He Wrote a Gardening Column. He Ended Up Documenting Climate Change. – The New York Times

“In the summer of 2019, Jeff Lowenfels told me, one of his friends successfully grew okra in Anchorage. Lowenfels could not believe it. The crop was shorthand for all the change he has witnessed since he moved to the city in the 1970s, a distance between past and present that he has measured in vegetables and fruits — from cabbage, snow peas and potatoes to tomatoes, pumpkins and now, incredibly, okra. “Holy crow!” he said. “We can grow anything!”

Lowenfels, a 72-year-old retired lawyer, has written several best-selling books on organic gardening and one on growing cannabis. He is a former president of the Garden Writers Association and was inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame in 2005; his personal website describes this as “the highest honor a garden writer can achieve.” Perhaps his most notable feat, though, is one of endurance. Lowenfels has written a gardening column for The Anchorage Daily News since November 1976. It is the country’s longest-running such column. In it, he gives advice: on the care and feeding of African violets; on the benefits of raking or not raking your lawn; on how to ward off hungry moose. He also observes. Gardening is fundamentally a local endeavor, an experiment in fitting plants to a specific soil and climate. For more than 40 years, Lowenfels has noted Alaskans’ successes with new plants, tracked the lengthening stretch of frost-free days and recorded the arrival of new horticultural pests.”

Maureen Dowd | Apocalypse Right Now – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — Holy smokes.

It feels like we are living through the first vertiginous 15 minutes of a disaster movie, maybe one called “The Day After Tomorrow Was Yesterday.”

Heat waves are getting hotter. Forests are ablaze. Floods are obliterating. An iceberg nearly half the size of Puerto Rico broke off from Antarctica.

Florida’s fleurs du malalgal blooms known as red tide, have become more toxic because of pollution and climate change. They are responsible for killing 600 tons of marine life, leaving beaches strewn with reeking dead fish.

It’s Mad Max apocalyptic. Crazy storms that used to hit every century now seem quotidian, overwhelming systems that cannot withstand such a battering.

The heat wave that stunned the Pacific Northwest, killing nearly 200 people, was followed by a bolt of lightning igniting the dry earth in Oregon. The Bootleg Fire has now devoured 400,000 acres, with flames so intense, they are creating their own weather pattern capable of sparking new fires. The smoke has traveled from the West to the East Coast, tainting the air.

As Angela Merkel and President Biden touted a climate and energy partnership on her recent visit here, nature mocked them. While the two leaders had dinner, rains submerged huge swaths of Germany, including medieval towns.”

Opinion | America in 2090: The Impact of Extreme Heat, in Maps – The New York Times

Susan Joy Hassol, Kristie Ebi and 

Ms. Hassol is the director of the nonprofit organization Climate Communication. Dr. Ebi is a professor at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the University of Washington in Seattle. Ms. Serkez is a graphics editor for Opinion.

“Yes, it is getting hotter. And while you might be able to escape the intensifying tropical storms, flooding or droughts by moving elsewhere, refuge from extreme heat is no longer easy to find.

Even in Siberia.

Summers that seemed exceedingly hot 50 years ago are becoming much more commonplace. The extreme heat of that era — which had a chance of occurring of only one-tenth of 1 percent during the summer season — is now reached more than 20 percent of the time, according to calculations by the climate scientist James Hansen. That’s 200 times as often. And nights are warming faster than days, at nearly twice the rate. So much for relief.

And though the deadly, intense heat that baked the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada recently was startling, extremely hot temperatures have struck elsewhere in recent years, in surprising places and with calamitous consequences.

This should be reason enough — along with the recent disastrous floods in China, Germany and other European countries — to move quickly to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming.”

German Candidates Fail to Find Footing in Flood Response – The New York Times

BERLIN — Floods have had a way of reshaping German politics.

“Helmut Schmidt made a name for himself responding to deadly floods in Hamburg in 1962, and went on to become chancellor in the 1970s. Images of Gerhard Schröder wading through muddy water along the Elbe River in 2002 are credited with helping him win another term.

The floods that ravaged Germany last week — more severe than any in centuries — are already doing their work in this election year. But the striking thing they have revealed, political analysts say, is that none of the major candidates has been able to demonstrate the level of leadership in a crisis the public has grown accustomed to under Chancellor Angela Merkel.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
It is my hope that this flooding disaster prompts the German leadership and people to rethink their complete exit from nuclear energy as a short term bridge to a completely sustainable and circular economy. Bill Gates and associates have a new nuclear technology, that can not melt down or explode, and runs on old nuclear waste. There are about 20 new nuclear power designs, all much safer than the technology of 50 years ago. There is a growing number of scientist who think that we can’t make a transition fast enough without some new technology, and these new nuclear power plant designs are worth exploring and probably worth developing. We at least have to test them out.
David Lindsay Jr is the author of “the Tay Son Rebellion” about 18th century Vietnam, and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net.

Floods in China Leave Many Searching for Loved Ones Amid Outages – The New York Times

MIHE, China — Chen Shuying was sitting at home with her husband and their 3-year-old grandson on Tuesday when water began to surge through the door. Within minutes, it was well above her waist. “The water came so fast,” she said.

They made it to the roof, where they waited for hours for the water to recede. Two days later, she still cannot return home, she said. They were lucky. Three neighbors — a grocery shopkeeper and two of the grocer’s customers — were swept away by the floodwaters and have not been seen since.

The formidable destructive power of the floods that engulfed Henan Province in central China became clearer on Thursday, even as new areas were inundated. Still more rain is in the forecast, following days of torrential downpours, including the strongest on record in the area on Tuesday.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
The silver lining of this tragic flooding in central China, is that the Chinese government deserves to be reprimanded for its insistence that it is their turn now to pollute for 300 years, like the western countries did in the last 300 years. They continue to build new coal plants in China and around the world, and insisist that they can increase their carbon emissions for at least another 15 or 30 years. While their position makes good sense morally, it ignores the science of the climate crisis. And it isn’t good for the people of China. The people of earth have to stop all climate change causing pollution emissions, or we all will suffer the awful consequences. The problems we are seeing today are just the prequel, the beginning of what could turn out to be an existential threat of floods, droughts, famines, epidemics, dislocation and war over diminishing resources.
David Lindsay Jr is the author of the Tay Son Rebellion about 18th century Vietnam, and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net.

Opinion | Climate Change Is Too Hot Not to Handle – The New York Times

Susan Joy Hassol, Kristie Ebi and 

Ms. Hassol is the director of the nonprofit organization Climate Communication. Dr. Ebi is a professor at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the University of Washington in Seattle. Ms. Serkez is a graphics editor for Opinion.

“Yes, it is getting hotter. And while you might be able to escape the intensifying tropical storms, flooding or droughts by moving elsewhere, refuge from extreme heat is no longer easy to find.

Even in Siberia.

Summers that seemed exceedingly hot 50 years ago are becoming much more commonplace. The extreme heat of that era — which had a chance of occurring of only one-tenth of 1 percent during the summer season — is now reached more than 20 percent of the time, according to calculations by the climate scientist James Hansen. And nights are warming faster than days, at nearly twice the rate. So much for relief.”

In Fighting Climate Change, What’s an Individual to Do? – The New York Times

“Watching deer forage for whatever bits of food they can find through the cold months of winter, I can understand why some people feel an urge to feed them. Only supplemental feeding isn’t helpful at all to deer. Instead, it’s detrimental to their digestive health, and it pulls them away from safer, more nutritious food sources.

“Supplemental feeding has little or no benefit to the overall health of deer,” said Nick Fortin, Deer Project Leader for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. “Interestingly, northern deer will lose weight in winter no matter what or how much they are fed, even in captivity.”

Like virtually all animals living in climates where winter is cold and snowy, deer use a variety of adaptations to adjust and survive. In the northern part of the Northeast, they often gather in deer yards, where softwood cover offers shelter from wind and cold as well as decreased snow depth. As deer move to and through their winter shelter, they pack down paths, allowing for easier travel to food and quicker escapes from predators.

In winter, deer reduce their energy expenditures by hunkering down during extended cold stretches; this way they can focus their activity during times when temperatures are warmer. Similar to animals that hibernate, deer store fat – it can constitute up to 20 percent of their body weight, said Fortin – and they can use that fat as a sort of energy savings account.

A deer’s digestive system also goes through changes to cope with less abundant – and different – food sources. Deer are ruminants, which means they have a four-chambered stomach, like cows and sheep. Each chamber contains microorganisms to help with digestion. These microbes become tuned in to a winter diet of twigs and buds, nuts, any fruits and berries that persist, and whatever grasses they can find. A sudden change in diet – say to supplemental corn or rich hay – can wreak havoc on this system. . . . .

. . . .Mr. Greenberg said some things mattered more than others. Using paper straws and LED light bulbs is not a huge way to reduce your carbon footprint. But steering clear of bottled water does help, since it takes 17 million barrels of oil to produce the world’s plastic water bottles each year.” . . . .

Ezra Klein | It Seems Odd That We Would Just Let the World Burn – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“I spent the weekend reading a book I wasn’t entirely comfortable being seen with in public. Andreas Malm’s “How to Blow Up a Pipeline” is only slightly inaptly named. You won’t find, anywhere inside, instructions on sabotaging energy infrastructure. A truer title would be “Why to Blow Up a Pipeline.” On this, Malm’s case is straightforward: Because nothing else has worked.

Decades of climate activism have gotten millions of people into the streets but they haven’t turned the tide on emissions, or even investments. Citing a 2019 study in the journal Nature, Malm observes that, measuring by capacity, 49 percent of the fossil-fuel-burning energy infrastructure now in operation was installed after 2004. Add in the expected emissions from projects in some stage of the planning process and we are most of the way toward warming the world by 2 degrees Celsius — a prospect scientists consider terrifying and most world governments have repeatedly pledged to avoid. Some hoped that the pandemic would alter the world’s course, but it hasn’t. Oil consumption is hurtling back to precrisis levels, and demand for coal, the dirtiest of the fuels, is rising.”

Europe Rolls Out Ambitious Climate Change Plan, but Obstacles Loom – The New York Times

“BRUSSELS — Europe on Wednesday laid out an ambitious blueprint for a sharply decarbonized future over the next nine years, marking the start of what promises to be a difficult and bruising two-year negotiation among industry, 27 countries and the European Parliament.

The political importance of the effort, pushed by the European Commission, the E.U.’s bureaucracy, is without doubt. It puts Brussels in the forefront of the world’s efforts to decarbonize and reach the goal of a carbon-neutral economy by 2050. To force the issue, Brussels has committed to reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases 55 percent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.

Although the European Union produces only about 8 percent of current global carbon emissions, its cumulative emissions since the start of the industrial age are among the world’s highest. It also sees itself as an important regulatory power for the world and hopes to set an example, invent new technologies that it can sell and provide new global standards that can lead to a carbon-neutral economy.”

David Lindsay: I hope this succeeds. The comments are interesting, and here is my favorite so far:

Austin Ouellette

Denver, CO 52m ago

Let’s talk about the myth of “cheap” fossil fuels. Human beings need to eat food. Food is grown on an industrial scale on farms. Farms suffer massive losses from climate change, as floods become more destructive, and rainfalls become more sporadic and unpredictable. To protect themselves from the liability of those losses, farms buy crop insurance. Crop insurance, and the crops themselves, are HEAVILY subsidized by governments all around the world. We are talking billions and billions of dollars JUST in the USA alone. Go read the Farm Bill. It is a massive nearly $1/2 Trillion government spending program. Almost 10% of the total cost is crop insurance. That’s $38.52 Billion. And that’s just the United States. That’s just one of the costs that taxpayers are liable for, which does not show up on the receipt at the gas station. Let’s talk healthcare. It’s well documented fact that air pollution is getting worse, and as a result, there has been a massive increase in chronic respiratory disease across all age groups, but especially children. These cases are especially prominent in communities which allow natural gas flaring with no setbacks. Treatment for chronic respiratory disease increases healthcare costs. Again, you don’t see “sick kids” on the receipt at the pump. Those are just two examples. There are thousands of others. Fossil fuels are NOT cheap. Megawatt for megawatt, take away all the subsidies and truly account for all costs, fossil fuels are WAY more expensive.

2 Replies17 Recommended

Why Jane Goodall Still Has Hope for Us Humans – The New York Times

“Wherever the story of our natural world ultimately lands, Jane Goodall will have earned a proud place in its telling. Goodall, 87, first found fame in the early 1960s for her paradigm-busting work as a primatologist. Studying the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, she was the first to observe those entrancing animals eating meat and using tools, thus expanding our understanding of primate capabilities. While that work is likely to remain what the public primarily associates her with, Goodall’s career as an activist is arguably her more important legacy. She has spent 44 years leading conservation efforts through her Jane Goodall Institute and seeding the future with like-minded souls via the Roots & Shoots educational programs for young people, which can be found in more than 60 countries and have nurtured millions of students. “You just plod on and do what you can to make the world a better place,” said Goodall, speaking via Zoom from her childhood home in Bournemouth, England, and whose “The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times” will be published in October. “That’s all I can do. I can’t do more, I don’t think, than I’m doing.” “