Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Two Salmon and a Melting East Antarctic Ice Sheet

An 18 pound and 16 pound spring chinook on my truck gate in June 2020.

"CATCHING SPRING CHINOOK"

is an article I wrote for Northwest Fishing Reports four years ago.
Suz and I had another fight over which fish is better, winter steelhead or summer steelhead? I said winter because they are bigger, and I catch more. She said summer because you can wear T-shirt and shorts, catch them after 2 p.m., and they are more acrobatic. This is the high order of our breakfast conversations. I keep asking when she is going to get her gallbladder out so I can use it for sturgeon bait.

My other favorite fish is the salmon. Salmon need cold water, and orcas need salmon. In my previous blog post, I wrote about "Widely-reported Arctic Record-breaking Heat."  Today, regarding the other end of the globe, I read a National Geographic article by Douglas Fox noting "the last time the East Antarctic ice sheet collapsed, it added over 10 feet to sea level rise, and that it’s likely to happen again" and "If these new findings bear out, then East Antarctica may contribute to sea level rise sooner than expected. The greenhouse gases that humans have produced to date may have already locked in 42 feet [12.8 meters] of eventual sea level rise from all of the glaciers predicted to melt in the coming centuries, including the ones in East Antarctica." As my poem below notes, that means "London, Tokyo, Mumbai, New York, Bangladesh, and the Netherlands" would be submerged. Where I live, in the Pacific Northwest, that means huge parts of Vancouver, B.C. (clickable elevation), Skagit County, and Olympia may be underwater.

Personal, family, community, nation, global implications are beyond what many can imagine. Competition for resources and livable land could create global nightmare issues. Below is a poem from My Bridge at the End of the World, a 2020 Finalist for the Blue Light Press Book Award near San Francisco. My poem also appeared in Blast Furnace in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and in my book Industrial Oz.

Antarctic Dream After Watching Chasing Ice

 The bumper sticker near the airport asks
 “Are You Really Awake?”

 As I fly south on Alaska Airlines Flight 529,
 a kid beside me watches Gilligan’s Island reruns.

 I drift off, and the pilot announces
 Amundsen Sea Embayment just melted

 so during the trip from Portland to San Diego
 the sea will rise 20 feet.

 “I guess that wrecks my surf trip,” says Gilligan.
 “I guess that wrecks my ocean-front condo,” says Ginger.

 “I guess that wrecks London, Tokyo, Mumbai, New York,
 Bangladesh, and the Netherlands,” says the Professor.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Love in the Time of Coronavirus, and Widely-reported Arctic Record-breaking Heat

Creek not far from my house.
Big Leaf Maple.
Nearby barn owl.

Red Dragonfly of Transformation Appeared in the Garden
Suz cut my hair but it turned out lopsided as, due to her allergy, she only has one good eye. In return, I let her fish with my Lamiglas rod for the first time in 9 years we've been together. I explained there's love, and then there's love. There's trust, and then there's trust.

"Whatever," she said, casting for spring salmon. Speaking of salmon, yesterday I asked her to make blueberry pancakes in the shape of salmon, and now she won't make them at all. I don't know why some people have to be so difficult. 

In more serious news, PBS NEWSHOUR yesterday posted a video about 6 minutes Why a 'feverish' Arctic will affect everyone on the globe. In the video "Dr. Merritt Turetsky, director of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado Boulder, [who] has studied the Arctic for decades" says "Permafrost is the glue of Arctic ecosystems [ . . . . ] Lakes can literally disappear in the period of a few weeks. These are lakes that have been used as fishing grounds for generations. [This is] because the permafrost thaws and it is like pulling the plug out of a bathtub."

Previously on this blog I wrote about "Climate Grief" and, in another post, "One of my Native friends of many years told me in June [2019] some tribal elders said this may be the last human generation on Earth so it's time for gratitude for many gifts received, and time to help young people as we can."

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Asia Times Reports "Severity of [COVID-19] disease impact linked to BCG policies"

April 6, 2020, Update: Roni Caryn Rabin at The New York Times updated the Covid-19 / BCG topic with her April 3 (updated April 5) article "Can an Old Vaccine Stop the New Coronavirus? -- A tuberculosis vaccine invented a century ago is cheap and safe, and seems to bolster the body’s immune system." 

Today Dave Makichuk at Asia Times reported "According to a US study made widely available by MedRXiv, a combination of reduced morbidity and mortality could make the tuberculosis (TB) vaccine — Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination — a game-changer in the fight against Covid-19."

The article notes "For example Iran, which has a current universal BCG vaccination policy that only started in 1984, has an elevated mortality rate with 19.7 deaths per million inhabitants, the report said. In contrast, Japan, which started its universal BCG policy in 1947, has approximately 100 times fewer deaths per million people, with 0.28 deaths, the report said. Furthermore, Brazil started universal vaccination in 1920 and has an even lower mortality rate of 0.0573 deaths per million inhabitants."

The article continues "'We found that countries without universal policies of BCG vaccination, such as Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States have been more severely affected compared to countries with universal and long-standing BCG policies,' the researchers state. [ . . . . ] The inoculation is also believed to offer broad-ranging protection against respiratory infections, which present similar symptoms to Covid-19." [par break] "In fact, Australian researchers have just announced plans to fast track large-scale testing to see if the BCG vaccination can protect health workers from the coronavirus, the report said."

The CDC's "corrected" Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Severe Outcomes Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) — United States, February 12–March 16, 2020 noted "This first preliminary description of outcomes among patients with COVID-19 in the United States indicates that fatality was highest in persons aged ≥85, ranging from 10% to 27%, followed by 3% to 11% among persons aged 65–84 years, 1% to 3% among persons aged 55-64 years, <1% among persons aged 20–54 years, and no fatalities among persons aged ≤19 years."

Wikipedia, citing "BCG vaccines: WHO position paper – February 2018" in Weekly Epidemiological Record noted, "Serious side effects are rare. Often there is redness, swelling, and mild pain at the site of injection.[1] A small ulcer may also form with some scarring after healing.[1] Side effects are more common and potentially more severe in those with poor immune function.[1] It is not safe for use during pregnancy.[1] "

People in the US received contradictory information about COVID-19 facts. Zeynep Tufekci's March 17, 2020, New York Times opinion piece "Why Telling People They Don’t Need Masks Backfired," has a subtitle "To help manage the shortage, the authorities sent a message that made them untrustworthy."  Tufekci wrote "First, many health experts, including the surgeon general of the United States, told the public simultaneously that masks weren’t necessary for protecting the general public and that health care workers needed the dwindling supply. This contradiction confuses an ordinary listener. How do these masks magically protect the wearers only and only if they work in a particular field? [par break] Second, there were attempts to bolster the first message, that ordinary people didn’t need masks, by telling people that masks, especially medical-grade respirator masks (such as the N95 masks), needed proper fitting and that ordinary people without such fitting wouldn’t benefit. This message was also deeply counterproductive."

In the US there was a lack of following pandemic preparation guidelines according to Jeremy Konyndyk, former Director of Foreign Disaster Assistance, USAID.

Thomas McAndrew, a Postdoctoral Fellow of Biostatistics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, recently wrote "The average probability that experts assigned to a 'second wave' of COVID occurring in the fall months (Aug.-Dec.) of 2020 was 73%." 

Decision makers in health care, education, government, business, and many other areas would be wise to consider long-term planning for worst-case scenarios. March 29,2020, it was widely reported Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the nation's top COVID-19 adviser, estimated COVID-19 may kill "between 100,000 and 200,000" in the US. In contrast with other causes of death, Dan Mangan, Tucker Higgins, John W. Schoen in an April 1, 2020 article at cnbc.com, citing CDC, NOAA, and the White House, showed heart disease in the US recently killed 647,457 a year, and cancer killed 599,108. The three main threats with COVID-19 are speed of infection and death overwhelming hospitals, effects on jobs and economy, and threat of a more lethal mutation in the second global wave in fall months.

In a previous post March 17, 2020, I wrote "Historians and scientists note the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 killed most of its estimated 65 million the second time it went around the Earth." This was because, according to Dave Roos at history.com, the Spanish Flu mutated into a more lethal strain. Roos wrote "Somewhere in Europe, a mutated strain of the Spanish flu virus had emerged that had the power to kill a perfectly healthy young man or woman within 24 hours of showing the first signs of infection."

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Global Dimming Debate

I'm grateful to Dave Borlace's Just Have a Think for reporting the "global dimming" climate issue may not be as serious for humans as many thought. Borlace's video contrasts with meteorologist Eric Holthaus February 8, 2018 Grist article citing this 2018 report in Geophysical Research Letters

Scope, intensity, timescale, and solutions regarding "global dimming" are the four main issues. In my November 24, 2019 post "Climate Equity Graph from Meinshausen et al. 2009, and Aerosol Killing / Cooling Double Bind" I wrote about Holthaus Grist articleThe McPherson Paradox, and James Hansen in 2012 speaking about the aerosol problem as "Doubling Down on the Faustian Bargain" at 35:48 on this Climate One video. In my post I noted "I am uncertain about the magnitude of this problem." Even after Borlace's interesting video, I still feel this way. It seems more data and research are needed, and stakes are high enough to justify both. 

Borlace's description of "regional impacts" contrasts with Climate Scientist's David Travis' global analysis in this BBC video which originally aired in 2005 (a transcript is here). The BBC video provides a history of "global dimming" including Gerald Stanhill's research in Israel, Beate Liepert's research in Germany,  Graham Farquhar and Michael Roderick's research in Australia, Veerabhadran Ramanathan's research in The Maldives, Peter Cox's global research from the United Kingdom, and Leon Rotstayn's research about the Sahel drought whose model, according to narrator Jack Fortune, showed "what came out of our exhaust pipes and power stations [in Europe and North America may have] contributed to the deaths of a million people in Africa, and afflicted 50 million more." Rotstayn explained "The Sahel's lifeblood has always been a seasonal monsoon. For most of the year it is completely dry. But every summer, the heat of the sun warms the oceans north of the equator. This draws the rain belt that forms over the equator northwards, bringing rain to the Sahel. But for twenty years in the 1970s and 80s the tropical rain belt consistently failed to shift northwards [due to "global dimming" "pollution from Europe and North America" blocking the sun] - and the African monsoon failed."

Ramanathan explained in the BBC video "The Sahel is just one example of the monsoon system. Let me take you to anther part of the world, Asia, where the same monsoon brings rainfall to 3.6 billion people, roughly half the world's population. My main concern is this air pollution and the global dimming will also have a detrimental impact on this Asian monsoon. We are not talking about few millions of people. We are talking about few billions of people. There is no choice here. We have to cut down air pollution, if not eliminate it altogether."

In my March 3, 2018 post "Is a human life worth $450 to you?" I wrote "The highlight was when, as noted elsewhere, 'Dr. Ramanathan said it would take $450 per person per year in the top one billion people to change from our carbon economy to renewables' saving over 3 billion people that may otherwise die from exposure to 130 degree plus heat 35 years from now if humans fail to convert energy sources from coal and fossil fuels to 'solar, wind, hydro, and possibly nuclear. [ . . . . ] We have 10 to 15 years to solve the problem.'"

Saturday, March 28, 2020

"The trees will carry what we don't say." -- Robert Bly

Here in the US there is a huge amount of misinformation about coronavirus (COVID-19) at all levels. In the end, reality is what matters whether anyone says it, or not, writes it, or not, sees it, or not. Robert Bly said "The trees will carry what we don't say."

I recall him discussing Alden Nowlan’s poetry: “First of all, he breaks through denial. You know denial is now used as a guide for foreign policy in the United States [. . . .] But especially in poetry there is a lot of denial [. . .] You can say that you can practice denial by saying that radiation won’t hurt you. That is the NSB [National Science Board] way [. . .] Then you can say that our bombs resemble high-level surgeons. That’s Bush’s way. Or you can practice denial simply by not mentioning death, cancer, or poverty at all. So we could call Nowlan a teacher of grief [. . . .] This moment of suffering and confusion is the real place where we touch our reason for being born.”

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Four Quick Thoughts About Coronavirus (COVID-19)

1) The media focus now is on how "US, UK coronavirus strategies shifted following UK epidemiologists' ominous report" noting, according to CNN.com's Nick Paton Walsh,  "attempts to slow, or mitigate -- rather than actively halt, or suppress -- the novel coronavirus could overwhelm the number of intensive care hospital beds and lead to about 250,000 deaths in the UK and more than a million in the United States during the course of the current pandemic." In a contrast of numbers between coronavirus threat and regular flu, Claire Gillespie wrote Feb. 11 at health.com "Overall, the CDC estimates that [between] 12,000 and 61,000 deaths annually [in the US] since 2010 can be blamed on the flu."

2) Scientists like peer-reviewed published studies for credibility, and there hasn't been time for that with the speed and scope of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Best available information is taking priority for decision-makers reviewing the above study, and another that found "viable [HCoV-19] virus could be detected in aerosols up to 3 hours post aerosolization" according to some of the leading groups and universities including National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health; Princeton University; University of California, Los Angeles; Division of Viral Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases; and  Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health.

3) The Guardian's Michael Safi, Philip Oltermann and Patrick Wintour reported March 15, "Those dying in the Iranian outbreak are significantly younger than elsewhere, with 15% of them younger than 40, according to health ministry statistics." This is important because of how it contrasts with widely-reported news the main risks are for people in their 80s, 70s, and 60s, people with weak immune systems, or a small percent with unlucky DNA. Since viruses mutate, conditions may change.  Historians and scientists note the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 killed most of its estimated 65 million the second time it went around the Earth, and according to the above link "spread like wildfire affecting a third or a quarter of the population of the world."

4) Laurie Garrett, a former Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations, showed the contrast between how the US is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic with a local or state-by-state approach versus many other countries' centralized coordinated efforts. She predicted yesterday "slowly, over the next seven to 10 days, airports will close. Train stations will close." She said "Everybody who has ever been involved in modeling and understanding what was going to happen to America, in a serious epidemic, saw this [ lack of a 'uniform policy across the country'] as a special weakness in the American capacity to respond. [ . . . . ] Things broke down between the states. States closed borders against other states. [ . . . .] [We saw] how urgent it is that you act swiftly in the early stages of your epidemic, and dangerous it is to delay even a day, much less weeks in your response. [ . . . . ] I think we're looking at a very tough three, maybe five, months here in America."

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Coronavirus News: Good, Bad, and Ugly -- Updated March 7-9, 2020

March 7-9, 2020 Update:  Italy extended its COVID-19 quarantine to the entire country.  William Feuer at cnbc.com wrote "People throughout the country of 60 million should not travel other than for work and emergencies, Conte said. He added that all public gatherings will be banned and sporting events suspended. The decision was made to protect the most vulnerable people in the country, he said, and the measures will take effect Tuesday and last until April 3."

This follows yesterday's BBC.COM report "Coronavirus: Northern Italy quarantines 16 million people," and shows how fast conditions may change. BBC.COM later noted "Anyone who breaks the quarantine rules could be jailed for three months." 

Anya Kamenetz at npr.org reported "More Than 20 Colleges Cancel In-Person Classes In Response To Coronavirus." She wrote "The colleges enroll a total of more than 200,000 students, and include Columbia University, Princeton University, Rice University, Stanford University, Hofstra University and the University of Southern California, plus the University of Washington and a clutch of community colleges in Washington state."

Italy has a population of 60,489,383 according to worldometers.info and its previous quarantine of 16 million covered 26.45% of its population. The USA has 331,002,651, and 26.45% of that would be 87,550,201, or everyone from the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean, plus we would still need to quarantine an extra 10.48 million. 

At Olympic Climate Action blog Hot Off the Wire I found this letter of suggestions from former UCSD Professor of Pathology and MD James Robb, "one of the first molecular virologists in the world to work on coronaviruses (the 1970s)."  It was confirmed by snopes.com to be a real letter. 

March 9, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent at CNN.com, wrote "The largest case studies out of China indicate that around 80% of those infected with the coronavirus had symptoms of a bad cold and are expected to recover. Another 14% became severely ill, and 5% percent became critically ill. People in their 70s and 80s were most likely to become severely or critically ill and pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease and hypertension also increased the risk." In the article Dr. Gupta explained why CNN.com is using the term "pandemic."

 At npr.org Avie Schneider's article "Dow Dives More Than 2,000 Points; Steep Market Slide Triggered Trading Halt" explained "Stock indexes tumbled so fast Monday that trading on the New York Stock Exchange was halted temporarily for the first time since October 1997. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 2,013 points as fears grew over the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic . [ . . . . par break] It was the worst day for the market since 2008, during the financial crisis."

When I began this post, I wrote about "Good, Bad, and Ugly" COVID-19 news below.

Good:
Overall mortality rate so far may be much lower than 3.4 % reported by Los Angeles TimesTess Riski and Nigel Jaquiss at wweek.com wrote "considering that many may have been infected who didn't know it or who experienced mild symptoms, experts are starting to think that rate could be much lower. [ . . . . ] 'The vast majority of people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild disease,' said Dr. Dean Sidelinger of the Oregon Health Authority."

Bad:
The site axios.com cited Bill Gates noting "it can kill healthy adults in addition to elderly people with existing health problems" and "The average infected person spreads the disease to two or three others — an exponential rate of increase. There is also strong evidence that it can be transmitted by people who are just mildly ill."

Aimee Green at The Oregonian/OregonLive cited "A massive study by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention [that] surveyed nearly 45,000 cases in the country as of Feb. 11. [ . . . . ] 15% of people 80 years and older who were infected ultimately died. The death rate was 8% for people in their 70s, 3.6% in their 60s, 1.3% in their 50s and 0.4% or lower for people 49 and younger. [ . . . . ] It found that the mortality rate was zero for children in their first decade of life, and 0.1% for people 19 and younger."

Ugly:
Gates, in the above axios.com article notes this is "a lot like the once-in-a-century pathogen" even though he adds it's too early to say. Gates cautioned "we should assume it will be [bad] until we know otherwise." Gates explains here what a "once-in-a-century pathogen" could do.

Fiona Harvey at The Guardian reported March 2, 2020, "Vital Cop26 climate talks could be derailed by coronavirus." She wrote "China would be distracted from the talks, predicted Paul Bledsoe, a former climate adviser in Bill Clinton’s White House and a strategic adviser to the Progressive Policy Institute in the US." Bledsoe said "Should coronavirus become a full-scale pandemic, holding anything like a traditional Cop might quickly become impossible.”

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Updated Best Practices for Climate Crisis

Used with permission of Extinction Rebellion Seattle.
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” ― Gospel of Thomas

Nation = Morocco and The Gambia

Leader = Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland

City = Vancouver, B. C.

College = Middlebury in Vermont

Organization = Extinction Rebellion, 350.org, and Olympic Climate Action

Individual = Roger Hallam and Dr. Gail Bradbrook

Scientist = James HansenHans Joachim Schellnhuber, and Johan Rockström

Activist = Ken Ward and Valve Turners

Astronaut = Piers Sellers

Humor = The Yes Men

Lawyer = Julia Olson, executive director and chief legal counsel for Our Children’s Trust and Thomas Linzey

Organizer = Bill McKibben

Youth Climate Movement = Greta Thunberg

Musician = Ruth MundyLudovico Einaudi, and Coldplay

Rap Artist = Baba Brinkman

Writer = Thomas BerryElizabeth Kolbert and Dahr Jamail

Artist = Pinar YoldasSean Yoro (HULA), and Guy Denning

Explainer = Dave Borlace


Dance Performance = KT Nelson's Dead Reckoning 

Thinker = Paul Kingsnorth and Derrick Jensen

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Climate Lifeboats of the Rich and Famous?

For many years, I told my creative writing students to listen deeply for circles, threads, and connections.  I laughed when it was widely reported the world's second richest man, Bill Gates ($96.5 billion), bought -- then didn't buy -- Sinot's AQUA, "the world's first hydrogen-powered yacht for $650 million" according to businessinsider.com' s Taylor Gorden, and other reporters. It was like when the world's wealthiest man, Amazon's Jeff Bezos ($131 billion), allegedly bought -- then didn't buy -- "one of the worlds largest and most luxurious super yachts Flying Fox" according to stuff.co.nz's John Anthony, and other reporters.

These yes -- no -- reports are like the dead parrot scene in Monty's Python's sketch about the "resting" Norwegian Blue.

Maybe these two yacht reports are slick advertising campaigns, or just plain wrong. Maybe not. I guess if Gates and Bezos can't go to Mars yet to escape or wait out climate chaos, the sea may be the next best thing. About a week ago "Jeff Bezos Commit[ed] $10 Billion to Address Climate Change" according to New York Times' Karen Weise so climate is on his mind.

As John Lennon sang, "Strange days indeed" in his song "Nobody Told Me."

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Two Charts Showing What 2 C, 3 C, 4 C, and 5 C Mean. Global Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) Agreed to in Paris in 2016 Were 3.5 C (6.3 F) Over Pre-Industrial Levels, and Global Emissions Are Still Rising.


Used with permission of Datawrapper.

Here is the second chart from Climate Action Tracker showing while India is "2 C COMPATIBLE," USA and Russian Federation trajectories put us at a "4 C + WORLD" and are labeled "CRITICALLY INSUFFICIENT." As noted above, a "4 C + WORLD" means "Deadly heatwaves every summer, hundreds of drowned cities, devastation of the majority of eco-systems, more tipping points are crossed, leading to intensified warming." Earth's "most likely scenario + 3.2 C" brings "High risk of reversing of carbon cycle triggering runaway warming spiral. Droughts and famine for billions of people, leading to chaos and wars."

There is even more bad news. Amanda Erickson noted in the Washington Post October 11, 2018, "Few countries are meeting the Paris climate goals." It's small comfort "the rate of emissions growth is lower than in the previous 2 years" according to a February 3, 2020 article by CORDIS at phys.org.  That's like a doctor saying "Yes, on this course the patient is terminal, but she is dying more slowly than before."  Given all this, Extinction Rebellion's second demand makes sense: "Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025."

In a previous post I wrote, "Johan Rockström, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, [noted] at 4 C above preindustrial 1850 baseline, 'It’s difficult to see how [Earth] could accommodate a billion people or even half of that.I have also written the IPCC report noted 'Coral reefs, for example, are projected to decline by a further 70–90% at 1.5°C (high confidence) with larger losses (>99%) at 2°C (very high confidence).' I have seen pushback claiming humanity is not in a climate crisis, but tell that to the estimated 500 million to 1 billion people depending on those coral reefs for food and/or jobs that will clearly be lost unless some miracle science, not yet invented, saves them."

I agree with James Baldwin, "Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced."

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Climate Grief

About 9 years ago, my life partner of 6 years died suddenly and unexpectedly. She was laughing and joking at breakfast, and nearly gone by evening. My mom, dad, and companion animal, about the same time, also suffered horrible deaths. The family thought mom had the flu, but it was much worse. One moment we were talking at the dinner table, and shortly after, I and paramedics were unable to save her. I will spare you the gory details. The Tibetan Buddhist idea of "impermanence" I teach in World Literature was becoming clear. The point is my grief counselor taught me 4 things that may help those waking up to climate reality, and suffering climate grief:

1) "Emotions come through in waves. Accept the waves."

2) "Take time to grieve, and not to grieve."

3) "Know you will feel different tomorrow than today."

4) "Understand the importance of storytelling in healing."

As the climate crisis necessarily accelerates, because, as Brian Kahn on December 3, 2014, at climatecentral.org noted, "CO2 Takes Just 10 Years to Reach Planet’s Peak Heat," more people will wake up and grieve. There seems to be a natural grieving process when, for example, a Jan. 14, 2020, Los Angeles Times article “An Australia in flames tries to cope with an ‘animal apocalypse.’ Could California be next?” reported "Scientists estimate that, so far in Australia, fires have killed from hundreds of millions to more than 1 billion native animals," or students see one koala bear rescued. Similarly, it was stressful when The International Organization for Migration, “a related agency of the UN system” (according to its Website), reported in 2015 “Current forecasts for the number of climate induced migrants by 2050 vary between 25 million and one billion, depending on various climate scenarios, the adaptation measures taken and other political and demographic factors.4” A Sep. 12, 2019 Vice magazine article, citing The International Organization for Migration, updated the number to as high as “1.5 billion.”

Even climate scientists are grieving. As I wrote in a previous post, “Scientist and Forbes writer James Conca noted September 10, 2019, ‘To bring this home, all you have to do is see how climate scientists are seeking psychiatric help for the depression, anxiety and PTSD that happens when you see a train wreck coming but no one seems to want to do anything about it - and you’re on the train.’"

Previously, I posted about "Climate Scientists Expressing Nightmare/Anger/Fear/Gratitude/Other Feelings." In the first letter, Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, Head of Earth System Analysis, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, wrote "Sometimes I have this dream. [par break] I’m going for a hike and discover a remote farm house on fire. [par break] Children are calling for help from the upper windows. So I call the fire brigade. But they don’t come, because some mad person keeps telling them that it is a false alarm."

NASA climate scientist Peter Kalmus' 2018 Yes! Magazine article "The Best Medicine for My Climate Grief" clarified what was coming, and yesterday's Guardian article by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, "‘The only uncertainty is how long we’ll last’: a worst case scenario for the climate in 2050," shows where we may be going barring major changes for better or worse.  

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Koala Bear Dream

"Tree With No Words" on Oregon Coast
I dreamed Koalas with human voices asked for a seat at the UN.

The UN said no.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Process Work Institute's CLIMATE FORUM: Is Portland [Oregon] Making a Difference? Jan. 17, 2020

I was glad to attend Process Work Institute's CLIMATE FORUM: Is Portland [Oregon] Making a Difference?, and I hope other cities will follow this format of diverse perspectives, patient listening, and community building. I heard Native Americans and Pacific Islanders, healing song, words of students and high school teachers, authors, local residents, political candidates, business perspectives, and those voicing concerns for refugee rights, climate justice, and future humans and nonhumans. The group of about 80 included those from Siberia, Ukraine, Poland, Italy, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Korea. The event began with three minute presentations from Portland Audubon, Pacific Climate Warriors, Center for Sustainable Economy, Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon Yang Gang, and Portland Clean Energy Fund. This was followed by two minutes of sharing from others. 

When it was my turn, I spoke about nonviolent civil disobedient success and three demands of Extinction Rebellion which were greeted with loud applause. 

Friday, January 17, 2020

Dissenting Judge Staton in Lost Case 18-36082 Kelsey Rose Juliana v. USA (Children's Trust Climate Lawsuit Permission to Proceed to Trial Against USA Heard by Case Panel: MURGUIA, HURWITZ, STATON): "In these proceedings, the government accepts as fact that the United States has reached a tipping point crying out for a concerted response – yet presses ahead toward calamity. It is as if an asteroid were barreling toward Earth and the government decided to shut down our only defenses. Seeking to quash this suit, the government bluntly insists that it has the absolute and unreviewable power to destroy the nation.”

For background, click here.

The above quote is from Lee Van der Voo's Jan. 17, 2020 article in The Guardian.

Interesting this comes the same day CNN reporter Drew Kann wrote "Almost 6 in 10 Americans are either 'alarmed' or 'concerned' by global warming, marking what researchers say is a major shift in public perception of the issue."

It is also interesting Carolyn Kormann in The New Yorker wrote "The judges will take a few weeks to issue their decision," but it took over seven months.  What forces behind the scenes, if any, influenced this verdict?  What forces in land, sea, and sky will result from this verdict? What will future generations say about it?

John Kruzel, writing at The Hill, quoted Julia Olson, executive director and chief legal counsel for Our Children’s Trust, “The Juliana case is far from over. The Youth Plaintiffs will be asking the full court of the Ninth Circuit to review this decision and its catastrophic implications for our constitutional democracy."

In my opinion judges Murguia and Hurwitz, calling for "the electorate at large" to "change the composition of the political branches through the ballot box" (according to cnn.com reporter Dan Berman) completely ignored the science regarding rate of change, regardless of what they said to media, each other, or themselves in dead of night.

Taylor Perse, writing for eugeneweekly.com, added a quote from Staton's dissent "When the seas envelop our coastal cities, fires and droughts haunt our interiors, and storms ravage everything between, those remaining will ask: Why did so many do so little?"

Nicholas Kusnetz and David Hasemyer, writing for insideclimatenews.org, included a quote by Hurwitz complementing Staton's dissent, "Absent some action, the destabilizing climate will bury cities, spawn life-threatening natural disasters, and jeopardize critical food and water supplies."

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Judge Gives New Meaning to "Swiss Bank Account"

Feb. 6, 2020 Update from Leonard Higgins, Valve Turner: "Regretfully, the Skagit County Superior Court granted the Prosecution’s last-minute motion to delay fellow Valve Turner Ken Ward’s [climate necessity defense] trial (that was scheduled to begin on Monday) to sometime later this Spring. This delay comes at a huge financial cost to us, as we have already sunk thousands of dollars into trial preparations, and for the lodging and travel expenses of our expert witnesses."

I missed local English Bulldog Agility Trials because Suz said we needed to see the tax man. I'm sure I'll get over it in a few decades.

On a more serious note, it was great to read Jordan Davidson's Jan. 14, 2020 article at ecowatch.com, "Swiss Judge Clears Climate Crisis Protestors, Says Actions Were ‘Necessary and Proportional’." Davidson wrote "A Swiss court on Monday cleared a dozen activists of wrongdoing and a hefty fine [of '$22,200']  for a stunt they pulled in a Credit Suisse bank in November 2018. [par break] The protestors had occupied the bank and played tennis to demand an end to fossil fuel funding and to ask tennis star, Roger Federer, to end his endorsement deal with the bank, as the AP reported. [ . . . . ] The judge, Philippe Colelough, said the protestors who wore completely white tennis outfits and wigs were justified because of the imminent threat posed by the climate crisis, according to Deutsche Welle."

According to Davidson, Federer responded in a Reuters report, "I appreciate reminders of my responsibility as a private individual, as an athlete and as an entrepreneur, and I'm committed to using this privileged position to dialogue on important issues with my sponsors [ . . . . ] I take the impacts and threat of climate change very seriously, particularly as my family and I arrive in Australia amidst devastation from the bushfires."

This is timely because Valve Turner Ken Ward, tried a third time, will face a "climate necessity defense trial" February 10-14, 2020 in Skagit Superior Court, Mt Vernon, WA. Last year I showed a film about him, The Reluctant Radical, at my college, and posted a link to the trailer. My English 205 students ranked it as one of their favorite films in the course.  Climate Scientist Dr. James Hansen praised the film, "They told him he was crazy, but crazy is sitting idly by as disaster for young people is knowingly locked in." In a previous post I wrote "Professor James Hansen said in his COP25 Press Conference '450 [ppm of  CO2] is a disaster if you leave it in the air for long because we would eventually lose all coastal cities. The safe level is something less than 350 ppm but we are already at 410 ppm.' [I added] that should be on the front page of each newspaper on Earth."

It was interesting last time Valve Turners received permission to use the "necessity defense," "a last-minute change of mind by [ . . . a Minnesota] trial judge" "acquitted [ . . . ] Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein of all charges," according to Mark Hand Oct. 10, 2018, at thinkprogress.org.

It was reported Valve Turner Michael Foster, a family therapist, is on day 3 of a hunger strike at the start of a legislative session In Olympia, WA, to "fast each day until Gov Inslee calls for a Citizens' Assembly and Emergency Special Session for Climate. It is 2020. Washington emissions are higher than when Inslee took office. Our families won't survive another few years of tinkering around the edges. Cut pollution now or make Life pay forever." I recall Washington Governor Jay Inslee ran for President on a climate platform noted in my post that included "Radiohead - Idioteque" used with permission of Extinction Rebellion.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Mary Annaïse Heglar's "My wish for 2020 [. . .]"

I found this tweet at Olympic Climate Action's blog Hot Off the Wire 1/3/2020, and received permission from Natural Resources Defense Council Publications Director Mary Annaïse Heglar to repost. l previously wrote about Extinction Rebellion Co-founder Roger Hallam's "Emotional and Intellectual Honesty," and saw these strengths in Annaïse Heglar's Twitter page, her climate  manifesto "The Fight for Climate Justice Requires a New Narrative," and sensitivity to national and global communities mostly-silenced in corporate media.

As a reminder, I wrote a climate manifesto in 2014, and posted former Director of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Hans Joachim Schellnhuber's idea of creating "a climate passport [or Nansen passport for climate refugees] 'to enter at least about 50 countries']." as he claimed "Rising Seas Could Affect 1.4 Billion People by 2060." Annaïse Heglar wrote in her October 22, 2019 Guernica article "After the Storm -- How Hurricane Katrina and the murder of Emmett Till shaped one woman’s commitment to climate justice," "we never thought we’d see New Orleanians referred to as refugees in their own country. It was as heartbreaking as it was unbelievable."

Annaïse Heglar's comment about "refugees" reminds me of Global Oneness Project's short video "In Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." noting the reality of all humans being "interdependent [, . . . . ] interrelated" and how "we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools." King's quote has taken on greater importance with the climate crisis. 

Annaïse Heglar's comment also fits John D. Banusiewicz's writing for DoD News at The U. S. Department of Defense, citing former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's position on global warming: "food and water shortages, pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and resources, and destruction by natural disasters in regions across the globe." In one of my most-visited posts, "Cornel West's Great Essay 'Brother Martin Was a Blues Man.'" West noted  "But when [ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] was speaking the truth, he was radically unsettling folk. [ . . . .]  The New York TimesNew YorkerAtlantic MonthlyNew Republic, exemplary liberal [ . . . ] pushed Martin aside. [ . . . .]"  Annaïse Heglar's willingness to "speak the rude truth" as King, Jr did, and as Emerson wrote, is in good company in this regard.

In related matters, Elizabeth Kolbert, author of 2015 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, has a great essay in the January 13, 2020 issue of The New Yorker"What Will Another Decade of Climate Crisis Bring?"; the January 3, 2020 issue of The Guardian reported "Jakarta floods: cloud seeding planes try to break up heavy rain"; and Amy Goodman of Democracy NOW! reported "Australia is bracing for what is expected to be the worst weekend yet in an already devastating climate-fueled wildfire season that has ravaged the southeastern part of the country, killed at least 18 people and nearly half a billion animals, and destroyed 14.5 million acres of land. As thousands of evacuees fled to the beaches, conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing growing outrage for his inaction on climate and close ties with the coal industry." Regarding the Jakarta, Indonesia "cloud seeding." I wrote about geoengineering on this blog quoting Corey Gabriel, Executive Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Masters of Advanced Studies in Climate Science and Policy: "In the event that geoengineering did cause disparate regional impacts, a regulatory scheme would need to develop that would contain enforceable compensation mechanisms to compensate those who suffer any damages." 

DOCUMENTARY: Climate skeptic examines what scientists know and how they know it (by Verify Road Trip in Dallas, Texas)


Thanks to David Schechter / Verify Road Trip for permission. 

In addition to climate work in Texas, this video focuses on climate impacts in Alaska along with effects on glaciers, salmon, and permafrost experienced by a climate skeptic willing to meet outdoors with scientists. The skeptic, 38-year-old Justin Fain, is a "politically conservative"  honest and curious Texas roofer with a great sense of humor so the video is fun to watch.  

Included are climate skeptic Dr. John R. ChristyAlabama State Climatologist, and climate scientist, Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, a former Exxon-funded climate scientist whom, in addition to being a co-author on the 2018 Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessmentwas noted by Neela Banerjee in the Los Angeles Times as "driven as much by the tenets of her faith [as an evangelical Christian] as the urgency of the science" and is committed to "protecting God’s creation and loving one’s neighbors" clearly suffering climate impacts today in Australia, island nations, and developing nationsWhile I agree with Dr. Christy "climate has been hotter [and colder] in the past," "ice [has] melted there before" and "sea level [has] risen before," my reading shows the anthropogenic (human-caused) argument is still convincing. Reasons include increased rate of carbon release along with increased rate of global heating, unprecedented rate of global heating in the past 2,000 years according to Chelsea Harvey in the July 25, 2019 E&E News and Scientific American, and widely reported current rate of melting glaciers.

For example, in the video, Dr. Jay Banner says "The rate of change happening today is 40,000 times faster [. . . than] our past records of CO2," and journalist David Schechter, informed by scientist Dr. Brian Brettschneidersays "Whereas glaciers might have receded over hundreds or thousands of years, now it's decades." See former climate skeptic James Balog's trailer for Chasing Ice (2,184,698 views as of today).  

I imagine Dr. Christy noting, regarding CO2, "correlation is not causation" and I am writing about "thousands of years," while he is speaking about geologic time when, for example, according to ScienceDaily, "alligators thrived in High Arctic 50 million years ago." However, as Dr. Andy Dessler in the above video said, and many other scientists argued, skeptics' main competing climate "suspects" of "Earth's orbit," "sun getting hotter," and "El Niño," are easily discredited while, according to Dessler, "COis guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."

Native Alaskan Karlin Itchoak, of the Nome Eskimo Community, says "I think we're 10 years behind at least, maybe more [ . . . .] What I'm worried about is by time folks in Texas don't have to question whether or not climate change is happening, we won't be able to reverse it and we'll all just be in survival mode and figure out how we can adapt." Some of my fishing buddies, colleagues, and relatives are serious climate skeptics, but love salmon and fishing, so it would be good for them, and other skeptics, to see this video.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

"2020 spring salmon forecast mirrors previous year’s [low returns]" -- The Columbian

Suz on a river near our house about three years ago.
Low water steelhead fishing on Oregon coast.
Suz and I got in a big fight because her veggie casserole smelled up my sandshrimps, and fish wouldn't bite. Before that, I was scolded for being too fat, and scolded for not eating enough. I guess I'm still learning about married life.

The coho run was a bust in area rivers and fall chinook season closed early so hopefully winter steelhead fishing will be better. Oddly, coho jack counts last year were good (year-early smaller fish) but, Terry Otto of The Columbian reported Dec. 18, 2019, "Staff from [Washington and Oregon] expressed concern about the fact that the big jack return of 2018, which should have been a sign of a very strong return in 2019, [. . .] did not pan out. [par break] The fact that there were so many jacks that did not survive to spawn means something happened to adult coho in the ocean. Managers can only speculate about the reason. [. . . .] 'Certainly, the ocean has turned a little bit (poor) again in 2019.' said Tucker Jones, the ODFW manager of ocean salmon and Columbia River. 'Climate change is going to make everything more variable and dynamic, so for sure it’s a real possibility.'"  In 2016 The Columbian posted my letter about the climate/salmon issue noting "[In 2015] the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife trucked salmon up low rivers to spawn, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife trucked salmon out of Central Oregon due to warm waters, and California trucked smolts to the ocean."

I will speculate 2019 low runs were due to return of the "blob" impacting ocean feeding, increasing weakened fish' vulnerability to marine predators, and killing more fish from river disease. Specifically, I wrote in a previous post September 1, 2019 about return of the Pacific fish-killing "blob." Scott Sistek's linked katu.com news article reported "Research scientists with NOAA Fisheries note that a new expanse of unusually warm water has quickly grown in much the same way [as in 2014-15], in the same area, to almost the same size -- again [in 2019] stretching from Alaska to California."

Similarly, the Statesman Journal reported "To help the remaining [fall] Chinook spawn, officials have closed the entire North [Oregon] Coast to all salmon angling effective Dec. 13 to 31. [. . . .] [ODFW Biologist Robert] Bradley blamed abnormally dry conditions in Oregon for the spread of the [cryptobia] parasite, which has caused fish deaths in the past but never on this scale."  

In my December 8, 2013 post Dr. David Welch, a world expert on salmon migratory patterns, whom sent maps on coho, chinook, sockeye, and steelhead Pacific Ocean migrations, claimed "global warming" was one of the biggest threats to long-term survival of the Pacific Northwest's iconic fish. This fit what Bob Lackey, Professor of Fisheries at Oregon State University, emailed me: "In a 100 years wild salmon runs south of Canada will be reduced to remnant runs."

A similar nightmare is unfolding in Tasmania

One of my Native friends of many years told me in June some tribal elders said this may be the last human generation on Earth so it's time for gratitude for many gifts received, and time to help young people as we can.