Recently perused articles

  • First up, an analysis from Yale Environment 360 on the permanent damage from “megafires” caused by “megadroughts” in the American Southwest, due to a changing climate that’s causing extreme weather patterns.
  • Even as we’re seeing more evidence of the effects of anthropogenic climate change, global climate change hardly registers as a threat for Americans, as only 40% view it as a serious problem. The rest of the world doesn’t fare much better, according to Pew Research, with only Latin America being a region where climate change is the top issue.
  • President Obama proposed new climate change policy last Tuesday. How do water issues factor in? This National Geographic column analyzes his speech for answers.
  • Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore have been shrouded in smoke recently, as slash-and-burn agriculture pollution from Indonesia has found its way to its neighbors, much like Japan’s been experiencing China’s less savory airborne exports, leading to record levels of smog. Palm oil production and timber harvesting industries are the main culprits in this case. Indonesia — in particular its rapid deforestation — presents some interesting environmental issues, so I’ll be writing a full-length post on it soon. Apparently, according to this BBC Q&A,

“300 football fields of forest are cleared every hour” across the globe to make way for palm oil plantations.

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Recently perused articles

  • A large diary farm in Indiana has been converting manure into fuel, thus “taking two million gallons of diesel off the highway each year” (NY Times). It’s sensible technologies like these, unsexy as they may be, that’ll help us become a more sustainable society.
  • The Arctic may become a great deal greener in the coming decades. With temperatures rising twice as fast near there than the rest of the world, vegetation may increase by as much as 52% by the 2050s (Reuters).   article-0-18901346000005DC-515_634x712
  • A New Yorker article looks at the direction of the environmental movement. Despite its growth in membership and funding, why hasn’t any significant legislation been passed in decades? It’s hard to believe that on

April 22, 1970, only seven months after his speech in Seattle, the teach-in, dubbed Earth Day, generated more than twelve thousand events across the country, many of them in high schools and colleges, with more than thirty-five thousand speakers. “Today” devoted ten hours of airtime to it. Congress took the day off, and two-thirds of its members spoke at Earth Day events. In all, millions of people participated. This activity was largely uncoördinated.

Such efforts lead to the passing of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act, and the creation of the EPA in the early 1970s. Can we learn lessons from the movements in the ’70s, or is the cultural pressure just not present enough to quell political inertia? Continue reading