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Archive Environmental News November 2020

We Are Not the First Sapiens to Experience the Impact of Climate Change

Just the first with the capacity to respond to it!

The climate change that we face today is not the first that has fundamentally altered life on earth. In fact, over the eons, the earth has grown hotter and colder several times – both the Sahara and Antarctica have flowered and hosted great herds of animals. What few knew until recently, however, is that these changes have shaped our own evolution as humans. The earth’s extreme shifts in temperature have pruned human’s complex evolutionary tree, lopping off many branches that proved unable to adjust to the changing weather.

We are understandably focused on our own circumstances, but the experiences of our ancestors provide an important warning

One Earth, a site dedicated to the collection of high-quality research that seeks to understand and address today’s environmental Grand Challenges recently published an interesting article “Past Extinctions of Homo Species Coincided with Increased Vulnerability to Climatic Change”

The Highlights of the study show that:

  • Climate change is a major factor in evolution, shaping the history of life on Earth
  • Humans usually feel excluded by climate change-induced extinction risk
  • We demonstrate that climate change drove past human species extinct

The extensive study, used in part a high-resolution past climate emulator, which provides temperature and rainfall yearly maxima and minima and net primary productivity with a 1,000 year resolution.

The report concludes “our own future depends critically on the health of Earth’s supporting ecosystems and the entire living biota, and our analysis provides a stark warning concerning the power of anthropogenic future climate change to translate directly into extinction risk for other species less well equipped to adapt than sp. Homo. This suggests that the threat posed by the current, anthropogenic climate change for global wildlife and, by extension, ourselves, is possibly even more powerful than is generally appreciated.

Our ancestors may have been able to do nothing about their circumstances and so inevitably die out. We do not have to. We possess the knowledge and scientific capacity to generate the knowledge we lack to respond, indeed, to change our circumstances. We have no excuse to be wiped out by climate change. In fact, we have no excuse to allow climate change to precede. If we made it, we owe it to ourselves and future generations to stop it, even reverse it now.

We have the opportunity to take action and work with solutions that will help reduce our contribution to global warming.

We must look for and support projects that help REDUCE our contribution to global warming, but we need to do more than that. We need to also find solutions to DECREASING what we have already created. A balanced Biodiversity plays a big part in that solution.

Balancing the Ecosystem

Loss of biodiversity contributes to climate change, while also threatening the extinction of one million species.

As scientists continue to seek solutions to averting climate change a new proposal is emerging. In a recent report “Global priority areas for ecosystem restoration” a team of scientists proposed a plan that could soak up almost half the carbon dioxide that has built up since the Industrial Revolution.

Using a map from the European Space Agency that identifies the ecosystem in a grid view these scientists were able to apply an algorithm to determine which areas would produce the highest benefits if returned to their natural states.

These scientists research showed the vast amount of land converted to farmland has had a big impact on the loss of biodiversity, creating an ecological imbalance that contributes to climate change.

Restoring Nature

The study suggests by returning a strategically planned 30% of farmland back to nature would preserve an abundant food supply for people while also staying within the time scale to keep global temperatures from rising past 2 degrees Celsius.

It’s one of the most cost effective ways of combating climate change,” said Bernardo B.N. Strassburg, one of the study’s authors and an environmental scientist with Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and the International Institute for Sustainability. “And it’s one of the most important ways of avoiding global extinctions.

The remaining farmlands would be able to continue to produce enough food if the agricultural lands were used more efficiently and sustainably.

Global Safety Net is a great site to visit to understand the proposal to the importance of restoring biodiversity.

Converting farmed land back to nature is a part of the solution. Source: Nature

Wave of the Future?

Image from New Home Source

Where do cities come into the picture?

City dwellers can also help contribute to restoring an ecological balance in their own communities, in their own yards!

Cities are incredible “heat sinks” that never cool down. They are also full of buildings that have flat roofs. Without going all the way to formal “green roof” technology, (which is costly and heavy), many could easily add grass or simply potted trees. These would not only reduce heat retention, but also provide insulation and cut cooling costs in summer and heating costs in winter.

Another pro-active step cities could take would be to convert open land to Community Gardens. This would provide the gardeners in the city a way to enjoy their passion, while increasing the local food supply.

Some new housing projects are adding community gardens to their amenities.

Of course biochar would be a big part of establishing sustainable farming practices!

Predictable Results

The COVID-19 pandemic forced a decrease in fossil fuel use, less automobile traffic, less air traffic, we saw a brief shining moment where our air was clear and healthy to breathe.

Fossil fuel use is a major contributor to global warming, but it is not the only contributor. Agricultural burning is another factor that greatly impacts our environment and contributes to climate change.

In India, after a respite from fossil fuel use, cars are back on the roads, and the agricultural burning season has started. A deadly combination.

The air quality in New Delhi is extremely poor, recently crossing the 300 AQI point. To put that in perspective, the World Health Organization considers anything above 25 as unsafe.

Smoky season will soon begin again in Thailand, and South East Asia. Farmers, for a lack of a better plan, will set their fields on fire after harvesting their crops.

This massive release of global warming pollution is not limited to South East Asia. It is a global problem.

Agricultural fires burn across the globe all year long. Governments ban open field burning, but that does not stop the farmers.

The only thing that will end the burning is if farmers are taught how to turn their crop waste into additional income by making biochar instead of burning it.

Global warming is a definite precursor to climate change. Yet we continue to carry on with disregard to the impacts our society is having on our changing climate. The big question is whether we will wake up in time to make a difference to avoid the same fate as our ancestors.

Gardening Benefits

Do you have a vegetable garden? If you do you know of the many benefits you reap! For those considering planting a garden you may want to check out 25 Benefits of Gardening!

The first benefit listed is one we can all use during this difficult and challenging period where we are all dealing with the personal impact of COVID-19.

1. Gardening Boosts Mood 

Did you know that gardening can boost your mood while increasing your self-esteem levels? When you make time to go out and work in your garden, your anxiety levels can go down and you could start to feel less depressed. 

One study looked at this benefit of gardening and spanned several years and took people who had diagnosed depression and had them participate in a 12-week long gardening intervention.

The researchers measured several mental health aspects before and after the intervention, including the people’s depression symptoms. They found that each participant had significant improvement in their symptoms. They also followed the participants for several months after and found that the improvements lasted. 

Check out the other 24 benefits of gardening, then take action to plant your own garden! (Remember to use biochar to get the best results!)

A Time for Thanks

Harvest time is celebrated around the world with many different festivals and holidays, giving thanks for a bountiful harvest. Typically families gather together to celebrate, often including ancestors in their celebrations.

In America we celebrate with Thanksgiving on the 3rd Thursday of November. It is commonly know today as a time to gather with family and share a turkey feast with all the trimmings, and watch football.

We have lost touch with the true meaning of celebrating Thanksgiving, partly because we are separated from the importance of a bountiful harvest. Most of us buy our food from the supermarket, our ever-lasting supplier of food.

But is it ever-lasting? Food security is a serious threat that may change our futures if we ignore the impacts climate change brings to agriculture. The vicious ever growing cycle of drought, fire, followed by flooding is impacting our food supply.

Perhaps now is a really great time to begin that home garden you have always wanted to start. Maybe it can help connect us back to the importance and celebration of harvest time, while providing our families with fresh delicious food!

A Time for Giving

Following on the heels of expressing thanks emerges a time of giving. Some people with generous hearts give freely all year long to help with causes close to their hearts. Even in times of trouble, like we are all experiencing during this COVID-19 crisis, generous hearts continue to give.

Giving Tuesday is a global day of celebrating generosity. For some it may be the main focus of their giving, for others it is just another way to share their bounty with others less fortunate.

For those that are in the habit of giving, they are familiar with the warm feeling that comes from sharing. Giving Tuesday is a day where everyone can get involved and experience the reward of helping those less fortunate.

Warm Heart’s Biochar program and our Environmental Newsletter is inspired by our children living in our Children’s Homes. For our current group of children and to all the kids who have succeeded in moving on to higher education, we are committed to help protect their future.

We will be launching our own Giving Tuesday campaign. We are in desperate need to raise money for a school bus to transport our 45 children back and forth to school. Any generous hearts out there can learn more about this fundraiser on Global Giving.

Our current transportation is inefficient and unreliable. It takes several trips to get our 45 kids to school, and several more to bring them home. Our plan is to convert a flatbed to a vehicle that will carry all of the children in 1 trip. You can help us reduce our carbon footprint with a donation!

Warm wishes from our family to yours for a safe, peaceful and bountiful season of gratitude!

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