CC #12

As a climate change advocate I've become increasingly aware of my own carbon footprint, my hypocritical contribution to the systems which are responsible for our crises. Seeing this gap between what I care about, advocate for and how I act has forced me to confront sacrifice, because I believe that to live in concert with what I believe in would require significant change. What does sacrifice look like? Can I? How much is "enough"?


In determining what we are willing to sacrifice - to give up - in order to protect what is dear, the question is about love: what do you love so much that you would give of yourself, of your life, to ensure it survives? The earth, our home, is one of my answers.


Adrian Ayres Fisher connects sacrifice and reciprocity as core principals in our relationship to the earth. She notes, Nature offers us gifts (life) and at the same time lays on us the obligation to give back for the benefit of the whole; "...nature will allow our species to live and thrive if we practice reciprocity. In the long run, we do not get to bargain, nor to we get to choose the conditions for continued survival. We do get to choose to find ways to live in accordance with the laws nature sets."


Ecofeminist Mary Grey argues that sacrifice and austerity are essential as the only means of effective resistance to an unjust world order. She urges women and men who benefit from a world of excessive consumption by embracing some sacrifices and by giving up some of the privileges that come from economic dominance, thereby affirming life, joy, justice and sustainability for all.


In Kevin O'Brien's book, The Violence of Climate Change, he writes ""change must begin with privileged people altering their lifestyles, sacrificing some of their comforts... being willing to change the structures in which privileged people and other human beings live."


Just a beginning. From: The Violence of Climate Change, http://www.resilience.org/stories/2017-03-23/climate-change-doesnt-care-about-anyones-opinion-notes-on-reciprocity-and-sacrifice/


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CC #11

Beyond the already enormous challenges of doing anything about climate change, the emotional toll: fear, despair and anger, can present additional difficult barriers.<br />
.<br />
Attempting to contribute to climate change advocacy in my own meager way, I struggle with seesawing between hope and it's longer friend - lessness. Examining articles addressing the emotional impact of climate change exposes significantly differing opinions about what's the "best" strategy for coping with hard feelings (hope, it helps you act! Despair, fear promotes meaningful actions!).<br />
.<br />
The most helpful suggestion I read re: mental health impact from climate change, was simply to talk about it, with your neighbors, your friends, your community. 70 percent of Americans don't talk about climate change with people they know. Studies on disaster resiliency found that the more tight knit a community before a disaster, the better change it had of successfully rebuilding after, in addition to higher survival rates for at-risk populations.<br />
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I'll end with two paragraphs from the Chelsea Green blog which struck the perfect balance for me:<br />
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"Poet Gary Snyder was once asked, 'Why bother to save the planet?' He replied with a grin: 'Because it’s a matter of character and a matter of style!' What I really like about his answer is that it doesn’t attempt to found our actions on some plausibility calculation of success or failure, or on a dualistic ethics—the good fight against evil. Rather Snyder points to our calling and to aesthetics, both realms of the soul, of being who we are.<br />
.<br />
The future is fundamentally uncertain and complex. Therefore it is open to the imagination and always possible to influence in some way. So yes, it’s hopeless and we’re going all-in. The active skeptic gives up the attachment to optimistic hope and simply does what seems called for. There is a deep freedom in that. The dream sometimes glimmers like a silver thread, and that’s all I need to keep walking. I don’t need to believe that things will end well in order to act. The walking and the doing are their own reward."<br />
.<br />
#CCisnow #ActOnClimate #CCrealAF #CCequity #climate #climatechange #EarthMatters #CCsnapshots #resistance #350pdx

Beyond the already enormous challenges of doing anything about climate change, the emotional toll: fear, despair and anger, can present additional difficult barriers.


Attempting to contribute to climate change advocacy in my own meager way, I struggle with seesawing between hope and it's longer friend - lessness. Examining articles addressing the emotional impact of climate change exposes significantly differing opinions about what's the "best" strategy for coping with hard feelings (hope, it helps you act! Despair, fear promotes meaningful actions!).


The most helpful suggestion I read re: mental health impact from climate change, was simply to talk about it, with your neighbors, your friends, your community. 70 percent of Americans don't talk about climate change with people they know. Studies on disaster resiliency found that the more tight knit a community before a disaster, the better change it had of successfully rebuilding after, in addition to higher survival rates for at-risk populations.


I'll end with two paragraphs from the Chelsea Green blog which struck the perfect balance for me: . "Poet Gary Snyder was once asked, 'Why bother to save the planet?' He replied with a grin: 'Because it’s a matter of character and a matter of style!' What I really like about his answer is that it doesn’t attempt to found our actions on some plausibility calculation of success or failure, or on a dualistic ethics—the good fight against evil. Rather Snyder points to our calling and to aesthetics, both realms of the soul, of being who we are.


The future is fundamentally uncertain and complex. Therefore it is open to the imagination and always possible to influence in some way. So yes, it’s hopeless and we’re going all-in. The active skeptic gives up the attachment to optimistic hope and simply does what seems called for. There is a deep freedom in that. The dream sometimes glimmers like a silver thread, and that’s all I need to keep walking. I don’t need to believe that things will end well in order to act. The walking and the doing are their own reward."


#CCisnow #ActOnClimate #CCrealAF #CCequity #climate #climatechange #EarthMatters #CCsnapshots #resistance #350pdx

CC# 10

We know for certain that climate change will significantly impact the earth's seas, lands and air. Rarely do leaders argue anymore that climate change doesn't exist, rather it is a matter of how much human influence is to blame or what its impacts may be. This mindset focuses on the band of most probable outcomes that current climate models predict. These outcomes are bad enough, as detailed in past posts, and are already causing significant devastation. This thinking however, ignores the scenarios at the lower end of the probability scale, which although they are less likely, are completely catastrophic.


Trump, when asked to clarify on the connection between human activity and climate change responded, "...I think there is some connectivity. There is some, something. It depends on how much. It also depends on how much it’s going to cost our companies."


The problems with this privileged view are not limited to the moral failure to account for those who already are and who will soon be suffering due to climate change, it also fails to account for the possibilities we prefer not to imagine.


David Wallace-Wells imagines those extreme scenarios in his article "The Uninhabitable Earth." Wallace-Wells walks through how climate change could end humanity through disease, heat, food scarcity, conflict, atmospheric contamination and more!


Wells-Wallace addresses our mass denial: "But no matter how well-informed you are, you are surely not alarmed enough... when it comes to contemplating real-world warming dangers, we suffer from an incredible failure of imagination. The reasons for that are many... the altogether incomprehensible scale of that problem, which amounts to the prospect of our own annihilation; simple fear. But aversion arising from fear is a form of denial, too."


This post is not to engender hopelessness but to properly frame the problem in its vastness - and also provide context - a cost benefit or discount rate analysis is inappropriate if it cannot capture the very real prospect of annihilation if we continue to fail to act.


Picture: There are no jobs on a dead planet. #CCisnow #ActOnClimate #CCrealAF #CCequity #climate #climatechange #EarthMatters #CCsnapshots #resistance #350pdx Tune in for the next CC snap which promises to be at least somewhat less demoralizing!

CC #9

The Gorge, and 1.5 million other acres of forest burn throughout the West, Hurricane Irma is threatening to break the record for number of category 4 storms which make landfall in a season [prior record being 1] and Harvey left behind an unbelievable path of tragedy and destruction. 


People will be displaced by all of these catastrophes: some will be temporarily evacuated, others will have their homes and communities destroyed but will return to rebuild, and the least fortunate lose their houses as well as the place they called home, forced to relocate permanently.


Although environmental migration is a multi-causal phenomena climate change’s impacts play a significant and increasingly determinative role. The number of storms, droughts and floods have increased threefold over the last 30 years with obviously devastating effects on vulnerable communities, most especially in developing countries. Gradual changes, however, may have an even greater impact on the movement of people. Scientists warn that if temperatures continue to rise over the next century large areas of the planet could become uninhabitable, causing mass migration and global instability.


According to UNCHR, there could be anywhere from 25 million to 1 billion environmental migrants by 2050, moving either within their countries or across borders, on a permanent or temporary basis, with 200 million being the most widely cited estimate. This figure equals the current estimate of international migrants worldwide.


There is a movement to broaden the classification of refugee to include "climate migrants" - as explained by the the Norwegian Refugee Council, those affected by environmental migration are being robbed of their fundamental right to protection and should be considered permanent refugees. Another easily interpretable photos. With fires as an analogy (and backdrop) to climate change disruption the climate migrants (i.e. chia seeds) stream from their newly uninhabitable homes to new ground, which cracks and buckles under the increased stress of rapid population growth.


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CC #8

I went into my research on the connection between climate change and conflict feeling certain and upset that I would be making another grim post detailing the linear relationship between the two, increases in climate change necessitate increased conflict. The good news is that over the past several years there have been rigorous studies on the relationship between climate change and conflict, and while climate change has been linked as a contributing element, it doesn't appear to be a direct cause.


These recent studies describe climate change as a "threat multiplier" - just one of a host of interconnected factors such as poverty, exclusion of ethnic groups, governmental/political stability etc that drive conflict. Not surprisingly, these reports find that it is the already vulnerable, least developed countries who rely on agriculture and are heavily affected by drought, which are at highest risk for climate change to act as the tipping point into conflict.


South Sudan offers a harsh example of these recent reports. Well into its fourth year of civil war, South Sudan is caught in a negative feedback loop where climate change exacerbates the conflict and conflict contributes to worsening ecological impacts.


Up to 95 percent of South Sudan's population is dependent on "climate-sensitive activities for their livelihoods" such as agriculture and forestry and the civil war is worsening the problem An example of a negative feedback loop, the rate of deforestation in South Sudan has shrunk the percentage of land covered by trees from 35 to 11 percent. Although the lack of trees directly contributes to a rise in temperature, tree cutting is essential for much of the population to cook given the lack of central power grid and further exacerbating the problem, weak border protections mean the wood smuggling business is thriving.


For greater in depth reading check out reports by IPCC, usaid, and the brookings institute


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CC #7


Climate change flip flops: American's attitudes towards climate change are shifting - they are at an all time high in their concern that the problem is serious.

Why haven't politicians followed suit? This NYT piece details "the most astounding example of influence-buying in American political history." https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/03/us/politics/republican-leaders-climate-change.html?_r=0

Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, the Kochs’ main advocacy organization, has boasted about the group’s success in killing the careers of politicians who broke with... anti-climate-change agenda.


“I think if you have mandatory carbon caps ...and a tax-incentive program for investing in the solutions that’s... good. And... something I would strongly support.” [Frontline 2007]

“And now... instead of making energy cheaper President Obama wants to impose a cap-and-trade regime. [The] plan would [be] an across-the-board energy tax on every American. That will accelerate American job losses.” [Newsweek 2009] - Newt Gingrich

"I believe the world’s getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that. ... And so I think it's important for us to reduce our emissions... and greenhouse gases ..." [2011]

"My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us." [2011] - Mitt Romney

“I was actually on your side of this issue when I was chairing that committee. I thought it must be true until I found out what it cost.” [Maddow 2012] - James Inhofe

“We support your effort to ensure meaningful and effective measures to control climate change, an immediate challenge facing the world today. If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for... our planet.” [ad in NYT, 2009]

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” [tweet, 2012] - Trump


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CC #6


As represented by Cabbage: a peridotite rock being injected with CO2 which it transforms through natural processes into sequestered carbonate veins.

My past primary thoughts related to geo-engineering, I think like many other climate change advocates, were of suspicion and maybe exasperation - why focus on sci-fi sounding quick fixes which as a by product push the bigger problem further into the future - we pollute far too many green house gases, the solution should be to reduce our rates of pollution.

After researching this form of carbon sequestration I came away, if not convinced, at least curious and interested in how we can add more tools to our kit. We are already relying on geo-engineering, albeit in more "natural" forms, via sustainable agriculture and forestry to attempt to reach the Paris Accord climate goals. If the goal is to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change, the sooner and faster sequestration begins, the better.

Peter Kelemen and Juerg Matter have been conducting research In Oman on a particular type of rock that does this well: peridotite, which at natural rates absorbs around a ton of atmospheric carbon each year for each kilometer of the rock. Matter and Kelemen believe that by drilling boreholes and pumping heated water "impregnated with CO2" the process could be sped up by 100,000 times, as heat greatly magnifies the reaction. Once the system was jump started the natural cracking would do the rest. The researchers estimate that - even accounting for the output required to induce the higher rates of carbon sequestration, Oman's peridotite could be harnessed to absorb nearly 15% of the annual CO2 emitted globally (4/30 billions tons).

In case you can't tell from the super clear image metaphor: Purple cabbage is peridotite, straw is boreholes full of heated water infused with CO2, white flesh of cabbage are carbonate veins and the rocks are rocks.


Sources: Columbia.edu, Ecoshock podcast, Harvard.edu, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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CC #5


Continuing on the theme of concrete actions that our achievable and create meaningful change: Beef sucks (re: melting the planet).

Livestock account for nearly 15% of total global per year GHG emissions with dairy and beef cattle accounting for two thirds of all livestock emissions (~9.7% of total global GHGs).

Cows, if there were their own country, would rank as the third largest GHG emitting nation behind China and the United States. And things will only get worse, demand for beef is expected to rise by 95 percent between 2006 and 2050.

Beef is such a gigantic GHG contributor because it is extremely inefficient to produce (lots more calories/water in than calories/protein out), converts land to similarly inefficient uses, results in methane from cows and has high carbon costs for manure storage, processing and transportation of the product.

The ask is simple, if we reduce our beef intake we can reduce our GHG output, and not insignificantly. If humans replaced 75% of beef meals with vegetables or non meat/dairy sources of protein, livestock emissions would drop by more than 50%.

As someone who has eaten meat indiscriminately their whole life I feel like it is inconsistent to advocate around climate change action without taking my own. I'm done with the beef.


Primary Source: http://www.wri.org/blog/2016/04/sustainable-diets-what-you-need-know-12-charts Secondary Sources: CNN, FAO, smallfarms.oregonstate.edu, guardian, epa, insideclimatenews

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CC #4


And now, for something positive! It's spring. Officially, and in my bones I can feel the end of the absurdly long tunnel of this year's wet, cold, interminably winter. To celebrate the return of life, what better way than to add to the life party?

Planting a vegetable garden is all the benefits. You reduce costs of shopping and purchases of goods that have created large carbon footprints by being shipped across the country (or ocean), you get to work outside in nature, a proven stress reliever, eat healthier, cuz veggies/fruit, and it creates healthier soil while sequestering carbon (i.e. mitigating climate change).

Big picture first: The world’s cultivated soils have lost between 50 and 70 percent of their original carbon stock and scientists say that there is FIVE TIMES more carbon in soil than in the atmosphere and all plant life combined. Soil is a huge reservoir of carbon, but it could be much larger. Through photosynthesis, a plant draws carbon out of the air to form carbon compounds.

Carbon is the main component of soil organic matter and helps give soil its water-retention capacity, its structure, and its fertility. Scientists estimate that by restoring soils of degraded ecosystems, soil could store an addition 1-3 billion tons of carbon annually (roughly between 4-11 billions tons of CO2 emissions).

David Cleveland, a researcher at UC Santa Barbara, also demonstrated the micro effect of individual gardens. The tl;dr version, using extremely conservative estimates, Cleveland found that if half of California's single family homes grew gardens to supply only 50 percent of their vegetables, the CO2 emissions reductions from the gardens would reached 8 percent of the state's greenhouse gas emissions reductions goal and is equivalent to an 11 percent drop in CO2 emissions from driving a car.

Synopsis: Veggies are dope. Grow them. Then eat them. Save the world.


Primary Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169204616301323 Secondary Sources: ucusa.org, rhs.org, yale.edu

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CC #3


California is our nation’s environmental umbrella. Although the EPA generally has complete authority to set pollution standards for cars, Section 209 of the Clean Air Act grants CA the power to set its own emissions standards for new motor vehicles through the use of waivers, i.e. – CA has the ability to set a higher standard than the federal government. In addition, other states can opt into CA’s higher standards over the federal ones. 14 states, totaling 40% of the US’s population (states in green) have adopted CA’s standards. With such a large proportion of the nation’s autos covered by the higher standards, automakers are forced to abide by the higher standards or lose money making vehicles that meet two different regulations.

For forty years the EPA has granted all but one of the more than 100 waivers sought by CA and the single denial was later overturned.

Higher emissions standards are a common sense good. Studies show that as these higher standards go into effect in the opted in (green) states, drivers will save billions of dollars, while dramatically reducing global warming pollution from tailpipes, one of the major sources of global warming pollution. By 2020 these standards are estimated to reduce green house gas emissions by over 100 million metric tons.

This is especially relevant now because Scott Pruitt, new head of the EPA, has indicated the EPA will be considering whether it will stop granting waivers to CA (legally questionable) or try to revoke CA’s current waiver (highly dubious). The battle lines over the country’s environmental health are being drawn.


For a great synopsis check out: The Atlantic: “The Coming Clean-Air War Between Trump and California” Other sources include: EPA, NRDC, Wired, Autonews

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CC #2


Think of this bowl as representing the Earth’s sea ice (a hyper accurate visual, clearly). It’s 33% gone – and it’s melting fast. There is now less sea ice on Earth than at any time in recorded history.

Since 1980, the Earth has lost about 1/3rd of its total sea ice volume. To illustrate how outside of normal climate behaviors the earth is experiencing: In December global sea ice extent fell 4.4 million sq km below average, an event eight standard deviations from the normal range. In other words, the statistical probability of that event happening under past expectations of average is 1 in 30 billion, aka: hugely unlikely aka climate change has disrupted what “normal” climate looks like.

Sea ice is important. For one, the more we lose, the worse future losses are likely to be (see Robert Scribbler’s blog re: amplifying feedback). For two, the arctic/antarctic are critical components of the climate system, they cool the earth, house numerous ecosystems, shield the earth from incoming solar radiation and (the polar regions) are among the most productive in the world for ocean life.


Sources: Robert Scribbler’s blog, NSIDC.org, The Guardian (nov 2016)

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CC #1


Trump is allegedly considering pulling out of the Paris Agreement. Semi-briefly – here is why that sucks.

Box o wine = TOTAL cumulative C02 emissions by US from 1850-2011 (369,349*) Two glass o vino = AVERAGE cumulative emissions PER country of top 19 other most developed countries, from 1850-2011 (42,887* avg total per country – US is 8.6x higher) Shot glass o wine = TOTAL cumulative C02 emissions from ALL (46) least developed countries (LDCs) from 1850-2011 (4,854* – US is 76x higher)

IE- the US has contributed a relative and nonrelative fuckload of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Climate change will have the greatest impact on those with the least resources to cope with the coming shifts in weather/sea level rise/drought etc (eg: developing countries). The US – as the single largest contributor of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) over the past century +, and one of the top GDP producing nations, has an equitable responsibility to engage in and significantly contribute to the world’s effort to reduce the oncoming effects of climate change and mitigate future effects.


All data provided by WRI’s brilliant Climate Data Explorer (CAIT) http://cait.wri.org *values = million metric tons of C02 (mtCO2)

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