Monday, September 22, 2014

Hundreds Of Thousands Turn Out For People's Climate March In New York City

[Huffington Post] NEW YORK -- More than 400,000 people turned out for the People's Climate March in New York City on Sunday, just days before many of the world's leaders are expected to debate environmental action at the United Nations climate summit.
Early reports from event organizers are hailing the turnout as the largest climate march in history, far bigger than the Forward on Climate rally held in Washington, D.C., last year. High-profile environmentalists including Bill McKibben, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jane Goodall and Vandana Shiva marched alongside policymakers such as Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former Vice President Al Gore were also there, and more than 550 buses carried in people from around the country.
Follow along for live updates below.
The rally comes at an opportune time as 120 world leaders, including President Barack Obama, are expected to convene Tuesday at the United Nations in New York to discuss ways to tackle the growing threat of carbon pollution.
The White House has pledged to "show the world that the U.S. is leading on climate change, and to call on other leaders to step up to the plate," John Podesta, who serves as a counselor to the president, told reporters on Thursday. However, a recent study found that the world spewed more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere last year than ever before, primarily driven by China, India and the United States. And the top leaders of China and India announced earlier this month that they won't be attending Tuesday's summit. Read More

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Sahara Is Millions of Years Older Than Thought


[Smithsonian MagazineThe movement of tectonic plates that created the Mediterranean Sea and the Alps also sparked the drying of the Sahara some 7 million years ago, according to the latest computer simulations of Earth’s ancient climate.
Though North Africa is currently covered by the world’s largest non-polar desert, climate conditions in the region have not been constant there for the last several million years. Subtle changes in Earth’s tilt toward the sun periodically increase the amount of solar energy received by the Northern Hemisphere in summer, altering atmospheric currents and driving monsoon rains. North Africa also sees more precipitation when less of the planet’s water is locked up in ice. Such increases in moisture limit how far the Sahara can spread and can even spark times of a “green Sahara”, when the sparse desert is replaced by abundant lakes, plants and animals.
Before the great desert was born, North Africa had a moister, semiarid climate. A few lines of evidence, including ancient dune deposits found in Chad, had hinted that the arid Sahara may have existed at least 7 million years ago. But without a mechanism to explain how it emerged, few scientists thought that the desert we see today could really be that old. Instead, most scientists argue that the Sahara took shape just 2 to 3 million years ago. Terrestrial and marine evidence suggest that North Africa underwent a period of drying at that time, when the Northern Hemisphere started its most recent cycle of glaciation. Read More
 

Religions for the Earth: Redefining the Climate Crisis

[Time] This coming week in New York City has the potential to be for climate change what the 1963 March on Washington was for civil rights. The world’s political leaders will gather at the UN for an urgent Climate Summit called by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and hundreds of thousands of people will descend on the city for the People’s Climate March.
At Union Theological Seminary, a remarkably diverse group of more than 200 religious and spiritual leaders will gather for the Religions for the Earth conference. Representing Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas, Australia, the Pacific nations and the Arctic, these leaders will bring a much-needed moral perspective to the climate crisis. They represent billions of people of faith.
Through the work at this conference, we hope to help redefine the climate crisis. It is not just a scientific and political challenge, it is an urgent moral imperative. The Religions for the Earth initiative at Union seeks to create a place where visionary religious and spiritual leaders from around the world will convene to find common ground and offer new strategies to deal with a crisis that politicians have been unable to solve.
In meeting after meeting, from Rio to Kyoto to Copenhagen to Durban, politicians and technocrats have been thwarted, because at its core, climate change is not just about science, or zero-sum financial negotiations between emitters: it’s about values. It relates profoundly to the meaning of life rather than just its mechanics—to the essence of how we experience our being, share our resources, and regard one another across space and time. It has implications for the existence of the world itself, and humanity’s place within it.
It will take a values-driven conversation to change the materialistic and consumer-oriented culture that assigns worth only to financially quantifiable things. The unchecked profit-driven model of maximum production devours what we care most about: clean air, clean water, and the wellbeing of the most vulnerable families. We need a new moral equation. Read More

People's Climate March in New York City kicks off

[Politico.com] NEW YORK — Activists, scientists, students, celebrities and elected officials took to New York City’s streets Sunday for a massive march meant to sound the alarm about climate change.
Organizers were hoping to attract more than 100,000 people, a crowd that would make the march through midtown Manhattan the largest climate-related event in history, dwarfing a February 2013 protest on the National Mall that drew 35,000 people. It wasn’t immediately clear how many people had come out Sunday.
Participants waved flags, pounded on drums and carried signs that said “No More Climate Change” and “Climate Action Now,” while police blocked traffic along Central Park West from 59th Street to 86th Street.
Participants said they were trying to send a message to elected officials that tackling climate change, an issue that has often taken a back seat in Washington, should be a top priority. Politicians taking part in Sunday’s protest included Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) as well as former Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, while former Vice President Al Gore, scientist Jane Goodall, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio also joined the marchers.
“It shows we have power,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “It’s a diverse coalition. It’s broad and it’s growing in strength and it’s growing in diversity. And it’s increasingly impatient at the rate of progress.”
But it wasn’t making an immediate splash on national TV — “Meet the Press” didn’t mention the march, while CNN and MSNBC were focusing on issues like the NFL, the fight against ISIL and the November elections. Read More