Tag Archives: ms-

Is waging ‘war’ the only way to take on the coronavirus?

What do climate change, drugs, and Christmas have in common? The United States has supposedly been at “war” with all of them.

When facing any sort of crisis, big or small, Americans often frame the situation through the lens of a battle. So when coronavirus brought daily life in the United States to a halt last month, it seemed nearly inevitable that President Donald Trump would declare himself a “wartime president.”

“The world is at war with a hidden enemy,” he tweeted. “WE WILL WIN!”

Similar language has been invoked by leaders around the world. France’s President Emmanuel Macron deployed the phrase “we are at war” no less than six times in one speech last month. And in a rare special address to the United Kingdom last week, Queen Elizabeth II invoked the “Blitz spirit” of World War II, a time of shared sacrifice.

Wartime rhetoric serves as an aggressive moral appeal, drumming up emotion and calling people to action. But here’s the thing about the war on coronavirus: We’ve already lost it.

“I think war metaphors are best used as a mobilizing effort,” said Stephen Flusberg, an associate professor of psychology at Purchase College in New York. “And it’s too late in the United States. We’ve failed.”

If coronavirus were truly a “war,” the United States would be the best prepared in the world, with a so-called “defense” budget at $700 billion a year and climbing — more than what the next seven largest countries spend added together. What the country was unprepared for was a pandemic, something infectious disease experts had warned was eventually coming.

Warlike language has been part of our speech for so long, it usually goes unnoticed. When the Spanish Flu hit England in the summer of 1918, newspapers warned their readers to prepare “defenses” against the disease. Soon enough, they described the flu as a “new foe,” and people freaked out, panic-buying quinine. It sounds all too familiar to anyone who’s been following the news of coronavirus, which the New York Times first painted as a “mystery” illness in January, something to “combat” in February, and an “all-out war” in March.

Fighting words have their time and place, language experts say, but public discourse seems to get stuck fighting everything. Studies show that this framing can paralyze people with fear and limit our collective imagination about what can be done to fix complex problems. In times of pandemic, calling the virus an “invisible enemy” can evoke xenophobia and racism. The framing primes people to view problems like climate change as a battlefield — this side vs. that side — widening partisan divides while obscuring any common ground.

“When a metaphor is used again and again and again, it really makes people experience something in those terms,” said Veronika Koller, a linguist at Lancaster University in England. In other words, people start to feel like they’re living in wartime. This can help governments gain public support for short-term actions that would normally be unpopular, like closing borders or exercising emergency powers. But for a prolonged crisis, it results in fatigue, Koller said. From climate change to cancer to coronavirus, the struggle is not a matter of weeks, but months, years, and decades.

Researchers say that it’s clear we need a new way to discuss big problems, a broader repertoire of metaphors to choose from. “There’s a paucity of the imagination around insurmountable challenges,” said Brent Ryan Bellamy, an instructor at Trent University in Canada.

Last week, Trump tweeted, “The Invisible Enemy will soon be in full retreat!” Though he didn’t mention the virus, no one seemed confused by what he was referring to — a sign that the war narrative has firmly taken hold. But others are already describing the pandemic in creative terms, comparing the government’s response to a storyline in a Harry Potter book, or practicing social distancing to a string section playing quietly (it only works, after all, if everyone does it). A group of linguists are attempting to #ReframeCovid, tracking international efforts to put new words to the crisis.

Flipping the usual script can lead to fresh critiques, new alliances, and eventually, if the new metaphors take hold, different ways to cope.

Coming next week: A look at efforts to use a new vocabulary to take on social problems.


Is waging ‘war’ the only way to take on the coronavirus?

Posted in Accent, alo, Everyone, FF, G & F, GE, ONA, PUR, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Is waging ‘war’ the only way to take on the coronavirus?

Eaarth – Bill McKibben



Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

Bill McKibben

Genre: Nature

Price: $2.99

Publish Date: April 13, 2010

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Seller: Macmillan

"Read it, please. Straight through to the end. Whatever else you were planning to do next, nothing could be more important." —Barbara Kingsolver Twenty years ago, with The End of Nature , Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about global warming. Those warnings went mostly unheeded; now, he insists, we need to acknowledge that we've waited too long, and that massive change is not only unavoidable but already under way. Our old familiar globe is suddenly melting, drying, acidifying, flooding, and burning in ways that no human has ever seen. We've created, in very short order, a new planet, still recognizable but fundamentally different. We may as well call it Eaarth. That new planet is filled with new binds and traps. A changing world costs large sums to defend—think of the money that went to repair New Orleans, or the trillions it will take to transform our energy systems. But the endless economic growth that could underwrite such largesse depends on the stable planet we've managed to damage and degrade. We can't rely on old habits any longer. Our hope depends, McKibben argues, on scaling back—on building the kind of societies and economies that can hunker down, concentrate on essentials, and create the type of community (in the neighborhood, but also on the Internet) that will allow us to weather trouble on an unprecedented scale. Change—fundamental change—is our best hope on a planet suddenly and violently out of balance.

Source article – 

Eaarth – Bill McKibben

Posted in alo, Anchor, Everyone, FF, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, oven, PUR, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Eaarth – Bill McKibben

Hurricane Michael could help climate denier Rick Scott in the Florida Senate race

As 155 mile-per-hour winds stripped roofs off buildings, and seawater surged through broken windows in the Florida panhandle, political insiders were already speculating about how Hurricane Michael might roil the November elections.

“Amazing to think with razor thin margins in FL statewide elections an October hurricane could swing it all …” Republican strategist Anthony Pedicini wrote on Twitter.

This isn’t the first catastrophe to upset Florida’s midterms. In the race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson, the Democrat, and sitting Republican Governor Rick Scott, have been firing attack ads accusing the other of causing disgusting algal blooms. (Who’s right?  Read this).

Climate change can influence both hurricanes and algal blooms. Algae thrives in warm water, so hotter weather can mean bigger blooms. And while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects that warming won’t cause more tropical storms, it does project that they’ll be more intense.

So with the environment already taking a leading role in electoral politics, could Hurricane Michael provide the updraft Florida climate hawks need to soar to victory?

Floridians are right in line with the rest of the country when it comes to climate change, with 70 percent agreeing that it’s a thing, according to the most recent survey by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. But Michael made landfall in deep-red MAGA country.

If anything, the hurricane is likely to give voters the warm fuzzies for Scott (who censored the words “climate change” government officials weren’t even allowed to say the words, which made for some funny press conferences), because it give him the chance to go out and do leaderly stuff like activating the National Guard. His campaign had just started running an ad called “Leadership,” portraying him as the guy who got Florida through previous hurricanes. Polls show that Scott got more popular after those storms.

Nelson and the Democrats are fighting back with ads pointing out that, with Scott at the helm, 11 seniors died from heat exposure, and there were charges of profiteering on the cleanup.

All of which looks like normal mudslinging, not exactly a political playing field upended by climate disasters. At least not yet.

Excerpt from: 

Hurricane Michael could help climate denier Rick Scott in the Florida Senate race

Posted in alo, Anchor, FF, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, Radius, Thermos, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Hurricane Michael could help climate denier Rick Scott in the Florida Senate race

The U.N.’s climate report has something to piss everyone off

If bikes are your thing, great. If you’re a vegan crusader, bully for you. If you’re a solar-power enthusiast, way to go.

The greenest among are often evangelists for our favorite causes. But according to the blockbuster report out this week from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it’s not enough to stick to your thing, or even to take up all of the causes environmentalists love. If we want to prevent the likely consequences of climate change — food shortages, forest fires, and mass extinctions — we’ll need to deploy the popular solutions as well as the some of the unpopular ones, the report concludes.

That means turning off coal plants and building lots of renewables, but also devoting more acres to growing biofuels. It means reducing consumption (fly less, drive less, and eat less meat) but also increasing our use of nuclear power.

The danger is so great, in other words, that the IPCC’s team of 91 scientists and policy experts suggest we consider all of the above. Whatever works. They came up with 90 different mixes of solutions that would keep warming limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but none of them work without biofuels, atomic energy, and reigning in consumerism.

Here are three unpopular ideas that the report says we’ll need to embrace, and two that are still up for debate.

The must-do list:

Less stuff: Every scenario for keeping global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius requires reducing per capita consumption. The scenarios range from shrinking world energy demand 15 percent by 2030 to constraining it to a 17 percent increase. Either way would mean less power for anyone rich enough to read this on a computer (if poorer people get more stuff under constrained growth, it means the richer people are going to have to make some lifestyle changes).

Some of this would come from efficiency, but it would also require “behavioural changes.”

The report does offer some “high overshoot” scenarios that don’t require giving up creature comforts. But in those scenarios the world zips past the 1.5 degree mark, then reels it back in with “negative emissions.” That would rely on growing huge tracts of forest that suck up carbon before the trees are logged; then burning the wood for energy and capturing the carbon. But it might not work.

Biofuel: Every scenario laid out by the IPCC relies on ethanol, biodiesel and other biofuels to some extent, and projects an increase in farmland devoted to growing fuel. We could really use biofuels to replace jet fuel and gasoline, but it’s controversial. There are good scientists who say corn ethanol has a bigger carbon footprint than gasoline. Others say burning ethanol is already carbon negative and getting better all the time. It seems impossible to tell who is right. If you are cutting down rainforests for palm oil, that’s definitely a climate catastrophe. If you can get algae in a tank to turn sunlight to fuel, well, that’s awesome.

Nuclear power: All scenarios have nuclear providing a greater share of our electricity through 2050. Right now, nuclear power provides 11 percent of the world’s electricity. In one 1.5 degree scenario, the IPCC report has the world doubling the percentage of electricity it gets from nuclear by 2030, and quintupling it by 2050. The most “degrowthy” scenario, with dramatically decreasing energy demand, doesn’t require building new atomic plants but does require keeping the ones we have open.

Up for debate:

Carbon capture: Most scenarios to limit warming rely on fossil-fuel power plants capturing their carbon as long as they’re still running, rather than releasing it into the atmosphere. There’s a bunch of plants already doing this around the world, but it’s pretty expensive. The businesses that capture carbon affordably are usually injecting the carbon into the ground in a way that squeezes out more oil for them to sell. Many environmentalists dislike carbon capture because it opens up a way for the fossil fuel industry to survive and thrive.

There’s no carbon capture required if global energy demand declines 15 percent between 2010 and 2030, but that’s looking more and more unlikely: Since 2010, energy demand has gone up, up, up.

Geoengineering: Imagine high-altitude airplanes constantly spraying reflective dust into the air to bounce sunlight back into space. Or fertilizing the ocean to allow a million carbon-sucking algal blooms. Technology to the rescue!

Except it’s all in your imagination. None of this whizbangery has been modelled enough to tell how it would affect the scenarios in this report. There’s just not enough science on geoengineering to say something substantive about it, according to the IPCC.

More – 

The U.N.’s climate report has something to piss everyone off

Posted in alo, Anchor, Everyone, FF, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, Radius, solar, solar power, Thermos, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The U.N.’s climate report has something to piss everyone off

As Gordon eyes the Gulf Coast, America’s most vulnerable shoreline girds itself

The Gulf Coast is bracing for Tropical Storm Gordon, the latest extreme weather event to draw attention to America’s least climate-ready coastline.

Though Gordon’s impact isn’t expected to be catastrophic, its arrival brings into focus the sluggish efforts underway to protect the country’s “third coast.” The largely poor and strikingly under-resourced region spanning from Texas to Florida is the more susceptible to heavy rain than any other part of the continental U.S. And it’s seeing more downpours as the atmosphere warms.

The National Hurricane Center expects Gordon to reach hurricane strength by landfall late Tuesday and produce up to five feet of “life-threatening” storm surge and as much as a foot of rain. That precipitation will pile on after a week of unrelated torrential showers, heightening concerns about flooding.

Over the long weekend, as Gordon neared land, the city of New Orleans declared a state of emergency. Louisiana closed dozens of storm surge barriers constructed after Hurricane Katrina battered the region in 2005. In Mississippi, coastal cities issued mandatory evacuations and opened storm shelters for those who need to leave their homes.

There’s been a recent lull of high-profile hurricanes in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, but the Gulf Coast’s vulnerabilities go far beyond the attention-getting late summer storms. By many metrics, it’s the region most at riskand least prepared — for climate change.

A study published last year in Science magazine showed that for the country’s poorest counties, largely located in the Southeast, climate change could exacerbate already-pervasive economic inequality. If the region continues along a business-as-usual trajectory, warming could knock 20 percent off average incomes as a result of declining crop yields, rising electricity costs, and worsening public health. Mississippi doesn’t even have a plan, and for the most part, the epicenter of America’s offshore oil industry isn’t concerned with the looming disaster on its doorstep.

“Our analysis indicates it may result in the largest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in the country’s history,” Solomon Hsiang, the Science study’s lead author, told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Thirteen years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi coast, some communities have been largely abandoned as rising insurance costs have made rebuilding housing prohibitively expensive. In New Orleans, the unequal recovery has looked different for white and black residents.

But it doesn’t take a hurricane to cause a catastrophe anymore. Even more worrying than storms like Gordon is the increasing damage from non-tropical rainstorms. In 2016, an unnamed week-long deluge in Louisiana became one of the country’s worst flooding disasters in history.

Within 50 years, increasingly heavy rains and rising sea levels will be enough to swamp the effectiveness of the recently-reinforced levee system that’s supposed to protect New Orleans from Tropical Storm Gordon. In that worst case, according to a 2015 report by experts at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness: “Climate change is likely to make the Gulf Coast less hospitable and more dangerous for its residents, and may prompt substantial migration.”

Though hurricanes may come less frequently overall, the ones that do arrive will could be horrific. Last year, a study focusing solely on Gulf Coast hurricanes found that by late century, warming waters may help storms approach their theoretical maximum strength more often. That means more Category 5 monsters. (And bear in mind, Katrina entered Louisiana as a Category 3 hurricane.)

Though Gordon may pass without many headlines, there will likely be hundreds or thousands of families who will have to endure the increasingly familiar process of de-mucking their flooded belongings, hauling away cherished possessions to the dumpster, and wondering what the future has in store. The bad news is that without radical changes on the Gulf Coast, the future is already here — hotter, wetter, and more dangerous.

See the original article here: 

As Gordon eyes the Gulf Coast, America’s most vulnerable shoreline girds itself

Posted in alo, Anchor, FF, GE, LG, ONA, Prepara, Radius, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on As Gordon eyes the Gulf Coast, America’s most vulnerable shoreline girds itself

The cost of flood insurance is a price worth paying

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

Almost 75 percent of declared disasters in the United States are flood-related, and flood risk continues to rise due to development in floodplains and a changing climate. The beleaguered National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which was due to expire on July 31 but just got a four-month extension from Congress, can help lessen some of that risk and serve as a lifeline for survivors.

However, in reauthorizing the program, Congress did not fix its many problems. The need to make the NFIP more effective is urgent. And as America’s flood risk grows, we will be even more reliant on it.

The NFIP was created 50 years ago after losses mounted from disasters such as 1965’s Hurricane Betsy. In creating the program, Congress recognized three things: first, that the federal government would have to provide flood insurance because private insurers would not. Private insurers had, by and large, refused to cover floods since the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, the most destructive river flood in U.S. history to that point. Insurers must weigh the level of risk to individual properties, how much payouts will cost and how profitable policies are, and homeowners’ willingness to pay premiums — all of which are problematic for assessing flood risk.

Second, Congress knew that national flood risk was too high. The government had been working to address this through the Flood Control Act of 1938 and other laws. But by 1968, these policies had been relatively unsuccessful at lowering the risk; flood insurance was seen as a different strategy. Third, and finally, Congress realized that homeowners needed financial assistance to recover from floods.

In its first four decades, the program was generally solvent — that is, revenue from premiums was approximately equal to payouts. Between 1968 and 2005, when the program did incur debt, FEMA, which oversees the NFIP, borrowed money from the U.S. Treasury and quickly repaid it.

Then, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina and the resulting levee failure instigated an outpouring of anger and frustration with the NFIP. Katrina’s impacts were more severe than anything the United States had experienced since the program began. Post-Katrina, FEMA borrowed $18 billion from the Treasury without a repayment plan, instead of adding it to the supplemental appropriations passed by Congress. The agency borrowed billions more after Hurricane Sandy, and the debt eventually rose to $24.6 billion.

This debt has become the pressure point for the NFIP, with critics citing it as evidence of the program’s failure. But when we consider why the program was created, the debt shows just how vital the NFIP is. Private insurers could not provide affordable flood insurance to the people who needed it, but through subsidies, the federal government — and by extension, the American taxpayer — could. So complaints about insolvency seem misplaced, given that the program’s debt is an obvious outcome of its design.

Financial solvency is of clear interest to taxpayers and politicians. But it’s worth considering the other problems, besides the scarcity of private insurance, that Congress hoped to address by creating the NFIP: flood mitigation and recovery.

A key objective of emergency management is to prevent or limit risk from disasters. Homeowners tend not to voluntarily implement such measures, but the designers of the NFIP thought the program could be used to incentivize safer building and better land-use practices. To this end, the NFIP was intended to work in tandem with the community rating system (CRS), which scores communities for undertaking flood mitigation (by, for example, building levees or changing land-use policies) and offers commensurate reductions in premiums.

There is evidence that the NFIP has succeeded in improving mitigation. Even so, it could do more. The program could be reformed so that more communities are incentivized to join and participate fully in CRS, and it could refuse to cover repetitive-loss properties, or require that they be rebuilt to higher standards.

Repetitive-loss properties are a real problem: Less than 1 percent of homes insured under the program have been responsible for nearly 10 percent of paid claims. Allowing homes to be rebuilt or repaired multiple times without requiring sufficient modifications to prevent future damage is not an efficient use of taxpayer money, and this loophole needs to be closed.

The NFIP was designed to provide insurance to people who could not afford to pay its actuarial price. Critics claim that simply by offering affordable flood premiums, it incentivizes development in hazardous areas. In fact, researchers have found that other factors, such as the high desirability of beachfront property, road and bridge access, and the availability of public services, are equal if not bigger contributors to the increase of development in high-risk areas.

To the extent that the NFIP does help encourage such development, of course, it must be reformed to prevent that. For example, former FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate argued that future development in 100-year floodplains should be ineligible for NFIP coverage.

The NFIP was also designed as a resource for American homeowners during recovery from floods. Disaster survivors often describe recovery as “the second disaster,” a long, expensive process of cobbling together aid from savings accounts, second jobs, loans, friends, family, nonprofits, and the government.

Homeowners with flood insurance can receive substantially more money than those who are helped through FEMA’s individual-assistance program. The maximum NFIP payout is $350,000, whereas the largest possible individual-assistance payment is about $34,000. After Sandy, the average payout from FEMA’s individual-assistance program was only $8,000, compared with over $66,000 from the NFIP. Nevertheless, some survivors have struggled to access the NFIP funds they needed or were entitled to. An investigation following Sandy found evidence of poor management by both FEMA and the private insurance companies tasked with NFIP’s administration.

The extremely small number of people who carry policies also inhibits the program’s assistance in recovery. Currently, only about 5 million American households (or about 4 percent) hold flood-insurance policies, even though about 10 percent of households are located in the 100- or 500-year floodplain and face substantial risk. And the real number is likely higher, given the inaccuracy of flood maps.

These, too, are fixable problems. To improve NFIP’s effectiveness in recovery, FEMA must strengthen its oversight. The agency must provide clarity to policyholders about payout requirements and increase the number of people who buy flood insurance by updating flood maps and extending the requirement to purchase a policy to homeowners at lower risk of flooding.

Congress has, on numerous occasions, attempted to reform the NFIP so that it would avoid future debt. These efforts have consistently failed, because the financial burden they place on homeowners is so large and so politically unpalatable. As a result, the program has been caught in a cycle of short-term reauthorizations, with debt from Katrina and Sandy keeping it on the proverbial chopping block.

As attempts at reform have demonstrated, big, expensive changes to the program will be unpopular. Still, the NFIP has the potential to create safer communities and help people recover faster and more smoothly. Another way of looking at it: The federal government spent more than $100 billion on the response to and recovery from Katrina, and over $48 billion for Sandy. The NFIP’s debt of $24.6 billion is just what’s left of those bills.

That the NFIP costs American taxpayers money is the result of policy choices made over decades. We decided we weren’t going to pay up-front to avoid climate change, and we decided to build along the coasts and in floodplains. The debt the NFIP has incurred is expensive, and it will continue to grow. But it is only a small fraction of the interest on the loan that we’ve taken out on our future.

The debt also tends to overshadow the real good that the program does for Americans. Nearly 1.8 million losses have been paid out since the program’s inception. Without it, where would these survivors be in their recovery process?

Although the country has been debating whether and how to limit long-term climate change, we have done relatively little to protect ourselves from its consequences that are already here, including more flooding. The NFIP can help us manage the effects of climate change. But for it to be successful, we have to make it more effective and just — which means accepting its financial cost.

Original link: 

The cost of flood insurance is a price worth paying

Posted in alo, Anchor, Casio, FF, G & F, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, PUR, Ringer, Safer, Springer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The cost of flood insurance is a price worth paying

As coral reefs disappear, some tropical fish might just keep swimming

The future looks grim for coral reefs. Warmer oceans, overfishing, pollution, and gradually acidifying waters have destroyed more than a third of the world’s shallow tropical coral reefs. Just this week, a new report said that Australia’s Great Barrier Reef — the crown jewel of the world’s oceans — lost half of its corals in just the past three years. More than 90 percent of the world’s near-surface coral habitat could be gone in the next 30 years.

This is a big deal. Coral reefs support about a quarter of all marine biodiversity in just 1 percent of the ocean’s space. And so tropical reef fish, among the most vulnerable organisms when it comes to climate change, are increasingly under threat.

But amid all the bad news, it’s vitally important to have a reality check: Some reefs and reef fish — the familiar angelfish, eels, snappers, and parrotfishes — will survive. We are just now learning some basics of how Earth’s vast biodiversity responds to warming, and there’s a growing realization that deeper, cooler waters are one possible future for coral reefs and the fish that inhabit them.

A recent study in the journal Scientific Reports builds upon other studies showing that some coral reef fish may be more resilient than we thought to climate change, boosting chances that reef ecosystems might withstand the current onslaught. The evidence suggests that tropical fish species can adapt to warmer waters just by moving a few feet down to cooler waters. For some fish, profound changes don’t necessarily lead to extinction.

Carole Baldwin, a marine biologist at the Smithsonian Institution and lead author of the new study, thinks that deeper waters are the future for coral reefs, and she makes a case for hope amidst uncertainty.

“We know that fishes in general, like a lot of marine organisms, can survive a lot deeper,” says Baldwin. “We figured that there was a lot of habitat that is suitable for reef organisms between 500 and 1,000 feet, and sure enough, that is exactly what we found.”

Baldwin and her colleagues have discovered and named a new zone of the ocean between about 400 and 1,000 feet down where species may be beginning to flee and morph into entirely new ecosystems. Baldwin had to use a submarine to conduct her research off the coast of Curaçao in the Caribbean.

The new oceanic realm that Baldwin and her colleagues have identified — the “rariphotic zone” — is named for its lack of sunlight (rari = low, photic = light).

As a curator of the Smithsonian’s fish collection, the largest of its kind in the world, Baldwin knows a thing or two about tropical fish. And it’s possible that this “new” zone has actually been around for a long time, providing refuge for surface fish during times of environmental turmoil. Baldwin says there’s evidence that gobies — a type of small, bottom-dwelling fish — migrated from shallow reefs to deep reefs in response to warmer waters about 10 million to 14 million years ago. She wants to expand her work in the rariphotic zone to study other groups of fishes and the corals themselves, in an attempt to learn more about larger-scale responses to ocean warming.

“The hopeful thing is that if species start moving deeper now or in the future in response to warming surface waters or deteriorating reefs, that there are these other zones that they can go to.”

Rich Pyle, a fish scientist with the Hawaii Biological Survey, agrees that deep water corals hold immense promise for conservation efforts.

“The more we look, the more obvious it is that there are no natural ecology-wide boundaries” that prevent shallow fish from descending to greater depths, he says.

But it’s not as if surface fish can just pack up and move to deeper waters overnight, either. Pyle says that there are certain species, such as some rays, that live at both shallow and deep waters, and those are the ones that stand the best chance of survival.

“If we screw up the shallow reefs,” Pyle says, “we can take some comfort knowing that the deeper reefs still have populations of these organisms.”

Pyle is a pioneer of deep-water coral exploration. But the new zone that Baldwin and her colleagues have identified goes even further into the depths.

“These deeper coral reefs below about 30 meters have been barely looked at for the past several decades,” Pyle says. One reason is that’s about as deep as scuba diving gear allows you to easily go.

As a result, no historical data exist for species in this zone of tropical reefs. There isn’t even much data about temperature at these depths, though it is significantly cooler and more stable than surface waters.

To be sure, Pyle says there’s reason to believe that deep reefs may even be in greater danger than their shallower cousins.

For example, it’s possible that stronger hurricanes have started raining thicker plumes of sediment down on deep reefs, burying fragile corals. Increased surface level pollution may also block light, stopping photosythesis. Deep reefs are also more accustomed to steady water temperatures, so they could be more vulnerable to severe marine heat waves of the future.

All of this argues for doubling down on deep-reef research in preparation for the ravages of climate change in the coming decades.

“We just need to spend more time out there in the sub to see what’s happening,” says Baldwin. She thinks it’s a good idea to begin designating deeper reefs as marine protected areas, too.

Reefs will survive, at least in some form. It’s just a question of what they will look like. Genetic engineering of corals, farming corals, transplanting corals, or trusting corals to adapt in surprising ways are all strategies currently underway.

And it looks like coral fish have a shot at surviving, too. If they migrated to the depths in the past, maybe they could do it again.


As coral reefs disappear, some tropical fish might just keep swimming

Posted in alo, Anchor, Crown, Everyone, FF, G & F, GE, LG, ONA, Prepara, Smith's, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on As coral reefs disappear, some tropical fish might just keep swimming

Can’t Add Solar Panels to Your Roof? Join a Community Solar Farm


Solar energy development has skyrocketed in recent years, but many people who want to use solar energy aren’t in the position to harness the power of the sun where they reside. Renters, apartment dwellers, condominium owners and people with shaded roofs are largely left out of the solar revolution.

Enter community solar farms. This new ownership structure is making solar power available to people who couldn’t access it before. Community solar installations, also known as solar gardens and solar farms, increase the advantages of owning a solar system and extend the reach of solar power to more people than ever before.

What Are Community Solar Farms?

Solar gardens are renewable energy plants owned by a community of people or a company. This arrangement allows a group of people to use solar electricity that is generated in their area without installing the photovoltaic panels on their property. In many instances, the electricity from community solar farms costs less than what residents and small businesses would otherwise pay the electric company.

Solar gardens are a relatively new ownership arrangement that enables more households and businesses to benefit from solar energy. They use virtual net metering and are increasing in popularity in many states with supportive policies.

Who Owns Community Solar Farms?

There are two main ownership models for community solar farms. In ownership-based projects, an individual, organization or business owns a percentage of the solar farm and has a stake in the asset. Prospective members join the project by buying or financing a certain number of panels in the solar installation. The electricity generated from the share cannot significantly exceed their electric consumption. If an individual or business moves within the same utility district, they can apply the electricity generation to their new address. If someone moves out of the utility district, they can sell their interest in the solar farm to a new member.

Alternately, subscription-based projects are owned by a third party. Participants in this solar farm model pay an administrator or utility company for the solar electricity they consume, often at a lower rate than what they would normally pay. The third party receives the tax credit and the participant payments.

Where Are Solar Farms Most Popular?

Community solar farms can be found in more than half of U.S. states, with Colorado, California, Massachusetts and Minnesota expected to lead the way in new community solar farm capacity. Many states anticipate more community solar farm installations — especially if those states have supportive policies and initiatives.

Want to join a community solar farm in your area? Find out about community solar projects near you!

You Might Also Like…

New U.S. Solar Tariff to Stall Solar Energy Growth

Within a few weeks, imported solar cells and modules to …Sarah LozanovaJanuary 31, 2018

4 Tips for Going Solar in 2018

Solar energy production has skyrocketed in recent years in the …Sarah LozanovaJanuary 1, 2018

5 Strategies to Choose the Right Solar Panel Installer

As solar energy explodes in popularity, there are more solar …Sarah LozanovaSeptember 21, 2017

Can’t Add Solar Panels to Your Roof? Join a Community Solar Farm

Solar energy development has skyrocketed in recent years, but many …Sarah LozanovaApril 10, 2018

The Complete Guide to Earth Day 2018

How are you celebrating Earth Day? You could spend it …Earth911April 10, 2018

Eat Less for a Longer Life and Healthier Planet

New research suggests that a low-calorie diet could be healthier …Wendy GabrielApril 9, 2018


Excerpt from – 

Can’t Add Solar Panels to Your Roof? Join a Community Solar Farm

Posted in alo, FF, G & F, GE, ONA, PUR, solar, solar panels, solar power, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Can’t Add Solar Panels to Your Roof? Join a Community Solar Farm

Polar ice is lost at sea

Our planet reached another miserable milestone earlier this week: Sea ice fell to its lowest level since human civilization began more than 12,000 years ago.

That worrying development is just the latest sign that rising temperatures are inflicting lasting changes on the coldest corners of the globe. The new record low comes as the planet’s climate system shifts further from the relatively stable period that helped give rise to cities, commerce, and the way we live now.

So far, the new year has been remarkably warm on both poles. The past 30 days have averaged more than 21 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal in Svalbard, Norway — the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world. Last month, a tanker ship completed the first wintertime crossing of the Arctic Ocean without the assistance of an icebreaker. Down south in the Antarctic, sea ice is all but gone for the third straight year as summer winds to a close.

The loss of Earth’s polar sea ice has long been considered one of the most important tipping points as the planet warms. That’s because as the bright white ice melts, it exposes less-reflective ocean water, which more easily absorbs heat. And that, sorry to say, kicks off a new cycle of further warming.

According to research published last fall, that cycle appears to be the primary driver of ice melt in the Arctic, effectively marking the beginning of the end of permanent ice cover there. The wide-ranging consequences of this transition, such as more extreme weather and ecosystem shifts, are already being felt far beyond the Arctic.

Data from NSIDC and NASA

There is just 6.2 million square miles of sea ice on the planet right now, about a million square miles less than typical this time of year during the 1990s, and a few tens of thousands of square miles less than just last year, which had marked the previous record low. This level of detail about the remotest parts of the planet is available thanks to our relatively newfound vantage point from space. Satellites monitoring the poles gather sea-ice data, and records only go back to 1978. But it’s a near certainty that ice levels have not been this low in a long, long time.

Proxy evidence from microscopic fossils found on the floor of the Arctic Ocean provides proof that sea ice levels there are the lowest in centuries and perhaps much longer. There’s evidence from ancient plant material in far northern Canada that the Arctic has not been as warm as it currently is for at least 44,000 years. For the Antarctic, sea ice is more variable and no reliable ancient reconstructions currently exist — though there’s convincing evidence that there was less sea ice there about 128,000 years ago. For context, humans first mastered agriculture about 12,000 years ago in the Middle East, once temperatures stabilized near the end of the last ice age.

The middle of February is the usual time of the annual low for the planet’s sea ice (the Antarctic almost always has more ice than the Arctic, because there’s less land mass in the way); lately, however, the February lows have been much lower than normal on both poles. The Arctic and the Antarctic mostly operate as separate entities in the Earth’s climate system, but at the moment they’re in sync — a bit of a puzzle for researchers.

According to Zack Labe, a sea ice researcher at the University of California-Irvine, thinks there might be more than one cause. Arctic sea ice has been declining rapidly for decades, which Labe and other scientists are sure is the result of human-caused warming.

Antarctic ice, by contrast, began falling in 2016, which suggests the drop could be connected to natural swings in the climate. “It is too early to say whether losses in the Antarctic are representing a new declining trend,” says Labe.

Although the loss of sea ice is troubling, the overall pace of change is even worse. Global temperatures are rising at a rate far in excess of anything seen in recent Earth history. That means, in all likelihood, these latest records were made to be broken.

Link to original:  

Polar ice is lost at sea

Posted in alo, Anchor, Anker, FF, G & F, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, solar, solar panels, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Polar ice is lost at sea

How to Create a Mind – Ray Kurzweil


How to Create a Mind
The Secret of Human Thought Revealed
Ray Kurzweil

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: November 13, 2012

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

The bold futurist and bestselling author explores the limitless potential of reverse-engineering the human brain Ray Kurzweil is arguably today’s most influential—and often controversial—futurist. In How to Create a Mind , Kurzweil presents a provocative exploration of the most important project in human-machine civilization—reverse engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works and using that knowledge to create even more intelligent machines. Kurzweil discusses how the brain functions, how the mind emerges from the brain, and the implications of vastly increasing the powers of our intelligence in addressing the world’s problems. He thoughtfully examines emotional and moral intelligence and the origins of consciousness and envisions the radical possibilities of our merging with the intelligent technology we are creating. Certain to be one of the most widely discussed and debated science books of the year, How to Create a Mind is sure to take its place alongside Kurzweil’s previous classics which include Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever and The Age of Spiritual Machines . From the Hardcover edition.

See original:

How to Create a Mind – Ray Kurzweil

Posted in alo, Anchor, FF, GE, LAI, ONA, PUR, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on How to Create a Mind – Ray Kurzweil