallem:

The future we’ve been warned about is beginning to saturate the present. We tend to imagine climate change as a destroyer. But it also traffics in disruption, disarray: increasingly frequent and more powerful storms and droughts; heightened flooding; expanded ranges of pests turning forests into fuel for wildfires; stretches of inhospitable heat. So many facets of our existence — agriculture, transportation, cities and the architecture they spawned — were designed to suit specific environments. Now they are being slowly transplanted into different, more volatile ones, without ever actually moving.

And in case that wasn’t enough, from the same issue

Why the Menace of Mosquitoes Will Only Get Worse:

Climate change is altering the environment in ways that increase the potential for viruses like Zika,” by Maryn McKenna:

The unpredictable weather patterns stimulated by climate change affect infectious diseases, as well as chronic ones. Warmer weather encourages food-borne organisms like salmonella to multiply more rapidly, and warmer seas foster the growth of bacteria like Vibrio that make oysters unsafe to eat. Spikes in heat and humidity have less visible effects, too, changing the numbers and distribution of the insect intermediaries that carry diseases to people.

Change or be changed.

October 9, 2015

Those who dispute climate change are, ‘wrong, uniformed, and are contradicting the data.’

-Russ Brown

Scientist Russ Brown, B.S. & M.S. in Chemical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology formerly of the Allied Chemical Corporation, Idaho National Laboratory, and Argonne National Laboratory, spoke at the Ketchum Community Library Thursday evening, Oct. 8th, an event sponsored by the Environmental Resource Center. The presentation, “Climate Change Dynamics,” was moderated by Sun Valley Institute for Resilience Executive Director Aimee Christensen. Mr. Brown formerly served as the President of the Idaho Alpine Club, Idaho Environmental Council, and Greater Sawtooth Preservation Council.

Mr. Brown’s focus was presenting perspective, and data, on the issue of climate change and how it’s effecting our planet’s future, focusing on carbon, and methane emissions. Climate, which is basically the aggregate study of weather, is changing 100X faster, he says, than the traditional natural occurring planetary climate changes, due to these emissions. Although he didn’t offer suggestions to change the course of this crisis, he did suggest that isolated, accelerated experiments need to be conducted to study long-term effects of carbon and methane emissions. To learn more, he suggests reading the book Ice, Mud and Blood/Lessons from Climate Past, by Chris Turney.

Unknown-5

Also, Ms. Christensen mentioned two books that can be resourced to understand the theories from those who doubt that climate change is a reality, Merchants of Doubt, by Naomi Oreskes, & Erik M. Conway, and This Changes Everything, by Naomi Klein.

Unknown-6

Unknown-4

This Changes Everything is now a documentary film; Ms. Christensen is hopeful the film will be screened in the valley soon.

Check this space for a discussion with Ms. Christensen about a solar energy campaign coming to the Wood River Valley, as well as other ideas her organization is focusing on concerning local renewable energy projects.

 

 

Climate Change Talk in Sun Valley

September 30, 2015

scientists-clues-print

“Climate Change Dynamics” by Russ Brown
Thurs., Oct. 8, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

*ERC
*Aimee Christensen/ Sun Valley Inst. for Resilience
*Community Library

‘Join us for a special presentation on “Climate Change Dynamics” in partnership with the Environmental Resource Center (ERC). This program, led by Russ Brown, will begin with an introduction to the history of our planet’s climate cycles. The presentation will then move into an in-depth exploration of the Earth’s three most recent major climate changes, their effects on Earth’s life, and what this ultimately means for the future of our world. After this engaging 45-minute presentation, Aimee Christensen, Executive Director for the Sun Valley Institute for Resilience, will moderate a Q&A.

Brown has a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology and has previously worked for several corporate and national laboratory research organizations such as the Allied Chemical Corporation, Idaho National Laboratory, and Argonne National Laboratory. He has also served as the President of the Idaho Alpine Club, Idaho Environmental Council and Greater Sawtooth Preservation Council.’

Clean Web Design