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Humans Are Changing Climate Faster Than Natural Forces by CityTech Blogger Keng Wai Lam

Quotes from the article:

According to the author Melissa Davey, “researchers have developed a mathematical equation to describe the impact of human activity on the Earth, finding people are causing the climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces”:

“The equation was developed in conjunction with Professor Will Steffen, a climate change expert and researcher at the Australian National University, and was published in the journal The Anthropocene Review.”

“The authors of the paper wrote that for the past 4.5 [billion] years astronomical and geophysical factors have been the dominating influences on the Earth system. The Earth system is defined by the researchers as the biosphere, including interactions and feedbacks with the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and upper lithosphere.”

“Human activities now rival the great forces of nature in driving changes to the Earth system,” the paper said.

“Failure to reduce anthropological climate change could “trigger societal collapse”, their research concluded.”

Photo Credit: NASA

 
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Climate Change and Weather by CityTech Blogger Thierno I Diallo

Photo Credit: techcrunch.com

The effects of global warming are now visible everywhere. In the morning, I woke up with nice weather and a sunny sky. One minute after, the forecast was predicting a drastic change within a couple hours. We will go from sunny and slightly cool weather to snowy and cold weather. Isn’t this a sign indicating that nature needs our attention? Our politics are demonstrating a careless attitude toward what is happening. Additionally, people seem to ignore the consequences.

It is important and urgent that our population take more steps ahead to change our behavior. If not, we will face the terrible cycle of natural disasters.

 
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Food & Climate Change: Bedford2020 Food Expo by Abby Luby

The food movement against Big Ag is always bolstered by bringing together a wide spectrum of people believing in the sustainability power of local food. The Bedford2020 Food Forum last Saturday (March 4, 2017) at Fox Lane High School in Bedford saw a large community advocating for area farmers, their food and local entrepreneurs. The numerous and diverse range of workshops, lectures and demonstrations was all encompassing. Overwhelming support was seen for Hudson Valley farmers with opportunities to join a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), or buying regularly at farmers’ markets. Discussions focused on growing your own garden, planting organic seeds from local seed libraries, reducing food waste, backyard beekeeping, cooking seasonally on a budget, and the historical significance local food has played here in the Hudson Valley. Bedford2020 Food Forum

Outside the scope of “local” was the overarching message: how to maintain and increase food sustainability under the growing shadow of climate change. As the climate changes, so too are weather patterns and we are seeing more floods, heat waves, droughts, all impacting what foods be grown and when. Growing seasons are shorter, hotter and more difficult to gauge. Ultimately climate change impacts how much food can be produced worldwide. Food produced by the agricultural industrial complex generates vast quantities of greenhouse gases (by a plethora of farm machinery that runs on fossil fuels, and transporting food thousands of miles) forces us to seriously consider how we can grow food differently in a way that will withstand the impacts of continued climate change. This was the focus of “Planet and Plate: Factory Farming’s Impact on the Climate,” a talk by Eric Weltman, Senior Organizer, Food and Water Watch, which looked at how climate change impacts agriculture and how global warming reduces food production.

In his keynote address, New York Times best-selling author Mark Bittman expanded on the undeniable connection between factory farming and climate change. Throughout the day groups gathered in classrooms to discuss variations on how to be a local food advocate, buying local, growing your own food, why buying and planting local seeds matter, bee-keeping, raising chickens. Of particular interest was the “Farmer-side Chat with the Westchester Growers Alliance with participants Mimi Edelman, from the I & Me Farm, Deb Taft, the Mobius Fields Food Growing Program Coordinator, and Doug DeCandia, Food Growing Manager, Food Bank for Westchester. Having a chance to meet and talk to our farmers is rare; their 20-hour days usually prevent them from connecting to the rest of the world. From these three we learned how difficult it is for the independent farmer to keep and work their land, how many farmers here in the Hudson Valley and perhaps all over the U.S. are always engaged in an ongoing battle against the sprawl of development while trying to keep their farms economically viable. Edelman, Taft and DeCandia talked about working together to form a farm hub, an idea similar to the Hudson Valley Farm Hub in Kingston, but would be a community of farmers who would co-own expensive equipment and have a central location to deliver and sell their produce. This kind of forward thinking undeniably gives us hope.

A workshop on “The Farm Bill: What is it and Why Should I care?” was led by U.S. Representative Sean Patrick Maloney who explained how the bill is geared towards feeding the nation, supporting New York farmers, the overall impacts of local food systems and that shapes our community.

The some 75 booths at the Food Expo extended from the school’s main hallways to both gyms. Some featured cooking demonstrations, gardening and composting demonstrations; there was a pop-up book store, CSA sign-ups, health experts, food policy leaders, local farmers and food justice organizations and educators. On hand was Thomas McQuillan, Director of Food Service Sales and Sustainability at Baldor Specialty Foods, Inc. McQuillan started a cost-effective way to repurpose the large amount of food byproduct created by Baldor’s Fresh Cuts. Baldor is one of the largest produce distributors in the northeast with a 100,000 square foot facility at Hunt’s Point. McQuillan, who spearheaded the company’s sustainability initiative program, “SparCs” (scraps spelled backwards), told us the company saves 120,000 pounds of food waste from landfills every month.

The Bedford2020 Food Forum successfully brought together expert farmers and spokespersons who promote growing, buying, sharing and eating locally produced food, all effective ways to spurn the deleterious effects of Big Ag. The message was strong: invest and engage in local, sustainably sourced food now and for the future, especially while the impacts of climate change will continue to affect our food sources.

 

 

 
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Our Shrinking Midwinter Sea Ice by City Tech Blogger Dave

The article that I have found this week talks about how this winter will be the lowest expansion of winter polar ice since records began 40 years ago. Records show that two million square kilometers of midwinter sea ice has disappeared. This could be due to global warming caused by carbon emissions from cars and factories and could have profound implications for the planet. According to the article, researchers believe that a loss of sea ice would mean a loss in reflectivity of solar rays which could raise global temperatures. Researchers now believe that the rise in sea ice loss is now posing threats to Arctic animal species. Many of the animals who live there are forced to travel north because of  retreating ice caps. Researchers say that there is a limit to the distance in which these animals can tolerate. The melting of ice is disturbing the whole ecosystem of the Arctic in which these animals live and the food chain is being impacted. With animals being forced to travel northward it is disrupting the breeding process and the genetic wellbeing of populations.

 
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Climate Change Effects on Buildings & Construction by City Tech Blogger David Persaud

Buildings are never meant to last forever, but with the climate changing, buildings of the future will have to withstand a lot more than they do today. According to the article “Climate change impact on buildings and constructions” by ClimateChangeAdaption, future buildings will be in more danger compared to today. “Increase in the risk of collapse, declining health and significant loss of value as a result of more storms, snow or subsidence damage, water encroachment, deteriorating indoor climate and reduced building lifetime,” are just some of the new challenges that new building designs face. Along with new buildings, existing buildings will need to be updated to help better understand their structure, strength, and wear. The changing climate will later affect these buildings. New building developments will have to concentrate on preventing the damage from climate change. Existing buildings will have to be upgraded or adapt to better building codes in order to remain strong.

 

 
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