The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia
13 Climate Action

13 Climate Action (37)

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

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TVApamphlet

 

As demand for electric vehicles soars, several roadblocks have emerged

This article was originally published by The Revelator 

Manufacturers, governments and consumers are lining up behind electric vehicles — with sales rising 60% in 2022, and at least 17 states are considering a California-style ban on gas cars in the years ahead. Scientists say the trend is a key part of driving down the transportation sector’s carbon emissions, which could fall by as much as 80% by 2050 under aggressive policies. But while EVs are cleaner than gas cars in the long run, they still carry environmental and human-rights baggage, especially associated with mining.

“If you want a lot of EVs, you need to get minerals out of the ground,” says Ian Lange, director of the Energy and Economics Program at the Colorado School of Mines.

The crucial Amazon rainforest is nearing a point of no return

NYT: Decades of extraction have left the South American rainforest at a “tipping point.”

The Amazon has long served as a vast carbon sink, even as vegetation pumped oxygen into the atmosphere to the point it was called the “lungs of the Earth.”

But vast deforestation, despite calls to save the Amazon that originated decades ago, portends profound changes in the ecology of the huge, increasingly fragmented forest that lies mainly within Brazil.

“Just in the past half-century, 17 percent of the Amazon — an area larger than Texas — has been converted to croplands or cattle pasture. Less forest means less recycled rain, less vapor to cool the air, less of a canopy to shield against sunlight,” according to a report from Alex Cuadros.

“In one study, a team led by the researcher Paulo Brando intentionally set a series of fires in swaths of forest abutted by an inactive soy plantation. After a second burn, coincidentally during a drought year, one plot lost nearly a third of its canopy cover, and African grasses — imported species commonly used in cattle pasture — moved in.”

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Canopy Nexus Hotel after floodingFlooding is seen outside a popular hotel in Pakistan following historic and devastating flooding linked largely to the melting of highland glaciers.  Wikipedia Commons

Global population growth promises a drastic spike in public health emergencies

This story was originally published by The Conversation. Maureen Lichtveld is dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh. 

There are questions that worry me profoundly as an environmental health and population scientist.

Will we have enough food for a growing global population? How will we take care of more people in the next pandemic? What will heat do to millions with hypertension? Will countries wage water wars because of increasing droughts?

These risks all have three things in common: health, climate change and a growing population that the United Nations determined passed 8 billion people in November 2022, which is double the population of just 48 years ago.

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image0This is a basic breakdown on the social benefits associated with robust tree canopy in cities, including the city center of Knoxville, shown here.  Knoxville City Government

City kicks off ambitious project to expand the tree canopy that benefits us all

KNOXVILLE — The people in this city sure seem to love their trees.

There is at least one tree for every two people who live within the city limits, but officials say they want to add even more over the next 20 years. 

How many should be planted is currently up in the air, as is the right mix of species and where they should go.

Those are just some of the questions that will be answered in coming months as the Knoxville Urban Forest Master Plan is developed by officials from the city and the non-profit group Trees Knoxville in conjunction with several other agencies and interested citizens.

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IMG 2632This mighty oak is but one of many growing for decades in South Knoxville.  Thomas Fraser/Hellbender Press

Contribute to the master plan to grow tree canopy in Knoxville

KNOXVILLE — No matter where you are in the city, you’re not far from a patch or two of trees.

These copses range from small groupings of oaks or dogwoods that are commonly used to mark property boundaries to lush belts of temperate mixed-hardwood forest that sprawl across hundreds of acres. 

While Knoxville may be blessed with an abundance of these urban forests, many local residents and leaders believe it’s nowhere near enough.

Real or fake Christmas trees? Like most things in life, the answer is a function of time.

Nature Conservancy: Keep it real

Nothing beats the fresh aroma of a live Christmas tree, if you are into that kind of thing, but both real and fake trees carry their own load of sustainability pros and cons.

Live trees offer holiday beauty and scent and are a traditional addition to households. But they are harvested from a vast monoculture and require multiple levels of carbon-burning transport.

Artificial trees offer convenience, and can be reused for a decade. But they are largely made of plastic, manufactured in places with unsavory human rights records, and require global transit.

This article breaks it down pretty well. Maybe it’s just best to not have a Christmas tree?

Beavers mitigate forest fires

beaver gc2f524423 1280European Beaver  Image by Ralf Schick from Pixabay

NPR: California enlists beavers in battle against climate change

Forest areas with beaver dams are less prone to severe fire damage because of more consistent soil moisture and less extreme air aridity and temperature conditions. Read about it or listen to Randy Simon’s 2-minute beaver podcast on National Public Radio’s Earth Wise web page.

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MississippiLow-water challenges on the Mississippi River are evident at Memphis.  Dulce Torres Guzman/Tennessee Lookout

Despite the pump from Appalachian rainforests, the drought-stricken Mississippi River is the lowest it has ever been

This story was originally published by the Tennessee Lookout.

MEMPHIS John Dodson’s corn, cotton and soybean fields are fewer than 10 miles from the Mississippi River, the key transportation artery for West Tennessee grain farmers. But they might as well be a thousand miles.

Historically low water levels on the river are coming at the worst possible time for him. It’s peak harvest season, but he can’t get his crop to market. 

West Tennessee farmers have long relied on proximity to the Mississippi, delivering their crops directly from the field to the river. The ease of access has meant many farmers lack large grain storage silos that farmers in the Midwest and elsewhere rely on.  

While drought strangles transportation on the Mississippi, many of these farmers are now being forced to leave crops in the field and pray for rain to fall anywhere and everywhere else but above their harvest-ready crops.

Food myths hurt Mother Earth

 Save money and our planet with tips from  Cheddar News

The average American family of four annually spends more than $2,000 on food they never eat!

Nearly one in nine people suffer from hunger worldwide.

Agriculture contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation and soil degradation.

Climate change increases crop losses.

One third of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted.

It’s not just the food that’s wasted.

Consider the energy wasted to grow, process and transport it.

That all contributes to climate change, food shortages and to the rising costs of food, energy and health care.

Food waste stresses our environment, humanity and the economy.

— EarthSolidarity™

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