Onward We Forge

This week many citizens around the globe felt despair from the results of the U.S. election.

It is up to each of us to turn that around. We denounce hate, bigotry, misogyny and fear with love. Find your joy, your happy zone. Smile, it will raise your vibration. By raising your vibration, it will help your family and friends, co-workers and fellow citizens feel better. Random acts of kindness make our world a better place.

The caring people in all corners on the planet will shoulder a heavy load; more specifically, the continuing fight against global warming.

Let me remind you that half the global population is responsible for 70 percent of the climate-altering greenhouse gases, with the brunt of that coming from cities.

The good news: cities and their mayors (C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and the Compact of Mayors) have made tremendous inroads into reducing emissions, creating jobs, and future-proofing their communities. Irrespective of the outcome of the U.S. election, they are forging forward to protect their people and nature – our life support system.

Their plans include creating climate-smart buildings, transportation and waste management with more urban trees that will reduce carbon dioxide by 8 billion tons or 25 percent of the world’s annual output and save $17 trillion dollars over the next three decades.

The single biggest thing you can do to fight the climate in crisis is to switch your diet to a plant-based one. It’s healthy, compassionate, water-smart and easy to do. Animal agriculture contributes at least 18 percent to the heat-trapping greenhouse gases, which is more than the entire footprint of the transportation sector globally.

I also suggest joining a movement to save nature and fight the climate crisis.

I love whales. The whales are helping to re-grow the missing 40 percent of the phytoplankton (the basis of the entire ocean ecosystem) that fossil fuels robbed. Phytoplankton along with blue green bacteria, prochlorococcus, give us almost two out of every three breaths of oxygen. The whales are helping us breathe and fight the climate in crisis. So, I support the crucial conservation work of Sea Shepherd Australia because they are protecting the Antarctic whales.

There are so many worthy animal and conservation groups that need your help, right now. You will meet like-minded people working to save nature and fight the climate in crisis.

Together we are an unstoppable force for goodness.

We are good. Goodness will prevail.

Forti nihil difficile – nothing is difficult for the strong.”

Minkes are the smallest of all filter feeding whales. Their wellbeing is crucial to heal Earth’s diminishing oxygen levels from burning fossil fuels. Photo credit: portdouglasreeftours.com.au

Minkes are the smallest of all filter feeding whales. Their wellbeing is crucial to heal Earth’s diminishing oxygen levels from burning fossil fuels. Photo credit: portdouglasreeftours.com.au

Earth Doctor Reese Halter’s upcoming book is “Save Nature Now.”

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Japan, No Mercy For Vaquitas

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Since 1970, the population of the Animal Kingdom has plummeted by almost 60 percent. Shocking reports multiply as the human-driven Sixth Great Extinction escalates. Nature is now losing species 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than natural rates. Dozens of species are … Continue reading

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Awesome Nature, Fall Colors

Fall is the most colorful time of year. It is a terrific moment in time to become a “leaf-peeper” and relish nature’s regal hues of scarlet, gold and wine.

To understand autumn colors we must examine the leaf. Leaves spend the winter tightly wrapped in a cover of weather-resistant scales formed the previous summer; they emerge from these buds in spring.

The buds burst as they absorb the sun’s energy. Young leaves expand and endeavor to survive the onslaught of insects, strong winds and hot, sometimes scalding, sun.

Leaves are filled with cell sap containing millions of green chlorophyll molecules. They take energy from the sun, water from the ground and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and, in return, give back oxygen to the air. In fact, forests provide us with more than one in every three breaths of oxygen. Leaves also make sugars, needed by all parts of the tree to grow.

A magnesium atom at the center of the chlorophyll molecule makes it unstable. If it’s artificially replaced by a copper atom, then the green color becomes permanent. That’s exactly what we find in the store when buying green toothpaste, shampoo and many food products.

Not all cells in leaves are chlorophyll (green). Some cells, called chromoplasts, contain non-light-making pigments, like carotenes (oranges of carrots) and xanthophylls (yellows of corn). They give a leaf its yellow color when it loses chlorophyll.

Some oak leaves have tannins — bitter to taste and used as a plant defence against insects. These create a brownish leaf color in autumn.

A third class of pigments in tree leaves called anthocyanins produce brilliant reds and purples of apples, grapes and most maples. They are not found in the chromoplast cells that make carotenes. They form in leaf cell sap when there’s a chemical reaction between accumulating sugars and organic compounds. The more acidic the cell sap, the more dazzling the red. Purples and blues, on the other hand, occur when the cell sap is less acidic.

Substances other than pigments also occur in leaves. Resins help repel sap-sucking or leaf-munching bugs. Leaf hormones govern growth and protect against water stress and cold temperatures.

As we near October, our days, in the northern hemisphere, get shorter. Soon layers of waterproof cork cells form between the leaf stalk and the twig. The leaf is now sealed off from its tree, incapable of receiving water from the sap stream and unable to export leaf sugars to the tree. The leaf cell sap begins to accumulate. The greens of the chlorophylls are destroyed and yellows are unmasked. The cool fires of fall have been ignited!

Alder leaves don’t display much, if any, autumn color. Cottonwoods, birches, aspens and larches are rich in carotenes but not anthocyanins; they paint the landscape with yellows and golds. Maples are heavy with anthocyanins and produce deep wines and reds.

Some species have a lovely mix of both reds and yellows.

Sunny days and crisp cool autumn nights are just the right combination for magnificent fall colors. I recommend hiking the mountains of  Washington State’s Alpine Lakes, Teanaway district and North Cascades near Washington Pass at least once in your life to experience the sublime subalpine larches; they display a brilliant autumn golden-yellow for about a week or so before they, too, shed their needles.

The more autumn sunshine, the more spectacular the autumn leaf colors.

This weekend take a long walk and celebrate the majesty of nature.

Classic golden northeastern  hardwood forests. Phot credit: Naio Halter

Classic golden northeastern hardwood forests. Photo credit: Naio Halter

Earth Doctor Reese Halter’s upcoming book is “The Anthropocene: Age of Climate Instability.”

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Marching Against The Sixth Great Extinction

This morning in Los Angeles, empowered by the Zulu legend of Shongolulu, we marched from the La Brea Tar Pits to the South African Consulate where my friend Ellen Ericksen hand delivered a letter demanding an end to the ivory trade in Africa.

Kenya is leading the fight for a total ban on ivory trading at the UN Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). Ivory trading has been banned internationally but not across Africa.

Before Europeans there were an estimated 20 million stupendous elephants roaming Africa’s continent. By 1970 that number plummeted to 1.3 million. In January, my colleagues estimated there were 700,000 remaining elephants. A very recent survey funded by nature lover and co-founder of Microsoft Paul Allen, found only 352,271elephants left.

Between 2007-2014, 144,000 elephants were poached or 56 every day. Before elephants are dead, heartless poachers hack off their faces to get at the ivory.

Poachers receive a couple hundred dollars per elephant, middlemen and organized crime make millions of dollars on the black market.

China is the number one destination for ivory. America is the second biggest market place for elephant ivory.

Elephants are extraordinary creatures. They bury their dead. They weep and mourn the loss of family members. They can live for 80 years. Female elephants drive the society just like female whales do.

Have you ever seen two elephants greet one another? It is an unforgettable experience.

Elephants communicate with subsonic sound, which travels over the land faster than sound through the air, their feet and trunks pick-up communications.

Elephants create water holes for all life. Elephants create trails that act as fire blocks.

One elephant can bring an entire village $1.6 million in ecotourism.

African elephants face extinction by 2030 unless strict laws and around the clock enforcement occur right now.

Nature is in a tailspin from humans destroying her on every front — on land and under the sea.

Since 1970, half of all land wildlife is gone. In North America alone over 1.5 billionbirds are missing.

The climate in crisis from burning subsidized, climate-altering fossil fuels has raised temperatures by that much around the globe, forests are collapsing on all forested continents. North America is missing over 30 billion mature pines and spruce from heat waves, droughts and trillions of indigenous bark beetles. Those mountain forests were invaluable as bastions of fresh water, the lifeblood of Earth for 55 million people across the West.

Burning coal has tripled mercury poisoning in the oceans in over four decades to as much as 80,000 metric tons. There is so much toxic mercury vapor in the atmosphere it is raining onto the West Coast of America. The soils, fresh water, fish, wildlife, birds, plants and trees are full of deadly nerve poisons.

The oceans are stuffed full of as many as 51 trillion pieces of petroleum-based plastics and supercharged with 300 zeta joules of heat from burning fossil fuels. A 1,200-mile stretch of Western Australian kelp forests along Indian Ocean collapsed from a marine heat wave of 2.5C in 2011. There is no sign of recovery.

We are missing 230 million or 70 percent of all seabirds. No food, no birds.

The largest reef on the globe, The Great Barrier Reef, approximately the size of Italy, is dying quickly from searing 1998, 2002 and 2016 marine heat waves. The Great Barrier Reef is home to at least a million kinds of sea life. In nature, when animals lose their homes they die.

Since 2000, over 1 billion sharks have been poached for their fins and squalene or shark liver oil. Ninety percent of many shark species are gone. Sharks have lived on Earth for over 400 million years. Sharks have never faced extinction like the Sixth Great Extinction before.

Humans are looting the oceans and all its large creatures harder and faster than ever before in the illustrious history of planet Earth.

My colleagues recently issued a warning that the human-driven Sixth Great Extinction in the ocean differs from the previous five other mass extinctions. Never before since the dawning of reproductive life 1.1 billion years ago have the oceans been depleted of all large species. In past only smaller creatures perished in their entirety. The oceans will recover from humans in many millions of years.

Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot live on a planet with dead oceans, dead forests, toxic fresh water from fossil fuel poisoning and no wildlife.

There’s only one way that 7.4 billion procreating humans can live on our planet. We require living oceans and forests in order to breathe oxygen. It is time for a truce with the Animal Kingdom allowing nature to survive – our life support systems.

The single biggest thing each of us can do right now to fight the climate in crisis and protect the remaining living forests and oceans is to switch to a plant-based diet. It is easy, water-smart, healthy and compassionate. Animal agriculture contributes at least 18 percent of the climate-altering greenhouse gases and that is more than all transportation globally.

We must not go quietly into this impoverished future!

#SaveNatureNow

The Earth Doctor marching against extinction on September 23, 2016 in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo credit: Frankie

The Earth Doctor marching against extinction on September 23, 2016 in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo credit: Frankie

Earth Doctor Reese Halter’s upcoming book is “The Anthropocene: Age of Climate Instability.”

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Ocean Extinction – Unprecedented

Humans are driving an unprecedented extinction of sea life.

A study this week from Stanford University found that humans are killing off great white sharks, fin whales, and bluefin tunas like never before compared to the previous five mass extinctions.

There is nothing like this in any fossil records. In the past, smaller species were lost not bigger ones.

The present Sixth Great Extinction is decimating everything in the oceans. My colleagues predict it will take millions of years for the oceans to recover with a rich array of biodiversity that currently exists on the planet.

This is an ecological disaster of epic proportion never experienced since the dawningof sexually reproduced organisms 1.1 billion years ago.

My latest book,“Shepherding the Sea: The Race to Save Our Oceans,” documents the rampant overfishing and collapse of nature. Deep sea trawling is so damaging that the physical destruction of 3,000-year-old seamount cold corals and seabeds is 150 times greater than clear-cutting forests on the land, annually.

I calculated that each year fisheries and poachers kill the equivalent volume of sea life to fill 122 Empire State Buildings (at 103 stories with a roof height of 1,250 feet) or one building every 2.9 days!

The oceans are supercharged with 300 zeta joules of energy from burning subsidized, climate altering fossil fuels. Since 1997, 150 of those 300 zeta joules have accumulated to the equivalent energy of one Hiroshima-style atomic bomb detonating every second for 75 consecutive years.

As a result, global warming in the oceans is happening 1.5 to 5 times as fast as anything witnessed on land.

Last week a study examined every major marine ecosystem encompassing life from microbes to whales and the deep oceans. Jellyfish, sea turtles, seabirds, fish stocks and phytoplankton – the basis of the entire marine web of food – are shifting toward the cooler respective poles by up to 10 degrees latitude. This is unprecedented.

A 2011 marine heat wave collapsed kelp forests in the Indian Ocean along a 1,200-mile stretch of Western Australia. It is an unprecedented die-off with no sign of recovery whatsoever. Coral reef bleaching from a record hot 2016 El Nino causedunprecedented death along the northern Great Barrier Reef.

It is not just the rising temperatures reeking havoc with all marine life and coral reefs. Earlier this year, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researchers discovered that 53 percent of pteropods, or free-swimming tiny sea snails, sampled off the U.S. West Coast had severely dissolved shells.

The oceans have increased in acidity faster than the previous 300 million years from absorbing rising fossil fuel-released carbon dioxide. As the phytoplankton absorbs the rising levels of carbon dioxide, they releases carbonic acid. The snail shells, like all shellfish and coral reefs, are made of calcium carbonate, which melts in an acidic ocean.

The only ways to slow this brutal destruction of sea life is to place at least 80% of the oceans into marine protected no-take zones and actively patrol them. Poachers and all perpetrators must be penalized with stiff fines and long incarceration sentences.

There’s only one way the human race can survive to mid century. We must save nature – our life support system – now.

In order to achieve this historic goal we must source 80 percent of all energy from renewables i.e. solar, wind, tidal power by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050. That will entail a World War III effort: Mobilizing industry, employing millions of people and deploying that technology rapidly.

It is the race to save our planet.

Icelandic whalers relentlessly chase and slaughter fin whales, which are sold to Japan and turned into dog food. Photo credit: us.whales.org

Icelandic whalers relentlessly chase and slaughter fin whales, which are sold to Japan and turned into dog food. Photo credit: us.whales.org

Earth Doctor Reese Halter’s upcoming book is “The Anthropocene – Age of Climate Instability.”

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Oceans in Crisis – SOS

This week in Honolulu, at the International Union of the Conservation of Nature, my colleagues presented the most comprehensive and systemic ocean study ever undertaken on the consequences of oceans warming from burning subsidized fossil fuels.

Their conclusion is horrific:

Global warming is making the oceans sicker than ever before, spreading diseases among animals and humans, threatening global food security.

The oceans have absorbed 300 zeta joules of heat from burning fossil fuels. Since 1997, 150 of those 300 zeta joules have accumulated the equivalent energy of one Hiroshima-style atomic bomb detonating every second for 75 straight years.

As a result, global warming in the oceans is happening 1.5 to 5 times as fast as anything witnessed on land.

This study examined every major marine ecosystem encompassing life from microbes to whales and the deep oceans. Jellyfish, sea turtles, seabirds, fish stocks and phytoplankton – the basis of the entire marine web of food – are shifting toward the cooler respective poles by up to 10 degrees latitude. This is unprecedented.

The heat stored in the ocean has disrupted cold currents from rising and carrying iron and nitrogen essential to grow phytoplankton. Phytoplankton, along with blue green bacteria, prochlorococcus, provides 7.4 billion people almost two out of every three breaths of oxygen. The oceans are missing 40 percent of the phytoplankton because they have absorbed so much heat from burning fossil fuels. That fossil fuel heat has changed the seasons in the ocean, which affects migration patterns.

It is not just the rising temperatures reeking havoc with all marine life and coral reefs. Earlier this year, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researchers discovered that 53 percent of pteropods, or free-swimming tiny sea snails, sampled off the U.S. West Coast had severely dissolved shells.

The oceans have increased in acidity faster than the previous 300 million years from absorbing rising fossil fuel-released carbon dioxide. As the phytoplankton absorbs the rising levels of carbon dioxide, it releases carbonic acid. The snail shells, like all shellfish and coral reefs, are made of calcium carbonate, which melts in an acidic ocean.

As if melting shell life were not shocking enough, The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., released a stunning report earlier this year showing that beginning in 2030, large swathes of the Pacific Ocean — including around Hawaii and the U.S. mainland — will be void of oxygen due to the climate in crisis. That is a little more than 13 years from now.

This recent study found that hurricanes have risen by 30 percent per degree of ocean warming.

Cholera-bearing bacteria and toxic algal blooms cause nerve sickness and ciguatera – food poisoning from fish eating harmful warm-water algae – it is spreading more easily and widely in warm water. This directly affects human health.

Coral reefs are dying at an unprecedented rate. Habitat including essential nursery grounds is disappearing. Earth is losing species between 1,000 and 10,000 times faster than normal – a rate not experienced since the Fifth Great Extinction, 65 million years ago. At this current rate, as much as 50 percent of all known life, or 800,000 species, could be extinct by mid century, or, 33 years from now.

Eighty scientists from 12 countries involved in this recent ocean study concluded: “There is no doubt in all our minds that we are the cause of this. We know what the solutions are. We need to get on with it.”

There’s only one way the human race can survive to mid century. We must save nature – our life support system – now.

In order to achieve this historic goal we must source 80 percent of all energy from renewables i.e. solar, wind, tidal power by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050. That will entail a World War III effort: Mobilizing industry, employing millions of people and deploying that technology rapidly.

It is the race to save our planet!

53% of free-swimming snails sampled off the west coast of America had severely melted shells. Photo credit: NOAA

53% of free-swimming snails sampled off the west coast of America had severely melted shells. Photo credit: NOAA

Earth Doctor Reese Halter is the author of “Shepherding the Sea: The Race to Save our Oceans.”

Posted in Climate in Crisis, Energy, Oceans | Leave a comment

The Age of Climate Instability

A single industry accounts for around 5% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. It produces a material so ubiquitous it is nearly invisible: cement. Cement is the primary ingredient in concrete, which in turn forms the foundations and structures of the buildings we live and work in, and the roads and bridges we drive on. Concrete is the second most consumed substance on Earth after water.  On average, each year, three tons of concrete are consumed by every person on the planet. Photo credit: construction review online.com

A single industry accounts for around 5% of global carbon dioxide emissions. It produces a material so ubiquitous it is nearly invisible: cement. Cement is the primary ingredient in concrete, which in turn forms the foundations and structures of the buildings we live and work in, and the roads and bridges we drive on. Concrete is the second most consumed substance on Earth after water. On average, each year, three tons of concrete are consumed by every person on the planet. Photo credit: construction review online.com

This week scientists gathered at the International Geological Congress in Cape Town, South Africa to officially recognize the Earth has entered the Anthropocene Epoch.

The new epoch began in the 1950s with nuclear bomb testing, industrial agriculture, human-caused climate disruption and the mass manufacturing of petroleum-based plastics.

The 11,700 Holocene Epoch, a stable climate, is over.

Other fingerprints of the Anthropocene include accelerating rates of erosion and sedimentation, deforestation and disturbances in the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles.

Burning fossil fuels has increased the rate of heat-trapping atmospheric carbon dioxide faster than the previous 66 million years. The energy released from those fossil fuels has infused 300 zeta joules of heat into the oceans.

This has begun a period of climate instability, which will threaten global food security. It has also triggered both rising sea levels from melting land glaciers and ecosystems collapsing on land and under the sea from extreme heat, droughts and insect epidemics.

Other staggering examples of this new epoch:

  • 98 percent of all smelted aluminum has occurred since the 1950s. That smelting process released potent carcinogenic chemicals into the oceans known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
  • Over 59 billion animals are killed each year to feed humans. In America alone,9 billion chickens are slaughtered. Chicken bones will leave a huge fossilfootprint.
  • In order to grow enough feed for the domesticated animals that humans eat, mega tons of petroleum-based fertilizers run off the land into the oceans. Those nutrient-rich runoffs create over 530 (and growing) enormous dead zones void of oxygen in the oceans. 
  • Each year, America throws away enough trash to cover one football field 100 miles deep.
  • From 2011 to 2013, China poured 6 gigatons of cement; that is more cement than the United States used during the entire 20th century or 4.5 gigatons. The manufacturing of that cement had a colossal climate-altering footprint.

The Anthropocene is already noted for its stunning loss of life ― The Sixth Great Extinction. Since the 1970s, at least 50 percent of all land wildlife has vanished. In North America alone, one billion birds are missing. The oceans are in even worse condition. Seventy percent of all seabirds, or 230 million creatures, have disappeared. As much as 90 percent of many shark species have been poached. Over 40 percent of all coral reefs are dead from rising ocean temperatures. The global coral mortality rate, which has yet to be tallied, will be higher from a record hot 2016 El Nino.

Earth is losing species between 1,000 and 10,000 times faster than normal – a rate not experienced since the Fifth Great Extinction, 65 million years ago. At this current rate, as much as 50 percent of all known life, or 800,000 species, could be extinct by mid century, or, 33 years from now.

The oceans are brimming with chemicals collectively known as persistent organic pollutants. North Atlantic cetaceans are filled with poisonous PCBs. The Gulf of Mexico Sperm whales and the St Lawrence Belugas are amongst the most polluted mammals on the globe.

As much as 26 billion pounds of trash, mostly plastic, enters the ocean each year. My colleagues from Australia calculated 20 shopping bags worth of debris enters the ocean for every three feet of coastline globally. The oceans contain as many as51 trillion pieces of plastics.

There’s only one way the human race can survive to mid century. We must save nature – our life support system – now.

In order to achieve this historic goal we must source 80 percent of all energy from renewables i.e. solar, wind, tidal power by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050. That will entail a World War III effort: Mobilizing industry, employing millions of people and deploying that technology rapidly.

It is the race to save our planet!

Earth Doctor Reese Halter is the author of “Shepherding the Sea: The Race to Save our Oceans.”

Posted in Climate in Crisis, ecocide, Nature, Oceans | Leave a comment

Nature’s Bee Medicine

The fate of the honeybees and humans is inexorably linked.

The bees provide us our food and clothes (cotton). In addition to 2.6 billion pounds of honey and 44 million pounds of beeswax each year, bees provide potent pain and cancer medicines.

The key to our survival lies in working with nature, not against her.

Scientists from the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently identified as many as 21 pesticides and fungicides in plant pollen found inside honeybee hives.

Nursery bees mix protein-rich plant pollen with honey, known as beebread, and feed it to developing larvae. That protein is of paramount importance because it builds healthy autoimmune systems and bee brains. There are approximately one million neurons in a bee’s brain and some of those neurons are responsible for giving honeybees distinct personalities.

When healthy honeybee larvae were fed pollen contaminated with fungicide like those used in some apple orchards, they were three times more likely to be attacked by parasite.

America is suffering its worst bee crisis. Last year, 44 percent of U.S. honeybees died.

That is an astounding 58 billion bee deaths.

Beekeeping in America is quickly becoming a non-starter business. Is there a way to protect the honeybees from these deadly agricultural chemicals?

My colleagues at Washington State University undertook a longevity stress test on honeybee populations. They found beneficial fungi that bees collect in their environment turn on genes for detoxification pathways in honeybees. Red-belted polypore mushrooms are known to breakdown pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.

Agricultural fungicides reduce beneficial fungi in honeybee colonies. In turn, this shuts off the bees’ beneficial fungi precluding detoxification of colonies. Instead, beehives accumulate poisons and die.

That is Colony Collapse Disorder.

A solution called mycohoney made from polypore mushroom mycelium or roots and honey is a powerful antidote. When bees are fed mycohoney it extends their lives significantly.

We need the bees and the bees need polypore mushrooms. It is nature’s bee medicine.

We also have nature’s flawless blueprint SMART (Sporulating Mushrooms and Repelling Technology) pesticides from fungi that can easily and affordably replace 5.2 billion pounds each year of agricultural chemicals thereby preventing the death of nature on farmer’s fields including honeybees.

#SaveNatureNow

A worker bee walking across uncapped honeycomb. Photo credit: redflagmedia.com

A worker bee walking across uncapped honeycomb. Photo credit: redflagmedia.com

Earth Doctor Reese Halter is the author of “The Incomparable Honeybee & The Economics of Pollination.”

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Flooding and Firestorm, Climate in Crisis

This has been a horrendous week in America for climate-driven disasters.

Louisiana suffered its second 1-in-500-year rainfall events since March. This time the state received 1.6 trillion gallons or the equivalent of 10.4 million Olympic swimming pools of water, killing at least 11 people, displacing thousands more and damaging 40,000 homes.

The American Red Cross described the state’s flooding as “the worst national disaster to strike the United States since Superstorm Sandy.” The National Ocean & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that since May 2015, eight 1-in-500-year rainfall events have occurred from Oklahoma, Texas, South Carolina, West Virginia and Maryland.

A warmer atmosphere from burning heat-trapping fossil fuels holds more moisture and now when it rains, torrents of precipitation deluge communities.

It’s not just the atmosphere that is warmer according to 450 scientists from 62 countries who complied the latest State of the Climate report. The oceans are supercharged from absorbing 90 percent of the fossil fuel heat, 300 zeta joules of energy. Since 1997, 150 of those zeta joules have accumulated or the comparable energy of detonating one Hiroshima-style atomic bomb every second for 75 straight years. As a result, southeastern United States has experienced a spike in extreme rainfall by 27 percent.

NBC Nightly News aired five segments while ABC World News Tonight and CBSEvening News ran three stories each on Louisiana flooding yet there was no mention in 11 reports by these three networks of a connection between floods and the climate in crisis. The New York Times and the Washington Post, on the other hand, ran stories explaining the climate-driven connections. News with Ed Schultz on RT America was all over those heat-trapping fossil fuel connections because that is my beat!

The longer network nightly news withholds crucial information from audiences, the more likely they will loose viewership. People need to know what is going on so they can protect their families and homes.

On Tuesday, as the Louisiana rains began to ease, a brush fire ignited near Cajon Pass, 65 miles east of Los Angeles. Overnight it blew up into a firestorm, Blue Cut Fire.

It is the fifth consecutive drought year, California is parched. Over the previous 10 months, 26 million mature trees died from water starvation and bark beetle epidemics. Since 2010, California has lost 66 million mature trees, and as much as 20 percent of the remaining forests or 120 million trees are fighting to stay alive from a lack of precipitation.

As of Friday morning, 35,000 homes evacuated, 83,000 people in shelters and at least 105 single-family homes and 216 outbuildings were burned. On Thursday afternoon temperature topped 970F, humidity as low as 3 percent with winds gusting over 40 mph; the forests are tinderbox-dry.

Almost 2,600 firefighters supported by 178 engines, 17 water-tankers, 17 helicopters and 12 air-tankers battled a 36,000-acre blaze now 22 percent contained.

Battalion Chief Mike Brown of the Los Angeles Country Fire Department said, “I’ve been on the job 26 years. I’ve never seen a fire like this – anything that is smoking, once it gets hot throughout the day has the potential to carry embers onto unburned fuel.”

Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a State of Emergency for the San Bernardino County.

Three weeks ago the Sand Fire incinerated 43,000 acres near Santa Clarita, 35 miles from Los Angeles, killing one person and destroying 18 homes.

Firestorms are increasing as temperature rises from burning fossil fuels causing more droughts to prevail across the West at a staggering rate. For instance, the area charred in the northern U.S. Rockies has skyrocketed by 3,000 percent, while area of burned forests in the Southwest shot-up over 1,200 percent. For the Pacific Northwest, the increase is nearly 5,000 percent. Last year American wildfires cost taxpayers a record $1.9 billion.

The climate in crisis is costly, deadly and climate-driven catastrophes like heat waves, droughts, firestorms, flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes and crop failures will continue to escalate unless fossil fuels are phased out quickly. We need national leadership committed to future-proofing America. It will require the biggest mobilization of industry since WWII to reduce fossil fuel dependency 80 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050. The time is now to end all fossil fuels subsidies of $5.6 trillion annually to the largest polluters in the world.

Hillary Clinton has agreed in her first 100 days to convene the top experts in America to tackle this crisis.

It can be done because the alternative is unthinkable. Ice sheets on the land are melting rapidly with a doubling time of 10 years. Left unchecked (business as usual burning fossil fuels) will cause seas globally to rise by as much as six feet soon after mid century. That is dystopia.

The Earth Doctor and famed producer and explorer James Cameron discussing the climate in crisis at MUSE School, CA. Photo credit: Suzy Cameron.

The Earth Doctor and famed producer and explorer James Cameron discussing the climate in crisis at MUSE School, CA. Photo credit: Suzy Cameron.

Earth Doctor Reese Halter is the author of “Shepherding the Seas: The Race to save our Oceans.”

Posted in Climate in Crisis, Future Proof, Future Proofing | Leave a comment

Deadly Heat Waves Rising

Earlier this month, the annual State of the Climate report validated that 2015 eclipsed 2014 as the hottest year since the inception of continuous record keeping in 1880.

Four hundred and fifty of my colleagues from 62 countries worked to compile the 2015 State of the Climate report.

GHGs 16 May 16

The diminishing Arctic Sea ice cover and concurrent epic rise of methane, 100 times stronger at trapping heat than carbon dioxide for the first couple decades in the atmosphere, from unthawing subarctic soils, continues to shatter all records in modern times.

The year 2016 is predicted to surpass 2015 as the hottest year ever recorded.

Phalodi India - Earth Doctor Reese Halter

For instance, this year on May 19, Phalodi reached 1240F (51C), a record temperature for India. The ensuing extreme heat wave saw bodies stacked up in morgues across the northwestern state of Rajasthan.

Area in green  sizzled at 129F (54C). Photo credit: twitter.com

Area in green (Kuwait & Iraq) sizzled at 129F (54C), a new Eastern Hemisphere temperature record. Photo credit: twitter.com

On July 21, a weather station in Mitribah, a remote area in northwest Kuwait, recorded the temperature along with Basra, across the border in Iraq, of 1290F (54C) — an all-time high temperature record for the Eastern Hemisphere.

The mercury is predicted to soar into triple digits this weekend along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, with insufferably high humidities. Heat waves are becoming the new normal as we glimpse unintended consequences of burning climate-altering fossil fuels and more climate-related catastrophes.

Already, the U.N. and my colleagues have forecasted that the Middle East and North Africa will become uninhabitable in the coming decade(s) from prolonged heat waves and water scarcity. Hundreds of millions of people will become climate refugees.

My colleagues from Oxford University have conclusively shown that an extreme heat wave in 2003 killed 506 Parisians and 315 Londoners.

On Jan. 1, 2014 the South Australian town of Moomba reached 120F (49C) prompting the Bureau of Meteorology to add a new heat color to the weather map. Photo credit: Bureau of Meteorology

On Jan. 1, 2014 the South Australian town of Moomba reached 120F (49C) prompting the Bureau of Meteorology to add a new heat color, purple, to the weather map. Photo credit: Bureau of Meteorology

My colleagues at the Climate Council warned that Australians were underprepared to deal with the “killer heat” resulting in 370 deaths during the 2009 heat wave.

Extreme heat waves kill more people than hurricanes, cyclones, floods, tornadoes, wildfires and blizzards in both America and Australia.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predict that the frequency of extreme heat waves will increase from one every 20 years to as often as one every two to four years as temperatures continue to rise from burning fossil fuels.

The only way to reduce these deadly, extreme heat wave frequencies is to switch from subsidizing fossil fuels ($5.6 trillion annually) and begin promoting green energy technologies.

Southern Right Whales visit the Head of Bight every year to give birth, mate and socialise. They arrive in May and depart around October. They spend the rest of the year travelling to and feeding the Southern Ocean off Antarctica. In June and July most of the whales in the area are adults. This is a good time to see these vast creatures mating. By the end of August it is common to see the mothers and calves swimming together along the cliffs. It is sometimes possible to see 70 or more whales from the platform at this time. By October the calves have grown and become large enough to join their mothers on the long migration south. Photo credit: wildlifeextra.com

Southern Right Whales visit the Head of the Great Australian Bight every year to give birth, mate and socialize. They arrive in May and depart around October. They spend the rest of the year travelling to and feeding the Southern Ocean off Antarctica. In June and July most of the whales in the area are adults. By the end of August it is common to see the mothers and calves swimming together along the cliffs. It is sometimes possible to see 70 or more whales from a look-out platform at the Head during late August and early September. By October the calves have grown and become large enough to join their mothers on the long migration south. Photo credit: wildlifeextra.com

It also means protecting the oceans, not plundering them by extracting 1.9 billion barrels of heat-trapping oil and gas as proposed by BP in the Great Australian Bight Marine National Park.

#SaveNatureNow

'Shocking images' reveal death of 22,000 acres of mangroves across Northern Australia. Photo credit: abc.net.au

“Shocking images” reveal unprecedented death of 22,000 acres of mangroves across Northern Australia from prolonged droughts. Photo credit: abc.net.au

It’s not just people at risk; nature is collapsing on land and under the sea as temperatures continue to rise. We need nature in order to survive on our planet.

#FightForTheBight

#FightForTheBight - Earth Doctor Reese Halter 18

 

Earth Doctor Reese Halter is the author of “Shepherding the Sea: The Race to Save our Oceans.”

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