Hawk Haiku

Hawk soars in the sky

As we watch branches whiten

She alights for now.

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Climate change could double the cost of your beer

This story was originally published by Wired and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Beer drinkers might pay more for and find less of their favorite beverage as climate change comes for barley. Scientists expect that extreme droughts and heat waves will become more frequent and intense in the regions that grow the grain.

Many farmers are already adapting to the slowly warming planet — with advanced plant breeding techniques to create more drought-resistant grains, for example, and by using more efficient irrigation systems to conserve water — but a new study out Monday in the journal Nature Plants says that many regions won’t be able to cope with the arid conditions of the future. The work was done by a group of researchers in China along with Steven J. Davis, an environmental scientist at the University of California Irvine.

The team looked at the areas around the world that grow barley, which is turned into malt for beer, and projected what will occur under five different climate warming scenarios by 2100. Using models of both economic activity and climate change, the group made predictions about what will happen to barley production, as well as beer price and consumption.

During the most severe climate events, the study predicts that global beer consumption would decline by 16 percent, an amount about equal to the total annual beer consumption of the United States in 2011. It also expects average beer prices to double. Each country would be affected differently. The price of a single pint of beer in Ireland, for example, will rise by $4.84, followed by $4.52 in Italy and $4.34 in Canada. American tipplers will see beer prices rise up to $1.94 under the extreme events, the study said, and barley farmers will export more to other nations.

Davis, who has published several papers on climate change and the Chinese economy, says many extreme drought and heat events will force farmers to feed barley to livestock instead of selling it to domestic breweries. “When we have these shortages, our models suggest people are going to feed the barley to the livestock before they make beer,” Davis said. “That makes sense. This is a luxury commodity and it’s more important to have food on the table.”

The effects of climate change are already being felt by craft brewers, says Katie Wallace, director of social and environmental responsibility at New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado. In 2014, the U.S. barley-growing region — Montana, North Dakota, and Idaho — was hit by an extremely wet and warm winter that caused crops to sprout early, rendering much of it useless. Farmers were forced to tap into reserves in storage.

In 2017 and again this past summer, the Pacific Northwest was hit by severe drought that affected production of hops that give unique flavors to craft brews. Wallace says that climate change is on the minds of all craft brewers as they plan for how to avoid future shortages of both barley and hops. “It’s stressful,” Newman said. “We are seeing an increased level of vulnerability and some near escapes in some cases. All of these things have happened periodically, but the frequency is growing.”

The craft beer industry is already planning for the future, says Chris Swersey, a supply chain specialist at the Brewer’s Association, a trade group that represents 4,500 small breweries across the country. Swersey says he is skeptical of the paper’s findings, mainly because it assumes that the amount and location of barley production will stay the same as it is today. He says barley growing is already moving north to Canada, while researchers are hoping to expand barley’s range with winter-hardy breeds.

“The industry is already aware that barley production is shifting,” Swersey says. “We need to be thinking ahead and be smart about what is our climate going to look like 50 or 100 years from now.”

It’s not just the little guys who are thinking of climate change. The king of U.S. beer production remains Budweiser, which produces the No. 1 (Bud Light) and No. 3 (Budweiser) top-selling brands. Budweiser buys barley from a vast network of farmers in the northern U.S. and is investing in new breeds of drought-resistant barley strains, according to Jessica Newman, director of agronomy for Budweiser. “It’s all about getting the right varieties, getting the right mix, and getting the right technology to our growers,” Newman says from her office in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

She says Budweiser’s crop science lab in Colorado is working on new barley strains dubbed Voyager, Merit 57, and Growler. “We are breeding for drought resistance and sprout resistance,” Newman said. “If we see rainfall coming earlier, or if it rains in the wrong time of year, the barley can sprout and it wouldn’t be used. We also want it to use less water and fewer agricultural chemicals.”

Climate scientist Davis says he and his colleagues wrote the study as a thought exercise to perhaps stoke conversation about how climate change affects our daily lives. “A paper on beer might seem a little bit frivolous when it’s dealing with a topic that poses existential threats,” Davis said. “But some of us have a personal love of beer and thought this might be interesting.” Climate change won’t just alter the weather; it’ll also hit our grocery tabs and hobbies.

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Climate change could double the cost of your beer

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Can Teddy Bears Help Fight Air Pollution in London?

When air pollution levels spike in London, new coughing teddy bears tweet at local politicians with a message about the dangers of dirty air.

Air pollution is becoming a massive global issue. Just take a look at this interactive map, and you’ll notice that a?worrisome amount of the world is in the yellow and red. The World Health Organization actually estimated that?unsafe levels of air pollution caused?seven million deaths globally?in 2012 alone. That is an astounding one out of every eight deaths for that year caused by dirty air.

The majority of the world’s most polluted cities lie in?growing?industrial nations, like India and China, but cities like London are starting to feel the devastating effects of air pollution. In fact, a lot of Londoners are gravely concerned.

“This is now a matter of life and death, and the government has one last chance to put it right,” said London’s mayor,?Sadiq Khan, last year.

Around 9,500 people die annually due to London’s poor air quality. That’s significantly more than the number of Londoners who?die?in car accidents.?What’s more,?there are?800+ schools in London that are regularly exposed to high levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air (from road traffic) that surpass the E.U.’s legal limits. Air pollution is a silent killer, and it has?grown into a health emergency.

And yet, London’s government has been slow to act. So?one company decided to start?making a blatant statement?with an animatronic teddy bear.

The bear is named Toxic Toby, and it is the brainchild of creatives at the advertising agency,?McCann London.?Toby gets strapped on the side of the road surrounded by flowers, reminiscent of?a memorial, but it’s not just a lifeless teddy bear?tied?to a post.

“The 3D-printed bear is fed real-time air quality data from a company called BreezoMeter,” Zoya Teirstein?writes?at Grist, “When pollution hits dangerous levels, Toby lifts his little paw and coughs.”

Yep, the bear coughs when the air quality is bad?very realistically (and heart-wrenchingly). It’s pretty hard to ignore as a passerby. And every time he coughs, he sends a nagging little tweet to local politicians with a message about the dangers of air pollution.

Raising awareness on the streets while pushing politicians to make change?it’s an ingenious way to make a difference. And who can ignore a sick teddy bear?

While the US has significantly better air quality than many other parts of the world, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be concerned. Los Angeles ?is barely behind London?when it comes to terrible air. And if you live elsewhere, bad news?air pollution travels, thanks to wind. Air pollution is?everyone’s problem, no matter where you live.

Take action?by contacting your local government and demanding stronger anti-pollution action. Clean air is a human right. Maybe we need a few Toxic Tobys on our side of the Atlantic to get the message across.

Related on Care2:

This Amino Acid has Powerful Gut-Healing Properties?
Big Win: The Entire City of Los Angeles Bans Fur Sales!
Who Shouldn’t Eat Kale?

Image via Thinkstock

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Green Laundry Choices: From Personal Dry Cleaning to Company Uniform and Laundering Services

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How to Choose Eco-Friendly Fabrics

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If Jeff Flake has taken up your cause, your cause is in danger

This weekend, someone — specifically, George Stephanopoulos — saw fit to ask Arizona Senator Jeff Flake what he thought of the Republican party’s position on climate change. Senator Flake, an active member of the party controlling our nation’s legislative branch (as well as its executive and judicial branches), said that he thinks the government should do more to combat warming.

You can always count on Flake to say something vaguely ethical and then do whatever will most directly undermine it. Most recently, you may remember him for giving an impassioned soundbite in support of Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of assault, … and then immediately voting to confirm Kavanaugh to the court. You may also recall him speaking out against the Republican tax reform effort last December … and then immediately voting to make it law.

Conflict-resolution theory, according to Kim Kardashian West’s makeup artist, dictates that when you are disappointed in someone’s behavior, you should mention some of their good qualities so that it’s clear you are viewing them in a balanced way. Here we go: Jeff Flake has very nice teeth. On Sunday, Flake showed off his excellent chompers while giving the following vacuous reaction to the recent, upsetting U.N. climate change report to Stephanopoulos on ABC’s The Week:

“There’s been more recognition [of the need for climate action] among Republicans, but the administration hasn’t taken the view of some of us that this is something we really need to deal with along with the rest of the world and address this. It’s going to be challenging — obviously, that report that came out was pretty dire. But I think there’s things we can do and should do, and Republicans need to be at the forefront if we want to keep our place and keep our seats.”

It is true that Republican officials have not been particularly proactive on the matter of climate change, to say the least. Just this weekend, in the aftermath of the “dire” IPCC report, President Trump’s economic advisor Larry Kudlow stopped just short of calling the assessment a “scare tactic.” And Flake’s colleague Marco Rubio, who represents Florida, where Hurricane Michael made its devastating landfall this past week, said he did not want to “destroy our economy” to combat climate change.

As a U.S. senator in a majority party, Jeff Flake is one of the one hundredth of one percent of humans in the world who can have a real, direct, tangible influence on slowing climate change. While he’s not seeking re-election this year, here is what he’s done with that position of power: He voted to confirm Rex Tillerson, Rick Perry, and Ryan Zinke to Trump’s cabinet. He voted against restricting methane pollution, incentivizing energy-efficient homes through the mortgage market, and banning fossil fuel drilling in the Arctic Refuge. He has a 8 percent pro-environmental voting record, according to the League of Conservation Voters.

Now that he’s made public comments about the need to take on climate change, I look forward to Jeff Flake’s upcoming vote to build more coal plants on top of whales.

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If Jeff Flake has taken up your cause, your cause is in danger

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The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative – Florence Williams

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The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative

Florence Williams

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $2.99

Publish Date: February 7, 2017

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Seller: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.


"Highly informative and remarkably entertaining." —Elle From forest trails in Korea, to islands in Finland, to eucalyptus groves in California, Florence Williams investigates the science behind nature’s positive effects on the brain. Delving into brand-new research, she uncovers the powers of the natural world to improve health, promote reflection and innovation, and strengthen our relationships. As our modern lives shift dramatically indoors, these ideas—and the answers they yield—are more urgent than ever.

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The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative – Florence Williams

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If you’re suffering from climate grief, you’re not alone

Last week’s U.N. climate report gave a terrifyingly clear picture of a world on the brink of locking in catastrophe. It told us what was needed and the horrors that awaited if we failed to mobilize. As a scientific report, it was dazzling. But it didn’t tell us how to process, cope, and adapt our lives to the grief of that overwhelming knowledge.

In 1969, after interviewing hundreds of terminally ill patients, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote On Death and Dying, a milestone text on how humans process permanent loss. Kübler-Ross’ description of those reactions — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance — are now famous, but they were never meant to be an orderly progression of “stages.” There is no “correct,” linear way to grieve. Our reactions are complicated because people are complicated.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for taking in something like the looming existential threat of climate change. I’ve been listening to a lot of ’90s country music. One of my colleagues has substantially upped her sleep, while one of our Grist editors “stress bakes.” What we feel is what we feel, and it determines our reality — and importantly, our response, to the news. And that response is more important than ever.

What we need now is a major mobilization on climate change. That would require, in the words of the IPCC, “rapid and far-reaching transitions” in “all aspects of society.” We’re taking much more than just solar panels and reusable shopping bags here. After decades of delay, the scale of changes that are necessary will force us to rethink everything. To put in the changes necessary, we have to be able to connect our emotions to our actions. We have to process our grief. We have to somehow move through it, and we have to do all that together.

Last week, Scott Williams of Climate-KIC, a group affiliated with the European Union, wrote a short essay with the headline: “Do we need an IPCC special report for humans?” He explores what it would take to act on the U.N. report and asks provocative questions, like: “What does it mean when every coal mine town has no jobs in five years’ time? What does it mean when in ten years’ time if no airlines can fly over Europe? How do we feed our families if there’s an extended drought which causes mass crop failure? What is the point of putting away money into a pension fund if that fund is investing in a way that just makes things worse? And what are we going to do about it?”

For those of us dealing with climate grief, these questions are familiar. I get dozens of them every week, and I’m never sure exactly how to respond. My go-to reply is: Find a friend and talk about it. But in truth, although it works for me, I have no idea whether or not this is the right advice for everyone.

There are scant few people currently working on this. Kate Schapira, a climate activist in Rhode Island, has taken it upon herself to set up a Peanuts-style counseling booth each summer in a public park in Providence. Renee Lertzman, a psychologist and leader in this field, wrote a book on the subject called Environmental Melancholia — but in interviews, she admits there’s much more to learn.

The best guide I’ve seen so far is Josh Fox’s impressively named documentary How to let go of the world and love all the things climate can’t change. In it, Fox speaks with climate activists as they come to grips with the literal dying of a world they thought would last forever, and dedicate their lives to the struggle, not knowing exactly what the end goal might be. Through that catharsis, the activists re-engage with their role in helping avert the largest crisis in human history — and wind up aiming to build a different, better world. But others, we know, remain disengaged — some, overtly hostile to change — even as the stakes continue to rise.

We’ll need more than this. We’ll need a comprehensive crash course on human psychology to deal with the massive changes we’re seeing; a guide to self-care for the most important decade in human history. We need to know how climate change will change us as social beings, how we can deal with grief, how to go about the process of imagining a new society. We will need to know not only how we can survive in this new world, but how we will live.

This is a necessarily messy process and it won’t be easy, but I’m not sure what could be more important.

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If you’re suffering from climate grief, you’re not alone

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Walden – Henry David Thoreau

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Walden

Henry David Thoreau

Genre: Nature

Price: $0.99

Publish Date: January 26, 2012

Publisher: Seedbox Press, LLC

Seller: Seedbox Press LLC


Walden is a book about Henry David Thoreau’s experiment with self-reliance. He lived in a cabin near Walden Pond in Massachusetts amidst woods that were owned by fellow Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson. Thoreau focused on simple living and personal introspection during the two-year stay. Walden chronicles his experience.

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Walden – Henry David Thoreau

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Is Sarah Silverman comedy’s new climate champion?

Finding humor in climate change isn’t easy (trust us!). That’s especially true this week, when U.N. scientists handed the world a big, scary report saying we’re on the road to catastrophe and Hurricane Michael carved a path of devastation through the Florida Panhandle. But Sarah Silverman is up for the challenge. The comedian delivered a nine-minute plea for climate action on Thursday in the latest episode of her Hulu show I Love You, America.

“I know climate change is not the most exciting issue, and the media knows it too, which is part of why it’s covered so infrequently,” Silverman said. She pointed to MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes’ controversial tweet in which he said climate change is a “palpable ratings killer” for news shows and so “the incentives are not great.”

“You know what’s a great incentive?” Silverman asked. “We’re all gonna f*#&’ing die.”

“I feel compelled to use my platform to speak out,” Silverman said. “Granted, my platform is on the third largest streaming network of three, so it’s not so much shouting from the rooftops as like complaining from an open mic at Panera Bread.”

Silverman covered a ton of ground in the segment, from scientists’ terrifying climate predictions to the “it’s a hoax” views of President Trump, who she calls a “Fox News grandpa.” Here’s a clip of her explaining how “absurdly rich and powerful people” are ruining the planet for the rest of us (the full thing is on Hulu):

“The only option is that we react to this massive state of emergency with massive action,” Silverman said. She brought up climate change on her show last month, too, explaining the Trump administration’s rollback of methane regulations.

Silverman isn’t the only comedian taking on climate change: Jimmy Kimmel and Trevor Noah also came up with jokes about the scary U.N. report … somehow.

So are comedians good messengers for climate change? Perhaps! A study from earlier this year found that humor, rather than fear or straightforward facts, got young people the most excited about taking action on climate change.

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Factfulness – Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund & Ola Rosling

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Factfulness

Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund & Ola Rosling

Genre: Science & Nature

Price: $14.99

Publish Date: April 3, 2018

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Seller: Macmillan


INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “One of the most important books I’ve ever read—an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world.” – Bill Gates “Hans Rosling tells the story of ‘the secret silent miracle of human progress’ as only he can. But Factfulness does much more than that. It also explains why progress is so often secret and silent and teaches readers how to see it clearly.” — Melinda Gates " Factfulness by Hans Rosling, an outstanding international public health expert, is a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases." – Former U.S. President Barack Obama Factfulnes s: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts. When asked simple questions about global trends— what percentage of the world’s population live in poverty; why the world’s population is increasing; how many girls finish school —we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers. In Factfulness , Professor of International Health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators, Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens . They reveal the ten instincts that distort our perspective —from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them ) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse). Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases. It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most. Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories, Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to the crises and opportunities of the future. — “This book is my last battle in my life-long mission to fight devastating ignorance…Previously I armed myself with huge data sets, eye-opening software, an energetic learning style and a Swedish bayonet for sword-swallowing. It wasn’t enough. But I hope this book will be.” Hans Rosling, February 2017.

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Factfulness – Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund & Ola Rosling

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