Title and Notes (if any) *Title from filename
||Plankton Decreases [Uploaded 071101]
||Small Shift Big Change Climate
- small shifts in global temperature could lead
to sudden and abrupt climate changes.
||Phyto Plankton Decrease
- Concentrations of microscopic plants that comprise the
foundation of the ocean's food supply have fallen during the past 20 years
as much as 30 percent in northern oceans, according to a satellite checkup
of planetary health.
- The North Atlantic Ocean experienced a 14 percent decline in the
- Phytoplankton accounts for 50 percent of the transfer of carbon dioxide
from the atmosphere back into the biosphere through photosynthesis, the process
through which plants absorb carbon dioxide gas to grow.
||Lobsters Die Warm Water
- The first clue that something had once again
gone seriously wrong in Long Island Sound was the color of the blood being
spilled. Lobsters are not supposed to bleed orange.
- The animals had
been killed by a buildup of calcium, the rough equivalent of kidney stones
in humans, and all the evidence pointed to one cause: water so warm that
it was impairing their ability to process minerals
||Sea life in peril -- plankton vanishing / Usual seasonal influx of cold water isn't happening
- Oceanic plankton have largely disappeared from the waters
off Northern California, Oregon and Washington, mystifying scientists, stressing
fisheries and causing widespread seabird mortality.
- In perhaps the most ominous development, seabird nesting has dropped
significantly on the Farallon Islands off San Francisco, the largest Pacific
Coast seabird rookery south of Alaska.
||New Climate Report Foresees Big Changes in Water Supplies and Agriculture - NYTimes.com
- Farmers, foresters and ranchers nationwide will face a complicated
blend of changes, driven not only by shifting weather patterns but also by
the simultaneous spread of nonnative plant and insect pests
- Some invasive grasses, vines and weeds, for example, do better in
higher temperatures and carbon dioxide concentrations than do crops and preferred
livestock forage plants.
- Corn and soybean plants are likely to grow and mature faster, but
will be more subject to crop failures from spikes in summer temperatures
that can prevent pollination
- The West will not only face a dearth of water, but also large shifts
in when it is available. Water supplies there will be transformed by midcentury,
with mountain snows that provided a steady flow of runoff for irrigation
and reservoirs dwindling. That flow will be replaced by rainfall that comes
at times and in amounts that make it hard to manage, the report and authors
||The Food Issue - An Open Letter to the Next Farmer in Chief
- After cars, the food system uses more fossil fuel than any other
sector of the economy 19 percent. And while the experts disagree about
the exact amount, the way we feed ourselves contributes more greenhouse gases
to the atmosphere than anything else we do as much as 37
- But the 20th-century industrialization of agriculture has increased
the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the food system by an order of
magnitude; chemical fertilizers (made from natural gas), pesticides (made
from petroleum), farm machinery, modern food processing and packaging and
transportation have together transformed a system that in 1940
produced 2.3 calories of food energy for every calorie of fossil-fuel energy
it used into one that now takes 10 calories of fossil-fuel energy to produce
a single calorie of modern supermarket food
another way, when we eat from the industrial-food system, we are eating oil
and spewing greenhouse gases.
- Spending on health care has risen from 5 percent of national income
in 1960 to 16 percent today
- Four of the top 10
killers in America today are chronic diseases linked to diet: heart disease,
stroke, Type 2 diabetes and cancer
- Expect to hear the phrases
food sovereignty and food security on the lips of
every foreign leader you meet.
- At his valedictory press
conference in 2004,
Tommy Thompson, the secretary
of health and human services, offered a chilling warning, saying, I,
for the life of me, cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked
our food supply, because it is so easy to do.
- Did you notice when you flew over Iowa during the campaign how the
land was completely bare black from October to April? What
you were seeing is the agricultural landscape created by cheap oil. In years
past, except in the dead of winter, you would have seen in those fields a
checkerboard of different greens: pastures and hayfields for animals, cover
crops, perhaps a block of fruit trees.
- Cheap energy, however,
enabled the creation of monocultures, and monocultures in turn vastly increased
the productivity both of the American land and the American farmer; today
the typical corn-belt farmer is single-handedly feeding 140 people.
- One secretary of agriculture
after another implored them to plant fence row to fence row and
to get big or get out.
- it cost farmers
to grow because a government check helped make up the difference. As this
artificially cheap grain worked its way up the food chain, it drove down
the price of all the calories derived from that grain: the high-fructose
corn syrup in the Coke, the soy oil in which the potatoes were fried, the
meat and cheese in the burger.
- [Living beyond means, the habipols are guilty--RSB]
- Subsidized monocultures of grain also led directly to monocultures
- So Americas meat and dairy animals migrated
from farm to feedlot, driving down the price of animal protein to the point
where an American can enjoy eating, on average, 190 pounds of meat a year
a half pound every day.
- But if taking the animals off farms made a certain kind of economic
sense, it made no ecological sense whatever: their waste, formerly regarded
as a precious source of fertility on the farm, became a pollutant
factory farms are now one of Americas biggest sources of pollution.
As Wendell Berry has tartly observed, to take animals off farms and put them
on feedlots is to take an elegant solution animals replenishing the
fertility that crops deplete and neatly divide it into two problems:
a fertility problem on the farm and a pollution problem on the feedlot. The
former problem is remedied with fossil-fuel fertilizer; the latter is remedied
not at all.
- What was once a regional food economy is now national and increasingly
global in scope thanks again to fossil fuel. Cheap energy for
trucking food as well as pumping water is the reason New York City
now gets its produce from California rather than from the Garden
State next door, as it did before the advent of Interstate highways
and national trucking networks. More recently, cheap energy has underwritten
a globalized food economy in which it makes (or rather, made) economic sense
to catch salmon in Alaska, ship it to China to be filleted and then ship
the fillets back to California to be eaten; or one in which California and
Mexico can profitably swap tomatoes back and forth across the border; or
Denmark and the United States can trade sugar cookies across the Atlantic.
About that particular swap the economist Herman Daly once quipped,
Exchanging recipes would surely be more efficient.
- Whatever we may have liked about the era of cheap, oil-based food,
it is drawing to a close.
- There, in a geography roughly
comparable to that of the American farm belt, farmers have traditionally
employed an ingenious eight-year rotation of perennial pasture and annual
crops: after five years grazing cattle on pasture (and producing the
worlds best beef), farmers can then grow three years of grain without
applying any fossil-fuel fertilizer.
- If Midwestern farmers
simply planted a cover crop after the fall harvest, they would significantly
reduce their need for fertilizer, while cutting down on soil erosion. Why
dont farmers do this routinely? Because in recent years fossil-fuel-based
fertility has been so much cheaper and easier to use than sun-based
- A program
to make municipal composting of food and yard waste mandatory
||Plants and animals race for survival as climate change creeps across the globe | Environment | guardian.co.uk
- Lowland tropics, mangroves and deserts at greater risk than mountainous
areas as global warming spreads, study finds
- Global warming creeps across the world at a speed of a quarter of
a mile each year
- Species that
can tolerate only a narrow range of temperatures will need to move as quickly
if they are to survive. Wildlife in lowland tropics, mangroves and desert
areas are at greater risk than species in mountainous areas, the study
- The scientists say that global warming will cause temperatures to
change so rapidly that almost a third of the globe could see climate velocities
higher than even the most optimistic estimates of plant migration
||Study says rising temperatures thwart rice growth