E - The Environmental Magazine
Photo by Frank D. Lospalluto/Flickr: Clark's Nuthatch on whitebark pine
Dear EarthTalk: How is it that climate change is responsible for killing whitebark pine trees and thus impacting mountain ecosystems? -- Dale Livingstone, Salem, OR
January 24, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--Whitebark pine trees are a “keystone” species in high-altitude ecosystems across the American West, meaning they play an important role in maintaining the natural structure of many of our most iconic mountain regions. Wildlife from grizzly bears to songbirds are dependent on whitebark pine seeds for nourishment, while forest stands of the trees stabilize and shade the snowpack in winter, which helps reducing avalanches and helps extend snowmelt flows into the dry summer months.
September 19, 2013 (San Diego) – Dear EarthTalk: What is the new documentary film A Fierce Green Fire about and what does the title refer to?
-- Gloria Howard, Washington, DC
A Fierce Green Fire is a new film documenting the rise of the modern environmental movement from the 1960s through the present day. It premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival and will be playing at select theaters across the country beginning in September 2013. Educators, environmental groups and grassroots activists also will be showing the film at small and large events from coast to coast over the course of the fall. Written and directed by Mark Kitchell, Academy Award-nominated director of Berkeley in the Sixties, A Fierce Green Fire (the film) is based on the 1993 book of the same name by environmental journalist Philip Shabecoff.
September 14, 2013 (San Diego) – Activist San Diego is holding a general meeting on September 16, beginning at 7 p.m., at Joyce Beers Center, 3900 Vermont St., San Diego. The meeting will address climate change and the XL Keystone Pipeline.
August 15, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Members of the national, California, and San Diego Leagues of Conservation Voters will deliver a climate change denier award to Rep. Darrell Issa in recognition of his extreme anti-science views, which put him at odds with 97 percent of scientists and a majority of the American people. The event is part of a “Day of Action” held nationally in coordination with Organizing for Action to hold climate change deniers accountable.
By Jeffrey Meyer
August 9, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – There is an unprecedented human drama unfolding in Africa that should stop every one of us in our tracks. It is a vision into humanity's future, where we are heading and how we will exist throughout the remainder of this century. This is about choices, by all of us and where those decisions will lead us.
By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss, E - The Environmental Magazine
June 17, 2013 (San Diego) -- Dear EarthTalk: Could it really be true that we are in the midst of the worst drought in the United States since the 1930s? -- Deborah Lynn, Needham, MA
Indeed we are embroiled in what many consider the worst drought in the U.S. since the “Dust Bowl” days of the 1930s that rendered some 50 million acres of farmland barely usable. Back then, drought conditions combined with poor soil management practices to force some 2.5 million Americans away from the Great Plains, only wreaking further havoc on an already devastated Great Depression economy. The lack of native prairie grasses or cover crops to keep the soil in place meant large swaths of formerly productive agricultural land turned to dust and blew away in so-called “black rollers.”
While we have learned a lot about maintaining soil quality since, drought conditions today are nevertheless taking a heavy toll on agricultural productivity, fresh water supplies and the economy—especially as the effects of global warming start to kick in more seriously.
May 13, 2013 (Geneva) – A new report released today by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) reveals that 32.4 million people were forced to flee their homes in 2012 by disasters such as floods, storms and earthquakes. While Asia and west and central Africa bore the brunt, 1.3 million were displaced in rich countries, with the USA particularly affected.
Nearly all (98%) of displacement in 2012 was linked to climate- and weather-related events.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego confirms findings May 9; world’s top scientists call for action
By Miriam Raftery
May 10, 2013 (San Diego) -- Measurements around the world confirm that the rise in carbon dioxide levels have surpassed 400 parts per million –the highest in our planet’s history.
Before the industrial revolution in the 1900s, when coal and oil began to be burned on a large scale, C02 levels were never higher than 280 ppm.
But in recent years, the levels have risen 100 times faster than after the last ice age—providing clear evidence that the rise is far beyond any cyclical changes ever seen before. In fact, leading scientists around the world warn, climate change may soon be irreversible unless drastic changes are made to reduce this level to 350 ppm or lower.
By Miriam Raftery
April 21, 2013 (San Diego) – “Another scourge is beginning in California,” environmental activist Peg Mitchell told audience members at a forum on environmental justice issues hosted by Activist San Diego on April 15. That “scourge” is fracking – and in California, it’s all about extracting oil, not natural gas.
To frack for oil requires millions of gallons of water –a precious commodity in Cailfornia. It also means injecting toxic chemicals that corporations are not required to disclose due to the “Halliburton Law” pushed through by former Vice President Dick Cheney.
The public doesn’t have a right to know where fracking is occurring or where its waste products will be dumped—even though fracking can cause earthquakes, disturb radioactive substances in the earth, reinject contaminated water into wells, and potentially pollute thousands of miles of coastline.
So why the push to frack for oil in California?
SIERRA CLUB WINS LAWSUIT ON COUNTY'S CLIMATE ACTION PLAN: JUDGE RULES “ENFORCEABLE MITIGATION MEASURES ARE NECESSARY NOW”
Exclusive to ECM: How decision could impact East County's transportation and energy production
By Miriam Raftery
April 20, 2013 (San Diego) – On the eve of Earth Day events, the Sierra Club has won a critical lawsuit challenging the County of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan (CAP). On April 19, Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor issued his final ruling agreeing with the Sierra Club that the County’s Climate Action Plan “contains no enforcement mechanism for reducing GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions.”
The ruling could have significant consequences for East County, where numerous large wind and solar projects have been pushed through under the mantra of addressing climate change.
On one hand, the decision could bolster arguments of some Supervisors who view large energy projects as the fastest or easiest way to meet goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
On the other hand, the ruling also forces the County to conduct an Environmental Impact Report - opening up the process for public comment. That could include discussion of how much fossil fuel it takes to manufacture, build and operate industrial-scale wind and solar projects--and whether there are better alternatives, such as solar on roofs and parking lots in urban areas.
April 14, 2013 (San Diego) – Dear EarthTalk: What would you say are the most important steps we need to take as a nation to counter the impacts of climate change?
- Ned Parkinson, Chino, CA
Americans care more about the environment than ever before and the overwhelming majority of us acknowledges that climate change is real and human-induced. But still we continue to consume many more resources per capita than any other nation and refuse to take strong policy action to stave off global warming—even though we have the power to do so.
By Walt Meyer
February 19, 2013 (Lakeside)--New careers as the wave of the future was a key theme in a guest lecture February 12 given by Chuck Brands at El Capitan High School. Brands is a local sustainability and solar energy expert who is also vice-president of Heartland Coalition and director of its UnitedGREEN division.
Last fall, Brands coordinated a class at Southwestern College to teach a new technology that uses all relevant data to map a building so that owners and occupants can manage their energy consumption and plan to adapt the building for energy innovation. The students were team-taught this pioneering class by experts from across the country under a grant from SDG&E to the Heartland Coalition.
Photos by Diane Lesher
February 17, 2013 (San Diego)--Mayor Bob Filner and over 500 San Diego protestors in Mission Bay Park joined similar rallies in cities across America Sunday in protest of the Keystone XL Pipeline project, beginning a massive effort to demand President Obama block it and call for leaders at all levels to take action to fight global warming.
Speaking at the San Diego rally, Mayor Bob Filner expressed his concerns about Keystone, climate change and what he wants to do in San Diego.
By Miriam Raftery
Jaunary 9, 2013 (La Mesa) – Mayor Art Madrid reflected on the past, praised the city’s present accomplishments, and looked ahead to the future in his annual city audit report delivered on January 8 in the City’s Centennial year.
“I dare say that in many ways we are glad to see 2012 in our rear view mirror,” he said, citing budget cuts by the state among the city's biggest challenges in the past year. Fiscal challenges will continue, he predicted, as Congress embarks on the federal budget negotiations battle. “We may be seeing the last of the Community Development Block Grants, CDBG and Housing Assistance Programs, plus other vital safety net programs that assist certain members of our society.”
Mayor Madrid also named climate change and environmental concerns among the key challenges ahead, spoken in a week when the National CIimatic Office announced that 2012 was the hottest year on record in the U.S. “What is the role of local governments, including La Mesa, in addressing these problems? First choosing facts and science over politics, acknowledge that these issues exist, and define their impact on our city by evaluating the costs and consequences of doing nothing,” said Madrid.
By Miriam Raftery
January 8, 2013 (Washington D.C.) – If the weather seemed hotter last year than in the past, your memory is correct.
In its State of the Climate Report, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center reveals today that 2012 averaged the hottest temperatures ever recorded for the lower 48 states in the U.S. Nationwide, the average temperature for 2012 was 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit—a full 3.2 degrees higher than the 20th Century average and one degree hotter than the previous hottest year on record (1998).
It was also a historic year for extreme weather that included severe drought, larger wildfires, hurricanes and storms--the second worst year on record.
View report: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/ and scroll down for highlights.
E - The Environmental Magazine
Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss
January 7, 2013 (San Diego)--Dear EarthTalk: How is it that climate change is negatively affecting the health of rivers and, by extension, the quality and availability of fresh water? -- Robert Elman, St. Louis, MO
Global warming is no doubt going to cause many kinds of problems (and, indeed, already is), and rivers may well be some of the hardest hit geographical features, given the likelihood of increased droughts, floods and the associated spread of waterborne diseases.
Moonshot for Green Job Creation Within Reach of New San Diego Leaders, Community
By Kathleen Connell
December 8, 2012 (San Diego)--As the post-election celebrations end and 2013 approaches, new leaders have been elected in San Diego in what many consider a historic moment in the region. At the same time, San Diegans, the nation, and the globe are struggling to come out of a recession so deep, it is often referred to as the second Great Depression. Meanwhile profound challenges - climate change and Hurricane Sandy - have swept through the East Coast and the consciousness of Americans as Sandy pushed the detritus of climate denial aside in its terrible force, damage and cost.
$1 Billion Loss Experienced By Winter Sports Industry, Future Impacts Could be Larger; Consequences for states including CA listed
December 6, 2012 (San Diego's East County)– A new economic analysis details how the $12.2 billion winter tourism industry spread out across 38 states has experienced an estimated $1 billion loss and up to 27,000 fewer jobs over the last decade due to diminished snow fall patterns and the resulting changes in the outdoor habits of Americans, according to the new study prepared for the nonprofit groups Protect Our Winters (POW) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
Potentially, diminished snowfall could have impacts here in San Diego, where mountain areas such as Julian, Mount Laguna, Cuyamaca and Palomar Mountain thrive on tourism during the winter months.
November 20, 2012 -- (San Diego’s East County) – ECM World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflecting all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:
- Home prices rise in 81% of U.S. cities as markets recover (Bloomberg)
- How the U.S. mortgage settlement can help military members (U-T San Diego)
- BP settles with U.S. for $4.5 billion in Gulf spill (Sacramento Bee)
- 2 BP workers indicted on manslaughter counts (Sacramento Bee)
- Obama insists on tax hike in “fiscal cliff” deal (Reuters)
- Secession petitions now filed in all 50 states (Yahoo News)
- Rick Perry does not support secession (CNN)
- Federal Wildlife Services makes a killing in animal-control business(Sacramento Bee)
- Obama vows action on climate change for future generations (RawStory)
- Toxic flame retardant detected in popular soda (Rodale Press, publisher of Prevention Magazine)
- Judge approves FTC's $22.5M fine of Google (Politico)
- Jindahl: End ‘dumbed down conservatism’ (Politico)
- Petraeus case shows ease of government email snooping (Reuters)
- Obama: Israel has ‘every right’ to defend itself from Gaza missile attacks (U.S. News)
- Israeli official:Truce to begin in hours; IDF drops warning leaflets in Gaza (Haaretz)
- After rockets hit Tel Aviv area, IDF renews aerial assault on Gaza (Haaretz)
- US Senate expresses firm support of Israel (YNet news)
- Turkish PM in Cairo vows support for Gaza (U-T San Diego)
- Gunmen kill six alleged collaborators in Gaza (Reuters)
- IAF strikes 4 terrorists hiding in media building (Jerusalem Post)
- Lebanese army dismantles rockets aimed at Israel (UT-San Diego)
- Israel assassinates Hamas military chief in Gaza (Sacramento Bee)
Other world news:
- Scandal in Ireland as woman dies in Galway ‘after being denied an abortion’ (The Guardian)
- Egyptian jihadist urges demolition of Sphinx, pyramids (Jerusalem Post)
- Iran ready to double nuclear work in bunker: IAEA (Reuters)
- Cells reverse paralysis in dogs (BBC)
- Vegetative patient: “I’m not in pain” – breakthrough research (BBC News)
Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.
November 8, 2012 -- (San Diego’s East County) – ECM World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflecting all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:
- Obama makes history, again (CNN)
- After election, overtures from Republicans on debt (Washington Post)
- House Speaker says he’ll consider tax increase (SF Gate)
- Big gains for women in 2012 (CNN)
- Obama to weigh energy boom, climate change in second term (Reuters)
- After Romney losses, GOP soul searching begins (CBS)
- Hope and change part II (NY Times opinion)
- Marijuana legalization victories could be short-lived
- New York City crime down by a third in wake of superstorm (Reuters)
- Study: Stem cells from strangers can repair hearts (Sacramento Bee)
- Russia set to redefine treason, sparking fears (NPR)
- Insight: Putin's Russia - more fragile than it looks (Reuters)
- Day of the Dead takes on new meaning for families of Mexico's disappeared (Christian Science Monitor)
- Islamists protest in Cairo, call for Sharia law (Jerusalem Post)
By Lori Abbott, California News Service
October 8, 2012 (Sacramento)-- California farmers trying to adapt to climate change are getting some support. Governor Jerry Brown has signed two bills that will help the state reach its greenhouse gas reduction goals. The bills create a public process for determining how cap-and-trade revenue will be spent, with some of the revenue going to sustainable agriculture activities.
E - The Environmental Magazine
Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss
September 24, 2012 -- Dear EarthTalk: What is the scientific consensus on all the extreme weather we’ve been having—from monster tornadoes to massive floods and wildfires? Is there a clear connection to climate change? And if so what are we doing to be prepared? -- Jason Devine, Summit, PA
- Corporate political efforts don’t guarantee results—study (Reuters)
- Romney energy plan includes drilling virtually every part of U.S. – no protections even for national parks (Think Progress)
- Issa demands documents on green energy loans (Fox News)
- Presidential projections on wind power flawed according to new book (KXXV)
- Justice Department sues Florida over voter purge (Huffington Post)
- Mojave desert: Military wants to limit wind development (Riverside Press Enterprise)
- Sebelius: Medicare stronger than ever due to healthcare law (The Hill)
- Family net worth drops to level of early ‘90s (NY Times)
- Colorado wildfire moving fast, not contained (BBC)
- California tribes suing to halt construction of wind factory on sacred land (Indian Country Today)
- Open letter asks Obama to meet with Tribal leaders on Ocotillo Express wind project (Indian Country Today)
- Russian protesters demand Putin resignation (CNN)
- U.N.: Syria children tortured, used as human shields (CNN)
- Syria in Civil War, says U.N. official (BBC)
- Solar-powered “super trees” breathe life into Sinagapore urban oasis (CNN)
- Scottish Power (a division of Iberdrola, developer of Tule Wind) tests U.S. tax breaks on interest (Reuters)
- Ruling on wind farm says countryside as important as climate change targets (UK Telegraph)
May 8, 2012 (San Diego)—The League of Conservation Voters San Diego has endorsed Congressman Bob Filner in the San Diego Mayoral election.
WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION CONFIRMS CLIMATE CHANGE ACCELERATED IN PAST 10 YEARS; 2011 WAS 11TH WARMEST ON RECORD
“This 2011 annual assessment confirms the findings of the previous WMO annual statements that climate change is happening now and is not some distant future threat. The world is warming because of human activities and this is resulting in far-reaching and potentially irreversible impacts on our Earth, atmosphere and oceans.” --WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud
By Miriam Raftery
March 23, 2012 (Geneva) – The United Nation's World Meteorological Organization, representing 183 member nations, issued its Annual Statement onthe Status of the Global Climate today. The report concludes that climate change accelerated in the past decade and that 2011 was the 11th warmest year since records began in 1850.
Increasingly destructive tornadoes, floods and other indicators of global warming are also occuring with heightened frequency around the world. The new study found extreme weather events increased from 2001 to 2010 at an alarming rate consistent with global climate change. Worldwide, this included an increase in floods by 63%, drought 43%, heat waves 43%, heavy rain 43%, fires 25%, and tropical cyclones 24% among countries responding to the survey.
Editor's note: Assemblyman Brian Jones has issued the following response to Ms. Disenhouse's editorial: “To give a small group of people a monopoly over deciding what is true or false does a great disservice to public debate in this country. Those who believe Lord Monckton has his facts wrong are welcome to continue in that belief, but he is still entitled to participate in this critical debate. As someone who does not blindly accept conclusions arrived at without conclusive evidence, I am more than happy to accommodate Mr. Monckton sharing his point of view.”
By Masada Disenhouse
March 23, 2012 (San Diego)--It is ironic that freshman Assemblyman Brian Jones has chosen this Saturday, March 24 to emcee one of the world’s most egregious actors on the climate denial stage – after a winter of broken heat records. Regardless of your opinions on climate change, sponsoring an inflammatory charlatan such as self-titled Lord Christopher Monckton is offensive to many in San Diego County.
March 6, 2012 (Sacramento)--Scientists from the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and PRBO Conservation Science have completed a study on the effects of climate change on vulnerable birds. This first-of-its-kind study prioritizes which species are most at risk and will help guide conservation measures in California. The study was published last week in the journal PLoS ONE.