Tag Archives: United States

Happy Earth Overshoot Day

Donate to my page

(Photo – Flickr: Chris Jupin)

August 8: Humans have used all the Earth’s resources for the year.

Known as “Earth Overshoot Day,” this year falling on August 8, the day marks the date that humans have withdrawn more natural capital than can be reproduced in a year.

“From carbon sinks to fisheries,” writes Sarah Emerson, per VICE News, “humanity has taken more from nature than it’s been able to reproduce. Quite simply, we’re in environmental debt. We’ve officially overspent nature’s resource budget, according to the Global Footprint Network, an international climate research organization. Metaphorically speaking, if Earth were a bank, we’d be in over our heads with overdraft fees.”

For the last 40 years, humans’ impact on Earth’s ability to generate renewable resources has grown. Our ecological footprint has become larger than ever—it is now less humanoid and more sasquatchian:

Without fail, the Global Footprint Network says, Earth Overshoot Day has fallen earlier every year—between one to three days, on average, over the last four decades. Last year, it coincided with August 15,” writes Emerson. “Renewable resources such as crops, forests, and fishing grounds, as infinite as they might seem, are only as productive as we allow them to be. An ecosystem’s usefulness, also known as its ‘biocapacity,’ is fatally interconnected with our ability to curb greenhouse gas emissions. If these environments can’t absorb our carbon and waste, they’ll take longer to regenerate.”

Humans must find a way to live sustainably rather than draining the Earth of its life-giving natural resources at critical rates. Soon, if we don’t change, it won’t just be the arctic that will be feeling the heat—no one will be spared the effects of global warming. But there is hope, and, with new technologies, says Mathis Wackernagel, co-founder and CEO of Global Footprint Network, it is possible, and, perhaps, financially advantageous. Wackernagel says it’s in our hands—as a population, as a race—to solve this global issue.

“Ultimately, collapse or stability is a choice.”

Donate to my page

Checking the Temperature of the Climate Change Debate

An Editorial.

The Debate

Or Lack Thereof

The arctic is heating; there is no debate.

In December, the North Pole was warmer than Western Texas, Southern California, and parts of the Sahara.

Wait… what?

Headlines read: “MAN vs. EARTH“; “These People Are Covering the Alps With Blankets“; “A Massive Amount of Death Is Plaguing the World’s Oceans“. Articles scream “That’s absolutely terrifying and incredibly rare. To create temperatures warm enough to melt ice to exist in the dead of winter—some 50 or 60 degrees warmer than normal—is unthinkable. 

The conversation of Climate Change today is of paramount importance: “I would say that [the UN’s annual climate change conference] is going to decide a thousand years of future in the oceans,” Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara who recently authored a major study on the human-caused destruction of ocean fauna told VICE news.

Yet, whilst a “growing contingent within the scientific community argues that because of human influence on the air, water, and soil we are no longer living in the Holocene epoch, which began about 11,700 years ago with the end of the Ice Age, but are now in the Anthropocene — The Age of Humans”—per VICE news, some refuse to accept the glaring truth. Yes, Man has fucked the planet so badly that it’s entering a new epoch and many—funded by oil giants such as Exxon—refute the evidence.

Man is desperate, but without the collective actions of us all, we will not have a planet that is full of harmony—we must save our arctic, save our forests and save our future.

The Human Charge

And What We Can Do

The WWF attributes the death to a “network of interrelated human behaviors”—namely overfishing, aquafarming, island- and ocean-based tourism, pollution, climate change, and offshore drilling in the oceans (read more about offshore arctic drilling here). As all of these factors accelerate—largely due to an increased standard of living rather than new human needs—the unprecedented levels of carnage in our oceans will not cease to exist (“29 percent of the world’s fish stocks are classified as overfished and 61 percent as ‘fully exploited,’ meaning they have no ability to produce greater harvests”).

However, the oceans are not a lost hope: “‘If you stop taking the pieces out of these ocean civilizations, they can begin to rebuild themselves,’ he told VICE News. ‘It’s never going to regrow itself the way it was 50 years ago […] but we have to do what we can to stop the carnage and allow these systems the space to regrow.'”

Marine species have declined by almost half over the last forty-five years, according to the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Index, and leading marine scientists tell VICE News that the only hope of stopping mass death in the oceans is to radically and quickly transform human behavior.

[…]

Fish were the most threatened, in large part because of human overfishing: Over a third of fish consumed by humans measured by the Living Planet Index are under threat of extinction, with one family of tuna and mackerel falling 74 percent between 1970 and 2010.

Other animals that recorded massive and ongoing losses were sharks and rays, of which one in four species is threatened with extinction, and some species of turtles, which declined by 97 percent in the Eastern Pacific.

The mass death of larger animals is tied to the decimation of habitats that are critical to the ocean’s biosphere. The WWF also noted that coral reefs — which support 25 percent of all marine life — could go extinct by 2050, and global surface areas of seagrass and mangroves, which provide spawning grounds, nutrients, and shelter for many animals, have declined precipitously.”

Save The Arctic — a Greenpeace project — states, “If you want to change the world, start at the top” — so let’s look North:

“The Arctic Ocean is home to incredible wildlife, from majestic polar bears to blubbery walruses, mysterious narwhals and graceful seabirds. But the sea ice they depend on is vanishing at a terrifying speed.

Without ice to hunt, rest, and breed, the very survival of polar bears and other wildlife is under threat. Mother polar bears, weak and starving, have trouble reproducing. Their cubs must fight the odds to survive into adulthood.

Unless we make a global concentrated effort to prevent this, experts warn that polar bears could disappear completely from the Arctic in the next 100 years. Act now to protect their home,” the mission declares.

The Human Cost

Why We Care

“See, you can ignore [climate change], but the thing about truth is, it can be denied—not avoided. So I’m sorry future generations: I’m sorry our footprint became a sinkhole, and not a garden; I’m sorry that we paid so much attention to ISIS, and very little to how fast the ice is melting in the Arctic. […] We are not apart form nature, we are a part OF nature; and to betray nature is to betray us, to save nature is to save us.”

Dear future generations: sorry. Sorry that we watched as our arctic—yes, our arctic—literally melted away before our eyes. Sorry we ignored the warnings.

And now, there’s more:

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 8.51.07 PM.png

“It’s especially worrying because the Arctic is warming faster than nearly anywhere else on Earth. Now, along with melting sea ice and thawing permafrost, we have to add to our list of ‘feedback loop’ concerns that warming Arctic oceans may be releasing fonts of methane. That is, the warmer the ocean gets, the more methane gets spewed out of those stores on the continental shelf, and the warmer the ocean gets, ad infinitum,” writes Brian Merchant, per VICE news.

“We’re on a trajectory to an unmanageable heating scenario, and we need to get off it,” he said. “We’re fucked at a certain point, right? It just becomes unmanageable. The climate dragon is being poked, and eventually the dragon becomes pissed off enough to trash the place,” said Box, who is currently a professor of glaciology at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, and has been studying the Arctic for decades.

“I may escape a lot of this,” Box said, “but my daughter might not. She’s 3 years old.”

Enough said.

Save The Arctic

Save The Arctic — a Greenpeace project — states, “If you want to change the world, start at the top” — so let’s look North:

“The Arctic Ocean is home to incredible wildlife, from majestic polar bears to blubbery walruses, mysterious narwhals and graceful seabirds. But the sea ice they depend on is vanishing at a terrifying speed.

Without ice to hunt, rest, and breed, the very survival of polar bears and other wildlife is under threat. Mother polar bears, weak and starving, have trouble reproducing. Their cubs must fight the odds to survive into adulthood.

Unless we make a global concentrated effort to prevent this, experts warn that polar bears could disappear completely from the Arctic in the next 100 years. Act now to protect their home,” the mission declares.

Join the movement here and show the world you will do what it takes to save OUR arctic (https://www.savethearctic.org)!

Donate here to help save our earth and its inhabitants—every dollar counts (wwf.worldwildlife.org/goto/savethenarwhal)!

Donate to my page

In The News

12143215_10154290561327908_3963294035308186230_n

(Photograph via U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders Facebook Page)

The scientific community is telling us if we do not address the global crisis of climate change, transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to sustainable energy, the planet that we’re going to be leaving our kids and our grandchildren may well not be habitable. That is a major crisis.”

Donate to my page

Save the Earth, its climate, and those who dwell on it by donating here—every dollar counts (http://wwf.worldwildlife.org/goto/savethenarwhal)!

In The News

shell-abandons-controversial-arctic-drilling-campaign-after-spending-an-estimated-7-billion-1443460601

(Photocredit: Jim Paulin/AP)

Shall ices Arctic drilling campaign:

“The Arctic’s rapidly warming climate has created an opening for oil companies to get at the vast stores of hydrocarbons estimated to lie underneath the sea floor, even as scientists warn that those fossil fuels are driving climate change,” writes Matt Smith for VICE News. “But the price of crude has plunged from more than $100 a barrel to less than $50 in the past year and a half, making it harder for more difficult plays to break even.”

Royal Dutch Shell has ditched its hard-fought push to find oil and natural gas off the remote Alaskan coast ‘for the foreseeable future,’ saying this summer’s drilling turned up weak prospects at high cost.

[…]

The announcement came as a happy surprise to environmentalists, who harried Shell in court and on the water in an unsuccessful attempt to halt the project. They argued that the region’s harsh conditions would raise the risk of a major spill, which would be all but impossible to clean up.

[…]

The company said it will cap the 6,800-foot well it drilled this summer and walk away, writing off an estimated $4.1 billion in the process. The entire effort is publicly estimated to have cost the company at least $7 billion since 2008, when it obtained leases on the seabed about 75 miles northwest of the Alaskan shore.

Greenpeace, whose activists boarded one of Shell’s drill ships in the Pacific and blockaded one of its icebreakers in Portland, Oregon, exulted in the decision Monday. Greenpeace spokesman Travis Nichols said the depth of public opposition to the project ‘caught them flat-footed,’ and the results should boost efforts to protect the Arctic.

‘Shell sunk $7 billion into this. They bullied regulators and ran roughshod over public opinion, doubling down on this huge bet, and they busted,’ Nichols said. ‘I think that’s going to be a big warning sign to other oil companies.’

Read more here (https://news.vice.com/article/shell-abandons-controversial-arctic-drilling-campaign-after-spending-an-estimated-7-billion)!

Donate to my page

Save the Earth, its climate, and those who dwell on it by donating here—every dollar counts (http://wwf.worldwildlife.org/goto/savethenarwhal)!

In The News

untitled-article-1443467137

(Photocredit: Simon Oberli)

“Photographs of the glacier from last year compared to ones taken in 2007 are dramatic,” writes Marie Doezema for VICE News. “What was once a sprawling and thick mass of ice now appears scrawny. One state of matter has changed to another: Where once there was glacier, now there is lake.

And how would one preserve a glacier?

…Blankets (!!), of course:

The lifespan of a glacier is centuries-long; the twilight years, however, can go remarkably quickly. Such is the case for Switzerland’s Rhone Glacier, only 10 percent of which is expected to remain by the end of the century. Some local residents, alarmed by the melting, have resorted to palliative care methods.

For the past eight years, owners of the land that is home to an ice cave, carved into the Rhone glacier each year since 1870, have been covering the ice with blankets. The blankets, which protect the ice from the sun’s radiation during the hot summer months, have been shown to reduce melting between 50 and 70 percent, said David Volken, a glaciologist working with the Swiss Environment Ministry.

[…]

The primary cause of the increased rate of melting is rising temperatures, and while an increase in two to four degrees Fahrenheit might not be a tangible and dramatic difference to a human, glaciers are particularly sensitive. 

‘We don’t feel it, but the tongue of the glacier does,’ said Nussbaumer, adding that annual mass changes in glaciers are a ‘direct climatic signal.’

‘The only thing we can do is limit emissions and decrease temperatures,’ Nussbaumer said. In terms of glacier survival, the options are between bad and worse. ‘Depending what we do now, in 150 years we will have between zero to 10 percent of glacier mass left.’ 

[…]

Glaciers, because of their sensitivity to both short-term and long-term fluctuations in temperature, are a good indication of larger trends in climate change, said Nussbaumer. ‘Everyone can observe the changes.’

Beyond the local impact of reduced tourism and the loss of a natural phenomenon that has become part of Switzerland’s heritage and national identity, the melting glaciers will have very practical impacts on the country. Nussbaumer said these could include diminished sources of fresh water used for irrigation, drinking, and hydroelectric power, as well as a destabilization of the ground left behind, which can result in erosion and debris flow. On a global level, the melting of glaciers contributes to rising sea levels.

Read more here (https://news.vice.com/article/these-people-are-covering-the-alps-with-blankets)!

Donate to my page

Save the Earth, its climate, and those who dwell on it by donating here—every dollar counts (http://wwf.worldwildlife.org/goto/savethenarwhal)!

In The News

untitled-article-1443129402

(Photocredit: Diana Haecker/AP)

“Poachers may have killed these 25 walruses for their heads and tusks,” writes Esha Dey for VICE News. “The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has launched an investigation into the deaths of 25 walruses in a remote region in the northwestern coast of Alaska.”

While killing walruses is illegal under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, Alaskan Natives (Inuits) remain allowed to hunt these animals (as well as narwhals), as they make up an important part of the diet of the natives, and the tusks and bones and hides are used to make traditional goods. However, across the board, “head hunting”—killing these animals purely for their tusks—is illegal.

“‘Walruses use ice as a platform to feed off…it’s like sitting in a bus and going from one supermarket to the next,’ Horstmann-Dehn said. ‘They can jump off the floating ice and feed and again get on it and digest, and then they float on the ice into a new area and feed again.’

But climate change, which is warming the Arctic twice as fast as the rest of the world. Sea ice and glaciers in the Arctic are receding, the permafrost is melting, and sea levels are rising.

A 2012 study of Pacific walruses conducted by researchers from the US Geological Survey’s Alaska Science Center and Russia’s Pacific Research Fisheries Center found that the lack of sea ice in September and October caused walruses to forage in areas nearer to the shore, instead of going further offshore as they did in the past.”

Read more here (https://news.vice.com/article/poachers-may-have-killed-these-25-walruses-for-their-heads-and-tusks)!

Donate to my page

Save the Earth, its climate, and those who dwell on it by donating here—every dollar counts (http://wwf.worldwildlife.org/goto/savethenarwhal)!

In The News

“Climate change is actually helping whale hunters — here’s how,” writes VICE News’ Matt Smith.

untitled-article-1441378888

(Photocredit: Franck Robichon/EPA)

In defiance of a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling, Iceland and Norway continue to whale; some in Japan still eat whale meat; Japan allows whaling under an “exemption for scientific purposes.” Whales face “more threats today than at any time in history,” says Patrick Ramage, the director of whale programs at the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the globe, and its sea ice cover has been shrinking for decades. That’s opening up new sea routes along the northern shores of North America, Europe, and Russia — and causing ‘unprecedented changes’ to traditional cetacean habitats, WWF Arctic species specialist Pete Ewins told Vice News.”

Though, Fin whales generally live in the northern temperate waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, warming temperatures have driven them to higher latitudes, “putting them in competition with existing Arctic species like bowhead and beluga whales or narwhals,” said Ewins. “Those whales are highly stressed, especially by ice retreat at unprecedented levels,” he said.

“Meanwhile, the prospect of increased commercial fishing in the region threatens to reduce the amount of food for the massive mammals. And as warming driven by fossil fuel consumption makes the Arctic more accessible, it’s made the estimated reserves of oil and gas in the region more accessible.

All of those pose threats to whales, which also can die when snagged in fishing gear, hit by ships’ propellers, or fouled by an oil spill. Ewins said humans need to come up with “a smarter and better-balanced” approach to the Arctic before pouring into the North the way they have swarmed other frontiers.”

Read more here (https://news.vice.com/article/climate-change-is-actually-helping-whale-hunters-heres-how)!

Donate to my page

Save the Earth, its climate, and those who dwell on it by donating here—every dollar counts (http://wwf.worldwildlife.org/goto/savethenarwhal)!

In The News

“A massive amount of death is plaguing the world’s oceans,” writes VICE News’ Aaron Cantú.

untitled-article-1442861970

(Photocredit: Franck Robichon/EPA)

The WWF attributes the death to a “network of interrelated human behaviors”: overfishing, aquafarming, island- and ocean-based tourism, pollution, climate change, and offshore drilling in the oceans—read more about offshore arctic drilling here. As all of these factors accelerate—largely due to an increased standard of living rather than new human needs—the unprecedented levels of carnage in our oceans will not cease to exist (“29 percent of the world’s fish stocks classified as overfished and 61 percent as ‘fully exploited,’ meaning they have no ability to produce greater harvests”).

However, the oceans are not a lost hope: “‘If you stop taking the pieces out of these ocean civilizations, they can begin to rebuild themselves,’ he told VICE News. ‘It’s never going to regrow itself the way it was 50 years ago […] but we have to do what we can to stop the carnage and allow these systems the space to regrow.'”

Marine species have declined by almost half over the last forty-five years, according to the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Index, and leading marine scientists tell VICE News that the only hope of stopping mass death in the oceans is to radically and quickly transform human behavior.

[…]

Fish were the most threatened, in large part because of human overfishing: Over a third of fish consumed by humans measured by the Living Planet Index are under threat of extinction, with one family of tuna and mackerel falling 74 percent between 1970 and 2010.

Other animals that recorded massive and ongoing losses were sharks and rays, of which one in four species is threatened with extinction, and some species of turtles, which declined by 97 percent in the Eastern Pacific.

The mass death of larger animals is tied to the decimation of habitats that are critical to the ocean’s biosphere. The WWF also noted that coral reefs — which support 25 percent of all marine life — could go extinct by 2050, and global surface areas of seagrass and mangroves, which provide spawning grounds, nutrients, and shelter for many animals, have declined precipitously.

Read more here (https://news.vice.com/article/a-massive-amount-of-death-is-plaguing-the-worlds-oceans)!

Donate to my page

Save the Earth, its climate, and those who dwell on it by donating here—every dollar counts (http://wwf.worldwildlife.org/goto/savethenarwhal)!

In The News

VICE News: Writers, scientists, and climate experts discuss how to save the world from Climate Change.

“The public debate over climate change adaptation often focuses on rural areas—Arctic communities forced to relocate from the vanishing permafrost, farming towns in the dust bowl driven out as their water table is sucked dry. But what about those of us in cities? We are far from immune.”

Climate Change effects our planet and its inhabitants—and that includes us.

Read the entire article here (http://www.vice.com/read/sos-0000653-v22n5)!

Donate to my page

Save the Earth, its climate, and those who dwell on it by donating here—every dollar counts (http://wwf.worldwildlife.org/goto/savethenarwhal)!