Category Archives: Climate Change

It’s too darn hot.

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If you have been keeping up with Northern California’s weather, you know we’ve been in a heatwave lately, and it is expected to last for several more days. This heat is cause for concern, not only from an environmental perspective, but also from a food security and health perspective.

The massive winter storms which coated towering peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range after years of drought  is now melting too fast. That means waterways could flood and damage the vital crops in the Central Valley.  Find out more about this through our project, Maven’s Notebook.

The heat can be dangerous in other ways too. Young children, elderly people, pregnant women, people with disabilities and animals are especially vulnerable to the heat.

Here are some tips to beat the heat:

  • Get wet. Hang a wet sheet over a window, which is what the rangers do at Death Valley National Park. Incoming breezes are cooled by the evaporating water.
  • Block sun. Closing curtains and blinds (ideally with sun-deflecting white on the window side) can reduce the amount of heat that passes into your home by as much as 45 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Eat cold. Although barbecue is ubiquitous with  warmer temperatures, it works against you on hotter days.  When it’s too hot to cook, consider cold soups or rely on electrical appliances instead of those cooking methods that generate more heat.
  • Swig it. Staying hydrated is important. You can think beyond water to other foods that will keep you in the cool, including watermelon, peaches, celery, and cucumbers.

The answer is blowing in the wind

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What’s the answer to clean energy?

It’s swirling around you.  It’s wind.

Wind power has become a major driver for a sustainable energy future.

Last year, $112.5 billion was invested in wind power globally, and the industry now employs 1.2 million people making it one of the fastest growing industrial segments in the world.

Wind power is already a low-cost option for new power capacity in rapidly increasing number of markets. In 2016, unsubsidized new renewable power was cheaper than fossil fuels in over 30 countries, and by 2025 that will be the case in most countries around the world.

On Global Wind Day,  we salute our project, Sane Energy, working to create sustainable energy sources and changing the use of fossil fuel. Consider a donation today.

On World Environment Day, Innovation Trumps Politics

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A message from Laura Deaton, executive director at Trust for Conservation Innovation:

June 5th is World Environment Day. Today is a new beginning, or it least it can be.

When the President of the United States decided to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement last week, there was a palpable sense of disappointment among our programs and their partners, who together strive 24/7/365 to protect and foster a healthy, sustainable, resilient, and equitable world. The Agreement, which was signed by 195 countries including the US, includes country-specific pledges to cut the greenhouse gas emissions which drive global warming, a key contributor to climate change. With this move, China is now poised to step into the void left by the President’s surrender of the US’s role as the global leader in climate change policy, putting the US in the same league as Syria and Nicaragua, the only other countries not participating in the agreement.

Marking a break with decades of bipartisan support for globally-focused US foreign policy, President Trump justified this action by claiming that withdrawing from the Agreement would remove “the draconian financial and economic burdens” imposed by the agreement.  Yet, the latest polls suggest that the President is out of step with the majority of Americans across all party lines. For example, a recent poll by Yale University found that 7 in 10 registered voters (69%) think the US should take part in the agreement compared with only 13% who say the US should not.

In the face of this disconnect, a groundswell of interwoven US-based support for the Agreement is building momentum.  As of today, the Governors of California, Washington, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and Puerto Rico have boldly come forward and refused to back down from America’s commitments. Nearly 200 mayors from rural and urban areas throughout the country have also vowed to reduce emissions and adopt clean energy technology.

June 5th is World Environment Day.  President Trump may have walked away from the Paris Agreement, but that’s all the more reason for us to shine an even brighter light on innovation, on advocacy, and on the power of communities to create change. Our voices matter.  Our work is making a difference. It’s time to amplify and magnify the impact that we have every day.  Now, more than ever, it’s our opportunity to be a beacon of innovation whose light shines every day on the plethora of opportunities we still have to preserve and protect this planet and its inhabitants for future generations.

I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride my bike.

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The Queen song aside, now is a great time to start riding your bike to work or school, especially since this week is Bike to Work Week.

Biking to work is an efficient and fun way to get the exercise you need, without having to find extra time to work out. And this year, with gasoline prices as high as they are, biking to work makes more sense than ever.

Then there is the issue of the carbon footprint.  The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy concluded bicycling could help cut carbon emissions from urban transportation 11 percent.

That’s where our project Menlo Spark comes in. They have been working with the community in Menlo Park to develop a special bike path for commuters. Check out what else they are doing at http://menlospark.org/

National Dolphin Day

Who doesn’t love dolphins!?

And since April 14 is National Dolphin Day, we’re taking a moment to honor these charismatic animals and those who help them.

What you may not know is these animals are threatened by many human-made issues: climate change, destructive commercial fishing operations, and even collisions with boats.

And that’s where many of T4CI’s projects are stepping in to help.  Find out more at http://t4ci.org/sponsored

 

 

Bay Area Resilient by Design is hiring!

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The Bay Area Resilient by Design Challenge (RbD) is an international design competition that will propose innovative, scalable, and financeable resilience projects on 10 sites along the San Francisco Bay shoreline.

Over the course of 15 months, RbD will invite Bay Area, national, and international designers, architects, developers, and financiers to create and implement visionary, realistic, and replicable solutions that enable neighborhoods and communities to adapt now to the future effects of rising sea levels, increasing storms and flooding, and seismic vulnerabilities. These solutions will be developed in partnership with residents, businesses, and community-based organizations, and with local and regional political leaders. Just as important, they will bring multiple benefits to those communities and the region, e.g., protecting at-risk populations, enhancing the natural environment, and bolstering critical infrastructure.

Currently the organization is hiring for two positions.

Communications Manager – who will work with the Managing Director to develop and execute all communications strategies, outreach, and materials.

Administrative Project Assistant – who will support the rest of the RbD team, including the Managing Director and Program Managers. The assistant role includes coordinating agendas, meeting and event planning, travel, and supporting the Executive Board and other committee work.

Find out more details about these two positions here:  http://t4ci.org/about/jobs.php

New Job Opening: Community Outreach Director at Bay Area Resilient by Design

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The Bay Area: Resilient by Design Challenge  (RbD) is a proactive response to the increasing threat of climate change in the San Francisco area.

Bay Area and international designers, architects, developers, and financiers will work to create and implement visionary, realistic, and replicable solutions that enable neighborhoods and communities to adapt now to the future effects of rising sea levels, increasing storms and flooding, and seismic vulnerabilities.

Currently, RbD is searching for their community outreach director, which is a 15 month position. Find out more here: http://t4ci.org/about/pdf/RbD_COD-03062017.pdf

 

And that’s the way it is: T4CI salutes Walter Cronkite

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Walter Cronkite

On this day in 1981, Walter Cronkite, did his final sign off as the anchor for CBS news.  He had held the post since 1962, and is as iconic as the news he covered.

As ‘the most trusted man in America’, he reported many events from 1937 to 1981, including:

  • bombings in World War II
  • the Nuremberg trials
  • combat in the Vietnam War
  • the Dawson’s Field hijackings
  • Watergate
  • the Iran Hostage Crisis
  • and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King, Jr., and Beatles musician John Lennon.

He was also known for his extensive coverage of the U.S. space program, from Project Mercury to the Moon landings to the Space Shuttle. He was the only non-NASA recipient of a Moon-rock award.

That’s what most people remember… yet, there is so much more. Cronkite was passionate about environmental issues and sustainability, long before it was cool to be.

An avid sailor, Cronkite became an advocate of the conservation of rivers, lakes, bays, and seas. He kept a framed photo over his desk of the earth rising as seen from the moon, to keep reminding himself to help protect the planet.

Cronkite had CBS Reports investigate two environmental catastrophes that occurred that year in 1969: the Santa Barbara oil spill  and the Cuyahoga River fire in Ohio. And the old reporter saw the future:  “The North American continent seemed ringed by oil slicks off Alaska, off Nova Scotia, off Florida, and most dramatically, in the Gulf Coast off Louisiana,” he said. And that changed the way the news covered the environment.

CBS News producer Ron Bonn recalled precisely when Cronkite put the network on the front line of the fight:

 It was New Year’s Day, 1970, and Walter walked into the Broadcast Center and said, ‘goddamnit, we’ve got to get on this environmental story.'”

When Walter said ‘goddamnit,’ things happened.”

Cronkite and Bonn launched “Can the World Be Saved?” news segments in the spring of 1970. Pollution, over-population and even climate change were stories that became major news as a result. And Cronkite shared his judgments openly: to make change, we had to demand it.

Cronkite’s insisted CBS News played a major role in publicizing the first Earth Day in the United States, on April 22, 1970 which included  CBS News Special Report anchored by the veteran journalist.

Even after his retirement on this day in 1981, he was outspoken for the planet.

In 2004, he wrote an op-ed that criticized then President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address:

(Bush) spoke of the nation’s problems and the dangers it faces, particularly in regard to national security, but he gave no indication that he recognizes the dangers of global warming.

Surely it has been brought to his attention that scientists are increasingly alarmed over the rapidity with which the world’s environment is being poisoned by the refuse of human endeavor. Climate change and the extinction of species are the focus of their deep concern. They warn that there is no time to spare: Unless we begin a major effort by the end of this century, further efforts will be too late…

…The politicians seeking office, including the president seeking reelection, are unlikely to give the environment the attention it deserves unless the people demand it. And the people aren’t going to demand it unless somebody brings the problem, and particularly its urgency, to their attention.

The media has a responsibility on their shoulders whose importance cannot be exaggerated: to give the story of our deteriorating environment the attention it needs to alert the population to action. That action would demand that governments – city, state and national – generate and enforce the laws that can at least begin the immense job of cleaning up our lands, our seas and our air so that living things, including humans, shall not perish from the Earth.

One must wonder, what the “most trusted man in America,” who died in 2009, would think about today’s news coverage and it’s impact on the planet he loved.

What do you think?  What would he encourage his viewers to do?

Black History Month: Honoring Warren Washington

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T4CI is saluting some of the most influential African-American environmentalists and sustainability professionals during Black History Month.

Today we honor Warren Washington.

Washington is an internationally recognized expert in atmospheric sciences and climate research specializing in computer modeling of the Earth’s climate. In recent years he has served his science in a broad range of capacities. He was appointed to the National Science Board in 1994, reappointed in 2000, and became chair from 2002-2006.

Global climate models developed by Dr. Washington were used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 assessment for which atmospheric scientists, including Dr. Washington, won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

In addition to pioneering research in climate change, Dr. Washington also strove for social change within the science community.

As the second African-American to receive a Ph.D within the atmospheric sciences, Dr. Washington strove to increase scientific opportunities for young researchers from many different backgrounds, including women and minorities. Throughout the years, he served as a science advisor to former Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., and Clinton.

On November 17, 2010, Dr. Washington received the National Medal of Science from President Barack Obama at the White House. The National Medal of Science is the highest honor given by the US government to the nation’s scientists, engineers, and inventors.

 

 

It’s more than just the weather.

In 1870:

  • the United States 15th Amendment was ratified, giving African American males the right to vote.
  • Christmas became a national holiday.
  • The Franco-Prussian War began.

And the US Weather Bureau, the precursor to the National Weather Service (NWS) was created on February 7.  Post-war generals wanted accurate weather forecasts for battles.

Its first forecast later that year:

High winds at Chicago and Milwaukee… and along the Lakes.

We all know that was an easy one to forecast. However since that time, the NWS has expanded their technology and reach, including helping to forecast climate change.

Take a look:

Want to learn more about becoming a climate community, using some of the knowledge and discoveries from the NWS?  Check out Climate Communities International.