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Friday, November 4, 2016

Climate Change

At the Global Warming Alert Conference in Harrisburg, there were messages of hope, accompanied by speakers typically talking about climate change dangers predicted to take place in the future. That future is not only getting closer, but according to Donald Brown of Widener University, we only have about 5 years to drastically change our behavior to stop a ecological switch from flipping that would trigger runaway global warming.

He also spoke about a campaign of disinformation and named perpetrators. Disinformation gets my dander up, especially about such an important topic and for so self serving an end. This inspired me to poll readers about their understanding and feelings about climate change. Please take the poll on the side bar to the left.

Today the Paris Agreement goes into effect. Here's a link to find out more about it:
News story or do a search.

For those who aren't interested in what might happen to people, animals or trees as a result of climate change or the unethical distribution of damage and threat you should stop reading this now, because that's what the rest of this post is about.

I can't summarize the whole informative conference here, nor would I want to, because some parts were slow. I must leave out important details and only write about the key points as I heard them.

Donald Brown said that the world needs to get to a net zero carbon emissions in 5 years or permanent damage will occur and irreversible runaway global warning may be triggered. There was plenty of evidence offered, gathered by scientist around the world. There was even evidence offered that concerned citizens have gathered, such as the northward shifting of plant and animal species ranges.

Donald Brown gave important insights into the moral bankruptcy of the US's general indifference to the dangers of not acting to slow or stop carbon emissions. We are right up there with the top polluters yet we are among the least affected. Countries that will suffer the most include: the Netherlands, Vietnam, Thailand and Japan.







Despite the minimal damage to the US, there is still damage predicted even for non-coastal communities
  1. Increased storm and frost damage
  2. Increased Lyme Disease, other pests and invasive species
  3. Disruptive changes in stream temperatures, timing and peak flows and in species and natural communities (Fishermen, hunters, farmers and gardeners will find species adapting to the changes. Previously reliable species may fail to thrive, move away completely or even die out if they fail to adapt.)
The thing that got my attention the most is that trees are under threat. Not only will they need to adapt like everything else (which their long lifespan hinders them from doing in a rapidly changing landscape) but they are burning at an alarming rate due to the droughts climate change is causing.

Anybody who has read my mission statement knows I love trees. Here's some reasons you should too. (Provided by PA Community Forests website)

“Most people are aware of the common benefits that trees provide for us, such as beauty, shade, wildlife habitat, and oxygen production, but trees actually do much more than one might think. Trees are documented to have many benefits, including:
 Reducing annual heating and cooling costs for a typical residence by eight to 12 percent
 Improving air quality by absorbing hundreds of pounds of air pollutants that affect our health
 Improving water quality and reducing community flooding by absorbing and intercepting rainfall in their canopies, thus reducing stormwater that often carries pollutants to waterways
 Stimulating retail and commercial business districts by attracting shoppers, increasing sales and revitalizing declining downtowns
 Increasing property values by 10 to 15 percent
 Reducing stress, fatigue and aggression in people
 Reducing a hospital patient’s recovery time when there are views of trees and greenery
 Improving the ability to concentrate for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
 Calming and slowing down traffic along streets
 Reducing crime and increasing social ties
 Reducing exposure to harmful UV rays that are causing increases in skin cancer and cataracts  

One of the messages of hope that was offered for Pennsylvania was the TreeVitalization Project
This looks exciting and includes free webinars about urban tree planting, maintenance and mass plantings. I'll be looking into this soon.

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