Browsing All Posts filed under »Climate Change«

Beaver and Goats

March 12, 2014

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boyz at the fallsSpring is here and my wife, Kirsten, and I are poking our heads out more and looking into environmental issues. In fact, it has felt like March in Utah since early February and it is good to get out. In addition my son, Nick, has been interning for Wild Utah Project and WildEarth Guardians, both environmental agencies. Kirsten hiked the Calf Creek Falls trail on Monday with her sister and two nephews strapped to their backs. Nick made a run down to Moab a couple of weeks ago to visit with the Forest Service, Wild Utah Project and the Grand Canyon Trust about exotic mountain goats recently plunked down on the La Sals. [ . . . more]

The Plateau as Canary

December 16, 2011

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I like this idea of Kirk Johnson's of the Green blog at the New York Times. The fragile Colorado Plateau acting as canary in the coal mine. It doesn't take a dust storm in Arizona to notice that the air is always hazier on the Plateau than it was even 10 years ago. So few people live on the Plateau that man made haze here is a sign of illness elsewhere. ...more>>

Our River Run Dry

November 18, 2011

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The Colorado River does not make it to the sea. It's all used up 70 miles before it gets there, leaving the Colorado River Delta parched. Over 75 percent of the water extracted goes to agriculture. Whenever something about water use comes up in the press, watering lawns always comes up. That is the wrong grass. It's not lawns draining the river, it's hay. Buying up the virtual property right of water rights from farmers and ranchers is called "water ranching." I'll try to find more on that in the future. In the meanwhile, here's a piece from the New York Times on the river, and another interesting blog from a recent author on the subject, Jonathan Waterman (great name.)

Conservative idea, temporarily disavowed.

November 5, 2011

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Conservatives originally proposed that markets could help correct mans impact on the environment. Just get the cost of environmental degradation included in the cost of production. According to Steve Zwick at Forbes, the idea had some traction until the whole conservative movement "went collectively insane." . . . more>>

You can “see” more clearly from up there.

October 20, 2011

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In my last blog I noted how the air is almost always hazy in the West these days, even in open space hundreds of miles away from urban areas. One of the reasons I notice this is that I am a private pilot and and you notice haze more from up there. The Grand Canyon Trust just posted a piece on a pilots group out of Aspen that takes advantage of their general aviation planes to show the conservation issues facing national parks in the Southwest to folks, particularly students, from the air. Cool. It's part of what is called EcoFlight’s Flight Across America. . . . more>>

Have you noticed that it is almost always hazy?

October 20, 2011

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I was at a star gazing party in southern Utah recently and met a businessman my age as he showed me around his telescope setup. As we got to know each other it turned out this guy, who seemed otherwise a lot like me, was a climate change denier. He told me his reasons and I listened. He was pretty sure of himself. The only notion that seemed to set him back was the observation that the air around Capitol Reef National Park, air that used to be so clear there were view point signs touting it (150 miles visibility used to be), is now almost always hazy. He had noticed that too. Here, William Anderson, chairman of the Moapa Band of Paiutes in southeastern Nevada, talks about the external cost of air pollution and benefits of clean air, that is the externalities that don't show up on a balance sheet or income statement but are real none the less, in this concise entry from Writers on the Range. . . .more>>

Value of wilderness debate: Wilderness wins 9:1

October 19, 2011

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I found this debate in The Economist to be a terrific, brainy way to get a review of how we got to where we are today on our sense of the value of wilderness. The best points I thought were made by "featured guest" contributors that centered on the relatively poor results environmentalists achieve when they take a no compromise position. Michael Shellenberger & Ted Nordhaus make the lucid point that,

Ignoring those questions (of how to manage development), and engaging in romantic visions that such a world can be sustained through small-is-beautiful projects, imperils the effort to produce a beautiful and healthy planet more than any corporation or government.
It is surprising to me that readers of The Economist would be so profoundly in favor of the notion that:
This house believes that untouched wildernesses have a value beyond the resources and other utility that can be extracted from them.
. . . more>>