Tag Archives: climate change

Locally grown: good for family health & family farmers

fresh local produceBuy locally grown to save the environment and your family’s health by reducing shipping impact, which reduces climate change. Buying local also supports small, family farmers.

Rutgers U Jersey Fresh Information Exchange says

Lucky for us in the Garden State, we can buy Jersey Fresh produce that really is “fresh off the farm”. Unlike the big production states, where the considerations in farming methods are how to get the crop to you over long distances, Jersey Fresh products are picked at the peak of ripeness and can be on your table the same or next day! This gives the environment a breather because there are fewer fossil fuels consumed to ship products, and less packaging is needed to protect produce for short trips.

Here’s a list with some NJ Farmer’s Markets.

Obama’s serious about Climate Change

President Obama’s new initiatives around Climate Change protections are soon to be unveiled, and they’re not going to make traditional energy company executives happy. This time, the President is serious about climate change.

obama wipes face at speech
The Washington Post reports:

After years of putting other policy priorities first — and dismaying many liberal allies in the process — Obama is now getting into the weeds on climate change and considers it one of the key components of his legacy, according to aides and advisers.

He is regularly briefed on scientific reports on the issue, including a national climate assessment that he will help showcase Tuesday. He is using his executive authority to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other sources, and is moving ahead with stricter fuel-efficiency standardsfor the heaviest trucks.

And while he routinely brings up climate change in closed-door meetings with world leaders, according to his aides, he also discusses it in his private life, talking about global warming’s implications with his teenage daughters.

Watch a miles-square piece of glacial ice disappear

glacier watchingIn 10 years glacial ice has retreated MORE than in the previous 100 years. Watch a huge piece disappear live in this impressive excerpt from the Academy Award nominated film Chasing Ice. A piece as large as the lower end of Manhattan with elevations as high as 600 feet, was filmed breaking just apart and disappearing.

This is what global warming’s all about, people. Glaciers are disappearing because our planet’s warming up and when they go, warm up accelerates. Methane gas – many times more dangerous than carbon because of its impact on the protective shell outside our planet shielding us from the sun’s rays – escapes from the Arctic Ocean floor as vegetation trapped in the ice begins to decompose. This is why we need to heal our planet.

ALEC and its legislators want to eliminate home solar and environmental protections

ALEC-coal-members-300x225After this, no one could ever say that ALEC and the politicians guided by it, care more for people than for profits. They boldly assert that betraying the public trust is necessary in order to insure that (their) economic profits remain intact. In a phenomenally informative article, The Guardian tells us about ALEC legislators’ all-out efforts to block clean energy development and the enforcement of clean water protections. They don’t dispute that this will be done at the expense of the environment and climate change reversal, but they care only for the profits they will continue to reap.

Firedog Lake puts it this way

Among the more interesting discoveries by The Guardian: ALEC has plans to attack clean energy from the household-level to the White House-level, working in service to its utility industry members’ unfettered profits.

If you’re interested in a solar roof, you should know that ALEC and its legislators want to eliminate, or severely limit, home solar installations, as they take away profits from the traditional energy companies they own.

Here are some juicy excerpts from The Guardian’s article:

Over the coming year, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) will promote legislation with goals ranging from penalizing individual homeowners and weakening state clean energy regulations, to blocking the Environmental Protection Agency, which is Barack Obama’s main channel for climate action.

Details of Alec’s strategy to block clean energy development at every stage – from the individual rooftop to the White House – are revealed as the group gathers for its policy summit in Washington this week. (The ALEC strategy documents obtained by the Guardian are shown in entirety in the full article.)

…Gabe Elsner, director of the Energy and Policy Institute, said the attack on small-scale solar was part of the larger ALEC project to block clean energy. “They are trying to eliminate pro-solar policies in the states to protect utility industry profits,” he said.

The group sponsored at least 77 energy bills in 34 states last year. According to an analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy, the measures were aimed at opposing renewable energy standards, pushing through the Keystone XL pipeline project, and barring oversight on fracking…

In the confidential materials, prepared for the August board meeting, ALEC claimed to have made significant inroads against such clean energy policies in 2013.

“Approximately 15 states across the country introduced legislation to reform, freeze, or repeal their state’s renewable mandate,” the taskforce reported…

It just shows that ALEC uses lawmakers as lobbyists to block climate legislation at every turn,” said Connor Gibson, a researcher for Greenpeace. “They try to undermine the authority of agencies that have the power potentially to control carbon pollution, so whenever there is a new EPA rule that pops up, they re-tool their arsenal of model bills to make sure they are blocking the new rule.”

…Environmental lawyers said the resolution amounted to a “new manifesto” against the EPA regulating carbon pollution. “They don’t want the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions,” said Ann Weeks, legal director for the Clean Air Task Force…

“They will probably tell you they don’t want the EPA to regulate anything so it is in their interest to turn what the EPA has proposed into something that is grotesque and unreasonable, which I don’t think is true,” Weeks said.

New Jersey’s most infamous ALEC allied politicos are Gov. Chris Christie and Scott Garrett, who bears the distinction of being our state’s Climate Change Denier Congressman.

Is Climate Change real?

It is, according to more politicians, academicians, public figures and the United States Government: the EPA predicts coastal sees to rise and extreme weather events like Hurricanes to become more frequent.
US EPA carbon emisisons data
Bloomberg.com reports

Here’s what we know: an overwhelming majority of scientists tell us that the Earth’s climate is heating largely due to rising greenhouse gas emissions, which, in turn, is driving more extreme weather and climate events. The underlying changes–warmer oceans, more intense precipitation events, and rising sea levels–are significant contributors to storms like Sandy…

U.S. politicians’ silence on climate change is not only out of step with the rest of the world, but also with the American people, the vast majority of whom are concerned about climate change.

The human and economic costs of Hurricane Sandy and other extreme weather events are abundantly clear. In 2011, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there were 14 extreme weather and climate events of more than $1 billion in the United States, totaling approximately $55 billion. Looking at the bigger picture, a recent report found that the failure to act on climate change is likely to cost the world economy 1.7 percent of GDP, approximately $1.2 trillion per year in the near term, with the figure expected to double by 2030.

Shifting to clean energy opens new economic opportunities, including taking advantage of the $2.3 trillion global clean energy market expected to emerge in the next decade (pdf).

CNN seems to have become a believer since Sandy, too, and they’ve brought in heavy hitting guest writers to tell the public about it. MacArthur Fellow, Stony Brook University professor and president of Blue Ocean Institute, Carl Safina, writes as a CNN special guest

Reporters share their photos with CNN Obstacles and challenges after Sandy Mom can’t get help; two sons die NY mayor: Marathon won’t hurt recovery Search for gas gets more desperate
Sea levels are rising. They’ve been rising since the last ice age and that rise has been accelerating since the Industrial Revolution. We’ve had fair and continual and increasing warning. And yet, small coastal communities and cities as large as New York have done essentially nothing to prepare.
Over decades, we filled many wetlands that are the natural buffers to floods. Shrinking the area of our wetlands has left adjacent areas more prone to flooding.
As the world continues warming, the warming tends to intensify storms. New York has been hit with two hurricanes in two years. That’s unusual. And since at least Katrina, scientists have warned that hurricanes take their strength from the heat of the ocean’s surface.

And Chris Field, Global Ecology Department Chair of the Carnegie Institution for Science and co-chair of a working group tasked with assessing climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), writes as another CNN special guest,

Climate change is occurring now. We see its consequences in hotter temperatures, higher sea levels and shifted storm tracks. In many parts of the world, we are also seeing an increase in the fraction of rainfall that comes in the heaviest events. When it rains, increasingly it pours.
Climate change over the next couple of decades is already largely baked into the system, but changes beyond that are mostly in our hands. As we learn more about the links between climate change and extreme events, it will benefit all of us to think hard about the opportunities and challenges of getting a handle on climate change, so we control it and not vice versa.

Van Jones (as yet another special CNN contributor) proposes a solution that won’t only address climate change, but will improve the United States financial outlook too:

We have just the answer. It’s not a new idea, but as the two parties face off over the federal budget, it could be the path forward. There’s a tool we can use to answer the public’s call for more jobs – without cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security: a carbon tax.

One analysis by the Congressional Budget Office says a moderate, $20-per-ton tax on carbon emissions could raise $1.25 trillion over 10 years. And the savings don’t stop there. For decades, the oil and coal industries have passed along their costs to the rest of us, in the form of asthma treatment, emergency room visits, doctor bills and missed days of school and work. Combined with droughts, wildfires, hurricanes and severe weather events like Superstorm Sandy, rising levels of carbon in the atmosphere cost our nation an estimated $70 billion each year.

Everybody has to make up her own mind about what to believe, but I have no problem all believing that climate change is real, and making changes in my living habits to reverse global warming, and I want my government and business to do the same.

You too can be a New Jersey Environmental Steward

Would you like to understand the relationship between pollution, grass nutrients, construction, flooding, deer, wildlife, denuded forests and Lyme disease in New Jersey? You can learn all this and more in Rutgers Cooperative Extension’s New Jersey Environmental Steward program. It will be offered this year in Atlantic, Warren, and Somerset counties from January through June at a cost of $280.

Duke Farms Environmental Steward sign with antique carWhen my son Ivan and I took the training in 2011, we happily made the trip once a week for 20 weeks to amazing Duke Farms in Hillsborough, NJ (Somerset County). We took classes in a beautiful, high-ceilinged carriage house in the estate’s administration building. Learning and being at Duke Farms made those weeks some of the most special of my life. I’d gladly do it again at the drop of a hat – except I’m too busy now doing environmental steward work!

Imagine being able to discuss climate change first hand with New Jersey’s State Climatologist and learn about the importance of native species from a specialist with national recognition? Stewards in training learn about the way soils affect plant growth and cause environmental conditions from the person who runs Rutgers’ Soil Testing laboratory. They also get a crash course on how local environmental decisions are made and how land preservation laws work in our state.

Rutgers Environmental Stewardship program brochureRegistration is already open for the 2013 Environmental Stewardship program. It will be held at locations in Warren, Somerset and Atlantic Counties, and you register by directly contacting the coordinator at the location of your choice. I wish everyone could have the chance to enjoy this extraordinary opportunity to learn about environmental challenges and the conservation measures that can solve them with some of New Jersey’s finest environmental scientists and advocates. I hope that I will be congratulating at least a few of my friends at next year’s graduation. If you have any questions, just ask.

Warren/North Training Location
RCE of Warren County, 165 Rt 519 South, Belvidere, NJ 07823

Normal Class Time: Thursdays, January to May, 2011; 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. Cost: $280

Contact: Milly Rice, marnavy@hotmail.com
Ag and Resource Mgmt. Secretary, 908-475-6505

Central/Duke Training Location
Duke Farms, Hillsborough, NJ

Normal Class Time: Tuesdays, January to May, 2008; 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. Cost: $280
Contact: Rosalie Kelly rkelly@ddcf.org
Duke Farms Foundation, 80 Route 206, Hillsborough, NJ 08844 908-243-3602

Coastal Region Training Location
Atlantic County Utility Authority, 6700 Delilah Road , Egg Harbor Twp NJ

Normal Class Time: Wednesdays, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. Cost: $280
Contact: Amy Menzel, amenzel@acua.com
PO join 996 Pleasantville, NJ 08232, 609.272.6950 ext 6934

NASA Climatologist at BCC on Sept. 22

RIDGEWOOD North Jersey Public Policy Network opens its 2011/2012 Distinguished Speakers Series with Dr. James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City and an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University Department of Earth Science.

This free public program will take place at Bergen Community College on September 22nd at 7:30pm in TECH Center Room 128, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus NJ (Park in Lot B). Please pre-register by emailing info@northjerseypublicpolicy.org.

Respected and known for his research in the field of Climatology, Dr. Hansen has been raising awareness of climate change for decades. Dr. Hansen is the recipient of the US National Academy of Science Award, the Carl Gustaf-Rossby Research Medal, the Sophie Prize and the Blue Planet Prize among other prizes and awards. Dr. Hansen, a scientist, physicist, and astronomer is also the author of “Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity.” Time magazine named Dr. Hansen one of the 100 most influential people on earth.

Dr. Hansen’s talk will cover the history of climate change research results and how the data impacts our future and that of our planet. With policy makers and voters divided in their views on environmental policy, and because there are diverse opinions on the veracity of climate change, this program offers the opportunity for questions to be asked and discussed.

Best known for his testimony on climate change to congressional committees that helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue, Dr. Hansen has continued to draw attention to the danger of passing climate tipping points, producing irreversible climate impacts that would yield a different planet from the one on which civilization developed.

While identifying the issues, Dr. Hansen has outlined steps that are needed to stabilize climate, with a cleaner atmosphere and ocean and he emphasizes the need for the public to influence government and industry policies.

Roger Opstbaum, Professor of Physics at Bergen Community College, will serve as moderator.

According to Rhoda Schermer, Chairperson of NJPPN, “We are so lucky to be able to bring Dr. Hansen to Bergen County. He is considered the “guru” on climate change and policies. He affords us the unique opportunity to hear facts and ideas. A lot of excitement has been generated. There are many people who are confused about whether climate change is actually occurring and if humans contribute to climate change. This opportunity to question one of the world’s leading authorities should not be passed up. We hope the public takes advantage of this special program.”

North Jersey Public Policy Network (NJPPN) is a non-partisan, non-profit network with over 600 members primarily residing in Bergen County. NJPPN’s mission is to provide factual, credible information on important public policy issues to its members and the public in the interest of promoting solutions that best serve the public interest. More information on NJPPN can be found at northjerseypublicpolicy.org.

Sustainability/Environment + Fun + Music = Good videos

Here are a selection of good videos about sustainability and the environment (list will be added to – post your favorites in the comments).

The Crazy Wombat
This may be my favorite. The Wombat explains exactly why we need to get it together – and get along. 1 min.

Take Aim at Climate Change
This hip-hop video is off the hook – and it’s produced by NASA, although you won’t believe it when you see it.