Category Archives: Environment

Picture perfect office - © Dr. Michael White

Tongareva Atoll: Living at the forefront of climate change

Picture perfect office – © Dr. Michael WhiteKia Orana Everyone!Firstly, my apologies for being offline for a while.I’ve been extremely busy researching the rapid impacts of ocean warming on my atoll (9 South; 158 West).These include coral bleaching and death of our giant clams (Tridacna maxima).Also many of our trees have suffered badly and have either collapsed or are very sick.I’d like to thank my friends and research colleagues: Papa Ru Taime & John Beasley. Meitaki Poria.I’ll try and use this post as a form of blog and will deal with each aspect over the coming weeks.In particular I am now seeing secondary impacts, such as algal growth on the bleached corals ~ so in time this may cause a shift in fish populations or marine invertebrates.So this is truly the living, shifting face of climate change.Welcome to our new world!

Dead small giant clam (Tridacna maxima)

Dead small giant clam (Tridacna maxima)

Some coral species are badly impacted, others are more resilient

Yellow & white - upload

Deeper corals suffered more than many surface ones, probably because deeper species have a narrower thermal range

DJI_0025_Picture perfect office - Copy

A beautiful picture of ‘my office’ ~ but the story is different when we look closely underwater.Climate change is real!

Ecosystem scale translocation at the Stockton Mine (New Zealand) - © Stéphane Boyer

As humans destroy, might they also create?

Ecosystem scale translocation at the Stockton Mine (New Zealand) - © Stéphane Boyer

It seems like ‘closing the stable door after the horse has bolted’ but I wonder. Might it work? It’s very clear that most people have no interest in changing their daily life styles and business practices, so things are not going to improve any time soon. This article explains one possibility and some foreseeable concerns. Its clear strength is that transplantation is to an area where all of the dollars have already been extracted.

Moving ecosystems

Fictitious petrol receipt - illustration: Janos Borbely

CO2 Accounting and Other Wicked Tricks

Fictitious petrol receipt - illustration: Janos Borbely

Motto 1: There’s no news like bad news.
[Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Elliot Carver]

As COP21 in Paris is approaching, bad news started to appear. Bad?! – Horrific!

The window of opportunity for human beings to set the trajectory of the global surface mean temperature increase to a less devastating course is closing rapidly. And by unfathomable will of destiny in these days terrorist attacks at the very same place of COP21 led to banning of public marches, including those which had been prepared since months by some many civil activists and conservation organizations.

Reading the comments on these publications it is impossible not to recognize how divided, confused, and bitter the commenters are. Perhaps the only one common denominator among them is the waiting for the miracle. The miracle that one or another party on COP21 will be able to pull a rabbit out of a hat, and our planet together with us will be saved from the devastating effects of Climate Change. But it won’t happen.

Motto 2: The key to a great story is not who, or what, or when…but why.
[Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Elliot Carver]

Why it won’t happen?

Like in a Greek drama, the causes are many and they can amplify each others’ effect.

Governments (most of them) follow the rules dictated by the financial world (financial world: nickname of Game Changers). The financial world is set to grow. If tomorrow stock markets learned that global consumption fell by 6.6% each year during the next 15 years period, there would be a global financial collapse. It must not happen! Let’s rather bravely face with the Climate Change!

Governments are elected to bring prosperity and growth for each of us. That is why they don’t even want to hear about reducing consumption. Geoengineering is much more easy approach. It is true, that it takes a while to invent all those new technologies which possibly could bring us some expected outcome. By the time these experiments will be successfully or unsuccessfully completed, members of the recent governments will spend their retirement in their small bungalow by writing their memoirs.

The said truth is that in order to avoid worst case scenario and keep the global mean temperature increase below 2 Celsius (with acceptable probability), our global society must decrease GHG emission by 6.6% on average every year to reduce it to (nearly) zero within the next 15 years. Due to the fact, that whatever we consume (beef, chicken, bottled water, etc) costs energy to produce and to transport, and wast majority of energy production is still based on fossil fuel, the only way to reach the goal is to reduce consumption.

What is the first step and the secret to reduce something effectively? The secret is to measure it. Our CO2 emission must be measured through measuring our consumption. It is not a rocket science. There are huge number of various tools available already providing ways for offsetting CO2 emission. Airlines, NGOs offer online tools to calculate our CO2 emission when we fly, drive, travel by train, or purchase a T-shirt.

T-Shirt CO2 Emission Labeling from Switcher

T-Shirt CO2 Emission Labeling from Switcher

But, it is not enough to measure only, it needs to be added to our individual CO2 account to make it visible – every day. This is really a bad news. Just like how bad is it for a smoker to see the effect of smoking on the box. Measuring and accounting or CO2 emission is not a guarantee for lowering our consumption. It is just an indispensable step towards to goal.

Without making individual contribution to the global CO2 emission visible, there will be no success. Governments are just to busy with securing our well-being to invent such ideas. However, they can be pushed to help us to make the infrastructure available for everybody to measure and account individual CO2 emission. The know how and the technology is available to make it happen, it is the question of will only.

Are you ready to support CO2 Accounting?

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There are some who rightly point to the fact that by eating (much) less meat, especially beef and pork, it is also possible to save huge amount of CO2 emission and sewage production.

By pushing our government to make CO2 accounting infrastructure available everywhere and by eating much less meat we can individually contribute to GHG emission reduction targets.

If you like the idea of CO2 accounting, please vote on the poll above and share this content with everybody in your network. If you don’t like the idea of CO2 accounting, please propose another way with which we can monitor and lower our consumption effectively.

Cash free

I agree strongly with this. I live in a mainly subsistence-based society, where money is peripheral rather than central to our way of life (basically paying power & phone bills; and ordering a small amount of foreign cargo). You quickly understand that nature takes time to grow and reproduce, and we must look after our world if we desire to survive. Plant something every day, and clear away the weeds or parasites that are impacting what is already growing. Use everything sustainably. Waste nothing. Give more than you take.

Poisoning Hawai’i

This one seems pretty dire, and all the usual suspects involved. 🙁 I noticed too that this is one more aspect of colonial behaviour. Hawai’i and Puerto Rico are supposedly states of US, but neither has the rights allowed to full states. Puerto Rico is crashing right now. Hawai’i is talking yet again of independence.



David Cameron: the bee killer!

In the latest disaster from Westminster, Cameron’s government declares that previously banned pesticides can now be used in Britain; this U-turn was sneaked out just before the House of Commons began its very long summer holiday.

The article by Tony Juniper ~ a well respected environmental advocate and activist ~ also considers several other Tory policies churned out in the first 70 days of government. The one I found abyssmal was removing the subsidies from renewable energy enterprises, while giving very large tax breaks to the fossil fuel industry.

When you read the article please also click on ‘Tony Juniper’ at the top and you will find a remarkable set of stories: my favourite was about Environment versus Greed. Thinking about what Tony has written gave me an idea: we’ve had Millennium Development Goals and now Sustainable Development Goals … but what we most need are a global set of SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT GOALS.

Glastonbury 2015: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Glastonbury’s ‘footprint’

: Glastonbury 2015: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Motto: “Leave No Trace”

The Glastonbury Festival is an excellent example demonstrating how a little additional attention and care could make a tremendous difference in the world we are creating around us.

Wikipedia tells us that the “Glastonbury [festival] is the largest greenfield festival in the world, and is now attended by around 175,000 people, requiring extensive infrastructure in terms of security, transport, water, and electricity supply. The majority of staff are volunteers, helping the festival to raise millions of pounds for good causes.”

Indeed in 2013 Glastonbury raised over 2 million pound for charity purposes.

Few of the charities present on Glastonbury this year: Wateraid, Rotary Club, Joe Strummer Foundation. Find more on Google.

We can also learn from the same source that “the festival retains vestiges of … traditions, such as the Green Fields area, which includes sections known as the Green Futures and Healing Fields.”

What a brilliant opportunity it is bringing so many like-minded people together promoting good purposes.

Now it worth to read the fresh post about the reality and aftermath of such a great event this year.

And imagine if those who are careless now, would spend not more than half a minute to think about the Green Field and Futures of Glastonbury.

For example the organizers of the festival could encourage festival goers to donate their unnecessary sleeping bags, tents for some perk so that these items could be delivered to corners of the world where they have high value.

Air pollution: a conundrum?

Two links here: Santiago largely shut down because of air pollution (it’s location exacerbates the smog problem); then a major discussion on gobal health. It highlights the problem of fossil fuels, and interestingly states that lack of political will is now the major hurdle to a low carbon reality, instead of absence of knowledge or technology. Various reports are mentioned in the second link. The conundrum is saving all the peoples’ lives adds to to our global population pressure. No easy answers.