Posts Tagged ‘greenhouse gas’

350 is the Magic Number

Photo: 350.org, Vilandai, India school children

Photo: 350.org, Vilandai, India school children

As we find ourselves in December with record breaking warmth throughout much of the nation, following harrowing storms on both coasts (with more on the way for the Pacific Northwest), more than a few folks have been wondering: “WTF with the weather?!”

Climate crisis is no longer passably deniable no matter how far you’ve got your head shoved in the sand—sure, if you are in the habit of dismissing science elsewhere in your belief system, you might well be able to convince yourself that there is no global warming–but for the REST of us…we gotta do something.

350.org is a global grassroots campaign to get us motivated and into action about the climate. The number 350 is the target that scientists warn we must bring our greenhouse gasses DOWN to, to assure our safety and longevity. Our number is currently 392 parts per million of CO2–so we’ve got some work to do. 350 is organizing via a grand scheme, trying to motivate communities everywhere, all at once. They do massive worldwide actions, with thousands of events in hundreds of countries occurring simultaneously. Getting back to 350 will take some pretty grand actions, empowering sustainable energy resources is just the beginning, as are new paradigm plans regarding planting instead of clear-cutting, reducing waste, protecting biodiversity and habitats zones, and more. It will require a global treaty, and making this simple to understand and easy to remember number part of the planet-wide discussion is a meaningful step. We needn’t remember a lot of science, but we do need to hold leaders’ feet to the fire about 350.

350

Not too hard to embed in the old brain pan, is it? Speak of it, call it out, activate around it. 350–we can get there, but only together.

 

Carbon Neutral Antarctica

I have longed, for ages, to visit Antarctica—I have this somewhat random need/desire to step foot on every continent, and so far, that one has eluded me. Every time I see a press release or posting or anything about Antarctic voyages, my mushy brain’s eyes and ears perk up. I was glad to see this new development: Quark Expeditions is offering the industry’s first carbon neutral Polar expedition to Antarctica this year on their new ship, theOcean Diamond. It’ll green up your bucket list trip with no additional cost to guests, by reinvesting the carbon dioxide equivalents of the voyage into hydro, wind power, and reforestation projects in Turkey, Kenya, India, and China.

Hans Lagerweij, the president of Quark, points up some fun equivalencies: “By offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions from our Antarctic Ocean Diamond voyages with these projects around the world, Quark is effectively neutralizing more CO2e than an entire space shuttle flight. It’s the same as removing 1,114 cars from the road for one year, or cancelling 5,380 flights from New York to Tokyo…”

The inaugural voyage is in November, and there are 10, 11, and 20-day itineraries…I need to hurry to win that damn Lotto.


More Ice? (Please)

The World Wildlife Fund has released a new study that points to the evidence that Arctic melting, which will likely change weather patterns and cause coastal flooding, is worse than previously estimated. Warming in the Arctic impacts the ecosystem around the planet, with a sharp increase of greenhouse gases and shifts in weather. Arctic Sea ice is melting more quickly than we thought.

“This is not about the Arctic, it’s what the Arctic means to the rest of the world and this study paints a truly sobering picture of the future if it continues to warm and melt,” said Dr. Martin Sommerkorn, “Warming in the Arctic will have negative consequences not just for polar bears, but for people across America and throughout the world. Simply put, if we do not keep the Arctic cold enough, people across the world will suffer the effects.”

It’s a pretty vicious circle. The study analysis says: “The Arctic’s frozen soils and wetlands store twice as much carbon as is held in the atmosphere, as warming trends continue, soils will increasingly thaw and release carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere as, at a significantly faster pace than previously predicted. Levels of atmospheric methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas, have been increasing rapidly for the past two years, and many believe the increase is driven by the thawing Arctic.”

Sea levels will also likely rise at an alarming rate…I’m traveling to the Maldives later this year, one of the most threatened regions that will be underwater with just slight rises (much of the entire land mass of the island nation is less than 7 feet above sea level). That’s pretty damned freaky. Coastal flooding which will affect more than 25% of the world’s population, is now believed to be almost twice as much as was estimated in 2007. That’s only 2 years in which the prediction has grown twice as bleak.

Ouch