With a global mean temperature rise of 1.5℃ (video, direct .mp4 link) the Marshall Islands, site of the US's Bikini Atoll nuclear weapons tests, may disappear completely. With most islands just six feet above sea level and less than a mile wide the ring of atolls is already severely affected by climate change. ⅓ of all Marshall Islanders are believed to live in the US, although they may face deportation. In recent months the residents of the Pacific island nation have been advised to cease eating fish after elevated levels of PCBs were found in the waters around the US missile base on Kwajalein Atoll. Recently, very previously, previously, previously, personal anecdotes.
Last week, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota emerged as climate change heroes when, with little political clout or media spotlight, they halted construction of the $3.7 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline. The defiance, based on a desire to protect both Sioux burial grounds and the waters of the Missouri River, evoked America’s ugly racial past—and present. “It feels like 1875 because Natives are still fighting for our land,” tweeted Native American writer Sherman Alexie, about a week before the pipeline security loosed attack dogs on the protesters, causing the internet to compare images of the ensuing chaos to images of Selma in 1965. A delegation from Black Lives Matter has visited the resistance camp, as have Amnesty International and MSNBC. But it's not the non-Native visitors who are the most interesting: what may be most important about the Standing Rock camps is that they have brought about the greatest gathering of Native Americans in more than a century. "Not since Little Big Horn have we stood together in this way," wrote one camp organizer. "The heart of the aboriginal world has been reawakened." [more inside]
Alaska is Having Its Hottest Year Since Records Began - "After a spring that was a full ten degrees hotter than normal, the northern state is on track for the most sweltering year on record." (via) [more inside]
The risk here is not that millions of people in Britain are suddenly going to die of thirst. It is that after all those years in which humans settled by rivers and thrived, we are now locked in conflict with our natural surroundings. Either the humans or the rivers have to suffer. At the moment, it is the rivers, although in the longer term a sick river will produce less water, so the humans will end up in trouble as well. (longformGrauniad)
What the collapse of ancient capitals can teach us about the cities of today — Warnings from history: Angkor was a thriving metropolis of 750,000 before a series of mega-monsoons made it unliveable. Can modern flood-threatened cities learn from its downfall?
Coyote Booms, Bear Attacks And How Climate Change Is Wreaking Havoc On The Animal Kingdom. "'The long-term drought impacts on vegetation that affect the prey of the animals that predators feed on is also a reason for encroachment,' said Crabtree. He said he thinks all large carnivores have this problem, especially the ones that depredate, or plunder — such as coyotes, bears, mountain lions and wolves. 'The drought decreases natural forage for herbivores like deer,' said Crabtree. 'There will be a relatively higher density of deer in urban areas where there are lawns.'" [more inside]
All of California remains in drought with over 80% in worst categories of 'extreme' or 'exceptional' drought. Reservoir levels are 50% below average. (previously) [more inside]
Why the modern bathroom is a wasteful, unhealthy design (The Guardian): "Piped water may be the greatest convenience ever known but our sewage systems and bathrooms are a disaster" [more inside]
The Age of Dissolution. "Walking the Ganga river, from holy bacterial stews to crystalline glaciers: Shiva, eclipses, and the IPCC." [Via]
Snowpack in the northern Rocky Mountains has declined over the past 30 years more than at any other time in a least 1,000 years (30-year decline is old news, 1000 year perspective is new). Snowmelt from the Rockies provide water for at least 70 million people. Snow is also melting weeks earlier in the American West. Some consequences of earlier snowmelt (of less snow) are drier forests, more wildfires and less water for people in a West heating up and drying out.
Yale's 2010 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks 163 countries on 25 performance indicators tracked across ten policy categories covering both environmental public health and ecosystem vitality. These indicators provide a gauge at a national government scale of how close countries are to established environmental policy goals.
The Nation recently interviewed public intellectuals including Noam Chomsky, Bill McKibben (previously), and Dmity Orlov (previously) to produce a series of videos centered around Peak Oil and a Changing Climate. The first video, online now, combines all of the people interviewed while the videos yet to be released will be longer sections featuring them one at a time. [more inside]
So you've all heard about how global warming will lead to rising sea-levels, but what about falling freshwater levels? [more inside]
In what it calls "the final wake-up call to the international community," a UN report (press release, website, 21 MB PDF) warns that damage to the environment is reaching a "point of no return" and now threatens "humanity's very survival." Oh, c'mon, tell us what you really think.
Upon this desiccating planet, will I employ religion to increase pain threshold. Why? So I may get my freak on.
Grab your water-wings while you can, because I'm afraid I am the bearer of bad tidings. We only have a billion years of beach time left, because our planet's ocean's are going to dry up completely. Fortunately, earth will be almost completely unlivable by then, so our descendents will already be dead. According to professor of meterology James Kastings, "My calculations are somewhat pessimistic and present a worst case scenario..."