Showing posts with label environmental issues. Show all posts
Showing posts with label environmental issues. Show all posts

17 Feb 2017

Pollution: Still Learning

Scientists found PCBs and PBDEs in deep-sea critters, armyworms are on the march in Africa, and Mexico City's air isn't as clean as we'd hoped.

Rational concern seems reasonable....

...Last week I talked about blaming our tools for our mistakes. (February 10, 2017)

This week I'll revisit Lovecraft's "placid island of ignorance,"sort of....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

10 Feb 2017

Bogs and Bison

The good news is that bison are back in Banff, and Britain's bogs may bounce back, too. Keeping wetlands wet isn't what many folks had in mind, back in my youth.

But as I keep saying, we've learned quite a bit since then....

...This post's afterword is a quick look at how folks have perceived natural resources, plus a bit about pessimism and being human....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

27 Jan 2017

Gems, Metal, and Earth's Core

The Fire of Australia, a whacking great chunk of opal, isn't particularly interesting from a 'science' viewpoint.

But I'm human, which is probably why anything big and shiny gets my attention: including that rock.

Wrenching myself back on-topic, scientists found a stream of liquid metal flowing at the edge of Earth's core. Studying it may help us learn why Earth's magnetic field flip-flops at apparently-irregular intervals. What we'll learn is beyond me: we didn't know much about geomagnetic reversal when I started school.

We still don't, for that matter. As I keep saying, there is a very great deal left to learn.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

20 Jan 2017

Climate Change Continues

Climate change is still in the news. So is a growing crack in an Antarctic ice sheet, and a Ladybird Book co-authored by England's Prince Charles.

The book, "Climate Change," is a Ladybird Expert Book: written with adults in mind....

...This post has an afterword, mostly my take on climate change and being human....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

13 Jan 2017

Urban Evolution and Big Brains

Life, and evolution, has been happening for quite a while. Cities are new, but the same processes happen there; with slightly different results. We're learning how urban environments affect critters, and are piecing together more of humanity's story....

...I see no problem with believing that God is creating a universe that's following knowable physical laws. That's just as well, since it's what we're told to believe....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

12 Aug 2016

Earth Overshoot Day and Pollinators

Australia's Earth Overshoot Day happened earlier this week. It used to be called Ecological Debt Day, involves a lot of math, and assumes that Earth's glaciers, deserts, and oceans, are pretty much all the same thing. The basic idea, that we shouldn’t waste resources, isn't silly, and I'll get back to that.

Some other scientists say that we should pay attention to pollinators. I think they're right.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

26 Feb 2016

Glyptodonts and Climate Change

Climate change is in the news: again. Scientists tracked where tiny critters called phytoplankton have been living: which may help us understand what's happening in Earth's ocean.

Other scientists reconstructed glyptodont DNA: confirming that the Volkswagen-size mammals were armadillos: big armadillos....

...Being offended by our increasing knowledge of how this universe works is an option: but not a sensible one, I think. Neither is getting upset over what sort of creatures we are....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

4 Dec 2015

Climate Summit: Costumes and a Smog Brick

Climate change talks in Paris started this week, with the usual protesters and editorials.

Meanwhile, folks in Minnesota are shopping at Christmas tree farms: and a performance artist in Beijing made a brick from smog....

...I'm convinced that climate change happens: and has been happening since before life began on Earth, 3,800,000,000 or so years back. As I've said before, the natural world got along fine without us. Now that we're here, however, we're responsible for its maintenance....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

20 Sep 2015

Family, Firsts, and Francis: also Trading Cards


(From Libreria Editrice Vaticana, used w/o permission.)

Pope Francis arrived in Havana, Cuba, yesterday. It's his first stop on the latest apostolic journey....

...Getting back to the Pope's visit to Cuba and the United States, the Philadelphia Phillies have been giving away Pope Francis Rookie Cards....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

3 Jul 2015

Climate Change Talks, and Remembering King Cnut

Golda Meir,1 Henry Kissinger,2 or someone else, said "even a paranoid can have enemies."

I do not think humanity is doomed to extinction, or that life on Earth will end because we built factories. I do, however, think we need to use our brains: and take care of the planet we live on....

...I also think remembering who we are — and what we've been learning about Earth — is important....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

26 Jun 2015

Beavers, Floods, and Yet Another Dire Prediction

Beavers are back in England, which is good news or bad news: opinions differ on that point.

Quite a few folks died when drains blocked up in Nigeria's capital. Then a gas station exploded. There's more rain in the forecast, so their troubles are far from over.

Finally, there's a new doomsday prediction in a brand-new publication. Madagascan lemurs are imperiled: but not, I think, cockroaches, rats — or humans.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

1 May 2015

Climate Change, Science, and the Vatican

The 'Vatican science academy' is in the news again: this time because they've said we should use our brains. The topic was climate change, which tends to stir up sound and fury more than rational discourse.

Meanwhile, one scientist implied a link between our "carbon dioxide crisis" and a lot of dead critters, some 201,000,000 years back. More to the point, I think, the team he was on has added a few more pieces to the puzzle of what caused the Triassic-Jurassic extinction event.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

20 Feb 2015

Setting Earth's Thermostat

Events like the Pinatubo eruptions of 1991 happen about once a century — on average — roughly.

Some scientists say that next time there's a Pinatubo-scale eruption, we should deploy a fleet of instrument-carrying aircraft, balloons, and satellites: to see exactly what happens when sulfur dioxide and other chemicals get dumped into the upper atmosphere.

We know that the stuff causes regional and global climate changes: but we don't know exactly how the process works.

There's more than pure scientific curiosity behind wanting this knowledge. Earth's climate is changing, which is par for the course: but we're at a point where our actions can affect climate.

The job at hand is leaning how Earth's climate works, how it changes, and what causes the changes. Then we'll decide what to do about that knowledge....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

15 Jun 2014

Environmentalism: Using the Brains God Gave Us

I remember the 'good old days:' seeing house-size gobs of suds floating down the Mississippi; and a year when my eyes stung, except on Sundays, when the city's air cleared up. I don't miss the 'good old days.' (April 11, 2011; November 10, 2010)

I was already concerned about pollution, wildlife management, and other environmental issues, when the first green Earth Day flag went up in 1972.

At the time, I was glad that environmental awareness was spreading; and thought that some 'environmentalists' had more enthusiasm than good sense. I'm still glad that more folks started 'thinking green;' and think that Captain Planet helped make environmentalism look silly.

Sadly, some folks still seem to have learned their facts about science and ecology by watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Tentacles.

Delicate and Fragile as Cockroaches and Thistles

The good news is that some scientists, at least, have apparently realized that an ecosystem that's survived at least 3,700,000,000 years. That's not bad for life on a planet orbiting a slightly variable star; despite occasional comet and asteroid impacts, regional volcanic activity, and epochs of continental glaciation; is hardly "fragile."
"Environmentalism is undergoing a radical transformation. New science has shown how long-held notions about trying to 'save the planet' and preserve the life we have today no longer apply.

"Instead, a growing chorus of senior scientists refer to the Earth with metaphors such as 'the wakened giant' and 'the ornery beast', a planet that is 'fighting back' and seeking 'revenge', and a new era of 'angry summers' and 'death spirals'...."
(Clive Hamilton, The Conversation (May 27, 2014))
More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

As the Morning Rising: Prodigal - Lenten Poem

As the Morning Rising: Prodigal - Lenten Poem : Prodigal Sometime between now and Easter I will die to my old self Rise to the challenge...