Amazon blazes could speed climate change

first_img A red oak live tweets climate change GAZETTE: With the Amazon’s dry season set to peak in September, what could happen next?FARRELL: That depends on several factors having to do with the somewhat unpredictable pattern of the weather, particularly winds and rain that could either make the situation worse or lessen the effects of the fires. Plus, of course, there is the potential influence of national efforts to quell the fires. But the very fact that we could reach the tipping point this year should be enough to focus world attention on this crisis, just as if an asteroid were headed toward Earth. Where it lands is not the concern only of the country impacted, but everyone on the planet. The Amazon fire is like that, a local problem of global significance. Yanomami leader and shaman Davi Kopenawa talks about climate change and the rain forest in advance of conference As water temperatures increase, so does risk of exposure to toxic methylmercury ‘We can do our part to stop the destruction’ Relatedcenter_img Mercury levels in fish are on the rise Tree in Harvard Forest outfitted with sensors, cameras, and other digital equipment sends out on-the-ground coverage Thousands of fires raging across the Amazon, many deliberately set by loggers, ranchers, and others seeking to clear land, have triggered public outrage in recent weeks and prompted climate experts to warn of a fast-approaching point of no return for the lush jungle that covers more than 2 million square miles and extends into nine countries. The rich rainforest is critical to the Earth’s climate, influencing weather systems, generating oxygen, and absorbing huge amounts of carbon dioxide — the heat-trapping greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Harvard’s Brian Farrell, director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Monique and Philip Lehner Professor for the Study of Latin America, curator of entomology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, and professor of biology, has conducted research in the Amazon for decades. He spoke to the Gazette recently about what the fires mean for the future of the planet.Q&ABrian FarrellGAZETTE: Can you outline the work you have been doing in the Amazon and whether the fires are affecting it?FARRELL: At any one moment, several Organismic and Evolutionary Biology students are conducting their thesis research somewhere in the Amazon. My newly graduated Ph.D. student from Brazil, Bruno de Medeiros, has focused his research on insects associated with pollinating the palms now threatened by the fires. The regions where I conducted research in the 1980s in the Peruvian Amazon are now also under threat.GAZETTE: Are these fires a common occurrence? Are they worse this year than in the past, and if so, why?FARRELL: Natural fires are not uncommon in any forest ecosystem, but they rarely spread far in the wet forests of the Amazon. The current fires were set deliberately to clear land for cattle ranching and other activities and are more than double this year compared to previous years. While there are no doubt many different people responsible for setting the thousands of fires now burning, they are no doubt all encouraged by a recent weakening of environmental policiesas well as enforcement [in Brazil, where most of the Amazon is situated].GAZETTE: What do the fires mean for the biodiversity of the Amazon, and for the indigenous populations living there?FARRELL: These widespread fires are driving wildlife away from their habitats and territories, with resulting catastrophic losses. The life and livelihoods of the Yanomami and other indigenous peoples are under threat not seen since the first Europeans entered South America. The fires are spreading like a contagion. The great fear is that the loss of habitat will cross a threshold of no return, a tipping point for transformation of climate cycles that will result in new rainfall patterns. The rainfall cycles in the Amazon depend on transfer of water through rainforest plants to the atmosphere, where it eventually condenses as rain that is delivered over a very broad region, again sustaining rainforest plants as well as much of the continent. If fire removes the plant life responsible for moving water up into the clouds, the land will dry and rainforests will be replaced by grasslands able to withstand the newly arid conditions, which can persist for thousands of years. This has occurred in the Americas and elsewhere in prehistoric times. The economic and ecological consequences for the cities that today depend on these sources of atmospheric water, as well as the natural ecosystems and indigenous peoples they support, will be devastating. “The very fact that we could reach the tipping point this year should be enough to focus world attention on this crisis, just as if an asteroid were headed toward Earth. Where it lands is not the concern only of the country impacted, but everyone on the planet.” GAZETTE: Similarly, what does it mean for the environment when so many trees that help absorb carbon dioxide go up in smoke?FARRELL: As the largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon’s storage of carbon is substantial enough to change the world climate if it were released into the atmosphere. This is a risk for the entire planet.GAZETTE: As you mentioned above, many of the fires have been intentionally set, in large part by Brazilian farmers and ranchers looking to clear their land. Are there ways Brazil’s growing agriculture sector can work to limit its impact on the rainforest?FARRELL: The production of cattle and soybeans is one of the least-sustainable and less economically valuable uses of the rainforests. Analyses by the scientists and economists associated with leading climate change authority, scientist Carlos Nobre, clearly show alternative approaches to sustainable extraction that also carry benefits of education and infrastructure development. Through the Amazonian Third Way Initiative, Nobre has shown how the value of pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, and other natural plant products yield much greater value per hectare of standing forest than soybeans or cattle production. And these products are sustainably extracted. Think of acai as one example. What is needed, however, is a workforce that is educated to know how to collect and process these products.GAZETTE: What responsibility do industrialized nations have to help protect natural resources throughout the developing world? Are we doing enough?FARRELL: Conservationists have realized that we must tackle poverty and conservation at the same time while respecting local sovereignty. Many have argued that there are sufficient economic resources as well as practical approaches available to turn things around on both fronts. The limiting factor is the political will to favor long-term solutions over short-term advantages. This is as true here in the U.S.A. as it is elsewhere.,GAZETTE: Many blame Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s pro-development policies for helping encourage deforestation. Can internal and external pressure change the political situation on the ground?FARRELL: It is very clear that sufficiently strong internal protests combined with external sanctions can have effects on government policies anywhere in the world, but these require political will at every level.GAZETTE: At the same time, isn’t it true that countries should have the right to govern their natural resources as they see fit, as the U.S. did for generations as it became a global superpower?FARRELL: Absolutely. Governments that well represent the will of the people are also members of global economic communities. No country is an island. We in the Americas and around the world share common interests that may help guide us toward a sustainable management of resources. There is the concept of the tragedy of the commons. World climate and world oceans are such commons that may either benefit everyone or decline beyond recovery, depending on how they are managed. Lack of management is the option that results in tragic loss of a common good.last_img read more

Justice Friday returns to SMC

first_imgSaint Mary’s associate professor of communicative disorders Susan Latham spoke about “Parenting with Disability” Friday afternoon as part of the Justice Education Department’s weekly Justice Friday series.Latham said parents with disability have the right to raise their own children without interference.“When we look at the evolution of parenting in the disability community, we know that these individuals have the desire to become parents regardless of cultural and political boundaries,” she said. “This is a desire many people have.”Many people with disabilities face legal, personal and medical resistance to their dream of being a parent, Latham said, resistance encouraged by the disability stigma.“What happens is people base the ability [to parent] on the disability rather than the behavior itself,” she said.Latham addressed the disability stigma through a video about Miles Forma, a young man with cerebral palsy. Doctors, parents and tutors held different perspectives on Forma’s ability to function with disability, but Latham said the one perspective that mattered was Forma’s, who gave a speech at his Bar Mitzvah against all odds.“How would you feel if people thought things like ‘You’ll never do much of anything’ or that maybe you don’t have the same life plan as someone else because you have a physical disability, based on the stigma around disability?” Latham said. “We have to step back and think about whose desires are these versus our perceptions. [Forma] wants us to understand that he has the same dreams.”The Earl family achieved a similar dream, Latham said, the dream to marry and have a family despite disability. The couple met in an assisted living home, married and eventually had a daughter in East Lansing, Michigan, where Latham said they later faced legal challenges in raising their daughter.“There was a quiet effort to take the child away … based on only the premise that they were two individuals with disabilities,” she said.After fighting a legal battle, Latham said the Earls were able to keep their daughter.Although numerous technologies are available for parents like the Earls to raise their children, Latham said programs are necessary to train parents with disability to use these technologies.“Fairness is not everyone getting the same thing,” she said. “Fairness is everyone getting what he or she needs.”The 20th-century eugenics movement, during which more than 65,000 Americans were involuntarily sterilized for reasons including mental retardation and disabilities, highlights the significance of the issue, Latham said.“Even today, 24 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, several states still have some form of involuntary sterilization laws on their book,” she said. “Women with disabilities today still contend with corrosive tactics to encourage sterilization, to encourage them to have abortions because they are deemed unfit for motherhood, not based on their capacity to parent but based on their having a disability.“Despite this harrowing history, many people with disabilities still choose to become parents.”In her experience working with parents with disability, Latham said she sees numerous examples of success. For many children, having a parent with a disability teaches them to respect those who are different and look past the disabilities of classmates, she said.Parents with disabilities face challenges in social acceptance, education and income, Latham said. These are the arenas that need to become more adaptive in order to assist parents in achieving their goals, she said.“When we think about the dignity of human beings and what people’s desires are, rather than saying you can’t achieve these desires, we need to ask ‘How can we help you achieve them?’” Latham said.The next Justice Friday lecture will take place Nov. 7 at 12 p.m.Tags: disability, Justice Fridays, Miles Forma, parenting, Susan Lathamlast_img read more

College hosts leading African women’s theologian

first_imgThe “mother of African women’s theology,” Mercy Amba Oduyoye, served as the honorary speaker of the 33rd annual Madeleva Lecture in the Carroll Auditorium at Saint Mary’s on Thursday evening. In her lecture titled “African Women’s Theologies, Spirituality and Healing,” Oduyoye discussed her work in founding the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians and their development of spiritual practices of resistance and healing relative to violence against women.College President Jan Cervelli said elevating the contributions of women in theology has been the primary purpose of the Madeleva Lecture series since its inception.“The common thread of all the Madeleva lectures for the past 33 years is that women are dedicated to changing the way we understand and respond to the world around us,” she said. “What makes Saint Mary’s mission so distinct is what an enlightening evening like tonight highlights. It highlights a sense of discovery of what it means to embrace our core values of faith and spirituality with learning and community and justice.”Empowering women to work for justice is Oduyoye’s life work and is central to the mission of Saint Mary’s, not only as a Catholic institution, but as a women’s college as well, Cervelli said.“Mercy has had great influence on helping women around the world retrieve and share their own stories and in turn, nurturing person-oriented involvement in church and society,” she said. “That key objective is very much in line with Saint Mary’s mission as a Catholic college. We guide and challenge our students here to discover the connections between the mind, the heart and the soul.”Oduyoye introduced the audience to the Circle of African Women’s Theologians’ work for women’s empowerment in West, East and Southern Africa.“The women who formed part of the circles were not merely professionally-trained theologians, but also included laywomen who were deeply engaged in religious communities, like my grandmother theologian who sang her theology,” she said. “The women’s circle is also multi-religious. It represents a vision of solidarity and an inward self-critique of destructive cultural and religious practices that conditioned women into self-abnegation. If a woman is not at ease in her own home, how can she thrive in the wider community?”For decades leading up to the 21st century, Oduyoye said, the world and African culture have changed. However, she said, women are still expected to remain submissive and self-giving in our society.“Violence such as physical battering, psychological and verbal abuse and the denial of women and conjugal rights are diseases in our community,” she said. “This source of ill-health for women was for long hidden under the cloth of privacy. African women were admonished not to wash their dirty linen in public, so their wounds pestered. It became cancerous, spreading to all aspects of domestic relations and turning homes that should be havens into hell-holes for women.”Every illness, Oduyoye said, does not only affect one’s physical being, but also one’s spiritual being.“Healing from ill health can only come if we change our conception of who God is,” she said. “God is not a man, not me, but a God of compassion. It is the right of God’s creation, including humanity, to live what God saw and pronounced good in the present state of creation. However, today we’re living in a world where the women themselves are wounded. And these wounded healers are the ones that the whole community is dependent upon to do the healing.”Oduyoye highlighted a means to promote this healing through dialogue and discussion.“When people feel that they are heard, even that can be therapeutic,” she said. “Somebody has to talk about these difficult issues in order for healing to exist. We need to talk about masculinity and what it means to be a man in a community. My hope and the hope of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians is that we can ultimately help and heal the many wounds in our communities.”Tags: circle of concerned african women theologians, Jan Cervelli, Madeleva Lecturelast_img read more

Pop Star Meghan Trainor Has Nothin’ But a Good Time at Rock of Ages

first_imgIt’s no secret that pop star Meghan Trainor is all about that bass—in fact, it’s the name of her hit single! She visited Broadway’s Rock of Ages on December 11, 2014 to get a dose of some seriously bass-a-licious ‘80s rock, and after the show, Trainor stopped backstage to hang out with video blogger Frankie J. Grande, Constantine Maroulis and the cast. Check out these snapshots from Trainor’s Broadway visit, then catch Rock of Ages through January 18, 2015 at the Helen Hayes Theatre! Related Shows View Comments Rock of Ages Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 18, 2015last_img read more

San Jose Scale

first_imgSan Jose Scale is predicted to be particularly bad this year for peach growers, as this pest is active in temperatures over 51 degrees Fahrenheit, “so we’ve already had a lot of days for this pest population to grow,” said University of Georgia Peach Entomologist Brett Blaauw.“This pest is so pervasive in the southeast that we really don’t recommend scouting because it’s time and labor-intensive and not always accurate. We know this pest exists in every orchard and we know it will need to be managed,” explained Blaauw. As such, every year two applications of horticultural oil should be applied to the trees while they are dormant.As we approach spring, Blaauw recommends making one application of a dormant horticultural oil (“delayed dormant”) just before buds turn pink. A 1% to 1.5% oil solution can be applied alone or mixed with an insect growth regulator, especially if you have had a history dealing with this insect in your orchards.“Full coverage is key, so the standard recommendation is 200 gallons per acre, but if trees have been pruned, you can knock that rate down to 100 gallons per acre and you’ll actually see better control,” explained Blaauw of the synergistic effect of pruning and spraying.“One caution regarding pruning,” said Blaauw. “As the temperature warms, pruning trees may trigger them to bloom. So, if the weather predictions hold true this year, it may be wiser for folks to go ahead and spray at the higher rate and wait to prune their trees once we are past the risk of a possible late frost.”The fear of losing new blooms due to late frosts are all too common for peach growers in the southeast, so Blaauw suggests applying horticultural oils prior to or at the onset of bud swell, which usually occurs between the end of January and mid-February for most growers in Georgia. This time of the year it is important to watch the temperature because oil applications may cause considerable tree injury if applied when daily low is below 28 degrees Fahrenheit or daily high is over 65 degrees Fahrenheit, or the two- to three-day forecast includes a harsh cold snap.If growers intend on applying a sulfur fungicide, which is more of an issue later in the season, they’ll need to make sure to apply their horticultural oil two weeks prior to the sulfur application, instructed Blaauw.“Sulfur reacts with oils to form plant-damaging compounds that may burn leaves or even defoliate trees, so just make sure you allow for a two-week gap between those applications,” he said.For more information on insect pest management in peaches, visit the UGA Peach Blog or refer to UGA Extension Bulletin 1171.last_img read more

VMEC Brings New Impact-Driven Workshop Schedule to Vermont Manufacturers

first_imgThe Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center (VMEC) has launched its Fall 2003 – Spring 2004 workshop season. VMEC’s 30 public workshops are located throughout Vermont and cover a wide range of manufacturing topics, includinglean manufacturing, supply chain management, new product development, strategic planning, and industrial marketing. Upon request, throughout the year the Center also holds “on site” workshops at many Vermont manufacturingplants.Each of the 13 distinct workshops addresses the unique challenges facing Vermont manufacturers in today’s global economy. Experienced, professional presenters give attendees practical, proven tools and ideas that they cantake back to their companies and immediately begin using.”I have attended a number of VMEC workshops. Every one I have participated in has covered material pertinent to our operations at Vermont Pure,” said Dave Bullis, Plant Manager at Vermont Pure Holdings in Randolph. “I havebeen able to gain valuable insight into various areas of our business. More importantly, my colleagues and I have acquired tools we have been able to take back to our workplace and use to improve the business.”VMEC is offering the following public workshops through December 2003:Total Productive Maintenance:Oct. 14, 2003 Holiday Inn, RutlandAttendees will explore, identify and learn how to eliminate the 6 major equipment related wastes within a manufacturing environment.Value Stream Mapping:Oct. 24, 2003 Clarion Hotel, BurlingtonBuild on the principles of Lean 101 by learning how to identify waste and areas for improvement within your organization. The elements of this course make up the foundation for the “House of Lean.”NEW Supply Chain Essentials:Oct. 29, 2003 Clarion Hotel, BurlingtonThis workshop will explore economic and business benefits of supply chain management, appropriate performance metrics, key best practices and an assessment framework that can be simply applied encompassing the fourfundamental processes of Plan, Source, Make and Deliver.Cellular Flow Manufacturing: Nov. 11, 2003 Capitol Plaza Hotel, MontpelierParticipants will learn the 5-step process for designing and implementing work cells to reduce lead times and optimize floor space usage.NEW Strategic & Long Range Planning: Nov 19, 2003 Clarion Hotel, BurlingtonLearn practical methods and tactics for developing and implementing a “living and breathing” strategic plan for your organization.Performance Measurements for Lean Manufacturing: Dec 4, 2003 Clarion Hotel, BurlingtonThis workshop presents a series of standard, tried-and-true performance measures used in Lean production cells.Techniques in Pull/Kanban:Dec.10, 2003 Clarion Hotel, BurlingtonThis workshop teaches participants how to design and implement visual, customer-driven pull/kanban material replenishment systems.Through a working partnership with the Vermont Training Program of the Department of Economic Development, VMEC is pleased to offer a $100 discount to Vermont manufacturers, reducing the $250 workshop registration fee to $150 per person. Register early to ensure you receive this discount.A complete listing of courses, including dates, locations and descriptions, as well as an on-line registration service, can be found on the website at is external).last_img read more

Vermont gets $5.7 million for local renewable energy and ‘smart grid’ efforts

first_imgSenators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) have announced $5.7 million in federal funding to help Vermont households utilize ‘smart meter’ systems and install solar thermal and solar hot water technologies.The non-profit Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, which operates Efficiency Vermont, will administer a $700,000 project to complement smart grid technology being deployed across the state due to an earlier $69 million stimulus investment.  This outreach project will install energy use monitors and provide information and access to technical support to help approximately 750 low-income households better understand their energy use and identify savings opportunities. In addition, the US Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program has awarded $5 million in federal stimulus funding for solar thermal and solar hot water technologies through local agencies in Barre, Burlington, Derby, Hinesburg, Rutland, St Johnsbury, and Westminster. Leahy said, ‘Vermont is a national leader in using the Weatherization Program’s stimulus funds for cost and energy savings for low-income households.  It’s encouraging that so many local agencies have come together to ensure that these investments are made in our state.  With our older housing stock and longer winters, these investments are likely to save Vermont families far more than the national average of $400 a year in reduced energy costs.’Sanders said, ‘There is little doubt in my mind that in the years to come the energy mix in this state will be very different than it is today ‘ with a far greater reliance on energy efficiency and sustainable energy.  This federal support will be a major step forward in moving our state toward a greener economy.’Welch, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and author of the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act, said, ‘For years, Vermont has led the way in showing the nation that investing in energy efficiency creates jobs, saves homeowners money and reduces harmful carbon emissions. This additional $5.7 million award recognizes Vermont’s past successes, while paving the way for future savings.’Source: Vermont congressional delegation. WASHINGTON, August 26, 2010last_img read more

Wyoming editorial: Trump bailout looks backward; it’s time to move forward

first_imgWyoming editorial: Trump bailout looks backward; it’s time to move forward FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Casper Star-Tribune:Coal powers homes throughout the nation, and it helps fuel Wyoming’s economy. For many, it keeps the lights on in more ways than one.When coal busted in 2015, Wyomingites were among those hit hardest in the nation. And though things are starting to look up for the industry, the golden days of coal are likely over.But instead of looking to coal’s new future, the Trump administration is seeking to prop up its past.As Wyoming politicians are fond of saying, it isn’t the job of the federal government to pick winners and losers in business. If the Trump administration eliminates subsidies for renewable energies, or dismantles the Clean Power Plan in order to reduce some of the regulatory burden on the industry, that’s one way to deliver on campaign promises.But this bailout is going too far.Coal’s place in the energy sector has changed. Investing in our past will only shortchange us in the future.More: Editorial board: Trump’s coal bailout is a short-sighted planlast_img read more

Cordray asks Trump to veto arbitration resolution

first_img continue reading » 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr CFPB Director Richard Cordray Monday made a personal appeal to President Trump to veto a congressional resolution nullifying the agency’s arbitration rule.“Many have told me I am wasting my time writing this letter – that your mind is made up and that your advisors already have made their intentions clear,” Cordray said in a letter to Trump.The Senate last week approved a resolution that would nullify the CFPB’s rule, which would restrict the use of mandatory arbitration agreements in financial contracts. The House had already passed the resolution.Trump Administration officials have already signaled the president’s intention to sign the resolution.But in his letter, Cordray said the rule is simply about protecting people who want to file suit “to right the wrongs done to them.”last_img read more

Dunn steps down from chief financial role at Gatwick | News

first_imgHe added: “Nick is a strategic thinker and has contributed hugely as part of my team.  “I wish him the very best of luck and every success with the next stage of his career.”Gatwick deputy chief financial officer, Lorenzo Rebel, will take up the role on an interim basis while Gatwick begins the search for a permanent replacement. OlderDoors open at Radisson Hotel & Convention Centre, Johannesburg, O.R. Tambo- Advertisement – Gatwick chief financial officer, Nick Dunn, has stepped down from the role in order to take up a new career opportunity with CityFibre.He will assume the chief financial officer role with the alternative digital infrastructure provider. – Advertisement – Dunn joined Gatwick in 2010, building up a strong finance team and playing a significant role in the development and growth of the airport over the past ten years.Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick Airport, said: “I would personally like to thank Nick for all of his efforts at Gatwick. “I am proud to have worked closely with him over the past ten years, especially during the significant changes of recent times, which have been unprecedented in Gatwick’s history.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more