Climate

About: <p>Climate change! Currently, the most discussed topic in the world. <a href="https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate">Climate change&nbsp;</a>occurs when changes in Earth's climate system result in new&nbsp;weather&nbsp;patterns that last for at least a few decades, and maybe for millions of years. Climate change can also result from &lsquo;external forcing&rsquo; and include changes in solar output and volcanism.</p> <p>Human activities can also influence our climate. Debates, posts and answers on (social) platforms about the role of humanity in the climate change process regularly lead to heated discussions</p> <p>If there was an urge to come up with a sustainable way of living solutions and share these topics globally it&rsquo;s now! WhatsOrb Global Sustainability X-change Platform is for you, storytellers and influencers to write about tiny houses, your experiences and expectations for the future at home and globally.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Global Sustainability X-change, that&rsquo;s what you can do together with WhatsOrb.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.whatsorb.com/blog/your-shared-sustainable-ideas-make-our-earth-a-better-place">What's in for me?</a></p>
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Economic Growth Is Dead: Welcome To The Circular Economy
Everything on this planet is part of a vicious circle. Because we do this, that could happen, or the other way around. The economy is not about growth. The world we live in, the things we use are getting smaller. So, is economic growth dead? Where did it go wrong? The foundation of economics is wrong; it was built on the concept of profit, not because of social importance. We have to go way back, even before money became an issue, to find out where it went wrong. We used to focus only on: eat eat eat, destroy destroy destroy, eat more, destroy more. Even economics admit that capitalism has failed. We all like the idea of sustained economic growth, but in reality, we are to blame for the way nature reacts. We are predators, looking for more, wanting more, but in the end, humankind has become a problem for humanity. Nature can regenerate itself No matter how much fish we ate, fish stocks would almost replenish automatically, and they would come from other places in the ocean. Forests would regenerate within weeks if there is enough rain falling out of the sky and sunlight to let the trees grow. And it is true; this beautiful planet can regenerate itself, it is kind of magical. But because of our interfering, abusing the earth, we are destroying its magical, natural power to restore. Recommended:  Consumerism In ‘The West’: A Society Built On Exploitation Circular economy The circular economy is what works on this planet, is what we know. Residues are completely are entirely reused in the system. The only problem is, humanity uses a lot of plastic. Mother Earth cannot reuse plastic. There is an area in the Pacific Ocean where nature has started to gather much of our plastic. Maybe, in the future, scientists will discover plastic-eating bacteria that can turn plastic into reusable natural chemicals. But that will take forever, long after we all extinct. We, humans, are going too fast. We are cutting down trees too fast, we are polluting the earth too fast, and we are creating more plastic than fish too fast. We all do it too fast. That is why Mother Earth cannot keep up. We have earth that can regenerate, can recycle, but we are still managing to destroy it all. Recommended:  Combing Plastic Waste Out Oceans: Competition For Boyan Slat A credit card per week that is what we eat At this moment, we consume everything, more than we can bear, until there is nothing left to eat each other. A recent study has shown that the amount of plastic we consume every week is as much as one credit card. How? Well, first of all, it is a plastic wrapper, that accidentally ends up in your stomach, but also the fish we eat, ate the plastic that ends up in the ocean. The air we breathe is partly plastic, the dust we walk on. This is the new world, the world we created, a world full of toxic plastic parts. It is a bitter irony that the credit card, symbol of buying, of capitalism, makes us toxic. {youtube}                        Economic Growth Is Dead: Welcome To The Circular Economy.  How Much Plastic Do You Eat? Waste nothing, recycle everything Waste is a myth, that is how the circular economy works. It is very easy, actually. The concept of the circular economy is a process where nothing is wasted. Everything that we produce, even our waste, eventually is turned back into food and products. If you like it or not, this is how our planet works. Everything is recycled, millions of times until the end of time. Recommended:  Circular Architecture 'The GreenHouse': Utrecht, Netherlands Consuming from the heart As mentioned above, we consume a lot, and we consume until we cannot consume anymore. We consume from a state of fear and insecurity and eat our way through the "buffet" of nature. You cannot only understand the circular economy by using a calculator; it must be understood from the heart. The circular economy means being happy with what you have. Consuming to sustain yourself, not to stuff yourself. Consuming because you need things, not because you compete with your neighbour who is the first to go to the moon, or something like that. We are made to consume, and that is fine. But we put the all-you-can-eat Buffet out of action. We need to understand the painful truth that destroying the planet is actually part of our destiny as a species, written in our biology and also a simple function of our population that increases exponentially until it becomes unsustainable. But we are incredibly smart and powerful. We can overcome our biology and change our destiny. We can put uncertainty and competition aside and work on it from the heart. Just like the heart, which takes up the blood and then pumps it out, we have to learn to give and take. We have to embrace the circular economy. Recommended:  Blue Planet Earth: The Amount Of Water You Use Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.
Everything on this planet is part of a vicious circle. Because we do this, that could happen, or the other way around. The economy is not about growth. The world we live in, the things we use are getting smaller. So, is economic growth dead? Where did it go wrong? The foundation of economics is wrong; it was built on the concept of profit, not because of social importance. We have to go way back, even before money became an issue, to find out where it went wrong. We used to focus only on: eat eat eat, destroy destroy destroy, eat more, destroy more. Even economics admit that capitalism has failed. We all like the idea of sustained economic growth, but in reality, we are to blame for the way nature reacts. We are predators, looking for more, wanting more, but in the end, humankind has become a problem for humanity. Nature can regenerate itself No matter how much fish we ate, fish stocks would almost replenish automatically, and they would come from other places in the ocean. Forests would regenerate within weeks if there is enough rain falling out of the sky and sunlight to let the trees grow. And it is true; this beautiful planet can regenerate itself, it is kind of magical. But because of our interfering, abusing the earth, we are destroying its magical, natural power to restore. Recommended:  Consumerism In ‘The West’: A Society Built On Exploitation Circular economy The circular economy is what works on this planet, is what we know. Residues are completely are entirely reused in the system. The only problem is, humanity uses a lot of plastic. Mother Earth cannot reuse plastic. There is an area in the Pacific Ocean where nature has started to gather much of our plastic. Maybe, in the future, scientists will discover plastic-eating bacteria that can turn plastic into reusable natural chemicals. But that will take forever, long after we all extinct. We, humans, are going too fast. We are cutting down trees too fast, we are polluting the earth too fast, and we are creating more plastic than fish too fast. We all do it too fast. That is why Mother Earth cannot keep up. We have earth that can regenerate, can recycle, but we are still managing to destroy it all. Recommended:  Combing Plastic Waste Out Oceans: Competition For Boyan Slat A credit card per week that is what we eat At this moment, we consume everything, more than we can bear, until there is nothing left to eat each other. A recent study has shown that the amount of plastic we consume every week is as much as one credit card. How? Well, first of all, it is a plastic wrapper, that accidentally ends up in your stomach, but also the fish we eat, ate the plastic that ends up in the ocean. The air we breathe is partly plastic, the dust we walk on. This is the new world, the world we created, a world full of toxic plastic parts. It is a bitter irony that the credit card, symbol of buying, of capitalism, makes us toxic. {youtube}                        Economic Growth Is Dead: Welcome To The Circular Economy.  How Much Plastic Do You Eat? Waste nothing, recycle everything Waste is a myth, that is how the circular economy works. It is very easy, actually. The concept of the circular economy is a process where nothing is wasted. Everything that we produce, even our waste, eventually is turned back into food and products. If you like it or not, this is how our planet works. Everything is recycled, millions of times until the end of time. Recommended:  Circular Architecture 'The GreenHouse': Utrecht, Netherlands Consuming from the heart As mentioned above, we consume a lot, and we consume until we cannot consume anymore. We consume from a state of fear and insecurity and eat our way through the "buffet" of nature. You cannot only understand the circular economy by using a calculator; it must be understood from the heart. The circular economy means being happy with what you have. Consuming to sustain yourself, not to stuff yourself. Consuming because you need things, not because you compete with your neighbour who is the first to go to the moon, or something like that. We are made to consume, and that is fine. But we put the all-you-can-eat Buffet out of action. We need to understand the painful truth that destroying the planet is actually part of our destiny as a species, written in our biology and also a simple function of our population that increases exponentially until it becomes unsustainable. But we are incredibly smart and powerful. We can overcome our biology and change our destiny. We can put uncertainty and competition aside and work on it from the heart. Just like the heart, which takes up the blood and then pumps it out, we have to learn to give and take. We have to embrace the circular economy. Recommended:  Blue Planet Earth: The Amount Of Water You Use Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.
Economic Growth Is Dead: Welcome To The Circular Economy
Economic Growth Is Dead: Welcome To The Circular Economy
Floating Cities: A Sustainable Concept For Future Communities
At the current pace, it seems almost unfathomable that we will be able to call a halt to sea levels rising, the result of climate change spinning out of control. As our climate system is shrouded in so many uncertainties and complexities, it is hard to predict to what extent it will occur, but one thing seems to be a certainty - those of us living in coastal regions are in for wet feet. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), one of the leading authorities on climate change, has made projections that would see our seas rising for up to 90 centimeters before the end of this century. However, many feel that this is a very conservative number, with other research placing the potential rise anywhere between 200 to 270 centimeters this century alone, describing those numbers as ‘potentially plausible’.   Finding higher grounds:  floating cities A general consensus seems to have been found in the expectation that for each Celsius degree of temperature rise, an irreversible 230 centimeters rise in sea levels will be triggered. Does this mean that you should be panicking if you happen to live near the shore with less than this to spare between the current sea level and your home? Well, not necessarily, as sea levels will not rise uniformly around the world. Due to tectonic activity and subsidence of land, tides, currents and storms, it might even drop in some areas.   Once again though, it is very hard to predict which regions will be hit the hardest. Mother Nature has been giving us a preview of potential consequences, as illustrated by storms in the New York and Houston areas causing excessive flooding. Yet it is hard to pinpoint exactly where you might be ‘safe’. All the more reason to start preparing, which can be done in one of the following three ways: retreating (moving inland), protecting (by erecting sea walls) - or accommodating (adapting to the new status quo). Floating city: Oceanix A great example of accommodating to rising sea levels caused by climate change is the initiative launched by the architecture firm BIG, titled Oceanix City. Their startup Oceanix has secured partnerships with the United Nations and MIT as they aim to launch their first prototype of a floating city by 2030. Gorgeous 3D-rendered images show floating platforms of about five acres each, that are securely fixed to the sea floor. On these platforms, communities are built up using sustainable means, with platforms interconnected using walkways.   {youtube}      Climate Change: Floating Cities Are A Concept To Survive.  Oceanix City: New York's Future Floating City   As such, it really forms a ‘city’ made out of connected artificial islands. Buildings will still give off a distinct urban feel, while being fully green - for example by using timber from sustainably grown forests. Furthermore, there will be plenty of space allocated to vertical farms, underwater gardens and greenhouses to provide a steady food supply for those living on it. Similarly, power is mostly generated from renewable sources like wind and solar. Drinking water is derived straight from the sea and run through desalination plants, and a highly effective sewage and waste-recycling system will be in place. While it can be used as an extension of a coastal city - adding a new neighbourhood on the water -, it could theoretically also function as a thriving, self-sustaining metropolis. Oceanix: p hilosophy of floating cities  The idea surely is not new, with architects and city developers having touted similar thoughts in the past. One notable example is the American inventor Buckminster Fuller, who already envisioned a town of 5,000 inhabitants near Tokyo back in the 1960s. While ambitious, it had done little but fuel the fantasy of science-fiction writers around the world.   Yet the refined way in which Oceanix has presented her vision has drawn the attention of many and serves as inspiration for more creative thinking and developing in this area. After all, the concept may have to grow up a lot faster than we would want it to. Another start-up, Singaporean company Blue Frontiers, has accepted this challenge as well - and is well underway to building the first actual floating village. ( Recommended:  Floating City: A Sci-Fi Trope Or A Salvation For Many Nations? ) Floating village in Tahiti Recently, they signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of French Polynesia, that would allow them to build a floating village in a Tahitian lagoon - with construction slated to begin next year. It will be the ideal testing ground for technologies aiding floating cities and set in motion a - hopefully steep - learning curve when it comes to letting communities live on the water. At the same time, there will be some 300 people actually working and living in this floating village, measuring roughly 7,500 square meters. They will occupy themselves with the construction and operation of bungalows, apartments, research institutions, underwater restaurants, and facilities for new aquatic industries like wave power generation and seaweed farming. This will all undoubtedly make it both a hotspot for eco-tourism and a testing ground for sustainable initiatives, a combination that has ultimately convinced the French Polynesian government to give it a shot. The project’s architect has described his vision as perfectly blending in with its surroundings, making it closely resemble a natural island. Roofs will be made up of gardens and walls cladded with local products like coconut wood.   The goal is not to come up with something revolutionary and futuristic looking, but rather honour the ecosystem in which the community will have to live. Ultimately, it will even serve as a means of restoring natural ecosystems, including animal and plant species.   ( Recommended:  Smart Sustainable Lifestyle Changing Tips & Tricks For 2019 ) Accommodating rising sea levels This last part really hits it out of the park and is the perfect representation of what we mean when we talk about ‘accommodating’ rising sea levels. No fancy installations, walls or communities that look as if they have been removed from the set of a sci-fi movie. No war-like efforts to combat our climate and the sea, as if they are the enemies that should be kept out of our lives at all costs. No, just plain and simple ways of ‘returning to our roots’, in a way, and finding sustainable ways of surviving by using our natural environment - not by fighting it.   All about Climate Change Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.
At the current pace, it seems almost unfathomable that we will be able to call a halt to sea levels rising, the result of climate change spinning out of control. As our climate system is shrouded in so many uncertainties and complexities, it is hard to predict to what extent it will occur, but one thing seems to be a certainty - those of us living in coastal regions are in for wet feet. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), one of the leading authorities on climate change, has made projections that would see our seas rising for up to 90 centimeters before the end of this century. However, many feel that this is a very conservative number, with other research placing the potential rise anywhere between 200 to 270 centimeters this century alone, describing those numbers as ‘potentially plausible’.   Finding higher grounds:  floating cities A general consensus seems to have been found in the expectation that for each Celsius degree of temperature rise, an irreversible 230 centimeters rise in sea levels will be triggered. Does this mean that you should be panicking if you happen to live near the shore with less than this to spare between the current sea level and your home? Well, not necessarily, as sea levels will not rise uniformly around the world. Due to tectonic activity and subsidence of land, tides, currents and storms, it might even drop in some areas.   Once again though, it is very hard to predict which regions will be hit the hardest. Mother Nature has been giving us a preview of potential consequences, as illustrated by storms in the New York and Houston areas causing excessive flooding. Yet it is hard to pinpoint exactly where you might be ‘safe’. All the more reason to start preparing, which can be done in one of the following three ways: retreating (moving inland), protecting (by erecting sea walls) - or accommodating (adapting to the new status quo). Floating city: Oceanix A great example of accommodating to rising sea levels caused by climate change is the initiative launched by the architecture firm BIG, titled Oceanix City. Their startup Oceanix has secured partnerships with the United Nations and MIT as they aim to launch their first prototype of a floating city by 2030. Gorgeous 3D-rendered images show floating platforms of about five acres each, that are securely fixed to the sea floor. On these platforms, communities are built up using sustainable means, with platforms interconnected using walkways.   {youtube}      Climate Change: Floating Cities Are A Concept To Survive.  Oceanix City: New York's Future Floating City   As such, it really forms a ‘city’ made out of connected artificial islands. Buildings will still give off a distinct urban feel, while being fully green - for example by using timber from sustainably grown forests. Furthermore, there will be plenty of space allocated to vertical farms, underwater gardens and greenhouses to provide a steady food supply for those living on it. Similarly, power is mostly generated from renewable sources like wind and solar. Drinking water is derived straight from the sea and run through desalination plants, and a highly effective sewage and waste-recycling system will be in place. While it can be used as an extension of a coastal city - adding a new neighbourhood on the water -, it could theoretically also function as a thriving, self-sustaining metropolis. Oceanix: p hilosophy of floating cities  The idea surely is not new, with architects and city developers having touted similar thoughts in the past. One notable example is the American inventor Buckminster Fuller, who already envisioned a town of 5,000 inhabitants near Tokyo back in the 1960s. While ambitious, it had done little but fuel the fantasy of science-fiction writers around the world.   Yet the refined way in which Oceanix has presented her vision has drawn the attention of many and serves as inspiration for more creative thinking and developing in this area. After all, the concept may have to grow up a lot faster than we would want it to. Another start-up, Singaporean company Blue Frontiers, has accepted this challenge as well - and is well underway to building the first actual floating village. ( Recommended:  Floating City: A Sci-Fi Trope Or A Salvation For Many Nations? ) Floating village in Tahiti Recently, they signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of French Polynesia, that would allow them to build a floating village in a Tahitian lagoon - with construction slated to begin next year. It will be the ideal testing ground for technologies aiding floating cities and set in motion a - hopefully steep - learning curve when it comes to letting communities live on the water. At the same time, there will be some 300 people actually working and living in this floating village, measuring roughly 7,500 square meters. They will occupy themselves with the construction and operation of bungalows, apartments, research institutions, underwater restaurants, and facilities for new aquatic industries like wave power generation and seaweed farming. This will all undoubtedly make it both a hotspot for eco-tourism and a testing ground for sustainable initiatives, a combination that has ultimately convinced the French Polynesian government to give it a shot. The project’s architect has described his vision as perfectly blending in with its surroundings, making it closely resemble a natural island. Roofs will be made up of gardens and walls cladded with local products like coconut wood.   The goal is not to come up with something revolutionary and futuristic looking, but rather honour the ecosystem in which the community will have to live. Ultimately, it will even serve as a means of restoring natural ecosystems, including animal and plant species.   ( Recommended:  Smart Sustainable Lifestyle Changing Tips & Tricks For 2019 ) Accommodating rising sea levels This last part really hits it out of the park and is the perfect representation of what we mean when we talk about ‘accommodating’ rising sea levels. No fancy installations, walls or communities that look as if they have been removed from the set of a sci-fi movie. No war-like efforts to combat our climate and the sea, as if they are the enemies that should be kept out of our lives at all costs. No, just plain and simple ways of ‘returning to our roots’, in a way, and finding sustainable ways of surviving by using our natural environment - not by fighting it.   All about Climate Change Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.
Floating Cities: A Sustainable Concept For Future Communities
Floating Cities: A Sustainable Concept For Future Communities
Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected
Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected is the third article in a series of 6 on the topic of climate change. One of the most important consequences of climate change is the capability that it has to irreversibly change the world around us. This statement should not be news to you, nor should it be surprising. Yet it never hurts to emphasise just how much the world is affected by the actions that we take today. Climate change is moving ahead at a rapid pace, with various animals, plants and even microbiota scrambling to catch up. All around the world, species are being displaced, forced to move to different lands that are safe(r) and provide (more) sufficient nutrition. We are facing a true Diaspora of not just species, but businesses, people and diseases being spread out around the world as well.   This trend was, most likely, first recognised in shrubs. In the 19th century, willows in the Alaskan Arctic did not get much taller than a small child. They were perfectly suited for their environment and managed to balance the ecosystem. However, as temperatures rose as a result of increased fossil fuel emissions, effectively lengthening the growing seasons, shrubs grew spectacularly - up to double their original size. Now, there were some moose who considered these shrubs to be a particularly tasty meal. Before the 20th century, they did not bother to cross the Brooks Range, the mountain range stretching from northern Alaska to Canada’s Yukon Territory. They knew that the lands to the north did not have much to offer. That is, until they slowly started migrating over the range less than a century ago. Today, they can be found meandering all along the Arctic rivers - now that the vegetation is tall enough to withstand layers of snow and able to withstand the more moderate temperatures. Not much later, the hares followed - snacking on the same plants and enjoying the same new lands. Moose and hares are now becoming a fixture in the diet of indigenous Alaskan hunters, as they are facing difficulties hunting for their ‘original’ meal - consisting of seals, that have now been driven away by the melting ice. It is a cycle that is easily recognised as the so-called butterfly effect: a relatively minor adjustment has had far-reaching consequences and is impacting the local environment on an increasingly larger scale. Thousands of those effects put in motion by climate change can be pointed out, with human-caused climate change radically changing the life of all beings inhabiting this earth. Plant and animal species tend to find that place where they are most likely to thrive, and with changing temperatures and environments, this may be in a completely different place than before.   We, as humans, also have to deal with this changing ‘diet’ of animals and plants; while they bring along diseases and pests previously unknown to the areas that we live in. Similarly, our carefully built up businesses and industries, often relying on certain natural resources, have to shift accordingly. The term Diaspora that I used before might not even fully cover this drastically changing global landscape.   Germs and Pests on the March   Today, we are battling outbreaks of malaria in areas further north and at higher altitudes in countries such as Colombia and Ethiopia, with mosquitos being able to survive the milder temperatures uphill. In northern Texas, the potentially fatal tropical disease leishmaniasis has claimed its first victims - having been carried up north by sand-flies hosting the parasite. It is not just our health that is suffering these adverse effects. Agriculture is suffering as well, with crop pests expanding their territories. There are diamondback moths, feasting on the vegetables grown by urban farmers, who have recently moved into South Africa. Then there are the numerous funguses and pests creating havoc on Latin America’s coffee plantations. France is facing a similar problem, with their olives, wines and lavender under siege.   Not everyone is losing, though. A number of those migration patterns have led to more favourable circumstances for some: the Atlantic mackerel, for instance, has moved so far up north that it entered the Icelandic waters. Now, the country is enjoying a large share of the market previously held by Europe alone.   So we cannot really say that it is all bad. It is just changing - and requiring us to change and adapt along with it, good or bad as it may be. The point is that wildlife is, in fact, feeling the effects of climate change; impacting us humans in ways we are only starting to see the first motions of. Watch out for oak processionary caterpillars The oak processionary caterpillar has made headlines in The Netherlands in recent weeks. For an insect this small, it is rather surprising to see how quickly it has become the subject of a national crisis. It first set foot in the small European country in 1991, in the far south. Over the years, it has steadfastly increased its geographical range, with climate change nudging it further north-east. There are a lot of oak trees in the south of the Netherlands, which coincidentally make up its favourite snack. From mid-May to mid-July, this has prompted a rather strange sight: oak trees all wrapped in red-white warning tape. These trees are, in fact, infested with the oak processionary moth (or ‘eikenprocessierups’, as it is known locally). These are poisonous, capable of causing significant discomfort to humans and animals alike - its most prominent symptom being severe itching. The affected trees will find themselves being woven in silky nests surrounding their branches and trunks, which does not just occur in forest areas but also in densely populated areas, including those lining streets in cities and towns. Even if you avoid those trees altogether, you might still feel their literal sting: the caterpillar has bristles that can be fired when a threat is perceived, and which can be carried by the wind for up to 500 meters. Enough to affect those living around it. This only goes to show how a tiny species, previously unknown to an area, can start to dominate a defenceless ecosystem within some short decades. Half of All Life Is Moving The oak processionary crisis is not an exception. The general consensus is that species will move when facing a radical shift in their environment. It has been this way for centuries. Our ancestors already knew that they had to find different hunting grounds when seasons would change. So it is not necessarily surprising that species are moving or changing their range as climate change moves along. What is surprising, though, is its pace. Recently, an inventory was made of over 4,000 species all around the world. The results amazed friend and foe: over half of those were actively ‘on the move’. Land-living creatures are moving at 10 miles per decade, while marine species tend to move up to four times quicker. These are just averages. Some individual species are moving a lot faster. The Atlantic cod, for instance, moves more than 125 miles per decade. It is not just the physical location that is changing. The biological cycles are quick to follow suit as well. Amphibians, like frogs, have been found to be breeding about eight days earlier with each passing decade. Birds and butterflies are shifting their cycles in a similar fashion, with about four days per decade. Historical research has shown that in Concord, Massachusetts, plants are now flowering some 18 days earlier than they did in the 1850s.   While those might be too subtle to perceive, people all over - from Asia to Europe and over the Atlantic to America - are finding that springtime jumps upon us sooner than it used to, with trees and shrubs leafing out and animals initiating mating rituals earlier in the season. Something like this can change our ecology as a whole. Another striking conclusion is that we cannot possibly predict where this will lead us. Although we are able to connect the dots on the majority of changes, we cannot possibly predict all the ways in which species are to respond to the changing environment. Shifts occur at different paces and are triggered by different signals.   Some species respond favourably to rising temperatures, while others are more in tune with the change in sunlight or precipitation: Californian mountain plants have been observed moving downhill as climate change has brought more precipitation to the valleys. It is not just the existing species that are adapting to the changing circumstances. New hybrid species are developing as well: having already been found in toads, sharks, butterflies, bears and trout, just to name a few. Climate change is changing ecosystems and throwing species together that were previously kept separate, allowing them to interbreed.   Other species are put at risk of extinction, with them unable to find a good new ecosystem and/or their favourite food supplies having moved out of reach or dwindling altogether. In West Greenland, for instance, young caribou are dying in large numbers as their mothers are unable to eat sufficient plants during the calving season, leaving them weak and vulnerable. Bumblebees find that their favourite plants have already flowered before they emerge, leaving them scrambling to find their food supplies and unable to pollinate. In nature, timing is crucial - and these examples point out where exactly timing is threatening species in their very survival. Eventually, this will become visible on a larger scale - possibly even leaving us, humans, with shortages and ecological issues that cannot easily be resolved.   Some more animals threatened by climate change All in all, predictions have been made that by the year 2100, about 50% of all the species inhabiting our world could go extinct as the result of climate change - be it through one of the ways described above, or novel ways that we have not even began to observe just yet. Animals that may depend on us taking action today include bumblebees, whales, elephants, giraffes, insects, marine birds, sharks, coral reefs, butterflies and apes. All innocent victims of our lust for more energy and power, who will find themselves in a shrinking or polluted habitat with dwindling food supplies.   No matter where you live, you will undoubtedly find that the species that occupy your habitat are struggling as well; as are the farmers, who are dealing with pests, infected crops and other diseases affecting their businesses. Eventually, we will all suffer the consequences. The world has already been affected and will, if you were to travel 200 years in time, ultimately become utterly unrecognisable.   https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate
Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected is the third article in a series of 6 on the topic of climate change. One of the most important consequences of climate change is the capability that it has to irreversibly change the world around us. This statement should not be news to you, nor should it be surprising. Yet it never hurts to emphasise just how much the world is affected by the actions that we take today. Climate change is moving ahead at a rapid pace, with various animals, plants and even microbiota scrambling to catch up. All around the world, species are being displaced, forced to move to different lands that are safe(r) and provide (more) sufficient nutrition. We are facing a true Diaspora of not just species, but businesses, people and diseases being spread out around the world as well.   This trend was, most likely, first recognised in shrubs. In the 19th century, willows in the Alaskan Arctic did not get much taller than a small child. They were perfectly suited for their environment and managed to balance the ecosystem. However, as temperatures rose as a result of increased fossil fuel emissions, effectively lengthening the growing seasons, shrubs grew spectacularly - up to double their original size. Now, there were some moose who considered these shrubs to be a particularly tasty meal. Before the 20th century, they did not bother to cross the Brooks Range, the mountain range stretching from northern Alaska to Canada’s Yukon Territory. They knew that the lands to the north did not have much to offer. That is, until they slowly started migrating over the range less than a century ago. Today, they can be found meandering all along the Arctic rivers - now that the vegetation is tall enough to withstand layers of snow and able to withstand the more moderate temperatures. Not much later, the hares followed - snacking on the same plants and enjoying the same new lands. Moose and hares are now becoming a fixture in the diet of indigenous Alaskan hunters, as they are facing difficulties hunting for their ‘original’ meal - consisting of seals, that have now been driven away by the melting ice. It is a cycle that is easily recognised as the so-called butterfly effect: a relatively minor adjustment has had far-reaching consequences and is impacting the local environment on an increasingly larger scale. Thousands of those effects put in motion by climate change can be pointed out, with human-caused climate change radically changing the life of all beings inhabiting this earth. Plant and animal species tend to find that place where they are most likely to thrive, and with changing temperatures and environments, this may be in a completely different place than before.   We, as humans, also have to deal with this changing ‘diet’ of animals and plants; while they bring along diseases and pests previously unknown to the areas that we live in. Similarly, our carefully built up businesses and industries, often relying on certain natural resources, have to shift accordingly. The term Diaspora that I used before might not even fully cover this drastically changing global landscape.   Germs and Pests on the March   Today, we are battling outbreaks of malaria in areas further north and at higher altitudes in countries such as Colombia and Ethiopia, with mosquitos being able to survive the milder temperatures uphill. In northern Texas, the potentially fatal tropical disease leishmaniasis has claimed its first victims - having been carried up north by sand-flies hosting the parasite. It is not just our health that is suffering these adverse effects. Agriculture is suffering as well, with crop pests expanding their territories. There are diamondback moths, feasting on the vegetables grown by urban farmers, who have recently moved into South Africa. Then there are the numerous funguses and pests creating havoc on Latin America’s coffee plantations. France is facing a similar problem, with their olives, wines and lavender under siege.   Not everyone is losing, though. A number of those migration patterns have led to more favourable circumstances for some: the Atlantic mackerel, for instance, has moved so far up north that it entered the Icelandic waters. Now, the country is enjoying a large share of the market previously held by Europe alone.   So we cannot really say that it is all bad. It is just changing - and requiring us to change and adapt along with it, good or bad as it may be. The point is that wildlife is, in fact, feeling the effects of climate change; impacting us humans in ways we are only starting to see the first motions of. Watch out for oak processionary caterpillars The oak processionary caterpillar has made headlines in The Netherlands in recent weeks. For an insect this small, it is rather surprising to see how quickly it has become the subject of a national crisis. It first set foot in the small European country in 1991, in the far south. Over the years, it has steadfastly increased its geographical range, with climate change nudging it further north-east. There are a lot of oak trees in the south of the Netherlands, which coincidentally make up its favourite snack. From mid-May to mid-July, this has prompted a rather strange sight: oak trees all wrapped in red-white warning tape. These trees are, in fact, infested with the oak processionary moth (or ‘eikenprocessierups’, as it is known locally). These are poisonous, capable of causing significant discomfort to humans and animals alike - its most prominent symptom being severe itching. The affected trees will find themselves being woven in silky nests surrounding their branches and trunks, which does not just occur in forest areas but also in densely populated areas, including those lining streets in cities and towns. Even if you avoid those trees altogether, you might still feel their literal sting: the caterpillar has bristles that can be fired when a threat is perceived, and which can be carried by the wind for up to 500 meters. Enough to affect those living around it. This only goes to show how a tiny species, previously unknown to an area, can start to dominate a defenceless ecosystem within some short decades. Half of All Life Is Moving The oak processionary crisis is not an exception. The general consensus is that species will move when facing a radical shift in their environment. It has been this way for centuries. Our ancestors already knew that they had to find different hunting grounds when seasons would change. So it is not necessarily surprising that species are moving or changing their range as climate change moves along. What is surprising, though, is its pace. Recently, an inventory was made of over 4,000 species all around the world. The results amazed friend and foe: over half of those were actively ‘on the move’. Land-living creatures are moving at 10 miles per decade, while marine species tend to move up to four times quicker. These are just averages. Some individual species are moving a lot faster. The Atlantic cod, for instance, moves more than 125 miles per decade. It is not just the physical location that is changing. The biological cycles are quick to follow suit as well. Amphibians, like frogs, have been found to be breeding about eight days earlier with each passing decade. Birds and butterflies are shifting their cycles in a similar fashion, with about four days per decade. Historical research has shown that in Concord, Massachusetts, plants are now flowering some 18 days earlier than they did in the 1850s.   While those might be too subtle to perceive, people all over - from Asia to Europe and over the Atlantic to America - are finding that springtime jumps upon us sooner than it used to, with trees and shrubs leafing out and animals initiating mating rituals earlier in the season. Something like this can change our ecology as a whole. Another striking conclusion is that we cannot possibly predict where this will lead us. Although we are able to connect the dots on the majority of changes, we cannot possibly predict all the ways in which species are to respond to the changing environment. Shifts occur at different paces and are triggered by different signals.   Some species respond favourably to rising temperatures, while others are more in tune with the change in sunlight or precipitation: Californian mountain plants have been observed moving downhill as climate change has brought more precipitation to the valleys. It is not just the existing species that are adapting to the changing circumstances. New hybrid species are developing as well: having already been found in toads, sharks, butterflies, bears and trout, just to name a few. Climate change is changing ecosystems and throwing species together that were previously kept separate, allowing them to interbreed.   Other species are put at risk of extinction, with them unable to find a good new ecosystem and/or their favourite food supplies having moved out of reach or dwindling altogether. In West Greenland, for instance, young caribou are dying in large numbers as their mothers are unable to eat sufficient plants during the calving season, leaving them weak and vulnerable. Bumblebees find that their favourite plants have already flowered before they emerge, leaving them scrambling to find their food supplies and unable to pollinate. In nature, timing is crucial - and these examples point out where exactly timing is threatening species in their very survival. Eventually, this will become visible on a larger scale - possibly even leaving us, humans, with shortages and ecological issues that cannot easily be resolved.   Some more animals threatened by climate change All in all, predictions have been made that by the year 2100, about 50% of all the species inhabiting our world could go extinct as the result of climate change - be it through one of the ways described above, or novel ways that we have not even began to observe just yet. Animals that may depend on us taking action today include bumblebees, whales, elephants, giraffes, insects, marine birds, sharks, coral reefs, butterflies and apes. All innocent victims of our lust for more energy and power, who will find themselves in a shrinking or polluted habitat with dwindling food supplies.   No matter where you live, you will undoubtedly find that the species that occupy your habitat are struggling as well; as are the farmers, who are dealing with pests, infected crops and other diseases affecting their businesses. Eventually, we will all suffer the consequences. The world has already been affected and will, if you were to travel 200 years in time, ultimately become utterly unrecognisable.   https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate
Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected
Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected
Climate Change: Ticks And Oak Processionary Caterpillars
You might think that ticks and oak processionary caterpillars are annoying insects but cannot do much harm. Think again! These little creatures have gone through some changes in the last decades, and they are expanding worldwide. The ticks are going further north to new places, where we cut forests or creating grasslands. But what can we do and what should we not do? Tick species There are thousands of ticks. For example, in North America, you have the American dog tick, the black-legged tick, the Gulf Coast tick, the Rocky Mountain tick, the brown dog tick, the lone star tick, and the western black-legged tick. Maybe they are invisible for the untrained eye, but they could be dangerous. It most likely has to do with the climate change, these creatures live in warm circumstances. The cold we know is changing, so it is not as cold as it used to, so it might be warmer in spring than before. A lot of tropical areas around the world have horrible problems with ticks, also dogs struggle with these little animals.  Recommended:  Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected Tick on your skin? What to do? A tick on your skin could make you anxious. But it does not mean the pathogen has spread. Not every tick carries the illness; the creature would have to stick to your skin in order to transmit infections. The longer the tick is on your skin, the more likely it is to be infected. Humans can handle a small number of pathogens, but the higher the dose, the higher the risk of transmission. Lyme disease In order to get Lyme disease, the tick has to be attached for over a day. Researchers have shown that there is at least a one-day window before an infectious dose has been transmitted from a black-legged tick. The Rocky Mountain tick carries an infection which can be transmitted way more rapidly, within the first 12 hours of tick attachment.  Enormous tick hunts its prey in the Netherlands We all are aware of the existence of the tick, but can we imagine a giant and much more horrifying tick? Now, these giant ticks have shown up in the Netherlands for the first time. The tick, Hyalomma, actively hunts down his prey and can chase you for 100 metres, even if you run as hard as you can. This giant tick is seen in Germany, and people were wondering if it would cross borders with the Netherlands. And, unfortunately, this is true. This kind of tick has very long legs and is super fast and is about three times bigger than the regular ticks we know. The main difference with the 'regular' tick is that these giant ticks are actively searching for hosts, instead of passively waiting and then jump on their prey. The Hyalomma tick is familiar in North Africa and Asia, but nowadays can be found in South and East Europe. It prefers larger animals and can see his prey from nine metres away. {youtube}                                                    Climate Change: Ticks   Ticks, 14 essential facts you have to know  Ticks are not insects Did you know that ticks are not insects? They are arachnids, which means that they are related to spiders. They even look a lot like spiders with their legs, no antennae and they do not fly or jump. They camp out on leaves, blades of grass or something like that, waiting on their prey (an animal or human) and then stretch out their first legs to crawl into a thin area of skin near a small blood vessel.  Not every tick spread diseases There are thousands of ticks around the world, but only a few types of ticks spread diseases. The black-legged tick is familiar for his Lyme disease, which is an infection that can cause you a lot of pain, an inflammation of the brain, and more things. But some ticks are more dangerous and could be fatal for us. The fever is called Rocky Mountain spotted fever, carried by the American dog tick and brown dog tick. They are both found in the United States. A tick stays around for a few days if they bite you A tick is not quite similar to a mosquito, which bites you and stays on you for a few minutes. When a tick is on your skin, he wants to wait around for a few days. When they found an excellent spot to extract blood, they will start their meal prep, and this could last for two hours. There is a good chance you will not notice them. But when they burry its little head into your skin, it unpacks its feeding tube and spits out saliva what our body is trying to protect. The tick will feed itself for about two or three days. Only if a female is on your skin, she will swell up in double its standard size.  Ticks do not spread disease immediately It is not likely that a tick spread an infection quickly. Some ticks spread a disease called anaplasmosis within eight hours, but most ticks take longer. If you remove the tick within 24 hours, you will probably not get Lyme disease. In most cases, it takes 36 to 48 hours before the bacteria can infect you with the virus. Unfortunately, ticks can spread multiple diseases at once Ticks do not only like human blood, but also blood from animals, like mice, deer, rabbits and birds. These animals carry diseases as well. They pick up certain bacteria and this way they can bring three different kinds of diseases at once. For example, the black-legged deer tick can spread anaplasmosis, Lyme disease and babesiosis at once.  Most of the internet home remedies do not work On the internet, you will find many suggestions to remove the tick, but do not believe everything you will read. Rubbing petroleum jelly, nail polish or gasoline will not help you to remove the tick. Alcohol will not help either. The problem is that these little creatures can survive long periods without air, so trying the above will not help. But if you want to know how to remove a tick correctly, please read on. Take a pair of tweezers to remove the little bastard Almost every household has tweezers and believe it or not, but with tweezers, you can remove this creature. So do not scratch it but remove the tick carefully and efficiently with tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull it upwards carefully and flush it down the toilet or put it in a sealed bag if your doctor wants to ID it. Clean up your skin afterwards with water and soap or an alcohol wipe. Do not worry if you do not remove the entire head. The tick is already dead, and the mouthpiece will get out eventually.  The symptoms can show up within a few days This is partly true. People with the Rocky Mountain spotted fever usually have a fever the first few days and get a rash later on. With Lyme disease, the rash could appear from three days to one month after the bite. The rash arrives before the fever. The symptoms could be a fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and some rash.  Not all with Lyme disease will get a rash Not everyone with Lyme disease will get a rash. About 20 to 30 per cent will not get the so-called bullseye rash, but they can develop other symptoms like arthritis in the joints, meningitis, muscle pain of encephalitis.  Not every tick transmits a disease Only one to three per cent of the people who are bitten by an infected tick will end up getting Lyme disease. So, it is a good chance you will not get it once you spot a tick on your skin. No vaccines for humans yet There used to be a vaccine for humans back in 1998, but it was not perfect. It caused a lot of side effects, and therefore, the manufacturer decided to take it off the market. There are vaccines for animals, but it is not clear how protective they are. You have more risk to get a tick bite in the summer Ticks are here during the entire year, but summer is peak point: Lyme disease season.  How can you protect yourself? Know where the little animals camp out. They are in forests, in open grassy areas. When you are in a tick area, tuck your jeans into your boots or socks and get some insecticide or insect repellant.  Check your skin every two to three hours You might find it exaggerated, but you should check your skin every two to three hours, especially when you are still outdoors. Check your belly button, armpits, scalp, the back of your knees, ears and between your legs.  Watch out for the oak processionary caterpillars! In recent weeks the oak processionary caterpillars made their way in the Netherlands, and it became the subject of national crisis in no time. It set foot in this European country in 1991, in the south, but over the years it expanded itself to the north-east. Oak trees are their favourite snack and let there be a lot of oak trees in the Netherlands.  Last few months significant parts of trees in the Netherlands had a rather strange look: wrapped in red-white warning tape because the caterpillars took their place in oak trees. They are poisonous, capable of causing a lot of discomforts and severe itching.  The trees are everywhere: forests, densely populated areas, but also in cities and towns. The oak trees are being woven in silky nests. Avoiding them might not even help, because the caterpillars can fire bristles which sting and can be carried by the wind for 500 metres. What are the health risks? Contact with the bristles can cause health complaints such as bumps, skin rashes, itching and redness of the skin and red, puffy eyes. Sometimes it feels like getting a cold: a runny nose, difficulties to swallow, shortness of breath and coughing. In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, vomiting, fever and dizziness may occur.  Prevention is better than cure Try to avoid contact with trees that carry oak processionary caterpillars. For example, you can teach children to take distance from (invested) oak trees. Keep your animals and pets away from the invested oak trees. And, to make sure you will not get any bristle, cover your neck, legs and arms. Please stay away from nests and caterpillars, and do not try to remove the nests yourself. Report the nest to local authorities who can arrange to remove them.  What to do when you get in contact with oak processionary caterpillars? Rinse your skin and eyes with lukewarm water. Try not to scratch, but if you do, please as little as possible.  Use sticky tape on your skin to strip it. This way you will remove the poisonous caterpillar hairs.  You can use ointment or cream with menthol, aloe vera or calendula in case of intense itching. You can find in the drugstores or pharmacies. In general, should the symptoms disappear within a few days up to two weeks. When do you need medical help? If you have difficulties breathing, getting thick lips, eyes or tongue, call a doctor right away. You should seek medical advice when you have eye problems or if you think a bristle caught your eye. It can cause severe eye problems, which can lead to blindness.  Recommended:  Environment And Insects: Bullet Ant Delivers 24 Hours Agony
You might think that ticks and oak processionary caterpillars are annoying insects but cannot do much harm. Think again! These little creatures have gone through some changes in the last decades, and they are expanding worldwide. The ticks are going further north to new places, where we cut forests or creating grasslands. But what can we do and what should we not do? Tick species There are thousands of ticks. For example, in North America, you have the American dog tick, the black-legged tick, the Gulf Coast tick, the Rocky Mountain tick, the brown dog tick, the lone star tick, and the western black-legged tick. Maybe they are invisible for the untrained eye, but they could be dangerous. It most likely has to do with the climate change, these creatures live in warm circumstances. The cold we know is changing, so it is not as cold as it used to, so it might be warmer in spring than before. A lot of tropical areas around the world have horrible problems with ticks, also dogs struggle with these little animals.  Recommended:  Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected Tick on your skin? What to do? A tick on your skin could make you anxious. But it does not mean the pathogen has spread. Not every tick carries the illness; the creature would have to stick to your skin in order to transmit infections. The longer the tick is on your skin, the more likely it is to be infected. Humans can handle a small number of pathogens, but the higher the dose, the higher the risk of transmission. Lyme disease In order to get Lyme disease, the tick has to be attached for over a day. Researchers have shown that there is at least a one-day window before an infectious dose has been transmitted from a black-legged tick. The Rocky Mountain tick carries an infection which can be transmitted way more rapidly, within the first 12 hours of tick attachment.  Enormous tick hunts its prey in the Netherlands We all are aware of the existence of the tick, but can we imagine a giant and much more horrifying tick? Now, these giant ticks have shown up in the Netherlands for the first time. The tick, Hyalomma, actively hunts down his prey and can chase you for 100 metres, even if you run as hard as you can. This giant tick is seen in Germany, and people were wondering if it would cross borders with the Netherlands. And, unfortunately, this is true. This kind of tick has very long legs and is super fast and is about three times bigger than the regular ticks we know. The main difference with the 'regular' tick is that these giant ticks are actively searching for hosts, instead of passively waiting and then jump on their prey. The Hyalomma tick is familiar in North Africa and Asia, but nowadays can be found in South and East Europe. It prefers larger animals and can see his prey from nine metres away. {youtube}                                                    Climate Change: Ticks   Ticks, 14 essential facts you have to know  Ticks are not insects Did you know that ticks are not insects? They are arachnids, which means that they are related to spiders. They even look a lot like spiders with their legs, no antennae and they do not fly or jump. They camp out on leaves, blades of grass or something like that, waiting on their prey (an animal or human) and then stretch out their first legs to crawl into a thin area of skin near a small blood vessel.  Not every tick spread diseases There are thousands of ticks around the world, but only a few types of ticks spread diseases. The black-legged tick is familiar for his Lyme disease, which is an infection that can cause you a lot of pain, an inflammation of the brain, and more things. But some ticks are more dangerous and could be fatal for us. The fever is called Rocky Mountain spotted fever, carried by the American dog tick and brown dog tick. They are both found in the United States. A tick stays around for a few days if they bite you A tick is not quite similar to a mosquito, which bites you and stays on you for a few minutes. When a tick is on your skin, he wants to wait around for a few days. When they found an excellent spot to extract blood, they will start their meal prep, and this could last for two hours. There is a good chance you will not notice them. But when they burry its little head into your skin, it unpacks its feeding tube and spits out saliva what our body is trying to protect. The tick will feed itself for about two or three days. Only if a female is on your skin, she will swell up in double its standard size.  Ticks do not spread disease immediately It is not likely that a tick spread an infection quickly. Some ticks spread a disease called anaplasmosis within eight hours, but most ticks take longer. If you remove the tick within 24 hours, you will probably not get Lyme disease. In most cases, it takes 36 to 48 hours before the bacteria can infect you with the virus. Unfortunately, ticks can spread multiple diseases at once Ticks do not only like human blood, but also blood from animals, like mice, deer, rabbits and birds. These animals carry diseases as well. They pick up certain bacteria and this way they can bring three different kinds of diseases at once. For example, the black-legged deer tick can spread anaplasmosis, Lyme disease and babesiosis at once.  Most of the internet home remedies do not work On the internet, you will find many suggestions to remove the tick, but do not believe everything you will read. Rubbing petroleum jelly, nail polish or gasoline will not help you to remove the tick. Alcohol will not help either. The problem is that these little creatures can survive long periods without air, so trying the above will not help. But if you want to know how to remove a tick correctly, please read on. Take a pair of tweezers to remove the little bastard Almost every household has tweezers and believe it or not, but with tweezers, you can remove this creature. So do not scratch it but remove the tick carefully and efficiently with tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull it upwards carefully and flush it down the toilet or put it in a sealed bag if your doctor wants to ID it. Clean up your skin afterwards with water and soap or an alcohol wipe. Do not worry if you do not remove the entire head. The tick is already dead, and the mouthpiece will get out eventually.  The symptoms can show up within a few days This is partly true. People with the Rocky Mountain spotted fever usually have a fever the first few days and get a rash later on. With Lyme disease, the rash could appear from three days to one month after the bite. The rash arrives before the fever. The symptoms could be a fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and some rash.  Not all with Lyme disease will get a rash Not everyone with Lyme disease will get a rash. About 20 to 30 per cent will not get the so-called bullseye rash, but they can develop other symptoms like arthritis in the joints, meningitis, muscle pain of encephalitis.  Not every tick transmits a disease Only one to three per cent of the people who are bitten by an infected tick will end up getting Lyme disease. So, it is a good chance you will not get it once you spot a tick on your skin. No vaccines for humans yet There used to be a vaccine for humans back in 1998, but it was not perfect. It caused a lot of side effects, and therefore, the manufacturer decided to take it off the market. There are vaccines for animals, but it is not clear how protective they are. You have more risk to get a tick bite in the summer Ticks are here during the entire year, but summer is peak point: Lyme disease season.  How can you protect yourself? Know where the little animals camp out. They are in forests, in open grassy areas. When you are in a tick area, tuck your jeans into your boots or socks and get some insecticide or insect repellant.  Check your skin every two to three hours You might find it exaggerated, but you should check your skin every two to three hours, especially when you are still outdoors. Check your belly button, armpits, scalp, the back of your knees, ears and between your legs.  Watch out for the oak processionary caterpillars! In recent weeks the oak processionary caterpillars made their way in the Netherlands, and it became the subject of national crisis in no time. It set foot in this European country in 1991, in the south, but over the years it expanded itself to the north-east. Oak trees are their favourite snack and let there be a lot of oak trees in the Netherlands.  Last few months significant parts of trees in the Netherlands had a rather strange look: wrapped in red-white warning tape because the caterpillars took their place in oak trees. They are poisonous, capable of causing a lot of discomforts and severe itching.  The trees are everywhere: forests, densely populated areas, but also in cities and towns. The oak trees are being woven in silky nests. Avoiding them might not even help, because the caterpillars can fire bristles which sting and can be carried by the wind for 500 metres. What are the health risks? Contact with the bristles can cause health complaints such as bumps, skin rashes, itching and redness of the skin and red, puffy eyes. Sometimes it feels like getting a cold: a runny nose, difficulties to swallow, shortness of breath and coughing. In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, vomiting, fever and dizziness may occur.  Prevention is better than cure Try to avoid contact with trees that carry oak processionary caterpillars. For example, you can teach children to take distance from (invested) oak trees. Keep your animals and pets away from the invested oak trees. And, to make sure you will not get any bristle, cover your neck, legs and arms. Please stay away from nests and caterpillars, and do not try to remove the nests yourself. Report the nest to local authorities who can arrange to remove them.  What to do when you get in contact with oak processionary caterpillars? Rinse your skin and eyes with lukewarm water. Try not to scratch, but if you do, please as little as possible.  Use sticky tape on your skin to strip it. This way you will remove the poisonous caterpillar hairs.  You can use ointment or cream with menthol, aloe vera or calendula in case of intense itching. You can find in the drugstores or pharmacies. In general, should the symptoms disappear within a few days up to two weeks. When do you need medical help? If you have difficulties breathing, getting thick lips, eyes or tongue, call a doctor right away. You should seek medical advice when you have eye problems or if you think a bristle caught your eye. It can cause severe eye problems, which can lead to blindness.  Recommended:  Environment And Insects: Bullet Ant Delivers 24 Hours Agony
Climate Change: Ticks And Oak Processionary Caterpillars
Climate Change Natural Man Made: Marching Towards Extinction
Climate Change Natural Man Made: Marching Towards Extinction is the second article in a series of 6 on the topic of climate change.   In Climate Change Natural Man Made: Causes and Facts , we took a deep-dive in the history, science and geography surrounding climate change. Now that we have gotten a basic understanding of what factors play an important role in the changing of our climate, we must look beyond the CO2. Yes, climate change is a complex issue that is never easy to discuss. Although it should be discussed frequently and fervently to avoid the ‘end of days’ so often cited by activists. This second article looks at the playing field that we, humans, created. It will discuss the forces within the world population itself that drive or hinder any efforts to counter climate change. It will look at the different societies, differing opinions across different geographic regions.   It will also look at groups who have a specific vested interest in the topic - like the fossil fuel industry, governments, the food and sugar industry, and lobbyists. But also at environmental groups, activists and innovators. Both sides of the board will be heard and assessed to get the answer to the most important question: who is on board to tackle climate change? Ignoring climate change? Is it too heavy?       The answer to the question above should be obvious. After all, who would not be on board to tackle a potentially catastrophic, mass-life-wiping-out event? Yet somehow, it has not been as straightforward. This funny thing called human psychology is really messing up what would be a clear plan moving forward.   It looks as if we have become immune to people telling us that we have just boarded a train that is racing down an unfinished track to eventually plummet off a deadly cliff. Yes, we know there are a bunch of stations in-between, where we can get off and ensure our safety. But after the fifth call announcing this sure and imminent death, we just do not feel as alarmed anymore.   In the past, this inconvenient little switch in our brain was actually quite helpful. Do you think cavemen ever worried about the next month? The next year? Or even a couple of years down the road? Chances are they were more concerned with finding food and shelter for the next few nights instead.   Survival instincts, which have always been a key element of our evolution, dictate that we look at the danger right in front of us - be it a sable tooth tiger or a taxi swerving towards us when crossing the street - and prioritise this over perhaps more significant dangers down the road. ‘We’ll cross that bridge when we get there’ has become an international motto, it seems, indicating that we leave any problem solving of pressing issues to the last possible moment. And while it may have indeed been a good idea to run away and hide when faced with a mad woolly mammoth instead of worrying about next year’s crops, this rarely ever applies today. We actually tend to avoid situations that scare us or make us uncomfortable as much as possible.   The truth is, we just do not like talking about ‘bad’ things. This thing called the probability bias is letting us ‘rationalise’ (or, more accurately, ‘irrationalise’) away things that we just want to avoid. We estimate the chances of it impacting us personally as too low to really care about. This leads to us being utterly helpless when it does in fact really happen. Whether it is us not being insured for floods or tornadoes (‘what are the odds of that happening to me’) or not taking action against climate change (‘it will surely last my lifetime’) - we just do not seem to care enough until it is too late. According to Norwegian psychologist Per Espen Stoknes, the level of concern regarding climate change has never been lower in rich Western democracies - dropping steadily as the pile of climate science-related research actually grew larger. He blamed this on five barriers that explain this seemingly irrational behaviour: distance, dissonance, doom, denial and identity. Climate change is simply too distant (in both actual proximity and time).   And while we know that we ought to save the polar bears and really care about these poor animals losing their habitat, we just cannot bring ourselves to really do something about it - even though we know we should. This is the dissonance that, coupled with the feeling of distance, lets us ignore the issue rather than take a stand. What are the conditions where the transit must take place? There is, however, a scientific way around this. Or so George Marshall thinks, specialist in climate change communications and writer of ‘ Why Our Brains Are Wired To Ignore Climate Change ’. His claim is that we are much more likely to accept information if we are given a certain narrative. We should feel like it matters to us personally, it should be relatable.   Giving people a personal interest in climate change will rapidly change both their attitudes and actions. Scientific blah-blahs and statistics are just not rocking our boat. Instead, we must get in the minds of people and find out how they are thinking. What they are thinking. We should look at the people that they like, their leaders, and get them to transmit a message that is both accurate as well as relatable to their followers. Yes, this is already quite the job. After all, the world seems more polarised than ever before, with countries, religions, cultures, individuals, political parties and organisations occupying opposite ends of pretty much any spectrum. Opinions are seemingly becoming more extreme, often leaving little room for finding the ‘middle ground’.   This growing difference in opinion is often strictly correlated to the role someone plays in society. The wealth gap between the poorest and the richest is growing at an alarming pace, creating the ideal habitat for unrest. Those in the upper classes are mainly looking out to protect their share, while those who are not as lucky are screaming for more.   Inequality has increased anywhere in the world despite substantial geographical differences, with the richest 1% twice as wealthy as the poorest 50%. The results of the World Inequality Report 2018 This occurs both within as well as between countries. The rich, western countries are protecting their standard of life at all costs, even if this means exploiting other countries, natural resources or the environment at large. At the same time, developing countries are eager to obtain a similar life standard and will not hesitate to follow similar practices. Between the 7.7 billion of us walking this planet, surely enough people should care enough to actually make a tangible difference. Right? Well, let’s break down our potential troops. Facts are that half of the world population has to make do with a daily income below $ 5.50.   Putting aside the obvious fact that perhaps the countries that they live in will be able to get you more bang for this buck, it is still unreasonable to assume that those people are able to do more than just survive. If they are not even sure whether they have enough water to last the night, how can you expect them to care about clean drinking water? If they live in appalling conditions, how can you expect them to take a stance on climate change? That leaves us the other half of the world population, including most of the western world. Within this group, there are some 26 people who together earn more than the bottom half I mentioned before. Surely they will have enough resources to care about the world? Well, yes, although they - and along with them, most of the western countries - claim to be more social and sustainable than ever before, the reality is that they just aren’t moving enough sand. Let’s look at one example. Europe is battling a never-ending wave of extremist politicians, dividing their respective countries to the bone on issues like the European Union, socialism, refugees and - yes - climate change. Politicians seem more concerned with their own image and pleasing their supporters than they are with actually governing. The end result is a frightening lack of strong commitment: the voters do not care enough, which means that they do not. Vague long-term commitments and unclear timelines follow suit. Some might look at the Paris Agreement and say that this must surely be that raised fist that we were waiting for. Yet instead of spending this kind of money on cold-hard action, the five largest publicly listed oil and gas companies have since allocated a $1 billion budget on public relations and lobbying efforts. All meant to actively control, delay or block some of the policies that might hurt them. They are not alone. With them, companies and trade associations running the sugary food and drinks industry are spending nearly $25 million per year to lobby against similar policies; while car manufacturers are handing out a shabby $20 million per year on lobbying efforts. This is still nothing compared to the plastics industry, rallying vehemently against the plastics ban and having delayed it for several years.   It may be clear that our current governing system is heavily influenced by corporate interests. The all-mighty big corporations have plenty of money to spend on lawyers and PR campaigns, as well as personal gifts and all-expenses-paid trips to tropical resorts for politicians.   Lobbyists hold a great influence in Brussels and, well, pretty much anywhere else in the world. And those who do not have the money to spend - including NGO’s and corporations truly concerned about the environment - will find themselves unable to sway the political opinion.   European Union alternative energy investments Although, to say something positive about the European Union as well, they have gotten their renewable energy investments off in a pretty solid manner. At this time, more than 30% of electricity is generated by renewable sources, a vast increase from the 12% it was back in 2000. If this growth rate can be kept up, expectations are that the share of renewables in the total energy mix will be up to 50% by 2030.   The Netherlands: lagging In order to meet this number, some countries will have to take a good, hard look at their current policies. Within the EU, two countries that you might not expect to be are in fact severely lagging behind. Luxembourg (6.4%) and the Netherlands (6.6%) are at the bottom of the list when it comes to consumption of energy generated by renewable sources.   Despite several high-profile windfarm projects on the North Sea, the Netherlands is particularly far away from reaching its targets. Surprising, considering that this country will be hit hard by climate change due to the fact that a large part of the country is below sea level. United States of America Moving across the ocean, things aren’t all peachy either. While Europeans do not have much faith in their representatives, Americans are not feeling the love either. Evidence has pointed to Americans overwhelmingly disapproving of their Congress.   This is mainly the result of politicians not sharing their interests and priorities - and Congress not being a true representation of society. For instance, a majority of Congress and Senate members are millionaires, despite only about 1% of Americans having this kind of money in their bank account. How can these governing bodies even aspire to be a blueprint of society, representing all Americans equally, when their interests are so obviously skewed to those of the upper classes? United States alternative energy investments As an example of this, even though a majority of the US population might be in favour of more renewable energy sources, this is proving to be pretty hard to realise. Throughout the first half of 2016, about 13% of electricity was generated by renewable sources - a number that should not satisfy you for a number of reasons.   Despite President Trump claiming that the US has one of the ‘cleanest climates’, whatever that means, the facts are still worrying.   US greenhouse gas emissions In absolute numbers, the United States is no longer the single largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, having lost this position to China some time ago. It does, however, still rank extremely high in terms of per capita emissions. Higher than China and most other developed and industrialised countries.   And yes, the policies that were initiated by Barack Obama to switch from coal to gas have resulted in a decline of carbon emissions; yet experts estimate that the country will not even come close to meeting the target levels of cutting emissions by 26-28% compared to the 2005 levels by 2025. The election of a certain Donald J. Trump certainly has not improved this outlook, for several reasons. Fracking Thanks to practice of fracking - the blasting of dense shale rock with water, sand and chemicals to release tiny bubbles of fossil fuel - the United States has revved up its gas industry. It brought along a lot of pollution and water shortages. Not to mention leaks of methane, a huge contributor to climate change. A new study of water in Texas’ Barnett Shale area reveals "incredibly alarming" levels of contamination, with fracking the prime suspect Fossil fuel exploration Trump has made it his mission to loosen regulations regarding National Parks and protected areas, in doing so freeing up more land for expanding both the oil and gas industries. Drilling in the pristine wilderness of Alaska has been one of his spearheads, enraging many for destroying valuable nature areas while once again increasing the reliance on fossil fuels. Fuel efficiency standards Another hotly debated issue championed by Trump is the loosening of regulations on the automotive industry, reducing the need for higher fuel efficiency. A big thing, as fuel efficiency in the US has historically already been much lower than in other countries. Less fuel efficient cars, vans and trucks will once again increase emissions and pollution. International cooperation The list of potentially climate-wrecking policies and plans as initiated by the Donald does not stop there. His decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement has, although it cannot be implemented during his term, already left a wake of destruction; with several other countries considering a withdrawal as well and fossil fuel companies and lobbyists regaining some of their power.   Climate denial Most will have heard the illustrious U.S. President flat out denying climate change , having called it a Chinese hoax and a Democratic plot to hurt the Republicans. It is not hard to see why such a statement of such an influential person will leave many of his followers in doubt as well. Hence, the United States boasts a much higher rate of climate change deniers than any other Western nation.   Water ‘ We have the cleanest water, it's crystal clean ,’ or so Mr. Trump has claimed, continuously emphasising how much he values this. His actions seem to point to the contrary, though, with policies aimed at cleaning up the U.S. water supply being rolled back and opening up protected streams and wetlands to potentially damaging pesticides and pollutants.   Air At the same time the very same businessman-turned-president exclaimed his desire for ‘the cleanest air’, he actually rolled back Obama’s plans to cut back greenhouse gas emissions from factories and power plants. Instead, he is hoping to open up more coal power plants and stations. Safe to say this will not get him the clean air he is hoping for. India Moving on to one of the more developing nations in the world, India, where we unfortunately see the same pattern of the rich and corrupt few governing the many. As India has a huge population of dirt-poor people, they are likely to be hit the hardest when it comes to climate change-initiated hits to their food sources, living accommodations and income.   Yet these people do not have a say in the matter, as the politicians deciding on climate change matters are worth millions and millions of dollars and, frankly, keep on raking in the dough by accepting huge cash donations from the ‘sponsors’ - who have a vested interest in keeping impactful measures at bay.   India’s alternative energy investments Besides China, India is the largest builder of renewable energy projects - mainly solar and wind, having resulted in some 75 gigawatts of solar, wind and other renewable sources having already been built and another 45 gigawatts well underway. A promising leap forward, although it has to be noted that the country still heavily relies on its coal industry - generating about 57% (2018) of the nation’s electricity needs.   As the country is growing and urbanising fast, it is unlikely to assume that the share of renewables is going to increase. China At the risk of sounding repetitive, China’s parliament is very out of touch with the regular people on the street as well. The 209 richest delegates together have a net worth exceeding the annual GDP of Sweden, a fortune that has often been made through corporate investments. They do not really hold any legislative sway within the Communist country, although their preference for keeping industry ‘as is’ is pretty obvious. China’s alternative energy investments In 2018 alone, China connected close to 21 gigawatts of wind capacity and 44 gigawatts of solar capacity to its grid. Staggering numbers from a nation that is committed to making renewable energy work, through its energy revolution. Unfortunately, the country is also investing heavily in coal, which is still the primary source of energy - despite claims of the government that it is produced using ‘ultra-low emission technology’.   Coal-fired power plants built in other countries Another proven tactic of China has been to build coal-fired power plants in other countries, using equipment that is no longer permitted within China’s borders. Countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Egypt and Indonesia are overseeing builds of Chinese-funded and owned power plants - hardly a way of showing sustainable intent.   China's overseas ventures include hundreds of electric power plants that burn coal, which is a significant emitter of the carbon scientifically linked to climate change. Edward Cunningham, a specialist on China and its energy markets at Harvard University, tells NPR that China is building or planning more than 300 coal plants in places as widely spread as Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt and the Philippines Are we really motivated to change? Looking at all of those countries, it might come across as if they are not really motivated to change. All governments are unanimously proclaiming that they really want to change and care about the environment, but when looking at the numbers, it does not seem to match up. Most countries still subsidise the fossil fuel industry and allow lobbyists and corporations to take their seat at the table. Tax cuts for clean energy and production are stil minimal, while Western countries are not really eager to help the developing nations through their knowledge and expertise of clean technologies. Quite the contrary, they seem more concerned with preservering their own life standard rather than worrying about their environmental footprint across the border.   It are often the wealthy who govern, with the poor suffering the worst consequences of their actions. The poor live in the areas that will be affected badly and are unable to prepare for the negative effects. They will be the first to lose access to land, food and energy. So while the rich are largely responsible for climate change, they will be more likely to survive it and suffer the least.   Scientists and politicians We are actually looking at a battle between science and politics. While the latter is tainted by bribery, lobbying and bureaucracy, scientists are actively trying to apply their knowledge of engineering, technology and physics. But before they can do so, they first have to find a way of navigating this minefield called politics, that mainly seems to serve the self-interests of the wealthiest.   Worrisome prognoses Realistically, chances aren’t great of any world leader turning to a big corporation like Shell and telling them to completely change their business model or shut down altogether. And, let’s be honest, we cannot truly expect those kind of multinationals to radically change course overnight. What we can do, however, is to provide incentives to make this change more appealing. Financially attractive. Feasible, from a business point of view. It can be done. Some countries have already successfully cut back their carbon dioxide emissions. It requires legislation, regulation, persuasion and conviction - but it can be done. Even then we will not be able to save ‘all’, but at least we can still take care of a good chunk of it.   This will prevent a potentially disastrous butterfly effect, where poor countries will become even poorer as a result of fewer resources available to the many and where climate refugees will become a hot issue - one that, I am afraid, will not be handled well when looking at the current refugee crises in Europe and Central America.   ‘Last call’ for our politicians. The protests around the world Perhaps what the world needs first is a change in mindset. Not of the leaders, but from the bottom up. Recent protests have shown how loud the voice of the people can be, if only they are convinced of their own right. Media has jumped on these protests, amplifying the message that enough is enough - and climate change can no longer be ignored by those in power.   An estimated 1.4 million young people in 123 countries skipped school on the 15th of March 2019 to demand stronger climate policies in what may be one of the largest environmental protests in history We are entering the end-game of climate change. Either we keep on marching towards our own extinction, or we take action and hold those in power accountable.   https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate
Climate Change Natural Man Made: Marching Towards Extinction is the second article in a series of 6 on the topic of climate change.   In Climate Change Natural Man Made: Causes and Facts , we took a deep-dive in the history, science and geography surrounding climate change. Now that we have gotten a basic understanding of what factors play an important role in the changing of our climate, we must look beyond the CO2. Yes, climate change is a complex issue that is never easy to discuss. Although it should be discussed frequently and fervently to avoid the ‘end of days’ so often cited by activists. This second article looks at the playing field that we, humans, created. It will discuss the forces within the world population itself that drive or hinder any efforts to counter climate change. It will look at the different societies, differing opinions across different geographic regions.   It will also look at groups who have a specific vested interest in the topic - like the fossil fuel industry, governments, the food and sugar industry, and lobbyists. But also at environmental groups, activists and innovators. Both sides of the board will be heard and assessed to get the answer to the most important question: who is on board to tackle climate change? Ignoring climate change? Is it too heavy?       The answer to the question above should be obvious. After all, who would not be on board to tackle a potentially catastrophic, mass-life-wiping-out event? Yet somehow, it has not been as straightforward. This funny thing called human psychology is really messing up what would be a clear plan moving forward.   It looks as if we have become immune to people telling us that we have just boarded a train that is racing down an unfinished track to eventually plummet off a deadly cliff. Yes, we know there are a bunch of stations in-between, where we can get off and ensure our safety. But after the fifth call announcing this sure and imminent death, we just do not feel as alarmed anymore.   In the past, this inconvenient little switch in our brain was actually quite helpful. Do you think cavemen ever worried about the next month? The next year? Or even a couple of years down the road? Chances are they were more concerned with finding food and shelter for the next few nights instead.   Survival instincts, which have always been a key element of our evolution, dictate that we look at the danger right in front of us - be it a sable tooth tiger or a taxi swerving towards us when crossing the street - and prioritise this over perhaps more significant dangers down the road. ‘We’ll cross that bridge when we get there’ has become an international motto, it seems, indicating that we leave any problem solving of pressing issues to the last possible moment. And while it may have indeed been a good idea to run away and hide when faced with a mad woolly mammoth instead of worrying about next year’s crops, this rarely ever applies today. We actually tend to avoid situations that scare us or make us uncomfortable as much as possible.   The truth is, we just do not like talking about ‘bad’ things. This thing called the probability bias is letting us ‘rationalise’ (or, more accurately, ‘irrationalise’) away things that we just want to avoid. We estimate the chances of it impacting us personally as too low to really care about. This leads to us being utterly helpless when it does in fact really happen. Whether it is us not being insured for floods or tornadoes (‘what are the odds of that happening to me’) or not taking action against climate change (‘it will surely last my lifetime’) - we just do not seem to care enough until it is too late. According to Norwegian psychologist Per Espen Stoknes, the level of concern regarding climate change has never been lower in rich Western democracies - dropping steadily as the pile of climate science-related research actually grew larger. He blamed this on five barriers that explain this seemingly irrational behaviour: distance, dissonance, doom, denial and identity. Climate change is simply too distant (in both actual proximity and time).   And while we know that we ought to save the polar bears and really care about these poor animals losing their habitat, we just cannot bring ourselves to really do something about it - even though we know we should. This is the dissonance that, coupled with the feeling of distance, lets us ignore the issue rather than take a stand. What are the conditions where the transit must take place? There is, however, a scientific way around this. Or so George Marshall thinks, specialist in climate change communications and writer of ‘ Why Our Brains Are Wired To Ignore Climate Change ’. His claim is that we are much more likely to accept information if we are given a certain narrative. We should feel like it matters to us personally, it should be relatable.   Giving people a personal interest in climate change will rapidly change both their attitudes and actions. Scientific blah-blahs and statistics are just not rocking our boat. Instead, we must get in the minds of people and find out how they are thinking. What they are thinking. We should look at the people that they like, their leaders, and get them to transmit a message that is both accurate as well as relatable to their followers. Yes, this is already quite the job. After all, the world seems more polarised than ever before, with countries, religions, cultures, individuals, political parties and organisations occupying opposite ends of pretty much any spectrum. Opinions are seemingly becoming more extreme, often leaving little room for finding the ‘middle ground’.   This growing difference in opinion is often strictly correlated to the role someone plays in society. The wealth gap between the poorest and the richest is growing at an alarming pace, creating the ideal habitat for unrest. Those in the upper classes are mainly looking out to protect their share, while those who are not as lucky are screaming for more.   Inequality has increased anywhere in the world despite substantial geographical differences, with the richest 1% twice as wealthy as the poorest 50%. The results of the World Inequality Report 2018 This occurs both within as well as between countries. The rich, western countries are protecting their standard of life at all costs, even if this means exploiting other countries, natural resources or the environment at large. At the same time, developing countries are eager to obtain a similar life standard and will not hesitate to follow similar practices. Between the 7.7 billion of us walking this planet, surely enough people should care enough to actually make a tangible difference. Right? Well, let’s break down our potential troops. Facts are that half of the world population has to make do with a daily income below $ 5.50.   Putting aside the obvious fact that perhaps the countries that they live in will be able to get you more bang for this buck, it is still unreasonable to assume that those people are able to do more than just survive. If they are not even sure whether they have enough water to last the night, how can you expect them to care about clean drinking water? If they live in appalling conditions, how can you expect them to take a stance on climate change? That leaves us the other half of the world population, including most of the western world. Within this group, there are some 26 people who together earn more than the bottom half I mentioned before. Surely they will have enough resources to care about the world? Well, yes, although they - and along with them, most of the western countries - claim to be more social and sustainable than ever before, the reality is that they just aren’t moving enough sand. Let’s look at one example. Europe is battling a never-ending wave of extremist politicians, dividing their respective countries to the bone on issues like the European Union, socialism, refugees and - yes - climate change. Politicians seem more concerned with their own image and pleasing their supporters than they are with actually governing. The end result is a frightening lack of strong commitment: the voters do not care enough, which means that they do not. Vague long-term commitments and unclear timelines follow suit. Some might look at the Paris Agreement and say that this must surely be that raised fist that we were waiting for. Yet instead of spending this kind of money on cold-hard action, the five largest publicly listed oil and gas companies have since allocated a $1 billion budget on public relations and lobbying efforts. All meant to actively control, delay or block some of the policies that might hurt them. They are not alone. With them, companies and trade associations running the sugary food and drinks industry are spending nearly $25 million per year to lobby against similar policies; while car manufacturers are handing out a shabby $20 million per year on lobbying efforts. This is still nothing compared to the plastics industry, rallying vehemently against the plastics ban and having delayed it for several years.   It may be clear that our current governing system is heavily influenced by corporate interests. The all-mighty big corporations have plenty of money to spend on lawyers and PR campaigns, as well as personal gifts and all-expenses-paid trips to tropical resorts for politicians.   Lobbyists hold a great influence in Brussels and, well, pretty much anywhere else in the world. And those who do not have the money to spend - including NGO’s and corporations truly concerned about the environment - will find themselves unable to sway the political opinion.   European Union alternative energy investments Although, to say something positive about the European Union as well, they have gotten their renewable energy investments off in a pretty solid manner. At this time, more than 30% of electricity is generated by renewable sources, a vast increase from the 12% it was back in 2000. If this growth rate can be kept up, expectations are that the share of renewables in the total energy mix will be up to 50% by 2030.   The Netherlands: lagging In order to meet this number, some countries will have to take a good, hard look at their current policies. Within the EU, two countries that you might not expect to be are in fact severely lagging behind. Luxembourg (6.4%) and the Netherlands (6.6%) are at the bottom of the list when it comes to consumption of energy generated by renewable sources.   Despite several high-profile windfarm projects on the North Sea, the Netherlands is particularly far away from reaching its targets. Surprising, considering that this country will be hit hard by climate change due to the fact that a large part of the country is below sea level. United States of America Moving across the ocean, things aren’t all peachy either. While Europeans do not have much faith in their representatives, Americans are not feeling the love either. Evidence has pointed to Americans overwhelmingly disapproving of their Congress.   This is mainly the result of politicians not sharing their interests and priorities - and Congress not being a true representation of society. For instance, a majority of Congress and Senate members are millionaires, despite only about 1% of Americans having this kind of money in their bank account. How can these governing bodies even aspire to be a blueprint of society, representing all Americans equally, when their interests are so obviously skewed to those of the upper classes? United States alternative energy investments As an example of this, even though a majority of the US population might be in favour of more renewable energy sources, this is proving to be pretty hard to realise. Throughout the first half of 2016, about 13% of electricity was generated by renewable sources - a number that should not satisfy you for a number of reasons.   Despite President Trump claiming that the US has one of the ‘cleanest climates’, whatever that means, the facts are still worrying.   US greenhouse gas emissions In absolute numbers, the United States is no longer the single largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, having lost this position to China some time ago. It does, however, still rank extremely high in terms of per capita emissions. Higher than China and most other developed and industrialised countries.   And yes, the policies that were initiated by Barack Obama to switch from coal to gas have resulted in a decline of carbon emissions; yet experts estimate that the country will not even come close to meeting the target levels of cutting emissions by 26-28% compared to the 2005 levels by 2025. The election of a certain Donald J. Trump certainly has not improved this outlook, for several reasons. Fracking Thanks to practice of fracking - the blasting of dense shale rock with water, sand and chemicals to release tiny bubbles of fossil fuel - the United States has revved up its gas industry. It brought along a lot of pollution and water shortages. Not to mention leaks of methane, a huge contributor to climate change. A new study of water in Texas’ Barnett Shale area reveals "incredibly alarming" levels of contamination, with fracking the prime suspect Fossil fuel exploration Trump has made it his mission to loosen regulations regarding National Parks and protected areas, in doing so freeing up more land for expanding both the oil and gas industries. Drilling in the pristine wilderness of Alaska has been one of his spearheads, enraging many for destroying valuable nature areas while once again increasing the reliance on fossil fuels. Fuel efficiency standards Another hotly debated issue championed by Trump is the loosening of regulations on the automotive industry, reducing the need for higher fuel efficiency. A big thing, as fuel efficiency in the US has historically already been much lower than in other countries. Less fuel efficient cars, vans and trucks will once again increase emissions and pollution. International cooperation The list of potentially climate-wrecking policies and plans as initiated by the Donald does not stop there. His decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement has, although it cannot be implemented during his term, already left a wake of destruction; with several other countries considering a withdrawal as well and fossil fuel companies and lobbyists regaining some of their power.   Climate denial Most will have heard the illustrious U.S. President flat out denying climate change , having called it a Chinese hoax and a Democratic plot to hurt the Republicans. It is not hard to see why such a statement of such an influential person will leave many of his followers in doubt as well. Hence, the United States boasts a much higher rate of climate change deniers than any other Western nation.   Water ‘ We have the cleanest water, it's crystal clean ,’ or so Mr. Trump has claimed, continuously emphasising how much he values this. His actions seem to point to the contrary, though, with policies aimed at cleaning up the U.S. water supply being rolled back and opening up protected streams and wetlands to potentially damaging pesticides and pollutants.   Air At the same time the very same businessman-turned-president exclaimed his desire for ‘the cleanest air’, he actually rolled back Obama’s plans to cut back greenhouse gas emissions from factories and power plants. Instead, he is hoping to open up more coal power plants and stations. Safe to say this will not get him the clean air he is hoping for. India Moving on to one of the more developing nations in the world, India, where we unfortunately see the same pattern of the rich and corrupt few governing the many. As India has a huge population of dirt-poor people, they are likely to be hit the hardest when it comes to climate change-initiated hits to their food sources, living accommodations and income.   Yet these people do not have a say in the matter, as the politicians deciding on climate change matters are worth millions and millions of dollars and, frankly, keep on raking in the dough by accepting huge cash donations from the ‘sponsors’ - who have a vested interest in keeping impactful measures at bay.   India’s alternative energy investments Besides China, India is the largest builder of renewable energy projects - mainly solar and wind, having resulted in some 75 gigawatts of solar, wind and other renewable sources having already been built and another 45 gigawatts well underway. A promising leap forward, although it has to be noted that the country still heavily relies on its coal industry - generating about 57% (2018) of the nation’s electricity needs.   As the country is growing and urbanising fast, it is unlikely to assume that the share of renewables is going to increase. China At the risk of sounding repetitive, China’s parliament is very out of touch with the regular people on the street as well. The 209 richest delegates together have a net worth exceeding the annual GDP of Sweden, a fortune that has often been made through corporate investments. They do not really hold any legislative sway within the Communist country, although their preference for keeping industry ‘as is’ is pretty obvious. China’s alternative energy investments In 2018 alone, China connected close to 21 gigawatts of wind capacity and 44 gigawatts of solar capacity to its grid. Staggering numbers from a nation that is committed to making renewable energy work, through its energy revolution. Unfortunately, the country is also investing heavily in coal, which is still the primary source of energy - despite claims of the government that it is produced using ‘ultra-low emission technology’.   Coal-fired power plants built in other countries Another proven tactic of China has been to build coal-fired power plants in other countries, using equipment that is no longer permitted within China’s borders. Countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Egypt and Indonesia are overseeing builds of Chinese-funded and owned power plants - hardly a way of showing sustainable intent.   China's overseas ventures include hundreds of electric power plants that burn coal, which is a significant emitter of the carbon scientifically linked to climate change. Edward Cunningham, a specialist on China and its energy markets at Harvard University, tells NPR that China is building or planning more than 300 coal plants in places as widely spread as Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt and the Philippines Are we really motivated to change? Looking at all of those countries, it might come across as if they are not really motivated to change. All governments are unanimously proclaiming that they really want to change and care about the environment, but when looking at the numbers, it does not seem to match up. Most countries still subsidise the fossil fuel industry and allow lobbyists and corporations to take their seat at the table. Tax cuts for clean energy and production are stil minimal, while Western countries are not really eager to help the developing nations through their knowledge and expertise of clean technologies. Quite the contrary, they seem more concerned with preservering their own life standard rather than worrying about their environmental footprint across the border.   It are often the wealthy who govern, with the poor suffering the worst consequences of their actions. The poor live in the areas that will be affected badly and are unable to prepare for the negative effects. They will be the first to lose access to land, food and energy. So while the rich are largely responsible for climate change, they will be more likely to survive it and suffer the least.   Scientists and politicians We are actually looking at a battle between science and politics. While the latter is tainted by bribery, lobbying and bureaucracy, scientists are actively trying to apply their knowledge of engineering, technology and physics. But before they can do so, they first have to find a way of navigating this minefield called politics, that mainly seems to serve the self-interests of the wealthiest.   Worrisome prognoses Realistically, chances aren’t great of any world leader turning to a big corporation like Shell and telling them to completely change their business model or shut down altogether. And, let’s be honest, we cannot truly expect those kind of multinationals to radically change course overnight. What we can do, however, is to provide incentives to make this change more appealing. Financially attractive. Feasible, from a business point of view. It can be done. Some countries have already successfully cut back their carbon dioxide emissions. It requires legislation, regulation, persuasion and conviction - but it can be done. Even then we will not be able to save ‘all’, but at least we can still take care of a good chunk of it.   This will prevent a potentially disastrous butterfly effect, where poor countries will become even poorer as a result of fewer resources available to the many and where climate refugees will become a hot issue - one that, I am afraid, will not be handled well when looking at the current refugee crises in Europe and Central America.   ‘Last call’ for our politicians. The protests around the world Perhaps what the world needs first is a change in mindset. Not of the leaders, but from the bottom up. Recent protests have shown how loud the voice of the people can be, if only they are convinced of their own right. Media has jumped on these protests, amplifying the message that enough is enough - and climate change can no longer be ignored by those in power.   An estimated 1.4 million young people in 123 countries skipped school on the 15th of March 2019 to demand stronger climate policies in what may be one of the largest environmental protests in history We are entering the end-game of climate change. Either we keep on marching towards our own extinction, or we take action and hold those in power accountable.   https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate
Climate Change Natural Man Made: Marching Towards Extinction
Climate Change Natural Man Made: Marching Towards Extinction
Climate

Climate change! Currently, the most discussed topic in the world. Climate change occurs when changes in Earth's climate system result in new weather patterns that last for at least a few decades, and maybe for millions of years. Climate change can also result from ‘external forcing’ and include changes in solar output and volcanism.

Human activities can also influence our climate. Debates, posts and answers on (social) platforms about the role of humanity in the climate change process regularly lead to heated discussions

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