Researchers had long thought that Greenland’s ice sheet, more than 2 miles thick in places, was essentially permanent and had blanketed the island for more than 2 million years. The subglacial sample confirms the massive ice sheet can probably melt far more easily than most models suggest, which would dump enough water into the oceans to raise sea levels by up to 20 feet, all but wiping major cities like London and Boston off the map.
Documenting the climate emergency
This decrease is “just a tiny blip on the long term graph.” To keep global warming under 2°C, we’d need sustained emissions reductions in this range every year for the next 20-30 years. The pandemic has been hugely disruptive, but it’s still temporary, and all signs point to a strong recovery. The drop in emissions was largely caused by lockdown, not persistent structural changes that will persist for decades to come.
SF drone footage during the #BayAreaFires on 9/9/20, set to Blade Runner 2049 music.
Original edit by: https://twitter.com/terrythethunder/status/1303880459449896960
All credit goes to Hans Zimmer, Benjamin Wallfisch, Vangelis, and all other musicians involved in creating the soundtrack.
If the lessons in this book seem hard, it’s because they are meant to be. If the job I’m asking you to do seems difficult, it’s because it is. Hard and difficult aren’t the same as impossible. When it comes down to it, all I’m asking you to do is the job you signed up for.
It also reminds me:
Do you really need that gif? If we think climate and energy think can I get my message across in text? Each gif uploaded and converted to movie? How much more energy is worth the engagement when the Arctic seacap is melting? #digped
New Australian research suggests trees may not be the carbon sponges we think they are. The findings compliment a larger international study that suggests the world’s major forests are saturated and will soon begin emitting, not absorbing carbon. Also, the Finish experiment where citizens are being given individual carbon allocations. It’s all about making carbon trading a very personal affair.
Computation is both a victim of and contributor to climate change. Page 69
What felt impossible has become thinkable. The spring of 2020 is suggestive of how much, and how quickly, we can change as a civilization.
The virus is rewriting our imaginations. What felt impossible has become thinkable. We’re getting a different sense of our place in history. We know we’re entering a new world, a new era. We seem to be learning our way into a new structure of feeling.
Our ability to adjust to respond to the idea of ‘flattening the curve’ has demonstrated our ability to move beyond the neo-liberalosm and the individual to instead focus on the greater good.
Just as there are charismatic megafauna, there are charismatic mega-ideas. “Flatten the curve” could be one of them. Immediately, we get it. There’s an infectious, deadly plague that spreads easily, and, although we can’t avoid it entirely, we can try to avoid a big spike in infections, so that hospitals won’t be overwhelmed and fewer people will die. It makes sense, and it’s something all of us can help to do. When we do it—if we do it—it will be a civilizational achievement: a new thing that our scientific, educated, high-tech species is capable of doing. Knowing that we can act in concert when necessary is another thing that will change us.
This then gives us hope for the responding to the multi-generational Ponzi scheme that is global warming and the new imagination required to respond to that.
You can’t fix extinctions, or ocean acidification, or melted permafrost, no matter how rich or smart you are. The fact that these problems will occur in the future lets us take a magical view of them. We go on exacerbating them, thinking—not that we think this, but the notion seems to underlie our thinking—that we will be dead before it gets too serious. The tragedy of the horizon is often something we encounter, without knowing it, when we buy and sell. The market is wrong; the prices are too low. Our way of life has environmental costs that aren’t included in what we pay, and those costs will be borne by our descendents. We are operating a multigenerational Ponzi scheme.
Conference on… but I am deconferencing. I am looking for better ways to share knowledge, ideas that can include more people and less travel, but just plain… better.
The number of people who have the means to attend these confluences are excruciatingly small compared to the number of educators in the world. It can sure look like a prestigious club. When you are not in it.
Sometimes conferences are something that is a part of the hustle.
Let me tell you what it’s like being self-employed. Just getting pay is a second full time job. Every small to medium sized contract I have comes with hours submitting paperwork, following up with HR departments, asking if they got the paperwork, and trying not too much to nag your client to check up on getting that payment. Or just shrugging and starting work in hopes of getting paid maybe within weeks of doing the work.
In the end, what is needed is to stop and consider the Academic Conference Industrial Complex as a whole, not just focus on global warming.
Personally speaking, this discussion of the wider impact and implication of conferences has me thinking about a piece I wrote a few years ago thinking about the hidden professional development made possible by conferences, especially as conferences go online because of things such as coronavirus:
Google Cloud Next conference transforming into a 100% online event, due to #Coronavirus risk.
— Ben Collins (@benlcollins) March 2, 2020
As a philosopher, Albrecht determined to identify and name this condition. The word he came up with was solastalgia, a portmanteau word of the Latin solus, which means “abandonment and loneliness,” and nostalgia. Nostalgia has not always had the warm and fuzzy connotations it does now. When it was first used, in the seventeenth century, it described a diagnosable illness that afflicted people who were far from home but could not return. Soldiers were particularly susceptible, as were people forced into migration by conflict, colonization, and slavery. The cure, it was thought, was simply to return home and be soothed by familiarity — otherwise, the sufferer’s distress would continue, even to the point of death. To Albrecht, if nostalgia was a sickness caused by the displacement brought about by seventeenth-century globalization, solastalgia was its twenty-
I worry, however, that we are failing to understand the significance of this moment. I worry that we will wait to begin to address both the intellectual and emotional aspects of climate change until some curriculum writer or policy wonk decides it’s appropriate. And I worry that when we do begin to embrace this challenge in schools that we will do so with a disregard to the larger context of how power relationships in our society really hold the key to whether or not we’re going to solve it.
“These fires are totally normal!”
If you love Australia, climate change should scare the hell out of you because the reef, our rivers, our wildlife, our fresh air, even, as we have seen since December, our relaxed summer holidays are going to be stripped away from us.
Our government has more reason than most others outside of the Pacific Islands to be demanding global action on climate change.
These fires are just one disaster, of course, and the planet has many test cases like it ahead. But it would be among the most perverse grotesqueries of climate change if it brought about the end of these kinds of global prejudices — not to be replaced with a sense of common humanity but a system of disinterest defined instead by ever smaller circles of empathy.
Michael McCormack said people in disaster areas “don’t need the ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital city greenies at this time”.
Here is a link to the audio:
On average, Australians are willing to chip in an extra $200 a year to prevent climate change. It turns out that money could go a long way.
Dr Tom Beer’s pioneering 1980s research into bushfires and climate change has, to his dismay, proved all too accurate
“It seems obvious, but actually we found the correlation was not temperature and fires, but relative humidity and fires. Temperature goes up, it gets drier, and then the fires go up,” says Beer.
In 1999 I travelled to Iceland to document a number of the country’s glaciers from the air. Back then, I thought of the glaciers as beyond human influence. They were awe-inspiring and exhilaratingly beautiful. They seemed immobile, eternal. I was struck at the time by the difference between the human scale and the scale of geo-history. For me a glacier or a rock seem solid, but on the geological scale, rocks and glaciers are constantly in motion.
This summer, twenty years later, I went back to photograph the same glaciers from the same angle and at the same distance. Flying over the glaciers again, I was shocked to see the difference. Of course, I know that global heating means melting ice and I expected the glaciers to have changed, but I simply could not imagine the extent of change. All have shrunk considerably and some are even difficult to find again. Clearly this should not be the case, since glacial ice does not melt and reform each year, like sea ice. Once a glacier melts, it is gone. Forever. It was only in seeing the difference between then and now – a mere twenty years later – that I came to fully understand what is happening. The photos make the consequences of human actions on the environment vividly real. They make the consequences felt.
This August, I joined a group of people to commemorate the passing of Okjökull, the first glacier in Iceland to vanish entirely as a result of human activity. It was a humbling experience. A plaque laid at the site bears an inscription, drafted by the Icelandic writer Andri Snær Magnason, that poses a question to future generations: ‘We know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.’
Science and climate will make disaster experts of us all.