Planet Earth Weekly

Climate Change and Renewable Energy: Saving Our Planet for Future Generations


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Climate Change: Marine Heat Waves

The Ocean Heat Wave

The Blob shows the warmest ocean .

“In recent years large regions of unusually warm water have been observed in the global oceans.”

By John J. Hidore

Terrestrial heat waves have been a problem for the human species throughout history. They occur on all continents with the possible exception of Antarctica. Technically, they occur there as well. Terrestrial heat waves are defined as prolonged periods of unusually warm weather. What would be defined as a heat wave in one location would not be appropriate for another location, perhaps one not even too far away. An adequate definition might be, “A heat wave is an unusually warm or hot period lasting for days or perhaps weeks.” We associate them with summer but by this definition they can actually occur at any season. At least one country makes a clear definition of a heat wave and that is Pakistan. India defines heat waves and uses different temperatures in different parts of the country to establish what constitutes a heat wave. In the plains regions temperatures above 40 degrees C (104 degrees F) constitute a heat wave. They also define a severe heatwave for this region as experiencing temperatures over 46 degrees C (114.8 degrees F).

The Ocean Heat Wave

Breaking previous ocean temperatures.

Marine heat waves

In recent years large regions of unusually warm water have been observed in the global oceans. These large areas of warmer than usual water develop when surface winds drop in velocity or become calm and are now referred to as marine heat waves. These large areas of unusually warm water(MHWs) are defined in similar terms to heat waves on land as prolonged periods of unusually warm water. In the United States NOAA defines a marine heat wave as an event where the surface water temperature is warmer than 90% of past events whose temperatures were warmer than average for that particular time of year and location for at least five days. The term” blob” has been applied to them. The term was the name given to an event that occurred off the west coast of the United States in 2014-2015.

Pacific Ocean Heat Wave of 2019

A marine heat wave developed over a large part of the northeastern Pacific Ocean this past summer. It extended from Hawaii to the Pacific coast of the United States and stretched all the way from Alaska to California. Temperatures off the coast here rose by 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit. Off the west coast of the United States the blob resulted in a large loss of marine life from microorganisms to large fish. It subsequently affected marine animals and birds. The Hawaiian Islands had the warmest summer on record this year. The effects of the current MHW had a major impact on life in the ocean near the islands. The warmer water resulting in extensive coral bleaching damage to the reefs.

These events are a product of the 21st century, occur in the oceans around the world and are occurring more often and are lasting longer.

Warming Ocean Temperatures

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Heating your RV

“Staying warm can be challenging, especially in an RV.”

By Linn Smith

Winter is upon us here in North America and staying warm can be challenging, especially in an RV. We have a Mr. Heater which we sometimes use in the RV, but I have always used it for short periods only, because I have never been sure of the safety when it comes to carbon monoxide emissions… and the RV chat groups on the internet have ceased to put my mind to rest.

Some RVers say they would never use a Mr. Heater in small spaces, others say they have used them for years. These heaters have built in safety features so, except for leaks at the connections which can be checked for after connecting, they are relatively safe. Mr. Heater has a sensor that shuts them down when oxygen gets low and a tip over safety feature which will also shut them down.

Mr. Heater

Mr. Heater attached to outside propane tank on RV.

Heating your RV

I have friends in Arizona who use only the Mr. Heater to heat their RV, running a Mr. Heater 12’ propane hose assembly from their outside propane tank. There are videos on YouTube for setting this up by drilling a hole in the floor of the RV.

What is the carbon foot print of propane heaters? According to Seattlepi.com, “Propane, though a fossil fuel, is a relatively clean burning fuel which is attributed to its lower carbon content….though its combustion does produce some greenhouse gas wastes.”

Solar on RV

Charge your battery with solar panels.

Although you can make many arguments for and against the environmental impact of an RV, most full time RVers go south for the winter, where they have access to an ideal heat source…warm weather and the warm sun shining through the windows. Today more and more RVs are equipped with solar panels to keep their battery charged.

Charging the battery with solar

The “green argument” for heating an RV with propane? It’s not ideal, but you are heating a very small space and if you travel south for the winter, a heater is only used occasionally for several hours at night.

Heating with a Mr. Heater

During my spare time I began watching videos on the safety of Mr. Heaters and found one that pretty much put my mind at rest, a video on YouTube hosted by a charismatic Canadian full time RVer, Taylor Dzaman. Mr. Dzaman did his own very thorough investigation on Mr. Heaters called “Are Buddy Heaters Safe Inside an RV/Carbon Monoxide full test (review). The question he asked, “Can you sleep all night long with a Buddy heater turned on in your RV. What about a tent? A room in your home? Does it give off carbon monoxide?”

Here’s the link to his YouTube video: https://youtu.be/5vqyfOq0D-8

Heating your RV

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U.N. Climate Action Awards: Eco Wave Power

Wave Power

Creating Electricity for the Ocean

“Eco Wave Power has successfully developed and commercialized wave energy.”

By Linn Smith

Eco Wave Power is a company founded in 2011 which is the only company in the world that turns ocean waves into clean energy, connecting wave floaters to the power grid. Since 2016 the Wave Farm has been providing Gibraltar, a tiny country bordering Spain, with electricity. Eco Wave Power is also a 2019 recipient of the United Nation’s Climate Action Award.

Clean Energy

Generating electricity from the ocean

Clean and Affordable Energy

According to the U.N. Climate Action organization,”The project generates clean and affordable electricity, using a simple design that allows the project’s uniquely shaped floaters to be attached to existing man-made structures (such as piers, breakwaters and jetties), and thereby simplifying the installation process, as well as maintenance and accessibility.”

Ocean Energy

Ocean waves create electricity in Gibraltar

How Wave Energy Works

The converter consists of three main functional parts: mechanical, hydraulic and electric systems. The mechanical system serves as a wave energy receiver on floaters and transmits the energy to hydraulic cylinders. The hydraulic system transforms the mechanical energy from the sea to hydraulic fluid pressure and forces a hydraulic motor rotation, which transfers the energy from rotation to the generator. The generator is part of a converter electrical system. It receives the energy from rotation and transforms it to electrical power.

Wave power

Generating clean energy

Key Facts according to U.N. Climate Action

*Wave energy has historically been uncommercialized due to the complexity of extracting energy from the ocean. This project has successfully developed and commercialized wave energy, resulting in a grid-connected array that has operated continuously since 2016.

*In 2018, the station set a world record for wave energy when it clocked over 15,000 grid-connection hours.

*Commercializing wave energy has enormous potential — the World Energy Council predicts that wave energy can produce twice the amount of electricity the world currently produces.

*More than half the world’s population lives within 100 km (62 miles) of a coastline, and in many locations, the power of the waves is available around the clock.

Being easy to build and cost efficient these floaters also have little negative impact on the environment. Gibraltar has been a test site and Eco Wave’s plan for further expansion are on the horizon!

Sources:
https://unfccc.int/climate-action/momentum-for-change/women-for-results/eco-wave-power

http://www.ecowavepower.com

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave_power

wave energy


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Extreme Storms: The recent bomb cyclone in the United States and tropical cyclones in southeast Africa

Climate change causes severe weather.

“In all probability it is a result of climate change and indicative of things to come.”

By Dr. John J. Hidore

A Bomb Cyclone Forms in the US Midwest

A bomb cyclone is a low pressure system in which the central pressure rapidly drops by at least 24 millibars (mb) in 24 hours or less. On March 12-14 winter storm Ulmer moved over the Midwest and Southeastern United States. In Ulmer the central pressure dropped 26 mb in 16 hours. All time low pressure records were set in Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico. The central pressure dropped to 968 mb on March 13. The extreme pressure gradient in the storm created winds of 100mph or more over in Texas and New Mexico. Blizzard conditions and whiteouts occurred over a wide area. Thunderstorms and tornadoes were widespread during the storm.

An EF 1 tornado hit Dexter, NM. This was the earliest tornado ever recorded in a calendar year in the state of New Mexico. The storm produced damaging winds in Texas as well.. As the storm moved south and east over two days it spawned widespread tornadoes.

Climate change increases the likelihood of severe weather.

Tropical Cyclones in Southeastern Africa

The storm season in the Indian Ocean so far in 2019 has been extensive. There have already been more than the usual number of storms. Mozambique on the southeastern coast of Africa had not experienced a tropical cyclone since satellite monitoring of the earth began. That changed big time this spring when Cyclone Idai came ashore. It turned out to be among the most destructive weather events to occur in Africa, if not the southern hemisphere. The storm had winds measured at over 175 km/h (105 mph) as it reached shore near the port city of Beiria, Mozambique. The storm produced widespread flooding which added to the wind damage. A stretch of land 50km (30mi) long adjacent to the Buzi River was flooded. In places the flood water was six meters (19 1/2 feet ) deep. Parts of Zimbabwe and Malawi were also effected.

The government of Mozambique announced a confirmed death total of 200 and an estimated 100,000 people needed rescuing from the flood waters near Beira. Some of those rescued were without food or drinkable water for as many as three days. Families were split up, some members dying in the flood. The death toll may have exceeded more than 1000. In Zimbabwe a government statement indicated at least 98 died and another 200 missing. Following the storm the president of Mozambique declared three days of mourning.

Only a few weeks later Cyclone Kenneth came ashore in Mozambique It is the first time since records have been kept that two cyclones reached the country in the same season. Again there was extensive flooding.

Our Changing Climate

The big question is whether this event is indicative of climate change or just a matter of chance. In light of storm activity in the Indian Ocean in all probability it is a result of climate change and indicative of things to come.

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Climate Change


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Patagonia: An Environmentally Friendly Company

By Linn Smith

“We all saw what was happening in the remote corners of the world: creeping pollution and deforestation.”

As I was listening to the radio this morning, I heard an interview with the founder of Patagonia sports gear and clothing. I realized that Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, is a phenomenal man! His methods of sustainability and helping Planet Earth have been consistent throughout Patagonia’s almost 50 year existence, with the company’s environmental practices ranging from discouraging people against buying new products when they can fix the old, to sending trucks around the U.S. to fix Patagonia products, thus saving them from being discarded.

As an owner of a Patagonia jacket for many years, I not only realize the hardiness of this product but I now know if the zipper breaks, Patagonia will fix it!

Yvon Chouinard developed an environmentally friendly company because, not only does he make a quality, long lasting product, he witnessed the environmental injustices when Patagonia was new and attempted to create a low carbon footprint as his company developed.

Fighting for our Environment

In an excerpt from Yvon Chouinard’s book, “Let My People Go Surfing,” he states, “We all saw what was happening in the remote corners of the world: creeping pollution and deforestation, the slow, then not so slow, disappearance of fish and wildlife. And we saw what was happening closer to home: thousand year-old Sequoias succumbing to L.A. smog, the thinning of life in tide pools and kelp beds, the rampant development of the land along the coast. What we began to read – about global warming, the cutting and burning of tropical forests, the rapid loss of groundwater and topsoil, acid rain, the ruin of rivers and creeks from silting-over dams – reinforced what we saw with our eyes and smelled with our noses during our travels. At the same time, we slowly became aware that uphill battles fought by small, dedicated groups of people to save patches of habitat could yield significant results.”

Environmental Practices of Patagonia

Following are some environmentally friendly practices of Patagonia (from http://www.patagonia.com):

* In 1986, they committed to donate 10% of profits each year to these groups. They later upped the ante to 1% of sales, or 10% of profits, whichever was greater. They have kept to that commitment every year since
* They participate in grassroots efforts to save our planet.
* They make donations to small groups that restore/save the environment.
* In 1988, they initiated their first national environmental campaign on behalf of an alternative master plan to deurbanize the Yosemite Valley. Each year since, they have undertaken a major education campaign on an environmental issue.
* They took an early position against globalization of trade when it meant compromising environmental and labor standards.
* They have argued for dam removal where silting and marginally useful dams compromise fish life.
* They have supported wildlands projects that seek to preserve ecosystems whole and create corridors for wildlife to roam.
* Every eighteen months they hold a “Tools for Activists” conference to teach marketing and publicity skills to some of the groups they work with.
* They have been using recycled-content paper for their catalogs since the mid-eighties.
* They worked with Malden Mills to develop recycled polyester for use in their fleece.
* Their distribution center in Reno, opened in 1996, has achieved a 60% reduction in energy use through solar-tracking skylights and radiant heating; they use recycled content for everything from rebar to carpet to the partitions between urinals. They retrofitted lighting systems in existing stores, and build-outs for new stores became increasingly environmentally friendly.
* They assessed the dyes they used and eliminated colors from the line that required the use of toxic metals and sulfides. Most importantly, since the early nineties, they have made environmental responsibility a key element of everyone’s job.
* They changed to organic cotton because, the “natural” fiber used in most of their sportswear proved to be by far the greatest environmental evildoer of the fibers studied. They learned that 25% of all toxic pesticides used in agriculture was (and is) used in the cultivation of cotton, that the resulting pollution of soil and water was (and is) horrific, and that evidence of damage to the health of fieldworkers is strong, though difficult to prove. Cotton was the biggest villain – and it didn’t have to be. Farmers had grown cotton organically, without pesticides, for thousands of years. Only after World War II did the chemicals originally developed as nerve gases become available for commercial use, to eliminate the need for weeding fields by hand.”
* They continue the search for more environmentally friendly fabrics. They are using more hemp, in some products in combination with recycled polyester.
* They will repair their products.
* Worn Wear is an online program that will sell your old Patagonia gear. They say, “Why extend the life of your gear? Because the best thing we can do for our planet is get more use out of stuff we already own, cutting down on consumption, repairing, sharing and recycling your gear.” During the 2017 fiscal year, they made 50,295 clothing repairs. They also have a trade-in program to swap old gear and Patagonia’s Worn Wear trailer makes stops across the U.S. to repair their products.

Patagonia products may be a bit more expensive but they hold their value in resale. So, for all of the environmentally friendly practices of this company, I want to give a “hats off” to Patagonia for caring about our environment!

Patagonia

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The Salton Sea: The Accidental Lake

Dead fish line the shores because of high salinity and lack of oxygen

“The Salton Sea was man-made…by accident.”

By Linn Smith

The Salton Sea controversy was generated most recently by the signing of the Colorado Drought Contingency Agreement, which was mandated to be signed by all states bordering the Colorado River by the end of March 2019. These states were mandated to water cuts by the agreement in an attempt to prevent further dropping of water levels.

The Hoover Dam

Why the water cuts? If Lake Mead continues dropping and reaches below 1,050 ft, the Hoover Dam will stop generating power to millions of people. If it continues dropping below 895 ft. it will become a “dead pool”, where water can no longer be piped out to states along the river border. It is today only 40% full at approximately 1,082 ft, thus the federal intervention demand on cutbacks of water usage from all Colorado River border states.

The Imperial Irrigation District, the largest holder of water rights in California, was in line to sign the agreement, but only if the Colorado Contingency Agreement granted water to revive the troubled Salton Sea before signing. California signed anyway and the Salton Sea wasn’t included in the agreement.

The Salton Sea

Old structures fall apart on what was once the shoreline.

History of the Salton Sea

The Salton Sea has a lengthy history and has not been sustainable since its beginning. Sustainability is an avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain ecological balance. The Salton Sea doesn’t meet this definition.

The Salton Sea was man-made…by accident. From 1905 to 1907, water poured out of a poorly built system of irrigation ditches meant to divert water from the Colorado River to the dry, arid farm land in Southern California. The water flooded the Salton basin, developing a 400 sq mile lake named the Salton Sea, California’s largest lake. Nicknamed the Salton Riviera in the 1950’s, the lake developed into a tourist destination, with resorts popping up around its edge. The Dept.of Fish and Game stocked it with many types of fish and boaters, yacht clubs and celebrities flocked to its shores.

The Salton Sea

The shoreline has been lost to evaporation and lack of water feeding into it.

The Decline of the Salton Sea

The decline of the Salton Sea began around 1976 with tropical storms, rising salinity due to no fresh water supply to counter evaporation, toxic agricultural runoff and a receding shoreline. Housing prices plummeted! Today, the main attraction is a wildlife refuge on the lake’s shore.

With the recent Colorado Drought Contingency agreement, the Imperial Valley District tried to demand its water rights for the declining sea, stating it has become a health hazard with toxic blowing sand due to agricultural run off, dying fish and abandoned buildings on a shoreline that no longer exists. California signed the Contingency Agreement without the support of the Imperial Valley District, its largest holder of water rights. According to the Washington Post, “The Metropolitan Water District, which serves Los Angeles, essentially wrote Imperial out of the drought plan to prevent delays in implementing it by taking on Imperial’s pledged water contributions to Lake Mead.”

In Support of Hoover Dam and Lake Mead

Was the Salton Sea ever sustainable? We can either support our communities who depend on the Colorado River for electricity and agriculture, or revitalize a dying sea that can’t survive and has little purpose today. With climate change everyone has to give for the greater good and for the survival of future generations.

The Salton Sea


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Building Sustainable Communities

Sustainable communities

Live sustainably

“A sustainable community, though varying in structure, promotes sustainable, or green, living for its occupants.”

By Linn Smith
March 3, 2019—I recently read an article by a woman who was trying to live sustainably for several months… walking, riding her bike, growing her own food and dumpster diving when that ran out. I’m all for living sustainably, and I think I do a pretty good job of it, but dumpster diving is not on my list of sustainable living methods. Not that I’m against it, it’s just not for me! Plus, I can’t see spending my entire day walking, biking and looking for food. So, what is the answer? Maybe the hippies of the 70’s had it right when they developed communes. Today the word is…sustainable communities!

Sustainable communities

The Amish live a sustainable life.

The Amish: A Sustainable Community

When I was growing up in the rural Midwest, there was a nearby Amish community. The Amish would open their homes on weekends to the outside community, selling a variety of pies, cakes and many other delicious baked goods and hand made products. We would drive the country roads to get there, passing the men in black hats walking behind the draft horses as they plowed the field. Sometimes we would pass them on the paved roads near our house as they drove their buggies near the edge. The men would make extra money roofing barns in the area, with the stipulation that you must go to their community to pick them up. The Amish are living a sustainable life as they have since arriving since the U.S. in the early 1700s.

I grew up knowing how hard field work was, (but not Amish hard) driving the tractor to bale hay and dragging the fields, milking cows and watching my folks fill the jars with canned goods that went in the basement for the winter. It was sustainable living for that time period.

What is a Sustainable Community?

A sustainable community, though varying in structure, promotes sustainable, or green, living for its occupants by creating a healthy place to live while reducing the carbon footprint and negative environmental impact. It doesn’t have to mean dumpster diving or driving a horse and buggy down the highway, but it is important for individuals, families and communities to move in a sustaining direction.

sustainable communities

Dancing Rabbit is a sustainable community in Missouri.

Dancing Rabbit EcoVillage

Building a sustainable community may take several forms, such as buying land and building sustainable housing with a community greenhouse, gardens, solar and wind power. An example of this is Dancing Rabbit EcoVillage in Missouri which has built their community using the following guidelines:

Green communities

Sustainable living

1. No vehicles are to be used or stored in the village.
2. Fossil fuels for cars, refrigeration, heating and cooling homes, as well heating domestic water aren’t allowed.
3. All gardening must be organic.
4. All power must come from renewable resources.
5. No lumber from outside the local area is allowed unless it is recycled or salvaged.
6. Organic waste and recyclable materials are to be reincorporated into usable products through composting methods.

Extreme? Maybe….. but there may be more palatable solutions.

green communities

Work .towards making your community more sustainable

Making Your Community Sustainable

In the Mother Earth Living article by Carol Venolia, “Come Together: How to Build Sustainable Communities,” Ms. Venolia makes the following points for making an already established community more sustainable:

1. Have a neighborhood potluck to discuss the possibilities of moving towards a green community and exchange information.
2. Establish a community garden in free spaces in the neighborhood such as vacant lots.
3. Install low water drip irrigation systems where needed. This system is the most efficient in water saving techniques.
4. Share produce from already existing backyard gardens
5. Help each other replace high maintenance sod lawns with indigenous plants that will thrive in your climate.
6. Create a neighborhood resource website to encourage sharing of items from tools to cars. Also, list neighborhood members’ different skills that could be traded.
7. Ride share. Create a community e-mail to list who is going on errands that may be shared with another rider.
8. Share time and skills to make the neighborhood homes more energy efficient, lowering energy bills.
9. Make a neighborhood investment in a solar-power.
10. Support local farmers by buying food grown locally.
11. Become familiar with your larger community by knowing local flora and fauna and waterways. The more you learn the more you are apt to participate in making your environment a healthy place by creating sustainable living. “Community is a major component of sustainability. Strong neighborhood ties don’t just make life more pleasant, studies show they also improve safety and increase personal longevity.”

Now is the time to reach out and lend a helping hand to your neighbor and Planet Earth! Be a role model for your children and leave them a healthy place to live.

Sustainable Living


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International Action on Climate Change: Paris, France (COP21) to Katowice, Poland (COP24)

Climate change conference

Climate Change

“It recently became clear that not enough was being done to reduce global warming.”

By Dr. John J. Hidore

January 18, 2016—-In 2015, a major conference on climate change was held in Paris. At the Paris climate conference most of the representatives of the nearly 200 countries attending agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At present, global temperatures are set to rise 3°C (5 1/2°F). An agreement was reached to make sure global temperatures did not rise more than 2°Celsius (3.6°F) above temperatures prior to the industrial revolution. It is believed by many scientists that any rise above this level would lead to a self generated further rise in temperature. In turn this would lead to devastating changes in natural events. Much more rapid melting of the global ice and a corresponding rise in sea level would occur and extreme weather events would be more common.

At the Paris conference each country was allowed to present a plan for reducing emissions. None of the plans were enforceable. This was the only way to get most of the countries to submit plans.

Poland and renewable energy

Poland and %100 renewables

The COP24 Conference

It recently became clear that not enough was being done to reduce global warming. Another conference was scheduled, representatives from most of the countries that participated in the Paris conference met earlier in December 2018 in Katowice, Poland. The purpose was to further the outcome of the Paris Conference. This conference is known as the COP24 conference. The goal of this meeting was to establish a set of rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions more sharply by the countries that attended the conference. The rules take into account the possibilities and conditions in each individual country.

At the present many, if not most countries, have no way of tracking their emissions. What is needed, of course, is some method of documenting emission levels. However, there have been many objections expressed to documenting emissions. Some of these objections are simply based on available technology. Others are based on a fear of providing national technological data to the rest of the world. There are also many objections from the less developed countries which emit a combined 60% of the emissions, but do not have the technology nor economic resources to monitor them. There was considerable effort by the less developed countries to have the more wealthy countries help finance the data gathering and emission reductions in the poorer countries.

climate change

The exchange of energy is causing rapid arctic melting.

Polish Plans to Reduce Emissions

Poland is a country with extensive coal deposits which are used to produce electrical power. However, the Polish Government has begun a number of projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They launched a clean air program in the summer of 2018. They have been increasing the area of forested land. Forests cover about a third of the country and the area has been increasing. Selected tree species can increase the absorption of CO2.

The American Government Repudiates Climate Change

The United States was a leader in organizing the Paris conference of 2015. However, Mr. Trump has repudiated the Paris Agreement. He has also refused to pay two billion dollars in aid pledged during the Obama administration to support global efforts to reduce climate change. The government of the United States did not send representatives to the Katowice conference.

World cooperation on many items has decreased substantially in the last three years. A big part of the reason is the nationalism (America First) espoused by Mr. Trump. The United States can do better at being a leader in the fight against rising temperatures on our planet!


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Climate Change has been at the Root of Major Famines

Drought in India

Indian drought causes famine.

“The demand and supply of food has been in a delicate balance for the human species throughout history.”

By Dr. John J. Hidore

October 30, 2018—–The term famine produces an image of starvation and suffering in the minds of most people. In general a famine is a lack of food sufficient to produce malnutrition in large numbers of people over a wide area. The United Nations considers several conditions for a regional food shortage to be considered a famine. They are:

1. At least 20% of families in the area face extreme food shortages that they cannot cope with.
2. Acute malnutrition in children exceeds 20%.
3. The death rate exceeds two persons for each 10,000 people per day.

The Role of Climate Change in Historic Famines

There are many causes of famine, including climate changes, war, and political policies. One of the major ones is drought. Most of the catastrophic famines in historic times have been precipitated by drought. Drought can affect the quality and quantity of crop yields and the food supply for domestic animals. In the case of severe drought there may be a substantial loss of domestic animals due to lack of food. The loss of milk products or meat itself can precipitate the effects of the drought.

The demand and supply of food has been in a delicate balance for the human species throughout history. When the food supply has increased there has been a gain in population, and when food has been in short supply there has been some sort of trauma inflicted on the populace. Starvation results from insufficient food intake. During the long period of the hunting and gathering societies, starvation was probably often near at hand for individuals, family groups and tribes.

Indian drought

Millions effected by the drought

Agriculture and Famine

The development of agriculture allowed the world population to expand rapidly and greatly. At the same time, the basis for the supply of food, namely agriculture, became more directly dependent upon the weather. Famine as a phenomenon did not become a part of human experience until after agriculture began. However, as agriculture expanded so did the frequency of famines. The number of times that famine has spread on the continents is enormous. Nearly all histories of peoples and nations record famines.

Great famines have occurred throughout the Asian continent. India, China, Russia and the countries of the Middle East have all suffered from famine, many times which were drought related. An example is the famine described as occurring during the time of Abraham (about 2247 B.C). Another massive famine occurred in Egypt prior to the exodus of the Israelites. Drought and famine are endemic in India and China. The oldest record of famine in India goes back to 400 B.C. and in China to 108 B.C. Since the time of the earliest known famine there have been nearly continuous episodes of drought and famine in many parts of Asia or Africa.

Indian drought

Global warming raises temperatures around the world.

The Impact of Drought in Developing Countries

Drought has a much greater impact on people in developing countries than it does in industrial societies. The primary reason for this is that in the developing countries there is more dependence on agriculture as a way of life. When crops fail, or there isn’t enough forage for livestock, there is an immediate effect on the populace.

A very positive aspect of famine is that they are becoming fewer and less extensive due to the ability of the global economy to move large quantities of food from place to place.

Climate change and famine


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Boyan Slat and the Ocean Clean Up Project

Boyan Slat

Slat looks over his System 001.

“The System 001 is an unmanned system moving with the currents.”

By Linn Smith

October 7, 2018—–If you’re not following Boyan Slat’s attempt to cleanup the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), you should be! This young man put his heart and soul into this project and is currently headed for the great patch of garbage floating in the ocean.

#Boyan Slat

Garbage Patch swirls with the currents.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Slat is the poster child of sustainable innovation for his generation, putting his energy towards cleaning up the environmental mess past generations have created! According to some critics he may not have the perfect solution—but, who else is in the middle of the ocean right now trying?? Hummm, no one! And the mess has been floating and growing for years! Scientists have estimated the Garbage Patch would take 79,000 years to break down and dissolve in the ocean! With the models created by Slat, his system could clean up 50% of the mess by 2025! The majority of the Garbage Patch is large debris. Removing these floating pieces of plastic will prevent the breaking down into microplastics that wildlife and fish can mistake for food and eventually entering the food we eat.

Boyan Slat

Boyan Slat

Boyan Slat

Boyan Slat is 24 years old and the garbage patch is almost as old as he is. By the time it was discovered in 1997, it was already massive. At 16, this Nederland’s born youth went on a diving trip to Greece. “There were more plastic bags than fish,” he told MNN a few years back. “That was the moment I realized it was a huge issue and that environmental issues are really the biggest problems my generation will face.”

Instead of accepting the floating plastic as an adult problem that needs an adult solution, he went back to his high school and went to work solving the problem. Back in his high school classroom he invented a multilevel trawl with centrifugal forces that separated the plastic from the plankton and ocean life.

Boyan Slat

The Ocean Cleanup

System 001

“The System 001 is an unmanned system moving with the currents, looking like a u-shaped pipeline floating on top of the current. Beneath the pipeline is a 10 ft skirt which traps the plastic caught in the current, protecting sea life because it is solid and not a net.” Slat states, “Our systems fully rely on natural ocean currents and do not require an external energy source to catch and concentrate the plastic. All electronics used, such as lights, will be solar powered.

#theoceancleanup

Big Solutions for the ocean cleanup

Recycling the Ocean Plastic

What will happen to the plastic when it’s back on shore? Slat says he wants to turn it into The Ocean Cleanup brand of merchandise, selling it to support the cleanup of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. He states, “By producing merchandise that is not a single use item that might end up back in the ocean, it will reduce the chance of it ending up back in the ocean by 99%.”

Slat also humbly states, “Big problems require big solutions, if anyone has any better ideas, we’d love to know!”

This young man has the concentrated and innovative talent our planet needs!

You can follow the project currently underway on Facebook ((https://www.facebook.com/boyanslat) or see an up-to-date timeline on his site, The Ocean Clean Up, https://www.theoceancleanup.com/system001/. Also, you can find his TED talk on YouTube or follow on Instagram.

The Ocean Clean Up