In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, scores of colleges and universities in Puerto Rico had to close because of all the damage. Schools on the US mainland, from New York to Florida, wanted to do something to help. So they opened their doors and offered free or discounted tuition to those students from Puerto Rico whose home institutions were closed. One of the first students to take them up on that offer was Rosamari Palerm. She enrolled at St. Thomas University in Miami in late September 2017. But even after a comfortable year in Miami, Rosamari felt homesick and was ready to go back to Puerto Rico.
Also: A study from George Washington University reveals new death toll numbers from Hurricane Maria; A year after Hurricane Harvey, some families in Houston, Texas are still recovering; After Hurricane Maria swept through their hometown, a group of women started cooking meals together for people who didn’t have access to food.
(A man bicycles in an area without grid power or running water about two weeks after Hurricane Maria swept through the island. Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
On Monday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its latest report. The IPCC looked at keeping to a 1.5C rise above pre-industrial temperatures. Scientists say that we can still do it. But there’s a lot of work to be done. It will need “rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”. It will also mean a major reallocation of funds. It will cost about 2.5% of global gross domestic product (GDP), every year for twenty years. But how is that going to happen? While the cost of wind turbines and solar panels have fallen, the global economy still relies on burning fossil fuels. Will politicians grasp the nettle and make the changes outlined in this report or will they, and we private citizens, ignore it and wait for disaster to strike? This week on The Real Story Ritula Shah looks at the economics and politics of climate change. Do developed countries have to give up growth to mitigate climate change? Can democracies sell the necessary sacrifices to their citizens? And will new technology save the day?
Image: A woman walking through floodwaters in front of the Grand Palace near the Chao Praya river in Bangkok in October 2011 (Credit: AFP/Getty)
7/20. It was the great travel books written in the 19th century by Alfred Russell Wallace that inspired David Attenborough himself to achieve great things in the realm of natural history. But Attenborough tells us that Wallace was more than just a great travel writer. His power of meticulous observation and recording as he explored many parts of the world were in the highest league imaginable, even for Victorian standards – and his power of analysis very much akin with Darwin, his great contemporary. Wallace independently came up with a theory of evolution that was in parallel to Darwin’s thinking – two field naturalists breaking huge conventions of the time and coming up with the single most important theory in Biology. How did they resolve the conflict between themselves?
Written and presented by David Attenborough
Produced by Julian Hector.
The environment affects us all so should gender matter when we consider how best to save the planet? Lucy Siegle and Tom Heap take on the gender divide to find out how global warming has a disproportionate impact on women and how solutions which put women in charge can be highly effective in saving carbon as well as creating equality.
With the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announcing that we need to keep global warming under 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, Science in Action explores the impact of food production on the environment. A new study calculates the current and predicted impact of land and fresh water use, fertiliser pollution and the change to more Western meat and dairy-based diets by 2050 and concluded that our current mitigation measures are not going to be enough. And that our planet will not be able to sustain this level of environmental cost.
Windfarms and Warming
A study of wind power generation across the continental United States calculates that the warming effect of wind turbines, due to possible circulatory changes in the atmosphere at night, could be enough to cause a 0.24 °C rise if the US switched to wind power for all their energy demands. It’s a small change, but coupled with other environmental impacts of sustainable energy production, it has to be factored in.
Science Publishing and Copyright
Two scientific publishers are suing the academic networking site ResearchGate for breaking copyright laws. ResearchGate asks scientists to publish papers and articles on their site. The claim is that they are not putting enough checks in place to stop work that is copyrighted to pay-walled science journals being uploaded. Is social media, and greater connectivity on the internet, changing the way science publishing works and how profits are made?
Drugs from Fingerprints
Illegal drug-use often has a contributing factor in cause of death. Testing for drug-use in both living and dead people relies on detecting the breakdown products (metabolites) for drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, opiates or amphetamines in bodily fluids (blood, urine, saliva) or tissue samples. These are invasive and take time. Now a University of East Anglia spin out company “Intelligent Fingerprinting” have developed a device called the fingerprint drug screening cartridge that can detect metabolites of illicit drugs in the sweat found in fingerprints. And furthermore they can do this on dead bodies as well as living people.
Picture: Vegetables and fruits, Credit: Bojsha65/Getty Images
As countries around the world are tested by the impacts of climate change, how can we adapt? We hear from the CEO of the World Bank who has some suggestions.
Also in the programme: Pressure is growing on Saudi Arabia to explain the fate of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met King Salman in Riyadh; and a rare report from north-western Venezuela: an oil rich part of the country but the people there are desperately short of power and food.
(Photo: Bangladesh, Kerala floods, where torrents of water rushed through towns and villages, August 2018. Getty Images)
We talk to one of the 21 young people who are suing the federal government for failing to take sufficient action to address climate change.
Victoria Barrett, one
of 21 plaintiffs in the case of Juliana vs. United States, scheduled to begin later this month in federal court in Oregon. She studies political science and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin (@vict_barrett)
From The Reading List
E&E News: Kids’ Case Tests ‘Hail Mary’ Climate Argument — “The plaintiffs make their case in a two-pronged attack, arguing that the government’s reaction to and fueling of climate change has eroded both rights of theirs protected under the Constitution and the safeguards of the public trust doctrine. The climate, they argue, must be protected for current and future generations.
‘The laws that we really turn to in this effort are foundational laws; they’re laws that explain why we have government in the first place and what our basic human rights are,’ Julia Olson, the plaintiffs’ lead attorney, said in San Francisco at the Commonwealth Club of California in February of 2017.
‘And one of those is the public trust doctrine,” Olson said. It holds that the government must guard common supplies, like air and water, in perpetuity,’ she said.”
Welcome to Transition Studies. To prosper for very much longer on the changing Earth humankind will need to move beyond its current fossil-fueled civilization toward one that is sustained on recycled materials and renewable energy. This is not a trivial shift. It will require a major transition in all aspects of our lives.
This weblog explores the transition to a sustainable future on our finite planet. It provides links to current news, key documents from government sources and non-governmental organizations, as well as video documentaries about climate change, environmental ethics and environmental justice concerns.
The links are listed here to be used in whatever manner they may be helpful in public information campaigns, course preparation, teaching, letter-writing, lectures, class presentations, policy discussions, article writing, civic or Congressional hearings and citizen action campaigns, etc. For further information on this blog see: About this weblog. and How to use this weblog.
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