environmental science

Letters to an Angry Beast


I took these photos at the Cal Academy of Sciences a few years back when they had a Climate Change exhibit. The above quote is from climate scientist Dr. Wallace S. Broecker. Here is a fuller quote:

The climate system is an angry beast and we are poking it with sticks,” said Dr. Wallace S. Broecker of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who was one of the first to raise the alarm about abrupt climate change. ”We don’t know whether it’s going to pay attention to the pokes. But if it does, it might rise up and do something we don’t like.” -via NY Times Archives

Screen shot 2014-04-26 at 6.01.22 AM In another part of the exhibit visitors were invited to write a small note, to share some idea that could possibly help slow down changes to our atmosphere and help to save the natural environment of our planet.

My personal favorite: Cut down on Homework. Homework kills trees. Probably written by one of my students. I also like Don’t waste paper by using these. 

I love the thought that some small idea from a fresh perspective can save us all. I always tell my students that they are our only hope. The nearsighted practices of the past have gotten us into this mess, and now it’s up to you. What will you do to help save the world?

DP Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters

Crispy Hills and Green Grass – Juxtaposition

DP Photo Challenge – Juxtaposition

Crispy hills and lush green grass–which doesn’t belong?

the grass is always greener

Where does the water for the green grass come from?

In California the largest single draw of electrical power is to pump water, from where it is collected (in the snowpack of the Sierras mostly) to where people live and need it (on the coast mostly). Planting drought resistant landscapes and ditching water thirsty lawns are two great ways to reduce your carbon footprint. In California (and probably where you live too) every time you turn on the faucet you are contributing to climate change.

A huge part of this issue is the horrible urban management of aquifers, when such huge portions of land are paved over and turned into aquitards. Runoff drains from our concrete surfaces and carries all the toxins and pollutants of the urban landscape into the water supply, creating poisonous water that drains to the sea. Then we use energy to pump clean water to our homes from far away, because we have wasted and ruined the water where we live. Something needs to change.

How’s that for a juxtaposition?