Climate Change Data Visualization of Earth

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This climate change data visualization of earth over the next 100 years clearly demonstrates how the production-consumption-waste scenario determines life on the only known planet in the universe. In the age of the anthropocene, the solution lies within us all.

flight path

I’m dwelling on all the people flying up there in the lower reaches of the stratosphere. Right now. Right this minute. Sitting, waiting, walking, listening, sleeping, eating, peeing, pooing, talking, watching. All shooting along at 500+ miles per hour while the captain throws another dinosaur on the fire and stokes the boiler. I came home from a long trip below the equator and across the dateline to the remnants of a flood that had torn through when the river log-jammed after a 500 year storm of biblical proportions. Below the 40th parallel south, we were caught in another historic storm causing avalanches, downed power lines and everything in between. We hear about the Colorado floods north of here, but little about the toxic effects, and even less about the swelling rivers in Russia and China. With 400 parts per million and counting time is no longer a prophet for climate change. We already have front row seats, paid for the viewing, as we sit back, warm our toes, and watch the earth burn. The human race is on a collision course with reality, and most folk are too blindsided to see that we are all in the drivers seat. Estimates vary Continue Reading →

watch those carbs: join the 350 club!

The 100 watt light bulb has officially been turned off in Europe. Nearly two hundred years of high illuminating incandescence has reached its final demise. As we turn into the ninth year of the twenty-first century this evil doer of carbon emissions is relegated to the dustbin of history. This is just a step though, a baby step. For every hour the 100 watt light bulb has lit the faces of dreamers it has drawn on about 1/10th (one tenth) of a kWh (Kilowatt) of energy. Energy most likely forced from its source in coal, gas or atomic fission leaving a cloud of carbon or a mile of half-lives in their wake. This 1/10th of a kWh may seem insignificant on the surface, but when weighed in the atmosphere it comes in at a hefty .062 kilograms, just over a tenth of a pound (lb). This means that for every tenth of a kWh of light, a tenth of a pound of carbon emitted by a billion user’s soon adds up to 5,000 tons of carbon being emitted into the atmosphere. With trees and oceans reaching carbon saturation points, 40% of this carbon output now has nowhere to go but Continue Reading →

history may repeat itself but climate change is forever

As we turn into a New Year the news is replete with talk of recession, a return to soup lines, the mortgage crisis, interest rates and war. All of this is familiar territory to those who know their history. Even those who don’t can appreciate that as we move from an administration of fear into one of hope every attempt will be made to ensure history does not repeat itself. The problem however, is that recesssions and war pass but climate change is forever. The frontpage headlines scream about the collapse of the economy, but where is the news about the collapse of the very environment which holds it all together? We are pushing atmospheric carbon levels at 380 parts per million, we need to be at 350. If we don’t get down to that level by 2015 we will have reached a point of no return. This means that decisions made today will have effect for hundreds of years to come. Unlike the end of war from which rise new societies, unlike recesssion which births new markets, the climate has long lingering effects. The nature of climate change is such that the future cannot redeem the mistakes of history Continue Reading →

boom or bust baby: passing gas in mora county, nm.

As the cities partake in green vision quests dreaming a carbon neutral future, rural New Mexicans tremble at the possibility that this beautiful landscape of potential will be poked, polluted and gutted with pipelines, roads, flares and holding ponds wrought by a natural gas boom carried in on the wings of climate change. With the Federal administration pushing natural gas cars and energy options as the stepping stone to reducing CO2 emissions on target with a new global deal, those of us sitting atop split estates are experiencing how the agenda of large global corporations have begun to take precedence over community concerns like quality of life, the future of our land base, and of course water, the life blood of existence here in New Mexico. At the end of the year the world meets in Copenhagen to hash out a new climate agreement which will supersede the Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto should have driven global emissions down to 1990 levels, but without the participation of the USA—which produced approximately 25% of the world’s carbon emissions until it was recently overtaken by China—there has been an increase in emissions. Copenhagen is a different story, with Obama on board the emission impossible Continue Reading →

drill baby drill…

Like many poor rural areas of the west, New Mexico faces a grab for its resources. Driven by the rising cost of fuel this trend is now focused on drilling for oil and gas, which means the degradation of some of the most pristine areas of our state. How oil and gas reserves are divided appears arbitrary on the surface, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find NIMBYism alongside backroom deals and government complicity with industry. Here in New Mexico urbanites get to hear the gasps of exasperated Santa Fe folk fighting off the rigs, but what about the voices that cannot be heard? The voices of those who live further on the margins in the poverty stricken rural areas that make up the resource rich West, where the bulk of resource degradation takes place. In New Mexico, much like rural Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and other Western states poverty sculpts the landscape. Here the lure of a quick profit at the expense of the environment is facilitated by corrupt officials, public land lease sales, and efforts to buy subsurface rights before the owner realizes they’ve sold the family ranch down the line for pennies on the dollar. Who needs Continue Reading →