The Good, the Bad, and the Vital. Prescott’s Climate Links #12

This week Prescott sent me a long email with so many important links in it, I nearly broke my rule of listing only three stories. But here are just three climate related stories. We balanced it out with some good news, some not-so-good news, and some essential reading for anyone interested in climate action and justice.

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First some good news. I find hope in the fact that so many researchers are exploring all sorts of responses to address climate change and to help us switch from greenhouse gases to cleaner forms of energy.  I wonder how much energy is used up every day just charging our mobile phones. Prescott shared with me a new advancement in solar technology that caught my eye. New Crystal Clear Solar Cells could Power Your Smartphone by Adam Clark Estes for Gizmodo.

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New Crystal Solar Cells

A team of researchers from Michigan State University has developed a completely transparent, luminescent solar concentrator. Whereas most traditional solar panels collect light energy from the sun using dark silicon cells and converted into electricity using the photovoltaic effect, solar concentrators actually focus sunlight onto a heat engine that produces electricity. In the case of this new technology, the plastic-like material channels specific wavelengths of sunlight towards the photovoltaic solar cells on the edge of the panel. “Because the materials do not absorb or emit light in the visible spectrum, they look exceptionally transparent to the human eye,” Richard Lunt, who led the research, explains in a release.

Read the entire article here

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Now for some disturbing but not surprising news. Major Disasters Linked to Extreme Weather, Climate and Water Hazards on the Rise by Chris Rose for Alternet.  

Far Rockaway, NY after Hurricane Sandy Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

Far Rockaway, NY after Hurricane Sandy
Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

Recently published data collected by the World Meteorological Organization shows there were close to five times as many weather- and climate-change-related disasters in the first decade of this century than in the 1970s.

As many as 1.94 million people lost their lives due to these catastrophic weather events between 1970 and 2012, which cost $2.4 trillion U.S. in economic losses, according to the  Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes (1970–2012).

The 44-page atlas, a joint publication of the Geneva-based UN agency WMO and the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) of the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, examined major reported disasters linked to weather, climate and water extremes.

Read the entire article here.

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 Here in the USA we were gripped, shocked (or not so shocked), and moved to anger and action over the shooting death by a white police officer of Michael Brown, an 18 year old Black man in Ferguson, MO. Our own team member, Dr. Keisha McKenzie, wrote about Ferguson and her thoughts and feelings in the post: On #NMOS14, Ferguson, and Rooting for a New World.

At this blog we have been highlighting the intersectional nature of the climate work we are pursuing. We have been learning and sharing about how environmental injustice affects people of color, indigenous populations in North America and Australia, and adds to the disproportionate suffering of people living in the Global South.

Our last article this week: Why the Climate Movement Must Stand with Ferguson, is a powerful essay by Deirdre Smith, 350.org’s Strategic Partnership Coordinator. In it, she helps us see the connections to climate change and on-going discrimination. This gets played out dramatically in times of crisis.

'We are in this together and our fights are connected,' writes Smith. (Photo: flickr / cc / Light Brigading)

‘We are in this together and our fights are connected,’ writes Smith. (Photo: flickr / cc / Light Brigading)

It’s all over the news: images of police in military gear pointing war zone weapons at unarmed black people with their hands in the air. These scenes made my heart race in an all-to-familiar way. I was devastated for Mike Brown, his family and the people of Ferguson. Almost immediately, I closed my eyes and remembered the same fear for my own family that pangs many times over a given year.

In the wake of the climate disaster that was Hurricane Katrina almost ten years ago, I saw the same images of police, pointing war-zone weapons at unarmed black people with their hands in the air. In the name of “restoring order,” my family and their community were demonized as “looters” and “dangerous.” When crisis hits, the underlying racism in our society comes to the surface in very clear ways. Climate change is bringing nothing if not clarity to the persistent and overlapping crises of our time.

Read the entire article here:

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Coming Soon! New Climate Stew podcast and website. Launch Sept 15, 2014.

Check out previous editions of Prescott’s Climate Links.  And Let us know what you are interested in understanding better. Where do you find hope?

 

(photos come from articles listed unless otherwise indicated)

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