As we join with friends and families at barbecues and picnics this July 4th, 2018 lets make sure that we truly celebrate our independence by remind ourselves and our children what it means to each of us to live and thrive in a democratic, free and inclusive country.

Let’s also remind our children and ourselves that these very freedoms that we have fought so long and hard for, and which we often take for granted, are currently being threatened and undermined on an increasingly regular basis. But, many of us are not just sitting idly by watching or pretending not to see as the current federal administration and some of the world’s largest multinationals try to take away our hard fought for liberties and many of our freedoms. From small encounters in restaurants, parks and other public places to legal actions at the state and local level, what this administration is trying to do WITHOUT our consent is being challenged from on high and on the ground.

From human rights and immigrant rights, to climate action and our children’s health, we are fighting back and saying no, we will not allow this to happen on our watch. Remind your children as we remind ourselves, what is happening is NOT normal and we must not let it seem so in any sense of the word.

Happy Independence Day to all our Climate Mamas and Papas, in solitary and with love,

Your Climate Mama

Flag and Fireworks Photo by Stephanie McCabe on Unsplash

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Photo credit: Shutterstock

In what is perceived as a shocking move by many town managers throughout the United States (and in other countries around the world), China recently announced it will no longer be taking the world’s recyclables. Local governments and recycling haulers are scrambling as they piece together these new recycling rules and what it means for local recycling and household collections. Should we be surprised? Of course not. This should be a clear wake up call for us all. What should have been surprising and disturbing in the first place is that we have slowly been moving all our “garbage” off shore.

As our parents taught us when we were young, we teach our children to “clean up our mess.” Yet, as a nation we seem to be fine if companies and individuals make messes, as long as these messes are kept out of sight. China is forcing us to rip off the blindfolds we have been wearing; it’s clearly time.

In a similar way to our recyclables, which have been hiding in plain sight, human made greenhouse gas pollution has been wreaking havoc on our planet and we need to urgently slow down and stop this pollution.  As we Climate Mamas and Papas know, this pollution is created in large part by the burning, production and transportation of fossil fuels.  As these gases are not visible to us,  many people don’t fully realize or appreciate the magnitude of the pollution problem we have created. We are only beginning to come to terms with the ramifications and what this pollution means for the survival of our species and others species on our planet at well. Our friends and colleagues at Citizens Climate Lobby however, fully realize this and they have made it their mission to make polluters pay.  Each year they hold an annual meeting in Washington DC and use this occasion to meet with and explain these facts to our legislators.

Below, is a June 15, 2018 post written by dear friend and Climate Reality leader Lew Blaustein, Lew shares how “people power” can be the driving force in helping create rules that will make polluters pay. You can find Lew’s post in it’s entirety on Green Sports Blog. 

Climate Change Fight Is a Marathon Citizens’ Climate Lobby Aims to Win

By Lew Blaustein

I had the good fortune to spend Monday and Tuesday (June 11 & 12, 2018) in Washington D.C. among an amazing group of 1,400 volunteers at the Citizens’ Climate Lobby National Conference. The 10-year old grassroots organization exists “to create the political will for climate solutions by enabling individual breakthroughs in the exercise of personal and political power.

Though the group is very diverse — volunteers come from all corners of the United States, there are high schoolers and octogenarians, lefties and conservatives (a growing number, in fact) — CCLers have three things in common.

 

We…  

  1. Are passionate about solving the climate crisis,
  2. Believe in CCL’s market-based Carbon Fee & Dividend legislative proposal that would place a price on carbon and that would share the dividends equally with every household in the country. This would grow the economy, in particular the lower and middle classes, and clean energy technologies would scale at the pace needed to avert the worst effects of climate change.
  3. Know that getting to meaningful climate solutions is a marathon and we are in the race until it is won.

Are we closer to the start or the finish of the climate change marathon? No one really knows. But, Tuesday’s lobby-thon — CCLers met with almost each of the 535 House and Senate offices — showed that Citizens’ Climate Lobby definitely picked up the pace.

 For those of us engaged in the climate change fight in the United States, it is very easy to get dispirited.

  • We have a climate change denier in the White House.
  • Congress is controlled by the only major political party in the world — at least as far as I know — which casts significant doubt on the veracity of climate change.
  • Daily political discourse is much, much, much more focused on Russia, Stormy Daniels, witch hunts, Robert Mueller, etc., etc., etc.
  • Even the environment, when it gets covered, centers on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s many scandals, rather than the virulently anti-climate policies he, his boss, and their Administration are enacting.

All of this is happening as the climate change news becomes more dire. A recent Washington Post,  headline blared: “Antarctic ice loss has tripled in a decade. If that continues, we are in serious trouble.” If you are reading this, you know there are a legion of such stories out there.

So it is understandable that many people would rather do something — anything— else other than get and stay involved with climate change activism.

These people need to meet Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) volunteers.

Are CCLers naive? Just the opposite.

CCLers know that we humans have put our climate in critical condition and that we need to quickly change the course we are on, energy production- and usage-wise.

We also know that the solutions that exist now (wind, solar, efficiency, storage, etc.) can get us where we need to go in time to avert the worst effects of climate change, if we have the political will.

As far as CCL is concerned, building that political will to critical mass means finding a legislative solution in Congress.

(To read the post in it’s entirety, please go to GreenSports Blog)

 Lew Blaustein writes at the intersection of sustainability and sports at theGreenSportsBlog. He is president of Lewis Brand Solutions, focusing on green sponsorship and media, matching greening brands with green properties. 

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Me and My Dad

On a personal note, this will be my third Father’s Day without my Dad. Father’s Day would forever take on a new meaning for me after September 2015, when my father’s  brutal fight with metastatic throat cancer finally ended. I have shared my thoughts  on ClimateMama and in other online communities on the intersectionality of struggling with climate change and fighting metastatic cancer, you can read them at your leisure. I just want to  take this moment, in our 2018 Father’s Day post, to share my thanks to my dad who was my biggest champion, my hero and my fiercest supported. My dad constantly cheered me on as I travelled along my journey of discovery, exploration and learning and as my climate education evolved.

Living in Alberta, Canada (where I grew up and where my father spent his entire life) everyone seems connected in one way or another to the oil and gas industry and as such, the immediacy of the climate crisis often get’s discounted or pushed aside. It’s not that the reality gets challenged, although sometimes it does, its more that the impacts are less understood and I think feel less direct, therefore actions to address the causes seem less important. During the last 5 years of my fathers life, well into his seventies, my “forever entrepreneur dad” bought a company that he resurrected and transformed into one that would make a “better and safer coating” for pipelines, including those connected to the oil sands.

Throughout his journey, my dad often told me, in not always the most direct ways, how much I was teaching him. He encouraged me in my work, proudly told others about my exploits and made me feel powerful and loved. He regularly reminded me, when I was feeling down, that what I was devoting my life to is so very important. He listened and he learned, and I learned along the way too. I too learned how complicated it can be  to act on climate, even when one understands the urgency and the need. Connecting the dots is often blurred and can be difficult, even with your own guide. I have become more cognizant of this fact over the years and regularly look for ways to help people look for and make connections.

At ClimateMama we regularly share stories about YOU – our Climate Papas and Mamas –  and find ways whenever we can to champion your stories and exploits and help you and others see and feel supported, understood and appreciated! This Father’s Day, we wanted to send out a special welcome to Ben Block, founder of Climate Dads, a new “kid on the block” in the climate parent space.

We were introduced to Ben and Climate Dads recently by our dear friends and partners at Dear Tomorrow. In honor of Father’s Day, they are collecting stories from fathers around the country. There have been many letters shared already, and the collections continue well past Fathers Day;  consider sharing your own letter and  suggesting to one of your special Climate Papas to share one of his own too. There are many heartfelt and powerful letters shared, please take some time to read them. One in particular that touched us deeply was written by our friend and Climate Reality colleague Jim Poyser, founder of Earth Charter Indiana. Jim wrote a letter to his grand-daughter Ezmae that included the following message:

“I will commit to not giving up, not going dark, not being overtaken by the demons of dread and regret. Because of you. Because of you I will continue to spend all my time on solutions. Because of you I will smile through this work, and model your joyful, hilarious nature in that work, so that others may feel that joy, that hopefulness, that sense of possibility.”  Jim Poyser,  Fathers Day 2018.

We will be guided by your strong words Jim… “Because of You”..and we will not give up.  Our children deserve our full support as we feel our way forward through the darkness, and to the light on the other side.

Special Father’s Day wishes to  Jim and to Ben, and of course to all our amazing Climate Papas!

 

Yours,

 

Climate Mama

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June 8th is World Oceans Day, a global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better world.

The oceans bring us joy, bountiful food, rest, relaxation, exhilaration, harmony and hope.

Yet,  scientists tell us that our oceans are reaching their capacity as “carbon sinks.” They are working overtime to absorb the greenhouse gases that we are creating, our oceans are heating up and becoming more acidic, threatening the health of all living things….In fact, the science is telling us we’re committed to losing about 90 percent of the remaining coral reefs due to impacts of climate change, and the threats of pollution and overfishing are still on the rise. National Geographic has some great resources on coral reefs and what is being done to protect them now that we clearly know how much they are under threat.

Grab the kids in your life, and celebrate the oceans. Check out some of the resources at the World Oceans Day site as well as those at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

Take some time to talk about the Paris Climate Agreement and the historic nature of the commitments made  by all governments of the world  to acknowledge and to begin in earnest to repair the damages that we are inflicting on our Mother Earth. Discuss as well, the US administration’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement and the fact that this decision is not the will nor the wishes of the majority of the American people. Share the WeAreStillin campaign with them. Together we are building climate hope.

Yours,

 

Climate Mama

A version of this post was first published June 8, 2017

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

In 1972, the United Nations designated June 5th as World Environment Day. The early 1970’s were in many ways, the birth of our modern day environmental movement. We had the first Earth Day in 1970 and in the United States, under President Richard Nixon, the Environmental Protection Agency was established, as was the first federal clean air and clean water act. There was no ambiguity, no party divide, the environment and all it stood for was worth protecting.

According to the United Nations: “The celebration of this day provides us with an opportunity to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment.” As Climate Mamas and Papas, we know that today, 46 years after the first World Environment Day, our environment and by extension our species remain under extreme threat.  In fact we have reached a point where we humans are the primary forcing agents on our natural world and scientists are telling us we have entered the Anthropocene, the age of man. As such, we also know that many people feel overwhelmed and powerless in the face of this existential threat.

World Environment Day is an opportunity to bring back power,  to educate and to inform on ways and ideas for individual and collective action. Each year, the United Nations chooses a theme and this year’s World Environment Day’s theme is “Beat Plastic Pollution.”

Global Plastic Pollution by the Numbers (United Nations data):

  • Up to 5 trillion plastic bags used each year
  • 13 million tons of plastic leak into the ocean each year
  • 17 million barrels of oil used on plastic production each year
  • 1 million plastic bottles bought every minute
  • 100,000 marine animals killed by plastics each year
  • 100 years for plastic to degrade in the environment
  • 90% of bottled water found to contain plastic particles
  • 83% of tap water found to contain plastic particles
  • 50% of consumer plastics are single use
  • 10% of all human-generated waste is plastic

These statistics are sobering and staggering, so what can we do? We each need to take steps to move away from single use items, and to move forward to a circular economy, where “everything old is new again.” We all love games, so let’s start today and make  World Environment Day this year, a chance to share a game with a real world, critically important goal: #beatplasticpolution.

The game is “Tag” and the steps are easy.

1. Choose which type of single-use plastic you’re ready to give up.

2. Take a selfie (photo or video) with a reusable alternative that your ready to embrace.

3. Share your selfie on social media with #beatplasticpolution and #worldenvironmentday

  4. Tag three of your friends to challenge them to do the same within 24 hours.  Thanks for helping launch the global movement!

Here’s what were now using at  ClimateMama, starting today.  TAG, you are it!

On a community level, take a look around your school or place of business; are there single use plastic items that seem to be part of “life” at your school or office? Talk about it with your friends, colleagues and peers. Come up with a plan and get rid of those straws, bags or plastic dishes, cups and utensils. YOU can make this happen.

Also, consider taking your plan one step further; this is a longer term process and can take months. YOU can do it! Help your town or city eliminate straws, plastic single use bags or styrofoam. There are many great examples of cities doing just this,  from small cities like Monmouth Beach, New Jersey, to large cities like Vancouver, Canada, it can be done.

Nationally and globally too, where there is a will there is a way.  Many countries have already taken important steps in this direction. Check out the United Nations World Environment Day website to find  wonderful stories from around the world.

  • Plastic bag bans are already in place in more than nearly 100 countries; proving just how powerful direct government action on plastics can be.
  • Governments must lead, enacting strong policies that push for a more circular model of design and production of plastics.
  • The private sector must innovate, adopting business models that reduce the downstream impact of their products.
  • Citizens must act as both consumers and informed citizens, demanding sustainable products and embracing sensible consumption habits in their own lives.

Here are three great organizations we have identified (the first two of whom are our partners!) that have wonderful resources to peruse and use.  We highly recommend you look at these resources and explore ideas and options with the kids in your life:

  1. Young Voices for the Planet: Two videos in particular, The Last Straw and Team Marine share powerful stories of kids banning plastic straws and plastic bags and raising awareness of why these actions are so important to us all.
  2. Plastic Pollution Coalition: a growing global alliance of individuals, organizations, businesses, and policymakers working toward a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impacts on humans, animals, waterways and oceans, and the environment. Find tools you can use in your community; no need to “reinvent the wheel.”
  3. National Geographic’s multiyear effort to raise awareness about the global plastic waste crisis. Check out National Geographic Kids too. 

Check out some of the suggestions above, and don’t forget to peruse our past suggestions from World Environment Day; there are so many things you can do to celebrate our planet and so many ways to protect and sustain her. Bring your neighbors together; consider organizing an event to share information about ways to reduce single use items. Hold a fundraiser for your event or for your local environmental organization or green team. There are many free tools available on line that can help.

Let us know what you are doing so we can share it with our Climate Mama community!

Together we are so powerful.

Yours,

 

ClimateMama

Posted in Earth Day is Every Day, Games & Toys, Lifestyle & Fun, Oceans & Water, Plastics & Plastic Free, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Mother’s Day, we want to send a big shout out and sincere thank you to OUR Mother, Mother Earth, for the amazing, inspirational and extraordinary world she has created for us. We also want to send a heartfelt thanks to all our Climate Mamas who are watching, speaking truth to power and sharing stories as they unfold, as we all bear witness to climate change.

On the occasion of my wedding, one of my dearest friends traveled a long, long way so she could be with us. She told me: “I am here to be your witness to this milestone moment in your life.” My friend was also with me at the birth of both of my children; again to bear witness to these special moments in my life. We are all bearing witness to what is happening to OUR Mother;  our eyes are wide open, in spite of the harsh and painful glare.

As Climate Mamas we are watching, sharing our stories and bearing witness to climate change around us. Our Mother Earth is screaming in so many, many ways, crying out for us to see what is happening to her, even  as she works overtime to counter act what we are doing to harm her.

We are living the Anthropocene, the epoch that is the age of man. Humans are the primary forcing agents on our planet. We are more powerful than volcanos and the sun; we – primarily through the burning of fossil fuels – can and are changing the ecosystem and web of life which has been so carefully crafted by our Mother Earth.

These changes to our planet are already threatening us, and undermining a safe future for our children. We are living climate change. While many people seem frozen, unable to accept the reality we face, we know that our Climate Mamas are doing just the opposite, jumping in with both feet.

On this Mother’s Day we wish for each of our Climate Mamas time to be with OUR mother, Mother Earth. Go for a walk or a hike. Put your toes in the ocean or in a stream. Lie down in the sand or in tall grasses; feel and see Mother Earth. She can and will regenerate quickly; if we would only give her the chance.

Happy Mothers Day with love,

 

Climate Mama

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My son is now 20 years old, no longer 11; and the recorded level of CO2 according to the instruments at the top of the Mauna Loa volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii reached 410.28 ppm on April 17th, 2018, not 392.14 ppm –  the level it was at when I visited Mauna Loa on December 29th, 2009.

Almost 10 years have passed, so that should be expected, right? While no, in fact for over 800,000 years the level of CO2 stayed around 280ppm. CO2 levels only began to rise with earnest with the dawn of the modern industrial revolution; just over 100 years ago. Scientists tell us that when we exceeded 410 ppm on April 17th, our planet hadn’t seen CO2 levels this high in millions of years. According to Climate Central, who first reported the data publicly on April 20th, we are “on track to create a climate unseen in 50 million years by mid-century.” 

This is happening on our watch. In the USA we have elected a president who publicly doubts humankind’s role in our climate crisis and who is pushing for coal to regain its prominence as a primary source of fuel in the USA and beyond. The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency is doing everything in his power to stop actions that limit greenhouse gas emissions – the opposite of what Mother Nature is telling us needs to be done. The new head of NASA  has no scientific background and doesn’t own up to the fact that humans are the primary cause of our changing climate. These are just a few of the many harmful “human” roadblocks that our current administration has put in the way of advancing climate action in the face of our climate emergency. How we vote, matters. 

The plant’s alarm bells are ringing off the hook. We must not look away; we must hear them, and we MUST demand action from all. Those that can do the most, must. Each of us has a role to play. Our future and now, depends on our actions today.

Take a few moments, and step back almost 10 years with me. Let’s remind ourselves of the important work our scientists are doing to inform and educate us on how our actions are impacting  our planet. It remains up to us to demand that our corporate and political leaders put in place the policies, rules and regulations that will help us adapt to climate change and at the same time do what we can to stop it’s human causes, so that we can create the chance for a livable future for us all.

“What we know now” is only stronger and more solidly proven then what we knew at the end of 2009. What we need to do, is only more and more urgent.

Yours,

Climate mama

 From the Top of a Volcano: Indiana Jones and CO2 Data, December 31, 2009

For my 11 year old son, the adventure was “on” and we were somewhere between Mars and the Moon. For my sister-in-law and me, our harrowing ride up to the top of the Mauna Loa volcano, traveling on an “almost” one lane pothole filled road surrounded on all sides by lava fields as far as the eye could see, in a minivan no less, helped put into perspective what scientists the world over do every day so that the rest of us can better understand how our world works. The dribble of white paint in the middle of the road up to the Observatory, which made the road look more like two narrow bicycle paths, finally made sense as the sun went down, and the lights of our van caught the line so we could stay on the road and not wander off into the black lava fields surrounding us.

When I think about scientists, I get a visual of people working in labs, safe in some “secure university location”, wearing white coats, doing experiments that I may or may not understand. What I learned on my trip to the Mauna Loa Observatory, among many other fascinating things, is that some of these scientists must also be adventurers, explorers and often need to be incredibly brave. Our “tour guide” was Dr. John Barnes, station chief and resident Lidar (light detection and ranging) expert. Lidar is used for long term monitoring of the stratospheric aerosol layer. “This layer effects solar radiation and ozone. Stratospheric aerosols cool the earth by reflecting light back into space.” After our tour and when the sun set, Dr. Barnes was going to set up his lasers which he regularly “shoots” in the direction of the stars, to record and observe “particles” in the atmosphere. What he doesn’t want his experiments to be confused with however, are the weaponized “lasers” being tested for battle just below his Observatory by the US military. It seems common sense deems it worthwhile to check with the military to make sure that the Mauna Loa lasers were NOT set to the same frequency as the military lasers below! All in a day’s work!

There are a wide range of websites (including this one) that attempt to explain what and why the climbing levels of CO2 in our atmosphere are critical for us to pay attention to. The atmospheric data collected at sites like the Mauna Loa Observatory is of crucial international importance. But what I also hope to convey is the incredible daily lengths that the scientists collecting this data travel, figuratively and literally, so that we can have a daily record, which now spans over 50 years, of irrefutable data on CO2 levels in our atmosphere. Guess what, I found out – Indiana Jones really does exist.

On behalf of an organization called The Climate Project (now The Climate Reality Project) I regularly give talks about Climate Change and speak often about the “Keeling Curve” and its importance in understanding global warming and climate change. On a personal note, visiting the Mauna Loa Observatory felt a bit like I was visiting the “Temple Mount” as I stood next to the “Keeling” building (Charles David Keeling initiated the first measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere on Mauna Loa) and was shown the original instruments, which worked diligently since 1958 until they were retired, around 3 years ago. The Mauna Loa CO2 readings have provided us with a daily record of CO2 levels in the atmosphere for over 50 years.

To try to understand the conditions at the Observatory, imagine travelling up a rough mountain road from sea level to over 11,000 feet, watching the temperature on the car thermometer drop from a high of 89 degrees when we left the beach, to a low of 42 degrees at the Observatory buildings. We left the Hawaii most people imagine, white sand beaches, palm trees, and rolling surf, and entered an “other world” of black lava, snow and ice. We heard how the original scientists hiked, walked and drove pick up trucks straight up the Volcano’s lava fields, making their “road” as they travelled onto an active volcano, now overdue for an eruption (since the early 1800’s when records of eruptions on Mauna Loa began being collected, the current period is the “longest period” without an eruption). Setting up a lab on an active volcano is an interesting decision, but it was deemed “worth it” to be able to access some of the purest air in the world….never mind about a little thing like a possible volcanic eruption! The 1984 eruption, the last time Mauna Loa erupted, wiped out the Observatory’s power lines, forcing it to operate on a generator for some months. The scientists at the Observatory remain matter of fact about what will happen when the next eruption strikes, they have oxygen masks scattered around the various outlining buildings, “just in case.”

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has been coordinating the CO2 experiments at Mauna Loa since the 70’s and also collects greenhouse gas data at other sites around the world including data collected by planes and ships! It maintains 4 observatories in addition to the Mauna Loa site: Barrow, Alaska, Cape Matatula in America Samoa, the South Pole, and Trinidad Head Observatory in Northern California. At the South Pole, 2 scientists spend 8 months “shut in” during the winter months, as daily temperatures drop below 50 degrees and flying supplies in and out is impossible. In Alaska, the two NOAA scientists have had polar bears take up residence outside their door, making trips for data collection extra “exciting”. The September 29, 2009 earthquake and tsunami which devastated American Samoa, almost washed the NOAA Station Chief out to sea in his truck, luckily, instead depositing him against a concrete shelter, allowing him to ultimately help in the rescue of many not so lucky residents of the village just below the Observatory. Again, all in a day’s work!

Photo credit: NOAA/Earth Systems Research Laboratory

NOAA is working with scientists from around the world who are doing their own atmospheric testing using data collected from these sites, including the Japanese, the Canadians and the United Nations. The main “laboratory” for all the raw data collected by these 5 sites is in Bolder, Colorado, where the canisters of “air” collected at these locations are sent for analysis. The data from Mauna Loa shows us that by removing all externalities, we can see that human caused greenhouse gases have increased by 21.4% between 1990 and 2005. The UN Kyoto Protocol uses 1990 as the base year for emissions reductions. Many scientists feel this is the base year all governments should use for any new binding emissions reduction agreements, in terms of being able to stabilize CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous changes in our climate. According to our guide, we are on track for “doubling of CO2” levels in the atmosphere, every 32 years.

The day we visited Mauna Loa, the instruments showed a daily reading of 391ppm of CO2, last year CO2 levels averaged at 387 ppm. The 2009 annual average from Mauna Loa should be available in a few months we would expect it to rise from last year and be close to 390 ppm. Pre-industrial levels of CO2 were at 280ppm.

A few points to leave you with:

  1. Given all the ruckus the last few months raised by “Climate Gate” where hackers stole e-mails on climate change studies from scientists at a prestigious English University; you’ve gotta know, that if there was ANY way to disprove or to put into question this 50 year long record on CO2 data, it would have happened!
  2. We know that over the 4.5 billion year history of our Earth, CO2 levels in our atmosphere have been higher than current levels, but these high levels of CO2 were during the time our earth was forming. An example would be in the age of the dinosaurs, when there were active volcanoes all over and the world was a very different place from today. Science now allows us to have an accurate look back at CO2 data dating back 800,000 years using ice cores drilled from glaciers around the world. In this period CO2 levels have never been higher than preindustrial levels (280ppm) nor, perhaps more importantly, has the rate and pace of change of rising CO2 levels been as fast as it is now.
  3. We know that as CO2 and other greenhouse gases increase in the atmosphere, they work as heat trapping gases, trapping solar radiation and warming our planet, causing temperatures to rise. Scientists are watching as temperatures are rising at an incredibly rapid pace around the globe, but in particular in places like the Arctic and Antarctica. While the consequences of unchecked climate change remain unclear, what is clear is that our world is on course for dramatic changes.
  4. Scientists warned us in the late 1980s about a dangerous hole in the ozone layer due to a build up of certain greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. An international meeting was convened and the Montreal Protocol was established to resolve the problem. The hole is slowly disappearing. Countries worked together, from information scientists gave to them, to solve an international environmental problem. The world  succeeded.
  5. We should be worried about rising CO2 levels.
  6. We should do something about what is going on.

Wherever you call home in 2010, and particularly if it is the USA, we all need to actively challenge our government representatives to do something about climate change. We need to demand from them, binding legislation that will stop our unchecked increases of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. WE need to provide our planet with time to recover from the damages we have wrought. Later in January, we will be showcasing some of the information sites that make it easy for you to contact your government representatives. The push is on for early 2010 to have the US government enact legislation on climate change, many people are hoping for a target date of Earth Day (April 22) 2010!

For more information on the Mauna Loa Observatory and the work of NOAA on atmospheric testing, visit http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/obop/mlo/ . For more detailed information specifically on the Mauna Loa observatory, stay tuned in 2010 for a book by Forrest M. Mimms III titled: Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory: Fifty Years of Monitoring the Atmosphere .

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A few days before Earth Day 2018, I had the good fortune of interviewing actor, environmentalist and humanitarian –  Ian Somerhalder.

Ian is best known for his starring role as Damon Salvatore on CW’s hit television series THE VAMPIRE DIARIES. True confessions, I have never watched The Vampire Diaries! But, I have watched Ian and his wife Nikki Reed in the ground-breaking and Emmy award-winning climate change documentary series, YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY. Also, I loved Ian’s “Green Man on the street” for the Climate Reality Project and Ian’s participation in 24 Hours of Reality.

I AM A BIG Ian Somerhalder FAN.

With our Climate Mamas and Papas in mind, the first question I asked Ian was: “Did becoming a father changed your actions or commitments in any measurable or notable ways.” (Ian became a father for the first time in 2017.)

Ian’s answer: The most notable and measurable main thing is that I recognize more honestly and clearly the sense of urgency; the sense of urgency means more to me then ever.”

Ian went on to share that he is approaching 40 and he is ever more aware of how quickly life goes and generations change and how 5 or 10 years goes so fast.

I know that I feel the very same way, and I imagine that most of our Climate Mamas and Papas feel the very same way too.

Ian stated that: “Looking from a climate perspective, quick change equal disaster and this effects us all.”

Our interview was set up so that Ian could tell us about a new initiative launched in California – Energy Upgrade California. The program’s focus is to help residents save energy, conserve natural resources, reduce demand on the energy grid and make informed energy management choices at home and work. It also is set up to help make it easier for individuals to incorporate technological advances and behavioral changes in their energy reduction plans.

Here are the 3 top things that Energy Upgrade California is promoting:

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Unplug: Ian used this point to remind us about “energy vampires” (ha ha!).  In fact, according to Ian,  23% of electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. So, we all DO need to be on the look out for energy vampires.

Upgrade: Upgrading to LED light bulbs will use at least 75% less energy, and last 25x longer.

Time of Use Change: Customers can cut bills if high energy devices like washing machines & dishwashers are used after 9 PM and before 5 PM.

Finally, Ian reminded us that small steps do make a difference.  Moving forward and creating change as individuals and families helps empower us to demand the big government policy, actions and corporate changes that the urgency of our climate crisis requires.

Below are two questions we didn’t have time to ask Ian.

  1. A big focus of your foundation seems to be on youth empowerment, education and activation. As we have seen lately,   young people are making their voices heard  in powerful ways on gun safety and gun safe regulations, what would be your advice for young people to cut through the noise and partisanship on climate change action and use their powerful voices on climate change as well?
  2. Climate change will be with us for the rest of our lives, how do we encourage young people to stay motivated and involved?
  3. How do you stay so positive?

We’d love to learn your thoughts on all these questions. What would you like to ask Ian?

Yours,

 

Climate Mama

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On April 22nd we celebrate Earth Day. In the United States and in many communities around the world we will  make efforts to  spend time in nature: walks in local  parks and picnics on the beach.  We will also take time to join with others to help with park and neighborhood clean ups and to participate in Earth Day fairs where we may learn more about saving water and electricity and also why and how we can grow and eat healthy foods. Many of our Climate Mamas and Papas will be speaking at events to share more information about climate change, it’s causes and our options to slow it down. And, we will be watching how our government representatives, from the President on down, celebrate and commemorate Earth Day. Can they take the politics out of climate and environmental issues even for one day – we will see.

As we well know, we have no time for partisanship when it comes to climate change. Climate change knows no political boundaries, no party affiliation, no color, race or religion. Yet, certain parts of our planet, in particular low lying states and coastal cities are already being hit hardest by climate change. In many developing countries and in our own country, people of color, women and low income communities are those that are hit first and worst by the impacts of climate change. How we talk about these facts, and how people come to understand the urgency of the climate

Photo Credit: Emily Arasim

crisis are critical keys to unlocking our potential to act quickly in the face of the existential threat we have put in motion.

We are therefore thrilled to share with you an incredible journalism project, The Last Generation, created and launched by The GroundTruth Project and PBS FRONTLINE. The Last Generation is an interactive documentary film about three children who are among the Marshall Islands’ “last generation.”

The Marshall Islands may be one of the world’s smallest greenhouse gas emitters, yet it faces the direst consequences from rising global temperatures and sea levels. The Last Generation gets to the heart of what it’s like to grow up in a place that’s going away while also unpacking scientists’ evolving understanding of climate change and sea level rise. This is the story of a country in peril — told by 9-year-old Izerman Yamaguchi-Kotton, 14-year-old Julia Rijino and 12-year-old Wilmer Joel.

In 2014 in New York City during the United Nations Summit on Climate Change, I had the honor of interviewing Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, a young mother from the Marshall Islands who delivered the opening address at the Summit. Kathy passionately and decisively spoke to our world leaders, sharing a promise she delivered to her then 7 month old daughter, Matafele Peinem, who was with her in the General Assembly Hall. Kathy was calm but incredibly forceful when she said that: “we all deserve to do more than just survive, we deserve to thrive.” Kathy made it all seem simple; at the end of the day, would we not all – world leaders included – do whatever it takes to ensure that our children will not only survive, but thrive? Sadly and as we know, it is more complicated than it should be. Many children including Kathy’s daughter, as well as Izerman, Julia and Willmer, will not have the opportunity to grow up and thrive in the homeland that their mothers and fathers knew and grew up in.

Please share Julia, Izerman and Wilmer’s stories with the kids in your life. Send this link to your children’s teachers so they too can share it with their students.

 

Climate communications research studies tell us that, “trusted messengers” are those who people listen to most closely and rely on for the truth. These messengers can be and are most often different people for different audiences. However children, as trusted messengers, are heard in a far deeper, clearer and more direct way then many of us will ever be heard.

Yours in hope and strength this Earth Week, Month, Day and Year…

Warmly,

 

Climate Mama

P.S. on this Earth Day eve, do share this link to grant funding for schools, after school programs and children’s clubs that Participant Media and the National Wildlife Federation have created. The grant application is really, really easy to fill out; do it today as the applications need to be submitted by Earth Day 2018!

 

 

 

Posted in Climate Mama News, Climate Mama Video Peek of the Week, Climate Mamas & Papas, Disasters, Earth Day is Every Day, Nature, Oceans & Water, Politics, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On March 24, 2018 I marched in Newark, NJ to raise attention to gun violence and the need for sensible gun laws. Many of our Climate Mamas and Papas marched in their cities and in our nation’s capital.  On April 14th, people across the country will once again march for science; for reality, for our future and now.

There ARE so many marches these days, marches for jobs, teachers, equal pay, for tax reform, for healthcare, for immigrant rights, for women’s rights, for science and more – all of these marches are demanding and standing up for the truth; sadly a rarified commodity these days.

Think for a moment about how amazing, important and incredible it is, that in the United States we are free to march, to express our opinions and to have our voices heard, even when they don’t necessarily agree with the opinions of those in charge. We need to be on guard, as these rights to express our views and to protest, are in fact being threatened in many states across the country, but that discussion is for another time. Continue reading

Posted in Climate Mama News, Climate Mama Video Peek of the Week, Earth Day is Every Day, Lifestyle & Fun, Politics, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment