It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here | David Roberts: ‘Climate Change Is Simple’ (remixed by Ryan Cooper)

Via YouTube:

David Roberts is staff writer at Grist.org. In “Climate Change is Simple” he describes the causes and effects of climate change in blunt, plain terms.

On April 16, 2012, speakers and attendees gathered at TEDxTheEvergreenStateCollege: Hello Climate Change to reflect on the ability — and responsibility — of formal and informal education to inspire and empower action in this era of climate change.

Related:

Infographic: Global Sea Level Rise Projections and Risk to the U.S.A.

A 2012 study by the U.S. Geological Survey determined that sea levels along the East Coast will rise three to four times faster than the global average. The study named Norfolk, New York City, and Boston as the three metro areas most vulnerable to the devastating effects of rising sea levels—ranging from the dramatic increase in storm surge, as winds scoop up water from the sea and dump more of it farther from the coast than ever before, to the steady erosion of roads, buildings, and arable soil as seawater creeps inland.

Source: ‘The Scary Truth About How Much Climate Change is Costing You’ (National Journal)

Infographic: Global Sea Level Rise Projections and Risk to the U.S.A.

A 2012 study by the U.S. Geological Survey determined that sea levels along the East Coast will rise three to four times faster than the global average. The study named Norfolk, New York City, and Boston as the three metro areas most vulnerable to the devastating effects of rising sea levels—ranging from the dramatic increase in storm surge, as winds scoop up water from the sea and dump more of it farther from the coast than ever before, to the steady erosion of roads, buildings, and arable soil as seawater creeps inland.

Source: ‘The Scary Truth About How Much Climate Change is Costing You’ (National Journal)

Ideas for the Future | ‘It’s Wrong to Wreck the World: Climate Change and the Moral Obligation to the Future’ (Video)

From SFU Continuing Studies via Youtube:

Although climate change is a scientific and technological issue, it is also fundamentally a moral issue, and it calls for a moral response. 

In the spring of 2012, Kathleen Dean Moore of Oregon State University joined us at SFU Vancouver to deliver a lecture called It’s Wrong to Wreck the World: Climate Change and the Moral Obligation to the Future. 

She addressed several questions: Why has climate-change science elicited such stunning indifference? What calls us to act? How can we respond to the crisis in ways that honor duties of compassion, justice, and respect for human rights? How can we discuss these values across differences? How do we live when we truly understand that we live in complete dependence on an Earth that is interconnected, interdependent, finite, resilient, and heartbreakingly beautiful?

I recently stumbled upon this article from Postmedia’s award-winning national science writer, Margaret Munro. It was written in advance of June’s Rio+20 summit, which was widely viewed to have achieved limited results. That said, the article offers a good summary of some of the big systemic changes that we’re likely going to have to pull off on the long road to building a sustainable and resilient future. In other words, it’s going to take a whole lot more than riding a bike, recycling, and using cloth shopping bags.

The article has a bit of a Canadian focus, but the steps are universal:

1. Start a revolution

2. Energy game change

3. Put a price on carbon

4. Overhaul corporate motives and mindsets

5. Green Canada’s blackened record 

6. Transform cities

7. Connect the dots before you buy

8. Eat less meat

9. Embrace education (and contraception)

10. Get politically active

You can read the rest of the article and an explanation of each of the steps here, but I’ll post the first one here as an example:

“For most of the last century, economic growth was fuelled by what seemed to be a certain truth: the abundance of natural resources. We mined our way to growth. We burned our way to prosperity. We believed in consumption without consequences,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last year. He went on to describe it as a “recipe for national disaster. It is a global suicide pact.”

“We need a revolution,” he said. “Revolutionary thinking. Revolutionary action. A free-market revolution for global sustainability”.

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Globally, June was 4th warmest on record, NOAA announced today. And over the Northern Hemisphere, for the second consecutive month, temperatures were as warm as they’ve been in 133 years of records. Notably, the Arctic experienced its largest June sea ice loss since the start of satellite records in 1979.

It was the 36th consecutive June and 328th consecutive month with temperatures warmer than the 20th century average, NOAA said…

The decline of Arctic sea ice is one of the more telling indicators of recent warmth in the Northern Hemisphere. The Arctic lost the equivalent of 1.1 million square miles of ice in June (most on record), its extent falling to 9.8 percent below average, second lowest on record (since 1979).

Snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere, another indicator of temperature, reached its lowest extent in 45 years of June records.

Extreme weather: ”Epic dryness’ feeding Western wildfires’
From USA Today:

In the Rocky Mountain West, firefighters say they’ve never seen the trees and grasses this dry so early in the summer.
"It’s epic dryness," says Beth Lund, leader of the incident management team assigned to the High Park Fire, which has burned 135 square miles near Fort Collins, Colo., and destroyed at least 257 homes. It is now the most destructive in recorded Colorado history.
But hardly the only one. Ten separate fires are burning in Colorado, prompting a planned visit Friday by President Obama. They threaten the U.S. Air Force Academy, the town of Boulder and the city of Colorado Springs.
Colorado isn’t the only state affected by an exceptionally severe fire season, with crews battling blazes in Alaska, Arizona, California, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
"The whole Central Rocky Mountain range is a tinderbox," says Ron Roth, of the Rocky Mountain Area Coordinating Center in Lakewood, Colo.
A light winter snow pack, dry spring, more people living in what was once wilderness and the long-term effects of climate change have all conspired to make this an especially bad fire season, Roth says. “We’ve got trees torching, tornadoes of fire — this is extreme fire behavior,” he says.
…
Climate change is undoubtedly playing a role, if only in the distribution of invasive insects, Delgado says. The pine bark beetle has been migrating north for years as warmer winters allow it to survive outside its previous range. The insects have killed millions of acres of forest, leaving behind tinder-dry wood.
"When that timber goes dead, it doesn’t make for a real good situation when the fire comes," Bently says.

Check out the rest of the article here.
Related:
‘West’s wildfires a preview of changed climate: scientists’ (Reuters)
‘Climate change will boost number of West’s wildfires' (Reuters)
(Map credit: NASA via Yale e360) 

Extreme weather: ”Epic dryness’ feeding Western wildfires’

From USA Today:

In the Rocky Mountain West, firefighters say they’ve never seen the trees and grasses this dry so early in the summer.

"It’s epic dryness," says Beth Lund, leader of the incident management team assigned to the High Park Fire, which has burned 135 square miles near Fort Collins, Colo., and destroyed at least 257 homes. It is now the most destructive in recorded Colorado history.

But hardly the only one. Ten separate fires are burning in Colorado, prompting a planned visit Friday by President Obama. They threaten the U.S. Air Force Academy, the town of Boulder and the city of Colorado Springs.

Colorado isn’t the only state affected by an exceptionally severe fire season, with crews battling blazes in Alaska, Arizona, California, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

"The whole Central Rocky Mountain range is a tinderbox," says Ron Roth, of the Rocky Mountain Area Coordinating Center in Lakewood, Colo.

A light winter snow pack, dry spring, more people living in what was once wilderness and the long-term effects of climate change have all conspired to make this an especially bad fire season, Roth says. “We’ve got trees torching, tornadoes of fire — this is extreme fire behavior,” he says.

Climate change is undoubtedly playing a role, if only in the distribution of invasive insects, Delgado says. The pine bark beetle has been migrating north for years as warmer winters allow it to survive outside its previous range. The insects have killed millions of acres of forest, leaving behind tinder-dry wood.

"When that timber goes dead, it doesn’t make for a real good situation when the fire comes," Bently says.

Check out the rest of the article here.

Related:

(Map credit: NASA via Yale e360

Thinking Sustainability: ‘Last Call: The Documentary’ (Trailer)

From Last Call:

Present system crisis, both environmental and economical, matches with the reference scenario outlined in the 1972 book "The Limits to Growth", by a group of researchers of the MIT. Climate change, natural disasters, wars, natural resources reduction, economic and financial crisis, democracy and political, systems crisis, poverty, hunger and famines, over population… While these crisis are acknowledged by almost everybody there is a tendency to consider them separately. The Limits to Growth team’s approach, in 1972 and in 2012, shows that all these crisis are different parts of a single big problem… The documentary “Last Call" shows the urgency to listen to this message of warning, in order to pursue a new model of equity and sustainability, before it’s too late.

(Graphic source: PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency via Scientific American)

Countries will be asked this summer to sign up for 10 new sustainable development goals for the planet and promise to build green economies at the first earth summit in 20 years.

According to a leak of the draft agenda document seen by the Guardian, they will also be asked to negotiate a new agreement to protect oceans, approve an annual state of the planet report, set up a major world agency for the environment, and appoint a global “ombudsperson”, or high commissioner, for future generations. Dozens of heads of state, political leaders and celebrities are expected to go to the UN’s Rio+20 sustainable development meeting, to be held in Brazil in June.

Unlike the 1992 earth summit when over 190 heads of state set in motion several legally binding environment agreements, leaders this time will not be asked to sign any document that would legally commit their countries to meeting any particular targets or timetables. Instead, they will be asked to set their own targets and work voluntarily towards establishing a global green economy which the UN believes will reduce poverty and slow consumption. 

(The Guardian)

Collage source: Rio+20