Climate Change Might Result in Mass Extinction of Lizards

New research from a study in Science claims that nearly 40% of all lizard populations, and 20% of species could become extinct by 2080, due to the effects of continuing climate change. The study uses basic biological models and observed patterns of extinction to model potential future extinction risks for lizard populations.

Interestingly, it is higher springtime temperatures that are causing problems for lizard populations, which are actually not as susceptible to climate change as their amphibian cousins. Typically, lizards resist thermal stress fairly well, but when a lizard needs to cool, it finds protection in the shade and and has less time to forage for food. Less time spent foraging means that the lizards’ energy reserves are spent more quickly.

24 of 200 previously documented populations of Mexican Scleroporus lizards have gone extinct, and extinction probability was linked to these increased springtime temperatures. Energy needs are highest in springtime when reproduction occurs, and if a lizard is stuck in the shade trying to keep cool, its reserves are spent too quickly without being replenished and the lizard will not survive.

This study is yet another in a continuing line of observations that point to climate change spelling much trouble for all types of animals.

Creating Copenhagen: Holding A Mini-Climate Summit At Your House

The Copenhagen Climate Summit has arrived. World leaders are talking about climate change. What are they talking about? We’ll hear some of the details, since they’ll be splashed all over the news. Many of the discussions will be play-by-play accounts of who signed what and who said what to whom. Gory details about how long Obama stays at the conference and who storms out. Details about protests and concerns about a climate change hoax.

Then there are the other discussions, the ones we’ll never hear about. Is Canada really going to buck up and crack down on greenhouse gas emissions? Should we ask developing countries to move on their greenhouse gas emissions, or is that unfair? What about using the soil as a carbon sink? Are cow toots really a dangerous source of methane?

That last one was mine. But honestly, there is a lot of discussion about climate change out there, and much of it will never make it into our living rooms unless we ask it to do so. We can feel pushed and pulled and downright incapacitated by all of the discussion, fear, and the coming regulations that may or may not make sense to the average person. So this December, I am asking. I’m holding a mini-climate summit that involves only three people, me, my husband, and my daughter. We’re doing some talking, and we’re committing to actions that will have an impact on our own greenhouse gas emissions.

What have we discussed so far? Well, we eat very locally, so we’re fairly good on that account. And I am not giving up chocolate, so that is not on the table. In the last few years, we’ve also steadily decreased our use of natural gas every month. We combine trips and use public transit a lot. We could do a little better on that account, though.

We’ve placed LED lights on our Christmas list.
We’re going to continue our adventures in composting and reduce the gases released when our food waste goes to the dump to get burned or buried. We’re looking into a Nature Mill composter as a possible next step, since our large backyard composter is not officially allowed in our townhouse complex.
We’re going to get my husband to pick up our daughter on the evenings when I work, reducing the trips that her grandparents need to make to return her to our home.
I’m going to refuse to use the extra car that we have access to, making it available to use only one day a week.
I’m seriously debating doing The Compact, at least for the first two months of 2010. This involves buying used materials to avoid the waste and emissions produced when we buy new. Since we already buy almost entirely used, this shouldn’t be too hard, and it will get us to question our consumption patterns.

So families across the nations, I urge you to take part in a mini climate summit of your own. What negotiations take place are entirely up to you. The world awaits your results.

 

Cap and Trade - Is It Really The Answer?

After doing a lot of research on Cap and Trade, I have actually changed my mind about it, from supporting it to Not supporting it. After finding out the other day that the “Cap and Trade” scheme was originally designed by those great guys at Enron and Goldman Sachs, an imediate red flag went up and I thought to myself, “what is this cap and trade really all about”. The answer is MONEY…. not helping the environment as I once thought.

In theory Cap and Trade is a great idea and would definitely work to curb carbon emissions, but the devil is in the detail, and the details of the proposed cap and trade is what makes it a very bad idea. Instead of trying to explain everything in writing, I think this little cartoon will do a better job than i ever could, so check it out and leave a comment and let us know what you think.

A Vegetarian Diet For One Day Can Help Stop Global Warming

Americans consume a huge amount of meat. So much so that livestock is now one of the leading contributors to global warming, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions as measured in a carbon dioxide equivalent.

A recent United Nations report concluded that the meat industry causes almost 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world’s transportation systems—that means all of the globe’s cars, trucks, planes and ships combined.

Kathy Preston poses an important question for meat-eating Americans concerned about the effects of global warming: what are the effects of going vegetarian for just one day? Here are her astounding statistics about how going vegetarian for a single day can help prevent global warming:

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save:
100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months;
1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year;
70 million gallons of gas—enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare;
3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware;
33 tons of antibiotics.

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would prevent:
Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France;
3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages;
4.5 million tons of animal excrement;
Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant.

It is undoubtedly clear that human activity causes increased global warming, and America’s dangerous over-consumption of meat is a major contributor to climate change. Adopting a vegetarian diet is an important step towards preventing global warming. And as these alarming statistics suggest, simply decreasing the amount of meat in your diet can have a major impact.

For more information about how going vegetarian can help prevent global warming, check out the original article.

(See also: Humans’ beef with livestock: a warmer planet)

 

Ways to Prevent Global Warming While Traveling

Travel, and the human thirst for it, presents a tough problem to people like you who want to take bold steps to reduce their impact on global warming. Here, we’ll discuss how your long-distance travel contributes to rising global temperatures, and steps you can take to reduce your emissions when traveling.

Traveling is a huge problem because, despite huge leaps in technology and sustainable systems for transportation, none of them exist yet on a large scale. At present, nearly all transportation is powered by fossil fuels such as coal and oil, which spew co2 emissions into the atmosphere and cause it to warm our planet.

In 2006, nearly half of all co2 emissions from fossil fuel were from the transportation sector alone. That’s a pretty important fact about global warming! Whether you travel by train, bus, subway or plane, you are almost guaranteed to be sending emissions into the air with your ticket.

Unfortunately, it seems that we humans need to travel in order for our society to work. How else will we get to that conference half-way across the country by Tuesday?

Luckily, for a lot of circumstances it is possible to eliminate the travel altogether! There are numerous technologies out there right now for live voice- and video-conferencing, designed specifically for businesses in mind.

How To Reduce Your Travel Emissions

Are you traveling for pleasure? Then your best bet is to take the train or bus if your location is far away. One of the absolute worst ways to get yourself there is by driving alone! You should always make sure to carpool if you are using a personal vehicle, and use the most fuel efficient vehicle available. If you think you’ll need more than one vehicle, then pitch in and get a single larger vehicle such as a van. You’ll get more fuel efficiency per person that way.

If you do have a car for any sort of travel, you should definitely check out this simple and amazing fuel saving device. It is guaranteed to increase your mileage by a whopping 10 miles per gallon! Better for you, better for the environment. Also, be sure to check out our other tips on how to green your car .

At all costs, you must avoid taking planes. Their exhaust is heavily laden with greenhouse gases, and worse, they get inserted directly into the most sensitive area of the atmosphere!

The best way to travel long-distances is, hands down, by train. This is also one of the best ways to prevent global warming that you, personally can take. You will get far more fuel for your dollar, and the bonus of having a relaxing, auto-piloted ride to your destination. While train travel in the United States is not up to par with Europe, it is still an inexpensive and enjoyable way to travel to almost anywhere in the nation.

Are you feeling like taking a serious long-distance travel emissions cut? Depending on the area in which you live, and the caliber of your will, you could feasibly hang-glide long distances to your destination. It may sound ridiculous (OK, it probably sounds ridiculous), but with a current record distance of 517 km (321mi.) in one flight and one day, and a few hours of enlightening views, could this be the future of human travel? This author hopes so.

You can find out more about fuel efficiency of various methods of transportation here .

Make sure not to forget about the energy you use at the hotel, campground or wherever you stay. If you plug things in, you are already contributing to further emissions. One great way you can avoid this is to use a solar charger to keep your phone, ipod or computer up and running- and completely emissions free.

Unless you bike to your destination, or take an electric vehicle powered from renewable sources, you will almost certainly have excess carbon emissions. It is important that you off-set these emissions so they do not further contribute to the potentially disastrous effects of global warming in the future.

As always, make sure that you share these helpful tips with your friends and family! It is only when we cooperate and work together to reduce our emissions that we can hope to stop global warming!

More Ways You Can Take Action:

Check our our blog on how to green your travel!

Take advantage of one of the easiest ways to help prevent global warming .
Find out how to green your car to save money and mileage!

 

Passive Solar Design Can Help Stop Global Warming

There are many ways to prevent global warming through building more energy efficient homes. Conventional houses are large, poorly designed, and inefficient, and the manufacturing and construction processes are big contributors to global warming. Perhaps more important is how much energy is spent heating and cooling homes throughout the changing seasons.

However, passive solar design is a home design approach that promotes maximum energy efficiency and can dramatically reduce the amount of energy that goes into maintaining a comfortable living space.

Passive solar design

You can lower your energy bills with a passive solar home that is designed for maximum energy efficiency. One of the most important design elements in efficient natural buildings is passive solar construction. Passive solar homes feature intelligent design considerations that can dramatically decrease the need for active energy heating and cooling systems — or, in other words, you will spend less money on heating and cooling.

In effect, passive solar homes stay cooler in the summer, and warmer in the winter with lesser need for air conditioning and heating. First and foremost, passive solar homes are oriented towards the sun (which is the south in the northern hemisphere) and feature large south-facing windows that let in a wealth of sunlight in wintertime (when the angle of the sun is much lower) and help warm up a space. With the proper calculations and other considerations (like large roof overhangs), direct sunlight is prevented from entering in summertime, keeping a room cool and comfortable.

Thermal energy can be stored in a masonry or earthen floor or cob wall, or even in large drums filled with water. After all, concrete, stone, earth, and water are all superior heat storage mediums when compared to air.

You can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint living in an efficient passive solar home. To learn more about passive solar home design, check out this link.

The True Facts About Global Warming

Looking for the real facts about global warming? Find out some important true facts about global warming that you need to know!You may have found that there is a lot of “confusion” over the facts about global warming– especially online. It's true- there are a lot of global warming deniers out there on the internet who distort scientific claims and promote half-truths. Thankfully, there are also well-known, documented and referenced facts about global warming that are impossible to deny.

The Simple Facts

The most important fact to know about global warming is that it is a reality. We know it is real because it is a measurable process that we can see through the lens of science. From samples taken from cores of ice in the arctic to records of temperatures around the world from over a century ago, you can clearly see for yourself that global warming is an unfortunate reality.

Second, it is alarmingly clear that humans are causing the problem. There is virtually no denying this, and I challenge you to dig behind the claims of anybody who says otherwise. All top climate scientists agree that humans are causing climate change, and that we are accelerating the problem through our production of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. Here is a great list of common arguments from global warming skeptics for you to reference if you meet a global warming denier- or if you are one!

Climate Change: Destroying Earth As We Know It

Global warming is happening right now, and the consequences will only worsen as we wait. It is not some far-off fantasy future. The average global temperature has already risen 1.3 ° F since the beginning of the 20th century. Sea levels have risen 20cm in the past century due to human-caused global warming, and that figure is expected to accelerate in the future. It might not sound like much, but this rise has a profound effect on coastal areas. Many countries like the Maldives already have plans made for when their country will be completely submerged by water- a direct result of human-caused climate change. The only way we can stop changes like this is to use emission-free energy sources and stop producing CO2.

150,000 people die every year as a result of global warming that you likely contribute to- one of the hardest-hitting true facts about global warming around. These deaths result from droughts, floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters connected to a changing climate. 150,000 is a huge number of people- but you can help reduce it. Below, you can find some really powerful ways that you can help stop climate change right now.

You Can Take Action Against Global Warming

There are a lot of ways that you can take action to reduce your impact and help with global warming prevention. Start by checking out the top ten ways to prevent global warming. However, the best way to combat global warming is to act right now and reduce your emissions by visiting the neutral existence eco-store and learn how you can dramatically reduce your footprint- You'll save money and, more importantly, save lives.

Sources

True Facts on Global Warming: A Cooler Climate
Wikipedia: Global Warming
How to Decrease Your Carbon Footprint

The Top 10 Ways to Prevent Global Warming: You Can Help!

There are so many ways to prevent global warming through your personal action. Indeed, it is only through our personal actions that humans will ever solve the problem of global warming. These solutions listed below will help you reduce your biggest contributions to climate change. But there are many more ways you can help once you have made the vital changes listed below. Learn how!

You won’t have an impact, unless you first take a look at your biggest sources of CO2 emissions. It is crucial that you understand why you are making the changes listed below so you can become a knowledgeable, effective and motivated citizen for change. Once you know the sources of greenhouse gas emissions you will know where you need to act.

1. Use Your Power Company’s Renewable Energy Option
The single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States is fossil fuel combustion for the production of electricity. The amount of carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants exceeds any other single source of CO2 emissions in the United States. Knowing that, you can make one simple change to completely erase your emissions from electricity generation: use your power company’s renewable energy option.

Once you make this simple decision you will reduce your carbon footprint significantly and with very little effort. Most electric companies offer you the option of receiving all of your electricity from renewable sources. Ameren’s PurePower program, for example, makes it easy to switch to renewable energy for only a small increase in your monthly bill. This not only eliminates your dependence on coal, but also encourages further investment in renewable energy. That means the cost will only go down as more people like you make the responsible choice to use it. If your provider doesn’t have a program, tell them to start one! You’ll be surprised at how responsive they can be.

2. Stop Driving to Greatly Reduce CO2 Emissions
The second biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States is from transportation. Producing almost as much carbon dioxide as electricity generation, petroleum-based transportation creates a huge burden for the planet. As a result, getting rid of your vehicle is one of the best possible ways to prevent global warming.

Your impact will be enormous when you decide to stop driving your car, and you will save yourself thousands of dollars every year. Millions of Americans commute to work without a car, and you can too. There are dozens of alternatives, from cycling to work to taking public transportation. Best of all, when you decide to sell your car you will be saving yourself the stress and financial burden of owning a personal vehicle. You can live a longer, healthier, more stress-free life when you sell your car.

3. Buy Local To Decrease Emissions
You now know from tip #2 how your personal transportation has a huge impact on climate change. But it’s just as important for you to remember the carbon footprint created from shipping food and other products to the store where you purchase them. Did you know that the average meal travels over 2000 miles to get to your dining room table? That’s a lot of CO2 emissions, and it’s one of the reasons that transportation is the second largest source of carbon dioxide emissions.

4. Eating Less Meat Helps Stop Global Warming
You might not realize it, but it requires a huge amount of energy to raise animals for meat consumption. Did you know that it requires a whopping 16 pounds of grain to produce only one single pound of meat, for example? The energy required to maintain this current scheme is bigger than you probably realize. In addition, animals such as cattle produce greenhouse gases themselves in their digestive tracts. Cattle are one of the largest sources of methane emissions, a powerful contributor to global warming.

5. Take Charge of Your Investments 
If you are like most Americans, you have an investment portfolio of some sort. Many people choose to invest in stocks and mutual funds. What many people don’t realize is that their stocks and mutual funds could be financing environmental destruction. Mutual funds often invest in coal- probably the most environmentally destructive industry on the planet. Instead, choose a green mutual fund. You’ll feel better knowing you aren’t directly funding global warming emissions.

6. Take Trains, Not Planes!
Whenever you travel long-distances, be sure to take the train instead of a plane. Not only are trains safer and more spacious, but they produce dramatically less carbon emissions when compared to air travel. In fact, I’ll bet you didn’t know that trains produce 10 times less carbon dioxide than planes!

7. Be Vocal In Your Government
You must help shift global warming into the mainstream. Not until you as an active citizen demand that we prevent global warming will the government move to act on it in a meaningful way. No politician interested in re-election is going to sponsor the kind of legislation required to alleviate our massive responsibility for global warming without an organized citizenry pushing for better climate legislation.

8. Recycle Paper to Prevent Climate Change
If you use paper or tissue made without recycled fiber, you could be supporting the destruction of thousands of acres of centuries-old untouched forests. Not only is this an ecological travesty, but it also greatly reduces the biomass available to store carbon from the air. You see, trees and other plants absorb carbon from the air and use it to grow their stalks, roots, leaves and so on. When we cut down the trees we lose their capacity to store carbon. The solution? Use recycled paper!

9. Be A Responsible Consumer
You can use your purchasing power to help prevent global warming. When you are at the store, make sure to consider the energy required to produce and ship the product you are buying. You can reduce your carbon footprint by purchasing locally produced products and food, and by avoiding products that require a lot of energy to to make.

10. Your Secret Power
You probably don’t realize it, but you have a secret power to help fight global warming.

Less Pollution = More Rain

A recent study by Martin Wild and his colleagues, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have shown that solar radiation and rainfall have increased with the decrease in air pollution.

Martin explains that as air pollution drops over recent decades, due to new and more stringent emission standards, the solar radiation increases because more sunlight is able to penetrate the atmosphere. This increase in solar radiation has caused an increase in evaporation, thus intensifying the natural water cycle and ultimately causing more rain. This excess rain could explain some of the extraordinary recent precipitation events, such as flooding, landslides and erosion.

Wild’s study has only focused on land masses, so it is not yet clear as to whether these precipitation increases are from evaporation over land masses or from the oceans. The effects of this phenomena are localized and some factors, such as increases in winds could cause less rain in particular areas, which would explain increase droughts in those areas.

Via: NewScientist

1970’s Global Cooling Concern, A Myth?

After being in the environmental field for quite some time now, you can imagine that I have had my fair share of “Global Warming” debates. One of the most commonly used lines I hear from the global warming skeptics is, “These scientists can’t get their facts straight, first they said global cooling back in the 70’s and now they say global warming, which one is it? This just goes to show you that they don’t know what they are talking about.”

Until recently, I never really researched this common belief among global warming skeptics. A few months back, I found that only a hand full of journalists from the National Geographic, Times and the New York Times reported on this “global cooling” issue, but it was pure speculation as to the reason for the unusually cold decade. It was NOT a scientific consensus that global cooling was happening and that we would soon see a second ice age, it was basically journalistic speculation from a few key sources.

As Thomas Peterson from the National Climatic Data Center recently pointed out, only 7 of the 71 peer-reviewed scientific articles regarding climate issues between 1965 and 1979 supported the global cooling theory, while 44 of them actually predicted global warming (the last 20 were neutral at assessing climate trends). Peterson’s study not only focused on the peer-reviewed scientific articles of the time, but on the news media coverage of the issue as well. Peterson found that as in the scientific community, there was NO consensus on global cooling among journalist either.

A senior fellow in environmental studies, Pat Michaels, explained that what really happened in the ‘70s was that a few scientists were trying to explain the reason for the sharp cooling from the mid ‘40s to the mid ‘70s. They explained that excess pollution in the atmosphere was preventing solar radiation from hitting earths surface. Michaels further explained that, “At the time, scientists thought the cooling effect of pollution was greater than the warming effect of carbon dioxide.”

While most global warming skeptics believe that the prevailing scientific consensus of the late 70s predicted a new ice age, the facts show that this simply is not true. Global warming was the dominant subject in the peer-reviewed literature of the time. Even in the mid ‘70s the majority consensus of climate scientists, predicted global warming due to excess carbon dioxide, and this still holds true today.

Via USA Today