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Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added)
If no farmland and no forests and no water and no fish - then what?
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Rescooped by pdeppisch from Amazing Science!

Several Studies Show, U.S. Drought Will Be the Worst in 1,000 Years

Several Studies Show, U.S. Drought Will Be the Worst in 1,000 Years | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) |

Several independent studies in recent years have predicted that the American Southwest and central Great Plains will experience extensive droughts in the second half of this century, and that advancing climate change will exacerbate those droughts. But a new analysis released today says the drying will be even more extreme than previously predicted—the worst in nearly 1,000 years. Some time between 2050 and 2100, extended drought conditions in both regions will become more severe than the megadroughts of the 12th and 13th centuries. Tree rings and other evidence indicate that those medieval dry periods exceeded anything seen since, across the land we know today as the continental U.S.


The analysis “shows how exceptional future droughts will be,” says Benjamin Cook, a research scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City and lead author of the study. The work was published online today in the inaugural edition of Science Advances and was released simultaneously at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting here.


Cook and his colleagues reached their conclusion by comparing 17 different computer projections of 21st century climate with drought records of the past millennium, notably data in the North American Drought Atlas. (The atlas is based on extensive tree-ring studies conducted by Cook’s father, Edward, a researcher at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.) The models consistently demonstrated drought worse than at any time during that epoch, and worse than thecurrent drought out West, which has prevailed for 11 of the previous 14 years, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. In 2014 the drought cost California more than $2 billion in agricultural loses alone, according to the University of California, Davis.


The models also revealed that the drying in the Southwest would result from a combination of less rain and greater soil evaporation due to higher temperatures. They were not as conclusive about less rain in the central Great Plains but all showed more evaporation there. “Even where rain may not change much, greater evaporation will dry out the soils,” Cook says.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Dr. Gretchen Richards's curator insight, February 16, 3:33 PM

What contingency plans do you have in place for your home? office? community? school? church? medical and hospital facilities? Have you considered how you would like without access to water on a daily basis?

Rescooped by pdeppisch from Confidences Canopéennes!

Artful, Aerial Views of Humanity's Impact

Artful, Aerial Views of Humanity's Impact | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) |
Using aerial photographs that render imperiled landscapes almost abstract, Edward Burtynsky explores the consequences of human activity bearing down on the earth’s resources.

Via Seth Dixon, Christian Allié
Diane Johnson's curator insight, August 11, 2014 8:12 AM

These images may be very useful for teaching the DCI's under the Human Impact topic.

Alexandra Piggott's curator insight, August 11, 2014 6:48 PM

Is this evidence of homgeniziation of landscapes?

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, August 11, 2014 8:11 PM

People change landscapes. This is a great resource available as an iPad App also Called Burtynsky Water. 

Rescooped by pdeppisch from Geography Education!

The Last Drop: America's Breadbasket Faces Dire Water Crisis

The Last Drop: America's Breadbasket Faces Dire Water Crisis | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) |
Editor's note: This story is one in a series on a crisis in America's Breadbasket –the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer and its effects on a region that hel...

Via Seth Dixon
Linda Denty's curator insight, July 24, 2014 6:46 PM

Could this happen in Australia also?

Jamie Strickland's curator insight, July 25, 2014 10:46 AM

Thanks to my good friend, Seth Dixon for the original scoop.  There had been quite a bit of news reporting on the drought in central California this year, but this midwestern region has been experiencing water stress for years with little national attention.  I plan to use this article in both an upcoming presentation as well as an example when I teach "Tragedy of the Commons" in my Environmental Dilemma class.

Kate Buckland's curator insight, July 26, 2014 10:32 PM

Good to compare to how we use water resources in Australia

Rescooped by pdeppisch from Geography Education!

China's reliance on coal reduces life expectancy by 5.5 years, says study

China's reliance on coal reduces life expectancy by 5.5 years, says study | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) |

........"Linking the Chinese pollution data to mortality statistics from 1991 to 2000, the researchers found a sharp difference in mortality rates on either side of the border formed by the Huai River. They also found the variation to be attributable to cardiorespiratory illness, and not to other causes of death."


High levels of air pollution in northern China – much of it caused by an over-reliance on burning coal for heat – will cause 500 million people to lose an aggregate 2.5 billion years from their lives, the authors predict in the study, published in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, November 29, 2013 9:44 PM

We talked in class about how certain poor working conditions or pollution emissions are permissible in countries whose laws allow for such situations, and how countries like the US arrange for certain work to be done in those countries.  This 'work' stuff all centers around an ever-necessary "profit" that exists as a carrot being dangled in front of a horse as it runs all of its life, blinded to everything else.  It is almost cartoonish, that for a percentage increase in profit due to minimalized expenses, a moral businessman might yield and give in to the temptation of exposing workers to dangerous conditions... or that all businesses might do the same thing... It is socially dangerous; a hazard like bullying, or cheating, using others as human shields to collect the damage while someone else collects the benefits.  I don't think that any life form should be exposed to such unfairness, because it just does not resonate with my philosophical consciousness that any individual should have a better life than another (or worse).  And why make it worse for someone?  Why pollute their areas?  Why steal their natural resources?  Why... Capitalism at all?  I do not think greed is innate to human nature, because selflessness does occur, and is often leaned towards in conventional modern morality/ethics.  I think that the vicious cycle that capitalism puts us in causes us to self-servingly run around like angry rats trying to feed ourselves, which causes us to take out risks on other people, and polluting other people's living space.  It really is sad, because this planet is alive... there is so much life on this planet, assumedly and debateably from this planet, this planet that we consider our home.  To be killing ourselves by not keeping our home clean and healthy is like a very bad habit- it's like smoking.  And it is taking a toll on the planet, as well as its inhabitants

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 12, 2014 11:20 AM

This article and the accompanying resources describe the damage the pollution problem China has in its cities. China's economic desire to do things as cheaply as possible for the best profit margins has done significant damage to the air and now to its own people. By burning cheap coal to meet energy needs China has created a fairly toxic atmosphere in its Northern cities. The pollution is causing high rates of cardiorespiratory illness and even the government-controlled news can't keep quiet about the issue.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 15, 2014 5:28 PM

This article explains how China is burning an abundance of coal for heating. The Chinese population is over 1 billion; image the amount of coal that must be burned in order to supply heat for the people of northern China. Unfortunately, the burning coal is polluting the air and causing the Chinese to have lower life expectancies. China, along with other countries should start to find other ways to heat their homes. 

Rescooped by pdeppisch from Amazing Science!

World's population of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish has dropped a shocking 52 percent

World's population of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish has dropped a shocking 52 percent | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) |

The toll of human activity on the world's wildlife population over the past 40 years is devastating. The World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) recently released "2014 Living Planet Report"  shows that between 1970 and 2010, the population of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish around the globe has dropped a shocking 52 percent.


The report measures trends in three major areas: populations of more than ten thousand vertebrate species; human ecological footprint, a measure of consumption of goods, greenhouse gas emissions; and existing biocapacity, the amount of natural resources for producing food, freshwater, and sequestering carbon.


The report says that the majority of high-income countries are increasingly consuming more per person than the planet can accommodate; maintaining per capita ecological footprints greater than the amount of biocapacity available per person. People in middle- and low-income countries have seen little increase in their per capita footprints over the same time period.


The report underscores that the declining trends are not inevitable. To achieve globally sustainable development, each country’s per capita ecological footprint must be less than the per capita biocapacity available on the planet, while maintaining a decent standard of living.

At the conclusion of the report, WWF recommends three things:


Accelerate shift to smarter food and energy productionReduce ecological footprint through responsible consumption at the personal, corporate and government levelsValue natural capital as a cornerstone of policy and development decisions

Via Lauren Moss, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Nuno Gaspar de Oliveira's curator insight, October 16, 2014 5:52 AM

It's capital, the real capital, and it's disappearing #naturalcapital

LEONARDO WILD's curator insight, January 15, 7:32 AM

When talking about "Global Warming" we think of the wrong processes—we take the median to be the issue, when in fact it's the weather extremes that cause the greatest havoc—yet still, "Climate Change" does not give the full picture, either. "Climate" refers to one meta-process, while "Change" is a word that many embrace as potentially positive. "Planetary Upheaval" may be a more generally accurate description of what we are facing.

Rescooped by pdeppisch from Geography Education!

The world's megacities that are sinking 10 times faster than water levels are rising

The world's megacities that are sinking 10 times faster than water levels are rising | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) |
Scientists have issued a new warning to the world’s coastal megacities that the threat from subsiding land is a more immediate problem than rising sea levels caused by global warming.


"A new paper from the Deltares Research Institute in the Netherlands published in April identified regions of the globe where the ground level is falling 10 times faster than water levels are rising - with human activity often to blame.

In Jakarta, Indonesia’s largest city, the population has grown from around half a million in the 1930s to just under 10 million today, with heavily populated areas dropping by as much as six and a half feet as groundwater is pumped up from the Earth to drink.

The same practice led to Tokyo’s ground level falling by two meters before new restrictions were introduced, and in Venice, this sort of extraction has only compounded the effects of natural subsidence caused by long-term geological processes."


Tags: coastal, climate change, urban, megacities, water, environment, urban ecology.

Via Seth Dixon
Adilson Camacho's curator insight, August 2, 2014 12:32 AM


Matt Evan Dobbie's curator insight, August 2, 2014 6:55 PM

Huge problem when combined with sea level rise

MsPerry's curator insight, August 12, 2014 6:53 PM


Rescooped by pdeppisch from Amazing Science!

Promising solution: Bioplastic made from shrimp shells

Promising solution: Bioplastic made from shrimp shells | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) |

"or many people, “plastic” is a one-word analog for environmental disaster. It is made from precious petroleum, after all, and once discarded in landfills and oceans, it takes centuries to degrade.


Then came apparent salvation: “bioplastics,” durable substances made from renewable cellulose, a plant-based polysaccharide. But problems remained. For one, the current bioplastics do not fully degrade in the environment. For another, their use is now limited to packaging material or simple containers for food and drink.


Now researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have introduced a new bioplastic isolated from shrimp shells. It’s made from chitosan, a form of chitin — the second-most abundant organic material on Earth.


Chitin, a tough polysaccharide, is the main ingredient in the hardy shells of crustaceans, the armorlike cuticles of insects, and even the flexible wings of butterflies.


The Wyss Institute makes its shrilk from chitin from shrimp shells, most which would otherwise be discarded or used in fertilizer or makeup, and a fibroin protein from silk. Researchers discussed it in a March online study in the journal Macromolecular Materials & Engineering.


Shrilk is cheaply and easily fabricated by a novel method that preserves chitosan’s strong mechanical properties. The researchers said that for the first time, this tough, transparent, and renewable material can be used to make large, 3-D objects with complex shapes using traditional casting or injection-molding techniques. That means objects made from shrilk can be mass-manufactured and will be as robust as items made with the everyday plastics used in toys and cell phones.


“There is an urgent need in many industries for sustainable materials that can be mass produced,” Wyss Director Donald E. Ingber said in March. “Our scalable manufacturing method shows that chitosan, which is readily available and inexpensive, can serve as a viable bioplastic that could potentially be used instead of conventional plastics for numerous industrial applications.” This environmentally safe alternative to plastic could also be used to make trash bags, packaging, and diapers."

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Marco Bertolini's curator insight, May 6, 2014 11:28 AM

Des plastiques bio fabriqués à partir de la chitine des crevettes...

satish's curator insight, May 7, 2014 2:03 AM

टिकाऊपण, लवचिकता आणि सक्षमता यामुळे प्लॅस्टिकचा वापर विविध क्षेत्रामध्ये मोठ्या प्रमाणात वाढला आहे. मात्र, त्याच वेळी त्याच्या अविघटनशीलतेमुळे प्लॅस्टिकचे प्रदुषणही वेगाने वाढत आहे. त्यामुळे विघटनशील असे जैवप्लॅस्टिक विकसित करण्यासाठी जगभरामध्ये सातत्याने संशोधन होत आहे. मात्र, सध्या उपलब्ध असलेलेजैव प्लॅस्टिकचा वापर अत्यंत मर्यादीत कारणांसाठी होऊ शकतो. त्यातही खाद्यपदार्थांचे पॅकेजिंग आणि पेयपात्रासाठी सामान्यतः केला जातो. तसेच हे जैव प्लॅस्टिकही अत्यंत कमी वेगाने विघटीत होते. या साऱ्या समस्यावर मात करण्यासाठी हार्वर्ड विद्यापीठातील वायस इन्स्टिट्यूट फॉर बायोलॉजिकल इन्स्पायर्ड येथील संशोधकांनी कोळंबीच्या कवचापासून जैव प्लॅस्टिक वेगळे केले आहे.


प्लॅस्टिकच्या अविघटनशीलतेमुळे होणारे प्रदुषण रोखण्यासाठी हे जैव प्लॅस्टिक अत्यंत उपयुक्त ठरेल.

Rescooped by pdeppisch from Geography Education!

Human/Environmental Interactions

"The collapse of the Aral Sea ecosystem is (arguably) the worst man-made environmental disaster of the 20th century.  Soviet mismanagement, water-intensive cotton production and population growth have all contributed the overtaxing of water resources in the Aral Sea basin, which has resulted in a the shrinking of the Aral Sea--it has lost more of the sea to an expanding desert than the territories of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg combined.  The health problems arising from this issues are large for the entire Aral Sea basin, which encompasses 5 Central Asian countries and it has profoundly changed (for the worse) the local climates. "

Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 20, 2013 1:11 PM

This has to be one of the most telling video of an environmental disaster I have even seen.  A whole sea, 26,000 square miles, bigger than the state of West Virginia, is bascially gone due to Soviet mismanagement.  This is an environmental disaster now that the Russians do not have to deal with as it is now located in the independant country of Kazakhstan.  It effects them as well as the new countries that have come to be withthe collapse of the USSR.  Seems Russian dodged this just like Chernobyl.  This is something we need to lean from, on how not to use a natural resource until it literally has dried up.

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 2014 12:24 PM

The Aral Sea, located in Central Asia is a very important water source for the entire region.  Unfortunately, the Soviet Union designated this water sources as one which would provide water to rice and cotton crops, which are both very water-intensive crops.  This has resulted in desertification of the area due to the cyclical shrinking volume of the lake.  Sands and chemicals are now free to blow around, affecting people's health.  This is one of the best examples on earth of environmental exploitation due to a lack of environmental planning.  When the lake dries up, the inhabitants of the surrounding countries will be in huge trouble.

Giselle Figueroa's curator insight, October 6, 2014 10:38 PM

The Aral Sea was a source of food for the residents, as it was home to thousands of fish and water was used to irrigate crops.Also acted as a climate regulator. Therefore, its virtual disappearance has caused winters and summers are extreme.Today the drought is considered one of the greatest ecological disasters caused by man. scientists estimated that the Aral sea will disappear before 2020. A plan to expand the cultivation of cotton throughout Central Asia and thus a system of canals for irrigation that significantly decreased the amount of water reaching the Aral Sea. It angers me to see that the human has being causing many natural disasters.