Environment

Shaw to Expand South Carolina Carpet Fiber Plant

PR Web - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 00:32

Shaw Industries Group, Inc. (Shaw) has announced it is investing at least $45 million in its Lexington County, S.C. carpet fiber plant for additional capacity for both nylon and polyester production....

(PRWeb August 26, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12926861.htm

Categories: Environment

Kids toss out fruits and veggies from school lunches, researchers find

Grist.org - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 23:37

Telling kids they have to eat something is not a winning strategy. I know this both as a parent of two small girls (and as an immature adult myself). If I want my 4-year-old to try her beans, I have to somehow trick her into thinking it’s her own idea.

New research suggests this phenomenon may be playing out in school lunchrooms. A paper published Tuesday in Public Health Reports found that students in two schools were actually eating less fruit and vegetables after new rules from the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act made the produce compulsory. The kids took more apples and salads (they had no choice) — but they also threw more in the trash.

The researchers photographed the lunch trays before the students sat down to eat, and again as they headed for the garbage cans.

Sarah Amin

The students didn’t eat a whole lot less fruit and veggies. “It was only about a tablespoon less, in terms of consumption,” said Sarah Amin, lead author of the paper. But this evidence does add some weight to the critique by the School Nutrition Association, which has argued that the new rules make the lunch programs too expensive and made the food unappealing to students. The U.S. Government Accountability Office also noticed a sharp drop-off in the number of students taking school lunches, and offered its own recommendations.

Sarah Amin snaps a picture of a student’s lunch.

Other researchers studying this policy have had different results. Harvard researchers found an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption. Utah State researchers found that young kids (first-third graders) were eating more fruit and veggies, while older ones (fourth and fifth graders) were eating less. Amin said these different results probably reflect different populations. “No one should extrapolate too much from our results. It’s just one snapshot of a bigger picture,” she said.

Despite her somewhat discouraging findings, Amin thinks the efforts to improve student nutrition are probably working. “Overall we are very optimistic,” she said. There’s more that cafeterias could do to make healthy foods appealing to children, she said, but added, “It’s also really important to cultivate whole-fruit and vegetable preferences. Kids just might need more time being exposed to these foods.”

As a parent, I’ve seen this principle in action: A kid might refuse her broccoli at four dinners, and then try it and gobble it down on the fifth try. The finding from Utah suggests that younger kids are more willing to go with the new rules, and Amin said it will be interesting to see how students who have known no other system develop their food norms.

Sarah Amin

Congress is supposed to decide whether to reauthorize the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act next month. A recent survey suggests that average Americans think school lunches are getting better under the law.


Filed under: Article, Food, Politics
Categories: Environment

Could climate change kill the Christmas movie?

Grist.org - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 23:24

In case disappearing coastlines, hellish wildfires, and starving baby sea lions aren’t enough to make you care about climate change, maybe this will: Global temperature rise could kill the Christmas movie.

Vanity Fair reports that climate change is making it difficult for Hollywood to produce films set in winter. According to Fargo executive producer Warren Littlefield, temperatures were so unseasonably warm while filming the TV show in Calgary, Alberta, in 2014 that they actually had to truck in snow. “They’d bring back these huge blocks of snow and then we had kind of a wood chipper that worked through these blocks of snow and ice and then just spit it out into a spray,” Littlefield told Vanity Fair. Not exactly what you’d expect from that wood chipper.

From Vanity Fair:

Climate change is no breaking news story — but it’s one that Hollywood, an industry built on the forging of fantasies, is increasingly confronting. And it’s something that a business famed for its control freaks, from auteur directors to studio heads, has no power over. Mother Earth has been throwing Hollywood climate curveballs with increasing frequency, reminding the town that she is more powerful than Ari Gold, Harvey Weinstein, and Scientology combined. And it has the potential, it seems, to get worse.

Unfortunately for Hollywood (and the planet), the disappearing snowpack in locations like Calgary or Lone Pine, Calif. — a town whose snowcapped mountains have been featured in more than 300 films — means either creating your own snow, like they did for Fargo, or moving elsewhere. And while some big-budget directors could move production to Siberia or the Himalayas or Argentina, it’s not just expensive, it ultimately makes the problem worse.

It’s not just snow that’s the issue. It’s also dirt. From Vanity Fair:

On the other side of the globe, months later, director Baltasar Kormákur was grappling with one of the most fatal effects of these fluctuating temperature waves while filming his biographical disaster drama Everest in Italy. A native of Iceland, Kormákur had initially planned to shoot in his home country, but the glaciers there are becoming blacker and ashier—no longer the crisp, white ice sheets seen in science books—and he did not think it was the right look for his film.

When Iceland proved too ashy, Kormákur moved to the Italian Alps … where an avalanche very rudely wiped out his set. Later, they moved production to Everest itself, and were filming in Camp II when an avalanche killed 16 climbers last year.

Hollywood is far from the only industry facing disruption from climate change, and unlike, say, ski resorts, they can always CGI their way to a snowy landscape. Besides, this could all be a temporary problem: As snow disappears from our planet, it may disappear from our storylines as well.

 


Filed under: Article, Living
Categories: Environment

Scientists try to replicate climate denier findings and fail

Grist.org - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 22:20

Does the Ted Cruz in you ever wonder whether global warming really is just a hoax? Whether skeptics really are the Galileos of our time? Whether climate scientists really do just want to make money? Well, wonder no more. A group of researchers just tried to replicate 38 peer-reviewed studies that support skeptic talking points, and surprise! They ran into some trouble.

In a paper published last week in the journal Theoretical and Applied Climatology, the researchers reported a number of problems with the 38 studies, including questionable physics and incomplete data sets. They also found that some of the studies were published in peer-reviewed journals that didn’t specialize in climate science, and therefore probably didn’t have the proper experts looking over the work.

One of the most common problems the researchers encountered was something called “cherry-picking.” Not to be confused with actual cherry-picking (which is now endangered thanks to climate change), data cherry-picking is a big science no-no in which researchers falsify results by including only the data that support those results and not the data that don’t.

Dana Nuccitelli, one of the coauthors of the study, gave an example of such cherry-picking in an article he wrote for the Guardian. In the example, Nuccitelli and his colleagues were trying to reproduce a 2011 study linking climate change to the moon and solar cycles:

When we tried to reproduce their model of the lunar and solar influence on the climate, we found that the model only simulated their temperature data reasonably accurately for the 4,000-year period they considered. However, for the 6,000 years’ worth of earlier data they threw out, their model couldn’t reproduce the temperature changes. The authors argued that their model could be used to forecast future climate changes, but there’s no reason to trust a model forecast if it can’t accurately reproduce the past.

As long as we’re predicting the future with a faulty model of the past, give me your hand — I’ll tell you how happy you’ll be in 10 years. And speaking of magic, another problem that Nuccitelli and his colleagues came across in multiple studies was a disregard for basic physics:

In another example, Ferenc Miskolczi argued in 2007 and 2010 papers that the greenhouse effect has become saturated, but as I also discuss in my book, the ‘saturated greenhouse effect’ myth was debunked in the early 20th century. As we note in the supplementary material to our paper, Miskolczi left out some important known physics in order to revive this century-old myth.

Dubious physics came up again in the context of “curve fitting” — what scientists do when they fit data to a certain trend like rising temperatures. It’s pretty easy to abuse this practice, otherwise known as “mathturbation” or “graph cooking,” as Nuccitelli points out on the website Skeptical Science. Take, for example, the time that Peabody Energy found a positive correlation between life expectancy and coal use. In order to do it right, Nuccitelli writes in the Guardian, scientists should at least obey the laws of physics:

Good modeling will constrain the possible values of the parameters being used so that they reflect known physics, but bad ‘curve fitting’ doesn’t limit itself to physical realities. For example, we discuss research by Nicola Scafetta and Craig Loehle, who often publish papers trying to blame global warming on the orbital cycles of Jupiter and Saturn.

OK — so these contrarian studies are a bit dodgy. But then again, Galileo wasn’t perfect, either. When it came to understanding how tides worked, he was totally off! Granted, he was at least obeying the laws of physics as scientists understood them at the time, but who knows? Maybe these climate change contrarians just know something that we don’t.

Fortunately, Nuccitelli and his colleagues made the software that they used for their research open source, so anyone can replicate their replications. And then someone else can replicate their replication of the replications, and so on and so forth until we’re all burnt to a crisp and microbes have taken over the Earth.


Filed under: Climate & Energy, Science
Categories: Environment

Famous folks call for noisy climate activism ahead of Paris talks

Grist.org - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 21:47

Le dérèglement climatique tue, proclaims a new campaign. “Climate change kills.” It’s the message being pushed in a new essay collection by the likes of Naomi Klein, Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, and Desmond Tutu — a book that seeks to inspire ambitious civil action before the U.N. climate negotiations in Paris this December. The collection, called Stop Climate Crimes!, features a joint statement signed by these high-profile characters and others, including Vivienne Westwood and Noam Chomsky.

“In the past, determined women and men have resisted and overcome the crimes of slavery, totalitarianism, colonialism or apartheid,” reads the statement. “They decided to fight for justice and solidarity and knew no one would do it for them. Climate change is a similar challenge, and we are nurturing a similar uprising.” The signatories are expected to issue an official call to action on Thursday, components of which could include calls for large street protests in Paris during the climate negotiations.

The Guardian reports:

Bill McKibben, founder of environmental movement 350.org, which has launched the project with the anti-globalisation organisation Attac France, described the move as a “good first step” towards Paris.

“It’s important for everyone to know that the players at Paris aren’t just government officials and their industry sidekicks. Civil society is going to have its say, and noisily if need be. This is a good first step,” he said.

There are now less than 100 days until the UN’s Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris, where leaders from more than 190 countries will gather to discuss a potential new agreement on climate change. Last week the EU’s climate commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete warned that negotiations ahead of the conference must accelerate if any agreement is to be meaningful.

The statement demands an end to fossil fuel subsidies and the freezing of fossil fuel extraction. It also singles out trade liberalization and emission-heavy corporations as instrumental in causing the world’s climate woes. The statement and book constitute a portion of Attac France’s “Let’s change the system, not the climate” campaign, an anti-globalization effort that seeks to mobilize citizens against free trade initiatives in favor of climate security.

Of course, drastically altering our consumption habits and corporate power structures is a tall order. “We know that this implies a great historical shift,” the signatories state. But their call is steadfast. “We will not wait for states to make it happen. Slavery and apartheid did not end because states decided to abolish them. Mass mobilisations left political leaders no other choice.” As some would say, it’s a move that requires changing everything.


Filed under: Climate & Energy
Categories: Environment

Galbreath Introduces Roll-Off Container Locking System

PR Web - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 21:32

New ROC-LOC Secures Containers to Hoist or Trailer for Safe, Secure Transport of Containers

(PRWeb August 26, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12926261.htm

Categories: Environment

Why are baby sea lions starving and dying?

Grist.org - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 19:35

This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Sea lions have been having a rough couple of years. In 2013, starving pups began washing up on California beaches by the hundreds. This year, the number of stranded sea lions has increased dramatically. And now, a giant toxic algal bloom is growing in the Pacific and poisoning sea lions’ sources of food. How bad has it gotten for these playful critters? We talked to wildlife experts to find out more about how much danger they’re in and what’s in store for their future:

What’s going on here? What’s causing sea lions to get so sick? An unusually warm pocket of water in the Pacific, dubbed “the blob,” has rocked the sea lions’ environment on the Pacific coast. The anchovies, hake, squid, and shell fish that sea lions eat have been moving farther away to find nutrient-rich cold waters. While adult sea lions have been adapting and going longer distances to find food, pups and yearlings don’t have the strength to swim far enough or dive deep enough. Instead, young sea lions have been washing up on shore. Often they are malnourished, dehydrated, and stranded from their mothers, who are searching for faraway food.

Sea lions in rehab at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, Calif.NOAA via Pacific Marine Mammal Center

How unusual is the current situation? Pup strandings happen every year when young sea lions start trying to feed themselves in late spring or early summer. But beginning in 2013, sea lion pups started washing up on shore in much greater numbers than usual, and as early as January — long before pups typically wean. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration deemed the spike in sea lion deaths an “unusual mortality event.” This year, the number of stranded pups skyrocketed far above 2013 levels: During the first five months of 2015, more than 3,000 stranded sea lion pups washed up onto California beaches. That’s seven times the annual average over the past decade, and nearly three times as many as in 2013.

As a result, wildlife groups have been working overtime. During a typical year, the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, Calif., rescues between 500 and 700 stranded marine mammals along California’s coast. But according to Claire Simeone, a veterinarian at the center, during the past few years that number has dramatically increased, mostly due to the stranded sea lion pups. The center has rescued more than 1,500 young sea lions alone this year, although in recent weeks the pups finally stopped appearing (either because they’ve all been rescued or have already died at sea, according to Simeone). But with warm waters likely to remain, pups are expected to begin stranding again next season, as early as December.

The strandings represent a stark reversal in the fortunes of sea lions. After Congress passed the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972, the species thrived on the Pacific Coast. It was just six or seven years ago that sea lion populations began to show some signs of stress due to climate variability driving away prey, according to Sharon Melin, a wildlife biologist at NOAA’s National Marine Mammal Laboratory. Now things have become far worse.

After being tube fed a mixture of food and water, a malnourished sea lion pup rests in the arms of an animal care specialist at Sea World in San Diego, Calif. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Will El Niño exacerbate the situation? Yes. With a strong El Niño system predicted to hit California later this year, warm waters are expected to persist and allow similar patterns to continue: Sea lions’ food will continue to migrate farther to find cold waters, and sea lions, especially the pups, will continue to struggle to find it.

I’ve heard about that giant toxic algal bloom. Is that affecting sea lions, too? Yes. As if their food sources swimming away wasn’t enough to deal with, a giant toxic algal bloom has been expanding in the Pacific since May. It’s poisoning much of the sea lions’ remaining food. The Marine Mammal Center has seen an increase in the number of sea lions washing up with amnesiac shellfish poisoning caused by exposure to domoic acid, a neurotoxin produced by the algal bloom. It’s made sea lions lethargic and can cause memory loss and seizures.

On Tuesday, yet another adult sea lion washed up onto a beach in Alameda county on the San Francisco Bay. The center attempted to rescue the animal, but it did not survive. No trauma was immediately visible on the critter’s body, which is being tested for domoic acid poisoning. (The test results won’t be available for months.)

Herculean effort to rescue Wilbur, a 7-foot long adult California sea lion by @TMMC http://t.co/B8RPbR6Suo


Dean C. Smith (@DeanCSmith) August 18, 2015

Where does climate change fit into all of this? There’s no established connection between human-caused climate change and the blob, the toxic algal bloom, or the coming El Niño. But experts warn that increased climate variability linked to global warming could make these sorts of events more frequent — and more intense — in the future. “With a changing climate and increasing temperatures, we are only going to see more of the same,” Simeone says. She adds that sensitive animals, such as sea lions, should be looked to as bellwethers for how the changing environment will affect animal life more broadly, including humans. “It’s important to listen to what they are telling us,” she says.

So what’s going to happen to the sea lions? Melin points out that sea lions live a long time, up to 30 years. Over the years, they amass knowledge about their environment, which helps them predict the location of food sources. Finding prey quickly is especially important for mothers who cannot be away from their pups for very long while they nurse and wean them. Events such as warm water bands and algal blooms are creating a particularly difficult challenge as they struggle to adjust to constantly changing conditions in the ocean. But while wildlife groups are making plans to take in more animals and train more volunteers for the coming year, Melin remains optimistic about sea lions’ ability to adapt. After decades of robust growth, she says, sea lions are far from endangered. “They are going to work it out,” she says.


Filed under: Climate & Energy, Science
Categories: Environment

Shocking: Prominent climate denier gets money from Big Coal

Grist.org - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 19:04

Christopher Horner has made his career fighting climate change, but not in the way you’re thinking: He’s been fighting the notion that it exists at all.

Horner is senior fellow and lawyer for the Competitive Enterprise Institute — a think tank devoted to promoting free market ideals and less governmental regulation of industries like tobacco and fossil fuels. You know, the good guys. Horner is also a vocal climate denier, and has written books with titles like The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism) and Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed. He makes regular appearances on Fox News when they need an expert on the climate change hoax, and his Twitter feed looks like a tween conspiracy theorist’s.

One of Horner’s preferred tactics is to inundate climate researchers with records requests so they get too bogged down with his bullshit to do actual work. He was also an instrumental figure in promoting the smear campaign known as “Climategate,” in which thousands of emails and other documents were hacked from a server at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the U.K. Conservative groups and climate deniers used the documents to allege a systematic attempt on the part of scientists to defraud the public about the causes of global temperature increases. Unfortunately for Horner (and the planet), eight subsequent investigations revealed no wrongdoing on the part of the researchers.

The question is: Why? What drives a seemingly intelligent (or at least educated) human being to look decades of scientific data in the eye and go, “Nah. The world is cooling. Definitely cooling.”

Turns out, it’s money.

The Intercept analyzed bankruptcy filings of the one of the largest coal companies in America, Alpha Natural Reserves, and found line items for Horner’s home and work — suggesting Horner’s work spouting bullshit about global cooling is paid for by Big Coal itself. The Intercept’s Lee Fang reports:

The Alpha Natural Resources filing corroborates the suggestion in a recent email from chief executives of major coal firms that they are underwriting Horner’s current work.

In early June this year, the Coal & Investment Leadership Forum, a trade show, sent this message to its email list: “As the ‘war on coal’ continues, I trust that the commitment we have made to support Chris Horner’s work will eventually create great awareness of the illegal tactics being employed to pass laws that are intended to destroy our industry.” The email was signed by Alliance Resource Partners’ Joe Craft III, Alpha Natural Resources’ Kevin Crutchfield, Drummond Company’s Gary Drummond, Arch Coal’s John Eaves and United Coal Co.’s Jim McGlothlin.

Well, would you look at that. Color us surprised. It’s almost like this dude cares more about his own wallet and insane political agenda than he does the fate of this poor spinning planet we call home. Sounds like he’d make a great presidential candidate.


Filed under: Article, Climate & Energy, Politics
Categories: Environment

A Sanctuary For Pets: World Patent Marketing Introduces the Electric...

PR Web - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 18:32

The New York Inventor Exchange approves the Electric Heating Mat for licensing and trading intellectual property rights.

(PRWeb August 26, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/worldpatentmarketing/electric-heating-mat/prweb12884514.htm

Categories: Environment

Trash Crisis: The World Patent Marketing Review Team Is Here To Solve...

PR Web - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 18:32

The New York Inventor Exchange approves Easy Replace Trash Bags for licensing and trading intellectual property rights.

(PRWeb August 26, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/worldpatentmarketing/easy-replace-trash-bag/prweb12898104.htm

Categories: Environment

Jonathan Budd Becomes CEO of Powur PBC, Launching Oct 17, 2015

PR Web - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 18:32

Internet Visionary and Creator of “Get Traffic 3.0”, Jonathan Budd announced his new position as CEO of Powur PBC, a network marketing company focused on solar power and renewable resources set to...

(PRWeb August 26, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/Powur/Jonathan-Budd/prweb12924275.htm

Categories: Environment

SolarCity’s Fourth Securitization – Learn more on the latest...

PR Web - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 18:32

One Year and Three Solar Asset Backed Securitizations Later…Get the latest Developments within the Industry

(PRWeb August 26, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12921114.htm

Categories: Environment

First Ever Live-Streaming Cameras Connect People to Rare California...

PR Web - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 18:32

Conservation Partners Launch Live-streaming Cameras on Two Endangered California Condor Nests: in a Central California Coastal Redwood Tree and in a Southern California Cliffside.

(PRWeb August 26, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12924886.htm

Categories: Environment

Media Registration is Open for SAE 2015 International AeroTech...

PR Web - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 18:32

Journalists are invited to attend the SAE 2015 AeroTech Congress and Exhibition, which is the essential event where the aerospace community prepares for future challenges and opportunities.

(PRWeb August 26, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12925596.htm

Categories: Environment

MCX and Inmar to Create a Better Way for Consumers to Find and Redeem...

PR Web - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 18:32

New, completely digital solution meets the needs of consumers, brands and retailers

(PRWeb August 26, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12925823.htm

Categories: Environment

Greenberg Traurig Named to Top 10 Law Firms in the Southeast Region by...

PR Web - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 18:32

International law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. has been named to the Top 10 law firms in the Southeast region by the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER). The Top 10 list includes...

(PRWeb August 26, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12926149.htm

Categories: Environment

TerraGo Edge® Combines Smart Forms and Advanced GPS to Improve...

PR Web - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 18:32

Version 3.7 includes new intelligent, responsive forms that dramatically improve the speed, quality and efficiency of asset inspections, land surveys and any location-based data collection project

(PRWeb August 26, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12879295.htm

Categories: Environment

Port-A-Wall Announces Introduction of Product Line to Amazon

PR Web - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 18:32

US-based Port-A-Wall, creator of affordable and easily configurable space partitions, announces its entry into the Amazon marketplace.

(PRWeb August 26, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/Portawall/Amazon/prweb12923189.htm

Categories: Environment

A look at the $50 billion battle to save Louisiana

Grist.org - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 15:56

This story is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

I’m driving down a dirt road in the vast tangle of coastal bayous that stretch south of New Orleans, so that Reggie Dupre can show me his pride and joy.

“This is the little silver lining on the very dark cloud that was over Louisiana,” he says.

In front of us, construction crews are shaping mounds of rock and dirt into a mile-long, 12-foot levee. On one side is a canal, crammed with boat traffic for the offshore oil drilling industry. On the other side is Terrabonne Parish, a rural community of commercial shrimp fishermen and oil roughnecks who rely on these waterways the same way a city kid like me relies on the subway. The levee dead-ends into a shiny new $25 million floodgate, the last line of defense against storm surges that accompany the hurricanes that frequently slam this coastline.

Dupre is the director of the Terrabonne Levee and Conservation District, a county agency tasked with keeping the homes here above water. A decade ago—when Hurricane Katrina forced 1.5 million evacuations, killed nearly 2,000 people, and caused $100 billion in damage—Dupre was the parish’s representative in the Louisiana legislature in Baton Rouge. After the storm, he became a key architect of the state’s overhauled flood-control agenda, pushing through legislation to create a new state agency to manage coastal issues and working to steer tax revenue from oil drilling into coastal protection projects. Now he’s back home, overseeing projects like the one in front of us. Since Katrina, his office has built 35 miles of new levees.

But the levees are just a small piece of the unprecedented transformation taking place along Louisiana’s coast. Dupre is also an evangelist for a new, broader ethos that has washed over the whole state since Katrina. Experts here agree that levees and floodwalls like this are only effective if they’re buttressed by natural barriers further out in the delta: The barrier islands and marshlands that are rapidly disappearing thanks to erosion, land subsidence, and sea level rise. Because of those forces—driven in part by a century-old practice of sealing the Mississippi River in its course and thereby starving the adjacent wetlands of nutrients and fresh water—Louisiana loses coastal land area equal to the size of a football field every hour.

Before the storm, hurricane protection and coastal restoration were treated as separate, or ever competing, interests. Now, they’re one and the same.

“Without Katrina, this wouldn’t be happening,” Dupre says. “We’ve gone from being the laughingstock to the model for the rest of the country.”

In 2012, officials in the state’s new Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority—Dupre’s brainchild—released their most recent 50-year, $50 billion “master plan,” a sweeping document that encompasses everything from wetland restoration to elevating at-risk houses. Already, according to CPRA chair Chip Kline, the state has reconstructed 45 miles of barrier islands and restored nearly 30,000 acres of wetlands. These natural barriers slow storm surge before it reaches the levees, the first in what are known here as “multiple lines of defense.”

There are also 250 miles of new levees, a two-mile storm surge barrier wall, the world’s largest pumping station (it can drain an Olympic-sized swimming pool in less than five seconds), and a host of other projects designed to control floods and stymie land loss. Kline says he’s confident that New Orleans is now safe from at least a 100-year flood (that is, a flood so severe that it has only has a 1-in-100 chance of occurring in any given year). Katrina was a 150-year flood in New Orleans. But given the realities of climate change, most experts think the city won’t be truly secure until it reaches the 500-year level.

President Barack Obama agrees: Earlier this year he signed an executive order stipulating that any flood protection measures supported by federal money must meet a 500-year standard. Louisianans like Kline and Dupre contend that that standard is unreasonable and could hamper vital projects that are too expensive for the state to roll out on its own.

Either way, the Louisiana coast is now a massive laboratory for the kinds of measures that coastal cities like New York and Miami will need to survive climate change. For Dupre, the stakes are clear: “If I’m not successful, my whole culture disappears.”

There’s no better way to see the coast’s plight, and the scramble to save it, than from a bird’s-eye view. So Climate Desk hopped aboard a pontoon plane for an exclusive flyover. Check out the video above.


Filed under: Article, Climate & Energy
Categories: Environment

New Charity Campaign Inaugurated by Nations Insurance Solutions in...

PR Web - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 15:31

As part of Nations Insurance Solutions' ongoing Community Program, a new charity campaign is now active in support of fueling Operation Gratitude. Understanding the challenges in the lives of...

(PRWeb August 26, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/August/2015/prweb12914137.htm

Categories: Environment

Pages