Sightings from the Treehouse is an investigative blog series on climate change and the environment, from GIPL’s Power Wise Director, Bob Donaghue. You can read all the posts from the blog series here.
The destruction of Creation, as we know it, is the moral issue of all time. This growing
ecological and human catastrophe exists for power and greed by the few who continue to foster
a consumption-based economy dependent on fossil fuels. They knew about this evolving
disaster almost 50 years ago, but chose deception instead of truth. They sustain their control
with political contributions, obstruction and misinformation campaigns. The public does not get
off the hook either, since they have a huge responsibility to be informed voters and consumers
driving government and business to innovate. Not to let them drive decision-making and
reinforce unsustainable habits. We all share some blame.
Sightings from the Treehouse is an investigative blog series on climate change and the environment, from GIPL’s Power Wise Director Bob Donaghue. You can read all the blogs from the series here.
Is there a comprehensive, strategic approach to reverse or stall climate change? Not according to Paul Hawken, author, entrepreneur, and environmentalist. The author of Ecology of Commerce and Blessed Unrest and a coauthor of Natural Capitalism has recently edited a book containing a compilation of over 100 strategies to reverse global warming. Continue reading
GIPL is excited to announce a new initiative to share the stories of individuals who have been our partners, allies, and inspirations in this work of caring for creation. These “Creation Care Champions” have worked diligently in their communities drawing the connection between environmental concerns and their various faith traditions, revealing a common appreciation for the community of life, justice, stewardship, and awe. We hope that you are inspired by their stories and learn from their journeys.
Bobby Mclendon is a life-long member of The First Baptist Church of Blakely and continues to be a fierce protector of the environment in the sometimes hostile territory of South Georgia.
Sightings from the Treehouse is an investigative blog series on climate change and the environment, from GIPL’s Power Wise Director, Bob Donaghue. You can read the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth blogs here.
Nature has evolved over billions of years by adapting to changes in its environment. As life evolved, it filled niches in both the water and then on land. Those species that could not adapt went extinct, such as the dinosaurs, opening up opportunities for mammals to fill many new niches and expand their range, numbers and types. This is known as survival of the fittest, the keystone of evolution. The changes that are occurring on our planet are presenting similar opportunities for species better able to adapt and resulting in decreasing numbers and extinction for those that cannot.
Ecosystem changes are global in extent and are occurring now. According to the report, Ecological Impacts of Climate Change by the National Academies, two types of ecological impacts are being seen as a result of climate change: shifts in species range limiting where they can survive and reproduce, and changes affecting the timing of biological activities such as breeding or blooming times. They indicate over 40 percent of wild plants and animals that have been studied are relocating to adjust to changing climate conditions. Those plants and animals that cannot migrate, such as polar bears, will decrease in numbers and become extinct. Seasonal changes are happening 15-20 days earlier for many species, resulting in migratory birds arriving sooner, butterflies emerging earlier and plants blooming earlier. Some other changes include variations in bird migration, and shifting of ocean phytoplankton and fish from cold water to warm water habitats. Over 70 percent of tree species in North America are already migrating with beech, maple, and birch trees expected to be gone from the Northeast by 2100. Continue reading
“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are the ocean” (Ryunosuke Satoro, Japanese Poet). Our oceans are under attack in a variety of ways, thus we and future generations are under attack. As we continue this blog series, let’s explore some of those ways resulting from increased temperatures and melting polar ice and permafrost.
Sea Level Rise
Ocean heating, dilution with freshwater from melting glaciers and its corresponding rise in sea levels are occurring at a temperature increase of 1.9 degrees F (1 degree C) – half the IPPC recommended goal of 3.6 degree F (2 degree C). Sea level rise is one of the calamitous impacts of increased Arctic temperatures. The rise is primarily attributed to the melting of land-based glaciers and to a lesser extent, increasing sea temperatures. Continue reading
Sightings from the Treehouse is an investigative blog series on climate change and the environment, from GIPL’s Power Wise Director, Bob Donaghue. You can read the first, second, and third blogs here.
The most significant impacts of global warming are found in the polar regions, since temperatures are twice as high there compared to the global average temperature. Increasing ice and permafrost melt threaten our globe in a variety of ways. I hope you will read the previous blog on rising temperatures since it forms the basis of our further exploration. It is quite simple: temperatures increase, ice melts and sea levels rise. The evidence is clear that global temperatures are rising and new records seem to be set each year. What is that doing in our polar areas, the earth’s natural air conditioner?
Global temperatures have increased about 1.9 degrees F since pre-industrial times, but have doubled in the Arctic during the same period due to a phenomenon called Arctic amplification. In 2016, Arctic temperatures were 6.3 degrees F above 1900s levels. This increased heating due to amplification is leading to tremendous loss of Arctic ice, both glacial and sea ice. This is particularly evident during the summer. The rate of Arctic ice melt is about 13% per decade.
The albedo effect is when white ice reflects the sun’s heat back into the atmosphere serving to cool the planet, but as ocean ice melts, the dark open water absorbs the sun’s heat and adds to the increased temperatures and thus sea level rise – a positive feedback. Note that “positive” does not mean good but that it simply amplifies rather than dampens (negative feedback) the force of the change. In this case, and with permafrost below, this is bad and could be catastrophic. Continue reading
Advocating for God’s Creation often requires wading through some thick jargon and decoding strings of acronyms that only an environmental policy maker could love. Jargon busters to the rescue! From time to time, we’ll “bust” some of this jargon to make your advocacy work a little easier. Let us know if you encounter words or acronyms that need some busting!
CCR (Coal Combustion Residuals)
No, this doesn’t have anything to do with the legendary rock band, but sometimes CCR (Coal Combustion Residuals) is indeed rolling down the river. Continue reading
Join me on my journey to do a “deep dive” on climate change. I spent many years as an environmental scientist, but recently began to research the topic of climate change to further my awareness of the latest climate science and projections. My primary goal is to develop a better understanding of the likely future and align my faith and actions to improve resilience in myself and in others.
The first two blogs were about the current administration’s ties to the fossil fuel industry and efforts to obscure and hide the facts about our climate from the public. All of this is led by a few oil companies and the Koch Brothers, owners of America’s smokestack industries, and our current conservative government. The next series of blogs will detail the science and projections for four elements of climate change: rising temperatures, melting ice and permafrost, ocean changes, and ecological disruptions. The final four blogs will examine opportunities and costs of climate change, our readiness to fight, and finally the role of the faith community. Hopefully, you are ready to explore with me this real-time threat to humanity and the planet. Please click on the hyperlinks, there is a lot of information available to swim through. Continue reading
This we know
We are the earth, through the plants and animals that nourish us.
We are the rains and the oceans that flow through our veins.
We are the breath of the forests of the land and the plants of the sea.
We are human animals, related to all other life as descendants of the firstborn cell.
We share with these kin a common history, written in our genes.
We share a common present, filled with uncertainty.
And we share a common future, as yet untold.
We humans are but one of thirty million species weaving the thin layer of life enveloping the world.
The stability of communities of living things depends upon this diversity.
Linked in that web, we are interconnected — using, cleansing, sharing, and replenishing the fundamental elements of life.
Our home, planet Earth, is finite; all life shares its resources and the energy from the sun, and therefore has limits to growth.
For the first time, we have touched those limits.
When we compromise the air, the water, the soil, and the variety of life, we steal from the endless future to serve the fleeting present.
This final Ramadan reflection consists of excerpts from “Conclusions and Recommendations of the First International Conference on Muslim Action on Climate Change” in 2010.
Islam has profound wisdom to offer the rest of the world. The holistic Islamic teaching of rahmatan lil alamin (the blessing of the universe) propagates that we share the world fairly with all mankind. The holistic Islamic concept rahmatan lil alamin (the gift or blessing of the universe) necessitates that we share the world fairly with all mankind.
Efforts for sustainable development should be based on both the Qur’an and the history of Islamic science and civilization. The Islamic World will in the future anchor its development in the Islamic teaching of a holistic ecological paradigm that balances the relationships between human beings and Allah (hablun min Allah), among human beings (hablun minannas), and between human beings and nature (hablun minal alam). Continue reading