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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category



Mass Extinction Time Bomb: Methane

Dec3

by: Allen L Roland on December 3rd, 2013 | 1 Comment »

(Permafrost in Siberia. Methane emissions from the Arctic permafrost increased by 31% from 2003-07/ Photograph: Francis Latreille/Corbis)

Experts say methane emissions from the Arctic have risen by almost one-third in just five years, and that sharply rising temperatures are to blame.What very few people understand are both the short and long range consequences for the planet in regards to a sudden increase in Methane emissions.

As the Guardian points out:

This recent discovery follows a string of reports from the region in recent years that previously frozen boggy soils are melting and releasing methane in greater quantities. Such Arctic soils currently lock away billions of tons of methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide,leading some scientists to describe melting permafrost as a ticking time bomb that could overwhelm efforts to tackle climate change.


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Take Action Against Climate Change in the Wake of Typhoon Haiyan

Nov26

by: David Weinstein on November 26th, 2013 | 5 Comments »

(Credit: CC-BY-NC-SA by Nove foto da Firenze)

By now most of us have seen photos and heard reports of the heartrending loss of life and destruction from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The monster storm has affected 11 million people and destroyed 670,000 homes. Blown-out towns have been reduced to grim junkyards of rubble. It seems beyond words. But words and images are all we have from afar, so I will ask a few questions and try to connect a few dots.

The shock of this sheer devastation has aroused the compassion of the American people, perhaps evoking memories of September 11. But at the same time, not enough of us are talking about the connection between extreme weather incidents and climate change. There is a grim irony in the fact that the UN Conference on Climate Change was meeting in Warsaw at the same time as Haiyan. It’s an outrageous reality that this body has reached no agreement about curtailing greenhouse gases and global warming.

This is basically because the United States Congress steadfastly refuses to pass any clean energy legislation commensurate to the clear and present danger of catastrophic global warming, despite Super Storm Sandy, droughts, floods, and wildfires on our own shores. Why is this, especially since the majority of Americans support its government taking action to fight global warming? One can only conclude that our government values profits of the dirty energy sector over the well-being and lives of their own citizens.

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A Call for Climate Justice

Nov21

by: on November 21st, 2013 | Comments Off

People around the world have responded swiftly and generously to the devastation in the Philippines caused by Typhoon Haiyan, the largest storm ever recorded. In the wake of this disaster, it is important for us to go beyond simple relief efforts. We must heed the warnings of climate scientists who point to present disasters and future dangers, including sea level rise and increasingly deadly storms linked to climate change.

In November, 2013, in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, leaders from more than 190 nations met in Warsaw, Poland, for the latest round of United Nations climate negotiations (the 19th Conference of the Parties, or COP 19). Yeb Sano, the lead negotiator from the Philippines, broke down in tears, made a powerful and emotional appeal for bold action, and pledged to fast for the duration of the talks unless commissioners come to a substantial agreement addressing climate change.

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Dark Shadow of Chernobyl Touches Fukushima: It’s Time for Action

Nov19

by: Allen L Roland on November 19th, 2013 | 2 Comments »

(Credit: CC-BY-NC-SA by Surian Soosay)

I thought Chernobyl was bad,until I saw this. Here’s a time lapse map of the 2,053 nuclear explosions that have taken place between 1945 to1998. It starts slowly but skip to 1962 and the buildup becomes overwhelming before the world seemingly comes to its senses.

But now let’s deal with the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1987 when a simple experiment to see if the steam turbines could power the coolant pumps if there was a loss of power, led quickly to a nuclear disaster on the night of April 26, 1986. A disaster that nearly poisoned the world with a dose of lethal radiation. [Seconds From Disaster - Meltdown at Chernobyl]

Today, we have Arnie Gundersen putting up a new video on the upcoming fuel rod removal at the ongoing radiation disaster of Fukushima, and it cuts to the core of the worldwide radiation danger we now face at Fukushima. EPCO has produced a reassuring short video describing how the fuel removal process is supposed to go, mixing animation and documentary footage to soothe away any viewer’s worries. Arnie Gunderson calls it a “fantasy cartoon” and shows excerpts from the TEPCO production followed by his own explanations of how TEPCO is misleading the world.

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Rejoice: Openly Socialist Candidate Wins Seattle City Council Seat

Nov18

by: on November 18th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

(Flyer for Sawant/ Credit: CC-BY-NC-SA by Natalie Woo)

It’s true. Seattle elected a socialist candidate to its City Council. Kshama Sawant, a 40-year-old community college instructor and immigrant, is the kind of socialist spiritual progressives can feel delighted about. She ran on an Occupy platform of raising the minimum wage a hefty $5 to $15/hour, instituting rent control, public ownership of utilities, expanding paid sick leave, increasing citizen oversight of police, and taxing millionaires. She even said, under prodding, that one could make a case for nationalizing Amazon and Boeing; it wouldn’t happen, and she wasn’t running on it, but one could make an argument. And she was still elected.

How did she do it?

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November Tomatoes and Climate Change

Nov13

by: on November 13th, 2013 | Comments Off


November Tomatoes in the Sierra

It’s mid-November, and our plants are still bearing red tomatoes. The days are warm, it doesn’t freeze at night, and it hasn’t rained. Maybe when we lived in Santa Cruz we still had tomatoes in November, but in the Sierra Nevada? It should be raining or snowing here.

Over 50% of the United States is in the second year of drought. Here in California, this is the driest year ever recorded.

According to California’s Department of Environmental Protection, climate change is impacting California through hotter temperatures, shrinking snowpack, more frequent and intense wildfires, warmer lakes and oceans, and rising sea levels. And have you noticed? Food prices are higher, as the USDA predicted they would be because of last year’s drought.

It seems that this year’s November tomatoes are a consolation prize of climate change. If anything, these tomatoes are even tastier and sweeter than mid-summer tomatoes. But my pleasure in eating them is tempered by the awareness of where we are headed with climate change, and of the suffering of many people for whom the devastation of climate change is already a reality.

Hurricane Haiyan, the most powerful storm ever recorded, hit the Philippines last week, wreaking havoc. In U.S. news coverage, climate change is hardly mentioned, in spite of the fact that delegates from more than 190 nations are meeting in Warsaw this week for the latest round of United Nations climate negotiations.Yeb Sano, the lead negotiator from the Philippines, broke down in tears, made a powerful and emotional appeal for bold action, and pledged to fast for the duration of the talks unless commissioners come to a substantial agreement addressing climate change.

Not only does climate change threaten the civilization of which I have been a beneficiary, it threatens the life support system upon which we all depend. These November tomatoes are a symbol to me of the sweetness of the gifts of the earth, but in a darkening time, a time of deadly threat, a time of loss.

I want my grandchildren and future generations to experience the sweetness that I have experienced in life. I’m convinced that it will take hard work and sacrifice on the part of many people to change the system that has brought us to this extremity. I pray that we will join together and rise to the challenge.

Meanwhile, the taste of November tomatoes reminds me to live my faith– to live in the moment, face reality, refuse to be in denial, practice prayer, enjoy the fruits of the Spirit, renounce fear, trust in the Love that undergirds the universe, and follow wherever that Love leads.

For Sharon Delgado’s previous postings about climate change, go to blog postings on climate change.

Fukushima Is Here to Stay

Nov4

by: on November 4th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

Hundreds of volunteers spell out the obvious to an apathetic world.

Like a relentless, invisible creeping fog, Fukushima’s poisonous presence is already here on the West Coast and it won’t go away. This ongoing ominous radiation threat will be impossible to ignore by 2014 and its effect could double within five years when its life threatening symptoms will begin to fully surface.

The map below comes from the Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center and it shows that Fukushima radiation levels at radiation monitoring stations all over the United States are rising and particularly on the West Coast.Every day 300 tons of radioactive water from Fukushima is flushed into the Pacific Ocean and is building up in our food chain.

“Right now the world faces a terrifying crisis. But are you terrified? Am I? No, we’re not. Perhaps we will be after the fact, sometime between a catastrophic onset and dealing with our own eventual physical decline from exposure.Harvey Wasserman

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Upcycling Creativity

Oct25

by: on October 25th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

In the emergent world – the one I call The Republic of Stories – we don’t have to shrink ourselves to the scale of widgets to interact with corporations and institutions, modeling our own ways of being on the machine logic of our inventions. At any moment, we can open the gates of perception and understanding. We can treat each other as whole beings. We can assess and consider the full price of our actions, then act accordingly.

That world already exists; it’s just that the way is sometimes blocked by those so loyal to Datastan’s values that they can’t imagine an alternative. It’s a matter of time before enough people bring the new reality into focus, and I am determined to put my energy on the fulcrum of paradigm shift. It’s amazing how much even a single exercise – allowing a piece of music to enter us fully – can help engage the tipping-point.

In Vancouver recently, I spoke at the Zero Waste Conference, a gathering of scientists, officials, academics, and activists devoted to eliminating waste. I was deeply impressed to encounter Michael Braungart for the first time. His talk was frank and amusing, calling into question many of the aims implicit in zero waste and other action focusing on environmental impact reduction. Braungart’s points sounded obvious once you heard them, generating mind-changing implications. For instance, he compared the goal of “zero emissions” to the reality of a tree, which emits helpful substances into the atmosphere and earth. He questioned sustainability as a value, suggesting that it sets the bar pretty low: “Would you want to answer a question about the quality of your marriage by saying, ‘It’s sustainable’?”

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Weekly Sermon: Learner’s Mind- Between Empire and Kingdom Come

Oct14

by: on October 14th, 2013 | Comments Off

Text:Jeremiah 29: 1-7; Luke 17: 11-18

In the first pages of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, the reader confronts a Columbus quite different from the one we learned in school. Some may be aware that he sailed on condition of receiving a large share in the profits from his gold-seeking adventure, but everyone knows that early on October 12, 1492, a sailor finally sighted land.

Columbus’ ship was met by Arawak Indians swimming out to greet the visitors. In his journal, the explorer wrote of these Indians:

They are well-built, with good bodies and handsome features. . . [They] are so naïve and free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say No. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone… They do not bear arms and do not know them. . . They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… They would make fine servants… With fifty men, we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want .. .


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Born to Belonging: Praying the Primal Elements

Oct8

by: Larry Rasmussen on October 8th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

We would all be well advised to listen to the counsel of Wendell Berry, who has been for the past fifty years America’s foremost teacher on the subject of the wholeness of creation. “To cherish the remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal,” he warns, “is our only legitimate hope for survival.” There is no more effective way to cherish the remains of the Earth than first, to recognize the primal elements of earth, air, water and fire as sacred and therefore worthy of reverence. Then, as we perceive more deeply the wholeness of creation, we understand as well that we have been born to belonging to the sacred primal elements, of which we are composed and without which we could not live.

(CC-BY-NC-SA by www.martin-liebermann.de)

From the moment we are born until our death, we need air. Likewise water. Our body mass is, like the planet’s, 70 percent water. As the descendents of Adam, whose name derives from the Hebrew word adama (soil), we are groundlings, earthlings, the good clods who became the cultivators. We are creatures of dust, a little water, and the breath of God. Our identity is in our belonging to the sacred elements, a heritage that unites us with a past stretching back millions of years; yet, this identity has current implications as well. We live in a period of transition from an industrial-technological civilization to an ecological civilization, a transition that some have called the greatest that humans have ever faced. This transition marks the emergence from the Holocene Age to the Anthropocene Age.


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