Archive | Climate Change

In Arctic, Ancient Diseases Reanimate and Highways Melt as Temperatures Hit “Frenzy” of Records

Published on Truthout, 21 August 2016.

By the time I’d reached the end of my 10 years of reportage on the impacts of the US occupation of Iraq in 2013, it was impossible for me to find an Iraqi who did not have a family member, relative or friend who had been killed either by US troops, an act of non-state sponsored terrorism or random violence spun off one of the aforementioned.

Now, having spent the entire summer in Alaska, I’ve yet to have a conversation with national park rangers, glaciologists or simply avid outdoors-people that has not included a story of disbelief, amazement and often shock over the impacts of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) across their beloved state.

Whether it is rivers causing massive erosion after being turbo-charged by rapidly melting glaciers, dramatically warmer temperatures throughout the year, or the increasingly rapid melting and retreat of the glaciers themselves, everyone who is out there, seeing the impacts firsthand, has a grave experience to share.

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Alaskans Witness Collapsing Mountains, Shattered Lives

Published on Truthout, 1 August 2016.

The impacts of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) across Alaska are devastating to witness.

In late June, due to glaciers melting at unprecedented rates, the side of a mountain nearly a mile high in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park, which had formerly been supported by glacial ice, collapsed completely. The landslide released over 100 million tons of rock, sending debris miles across a glacier beneath what was left of the mountain.

This is something that has been happening more often in recent years in the northernmost US state. While Alaska’s local conservative media often tend to feign ignorance of the cause of such phenomena, what’s causing it is all too clear. The state has been hitting and surpassing record temperatures over the last year, and the same can be said for the globe. It’s plainly obvious why ice is melting at record rates.

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Biblical Flooding, Crocodiles in the Arctic and Warning Signs on North America’s Highest Mountain

Published on Truthout, 11 July 2016.

Dramatic signs of the impacts of human-caused climate disruption abound, even on North America’s highest peak. NASA records another hottest month of its type, studies warn of palm trees in the Arctic and more in this month’s climate dispatch from Dahr Jamail.

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Mangroves in Crisis: Why One Man Works to Save the Plants That Fight Climate Disruption

Published on Truthout, 31 May 2016.

It’s not news that anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) is accelerating at unprecedented rates, according to climate scientists. Fifteen of the 16 hottest years ever recorded have occurred since 2000, and this year is on track to be the hottest year ever recorded — by far. And the pace of planetary warming is only increasing, as is made dramatically clear in this recently published graphic.

Hence, the need to do everything possible to work towards mitigating this crisis is obvious. There is no way to completely reverse the trend, but as more and more people acknowledge our shared moral responsibility to mitigate the impacts, some are uncovering creative strategies for fighting planetary warming. For instance, an unlikely epiphany led one man towards an effort to preserve and protect mangrove forests, a tactic that would not necessarily be most folks’ first tactic to address climate disruption.

In 1992, Alfredo Quarto was in southern Thailand working on an article about fisherfolk when he became aware that mangrove forests were under threat by the shrimping aquaculture industry.

“The common threat I saw to all these local farmers [was] outside investors who were destroying both their lands and livelihoods by destroying the mangrove forests they depended upon in order to make more shrimp farms,” Quarto told Truthout. “I was deeply moved by a village headman whose father had been murdered by a local shrimp mafia because he defied their cutting down the mangroves.”

Quarto said that the man told him, “If there are no mangrove forests, then the sea will have no meaning. It is like having a tree with no roots, for the mangroves are the roots of the sea.”

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