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Drought is flexing it’s summer muscles. Late summer rains will help.


How Do You Catch Ebola: By Air, Sweat Or Water?

There’s no question Ebola is one of the most terrifying diseases out there. It causes a painful death, typically kills more than 50 percent of those infected and essentially has no cure.

But if you compare how contagious the Ebola virus is to, say SARS or the measles, Ebola just doesn’t stack up. In fact, the virus is harder to catch than the common cold.

That’s because there has been no evidence that Ebola spreads between people through the air. Health experts repeatedly emphasize that human-to-human transmission requires direct contact with infected bodily fluids, including blood, vomit and feces.

And to infect, those fluids have to reach a break in the skin or the mucous membranes found around your eyes, mouth and nose.

But that hasn’t stopped two-thirds of Americans from thinking that the virus spreads “easily,” a poll from Harvard School of Public Health found in August. Almost 40 percent of the 1,025 people surveyed said they worry about an Ebola epidemic in the U.S. More than a quarter were concerned about catching the virus themselves.

Many questions still linger. Is Ebola really not airborne? Can it spread through contaminated water? What about through a drop of blood left behind on a table?

So we took those questions to two virologists: Alan Schmaljohn at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Jean-Paul Gonzalez at Metabiota, a company that tracks global infectious diseases.

Continue reading.

Photo: A burial team in Barkedu, Liberia, buries their protective clothing alongside the body of an Ebola victim. It’s possible to catch the virus from clothing soiled by infected blood or other bodily fluids. (Tommy Trenchard for NPR)

Good reporting by NPR, clearing up how Ebola is transmitted (answer: with great difficulty).

I saw the movie "Cowspiracy" which claims that Animal Agriculture is the largest contributor to climate change -- it contributes 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions. I checked this after the movie and the UN FAO lists it at 11%, but a third party, "World Watch" recalculates it to 51 based on respiration and other factors. I judge the evidence overall to support the treatise that animal ag is unsustainable, but isn't respiration carbon neutral - feed plants store CO2 equal to what cows expel? -PH
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hi playitbackward,

First, I’m into adaptation - not carbon or emissions nuttery. I help governments reduce risks by changing environmental and development policies. Adaptation is the process of reducing impacts from climate change. It’s basically preventing natural disasters using climate science. Read a short summary here.

That said, the movie is clearly misleading and propagandist (thus the title). It’s not difficult to find the correct sources of information on sources of emissions, primarily of which is the IPCC’s Fifth climate assessment report on mitigation: Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change.



Asker Anonymous Asks:
What are the most cutting edge climate adaptation strategies people are trying to implement and where can I get more information on this?
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hey Anon,

Try CAKEX (Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange) and WeADAPT.




At 85,710 acres in size, Adobe Town Wilderness Study Area (WSA) is the largest in Wyoming. Within the WSA, you’ll find Skull Creek Rim and Monument Valley - names that conjure up images of colorful badlands, buttes and spires created by thousands of years of erosion. Located 80 miles southwest of Rawlins, outstanding opportunities for solitude and primitive and unconfined recreation exist in the WSA. 

This WSA’s rugged badland rims and numerous canyons provide ample opportunities to avoid the sights and sounds of other visitors. The open desert plain, with its expanses of sagebrush and open scenic vistas, projects a feeling of vastness and solitude. 

The WSA is nationally known for the educational and scientific study of paleontological resources. Fossil remains of mammals are numerous and widely distributed throughout the area. Two notable mammalian fossils found in the area are the Uintathere and the Titanothere. The Uintathere was a large mammal about the size and configuration of an African rhinoceros. The species of Titanothere found in the WSA was a tapir-like mammal, about 40 inches in height. This area has been identified as one of the premier sites in North America for paleontological resources.

Significant archaeological resources are found throughout the WSA, representing 12,000 years of continuous occupation by man from Paleo Indian through late Prehistoric periods. The cultural site density of the WSA is estimated to be 30 surface sites per square mile, which is unusually high.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

The Official tumblr of the Bureau of Land Management is spectacular.

Interesting climate read of the day.

Asker yan-ton Asks:
Hi there! Absolutely LOVE your blog. I have a question about isolated wetlands. What is their current standing in terms of protection in the southeast?
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hey yan-ton,

Thanks for the shout out. Really appreciate it. Wetlands are important areas that support jobs, animals, plants, water quality, and many other things like human health (yes!). Wetlands are managed by a mix of private property owners (such as farmers), non-profit groups (Ducks Unlimited), and state and federal government agencies.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (under the Dept of the Interior) and the EPA (see EPA Wetland Region 4) are the primary federal-level managers of wetlands in the southeast United States.

According to the FWS, wetlands:

… provide a multitude of ecological, economic and social benefits. They provide habitat for fish, wildlife and a variety of plants. Wetlands are nurseries for many saltwater and freshwater fishes and shellfish of commercial and recreational importance. Wetlands are also important landscape features because they hold and slowly release flood water and snow melt, recharge groundwater, recycle nutrients, and provide recreation and wildlife viewing opportunities for millions of people. FWS.

Wetlands have several layers of legal protections. The most powerful laws are:

This doesn’t mean that they are safe (they’re absolutely not safe). It means that the public can stop destruction of these important systems.

With that, check out the above report on the status of wetlands in the United States. It’s a comprehensive report that includes climate change and issues of protection.

Also check out Wetlands Watch. They’re a protection group that helps the public access resources on how to report violations, such as pollution, dumping, draining, and illegal poaching.



Among the report’s recommendations:

  • The federal government should fund state and local actions to prepare for climate change — rather than primarily reacting to extreme weather events that cost taxpayers billions of dollars every year.  (Sandy alone cost the federal government $60 billion.)  Currently, only a fraction of federal dollars are spent helping communities proactively prepare for escalating climate change impacts. Federal agencies should also ensure that communities recovering from extreme weather events with disaster relief funds are able to build back stronger to withstand future impacts.
  • Federal agencies should require that all major federal investments in new infrastructure account for and be built to withstand future impacts from climate change.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency should incorporate climate change projections on the floodplain maps that govern federal flood insurance rates.  These updates are needed to provide communities with accurate, risk-based information for making land-use decisions and to ensure the long-term solvency of the National Flood Insurance Program. (As of March 2014, the program was more than $24 billion in debt.)
  • The Army Corps and other federal agencies should align funding streams and support nature-based projects that both restore coastal wetlands and provide flood control benefits (like living shorelines).  Federal agencies and the White House Office of Management and Budget should also appropriately value the benefits of taking preventative action to respond to climate change and the value of natural ecosystems when calculating the costs and benefits of flood control projects.
The recommendations are based on extensive work in communities affected by sea-level rise, storms, and heat waves. These recommendations were further developed over the course of three workshops convened by the Georgetown Climate Center in late 2013 and early 2014. Participants included senior federal, state and local officials, along with experts from the non-governmental and academic communities. The workshops were held in coordination with the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and relevant federal agencies.

Via Georgetown Climate Center

Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene is pleased to open its sixth knowledge domain, Sustainability Transitions, for submissions. In this video, Editor-in-Chief Anne R. Kapusckinski introduces her domain.

Meet Professor Austin Becker, Assistant Professor of Coastal Planning Policy and Design at University of Rhode Island. He focuses on coastal adaptation and resilient sea ports. He’s also a good friend of mine.

Sound argument for climate adaptation in the Op-ed section of the Miami Herald.


Morphological and phylogenetic analyses suggest that the ability to precipitate carbonates evolved several times in marine invertebrates in the past 600 million years. Over the past decade, there has been a profusion of genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic analyses of calcifying representatives from three metazoan phyla: Cnidaria, Echinodermata, and Mollusca. Based on this information, we compared proteins intimately associated with precipitated calcium carbonate in these three phyla. Specifically, we used a cluster analysis and gene ontology approach to compare ~1500 proteins, from over 100 studies, extracted from calcium carbonates in stony corals, in bivalve and gastropod mollusks, and in adult and larval sea urchins to identify common motifs and differences. Our analysis suggests that there are few sequence similarities across all three phyla, supporting the independent evolution of biomineralization.

However, there are core sets of conserved motifs in all three phyla we examined. These motifs include acidic proteins that appear to be responsible for the nucleation reaction as well as inhibition; structural and adhesion proteins that determine spatial patterning; and signaling proteins that modify enzymatic activities. Based on this analysis and the fossil record, we propose that biomineralization is an extremely robust and highly controlled process in metazoans that can withstand extremes in pH predicted for the coming century, similar to their persistence through the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.

- See more at:

Labor day reading…

In 2012, when Superstorm Sandy struck the East Coast, thousands of residents were displaced from their homes. In wake of the panic and chaos, Airbnb, an online platform where people list and book accommodations around the world, saw an opportunity to leverage its existing services for neighbors to help neighbors.

During the disaster, 1,400 Airbnb hosts — who typically collect payment for accommodations — opened their homes and cooked meals for those left stranded.


Asker Anonymous Asks:
I just wanted to say you're wonderful and your work is appreciated.
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Thanks anon. Tough to tumble these days as I’ve been pretty busy with work. I’ll be on track soon.

Live stream of Bardarbunga volcano erupting in Iceland. For reasons.