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A Few Good Websites

February 7, 2012 - Hi everybody, glad to be back at last.  You know, I have friends who are very hip to permaculture, the need to end environmental degradation, and organic farm products, but who still can't get their minds wrapped around climate change.  They can't see it playing out in their town or neighborhood, so what's the worry?  Whenever I find myself talking to such people, I've wished I could whip out a fact like "Don't you realize that over 12,000 climatologists worldwide believe that global warming is a real threat to human existence?"  I still don't have that number at the ready (it's not 12,000 - I made that up), but I have found a website called 100 Top Climate Change Sites - http://www.world.org/weo/climate.  I though I'd give at least some of them a look and tell you what I think.

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions - http://www.pewclimate.org/ (formerly The Pew Center on Global Climate Change) is ranked number 1 on this list of top climate change sites.  It was named the world's top environmental think tank in a global survey of public policy research institutions for the year 2011.  There is an absolutely outstanding page called "Communicating Climate Change," featuring articles with titles like "Don't Ignore Climate Skeptics - Talk to Them Differently," by Andrew Hoffman, of the Christian Science Monitor; "Communicating about Climate Risks While Avoiding Dire Messaging," by Matthew C. Nisbet of big think; and "The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism," by John Cook of Skeptical Science.

Number 6 on the list is the Environmental Protection Agency - http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/index.html.  Under the "Basic Information" link, there is a video called Climate 101, an excellent introduction to the subject.  The "Science" page includes information about the government's role in researching climate change, with links to reports such as "Global Climate Change Impacts on the United States" and "IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation."

Unfortunately, number 10 on the list, "What's Up With the Weather? (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/warming/),"
is badly out of date, having first been shown on PBS in 2000.  Furthermore, the issue is over-politicized by the use of quotes by Vice President Al Gore and a representative of the Western Fuels Association.  While I'm sure this program was, at one time, groundbreaking, there are much better visual media on the subject available today.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service hosts site no. 15, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) - http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/.  The CPC deals with up-to-the-minute information needed for predicting long-term impacts on the United States' weather.  The tone is pretty cut-and-dry, but for many - like farmers - who need serious, reliable information about what lies ahead, the information found here is critically important.  The "La Nina Advisory Continues" link is closely related to the ongoing droughts in Texas and New Mexico.

Of the 5 websites listed here, my absolute favorite is no. 73, operated by the Union for Concerned Scientists - http://www.ucsusa.org/.  These folks are truth-tellers, and I like that.  Here's what they have to say about scientific intergrity:

"Political interference in federal government science is weakening our nation's ability to respond to the complex challenges we face.  Because policy makers depend on impartial research to make informed decisions, we are mobilizing scientists and citizens alike to push for reforms that will enable our leaders to fully protect our health, safety, and environment."  I'd be happy to have them speak for me.

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