Sunday, December 1, 2013

Mother Earth never takes a holiday

Bumper sticker design by Will McCarty

I always tell myself I’m going to take time off over the holidays, but it never works out that way. I joke to folks “Hey, does Mother Earth ever take a holiday? Do you ever get up, get ready for work, open the door and there’s no ‘there’ there?”

One activity I engage in — via the site I share with fellow ApocaDoc Michael — is keeping track of major environmental news around the planet.

Not only does Mother Earth not take a break, the devastation we’re creating on the planet doesn’t enjoy a holiday, either!

This one in particular, published this weekend, caught my eye:

Ounce for ounce, methane has an effect on global warming more than 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and it's leaking from the Arctic Ocean at an alarming rate, according to new research by scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Their article, which appeared last week in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience, states that the Arctic Ocean is releasing methane at a rate more than twice what scientific models had previously anticipated.

Accounts of the melting of Arctic ice proliferate. You can eye over 400 articles we’ve collected over the past few years that will wake you up more effectively than a triple espresso.

As that article in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner puts it:

the Arctic methane release creates a positive feedback loop. As temperatures increase, more methane is released, and as more methane is released, temperatures increase.

This is causing havoc with our weather system, the systematic ganking of our climate through the release of greenhouse gas pollution.

A story came out the day before Thanksgiving that puts Typhoon Haiyan into perspective, in terms of climate change’s impact. The article talks about an atmospheric scientist at MIT, who basically says Haiyan was rendered more severe by climate change… “because warmer surface temperatures essentially provide more fuel for tropical storms.”

The MIT scientist and his team compared “thermodynamic conditions that were present 30 years ago, in the 1980s, before the warming of the last few decades. They compared it to the model using current conditions.”

In the process, they discovered that “wind speeds are about ten percent larger now.”

Ten percent goes a long away.

The researcher concludes that in the case of an exceptional extreme weather event, “almost nothing you might've done in preparation for it is going to work, it's just too far out of human experience."

We’ve collected almost 400 research papers and articles about extreme weather here.

Wow, was there anything to be thankful for this week?

Sure; family, friends and the fact that, according to, there was only one reported shopping injury this year.

And as I am increasingly finding, lots of stories about the diminishment of coal and the rise of renewable energy.

This is the season to cherish all that we love.

I submit that putting the ecosystem first — as often as you can — is the way to not only thank Mother Earth for all she has given, but to show the people you love how much you DO love them.