Sweltering Heat Worldwide as U.S. House Tacks Anti-Environmental Riders to Budget Bills.

Headlines from around the globe show nothing but sweltering heat.

 From the NOAA website:

 Heatwave sweeps across the U.S.

http://www.noaa.gov/heat/index.html

Europe’s heat wave hit earlier in June this year:

Heat wave has Europe Sweltering

http://www.torontosun.com/2011/06/28/heatwave-has-europe-sweltering

 Europe hit record highs just last year along with Russia!

 Record-Breaking 2010 Eastern European/Russian Heatwave

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110318091141.htm

As of today an estimated 10 million people already need humanitarian aid in eastern Africa but extreme drought conditions along the borders of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia are exacerbating the situation.

Somalia drought forces more people into displacement camps

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2011/jun/28/somalia-drought-appeal-in-pictures

After suffering a tsunami, Japan hasn’t been spared. The final days of June in Japan were 6 degrees higher than the 30 year average:

Japan struggles to cope with heatwave, with 26 dead of heatstroke

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8645326/Japan-struggles-to-cope-with-heatwave-with-26-dead-of-heatstroke.html

Drought continues in SW Australia where rainfall in some places is at all time record lows:

Long-term dry conditions continue in southwest WA

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/drought/drought.shtml

 And the cool weather of Northern Canada—not so much:

Heat scorches Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/07/17/cda-weather-heat.html

But instead of posting headline after headline across the earth, the Union of Concerned Scientists has a worldwide heat map:

http://www.climatehotmap.org/

One would think that in light of what the world is experiencing as far as climate change that our government would heed Mother Nature but new corporate lackeys in the House persist in adding anti-environmental riders to budget bills.

Most Anti-Environment House of Representatives in History Tries to Do More Damage

According to Frances Beinecke, of NRDC, and a barrage of email from my environmental charities our new U.S. House of Representatives is the worst on record for assaulting clean air, water, and our public lands.

Tea Party leaders in the House have dramatically stepped up their assault on America’s environmental and public health safeguards. Last week alone they used about 50 floor votes and more than 30 policy riders on spending bills to undermine the protections that keep our air safe, our water clean, and our public lands intact.

Another barrage of anti-environment bills is on its way. The upcoming debate in the full House on funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department will likely feature votes on even more policy riders designed to prevent the government from upholding basic environmental standards.

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/fbeinecke/most_anti-environment_house_of.html

Clean water is specifically under attack by new house member (R) Ohio, Bob Gibbs according to the NY Times. He thinks there may be too many clean water regulations. Bob is a former hog farmer. An enlightening read from a former post of mine relative to the hog industry, particularly CAFOS, applies here. Smithfield Foods polluted waterways clear to the ocean with runoff from their hog industry. So we see where Bob the former hog farmer might be coming from. And reading what Bob had to say in an excerpt in the NY Times, it’s all about money first, pollution later.

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2006/12/spreading-pig-poo-who-knew/

http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/05/03/03greenwire-anti-environmental-house-freshman-leads-charge-98149.html

The problem is that Bob isn’t alone. It looks like there may be complicity among state’s leaders with the idea that water has too many regulations. Just the other morning I caught that little ticker on GMA that stated several states have failed to report clean water violations? Hmmm. Found the story by the AP on Yahoo.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Feds-in-dark-about-some-apf-2889953000.html?x=0&.v=1

My guess is that some of the under-reporting by states is due to problems with fracking for natural gas. Fracking is a drilling process that wastes millions of gallons of clean water to blast each well with enough pressure  to fracture dense shale to release natural gas. The water mixes with gases and chemicals and is toxic. This practice has been blamed for spoiling residential water wells due to leaching from the fractures. The process pollutes nearby streams and water areas also. Exxon claims they recycle some of the water but “some” isn’t all and when we’re dealing with millions of gallons of water in exchange for a fossil gas—it’s unconscienceable. Children die from lack of water everyday.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=13353997

Besides compromising or possibly depleting our clean water supplies, fracking and drilling are costing us our public lands leased to the oil/gas industry. The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for leases for drilling/fracking.

Ah, so now it’s clear why all those pesky WILD MUSTANG HORSES had to go. Thirty year-old laws protecting those horses were just brushed aside while helicopters were used for roundups into overcrowded conditions.  We were told wild mustangs were too numerous and destroying precious grasslands. But the BLM is leasing our public lands right from under us while we’re occupied with the economy. That land will never be the same.

http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2011/march/energy_publiclands_teleconf.html

http://wilderness.org/content/wild-lands-under-attack-budget-2011

The idea that it’s OK to keep forging ahead with filthy fossil fuel  as long as the fuel is our own is ludicrous and at least a decade old, a decade out of touch with the environment. By using fossil fuel we’re affecting other natural resources in the worst way.  We’re invading areas that we hold dear, tainting both water and land, and destroying animal/plant life in the process. We can’t drink natural gas or oil and that’s basically the tradeoff.  Without water we die. Without gas/oil –we’re inconvenienced. The U.S. House doesn’t have life’s best interests at all.

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Glacier Floats by Australian Coast

Glaciers that break off of the Antarctic Ice Sheet don’t usually make it as far north as Australia. So to see a huuuuuge glacier float by the Macquarie Islands off the Australian coast in November while that continent’s interior currently suffers a blistering drought is a work of irony.

According to newser.com: “The chunk of ice, 2,300 feet long and 1,000 feet deep, is floating toward New Zealand and could pose a danger to shipping when it splits into smaller chunks. Experts believe the iceberg is one of a number of icebergs, including one the size of Jamaica, that split from Antarctica in 2000 due to global warming and are slowly heading north.” One was the size of Jamaica?

See pics of this ice berg and read more: http://www.newser.com/story/73947/giant-iceberg-floats-toward-nz.html.

http://peoplemagazinedaily.com/?p=2950.

New Zealand’s glaciers are melting at an alarming rate also:

September 2008

The Pategonian Ice Fields in Argentina/Chile, the largest next to Greenland and Antarctica, are melting:

March 2008

Glaciers in Peru are melting causing a water shortage:

November 2009

Alpine Glaciers are melting:

November 2007
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Himalayan Glaciers melting faster than anywhere else. They supply the Ganges River

November 2009

U.S. Glacier Retreat August 2009

Glacier Retreat Worldwide June 2008

These glacier videos are from the last few years. Some say we’ve been in a cooling trend for the past decade. Odd, considering what you see isn’t consistent with that at all. Perhaps all the ice bergs floating around the ocean are acting like ice cubes in our cocktails.

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Australia Hit by Drought; Camels and Other Animals Invading Towns in Search of Water

Much of Australia has been hit by some of the worst drought conditions on record according to an article on MSNBC. Some 6000 camels have hit Docker River a small town of 350 people. That’s right—camels.

The same article explained that although camels are not indigenous to Australia, they were imported there in the 1840′s and now number around one million roaming the arid internal parts of Australia.

These camels are so thirsty they have ripped apart air-conditioning units and tore up infrastructure. Since they can be as tall as 7 ft. and weigh two thousand lbs., people are afraid to leave their homes. This is pretty Hitchcockian if there is such a word. Besides camels there have been kangaroos and the giant emu birds invading other towns in Australia

Unfortunately, the first response is to kill thousands of camels by helicopter, which is something I really don’t want to envision. Aerial shooting is not exact and so it is cruel because it involves maiming the usually friendly animal that is not invading out of hostility but thirst. And talk about spoilage. Officials plan to just leave the carcasses to rot in the desert?

This is a pretty frightening scenario of what can happen in extremes of climate. Innocent animals in a frenzy over thirst, food, or loss of habitat invade a town. People must react and quickly, which means the animals die. There simply isn’t enough to go around to give them? I thought if you fill a camel up, it lasts awhile? It’s sad, I think. If the animals must be killed, at very least the carcasses should be used to feed other animals, or else Australia might induce a massive influx of vultures. Because every time we create an imbalance another occurs in its place.

The cull is set for Wednesday. Hopefully, someone will come up with a better solution. The poor animals are desperate already, to kill them when they are needy, not hostile is somehow not right.

Watch the video:

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Global Warming and Worldwide Recession; The Dustbowl and the Great Depression

I caught a 2-hour special on the History Channel titled, “Black Blizzard.” Everyone should try to catch this as it relates to man and climate. The next airing will be this Sunday, April 26th, at 10:00 am. After seeing this I have to ask if history is repeating itself in a bigger venue because there are a lot of similarities between the Great Depression and the Dustbowl drought with today’s global warming trend and worldwide recession? Let’s look:

1920′s-30′s U.S. Agricultural Economy

  • Industrial Revolution is moving ahead yet agriculture still big part of economy.
  • During Hoover’s presidency the Farm Board is created.
  • Farm Board decides to boost income of U.S. farmers by withholding grains from world market to drive up prices and for federal banks to make liberal loans to farmers to sustain them while holding back their yields from the market.
  • The Farm Board establishes the Grain Stabilization Corp. that begins buying up wheat, which boosts prices above world prices for a short time.
  • Wheat farmers prosper causing a huge flow of people West to farm in areas known to suffer regular drought patterns.
  • The plan backfires when other countries begin supplying wheat to the world markets and the U.S. wheat farmer loses out.
  • The massive back load of U.S. wheat inventory further depresses market prices.
  • The same happens to the U.S. cotton industry.
  • Herbert Hoover refuses to intervene for the farmer and states the market will correct itself.
  • Meanwhile, U.S. foreign trade decreases drastically and what should be a recession turns into a depression. The U.S. quits buying foreign and so the foreign powers default on their debts to the U.S.
  • Everyone ignores the environmental impacts of over-farming the land and the dustbowl begins.

1920′s-30′s Climate

  • Normal drought patterns in the central plains didn’t produce huge dust storms prior to the big wheat rush because much of the unfarmed areas were covered with desert grasses that adapted over time to withstand drought and winds. These grasses keep soil from eroding.
  • With the wheat rush farmers uproot most of these grasses. When wheat cannot endure normal patterns of drought no vegetation is left to stop the wind from blowing the dirt away.
  • The most fertile layer of soil blows away. Dust storms are thousands of feet into the air and carry some 50 million tons of earth at a time not unlike volcanic ash rising like clouds across miles of terrain.
  • The normal arrival of a jet stream from the New Zealand/ Australia area offering rain is diverted due to the massive dust clouds. 
  • The dust storms increase in duration and strength perpetuating the drought.

The Great Dustbowl sets a precedent that man did and therefore can affect climate. Much of what happened during the Dustbowl sounds familiar like forcing false markets, a greedy rush for a piece of the pie, destroying land/nature for wealth, a horrible economic crash, and subsequent devastation to ourselves and the earth.

Over farming aggravated the normal climate processes throughout the central states during the 30′s to the point it helped to sustain a prolonged and increasingly volatile weather pattern beyond the normal period of drought that had serious impacts for thousands of people especially their health. We still do not fully understand the extent to which all our ecosystems are intrinsically related. As was evidenced by the Great Dustbowl, setting one out of balance for even a brief period of time can cause increased and devastating climate patterns far past the norm.

Watch a video of the extraordinary dustbowl storms of the 30′s:

History Channel – The Black Blizzard: http://www.history.com/shows.do?action=detail&episodeId=366826

This website has many good reference sources: http://science.howstuffworks.com/dust-bowl-cause2.htm

This article relates man’s effects on the dustbowl although it leaves out the History Channel study about diverting the jet stream that would have brought drought relief: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080430152030.htm

If you can find a copy of The Surplus Farmer by Bernhard Ostrolenk published in 1932 about what was happening in the agricultural industry at the time, it should be a pretty good read. Ostrolenk stated: “The Farm Board had advised the farmer to gamble with his crop instead of urging him to market it, and these repeated statements of the Board had led farmers to believe that by withholding their wheat and cotton they could get higher prices. During 1930 it was the known surplus of agricultural commodities in the U.S. which forced farmers to face the most drastic price cuts in a decade.”

This gov’t. website correlates with Ostrolenk’s observations about holding back trade and the ensuing surplus: http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib3/eib3.html

Article about the forced market back then: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,846807-2,00.html

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China’s Rush to Save the Yangtze as Water Supply Dwindles

 

China may be running out of water. No surprise there. I think it was two years ago that I watched an hour-long presentation by Chinese environmentalists that showed the situation in China’s waterways. Bad stuff, all polluted. I read an article from Asia Times that’s from 2003 about the way the Chinese have devastated their country and explained the history of China’s terrain.

 

At one time China was much warmer and wetter. Animals that we normally associate with Africa existed there. But their growing population repeatedly cut down forests, and drained marshy areas to expand. Now China is rapidly headed toward a desert like existence. I reported quite some time ago that the Gobe desert is currently only 100 miles outside of Beijing.

 

China has already invested billions of dollars to redirect a river in the south toward Beijing even though that river is polluted. This plan uproots 400,000 people also. The recent movement to improve China’s water supply is massive. I suspect this might be why China has been helping Africans—a lot. China says it’s sincere. I think the Chinese are scoping out a place to go. China’s historical climate and terrain was like Africa’s. But we never hear much about China in Africa and probably won’t, until they are there. If they weren’t communist it wouldn’t be too bad but…

 

China is an example to the world on how not to treat the environment, over lumber, over build, over populate, and pollute. It can leave a population high and dry down the road, or should I say river.   

 

Read more about China’s efforts a little too late: http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jan2009/2009-01-15-01.asp

 

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/EH26Ad01.html

 

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-05/16/content_873767.htm

 

 

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The Wildfires in California

There are still arguments whether or not global warming has contributed to the onslaught of wildfires in California that certainly appear to be getting worse. As a matter of fact, I read an article that suggested it is because of invading populations of people moving into fire prone areas, and/or forest management practices instead. But a scientific paper published a year ago stated that the changing climate was a greater influence on wildfire activity and intensity than forest management.” http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/Global-Warming-California-Wildfire-47102305.

As for people moving into fire prone areas, sure there would be more likelihood of fires, and more property damage, but Mother Nature is seriously contributing to the wildfire fiasco with a record drought, temperatures in the 80′s-90′s instead of the 70′s for this time of year, and winds that are clocking at 60 and 70 mph, with gusts up to 85! Besides authorities declared that the wildfires in California this past July set a record. There were over 1781 fires burning at once, but luckily most were in sparsely populated areas. So much for the “people-cause-the-fires” theory. http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/15/california-wildfires-set-a-record/.

What I find odd is that the same people that deny the fire activity in California is due in part to global warming but instead caused by people, simultaneously deny that people cause global warming. Is this not selective reasoning? Certainly the smoke from these fires contributes heavily to air pollution.

Even an article in Business Week suggested that if we don’t do something soon about global warming the costs of the bad weather produced by it could be devastating for California. It stated that there could be “as much as $3.9 billion in annual damages caused by wildfires, rising sea levels and extreme weather events.” I say ditto for many other parts of the country. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D94EAOUO1.htm.

California isn’t the only area of concern. Hurricane ravaged Galveston, Texas did not get enough press during the presidential campaign. There are still what can be termed “Katrina victims.” I’ve noticed a pronounced change in path and verocity of tropical storms up the east coast of America. We do not want to see anything that resembles a hurricane hit NYC. This past spring our midwest was hit with horrible floods. Tornadoes in the South in November are becoming common. And let’s get real here. Five states in the SW have experienced huge growth, even though 4 of those states collectively rely on one and the same Colorado River for all of their water needs. Add the mentality that wants to maintain a steady growth in population in America, and we have to ask, “Just where is everyone supposed to live that won’t pose some sort of weather and/or uninhabitable terrain problem in the U.S.?” Can’t run, can hide from Mother Nature.

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Cash Corn Crops Go the Way of Floods in the Midwest

For those of us in Michigan or anywhere else that think global warming or any of the climate events happening elsewhere won’t/don’t affect us guess again. Just like yesterday’s blog about Dead Zones that affects our penchant for shrimp, crab, and select fish like grouper, the California fires are in wine country. So that perfect glass of wine to accompany that already vulnerable seafood dinner may not materialize at all.

Floods in the Midwest have caused a huge loss in corn crops also. So much for ethanol as an alternative. The loss of corn is going to cause an even greater problem with food shortages worldwide, which really can’t take another hit. As a result we’ll soon see food prices climb even higher here.

It simply amazes me that we’re experiencing such drastic degrees of bad weather at the same time. Look at the flood risk this year: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/oh/hic/nho/. Hundreds of people have lost homes and irreplaceable keepsakes due to flood damage.

Does anyone remember some of the prophecies about the future from the likes of Nostradamus, Cayce, and Dixon? One of the prophecies was that the U.S. would be divided by water eventually. The water rose through the middle of the country separating the east from the west. This doesn’t bode well considering the middle of our country is flooding.

As for fires, it looks like a fifth of California is burning: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/sto/cafw/. Eighty homes and other structures have been destroyed by fires, while more homes are still threatened. If fires sweep through wine country there will be zilch for the year 2008.

And for those of us that have always grown things we know weather problems affect our little gardens, fruit trees, and whatever we grow just like the big guys. The wind that ripped the shingles off my house on Monday would have caused a big loss in my vegetable garden had it been later in the season when the plants were bigger. I’m saying this because I see many more gardens planted this year than ever before, and I just wonder if the novices realize that the survival technique of growing our own food can backfire on us easily if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate. The idea of living like our forefathers or Grizzly Adams if we have to won’t cut it without the support of a decent environment, so relying on ourselves for survival may not be viable if the weather continues to be extreme. Like the old commercial for butter used to say: “It’s notnice [or wise]to fool with Mother Nature.”

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Wicked Weather Last Night

So Monroe, MI, how about that weather last night? Monroe doesn’t usually get anything that bad, especially my area near Lake Erie. Usually the lake just sucks out the storm, but last night blew the shingles off my roof. And they were only 2 years old! Straight-line winds just dropped in out of nowhere. I actually went to sit in the bathroom with my bird and one cat that doesn’t like storms. I wasn’t thinking tornado, but I was thinking scary thoughts. My only clue that it wasn’t going to be too bad is that there were birds, and mallard ducks eating under my bird feeder up until the moment that wind hit.

It could have been worse. Bloomfield Hills and counties North of us really got walloped with trees landing on houses and no power since Friday for some.

It’s no wonder weather events are extreme. Our country is experiencing some pretty diverse climate conditions all at once. Washington state was in the 30′s and expecting snow today. Places like Racine, WI got flash floods. Racine is bewildered because that NEVER happened before. And parts of Arkansas and N. Carolina are drought stricken. Mix snow, floods, heat, and droughts together and it’s little wonder we have climate explosions where bad weather just drops in like the 117 mph winds that ran through the Columbus, OH area last night.

We’re already greeted with a pretty wicked windy season and it’s only June 10th. I’velost some shingles. I just hope I can hang onto my new awning until windy season is over, and I hope no one suffered anything worse.

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Climate Change Affecting U.S. Terrain

I ranacross an interesting articleon Environmental News Service about our changingforests and desert areas. One of my first blogs was about the influx of peopleto the Southwest where four states depend entirely on the Colorado River, which is supplied with water in the summer months fromglacier melt. But the glaciers are slowly disappearing.

The article says that the changes will continue. In that case there will be a big exodus from those states in the future back to places like Michigan. We must keep our Great Lakes clean. Some day those lakes may mean survival for many.

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/may2008/2008-05-28-091.asp

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