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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Posts tagged "environment"

How big is Africa, really?

Meanwhile in Papua New Guinea.

Birds killed per year by energy source. Via U.S. News (trigger warning, written by Alan Neuhauser).

Wind and solar kills about 300k per year. Coal, nearly 8 million. Power lines kill about 12 and 64 million birds per year.

The biggest killer of birds? House cats kill 3 billion birds per year. That’s about 375 of those black bars for coal placed end to end.

A survey by George MasonU’s Center for Climate Change Communication. Via Yale360.

insteadofwatchingtv:

Weird Places: The Bay of Fundy

Remember this invention? 19 year-old student proposed this design to clean up plastics in the oceans. The idea was picked up by TED, and green blogs exploded with glee.

I criticized the project as ineffective buffoonery and likely illegal. And several others also panned the invention as foolish and naive. Well, now the student is back with a revised version of the plastic’s clean up machine. He’s partnered with some serious engineers and PR and he formed a new company, “The Ocean Cleanup.” Video here.

A science journalist in Germany, Sarah Zierul, interviewed me and a few other experts who also criticized the machine. Sarah’s article really got to the heart of the story and you can see researched for several months to get to the facts. She re-tells the story of the young inventor, and describes the original machine and its problems, as well as the new machine and the engineering behind it. She also interviews several critics, noting how their complaints have evolved into support.

Excellent science reporting!

Read Sarah’s excellent article, here. If you don’t read German, go here.

rhamphotheca:

This White-tailed Ptarmigan was spotted with her four chicks up at Logan Pass yesterday. She is part of a research study to determine changes in habitat location and breeding numbers.

White-tailed ptarmigans are well-adapted to high elevations and cool temperatures. Rising temperatures (3x the global average rise in temperature) at high elevations over the last century means change for this alpine specialist.

According to researcher David Benson, data from the ptarmigan study shows that “white-tailed ptarmigan in Glacier have changed distribution, altered habitat preferences, and perhaps on a local scale, experienced declining population numbers in late summer.” (ms)

What a beeeeautiful bird! Lives in Montana. Of course, endangered because humans.

Massive toxic spill in British Columbia pollutes streams and lakes. The Mount Polley Mine mines copper and gold. These mines require massive amounts of toxic acids to “eat” the rocks that contain the copper and gold. The waste is “contained” in a big retention pond (in this case a huge lake). The ponds just sit there with no plans for clean up. Humans are banned from the ponds. Governments say they are safe (despite that ponds fail on average of 30%).

Millions of tons of harmful metals, soils, and wastewater spilled into pristine habitat. Canada’s response? Whooppsy! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Above images: NASA and CBC.

An earthen dam at Mount Polley Mine in British Columbia breached on August 4, 2014, sending contaminated water surging into nearby lakes. Wastewater and metal-laden sand spilled from a retention basin and triggered a water-use ban in Likely, British Columbia, and other nearby towns. Local authorities had lifted the ban as of August 12.

On August 5, nearly all of the wastewater in the retention basin had drained, exposing the silty bottom. Hazeltine Creek, normally about 1 meter (3 feet) wide, swelled to a width of 150 meters (490 feet) as a result of the spill. In the aftermath of the flood, a layer of brown sediment coated forests and stream valleys affected by the spill. Notice how much forest immediately north of the retention basin was leveled. Debris, mainly downed trees, are visible floating on Quesnel Lake.

Video:

Several excellent Canadian, environmental, and political tumblrs are covering the spill: https://www.tumblr.com/search/mount+polley+mine.

Click above to register. It’s free and run by the awesome folks at CAKEX, who you need to know if you’re into climate adaptation.

My gut tells me these proposed measures are too little, too late.

dendroica:

Once-common marine birds disappearing from our coast

Bird surveys like this and others done by plane are tracking a significant ecological shift in our region — a major decline in once-abundant marine birds. From white-winged scoters and surf scoters to long-tailed ducks, murres, loons and some seagulls, the number of everyday marine birds here has plummeted dramatically in recent decades.

Scoters are down more than 75 percent from what they were in the late 1970s. Murres have dropped even more. Western grebes have mostly vanished, falling from several hundred thousand birds to about 20,000.

The reasons often vary — from climate change and shoreline development to marine pollution and the rebound of predators such as bald eagles.

But several new studies now also link many dwindling marine bird populations to what they eat — especially herring, anchovies, sand lance and surf smelt, the tiny swimmers often dubbed forage fish.

The relationship between marine birds and slick, fatty forage fish is complex. Some birds are here year-round while others pass through for just a few months. Some birds key in solely on silvery herring while others can just as easily eat flounder.

Some forage-fish species, such as herring, are a fraction of what they once were. But little information exists about the health of other species.

But an exhaustive new analysis of bird diets and population trends found that marine birds relying exclusively on fish like herring were up to 16 times more likely to be in trouble than birds that ate nonschooling bottom-dwellers like sculpin.

(via The Seattle Times)

pulitzercenter:

image

When it comes to the global environment, it is difficult to overstate Peru’s importance. Its Amazon jungles are deemed among the most biodiverse on earth in terms of tree, plant, animal and bird species. It also has the world’s fourth-largest store of tropical forests, behind only neighboring…