Friday, August 23, 2019

Loose Feathers #711

Barred Owl (my photo)
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Biodiviersity and conservation
Climate change and environmental politics
  • The big environmental story this week has been the burning of the Amazon, where fires have increased by 85% since the beginning of the year. Brazil's president blames NGOs, but most likely the fires are part of a deliberate strategy of deforestation. The extent of the fires can be seen in satellite imagery
  • The Democratic National Committee voted down a proposal for a debate focused on climate change despite pressure from activists. 
  • Parts of the border wall extension will cross floodplains and put people in danger from flooding on both sides of the Rio Grande.
  • The regulatory changes regarding enforcement of the Endangered Species Act could affect conservation in Canada as well, especially as some provincial governments are making similar changes.
  • Washington, DC, is about 5% more humid than in 1970 and 10% more humid than in 1950. The reason seems to be climate change, since warmer air can hold more moisture.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Loose Feathers #710

Canada Goose / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Biodiversity and conservation
Climate change and environmental politics
  • The Interior Department changed the regulations governing how it implements the Endangered Species Act, by raising the bar for listing, adding economic criteria, and weakening protections for threatened species. Here is an evaluation of how the rule changes could affect the Northern Spotted Owl, the Wolverine, and the American Burying Beetle. Another species that could be affected is the Monarch, since the department will no longer consider climate change in whether to list a species. The changes were written by opponents of the Endangered Species Act and appear to cater to business interests.
  • After making those regulatory changes, the administration denied endangered listing for several species, including Joshua Trees, which are threatened by climate change,
  • The Northeast is among the fastest-warming parts of the U.S., with Rhode Island already past the 2°C mark and New Jersey not far behind. Parts of New Jersey have already warmed as much as 2.7°C, which contributes to the closure of Lake Hopatcong and a longer mosquito season.
  • The Adani mine in Australia (which directly threatens an endangered bird) is an example of how capitalists keep the world stuck on coal despite the threat it poses to the climate and public health.
  • The Anthropocene may be better seen as an event than an epoch considering how brief it will likely be on a geological timescale. 
  • Mitigating climate change will require changes in land use, with more protection for natural habitats and sustainable agriculture.
  • A study found microplastics in the snow in isolated places like the Alps and Svalbard, which is a sign of how much plastic is present in the air we breathe. The most common sources of microplastic in that study were varnish and rubber.
  • The Bolsonaro administration approved 290 pesticides for use in Brazil. This mirrors the Trump administration's willingness to reinstate pesticides that been banned under previous administrations.

Friday, August 09, 2019

Loose Feathers #709

Killdeer / Photo by Grayson Smith/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Biodiversity and conservation
Climate change and environmental politics

Friday, August 02, 2019

Loose Feathers #708

Wild Turkey / Photo by Courtney Celley/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Biodiversity and conservation
Climate change and environmental politics