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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Say goodbye to snow skiing in California - man made climate change to reduce Sierra snowpack by 50%

A new study led by UCLA climate researcher Alex Hall indicates that if we don't take climate change seriously and control greenhouse gas emissions, then we can expect a reduction in snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains by over 50%.

DodgeRidge Grab

Dodge Ridge Ski resort in Pinecrest, CA
Photo By IanGad (DodgeRidge) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons


Utilizing some new modeling techniques, the researchers were able to make predictions on a relatively narrow geographical area. The study, published in the American Meteorological Society's online journal, found that temperatures could rise by 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century causing the decline in snowpack.

Additionally, the loss of reflected heat due to the loss of snowpack will lead to additional warming, further exacerbating the situation.

Obviously, those who enjoy snow skiing and those who own and operate snow skiing facilities should be very, very concerned about this future situation.

Learn more here and at this link.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Trump picks "fanatical ideological clown" Myron Ebell to gut EPA, millions of lives may be at risk

President-elect Donald Trump has made one of his first moves to fulfill his many anti-environmental campaign promises. He has appointed Myron Ebell, one of the world's leading climate contrarians, to lead Trump's effort to redesign - some would say "dismantle" - the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and rebuild it in Trump's image.


Photo: Myron Ebell Facebook Page, Fair Use

Under Ebell's guidance, the new administration appears to be willing to throw in the trash existing and proposed EPA regulations that address not only climate change, but also those that protect the health and lives of millions of Americans.

This is all being done under the mistaken belief that environmental regulations are based on faulty science and do not benefit the public.

Ebell has been called a "fanatical ideologue" and a "nut" by David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council and a "clown" by others who, to say the least, do not think highly of his expertise (or lack of it) or his opinions.

He directs environmental and energy policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Much of the funding for that organization comes from the fossil fuel industry, in particular large coal producers such as the Murray Energy Corporation.

Ebell also chairs the Cooler Heads Coalition which refers to global warming as a hoax and a myth based on flawed scientific, economic, and risk analysis. Ebell is not a scientist but has referred to those who are experts in the field as third-, fourth-, and fifth-rate scientists.

Every single argument that Ebell has raised about climate change being a hoax or that there is no scientific consensus has been easily rebutted. For a comprehensive list of such nonsensical claims as his, try this link: Skeptical Science

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Is climate change forcing Trump to focus on interplanetary colonization?

As the dust begins to settle and much of the shock starts to wear off, The Guardian reports that President-elect Trump plans to scuttle all NASA directed work on the environment in favor of deep space exploration.

Maybe he wants to get a head start on interplanetary colonization before climate change screws up everything on Earth?


Video: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Read the full article here: 


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Climate change and national security, it's a real issue

As a bitter election year comes to an end in the United States, an issue that saw little discussion or debate by any of the major political parties nonetheless remains - human caused climate change.

It's real and it's a fact. Those who deny it need to get over their "beliefs" and listen to people who know what they are talking about - climate scientists - and stop their nonsensical claims that it is a hoax.

You're wrong. It isn't. Get over it.



Photo: The Madhouse Effect, Amazon, Fair Use

One aspect of climate change that is often given short thrift is its effect on international conflicts. Although one could argue that there are no climate change "models" that accurately predict when or if people will start fighting each other because the world is getting warmer, there are some things to consider seriously.

Like:

What happens if the world's population continues to increase faster than the production of food to feed everyone?

What happens if increased droughts and storms lead to a decrease in agricultural yields?

What happens when temperature increases adversely impact major agricultural areas?

And most importantly, what happens when nation states and/or political factions within those nation states see their food and water supplies diminishing compared to their neighbors?

All of these areas are addressed in a new book, The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazyby Michael E. Mann and Tom Toles. Mann, one of the foremost scientific experts in the field, and Toles, a Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist, have put together a unique product that utilizes both written text and cartoons to address the problem of climate change.

If you are looking for some exceptional reading on the subject, you should check it out. An excellent summary of some of the issues discussed in the book can be found here:

Why Climate Change is the Biggest Threat to National Security

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Is your recycled Patagonia fleece hoodie hurting the environment?

For years and years people concerned with the environment have been reminded to recycle as much of the waste that they generate as possible. By sending waste aluminum cans, paper, glass, and plastic to recycling centers, those concerned with environmental degradation felt comfortable that they were doing their part to reduce their contribution of waste.

In addition, many of these same people looked to buy new things that were made of recycled material. Some of these products are fleece and other types of clothing made from recycled plastic and other synthetic materials. One such company, Patagonia, has made the sale of such clothing a key part of its business plan.



Well, did you know that by purchasing such clothing that you may be contributing to one of the biggest environmental problems of which most people are unaware?

Many of you have heard of recent legislation to ban plastic microbeads in consumer products. Used in such items as exfoliants and other skin and body care products, these pieces of plastic are so small that they aren't collected at waste water treatment plants and enter the environment in treated waste water sent to oceans and rivers. Once there, they can enter the food chain leading to more environmental problems, both to wildlife and the animals (including humans) who eat them.

Similarly, it now appears that fabrics made from recycled plastics are causing the same, if not bigger, problem. When these articles of clothing are washed, tiny fibers break off during the washing process (think lint like material) and get sent along with the washing machine waste water to a treatment plant. Just like microbeads, many of these fibers (up to 35%) are too small to be collected and enter the environment with the plant's effluent.

The following article discusses the problem in more detail:

Patagonia admits there's a problem with synthetic clothes

Thursday, November 10, 2016

California approves plastic bag ban

Lost in all the hoopla of the Presidential election this week was that California voters affirmed their support for a plastic bag ban that was supposed to have taken effect more than a year ago.

California Proposition 67  passed by a 52 - 48 margin, thus enabling the requirements of Senate Bill 270 to immediately take effect. A companion piece supported by the plastic bag industry, Proposition 65, would have required monies that grocers take in for selling non-plastic bags be directed to environmental causes. That measure failed, with 55% of the vote opposing it.


Photo By Andrea Westmoreland from DeLand, United States (Great Blue Heron Swallows Fish in Plastic Bag!) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


For those in the dark about the issue, or, those who simply question why it is such an important environmental issue, here is a good source of information to learn why it was enacted: Plastic Ban Info

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Before the Flood - was DiCaprio too wishy-washy or not?

The new climate change film, Before the Flood, has making a lot of news lately. Currently being shown on the National Geographic Channel and available for free streaming on iTunes, the film features actor Leonardo DiCaprio as he travels the world searching for answers to what many say is the most pressing environmental problem facing the world today.


Some people have commented that the message of the film isn't harsh enough in warning of the dangers of uncontrolled anthropogenic emissions. Others say the film presents everything in just the right manner for the general public.

Have you seen it yet? What do you think? let us know in the comments section below.




Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Free America Recycles Day event in Bakersfield on November 12, 2016

Bakersfield and Kern County residents looking for a way to get rid of certain unwanted or unusable items should head to the Rabobank Arena next week. A free, drive-thru recycling event will be taking place on Saturday, November 12, 2016, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the arena's South Parking Lot.

Items accepted include electronics, batteries, large and small household items, passenger vehicle tires (limit 4), used motor oil filters, used clothing, shoes, linens, surplus construction materials, paper shredding waste (limit - 2 file size boxes), and other recyclable material.

For further information, call 661.831.2321.