climate change

Public Domain/Wikimedia

If we all--all seven billion of us--got serious about reversing global warming today, change would not come overnight. 

This is the reality David Orr presents in his book Dangerous Years: Climate Change, the Long Emergency, and the Way Forward

He demonstrates the ways in which Earth is becoming a different planet from the one many of us knew. 

But there's some optimism in the book, too: Orr does not believe we're fated to destroy Earth. 

Wikimedia

Maybe you've heard about the permafrost that is proving not so permanent in the world's colder places.

Melting permafrost is damaging and even swallowing houses and bigger buildings. 

And a recently published study shows greenhouse gas buildup figures prominently in the warming of Russia, contrary to prevailing theory. 

Matthew Lachniet at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas is one of the authors. 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife/Public Domain

With carbon in the atmosphere now above 400 parts per million, reducing carbon emissions on the surface is no longer enough. 

What's needed is a Drawdown, also the title of a book laying out and ranking 100 ways to achieve a reduction in atmospheric carbon. 

Some you'd expect, like protecting tropical forests at number 5.  But reducing food waste at number 3, and educating girls at number 5? 

We have many questions for Katharine Wilkinson, the senior writer on the project. 

John Craig, BLM via Wikimedia

We tend to focus on ice caps and polar bears, but climate change effects every place that has a climate.  Meaning: Earth. 

Environmental scientist Susan Harrison tracks the changes in plant species in our region. 

And she has some recent comparisons with older findings in the Siskiyous that are eye-opening. 

envirobeat.com

The goal of 350.org was to convince people to stop the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, to stop it at 350 parts per million. 

That's now a past-tense goal, since the number consistently hangs above 400.  But 350.org and other larger organizations continue the fight for meaningful curbs on greenhouse gases. 

Board Chair KC Golden visits Ashland for a talk at Southern Oregon University this week. 

NASA

Since none of us are able to fly into space and change the planet, Superman-style, any actions on climate change will be done at the local level. 

Message received long ago at both Southern Oregon Climate Action Now (SOCAN) and Rogue Climate.  Those two organizations work hard to put climate change concerns into action in Southern Oregon. 

And they are far from the only ones... Ashland-based Geos Institute also gets into the act, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival even addresses climate change in its work. 

Ashland's Climate Plan Nears Completion

Dec 15, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

Climate change concerns the planet at large, but requires action at many levels. 

The City of Ashland is one of many local communities that opted to develop a Climate and Energy Action Plan

It is in draft form, has received a large amount of public input, and is moving toward a final document. 

Climate Change Explained By Hip-Hop Beat

Dec 15, 2016
bababrinkman.com

Most scientists believe climate change is caused by humans. 

But there are still plenty of holdouts in society. 

Maybe they just need to hear the facts a different way.  How about through rap? 

Done already... Baba Brinkman is a Canadian rap artist who has even put Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in rap form. 

He takes on climate change in "The Rap Guide to Climate Chaos." 

Children's Climate Case Moves Ahead In Court

Nov 28, 2016
Our Children's Trust

The legal system is supposed to be straightforward: you need action from somebody, you take them to court, and the court decides the case. 

Unless the case is unusual and the people being sued insist the case is improper.  Then it can take a long time just to get to trial. 

And that may finally happen for the people who filed suit in federal court on behalf of children in Oregon, to force action on climate change from state government.  A recent judge's ruling may clear the final hurdle for trial. 

Law professor Mary Wood at the University of Oregon is a scholar writing about the case. 

US Geological Survey

Gaze across the mountains of the Northwest these days and you may notice an unusual number of dead firs, pines and other conifer trees scattered among the green ones. Drought is usually considered the prime culprit. But recent research suggests the damage that has historically been done to conifer forests by routine dry spells is being compounded by climate change.

Trees At The Tipping Point

Jul 20, 2016
Public Domain/Wikimedia

If the Earth's problem is too much carbon in the atmosphere and trees soak up carbon, will more trees head off climate change?  Maybe not, according to recently published research

Noah Charney at the University of Arizona and his team find trees all over North America stressed by higher-than-normal temperatures, and stressed trees grow more slowly. 

Saving The Planet By Avoiding Navel-Gazing

Jun 20, 2016
NASA

Whether self-interest is enlightened or not, it's not good for the planet.

That's the general thrust of Bob Doppelt's work.  We met Bob a few years ago to talk about his book From Me To We

He continues his work on climate change and sustainability through The Resource Innovation Group (TRIG) in the Willamette Valley, teaching at both Willamette University and the University of Oregon. 

How to make the me-to-we shift and how to implement changes get an airing at a meeting of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now (SOCAN). 

Kentaro Iemoto/Wikimedia

Eugene city leaders demonstrated on several occasions a commitment to lessening carbon emissions. 

Their reward was a trip to one of the worst-emitting cities on the planet: Beijing. 

Mayor Kitty Piercy recently returned from a low-carbon cities summit in China's capital, one of just a handful of American cities represented, all of them much bigger than Eugene. 

Global Warming At Summer Camp

May 26, 2016
Wikimedia

Adults in today's world can take the blame for human-caused climate change, but it's the kids who will have to live with the changes. 

So it makes sense to encourage young people to learn about, talk about, and work on corrective action on climate change. 

That's the general idea behind the Next Generation Climate Justice Action Camp, this summer in Jackson County. 

Ashland Moves Ahead With Climate Plan

May 20, 2016
Wikimedia

No single city will stop or reverse climate change, but all efforts help, right?  The City of Ashland answers the question in the affirmative with a year-long process to create a Climate and Energy Action Plan.

The city--with a lot of help from residents, it is hoped--will take stock of how it currently contributes greenhouse gases to the environment, and seek ways to reduce and mitigate. 

The first open house is set for Tuesday (May 24), with a few more to follow. 

NASA/Public Domain

  If we're counting on the next generation to come up with solutions for climate change, we might be expecting too much. 

Especially since schools may not be helping explain climate science adequately. 

Political scientist Eric Plutzer at Penn State just published an article in Science about issues with science teachers teaching about climate change in schools. 

Plutzer points out ways in which teachers' knowledge and values can hinder climate education. 

Counterpoint Press

By the sixth paragraph of Great Tide Rising, author Kathleen Dean Moore uses the word "catastrophe" to describe climate change.  It would not be the first time for her, and won't be the last. 

Moore, a Willamette Valley resident, does not hold back her condemnation of the people who, in her words, "would wreck and pillage the planet." 

Oregon's Quest For Cap-And-Trade

Jan 28, 2016
Wikimedia

Oregon's even-numbered-year legislative sessions are supposed to be short "housekeeping" sessions. 

But the list of proposed legislation just grows and grows, and now includes the Healthy Climate Bill that climate activists want to see passed. 

The bill is similar to the cap-and-trade program passed by the California Legislature in AB32 several years ago, a program voters opted to keep in a repeal vote. 

Global Climate March, Eugene Edition

Nov 23, 2015
Wikimedia Commons

Some of your friends and neighbors will be walking off the turkey and pie this weekend. 

And some will be doing that while making a statement about climate change. 

The Global March for Climate Solutions is timed to coincide with a major meeting of countries in Paris to discuss climate issues. 

The Paris terrorist attacks and the security situation there wiped out the march in Paris itself, but many communities--Eugene included--will observe the march with local activities. 

NASA/Public Domain

In the eyes of people focused on climate change, saving the planet is relatively simple and straightforward: power down, green up, and shout out. 

Those are the main components of the Ashland Climate Challenge, starting November 15th as Climate Week in Ashland concludes. 

Ashland and nearby Talent are developing Clean Energy Action Plans for moving into a world beyond fossil fuels. 

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