Humans gave the Earth a tough time this week. It would seem that we’re going backwards: what is good is getting thrown away, and what was bad is getting worse. For example, Scott Pruitt, who has sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) several times and is one of its biggest enemies, has now been made head of the EPA. The House passed a bill to make it legal to shoot bears, wolves and coyotes in Wildlife Refugees, like in Alaska. And meanwhile, in Brazil, roads are being paved straight through the Amazon, fragmenting the forest and destroying one of the planet’s most precious biomes. Many more roads are planned to come out in 2017.
Category Archives: News
It’s getting snowy out there! Here in North America, we’ve gotten hit by a series of snow storms, and thanks to modern technology we’ve been able to track these storms across the continent and map their future trajectory. The result is absolutely stunning and uses cutting edge technology, like high-definition images from those new satellites NOAA sent into space (as we saw last month). Although these storms certainly do not break the global warming trend, snow was sadly missed last winter and this is a nice break from the drought New York state experienced last year. The last snow emergency before this one in Albany (where I’m reporting from today) was in February, 2015, according to locals. You can find gorgeous pictures like the “Picture of the Day” of a Nor’easter below and real-time imagery of the Earth at NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service. I really can’t thank these people enough for putting this together for all of us to enjoy, it really makes a snowday enjoyable.
Let’s kick off this week’s news with the explosive. The Kīlauea volcano in Hawaii has been spewing lava into the sea via an exposed tube since New Year’s Eve. The result is is simply spectacular: a “firehose” of lava was visible for over a month, until a piece of the sea cliff collapsed and buried the tube of lava this week. Watch this video to see it in action.
Volcanoes are pretty awesome – they tunnel molten rock from the Earth’s innards up to the surface. In a similar mechanism, the heat brought upwards in the convection cells of our lithosphere is responsible for moving tectonic plates around. We can map out most of them because of ocean rifts and continental faults, but recentyl scientists discovered an unknown fragment of a continent under Mauritius (an island off the East Coast of Africa). When they dated it, surprise! It turned out to be really, really old (3 billion years old!) It was probably left behind during a continental breakup 200 million years ago and then blanketed by lava to form Mauritius.
Talking about hidden beauties – did you know that there’s a huge coral reef off Brazil, near the Amazon delta? We’re just beginning to explore it. Greenpeace used a submarine to collect images and you can check some of it out in this French video or fantastic images like the one below on this Brazilian website. You can also sign a Brazilian petition to protect the coral reef from being ruined by petroleum exploitation here.
The Earth sure is beautiful, but remember 97% of scientists say that we are changing it for the worst (climate change). According to a survey done by the University of New Hampshire, only 65% of adults believe that climate change is happening now and is related to human activity. Where are the people that don’t believe in man-made climate change? It seems that they are among Trump supporters (only 25% of Trump supporters responded that they believed in climate change). Therefore, we can say that the Trump administration’s notions of the climate are in accord with the people who voted for him.
Hopefully the beautiful, the explosive, and the humans can reconcile their ideas for a better planet. Don’t forget to do your part – signing the petition above to protect the coral reefs, for example, is a great way to start.
This week was rough on the environment and the media. Particularly because no one knows how to address the environment and climate change on the media anymore. The EPA has been given a “gag order”, or an order not to talk to the press, to social media, or blogging of any kind. Similarly, the Badlands National Park had to cover up their tracks too. On Jan. 24th, after the National Park Service had apologized for tweeting their crowd shots of the President’s inauguration, the Badlands National Park tweeted out a series of climate change facts. Continue reading
This week, NASA confirmed that 2016 was the hottest year on record, which continues a trend. The last three years (2014, 2015, and 2016) have been the hottest on record. Happily, 2017 is expected to be a little cooler than 2016 since El Niño, a weather phenomenon that shifts heat in the ocean and atmosphere, has ended. However, it is clear to scientific organizations such as NASA and NOAA that these recent temperature records are part of a global warming trend, in which the planet is heating up considerably. Continue reading
Following the first week of the New Year, this past week was pretty mellow for the Earth. Part of the reason why is that the topic of climate change has been pushed to the back burner as the transition between politicians is gobbling the media’s spotlight. Meanwhile, parts of the Earth are still dying and collapsing due to man-made activities, so let’s take a look at that.
The first week in 2017 has been quite an exciting one. Countries are announcing their New Year’s resolutions, NASA is announcing their goals for the years to come, and US journalists are increasingly expressing the urgency in combatting climate change due to the new politicians entering office. The selection of Earth news below is far from complete and is likely to gain additions in the following days.