climate change

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Parts of New Orleans sit below sea level.  And the city gets reminded more frequently these days, most notably in Hurricane Katrina 15 years ago. 

Ashlander Barret O'Brien is from New Orleans, and his play about people stuck in a bar in a flood, "Water Made to Rise," opens tomorrow (February 13th) in Ashland. 

O'Brien is taking a year off from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to mount this independent production on Earth's changing climate. 

ZibalMedia/Pixabay

Peer pressure is a powerful thing.  Did Americans stop smoking because of all the government ads pointing out their dangers?  Or because when a few people stopped, it made it easier for the people around them to stop?  Probably both factors were involved.  

And peer pressure continues to exert force, leading us to do things like buy and build bigger houses and drive bigger and heavier cars.  Neither of which is helpful to a warming planet. 

Economist Robert Frank writes about putting peer pressure to work for positive change, like saving the planet, in his book Under the Influence

Ellin Beltz, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32446236

The "Lost Coast" might not stay lost for long.  Especially when the rest of the country realizes that California's northwest coast might have an easier time with the effects of climate change. 

Effects will be felt, says Michael Furniss at Humboldt State University, but temperatures will generally be cooler than anywhere else in California. 

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It's not that climate change is coming; it is here.  Any of a number of events and statistics point to that reality. 

But politics, as has been demonstrated, is not so much about reality as finding what different groups of people will accept.  Alice Hill and Leonardo Martinez-Diaz both have experience exploring policy and politics related to climate change; both worked for the Obama administration on climate policy. 

They joined forces for a book, Building a Resilient Tomorrow: How to Prepare for the Coming Climate Disruption

NASA

Any remaining doubt about the changing nature of the Earth's climate might be dispelled by numbers.  If not actual temperatures, how about signatures? 

More than 11,000 scientists put their names on a recent publication warning of a climate emergency, one the signatories say requires immediate attention. 

William Moomaw, Professor Emeritus at Tufts University, is one of the creators of the work. 

Samantha Erickson via Wikimedia

Researcher Jordan Hollarsmith arrived at UC Davis as a graduate fellow in 2014 with the main goal of studying kelp forests in Northern California. 


NOAA

The extreme views on climate change hold that science is just plain wrong, on one hand, or that science will fix the world before it gets too bad, on the other hand. 

Alejandro Frid chooses to land somewhere in between, trusting that science is correct about the causes of climate change, but that ancient knowledge could help correct the effects. 

Frid is an ecologist who spends a lot of time with the indigenous people of North America.  He offers up his thinking on how to take the best of modern and traditional knowledge, in the book Changing Tides: An Ecologist's Journey to Make Peace with the Anthropocene

Photo of students with banner on sidewalk.
Erik Neumann / JPR

Hundreds of high schoolers from throughout the Rogue Valley left school on Friday to demand political action to address climate change. Marches took place in Ashland, Medford, Grants Pass and half a dozen other small towns south to Redding.  

Kirsten Vinyeta via Karuk Natural Resources

The land was once used differently in Northern California.  Both the people and the climate were different.  Now there is heavy fire suppression, and longer, drier fire seasons. 

The Karuk Tribe drew up plans to approach environmental management on its traditional lands in an age of climate change.  The Climate Adaptation Plan involves relationships between the Karuk and many agencies and organizations. 

Counselling/Pixabay

Many of the responses to climate change action initiatives come back to a simple question: what will this cost?  The Center for Climate Integrity provides answers for coastal communities around the country.  

CCI made estimates for what coastal communities will pay for seawalls and similar structures to hold back a rising ocean.  Example: close to $750 Billion for Lane County alone, and that's not the most expensive figure for Oregon. 

Stouts Fire Facebook page

Leaders in many communities are concerned enough about climate change to want local policies and plans to account for changes.  But not every community has the resources, even when much of the community is in agreement (rare in itself). 

GEOS Institute, based in Ashland, offers a template through its Climate Ready Communities program. 

Fibershed

You've heard of watersheds and viewsheds, now welcome to the concept of Fibershed.  That is the name of a Sonoma County-based organization that focuses on the fashion industry as a way to improve the planet. 

Fiber can be grown for clothing with an eye to storing carbon in the soil, greatly reducing the footprint of the fashion industry. 

Rebecca Burgess is the Executive Director of Fibershed. 

Billy Wilson / Flickr

Science versus money often results in a loss for science.  So it appears to be with climate change; recent research out of the University of California-Santa Barbara looked at the effects of lobbying on climate action. 

Wikimedia

We get the rising temperatures and higher sea levels, but economic inequality from global warming?  Yes, say scientists from Stanford University. 

Their research put climate data and economic numbers side-by-side; hotter and poorer countries have been faring poorly economically as the planet warms. 

Cooler and wealthier countries have gotten mostly richer. 

Pixabay

Have we reached a point in history when we just don't know HOW to do the right thing?  The planet is facing serious climate change because of human activities, so it can be hard to know how to be a good person while going about daily life. 

This is the issue Roger Gottlieb takes up in Morality and the Climate Crisis, a book that takes in philosophy, political theory, global religion, ecology, and contemporary spirituality. 

Susan Haig/U.S. Geological Survey

Long, hot summers are just part of life in the Great Basin.  But they appear to be longer and hotter still over time, to the detriment of waterbirds that fly to and through the basin. 

Small but steady changes in temperature, water quantity, and water quality make life more difficult for birds and their babies. 

Susan Haig at Oregon State University is the principal author of a study on the trend; John Matthews of the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation is a co-author. 

analogicus/Pixabay

Even buildings all decked out with solar panels may still be burning fossil fuels for heat and hot water. 

And California just put some attention into reducing emissions from buildings across the state, through a new policy report from the California Energy Commission. 

The move is applauded at the environmental group NRDC, where Pierre Delforge focuses on building emissions

JamesQube/Pixabay

The people most concerned about climate change are serious about finding ways to power our lives without burning fossil fuels. 

And there is an option that seldom gets discussed: nuclear power.  This is the centerpiece of a book by Joshua Goldstein and Staffan Qvist, A Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow.  

The authors make the case for a strong commitment to nuclear power as a way to solve climate change. 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife

December 1st is the rough target date for the opening of Dungeness crab season in the Pacific.  But it didn't open until mid-January this year, and may open even later next time around. 

Frustration with ocean conditions produced a lawsuit by fishing groups: they are taking fossil fuel companies to court.  The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations says the practices of the fossil fuel industry led to the ocean conditions now damaging fisheries. 

Mary Stensvold/U.S. Forest Service

You don't need to snorkel at a coral reef to see evidence of climate change.  Rising sea levels, longer droughts, worse wildfires all appear to have connections to the changing state of the planet. 

In a memoir of climate change, ecologist Lauren Oakes tells the 30-year story of a stand of rare cypress trees in Southeast Alaska and its slow death due to climate change.  Oakes' book is In Search of the Canary Tree: The Story of a Scientist, A Cypress, and a Changing World

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