January heats up

The T-V and newspaper news outlets tend not to report news about Climate Change these days. I guess it isn’t confrontational enough. But the Nature magazine isn’t afraid to be non-confrontational! In this weeks Feb 25, 2016 issue, Nature told us about a report just produced by NOAA. I am setting here in 77 degree weather in Pacific Grove, CA in February during a supposedly super El Nino season thinking how I shouldn’t really be enjoying this. To relieve my guilt, I will pass this “news” forward.

Last month was the world’s hottest January since records began in 1880, and the ninth month in a row to break a global monthly temperature record, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported on 17 February. The average global temperature was 1.04 Celsius above the twentieth-century average for January, beating the previous record, from 2007, by 0.16 Celsius. In the Arctic, which was remarkably warm for the time of year, sea ice was at its lowest January extent since records began in 1979, according to the US National Snow and Ice Data Center.

I don’t need NOAA to tell me about February — I can tell this will have been a warm month too.

Climate Change and Human Nature

(Sunday morning and the moon is New and I can’t sleep)

It’s always confused me why climate change is difficult for myself and others to really come to grips with, why we find it hard to change our living style in the face of reality. (Yes, the big question.)

A post at the blog Savage Minds this morning pointed me to an article by a writer named Lisa Bennett who recently wrote an article for the blog Grist in which she listed “10 things you want to know about human nature if you’re fighting climate change“. Wow, that title seemed to really imply it had the answers that I too was looking for, so I had to go read the full article (not just the extraction in Savage Minds). You can find the full article too by clicking here.

You really need to read what Lisa Bennett wrote to really understand the depth behind her 10 items. I have listed them here as teasers for you to follow.

1. We are overly optimistic about the future — our future, that is.
2. We can be blasé about the most important issues in the world because the global perspective is way beyond ordinary human scale.
3. We are wired to refute imperatives.
4. We are vulnerable to peer pressure, especially about things that confuse us.
5. We shy away from topics that remind us of our mortality but can be motivated to take action on behalf of beings more vulnerable than us.
6. We perceive and respond to risks only when we feel them.
7. We are motivated more by hope than fear, at least in matters of social change.
8. We are more likely to take action when we know precisely what we can influence.
9. We need to believe our actions will make a difference.
10. We will continue to behave the same way we always have — even after we know it is problematic — until there is a realistic alternative.

Again, read the full article: Lisa Bennett in Grist. It is worth our time.

The Papal Environmental Encyclical Is Online

On Care For Our Common Home

Today Pope Francis officially released his Encyclical that is concerned with the environment and how we are not taking care of the earth as requested.  The point of this post is to help you find a copy, not to argue the points.  Yes, I agree with most of what he has said, but we’ll leave that for another day.

All of the encyclicals are online.  They can be found here: www.papalencyclicals.net

This unique paper, I call it the “warning encyclical” can be located directly by clicking here

I pulled a PDF copy of the 184 page document from the above site (by clicking on the small PDF icon in the first page of the document) and emailed it to myself, and then opened it in my iPad which then allowed me to save it to my iBooks on the iPad so I can read it fully at my leisure. I also saved a copy here to make it easier for you to get a copy. Download the PDF by clicking here

Of course, I wouldn’t be me without tossing out a few zingers from the document:

43. Human beings too are creatures of this world, enjoying a right to life and happiness, and endowed with unique dignity. So we cannot fail to consider the effects on people’s lives of environmental deterioration, current models of development and the throwaway culture.

and

53. These situations have caused sister earth, along with all the abandoned of our world, to cry out, pleading that we take another course. Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years. Yet we are called to be instruments of God our Father, so that our planet might be what he desired when he created it and correspond with his plan for peace, beauty and fullness. The problem is that we still lack the culture needed to confront this crisis. We lack leadership capable of striking out on new paths and meeting the needs of the present with concern for all and without prejudice towards coming generations. The establishment of a legal framework which can set clear boundaries and ensure the protection of ecosystems has become indispensable; otherwise, the new power structures based on the techno-economic paradigm may overwhelm not only our politics but also freedom and justice.

Before you let the political pundits and the fossil fuel industry tell you what you should think about it, why not give it a chance and read it for yourself. A quick scan won’t hurt, and it might help us all.

Weather Words

Global Warming” refers to an increase in the average temperature near the Earth’s surface.

Climate Change” refers to the broader set of changes that go along with global warming, including changes in weather patterns, the oceans, ice and snow, and ecosystems; both caused by homo sapiens causing rising levels of greenhouse gases.

Anthropocene” epoch refers to the Age of Man, relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.