This video talks about effects of increased atmospheric CO2 on Ocean ecosystem resulting into Ocean Acidification. Ocean is huge but there is a limit to how much it can intake man made CO2. Its time some decisive action is taken with regard to global warming/carbon emission and that too soon.The Ocean ecosystem is extremely fragile, makes me wonder how much damage we have already caused to the ecosystem in the Gulf coast due to BP spill which still continues as the efforts to control the leak by putting a huge dome over the leak has failed as of now.To add to the disaster already been done, BP has been using a dispersant corexit 9500 to break the crude oil layer which has been shown by their own labs to be toxic even when more effective and less toxic alternative, Dispersit, was available. Why not choose the lesser evil then? Who gives them the permission to dump millions of gallons of toxic chemicals in the ocean?
Looks like the Senate Climate change bill, which was supposed to be introduced today is heading to dooms-ville, at least for now. The bill which was being authored by senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham and Lieberman, was a result of collaborative efforts between politicians, environmentalists, industry partners and oil companies.The bill, if introduced in the Senate had some chance of passing to the next level due to tri-partisan efforts by the authors of the bill. Senator Lindsey Graham was the lone supporter from Republicans but he was getting the heat from his fellow party members and ultimately he caved in this weekend and decided to pull off the support. The blame also lies on Democrats part as they started pushing for immigration reforms motivated by political gains (as they are eyeing on upcoming elections in Nevada). Immigration reforms are needed but timing of pushing the bill,I guess, was not right. Senator Lindsey Graham was opposed to this immediate pushing of Immigration reforms and ultimately pulled out of the Cimate Change Bill and the introduction of the proposed bill has now been postponed sine die. So here goes in vain all bi or tri-partisan efforts; partisan politics trumps climate reforms. Both the issues, immigration and climate change reforms, are important and it’s sad that one issue is leading to demise of the other. For climate change, background work has been done by bringing various stakeholders together and chances of getting it to next level were good this year but for immigration reforms the background work has not even started as of now. Still hoping the bill to be introduced this year. It’s ironic that just few days after the celebration of 40th anniversary of Earth Day, much awaited climate change bill seems to be hitting the dead end even before the discussion started.
Talking about immigration reforms, what prompted Democrats to focus on immigration with such an emergency? The reason lies in the controversial immigration law passed by Arizona last week which requires all immigrants to carry immigration documents with them, failure to show the document can end them up in jail. According to NYtimes:
The bill requires police officers, “when practicable,” to detain people they reasonably suspect are in the country without authorization and to verify their status with federal officials, unless doing so would hinder an investigation or emergency medical treatment.It also makes it a state crime — a misdemeanor — to not carry immigration papers. In addition, it allows people to sue local government or agencies if they believe federal or state immigration law is not being enforced.
The bill has caused furor all over Arizona including other parts of the country forcing Democrats to focus on immigration reform as Senate majority leader Harry Reid is facing re-election this year and immigration issue is more politically saleable for election purposes than climate reforms. This ultimately led Lindsey Graham to walk off the climate bill. Way to go Politicians!! Here is a nice article by Paul Krugman about how both the parties look at the immigration issue differently. According to him:
Democrats are torn individually (a state I share). On one side, they favor helping those in need, which inclines them to look sympathetically on immigrants; plus they’re relatively open to a multicultural, multiracial society…On the other side, however, open immigration can’t coexist with a strong social safety net; if you’re going to assure health care and a decent income to everyone, you can’t make that offer global.
So Democrats have mixed feelings about immigration; in fact, it’s an agonizing issue.
Republicans, on the other hand, either love immigration or hate it. The business-friendly wing of the party likes inexpensive workers (and would really enjoy a huge guest-worker program that would both provide such workers and ensure that they can neither vote nor, in practice, unionize). But the cultural/nativist/tribal conservatives hate having these alien-looking, alien-sounding people on American soil.
So immigration is an issue that divides Republicans one from another, not within each individual’s heart.
“It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act” said Dalai Lama and there are few ordinary people who follow this maxim and take actions on issues they feel passionate about. Goldman Environmental prize or alternatively called “Green Nobel Prize” recognizes efforts of such grass root level activist who follow their passion to save the environment. These are ordinary peoples who do extraordinary works and their efforts need to be applauded and supported by all of us and April 22nd being the Earth Day, this is the perfect time to salute these real life heroes. Goldman prizes were first given in 1990 and previous recipients include Medha Patkar from India and Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai from Kenya. Each year Goldman prize is given to six environmentalist from six different geographical areas. This year the award was given on April 19th to following grass-root level environmentalist:
Tuy Sereivathana: He is affectionately called “Uncle Elephant” back in Cambodia where he is a peacemaker between the wild elephants and poor villagers who were forced to kill the wild elephants who destroyed their farms in order to save their crops. The elephant population has been dwindling (currently 400 in Cambodia) and to rescue came Tuy Sereivathana who taught villagers how to save their farms from elephants without killing themand thus conserving the endangered species.
Humberto Rios Labrada: He is a singing scientist and also called “seed man” of Cuba who promotes seed diversity in farming along with low-input farming methods so that to reduce extensive use of chemicals and thereby making food chemical free and agriculture more sustainable.
Lynn Henning: She tracks pollution from large farms, known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). She exposed the egregious polluting practices of livestock factory farms in rural Michigan, gaining the attention of the federal EPA and prompting state regulators to issue hundreds of citations for water quality violations.
Malgorzata Gorska: She continued her struggle for eight years and ultimately was successful in changing the route of highway project Via Baltica between Warsaw and Helsinki in Poland which otherwise would have resulted in large scale destruction of natural landscape and ecosystem in the area which is one of the last wilderness areas left in Europe.
Thuli Brilliance Makama: After a grueling three-year legal battle, Swaziland’s only public interest environmental attorney, Thuli Brilliance Makama, won a landmark case to include environmental NGO representation in the Swaziland Environment Authority, reinforcing the right to public participation in environmental decision making.
Randall Arauz: Drawing international attention to the inhumane and environmentally catastrophic shark finning industry, Randall Arauz led the campaign to halt the practice in Costa Rica, making his country the international model for shark protection.
You can watch this playlist showcasing their stories and work:
It will be interesting to visualize our Carbon footprint rather than just hear the numbers. Usually, Carbon di oxide emission is mentioned in mass (kgs, tonnes), but what does these numbers mean? CO2 being gas it becomes difficult to visualize in terms of mass rather volume would be much better to visualize. BBC One Planet along with carbonquilt came up with this visualization scheme where they converted statistics to visuals which is easy to relate to and understand.You can try for yourself on carbonquilt.org website to see your carbon footprint. I just tested this and am uploading the output it here. For my Carbon footprint , I used US annual per-capita carbon emission data from 2006 (19 tonnes) and here it is how the volume will look like:
This will how my Carbon footprint quilt will look like around my apartment complex in Cincinnati
It’s still beginning of the year and we already have witnessed three major natural disasters affecting millions of people. The year started with 7.0-magnitude Haiti earthquake where about 200,000 people died and millions were left homeless and then 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile where already 700 people have been reported dead and rescue operations are in progress. And now comes the devastating southern European storm ” Xynthia” which has already caused 55 deaths and millions homeless and without power. I know predicting earthquakes is extremely difficult and they can’t be linked to climate changes and global warming but the impact of Global warming on the increase in number of other natural disasters including storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, freezing winters etc. cant be totally ignored, even after IPCC’s recent debacle in Himalayan glacier report. These two earthquakes are the result of disturbances in tectonic plates along the San Andreas fault line caused by continental shifts. This ongoing process of continental shift might have been accelerated due to various changes in earth’s geology due to oil drilling and coal mining activities as coal mines can create huge voids in earth’s geological structures and can expedite the continental shifting process (source) . Even though these earthquakes and climate change are not linked directly, the can be linked to one possible common source- indiscriminate consumption of fossil fuels leading to escalation of changes in earth’s geological activities and climate patterns.
If anyone wants to help the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti and Chile , you can find detailed list of various agencies here through which you can contribute.
In another event which can impact weather changes in coming years and threaten marine life including Penguins, a giant iceberg of the size of Luxembourg (925 square miles) got ripped off the glacier Mertz in Antarctica during Feb 12-13. The event was not due to Global warming but due to a collision between the glacier and another moving iceberg. This giant chunk of ice could block ocean currents which could result in bitter cold winters and could also result in flooding in many areas.