Items of interest

 ITEMS OF INTEREST FROM PREVIOUS VCAC MAILOUTS  
UNCONVENTIONAL ONSHORE GAS PRODUCTION, INCLUDING ‘FRACKING
The Victorian Parliament is seeking public views on unconventional onshore gas production, including ‘fracking’. Submissions close 10 July
TOTING PANELS ON DONKEYS, MAASAI WOMEN LEAD A SOLAR REVOLUTION https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CGlq58eUYAAf4yv.jpg                                                                                                                                              photo Brian Merchant
Until recently, the people of Magadi, a village in Kenya’s Kajiado County, would have to travel to the nearest market 15 kilometres away to fill up on kerosene. Their young sons had to spend cold nights outside to guard the cattle. Trained in solar panel installation, more than 200 Maasai women have been leading an energy revolution, giving families access to clean, renewable power, and increased safety for the first time.Read the full article…..
RENEWABLE ENERGY RESOURCES 
by Twidell and Weir

“Solar and wind power  are now  proven, reliable, ever-cheaper sources of electricity that can play a major role in powering the world.

Along with other long-established renewables  such as hydropower, and complemented by improved energy efficiency and appropriate institutional support, they can be key to sustainable development.  This book can play a vital role in educating the people who are needed to make it happen.” Professor Martin Green

 

 – “The greatest hope for the Earth lies in religionists and scientists uniting
to awaken the world to its near fatal predicament and then leading
mankind out of the bewildering maze of international crises into
the future Utopia of humanist hope.” –
  Club of Rome


SEE POPE FRANCIS PHYSICALLY GEARING UP TO RELEASE THE PAPAL ENCYCLICAL

THE ENCYCLICAL “LAUDATO SI”, ON THE CARE OF OUR COMMON HOME”.
Explosive intervention by Pope Francis is set to transform climate change debate.

The most anticipated papal letter for decades will be published in five languages on Thursday. It will call for an end to the ‘tyrannical’ exploitation of nature by mankind.

Pope Francis will call for an ethical and economic revolution to prevent catastrophic climate change and growing inequality in a letter to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics on Thursday. The encyclical will have a strong social justice theme and a particular emphasis on the injustice of climate change.

The encyclical  will undoubtedly make waves not only for its insistence that humanity protect the environment, but also for its deconstruction of conservative arguments against climate change. Could it lead to a step-change in the battle against global warming?

The pontiff is expected to argue that humanity’s exploitation of the planet’s resources has crossed the Earth’s natural boundaries, and that the world faces ruin without a revolution in hearts and minds. The much-anticipated message, which will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops, will be published online in five languages on Thursday and is expected to be the most radical statement yet from the outspoken pontiff.

– “It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government
to save the environment.” – 
Ansel Adams

PLANETARY BOUNDARIES – a safe operating space for humans

A similar point was made in a January 2015 Science article, “Planetary boundaries,” by 18 international experts led by Will Steffen of the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Researchers find 4 of 9 planetary boundaries have been crossed: climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land-system change, altered biogeochemical cycles (phosphorus and nitrogen).

Here is the key chart of their findings (an update of their original 2009 findings).

planetary boundaries

Researchers find 4 of 9 planetary boundaries have been crossed: climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land-system change, altered biogeochemical cycles (phosphorus and nitrogen).

               

2014 was the hottest year on record. And 2015 isn’t proving to be any better — so far, we’ve seen droughts and water shortages all over the world, rising food prices and even the world’s first climate refugees. The impacts if we don’t act quickly are almost unimaginable –a staggering billion people could be forced out of their homes by 2050 if we don’t curb global emissions. One thing is clear: we need a global climate deal, and we need one now.

This year’s UN climate talks in Paris will be a pivotal moment to fight back against the disastrous consequences of climate change. These negotiations have to succeed — the stakes have never been higher. Yet we’ve heard that corporations will sponsor 20% of this year’s talks.
Every year, giant fossil fuel companies like Shell and Chevron send their slick corporate lobbyists to protect fossil fuel profits and stall real climate action.
The planet can’t wait any longer — it’s time we kick big polluters out.

Sign the petition by the SumOfUs asking the UNFCCC (UN Climate Convention) to ban big polluters from the climate talks in Paris this year.

More information:
Private sector to chip in for COP 21
, Euractiv, April 23 2015.
Another dirty energy dominated COP?, Euractiv, April 30 2015.
What climate activists can learn from the fight against Big Tobacco, Al Jazeera, Sept 21 2014

SumOfUs is a worldwide movement of people like you, working together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable path for our global economy.

 

– “The earth has been here long before us, and it will continue
to be here long after we’ve been wiped out. The biggest challenge
we face is shifting human consciousness, not saving the planet.
The planet doesn’t need saving. We do.” –
Xiuhtezcatl.Martinez

DON’T BURN OUR NATIVE FORESTS
Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt have introduced changes to the Renewable Energy Target into Parliament that would allow the burning of our native forests to count towards the RET.  Burning our forests is not a solution to climate change – it is an environmental nightmare and adds to climate change. We musty not let this happen. Call on Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten to stop this.

RECOUNT: IT’S TIME TO DO THE MATH AGAIN  By David Spratt

A survey of the relevant scientific literature , “Recount: It’s time to ‘Do the math’ again” The report explains why the catastrophic consequences of 2°C of warming demand a strong risk-management approach with a low rate of failure, and not take risks with the climate that we would not take with civil infrastructure
The report was published by Breakthrough

“A MESSAGE TO OUR GRANDCHILDREN” (4 Mins)
The video, which describes the effects of climate change on our world and ends with a call to action, was made by members of BABY BOOMERS FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION   for anyone to use in education on climate change.  http://babyboomersclimate.org/

 KID WARRIOR; THE XIUHTEZCATL STORY (Vimeo 6.32 Min)

14-year-old Martinez is mobilising youth in 25 countries to demand greener policies from our world’s leaders.

Kid Warrior: The Xiuhtezcatl Martinez Story from BLKFLM on Vimeo.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is the youth director of Earth Guardians, a non-profit environmental organisation that is committed to protecting the water, air, Earth and atmosphere.

Xiuhtezcatl and his younger brother Itzcuauhtli were raised in the Aztec tradition. From an early age they learned that throwing a water bottle in a river will impact your community, those downstream and eventually have a global impact. He is fighting for people to think twice about how they interact with the world.

Xiuhtezcatl is on the radar of every major environmental organisation and he is working with various media giants on promoting his message.  He has already given a Ted Talk and spoken twice at major United Nation’s forums. President Obama awarded him the Youth Change Maker of the Year Award and he is a member of the Presidential Youth Council to advise the president on youth views and policy.

Xiuhtezcatl is dead set on getting young people engaged. He is mobilising youth in 25 countries to demand greener policies from our world’s leaders. He was able to convince the city of Boulder to remove pesticides from its parks, institute a fee for plastic bags and contain coal ash. He is working to ban fracking in his home state, which includes lawsuits against the state of Colorado.

To reach young people, Xiuhtezcatl and Itzcuauhtli started an eco-hip-hop duo in the namesake of their non-profit, Earth Guardians.

Xiuhtezcatl and his army of teens are pushing for policy change around the world. He believes that just because kids can’t vote does not mean they can’t make a difference in the world. Establishing a sense of civic engagement in pre-voters breeds empowerment. If kids behind the Earth Guardian movement can push massive change before the legal voting age of 18, imagine the possibilities for society at large.

You may want to sign Itzcuauhtli’s pledge to be a climate leader, which he and the Xiuhtezcatl plan to deliver with a million signatures to world leaders at the Climate Paris Talks in December.

  __


– If we pollute the air, water and soil that keep us alive and well,
and destroy the biodiversity that allows natural systems to function,
no amount of money will save us – 
David Suzuki

  • 22 May – INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
  • 23 May – WORLD TURTLE DAY (Youtube video)


photo: Shutterstock/Egon Zitter

INTERNATIONAL BIODIVERSITY DAY (22 May)
  • Biodiversity is a vital asset in global and local economies
  • Biodiversity plays a major role in mitigating climate change by contributing to long-term sequestration of carbon in a number of biomes
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning provide goods and services essential for human health – including nutrients, clean air and water and regulation of pests and vector-based diseases
  • Clean and secure supplies of water depend on biodiversity
  • Biodiversity is the basis for sustainable livelihoods
  • Traditional knowledge associated with biodiversity is important and has value not only to those who depend on it in their daily lives but to modern industry and agriculture as well
  • Biodiversity is the cornerstone of the work, belief systems and basic survival of many women
  • even the built environments of our cities are linked to and affected by biodiversity
 
WORLD TURTLE DAY (23 May)

We hope this video of graceful turtles in one of the most beautiful locations on earth inspired you to sign the petition for Reef protection.Next week, the World Heritage Committee will release its draft decision on the Reef – then it’s just three weeks until the full meeting in Bonn. Can you help to get to 350,000 signatures before the meeting in Bon?

 _

       – “Biodiversity plays a complex role in disease emergence,
with benefits in some contexts and threats to human health in others.” –
In February 2105 the 14th World Congress on Public Health in Kolkata, India, presented
a new report: Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health, which demonstrates the human health benefits yielded from protecting Earth’s biodiversity.This new “flagship publication,” acts as a primary source of information that supports the 2015 development agenda and sustainable development goals of the United Nations.The report was developed by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) and the World Health Organization (WHO). It features contributions from many partners and experts.

Please note the document is 25.8 MB

Biodiversity and human health impact one another. The link between human well-being and biological diversity is considerable and complex. Ecosystems and biodiversity provide the building blocks for all life on Earth, however, biodiversity loss is happening at unprecedented rates, with impacts on water and air quality, food production and nutrition, microbial diversity, diseases, medicines, mental, physical, and cultural well-being.

Biodiversity helps improve the resilience of ecosystems thereby potentially moderating the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

Biodiversity contributes to “the provision of clean water and air, and performs critical functions”, “from the regulation of pests and disease to that of climate change and natural disasters,” said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity. However, “despite the clear role that biodiversity plays for human health, and thus for the Sustainable Development Goals, this linkage is not being made in policy forums. Hopefully this new report will help shed some light on this critical issue.”

Climate change will impact human health. It will degrade agriculture systems, which could lead to increased competition over natural resources, and possibly even rising social conflict.

Agricultural productivity has increased during the past 50 years, but 800 million people still lack food security. We have higher yielding uniform varieties and breeds, but there is loss of genetic diversity in production due to monocropping, potentially contributing to production loss as well as having have negative health impacts.

By 2050, there will be an estimated 9 billion people on the planet and many will demand more meat and dairy products, increasing the ecological impact. As our population increases and consumption rates continue to grow at a rapid pace, biodiversity, and by extension human health, face bigger threats when not managed and monitored properly. “Biodiversity underpins the productivity and resilience of agricultural and other ecosystems. However, land use change and agriculture are dominant causes of loss.”

Ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation strategies are required for climate change and disaster risk reduction. They could build the resilience of managed landscapes and jointly reduce the vulnerabilities of ecosystems and impact on communities that rely on them. “Ecosystem-based approaches to flood-plain and coastal development can reduce human exposure to risks from flooding. Coral reefs are very effective in reducing wave energy and protect over 100 million people in this way from coastal storm surges. The conservation and use of resources in agriculture, aquaculture, forestry is important to allow crops, trees, fish and livestock to adapt to climate change.”

Education about sustainable production and consumption, and improved access to contraceptives are recommended to help slow and reverse the trends in order to reduce pressures on our ecosystems.

Solutions to secure food and reduce poverty, while protecting biodiversity and addressing climate change, require transformational change.  Common pathways to achieving these goals include: “reducing greenhouse gases emissions from energy and industry; increased agricultural productivity and containing agricultural expansion to prevent further biodiversity loss and avoid excessive greenhouse gas emissions from conversion of natural habitats; restoring degraded land, protecting critical habitats; managing biodiversity in agricultural landscapes; reducing nutrient and pesticide pollution and water use; reducing harvest losses in agriculture and food waste by retailers and consumers as well as moderating the increase in meat consumption.”

“Human behavior, which is informed by differences in knowledge, values, social norms, power relationships, and practices is at the core of the interlinkages between health and biodiversity, including challenges related to food, water, disease, medicine, physical and mental well-being, adaptation and mitigation of climate change.”

To improve human health and protect biodiversity, behavioral change will be necessary. The report suggests that we leverage social sciences to motivate lifestyle choices consistent with health and biodiversity objectives such as production and consumption patterns. Public awareness through education should be spread widely through school systems and other channels.

We need strategies and tools for protecting and enhancing both public health and biodiversity. Including thoughts on how to better manage ecosystems, promote biodiversity-friendly lifestyles, educate and mobilise the public health sector, address drivers of environmental change such as deforestation and chemical pollution, and monitor forecasting progress.

The experts recommend that biodiversity and health linkages should be widely recognised, valued, and reflected in national and biodiversity conservation policies. The report stresses the need for cooperation among various sectors to bring the recommended solutions to life.

_________________________________

Two handfuls of healthy soil contain more living organisms than there
are people on the earth. What these beings are and what they can be doing
is difficult to even begin to comprehend, but it helps to realise that
even though they are many, they work as one.
__________________________________________________


This week, from 4 – 10 May, is international Composting Awareness Week (ICAW)
Almost half of the rubbish bin in the average household consists of kitchen and garden organic materials. 3% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions come from organic material rotting anearobically in landfills producing methane gas (which has 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide). Most of this material can be composted. Direct sequestration of this organic material greatly increases carbon in the soil reducing the effects of climate change.Turning food scraps and organic garden waste into compost can:
  • Improve soil quality and garden vitality by releasing rich nutrients into the soil.
  • Suppress plant diseases and pests, helping to reduce or eliminates the need for chemical fertilisers and manures
  • Reduce the amount of organic waste going to landfill therefore preventing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Help soils retain moisture
  • Help absorb and filter runoff, protecting streams from erosion and pollution.
A compost recipe:Add the ingredients layer by layer, mixing as you can.1. Brown material (leaves, hay, dry matter) – this cellulose material is the carbohydrate or “energy” food for the compost micro-organisms, who digest it to get the energy for their work.
2. Green material (grass, vegetable waste, manure, fertiliser) – which contains nitrogen compounds that are important in the growth of the micro-organisms. Layer the ingredients and mix with your fork to avoid odors.
3. Soil or old compost – is full of micro-organisms that kick off the process! Although composting will work without the addition of soil or old compost it helps speed up the process.
4. Ensure adequate moisture inside the compost pile. Water and stir the pile as you build it. Bear in mind that piles can get too wet – you might need to cover the compost during rainy periods.
5. Oxygen is required for the “slow fire” called composting. Without air, any biological activity will be severely limited and a shift to unhealthy bacteria may occur.Mix all these ingredients and turn as you can. If the pile is cool but hasn’t turned to humus yet, it needs to be turned. A well built compost pile can get quite hot, killing weed seeds and pathogens in manure.What to add in your compost bin:
Vegetable and fruit scraps, vegetable oil, prunings and lawn clippings, tea bags and coffee, grounds, vacuum dust, shredded paper and cardboard, used potting mix, egg shells, flowers.What not to add in your compost bin:
Meat and bones, dairy products, diseased plants, fat, magazines, large branches, weeds that have seeds or underground stems, sawdust from treated timber, pet droppings, synthetic chemicals.Many councils around Australia offer a collection service for garden materials. This material is professionally processed into compost-based products such as soil conditioners, mulches, garden soils, top dressing soils and potting mixes.

——-

– At the Paris summit in 2015, 196 countries will meet to sign a new
climate change agreement. But how likely is it that it will be meaningful
and make a difference to climate action on the ground? The overarching
goal of the Convention is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

We need to make it clear that the people simply cannot and will not allow an agreement that would spell climate catastrophe for all species on this planet.
The earth is already too hot, two degrees is not a safe climate
and we have zero carbon budget
____________________________________________________

STUDY: DIRECT EVIDENCE THAT GLOBAL WARMING CAUSES MORE GLOBAL WARMING
Natasha Geiling March 31, 2015

Data from Antarctic ice cores show global warming causes more global warming.

Scientists agree that an increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases causes the Earth’s temperature to rise, but they’ve also noticed that relationship seems to swing both ways: warmer temperatures also seem to correspond with an increase in greenhouse gases.

Now, scientists believe they’ve untangled the nature of the relationship. In a paper published in Nature Climate Change, researchers from the University of Exeter claim to have found direct evidence that as global temperatures rise, so does the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases, creating a positive feedback that in turn warms the Earth even more — basically, global warming creates more global warming.

“We discovered that not only does thickening the blanket of heat-trapping gases around our planet cause it to get warmer, but also, crucially, when it gets warmer this increases thickens the blanket of heat-trapping gases,” Tim Lenton, the paper’s author, told ThinkProgress, “so we have a process called a ‘positive feedback’ that amplifies changes in the Earth’s temperature.”

This isn’t the first time this relationship has been suggested. Scientists have previously used data from Antarctic ice cores to show that historic temperature rises were accompanied by spikes in global carbon dioxide levels, but other studies cast doubt on that timing, showing a lag of some thousand years.

While several models suggest a correlation between warming temperatures and an increase in greenhouse gas, Lenton’s team is the first to prove the relationship using direct evidence, taken from ice cores nearly one million years old.

The team — comprised of scientists from the University of Exeter, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Wageningen University in the Netherlands — analyzed Antarctic ice core data from the end of ice age cycles 400,000 and 800,000 years ago. That ancient ice is important, because it offers an extremely large amount of historical global temperature and greenhouse gas concentration data, which the scientists were able to analyze to figure out how the two interact.

Combining historical data about temperature and greenhouse gas composition, the scientists used a mathematical approach known as Takens’ theorem to look at the relationship between the two. The approach, Lenton explained, is based on the idea that if one variable causes even a small change in the other, the more information you have about the first variable. The more information you have about the first variable, the better you should be able to predict the change in the second. Eventually the variables will converge, giving researchers an idea of how strong the first is in predicting change in the second.

“We find that if A and B are temperature and CO2 (or temperature and methane) we get strong reciprocal causality,” Lenton said, proving that warmer temperatures cause an increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases.

The findings provide even more support to the overwhelming evidence that humans are causing global warming by pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The surprise, Lenton explained, is that the findings also show that increasing temperature eventually increases greenhouse gases.

“It implies that we should expect the ‘Earth system’ to respond to anthropogenic global warming by amplifying it with the release of additional greenhouse gases,” Lenton said.

Though the study looks at historical data, Lenton acknowledges that current implications can’t be overlooked. “The Earth is a complex system containing many feedbacks, and they are strong enough to swing the planet between the depths of an ice age and a warm ‘interglacial’,” Lenton said.

The Earth is currently warming at a much faster rate than previous warming events, roughly ten times faster than ice-age-recovery warming, according to NASA. In 2013, atmospheric greenhouse gas hit a record high, and scientists warned that the Earth’s ability to store and mediate gas, through plants and oceans, might been approaching its saturation point.

We’re already seeing unexpected changes in the climate: the West Antarctic ice shelves, for instance, is melting at a much faster rate than scientists predicted. “As we meddle with the climate system now, driving it to hotter temperatures, we should expect the Earth to reply by amplifying the changes we are causing,” Lenton said.

THE ZERO CARBON AUSTRALIA BUILDINGS PLAN
Beyond Zero Emissions are starting a series of workshops and the first one will be on The Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan.(workshop details in the VCAC)

The plan demonstrates that there are no technical barriers to zero emissions buildings in Australia. This is achieved through a planned energy efficiency retrofit of the existing building stock onsite renewable energy generation, and electrifying current gas appliances. The report does not aim to make individual buildings energy self-sufficient . However, it identifies the maximum feasible contribution from distributed onsite electricity generation using solar photovoltaic technology and some small wind turbines.

GREEN RENTERS WORKSHOPS ONLINE
Green Renters is a not-for-profit organisation providing sustainability advice specifically for those living in rental accommodation. Renters are a growing part of the community and Green Renters believe their involvement is vital and possible.  Their workshops now available online for free! http://greenrenters.org/workshops

– 2015 IS THE UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF SOILS – 

HEALTHY SOILS FOR A HEALTHY LIFE
Soil is a non renewable resource, and it determines much of our existence. Soil, apart from feeding us and sustaining us, also has a crucial regulatory role in our climate. The United Nations has declared 2015 The International Year of Soils It aims to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security, essential ecosystem functions and in addressing climate change.

SOIL IS A NON-RENEWABLE RESOURCE
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Soil preservation is essential for food security and our sustainable future
Live Pic of info sheet to be inserted
Soil is a core component of land resources, agricultural development and ecological sustainability, it is the basis for food, feed, fuel and fibre production and for many critical ecosystem services. It is therefore a highly valuable natural resource, yet it is often overlooked. The natural area of productive soils is limited – it is under increasing pressure of intensification and competing uses for cropping, forestry, pasture and urbanization, and to satisfy demands of the growing population for food and energy production and raw materials extraction. Soils need to be recognized and valued for their productive capacities as well as their contribution to food security and the maintenance of key ecosystem services. Read further..

BBC RADIO INSIDE SCIENCE ON SOIL BEHAVIOUR
New research seeking to further our understanding of soil behaviour.

Adam Rutherford interviews a number of people, including Richard Bardgett, Professor of Ecology Manchester University who says: “…The soil covers pretty much all of the earth’s surface, and we need the soil for our foods……the soil is critical for climate change, the soil is the third largest global store of carbon and there is something like almost two to three times as much carbon contained in the soil as there is in the within the atmosphere. So it is an incredibly important carbon store affecting the whole global circulation of carbon which is critically important for climate change…”

Soils acts as storage for carbon, especially when it is frozen but as the world gets warmer the permafrost melts as a runaway effect of climate change. With global warming the permafrost and the tundra defrost, releasing megatons more carbon…..

Further into the program, Professor Ian Hartley, Exeter University, says that “perhaps there is three times as much carbon in permafrost as we previously thought… That carbon has been present in these soils for thousands of years.  However, tundra ecosystems are no longer absorbing carbon, they are actually releasing it. They are releasing it when they are starting to decompose when the permafrost thaws as it responds to climate change”.  Listen to the program (30mins)

WHAT IS SOIL CARBON SEQUESTRATION
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide can be lowered by reducing emissions or by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and storing in  terrestrial, oceanic, or freshwater aquatic ecosystems. A sink is defined as a process or an activity that removes greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. The long-term conversion of grassland and forestland to crop and grazing lands has resulted in losses of soil carbon worldwide but there is a major potential for increasing soil carbon through restoration of degraded soils and widespread adoption of soil conservation practices. ……land-use conversion and soil cultivation are still responsible for about one-third of GHG emissions…. However, improved agricultural practices can help mitigate climate change by reducing emissions from agriculture and other sources and by storing carbon in plant biomass and soils.  Read the full article

SOIL CARBON MONITORING IN TANZANIA

‘HOTTEST YEAR’ STORY OBSCURES BIGGER NEWS: OCEAN WARMING NOW OFF THE CHARTS
Joe Romm Jan 2015
The oceans — where over 90% of global warming heat ends up — have literally warmed up off the charts of NOAA. The big climate news in the past weeks was NOAA and NASA announcing that 2014 was the hottest year on record, breaking the highs of 2005 and 2010. But the bigger story got buried: Global warming has continued unabated in recent years. Indeed, it’s not just that there not been a hiatus or pause or even slowdown in surface temperature warming. The oceans, where the vast majority of human-caused global warming heat goes, have seen an acceleration in warming in recent years. As climate expert Prof. John Abraham writes in the UK the UK Guardian, “The oceans are warming so fast, they keep breaking scientists’ charts.”

WHY THE ARCTIC IS WARMING FASTER THAN THE REST OF THE PLANET   
Mindy Townsend Dec 2014
Earth’s climate is continuing to warm, and the arctic regions are warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet. This is to do with light and how that light interacts with stuff. Different wavelengths of visible light correspond with different colors. For example, if you see a green plant that means that the plant is absorbing all wavelengths of light except green. Green is reflected back, and that is what we see. Black and white are a little different, but it’s the same concept. Black is really the absence of light. Things that appear black are absorbing most of the light that hits it.  White is all colors; things that appear white are reflecting most of the light back.  The amount of light reflected from a surface without being absorbed is called the albedo.The more light or energy is absorbed, the lower the albedo. This concept is important for determining the effects of climate change.
The Earth reflects about 30 percent of the sun’s radiation, but not every point on the planet reflects the same amount. For example, snow reflects about 95 percent of the sun’s radiation. Water, on the other hand, absorbs that radiation. It only reflects about 10 percent of the radiation. As the arctic ice melts, it starts to expose the darker regions beneath it. Those darker regions absorb more heat, and cause more melting. This is called arctic amplification, and it’s causing the arctic region to heat up at a much greater rate than the rest of the world.Marine animals depend on the arctic sea ice for survival. Some such as Polar bears are doing okay in areas where sea ice is holding steady, but they are struggling in areas of sea ice decline. Some arctic vegetation can’t tolerate the new summer heat. Sea level rise will likely cause coastal erosion and flooding, and millions of people around the world are vulnerable to this. All of this is to say that the planet is still warming and the warming is accelerating in possibly the worst possible area of the planet.

ARCTIC’S ‘PENGUINS OF THE NORTH’ ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE
Brian Clark Howard National Geographic  Jan, 2015
The latest research on little auks, sometimes called “penguins of the north,” reveals a surprising response to a rapidly warming Arctic: The birds make up for food lost to the effects of climate change by catching prey that were stunned by the cold water running off melting glaciers—another effect of climate change.
Why It Matters: Little auks are considered especially vulnerable to climate change. The birds are often considered an indicator species of the Arctic, raising red flags for ecological changes. “It’s good news that the little auks are adapting now, but because the system is changing continuously, we don’t know how long they will be able to keep up. …
ultimately there is only one thing we can do for little auks, polar bears, and everything else that is affected, That’s to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.”

THE HUMAN COST OF POWER – youtube video (16.3mins)
by the Climate and Health Association. This film explores the health impacts associated with the massive expansion of coal and unconventional gas in Australia. It was produced by Fiona Armstrong, convenor, Climate and Health Alliance, together with the Public Health Association of Australia and directed by award winning science journalist Alexandra de Blas  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5DIDUB_RyA 

 

CLIMATE CHANGE MOVES THE DOOMSDAY CLOCK

In 1947 the clock was at 7 minutes to Midnight.
Now in
2015 to clock has been moved to 3 minutes to Midnight

Last updated in 2012 at five minutes to midnight, the clock has moved forward two minutes as the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists grows further concerned about the
emissions trajectory.

CSIRO-BOM-RESEARCH-SHOWS-HOW-CLIMATE-CHANGE-WILL-AFFECT-AUSTRALIA  

Droughts will become more intense. Hot days will become more frequent and hotter. Bush fires could become more common and more destructive than ever, ‘severe’ bushfire ratings will become more common. Extreme rainfall events across the nation are likely to become more intense, even where annual-average rainfall is projected to decline.” Oceans will become much warmer and more acidic. Cyclones will decrease, but when they do occur they will be significantly fiercer and occur further south.

IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO STOP CLIMATE CHANGE, AND IT’LL BE SUPER-CHEAP
Many problems facing humanity are not straightforward and cheap and easy to solve. Solving climate change however, although not easy to solve, is straightforward we know precisely what needs to be done and the net cost is quite low.”

AUSTRALIA’S SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD GUIDE produced by Society (AMCS) is available online at www.sustainableseafood.org.au, or you can download the free app to your iPhone. The guide is also available from most local libraries. And you can request a free mini guide for your wallet from www.amcs.org.au

For more information on sustainable seafood, ocean health and what you can do, visit www.amcs.org.au

THE IUCN RED LIST OF SPECIES AT RISK OF EXTINCTION   http://www.iucnredlist.org/  is widely recognized as the most comprehensive, objective global approach for evaluating the conservation status of plant and animal species. At the recent global conference at which 70 environment ministers met, more than 400 plants and animals were added to the list.

EXPLAINER: WHAT IS BIODIVERSITY AND WHY DOES IT MATTER? CSIRO Blog
All of us need to breathe, drink and eat. These are all benefits that are fundamentally provided by biodiversity. Biodiversity collectively describes the vast array of approximately 9 million unique living organisms (including Homo sapiens) that inhabit the earth, together with the interactions amongst them. The concept includes every species of bacteria, virus, plant, fungi, and animal, as well as the diversity of genetic material within each species. It also encompasses the diverse ecosystems the species make up and the ongoing evolutionary processes that keep them functioning and adapting. Find out why we can’t get by without it, why biodiversity is in decline, and what we can do about it. http://csironewsblog.com/tag/climate-change/

INTERACTIVE MAP OF GLOBAL CLIMATE ACTIONa little less conversation, a little more action
The Climate Institute has developed the Climate Action Map to provide an overview of action taking place around the world. http://globalclimateactionmap.climateinstitute.com.au/#/criteria

GUIDE TO REDUCING YOUR ENERGY USE AND SAVE MONEY
From curtains to LCD monitors, taking showers to making toast, the Alternative Technology Association (ATA)’s new guide examines ways to save money and improve energy efficiency around the home. Learn how to reduce your home’s energy use without the need for major spending on appliances or home renovations.
The Guide to reducing your energy use and saving money is available now as a PDF.

DARA 2012 CLIMATE VULNERABILITY MONITOR 2ND ED.  Report (45mb)
The monitor measures the global impact of climate change and the carbon economy at a national level. It calculates and compares the vulnerability for 184 countries in four areas of impact (environmental disasters, habitat change, health impact and industry stress) using 34 climate and carbon related indicators. The monitor uses five levels of vulnerability, from acute to low, to compare and contrast nations. “Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2nd Edition – a guide to the cold calculus for a hot planet” reveals that climate change has already held back global development and inaction is a leading global cause of death. Harm is most acute for poor and vulnerable groups but no country is spared either the costs of inaction or the benefits of an alternative path. Commissioned by the world’s most vulnerable countries and backed by high-level and technical panels, the new Monitor estimates human and economic impacts of climate change and the carbon economy for 184 countries in 2010 and 2030, across 34 indicators.http://daraint.org/climate-vulnerability-monitor/climate-vulnerability-monitor-2012/

HOW TO TALK TO AN OSTRICH: TODAY’S CO2 IS NOTHING SPECIAL YouTube video
Another common argument is that climate is always changing, that Earth has had higher levels of CO2 in the past… and was much warmer. Richard Alley in the National Ice Core Lab in Denver CO, shows the hard (and very cold!) evidence that today’s levels of CO2 are unlike anything seen in the whole of human civilization, for much more than 400,000 years. And, by the way, when Earth was much, much hotter it was fine for dinosaurs. We might not like it quite so much. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4BJDwI8zSk&feature=relmfu

CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE IN PRACTICE
The carbon pricing mechanism, which is part of the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Future legislative package, came into force on 1 July 2012. The scheme aims to reduce Australia’s carbon pollution, and in turn avoid the worst effects of climate change. The Government predicts that under the scheme Australia will cut at least 159 million tonnes per year of carbon pollution by 2020. Analysis by Climate Works Australia shows that the Clean Energy Future package has the potential to see Australia three-quarters of the way towards achieving its agreed minimum emissions reduction target of 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020, using existing technologies alone. More:

SOIL TO SKY: AGROECOLOGY VERSUS INDUSTRIAL AGRICULTURE – Infographic by The Christiansen Fund
In order to feed our world without destroying it, an holistic type of agriculture is needed, and we have a choice. Here we compare the current high-input industrial system with a renewed vision for agriculture: the agroecolocial system. Agroecological strategies can better feed the world, fight climate change and poverty, and protect soil and water while maintaining healthy, liveable communities and local economies. Industrial agriculture contributes to climate change, malnutrition and ecosystem degradation around the planet. It has not delivered on its promise to feed the world.

MULTICULTURAL CLIMATE ACTION PROGRAM and FACTS SHEETS IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Any organisation working with CaLD communities might be interested in the EV project: Multicultural Climate Action program.
http://environmentvictoria.org.au/mca EV has also produced two factsheets about smart energy use in the home and renewable energy in Australia and we’re translating them into 11 languages. We hope to reach 50,000 multicultural Victorians with our translations and have produced them with multicultural and faith communities in mind.
The factsheets are available in: Italian, Greek, Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Arabic, Arabic Sudanese, Punjabi, Burmese, Turkish, Karen Download them here

HOW TO TALK TO AN OSTRICH: “WHO SAYS CO2 HEATS THINGS UP?” YouTube video
Some seem to think that the heat-trapping properties of carbon dioxide are exaggerated or are just a scientific phenomenon. But after World War 2 it was the US Air Force that studied CO2 most carefully: its heat-trapping properties could interfere with heat-seeking missiles. As the video says, “the atmosphere doesn’t care whether you study it for warring, or warming. Adding CO2 turns up the planet’s thermostat.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoR4ezwKh5E&feature=relmfu

A SIMPLE, USEFUL GUIDE TO COMMUNICATING CLIMATE CHANGE
http://grist.org/climate-energy/a-simple-useful-guide-to-communicating-climate-change/

THE CRITICAL DECADE: INTERNATIONAL ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
The Climate Commission’s third major report and follows a series of reports on the science and impacts of climate change and the opportunities in Australia associated with taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
http://climatecommission.gov.au/report/the-critical-decade-international-action-climate-change/

HOW TO TALK TO AN OSTRICH: ABRUPT CLIMATE CHANGE – YouTube video
“Earth’s Climate Changes Gradually… We Can Easily Adapt.” Maybe, maybe not… sometimes climate goes over the edge, and quickly. Richard Alley describes the 10 degrees C jump in temperature seen in the ice core record as like “bungee jumping off the climate roller coaster” which we see him do, in person in New Zealand, and in computer graphics. Perhaps we’d better take out some insurance.

HOW TO TALK TO AN OSTRICH: ”WE’RE NOT ADDICTED TO BURNING!”
Richard Alley describes how 19th C. Americans burned through forests and then moved on to hunt all the nearby whales close to extinction – “we burned the whales to light the evenings!” What happens if we burn through all the coal and oil, and – especially – America’s new fuel: shale gas.

CLIMATE CHANGE INFOGRAPHICS
An amazing range of info on climate change science, research, impacts, opportunities, etc, etc http://pinterest.com/visualoop/climate-change-infographics/

HOT PLANET (BBC documentary (59.22 mins) offers an accurate visual prediction of the planet’s future, based on the findings of over 4,000 climate scientists. Made in 2011 the documentary takes a look at global warming, exploring the world’s leading climate scientists’ vision of the planet’s future.
Scientists predict that if global temperatures continue to rise at their current rate, Earth will be one degree warmer within 10 years, two degrees warmer within the next 40 years and three degrees or more warmer before the end of the century. If the Earth’s temperature increases to three degrees warmer than the average pre-industrial temperature, the impact on the planet will be catastrophic. Across the Earth, ways of life could be lost forever as climate change accelerates out of control. This isn’t inevitable, however: climate change is not yet irreversible. Ingenious technology and science is currently being devised, advanced and tested around the world which could offer solutions for a sustainable future. The question that remains is, can the world embrace and implement them on a large enough scale within an effective timeline? If widespread damage to human societies and ecosystems is to be prevented, global temperature rise must be slowed and eventually reversed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-D0VEN4ZGo&feature=related

TO TALK TO AN OSTRICH: “WE DON’T KNOW ENOUGH….”
It is true that Earth’s a massive jigsaw puzzle, with lots of pieces intricately fitting together. But, Richard Alley argues, we already know enough to see the Big Picture. The missing pieces of scientific understanding – exactly how clouds work, how extreme weather will change with global warming – are important, but we can already see how Earth works.

FREE GUIDE TO SAVING ENERGY AND MONEY
From curtains to LCD monitors, taking showers to making toast, the Alternative Technology Association’s new guide examines all the ways to save money and improve energy efficiency around the home. This booklet is designed to help low-income households reduce their home’s energy use without the need for big spending on appliances or home renovations. Many actions can be done at zero or low cost, or through small changes in behaviour. To make it easier, we have tips for each room of the house. These range from the simplest tweaks, to improvements that may require permission from your landlord if you are in a rental property. Click here to download. The guide was developed by the ATA and the VCOSS. To order multiple copies email ata@ata.org.au

HOW TO TALK TO AN OSTRICH: “IT’S US!”    –   YouTube video Richard Alley addresses a common argument about climate change: that increasing amounts of carbon dioxide, CO2, are coming from natural sources, like volcanoes. He explains how analysis of the carbon atoms in the CO2 shows that they are the type that comes from burning fossil fuels. Therefore, the only possible explanation can be… “It’s Us.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=UXgDrr6qiUk

FROM LAGGARD TO LEADER:How Australia Can Lead the World to Zero Carbon Prosperity.
Beyond Zero Emissions
have released their second volume of research: Laggard to Leader: How Australia Can Lead the World to Zero Carbon Prosperity. Available for $20 from BZE or downloadable free This new report challenges the common excuses that Australia’s contribution to the climate problem is insignificant, and we shouldn’t get ahead of the rest of the world, by exposing the true extent of Australia’s contribution to the climate problem and demonstrating our extraordinary potential to forge solutions at home and abroad.

OUR UNCASHED DIVIDEND   A recently released report on the link between climate and health, and the health and economic benefits of climate action. Produced by the Climate and Health Alliance and the Climate Alliance
http://caha.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/08 OurUncashedDividend_CAHAandTCI_August2012.pdf

OPEN PERMACULTUREFree resources
Permaculture is a promising path to creating sustainable communities, founded on a system of ethics emphasizing the importance of shared values among people. The ethics embrace care for the Earth, care for the people, and sharing the excess. The gardening techniques draw from several other disciplines including natural and organic farming, agro-forestry, sustainable development, and applied ecology. http://www.indiegogo.com/OpenPermaculture
For further reading and watching:
– Introduction to Permaculture – 40 hours of free video lectures
Permaculture & Homesteading Books: The Ultimate Reading List for Sustainable Living (links to over 60 Free eBook previews and full eBooks)
– Permaculture / Organic Farming – Documentary Films Archive
– Permaculture Media Blog
is a continually growing archive of more than 2000 Free videos, eBooks, podcasts and documentaries, divided into 4 main categories;
-“Permaculture & Organic Gardening”, “Natural & Green Building”, “Renewable Energy” and “Environmental Activism”
Permaculture Directory is a free listing site for sustainable-living events from all over the world. Over 1300 events are listed, which have helped thousands of people to find life changing courses, workshops and festival

WHY LOGGING AUSTRALIAN FORESTS CONTRIBUTES TO OUR EMISSIONSYouTube video
Logged Australian native forests are not renewable in the time-frame in which urgent action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They can only reabsorb lost carbon over periods ranging from several decades to centuries. Future logging for whatever purpose will:
– add to the atmospheric CO2 load, which is already too high
– reduce the stocks of carbon in the forests
– damage the capacity of the forests to draw down carbon dioxide
– make the forests drier, with more water hungry regrowth, affecting the land/atmosphere water cycle
– result in losses in soils, micro-organisms, plants and animals

Check out the animation, made by the Australian Forest and Climate Alliance, about the critical connection between forests and climate http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWYet-ipVK4&feature=youtu.be

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IN AUSTRALIA – Report by the Environmental Defender’s Office.
The term ‘environmental justice’ has been very little used in Australia, and certainly not in the rich context that it has been in the United States. However there are signs that the concept is starting to gain traction here. For example, the Victorian Environment Protection Authority is currently considering how the concept might be developed and applied by them in a regulatory context. This project will explore and develop the concept of ‘environmental justice’ as a principle for identifying priority areas of unmet need, and then develop appropriate and effective methods so the EDO and other centres can meet these needs. This will be achieved by looking at three case studies, comprising: rural disadvantage in access to information and services with respect to land use planning, traditional owner involvement in natural resource management, and community involvement in decision-making around the disposal of waste, particularly hazardous waste. Project funded by Victoria Law Foundation View final report – Environmental Justice Project (July 2012, PDF, 6,513KB

BACK TO THE START: CULTIVATE A BETTER WORLD – YouTube video The film, by film-maker Johnny Kelly, depicts the life of a farmer as he slowly turns his family farm into an industrial animal factory before seeing the errors of his ways and opting for a more sustainable future. Coldplay’s haunting classic ‘The Scientist’ is performed by country music legend Willie Nelson for the soundtrack Both the film and the soundtrack were commissioned by The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation to emphasize the importance of developing a sustainable food system. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMfSGt6rHo

BEHIND THE SCENES ofBACK TO THE START” – YouTube video
Interesting little video about the making of “Back to the start”  A behind the scenes look at the process of creating the video and the thoughts and ideas behind it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFlbGwAW7rw&feature=relmfu

VICTORIAN CLIMATE IMPACTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

The Climate Commission has released the report:  Victorian climate impacts and opportunities Professor Tim Flannery, the Commission’s Chief Commissioner said that we have entered a critical decade in the race to adapt for the stresses of climate change.  About Victoria and its state of play Tim writes: http://climatecommission.gov.au/report/victorian-climate-impacts-opportunities/

CLIMATE POLITICS IN AUSTRALIA: WHERE WE ARE, HOW WE GOT HERE AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT – A 3-part series by “Climate Code Red” co-author David Spratt
Climate denier governments have taken power in eastern Australia and in WA, and will likely do so In Canberra in 2013.  How did this happen, what lessons can we learn, and how can we build a united mobilisation with clear messages and objectives?
http://www.climatecodered.org/2012/07/sober-assessment-of-our-situation-part 1.html
http://www.climatecodered.org/2012/07/sober-assessment-of-our-situation-part 2.html
http://www.climatecodered.org/2012/07/a-sober-assessment-of-our-situation-part 3.html

THE POST CARBON PATHWAYS WEBSITE
The Post Carbon Pathwayswebsite aims to strengthen understanding of strategies for achieving a rapid transition to a just and sustainable post carbon future. There are interviews with Paul Gilding, Roy Neel, Jenny Clad and Mark Ogge, as well as John Wiseman’s Post Carbon Postcard #2 from New York City. The website will be updated regularly over the next few months with more in-depth interviews with leading post carbon transition thinkers and advocates, and more resources about inspiring initiatives around the world.

“WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD” – VideoDavid Attenborough’s “What a wonderful world” is yet another reminder of what, in our ignorance and greed, we are destroying. http://www.youtube.com/embed/auSo1MyWf8

“WELCOME TO THE REST OF OUR LIVES.”   Peter Sinclair, who runs the blog Climate Denial Crock of the Week http://climatecrocks.com/ , just put together this fantastic a compilation of the recent extreme weather events around the U.S. The film’s title is a scarily accurate and simple description of our new reality. Must-See Video Compilation Of Extreme Weather: ‘Welcome To The Rest Of Our Lives’ http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/07/10/513493/must-see-video-compilation-of-extreme-weather-welcome-to-the-rest-of-our-lives/?mobile=n

131 YEARS OF GLOBAL WARMING IN 26 SECONDS – Video
For a quick animation of how the globe has warmed since Industrial Revolution times, you can now watch a simple video from NASA that collapses the story into less than half a minute.
The Center for Biological Diversity has been fighting global warming for many years on many fronts, from protecting polar bears to stopping offshore oil drilling and calling on cities to push our leaders to act now to help the Clean Air Act reduce CO2 in the atmosphere. Then see the impressive force of what we’re up against in the 131-years-of-climate-change-in-26-seconds video.

Advertisements