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Harvesting Carbon as well as Crops

How can farming keep carbon in the soil?

If you live in New York, you can learn all about Carbon Farming and how it’s done. On Tuesday, August 23, the public is invited to take a tour sponsored by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York  (NOFA) called “Carbon Farming in Action” at the Four Winds Farm, a NOFA-certified farm in Gardiner run by farmers, Jay and Polly Armour. Four Winds is about 2 hour from New York City. Carbon Farming is simply farming in a way that reduces Greenhouse Gas emissions or captures and holds carbon in vegetation and soils. The Armours have been practicing carbon farming for 20 years with techniques that eliminate tillage that keeps carbon in the soil, where it serves as organic matter to feed crops, hold moisture and reduce runoff. Farming practices like this are essential to mitigating climate change because to keep the earth’s average temperature from rising less than 2 degrees, reducing emissions from fossil fuels is not enough.  We have to take carbon out of the air – and where better to put it than in the soil where it serves as organic matter, feeds our crops, holds moisture and reduces run-off.  Carbon Farmers have many practices to choose from to develop their plan and you can read about them here.

This event is sponsored by NOFA-NY through grant funding by Farm Aid and Clif Bar. Registration fees are $15/person or $25 for two or more people/farm; register at www.cvent.com/events/see-carbon-farming-in-action-/event-summary-0380a4ed32024be09de39d03e51a40a4.aspx or 585-271-1979http://users.bestweb.net/~fourwind/ or 585-271-1979

Pre-registration closes on August 19.

Four Winds Farm
158 Marabac Rd
Gardiner, New York 12525

 
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21st Conference on Satellite Meteorology

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) is holding their Joint 21st Satellite Meteorology, Oceanography and Climatology Conference and 20th Conference on Air-Sea Interaction on 15-19 August 2016 in  Madison, WI. The conference is organized by the AMS Committee on Satellite Meteorology, Oceanography, and Climatology and all conference sessions will be held at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, One John Nolen Drive Madison, WI 53703 Phone: 608.261.4000

The  Scientific and Technological Activities Commission (STAC) is what drives AMS and is comprised of 6 Boards and 30 Committees that compose STAC are made up of hundreds of volunteers primarily from the professional and student membership of the Society, who work to support the dissemination of knowledge in the specific subject areas covered by each Committee and Board. The primary means of accomplishing this is through the organization of specialized conferences that offer an opportunity for scientists and technologists to present their findings to, and interact with others working in their area of specialization.  Read the Terms of Reference for a complete overview of STAC.

The Policy Program promotes understanding and use of science and services relating to weather, water, and climate. Our goal is to help the nation, and the world, avoid risks and realize opportunities associated with the Earth system. The Mission of the American Meteorological Society is to advance the atmospheric and related sciences, technologies, applications, and services for the benefit of society. Founded in 1919, the American Meteorological Society is the nation’s premier scientific and professional organization promoting and disseminating information about the atmospheric, oceanic, hydrologic sciences. The more than 13,000 members include scientists, researchers, educators, broadcast meteorologists, students, weather enthusiasts, and other professionals in the fields of weather, water, and climate. AMS is a 501(c)3 non-profit membership organization, headquartered in the historic Harrison Gray Otis House in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood with an office in Washington, DC dedicated to education and policy programs.

AMS is committed to strengthening the incredible work being done across the public, private, and academic sectors by high level collaboration and information sharing of the best, most current scientific knowledge and understanding available.

 

 
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FOOT SOLDIERS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

The  ISeeChange Tracker app allows folks like you and me to post changes we see in our immediate outside environment. The Tracker app is this country’s first community crowd-sourced climate and weather blog that allows us to share what we see that is unique or different and could reflect a change in the natural surroundings. The app is empowering because it gives us laypersons a voice that offers up our firsthand accounts to climate scientists who can use the information to observe weather and climate trends.

The app was created in collaboration with NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 Mission that provides a satellite-view visualization of carbon dioxide – the greenhouse gas most directly connected to human actions. Information and observations gathered by the app will be combined with the CO2 data collected by NASA for a more complete picture of how the earth is changing.

Downloading the app is simple. To submit a sighting you have to create an account, sign in and include your location. Categories are called “Investigations” and include observations of change seen in Trees, Flooding, Agriculture, Coastal Erosion, Sea Level Rise, Fields, Backyards, Wildfires, Sightings of animals.  Once you sign up you receive an email from a person on the  ISeeChange team encouraging you to use all your senses when writing about what you are seeing. What you post goes on a blog and you are encouraged to ask questions and submit pictures.

Founded in 2012, ISeeChange is a community climate and weather journal. Through its groundbreaking environmental reporting platform, the company combines citizen science, participatory public media, and cutting-edge satellite and sensor monitoring to observe and collect data on environmental conditions. In 2015, ISeeChange received support from the Association for Independents in Radio and the Wyncote Foundation to expand nationwide.

 
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YOUTH ACTIVIST ALEX LOZNAK ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Alex Loznak is a Youth Activist at Our Children’s Trust and one of 21 young plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the United States that demands a science-based climate change recovery plan. In the spring, the federal government and the fossil fuel industry moved to dismiss the lawsuit but a federal judge in Oregon ruled against the motion.

About a year ago, Alex left his small, rural farm in Roseburg, Oregon to attend Columbia University in New York City as a first year freshman. The very week he left for the east coast, the case against the U.S. government was filed. ClimateYou talked to Alex about his involvement in the climate change issue. To find out more about him, check out Alex’s blogspot.

CY: As a plaintiff in the case against the federal government you had to state how climate change has personally impacted your life. Can you share that statement with us?

AL: Yes. I wrote up a 15-page standing declaration explaining how my family’s farm in Oregon has been severely impacted by climate change. The farm grows hazel nuts and the orchard was showing signs of deterioration. Because of the rising temperatures due to climate change, the summer of 2015 was the hottest summer on record and the two previous summers broke records as well. The Hazel nut trees, which usually don’t need that much water, started dying and we needed to water them on a regular basis to keep them alive. The heat also completely killed off a couple of acres of fir trees on our farm as well.

CY: What else inspired you to become part of this case?

AL:  I think Congress has shown complete disregard to the climate change problem and since the branches of government haven’t done anything, we had no alternative but to turn to the judiciary, which can act more quickly than congress. This is the fastest way for us to get meaningful action from the government. So far, President Obama is siding with the Kochs and their ilk, which are trade groups such as the American Fuel and Petroleum Institute and the National Association of Manufacturers, who joined to oppose our case and have it dismissed.

CY: What kind of support have you found on climate change issues on the Columbia campus?

AL: What has been really cool is that Dr. Hansen, the director of the Climate Science Program here at Columbia, has also been working on our case. There is a strong connection between the University of Oregon and Columbia University, and it’s great to have academics working on the case. I’ve also connected with the Columbia Divest for Climate Justice Group which argues that the university has to divest any of its financial holdings in fossil fuel companies. It’s the most exciting group of student activism on campus. They have had big sit-ins at Low Library.

CY: What are your main concerns about climate change?

AL: Now that I’ve been living in New York City I’m concerned with sea level rise. I wrote a science paper for a sustainable development class that looked at the rate and amount of  sea level rise and the various predictions made by different  organizations about how much the sea is expected to rise by the end of the century. I concluded that we are not in a good place, even if we build numerous sea walls, they will have to get taller and taller. The stakes are high. Do we decide to knock down a building to or allow the base of the building to be under water? They can build sea walls only so high.

CY: How do you feel about climate deniers?

AL:  There were those kind of folks at my high school in Oregon and I really didn’t engage with them. To me, some of them seemed so lost, some believe that there is a conspiracy theory that’s behind climate change. I believe you can’t really get anywhere with folks who think that way and you have to just move on.

CY: Last March you attended the Global Student Leaders Summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, where they discussed the future of energy and the environment. What was that like?

AL: Going to Iceland was a total surprise. The Education Foundation paid for the air fare and that was great. Here I was, a kid from Roseburg, Oregon, who grew up on a rural farm in an low income area and who went to an underfunded high school, who was offered a great opportunity to connect with hundreds of students from all over the world. We gave a talk to about 700 students, which was a good public speaking exercise. I was so energized by all the kids at that conference and it was inspiring to share our legal case with them. It felt like we were turning the tide on climate change.

CY: How important has your blog become and other social media?

AL:  We need to know and connect with climate activists all over the world and we can do it easily through social media. Many of them out there are watching our case and that means we are doing it in solidarity with activists around the world, we are all  standing up to the fuel industry as this case moves forward. If we win, that will start a movement to finally, physically rebuild the energy infrastructure.

 
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Our Young Movers & Shakers!

ClimateYou talks to Victoria Barrett

When Victoria Barrett was 14 she visited her mother’s family in Honduras. The family home was in a coastal town and her mother remembered how large the beach used to be. But when Victoria and her mother were there three years ago, they could see how the ocean had encroached on the land, making the beach significantly smaller. For Victoria, it instilled a strong message about the impacts of climate change on coastal towns and cities. In May, Victoria was featured in the New York Times article “In Novel Tactic on Climate Change, Citizens Sue Their Governments” about 21 young plaintiffs represented by Our Children’s Trust, an environmental law nonprofit group who won a major court battle that will allow the plaintiffs to sue the federal government for being lax about climate change. ClimateYou talked to Ms. Barrett who is 17 and lives in White Plains, NY. She attends Notre Dame School, a high school in Manhattan. We wanted to know how she became active in climate change issues and what she expects her involvement to be in the future.

CY: How did you get started?  What inspired you to take on climate change as an issue?

VB:  I was inspired when the non-profit group Global Kids sent recruiters to my high school. They taught me that human rights was a social justice issue here in New York. Those mentors and trainers focused on climate change and at first I didn’t understand the connection between human rights, social justice and climate change. But I did make that connection after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when I saw how mostly low income communities were affected by the damage and in the aftermath. That’s when realized I wanted to become more involved. I’ve been focusing on social activism and climate change for about three and a half years.

CY: What has being involved with the federal lawsuit been like?

VB:  In my legal complaint I speak mostly how climate change affects my quality of life, especially when it comes to being able to go outdoors when the heat is oppressive. I definitely see the connection between public health and climate change especially in New York City areas like Queens and Brooklyn where the asthma rates are sky-rocketing

CY: Have you had other experiences being in court or giving testimony?

VB:  Yes. Just recently there was a hearing on the clean energy standard in New York State where people testified to a committee. Their decision will ultimately impact the state’s future and it will affect people from all over the world. I felt a lot of hope and heard several testimonies. Those different voices telling their personal stories was easy to hear, especially when you see people get emotional while the government committee is just staring without reacting. The only thing the committee tells people during the hearing is how much time they have left to speak.

CY: You went to Paris for COP21 last December as part of a youth contingent from Global Kids.  What was that like?

VB:   Very exciting. When we went to COP21 in Paris we saw a lot of different nations pushing for climate change. Seeing it in that scope and being there as someone from a country that is a big greenhouse gas emitter put it into context on the global scale. When you get to see it on that level and you can talk to folks from places like the Marshall Islands, you realize that every single action you take impacts everyone and means something to the rest of the world.

CY:   What other youth organizations are you involved with?

VB:   I have been an Action Fellow with the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) since 2014. I am a huge proponent of organizations like ACE because it allows my generation to be accepted when we want to openly discuss and learn about climate change. It’s how we learn how to work against the issue. When a portion of the population is hugely affected by a problem and there is a lack of communication, how can someone fight it if you don’t understand it? ACE has made understanding climate change much easier for young people.

CY:   Are there groups at school concerned with climate change?

VB:   Yes. Me and my friend run a small environmental group with about 15 to 20 students. We do this during the school year and we try to develop workshops that would interest other students in getting involved. What I’ve seen are a lot of students who are apathetic to climate change and they don’t really know or care about it. Some of us were taught about these types of issues at a young age and because I’ve also learned about these issues in school,  I feel we need to bring it into school and to the students. When I started an environmental club at my school, it wasn’t easy. When you have SAT tests and finals, not everyone has the time. I always try to stress how being a part of this movement is amazing because it’s one of the few things that’s less about you and more about everybody. My friends at school always say “There goes Victoria off again saving the world.” It’s nice, but at the same time an incredible experience just  to know that you get to be part of history. We haven’t given up and we’re here and  we’ve been here fighting; the fight started before I was even an idea. The beauty in the climate change movement is letting people get involved in a way that’s important to them, and that can be their music, poetry, art, and to use it some way to spread the message about the climate change movement, even if to just  a few family members.  Even if you send your song or poem to an elected official, every little thing means a lot.

CY:   How do you handle climate deniers?

VB:   In New York City I run into  a lot of folks who don’t believe the climate is changing. I also see it on the internet as well. I figure why waste my time if they don’t believe in climate change? What am I really going to do about that? The policy with climate deniers is that they have such negative ideas that I would rather focus on the people that have the potential to be my allies and can be changed. I focus on people who care instead of  those I have to convince that we need to make a change.

CY: How has social media helped you?

VB: Social media has been huge in discussing and planning climate action.  When I was in Paris I met a lot of youth activists from colleges and I’ve been able to keep in touch with them and know what they’re doing because of social media. It’s important to have these connections because it keeps you involved with the climate movement. If I message one activist friend who is in college and also planning some action event, I can also ask for college advice, since next year I apply to college. Social media fosters a great interconnection for friendships and knowing that these friends are fighting for our future. We know that we are doing it together.

CY:   What are you ultimately expecting from the federal lawsuit?

VB:    By being a part of the lawsuit we have realized that we face so many powers that tell us what to do while seeing how wrong the federal government is in allowing fossil fuels to be used. We also have seen how wrong they are when they tell us we don’t have a right to a clean future. Facing those realities is preparing me to become more involved. I definitely respect the idea of government and democracy and what we have here in the United States. And because of that respect, I want to exercise my right to speak out about decisions made and their consequences. I really have a lot of faith in the lawsuit and the power  to facilitate legislative change. It’s hard to see all these processes, many of them get shut down because of the bureaucracy. But I appreciate the government and its ability to make change. I stress the fact that government officials are lucky primarily because they have the ability and moral obligation to make changes and that we are appealing to their sense of ethics. If we gave up on the government’s process that wouldn’t work. After all, our representatives are the ones who pass the laws and make the policies. We need to go through it with them.

 
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