The Best Way to Understand Earth’s Temperature Changes Through History

2016 has been the hottest year ever recorded on Earth, and every month this year has broken records for being so dang hot. It’s hard to put these records into context since they seem so abstract since it’s just what we’re used to. You might even be sick of hearing about how hot it’s getting and brush all those recent articles about the heat aside.

Despite all of this climate changed induced temperature escalation there are too many people who think that temperature changes like this are natural. They are, but not at the rate of change we’re seeing. Randal Moore of XKCD fame put together a fantastic infographic/cartoon/image of why we should care about climate change and how fast the temperature is increasing.

It’s worth scrolling through and sharing with anybody who thinks that we don’t need to act on climate change. Spreading knowledge in a fun way about a serious topic is a good thing.

Visualization of the history of Earth's climate temperature. XKCD is amazing!

Earth Day Idea for Canadians

First of all, happy Earth Day!

Here’s a neat idea for Canadians: have manufactures pay for waste management of their products. To our European (and some other) readers, this is not a new or crazy idea, but here in Canada this concept is revolutionary. For Earth day The Toronto Star has examined how Ontario can get manufactures to make more environmentally friendly products through legislation – and things are looking good.

One of the most obvious steps is Extended Producer Responsibility, the European concept that the manufacturer must cover the full cost of properly recycling or disposing of a product at the end of its life cycle.

The merits of EPR are simple: It entices companies strictly for cost reasons to redesign their products so they are easier and cheaper to recycle.

European rules, for example, forced Apple to create a computer without lead – leading to lower costs at the end of its life.

In its purest sense, EPR challenges companies to make product lines that lead to zero waste, because no waste would mean no charges at the end of the day.

The requirement may sound radical in Canada, but elsewhere, especially throughout the European Union, EPR is a familiar feature on the regulatory landscape.

Google Earth Includes Oceans

Google Earth is a neat program, but what people can use it for is far more interesting than the software itself. Google has gone ahead and modified their program to now include information about the Earth’s ocean to make people aware of how the oceans are connected to our lives.

“I’ve been struggling my whole life to figure out how to reach people and get them to understand they’re connected to the ocean,” Dr. Earle said.

“But I go to the supermarket and still see the United Nations of fish for sale,” she said. “Marine sanctuaries are still not really protected. Google Earth gets all this information now and puts it in one place for the littlest kid and the stuffiest grownup to see in a way that hasn’t been possible in all preceding history.”

By choosing among 20 buttons holding archives of information, called “layers” by Google, a visitor can read logs of oceanographic expeditions, see old film clips from the heyday of Jacques-Yves Cousteau and check daily Navy maps of sea temperatures.

A Guide to Climate Change for the Perplexed

earth.jpgNew Scientist has a great article for people who are at all confused, misinformed, ignorant, or othwerise boggled by all this talk about climate change. They clarify many things that people may not know much about. It’s worth a read if you don’t think you know enough about climate change, or if you just want a reminder what climate change means.

Our planet’s climate is anything but simple. All kinds of factors influence it, from massive events on the Sun to the growth of microscopic creatures in the oceans, and there are subtle interactions between many of these factors.

Yet despite all the complexities, a firm and ever-growing body of evidence points to a clear picture: the world is warming, this warming is due to human activity increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and if emissions continue unabated the warming will too, with increasingly serious consequences.

Going Green is Profitable

There two articles out in the mainstream press today that focus on companies that have realized that saving the environment is good for their bottom line.

Publishers have discovered that there is a demand for green coverage:

“Buoyed by the breakaway success of “An Inconvenient Truth,” the film documentary of Al Gore’s environmental lecture, publishers like The Washington Post, National Geographic and others are increasing their offerings of “green” content, hoping to attract readers and advertising revenues from manufacturers and retailers who are suddenly walking the earth-friendly path.”

And being earth friendly is good for advertising:

“Participating in Earth Day is a way for companies to get their name out there,” said Diane Osgood of Business for Social Responsibility in San Francisco. “It can get them publicity because right now green is in. Green is the new black.”

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