Posts Tagged Environment
Read these: Trade deals are good for everyone, or so the propaganda goes. Beginning with George H.W. Bush, then Bill Clinton, then George W. Bush and now Barack Obama, all of our presidents seem to love them. We’ve had NAFTA, CAFTA and other less well know trade deals and are waiting for the mighty pen to drop, committing us to TPP. Each one has been touted as a fix for workers, trade, corporations, investors, oh and don’t worry about labor protections, the environment, safety, etc. It is all covered and will be good. So what do the American people and the leaders of smaller economies around the world do? What can they do? They resist a little, try to get the word out and then cross their fingers and sign.
What happens shortly after the ink dries has been a very well hidden but quite different story. These trade deals, largely written by corporations, have led to massive reductions in trade for small farmers, greatly reduced wages, loss of local farms and industry, devastated local economies, environmental pollution, degradation in safety standards among other destructive effects. They have been good for corporations, their investors and some others, so I guess that is what we call a win / win.
Understanding these trade deals is difficult and you will seldom see much on our beloved news/entertainment media. Below are several links to well documented and detailed reports giving a “not so rosy” review of the existing trade deals and of course the impending TPP deal (what many are calling NAFTA on steroids). There is a lot to read, so do it in pieces and at your own pace, but please read. You / We need to understand these agreements and maybe begin to abstain from participating in these abusive endeavors to further the power and wealth of the few.
NAFTA, CAFTA & Other Trade Deals
Watch this: Sometimes a short video can get a message across much faster than a more lengthy article. Such is the case here where a crew from Spotlight CA investigates what happens when oil mixes with our water sources. Now that oil drilling is taking place right in the middle of fields where farming is actively taking place and massive amounts of water are used to extract fossil fuels, some of that same water is ending up as the irrigation source for various crops. What could go wrong?
Reporter Kiran Deol meets a “watchdog farmer, a maverick water scientist and a public health expert who are all taking action to ensure our safety.” As they investigate the situation, a farmer named Frantz asks “An orange is 90 percent water when it gets to the consumer … where did that water come from? It’s the irrigation water. If the irrigation water is toxic even at very tiny amounts, is there a tiny amount of toxicity now in the fruit? Nobody has tested that yet.” As the story says, we (and particularly the oil companies) could be doing a lot more to ensure the purity of the water, but they are simply not. I guess they don’t have to so they probably won’t until that changes.
We, the consumers, need to wake up and be diligently, maybe radically, active.
Read & watch: It’s easy to discount the science of climate change when it happens very gradually. That may be changing however as in many places around the world the changes can be very rapid. The article in the link below, found in The Daily KOS, by Pakalolo, discusses two possible meltwater pulses that appear to have begun on 01-01-16. Warming ocean temperatures were the instigators as “remnants of hurricane Alex were pulled into a storm system just south of Greenland on Friday January 15, 2016. An event that then flooded both Baffin Bay and Western Greenland with warm, tropical air. At the same time, Greenland observers both noted what appears to be ice mass losses over Western Greenland as well as a possible large melt water outflow issuing from the Disko Bay area” What these events will mean, how extensive they will be, what we can do (if anything) and many more questions are running wild. But, as Pakalolo says, “if this event in Greenland is the start of another Meltwater Pulse we are effed.”
Although these pulses are not in themselves disastrous, each one suggests the inevitability of many others preparing to occur. “We are in so much trouble and it is only January. 2016 is going to be a disastrous year for the Greenland ice sheet.” Scientists are trying to make sense of these changes and are careful about sending erroneous alarms. “Glaciologists Tenney Naumer, Alun Hubbard and Jason Box believe that a large melt water pulse occurred at Jackobshavn Glacier — one of the swiftest-melting glaciers on Greenland. Over recent years, it has been one of the primary hot-spots for summer Greenland ice mass loss. But during recent days, mass loss also appears to have occurred in this area.”
Read the whole article and watch the short video. Look for more on this and make sure your representatives “believe in science”.
Read this: The The Nation magazine article below, by Eilís O’Neill, illustrates why it is so important that science be the guiding force in our collective actions regarding scientific problems, particularly climate change. Having someone who doesn’t believe in climate change, like Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, as the ranking member of the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is just so very dangerous. But we are currently stuck with him. As the world focuses on climate change in Paris we can only hope intelligent minds prevail.
O’Neill’s article examines the complexities related to attempts to reforest major rain forests in many of the poorer countries around the world. Having been drastically reduced by man’s search for quick, short term profits, the results, as we know, have been massive increases in CO2. As science and governments attempt to find solutions, they often go astray, doing nothing to curtail the problem and often exacerbating it.
One story focuses on a Uruguay farmer, Francisco Ferber who planted “1,000 acres of trees, which could be harvested within a decade and sold for firewood, paper, poles, and posts … benefits and subsidies offered by Uruguay’s Forestry Law of 1987 made the option tempting. The law forgave property taxes on land covered with native forest or a tree farm—so, by covering half their land with eucalyptus, the Ferbers could dramatically reduce their taxes.” Sounds like a simple solution, especially to the non scientist (i.e. Sen. Inhofe), but it is much more complicated that it seemed. The facts are that “Planting trees locks up carbon in the trunks—for a long time, if they’re left standing or used to make furniture or buildings. If they’re used for toilet paper or paper napkins, the carbon returns to the atmosphere as soon as the product starts to decompose—but even that can have its advantages, because tree farms can help take pressure off old-growth forests … (and) … Planting trees, reforesting, restoration are an essential element for Latin America to be able to reduce its carbon footprint.” Part of the problem is that “planting a tree is not always a good thing. It depends on what species gets planted and where, who plants it, and who owns the land.” Intelligent, experts need to be in change of these efforts and politicians, worldwide, need to rely on that expertise. Even so, they will sometimes get things wrong. Additionally, we need to beware of the “expertise” within the corporate world, where other, often misguided agendas invariably dominate.
The article needs to be read in total to get a real feel.
Read this: Keeping an eye on the results of man made disasters is essential. It is part of our responsibility as citizens in a democracy. After a disaster we are all amazed, upset and demand justice, but then we slowly stop paying attention and soon forget. Sadly this is to the benefit of those who cause those disasters, particularly large corporations. The BP Oil Spill is a classic case of this neglect by us all. The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has continued to monitor this disaster and says “The extensive research on the impacts of the BP Oil Spill were kept private until the case was closed against BP. Now that the report is public, some of the effects are much worse than estimated. We broke the report down into the most crucial data.” The link below to an article from the NWF, by Ryan Fikes briefly details 16 types of damage along with the severity of each. We as citizens expect our national leaders to ensure that these disasters are corrected, but we are naive. The required actions occur minimally at best and often much too late. We need to realize it is up to us to make sure does. As the CEO of the NWF said: ” Helping the Gulf of Mexico recover from this unprecedented disaster should be a national priority. Ultimately, as much as $16 billion in criminal penalties, the RESTORE Act dollars, and the Oil Pollution Act fines will be available for restoration efforts across the Gulf. Ensuring that this money goes where it can do the most good will require commitment and coordination—we’re on the ground in all five states working to make sure this happens.”
Read this: The attached article from The Daily KOS, by FishOutofWater provides a focused look and warning about the current El Niño. “If temperatures continue to rise, or plateau for a few more weeks, this will be the strongest El Niño in history.” This is just another reinforcement of the reality of “Climate Change”.
There are several good charts in the article emphasizing the possibilities that accompany this dynamic weather change. “With this year’s El Niño at record or near record strength NOAA’s CFS climate model predicts a strong southward drop of the storm track off the west coast. A very stormy winter can be expected from California, across the gulf states and up the east coast. This year’s intense jet stream pattern will bring much warmer than normal temperatures to the northeastern United States and eastern Canada.” Since El Niño winters are warm and wet the drought will be helped but don’t expect any long term drought solutions. “California’s water situation will improve but ground water levels are unlikely to rebound to levels seen before the drought began. One year’s rains will not alleviate the long-term water problems caused by the record California drought but reservoir levels will rebound.”
Read the article out and watch for other weather changes affected by the reality of “Climate Change”.
Watch this: The link below takes you to a very informative video narrated by Bill Putman, a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The visual effects here are based on computer models. They dramatically show the effects, paths and concentrations of CO2 throughout the world and Putnam’s minimal narrations helps you better understand what you are seeing. Take a few minutes and watch.
Read this: As we deal with the facts that Climate Change is real, humans have largely caused it and it will be quite devastating, a question that we never really get to slowly seeps into our consciousness. That question is “What Will the World Look Like After Climate Change”? We have heard many general comments, but we seldom get into the details. As humans continue to destroy the world as we know it, a new one is beginning to evolve. Maybe we should look a little deeper and then, possibly, we might actually take some actions, late though they would be. The “Mother Jones” article, by Lizzie Wade, in the link below, looks at many of these changes in more detail. It focuses on three areas of change: “A Warmer Forest”, “An Acidic Ocean” and “A New Pecking Order”. The article summarizes saying, “Climate change will be the end of the world as we know it. But it also will be the beginning of another.” Take a look and absorb the real consequences of inaction. Lastly, become active.
Check this out: One of the dilemmas when discussing Climate Change with anyone is where to get reliable information. Well here is a very sound source. Part of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Earth System Research Laboratory / Global Monitoring Division / Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network has created a dynamic video presentation that charts CO2 changes over a period of 800,000 years and ending on January 1, 2014. Whereas the environmental organization 350.org says we need to attempt to maintain global CO2 levels at or near 350 ppm, the video ends with a CO2 level of 398 ppm as of 2014. Watch the video demonstrating “Trends in Atomospheric Carbon Diozide” as well as other charts. Their web site also has many other tabs with videos and many charts worth taking a look at. Bookmark the web site and arm yourself with some information and note that at the end of the initial video there is a lengthy list of scientific organizations and experts that support the information found here.
Read this: Methane emissions, which are far worse than CO2, are rapidly spreading. The article below from The Daily KOS, by rktect is an example of science that is not covered by the major media. I often ask why, but the title “Don’t read this if you don’t want to know how bad it is” and the content of this article, disturbingly answers that question. Yes, this article tells a very disturbing story. “Methane Hydrate releases in the arctic as warned of by Sam Carana are now reported by NOAA to be 150 miles across. You will remember that even slight releases of methane in the arctic were enough to cause polar researchers like Jason Box to freak out a little over a year ago.” You might be thinking that since you haven’t heard of this it can’t be that critical. Think again! “Methane is orders of magnitude worse than CO2 and its being released in 50 Gigaton bursts farts that by themselves can cause an instant 1.3° C global temperature rise.” As the article repeatedly suggests, any reporting of this has been “Trumped” by, let’s just say more exciting news. Those of us who have followed 350.org’s premise that the world target should be to allow the global temperature to increase no more than 2 degrees C have to be greatly concerned about this newly reported event. “Now we have El Nino acting like a blowtorch raising the temperature of the whole Pacific Ocean 4-8 ° C and directing its focus towards the (US) west coast.” How will this affect overall global temperatures? It can’t be good! Read more in the article below and keep your eyes out for additional news (you will have to search for it since our national media will probably not cover it) on Methane problems related to Climate Change.