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Burning Ice begins airing tonight on the Sundance Channel.
In September 2009, documentary filmmaker Peter Gilbert (Hoop Dreams, At the Death House Door) joined more than 40 observers – including musicians Laurie Anderson, Jarvis Cocker, Robyn Hitchcock, Ryuichi Sakamoto and writers Suzan-Lori Parks and Andrew Revkin – on an ice-breaking ship for a nine-day voyage off the coast of Greenland with artist-led climate change project, Cape Farewell.
Their goal was to see, experience and contemplate the effects of climate change first-hand – and to begin a creative conversation with the rest of the world about one of the most important and pressing issues facing the future of humanity.
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Chart by David McCandless & Ben Bartels @ Information is Beautiful
Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano is emitting between 150,000 and 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide per day per day. Extrapolated over a year, the emissions would place the volcano 47th to 75th in the world table of emitters on a country-by-country basis, according to a database at the World Resources Institute which tracks environment and sustainable development.
HAT TIP: breitbart.com
This video was made for Oxfam GB as part of the YouTube Cannes Young Lions Ad Contest. It introduces Friday’s Focus: SIGNS OF GLOBAL WARMING. Okay, “Climate Change.” Whatever you call it, there are signs of it everywhere — in fish, butterflies, polar ice, migrating birds, and precipitation; all covered in today’s posts. Seven in all, starting now:
Last year we cited research in Scotland that documents how climate change is causing sheep to shrink in size. Now we find that global warming may also be causing some fish to lose half their body mass. Why is this a problem? Having found global shrinkage in a variety of water-born organisms – from fish and plankton to bacteria – researcher Martin Daufresne of the Cemagref Public Agricultural and Environmental Research Institute in Lyon, France, points out that smaller fish tend to produce fewer eggs as well as less sustenance for predators – including you and me.
HAT TIP: dsc.discovery.com
The greatest single enemy in the battle against infectious disease – the mosquito – is rapidly taking advantage of warmer temperatures. It proliferates faster and bites more as temperatures rise, and it has extended its range both in latitude and elevation. As a result, dengue fever and malaria – which alone creates debilitating health problems for 300 million victims a year (a million people annually die from the disease) – has recently made inroads in the Korean Peninsula, Southern Europe, and the former Soviet Union.
HAT TIP: news.nationalgeographic.com
“Butterflies are not only charismatic to the public, but also widely used as indicators of the health of the environment worldwide,” says Art Shapiro, a professor of evolution and ecology at the University of California, Davis. “We’ve found many lowland species are being hit hard by the combination of warmer temperatures and habitat loss.” A recent paper resulting from Shapiro’s research program finds that “diversity among high-elevation butterflies is beginning to fall as temperatures become uncomfortably warm for them” and, Shapiro says, “there is nowhere to go except heaven.”
HAT TIP: news.ucdavis.edu
Welcome to the epicenter of global warming:
Spanish ornithologist Miguel Ferrer estimages that 20 billion birds have changed their migrating habits in the last few decades. The shift involves 70% of the world’s migrating birds and is due, in large part, to climate change. “Long-distance migrators are travelling shorter distances, shorter-distance migrators are becoming sedentary,” says Mr Ferrer. This has “an effect on almost everything they do, from breeding habits to feeding habits to their genetic diversity, which in turn affects other organisms in their food chain. It’s a huge behavioral change, forced on them by rising temperatures.”
HAT TIP: independent.co.uk
A warmer climate means an increase in precipitation worldwide. Heavy downpours have already increased in the United States, Japan, the former Soviet Union, China, and Australia. Accorrding to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, precipitation in America has increased an average of about 5% over the past 50 years. Projections of future precipitation generally indicate that northern areas will become wetter, and southern areas, particularly in the West, will become drier. The amount of rain falling in the heaviest downpours has increased about 20% on average in the past century, and this trend is very likely to continue, with the largest increases in the wettest places.
CLICK THE PICTURE AND WATCH IT MOVE (what’ll they think of next?!?):
You’re looking at the collision of the 60-mile-long B-9B iceberg with the the Mertz Glacier in East Antarctica in early February. The crash created a second iceberg nearly 50 miles long and 25 miles wide, named C-28. The two icebergs are now hampering ocean circulation and could deprive local marine life of oxygen if they don’t move.
The images were taken by the synthetic-aperture-radar instrument aboard the European Space Agency’s Envisat satellite.
HAT TIP: eternalcode.com Images: ESA
Welcome to climate change – the game. The BBC has put together a surprisingly engaging online video game called Climate Challenge. In it, you are the president of the European Nations and must tackle global climate change from 2000 to 2100. You choose Europe’s policies and try to persuade competing regional blocs to reduce their carbon emissions. Visit bbc.co.uk and do not pass go or you go to jail.
You can watch the entire, ten-minute Story of Cap and Trade by clicking youtube.com.
Pavlopetri, the world’s oldest known submerged town, is located off the southern Laconia coast of Greece (it’s thought to be 5000-6000 years old). According to marine geo-archaeologist Dr. Nic Flemming, underwater researchers have “almost the complete town plan, the main streets and all of the domestic buildings. We can study how it was used as a port, where ships came in and how trade was managed.” Do cities really disappear beneath the waves? Cities do. More information here: www.sciencedaily.com.
Thanks Diesel Ad (photo above).
In light of all the pre-Oscars buzz going on this month, we decided to share some of our favorite Green films. In short, Friday’s Focus highlights a few movies that entertain and inspire the environmentalist in us all. Starting with:
AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH: You’re probably well aware of this Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Feature, featuring Al Gore and his tireless efforts to bring the reality of global warming to light. If not, go rent it now, before the video store floods.
NPR’s Robert Krulwich and Odd Todd, in partnership with Wild Chronicles, present an animated cartoon series on the atom at the heart of global warming: carbon. This is Episode One.
NOTE: if you haven’t heard Krulwich (and Jad Abumrad) on WNYC’s RadioLab, you’re missing out on a national treasure. Info at wnyc.org or go to the iTunes Store and sign up for the podcast, absolutely FREE!
Believe it or not, 16 of the world’s largest container ships can produce more sulphur pollution than all the cars on the planet. The International Maritime Organization allows super ships to use so-called bunker fuel, which contains up to 4.5 percent sulphur (4500 times more than the amount allowed in automobile fuel). The largest ships emit as much as 5000 tons of sulfur a year – equal to the emissions from about 50 million cars. But that’s not all. Every year, ships also contribute almost a billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, which makes them as big a contributor to climate change as airplanes.
HAT TIP: puregreencars.com
This Friday’s Focus is MUSIC. Eight lyrical posts to follow. Rock on.
The Waterpod is a dwelling that’ll come in handy if the Copenhagen Accord (assuming there is a Copenhagen Accord) fails to solve the Climate Crisis (assuming there is a Climate Crisis). The home produces its own energy via solar and wind generation, and is built from recycled materials. Needless to say, it floats.
Hat Tip: ecofriend.org
So here we are half-way through the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and you haven’t heard a word about it from us. Why? Frankly, we figured you’d be getting enough of the ongoing news from other sources. If you have been living under a rock, find out everything you need to know here, at the official conference site.
Forget global warming (well, for a second anyway). Cutting carbon dioxide emissions is also a health issue, with millions of lives in the balance because of heart and lung disease. In the long run, most environmental initiatives make sense simply because they improve our quality of life. They also demonstrate respect for God’s green earth – ask any God you like. Tell that to the next climate change denier you meet. Meanwhile, visit huffingtonpost.com to read more about health and the environment.
Known for its innovative nonwoven fabrics, the Landolt Group has produced an ecologically-friendly fabric called, Ice Protector Optiforce® that protects snow cover from heat and UV radiation. An area just below the summit of Switzerland’s Gemsstock mountain was blanketed with 3000 square metres of the material, enabling year-round preservation of snow and ice on the skier’s departure ramp to the Gurschen glacier. Could similar “blankets” save entire glaciers – or for that matter, the snow on Kilamanjaro? Visit popsci.com for thoughts on the subject.
If you’ve been praying for a greater consciousness when it comes to global issues, you’re not alone. A collective of churches known as Interfaith Power and Light is mobilizing a religious response to global warming in its congregations by promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency, and conservation. A praiseworthy effort indeed! HAT TIP:interfaithpowerandlight.org.
photo: Vince Alongi
If you were walking down the street and you saw a plastic bag lightly tumbling in the breeze, would you stop to pick it up?
If you’d been with us aboard the Baylis, you would without question.
Welcome to the Derick M Baylis, a 65-foot auxiliary-powered sailing research vessel, a Prius at sea.
Chartered by Sealife Conservation, its mission is to inspire conservation of the Oceans by fostering awareness of the marine environment through research and education. On board, a mixture of open minds: a fifth grader and an ocean activist, college students and college grads, dads and daughters. The most obvious commonality is the desire to experience and learn.
Would you step out of your way to pick up that Styrofoam cup in the park?
A day aboard the Baylis would provide you with more than one reason to do it.
The Baylis has just left its slip and nets are manned on both the port and starboard sides. A candy wrapper is the first catch of the day, small, but certainly there’s not a thought of throwing it back. A simple standard has been set: if you see it, call it out, and it will get hauled in. During the trip to the sea, other debris is collected. The experience is underscored by living sea lions basking on a buoy, pelicans flying overhead, and twenty or so dolphin close enough that you can
hear them breathing and slapping the water. A drifting patch of kelp is hoisted on board and the passengers comb through the leaves looking for life’s beginning stages taking refuge in the safe haven. Tiny crabs and other little creatures are placed in beakers so they can be studied.
A torrent of plastic and other trash is impacting their lives, so while the ocean is where most of earth’s life begins, it seems to be our least-respected resource.
If you were strolling on the beach, would you salvage that plastic cup half buried in the sand?
If you knew the crew of the Baylis, absolutely, you would.
The Billabong seaplane rendezvous with the Baylis off the SoCal coast.
On board are three incredible, big-wave riders. Mike Parsons, Grant “Twiggy” Baker and Greg Long don’t look like the hell men they really are as they board the sailboat from a dinghy, calm and clearly intrigued. Each of them has surfed the largest waves in the world with that same studied character.
They understand the ocean and it’s contents. Around the globe, they have seen pristine beaches turn into dumps and witnessed a bounty of plastic bags and bottles mixed with syringes. They watch as the Baylis nets its own collection of discarded objects, using GPS to note the location.
Would you stop a boat to pick up a floating water bottle?
At this point you know the answer is yes. A manned net on the starboard side misses a plastic bottle and suddenly the boat is turning around to gather it – a 65-foot boat on a turnabout for a single water bottle. There are no complaints, only interest in the brand and where it is from. The 180-degree turn for the bobbing plastic makes a point – for if we can stop trash like this from ever leaving the land, it will never find its way to the ocean’s garbage dumps.
That plastic bag, tumbling in the breeze?
Are you going to pick it up?
There was a point in my life when I would have answered, “no.” Or perhaps I wouldn’t have answered the question at all. Today I find myself stuffing plastic bags in my wetsuit sleeve while surfing. There are funny looks from the others in the line -up until I explain that, to a turtle, a plastic bag looks just like a jellyfish. Suddenly, they understand.
Back aboard the Baylis: A chunk of Styrofoam is netted (the little foam balls that break-off are easily mistaken for food by fish and sea birds). A silver Mylar happy birthday balloon is scooped off the surface to a chorus of hilarious, helium-inspired cheers. Things change. I’ve changed. Anything is possible.
Steve Lawrence, greenlandoceanblue
**All unattributed photos by Steve & Madison
Just a year and a half ago, California alone was using more gasoline than any country in the world (except, of course, for the United States as a whole). In short, by consuming more than 20 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel, the state used more fuel than China, Russia, or India. Puts our gas guzzling in an interesting light, doesn’t it.
Hat Tip: www.wired.com.
This Friday’s Focus is FOOD. Nine delectable posts. And not coincidentally, you can purchase a copy of Food Inc. at your favorite purveyor of DVDs. If that happens to be Amazon, click: www.amazon.com.
According to Ulf Sonnesson of the Swedish Institute for Food & Biotechnology, if we were to swap half of the protein now supplied by meat with soy by the year 2050, we’d see [projected] carbon emissions decrease on the order of 70 percent.
Okay, let’s start with Morning Star Farms Soy Sausage Links, available just about everywhere.
originally uploaded by muha….
A unique foundation called the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) is determined to fight two of our planet’s most pressing issues – climate change and global poverty – with one of the Earth’s greatest resources: the sun.
SELF is working all over the world, targeting those places and issues that need critical attention, or wherever their work can have the greatest impact. In Burundi, for example, they’ve collaborated with Partners In Health to install a solar electric generating system that’s helping medical personnel treat thousands of patients suffering from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
This remarkable group really is onto something – transforming the sun’s energy not only into power, but into hope. Learn more at www.self.org.
Farmer and sons walking in the face of a dust storm. Cimarron County, Oklahoma (LOC), originally uploaded by The Library of Congress
For the story behind the headline, visit: greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com.
Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse, Denmark. The lighthouse devoured by sand., originally uploaded by Anders_3
Shifting sands and coastal erosion have nearly covered the Rubjerg Knude lighthouse in Denmark. Scientists predict that it will fall into the sea in about 20 years.
When glaciers melt, cities lose a vital source of water. And agricultural land that feeds billions becomes inundated. The Los Angeles Times reports that global warming has melted glaciers in the United States at an alarming rate over the last half-century, “increasing drought risks and contributing to rising sea levels.”
1919 image of Athbasca Glacier, Jasper National Park, Canada, from National Archives of Canada. 2005 image © Gary Braasch.
Hat Tip: worldviewofglobalwarming.org
British rock group Duran Duran, heavy metal band Scorpions, Senegalese star Youssou N’dour, Irish singer/composer Bob Geldorf, Chinese singer Khalil Fong, and South African archbishop Desmond Tutu are among 55 world celebrities who have joined in recording a song as part of a mass media campaign on the threats of climate change organized by the Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum.
The song entitled “Beds’r Burning,” was originally recorded by the Australian group Midnight Oil and will be available for download, for free, following a public launch in Paris on Oct. 1.
Hat Tip: green.yahoo.com.
This video features children delivering important messages about new greening initiatives launched during the 2007 conference.