Tag Archives: environment

From October: Newstatesman.com posts about a geophysicist who sees capitalism destabilizing the Earth’s human-support systems.

From the article:

But the bottom line was clear enough: global capitalism has made the depletion of resources so rapid, convenient and barrier-free that “earth-human systems” are becoming dangerously unstable in response. When pressed by a journalist for a clear answer on the “are we f**ked” question, Werner set the jargon aside and replied, “More or less.”

“There was one dynamic in the model, however, that offered some hope. Werner termed it “resistance” – movements of “people or groups of people” who “adopt a certain set of dynamics that does not fit within the capitalist culture”. According to the abstract for his presentation, this includes “environmental direct action, resistance taken from outside the dominant culture, as in protests, blockades and sabotage by indigenous peoples, workers, anarchists and other activist groups”.

Original article: goo.gl/yADZPJ

This is some scary stuff and it’s essentially my worst nightmare. Back int he early 1990s there was a comic book the predicted the worst possible endgame for capitalism. The comic was called “The Legionaires” and while it was a superhero comic, it took place in the distant future after the Earth had been strip-mined literally beyond the capacity of the Earth’s ability to support it. The planet literally collapses and breaks up. Luckily Earth’s biggest cities had developed domed cities as defenses against nuclear war and alien invasions, so the comic didn’t end in one issue. The point is, it doesn’t take a geophysicist to recognize what happens when you let capitalism run amok. The whole idea of “free market capitalism,” in the end, denies the laws of physics and, as a result, is ultimately unsustainable.

It’s a really shame our corporate and governmental leaders don’t read comic books.


This whole Santorum Vs. Obama’s faith thing got me so angry I drew three Ballpoint strips this week.  This is the last one (for now) and Billy swears again.  If you have read other Ballpoint Adventures, you know that Billy and Barbie really don’t swear that much.  So, you know when they do, it means I’m really REALLY PISSED about something.  :)  See, because, whether or not you believe Global Warming is manmade or if Climate Change is really happening, IT’S STILL GOOD TO CARE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.  WHAT ARE YOU? AN IDIOT?  I’m SO TIRED OF HAVING THIS DISCUSSION.

Ballpoint Adventures for February 21, 2012: Billy Knows What Rick Santorum doesn’t!

See, this is the shit that makes me so mad. Santorum is letting his faith in a magical being decide how to be a leader.  This makes me crazy with anger because I base my life decisions, not on a mythical being but on facts.  Since there are no facts proving God’s existence, I look at facts that do exist, like how our climate is changing and how protecting the environment is good because we LIVE in it.  FUCK.  IDIOT.

Hurricane/Tropical Storm #Irene Spews Sediment from Connecticut River

NASA’s Flickr page has some amazing photos–not just of space, but of the Earth–including this one showing all of the sediment churned up by hurricane Irene. It’s done quite a bit of damage to local ecosystems and was probably something most folks didn’t think about happening. I know I didn’t.

I wonder how far that damage will end up going. Click through to the Flickr page for a LOT more explanation of the pic and what it could mean for local ecology!


A map of the proposed Keystone XL, also called Tar Sands, pipeline.

It could carry crude oil some 1,700 miles from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast in Texas.

A friendly and safe new source of oil for the U.S. or an environmental disaster waiting to happen?

Nice! It’ll deliver oil all the way from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico where it can be spilled and pollute some more! >_<

Come on, kids! Let’s come up with some better, more imaginative solutions to our energy problems.  Gah!  You’d think the last 100 years of great ideas didn’t happen! 


This photo has been popping up on the lower right corner of my dash today. Someone put a comedic caption to it. Ha ha ha. Look at that silly dolphin using a shopping bag.

It’s estimated that around 100,000 marine mammals die each year due to plastic litter in the North Pacific. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is estimated to measure between the size of Texas and the continental United States; the North Atlantic Garbage Patch is hundreds of kilometers across. Most plastic bags are made from polyethylene, which comes from petroleum, and cannot biodegrade. They are affected by photodegradation, meaning they eventually break down into tiny synthetic granules because of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, but they are not thought to degrade fully. This means that, on top of all the other trash and waste polluting the ocean, these microscopic bits of plastic are ingested by marine animals all over the world. That’s when they’re not mistaking plastic bags for food, or playing with them, and getting them stuck in their digestive tract until it slowly kills them.

So, yes. Hilarious.

People on Tumblr post snarky comments about a dolphin with a shopping bag on its fin while completely missing the sad, fucked up irony?  I can’t imagine!

Oh wait, yes I can.  Well said, Mockingnerd!

What’s Really In That Tampon? from Mother Jones

What’s Really In That Tampon? from Mother Jones

Holy cats, I don’t know how women deal with this! From the above linked MoJo article:

When my period hits, I usually snag the cheapest disposable product in the feminine hygiene aisle of my nearest Walgreen’s. But then I read on the Sierra Club’s website that the tampons and pads in my bathroom cabinet are not only clogging up US waterways and landfills, but they may also contain materials that could harm my body.

Slate’s Green Lantern investigated the environmental impact of period supplies and found out that of the 62,415 pounds of total trash one US woman throws out doing her menstrual years, “pads, plugs, and applicators” only account for about 250 to 300 pounds of the garbage. Still, the individual plastic packaging on my pads isn’t exactly helping to decrease my personal landfill load. Same goes for the 16,800 tampons I’m expected to use in my lifetime, though the non-applicator kind are marginally less wasteful…

Sheesh. Here’s another problem the doesn’t seem to have much of an alternative.  But hey, God gave us this planet to abuse, right? I just want to know what we’re supposed to do when we’re knee-deep in “plastic applicators”??

Earth’s Hottest Year just might explain Sharpest Drop in Oldest, Thickest Arctic Sea Ice

Earth’s Hottest Year just might explain Sharpest Drop in Oldest, Thickest Arctic Sea Ice



Exclusive: Scientists track sharp drop in oldest, thickest Arctic sea ice: 2010 melt season ends, likely setting the record for lowest volume @ National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) via Climate Progress

NOAA reports 2010 hottest year on record so far: Summer 2010 the second warmest on record; hottest August in RSS satellite record* @ NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center via Climate Progress

Environment correspondent Richard Black @ BBC News ~ ‘Rapid’ 2010 melt for Arctic ice – but no record

Just more evidence to be ignored by those in power.

ATTN: ATLANTIC OCEAN: Jealous of the Pacific Ocean’s Giant Plastic Garbage Patch? Now You’ve got One, too!!


Science Editor Steve Connor @ The Independent ~ Now Atlantic is found to have huge ‘garbage patch’

A huge expanse of floating plastic debris has been documented for the first time in the North Atlantic Ocean. The size of the affected area rivals the “great Pacific garbage patch” in the world’s other great ocean basin, which generated an outcry over the effects of plastic waste on marine wildlife. (…)

via paulmalouf

I’m going to give up soon.

Just saying.

Sharks in the *Potomac*? Oh yeah, Climate Change is here.

From WashingtonPost.com:

Willy Dean was on the Potomac River in a 22-foot skiff Tuesday morning when he realized there was something both abnormal and enormous in his net. It was a deadly 8-foot-1 bull shark, a 300-pound-plus killer that had likely been feasting on cownose rays at Cornfield Harbor, just off the shores of Point Lookout State Park.

Awww, yeah!!  Sharks in the Potomac!  Next, I’m sure we’ll hear from the Republicans how Al Qaeda is recruiting sharks to travel up the Potomac to threaten the White House.


I wouldn’t put anything past those idiots.

But political stuff aside, this is nice and messed up.  I sure am glad so little money is being spent on combating Climate Change!  I’m sure terrorists are a MUCH bigger threat to the USA than bizarre changes in nature like sharks swimming up rivers they normally don’t.  Combine this with rising sea levels and we’ll have a real mess on our hands!

Good Point from Underpaid Genius: Worldwide Heatwave: Not In The News Though


The world is gripped in an unprecedented heatwave. The recent East Coast weather pattern has led to 10 days of over 90º F temperatures. 

This is a worldwide phenomenon, which is beling largely unreported by the papers here in the US. Here’s a May 30 2010 Guardian piece on the Indian heat wave:

Record temperatures in northern India have claimed hundreds of lives in what is believed to be the hottest summer in the country since records began in the late 1800s.

The death toll is expected to rise with experts forecasting temperatures approaching 50C (122F) in coming weeks. More than 100 people are reported to have died in the state of Gujarat where the mercury topped at 48.5C last week. At least 90 died in Maharashtra, 35 in Rajasthan and 34 in Bihar.

And it’s even worse in Africa and West Asia, as reported by Jeff Masters on 24 June:

Extreme heat wave sets all-time high temperature records in Africa and Middle East

A withering heat wave of unprecedented intensity and areal covered has smashed all-time high temperatures in four nations in the Middle East and Africa over the past week. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Chad, and Niger all set new records for their hottest temperatures of all time, and several other Middle East nations came within a degree of their hottest temperatures ever. The heat was the most intense in Iraq, which had its hottest day in history on June 14, 2010, when the mercury hit 52.0°C (125.6°F) in Basra. Iraq’s previous record was 51.7°C (125.1°F) set August 8, 1937, in Ash Shu’aybah. It was also incredibly hot in Saudi Arabia, which had its hottest temperature ever on Tuesday (June 22): 52.0°C (125.6°F), measured in Jeddah, the second largest city in Saudi Arabia. The previous record was 51.7°C (125.1°F), at Abqaiq, date unknown. The record heat was accompanied by a sandstorm, which caused eight power plants to go offline, resulting in blackouts to several Saudi cities.

In Africa, Chad had its hottest day in history on Tuesday (June 22), when the temperature reached 47.6°C (117.7°F) at Faya. The previous record was 47.4°C (117.3°F) at Faya on June 3 and June 9, 1961. Niger tied its record for hottest day in history on Tuesday (June 22), when the temperature reached 47.1°C (116.8°F) at Bilma. That record stood for just one day, as Bilma broke the record again on Wednesday (June 23), when the mercury topped out at 48.2°C (118.8°F). The previous record was 47.1°C on May 24, 1998, also at Bilma.

Three countries came within a degree of their all time hottest temperature on record during the heat wave. Bahrain had its hottest June temperature ever, 46.9°C, on June 20, missing the all-time record of 47.5°C (117.5°F), set July 14, 2000. Temperatures in Quatar reached 48.8°C (119.8°F) on June 20. Quatar’s all-time record hottest temperature was 49.6°C (121.3°F) set on July 9, 2000. It was also very hot in Kuwait, with temperatures reaching 51°C (123.8°F) in the capital on June 15. Kuwait’s all-time hottest temperature was 51.9°C (125.4°F), on July 27,2007, at Abdaly. According to Essa Ramadan, a Kuwaiti meteorologist from Civil Aviation, Matrabah, Kuwait smashed this record and had Asia’s hottest temperature in history on June 15 this year, when the mercury hit 54.0°C (129.2°F). However, data from this station is notoriously bad, and each year bogus record highs have to be corrected, according to an email I received from weather record researcher Maximiliano Herrera. Asia’s hottest temperature in history will very likely remain the 53.5°C (128.3°F) recorded at MohenjuDaro, Pakistan on May 26 this year.

We’ve now had six countries in Asia and Africa that have beaten their all-time hottest temperature record during the past two months. As I discussed in my blog about Pakistan’s May 26 record, Southeast Asia also had its all-time hottest temperature in May, when the mercury hit 47°C (116.6°F) in Myinmu, Myanmar on May 12. All of these records are unofficial, and will need to be certified by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). According to Chris Burt, author of Extreme Weather, setting four national heat records in one month is not unprecedented—in August 2003, five countries (the UK, France, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein) all broke their all-time heat records during that year’s notorious summer heat wave. Fortunately, the residents of the countries affected by this week’s heat wave are more adapted to extreme high temperatures, and we are not seeing the kind of death tolls experienced during the 2003 European heat wave (30,000 killed.) This week’s heat wave in Africa and the Middle East is partially a consequence of the fact that Earth has now seen three straight months with its warmest temperatures on record, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. It will be interesting to see if the demise of El Niño in May will keep June from becoming the globe’s fourth straight warmest month on record.

Not an especially great record to set.

The facts are pretty clear: high temperatures in all parts of the world, and months of hottest temperatures ever.

The oceans are warmer than ever too, so expect — along with drought — an increase in hurricane and typhoons.

But why isn’t the global heat wave newsworthy? Why does the Washington Post run a story on the heat wave there, and not talk to one climate scientist? They had like 8 reporters working on the story, but no one could call NOAA?

It’s fodder: reading about someone’s German Shepherd suffering from the DC heat is fun, in a way. But having someone thread the needle about global temperature at at all time high — hot enough to kill tens or hundreds of thousands of people, if things continue — is nowhere to be found.

There’s this thing called “the tipping point” where the ocean will run out of space for more CO2.  I wonder if we’ve passed that. I also wonder if there are other “tipping points” where once there’s less than a certain amount of ice on the planet (or less than a certain number of cool areas on the planet) hot “dominoes” will begin to fall for the entire planet.

It’s a real shame that our “experts” are morons and our leaders and the media care only for themselves.

Episode 8 of the 666cast featuring a rant against our leaders, both elected and paid for! Yep, in this week’s 666cast, I take to task the folks who are leading us.  Whether elected or not, they have a responsibility to do the right thing to keep society and the people who live in it safe and moving forward.  However, none of the guys at the top are doing it.  Whether it’s Obama or the bankers or the head of BP, we’re getting screwed big time and our society is in trouble because of it. Please subscribe to the feed. What do you think?

Episode 8 of the 666cast featuring a rant against our leaders, both elected and paid for!

Yep, in this week’s 666cast, I take to task the folks who are leading us.  Whether elected or not, they have a responsibility to do the right thing to keep society and the people who live in it safe and moving forward.  However, none of the guys at the top are doing it.  Whether it’s Obama or the bankers or the head of BP, we’re getting screwed big time and our society is in trouble because of it.

Please subscribe to the feed.

What do you think?

Climate Change Cartoon Explains the Really Really Bad Stuff

Yeah, yeah, I know–it’s ANOTHER explanation of global warming/climate change and you’ve heard it all before, right? Well, no, I don’t think you’ve heard everything this ‘toon has to tell you. Basically, up to this point, the message is that CC and GW are just going to effect the weather patterns. Maybe a few people have talked about how it’ll make finding water harder, but this goes far beyond–it talks about the tipping point–the point at which everything will get exponentially worse regardless of what we do. The changes that occur may very well be a much faster change than most folks have been predicting. This cartoon also goes into the socio-economic issues that would result from CC and GW. As in: what people will do in order to survive (like kill each other for drinkable water). Finally, this film also goes into the role corporations and government have in causing all of this. The drive for money is what is holding us back, according to the filmmaker and I agree with him.

But enough of my blabbing, check out the cartoon and make up your own mind. Just don’t stop watching because you know everything in the beginning–give it a few minutes to get to the new stuff. Trust me!

Wake Up, Freak Out – then Get a Grip from Leo Murray on Vimeo.

Please share this video. You never know, it just might make a difference!

OH forgot to link back to where I found it: reflectionof.me/catastrophic-climate-change

Climate Change at the American Museum of Natural History

The Climate Change exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History is open now and runs until August 16, 2009. Tickets are $24 for adults (cheaper for kids, students and seniors). Check out the ANMH website for more info: www.amnh.org/exhibitions/climatechange
Read on to find out whether I think it’s an exhibit worth checking out!

Recently, I got invited to a thing last night at the American Museum of Natural History–they opened up the Climate Change exhibit and their Butterfly Sanctuary for families and media (like me!) to come check it out sans crowds. They fed us and let us have at both exhibits.

In the shadow of a dinosaur skeleton they fed us. :)

Now, if you’re wondering if it’s worth it to check out an exhibit on Climate Change, don’t doubt it–it’s worth it. Especially Climate Change which is now open at the American Museum of Natural History until August 16, 2009. Now you may be wondering how I can fairly say that since I didn’t have to pay to get in–well, just keep readin’ tough guy!

It’s easy to assume that you know everything there is to know about Global Warming and Climate Change, but have you seen what a fricken’ 1 ton piece of coal looks like in person?

Have you ever seen a timeline, right in front of you, that chronicles the temperature of the Earth from the dawn of man through to present day? This isn’t some cinematic Powerpoint presentation (not that there’s anything wrong with that)–this exhibit allows you to get up close and personal with the facts–the seemingly endless stream of facts that all point to one thing–the climate is a-changing.

Maybe you’re a naysayer or know someone who doesn’t “believe” in Climate Change. This is an exhibit for the naysayer, too–I’m a healthy skeptic myself and while I knew the evidence is overwhelming, I found all of the evidence in one exhibit to be pretty damn persuasive. I think if people are unsure or even think Al Gore’s movie is just propaganda they should check out the Climate Change exhibit at the AMNH. The amazingly long stack of evidence that Climate Change is a real and growing threat will help those on the fence get off of it.

Check it out–one of the things they have in the exhibit is a bank of three touchscreen computers that connect to one large projection screen. Each of the touchscreens allow you to work out just how much CO2 you spew into the sky due to the car you drive or the light bulbs you use or how many trees you don’t plant. As you work through your answers, they show up on the bigger projection screen in one of the three rows. The thing that I found most interesting about this part of the exhibit was, that for me, the one with the cars was useless since I don’t drive (I sold my car back in 2003 and now I’m a New York City resident). So first, I told it my commute from back, before I sold my car: 45 minutes into Hollywood and 45 back to Westwood, every day.

It told me my car and I were responsible for over 22,000 metric tons of CO2 for each year I drove. Then it asked me how much I could cut back–I told it I’d cut back to zero miles driven, the reduction in CO2 was obvious–but then, on the bigger screen in front of us, it showed us how much CO2 would NOT be in the atmosphere if everyone in America cut back to the same level:

Yeah, man–that’s right–if everyone stopped driving we’d stop nearly 1.3 billion metric tons of CO2 from getting into the air.

See, I think it’s these (not-so-)little facts that really put things into perspective.

Sure, you can sit around searching Wikipedia all night for this stuff, or you can go check these facts out in person.

There’s plenty more to see there, too–videos, murals, and an actual-size model of one metric ton of coal. There are also plenty of things for kids to be entertained and educated by, as well. They can play with little wooden ice-shelves, learn about weather patterns on cool spherical video screens (I want one of these for home!!) and check out this poor polar bear:

I actually heard one little girl ask her mom why the polar bear was sad. Turns out that as Climate Change messes with the weather, the eating habits of polar bears are being changed, too. As a result they’re moving further south in search of food and end up stumbling into areas where we humans live. I’m guessing that bear has just trashed an Inuit’s summer home (the placard wasn’t specific for what was in front of us, just saying the poor furry white guys sometimes end up in people’s trash).

There’s one last thing I want to point out to people about the Climate Change exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History, whether they go or not–it’s this picture:

That’s a chart they had on display that makes one of the most important points there is to make about Climate Change and Global Warming and oil, coal and all of this stuff.

There is not just one solution–there are several. We all need to change in many different ways. Something else to note about that great chart is that most of that stuff isn’t up to you and me to do–it falls on the doorstep of big business and government. We can’t make sure that nuclear power or renewable energy sources are used by our power companies. What we can do is contact businesses we deal with, like our electric companies, for instance, and ask where they get their power from. Is it coal? Nukes? Solar? Hydro? What? If they’re not talking alternatives, then see if you can find another supplier for your electricity.

But there’s a lot more we can all do on our own and there’s a lot more we can pressure big business and even government to do to help save the world. A fact that I wish the exhibit had included was the fact that too much pollution is created by factories, refineries, plants and even just buildings. One other note, I’m against nuclear power of any kind–it’s ultimately unsafe and if we spent the money on developing solar, hydro or wind technology, we wouldn’t ever have to worry about meltdowns. :)

But aaanyway, so it was a pretty fun exhibit. If you’re in NYC or are planning a visit sometime before August 16, 2009, and have a spare $24 per person, it’s definitely worth stopping in and hey, with that price you can check out the rest of the American Museum of Natural History while you’re there. For twice the price of a movie ticket you can get yourself some knowledge–which is probably a heckuva lot more than you’d get at the movies. ;P

But here’s a tip–if you’re not able to make it or want to get a better sense of what’s at this thing, check out the AMNH website for the Climate Change exhibit: www.amnh.org/exhibitions/climatechange

It’s got a lot of great stuff right there. Of course, it’s no match for being at the museum in person.

You can also check out my Flickr photoset here: flickr.com/photos/thepete/sets/72157609325527271/

Is it the perfect exhibit? Probably not, but pound-for-pound you really are going to get your $24 worth.

Just my ¥2, as always!

Arctic Ice Subject to Rapid Changes

Here is a pic that shows how rapidly things are changing in the Arctic (source: photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/…g/PIA11086 ). Over the span of 2 days, a dramatic amount of new melting ice became visible to NASA’s QuikScat satellite scatterometer. Here’s what NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has to say about the above image:

"There has been considerable interest in the recent state of Arctic sea ice for scientific research and for operational applications especially along the Northern Sea Route and the Northwest Passage. This pair of sea ice maps was derived from radar data from NASA’s QuikScat satellite scatterometer on September 2, 2008 (left panel) and September 5, 2008 (right panel).

QuikScat’s unique features make it a powerful tool for mapping sea ice and accurately identifying sea ice conditions. It can distinguish sea ice from open water, differentiate different classes of ice, and compensate for effects of strong winds on ocean surfaces and effects of melt on ice.

In the above images, red areas denote sea ice that was undergoing active melting on the ice surface, magenta areas show sea ice with reduced melt, cyan areas are refrozen sea ice that had some residual wetness from earlier melting, and white areas represent sea ice that had been refrozen for 10 or more days. Ocean areas with less than 15 percent ice cover on the surface are blue, while land surfaces are shown in brown and missing data are depicted in black."

They go onto explain that the red areas on the right are from "Warm air transported by northward winds" that caused: "extensive areas of active melt (red) over a larger region extending from the Barents Sea across the Kara Sea to the Laptev Sea on September 5. That melt event was so large that some parts of it reached as far north as the vicinity of the North Pole."

PLEASE NOTE: The original caption for the image also explains that: "The sea routes may be opened or closed rapidly by transient weather events. Such unstable sea ice conditions in the passages can cause a significant navigation risk."

So, I post this not as "The sky is falling and it’s because of Climate Change!" kind of post but rather a post that says: "Whoa, that’s some serious flux! A bit of warm air and voila, instant Arctic Sea Routes–that’s kinda scary that it can happen so quickly." Still a sign of Climate Change, but it’s not the sign you might expect.

I almost think it’s more important to note that instability is sometimes worse than stability regardless of the effect. In this case, we don’t know what’s going on up there. At least, that’s what it seems like to me.

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