Prepare For The Storm No. 4

Becoming climate resilient, solar and wind overpowers coal, composting, glaciers collapsing and so much more!

Prepare For The Storm No. 4
Photo by Kira auf der Heide / Unsplash

Good morning friends! Welcome to the last newsletter for the year. We're taking the rest of 2023 off to celebrate the Holidays with our families and friends. All of us from Weathered want to wish you and your loved ones a Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. Thanks for making 2023 a great year!

How Much Can Forests Fight Climate Change? 

As a semi-retired civil engineer who's worked primarily in the stormwater and site design space, the topic of climate resilience is something I'm deeply interested in. What is climate resilience? Wikipedia defines it as the "capacity of social, economic, and ecosystems to cope with a hazardous event or trend or disturbance."

We all know that there's a bad trend toward the hazardous these days and the fight to protect this planet will require a multi-front approach. Climate resilience is one of those multi-fronts in the war and in this NY Times article, scientists have finally been able to quantify just how much forests can "sink" carbon out of the air.

Homeowner ordered to cut down native plants down

This is an utter travesty. A Colorado man was ordered to cut down the native plants and flowers in his yard because people complained it was an eyesore. Do you know what I think is an eyesore? Millions of acres of watered, fertilized, and pesticides laden lawns!

I'm squarely in the no-lawns to small-lawns camp and would rather have front yards covered in native wildflowers instead of manicured lawns.

Homeowner ordered to cut native plants in yard down: ‘I was in tears’
Neighbors wanted them gone, but homeowner James Kibler said the plants were a sanctuary.
The outdoor enthusiast has spent years studying plants that are native to Colorado.
He chose to convert his front and back yards to be a pollinator sanctuary using plants he found seeds for in local stores.
“The drought-resistant native plants really called to me and also get the endangered species to come and pollinate there,” Kibler said.

Composting, cover crops, and carbon sequestering

Yours truly posted about a UC Davis study that showed you can sequester carbon (naturally) by composting and using covering crops. I'm a big fan of these methods as they help keep the soil healthy and in turn, our food healthy. More power to the gardeners and farmers who use these growing practices!

Composting, Cover Crops, and Carbon Sequestering
Building climate resilience with gardening.

Antarctic glacier collapsing

I believe that we'll see the ocean levels rise in our time and the retreat of glaciers in Antarctica will be a central cause. If you're living in low-lying areas near the ocean I would recommend that you consider relocation if you can, especially in Florida.

Scientists track rapid retreat of Antarctic glacier
Scientists are warning that apparently stable glaciers in the Antarctic can “switch very rapidly” and lose large quantities of ice as a result of warmer oceans.
Between November 2018 and May 2021, the glacier retreated eight kilometers as the  at the end of the glacier—where ice extends out into the sea and is anchored onto the sea floor at what is known as the grounding zone—collapsed.
The ice shelf would have acted as a buttress, slowing the movement of the glacier towards the sea.

That's right, the "stopper" that's holding the glacier back from sliding too quickly into the sea is now gone.

Wind and solar power more than coal

In good news, wind and solar energy production has eclipsed coal production in the United States. I'm definitely in the green energy production side after helping do roof and structural analysis for installing solar panel and their systems on roofs throughout New York and New Jersey.

In a First, Wind and Solar Generated More Power Than Coal in U.S.
Wind and solar produced more U.S. power than coal during the first five months of this year, as several coal plants closed and gas prices dropped
Renewable energy generation exceeded coal-fired power in 2020 and 2022, but only when hydropower was counted as a source of renewable energy, according to figures compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
This year has been different. Wind and solar sources generated a combined 252 terawatt-hours through the first five months of 2023, compared with coal output of 249 TWh, EIA data shows. Hydro generated an additional 117 TWh through May.

This makes me happy and I'm proud of the work I did to be a part of the solution. I've even debating restarting my Engineering consultancy next year to continue to the good fight.

The harsh reality of climate resiliency

I'm slowly coming to realization that we need to do two things with respect to the climate crisis: fight like hell and make preparations.

The Harsh Reality of Climate Resiliency
Power to the people - building climate resiliency.

The reality is that we will see stronger storms, more flooding, and devastating heat waves. While I believe the fight to stop climate is far from over we do need to be pragmatic and change live in the world. Now, more than ever, we'll need access to clean water, food, and safe places to live. We still have time - albeit it's dwindling - to make the changes and fix things before it's too late.

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