Archive | January 2016

CBS News Special: “Earth Day – A Question of Survival”, with News Anchor Walter Cronkite

The first Earth Day in the United States was held on April 22, 1970. CBS-TV aired it as a 13-part CBS news special. It was a time when the vast majority of Americans generally counted on the major television network news anchors to accurately inform them of the important news of the day, and CBS’s Walter Cronkite was considered the most honest of them all. National news reporting was viewed as having no relationship whatsoever to money provided by networks’ sponsors, and instead was information that viewers could count on as being accurate and true concerning the national events and threats that were occurring in the country and what American viewers would want to know to keep themselves well informed of the country’s news. While Madison’s Gaylord Nelson Institute at the University of Wisconsin states that the CBS news report which aired that night didn’t do justice to much of the participation in the events that were held on the first Earth Day in 1970, the fact that it documented many of the other people concerns that Americans had about the state of the environment in 1970 is worth noting.

The first earth day came about because people were really fed-up with the undeniable pollution of the waters, air and land around them, some even getting sick, while others feared things were likely to get worse and worse because the pollution was getting worse and worse. The following ten years of federal and state law making and enforcement to prevent the continued degradation of U.S. drinking and surface waters, air in the U.S., wetlands and land protection, too, led many to later call the decade of the 1970s “the environmental decade”.

This was also a time of great concern because of the large amount of the country’s money was going for military purposes in fighting the Vietnam War, money which could have gone to keeping the county’s important natural resources clean and healthy, and improving living conditions in “the urban ghettos” including homes for the homeless. A “teach in” was being held across the United States by anti-war advocates at the same time when Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin came up with the idea of having a similar day set aside for a teach-in about the need for change to ensure a healthy future for the planet, including the nation’s people who were suffering in the ghettos. View all 13 parts of the CBS’s special news report, anchored by Walter Cronkite, of the first Earth Day here.

This CBS special news report for Earth Day is well worth the investment of everyone’s time viewing it, or reading the transcript of the report. A similar degree of response is what is needed now to prevent an even worse and tragic consequence of human and animal life lost and suffering as we continue to add more and more quantities of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere by continuing to burn vast quantities of fossil fuel, for electric power generation, heating and long distance or daily travel requiring oil burning, and many countries continuing to pave over the landscape with concrete, and most every country suffers from a lack of an appropriate adaptation plan in the likely case now that the worse of the climate extremes will ultimately result, and that the inundation of the world’s currently most populous coastal cities will also result, and that many island nations will require resettlement, as the ones that are presently livable are predicted to become submerged completely if major and significant change is not made soon by the most highly developed countries. Our U.S. Congress continuing its refusal to enact laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, let alone refusing to alert the American people of the grave unfortunate results of ignoring all climate experts’ warnings means that it’s almost certain the worst predictions are ultimately likely to occur from our lawmakers’ inaction, and the similar expected inaction by many other countries that might otherwise follow our lead, and the paving of the remaining green space on the planet, is unconscionable. If our political office holders are not interested in doing this for us living here today, they should not leave the full burden of living on our likely inhospitable planet to fall on today’s and tomorrow’s children, including those who reside here, as well as elsewhere.

Report: Warming Seas Expanding Twice as Fast as Previously Thought

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A new study suggests that warmer water temperatures are causing the seas to expand twice as fast as previously thought, leading to greater sea level rise. The study analyzed more than a decade of satellite data. It was published in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study also found sea level rise varied by location, with the Philippines experiencing sea level rise at five times the average global rate.

How much damage is the Porter Ranch leak doing to the climate?

 

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How much damage is the Porter Ranch leak doing to the climate?

Stephen Conley has flown pollution-detecting airplanes over some of the largest oil and gas fields in the nation. But never before has the UC Davis scientist encountered as much methane in the air as in recent months over suburban Los Angeles.

A Remarkable State of the State Speech by the Governor of Wisconsin

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Governor Scott Walker’s 6th “State of the State” address was remarkable, not because of anything the governor said in the speech, but rather because of what the Wisconsin governor chose to exclude from the speech. Delivered in the historic State Capitol building to the Wisconsin State Legislature and a TV audience on Tuesday, January 21, 2016, the remarkable thing is that the governor continues to claim everything is rosy not just here and now but also for all of Wisconsin in the future. But such is far from the case.

Wisconsin’s economic and environmental future looks increasingly more dismal and bleak, because our governor, along with most of the Republican dominated Wisconsin Legislature, continue to ignore the greatest challenge of our lifetime – global warming and its accompanying changes to our climate. Despite alarm bells being sounded by scientists everywhere, including those at NASA and NOAA, the threats of our planet’s warming, including rising sea levels and more extreme weather occurrences, is irrefutable. Our president and the entire scientific community call the situation “urgent”.

It is unconscionable for Wisconsin’s governor and our state and federal office holders to continue to tell Wisconsinites nothing is wrong or, just as bad, to say nothing about the real truth behind the catastrophic rise in greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, the oceans, mostly from burning too much fossil fuels, including gasoline, aviation fuel, coal and natural gas (methane). The governor’s speech moreover did not acknowledge Wisconsin’s economy is already failing countless Wisconsin families, preventing them from enjoying a decent standard of living, and having a future not marred by an inhospitable climate. In fact, Governor Walker’s speech was devoid of saying anything negative about the state’s current and projected future, much less identifying any plans whatsoever for the state to address or adequately respond to the expected future conditions.

And not unlike what has happened in Flint Michigan, where the governor and city officials failed to inform the residents that their drinking water had been contaminated with lead, Governor Walker and Wisconsin officials are similarly not informing residents of Wisconsin of the growing perils which await future citizens of Wisconsin. Scientists everywhere are now saying the record high buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and oceans represent a “grave risk” for humanity and other species sharing earth as their home. The governor and all Wisconsin’s citizens should know that allowing such problems to continue to fester, unabated, will inevitably lead to disaster the longer we all wait to take action, just like what happened in Flint, Michigan.

Please somebody wake up Governor Scott Walker – BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! And Governor Walker please be truthful in what you tell Wisconsin’s families and businesses what the real state of our once great state is, and will be, if we continue to do “business as usual”.

NASA, NOAA Analyses Reveal Record-Shattering Global Warming Temperatures in 2015

 

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According to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2015’s global temperature average was 1.62ºF above the 1901-2000 average, making 2015 “by far the warmest year on record”. Ten of 2015’s monthly global temperatures tied or broke existing records.

Globally-averaged temperatures in 2015 shattered the previous mark set in 2014 by 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit (0.13 Celsius). Only once before, in 1998, has the new record been greater than the old record by this much.

NOAA scientists concur with the finding that 2015 was the warmest year on record based on separate, independent analyses of the data.

“Climate change is the challenge of our generation, and this issue affects every person on Earth,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “Today’s announcement should make policy makers stand up and take notice – now is the time to act on climate.”

Global concentrations of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million for a monthly average in spring, 2015, breaching a symbolic barrier set by climate scientists and policy makers.

Concentrations of other greenhouse gases produced from human activities, such as methane and nitrous oxide, also reached records in 2014, the World Meteorological Organization announced in its annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. The report is one of several measurements made by different climate agencies to address the state of greenhouse gases.

“This evidence shows us that the concentrations are increasing, and they are increasing with increasing rates,” said Oksana Tarasova, chief of the W.M.O.’s Atmospheric Environment Research Division. “This calls for urgent and very strong actions to limit the emission of those greenhouse gasses.”

Hotter air can hold more moisture, which exacerbates greenhouse warming. According to Dr. Tarasova, if carbon dioxide levels reach 560 parts per million, or double their preindustrial levels, the feedback loop would cause water vapor and clouds to increase atmospheric warming to a rate that is three times as much as what the human-caused gases can do by themselves.

“We shouldn’t blame water vapor for making this place warmer,” she said. Rather, she said, by limiting the emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane, people can balance the feedback loop and mitigate future warming.

The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1.0 degree Celsius) since the late-19th century, a change largely driven by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.

Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 15 of the 16 warmest years on record occurring since 2001. Last year was the first time the global average temperatures were 1 degree Celsius or more above the 1880-1899 average.

NASA’s analyses incorporate surface temperature measurements from 6,300 weather stations, ship- and buoy-based observations of sea surface temperatures, and temperature measurements from Antarctic research stations.

Coyote Carnage for “Sport” Allowed by Wisconsin Governor Walker’s Department of Natural Resources this Weekend in Forest and Bayfield Counties

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A one-day coyote hunting contest near Crandon in northeastern Wisconsin starts this morning. Aside from the concerns of many animal lovers that such massive shooting sprees of wild animals “for the fun of it” are ethically and morally inhumane, environmental groups have also concerned that federally protected wolves could unknowingly be killed in the process.

The hunt will offer prize money for the largest, smallest and most coyotes killed. It’s one of a number of such competitions that hunters and the Department of Natural Resources say have been taking place for years.

Saturday’s event, run out of a tavern in Argonne on the edge of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, caught the attention of representatives of the Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf, Sierra Club, Humane Society of the United States and the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups who criticized the contest element of the hunts.

“Killing for prize or trophy is not an adequate reason for hunting,” said Melissa Smith, executive director of Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf. “It’s unjustified and unsportsmanlike.”

The groups also said they were worried that gray wolves could be shot or mauled by dogs that are often used in such hunts.

“I am worried that this just increases the risk of someone violating the endangered species law,” Smith said.

Saturday’s event has categories for hunters who use hounds and those who use calls to attract coyotes.

It is illegal to kill wolves in Wisconsin, although there were wolf hunting seasons in 2012, 2013 and 2014 that were used as a means to control the state’s growing wolf population.

A federal judge in December 2014 struck down a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove gray wolves from the endangered species list in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan — a ruling that also ended legalized hunts.

A coyote killing contest is also being held this weekend near Washburn in Bayfield County.

The DNR says that it can be difficult at a distance to tell the difference between a wolf and a coyote. Wolves are larger and bulkier than coyotes. Wolves weigh 50 to 100 pounds. Coyotes weigh 25 to 45 pounds.

Predator killing contests have come under criticism elsewhere, including several western states. In December 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission banned killing contests for predator animals, such as coyotes, fox and bobcat.

California officials acted on a petition from Project Coyote, a Larkspur, Calif.-based organization that has worked with other groups to try to stop the practice in Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon and New Mexico.

Camilla H. Fox, executive director of Project Coyote, predicted that other states will eventually follow California.

“This is very different from killing deer to put meat on the table,” Fox said. “This is gratuitous killing.”

In its petition in California, Project Coyote used written testimony by more than two dozen academics and conservationists, including Adrian Treves, an associate professor of environmental studies and founder of the carnivore coexistence lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Treves also serves on the science advisory board of Project Coyote.

In their testimony, the scientists and conservationists said that “indiscriminate killing is ineffective” in controlling livestock losses because “only some, often few, individual predators participate in depredation.” They also said such contests are not a reliable method of regulating deer populations.

“There is not a lot of scientific justification for it,” Treves said. Deer populations, for example, are much more influenced by food supply and climate conditions in the winter, he said.

David Walz, a DNR conservation warden supervisor, said wardens will be working in the Crandon area on Saturday and will keep tabs on the contest. He said hunters have killed wolves during the gun-deer season, thinking that the wolves were coyotes.

The state fine for unintentional killing of a wolf or other endangered species is up to $4,143, plus one-year revocation of all hunting licenses. If the killing is intentional, the fine is up to $5,500 and/or up to nine months jail, plus a three-year revocation of hunting licenses, according to the DNR.

Source: Lee Bergquist f the Journal Sentinel, January 21, 2016.

All Wisconsinites Have Opportunity to Speak Truth to Power on TOO MUCH MONEY in U.S. Politics Starting at 10:00 am in the North Public Hearing Room on the 2nd Floor of the State Capitol Building TODAY on the 6th Year Anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” Decision

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Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), is a U.S. constitutional law case dealing with the regulation of campaign spending by organizations. The United States Supreme Court rendered a decision on January 21, 2010, that concluded the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibited government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and other such associations.

The decision is said to have undermined the integrity of public officials in the eyes of the public by allowing billionaires and wealthy special interests to drown out any concerns of individual voters.

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Any and all residents of Wisconsin are urged to attend today’s public telling and voice their concerns about the corrupting influence of big money politics on Wisconsin’s state lawmakers, Governor Scott Walker, the U.S. Congress and President of the United States.