The first successful English colony in America was at Jamestown, Va., a swampy island in the Chesapeake Bay. The colony endured for almost a century, and remnants of the place still exist. You can go there and see the ruins. You can walk where Capt. John Smith and Pocahontas walked.
But Jamestown is now threatened by rising sea levels that scientists say could submerge the island by century’s end.
The sequester (a budget deal Obama made with republicans last year) cut more than $115 million from the federal wildland fire program budget, USDA officials have said, at a time when the nation continues to face abnormally dry conditions, particularly in the West, as a result of climate change.
During one of the worst wildfire seasons on record amid a historic drought, the USDA Forest Service ran out of money last year to pay firefighters, operate trucks and fly aircraft. The agency borrowed money from fire management budgets, which help prevent fires, to pay for suppression.
Given the cuts in the Forest Service’s fire budget because of sequestration, and the outlook for significant fire potential in much of the West, that process could play out again, a USDA spokesman said.
“If the U.S. Forest Service exhausts funding . . . for fire suppression in 2013, as it did in 2012, it will be necessary for the agency to transfer funds from other programs to cover fire suppression costs,” said the spokesman, Larry Chambers.
Never. Ever. I’m not an activist, so I don’t have to struggle with hope. I’m more like a firefighter - I deal with the impacts. I help protect people, cities, and the environment. And I see real results. m
Anonymous asked: Do you have any tips for how to stay informed about climate change without getting into a depressive spiral? When I read the news and see how our politicians still aren't willing to take meaningful action, it's difficult not to be angry and just generally distraught. How does a person fighting for change remain hopeful? (sorry if this has been asked before)
No worries - I get asked this all the time. My two best responses are here (on how I don’t explode when dealing with climate deniers) and here (on how I see my self in the context of environmentalism). Note that both are answers to reader mail, but the answer you seek (hopefully) is sandwiched in the middle of my replies.
But, the toll on environmentalist’s emotional health is very real. In, Do Environmentalists Need Shrinks?, the writer interviews a psychologist whose research focuses on environmentalism and depression.
The premise may be true - that US taxpayers are 1) paying via taxes for disasters at unprecedented rates and 2) insurance companies are increasingly pulling out of vulnerable coastal and agricultural areas. These are wicked problems. They need to be addressed. But the solution proffered is utterly false.
To make the leap that both of these complex problems will stop - that lives will be saved if only Obama cuts emissions by x amount - is scientifically inaccurate (even manipulative).
The Guardian has a multi-part, video heavy media set on climate refugees in America. I’d argue that the title “first” is a misnomer and would point to the coastal communities in Texas, New Orleans, and the Carolinas who’ve been retreating from the coasts for several years. But, the point is made - that sea-level rise and coastal erosion is much more aggressive than at anytime in history. Thus, tens of thousands of people are at immediate risk, especially the poor.
The above is one minute.
The people of Newtok, on the west coast of Alaska and about 400 miles south of the Bering Strait that separates the state from Russia, are living a slow-motion disaster that will end, very possibly within the next five years, with the entire village being washed away.
The Ninglick River coils around Newtok on three sides before emptying into the Bering Sea. It has steadily been eating away at the land, carrying off 100ft or more some years, in a process moving at unusual speed because of climate change. Eventually all of the villagers will have to leave, becoming America’s first climate change refugees.
Belizean police are investigating a construction company that has destroyed most of one of the largest Mayan pyramids in the Caribbean nation to make gravel to dump on village roads, according to reports from the Caribbean.
Archaeologists and a local TV station witnessed the destruction Friday as bulldozers and excavators continued to demolish the 60-foot-tall main temple at Nohmul — “great mound” — one of the tallest structures in northern Belize, along the Mexican border in the Yucatan Peninsula.
“We can’t salvage what has happened out here,” John Morris, of the Institute of Archaeology, told 7 News Belize. “It is an incredible display of ignorance. I am appalled.” A news crew was threatened by a man with a machete as dump trucks hauled away rock and limestone from the temple, which has been “whittled down to a narrow core,” the TV station said.
A Caterpillar excavator was photographed tearing down what was left of the limestone-rich ruins. “It’s like being punched in the stomach, it’s just so horrendous,” Jamie Awe, head of the institute, told the Associated Press. “These guys knew that this was an ancient structure. It’s just bloody laziness.”
The pre-Colombian site is about 2,500 years old and consists of twin ceremonial clusters surrounded by 10 plazas and connected by a raised causeway. Mayans used stone tools to quarry the rock and build the complex by hand. An estimated 40,000 people are believed to have lived there between 500 and 250 BC.
More of these incidents to come in the years ahead as population growth outweighs the need to protect resources.
Angelina Jolie discusses her preemptive double mastectomy.
I’m posting this, I think, partly because I’m a fan of Brad Pitt’s climate adaptation/green architecture project “Make it Right” in Louisiana. Partly because cancer has taken many people in my life. And partly because I have so many young women followers. So, even though it’s way off topic, I hope it means something to someone somewhere…
This time, I worked with up and coming AccuWeather journalist Samantha-Rae Tuthill. She asked tough questions and dug deep for this piece. She was really great and I had a lot of fun. She also picked out some good zingers (I bet long-time readers will recognize my pessimism). Check it out if you can!
Whether they call it global warming, climate change or even global cooling, more and more Americans are taking a stand on one side or the other of this hotly debated issue.
According to a survey published last year by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, 66 percent of Americans believe that global warming is happening, with 42 percent concerned that it will harm people in the United States between now and the next 10 years. Forty-five percent of Americans believe the country will be harmed by global warming in the next 50 years, with only 16 percent saying that global warming will never harm the U.S.
The arguments on either side of the issue can be broken into three main categories. Those who do not believe in climate change, or at least in man-made climate change, are considered “climate skeptics.” Groups concerned about climate change are primarily split between two camps; those who want to prevent further change and those who want to adapt to changes that do occur.
A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.
I'm a climate change consultant specializing in climate adaptation, environmental law, and urban planning based in the U.S. In addition to traveling and hiking, I research, publish, and lecture on how cities can adapt to climate change.
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