Tag Archives: environment

Much scarier than the sequester

Mesmerizing video of glacial melt in Antarctica

On the eve of the implementation of the sequester, when across-the-board, indiscriminate slashes in federal spending take effect, mainstream economists like Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and Nobelists Paul Krugman and Joe Stiglitz predict a downturn in the sluggish economy. Of course, the cuts translate into lost jobs, but no one knows how many. There are estimates of 700,000 to 1.14 million jobs lost. (Many of the specific cuts here.)

There is good reason to be concerned.

If you have read this far, you will be wondering why this post begins with an extraordinary video that captures a glacier as it breaks off and its mountains tumble and crash into the Antarctic Ocean.

Continue reading

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Filed under economy, Environment, Global Warming, Politics

We must find common ground on climate change


Kicking off a series of posts on climate change on VBI is “It’s Time to Find Common Ground for Our Common Atmosphere.” The speed-drawing video has scientists of both red and blue persuasions finding common ground — areas of agreement on the dangers of global warming accelerated by  greenhouse gases.

The scientists are Democrat Peter C. Frumhoff, an ecologist who directs science and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Republican Kerry Emanuel, a veteran climate and hurricane researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The authors urge everyone who sees the video to pass it on to friends, family and at least one person with political views different from their own.

Hat tip: Andrew Revkin

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Filed under Climate change, Environment, Global Warming, Politics

Struggling against the quicksand

Norwegian summer midnight

Norwegian summer midnight

VBI has been quiet for over a week now— no surprise to my faithful readers.

I could say I’ve busy with the holidays, my daughter’s wedding plans, the necessity of tackling various to-dos that could no longer be postponed, making and keeping unpleasant but unavoidable appointments— I could say that’s why I haven’t written. I could think up many more reasons/excuses, some more valid than others.

Depression has many guises. At first, these pretexts are plausible and convincing,  but as time grinds on and accomplishments become fewer and fewer, a sense of inevitability stifles the imagination and cripples attempts at forward movement. The result is a vicious cycle: the less you do, the more depressed you become; the more depressed, the less you do.

Unless, that is, something breaks the cycle, and you manage to accomplish something, no matter how small. Continue reading

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Filed under Climate change, Environment, Global Warming, Hurricane Sandy, Musings, Personal

Oceans of garbage— Does plastic ever die?

Most plastic lives far, far longer than we do. It has many different forms, and a lot of them are collecting in the ocean. That’s scary enough, because the debris not only floats, it breaks down into tiny particles which are consumed by birds and marine life and eventually by humans.  And this is only one of the routes into in the bodies of everyone on the planet! Go to the NOAA Marine Debris Program and find out how to be part of the solution to

a global problem affecting everything from the environment to the economy; from fishing and navigation to human health and safety; from the tiniest coral polyps to giant blue whales. Marine debris also comes in many forms, from a cigarette butt to a 4,000-pound derelict fishing net.

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Filed under Environment, Health