The NYTimes reports on a UN report. Asia’s rise of the middle class is catching up with it and it’s affecting us all. A large brown cloud, often a mile deep, is often formed over much of Asia and even sometimes extending as far east as California. What makes up this brown cloud? Soot and toxic chemicals from coal-fired power plants, automobiles, wood-burning kitchen stoves, and slash-and-burn agriculture.
I find this brown cloud to be an illustrative tale of the complexity of the climate change issue. There is no doubt this development has disastrous effects- $82 billion/year on pollution-related health issues, the further melting of the Himalayan glaciers, altered weather patterns like decreased monsoon rains and increased flooding in areas. However, this gigantic cloud is also mitigating some of the worst effects of climate change for the rest of the planet because it is reflecting a large amount of sunlight back into space. If this brown cloud would all of the sudden disappear, we would see accelerated polar ice cap melt and increased temperatures, among other consequences. Perhaps this brown cloud is like the recent economic bubble and when it finally bursts, we will feel the real effects of what we’ve been doing. If anything, this UN report should serve to spur us into even greater action to reduce greenhouse gas emmissions, as there really is not going to be any easy fix.
The arctic ice is the ‘refrigerator’ of the planet. Scientists are now saying that this ice is currently in a ‘death spiral.’
As Matthew McDermott of Treehugger says, “Climate change is happening more quickly than we thought in the Arctic and the frozen soils in the region contain a lot more stored carbon than the models used so far. Unless we get a handle on this now (yesterday would’ve been even better) global warming could very well overtake our efforts to slow it. That’s not to say that we should throw in the towel (as no doubt some people will think) but rather is another sign that we have to redouble our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a global level.”
Get the full story here.
We are a nation obsessed with food and I have to admit I’m right there with everyone else. I’ve been working at changing my eating and buying habits to foods that are organic and/or locally produced. What a challenge! Now I have another challenge to add to that, one online food site has come up with a carbon calculator so I can see how much my dinner contributes to global warming. Curious to see how your fare fairs? Go here Low Carbon Diet Calculator.
As further evidence of global warming’s effect, a huge portion of ice recently broke off of the Wilkins Ice Shelf in the Antarctic. This piece was 7 times the size of Manhattan! More details here.
And even more details here.
A study in Science journal reveals that only about 4% of the world’s oceans remain undamaged by human activity. The first detailed global map shows how climate change, pollution, fishing, and other human activities have taken their toll. All the more reason to keep recycling (keep that plastic out of the oceans) and commit to more activities that lessen your impact. We highly recommend you check out this article and see the maps. The good news is that the maps provide a good guide of the best places to focus conservation efforts.
Healthy and Tasty Tip of the Day: Do you love seafood, but are concerned about the effects of overfishing and heavy metals? We recently met Randy Hartnell, veteran fisherman and founder of Vital Choice, a company that provides only the absolute highest quality wild seafood. They don’t sell to stores, they only sell directly to the customer. Their seafood has the highest level of nutrients and the lowest level of contaminants of any seafood out there. And, the taste is unbeatable. Randy also happens to be a really great guy, motivated by all the right reasons. Check out his company, Vital Choice. He says, “Few retailers seek – or are able to identify – the best wild Alaska Salmon, less than 1% of which meet strict Vital Choice standards.”
Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out the I’m Organic team’s newest creation, WE ADD UP. We are so excited to share this project with you and invite you to participate. Now’s the time to get counted in the fight to stop global warming. We are in the midst of a climate crisis- there’s no better time to learn about ways that each of us can do our part to reduce our footprint.
WE ADD UP was born out of a personal moment of despair. Imagining the implications of our climate, not just our weather, but our very CLIMATE, changing in our lifetimes, is almost too huge to comprehend. In that moment of imagining, it seemed impossible that any one of us could have the power to alter this outcome. And, that was the moment the idea was born- no, we can’t do it on our own. But, there are a lot of other people out there who share our intention and are taking steps each day. We can’t focus on the enormity of the task- we must focus on each step. We must focus on encouraging each other to take their actions just one step further. We must focus on inspiring each other to know that if each of us do our part, WE ADD UP.
Special thanks and heaps of gratitude to our web god, Nathan Lenkowski, who has created a gorgeous website in an incredibly short amount of time. Thanks, Nathan, for your fantastic design sense and attention to detail that makes all the gears turn.
And, thank you to everyone out there who are taking their own steps every day to stop global warming or who are interested to learn more. Remember, no one can do everything. Everyone can do something. Together, we will add up to a whole lot of change.
Jill and Judy