Friday, February 06, 2015

Naomi Klein - Human Values vs economics

I found this online conversation to be an important one we should all be involved in.

We have..." been making these arguments around economics, but there is nothing more powerful than a values based argument. We’re not going to win this as bean counters. We can’t beat the bean counters at their own game. We’re going to win this, because this is an issue of values, human rights, right and wrong.... we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that what actually moves people’s hearts are the arguments based on the value of life."
Naomi Klein, in an online webinar conversation with director May Boeve ended the conversation with the statement above 'Fighting for the Places We Love': A Vision for the Climate Battles to Come" and talking about Global Divestment Days on February 13 and 14, 2015 :

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Religion or Not - Another form of discrimination?

 This article written by Adam Lee on Alternet notes that non-belief is far more common than people realize yet politicians dare not declare a non-belief. Furthermore atheists are a large and potentially influential population.
"Imagine the kind of world we could live in if atheists were a political force. It would be a world where secularism is the unquestioned law of the land, where religious groups wouldn't interfere in politics unless they could put forward arguments backed by evidence that anyone could examine, and not just appeals to faith. We'd rely on science and rationality to shape public policy; humanity would heed the voice of reason, rather than gut feelings or superstitious taboos. In this world, the religious arguments propping up tribalism, racism, and the oppression of women would wither away; the decrees of unelected and unaccountable authorities would fade into dust, and democracy and the liberty of the individual would be the guiding principles."

6 new NASA Earth-Observing Satellites measure changing planet

This NASA Page "Earth Right Now" contains a wealth of information about how we are measuring the changes on our planet.  Included is exciting information about five new Earth-observing satellite launches in the past year that will deliver even more crucial data to scientists trying to understand our changing planet.  

On June 5, 2013 I wrote a related blog post about the Landsat 8 Satellite that provides additional acquisition of high quality observations of land use and land change.

As citizens we have to demand that our family, friends, neighbors, organizations, businesses and elected representatives learn how to pay attention to accumulated science and stand up and act in order to immediately and dramatically slow down the extreme human caused climate and ecosystem changes that have been geometrically increasing for decades.

The latest of the five Earth observing NASA satellite observatories, SMAP, (Soil Moisture Active Passive) was scheduled to be launched this weekend, January 31, 2015.

This observatory will produce the highest-resolution maps of soil moisture ever obtained from space.  "The accuracy, resolution, and global coverage of SMAP soil moisture and freeze/thaw measurements are invaluable across many science and applications disciplines including hydrology, climate, carbon cycle, and the meteorological, environmental and ecology applications communities."

The GPM (Global Precipitation Measurement) observatory was launched on "February 27, 2014,  carrying advanced instruments that will set a new standard for precipitation measurements from space." 

"The data they provide will be used to unify precipitation measurements made by an international network of partner satellites to quantify when, where, and how much it rains or snows around the world.  The GPM mission will help advance our understanding of Earth's water and energy cycles, improve the forecasting of extreme events that cause natural disasters, and extend current capabilities of using satellite precipitation information to directly benefit society."

CATS (Cloud-Aerosol Transport System) is a lidar remote-sensing instrument that will extend profile measurements of atmospheric aerosols and clouds from the International Space Station (ISS). 

The CATS payload will improve our understanding of aerosol and cloud properties and interactions, as well as improve climate change models. CATS is specifically intended to demonstrate a low-cost, streamlined approach to developing ISS science payloads.

OCO-2 Orbiting Carbon Observatory was launched on July 2, 2014, and is NASA’s first dedicated Earth remote sensing satellite to study atmospheric carbon dioxide from Space.

OCO-2 will be collecting space-based global measurements of atmospheric CO2 with the precision, resolution, and coverage needed to characterize sources and sinks on regional scales. OCO-2 will also be able to quantify CO2 variability over the seasonal cycles year after year.

ISS-RapidScat was launched on September 20, 2014 and  is the first near-global scientific Earth-observing climate instrument specifically designed and developed to operate from the exterior of the space station. 

The experimental mission will measure near-surface ocean wind speed and direction in Earth’s low and mid-latitudes in any kind of weather except heavy rain. The data will be used to support weather and marine forecasting, including tracking storms and hurricanes, and to study Earth’s climate.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Google Earth Blog Highlights Mountain Visions Google Earth Tours.

Wow - Mountain Visions Google Earth Tours are highlighted today on the popular "Google Earth Blog  -  The amazing things about Google Earth." 

Google Earth Blog originated by Frank Taylor has provided important and interesting Information almost daily for the past 10 years.

Included in today's post are links to Mountain Visions Google Earth Tour collection and to these few selected browser plugin tours and KMZ download files:

Potential CuMo Mine Tour - 2012 / Idaho families for Clean Water

Prince of Wales Island Watershed Restoration Projects  - 2006-2011 / U.S. Forest Service & Trout Unlimited

Mores Creek Watershed Tour - 2013 / Trout Unlimited

Boise River at High Water - 2011 / Idaho Rivers United, Lighthawk & Land Trust for the Treasure Valley.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Boise and other Idaho Cities Google Earth 3D imagery has just become available.

For the past few years Google Earth has been adding a new kind of 3D imagery in cities around the world. I looked at the recent update on the Google Earth Blog and found Boise and other cities in the Treasure Valley has just been added.
Other cities in Idaho that contain the new 3D imagery are Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Lewiston and Coeur d'Alene.

 I am adding one screen shot here that shows the area outlined in red where you can see the new imagery in the Treasure Valley, including the Boise River near Boise, Meridian, Nampa and Caldwell when you turn on the 3-D buildings in the Google Earth Browser.

Below  I I will also add a screen shot showing the new imagery near Barber Park and the Boise River.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

2017 Total Solar Eclipse Path Across Idaho

I just read another article with good photos and information about the Total Solar "Eclipse of a Lifetime" on August 21, 2017. "Start planning for it now!" I will add two screen shot photos here identifying the eclipse path for my friends who live in, or will visit, Idaho during the eclipse.

For friends who live in or visit Idaho, below are 2 static maps showing the path and some of the towns the total solar eclipse will cross in Idaho on Monday August 21, 2017.  It will be interesting to see what these communities do to celebrate this celestial phenomena.  Please comment if you have ideas for these celebrations.

Credit for the Eclipse path that covers the entire U.S.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Natural Wilderness VS Management / Stewardship?

"The Wilderness Paradox" an article by Jordan Fisher Smith in Orion Magazine provides an important perspective wilderness advocates might consider.   

The article quotes Roderick Nash in his 1978 text book "Wilderness Management."
"A designated, managed wilderness is, in a very important sense, a contradiction in terms. It could even be said that any area that is proclaimed wilderness and managed as such is not wilderness by these very acts! The problem is that the traditional meaning of wilderness is an environment that man does not influence, a place he does not control."
My 1971 Photo on West Buttress of Denali  published in "The Smithsonian Magazine" article about clean up efforts on the mountain.

The 1964 Wilderness Act was a significant event in American culture and has been celebrated by wilderness advocates now for 50 years.  However the act itself included a number of well documented political and economic compromises that   were necessary for contemporary congressional representatives to seriously consider passing it.  These compromises by themselves severely limited what the concept of wilderness could have been. By 1964 one hundred short years of grandfathered livestock grazing, mining, guided hunting, floating, back county airports and other uses were built into the act. And recently we have seen accepted helicopter spraying for weeds, wolf control and other federal and state management actions that I believe most wilderness advocates would not believe to have been possible some years ago.

Even the fixed boundaries where some popular access roads started to cause overcrowding resulting in the perceived need for wilderness permit requirements, and law enforcement by managers.  If the wilderness boundaries had been made flexible and popular access roads closed, requiring wilderness users to walk more distance these management tools would not be as necessary.  Even the act of maintaining trails for easy access for horses and hikers eliminates some of the naturalness of a wilderness, not to mention the maintenance of existing wilderness airfields and buildings.

Two examples of wild areas that have become overcrowded because of easy access that could be moved back include the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho and the West Buttress Route on Denali.  At one of the Wilderness Conferences it was revealed that the existing road into Dagger Falls was originally supposed to be only temporary in the 1931 designated primitive area that then existed.  Punched in with the notion that mankind could engineer a way to "help" salmon get up Dagger Falls more easily than they had for milenia, the primitive area rules required that this road would not be permanent. However, as we now know thousands of trucks, vans,and  busses carry boats, gears and guided customers of private companies and self organized public groups to the well constructed put in point just below Dagger Falls.  If this road did not exist, floating the Middle Fork would require at least on more day and would also require a portage of Dagger Falls that most guides and paying customers never like to do.  On Denali, the most popular West Buttress route requires permits because the Park Service allows bush pilots to ferry people into a close approach on the Kahiltna Glacier.  Just eliminating the airplane access and helicopter rescues would require a much larger effort and commitment to climb this highest wild peak in North America.  In 1975 I was involved in a 60 day "Clean Climbing" Expedition that attempted to demonstrate this concept.

Personally, I have been an active participant in Wilderness issues and activities during this 50 year period, in Idaho, Oregon and Alaska and other western areas.  In my youth I hiked and hunted in the primitive areas that later became the Selway Bitterroot and Frank Church Wilderness Areas in Idaho.   In the late 1960's at the University of Oregon Outdoor Program we initiated actions help to Save the French Pete Wilderness.  I helped organize a several year effort to manage trash and access Mt. McKinley (Denali) in Alaska and on the Lower Salmon River in Idaho.  We organized "Wilderness Use Ethics" and "Wilderness and Individual Freedom" conferences and also published "Free Country Times" and "Cooperative Wilderness Adventures" for several years at the University of Oregon. I have also hiked, backpacked, photographed and produced many multimedia programs and web site projects that have wilderness and natural environment themes over the past 35 years with Katy Flanagan and Mountain Visions.