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Greenland: A State of Rapid Collapse

 September 1, 2020 The good news, such as it is, goes like this: the suspense is over. No need to guess about whether sea level rise will be life-altering by the end of this century or not. It will, at least for the 40 percent of humankind which lives on or near a coastline. That's because all the ice on Greenland is going to melt, according to researchers at Ohio State University (yes, yes, I know - it's THE Ohio State University. Get over yourselves.) Their research appeared in the journal Nature Communications Earth and Environment in August. Total meltdown will take 10,000 years, but enough will have melted by 2100 to cause sea level rise of approximately three feet. That will cover a lot of coastal property, a loss made worse by storms and hurricanes. How have researchers reached this conclusion? By studying almost 40 years of satellite data. Glaciers on Greenland have shrunk so much since the year 2000 that even if global warming came to a complete stop, they would contin
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A Brighter Future

I was listening to Science Friday on NPR today, and Ira Flatow said that increasing numbers of people now understand that climate change is really happening. He or a guest remarked that many of those same people ask, What can I do to improve the situation? Since that's a subject I haven't written about in awhile, and since there is so much each of us can do, let's talk about it. Where to start - what we eat? what we wear? what we drive? There are right answers to each of those questions. If you're eating conventionally grown food, that needs to change, because foods that "require" chemicals to be grown are killing all of us, both because of airborne pollutants, and because of the poisons that wind up in our bodies. While it is difficult to eat a diet that consists only of organic foods, there are so many organic options (especially produce, dairy foods, and meat) that you should acquaint yourself with what's available. The end result will be healthier bo

Covid 19 and Wildfire Season

June 12, 2020 According to Mother Jones, "The United States faces an extreme weather season like we've never seen before. Scientists predict an extraordinarily hot summer, one that could put 2020 on track for the hottest year ever." Early evidence of extreme weather can be found in Arizona, where the Bighorn Fire burns near Tucson. Sparked by lightning and fueled by the dry landscape, the Bighorn has consumed 11 square miles and was only 10% contained as of Friday morning, according to an update from the Coronado National Forest. The fire-fighting team assigned to the first major fire of the season is most concerned about the communities that lie along the southern boundary of the fire. More than 419 fire personnel are fighting the blaze, including multiple aircraft. In fact, the terrain is so steep, ground crews cannot be sent in. Temperatures above 100 degrees also increase the difficulty of controlling the inferno. Crews will experience temperatures topping 107 Fri

The Environmental Polluting Agency

April 17, 2020 Under cover of an historic pandemic, the EPA has announced it will suspend enforcement of environmental laws. You read that right. The agency is hoping we're all so distracted that no one will notice. Why would they do this, you ask. It will come as no surprise that a number of industries, including oil, have asked for the suspension. In the words of EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler: EPA "recognizes challenges resulting from efforts to protect workers and the public from COVID 19 may directly impact the ability of regulated facilities to meet all federal regulatory requirements." Critics of the hiatus concede exceptions to regulations could be made on a case-by-case basis, for example, if companies are short-staffed because employees are working from home. But those industries deemed essential and continuing to operate should be expected to comply with the law. In fact, because COVID 19 is exacerbated by air pollution, leading to higher death rates, pol

The Unexpected Results of a Pandemic

March 21, 2020 While the risks and dire consequences of the current pandemic are difficult to overstate, I do think there are effects as a result of our lives being lived closer to home that are worth pointing out. Though retired myself, many of my neighbors commute to work, some for quite a distance. More and more of my neighbors are working from home these days, to avoid contagion. In doing so, they have ceased producing dangerous amounts of greenhouse gases with their cars. Whether we can see or measure it, the atmosphere we breathe is becoming cleaner with every passing day. The benefits to humankind and wild creatures alike will, no doubt, one day be quantified. In the meantime, I feel safe in stating we're all enjoying a boost to our cardiopulmonary health. Given that the need for social isolation may last indefinitely, I think it's safe to say scientists will have numberless effects of this fossil fuel hiatus to study, probably for years to come. Just imagine what we m

10 Good Things About 2019

Did you know that back in June of 2019, a Dutch automotive company called Lightyear introduced the world's first long-range solar car? They've dubbed the sedan "Lightyear One." Made of light-weight carbon fiber, the car's rooftop solar cells make it a viable, emissions-free alternative form of transportation. Long overdue, we can only hope it will, over time, become affordable enough for every driver. The National Pollinator Garden Network set themselves the goal of registering a million gardens in 2015. In April last year, they surpassed that goal. With their existence threatened by the use of poisonous pesticides, bees, birds, butterflies, and other bugs will be aided by these gardens in their fight for survival. The gardens comprise roughly 5 million acres, and involve around 8 million people in the United States, Canada and Mexico. French company Carbios announced in October 2019 it has developed a process for converting PET plastics into a reusable form.

Trump Administration's Environmental Nightmare

January 17, 2020 The Trump administration is determined to undo protections of the environment going back as far as 1970. These protective regulations affect water, air, land and public health quality, and target limitations on greenhouse gas emissions, including emissions of mercury and smog, the reporting of natural gas emissions, chemical plant safety, use of pesticides, a moratorium on coal mining and regulation of coal mining waste, methane pollution, and fuel efficiency standards. All of these limitations are intended to benefit industries that donate to the Republican Party. Statistics demonstrate that the benefits of these regulations far outweigh the costs by preventing illness and death. Yet the 95 regulations Trump wants to eliminate are well on their way to being rescinded: 58 of the targeted rules have already been revoked, and 37 of them are at various stages of being discontinued. For example, if Trump has his way, a 2019 proposal will halt federal protection of 51%