bio-degradable footwear

The uncomfortable truth is that overconsumption is a major factor in climate change, Jo Paoletti, an associate professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland says. “We buy much more clothing today than we did a generation ago, and too much of it is ‘ast,’ disposable fashion.”

If we define ‘sustainable fashion’ as made of particular [eco-friendly] fibers but still ready for Goodwill in a few months, we are deluding ourselves,” says Jo Paoletti.

There’s good news: several companies are already stepping up to contribute to the industry’s sustainability and to work toward lessening its environmental impact, as Politiwicz points out.

Puma, for example, is manufacturing biodegradable footwear. Levi’s recently launched an initiative to use less water in its jeans manufacturing process. Even fast fashion behemoth H&M has launched its own Conscious Collection sustainability initiative.

Huffington Post 11 Aug 2012 What Climate Change Just Might Ruin

divinely inspired

Wednesday at a ceremony to appoint Texas lawyer Shaarik Zafar to be special representative to Muslim communities, Secretary of State John Kerry said it was the United States’ Biblical “responsibility” to “confront climate change,” including to protect “vulnerable Muslim majority countries.”

Kerry said Scripture, in particular the Book of Genesis, make clear it is our “duty” to protect the planet and we should look at Muslim countries “with a sense of stewardship of earth,” adding, “That responsibility comes from God.”

Breitbart, 3 Sep 2014

things are getting itchier

Another reason to worry about global warming: more and itchier poison ivy.

The noxious vine grows faster and bigger as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise, researchers report Monday. Their study appears in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“The fertilization effect of rising CO2 on poison ivy … and the shift toward a more allergenic form of urushiol have important implications for the future health of both humans and forests,” the study concludes.

NBC News, 30 May 2006

the cookie crumbles

Some must-have ingredients for cookies and other baked goods are already feeling the climate change pinch.

Peanut butter prices are spiking after the southern US saw one of the worst harvests in decades, thanks to out-of-the-ordinary extreme heat over the summer.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the peanut harvest is down nearly 15% compared to last year.

Likewise, extreme temperatures in Texas have hampered pecan production, while a recent study published in the journal Science found that yields of wheat are down about 5% since the 1980s.

Prevention 12 Apr 2012 – 8 Weird ways climate change is ruining everything

beavers have been too busy

A study found that the beaver is playing an increasing part in climate change because the dams they build for shelter create shallow, stagnant ponds of water which allow biological material to build up on the bottom of the river.

The production of methane is accelerated because stationary pools of water contain much less oxygen than a flowing river interacting with the atmosphere and microbes thrive in low-oxygen environments.

The study, by the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, estimates that beavers are indirectly producing 200 times more methane today than they were in 1900, when fur hunting had largely wiped out the populations in North American, Europe and Asia.

The Independent, 17 Dec 2014

together in ….

Water shortages and drought are having an impact on cotton production, causing price fluctuations and even a shortage in denim.

A pair of jeans uses 919 gallons of water during its life cycle, enough to fill 15 spa-size bathtubs. That includes the water that goes into irrigating the cotton crop, stitching the jeans together and washing them scores of times at home.

The company wants to reduce that number any way it can, and not just to project environmental responsibility. It fears that water shortages caused by climate change may jeopardize the company’s very existence in the coming decades by making cotton too expensive or scarce.

Although scientists are wary of linking specific extreme weather events to climate change, recent increases in floods and droughts are in line with patterns that experts have long projected would result from global warming.

New York Times, 1 Nov 2011

do your bit!

Keen to do your bit for global warming but can’t bear to part with your four-wheel-drive? Now you can be both a greenie and a gas guzzler by investing in projects slowing climate change.

People keen to compensate for the environmental impact of their cars and air travel are tipped to become big buyers of carbon credits, a greenhouse gas conference heard yesterday.

Under the State Government’s two-year-old Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme, energy suppliers such as AGL and Energy Australia must buy carbon credits to meet mandatory targets for reducing greenhouse gas.

There is increasing interest from non-liable parties in buying [carbon credits], the program head, Margaret Sniffen, told yesterday’s greenhouse conference.

Sydney Morning Herald, 9 Feb 2005

Christmas surprise

Forget decking the halls with boughs of holly. Native Wollemi pine trees, bags of cattle manure and carbon-offset gift vouchers are the way to achieve a sustainable Christmas this year, conservationists say.

Buying antique or pre-loved gifts from second-hand stores or the online auction site eBay avoids emissions from the manufacture of new ones.

Second-hand and recycled gifts are encouraged this year, and for that person who has everything – including a large carbon footprint – Origin Energy (www.originenergy.com.au) and Climate Friendly (www.climate friendly.com) offer gift certificates that offset carbon emissions.

Or, for between $15 and $40, Christmas shoppers can buy a duck, mosquito nets, cattle manure and literacy classes through aid group Oxfam Australia’s Unwrapped program to help those less fortunate.

Sun Herald (Australia), 14 Dec 2008

no flies on you!

House flies at Everest basecamp are another sign of climate change that is melting glaciers with worrying speed. Earlier this year Dawa Steven Sherpa was resting at Everest base camp when he and his companions heard something buzzing.

“What the heck is that?” asked the young Nepali climber. They searched and found a big black house fly, something unimaginable just a few years ago when no insect could have survived at 5,360 metres.

It’s happened twice this year – the Himalayas are warming up and changing fast, says Dawa, who only took up climbing seriously in 2006, but in a few years has climbed Everest twice as well as two 8,000m peaks in Tibet.

Heat Is Online, 12 Oct 2009 – originally The Guardian (UK) 12 Oct 2009)

silver lining?

The global financial crisis could give the world two or three years of much-needed time to step up the fight to slow climate change the climate change advisor for the former federal government, Ross Garnaut, said.

Professor Garnaut told a conference of agricultural and resource economists in Cairns that the crisis for markets will not change the extent of global warming the world faces, but will delay its onset by several years.

“The global financial crisis gives us a little breathing space but mitigation of climate change remains urgent, and of central importance,” he said

The Age (Australia), 12 Feb 2009 – screen copy held by this website

making waves

Climate change’s effect on the size of waves in the world’s oceans could be more significant than sea-level rise, scientists warn.

An international team led by CSIRO researcher Mark Hemer has begun studying how global warming will influence the generation of swells and what impact that may have on sandy coastlines such as Australia’s.

Newcastle Herald, 19 Apr 2013

shrinking bumblebees!

Global warming and evolution are reshaping the bodies of some American bumblebees, a new study finds.

The tongues of two Rocky Mountains species of bumblebees are about one-quarter shorter than they were 40 years ago, evolving that way because climate change altered the buffet of wildflowers they normally feed from, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science.

While biologists have tracked how global warming has altered the developmental, migration, timing and other behavior in plants and animals, what makes this study unusual is the physical changes in the bees, said study co-author Candace Galen at the University of Missouri.

“It speaks to the magnitude of the change of the climate that it’s affecting the evolution of the organisms,” Galen said. “It’s a beautiful demonstration of adaptive evolution.”

Heat Is Online – The Associated Press, 24 Sep 2015

jellyfish on the move!

A blood-orange blob the size of a small refrigerator emerged from the dark waters, its venomous tentacles trapped in a fishing net.

Within minutes, hundreds more were being hauled up, a pulsating mass crowding out the catch of mackerel and sea bass.

The fishermen leaned into the nets, grunting and grumbling as they tossed the translucent jellyfish back into the bay, giants weighing up to 200 kilograms (450 pounds), marine invaders that are putting the men’s livelihoods at risk.

The venom of the Nomura, the world’s largest jellyfish, a creature up to 2 meters (6 feet) in diameter, can ruin a whole day’s catch by tainting or killing fish stung when ensnared with them in the maze of nets here in northwest Japan’s Wakasa Bay.

Scientists believe climate change — the warming of oceans — has allowed some of the almost 2,000 jellyfish species to expand their ranges, appear earlier in the year and increase overall numbers, much as warming has helped ticks, bark beetles and other pests to spread to new latitudes.

These increases in jellyfish should be a warning sign that our oceans are stressed and unhealthy, said Lucas Brotz, a University of British Columbia researcher.

Heat Is Online – The Associated Press, 16 Nov 2009

bearded lady lizard

Bearded dragon sex switched by heat. Similarly, the sex Australian central bearded dragons can be “switched” by heat.

A team of researchers led by Alex Quinn at Canberra University in Australia recently incubated eggs at relatively high temperatures – between 34°C and 37°C and found that the majority of embryos that had ZZ sex chromosomes (genetically male), went on to hatch as females.

The team is worried that the lizards may not be able to adapt fast enough to warming temperatures, leading to males being wiped-out altogether.

New Scientist, 31 Aug 2007

whales off course

Birds, whales and other migratory creatures are suffering from global warming that puts them in the wrong place at the wrong time, a U.N. official told 166-nation climate talks on Monday.

A warmer climate disrupts the biological clocks of migratory species including bats, dolphins, antelopes or turtles, said Lahcen el Kabiri, deputy head of the U.N.’s Bonn-based Convention on Migratory Species.

They are the most visible warning signs — indicators signalling the dramatic changes to our ecosystems caused in part by climate change, he told delegates on the opening day of a May 7-18 U.N. meeting searching for new ways to offset warming.

Climate change affects all migratory species, El Kabiri, a Moroccan, told Reuters. He said that whales were sometimes in the wrong place to feed on fish and plankton which were thriving closer to the poles because of warmer oceans.

Heat Is Online – originally Reuters, 8 May 2007

insects threatened!

Many tropical insects face extinction by the end of this century unless they adapt to the rising global temperatures predicted, US scientists have said.

Researchers led by the University of Washington said insects in the tropics were much more sensitive to temperature changes than those elsewhere.

In contrast, higher latitudes could experience an insect population boom. The scientists said changes in insect numbers could have secondary effects on plant pollination and food supplies.

In the tropics, many species appear to be living at or near their thermal optimum, a temperature that lets them thrive, said Joshua Tewksbury of the University of Washington.

But once temperature gets above the thermal optimum, fitness levels most likely decline quickly and there may not be much they can do about it, he added.

Heat Is Online, – originally BBC News, 6 May 2008

penguins pining away

Penguins and post-El Niño stress disorder. It seems that Galápagos penguin may suffer from post-El Niño stress disorder.

After the strong El Niño events of 1982?83 and 1997?98 populations declined by more than 60%, according to F. Hernán Vargas of the University of Oxford and colleagues.

They also looked at what this means for the future of the species and found a 30% chance it will disappear entirely within 100 years, if El Niño events keep happening with the same frequency.

If, however, the frequency increases, as predicted by some climatologists, the risk becomes greater. A doubling of the strong events leads to an 80% of extinction within 100 years.

New Scientist, 31 Aug 2007

walking the walk

Di Tod, 54, a clarinettist from Melbourne’s Burwood, is smarthly dressed and made up.

She also has soil under her nails, a hint of the 14 months she’s put into her 0.1 hectare permaculture garden which extends from the front of the house to the back “I’ve worked thousands of hours,” says Tod. “I’ll work from early morning until dark. I have literally planted by the moon.”

Tod says anxiety about climate chane and energy depletion prompted the dramatic life change. She recounts how three years ago she persuaded her reluctant family – her trumpeter husband, Bill Evans, 46, and their daughters, Molly, 18, and Emily, 16 – to move from their “pretty period home” in middle class Canterbury to a humble brick veneer house in Burwood.

The plan was to use money from the sale to finance a small farm, which would make them as self sufficient as possible.

“I’m your boring Mrs Eastern Suburbs sort of person – unless you talk to my kids who say, ‘Be normal Mum. Don’t be weird, don’t be a hippie!'” says Tod. “It wasn’t until I stumbled across websites about the impending collapse of global oil supplies that my fear ratcheted up a few notches. It felt like Armageddon. I just wanted to protect my family.”

The Sun Herald (Sydney) 29 Jul 2007 – screen copy held by this website

Greenland polar bears feel the heat!

Polar bear penis bones are shrinking in Eastern Greenland, according to Christian Sonne of the University of Aarhus in Denmark and colleagues.

They found that polar bears living in the Eastern Greenland are somewhat less well endowed than their cousins in Svalbard and the Canadian Arctic.

They say this could be due to the high prevalence of pollutants such as PCBs and DDT in Eastern Greenland – pollutants which records show are less prevalent in Svalbard and the Canadian Arctic.

In 2004, Steven Fergusson of the University of Manitoba in Canada showed that carnivores living in snowy environments, close to the poles, tend to have longer penis bones to help them be more competitive.

So Sonne’s group concludes that human pollution, combined with the difficulty of finding food in warming climates, may spell disaster for Eastern Greenland polar bears.

New Scientist, 31 Aug 2007

clouds on the horizon

A NASA study in December 2008 found that warming [of more than a degree and a half Fahrenheit] was enough to trigger a 45 percent increase in thunder-clouds that can rise five miles above the sea, generating ‘super-cells’ with torrents of rain and hail.

In fact, total global rainfall is now increasing 1.5 percent a decade. Larger storms over land now create more lightning; every degree Celsius brings about 6 percent more lightning, according to the climate scientist Amanda Staudt.

In just one day in June 2008, lightning sparked 1,700 different fires across California, burning a million acres and setting a new state record. These blazes burned on the new earth, not the old one.

Countercurrents.org, 23 Apr 2010

poles adrift

Earth’s poles are drifting and climate change is to blame, claim scientists.

The planet’s rotation has always wobbled slightly, and over time this movement has caused the North Pole to shift very slightly over time.

But researchers now believe global warming could be drastically increasing this shift.

Lead researcher Jianli Chen said that ‘ice melting and sea level change can explain 90 per cent of the shift’ and that ‘the driving force for the sudden change is climate change.’

Chen presented the findings at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

Daily Mail, 17 Dec 2013

a dog’s life

Pets are normally sheltered from the harsh realities of wild living.

But across Europe, increasing temperatures will expose pets to new infectious diseases spread by ticks, fleas and mosquitoes, according to new research.

In a separate paper, Claudio Genchi of the University of Milan, Italy, has found that dogs in central Europe will increasingly become vulnerable to the roundworm dirofilaria, spread by mosquitoes, as summer temperatures climb high enough for the parasite to incubate in its fly host.

Susan Shaw and colleagues at the University of Bristol, UK, have also found a significant reservoir of canine leishmaniosis in dogs living in the southern UK.

If climate change allows sandflies to spread into the country, there is a real danger the disease could spread, they warn.

New Scientist, 8 Apr 2009

vive the horse and buggy!

Australia must ban fossil fuel imports by 2020 if it hopes to cut greenhouse gas emissions, scientist and Australian of the Year Tim Flannery says.

Commenting ahead of a speech at an ethanol industry conference in Melbourne, Dr Flannery said the Stern report into the world’s environmental state identified biofuel use as one of the cheapest methods to halt global warming.

The Age, 18 Apr 2007

can’t see the forest for the …

A modeling study published in the journal Nature last year describes a recent, rapid shift in extensive areas of African grassland and savanna to more densely vegetated, wooded states, a trend that is expected to accelerate in coming decades as atmospheric concentrations of CO2 rise.

Already there are signs that open-country animals like the cheetah are suffering as savanna becomes more wooded. This trend is not confined to Africa.

An Australian study released last month, which relied in part on satellite data, concludes that foliage cover in warm, arid areas worldwide has increased by about 11 percent in the last three decades due to higher CO2 levels.

environment360 13 Jun 2013

the case of the missing lakes

A whopping 125 lakes in the Arctic have disappeared in the past few decades, backing up the idea that global warming is working fiendishly fast nearest Earth’s poles.

Research into the whereabouts of the missing water points to the probability that permafrost underneath the lakes thawed out.

When this normally permanently-frozen ground thaws, the water in the lakes can seep through the soil, draining the lake, one researcher likened it to pulling the plug out of the bathtub.

When the lakes disappear, the ecosystems they support also lose their home.

Live Science, 16 Aug 2011

sour grapes

Areas suitable for growing premium wine grapes could be reduced by 50 percent — and possibly as much as 81 percent — by the end of this century, according to a study Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The main problem: an increase in the frequency of extremely hot days, according to Noah Diffenbaugh of the department of earth and atmospheric sciences at Purdue University.

CBS News, 10/7/06

disappearing pumpkins

This Thanksgiving, climate change may hit a little closer to home.

Libby’s Pumpkin, which supplies more than 85 percent of the world’s canned pumpkin, says an unusually rainy spring and summer will slash annual pumpkin yields by half this year.

This past June, Illinois got more than 9 inches of rain, more than 5 inches above average, according to Jim Angel, Illinois’s state climatologist.

Between May and July – critical growing months for processing pumpkins like those used in Libby’s cans – almost 2 feet of rain fell in Illinois, more than 10 inches above average.

Christian Science Monitor, 8 Oct 2015

fir trees make hay

Suspended 20 stories in the air, Ken Bible looks down on the crown of a 500-year-old Douglas fir and ponders a mystery.

The vantage point allows the University of Washington forest ecologist to study the upper reaches of this old-growth forest, where a reproductive orgy is under way.

“We’ve never seen anything like this here,” he says, reaching over the edge of the open-air gondola to grasp a limb laden with cones. He counts at least 30.

“Normally, a branch like this would have about three,” he says. “Why so many this year? We really don’t know.”

The work is part of a bigger effort to figure out what climate change, both natural and man-made, will mean for the Northwest’s iconic forests.

Seattle Times, 27 Nov 2007

forever in …

Almost everyone owns a pair of blue jeans.

But water shortages and drought are having an impact on cotton production, causing price fluctuations and even a shortage in denim.

According to a recent New York Times report, a pair of jeans uses 919 gallons of water during its life cycle, enough to fill 15 spa-size bathtubs.

“That includes the water that goes into irrigating the cotton crop, stitching the jeans together and washing them scores of times at home,” reports the Times.

Worried that water shortages could threaten the very existence of the jeans industry, Levi Strauss developed a nonprofit to teach farmers how to harvest rainwater for irrigation, introduced a brand that uses zero water during the stone-washing process, and is urging people to wash their jeans less.

For more earth-friendly jeans, choose organic brands—organic farming methods protect the soil, and healthy soil holds more water reserves to help in times of drought. Better yet, shop for used jeans.

Prevention, 12 Apr 2013

the end is high!

The Forcey family, of Sandringham, are keen bushwalkers, skiers and cyclists.

But lately they have made sacrifices for a new outdoor ritual — walking along Melbourne beaches waving an 11-metre pole that bears a dire warning.

They call it the global warming pole.

And it symbolises the concerns of Tim and Coni Forcey and their 16-year-old twins, Renee and Eric, about the planet’s future.

The pole’s red markers illustrate how far sea levels could rise if ice in Greenland and Antarctica continues to melt at the rate forecast by climate. The point of it is to catch people’s attention.

“For the most part, they are really interested and want to talk about global warming,” Mr Forcey said.

The Age, 28 Oct 2006

window closing

Sir Nicholas, a former World Bank chief economist, seeks to overturn conventional thinking by arguing that fighting climate change will save, not cost, money.

Whitehall sources told The Independent that the report was hard-headed.

“It didn’t deal in sandals and brown rice. It stuck to the economics.”

Insurance analysts said in evidence to Sir Nicholas that they feared insurance claims caused by storms, droughts and other natural disasters could exceed the world’s GDP.

Sir Nicholas believes a window of 10 to 15 years exists to save the global economy from severe damage – but after that it will be too late, Mr Swan said.

Sydney Morning Herald, 28 Oct 2006

fashion statement

Climate change, the term given to trends in statistical weather patterns, is often closely linked to anthropogenic global warming, and it’s likely a large reason that U.S. climates are getting warmer each year.

But those hotter temperatures are also eroding the seasonality of your wardrobe; in other words, we’re wearing more of the same clothes, year-round. Your favorite pair of J.Crew cropped pants?

As a result of 2011’s no-show winter, you could wear them in September and February.

Huffington Post, 11 Aug 2012, What Climate Change Just Might Ruin