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 "water"

The environmental destruction caused by growing pot. By Mother Jones

Must read viral response by a prominent West Virginian to the recent chemical spill that poisoned the Elk River. Visceral as the essay is, one must still ask: What changes can we make and how? I’d like to hear your thoughts on this, msg me here.

To hell with you. 

To hell with every greedhead operator who flocked here throughout history because you wanted what we had, but wanted us to go underground and get it for you.  To hell with you for offering above-average wages in a place filled with workers who’d never had a decent shot at employment or education, and then treating the people you found here like just another material resource—suitable for exploiting and using up, and discarding when they’d outlived their usefulness.  To hell with you for rigging the game so that those wages were paid in currency that was worthless everywhere but at the company store, so that all you did was let the workers hold it for a while, before they went into debt they couldn’t get out of.

To hell with you all for continuing, as coal became chemical, to exploit the lax, poorly-enforced safety regulations here, so that you could do your business in the cheapest manner possible by shortcutting the health and quality of life not only of your workers, but of everybody who lives here.  To hell with every operator who ever referred to West Virginians as “our neighbors.” 

To hell with every single screwjob elected official and politico under whose watch it all went on, who helped write those lax regulations and then turned away when even those weren’t followed.  To hell with you all, who were supposed to be stewards of the public interest, and who sold us out for money, for political power.  To hell with every one of you who decided that making life convenient for business meant making life dangerous for us.  To hell with you for making us the eggs you had to break in order to make breakfast.

To hell with everyone who ever asked me how I could stand to live in a place like this, so dirty and unhealthy and uneducated.  To hell with everyone who ever asked me why people don’t just leave, don’t just quit (and go to one of the other thousand jobs I suppose you imagine are widely available here), like it never occurred to us, like if only we dumb hilljacks would listen as you explained the safety hazards, we’d all suddenly recognize something that hadn’t been on our radar until now. 

To hell with the superior attitude one so often encounters in these conversations, and usually from people who have no idea about the complexity and the long history at work in it.  To hell with the person I met during my PhD work who, within ten seconds of finding out I was from West Virginia, congratulated me on being able to read.  (Stranger, wherever you are today, please know this: Standing in that room full of people, three feet away from you while you smiled at your joke, I very nearly lost control over every civil checkpoint in my body.  And though civility was plainly not your native tongue, I did what we have done for generations where I come from, when faced with rude stupidity: I tamped down my first response, and I managed to restrain myself from behaving in a way that would have required a deep cleaning and medical sterilization of the carpet.  I did not do any of the things I wanted to.  But stranger, please know how badly I wanted to do them.)

And, as long as I’m roundhouse damning everyone, and since my own relatives worked in the coal mines and I can therefore play the Family Card, the one that trumps everything around here: To hell with all of my fellow West Virginians who bought so deeply into the idea of avoidable personal risk and constant sacrifice as an honorable condition under which to live, that they turned that condition into a culture of perverted, twisted pride and self-righteousness, to be celebrated and defended against outsiders.  To hell with that insular, xenophobic pathology.  To hell with everyone whose only take-away from every story about every explosion, every leak, every mine collapse, is some vague and idiotic vanity in the continued endurance of West Virginians under adverse, sometimes killing circumstances.  To hell with everyone everywhere who ever mistook suffering for honor, and who ever taught that to their kids.  There’s nothing honorable about suffering.  Nothing.

To hell with you.  This is the one moment in my adult life when I have wished I could still believe in Hell as an actual, physical reality, so that I could imagine you in it.

Iceland’s 300+ glaciers losing 11 billion tons of ice a year. Several have already melted away, and many more will disappear in the next decade.
Above, one of Iceland’s longest bridges now stands over dry land. Via Daily Climate.

Obama is no environmentalist. He’s helped increase fracking, expanded off-shore oil drilling, continues to stealthily approve parts the Keystone XL Pipeline, weakened endangered species protection, and will sign off on Alaska’s horrifying Pebble Mine gold mine.

One big concern surrounding end-pit lakes is that the contaminated water will spread through the boreal ecosystem, the tract of trees and marshland that stretches around the top of the world from Canada to Russia and Scandinavia. Boreal forests store almost twice as much carbon as tropical forests.

This huge algal bloom in Lake Erie (that’s Detroit up there) broke out during government shutdown was not being tracked. The federal shutdown closed NOAA monitoring of unexpected health hazard. Read more at Sandusky Register

awkwardsituationist:

Founded in 2007 by James Balog, the Extreme Ice Survey (eis) is an innovative, long-term photography project documenting climate change with 28 cameras deployed at 13 glaciers throughout the world.

Each camera takes about 8000 photos a year, which are edited into stunning time lapse videos that reveal the pace and effects of climate change. Balog and EIS were the focus of the 2012 documentary, Chasing Ice.

1. Columbia Glacier, Columbia Bay, Alaska - 2006 and 2012. The glacier has lost two miles of ice in six years, and the rate of its retreat is accelerating. since 1980 it has diminished vertically an amount equal to the height of New York’s Empire State Building, and has retreated 13 miles.

2. Stein Glacier, Switzerland - 2006 and 2012. If the trend of hotter and drier summers persists in the high country, many alpine glaciers could lose as much as 75 percent of their bulk by century’s end or even vanish, imperiling the region’s water supply.

3. Bridge Glacier, British Columbia - 2009 and 2012. Retreating roughly five feet a day during melt season, the 10.5 mile Bridge Glacier suffers both lower snowfall in winter and hotter temperatures in summer.

austinstatesman:

Two weeks after word leaked to the American-Statesman about LCRA’s proposal to lower Lake Austin to help fight drought, lakeside residents are organizing to fight it. More.

Change is hard.

darksilenceinsuburbia:

Matt Jones. Lakes of Gokyo, Khumbu valley, Nepal.

I’m headed here in a few weeks. Also Seti river valley near Pokhara to visit some climate scientists whose contract I’m managing.

The Bureau of Reclamation today announced it will reduce for the first time ever Colorado River water deliveries from the Lake Powell reservoir downstream to Lake Mead, which provides nearly all of Las Vegas’ water.
Worst drought on record impacting cities in the southwest, including millions in Las Vegas. Demand continues to rise. The Colorado River water wars have begun. Via

breakingnews:

Thousands evacuated as Idaho wildfire grows

AP: More than 2,300 houses were evacuated in Idaho this week as strong winds stoked the nearby Beaver Creek Fire. The wildfire, reportedly ignited by lightning Aug. 7, is estimated to have grown to 144 square miles and is 6 percent contained. 

More than 700 firefighters are battling the blaze near the Idaho ski town Ketchum.

An additional 7,500 homes are on evacuation alert as the fire continues to grow. 

Photo: Helicopters battle the 64,000 acre Beaver Creek Fire on Friday, Aug., 16, 2013 north of Hailey, Idaho. A number of residential neighborhoods have been evacuated because of the blaze.(AP Photo/Times-News, Ashley Smith)