Insects: A Climate Change Solution?

One U-W-Madison grad student was not just driven buggy by the climate change crisis, she was driven to bugs for a solution. My interview with Valerie Stull about her and Rachel Bergmann’s mighty MIGHTi project (Mission to Improve Global Health Through Insects) aired on WORT-FM March 17, 2015. Their unconventional idea brings a small solution – insects – to help with two big problems – hunger and climate change. As Stull explains, meal worms provide a highly efficient source of edible protein requiring 1/5th the feed per pound than beef. Additionally, meal worms produce none of the potent green house gas methane that beef cattle does.  Listen here (about 4 minutes).  As a climate change solution, it is not sufficient, but it is creative.  It may even have more potential than those of us acculturated  in the industrialized west may give it credit for.

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The Sixth Extinction : Listen and Read Kolbert’s Cautionary Assessment

Elizabeth Kolbert presents a sobering assessment of our care of creation. Is this what we want our stewardship report to be? Do we really expect to get our security deposit back from our cosmic landlord? … Checkout her book “The Sixth Extinction” and her presentation (As adapted from the WUD website:) “The Sixth Extinction: The Legacy of the Anthropocene? – A Public Lecture by Elizabeth Kolbert, at The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID) 330 N. Orchard St. on 11/8/14, Saturday, November 8, 2014, 7:00:00 PM.
WUD Distinguished Lecture Series presents a free lecture by ElizabethKolbert. Elizabeth Kolbert is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of several books, including “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” and “Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change.? She is a two-time National Magazine Award winner, and has received a National Academies communications award, a Heinz Award, and Guggenheim Fellowship. Her lecture is titled The Sixth Extinction: The Legacy of the Anthropocene? Over the last half billion years, there have been five major mass extinction events. We are currently bringing about the sixth. This will be the legacy of the Anthropocene, and it will determine the future of life on this planet, for all intents and purposes, forever. This event is free and open to the public.
Sponsored By WUD Distinguished Lecture Series and The Nelson Institute’s Center for Culture, History, and Environment
Contact – dls@union.wisc.edu”

http://humanities.wisc.edu/events/humanities-without-boundaries/calendar

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Enjoy Bliss of Removing Ignorance At WisSciFest

Wisconsin Science Fest happens this week, 10/16/14-10/19/14, and brings opportunities to learn not only about science but the science of climate change and effective science communication.

In particular you can attend or encourage friends and families to check out the presentation “Climate change: Many Lines of Evidence, One Conclusion” Noon-1:30 pm Saturday, 10/18 at theUW Madison’s Discovery Building, 330 N. Orchard St., Madison, WI 53715 .

If you want to get some insights about effectively communicating science, a major issue in the climate change crisis, you might also want to attend “Communicating Science: Talk and Panel Discussion” 2:30-4:30 pm Thursday 10/15/14, also at the UW Madison’s Discovery Building, 330 N. Orchard St., Madison, WI 53715 .

For details see excerpts below or for even more info go to http://www.wisconsinsciencefest.org/wsf-events.php#

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Climate Change: Many Lines of Evidence, One Conclusion

Wild fire represents adverse climate change impact.

Our scientific understanding of how human activities affect Earth’s climate has been growing for two centuries. The steady accumulation of observations and the ever-growing power of computer simulations combine to provide a comprehensive and coherent picture of human impacts on many aspects of Earth’s oceans, lakes, ice, atmosphere and living things.

Panelists:

Galen McKinley, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Steve Vavrus, UW Center for Climatic Research
Ben Zuckerberg, Forest and Wildlife Ecology
Bill Bland, Soil Science

Location: Discovery Building City: Madison Region: UW–Madison Campus
Science and society | High school students, College students, Adults
Saturday
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Communicating Science: Talk and Panel Discussion

The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University helps train the next generation of scientists and health professionals to communicate more effectively. Alda Center faculty will reflect on the center’s mission and learnings.

The talk will be followed by a panel discussion with Alda Center and UW–Madison faculty on why it’s crucial for those in science fields to communicate more effectively with a wide range of audiences.

Panelists:

Toby Campbell, School of Medicine and Public Health
Lynda Barry, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and Art Department
Bret Shaw, Life Sciences Communications, CALS
Valeri Lantz-Gefroh, Alan Alda Center
Moderator: Steve Ackerman, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Associate Vice Chancellor for Physical Sciences

Location: Discovery Building City: Madison Region: UW–Madison Campus
Science and society | College students, Adults
Thursday
2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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A New Road Map For Climate and Energy Future

Wildfire-Public-Domain-300x200Smokejumpers scramble to fight wildfires raging across blackening swaths of land from California through the pacific northwest and Canada into Alaska. Scientists, engineers and policy makers work to identify and make improvements to electrical power grids, roads, transit systems, sea walls and water supplies that will resist and reduce climate change. Farmers, residents and officials wrestle with drought as it disrupts life and threatens to devastate agriculture in California and around the world.

These sorts of troubles predicted by international climate scientists continue to increase and spread. Sadly, despite recent headlines highlighting these challenges over the past week, Republicans in Congress continue to make climate change a partisan issue. The Hill reports “House Republicans have launched an assault on Obama’s climate agenda over the last month, tethering as many anti-Environmental Protection Agency riders to appropriation bills as possible.”

Yet, the symptoms and the risky consequences of global warming call for forward actions now that will benefit the economy, the environment and us now and into the future.
Actions like those spelled out in the just released “Climate forward: A New road Map for Wisconsin’s Climate and Energy Future”. This Wisconsin Initiative Report of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters not only identifies new things we can do to increase health, energy independence, climate security and economic growth. It identifies things forward thinking, forward acting governments and businesses have already done, and that we can do more of. “A New Road Map” specifically recomends five promising pathways – Increase conservation and efficiency, rely more on renewable energy, improve transportation systems, exercise utility leadership and put a price on carbon.

For more about global warming and the Wisconsin Academy’s “… New Road Map…”, go to ClimateChangeHope.wordpress.com.

Remember, no more coal, no more oil, we don’t want the world to boil.

This is Kermit Hovey.
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NOTE: This commentary by Kermit Hovey was to air 140722TU on 89.9 FM WORT’s Insurgent Radio Kiosk.
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REFERENCES:

Important news developments from the past week…

wildfires burn from CA to CAN to Alaska – http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2014/07/firefighters_battle_hot_windy.html ; http://themostimportantnews.com/archives/wildfires-drive-residents-from-homes-in-washington-state-and-canada ;
California has droughts – http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_26153749/california-drought-conservation-efforts-failing-despite-pleas-save ;
climate change Direct threat to infrastructure – http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/212476-obama-climate-change-is-direct-threat-to-us ;
Climate Forward: A New Road Map for Wisconsin’s Climate and Energy Futurehttps://www.wisconsinacademy.org/climateforward

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Tina Fey, Bike Helmet Guy and Climate Change

Photographer's blog post about this photo and the scar on Tina Fey's face.

Tina Fey at the premiere of Baby Mama in New York City at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival.

I don’t usually name drop.

I don’t even often talk about running in the same circles as the rich and famous. But, truth be told, Tina Fey, of Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock Television comedy fame, and I, of much more modest climate change action notoriety, have hung out with bike helmet guy Gregory of Evanston, IL.

Tina writes in her 2011 Memoir, Bossypants, of Gregory’s passionate, frequent, ready sharing of his cautionary tale, a tale we both heard across the years. In brief, his long ago bike accident while not wearing a bike helmet resulted in brain damage and a cascade of losses, including both his wife and job. One version of his concluding urgent message – “So when you ride your bike, think of me and always wear a helmet.”

His passion is grounded in painful personal experience. His wisdom flows out of living through the unanticipated consequences of his oversight. Unfortunately we do not have a Gregory to tell us about the tragedy of a devastated climate. We do not have someone who can speak with halting voice from personal experience about the painful consequences of failing to act prudently to avoid global warming.

Fortunately we do have people who have crunched the numbers and projected the tragic consequences of further inaction, such as RiskyBusiness.org. We do have those who have cataloged the disruptions of past inaction, such as Wicci.wisc.edu. We do have those who have identified protective actions we can take and safer directions we can head in, such as citizensclimatelobby.org.

Rather than ride the bicycle of our climate into heavy oncoming traffic without a helmet, lets turn in a safer direction and lets put on protective gear.
Fortunately, we can choose differently, we can choose a different direction, we can protect ourselves. Visit climatechangehope.wordpress.com for more.

Remember, no more coal, no more oil, we don’t want the world to boil.

This is Kermit Hovey.
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NOTE: This commentary by Kermit Hovey aired Tuesday 140715 on 89.9 FM WORT’s Insurgent Radio Kiosk (http://wortfm.org/?page_id=317; stream at https://soundcloud.com/wort-fm/tuesday-07-15-14-final-kiosk) .
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REFERENCES: Bossypants’ an entertaining but safe foray into Fey’s life, April 14, 2011|By Steve Johnson | Tribune reporter- http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-04-14/entertainment/ct-ae-0417-tina-fey-bossy-pants-20110414_1_tina-fey-bossypants-lorne-michaels ; Greg: Evanston’s Passionate Bike Helmet Advocate – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vs-GoD0YtRk; http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?index=books&linkCode=qs&keywords=9780316175869; RiskyBusiness.org; Wicci.wisc.edu; citizensclimatelobby.org; Pathways to Deep Carbonization, interim 2014 report, published by Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) – http://unsdsn.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/DDPP_interim_2014_report.pdf; Blueprints for Taming the Climate Crisis, – http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/09/business/blueprints-for-taming-the-climate-crisis.html?hpw&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpHedThumbWell&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=1 ; ‘

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Then Just Do It For The Money

IMG_20140705_232303“All right then, just do it for the money.” Maybe that’s what we should say.

Such could be an implication of one “blasphemous idea” of Dietram Scheufele  [DEE-trum SHOY-full-uh] , UW Madison Professor in Science Communication. He summed it up this way: “Global warming is not getting less polarizing soon. Maybe the goal of successful communication, therefore, should NOT be to convince lay audiences of the facts behind climate change BUT to build political coalitions around mitigation and adaptation, regardless of ideologies or scientific understanding.”

So, maybe we should stop trying to convince our skeptic friends of the science and reality of human caused global warming. Instead, we can explain how the changes WE desire for reducing climate change problems THEY can desire for reasons more meaningful to them, such as improving health and wealth.

Two reports released in June, 2014 spell out such health and wealth improvements. The World Bank looked at only the United States, China, the European Union, India, Mexico and Brazil implementing policies from the three areas of clean transportation, energy efficiency in industry, and energy efficiency in buildings. In  Climate-Smart Development: Adding Up the Benefits of Actions that Help Build Prosperity, End Poverty and Combat Climate Change, they project by 2030 a premature death reduction of 94,000 and an estimated GDP growth of between $1.8 and $2.6 Trillion.

The non-partisan Regional Economic Models, Inc. looked at only the United States implementing a revenue neutral carbon fee and dividend plan with border tax adjustments. In “The Economic, Climate, Fiscal, Power, and Demographic Impact of a National Fee-and-Dividend Carbon Tax ” they found that by 2025 premature deaths dropped by 13,000, Gross Domestic Product rose $80 to $90 billion and employment climbed 2.1 million above baseline.

So, encourage our friends who prefer to deny the evidence supporting human caused global warming to at least support actions against it for a healthier, wealthier world. Visit ClimateChangeHope.wordpress.com for details.

Remember, even if you think the earth won’t boil, lots less coal and lots less oil, gives more wealth for all of our toil.

This is Kermit Hovey.

NOTE: This commentary by Kermit Hovey was to be aired 140708 on 89.9 FM WORT’s Insurgent Radio Kiosk.
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REFERENCES: At the 25:13 mark in the video of “Barriers to Addressing Our Climate and Energy Challenges” hosted by The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, arts and Letters Thursday, May 9, 2013 – https://www.wisconsinacademy.org/video/barriers-addressing-our-climate-and-energy-challenges ; Positive impact , p. xiii of “Climate-Smart Development Adding up the benefits of actions that help build prosperity, end poverty and combat climate change: Executive Summary” – http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2014/06/20/000456286_20140620101332/Rendered/PDF/889080WP0v20Bo00Development0Summary.pdf ; p. 2 of “The Economic, Climate, Fiscal, Power, and Demographic Impact of a National Fee-and-Dividend Carbon Tax ” by Scott Nystrom, Regional Economic Models, Inc. : http://citizensclimatelobby.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/REMI-carbon-tax-report-62141.pdf. ; New Study Adds Up the Benefits of Climate-Smart Development in Lives, Jobs, and GDP – http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2014/06/23/study-adds-up-benefits-climate-smart-development-lives-jobs-gdp ; World Bank: Fighting Climate Change Would Boost Global Economy Up To $2.6 Trillion A Year – http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/06/24/3452323/world-bank-climate-change-economy/

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Risky Business, Hopeful Legislation

Dozens of the over 600 Citizens Climate Lobby members swarming Capitol Hill to lobby for action against global warming and for a revenue neutral carbon fee & dividend plan.

Dozens of the over 600 Citizens Climate Lobby members swarming Capitol Hill on June 24, 2014 to lobby for action against global warming and for a revenue neutral carbon fee and dividend plan.

Who coordinated it to happen during our conference? Who arranged for the headlines to coincide with our lobby day? Was it chance or providence?

Don’t know. Don’t care. All I know and all that matters is that on Tuesday June 24, 2014 more than 600 of us swarmed Capitol Hill as part of the annual Citizens Climate Lobby conference.

As we did, I was buoyed by conservative Republican Henry Paulson’s op-ed “The Coming Climate Crash” in the pages of that Sunday’s New York Times advocating a price on carbon emissions. I was further encouraged by Paulson’s, Michael Bloomberg’s and Tom Steyer’s report “Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate change in the United States.” Released that very Tuesday, it describes the staggering economic costs and sobering consequences of not acting decisively against climate change.

Just as importantly for encouraging us to act decisively, the Citizens Climate Lobby released earlier in June the non-partisan Regional Economic Models, Inc. report. Titled “The Economic, Climate, Fiscal, Power, and Demographic Impact of a National Fee-and-Dividend Carbon Tax ”, it projects that decisive action against global warming will RAISE both GDP and employment and LOWER carbon emissions.

With that news and those reports in mind we asked 500 congressional offices – house and senate, representatives and senators, legislative aides and policy advisors to support the decisive action of a revenue neutral carbon fee and dividend plan with border tax adjustments. We explained such a plan would collect a fee on fossil fuels at the point of importation or extraction. We added that the fee would help reveal carbon energy’s true cost and send a market price signal to encourage a shift to clean renewable energy. Just as importantly we assured that all money collected was to go directly back to the public with none retained by the government. Additionally the border tax adjustments would prevent unfair trade that might cause pollution and businesses to leak off-shore.

To find out more about climate change, this plan and these reports, go to ClimateChangeHope.wordpress.com.

Remember, no more coal, no more oil, we don’t want the world to boil.

This is Kermit Hovey.

NOTE: This commentary by Kermit Hovey was to be aired 140701TU on 89.9 FM WORT’s Insurgent Radio Kiosk. Listen to the audio at https://soundcloud.com/wort-fm/tuesday-7-1-14-final-kiosk-1 .
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REFERENCES: Hank Paulson, The Coming Climate Crash : http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/22/opinion/sunday/lessons-for-climate-change-in-the-2008-recession.html ; Risky Business Report Tallies toll On Economy From Global Warming : http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/24/science/report-tallies-toll-on-economy-from-global-warming.html ; “Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate change in the United States.” :  http://riskybusiness.org/uploads/files/RiskyBusiness_PrintedReport_FINAL_WEB_OPTIMIZED.pdf ; The RB site – http://riskybusiness.org/ ; “The Economic, Climate, Fiscal, Power, and Demographic Impact of a National Fee-and-Dividend Carbon Tax ” by Scott Nystrom, Regional Economic Models, Inc. : http://citizensclimatelobby.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/REMI-carbon-tax-report-62141.pdf.

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