We have reached a new record. For the first time in 800,000 years the atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have reach 400 parts per million. For 1000s of years, the atmosphere has remained under 300 ppm of carbon dioxide. We were around 315 ppm in 1960. The rate of growth continues to grow.
I thought that this PBS News Hour piece about water in Puget Sound was something useful to consider. The part about the impact of run off (heavy metals, oil, etc) and the use of rain gardens and other natural filters (green storm water infrastructure) to improve water quality. This seems to have implications for our local groundwater systems.
Scientists Search for Solution to ‘Toxic Cocktail’ in Washington’s Puget Sound Summary: In Washington state’s Puget Sound, scientists have made discovery of a “toxic cocktail,” made up of excess rainfall that flows into the nearest body of water, carrying pollutants along with it. Kate Campbell from KCTS-9 in Seattle reports on efforts to prevent that runoff from making it into the sound.
Check out this 5 minute video about making local food in the Chicagoland region a reality for all. There is a potential for not only increased health benefits for individuals, but also a healthier community that includes economic development (jobs).
Back in 2006, analysts from the insurance industries predicted the storm surge caused by Super Storm Sandy. Yet, they do not include this risk in their cost models. The US government is actually on the hook for flood insurance, not the industry. This piece from the PBS News Hour outlines the issues around this topic. Many analysts recognize that climate change is making extreme storms more possible, and they are able to identify areas where major storms are likely. But, the industry is still scared of climate skeptics who do not want to pay for models that incorporate the costs of climate change.
SUMMARY: The insurance industry looks at historical data, old and new, in order to assess the risk for potential disasters and put a price on premiums. But when Sandy hit the Northeast, some insurance companies reconsidered if they priced insurance high enough for the greater risks brought on by climate change. Paul Solman reports.
As our Thanksgiving turkey hangover fades away, I thought it appropriate to share this video from CBS’ Fast Draw guys. They use James Sterba’s book Nature Wars as one of their sources.
I thought that this was illustrative of how we remember the past. We tend to forget about the progress we have made in terms of conservation. The late 19th and early 20th century industrialization decimated our enviroment, and through government and private groups, we have preserved many lands. We also forget that people and other animals are creating a new equilibrium in how we live together. Clearly, this equilibrium is not perfect, but it also highlights how limited our perspectives can be on problems that span generations.
The Amazon has been viewed for ages as a vast quilt of rain forest interspersed by remote river outposts. But the surging population growth of cities in the jungle is turning that rural vision on its head and alarming scientists, as an array of new industrial projects transforms the Amazon into Brazil’s fastest-growing region.
The torrid expansion of rain forest cities is visible in places like Parauapebas, which has changed in a generation from an obscure frontier settlement with gold miners and gunfights to a sprawling urban area with an air-conditioned shopping mall, gated communities and a dealership selling Chevy pickup trucks.
Scientists are studying such developments and focusing on the demands on the resources of the Amazon, the world’s largest remaining area of tropical forest. Though Brazilian officials have historically viewed the colonization of the Amazon as a matter of national security — military rulers built roads to the forest under the slogan “Occupy it to avoid surrendering it” — deforestation in the region already ranks among the largest contributors to global greenhouse-gas emissions…read entire article here.
Yesterday, American Public Media’s show Marketplace had a story noting that the US will pass Saudia Arabia as the top oil producer (see below). The story concerned me because they were noting that this increase would come from the hydraulic fracking, which has caused concern about the sustainability of the practice. I have pasted the Marketplace story below. I am not sure that the story spend enough time discussing the nature of fracking, so it falls on our shoulders to do our research.