Ice-Free North Pole—This Summer?

June 27, 2008 at 7:25 pm (frightening things) (, , , )

Via Treehugger, reporting on this CNN article.

Over the past few years, scientists have been predicting that a total melting of the geographic north pole will occur around 2050. But with each day, it seems, predictions get dramatically more dire.

Yeah yeah, you’re thinking. I know.

But get this.

Based on information gathered by The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, CO, the center’s senior research scientist says: “We kind of have an informal betting pool going around in our center and that betting pool is ‘does the North Pole melt out this summer?’ and it may well.”

Granted, it’s expected that should the ice melt away completely from that spot, it will re-form shortly after. But still. The bet is 50/50. For THIS summer.



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On Stewardship And A Just Use Of Power

April 30, 2008 at 3:21 pm (environment, injustice, proclamations) (, , , , )

This is what it comes down to.

For those of us who find ourselves in positions of power, there is exactly one right course. There is only one acceptable use of power. We must protect those who cannot protect themselves. We must help those in need. We must never, never, use our might to harm those weaker than ourselves. This is our unshakable obligation. This is the one just use for strength.

And that is exactly where we have failed as a species. That is why the damage we have done to the biosphere is so wrong. Forget that we have plundered and destroyed the pristine and the beautiful, forget even that we are endangering our own children: the havoc we wreak on the planet is wrong because we chose to use our power in the wrong way. We could have done better, but we didn’t — we chose not to.

We are the stewards of the Earth. This is not because an omniscient creator-god made us so, gave us dominion over the animals, but because it is humandkind, alone among creatures, with the incredible power to change, pollute, pillage, and destroy the world. No one can deny that we posses this power. We are, so far, incredibly powerful. Alone among species, we control our fate, and the fate of all of creation. We can and we do overpower non-human animals. We can and we do destroy ecosystems, contaminate water and air supplies, turn forests into deserts.

This makes us the stewards of the Earth. We must be the stewards of the planet, for the only alternative is to be its oppressors. We can be caretakers or we can be despots.

There is, of course, exactly one right choice. What is the right choice when an adult encounters an infant? What is the right choice when a child plays with a kitten? When one comes upon a person who is badly hurt?

We must be guardians. If we fail in this regard, we have failed as human beings, exactly as parent who kills a child has failed as a father or mother.

Edited to add on: And so power, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing. Power can be an incredible force for justice, when used that way.

That’s not to say that unjust power imbalances — like say, between genders or races — are ever okay, or can ever be a force of good. But those that are unavoidable, such as the gap between parents and children, or between people and fish, can be very good. I don’t believe we will ever have egalitarianism amongst species, but I don’t believe we have to in order to have liberty and justice for all.

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Global Warming Brings Seahorses

April 10, 2008 at 11:12 am (amazing things, neat things) ()

Well, here’s a pleasantly surprising consequence of global warming, for a change: unprecedented colonies of seahorses.

A colony of seahorses has appeared in the Thames River. The short-snouted seahorses were first seen in the river about eighteen months ago, but their presence was kept secret until new laws came into force to protect them from aquarium collectors of exotic fish . Environmental Agency representatives say “We’re not quite sure why they’re here, but the river water has been clean enough for seahorses for some time.” An increase in plankton due to climate change and warmer sea temperatures may be the explanation for the arrival of the seahorses, usually found around Africa and the Mediterranean.

Fancy that.

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The Vulcan Project: Mapping US Emissions

April 8, 2008 at 2:07 pm (frightening things, movies/video/clips, neat things) ()

Must be a maps and videos kind of day today.

From Treehuger, here’s an interesting video showing maps and visualizations of the geographical distribution of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Give it a watch; really interesting stuff.

It’s amazing how comparatively undeveloped the West still is. The East and some of the Midwest are just throbbing blobs of CO2, but farther West, you can pick out the urban centers, including Albuquerque (and Santa Fe?) here in NM.

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Teenie Tiny Baby Polar Bear Alert

April 3, 2008 at 11:47 am (amazing things, movies/video/clips) ()


Global warming must be stopped!

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Can you say “climate change”?

February 12, 2008 at 11:13 am (frightening things) (, )

So lately I’ve been drinking iced coffee and going out for ice cream.

The cold of winter was bitter, but we hardly had any snow, and the weather is changing too fast.

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The imminent need for trained “polar lawyers”.

January 25, 2008 at 1:07 pm (frightening things, politics) (, , )

Next fall, the University of Akureyri (in northern Iceland) is providing a graduate program that focuses on “polar law.” This will be the first such program and, because of the legal issues that will undoubtedly only become more confused as the world’s ice caps and polar resources continue to disappear, it will surely not be the last.

Emphasis is placed upon relevant areas of public international law, such as environmental law, the law of the sea, questions of sovereignty and boundary disputes on land and sea, natural resources law, the rights of indigenous peoples in the north, self-government and good governance, and land and resources claims in the polar regions.


Via Boing Boing.

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Laugh Or Cry?

January 7, 2008 at 11:57 pm (frightening things, funny things) (, )

Funny Pictures

I think both.


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“We’re in the test tube.” (A Post For Climate Change Skeptics)

January 3, 2008 at 2:55 pm (politics) (, )

Thank you Greg Craven:



He’s made dozens of supplemental videos, adding information, addressing criticism, and answering questions. This site has organized them neatly, and made them accessible for re-mixing and DVD burning and whatnot.

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The Ice Caps May Be Gone By 2012

December 14, 2007 at 3:34 pm (frightening things) (, )

Okay, everybody, I’m just going to come right out and say that Emily and I grew up in Santa Fe, NM. By which I mean that we’ve been steeped since early childhood in predictions that the world will end in 2012. End, or enter a entirely new era, with a radically different global consciousness. Not that either of us believes this stuff. Really.

On to the topic of this post. We last blogged about arctic melting projections less than five months ago. I repeat, less than five months. At that time, the forecast said the ice caps might be gone as soon as 2030. That number, less than 25 years away, was shocking and scary.

In case you haven’t heard yet, I am here to bring you the revised estimate (with a hit tip to our friend Anya): 2012.

2 0 1 2!

That’s in five years. FIVE. GAH.

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