Anonymous asked: Hello! I'm planning to go into medical school, but I really do want to do something to reduce adverse affects due to climate change, and spread active awareness. I plan on taking classes pertaining to environmental science to increase my knowledge--but if I do become a physician, how can I incorporate this cause into my occupation?
See my previous post on “combating climate.” Instead of this trap, focus on climate and health. See
New report: Climate in the Parks—Innovative Climate Education in Parks, looks at 13 parks around the world that are providing innovative and effective interpretation on climate change.
Download here: Climate in Parks report
Several parks include climate education for visitors. Parks in Tennessee, Florida, Massachusetts, California, Tanzania, Oregon, Mexico, Netherlands, Alabama, and others. Good read.
It’s only a few weeks until the end of summer, a terrible time to be a moose in the New Hampshire wild.
Tens of millions of winter ticks are preparing to hatch next month from eggs hidden in thick brush. They will wait there to hitch a ride on a moose and suck its blood until the end of May.
They can send a moose to its death, with up to 150,000 dining on every calf, cow and bull in certain parts of the Granite State, wildlife biologists estimate.
There was a time when eggs laid in this age-old cycle perished on winter snow. But that hasn’t happened lately in New Hampshire, where a warming trend has winters starting later and ending sooner.
A single female lays 3,000 eggs the size of salt crystals. With warmer weather, ticks don’t die, they multiply.
Winter ticks are one-host parasites that feed on a single animal through their lifetimes. As the number of ticks explodes, moose have disappeared by the thousands in areas where they were most abundant. Many of those still alive are eerily thin, with rib cages visible through ragged skin. They are mere shadows of themselves, zombies with antlers.
"It’s pretty depressing," said Kristine Rines, a wildlife biologist and moose project leader for the state’s Fish and Game Department. "It’s a pretty tough way to go. There’s no question that climate plays a huge part in this. If we had winters that lasted as long as they used to, we might not be having this conversation."
New Hampshire’s struggle with moose is part of a nationwide trend, according to the Wildlife Management Institute, a nonprofit group established by sportsmen and businessmen concerned about wild populations.
Warmer, shorter winters in the north no longer killing as many pests, like ticks. More ticks = devastated mammal populations.
The Halligen Islands in the North Sea are one of many low-lying and island regions that are very concerned about climate change.
Not protected by dikes, the Halligens are a set of small islands (some as small as 17 acres) that have separated from the mainland after centuries of flooding and erosion. Because of the periodic storm flooding, homes on the Halligens are built atop small, artificial hills (Warften) that keep them above sea level.
Like large areas of the Netherlands, northeastern Germany, and Denmark, the Halligen Islands are keenly aware of the risk of sea level rise due to global warming and are investing in climate adaptation strategies.
The Golden Toad was -not- killed by changes to climate. Its extinction was due to a combination of El Niño and a fungus. Some environmental organizations still point to the toad as the first climate change extinction. Not true.
El Niño and a Pathogen Killed Costa Rican Toad, Study Finds Challenges Evidence That Global Warming Was the Cause
Scientists broadly agree that global warming may threaten the survival of many plant and animal species; but global warming did not kill the Monteverde golden toad, an often cited example of climate-triggered extinction, says a new study.
The toad vanished from Costa Rica’s Pacific coastal-mountain cloud forest in the late 1980s, the apparent victim of a pathogen outbreak that has wiped out dozens of other amphibians in the Americas. Many researchers have linked outbreaks of the deadly chytrid fungus to climate change, but the new study asserts that the weather patterns, at Monteverde at least, were not out of the ordinary.
The role that climate change played in the toad’s demise has been fiercely debated in recent years. The new paper, in the March 1 2010 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the latest to weigh in. In the study, researchers used old-growth trees from the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve to reconstruct moisture levels in that region over the last century. They expected to see global warming manifested in the form of a long-term warming or drying trend, but instead discovered that the forest’s dry spells closely tracked El Niño, the periodic and natural warming of waters off South America that brings drought to some places and added rainfall and snow to others.
The golden toad vanished after an exceptionally dry season following the 1986-1987 El Niño, probably not long after the chytrid fungus was introduced. Scientists speculate that dry conditions caused the toads to congregate in a small number of puddles to reproduce, prompting the disease to spread rapidly.
A disaster resilient planet means everyone must be part of the solution.
If you’re living with a disability, take this survey from the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and share your thoughts.
Interesting conversation at the link. How do city planners, architects, engineers, researchers, etc., think about people living with disabilities?
This one hits close to home. A few years ago, my grandfather was confined to a wheel chair and moved in to live with my mother for care. Her house was about 80 years old and was quite small. Doorways and halls were narrow. One day, as an experiment, I decided to sit in his wheel chair and get a drink of water. I was curious about how difficult it must have been. I was also curious about if I could fit through the doorways.
The entire experiment was incredibly frustrating. Getting through the narrow doorways wasn’t the biggest issue, it was the sharp turns just after some of them. To get to the kitchen, I had to do an immediate 90 turn. It was craziness, sort of like the ultimate parallel parking situation, wheeling back and forth, one hand pushing a wheel, the other pulling. Inch by inch. But that wasn’t the worst part, it was trying to get a glass from the cupboard. I couldn’t reach up past the counter, which at 36 inches high, impeded my reach. There simply was no way for me to reach a glass. I could reach the bottom corner of the cupboard to open it. But I couldn’t reach in to get a glass, nor could I reach the nobs on the back of the sink without getting out of the chair.
Right then I realized that western style homes were only for the able bodied, and certainly not for the disabled. Further, there was no affordable way, to my mind, to retrofit or ‘adapt’, homes with ease to accommodate people with failing faculties. Old people are physically weakened, and across a counter and up to a cupboard is, seriously, a dangerous task. It’s no wonder elderly are always falling - it’s a design issue.
Right after that experience I donated a wheelchair to the Environmental Design and Urban Planning departments at the University of Massachusetts, where I earned two of my degrees.
I asked one of the professors to be in charge of the chair, and challenge her students (with supervision) to perform one task: get a cup of coffee and bring it back to class. The results, I’m sure, are perpetually hilarious. But these students will, it is my hope, think about design in the built environment with everyone in mind.
In the Netherlands, urban planners and engineers think about all users. They think about how children, parents, the able bodied, and the elderly can use and grow with their cities. They also think about the disabled (great video, I cannot watch this without, err, the room getting all dusty).
So, there is precedent to include the disabled into planning. If you’re a disaster manager of any sort, try to think about what it would be like confined to a wheelchair - how would you find elderly people in time to evacuate them? How can the leave the house? Who could they call? Who would be around to respond? Do the side walks and streets provide a reliable exit?
Officials in this Raritan Bayshore community are considering an ambitious flood-control measure in the wake of Superstorm Sandy: raising the entire downtown.
In their vision, not only would every residential or commercial front door go up at least 10 feet — a process that already has begun in many parts of the Jersey shore — but every curb, crosswalk and blade of grass would as well.
By their own estimates, the process would cost less than $200 million, take two years to complete and require millions of cubic yards of fill, consisting of either dredged material from Raritan Bay, chunks of concrete from construction sites or lots of barges full of gravel and dirt.
More forehead slapping fun, here.