Thursday, August 13, 2015

Help Horseshoe Crabs

Happy to be chosen as a guest blogger at The Safina Center, happier still that more people will get the word about horseshoe crabs and hopefully sign the save the horseshoe crab petition.

As it is, someone with a license in New York can take up to 500 crabs per day. That’s the kind of limit that represents no limit, says Carl Safina in The View from Lazy Point.

“There is something in man that hates natural abundance, and something that clings to excess,” wrote Dr. Safina.

In the Northeast, horseshoe crabs are declining and current catch levels are unsustainable.  Give them a chance.

Check out the post: Help Horseshoe Crabs Live Another Million Years 

Monday, July 27, 2015

God's Green Earth

Q: Is climate change a global challenge to humanity?

A: Is the Pope Catholic?

Yes, he is and apparently there are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world.  Many of them look to him for guidance.

The Pope says it's humanity's responsibility to be good stewards of the Earth.  It's a moral obligation.

That's why I'm ecstatic.  Even though it was a month ago, I'm still buzzing.  There's so much bad news out there around the health of ecosystems, it's sometimes hard to believe the good news.

The pontiff didn't mince words, either.  "The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth," Francis said.  He called for a "revolution" and he called out fossil fuels.

Can I get a Hallelujah?  How about an Amen?

The great news is that the Pope is not the only revered religious leader who says we should take care of God's green Earth.  In January 2013, the head of the Christian Orthodox church went as far as to call pollution a sin.  The Dalai Lama himself has asked for an ethical approach to environmental protection.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Doubt Meets a Mean Upper Cut

I just found my latest heroine in Naomi Oreskes.  She is not a female boxer in the traditional sense.

Trained as a geologist and obviously smart as a whip, she has become the staunch challenger to the scientific community's career naysayers and deniers.  But she does it on their terms, with research and solid data, and that's probably what makes them so incensed.

Dr. Fred Singer and the staff scientists of the George C Marshall Institute are some of the most vocal.  They call her many things including a lightening rod.  Her response is: "But remember, the whole purpose of a lightning rod is to keep people safe.”

Her book Merchants of Doubt is a must read.  She calls out the very small part of the scientific community that has strategically sowed doubt about some of the biggest issues.  We're talking not only climate change but also the health impacts of tobacco and the effects of acid rain. 

With her climate change work, she shows that about 97 percent of working climate scientists accept that global warming is happening, that humans are largely responsible, and that the situation poses long-term risks.  She places the small minority of deniers on the wrong side of science and history. 

The plot twist that gets me is that while the tobacco companies and the fossil fuel companies are motivated by greed, the merchants of doubt are in it for a different reason.  Oreskes says they oppose these major findings and the necessary sea changes that follow for "a deep ideological reason: contempt for government regulation," according to the New York Times.

In the world of communicating the science of climate change and fighting the deniers, that's an eye opener.  Knowing the motivation, the end game, of your enemy is half the battle to overcoming them.  Course it always helps to have a Naomi in your corner. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Celebrate World Oceans Day

Today is a great day to celebrate the majesty and the life-giving power of the ocean.

One way to celebrate is to remember that climate change hits the ocean, too.  It doesn't sound like much of a celebration but people save what they love, and the ocean needs saving.

So support clean energy to stem two game-changing ocean ills caused by climate change -- warming seas and ocean acidification.

Another way to celebrate is to get in the water or on the water or even near the water if you're lucky enough.  But you knew that.  Happy World Oceans Day.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Constant Spill

I knew it was too good to be true.  For awhile there, it really seemed that the Obama administration was serious about protecting the Arctic from offshore drilling.

Even most recently optimism flickered as Secretary of State Kerry spoke in support of clean energy at the Arctic Council.

"My friends, clean energy is the solution to climate change.  If we got the whole world to embrace clean energy choices rapidly, we can meet our two-degree target.  But the window’s closing.  The extraordinary thing is all of the technologies we need – whether it’s wind or solar or hydro or whatever, they’re all there," said Kerry.

But it is not to be.  The Obama administration just agreed to allow Shell to drill in the Arctic.

An oil spill directly into the Arctic would be horrible and that's reason enough to object to this decision.  But it's bigger than that.

Every single minute of every single day we are spilling carbon and other greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.  It's the constant spill.

The main objection to drilling in the Arctic should be that it's just more of the same -- drill, burn, repeat.  It's what got us here in the first pace.

And now we know better.  But we're still doing it.

Based on the rules of evolution, technically, we should be selected out.  Maybe that's what climate change is.  We cannot adapt ourselves to a clean energy future so climate change will take care of it.  Even a mouse can learn to protect itself -- if it touches this thing, it gets shocked.  So what does it do?  The mouse stops touching it.

If we burn this thing, we ruin nature.  Let's keep burning it anyway.

The move to renewable and clean power is too slow, and that's exactly what the fossil fuel industry wants.  They fought (and are still fighting) the science and reality of climate change, but they've got so many other ways to hold onto their status quo.

Transition is one of those terms they've fed us.  Obama even used it in his recent announcement that we can expect more of the same, even drilling in the Arctic.  That we need to transition to clean fuels.  It sounds so nice and calm.  It really just means more time for the fossil fuel industry to make a killing while they're killing the planet.

I thought we had a moment of real inspiration, a chance for one of the biggest hogs on the planet, the U.S., to be a leader in clean energy.

"Rather than being a leader, however, the U.S. is simply following in the footsteps of Russia and Norway – two countries that have already begun or are making progress towards Arctic offshore drilling.  The decision in favor of Shell’s plans also puts Alaska on the pathway of dependency on oil extraction for many more years to come instead of turning it into a leader in more cutting-edge industries like clean energy," according to Cryopolitics.

Pale leadership, missed opportunities and the constant spill continues while the fat cats pop the champagne.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Don't Even Speak Of It

The ultimate form of denial: don't even speak of it.

The Florida office charged with protecting the state's natural resources -- from manatees to the buccaneer palm, from elkhorn coral to gators -- was muzzled by the state's highest officials.

"Though it was not a written rule, we were told not to use the terms 'climate change,' 'global warming' or 'sustainability'. That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors," said Christopher Byrd, a former attorney with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Office of General Counsel, according to USA Today.

What could Florida officials possibly be protecting by such a mandate?  Unfortunately, it's unsurprising in a state where renewable energy is illegal.

What really boggles the mind is that Florida is almost entirely at or barely above sea level.  Right now, flooding occurs with nearly every high tide in places that never flooded before including many of its famous beaches, which generate over $65 billion in tourism revenue annually.

The blatant disregard for the future of Floridians and Florida's economy by its own government is nothing short of breathtaking.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Tea Party Blasts Koch Brothers

Who do you think said this? 

"Americans for Prosperity (Koch brothers' nonprofit) is supposed to espouse free-market principles, but they're trying to prevent Floridians from engaging in commerce in a free-market manner.  They are resorting to
outright lies." 

Nope, not a tree hugging environmentalist.  Not some big time liberal.  Not even a left-leaning journalist

Debbie Dooley said that.  She's a Georgia-based tea party leader and founder of Conservatives For Energy Freedom. 

She was speaking about Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers leading mouthpiece and purveyor of doubt and denial. 

In Florida, Americans for Prosperity is butting heads with the Tea Party.  The Tea Party supports solar in the state, also known as the sunshine state by the way.  Renewable energy is currently illegal in Florida. 

Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity make it their mission to give no quarter to renewable sources of power because that threatens the profits of their corporate patrons. They want clean energy to remain illegal in Florida. 

This conservative scuffle is a stunning example of the Koch brothers' machine at work, mowing down everything in its path,  even fellow conservatives. 

"Proponents of the ballot measure (to make renewables legal in Florida) argue there aren't any subsidies or mandates in the measure -- just legal changes that would make it easier for people in the state to get solar if they want. 

Dooley -- the Tea Party leader -- has accused Americans for Prosperity of 'hypocrisy'. Dooley accused the group of kowtowing to its corporate benefactors (Koch Brothers) rather than the will of the people," according to the Huffington Post 

'You don’t throw your principles out the window to benefit your corporate benefactors,' she said. 

That's her mistake right there -- she assumes Americans for Prosperity and the Koch Brothers have principles or anything resembling standards.  

They seem to be willing to say anything despite how truthful it is.  There is no place for reason in their money-fueled animosity.  It's all to keep their status quo of making billions while the world burns, literally. 

Let's not even get into the fact that renewables are illegal in Florida.  What is wrong with people?