Category Archives: environment

Climate Changed: Overview in Graphic Format

Climate Changed: A Personal Journey through the ScienceClimate Changed: A Personal Journey through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I refuse to call the genre “graphic novel” because most of the graphic books I read are nonfiction.

It was the title, the past tense, of the book that drew my attention to it in the display. I checked it out, and only then saw that it was in graphic format. So I read it asking what the graphic structure provided that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. Early on I noted a lot of talking-head frames. My first reaction was negative, but then I noticed that the faces were distinguishable. In fact there is a listing of sources by face as well as name and credential at the end of the book. Saves a lot of he said, she said and allows for an improved flow of information.

It also allows for some dramatic juxtapositions. In the biofuels section, a frame with a person filling a car, the hose comes from a malnourished woman and child instead of a pump. After a discussion of living on the amount of carbon that the earth can sustain per person and comparing it to poverty, the frame shows a homeless man against a wall with a Nike advertisement and the words, “Just do it.” When he talks about climate-change deniers, one frame’s illustration is of an old advertisement: The cigarette most doctors choose. And yes, a few frames later, it turns out that the scientists for each issue were the same.

The book is a survey of the science, the philosophy, and the politics of the climate issue, told as “a personal journey.” What does that decision gain? It keeps the science, etc, from existing as theory only. It invokes personal reaction. It admits ambiguity and conflict as one observes contradictions and limits.

Squarzoni covers natural and human made climate change and illustrates with graphs–graphs that are more integrated in the graphic format than they would be in text with inserted figures. He describes and critiques solutions, showing both their potential and limitations.He addresses personal and structural issues. Climate has already changed, he concludes; we cannot stop it, but can still mitigate its effects if we start soon enough. A paradigm shift is needed from individualism to the common good (of people and the environment). He is not overly optimistic, but neither is he entirely pessimistic.

There are several points where Squarzoni ponders how to begin, then later how to end. Each time the meaning is a bit different.

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U.N. Reports on Climate Change Mitigation

Have you heard of Green Energy Victory Bonds? Listen up!

The latest installment of the U.N’s fifth Climate Assessment Report explores what we must do in order to lessen the negative impacts of a changing climate. 

As our understanding of climate change continues to develop, we hear more and more about a few particularly important numbers: to ensure that average global temperature increase does not exceed 2oC by the year 2100, we mustn’t allow the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide to exceed 350 ppm (parts per million). Currently, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 is about 400ppm, with an additional 2ppm emitted each year. Accounting for population and economic growth, CO2 concentrations are projected land between 750 and 1,300 ppm by the end of the century. To offset the emissions resulting from this growth, we need to substantially cut emissions by 2050 (by 40-70%), and to completely cease emissions by 2100.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC…

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Barbara Kingsolver’s newest book

Flight BehaviorFlight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kingsolver adroitly addresses climate change via a fictitious change in the migration pattern of monarch butterflies. For the most part the information comes in a way appropriate to characters and their interest; occasionally when it was something familiar to me, it got tedious, but usually it remained interesting.

Delarobia, the narrator, became increasingly interesting as a character as the novel progressed. Characters unlikeable at the beginning gradually became likeable. Changes were adequately motivated. The ending was believable.

There was some wonderful humor in the mixing of cultures through characters’ interaction: scientific with non-scientific, Appalachian with outsider.

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Coal Exports to Asia Would Obstruct Pacific NW Treaty Rights, Tribes Say

First there is the overall environmental impact of mountain top removal of coal and burning it in Asia where it will damage the environment as much as if burned here. Then there is the health issue of coal dust along its travel route. Then the damage it would do to fish. And now it would break treaty rights agreements.

Mother Earth Journal, August 15, 2012
By Terri Hansen

Treaty fishing rights are meaningless if there are no healthy fish populations left to harvest, say Pacific Northwest tribes, fishers, and tribal environmental organizations.

Tribal fishers like Billy Frank, Jr. fought hard battles to uphold the tribes’ treaty right to fish. When the 1974 Boldt federal court decision established tribal co-management of Washington State fisheries and affirmed the affected tribes’ treaty rights to half the harvestable salmon, finally, their harvest increased.

But habitat degradation has since led to a decline of the salmon and diminished the treaty harvest to levels not seen before the Boldt decision.

Now, the coal industry is seeking to export millions of tons of Wyoming’s Powder River Basin coal to lucrative Asian markets through six proposed shipping terminals on Oregon and Washington waterways.

If the coal companies prevail, it will degrade salmon and cultural foods habitat, and…

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GMO labeling

I just read a post from GreenAmerica that I want to share.  I had realized that GMO grains were fed to animals that become meat; I had not realized all the other processed food GMO corn and soy are part of.  We deserve to have our food labeled.

Here is the URL; sorry I don’t seem to be able to make a hot link.

http://blog.greenamerica.org/2012/03/20/gmos-we-need-to-know-whats-in-our-food/#comment-1139

Update: was just shown how to make a hotlink!

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Green Tuesday

I have observed the boycott of Black Friday ever since I first heard of it.  (Since my association of “black” related to “Black Thursday” the beginning of the Great Depression, I was puzzled by the naming until I learned it meant –mostly for big box stores–moving from the red to the black financially.) Alas, I shop so little that the big box stores probably never noticed my boycott on their bottom line, but I still feel part of the movement. Small things add up.

Then along came Shop Local Saturday. Much more to my liking because shopping local  and supporting the small specialty stores in my neighborhood is important.  I may not always make it on the named Saturday, but it is my first place to start shopping when indeed I must shop–for yarn, for fabric, for food.

So today I was delighted to read of Green Tuesday.  Again, I may never observe it on the “appropriate” Tuesday. But I am sure that doesn’t matter if I observe it all year.  I invite you to check out the various green solutions suggested and find some to try.

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November 22, 2011 · 2:20 pm

Heirloom day

I have gotten onto the bandwagon about heirloom fruits and vegetables. I love the idea of getting back to the variety that was once common.  I feel loss when I think of varieties bred to adapt to various climate and pest hazards that have been lost with the move to make fruits and veggies that transport better.

However, I am not far enough into it to remember the names of the specific varieties.  The specialty today was melons.  Every week a different farm gets featured in the newsletter for the St Johns Farmers’ Market that I always go to.  This week it was Morgan’s Landing, where I often shop. The featured item was melons since melon season has just begun.  He had three varieties of watermelon and about eight of canteloup.

The only thing that kept me from buying one of each of the canteloups was knowing he and I would both be back on another Saturday. (Watermelon doesn’t tempt me, even heirloom.) The split one was called by a cheese name because it supposedly tastes like a cheese.  It is the only one I have tasted so far. Cheese wasn’t the first thing that came to mind, but it sure tasted and smelled sweet and good.  Seeds for the yellow-orange one came from France and for the bright orange from Kazakhstan.

The onion is “sweeter than ordinary onions” so I tried one. The tomato is also heirloom with “purple” in its name.  The delicata squash didn’t even get a mention; I guess they have been revived long enough to now be considered ordinary. And the cucumber is just a cucumber thrown in to make the money come out even and avoid change. The eggs are from chickens who enjoy pasture life.

Okay, so the bread isn’t heirloom, but it sure is artisan.  There are two loaves, though the photo doesn’t make that clear. The loaf for sandwiches is Walla Walla onion bread.  The flat bread is nectarine-rosemary-bleu-cheese bread and tastes just wonderful!  I had one loaf on my list, but couldn’t resist after tasting the sample.

It was a very good day at the Farmers’ Market!

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