Bearing Witness to Climate Change August 2019

Greenland is experiencing on of the biggest ice melts ever observed during a July with warmer temperatures following a warmer Spring. It is projected that melting ice in Greenland alone could raise the global sea levels by up to a foot by 2100.

Alaska is experiencing the hottest summer also ever recorded. Temperatures have been above average across Alaska every day since late April. More than 2 million acres are burning due to heat and wildfires, similar to what Siberia is experiencing. Wildlife, fisheries, and nesting birds are all being impacted.

It was reported that some 200 reindeer starved to death last winter in the Arctic because heavy winter rains in a warmer atmosphere instead of snows turned to ice which kept the reindeer from finding food sources. The arctic ice is at the end of last month was reported to be a record low for July as the arctic warms twice as fast as the rest of the planet.

As permafrost thaws in the arctic whole regions, economies, ecosystems, transportation infrastructure, and landscapes are changing forcing humans and wildlife to quickly adapt.  This is especially true in Russia’s Siberia where average temperatures in the summer have risen by 4 degrees already and some communities may be abandoned all together.

A former intelligence analyst for the State Department, Rod Schooner,  shares his story about the Trump White House blocking his written testimony and obstructing science to Congress about the national security implications of climate change.

An all-time national heat record was set in the United Kingdom last month of 38.7 degrees Celsius, (nearly 102 degrees F) as well as in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Fourteen countries have now reported their hottest temperatures ever.

British Royal Couple Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan have vowed to have only two children to demonstrate their commitment to the Earth’s ecosystems struggling under human population growth and domination.

A Swedish teenager and environmental activist, Greta Thunberg,  who has led thousands of European youth to protest for faster action on climate change will be sailing to America to take her message to a U.N. climate summit in NY.

Some medical doctors have begun citing climate change as a contributing cause to their patient’s health conditions. It is reported that hotter weather, increased pollen and longer allergy seasons, extended heat waves, higher humidity, and more destructive storms are taking their toll on the heath of Americans who already have compromised conditions. The World Health Organizations has said that climate change will be the greatest health challenge of the 21st century.

Droughts are worsening across the Southern Hemisphere where water shortages in Africa and India are creating humanitarian crises. Groundwater is disappearing fast in many countries and water stress levels for many major world cities in 17 countries are rising.

A new report warns of the coming of killer heat where many midwestern states will see heat indexes over 100 degrees for nearly a month, impacting crops and livestock of farms as well as human health in urban cities that are heat islands. New climate maps have been constructed to show where the weather is changing the most in the U.S., such as New Jersey where average temperatures in the past few decades have already increased by 2 degrees Celsius.

European climate scientists say that July 2019 is now the hottest July ever recorded topping the now second warmest of July 2016. A few days later NOAA reports the same thing as July being the warmest month of July in its 140 years of recording weather. Now 9 of the 10 warmest Julys have occurred since 2005.

A new U.N. report says that climate change is dramatically degrading the planet’s land and threatens food production. To stave off the worse futures, humans must start to change what and how the eat, including a transition away from meat-based proteins as well as less food waste.

The Pacific Northwest of the U.S. is experiencing greater risks of wildfires due to higher temperatures, lower humidity’s, and periods of drought. Fire danger season is occurring weeks if not months earlier all along the west coast.

After years of decline, the rate of deforestation of Brazil’s Amazon forests have picked back up under the newer President Bolsonaro. He has claimed the Amazon belongs to Brazil which will now be developed. He previously promised to due away with the countries environmental ministry all together and like Trump has withdrawn from international agreements on the climate.

And here in the US President Trump is acting like an environmental terrorist of the planet’s suffering wildlife with an announcement this week that the administration would change the way Endangered Species Act is applied. New rules would make it easier to remove a species from the endangered classification while making it more difficult to classify other species as threatened due to climate change.

Lakes in many parts of the country are experiencing greater algae blooms this summer due to higher temperatures and extreme rainfall events which wash pollutants into watersheds or overwhelm storm water utilities.  The blooms have closed beaches and other recreational waters impacting the local economies dependent on tourism.

While the Trump administration is dismantling decades of environmental protections and climate change progress, state governments have become busy suing. This month a coalition of 21 Democratic-led states sued the administration over new rules that eased restrictions on coal-fired power plants.

Now that Spring and early Summer flood waters have receded across the Midwest the totality of damages to communities, farms, roads, utilities, levees and riverways is approaching several billion dollars.  State’s are appointing task forces to make recommendations based on the expectations that flooding will become worse and more frequent in the future.

Mental health professionals now cite worries about the future of the planet as a rising concern of their patients. In a 2019 Gallup poll some 54% of young adults said they worried a great deal about global warming. New terms such as climate distress, eco-anxiety, and climate grief are being used to describe the patients who are feeling overwhelmed and depressed. Climate educators and activists worry that so much demoralizing doom and gloom will freeze individuals and societies from attempting to do anything with mounting evidence of a planetary “ecocide”.

Iceland officials and climate activists marked the death of the Okjokull Glacier due to climate change with a funeral service of poetry, silence, and political speeches.

The continued poaching of African elephants is thought to hurt the capacity of the African rain forest to store carbon. Larger herbivores like elephants help create an ecosystem that favors large slow growing hardwood trees which are excellent at storing carbon.

The Amazon forests are on fire and in a state of crisis. Over 74,000 fires are raging across the Brazilian Amazon region. Many are thought to have been set by farmers trying to clear land for crops and livestock grazing now that far-right Brazilian President Bolsonaro is in office. The amazon rainforests are said to sequester nearly 100 billion tons of carbon dioxide by absorbing about 2 tons each year, almost 5% of the world’s emissions; earning them the name of the earth’s lungs.  Wildfires are now being experienced with greater frequency and ferocity all around the planet including areas which rarely saw them.

In one of the greatest ironies and tragedies of our time, climate change denier President Trump offers to buy Greenland from Denmark. Greenland has been one of the hardest hit regions for climate change on the planet this summer with record heat, retreating glaciers and ice sheet melting. It is thought that Trump desires Greenland for establishment of naval bases once the arctic is ice free as well as to exploit its natural resources that will be more accessible once the glaciers are gone.  May God forgive us.

Trump’s anti-environment EPA announces it will relax rules on regulating the greenhouse gas methane. Methane accounts for about 10% of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities in the United States.The Trump administration has now weakened more than 80 environmental rules and regulations with many of them directly related to climate change.

The Australian government reported that the outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is now very poor, largely due to the affects of climate change. Coral reefs are particularly sensitive to warming ocean temperatures which causes a bleaching event that kills off the coral.

While Europe swelters and the Amazon burns, Trump at the G-7 meeting sets out a meeting of world leaders on climate change and says he will not trade the wealth of America for dreams and windmills.

Some areas of the Midwest such as St. Louis receive a month’s worth of rainfall overnight causing unusual August flooding.