Warning to humanity signed by 16,000 scientists

From CNN

More than 16,000 scientists from 184 countries have published a second warning to humanity advising that we need to change our wicked ways to help the planet.

In 1992, 1,700 independent scientists signed the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity.” The letter warned that “human beings and the natural world are on a collision course” and if environmental damage was not stopped, our future was at risk.

That letter made headlines 25 years ago, but the world still faces daunting ...

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Carbon emissions are rising again

From National Geographic

For a while it looked as if the world might be turning the corner.

But after a three-year stall in their growth, human-caused carbon-dioxide emissions have not, in fact, peaked, an international team of scientists announced this morning.

In 2017, global emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels and industry will once again rise by 2 percent, the scientists project, to a record 37 billion metric tons. ...

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Government report says climate is warming and humans are the cause

FROM NPR

It is “extremely likely” that human activities are the “dominant cause” of global warming, according to the most comprehensive study ever of climate science by U.S. government researchers.

The climate report, obtained by NPR, notes that the past 115 years are “the warmest in the history of modern civilization.” The global average temperature has increased by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over that period. Greenhouse gases from industry and agriculture are ...

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Hurricanes in 2017 pushed rare island species closer to the brink

From National Geographic

By Justin Nobel

As Hurricane Irma slammed into south Florida in September, Dan Clark, manager of a complex of four national wildlife refuges in the Florida Keys, had evacuated and was at his mother’s house near Tampa. His eye was on the weather and his mind was on the multitude of plants and animals that inhabit the unique refuge system he oversees, which includes the well-known Key Deer National Wildlife ...

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Aquaculture: Mixing of farmed fish and their wild relatives could have adverse impacts on environment

From VT News

In Ghana, experts suspect that some fish farmers have started to raise unapproved, controversial strains of the Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus that have the ability to grow quickly on their farms.

A Virginia Tech graduate student seeks to establish which strains farmers are growing in the country, and whether these include the unapproved strains of genetically improved farm tilapia (GIFT).

“If it is confirmed that the GIFT strains are on the farms in ...

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Climate change could wipe out a third of parasite species

From The Guardian:

Climate change could wipe out a third of all parasite species on Earth, according to the most comprehensive analysis to date.

Tapeworms, roundworms, ticks, lice and fleas are feared for the diseases they cause or carry, but scientists warn that they also play a vital role in ecosystems. Major extinctions among parasites could lead to unpredictable invasions of surviving parasites into new areas, affecting wildlife and humans and making a “significant contribution” to the sixth ...

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New Course Update: Climate Change and Societal Impacts

Dr. Anamaria Bukvic provided this important update to her plans for GEOG 4984: Climate Change and Societal Impacts:

NEW OPPORTUNITY FOR EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING AND RESEARCH with local partners in Hampton Roads on the issues of sea level rise and resilience!

Please note that the Resilience Research & Design Tidewater Collaboratory will be integrated into a special studies course on Climate Change and Societal Impacts (Course 5984/4984, fall 2017) as a project-based component focused on experiential learning. In addition to the baseline information, the course ...

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Private landowners will be critical partners in efforts to save coastal marshes

From VT News

While popular with conservation groups, coastal easements that prevent development in order to protect marshland are not favored by property owners, according to researchers from Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment and the University of Connecticut.

Findings from a study published this week in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offer broad implications for how to best design programs to ...

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Jeb Barrett’s research shows that extreme melt restructured the invertebrate ecosystem in Antarctica

From VT News

An extreme weather event can drastically change the structure of an ecosystem for many years to come, according to a team of ecologists working in Antarctica that includes a researcher with Virginia Tech’s Global Change Center.

In the McMurdo Dry Valleys, a warm summer in January 2002 contributed to record melt and re-arranged the composition of invertebrate communities, such as nematodes and tardigrades, or “water bears” that live there, establishing dominance among ...

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Climate change impacts airline schedules

From The Washington Post:

Rising Temperatures could bump you from your flight

Over three days in late June, American Airlines canceled 57 regional flights out of Phoenix due to extreme heat of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. More heat waves in the future could mean flights get canceled, delayed or have to lose some weight. That weight could be you.

In the aviation business, really hot days are called “weight restriction days,” because when it’s hot, fully loaded planes can’t get off the ground. There’s ...

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Alternative facts in science are the norm

From NPR News

Story by Andrew Shtulman

In an interview on Meet the Press in January, Kellyanne Conway introduced a new phrase into popular discourse: “alternative facts.”

Conway, a senior adviser to President Trump, was asked to defend the claim that Trump’s inauguration drew “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration.” She denied that it was a falsehood (despite photographic evidence to the contrary), claiming instead that the White House had based its conclusion on “alternative facts.”

The notion of alternative facts was roundly mocked on ...

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Zach Easton develops models to help urban areas plan for increased water pollution in the Chesapeake

Dr. Zachary Easton was recently interviewed on NPR about climate change and water quality:

Listen to this interview at NPR
Researcher Develops Models to Help Urban Areas Plan for Increased Pollution of Chesapeake Bay

Virginia Tech researchers say the cost to reduce pollution will increase with climate change, and are working on models to help urban planners develop management practices early enough to make a difference.

Zachary Easton is a lead project investigator for Virginia Tech who says most Americans don’t believe ...

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Explaining the techniques of science denial makes people resistant to their effects

From The Guardian:

Study: to beat science denial, inoculate against misinformers’ tricks

After receiving misinformation from the anti-vaccine movement, including its founder Andrew Wakefield, immunization rates plummeted in a community of Somali immigrants in Minnesota, causing a measles outbreak among their children. It’s a disturbing trend on the rise in America that shows the importance of immunization and the dangerous power of misinformation.

A new paper published in PLOS One by John Cook, Stephan ...

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Top 10 most endangered rivers in the US

From National Geographic

Water is life, yet climate change and certain public policies may be endangering its future in America, a nonprofit group warns in a new report. The stakes are high, with the current presidential administration having proposed budget cuts that may eliminate some safeguards for clean drinking water and rivers nationwide.

That’s according to American Rivers, a Washington, D.C.-based conservation group, which released its annual list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers ...

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Climate change is trouble for cutthroat trout in the Rockies

From NPR:

There’s an unplanned experiment going on in the northern Rocky Mountains. What’s happening is that spring is arriving earlier, and it’s generally warmer and drier than usual. And that’s messing with some of the fish that live there.

The fish is the iconic cutthroat trout. It’s a native North American fish that thrives in cold, small streams. Explorer Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark Expedition fame was among the first ...

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Andrew Light: The Road from the Paris Climate Agreement; April 12th @4:00

The Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) presents:

Andrew Light, Professor and Director
Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy
George Mason University

“The Road From the Paris Climate Agreement”

Andrew Light from George Mason University will give a talk on the topic “The Road From the Paris Climate Agreement” at Virginia Tech. The talk takes place on April 12, 2017, from 4-6 PM in Surge 117a. The talk is tailored to appeal to both students and faculty, with plenty of ...

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“Between Earth and Sky: Climate Change on the Last Frontier” screened April 12 at the Lyric

From VT News

The documentary film “Between Earth and Sky: Climate Change on the Last Frontier” will be screened at 7 p.m. on April 12 at The Lyric Theatre in downtown Blacksburg. David Weindorf, the film’s executive producer, will be on hand to introduce the movie to a Blacksburg audience.

Sponsored by the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech and the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech, the event is free and open to the public. Among ...

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Global Change Researchers help Water Authority maintain water quality

From VT NEWS

Pumping oxygen into the bottom waters of Southwest Virginia’s drinking water reservoirs can reduce treatment costs and help fish and other aquatic life, according to an interdisciplinary research team with the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech.

The team has installed oxygenation systems in three reservoirs that serve Roanoke and surrounding county residents — Carvins Cove, Falling Creek, and Spring Hollow — and are monitoring them to see how increased oxygen levels ...

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