To really understand climate change, we need to see the big picture. This beautiful globe is an animated climate model, made to help scientists figure out what the eff is going on.
This particular model (which you can see in all its mesmerizing glory at 8:33) shows many atmospheric particles moving around the globe. The reddish-orange is dust streaming off the Sahara; the white is pollution from burning coal and volcanoes; the red dots are fires; and the blue swirls are sea salt whipped into the air by the wind.
All those swirling particles affect our climate. “There are so many different factors at work,” says climate scientist Gavin Schmidt. "Everything from how light travels through the atmosphere to how the winds move the ocean around to how rain hits the ground has an effect on what actually happens on Earth both now and in the future."
According to scientists, we’re currently in the geological epoch known as theHolocene, which has lasted for the last 12,000 years. The Holocene encompasses the rise of humanity since the last ice age. But some scientists think we have actually entered a new era, called the Anthropocene—an era in which the world no longer shapes humanity, but in which humanity shapes the world to its own purpose and does so to such an extent that it will have permanent effects of the geological record of our planet.
This tour of our glowing transportation and communication networks shows the majesty—and horror—of how mankind has altered the planet.
The world is on fire! Literally. NASA just released a virtual video tour of Earth’s fires. As it turns out, agricultural fires in the Southeast and Mississippi River Valley are more visible from space than the forest fires of the West. See more…
It’s surprising that more people aren’t talking about this. We’ve reported on the Starbucks Cup Dilemma in the past, and it’s clear that corporate sustainability has serious limits. Even in this showdown between Starbucks and McDonald’s Starbucks barely edged out MickeyD’s when it came to measuring impact on our Earth. Entering the juice-bar market may seem like it makes good business sense, but is it a smart solution for our planet?
Wake Up Call of the Day: According to Starbucks’ sustainability director Jim Hanna, the coffeehouse chain may soon be unable to sell its principal product due to the detrimental impact of climate change on coffee bean production.
“What we are really seeing as a company as we look 10, 20, 30 years down the road – if conditions continue as they are – is a potentially significant risk to our supply chain, which is the Arabica coffee bean,” Hanna told the Guardian in a phone interview.
Hanna is set to speak before members of Congress today on the issue of climate change and how it’s real and how someone should do something about it before we run out of coffee and chocolate and a whole bunch of other foodstuffs “many people can’t live without.”
Starbucks has already put Plan B in motion, announcing yesterday it plans to enter the juice-bar market — news that freaked out Jamba Juice stockholders, causing the price of JMBA to drop 3.5%.