February 24, 2012

Mount Everest’s shrinking glaciers

Image first produced and shown at UNESCO's Outdoor Exhibition ‘Satellites and World Heritage Sites, Partners to Understand Climate Change,’ at COP16 in Cancun, Mexico. Copyright Cnes 2004 - 2010 - Distribution Astrium Services / Spot Image

Saw this photo on Responding to Climate Change  today while I was putting off doing my Calculus homework. It’s so beautiful, yet also super disturbing.

This is a photo of Nepal’s Sagarmatha National Park, home of Mount Everest (the highest peak in the world, duh), which is famous for its “dramatic mountains, glaciers and deep valleys.”  The site says:

Several rare species, such as the snow leopard and the lesser panda, are found in the park.

The air temperatures in this area have risen by 1°C since 1970, leading to a 30% decrease in snow and ice cover over the last 40 years.

A high glacier on Mount Everest, located at an altitude of 4,000 m, is now a lake.

Glacier lake outburst floods are now much more frequent, creating serious risks for human populations with grave implications for the water supply in South Asia and the flow of major rivers such as the Ganges, Indus and Brahmaputra.

I just don’t get how people can look at stuff like this and say, “Oh, it’s just totally random that this is happening, it’ll all get colder someday again and everything’ll be fine.”  As if.

In case you’re curious, Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) is an organization that’s dedicated to raising awareness about climate change issues (yay).  It also runs Climate Change TV, the world’s first-ever online video channel that’s 100% devoted to running stories about climate change.  You should check it out.   Everybody should.

 

 

 

 


February 6, 2012

Here comes the sun, doot-n-doo-doo

OK, so obviously I care about the environment and wanna get people to think about how they live their lives and what kind of impact that makes on the Earth.  I’ve always thought that wind power was an amazing idea, equally as good as solar power.  But now it turns out maybe not, in the long run.

My Earth Science teacher from last year, Mr. Hoekbaard, emailed a bunch of us who run the Environment Club at our school about this article he thought we would find intriguing.  We’ve been, um, discussing it a lot, which is really saying something, ’cause we’re a hyper-opinionated group.  Anyway, it’s from New Scientist, and it’s completely fascinating, and you should absolutely read it.  It basically says that as the global demand for energy grows (’cause of population growth, and more people getting access to energy), nuclear energy is too risky, and large-scale wind power could negatively affect the environment, too.  Strap on your nerd helmet, ’cause this here’s a diagram to show how it works:

This basically shows why solar is going to be the way to go. Copyright New Scientist.

One of the scientists quoted in the article says:

Sagan used to preach to me, and I now preach to my students, that any intelligent civilisation on any planet will eventually have to use the energy of its parent star, exclusively.

If that doesn’t blow your mind, read the last third of the article, about how pulling down cool air from the four jet streams of wind ten kilometers above the Earth could be harnessed to “geoengineer” the temperature of the Earth.  In other words, counteract and even reverse the effects of global warming.

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re like, This is all really far in the future.  But it shouldn’t be.  It could start happening more now.

Not sure why? But this article makes me really happy.  Hence, my totally corny title for this post, which is a nod to my mom and dad and their olde-tyme musical tastes.  Also, I’m finally finished with all the stuff I was supposed to do today, so now I can treat myself to the latest episode of “Fringe”.  Don’t worry, I’ll be watching on the lowest-possible brightness level on my computer to save energy.  ; )

 


January 10, 2012

Do something with the help of Earth Justice

Maybe you’re like me and you want to have some kind of effect on your President’s administration, your Congressperson, a government agency, or any other person or organization that needs to listen.   First of all, I really hope you are, and thank you.  Second, since I’m a member of Generation Hot (shut up), I highly suggest you check out a very good website called Earth Justice.  (Their slogan is “Because the Earth needs a good lawyer.”  It used to be known as The Sierra Club, in case you’re old (no offense).

Do you like arctic foxes?  Isn’t this one cuuuuuuuuute?  Perfect, because that’s how I’m luring you into sending emails from their website.

Their “Action Center” is awesome.  They have various issues with a little story describing the problem, and totally-easy-to-fill-out form letters.

Are they effective?  I’m not totally sure, but I would obviously rather do it than not.  Plus, I posted a picture of a totally cuuuuuuuuute arctic fox for you, so you owe me one. C’mon, just check it out already.


January 5, 2012

“Generation Hot”

So, this author & journalist named Mark Hertsgaard (who’s kind of old, no offense) wrote an article for The Huffington Post called “Meet Generation Hot.” It’s about how every kid born after June 23, 1988 belongs to “Generation Hot.” Not Generation Y or Z or whatever.  It’s based off the title of his book, HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth.

Anyway, his name for us younger people kinda makes me cringe a little bit because it can totally be twisted into something gross.  (I know you know what I mean.  Shut up.)  But basically, the idea is good.  What *he* means is that you’ve basically grown up under the threat of global warming:

This generation includes some two billion young people, all of whom have grown up under global warming and are fated to spend the rest of their lives confronting its mounting impacts.

So why June 23, 1988?

I date the beginning of Generation Hot to June 23, 1988 because that is when humanity was put on notice that greenhouse gas emissions were raising the temperatures on this planet. The warning came from NASA scientist James Hansen’s testimony to the U.S. Senate and, crucially, the decision by the New York Times to print the news on page 1, which in turn made global warming a household phrase in news bureaus, living rooms and government offices the world over.

He talks about how in 2020 there will be twice as many really hot days in the summer, and how growing enough food will be a challenge for the by-then even more populated planet.

Many members of Generation Hot are active in the climate fight, but they cannot succeed without much more help from their elders. The threat of nuclear annihilation — the other great peril of the last fifty years — called forth a powerful movement of parents, especially mothers, that eventually helped convince the superpowers to choose a safer course. Now, parents across the country and around the world should mount a similar campaign to preserve a livable future for our children, the precious young people of Generation Hot.

I wonder if enough parents are listening.


December 14, 2011

Change By Us

“Hey NYC!  How can we make our city a greener, greater place to live?”

That’s the question that Change By Us wants you to help answer.  It’s an interactive place to share and read ideas on an interactive bulletin board, create or join a project, and reach out to a network of local leaders to get your idea heard.

Their homepage is a colorful electronic “bulletin board” where you can put your idea on a Post-It.  You can search other people’s ideas and projects, or start your own.

I think every city should have something like this.  The hard part is getting people to do stuff, right?  Sigh.  I know I’m only in high school, but I feel like it’s OK for me to say that in a jaded voice.

Later, Tater (tots).

 


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    "The Next Forever" is a song from The Great Immensity. The footage was taken on Barro Colorado Island in the Panama Canal by videographer David Ford. Music and lyrics by Michael Friedman.
     
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