Never Have I Ever Lived in a Month With Normal Global Temperatures

According to Reuters and 350.org, most people under the age of 30 have NEVER EVER lived a month of their life with normal global temperatures.

Post from 350.org’s Facebook page

Yes, you read that right. I was confused, too. But mostly in shock.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “February 1985 was the last month when global temperatures were below the 20th century average.”

This shows just how long climate change has been a public problem – meaning this is not just some fleeting phenomenon. Risks of climate change include droughts, floods and heat waves, which are all a side-effect of higher global temperatures.

Just as a reminder: global climate is not the same as temperatures day-to-day. Yes, sometimes we have an all-time-low temperature day in the summer when it’s supposed to be hot outside, but the temperature average over the whole month is higher. This shows an increasing temperature pattern.

For more information, read the piece by Reuters.

Renewable Energy Update: July 2014

A lot has been happening in the renewable energy realm this summer, especially when it comes to green technology. So far this year, renewables have accounted for half of the US’s energy capacity! And solar power is becoming a LOT cheaper. Check out these three recent clean energy projects from around the globe:

One of Apple’s solar farms

1. Apple is building another solar farm in order to keep to their promise that iCloud would be run with 100% renewable energy. The California-based company opened this farm in North Carolina where the sun seems to be always shining! According to Greenpeace, this is also helping NC get away from catering to Duke Energy, an oil company that has a large hold on the state.

Wind farm

2. Microsoft is also hopping on the renewable energy bandwagon: it purchased a wind farm in Illinois last week. Greenpeace reports that the wind will power Microsoft’s data centers in Chicago. There is already a wind farm in Texas to power Microsoft’s data centers there, but the company has not committed to a 100% renewable energy promise just yet. Still, this is a big leap forward for the tech giant!

Both of these articles are part of Greenpeace’s #ClickClean campaign, which pushes for a clean internet. The clean leaders are Google, Facebook and Apple. The dirty ones? Pinterest, Twitter and Tumblr. If you are so inclined, you can go to their website to take action and ask these “dirty sites” to use renewables for energy!

3. India’s Renewable Energy College has drawn up the plans for the world’s largest floating solar farm, reports the Economic Times.

“The technology is fairly simple. Solar panels will be set up on floating platforms which will be anchored firmly so that it does not sway. Scientists in charge of the projects are still working on the ways of securing the platform in case there are strong winds.”

Scientists will be basing their designs on a small pilot study and Japan’s floating solar farm, which opened last November.

Geology of Natural Arches

A study in Nature Geosciences that came out recently delves into the geology of how natural sandstone arches form.

Landscape Arch in Arches, NP (Moab, UT)

Landscape Arch in Arches NP (Moab, UT)

Once thought to be sculpted by wind and rain, the scientists on the study have found that the shape is “inherent to the rock itself.”

Pine Tree Arch: Arches National Park (Moab, UT)

Pine Tree Arch: Arches NP (Moab, UT)

So, basically, this means that when erosion occurs and parts of the cliff or rock are eroded away, the remaining sand grains “glue” together to prevent the rock from eroding any further. This makes the remaining rock more resistant to further erosion from environmental factors like wind and rain.

Arches, NP (Moab, UT)

Friends in Arches NP (Moab, UT)

To explain it better, click-through for a video representation of the research!

Rocks are pretty fascinating. And let’s be honest, this post also about my chance to plug more of my arch pictures from my trip to Utah! Enjoy!

Me being silly, as always. Overlooking Arches NP.

Me being silly, as always. Overlooking Arches NP.

Mesa Arch: Canyonlands National Park (Moab, UT)

Mesa Arch: Canyonlands National Park (Moab, UT)

Obligatory Delicate Arch photo!

Obligatory Delicate Arch photo!

#2MinuteBeachClean

Martin Dorey wants to make the world a better place, and he thinks this starts with ridding the beaches of marine plastic. The UK-based surfer/writer has created a hashtag to help his cause – you guessed it: #2MinuteBeachClean

Dorey believes that if everyone spent 2 minutes picking up “rubbish” and taking it home, it would make a world of difference. And he’s right!

My mom, being a steward of the Earth, always had us pick up trash from beaches when we were kids. The most prevalent trash I remember was balloons and strings. On beaches where beach combing was allowed, we would collect shells with holes in them and string them on the balloon strings to make shell chimes for the motorhome!

In Dorey’s interview with BBC, he goes through a 2 minute clean, showing us what he finds (which is pretty disturbing).

Click through for the video!

Click through for the video!

The video shows Dorey collecting shotgun shells from America, a blood bag from Spain, fishing nets, butter containers, a packaged ham sandwich from France, and a glow stick.

Because of Dorey’s effort, this cleaning strategy has become a national campaign in Ireland. Many people tweet at Dorey during their beach cleans from all around the world as well.

“The beach belongs to everybody. It’s all our mess, it’s all our problem and it’s just a little bit of social responsibility. And also, if you pick up someone else’s litter you’ll actually feel quite good.”

The end goal? “To make all of our beaches litter free, that we start thinking about our plastic use, that maybe we go to the supermarket or the shops and think twice about buying something that’s got plastic packaging. We need to look after our planet, and the beaches are a great place to start.”

‘Six Californias’ Plan and National Parks

I’ve heard of California falling of the US at the San Andreas Fault Line, but this is a new one.

Billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper is proposing that California be split up into six different states. Mashable reports that after a proposal spear-headed by Draper received 1.3 million signatures, the “Six States Campaign” was born.

The plan for the split.

The plan for the split.

The proposal explains that splitting up California would help with current statewide problems in education, water issues, traffic congestion, business environment and government. The initiative, now housed in website form, would have to be approved by two-thirds of California’s 38 million population and passed by Congress in order to go into effect.

It is unlikely it will pass, but I am concerned about the National Parks! What would happen to them?

As the plan stands there will be six new states: Jefferson (including Humboldt county), Northern California, Silicon Valley, Central California, Western California (including Los Angeles), and South California (including LA suburbs, Disneyland and San Diego).

Very rough map of how the parks, monuments and recreation areas would pan out.

Very rough map of how the parks, monuments and recreation areas would pan out.

By my calculations, “Central California” would keep the biggest parks, which include Yosemite, Death Valley, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon. This “state” would also house Devils Postpile National Monument, Manzanar National Historic Site and Mono Lake.

Kings Canyon National Park

Kings Canyon National Park

The state of “Jefferson” is next in line, with Lassan Volcanic National Park, Lava Beds National Monument, Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area and Redwood National Park.

Lassan Volcanic National Park

Lassan Volcanic National Park

“Silicon Valley” has its share of smaller national lands areas, which include the Muir Woods National Monument, the John Muir National Historic Site, the Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site and Pinnacles National Park.

Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park

“South California” also keeps some beautiful national lands: the Mojave National Preserve, Joshua Tree National Park and Cabrillo National Monument.

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

“North California” will keep Point Reyes National Seashore and Lake Tahoe. “South California” will enjoy the Santa Monica National Recreation Area and Channel Islands National Park.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

This plan seems to split up the parks in their entirety, but leaves the question as to how they would be managed. Should this pass, the new states would have a lot of work to do!

For more information on the plan, outside of the public lands realm, watch below:

Outdoor Exploration: Red Rocks Trail in Boulder, CO

After traveling to Nebraska to visit family for the 4th of July, my sister Gemma made the trip back with me to Colorado! Even though she was only here for a short time, we got to do some hiking.

The first glimpse of the red rocks from the trail.

The first glimpse of the red rocks from the trail.

We headed over to the Settler’s Park Trailhead near downtown Boulder and started up the trail. It was an uncharacteristically humid day, so we were happy with the short (but steep) loop it offered.

Gemma climbing Red Rocks

Gemma climbing Red Rocks

Once you reach the peak of the rocks, you can climb them!

Gemma looking toward South Boulder

Gemma looking toward South Boulder

This one is for my parents: they don’t like when I/we hang off the end of rocks. She is fine! But don’t try climbing rocks if you aren’t completely sure of your footing.

red rocks trail 3

 

*All photos are mine!

First Assignment Collaboration: Best Backpacking Knots

I was assigned to a “best backpacking knots” story for Backpacker. Since I know virtually nothing about any advanced knots, I turned to my brother, Dan, who is an Eagle Scout and a Mountain Bike Director at a Boy Scout camp in Maryland.

Overhand on a bight knot - one featured in my article and tied by my brother!

Overhand on a bight knot – one featured in my article and tied by my brother!

So, for my first journalistic collaboration, I worked with my chemistry major Eagle Scout brother! This is his first brush with journalism, and he was fantastic to interview. He took all the photos (which are fantastic, by the way) and I wrote the text with his guidance.

Check out Backpacker’s Facebook page for another view of the article, which is being shared by a lot of outdoor recreation companies and backcountry associations! If you “like” the page, you can also see other content I created/produced. These stories I write for the website can also be seen on the “news stories” tab on the homepage of my blog.

Big thanks to Backpacker for allowing us to collaborate on this.. and thanks again to my brother!