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 "science"

Millions (and millions) of mayflies hatched in Wisconsin and Minnesota caught on radar. Via BoingBoing

There are good reasons for any species to think darkly of its own extinction. Ninety-nine percent of the species that have lived on Earth have gone extinct, including more than five tool-using hominids. A quick glance at the fossil record could frighten you into thinking that Earth is growing more dangerous with time. If you carve the planet’s history into nine ages, each spanning five hundred million years, only in the ninth do you find mass extinctions, events that kill off more than two thirds of all species.

But this is deceptive. Earth has always had her hazards; it’s just that for us to see them, she had to fill her fossil beds with variety, so that we could detect discontinuities across time. The tree of life had to fill out before it could be pruned.

Ross Andersen’s paradoxically gloomy yet intellectually pleasing piece, “Humanity’s deep future.
The loss of human culture is frightening. Nearly all the threatened languages are spoken by indigenous peoples and, along with the languages, the traditional knowledge of these cultures is being forgotten. The names, uses, and preparation of medicines, the methods of farming, fishing and hunting are disappearing, not to mention the vast array of spiritual and religious beliefs and practices which are as diverse and numerous as the languages themselves.
According to a report by researchers Jonathan Loh at the Zoological Society of London and David Harmon, the steep declines in both languages and nature mirror each other. One in four of the world’s 7,000 languages are now threatened with extinction, and linguistic diversity is declining as fast as biodiversity – about 30% since 1970.

I wonder - can recording and storing a lost language conserve a culture? How?

Pretty harsh article on Miami’s situation with sea level rise. Miami actually has a lot of control over its own population growth and zoning laws. Mayor Stoddard may be right about his state’s politicians, but he’s just as culpable by allowing rapid development.

Will this make a difference?

discoverynews:

How Big Is The Solar System?

This guy from Discovery is a bad mofo. Check out the above ‘splainer on Voyager 1. Epic.

nprontheroad:

Come along as we tour an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

Nearly a quarter of the crude oil produced in the U.S. comes from the Gulf, according to the Energy Information Administration (http://www.eia.gov/special/gulf_of_mexico/). But while you can often drive by an on-shore drilling rig in Texas or North Dakota few of us ever have a chance to see a drilling operation in the Gulf.

Tomorrow Shell is offering NPR and its audience a rare, up-close look at its Olympus drilling rig and platform (pictured above). It’s located about 130 miles south of New Orleans in water that’s about a half-mile deep.

Shell uses helicopters to transport crews out into the Gulf—it’s about an hour ride there. The company requires that all passengers on the helicopter have HUET certification. HUET stands for Helicopter Underwater Egress Training. Essentially the class teaches you what to do if there’s a problem and the aircraft has to “ditch” into the water. Sounds exciting, huh? More on that later.

photo credit: Shell

Looks interesting. No link to NPR, so stay tuned?

llbwwb:

Philippine Tarsier | Hans Van Kerckhoven

Note the tail! Wikipedia has an excellent article on these little beasties… They’re the smallest primates and weigh the same as a candy bar.

(via alphacaeli)

Asker cazalis Asks:
First. You ASK is spelled AKS. Might want to check it. Two, what did you think of Al Gore's article in Rolling Stone about the turning point for new hope (star wars pun?) on climate.
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hey cazalis,

Thanks for following me all this time. The article is here.

Everyone makes mistakes. I think Gore is trying to be helpful and hopeful. He’s trying to support and celebrate, I believe, recent policy changes to limit emissions from power plants, federal procurement, vehicle MPGs, etc. He also points to several disruptive changes to economies around the world, such as Germany’s aggressive investments in solar and renewables.

Several left-leaning commentators think Gore’s piece was equivalent to the word of God - dozens of high-profile blogs fell over themselves after they read his article (see blatherings at DailyKos, Grist, ecowatch).

From my point of view - which reflects the scientific consensus - Gore is spouting nonsense. The IPCC aggregates climate science from every perspective. Their recent report made it clear that even with maximum policy changes, the earth is on track for up to 4.8c degrees of warming. The policy changes mentioned by Gore do nothing to lower global emissions:

[T]he IPCC assesses a large number of scenarios from different experts. For its third report into greenhouse gas emissions, the IPCC assessed 1200 different pathways, created by different modelling teams around the world….

As a result of its own modelling and the different scenarios it assessed, the IPCC concludes that avoiding the two degrees rise means reducing global emissions by at least two fifths by 2050, and tripling or quadrupling the share of energy the world gets from low-carbon energy by the same date. It probably also means using new, untested technologies to reduce the level of carbon in the atmosphere… Via

I think it’s dangerous to say there is “hope” to reduce emissions based on a few tweaks to the American economy. Every indicator (even conservative economists) shows that emissions are going to rise for decades.

Cheers,

Michael

Asker Anonymous Asks:
I was just wondering if you had any advice on how to combat the "but in the 70s everybody was worried about global cooling, the world just goes through phases" argument when talking to someone about the current state of the environment? No matter what I say to certain people this seems to come up and I'm not sure my responses are sufficient.
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hi anon,

Thanks for your question. I’d send you here, but I take issue with your approach. The burden of proof is always on the person making a claim. If I may, I advise applying the Socratic Method and have a nice discussion (Note: Always apply the Socratic Method with their consent, don’t trick them!).

It is not your responsibility to “convince” them of their err, instead it is *their* responsibility to convince you of their claims. If I say the sky is red, it is my responsibility to show that the sky is indeed red  - it is not your responsibility to disprove it. If you both agree to discuss the matter, proceed without getting emotionally panty-bunched. Hell, you could hold a long dialog that could take days, or even months.

If you are an environmentalist, you have to learn this humble, very effective, and quite easy to apply communication skill. It will serve you well through life.

Once they agree to discuss the issue, define the terms and stay hyper-focused on those things. Every once in a while paraphrase and recap the discussion  - this helps clarify definitions, and it ensures that the other person feels comfortable that you are listening. So, if I’m talking about the sky being red, I’m not able to start talking about my opinion of Obama. Stay on point.

In this case, you’re discussing cycles. So, have them define it. What is a cycle? Is there evidence for cycles? Why do they believe in the science of cycles, but reject that cycles can be changed by human forcings? In other words, can natural cycles be disturbed by heavy influxes of CO2? Why or why not? Where is their evidence? Remember, they are making the claim; you are trying to learn from them. Are they choosing some scientific evidence while rejecting other scientific evidence? How is this possible? By which methodologies are they able to accept the science of cycles, yet reject the science that shows how cycles are influenced? After all, they have to point to science as their evidence for cycles. Interesting, right?

Know that you will experience breakdowns and failures while having these dialogs. That’s OK! Take a breather. Shake hands. Come back to the discussion later. It’s part of the process of learning. Try not to allow emotions to enter the discussion. Don’t get heated. Passion is a good thing, but getting angry and walking away all frustrated is a problem. Face these dips head on!

So, apply the Socratic Method when someone makes a claim. Just have fun with it. No need to be rivals.

Good luck,

Michael

The researchers surveying employees in the environmental sector in Boston and Philadelphia. If this is you, give them a hand if you can…