Switch to Renewable Energy

Storm Coming (NASA)

GR–Ode to concerned scientists: They see the danger, they blow the horns and clang the bells, and they wait. But the ramparts remain empty. They turn to their family and friends, but dreamlike their voices are too soft and none respond.

“Fifteen thousand scientists have issued a dire warning to humanity about impending collapse but virtually no-one takes notice. Ultimately, our global systems, which are designed for perpetual growth, need to be fundamentally restructured to avoid the worst-case outcome.

“For a moment, the most important news in the entire world flashed across the media like a shooting star in the night sky. Then it was gone. In November, over fifteen thousand scientists from 184 countries issued a dire warning to humanity. Because of our overconsumption of the world’s resources, they declared, we are facing “widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss.” They warned that time is running out: “Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory.”

“This is not the first such notice. Twenty-five years ago, in 1992, 1,700 scientists (including the majority of living Nobel laureates) sent a similarly worded warning to governmental leaders around the world. In ringing tones, they called for a recognition of the earth’s fragility and a new ethic arising from the realization that “we all have but one lifeboat.”

“This second warning contains a series of charts showing how utterly the world’s leaders ignored what they were told twenty-five years earlier. Whether it’s CO2 emissions, temperature change, ocean dead zones, freshwater resources, vertebrate species, or total forest cover, the grim charts virtually all point in the same dismal direction, indicating continued momentum toward doomsday. The chart for marine catch shows something even scarier: in 1996, the catch peaked at 130 million tonnes and in spite of massively increased industrial fishing, it’s been declining ever since—a harbinger of the kind of overshoot that unsustainable exploitation threatens across the board.” –Jeremy Lent (What Will It Really Take to Avoid Collapse?).

How Many of You Switched to Renewable Energy?

In recent posts, I described the warnings of impending disaster. I didn’t expect to have an impact, and I wasn’t wrong. As Jeremy Lint points out in the article above, the media avoidance of unappetizing topics is too complete. And of course, our leaders in power avoid the subject in their subservience to wealth. My first hint that good advice for avoiding collapse would be futile was the minimal response to my discovery of the simple and inexpensive means for everyone to switch their homes from fossil fuel energy to renewable energy. Like Pangloss, I’ve remained hopeful. But I read that book, and now I’ve turned to a more practical concern; the post-anthropocene survivors, the weeds, have absorbed my attention. Today’s weed is Shepherdspurse, a foreign but familiar little mustard that feeds butterflies and yields medicines for us humans.

Ocean Farmers Make “Climate March by Sea”

GR:  The premise of the article below is that warming oceans are destroying marine ecosystems and eliminating fish-harvesting jobs. It’s about jobs, and ultimately about the U. S. national economy. It argues that fighting climate change will keep, not cut jobs. It points out that Trump uses “jobs” to hide the fact that his policies enable greater profits by major corporations. Who knew?

The fact is, “jobs” are a false goal. Losing fishing jobs to climate change isn’t what’s important. Preserving marine ecosystems is what’s important. We should march in opposition to fossil-fuel production of climate-changing CO2 because it is harming marine ecosystems.

We should also be marching for population control. As the global human population grows, the market for seafood grows and this has led to ecosystem devastation from overfishing. Harvesting the seas is not the only excess destroying ecosystems. Expanding farms and pasturelands, expanding cities, and growing waste pollution are doing their share as well. Most definitely yes, we need the new bill proposed in the U. S. Congress “100 by 50” that would eliminate 100% of fossil-fuel use by 2050. But we also need to control and reverse our population–most definitely.

This Sierra article has interesting points on the faulty reasoning behind Trump’s trickery.

Sierra Magazine:

“On President Trump’s first Earth Day in the White House, he declared on Twitter that “we celebrate our beautiful forests, lakes, and lands”—an amiable if blasé arm-punch to the planet from the leader of the free world.

“Until a few hours later that is, when the president resorted to his usual right cross.

“I am committed to keeping our air and water clean,” he tweeted, “but always remember that economic growth enhances environmental protection. Jobs matter!”

“Rarely does President Trump or his surrogates miss an opportunity to propound that “jobs matter” when it comes to the nation’s environmental policies—especially where climate change is concerned. This binary logic—environmental protection equals job killer—is deeply woven into their world view. Trump has repeatedly called Obama-era initiatives like the Clean Power Plan “job killers” and vowed to “rescind all the job-destroying Obama executive actions, including the Climate Action Plan.”

“The delegation of fishermen that set sail this morning from a marina in Solomons, Maryland, would beg to differ. The only “job destroyer” for them is climate change.

“Concerned about the threat global warming poses to their livelihoods, a crew of sustainable ocean farmers began a three-day journey today they’re calling the “Climate March by Sea.” At the tiller of the small commercial fishing boat is Bren Smith, owner of Thimble Island Ocean Farm and the executive director of GreenWave. They’re heading south down the Chesapeake before they plan to turn north up the Potomac on their way to Washington, D.C.

“Their final destination: the Peoples Climate March, when thousands of people, including indigenous, civic, social justice, business, and environmental advocacy groups are set to take to the streets of the nation’s capital to demand action on climate, jobs, and justice. “Climate change was supposed to be a slow lobster boil,” Smith said in an interview before casting off. “For me, it arrived 100 years earlier than expected. We fishermen are the citizen scientists reporting that water temperatures are going up, species are moving north, the weather is becoming more extreme. We can see it with our own eyes. We’re way beyond the idea of climate denial.”

TAKE ACTION: Click here for more information about how to participate in the Peoples Climate March in Washington, D.C., or another city near you.

“When it comes to environmental policy, the “job killer” argument is a red herring. According to an analysis by the Environmental Integrity Project, “two-tenths of one percent of layoffs are caused by government regulations of any kind, including environmental regulations. Layoffs are caused far more often by corporate buyouts, technological advances, and lower overseas labor costs.” –Jonathan Hahn (Continue: Ocean Farmers Take “Climate March by Sea” to Nation’s Capital | Sierra Club.)

A Global Plan to Save Corals from Extinction

GR:  We certainly need to do something soon. This is the kind of large-scale conservation effort that we should have applied to all our ecosystems. But now, we must acknowledge that it is a treatment of symptoms not causes. This is a poor strategy. It’s not certain that we can save any reefs. Even with just the greenhouse gases we’ve already placed in the atmosphere, projections for increased ocean warming don’t look good for corals. Why not spend the money to buy back a few politicians from the fossil-fuel industry. If we could, we might be able to redirect fossil-fuel industry subsidies to research into atmospheric CO2 removal. This is where we need to spend our money now.

Coral bleaching on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Feb. 10, 2016 (Photo by Oregon State University)

“SYDNEY, Australia, March 12, 2017 (ENS) – Ninety percent of the world’s coral reefs are expected to disappear by 2050 due to climate change, pollution and poor fishing practices. Now, a unique philanthropic coalition has launched 50 Reefs, a plan to save the most critical reefs so once the climate stabilizes they can reseed the entire coral ecosystem.

Corals on the Mesoamerican Reef have experience widespread bleaching events in 1995, 1998, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Corozal, Belize, Dec. 2016 (Photo by Viv Lynch)

“The initiative, launched at The Economist World Ocean Summit in February, brings together ocean, climate and marine scientists as well as conservationists from around the world to develop a list of the 50 most critical coral reefs in need of protection.

“The idea is to identify 50 high priority coral reefs that have the best chance of surviving climate change and can then help in the recovery of coral reef ecosystems once global temperatures have stabilized.

“As the project unfolds through 2017, a panel of world leading scientists will oversee a process to prioritize reefs worldwide deploying a transparent ‘decision algorithm’ developed at The Centre for Excellence in Environmental Decisions at The University of Queensland.

“The datasets used, such as reef biodiversity, climate vulnerability, current health and reef connectivity, will be agreed upon by the independent panel of scientific experts drawn from some of the world’s leading organizations.

“To be announced in late 2017, the list is expected to represent a diverse portfolio of reefs to maximize returns for biodiversity, ecosystems and people.

“Funding of this global effort is led by Bloomberg Philanthropies with The Tiffany & Co. Foundation and The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, who all aim to prevent the worst economic, social, and environmental impacts of the coral crisis.

“Bloomberg News founder and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is now the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. “When people think of climate change, they often think of extreme heat, severe storms, and raging wildfires,” he said. “But some of the most disastrous effects of climate change are out of sight – on the ocean floor.”

“In fact, without coral reefs, we could lose up to a quarter of the world’s marine biodiversity and hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people would lose their primary source of food and livelihoods. We must not allow this to happen,” said Bloomberg.” –News Editor ENS (Continue reading:  50 Reefs: A Global Plan to Save Corals from Extinction | ENS.)

Marine hotspots under dual threat from climate change and fishing

A beautiful split image of a school of yellow butterfly fishes and the blue sky in French Polynesia

A beautiful split image of a school of yellow butterfly fishes and the blue sky in French Polynesia. Credit: Global_Pics/iStock/Getty Images.

GR: Nature rarely forms straight lines or even distributions. Global warming, just like biodiversity, is not even. The study reported below suggests areas that need our greatest conservation efforts. However, we have to try to save more than just the best areas. We also need to save some of the intervening regions.

The parts of the world’s oceans with the most varied mix of species are seeing the biggest impacts from a warming climate and commercial fishing, a new study warns.

“The research, published in Science Advances, identifies six marine “hotspots” of “exceptional biodiversity” in the tropical Pacific, southwestern Atlantic, and western Indian Oceans.

“Warming sea temperatures, weakening ocean currents and industrial fishing means these areas are at particular risk of losing many of their species, the researchers say.

Species richness

“From the cold depths of the Arctic waters to the colourful reefs of the tropics and subtropics, the oceans play host to tens of thousands of different species. But they are not evenly spread across the world.

“Using data on 1,729 types of fish, 124 marine mammals and 330 seabirds, the new study estimates how varied the species are in each part of the oceans. They call this the species “richness”.

“You can see this in the map from the study below. It shows an index of species richness, from the lowest (dark blue) to the highest (red).

marine-hotspots

Map of global marine biodiversity, using an index from zero (no species present, shaded dark blue) up to one (largest species richness, shaded red) representing 2,183 marine species. Map also shows the six marine “hotspots” identified in the study. Source: Ramírez et al. (2017)

“From this process, the researchers identified six hotspots where the number and mix of species is exceptionally high. These are outlined in the map above.

“The six hotspots are predominantly in the southern hemisphere. Three are closely packed together around southeast Asia (4), southern Australia and New Zealand (5), and the central Pacific Ocean (6). The other three are more spread out, covering Africa’s southeastern coastline and Madagascar (3), the Pacific waters of Peru and the Galapagos Islands (1), and the southwestern Atlantic ocean off the coast of Uruguay and Argentina (2).” –Robert McSweeney (Continue reading:  Marine hotspots under dual threat from climate change and fishing.)

Bay of Bengal: depleted fish stocks and huge dead zone signal tipping point

GR:  Dead zones will spread across marine fisheries in the coming years. With rising sea level, stronger storms, and humid low-country heat waves, humans will begin to abandon coastal lowlands and move inland. For decades, we’ve know that we needed to reduce our population and our consumption of land, energy and water. We didn’t do it. So we exceeded Earth’s carrying capacity. As geophysical systems change and biological ecosystems collapse, tipping points at sea, across arctic ice, and on land will initiate gnawing consequences. There is growing belief that dystopian Earth is unavoidable now. The article includes maps.

“The Bay of Bengal’s basin contains some of the most populous regions of the earth. No less than a quarter of the world’s population is concentrated in the eight countries that border the bay1 [footnotes refer to references at the end of the original article]. Approximately 200 million people live along the Bay of Bengal’s coasts and of these a major proportion are partially or wholly dependent on its fisheries2.

“For the majority of those who depend on it, the Bay of Bengal can provide no more than a meagre living: 61% of India’s fisherfolk already live below the poverty line. Yet the numbers dependent on fisheries are only likely to grow in years to come, partly because of climate change. In southern India drought and water scarcity have already induced tens of thousands of farmers to join the fishing fleet3. Rising sea levels are also likely to drive many displaced people into the fishing industry.

“But the fisheries of the Bay of Bengal have been under pressure for decades and are now severely depleted4. Many once-abundant species have all but disappeared. Particularly badly affected are the species at the top of the food chain. The bay was once feared by sailors for its man-eating sharks; they are now rare in these waters. Other apex predators like grouper, croaker and rays have also been badly hit. Catches now consist mainly of species like sardines, which are at the bottom of the marine food web5.

“Good intentions have played no small part in creating the current situation. In the 1960s, western aid agencies encouraged the growth of trawling in India, so that fishermen could profit from the demand for prawns in foreign markets. This led to a “pink gold rush”, in which prawns were trawled with fine mesh nets that were dragged along the sea floor. But along with hauls of “pink gold” these nets also scooped up whole seafloor ecosystems as well as vulnerable species like turtles, dolphins, sea snakes, rays and sharks. These were once called bycatch, and were largely discarded. Today the collateral damage of the trawling industry is processed and sold to the fast-growing poultry and aquaculture industries of the region6. In effect, the processes that sustain the Bay of Bengal’s fisheries are being destroyed in order to produce dirt-cheap chicken feed and fish feed.

“In Myanmar, until a ban was enacted in 2014, the catch collected by foreign fishing boats was 100 times greater than that of local fishermen10. In the troubled Arakan region, where 43% of the population is dependent on fisheries, catches have declined so steeply that many families are mired in debt11. Conflicts over fisheries and other resources are a significant but largely unnoticed aspect of the explosive tensions of the region.

Green spots seen from the International Space Station are the lights of fishing boats used to attract squid across the Gulf of Thailand. Photograph: ISS/Nasa

“The dead zone of the Bay of Bengal is now at a point where a further reduction in its oxygen content could have the effect of stripping the water of nitrogen, a key nutrient. This transition could be triggered either by accretions of pollution or by changes in the monsoons, a predicted effect of global warming.” –Amitay Gosh and Aaron Savio Lobo (More:  Bay of Bengal: depleted fish stocks and huge dead zone signal tipping point | Environment | The Guardian).

Help Save the World

Block Trump. Declare World War on Global Warming and Other Human Impacts on Nature

Our Problem

desert-earth

Earth could join Mars as a dry, lifeless derelict.

Scientists report that growth and spread of humanity together with rising global temperature are causing declining biodiversity, rising seas, growing storms, intensifying drought, spreading disease, and much more. The reports, made by observers all over the world, are like the thunder ahead of a storm that threatens the safety of our families, our friends, our civilization, and all life on our planet. We know it’s coming. Without a massive effort by the people of the world, the storm will grow until terrible destruction ruins our planet. We and all other life may be lost.

Donald Trump’s pre-inauguration statements and cabinet choices make it clear that he will add to global warming and every other negative human impact on Earth.

The Earth continues turning, but if we don’t exert some self-discipline there might one day be no minds that know or eyes that see.

 

Global warming and human population growth are the destructors. They are greater even than fear, hate, and desire;

Together, they threaten humanity and all life on Earth.

Polls show that sixty-four percent of Americans believe global warming is occurring. The number is growing. When the first distant rumbles occurred, we said, “Ah, it might help if we quit burning so much coal, oil, and gas.” Later we said, “Hmm, maybe we need to quit clearing so much land for cities and farms.” And as the danger loomed, we added to the list of things we should do. But we haven’t done much, and the danger has arrived. We are even beginning to realize that the coming storm might be self-sustaining. Global warming might have passed the point at which we can stop it. Seas and soils are warming and releasing their stores of carbon, and the great glaciers are melting and exposing open water. Warming might continue even if we halt all burning and building.

Why War?

Global Warming is at the brink and looking down the slip face of runaway self-sustaining increase beyond our control. The research shows that global warming is already rotting organic matter stored in the tundra and on the ocean floor. Global warming is increasing evaporation and humidity. Global warming is causing soil microbes to release carbon. Methane (CH4), water vapor (H2O), and soil carbon (C in various forms) are joining carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning and are all working together to trap more of the incoming solar energy. The buildup of these gases appears to have taken us past the point at which we can prevent the great storms, droughts, and rising seas. By adding CH4 and H2O to CO2, we are unleashing an exponential spiral that will end human civilization in decades, not centuries. And not far beyond that, end all life on Earth.

overpopulationEven if there was no greenhouse gas and global warming, the spreading human population will eventually wipe out most life on Earth. Already, more than half of all animals are gone, replaced by humans. Family planning, like cutting greenhouse gas, has become an emergency requirement for sustaining life on Earth.

I can’t quite bring myself to believe that our civilization will end within decades. I still believe that we could stop global warming if we make a total effort.

Saving the Earth–The Citizens’ Call Campaign

The Citizens

Sixty-four percent of U.S. adults say they are worried a “great deal” or “fair amount” about global warming. The U. S. adult population totals 242+ million (over age 18). Sixty-four percent equals 154+ million.

The Actions

For those with concern for the future of society and their children, I find it intolerable to say that we must wait and see what happens. Instead, I have a proposal for action:

Leadership in the U. S. and most other nations is not responding to the growing human impact and the global warming threat. I propose that we declare a citizens’ war on the behaviors causing the impacts and threats. We can begin by forcing our elected leaders and our business leaders to organize and lead the war on warming and population growth. We need their help to convert the world’s industries, economies, and societies to the needed total effort to save Earth and us.

Other thinkers are saying the same thing. Here’s Michael Moore’s action plan:

And here is a list of more actions we can take.

Our local action group is forming now and will try to make visits to some of our representatives next week.

The extinction crisis is far worse than you think

GR:  This CNN Photo/Video/Data essay has high-quality images and interviews.  Recommended.

“Frogs, coral, elephants — all are on the brink. Three quarters of species could disappear. Why is this happening? CNN explores an unprecedented global crisis.” –CNN (Continue:  The extinction crisis is far worse than you think)

At the nexus of climate change and invasive species – Summit County Citizens Voice

GR:  Until recently, naturalists said that invasive species introduced intentionally and accidentally by humans were the second most deadly force destroying nature. Construction of roads and towns was first. Most scientists are now saying that global warming will soon be number two. This article explains part of the reason.

“U.S. Geological Survey scientists have completed one of the first experimental studies to explore links between climate change and invasive species, specifically how brook trout and brown trout interact with rising stream temperatures. They found that non-native browns limit the ability of brook trout to use warmer water temperatures, By contrast, removing browns allowed brook trouts’ reach into warmer waters.

“Brookies are freshwater fish native to eastern North America and threatened by climate change because of their requirement for cold stream temperatures. Brown trout are native to Europe and have been introduced all around North America.

“We know streams are warming due to climate change and non-native species are becoming increasingly abundant in many places,” said Nathaniel Hitt, U. S. Geological Survey research fish biologist. “Our research indicates that reducing Brown Trout numbers can benefit native Brook Trout where the species co-occur,” Hitt said. Brown trout management could help brookies be more resilient to anticipated effects of climate change, he added.

Source: At the nexus of climate change and invasive species – Summit County Citizens Voice

Suing over Sushi: Protection Sought for Pacific Bluefin Tuna – Scientific American Blog Network

GR.– Other stories reveal that the quest for immediate short-term profits is the Tuna’s doom.  There is a competition underway to catch the last of the fish before another interest does.  Is this a perfect example of Garrett Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons?

Populations of these mighty fish have declined by more than 97 percent

Credit: Stewart Butterflied. Used under Creative Commons license

John R. Platt.– “Does your sushi come with a side order of extinction? That’s certainly a possibility, as one of the most popular (and pricey) sushi ingredients has all but disappeared from many parts of the ocean. In an attempt to solve that problem (for the species, not for sushi lovers), thirteen conservation organizations this week filed a petition to protect the Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

“The petition follows a year and a half after the Pacific bluefin was listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, a scientific assessment that does not itself provide any protections.

“Both Pacific bluefin and their relatives, the Atlantic bluefin (T. thynnus), have been the subjects of protracted fights between the fishing industry and conservationists, who have warned for years now that the slow-growing predators face massive population depletions throughout their ranges.

“In the case of the Pacific bluefin, conservationists say the species’ population has dropped to less than 3 percent of its historic levels due to rampant and unsustainable overfishing.”  Continue reading:  Suing over Sushi: Protection Sought for Pacific Bluefin Tuna – Scientific American Blog Network

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The Guardian view on the Great Barrier Reef: the crisis they prefer to downplay | Opinion | The Guardian

Many of the politicians fighting Australia’s election campaign talk about the economy and immigration but the world is listening for what they say about the impact of climate change.

If the rest of the world could vote in next month’s Australian election, there would almost certainly be one issue that would be raised to the top of the country’s political agenda: saving the Great Barrier Reef. Scientists say this year 93% of its reefs experienced some bleaching, and 22% of all of the reef’s coral was killed by unusually warm waters. Unheard of just three decades ago, large-scale bleaching has become a regular occurrence. Within 20 years the conditions that drove this year’s bleaching in Australia will occur every second year. A Guardian report illustrates in vivid detail the scale of the devastation unfolding beneath the surface. Over the past 34 years the average proportion of the Great Barrier Reef exposed to temperatures where bleaching or even death is likely has increased from about 11% a year to about 27% a year.

It is a constant struggle to motivate most people most of the time about climate change. The evidence accumulates slowly; despite being an emergency, it often . . . more:  The Guardian view on the Great Barrier Reef: the crisis they prefer to downplay | Opinion | The Guardian

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