NTRI sign at the Eco Fair

As part of our community outreach effort to invite families to join Nature’s Trust RI campaign , Pamela Lezaeta and Suzanne Enzer, parents of Compass school, prepared an informational booth at the annual Eco Fair event of Compass, a public charter school in Kingston (RI). We collected signatures of interested parents and displayed educational experiments for children to see examples of the impacts of global warming. One experiment demonstrated the increase in ocean acidification due to increasing CO2 uptake from the atmosphere. Ocean acidification is the process in which the excess atmospheric CO2 dissolves into the ocean and is converted to corrosive carbonic acid. The simulation was done with a mix of water and bromothymol blue dye that would change to yellow as the PH level decreases with the absorption of CO2. One experiment simulated the ocean uptake of CO2 by a person blowing into the solution with a straw. The solution would slowly absorb the C02 flow manifested in a gradual change of color to a light green. The other simulation was done by inserting dry ice (frozen CO2) into the blue solution, making the demonstration more dramatic, bubbling with a rapid change of color to a bright yellow (lower PH).

The following video published by NOAA demonstrates the devastating impact of ocean acidification produced by the uptake of too much CO2 concentrating in the atmosphere.

NOAA Ocean Acidification Demonstration

 

CO2 collected from a clam shell dissolving in acetic acid

Other experiment consisted in sea shells dissolving in an acid solution (acetic acid), which is a corrosive environment (made of carbonic acid) for the sea shells made of Calcium carbonate. As the sea shell dissolves, the original carbon of its body is released as a gas. The gas is trapped with a balloon that would grow as the shell dissolved into CO2. This experiment demonstrated the corrosive environment of ocean acidification, making the build up of Calcium Carbonate organisms (such as Coral reefs) unsustainable in an acid ocean. The gas trapped by the balloon provided a visual representation on how much carbon was needed to build the sea shell. Ocean acidification not only affects the food web of the sea, but it also diminishes the capability of the ocean to absorb carbon from the atmosphere.

The PMEL carbon program NOAA website offers a concise explanation on the causes and consequences of ocean acidification.

Ice shelf break up in Larsen (2002), W Antarctica. Approx. 3,250 square km

A third experiment measured the time difference for ice blocks of different sizes to melt in water, comparing seven small ice blocks of equivalent mass with that of a single large block, to demonstrate how melting of a glacier speeds up as it breaks down into smaller pieces. This experiment illustrates what is happening in Antarctic and the Artic with increasing air and sea temperatures, as a large ice sheet breaks up into pieces, the melting rate accelerates on the newly exposed ice surfaces.

 

Below is the brochure shared at the Eco Fair:

We also shared information on current national and state incentives for switching to renewable sources of energy, which the public is not always aware since the information is not widely available: Newsletter Incentives to Green Up. A collective effort to reduce personal carbon footprint will, however, not be enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a sustainable level if the state continues the dependence on fossil fuels for energy generation and transportation.

 

Nature’s Trust RI @ March for Science in RI—April 22, 2017

Nature’s Trust Rhode Island’s email address is:

NaturesTrustRI@pobox.com  (note the s after Nature!)


Brochure for March for Science



More information

Kelsey Cascadia Rose Juliana, a 16-year-old from Eugene, is passionate about preserving this beautiful Earth.

A wealth of information with current developments, videos, action plans, etc.: Our Children’s Trust

Mary Christina Wood on Bill Moyers’ last show talks about the time-honored public trust doctrine.

A short video about what motivates people:

If you really want to dig into the legal theory and the failure of the current system of permits to destroy the environment, read Nature’s Trust.  Or attend this virtual lecture by Mary Christina Wood at Yale:

References

  1. International Cryosphere Initiative: “Never has a single generation held the future of so many coming generations, species and ecosystems in its hands.” (2015)
  2. Hansen, Amicus Brief “ Effective action remains possible, but delay in undertaking sharp reductions in emissions will undermine any realistic chance of preserving a habitable climate system.”(2011)}
  3. Foster et al. “Humanity’s fossil-fuel use, if unabated, risks taking us, by the middle of the twenty-first century, to values of CO$_2$ not seen since the early Eocene (50 million years ago).” (2017)
  4. Turner et al. did satellite studies that “suggest that U.S. methane emissions have increased by more than 30% over the 2002–2014 period.” (2016)
  5. Growth curve of global atmospheric CO2: see How to distribute humanity’s remaining carbon-dioxide budget, Appendix A.

Impressions of Resistance: Volume 1, coming soon at RISD

This design is by Stacy Smith of RISD.  She did this as part of her thesis and is calling her project Impressions of Resistance: Volume 1 and wrote on Facebook:

New #impressionsofresistance design for Peter Nightingale of :Fossil Free RI I hope you like it, Peter.

This one broke my heart. There is still music, and hope.

Stacy created this design after an interview with Peter, who teaches physics at the University of Rhode Island and loves Renaissance music.  The background is nuclear physics in somebody’s hand-written notes.  At the bottom, between the houses is a vocal manuscript from around 1600.  What a stunning design!

If Stacy’s print sells, the $600 will go to Fossil Free Rhode Island.  Here are the details for her exhibition and its opening:

What:
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) 2017 Thesis Exhibition Opening Reception
Wednesday May 24 from 6-8pm (cash bar)
Dates:
May 25-June 3,
Show open daily from 12-5, 10:30-6 on June 4
Where:
Rhode Island Convention Center, Hall A, One Sabin St., Providence

Grad Show Facebook event page 
Grad Show Website

Nature’s Trust RI @ March for Science in RI—April 22, 2017

Nature’s Trust Rhode Island’s email address is:

NaturesTrustRI@pobox.com (note the s after Nature!)


Brochure for March for Science

At the March for Science in Providence




More information

Kelsey Cascadia Rose Juliana, a 16-year-old from Eugene, is passionate about preserving this beautiful Earth.

A wealth of information with current developments, videos, action plans, etc.: Our Children’s Trust

Mary Christina Wood on Bill Moyers’ last show talks about the time-honored public trust doctrine.

A short video about what motivates people:

If you really want to dig into the legal theory and the failure of the current system of permits to destroy the environment, read Nature’s Trust. Or attend this virtual lecture by Mary Christina Wood at Yale:

References

  1. International Cryosphere Initiative: “Never has a single generation held the future of so many coming generations, species and ecosystems in its hands.” (2015)
  2. Hansen, Amicus Brief “ Effective action remains possible, but delay in undertaking sharp reductions in emissions will undermine any realistic chance of preserving a habitable climate system.”(2011)}
  3. Foster et al. “Humanity’s fossil-fuel use, if unabated, risks taking us, by the middle of the twenty-first century, to values of CO$_2$ not seen since the early Eocene (50 million years ago).” (2017)
  4. Turner et al. did satellite studies that “suggest that U.S. methane emissions have increased by more than 30% over the 2002–2014 period.” (2016)
  5. Growth curve of global atmospheric CO2: see How to distribute humanity’s remaining carbon-dioxide budget, Appendix A.

Vive le procès

Governor Gina Raimondo has asked the people of Rhode Island to respect the process of the Energy Facility Siting Board as it makes its decision about the Invenergy-Raimondo power plant to be sited in Burrillville, RI.

The official recordings of the proceedings of the board illustrate the inner workings of the “process:” laws of nature, the Rhode Island Constitution and democracy be damned!

Why the laws of nature? Because the “studies” used in the “process” completely ignore the expected impact of climate change on the weather patterns over the life span of the power plant.

Why the Rhode Island Constitution? Because the board acts in violation of Article 1 Section 17, “the duty of the general assembly to provide for the conservation of the air, land, water …”

Banality of evil at work!

To Save Life on Earth: Civil Resistance as a Moral Imperative

Presentation by Peter Nightingale, November 19, 2016, hosted by the Green Task Force of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South County.

typhoon

This is the link to the PDF of the talk: To Save Life on Earth: Civil Resistance as a Moral Imperative.

In these times it might be good to remember the following quote from Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.

It was the new politics of ambiguity-speaking for the lower and middle classes to get their support in times of rapid growth and potential turmoil. The two-party system came into its own in this time. To give people a choice between two different parties and allow them, in a period of rebellion, to choose the slightly more democratic one was an ingenious mode of control. Like so much in the American system, it was not devilishly contrived by some master plotters; it developed naturally out of the needs of the situation.

Take your pick: solidarity, politics or crime

[BREAKING NEWS:  Also Glocester’s town council stands in solidarity with Burrillville.  More will follow.  Back to the original post.]

Fossil Free RI member Claudia Gorman—thank you, Claudia!—explains a couple of “minor” conflicts of interest that haunt the process currently happening at the Rhode Island Energy Facility Siting Board.  The board must decide to site or not to site Invenergy’s soon-to-be-stranded asset, its proposed fossil-fuel power plant in Burrillville.

Once the power plant will get its go-ahead, which is not a done deal yet, the next question will be how our leadership will arrange matters so that We, the Rate Payers, will foot bill.  Will it be 38 Studios style bail-out, or will they come up with a new scheme to protect their corporate friends?  We’ll find out.

Here, courtesy Steve Ahlquist, is Claudia’s testimony before the Middletown Town Council:

If you do not have time to watch the video, the following summary might suffice. Everybody of Rhode Island’s leadership is in bed with everybody else.  The Public Utility Commission, which will also play a major role in a potential Woonsocket-Invenergy water deal, is so tangled up with the Raimondo administration and its Office of Energy Resources that it takes forever to explain all the conflicts of interest, but the details don’t really matter.

“Respect the process,” Governor Raimondo says.  Sure, even the Mafia has processes, but the fundamental problem is that money not only affects politics, it affect morality itself.  Here is an intriguing New York Times quote:

politics-and-crime-theyre-the-same-thing
Money, in other words, puts us in the frame of mind of Michael Corleone as he decides to enter the family business. “It’s not personal,” he tells his brother. “It’s strictly business.”

The good news is that the vast majority of humanity are good people who understand solidarity.  Steve Ahlquist’s report over at Rhode Island Future tells that part of Claudia’s story.

The bad news is that the climate change clock is ticking.  There may come a time that we’ll have to ask for forgiveness of future generations for what we did to the Earth they shall inherit.  Let me correct that: the time is now.

bike

Way too high, but nothing special about 400 ppm carbon dioxide

The world passes 400 ppm carbon dioxide threshold. Permanently

Of course, there is no threshold at 400 ppm. If there is one, it’s at 350 ppm.  As Hansen and friends discuss in Young People’s Burden: Requirement of Negative CO2 Emissions

We advocate a stricter goal, based on restoring Earth’s energy balance and limiting the period when global temperature is above the range of the Holocene; temperature stability of the Holocene has allowed sea level to be stable for the past several millennia in which civilization developed. This goal leads to a CO2 target of 350 ppm, …

350-bangladesh

Humans use the decimal system.  That’s a convention without any physical significance.  400 ppm might look special to humans, to nature it does not.  To nature 400 ppm is just an arbitrary point well into the danger zone on a curve of global exponential growth of a little over 2% increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide starting with the industrial revolution.

The 70 year rule implies that the amount of CO2 emitted by humanity into the atmosphere doubles every 35 year. Keep that in mind when you hear talk about the great things we’ll do by 2050, almost 35 years from today.