PS Mag: The Long Lasting Legacy of Droughts in Forests.
The effects of drought are deep and complex. Our tall pine and aspen forests are hanging on by a thread. At some point, more hardy species will take over. When the bark beetle killed the piñons in ‘03, our foothills here became denuded of >50% of their evergreen cover. The junipers have not made up the difference, so instead of green hills with small bits of rock showing, we have rocky foothills with clearly spotty tree cover. I look at photos I took pre-‘03, and it’s quite shocking. We get used to the ‘new look’ of things rather quickly, and forget even faster.
Paris Review: Think Like a Mountain—Aldo Leopold’s Path to Conservationism.
And I have to point out - he wasn’t a 20-something doing this. Worldchanging work is still done by those over 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 ...
Tumblr/BestintheWest: I have gotten lots of questions these last few…
Guardian.UK: Cecil the lion’s cubs most likely killed by rival lion, say conservationists.
“Lion cubs fathered by Cecil, the celebrated lion shot dead in Zimbabwe, may already have been killed by a rival male lion and even if they were still alive there was nothing conversationists could do to protect them, a conversation charity has warned.” The ripples flow outward, from that one selfish act.
Vox: Rooftop solar is booming. But it may be more vulnerable than you think.
“But as rooftop solar penetration rises, time-of-use pricing begins to have the opposite effect. As a bunch of solar floods the grid during peak hours, it will have the effect of suppressing peak prices, reducing the incentive for additional solar.” If price is the only motivator, that is.
Guardian.UK: Zimbabwean authorities hunt Spaniard accused of killing Cecil the lion.
“Orford calculates that with tourists from just one nearby lodge collectively paying €8,000 per day, Zimbabwe would have brought in more in just five days by having Cecil’s photograph taken rather than being shot by someone paying a one-off fee of €50,000.” Perhaps, but who owns the camps? And does that money stay in the local economy? I have a feeling there’s much more to this, before the animals can experience any sort of safety.
Dallas Observer: Fracking Sucking Up Vast Amounts of Texas Water.
My God, south Texas. Are you folks in the UK observing this?
Register.UK: Disaster-gawping cam drones to be blasted out of the sky in California.
“Possibilities include jamming drone control frequencies, shooting them down, or just letting firefighting aircraft drop water on a site like Cajon without fear of getting sued. With the popularity of drones increasing steadily and forest fire season coming to California, the politicians feel that legislation is needed.” I can’t blame them. One tap in a tail rotor, and down goes a helicopter. Difficult enough with airplanes and ‘copters in the same area [an aircraft pilot can’t tell, while in the air, what direction a helicopter is travelling in. Helicopters can move in multiple directions, not necessarily in the direction of the nose of the craft. This has caused so many crashes.] Drones? Even worse. Drones don’t belong, unless controlled by the emergency services themselves. Even then, it’ll be dicey with all the air choreography required.
If I were in a firefighting area and lives were at stake, you’d better believe I’d draw a bead with a shotgun and knock down the drone.
NBC/South CA: Drivers Who Fled 15 Freeway Fire Frustrated by Tow Fees.
SciAm: Drought-Plagued Western States Play Politics with Water.
“If these states stopped effectively double-counting their resources, they would have to change laws, upend traditional water rights and likely force farmers and cities to accept even more dramatic cuts than they already face — a political third rail.” Keep your hand on your hogleg when you talk water around here. Seriously.
Guardian.UK: Arctic sea ice volume showed strong recovery in 2013.
Sliver of hope? The tendency these days is to attack any science that might forestall an extraordinary effort to counter climate change. I expect this to attract similar opposition. But if this means recovery could be rapid, wouldn’t that bolster a quick, powerful thrust to diminish global warming?
Guardian.UK: Does the Bible really say that global warming will make the Earth ‘vomit us out’.
Guardian.UK: Government makes ‘outrageous’ U-turn over fracking in precious wildlife sites.
“The government has made a U-turn on its promise to exclude fracking from Britain’s most important nature sites, arguing that the shale gas industry would be held back if it was excluded from them.” If I were in Britain, I would be *furious.*
Guardian.UK: Warming of oceans due to climate change is unstoppable, say US scientists.
“I think of it more like a fly wheel or a freight train. It takes a big push to get it going but it is moving now and will contiue to move long after we continue to pushing it.” So, when can we talk population control?
Discover: Latest Report - El Niño Continues to Bulk Up in the Pacific.
Yeow. Good skiing this winter. I’d better get those snow-removal alternatives lined up.
Guardian.UK: Exxon knew of climate change in 1981, email says – but it funded deniers for 27 m
“ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest oil company, knew as early as 1981 of climate change – seven years before it became a public issue, according to a newly discovered email from one of the firm’s own scientists. Despite this the firm spent millions over the next 27 years to promote climate denial.” The Cosby of climate denial?
PS Mag: A New Breed of Ranchers Is Restoring the Landscape and Learning to Live With Predators.
“Cattle ranchers have traditionally been hostile to large carnivores; wolves were nearly hunted, trapped, and poisoned to extinction in the Lower 48 a few decades ago, due in part to the threat they posed to livestock. Zaranek, who has done wolf research in Yellowstone and Canada and now works for the Centennial Valley Association, is trying to ease that relationship. She is testing whether range riders on horseback and ATV can minimize conflicts between livestock and predators.”
SF New Mexican: Safety concerns may force removal of century-old tree in Sena Plaza.
“Last Wednesday evening, a heavy, 10-foot branch fell, hitting a table in the courtyard and pinning a female restaurant patron to the ground.” Read the whole thing. Points more to neglected maintenance, than reason for yanking the tree, methinks.
NY Times: Remnant of Boston’s Brutal Winter Threatens to Outlast Summer.
“If city officials had heeded the cries of fed-up residents last winter and just shoved the snow into Boston Harbor, the now-showcase waterway would be clogged with more than 250 tons of bicycles, hubcaps and other detritus.”
SciAm: Water Use Rises as Fracking Expands.
“Oil and natural gas fracking, on average, uses more than 28 times the water it did 15 years ago, gulping up to 9.6 million gallons of water per well and putting farming and drinking sources at risk in arid states, especially during drought. Those are the results of a U.S. Geological Survey study published by the American Geophysical Union ...”
In which case, the technique should be banned in any drought-risk area. Common sense, please?
SciAm: Cactus As Biofuel Could Help With Food-Versus-Fuel Fight.
Come. Take our invasive chain cholla cactus by the dumpsterload. And we’ll bless you.
BBC: Who, What, Why: What should you do if you encounter a bear?
Discover: Smoke From Wildfires in Canada Stream Across Much of the Central United States.
Gee, thanks ... we’ve had plenty, really.
Guardian.UK: New report estimates enough natural gas is leaking to negate climate benefits.
“The leaks are the equivalent to the greenhouse gases produced by 5.6m cars.” Man, I don’t doubt any of it.
SF Reporter: Laissez-faire approach to fire in Santa Fe National Forest is clearing out dry fuels.
“TThe blue haze seen on Santa Fe’s horizon over the weekend was the result of a 3,500-acre fire burning west of Socorro just outside the community of Magdalena in the Cibola National Forest and Grasslands.”