How Much Land Did He Take?

Bears_Ears
(cc) Mike McGlew Bears Ears National Monument, Utah

If fossil fuels are the Holy Grail for the Trump administration—and his emphasis on “energy dominance” suggests they are—there is far more at stake than the 2 million acres the president rescinded from Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante’s monument designations. More than 120 million acres of protected land—larger than the state of California—are situated over rich reserves of oil, coal, and gas … Now We Finally Know How Much Federal Land Could Be at Stake in Trump’s Rush for More Drilling, Mother Jones, December 5, 2017 by Rebecca Leber

 

Leber’s article includes an interactive map that shows:

  • Federally Protected Land
  • Coal Fields
  • Oil and Gas Fields
  • Oil and Gas Basins

for the entire United States. It’s quite an amazing map that can be zoomed into the local level. It would not surprise me if the reduction of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante is just the first of many more attempts to grab undeveloped, protected lands with fossil fuel “resources.”

If you wish to make a donation to support the litigation that has already begun, please consider these worthy groups:

 

Disaster Fatigue

2017 fires
(cc) 2017 Dicklyon Aerial view of smoke from the 2017 fires in Napa and Sonoma Counties, California, viewed from near the south end of Lake Berryessa, nearest to the Atlas fire and looking toward the Nuns fire. Point Reyes is visible in the distance.

Fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, rolling back the Clean Air Act, Harvey, Irma, Maria, defunding the EPA, Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas, California, climate change denial becomes policy, sexual harassment, World War III, floods, droughts: If you follow the news you have heard about all of these incidents. It gets to be overwhelming. In this country alone hundreds of thousands of people are being worn down by the constant barrage of bad news. This country has been through this to some extent before, for example during the Depression and during the late 1960s and the Viet Nam War. However, today people are plugged in and it takes effort to avoid the news. We don’t have to wait for the delivery of the morning newspaper. We can follow “the news” constantly online.

Grist has an article about “disaster fatigue/compassion fatigue/secondary trauma syndrome” (After the disaster comes disaster fatigue. Here’s how to fight it. October, 2017 by Ask Umbra).

Humans aren’t made to process an unlimited amount of trauma. In fact, we’re wired to protect ourselves against it. . . . seeing so much destruction and feeling incapable of doing anything leads to a kind of moral distress.

We all need to take a step back, breathe deeply, and take a break. Taking care of ourselves is a priority in times like these. Let’s make it a habit.

Rare Aurora Over Norway

2017 Northern Norway
Photographer, Phillip Halper. Published by Earth Sciences Picture of the Day

While we spend time counting who is kneeling and who is not kneeling, who is getting berated publicly by The Twit, who has resigned from the corrupt regime, we should remember than we all live on a spectacular planet. Do check out the EPOD link, in the summary description there is a link to an amazing video of the strongest solar X flare in a decade.

Are Plants Producing More Sugars?

apples

New (and old) research suggest that the nutrient balance in plants is being upset by the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Plants use carbon dioxide much like we depend on oxygen. It looks like increased levels of carbon dioxide shift the balance of nutrients in plants with decreases in proteins and other nutrients and increases in glucose (sugar). This will have global implications since many people depend on a plant-based diet for protein. Even the bees are affected because the nutrients in pollen has changed. The relationship between increased carbon dioxide and plant nutrition is finally getting attention in the research communities. This may very well turn out to be a Big Deal.

The Great Nutrient Collapse: The atmosphere is literally changing the food we eat, for the worse. And almost nobody is paying attention.
Politico, Sept. 13, 2017 by Helena Bottemiller Evich

 

Billion Dollar Disasters, 2017

2017-billion-dollar-disaster-map
2017 Public Domain, NOAA

The weather and climate disasters depicted above do not include Hurricane Harvey. The nine events above all happened this year and the economic cost of each event is $1,000,000,000.00 at minimum.

The NOAA report (Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview) found that the average number of billion-dollar events during 1980-2016, was 5.5 events per year. When looking at more recent years, 2012-2016, the average jumps to 10.6 events per year. This is not normal. This is very expensive. The map above is not yet complete. We still have several months left in 2017. I wonder how many more billion-dollar disasters will be added to the map at the end of the year.