Climate Adaptation

CLIMATE ADAPTATION

I want to punch climate change in the face. A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.


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Shooting Barred Owls to Save Spotted Owls

Controversial, but it works.

Barred owls shot by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in order to save populations of the Northern spotted owl.

Forest managers in the Pacific Northwest are facing a tough decision. Environmentalists shut down logging in the national forests in the1980s and 1990s in order to save the Northern spotted owl. Considered an indicator species by biologists, meaning that a given species is studied and assumed to be indicative of the health of species throughout the ecosystem, this sensitive owl needs old growth forest to survive. Overlogging and deforestation sent spotted owl numbers plummeting. Federal courts forced the government to list the owl under the Endangered Species Act, which closed off the remaining old growth forest in the Northwest to logging.

In the last 20 years, spotted owl numbers have not recovered. This is largely because of the arrival of the more aggressive and closely related barred owl. Many scientists believe the barred owl is little different from the spotted owl, perhaps only separated by a few thousand years of living in different forests. The natural westward migration of the barred owl has threatened spotted owl populations both because the barred owl both mates with spotted owls and often eats them.

In response, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has made the decision to start shooting barred owls in order to protect the spotted owl.

“ I, for one, am supremely disappointed at the prospect of the U.S. missing out on an entire episode of the critically acclaimed series, especially based on the worthless reasoning that “it’s controversial.” Controversy is good. Controversy begets conversation and progress. If Attenborough does come off as alarmist, allow people the opportunity to interpret that on their own, and others to respond to it in turn. I can’t think of a worse way to handle the situation than to not air it at all. ”

—    

David Attenborough on the U.S. censorship of the Discovery Chanel’s episode on climate change.

More at io9

Friend and colleague Jill Dougherty of CNN reports on Keystone XL Pipeline hearings (she’s also wearing a hot black leather jacket - rare for stodgy CNN). Apparently there was another public hearing, and the public actually showed up to voice it’s opinion on the pipeline. No one in the audience, that I could tell, supported the pipeline.

Source: CNN c/o Charter

See also: my Keystone XL posts, here.

Official map of the Keystone Pipeline XL, from the U.S. Department of State. The State department has dedicated a special website, www.keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov, dedicated just to the controversial pipeline plan. The pipe will flow oil sand crude from Canada all the way to Texas. This oil be sold in international markets, not U.S. markets. The project is now under review by the EPA, and a decision will be made at the end of the year to approve, reject, or alter the plan. 

If you haven’t heard, about 100 protesters, some famous, have been arrested in acts of civil disobedience this past weekend at the White House. 

Scientists see sunspot hibernation but no Ice Age

Sunspotgatehoaxapacolpyse 2011! IT’S THE EOTW!!!!!!!

jtotheizzoe:

Despite semi-hysterical reports you may be hearing in the media, sunspot experts want to make this very clear:

We may see sunspot activity go into a short hibernation (called the Maunder Minimum), but this does not mean we are going into a mini-Ice Age. I want to ram that point home, because as back-asswards as some of our climate policy is these days, I’d half expect there to be calls to pump extra CO2 into the atmosphere to give us some extra warmth. Ahh, the warm wool blanket of fossil fuel exhaust, just what a maybe-frozen Earth needs.

Ok, so if you hear someone mention this, smack them with a knowledge stick and say “Not so fast!”