Canada Lynx disappearing from Washington State – WSU Research

While not directly linked to the North Olympic Peninsula, this is more bad news for species facing a warming climate. I post this to offset the anti-science based notion that the species will simply ‘follow the food north’. That doesn’t appear to be what is happening.

A massive monitoring study led by Washington State University researchers has found lynx on only about 20% of its potential habitat in the state. The study, published recently in the Journal of Wildlife Management, covered more than 4,300 square miles (7,300 km) in northeastern Washington with camera traps but detected lynx in only 29 out of 175 monitored areas.

Canada lynx disappearing from Washington state

 

DNR proposes new tax for protecting Washington from looming wildfire crisis

While some politicians at the national level continue to say that climate change is a hoax, and that there is no cost to doing business as usual, our west coast natural resources managers are well aware of the rising costs to protect us from the increase in wildfires around our states. DNR head Hilary Franz has just proposed a new tax to help properly fund her department, which has been suffering from a lack of appropriate funds coming from the Trump Administration.  This is the new normal under the Trump Administration, starve the States with a lack of Federal funding, and force you and I to fund saving our neighbors. To be clear, that is a losing battle. Spreading the costs across all our States, is a cheaper way to do this.

New insurance surcharge to fight wildfires to be proposed by Washington’s lands commissioner

Determined to create reliable funding to prevent and fight Washington wildfires, the state commissioner of public lands and some Democratic lawmakers are about to make a new push for revenue.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/new-insurance-surcharge-to-fight-wildfires-to-be-proposed-by-washingtons-lands-commissioner/

 

https://www.dnr.wa.gov/about/legislative

 

‘The smell will knock you off your feet’: mass mussel die-offs baffle scientists | Environment | The Guardian

The Chehalis River is one of the locations mentioned in this article.

Mussels, the backbone of the river ecosystem because they control silt levels and filter water, are facing a mysterious affliction
— Read on www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/14/the-smell-will-knock-you-off-your-feet-mass-mussel-die-offs-baffle-scientists

This Is Not a Drill: 700+ Arrested as Extinction Rebellion Fights Climate Crisis with Direct Action -Democracy Now

Finally, we are seeing the kind of demonstrations demanding action that have been building for the last few years. The US and Canada have been lagging behind other parts of the world in demanding climate action from our leaders. Now, with Extinction Rebellion, we see a real force for getting the kind of “Act Up” urgency into the mainstream  (the people who launched the AIDS crisis demonstrations that galvanized others to demand action).  I’ve not heard of a Extinction Rebellion group here locally. If you know of them, have them contact me. I’d like to do a discussion session with them.

More than 700 people have been arrested in civil disobedience actions as the group Extinction Rebellion kicked off two weeks of protests in 60 cities worldwide, demanding urgent government action on the climate crisis. Its members have superglued themselves to government buildings, occupied public landmarks, shut down roads and taken to the streets to sound the alarm about the impending catastrophe of global warming. Extinction Rebellion, a nonpolitical movement, launched last year in the U.K. and rose to prominence in April, when it disrupted traffic in Central London for 11 days. For more about the significance of the coordinated global protests, we speak with Extinction Rebellion co-founder Gail Bradbrook.

Mr. Rogers and teaching kids about climate change

While this blog publishes a lot of articles that can be  quite depressing when placed in context, I feel a need to make sure that we here on the Peninsula get the big picture. You the reader can edit them out yourself. However, there is  discussion I’ve heard about being positive, especially for younger audiences, tailoring the message. That is a good idea. Greta Thurnberg is championing waking up the teens. But as she said, she suffered from depression when coming to grips with it. No one in her family or school apparently understood how to communicate the message to her.

This article in Grist, below, and also the recent documentary film about Fred Rogers (not the Tom Hanks movie) are worth considering.

My goal, when talking to anyone about climate change, is to establish rapport that

  • It is here and happening now, not something coming in the future. Younger audiences can be told how we are the beginning of weather changes that they will continue to see as they grow up. And that they can do things, to help make the changes go better.
  • Focus on what people can do. Children like being included. Pick up trash on the beach, don’t throw bags in the water, etc. Small things build their ability to understand larger things later.
  • Ask adults what they think they can do that could make a difference. Fly less? Drive less? Become more politically active?

Fred Rogers was a master of communicating hard news to children. In fact, as the movie states, “He was radical”. His taking on issues of assassination, death, violence and divorce, were well thought out and researched in advance. I recommend this movie to anyone that teaches young children. If you never really gave Mr. Rogers any thought, this will be an eye opener.

Grist also just published the following article.

Life as an outdoor educator might seem like it’s all fun and games — romping around outside, playing games, looking at bugs — until it comes to talking to 9-year-olds about climate change.

“They want to talk about it, but it can be hard sometimes,” Ian Schooley said with a laugh. He spent four years teaching visiting fourth and fifth graders at the Pacific Science Center’s Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center about the wetland ecosystems just outside of Seattle. Wetlands are a unique habitat that filters water, sucks up carbon dioxide, and protects our coasts — but the triple threat of sea-level rise, pollution, and development is putting them at risk.

When teaching kids about climate change, don’t be a downer

Humans’ role in climate change, oil and gas industry lawyer says ‘that ship has sailed’ – Wa Post

The Washington Post got ahold of closed door comments by the a top Petroleum industry executive. This shows that the industry is well aware of their role in this climate emergency, and that they are not assuming the Trump agenda is lasting or helping them.

The burning of petroleum accounted for 45 percent of the United States’ energy-related carbon emissions last year, according to the Energy Information Administration, while natural-gas burning contributed 31 percent.

In a closed-door meeting of oil and gas executives this summer in Colorado Springs, industry lawyer Mark Barron offered a bold proposal: Energy companies must accept that fossil fuels are helping to drive climate change. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s real, or not real, or what the issues are,” said Barron, who heads the energy litigation arm of Baker Hostetler. “That ship has sailed from a political perspective.” Barron added that any American younger than 40 had grown up learning that climate change is “an existential crisis that we need to address.” The recording of the June 24 meeting of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), which was obtained by The Washington Post, highlights a growing schism between the Trump administration and key players in the fossil fuel industry. Even as Trump officials work to repeal federal restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions, some oil and gas executives say they have no choice but to press forward with plans to address climate change. Juliet Ellperin reports. (Washington Post)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/when-it-comes-to-acknowledging-humans-role-in-climate-change-oil-and-gas-industry-lawyer-says-that-ship-has-sailed/2019/09/26/63c0d250-c9c2-11e9-a4f3-c081a126de70_story.html

Fisheries disaster money after ‘Blob’ just now being disbursed as new marine heatwave looms – Seattle Times

It’s sad that it’s taken the federal government three years to get this money to the fishermen who needed it back then. Why can’t our federal government work faster?  Why don’t we demand it do so! Now, we face another marine heatwave. Can our commercial fisheries withstand another financial hit, with the Feds taking so long to come through?

The marine heatwave known as “The Blob” wreaked havoc on Northwest fisheries during 2015 and 2016, Ron Warren, fish policy director for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, told a Senate committee Wednesday. And before the federal government could even provide disaster relief for that event, another marine heatwave loomed, he said. The Blob stoked marine temperatures nearly 7 degrees higher than normal, according to his testimony. Fewer coho salmon returned. Those that did return were smaller. Fisheries had to be closed. Gov. Jay Inslee and representatives of several tribal governments in 2016 requested millions of dollars in federal fishing disaster funds to help offset the losses to fishing communities. Now, more than three years later, the fishing disaster money has only just arrived from the feds, Warren told senators. Evan Bush and Hal Bernton report. (Seattle Times)

Fisheries disaster money after ‘Blob’ just now being disbursed as new marine heatwave looms

How climate change threatens our health in the Pacific Northwest -Seattle Times

Ongoing coverage this week of the effects of the emerging Climate Emergency.

“I’m seeing things that I did not think would happen until 2050,” said Dr. Kristie Ebi, a professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. “Climate change is coming at us much faster, and the speed of change and how that’s going to affect extreme events is going to be very problematic.” Heat waves and floods are becoming more frequent and intense sooner than expected, she said.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/how-climate-change-threatens-our-health-in-the-pacific-northwest/?utm_source=referral&utm_medium=mobile-app&utm_campaign=ios

Climate change is already here. You have one last chance to stop it – Los Angeles Times

This week, all across the globe, news agencies are focusing on climate change.  This is late, but needed. The time has come to change the narrative and get everyone involved. We have just witnessed 70,000 Bahamians become climate refugees. Last year it was those in Northern California. And that’s just the big ones. This article talks about what the country and each of us individually need to think about. “Is that next plane flight really needed?”

The world climate is in crisis, and it is all our own doing. And we must through concerted global action end our reliance on fossil fuels before time runs out.
— Read on www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-climate-change-crisis-global-warming-part-1-story.html

Most American teens are frightened by climate change, poll finds, and about 1 in 4 are taking action – Washington Post

In the 1960s and 70s we faced the very real thread of nuclear annihilation. Now we are back at a very real threat that is much harder to find ways forward. As a child, I was very afraid of being blown to bits. It caused many of my friends to not want to engage in the society, and to do drugs because, “what’s the use?” There are children suffering now with the facts being presented to us. And there are children, like Greta Thurnberg that are standing up and taking action. Let’s support our children when they ask about going out on strike this Friday. The answer should be, “do it, can I join you?”

….A solid majority of American teenagers are convinced that humans are changing the Earth’s climate and believe that it will cause harm to them personally and to other members of their generation, according to a new Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll. Roughly 1 in 4 have participated in a walkout, attended a rally or written to a public official to express their views on global warming — remarkable levels of activism for a group that has not yet reached voting age. Sarah Kaplan and
Emily Guskin report. (Washington Post)

Most American teens are frightened by climate change, poll finds, and about 1 in 4 are taking action

One hour with 16 Year Old Climate Activist Greta Thunberg – Democracy Now!

One hour to hear from Greta in her own world. Get inspired.

https://www.democracynow.org/shows/2019/9/11

No flights, a four-day week and living off-grid: what climate scientists do at home to save the planet – The Guardian

I have talked to a number of people who wonder what they can do to help alleviate climate change, or prepare for it. Here’s a great article, with thoughts by a number of climate scientists on what they are doing. Can you cut down on the number of airplane flights a year? Switch diets? Maybe do just one of these.

 One of the best things you can do to address climate change is go down to a four-day working week. This would take some of the heat out of our ever-expanding economies, reduce our capacity and urge to consume, and create space to live a more balanced life.

I decided to retire from full time work a number of years ago, for many reasons, but one of them was to reduce  my carbon footprint. So far, it’s been a good, no, great choice. I only eat meat that has been small farm raised on grass and not grain, but there are numerous additional things I can do. A great idea for summer with your kids is to do a list of the various things that *could* be done to reduce your personal carbon footprint. i.e. is it really necessary to drive to a big box store to buy large bulk items? or paying a bit more to save the gas and pollution worth the trade off? How much do you actually save?

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/jun/29/no-flights-four-day-week-climate-scientists-home-save-planet?utm_source=pocket-newtab

While you are there reading this, donate a dollar or two to the finest newspaper on the planet, The Guardian.

 

Low snowpack, hot spring lead to drought declaration for nearly half of Washington state – Bellingham Herald

While there is overcast and rain, we are not out of the danger of drought yet.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared drought Monday for nearly half of Washington watersheds, as the mountain snowpack that churns through hydropower dams, irrigates our state’s orchards and provides for fish continues to dwindle well below normal. Twenty days into May, “our statewide snowpack is the fourth-lowest it’s been over the past 30 years,” said Jeff Marti, the drought coordinator for the Washington Department of Ecology. Winter left many areas of the state with lower-than-normal snowpack. A hot, dry spring quickly zapped much of the snow that did accumulate. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Nooksack expected to be 25 percent below average. Here’s how the state is responding  A total of 24 Washington river watersheds — including the Nooksack, the Upper Skagit, and the Lower Skagit-Samish — were included in the order, which could spell trouble for farmers and residential users as well as the salmon that require a constant supply of cold, clear water through summer.  Robert Mittendorf reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Low snowpack, hot spring lead to drought declaration for nearly half of Washington state 

Climate change: Global impacts ‘accelerating’ – WMO

More bad climate news.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says that the physical and financial impacts of global warming are accelerating. Record greenhouse gas levels are driving temperatures to “increasingly dangerous levels”, it says. Their report comes in the same week as the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported a surge in CO2 in 2018. (BBC)

Climate change: Global impacts ‘accelerating’ – WMO

UW research: Western glaciers losing ice at an increasing rate, but less so in Washington state – KNKX

It is a sobering reminder that our water supply for Port Townsend, comes from snow pack in the Olympics, not wells. We seem to be slightly benefitting from the climate changes happening all around us, at least in the shoas it relates to water in snow pack.

It appears a pattern of heavy storms in the Pacific Northwest may have obscured the effects of climate change over the past 20 years. Researchers here have identified a southern shift in the jet stream as a source of heavy precipitation that built up snow pack and glacier mass in Washington and Oregon, while they were declining elsewhere. David Shean, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Washington, uses high-resolution satellite images to get precise measurements of glaciers and ice mass. For a recent study, Shean teamed up with colleagues at the University of Northern British Columbia to assemble thousands of satellite pictures of North America’s western glaciers. They mapped and modeled changes in the ice since 2000. Shean says they found a rapid increase in ice loss over the past 18 years overall, but less happening in the Pacific Northwest. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

UW research: Western glaciers losing ice at an increasing rate, but less so in Washington state

Hope

The other day a woman came up to me and asked, “How do you have hope for the environment with a President like this?” It’s an interesting question and worth an answer.

The key reason I have hope that we will get through this and on to a better day, is by looking at how far we have come. In my life of 65 years, I have personally watched a polluted river burn in Ohio, smelled the steel mills of south Chicago spewing massive amounts of toxic pollution into the air, ran with all the other children behind DDT smoggers in our neighborhood on a regular basis every summer, and witnessed the pollution of Los Angeles at its worse. There was no organic food movement when I was a child. No one imagined that cars could run on battery power.

Since then, the country, with help from both the old Republican Party and Democrats, has put  into action thousands of laws to protect us, our children, our food, air and water. The laws are so ingrained that many of the voters who supported Donald Trump and his minions in the current incarnation of the Republican party, have forgotten just why the laws are there. That we have huge numbers of eagles in our area is because of public pressure, and science research recognizing the dangers of DDT and Congress passing a law that a President signed banning its use in the U.S.

The splitting of news media into real news (now labeled fake news by Trump) and a propaganda machine called Fox News,  which has through clever programming become one of the most watched news media in the country, has worked to dumb down those watching it and created a population who no longer understands what we have gained by the laws that it rails against.  This was by intent. As documented in numerous news reporting a small cadre of people  started working on the program to take control of America back in the 1970s. They were reactionary to the events happening in the 60s. They have all but succeeded in their goals, but whether the population will continue to support them remains to be seen.

As Trump and his administration go about tearing down the laws and even the notion of using science to make decisions, those inside those institutions are not willingly going along with the destruction. Outside the organizations, there is a coordinated effort to take the Trump administration to court over these blatant attacks on our resources. We will lose some of these battles to be sure. But when it’s all over, I have no doubt that future administrations will come along and rebuild these laws.

When looking at these laws, it is undoubtedly true they often are laws that were built and added onto over the decades since the 1970s, and probably can be improved. A rewriting of them by future administrations and Congresses can be hoped to improve on them,  not destroy them.

The bigger concern is the lack of desire to even admit to global warming and do anything about it by Trump. As many of the world’s leading climate scientists said last week, we have not much time left to avoid global catastrophe. Over the last decade we witnessed from afar the creation of a global class of climate refugees.  This year, we are witnessing the creation of a class of climate refugees here in the U.S. As we have seen in the Southeast U.S. just this last two months, and the forests of Northern California this summer and last summer, along with numerous smaller incidents that don’t make “ink”  in the news. The poor along the Gulf Coast of Florida, the backwaters of South and North Carolina, the areas around Redding and Santa Rosa California, and elsewhere are facing a horrendous future as they watch their entire homes and places of work blown to bits or burned to ash. Given that it has been reported by Money magazine and other real news sources that 6 in 10 Americans don’t have $500 savings, it points to an unrecoverable situation for those who are affected by global warming.

While each of us can do some small thing to help, like use less fossil fuels or install solar panels, this looming global catastrophe is waiting on leadership from the U.S. to move towards a true solution. Our country is the largest global polluter closely followed by China and India. We have to lead in order to really change anything. Luckily, the economics of solar have created a financial incentive that even Trump can’t lie his way around. Coal is doomed by the costs of solar. It’s happening already. And states such as ours are taking the initiative because of popular demand, to move towards sustainable energy sources. But there is a huge amount of work yet to be done.

Once we were challenged by a true leader, President Kennedy, and supported in that challenge by President Johnson and Republican President Nixon, to put a man on the moon in 10 years. We did it. Out of that effort, came huge benefits to our society and to the rest of the planet. When the next true leader comes along, it will be up to us to get ourselves out from under the rule of fossil fuels to a solar and wind powered future. It will not be easy. It will disrupt numerous industries and jobs (just ask the coal miners in Kentucky).  But the outcome will eventually create a better world. Unfortunately, in the meantime we have to protect ourselves from the planet doing what it is programmed to do with a rise in greenhouse gasses, absorbing the heat in the oceans, which fuels hurricanes and creates ocean acidification, among other problematic scenarios.

My hope is in  two things that humans have had in their favor over the last 100,000 or more years,  ingenuity and tools. We have created our way out of so many seemingly insurmountable problems, from bacteria caused illnesses with penicillin to  sewer, light and transportation systems to support cities of tens of millions of people. I trust in our ability to find a way through the next hundred years.  A good place to start is to vote in politicians who believe in science and recognize the problem for what it is. That starts next week. The decision is yours to make.

 

 

 

Supreme Court rejects government motion in “climate kids” case.

Stunning loss for the Trump administration. Now the facts can be presented in court and the kids can claim damages and a threat to their “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Ours too!

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to suspend proceedings in a potential landmark climate case that pits a group of youth plaintiffs against the federal government.

The court’s decision preserves the Oct. 29 start date for a federal trial in U.S. District Court in Eugene.

Read the whole story here;

http://www.registerguard.com/news/20180730/supreme-court-rejects-government-motion-in-climate-kids-case

Support local journalism. Subscribe to real news.

 

We are almost certainly underestimating the economic risks of climate change – VOX

I have long argued that the field of economics is simply propaganda for the status quo. Their findings are helping continue a headlong drive, exemplified by our current ‘head in the sand’ administration, towards the Sixth Extinction, which will take us and likely eliminate most of the planet’s diverse species. Here’s more evidence of how the field is failing real science. Is it even science?

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/6/8/17437104/climate-change-global-warming-models-risks

On its hundredth birthday in 1959, Edward Teller warned the oil industry about global warming -The Guardian

This is an interesting find, but doesn’t really surprise me. Teller was one of the people responsible for the atom bomb and was a staunch supporter of nuclear power. His predictions were right on the money, claiming that around 2000 we could see the melting of the poles. My guess is that he told the audience that they should support a move to nuclear power and electric cars to fuel this future.

I attended a lecture by Teller at the University of Washington, probably around 1978 or 79. I was very much anti-nuclear, which I still am. I asked Teller a couple of questions after the talk, including how we were going to deal with nuclear waste and the issue of protecting the facilities from attack. He outlined that it would take the U.S. military to surround and protect the facilities and the transport of fuel. I questioned whether this was essentially asking for a military state and he said he had no problem with that. He assumed that issue of nuclear waste would be solved technically. I was skeptical of the enormous costs with cost overruns and possibility of meltdown of the core in the event of an accident, something that could (and later prove true in Fukushima), make downwind cities like New York, Chicago, Olympia and others into wastelands. I still am skeptical, and the emergence of advanced solar and wind shows we likely can solve it without nuclear power.

Somebody cut the cake – new documents reveal that American oil writ large was warned of global warming at its 100th birthday party.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/jan/01/on-its-hundredth-birthday-in-1959-edward-teller-warned-the-oil-industry-about-global-warming

 

Upcoming legislative climate action

Worth noting.

Olympic Climate Action is organizing support for a major new statewide campaign: Climate Countdown. With time fast running out to curtail the climate crisis there can be no excuses from the Washington State Legislature to undertake bold climate action now. It will ask two things of the legislature: ban new fossil fuel infrastructure (by passing Climate Test Legislation) and commit to rapid transition to 100% renewable energy (as has been done in Maryland recently). There is broad excitement for the possibility of significant action on climate in our state, however it is a short legislative session.

The legislature has just sixty days to get this done, the clock is ticking. To launch this campaign, there will be a major mobilization in Olympia on the opening day of the legislature–Monday, January 8. The OCA is filling carpools from the Olympic Peninsula, reserve your spot here. Please carve out this date if you can! For further information email Olympic Climate Action or visit the event facebook page.
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Location: WA State Capitol Building, Olympia, WA 98504

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