Bearing Witness to the Pandemic April 2022

Over 500 million official coronavirus cases have now been recorded across the world in two years since the pandemic began. Public health experts claim the actual number of fatalities, out of a total global population of nearly 8 billion, is likely much higher. As the month begins, the number of new cases per day is still over 1 million with an average of 3,800 confirmed daily deaths. Read More

Bearing Witness to Climate Change April 2022

In excellent news, for the first time ever wind and solar energy was reported to have generated more than 10% of total global electricity in 2021. Over 50 countries now get more than 10% of their electricity from solar and wind sources, which grew 23% and 14% respectively last year. Unfortunately, power from burning coal also rose last year by an alarming 9%.

Another green energy milestone to celebrate in the US; wind power produced more electricity during the month of March 2022 than coal and nuclear combined. On one day alone in March, clean wind energy was responsible for over 2,000 GW, or nearly 20%, surpassing all other sources except for natural gas. Read More

Bearing Witness to the Pandemic March 2022

The month begins with the official global death count from COVID surpassing 6 million. Public health experts say the actual number is likely much higher, perhaps closer to 18 million, due to poor or misleading record keeping. Rates of infection in parts of Asia Pacific such as Hong Kong and New Zealand are still soaring.

In the US at the start of the month, the death toll is now near 950,000 with an average of over 1,500 still dying every day. The CDC estimates that some 140 million Americans have now been infected, whether they know it or not. That is not quite 50% of the country’s entire population. Read More

Bearing Witness to Climate Change March 2022

In the latest grim report from the UN, the International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) warns that humanity has a brief and rapidly closing window to avoid an unbearably hotter and deadlier climate. They warn the planet will face increasing floods, heat waves, droughts, rising sea levels, storms, melting glaciers and permafrost, wildfires, loss of biodiversity, population migrations, tropical illnesses, water conflicts, hunger, and human suffering. Huge portions of the globe may eventually become inhabitable. The good news is that we still have time to arrest the most catastrophic consequences if we move faster in transforming to a low-carbon economy. Read More

Bearing Witness to Climate Change February 2022

A new study reports that gas stoves in the US are putting over 2.5 million tons of CO2e of methane into the atmosphere year. That is said to be equivalent to the GHG from 500,000 gas powered cars.  Not surprising, more progressive cities and states are enacting regulations to reduce the use of gas-powered appliances.

Solar energy has become so affordable and efficient that utilities in the US are being overwhelmed by consumers and businesses to connect their projects into the transmission grid. Some grid operators are asking for a two-year pause on approvals. Read More

Bearing Witness to the Pandemic February 2022

Just after the start of the grim third year of the pandemic, the US surpasses 900,000 confirmed deaths.  Over 100,000 were added in just the last 60 days. Could anyone have imagined two years ago that a million would perish from Coronavirus, especially since we pulled off a moon shot with creating highly effective vaccines in a year’s time. Many of the deaths in the past year were avoidable as less than two-thirds of Americans, about 211 million, are fully vaccinated.

The COVID pandemic has stolen the equivalent of 13.5 million years of future lives not lived from our families and communities. Think about that. Thirteen million years lost in the lives of parents, grandparents, sons, daughters, kids, lovers, friends, coworkers and all the contributions they would have made that we will now never know. Read More

Bearing Witness to the Pandemic January 2022

The World Health Organization reported that nearly 10 million new COVID cases were recorded  around the world during the first week of January, breaking all previous records. An additional 45,000 new deaths were also added to the heartbreaking toll.

WHO officials warned that the Omicron will likely not be the last variant surge that humanity experiences. They advise that half of all residents of Europe could soon be infected with the Omicron variant as if overtaken by an unstoppable tidal wave. Not surprising, some countries like Chile, Brazil and Israel have begun authorizing a second booster shot, the fourth overall, to fight off the surge in cases. Read More

Bearing Witness to Climate Change January 2022

The UK-based Climate Brief organization and website issued their climate data for 2021which confirmed another year of record ocean heat content, rising surface temperatures, extreme weather events, sea level rise, declining sea ice, and of course, rising levels of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere.

Preliminary data from European scientists with the Copernicus Climate Change Service report that last year, 2021, was the planet’s fifth hottest year. The seven hottest years on record have been the last seven years. Some regions like the US and Europe reported experiencing their hottest summers on record. Read More

Bearing Witness to the Pandemic December 2021

The last month of the year begins with a fifth wave of COVID, at this time fueled largely by the Delta variant, gaining momentum across the country, all while the new Omicron mutant arrives onshore. More than a dozen states now report Omicron positive tests. Some of those now infected say they were not travelers, so it has quickly become a community spread variant.

Daily new COVID cases have once again surpassed 100,000 with average daily deaths creeping up to 1,000 bringing the US total to over 780,000 deaths. Over 6,000 new patients are being admitted into hospitals every day with rates going up. You can hear the despondent sighs all across the country as the nation was hoping the worst was behind us and the year would end without the constant fear of a maddening pandemic chasing us into the new year. Read More

Bearing Witness to Climate Change December 2021

A new study in the journal Nature predicts that more rain than snow could start falling in portions of the Arctic by the middle of the century. Warmer air temperatures, melting sea ice and increased moisture in the atmosphere are said to be contributing factors.  Scientists have previously reported that the Arctic is warming three times as fast as the rest of the world.

Demographers report that more young adults are delaying having children, or having fewer children, due in part to climate change. Of course, there are other factors such as the cost of having a family and fears about pandemics. But the degradation of the Earth’s natural environment and fears about a warming planet with more disasters and crises was cited as a top reason.

Portugal has shuttered its last coal-fired power plant to become the 4th country in Europe to stop using coal for electricity generation. Read More