Archive for April, 2007

Apr 25 2007

A BILLION PEOPLE

What’s a penguin worth? A baby seal? A polar bear?

A billion people?

How much will you give me for a billion people? Mothers and brothers, sisters and cousins. Grandfathers and grandsons?

American scientists have figured out how to measure how much land would be lost and how many people might be affected by rising sea levels.

They figured out how many people might die if melting Arctic and Antarctic ice – or storms – raise the level of the sea 100 feet. That’s the level of the big Tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,000 people.


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Meltwater stream on the Greenland ice sheet.

Photo by Roger J. Braithwaite, The University of Manchester UK



I’m only a penguin, but the answer scares me.


“More than 1 billion people live in low-lying areas where a sudden surge in sea level could prove as disastrous as the 2004 Asian tsunami, according to new research by U.S. government scientists.”

I’ve never seen a billion of anything. A billion is bigger than my penguin mind can imagine.

“The team also found that a 100-foot (30-meter) rise in sea level would cover 3.7 million square miles of land worldwide.”

But let’s suppose the water doesn’t get that high. What if it’s just one-sixth that high:

“A rise of just 16 feet (5 meters) would affect 669 million people and 2 million square miles of land would be lost.”

Maybe these scientists are just trying to scare us. A lot of people think scientists exaggerate. This is what one of them, E. Lynn Usery, said:

“Sea levels are currently rising about 0.04 to 0.08 inches (1 to 2 millimeters) each year, making it unlikely such a scenario would suddenly occur across the globe, Usery said.

“But he said 10,000 years ago sea levels rose 20 meters in 500 years – a relatively short span – after the collapse of the continental ice sheets due to warming temperatures.

“‘It can happen in a short period of time if we look at the historical data,’ Usery said.”
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18230533/


So I guess the penguin question of the day is: what are you willing to do to save a billion people?

No responses yet

Apr 24 2007

GLOBAL WARMING ISLAND

Tear up your maps! Throw away your globes! Faster than a speeding train! We have global warming’s first new island. Using the language of the native people, the Inuit, “American explorer and Greenland expert, Dennis Schmitt … has named it Warming Island (Or Uunartoq Qeqertoq in Inuit, the Eskimo language.”

Thanks to the British newspaper, The Independent, we have a picture:

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And this is what they say: “The map of Greenland will have to be redrawn. A new island has appeared off its coast, suddenly separated from the mainland by the melting of Greenland’s enormous ice sheet, a development that is being seen as the most alarming sign of global warming.”
http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/climate_change/article2480994.ece

How interesting that we see this picture on the same day we read that although China admits global warming will have a dramatic effect on its environment the government is unwilling to impose strict caps on its carbon dioxide emissions. What’s a penguin to do?

And it’s obviously not just China. Check out this graph of the countries that have increased their emissions in the last few years, and the countries that have made important changes.

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It seems that 34 countries have increased their emissions since 2004. The worse offenders are Turkey, Spain. Portugal, Canada, Greece, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Liechtenstein and the United States of America. What’s a penguin to say?

No responses yet

Apr 23 2007

SAVE THE CHILDREN

First the penguins, the seals, and polar bears – and then the children. A British charity estimates that “up to 175 million children would be affected every year over the next decade by climate-related disasters like droughts, floods and storms. This, it said, was 50 million a year more than in the 10 years to 2005 … and millions more would be killed, forced from their homes or hit by hunger and disease.”

Why? “Scientists predict global average temperatures will rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celsius this century, mainly due to burning fossil fuels for power and transport.”

And how about some more bad news from the British: “Britain’s Environment Agency said in another report on Friday that because of the time delay in the warming effects of carbon gases in the atmosphere, temperatures would continue to rise for the next 40 years regardless of emissions curbs.”
http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSL0520888820070405

So what are people willing to do to save the children? It seems that in Canada 57% are willing to change a lightbulb, and 40% will take a shorter shower but only 19% of them were willing to cut their driving in half and only 17% were willing to take public transportation every day.
http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/index.cfm/fuseaction/viewItem/itemID/15200

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photo courtesy pdphoto.org



No wonder some children in England have been having nightmares!

The British supermarket chain Somerfield sponsored a poll: “Half of children between the ages of seven and 11 are anxious about the effects of global warming and often lose sleep over it, according to a new report.

A survey of 1,150 youngsters found that one in four blamed politicians for the problems of climate change, while one in seven said their own parents were not doing enough to improve the environment.

The most feared consequences of global warming included poor health, the possible submergence of entire countries and the welfare of animals.”
http://news.scotsman.com/uk.cfm?id=289422007


To the young people of Britain: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

No responses yet

Apr 22 2007

DON’T PICK UP A PENGUIN

How many scientists telling you that you have changed the world for the worse will it take? How many studies of melting ice? How many new coal-fired plants spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere do you need? Hummers and SUVs?

It’s not enough that you have ignored the obvious. Now you want to mess with my friends and family to prove what every living thing except humans know.

Give me a break.

How about this brilliant headline:

“Want to monitor climate change? P-p-p-pick up a penguin!”

It turns out “scientists at the University of Birmingham are trying out an alternative bio-indicator – the king penguin – to investigate whether they can be used to monitor the effects of climate change.”

The great idea: put penguins on treadmills. Implant “heart rate loggers” in penguins going to sea.

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© mlenny


And why? To see whether we have to work harder and use more more energy and swim further looking for food when fish and food are scarce.

Do you really need to misuse us to learn about the man-made climate crisis? Why not open your eyes and see the melting glaciers? Listen to your children coughing from asthma! Try to see the night sky from your pollution-filled cities! List the rivers you can no longer swim!

No responses yet

Apr 20 2007

YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING

Forgive us, but sometimes it takes a while for us to get word of what’s going on. We just heard that Canadian Fisheries spokespeople were disappointed that only 860 seals were killed during the first three days of Canada’s seal hunt. They indicated “that melting ice has depleted much of the herd in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.”

Only 860! Oh my God – or maybe Oh your God!

Why so low? Well it seems the seals have been drowning before the hunters could get to them.

How can a seal drown? Well it takes a bit of time for baby seals to learn how to swim. Kind of like humans and bicycles. And so much ice is melting that the baby seals have been drowning. They try the best they can to cling to the pockets of ice, but many of them don’t make it.


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Courtesy: Rei Ohara



“The quota for all three phases of this year’s seal hunt is 270,000 seals. That is 65,000 fewer than last year, a change imposed mainly because of the toll from the ice conditions.”

What’s so important about seals? “Fishermen sell seal pelts mostly for the fashion industry in Norway, Russia and China, as well as blubber for oil, earning about $78 per seal.”
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17953506/

No responses yet

Apr 19 2007

FROM BAD TO WORSE

We, in Antarctica, send our greetings to our friends up north in the Arctic. We were saddened to learn that things are getting worse for you.

It seems that Human scientists who have measuring the thickness of Arctic ice for 40 years have changed their minds. A few months ago they were warning that the summer ice in the Arctic could disappear altogether in 2040. Well new information gathered from a British submarine – they could have asked a polar bear – indicates “the effects of global warming are much worse than previously suspected and could lead to a complete melting of Arctic summer ice in as little as 13 years … the thinning was already approaching 50 percent and that the ice could disappear by 2020.”
Just in case you think we’re making this up, check this:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18039460/

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Mother polar bear & cub: Mike Dunn, NOAA Climate Program Office

The melting Arctic ice will not only change life for the worse for our animal friends but for the native Inuit peoples. Houses, roads, railroads, pipelines sit above fragile permafrost.

Not only that, Humans in their infinite wisdom have used the Arctic lands as dumping grounds. “In some part of the Arctic, toxic and radioactive materials are stored and contained in frozen ground. Thawing may release these substances in the local and wider environment with risks to humans and wildlife alongside significant clean up costs.”
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070410140922.htm

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Full moon Arctic ice: Mike Dunn, NOAA Climate Program Office

 

No responses yet

Apr 16 2007

HELLO WORLD!

My fellow penguins, distinguished polar bears, worthy whales, humans and others. Well, you don’t need me to tell you that these are dangerous times. Look around you: where is the antarctic ice we once knew. The ice of my grandmother’s grandmother.

After many years of silence and confusion, we, the penguins of the world, have come together. Penguins United. To speak. To squawk. To act. About this our eco-crisis. Our impeding doom. The vanishing ice. The rising waters. Penguincide.

Those humans of you who have seen March of the Penguins now know something of our courage and commitment; our ability to survive the most difficult conditions.

This is but the first of many messages. There is still time for us. There is still hope for us.

Thanks to Mlenny for his beautiful photographs of us, and the land we love. Check the blogroll for his website.

 

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