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Menopausal Mother Nature

News about Climate Change and our Planet


Replanting the Amazon could slow global warming. Here’s why it’s hard

Replanting the Amazon could help save the world’s climate. Here’s why it’s so hard to do Restoring decimated portions of Brazil’s rainforest has largely fallen to nonprofits. They’re battling illegal land-grabbers, tight budgets, botanical mysteries – and the ticking clock….

Man Becomes Local Hero After Power-Washing Hometown’s Filthy Pavement: ‘I Got Fed Up’

Andrew Carr power washes public pavement – SWNS

A window cleaner has become an online sensation after pressure washing his hometown’s filthy pavement and sidewalks in his spare time.

Andrew Carr has been dubbed a hero by TikTok users for his efforts and his videos that have attracted thousands of followers from around the world.

Carr, who owns ABC Cleaning Services, says he was fed up with the paths and cobbles in Alnwick, Northumberland, being covered in chewing gum and dog poo.

One day he simply couldn’t take it anymore, and after finishing a job washing windows and gutters in a town shop, the 32-year-old turned his powerful pressure washer on the path outside and was amazed to see patterns on the paving slabs that had been hidden under decades of dirt.

Satisfied with his efforts he contacted the local council and offered to spruce up the rest of the historic town in his spare time, and they agreed.

Now, every Sunday morning, Carr blasts the paths and pavements around the town center until they sparkle.

“I was cleaning windows and gutters and just looked down and was really disappointed at the state of the pavements,” recounts Carr. “I looked further up the high street and every paving slab was covered in chewing gum and there was a dog mess. It was a sad sight.”

“Right there and then I set myself a goal of cleaning the center of town up. I thought to myself that everyone complains about dog mess and chewing gum but no one does anything about it.”

OTHER UK NEWS: Once Biologically Dead, the River Mersey in England is “Best Environmental Story in Europe”

“I contacted the town council and said I wanted to clean the paths up and they were delighted. It’s really lifted the spirits of people living here.”

He now wants to tackle the pavements around the edges of the town, including the rundown bus station and nearby residential streets, elated with the feedback he hears from people, especially from visitors.

For example, 60-year-old life-long Alnwick resident Angela Davies said that she “never knew the paving slabs had patterns before they were washed.”

MORE CIVIC-MINDEDNESS: Mom Recycles a Ton of Trash With Backyard Public Recycling Center That Collects Things the City Doesn’t

“It may seem a small thing to be excited about but the clean pavements have transformed the place,” she said.

“The work clearing chewing gum is very time-consuming but the results are a revelation,” said town Councillor Gordon Castle. “On behalf of the town, I thank him for his public-spirited work.”

WATCH Carr get to work in a compilation of his TikTok videos… 

SHARE This Public Servant With Your Friends And Keep His Star Shining… 

Global Warming Fueled Both the Ongoing Floods and the Drought That Preceded Them in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna Region – Inside Climate News

Flooding rains that killed at least 15 people when they slammed into the fertile and industrious heartland of northeastern Italy in mid-May were at least partly fueled by global warming, and scientists say they fit the trend of intensifying extremes…

DeSantis dodges Ukraine question with bizarre answer about trans rights

Sign up for the daily Inside Washington email for exclusive US coverage and analysis sent to your inbox Get our free Inside Washington email Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday appeared flummoxed when an otherwise-friendly Fox News host asked him…

Breathing in bad air: The health costs of climate change and wildfires |

Smoke from Alberta wildfires is pushing its way across Canadian provinces, darkening the spring sky and fouling the fresh air. The sun glows an unmistakable amber, alerting everyone that fire season is here — much earlier than many anticipated, including…

God save the king? What about the planet? | Stewart Lee

As a boy, in 1977, I made a stupid monkey face at Queen Elizabeth II as she drove past us in Solihull’s Mell Square on her silver jubilee perambulations. “You aren’t funny, Stewart,” my gran said of the subsequent photograph,…

The Climate Crisis Gives Sailing Ships a Second Wind – The New Yorker

Annals of a Warming Planet The Climate Crisis Gives Sailing Ships a Second Wind Cargo vessels are some of the dirtiest vehicles in existence. Can a centuries-old technology help to clean them up? By Pagan Kennedy April 27, 2023 Illustration…


Arctic sea ice loss and fierce storms leave Kivalina’s volunteer search and rescue fighting to protect their island from climate disasters

Indigenous governments, nonprofits, hunters and first responders from Iñupiaq, Yupik and Unangan communities across Alaska have long been preparing for today’s climate hazards

As winds and waves from Typhoon Merbok devastated communities along the coast of Western Alaska in 2022, Reppi Swan Sr’s phone began to ring at Kivalina, a barrier island 80 miles above the Arctic Circle.

A neighboring family had lost three feet of land to the rumbling lagoon, and their home was now sitting just six feet from the angry water’s edge. Reppi called his brother Joe Swan Jr. and quickly slid into his insulated rain gear.

As a volunteer first responder, Reppi plans for emergencies like this. He and his wife, Dolly, had been patrolling the island for dangerous erosion every few hours during the storm. To prepare, he had already inspected the city’s heavy equipment and located a pile of boulders left over from a recent construction project.

Working through the rain, Reppi delivered boulders to the threatened home. With their cousin Carl Swan serving as a spotter, Joe carefully arranged the boulders with a backhoe to stabilize the bank. It would hold at least until the storm subsided.

Joe Swan Jr. and Carl Swan rush to arrange boulders to protect a home from erosion during Typhoon Merbok. The corner of the home is visible on the right. Video by Janet Mitchell

With protective sea ice declining and warming Pacific waters supercharging fall storms in the Bering and Chukchi seas, Alaska Native villages like Kivalina are experiencing growing risks to coastal livelihoods and critical infrastructure, including runways. Reppi’s efforts reflect the challenges many front-line communities face as they struggle with the effects of climate change.

Dealing with disasters has become normal

Indigenous governments, nonprofits, hunters and first responders from Iñupiaq, Yupik and Unangan communities across Alaska have long been preparing for today’s climate hazards. They have created initiatives from coastal monitoring to relocation planning, yet state and federal support programs are underfunded and poorly structured for the scale of today’s challenges.

Kivalina, an Iñupiaq community of 500 people, has been dealing with climate-fueled erosion and flooding for decades. Nearly 20 years ago, it was one of four villages the US government determined to be facing “imminent danger.” In 2009, 27 additional villages were added to the list.

Over the years, Reppi, Joe and scores of other volunteers in Kivalina have improvised sea walls with everything from sandbags to sheets of metal cut from the chassis of an abandoned fuel plane.

A profile image of Reppi swan, wearing a cap and camoflauge jacket
For Reppi Swan Sr., president of Kivalina’s Volunteer Search and Rescue, responding to disasters has become a normal part of everyday life. Kirk Koenig

As a field officer during such incidents, Reppi reflects on how difficult it is to send anyone into harm’s way, whether to search for a lost hunter or to save homes and infrastructure. He remembers one storm in which he put a lifeline on his volunteers as they tried to bolster the shoreline. “That was the hardest thing I had to do,” Reppi recalls, “because one of my guys had to stay down there and tie each super sack together. To top that off, the 8-foot to 10-foot waves would just engulf them completely.”

He talks about Typhoon Merbok with the calm of someone for whom storm readiness and response have become normal parts of everyday life. Because they have.

‘We just can’t adapt this fast’

For Indigenous nations around the world, the roots of climate risk today are often colonial in origin. Kivalina’s “uneasiness” with fall storms began shortly after 1905, when the US Office of Education built a school on the island, and began a multidecade process to forcibly settle the autonomous and seminomadic Kivalliñiġmiut nation.

In 1981, after decades of deliberation, Kivalina’s municipal government initiated relocation planning as a means to gain running water and sewer services and to alleviate overcrowding. It was an attempt, as the elder Joe Swan Sr. puts it, to gain “breathing room” so that future generations might flourish. However, planning stalled in 2008 because of a disagreement between traditional knowledge holders in Kivalina and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over the suitability of the community’s chosen site.

Kivalina’s relocation has now come to be framed as a response to climate change, but the initial needs that drove relocation planning still remain.

A woman wearing a fleece jacket and sunglasses sits in a doorway with her arms crossed.
Colleen Swan has been involved in disaster response for decades and has seen an increase in the damage to her island home. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

“We’re an adaptable people,” Colleen Swan, Kivalina’s city administrator, told me when I started my doctoral studies 12 years ago, “but since 2004, we just can’t adapt this fast.”

That was the year pieces of the island began shearing off into the sea.

The local value of the Arctic’s diminishing sea ice

Historically, Kivalina’s sea ice would form early enough to protect the coast from fall storms. But with climate change, it forms much later, if at all, leaving the shoreline vulnerable to increased wave activity.

On March 6, 2023, when Arctic sea ice hit its maximum extent for the year, it was the fifth-lowest maximum extent on the satellite record. Kivalina had open water less then 2 miles (3.2 km) out from town, a fraction of what’s needed for a successful bowhead whale hunt.

A snow and ice covered ocean with the edge of the island and its homes on one side. It looks cold out.
During winter, sea ice protects the island from erosion, but Arctic ice is diminishing. This photo was taken in February 2021. Replogle Swan Sr.

In 2008, Colleen was among local leaders who initiated the landmark climate justice lawsuit Kivalina v. ExxonMobil. The community sought up to US$400 million in restitution from the 24 largest greenhouse gas emitters in the U.S., companies whose profits are driving climate change. That would have been enough to cover the costs of comprehensive village relocation.

The case was dismissed by a federal court, a decision upheld by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012. A year later, the Supreme Court refused to consider any further appeal.

With the media attention generated by the lawsuit, Colleen has become globally recognized as a front-line leader for climate justice. She has spoken across the US and was part of an Indigenous delegation to the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen in 2009. Today, she’s busy addressing climate change on a different scale.

An aerial view of Kivalina shows the boulders surrounding parts of the narrow island.
The Army Corps of Engineers built a rock revetment in 2008-2009 to help buffer Kivalina’s shore, but it does not surround the entire island. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Colleen now manages Kivalina’s Volunteer Search and Rescue, known as SAR, and her brother Reppi serves as its president. Kivalina SAR is an association of hunters and first responders that plays a crucial role in community safety, coastal resilience and hunter support. But climate change has changed the nature of the organization.

“In the past, search and rescue looked for people who were lost or late returning from a hunt.” But with late freeze-up, thin ice and melting permafrost, she explains, “We’re spending more time helping people because of changes to environmental conditions.” Through fundraising, capacity building, and strategic partnerships, Colleen is building up SAR to respond to new hazards as it faces a rapidly changing environment.

Infrastructure investments remain unfinished

From 2008 to 2009, the Army Corps of Engineers constructed 1,600 feet of a planned 2,000-foot rock revetment wall to help protect the island. These partial protections, built when funds were available, have been effective, but they leave critical infrastructure and lagoonside homes exposed – as Typhoon Merbok made clear. As Reppi tells me, “We’re always going to have erosion.”

When erosion from fall storms threatened the airport runway in 2019, city leaders made the difficult decision to redeploy boulders from the existing rock revetment.

An aerial photo of the coast showing a rock border on the coast ending and erosion clearly evident beyond it.
Where the rock revetment ends, homes and infrastructure face a high risk of erosion during storms. During Typhoon Merbok, volunteers gathered a new pile of boulders to try to protect homes. Janet Mitchell

Without comprehensive planning and funding, key segments of the community remain at risk. Kivalina’s first responders must remain vigilant.

After 10 years of lobbying state and federal agencies, Kivalina’s tribal and city councils secured an 8-mile evacuation road to Kisimiġiuqtuq Hill that opened in November 2020. With the state of Alaska compelled by a lawsuit to remedy its systemic underfunding of Alaska Native schools, the Northwest Arctic Borough School District joined the project, opening a new school at Kisimiġiuqtuq Hill in November 2022.

Yet these achievements have also brought new concerns, and Reppi and Colleen are preparing their volunteers to respond to other types of problems, such as road accidents or stranded vehicles.

Two men look at erosion that has exposed several feet of pipe. Rocks help protect part of the property.
Reppi Swan Sr. and Joe Swan Jr. inspect an eroded property they shored up during a storm. Janet Mitchell

Since Kivalina’s Search and Rescue purchased its first truck in the summer of 2021, Reppi has made regular patrols to study every bend of the poorly lit and steeply pitched road — often through blowing snow. When Kivalina’s children began riding a school bus for the first time, he followed close behind — up and back, three times a day — just in case.

At times this winter, Kivalina’s school bus has been without a certified driver, or sidelined with mechanical issues. When the transportation burden falls on individual families, those without a vehicle, or unable to afford the high cost of fuel, are missing school outright. Lacking adequate snow removal equipment, heavy snow and high winds kept Kivalina’s school closed the entire month of March.

Community efforts fill critical adaptation gap

While Kivalina, like many other Indigenous communities, has been clear about its climate adaptation priorities, support from federal and international institutions has been limited.

The Biden administration recently made $115 million available to help 11 Indigenous communities with relocation, but the Army Corps estimated Kivalina alone would need $250 million to $400 million. Kivalina wasn’t on the list.

Indigenous coastal communities bear a disproportionate amount of risk from climate change, and the costs of adaptation often go uncompensated. Without comprehensive investment in local priorities – from planning and infrastructure to capacity-building — organizations like Kivalina’s Search and Rescue will continue to fill a critical gap, performing the invisible labor of climate adaptation.The Conversation

P Joshua Griffin, assistant professor of marine and environmental affairs and American Indian studies, University of Washington.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


Spring Clean Up – Nine Ways to Help the Environment

Vermont is the only state in the nation to celebrate Green Up Day on the first Saturday in May, but that doesn’t mean others can’t join in. As the landscape greens up, it’s a time for area residents to walk around their neighborhoods and streets and pick up a winter’s worth of trash and recyclables that have been thrown from cars or blown out of recycling containers.

It’s estimated that there were around 50 billion pieces of trash or recyclables along roads and waterways in the U.S. Everyone needs to do their part to keep that litter from making it to oceans. Join in. Here are nine ways to help the environment now that spring has arrived and keep the recycling momentum going throughout the year as you consider your purchases and lower the amount of trash and recycling that you generate. 

Pick Up Trash When You See It

When you’re out walking your dog or taking a walk with friends, bring a small bag and pick up trash as you see it. If you find items like needles, ask the area police what to do with them. Generally, the rule is to put them in a small plastic bottle and secure the lid on them. From there, the police may take them for proper disposal. If not, they’ll advise you on how to safely dispose of them.

Cardboard, Bottles, Cans, and Food Packaging Are the Most Littered Items

In ten years, the biggest increases in roadside and waterway trash and recyclables came from these five items.

  • Cardboard
  • Beer bottles and cans
  • Food packaging film
  • Sports drinks
  • Water bottles

All of these can be recycled, and some can bring in some cash. If you live in a state where you pay a deposit, picking up cans and bottles along the roadside can bring in some cash. Bring them with you to a bottle redemption center or the grocery store if there’s a bottle return area. You’ll get cash and ensure items thrown out on the road are properly recycled.

In 2022, the executive director of Sure We Can reported that some New Yorkers earn a living by picking up cans and bottles along the roadside. One family reported making up to $1,000 a day doing this.

Even if you don’t want to return the bottles and cans you find, check with local schools and organizations to see if anyone is running a bottle drive. You can donate the bottles and cans you collect to an area youth group, homeless shelter, or other non-profit.

Volunteer With a Waterway Clean-Up Crew

Do any of your area’s organizations or businesses do a waterway green-up? If one does, sign up and help out. Typically, you’ll put on waders and have a grabber. You and a partner work to pick up trash and recyclables you find as you wade down a stream or river. One of you holds the bag open and the other picks items up using a grabber or gloved hands. 

This is typically done in shallow streams and rivers. If they’re too deep, you’ll stick to the shore and pick up trash you find along the banks and edges or SCUBA divers and boaters clean up the deeper areas.

One of the largest river clean-up programs takes place each year in Oregon. Hundreds of volunteers work their way along sections of the Clackamas River Basin and have picked up between one to three tons of trash and recyclables each year.

Keep Your Recycle Bin Covered

When you do recycle, make sure your bin is covered if it’s windy out. When possible, put your bin curbside as close to the hauler’s arrival as you can. If it’s allowable, ask the hauler if you can secure the lid using a bungee cord or heavy rock. That will keep the lid from blowing open and have lighter recyclables blowing out onto the street or nearby stream.

Limit How Much Trash and Recycling You Generate

When you’re purchasing items, consider how much trash and recycling you’re generating. Instead of purchasing single-use water bottles, invest in refillable water bottles. If you worry about your water quality at home, work, or school, invest in a refillable water bottle that has a built-in water filter.

When purchasing vegetables and fruit at the store, bring a reusable cloth or mesh produce bag to put the produce in. You can wash them once items are transferred to your refrigerator and use them again on your next trip.

Recycle Plastic Film and Food Packaging

When you purchase foods, beverages, and household supplies that come in plastic wrap, save that plastic wrap in a clear plastic trash bag. You can also recycle plastic mailers, bubble wrap, air pillows, and plastic shopping bags. 

When it’s full, bring that bag to the grocery store with you. Plastic film recycling is available at most grocery stores and major discount retailers. Look for the green plastic film recycling bins in the entrances or bottle return areas.

Reuse and Upcycle What You Can

You have a broken wooden step ladder that needs to go into the trash as one rung snapped. You’ve also been looking at plant stands for growing fresh herbs. Instead of trashing the ladder and purchasing something new, use a little creativity. Half of the ladder is still in good shape. 

You could remove the broken rung and drill holes large enough to bolt clay plant pots to the remaining rungs. Fill those with potting soil and grow your herbs on that ladder. Lean the ladder against the side of your house or a patio wall where the plants will get some sun exposure.

That’s just one way to reuse a broken item. People have turned old tires into raised bed flower gardens by painting the tires in bold colors and filling them with potting soil before adding the flower seeds or plants. An old cable spool can be sanded down, stained, and turned into a patio table.

Wet Cardboard Can Be Reused

Generally, the rule is that recycling facilities only take clean, dry cardboard. What if you have a box or cardboard that got wet? Don’t throw it out. Set it aside and post a free offer in a local forum to see if any gardeners could use it. Shredded wet cardboard is a must for anyone who engages in vermicomposting. Composters also look for wet cardboard to mix with vegetable and fruit scraps.

Vermicomposting is a form of composting where worms are used to help break down produce scraps and create nutrient-rich compost filled with worm castings. Worms need to be able to move through the compost and broken-up wet cardboard is helpful for that.

Do you garden? If so, tear up wet cardboard and mix it into your soil. It will break down. Don’t worry about it affecting your growing plants. Their roots will break through the cardboard pieces and help them break down faster.

Make Sure You Recycle Correctly

Wish-cycling is a form of recycling where someone hopes something qualifies for the area recycling program, so they put it in their recycling bin anyway. When this happens, it can lead to an entire pallet of recyclables having to be trashed. Knowing what is and isn’t recyclable is essential.

Make sure you pay attention to the rules in your district. While the town you moved from accepted all types of plastic, your new community may not take everything. Verify it before you inadvertently recycle the wrong items. 

Recycle Nation’s guide to recycling is area-specific. Take the items you need to recycle, enter your ZIP code, and see what it says. If the item is recyclable in your blue bin, you’ll know. If it’s not, you’ll learn where you can take it for recycling. Avoid a lot of hassle and potential waste by using our resources to ensure you’re recycling correctly.

Leonardo’s Ferry Left High and Dry by Global Warming and Red Tape – The New York Times

A ferry used to traverse the banks of the Adda River, in northern Italy, but drought and an abundance of bureaucracy has closed it down. On a recent sunny morning on the banks of the Adda River in northern Italy,…

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