Aboriginal Firekeeping, Australia, Bureau of Indian Affairs, California, Environment, global warming, Karuk tribe, National Forest Service, Nature Conservancy, Uncategorized, Yurok tribe

Let’s Talk About Fire…

matthew abbottNYT

Reducing Fire, and Cutting Carbon Emissions, the Aboriginal Way 
As blazes rage in southern Australia, Indigenous fire-prevention techniques that have sharply cut destructive bushfires in the north are drawing new attention.

Thomas Fuller, NYT, Jan. 16, 2020
Photo by Matthew Abbott

Traditional Aboriginal practices of burning, which reduce the undergrowth that can fuel bigger blazes, are attracting new attention as Australia endures disaster and confronts a fiery future.

Over the past decade, fire-prevention programs, mainly on Aboriginal lands in northern Australia, have cut destructive wildfires in half. These programs, first given government licenses in 2013, now cover an area three times the size of Portugal. Even as towns in the south burned in recent months and smoke haze blanketed Sydney and Melbourne, wildfires in northern Australia were much less severe.

These efforts draw on ancient ways, but have a thoroughly modern benefit: Organizations that practice defensive burning have earned $80 million under the country’s cap-and-trade system as they have reduced greenhouse-gas emissions from wildfires in the north by 40 percent.

They are also generating important scientific data, and are held up as a model that could be adapted to save lives and homes in other regions of Australia, as well as fire-prone parts of the world as different as California and Botswana.

“The Australian government is now starting to see the benefits of having Indigenous people look after their lands,” said Joe Morrison, one of the pioneers of the project. “Aboriginal people who have been through very difficult times are seeing their language, customs and traditional knowledge being reinvigorated and celebrated using Western science.”

In some ways, the Aboriginal methods resemble Western ones practiced around the world: One of the main goals is to reduce underbrush and other fuel that accelerates hot, damaging fires.

But the ancient approach tends to be more comprehensive. Indigenous people, using precisely timed, low-intensity fires, burn their properties the way a suburban homeowner might use a lawn mower.

The preventive fires must be timed according to air temperature, wind conditions and humidity, as well as the life cycles of plants. Northern Aboriginal traditions revolve around the monsoon, with land burned patch by patch as the wet season gives way to the dry.

The pioneering defensive burning programs in northern Australia came together in the 1980s and ’90s when Aboriginal groups moved back onto their native lands after having lived in settlements under the encouragement, or in some cases the order, of the government.

Depopulated for decades, the land had suffered. Huge fires were decimating species and damaging rock paintings.

The Aboriginal groups ultimately teamed up with scientists, the government of the Northern Territory and the Houston-based oil company ConocoPhillips, which was building a natural gas facility and was required to find a project that would offset its carbon emissions.

According to calculations by Mr. Edwards, wildfires in northern Australia burned 57 percent fewer acres last year than they did on average in the years from 2000 to 2010, the decade before the program started.

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alexandra hootnickNYT

California Today: Native Solutions to Big Fire
Thomas Fuller, NYT, January 24, 2020

Photo by Alexandra Hootnick

As many parts of the world grapple with how to reduce destructive, out-of-control wildfires, Native North American burning techniques have come into the spotlight, as well.

The experience in northern Australia has been critical. Researchers have used satellite data to calculate that an Aboriginal burning program started seven years ago has cut hot and destructive wildfires in half and reduced carbon emissions by more than 40 percent.

With California’s Could something similar be done in California?

Margo Robbins, a member of the Yurok, California’s largest Indian tribe, traveled to Australia two years ago and saw many similarities with her own cultural burning practices.

In 2014, Ms. Robbins helped organize a burn of seven acres on the Yurok reservation. A crew of 20 prison inmates brought by Cal Fire worked with the tribe to conduct the burn.

“The No. 1 priority for our community was to bring fire back to the land. The land needs fire in order to be healthy,” said Ms. Robbins, a basket weaver who relies on the long and pliable shoots that emerge from burned hazelnut bushes.

The Nature Conservancy assists with a yearly controlled burn on the Yurok reservation in Northern California. The 2014 burn rekindled the tradition and now happens every year.

Don Hankins, a fire expert at Cal State, Chico, estimates that, at most, a few thousand acres are burned in California every year using traditional cultural burning techniques. This is tiny compared with the Australian program, which covers close to 90 million acres, around the size of Montana.

But Mr. Hankins and tribal fire experts say there seems to be an appetite in California to better understand and expand tribal burning practices. Native American burning traditions are similar to Aboriginal ones in the way that they look to nature for signals on when to burn.

Mr. Tripp says it is crucial not to interrupt natural reproductive cycles with fire — nesting birds, flowering plants — but to burn in ways that encourage growth of critical plants like hazelnut bushes and acorn-bearing oaks.

As with other Native fire experts, Mr. Tripp, who is deputy director of the Karuk tribe’s Natural Resources Department, says he is working with the National Forest Service, Cal Fire and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to obtain more sovereignty over fire.

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Also, “Spotlight On” the Walking Stick Insect

Stick_insect_(5012291723)

Walking stick

From the Ancient Greek phasma, meaning “a phantom,” the Walking stick, or Stick insect, is a master at disappearing into its surroundings. This insect and its cousin, the Leaf insect, are normally green or brown. Also useful in self-protection is its ability to enter into a motionless state that can be maintained for a long period. The only predator from which the Walking stick has no defense is the bat, which hunts by echolocation.
Only certain species of animals can reproduce by parthenogenesis, most notably insects, but also reptiles, and it was recently discovered, sharks. This is the process by which an unfertilized egg produces an offspring. (From Volume 2, Staghorn Sumac)

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And finally, another plug for my self-published books about North American trees,

Secret Voices from the Forest, Thoughts and Dreams of North American Trees

Available at Amazon.com

cover    cover-SV2    Vol. 3 - The East copy

See ya tomorrow.

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A little more news…

NOAA Climate.gov

Our Future Depends on the Arctic
Save it from the ravages of warming and we can save the planet.

By Durwood J. Zaelke and Paul Bledsoe
The authors work for groups focused on climate policy.
Dec. 14, 2019, NYTimes California Today

Delegates from all over the world spent two weeks in Madrid, trying to work out how to reach a global goal of net zero emissions by 2050. As the United Nations’ secretary general, António Guterres, warned in opening the meeting: “The point of no return is no longer over the horizon. It is in sight and hurtling toward us.”

Perhaps nowhere is that more true than in the Arctic. The surface air there is warming at twice the global rate and temperatures over the past five years have exceeded all previous records since 1900.

A study published in Geophysical Research Letters in June described the catastrophic consequences of losing the Arctic’s reflective summer sea ice, which reflects incoming solar warming back to space, that would otherwise be absorbed by the ocean. Equal to an extra 25 years of current levels of emissions, it will push us more quickly towards catastrophic damage: more intense heat waves and coastal flooding, extinctions of species and threats to food supplies.

The heating up of the Arctic is also speeding the thawing of permafrost, causing the release of more carbon dioxide and methane, a greenhouse gas 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide when measured over 20 years, along with nitrous oxide, a powerful long-lived climate pollutant.

If we are to keep the Arctic ice strong, we not only need to cut diesel emissions, limit methane emissions from landfills, and keep strict regulations on refrigerants in air-conditioners and consumer products. California has cut these emissions by more than 90% since the 1960s.

Several other geoengineering ideas are being floated, such as putting a covering of white sand over first year ice, to enhance its reflectivity, or introduce particles into the atmosphere to reflect solar radiation. There are potential risks with these procedures, and there could be experiments to see if the risks are worth the effort.

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New Clean-Car Rules for New Mexico,
December 4, 2019, Sierra Club

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that New Mexico will join 14 other states in adopting clean-car standards requiring new cars sold in the state to emit fewer greenhouse gases. The standards also mandate an increasing percentage of cars to have zero emissions.

Lujan Grisham made the announcement in September at Climate Week in New York City, where U.S. governors met to discuss states advancing ambitious climate action in the face of federal inaction. The move came on the heels of the announcement that the Trump administration is revoking California’s authority to set fuel-efficiency and greenhouse-gas standards stricter than federal standards. California and nearly two dozen other states are suing the administration over the attack.

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Diego Ibarra Sanchez

Where Eagle Feathers Fall Like Snow,
By Helen Sullivan, NYTimes Climate Forward

January 6, 2020

Adonis Al Khatib, of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon, works with students, community leaders and hunting associations to instill sustainable hunting practices. Hunting is ubiquitous in Lebanon, which has the 11th-highest rate of small-arms ownership in the world. Half to three-quarters of boys own guns, and birds can be a common target.

Among the Society’s top concerns is protecting the 2.5 billion migratory birds that pass over the country twice a year. During those journeys, 2.6 million migratory birds are shot or trapped illegally, according to BirdLife International; S.P.N.L. is that organization’s official partner in Lebanon. As other countries examine why some of their protected birds aren’t returning from migration, Lebanon has come under the spotlight.

Lebanon’s topography is dominated by two long mountain ranges. Various bird migration routes, or flyways, pass through the country; when squeezed between mountains, the routes narrow, forming bottlenecks. The bottlenecks create conditions for satisfying bird-watching, and make it easier for organizations like S.P.N.L. to conduct bird counts.

But the bottlenecks also serve hunters. At certain points throughout the country, the narrow flyways funnel birds through elevated vantage points from which hunters can get easy shots.

Assad Serhal, a founder of S.P.N.L., is a reformed hunter. The organization has lobbied Lebanon’s government for stricter anti-poaching laws, and has reintroduced a traditional Islamic system of conservation to Lebanon.

Twenty years ago, on very old military maps, he noticed areas labeled, “hima.” In Arabic, hima can mean refuge, protected area, private pasture or homeland; “Humat al-Hima” (Defenders of the Homeland) is Tunisia’s national anthem. Mr. Serhal had known vaguely of the idea, but had no idea that hima had existed in Lebanon.

He discovered that the concept dates back more than 1,000 years, with a mention in the Quran. Muhammad had designated certain areas as hima, which meant they were subject to rules about grazing, hunting or even trade. On Mr. Serhal’s maps, it turned out, hima signified communal areas. The word’s appearance gave him an idea: Perhaps he could revive its traditional meaning.

Mr. Serhal thought that, instead, hima might be accepted as a traditional concept; it also would include communities and municipalities in the design of the conservation areas. Hima wouldn’t be just about protecting nature, Mr. Serhal said; it would be “nature plus people.” When S.P.N.L. helped a community design a local hima, the group suggested additional conservation methods, like banning hunting.

The first hima was established in southern Lebanon in 2004. Today there are 25; they have been given legal status by the government and cover more land than Lebanon’s national parks. Five of the designated hima are also what BirdLife calls “Important Bird Areas,” of which there are 15 in the country.

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And in “Spotlight On”

http---cdn.cnn.com-cnnnext-dam-assets-190815135835-03-north-dakota-sunflower

 Sunflower

Our native Sunflower was domesticated and cultivated by indigenous Americans, possibly as long as five thousand years ago, when seeds were selected for the best size and shape to produce the largest crop. They were used to make flour, cooking oil, dye, and medicinal ointments. It has been suggested that the sunflower was domesticated before the maize plant. Some American Indian tribes planted sunflowers as a “fourth sister” to the combination of corn, beans, and squash.
Early Spanish explorers took seeds back to Europe around 1500. In 1716, the English granted a patent for a process of squeezing oil from sunflower seed. By 1769, sunflower oil had become a popular commodity with members of the Russian Orthodox Church, because it was one of the few oils not forbidden during Lent.
By 1830, the manufacture of sunflower oil had become a commercial enterprise, and Russian farmers were growing over two million acres of the plant. By 1880, sunflower seeds called the “Mammoth Russian” were being marketed in catalogs in the U.S.
Canada began the first government sponsored breeding program in 1930, and because of high demand for sunflower oil, production grew. More recently, because of increasing concerns about high cholesterol in the diet, demand increased further, and U.S. production took off. Today the sunflower is the most important native crop plant produced in the United States. (from Volume 2, Elm Companions)

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And again, don’t forget you can buy all three volumes of Secret Voices from the Forest, Thoughts and Dreams of North American Trees, on Amazon.

cover   cover-SV2   Vol. 3 - The East copy

 

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News from The Treetalker

Getty Images

Getty Images

These days, when there is some new assault on Nature occurring almost daily, I find it difficult to locate stories about the environment that can give hope. More and more, I’m seeing that it’s up to those who, like we all did in the 1960s, see problems that are urgent, and are willing to not just speak truth to Power, but to put their bodies on the line.

So my first story is about the group called “Extinction Rebellion.” They are an international “non-violent civil disobedience activist movement.” Their co-founder, Gail Bradbrook, says that the the future of the planet depends upon actions such as theirs.

They believe that governments must declare a climate “emergency,” that nations like the U.K. must legally commit to reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2025, and that a citizens’ assembly must be formed to “oversee the changes.” (Sounds like they don’t trust government!!)

They foresee severe restrictions on flying, drastically cutting back on the consumption of meat and dairy, and a massive increase in renewable energy, to name just a few of the radical changes needed.

For more information, you can just google them, but my source on this story was the BBC.

shutterstock_554001493

In other encouraging news, we find that,
“Automakers, Rejecting Trump Pollution Rule, Strike a Deal With California”
The New York Times, July 25, 2019, Coral Davenport and Hiroko Tabuchi

Ford, Volkswagen, Honda and BMW, in order to avoid having to have 2 separate operations, made a secret deal with California regulators that allow them to follow rules, increasing fuel efficiency, slightly less than the Obama standards, but still much stricter that those proposed by the Trump administration.

The Trump administration is suing California, but state officials vow to take the fight all the way to the Supreme Court.

Lots more information on this at:

TJ Watt

T.J.Watt for U of B.C.

UBC scientists find high mutation rates generating genetic diversity within huge, old-growth trees
University of British Columbia News, Jul 8, 2019, Lou Corpuz-Bosshart

The original of this article is kind of scientific, so let me boil it down for you:

U. of British Columbia researchers studied some several-hundred-year-old Sitka spruce trees in Vancouver Island. After doing DNA sequencing, they found that a single tree, starting at the base and going all the way to the top, might have gone through up to 100,000 genetic mutations over its lifespan.

This opens a discussion of how trees evolve over time, passing on genetic changes to their offspring that may help them survive and adapt to environmental changes.

Read the story at:

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Chang W. Lee/NY Times

New York Awards Offshore Wind Contracts in Bid to Reduce Emissions,
By Ivan Penn, NYTimes, July 18, 2019

Technological advances have reduced the cost of wind turbines; as a result, NY State passed an ambitious law to reduce greenhouse emissions last month, and it has now reached an agreement for two large offshore wind projects, to be built off the coast of Long Island. They are supposed to start operation within the next five years.

More of this article at:

 

cecile-belmont-jean-marc-cecile-et-dominique

cecile-belmont-jean-marc-cecile-et-dominique.jpg

A French Town’s Green Policies Aim to Win Over the Working Class
The NYTimes, July 25, 2019, By Constant Méheut

But Grande-Synthe, near the northern city of Dunkirk, stands out as an unlikely laboratory for working-class environmentalism. The town’s Green party mayor, Damien Carême, has a vision of “social environmentalism.” In his efforts to convince his voters that innovative green policies, such as the installation of LED bulbs in street lights, serving organic food in school cafeterias, grown by local farmers who lease their land from the government for a cut rate.

The town is one of the poorest in France, surrounded by a sprawling industrial park, filled with closed factories and apartment blocks, including France’s oldest nuclear plant.

The jury is still out on whether or not Carême’s policies will save the town, but we wish him luck.

Read more on this story at:

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Sorry it took me so long to get these posted. Just too much going on to think straight!

Vol. 3 - The East copy   cover-SV2   cover

P.S. Look for my books, Secret Voices from the Forest—Thoughts and Dreams of North American Trees—Volume One: The West, Volume Two: Midcontinent, and Volume Three: The West. Coming eventually (probably in a year or two) Volume Four: Tropics and Deserts. You can find them on Amazon, by title.

 

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News from The Treetalker

Courtesy WhatWhenHow

Courtesy WhatWhenHow.com

Why large forest fires may not be a big threat to some endangered animals, January 29, 2019, ScienceDaily. Source: Oxford University Press USA

Spurred by climate change, megafires in western North America are becoming more frequent, causing speculation that endangered species will have an even more difficult surviving.

The Great Gray Owl, endangered in California, is a resident of Yosemite National Park and Stanislaus National Forest, which are areas that were badly burnt in the 2013 Rim Fire, experiencing a 104,000 acre burn.

In surveys covering a 3-year period following the fire, it was found that, rather than decreasing in number, the Grey Owls have adjusted to the terrain well, using large trees that were killed for nesting, and finding plentiful food in the rodent populations that have increased, due to more meadow area. Read the rest of the article here.

Neil Palmer:CIAT

Cattle urine’s planet-warming power can be curtailed with land restoration, January 29, 2019, Science News. Source: International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

The exceptional climate-altering capabilities of cattle are mainly due to methane, which they blast into the atmosphere during their daily digestive routine. Cattle urine is a lesser-known climate offender. It produces nitrous oxide (N2O), which has warming power far greater than that of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main driver of global warming. A new study shows that these N2O emissions can be significantly curbed by healthy cattle pastures.

In the majority of test sites, degraded pastures emitted significantly more N2O — sometimes up to three times as much, than restored pasture.

Degraded livestock land is generally characterized by overgrazing, soil compaction, loss of organic material and low levels of nutrients and soil carbon. Large-scale land restoration with improved forage grasses, rotational grazing and the addition of shrubs and trees, could significantly mitigate the negative climate effects wrought by degradation. In addition to reducing N2O emissions, restored landscapes generally contain more carbon, have healthier soils and more robust and productive livestock. Find the rest of this article here.

Odd Andersen:Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Teenagers Emerge as a Force in Climate Protests Across Europe, By Milan Schreuer, Elian Peltier and Christopher F. Schuetze, for the NYTimes, Jan. 31, 2019

Tens of thousand of children skipped school in Belgium on Thursday to join demonstrations for action against climate change, part of a broader environmental protest movement across Europe that has gathered force over the past several weeks.

In Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland and elsewhere, activists have come together on social media to gather in large numbers and without much apparent preparation, the protests taking a different shape in each country.

In Germany, students have protested on Fridays, communicating mainly through the messaging app WhatsApp; in Belgium, they organize on Facebook and have skipped school by the thousands on four consecutive Thursdays.

Last Sunday, climate protests in Brussels swelled to an estimated 100,000 people of all ages. That same day, an estimated 80,000 took part in cities across France — more than turned out for the “Yellow Vest” protests the day before.

The climate movement has no obvious leaders or structure, but young people feel that most older people do not feel the urgency that the young do about global warming, and want their governments to take action while there is still time. For the rest of this article, click here.

Johnny Milano for The New York Times

Global Warming Concerns Rise Among Americans in New Poll, by John Schwartz, for the NYTimes, Jan. 22, 2019

Some 73 percent of Americans polled online late last year by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, said that global warming was happening, the report found, a jump of 10 percentage points from 2015 and three points since last March. This suggests that climate change has moved out of the realm of the hypothetical for a wide majority of Americans.

Americans’ growing understanding of global warming is part of a long-term trend, which is attributed to the recent increase of extreme weather events with plausible connections to a warming planet, and to the publicity that surrounded two major scientific reports on climate change last year. For more on this, click here.

Wensum Alliance

Norfolk study shows new ditches could help improve rivers, by Maggie Dolan and Nic Rigby for the  BBC.

The amount of harmful sludge entering rivers from farmers’ fields can be more than halved with special ditches, a new study by The Rivers Trust found. Its research showed only 14% of UK rivers are currently in a healthy state.

That health can be damaged by sediment containing fertilizer chemicals which can harm water quality and fish.

The study by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Wensum Alliance used traps (pictured) near the Blackwater – a tributary which flows into the River Wensum at Lenwade, which in turn flows through Norwich. They then tested the water downriver and found a 58% reduction in sediment year on year.

Traps were also placed near roads, which can also add pollution to waterways. For more on this, click here.

Getty Images/ Kean Collection

And, lastly, I saw this article in this morning’s Washington Post’s daily newsletter, “Today’s WorldView.”  Really fascinating.

The salient points to me were, “Scientists from University College London, U.K. estimate that 60 million people were living across the Americas at the end of the 15th Century, and that this was reduced to just five or six million within a hundred years, eliminated by introduced disease (smallpox, measles, etc), warfare, slavery and societal collapse. Vast swaths of agricultural land was then reclaimed by fast-growing trees and other vegetation. This pulled down enough carbon dioxide (CO₂) from the atmosphere to eventually chill the planet.”

Read the article at this link.

See you next time, whenever that might be! 

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algae, algae farms, beer, Environment, global warming, oceans, plastic, spiders, The Ocean Cleanup, Uncategorized

News from The Treetalker

The Ocean Cleanup Has Reached the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Ocean Cleanup, an idea brought to life by founder and CEO Boyan Slat, has been in the news for a month or so. The 2,000 foot-long U-shaped floating pipe, launched a month ago from San Francisco, reached its goal on Thursday—the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” an area in the Pacific Ocean that is more than twice the size of Texas. The goal of the mission is to trap floating plastic, return the debris to shore, recycle the plastic and create new products from it.

There will certainly be some trial and error, but if successful, the project could expand to the other 4 garbage patches. They are hopeful that they can clean up 90% of the plastic garbage in the world’s oceans by 2040.

First, a link to the CNN article, with video.

Here is a link to the project’s site.

It is also good to know that this is not the only program committed to help clean up the oceansthe California Coastal Commission’s volunteer group is focusing on trash reduction with land-based efforts. There are a group of volunteers that clean up beaches and coastal waters, preventing yet more plastic waste from entering the ocean in the first place.

Also, The Marine Debris Program is an initiative included in the Save Our Seas Act, signed by President Trump last week.

 

Below, a view of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Photo AFP


Experts say algae is the food of the future. Here’s why.
by Rachel Crane   @CNNTech

The article’s author visited an Algae “farm” in southern New Mexico, where a strain of algae, nannochloropsis, is being grown. It is already available in supplement form at The Vitamin Shoppe and on Amazon, and is being developed into snacks and protein powders. These powders will be “virtually imperceptible when added to other foods, and not going to change the flavor.”

The company’s CEO, Miguel Calatayud, believes that if the world’s population grows from 7.5 billion to 10 billion as expected, we’ll need to think more seriously about protein alternatives like algae.

“There will not be enough animal protein or other vegetable protein,” he said. “There won’t be enough arable land, and what’s even more important, there won’t be enough fresh water.”

Their strain of algae takes what would otherwise be wasted — saltwater, desert land and CO2 — and turns it into something special. Made up of 40% protein, it can produce about seven times the amount of protein as soybeans on the same amount of land. The plant also releases oxygen into the air. (About 50% of the world’s oxygen comes from algae).

“There are tons of desert areas all over the world and most of them have brackish water underneath,” he said. “What we are building it’s 100% sustainable and 100% scalable.”An interesting article.

Read the rest of it and see video here.

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And now, here’s some news that might motivate governments to take action on climate change:

Add beer to the list of foods threatened by climate change
Rising temperatures and periods of drought will target barley crops worldwide

By Jennifer Leman, October 15, 2018, for ScienceNews

‘Malted barley — a key ingredient in beer including IPAs, stouts and pilsners — is particularly sensitive to warmer temperatures and drought, both of which are likely to increase due to climate change. As a result, average global barley crop yields could drop as much as 17 percent by 2099, compared with the average yield from 1981 to 2010, under the more extreme climate change projections, researchers report October 15 in Nature Plants.

That decline “could lead to, on average, a doubling of price in some countries,” says coauthor Steven Davis, an Earth systems scientist at University of California, Irvine. Consumption would also drop globally by an average of 16 percent, or roughly what people in the United States consumed in 2011.’

The report also mentions that other crops such as maize, wheat and soy and wine grapes are also threatened by the global rising of average atmospheric temperatures as well as by pests emboldened by erratic weather.

Some other details here

Danielle Griscti:Flickr

And Spotlight on:

Yellow garden spider
They
are found throughout most of the United States. They are orb-weaving spiders, spinning their webs in circular, spiral patterns. Orb-weavers have an extra claw on each foot, to handle the threads while spinning. They prefer sunny places with as little wind as possible to build their webs. The web of this spider spirals out from the center and can be two feet across. The female builds the large web, and a male will build a smaller web on the outer part of her web. The male’s web is a thick zigzag of white silk.
The spider had various meanings—it could be a trickster, a creator, or an intercessor between gods and man. Here is an Osage legend, which teaches that smaller doesn’t mean less significant:
“The Spider and the People”
One day, the chief of the Isolated Earth people was hunting in the forest. He was also hunting for a symbol to give life to his people. He came upon the tracks of a huge stag. The chief became very excited.
“Grandfather Deer,” he said, “surely you will show yourself. You are going to become the symbol of my people.”
He began to follow the tracks. His eyes were on nothing else as he followed those tracks, and he ran faster and faster through the forest. Suddenly, he ran right into a huge spider’s web that had been strung between the trees, across the trail. When he got up off the ground, he was very angry. He struck at the spider sitting at the edge of the web. But the spider jumped out of reach. Then the spider spoke to the man.
“Grandson,” the spider said, “why do you run through the woods looking at nothing but the ground?”
The chief felt foolish, but he had to answer the spider. “I was following the tracks of a great deer,” the chief said. “I am seeking a symbol of strength for my people.”
“I can be such a symbol to you, “said the spider.
“How can you be a symbol of strength?” said the chief. “You are small and weak, and I didn’t even see you as I followed the great Deer.”
“Grandson,” said the spider, “look upon me. I am patient. I watch and I wait. Then all things come to me. If your people learn this, they will be strong indeed.”
The chief saw that this was so. Thus the Spider became one of the symbols of the people.

From Black Walnut Companions, Secret Voices from the Forest, Vol. 2: Midcontinent

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Also, remember that Volume 3 of my series of books about trees is available on Amazon.

Vol. 3 - The East copy

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News from The Treetalker

Greek island Tilos on its way to becoming fully powered by renewable energy, Oct 10, 2018, Megan Treaty, for TreeHugger

This small Greek island in the Aegean Sea, home to only about 500 people year-round, but whose population doubles during tourist season, is about to show the islands around the world how to become energy independent using only renewable sources, if only on a small scale, using wind turbines, photovoltaic and a battery storage system. They are hoping to initially cover 70% of their needs, ramping it up to 100% soon.

They are currently dependent on fossil fuels that are delivered by an undersea cable, which is unreliable and is subject to tectonic activity. For the full article, click here.

tilos_greece.jpg.860x0_q70_crop-scale

How will 9 billion or 10 billion people eat without destroying the environment? By Joel Achenbach, for
The Washington Post, October 10, 2018

A sobering report published Wednesday in the journal Nature argues that a sustainable food system that doesn’t ravage the environment is going to require dramatic reforms, including a radical change in dietary habits.

The report comes on the heels of a warning from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that global leaders need to take unprecedented action in the next decade to keep the planet’s average temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

Global warming has typically been linked to the burning of fossil fuels, but food production is a huge and underappreciated factor, and the new report seeks to place food in the center of the conversation about how humanity can create a sustainable future.

Half the planet’s ice-free land surface is devoted to livestock or the growing of feed for those animals. That’s an area equal to North and South America combined. Rain forests are steadily being cleared for cropland. And the demand for food is increasing faster than the population: Rising income in China and many other formerly impoverished countries brings with it a higher demand for meat and other forms of animal protein. Some 70 percent of the world’s fresh water is already used in agriculture, and the demand for that water will intensify. To read the rest of the article, click here.

(Daniel Acker:Bloomberg)

The Climate Outlook Is Dire. So, What’s Next?
By Somini Sengupta, for The New York Times, Oct. 9, 2018

A report issued Sunday by 91 scientists painted a stark portrait of how quickly the planet is heating up and how serious the consequences are. In response, the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, warned world leaders, “Do what science demands before it is too late.”

With the world’s largest emitters of CO2 unwilling to back off on their own pollution-causing policies, and the poorer countries unable to afford to change, things look frighteningly like we’re headed for catastrophe, and a lot faster than we previously thought. For the rest of the article, go here.

rendon Thorne:Bloomberg

US states agree on plan to manage overtaxed Colorado River
By DAN ELLIOTT, Oct 10, 2018, for Associated Press News

Seven Southwestern U.S. states that depend on the overtaxed Colorado River say they have reached tentative agreements on managing the waterway amid an unprecedented drought. The plans announced Tuesday, Oct. 9 were a milestone for the river, which supports 40 million people and 6,300 square miles (16,300 square kilometers) of farmland in the U.S. and Mexico. The plans aren’t designed to prevent a shortage, but they’re intended to help manage and minimize the problems.

If you are interested in reading the details of this story, go here.

Ross D. Franklin

Also, Spotlight On:

Pipsissewa
The Creek Indians called the Spotted wintergreen “pipsisikweu,” which means “breaks into small pieces,” after the belief that that it could break down gallstones and kidney stones. The plant has been employed for centuries to treat many ills, but as it is increasingly rare, it is best not to collect it from the wild.
Pipsissewa has been a traditional ingredient of root beer and is still included in several brands. The oil is a flavoring agent for dental preparations, especially if combined with menthol and eucalyptus. In the 19th century Alice Morse Earle wrote in Old Time Gardens that the word Pipsissewa is one of a few words from the Algonquin that is today used in the English language.

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OK then. Another month gone by. Who knows what will happen next, right? Stay tuned to your local real news station…or not, as you choose.

Remember, Volume Three: The East of Secret Voices has been released see my page on Amazon to buy it. Have a great week (or month)!

cover proof #1

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books, endangered species, Environment, forests, fruit trees, global warming, green living, habitat restoration, Indonesia, plants, protecting rain forests, trees, Trees in the News, Uncategorized, Wildlife

News from The Treetalker

WWF“What does ‘protecting people and forests,
supporting economic growth’ mean to you?”

Forest News, Gabrielle Lipton, July 12, 2018, Dateline: Indonesia

At the 2018 Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit, Forest News spoke to the director for The Nature Conservancy about rethinking the way forests factor into development, if they are to keep giving us the things we want and need.

The initial economic growth of these countries has been fueled by harvesting and selling of timber. This area holds about 60% of the world’s population, and as people’s lifestyle improves, forested land disappears in favor of agriculture, animal husbandry and mining. This results in poor air quality because of carbon emissions.

The organizations attending the Summit are working to advance ideas about ways to help the population’s economic growth continue to expand without cutting down all the trees.

Read this article here.

Xavier Cortada

T Agitprop—12 Artists on Climate Change, by Zoe Lescaze of the New York Times, August 22, 2018

A strongly visual article about the work of 12 contemporary artists who focus on several different aspects of climate change, such as rising sea levels, or connections to other living species and our affect on them, the destruction of beautiful natural landscapes, the extraction of resources from the land, the impact of more powerful storms on society and critically endangered species and the issue of extinction.

Visit the article for a look at some of their works and their stories.

Xavier Leoty:AFP

From Angelique Chrisafis, in France, for The Guardian, August 24, 2018
Choose a Side: the Battle to Keep French Isle McDonald’s-Free

The Mayor of Ile d’Oleron, the second-biggest island off mainland france after Corsica, is a major tourist destination is leading the fight, saying the island is “not about mass consumption.” Others say, “Oleron is a beautiful place, it’s important to protect it. We don’t need McDonald’s in a place that is pioneering local organic food, sustainable development, zero waste and alternative ways of living that aren’t about mass consumption.”

The battle has been going on for 4 years. Recently, a court in Poitiers ruled that the town had no legal basis to stop McDonald’s and must let them come in or pay fines on a daily basis. The verdict on the appeal is due next month.

Read the article here.

Dmitry Kostyukov:NYT

Also from the New York Times:
Paris Bees at Work From Notre-Dame to the Luxembourg Gardens
Paris has seen a marked rise in urban beekeeping, with more than 1,000 hives atop landmark buildings as well as in community gardens across the city.
By Alissa J. Rubin, August 24, 2018

Hives have been on the roof of the Opera Garnier for over 30 years; there are hives on top of Notre-Dame Cathedral, and Luxembourg Gardens have been home to honeybees for over 150 years. They also give apiculture classes, with perhaps 200 people graduating every year.

Paris officials want to ensure that there will be enough bees to service the trees and flowers of the many local parks, gardens and cemeteries. “Perhaps one reason people now want to keep bees is that it’s a way of participating in the protection of the environment.”

Paris has all but ensured the relative purity of its honey by eliminating the use of pesticides in city parks and gardens, and forbidding pesticides on plantings on home terraces and roofs, as well as cemeteries.

Read the article here.

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Remember, Secret Voices from the Forest—Volume Three: The East is now available, $32.95 on Amazon.

cover proof #1

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News from The Treetalker

Three from the BBC

Britain has been suffering through a tremendous heat wave this summer. Parks, gardens crops are all brown and withered. See this article in the NY Times for details on that. But rain has finally returned, by the bucket load, apparently, with accompanying floods, of course.

As a result of the heat wave, there were huge wait times in cross-Channel rail services at the Euro Tunnel, leaving customers waiting, sometime for more than 5 hours in 30C heat (that’s the high 80s, for old-timers like me), often with no facilities.

The queues on the UK side were apparently due to large numbers of passengers headed out for vacations in France, but since the air conditioners in the train were overwhelmed by the heat, the service was unavailable.

They ran additional trains a night, to make up for the time losses, and staff left a water hose running for children and dogs, and a refrigerated van was providing bottles of water. Read the article (and there are lots of pics and video) here.

©howardwalmsley

©Howard Walmsley

BBC Weather forecaster Matt Taylor said there had been a “drastic change” from the heatwave to cooler, wetter and windier conditions.

I’ll say! Apparently, “more than a month’s worth of rain fell within a few hours in Northern Ireland on Saturday. Belfast saw 99mm of rain and homes were flooded in County Antrim. A cleanup operation continued on Sunday. Flights from Edinburgh, Birmingham, Luton and Stansted were delayed on Saturday and some cancelled after temporary restrictions were put in place during thunderstorms across Europe on Friday.”

Flights from several airports were delayed or cancelled; flooding was widespread.

Saturday was the first day since 23 June that nowhere in the UK had temperatures above 25C.

Matt Taylor said the cooler conditions would continue over the next few days, but added that it “doesn’t mean that summer is done with us yet”!!

See pics, video and the rest of the article here.

y289J_ycM2qYMOyI

Brits use yellow and orange for precipitation

And from a scientific point of view–Mary Halton, the BBC News Science reporter explains why rain after a dry spell smells so good to us. “Known as petrichor, the scent has long been chased by scientists and even perfumers for its enduring appeal.”

This scent is actually produced by an abundant soil bacteria as they create a molecule called geosmin. The drops of water hitting the ground cause it to be released into the air. Humans are extremely sensitive to it. But, although we love the smell, we don’t like the taste. Go figure.

Read the rest of the article, and see pics and videos (the BBC seems to be partial to lots of video) here.

©SciencePhotoLib

©Science Photo Library

And one more thing…Blood Moon this last week. Go to CNN’s page of wonderful pics for more like this from all over the world.

Aris Messinis:AFP:Getty Images

Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images

Also SPOTLIGHT ON the Black Tupelo Tree

 Although Black tupelo produces a good quality honey, the most prized “Tupelo Honey” comes from its cousin, Nyssa Ogeche, the White tupelo tree, which only grows in North Western Florida and Southern Georgia. Because of its high fructose content, this honey resists crystallization for many years, and must be certified by pollen analysis to be the real deal. Beehive keepers clean out their hives before and after the White tupelo blossoms, to keep the honey as pure in content as possible.
The blossom season only lasts about a month, and, according to the folks at the Savannah Bee Company, “Biologists estimate that it takes two million Tupelo tree flowers to produce one pound of honey, and one honeybee produces about 1/12 of a teaspoon in its lifetime.”  This company sponsors an educational program for elementary school children called “The Bee Cause Project.” By installing open-window beehives in classrooms for the children to observe a hive in operation, and teaching them the role of bees in food production, they learn the importance of the smallest creatures to our lives.

Jennifer BehnkinMO Dept.Conservation

MO Dept. of Conservation/Jennifer Behnkin

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coywolf, Environment, global warming, green living, methane from livestock industry, Nature, silvopasture, spiders, Uncategorized, Wildlife

New Stories on The Treetalker

Coming Soon!

Secret Voices from the Forest—Thoughts and Dreams of North American Trees—Volume 3: The East will be available by this time next week, through my website http://secret-voices.com or on Amazon. Check there after June 10.cover proof #1

Also this week, at The Treetalker, some new posts

Spotlight on: The Coywolf – a new species!  http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com/index.html

image-20160510-20698-1hcqds5

Environmental Happenings:  http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com/environmental-happenings.html

  1. Silvopasturing – a way of raising cattle that is far more environmentally friendly than the common practice of raising animals in feedlots.
  2. Don’t Kill That Spider! – the little beasties that live in our homes.

    And on my blog: http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com/blog.html

    “The Problem with Self Publishing”

    dd55722239a914d6d84bc4052e09c230

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global warming, gulf coast, ocean, Greenland ice melt, climate change, Industrial Revolution, EDF, methane, shale oil, satellite, greenhouse emissions, Louisiana, Mississippi River Delta, coastal wetlands, bird habitat, Big Oil, Uncategorized

The Treetalker – a bit of the latest news about global warming and the oceans

This week, at my website, 4 articles from the Washington Post’s Climate and Environment newsletter, a new “Focus on” the Sweetgum tree, and a blog post about patience (since I have so little  😉.) If you want to read any of the entire articles, visit my website and you’ll find my summaries and links to the original articles.

The news articles are:

(Levke Caesar:Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research)

(Levke Caesar/Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research)

The oceans’ circulation hasn’t been this sluggish in 1,000 years. That’s bad news.

The Atlantic Ocean circulation that carries warmth into the Northern Hemisphere’s high latitudes is slowing down because of climate change, a team of scientists asserted Wednesday, suggesting one of the most feared consequences is already coming to pass.

A rendering by the Environmental Defense Fund

A rendering by the Environmental Defense Fund

 

This environmental group is launching its own satellite to learn more about greenhouse gas leaks

The satellite will enable The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to more accurately measure methane emissions, which account for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Michael Taylor and Adam Voiland

NASA Earth Observatory image by Michael Taylor and Adam Voiland.jpg

 

Seas are rising too fast to save much of the Mississippi River Delta, scientists say

The state of Louisiana is proceeding with ambitious plans to redirect the Mississippi River and rebuild some of its rapidly vanishing wetlands — but even this massive intervention may not be enough to save the most threatened lands from fast rising seas, scientists concluded in a study published Wednesday in Science Advances.

Shell foresaw climate dangers in 1988 and understood Big Oil’s big role

Chris Ratcliffe:Bloomberg

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg


Jelmer Mommers, a reporter with De Correspondent, a Dutch newspaper, has uncovered Royal Dutch Shell documents as old as 1988 that showed the oil company understood the gravity of climate change, the company’s large contribution to it and how hard it would be to stop it.

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