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Archive for the ‘climate change’ Category

Geoengineering — trying to change the Earth’s climate on a global scale by doing things like seeding the upper atmosphere with reflective particles — is getting attention from serious scientists.

But not so fast, says James Lovelock, originator of the hugely influential ‘Gaia Hypothesis.‘  In an article in today’s Guardian, Lovelock says:

our ignorance of the Earth system is great; we know little more than an early 19th-century physician knew about the body. Geoengineering is like trying to cure pneumonia by immersing the patient in a bath of icy water; the fever would be cured but not the disease.

Better to leave the Earth to cleanse itself, says Lovelock, since our cure may be worse even than the ailment it currently suffers, both for the Earth and for us.

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Even though it’s raining hard here in EarthQuaker land, we’re still being told to expect a drought this summer.  That makes us more than usually interested in issues of water management and conservation.

A good place to start for a global overview of the crises we face with water is this interview with Peter Gleick, founder and president of the Pacific Institute.

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It’s like returning to the seventies of our pre-EarthQuaking youth.  Survivalism is back in the air.  Here’s an exemplary interview with Matthew Stein, author of When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability and Surviving the Long Emergency.

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“By one estimate, for every acre of rain forest cut down each year, more than 50 acres of new forest are growing in the tropics on land that was once farmed, logged or ravaged by natural disaster.”

This we learn in a story from Elizabeth Rosenthal in the New York Times.   It raises the question of whether second growth forests are as valuable as old growth.  They certainly have a similar carbon-absorbing quality, but aren’t comfortable habitats for many species that liked the old growth.

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After a long dry spell, we’re posting again.

Here’s something we meant to post earlier:  It seems that the US government shares our worries about the  environmental impact of solar power projects on desert environments.  Not that we’re against them completely — just that it’s good to know what costs you are imposing on the planet, even when you figure they’ll be outweighed by the project’s benefits.

And here’s something from Mark Morford’s wonderfully provocative Notes and Errata column in the SF Chronicle.

In the face of so many people, media outlets and corporations jumping on the Green bandwagon, Morford wonders if things aren’t just a little more complicated.  After all, he notes:

Truly, before you get too cozy with your low-VOC paint and organic grass-fed burger, it takes but a split second to shatter that green lens of hope and replace it with a crimson one full of blood and pollution and phthalates and cheap copper wiring in the form of e-waste in the slums of China and India, as the residual plastic floats out to the Pacific Garbage Patch and further chokes the collapsing fish and seafood stocks of the world.

“How bleak do you want it?” he asks, before suggesting the most likely environmental reality we face is “gray and murky and strange.”

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The ‘Victory Garden’ idea is getting a lot of play these days.  We’ve already noticed appeals for us to ‘eat-like-there’s-a-war-on.’

Now the UK Independent is excited by the same idea — hooking its version of the story on a new exhibit, ‘Dig for Victory: War on Waste,‘ at the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms.

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. . . and we’re clearly to blame.

So says a new report by the WWF, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Global Footprint Network. The finds, the Independent reports today, that land species have declined by 25 per cent, marine life by 28 per cent, and freshwater species by 29 per cent.

“You’d have to go back to the extinction of the dinosaurs to see a decline as rapid as this,” says Jonathan Loh, the report’s editor.

It’s shocking and saddening reading. Let’s hope it will also help galvanize action on a global level — what’s needed for there to be any hope for the thousands more species threatened by pollution, invasive species, habitat loss and climate change, all but the last of which are unarguably the result of human actions.

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