Surferbird News-Links, 52nd Edition
This edition of Surferbird News-Links is packed with important information on climate change, pesticides in foods, health benefits of organic foods, bringing back ancient edible plants, toxic environmental chemicals and brain health, the new EWG's "Dirty Dozen" list, planting a trillion trees, an athlete's Hijab and more. Oh, and I almost forgot about the earworm.
Twenty award-winning photos (theatlantic.com)
These will draw you into the people and places captured on film. Take a look. It's well worth the effort.
More news on the AMOC (e360.yale.edu)
Last week, I shared an article on the possibility of the AMOC (Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation) weakening because of climate change. I'm including an additional link in today's Suferbird edition because of the slightly different perspective and the extensive coverage the author provides. But some scientists aren't sure if the current is weakening at all. Any slowing of the AMOC could be due to natural cycles—or not. The verdict is still out. If it is weakening, though, the Northern Hemisphere could cool dramatically. Other regions of the globe would experience vast changes in weather pattern, also.
A huge area of permafrost in Northern Canada is melting with increased acceleration. (cleantechnica.com)
Why yes, I've been to Alabama—thank you very much—which is about the size of permafrost thaw occurring in Northern Canada. When permafrost thaws, methane, a greenhouse gas, is released. This is followed by more carbon dioxide ending up in the atmosphere too. And according to scientists, permafrost contains twice the amount of greenhouse gases as Earth's atmosphere. For more information, take a look at National Geographic's permafrost page.
Currently, 10 percent of our oceans are affected by increased warming and acidification. But if global greenhouse gas emissions aren't reduced further, four fifths of Earth's oceans would be threatened by 2050. Atmospheric carbon dioxide increases both the temperature and acidity of our oceans.
On our current trajectory—without making more reductions in carbon dioxide levels than governments have already planned—global temperatures will rise 3 degrees Celsius. As a reminder, the Paris agreement set a target of keeping global temperatures below a 2 degree Celsius increase. But even this isn't enough to prevent ice-free Arctic summers, according to scientists from Exeter University, Britain. However, a temperature rise at or below 1.5 degrees Celsius would preserve Arctic sea ice during summers.
This teenager is planting one trillion trees (news.nationalgeographic.com)
Did you think I would leave you with only the bad news ? Well, we can thank Felix Finkbeiner from Germany for this inspiring story. He set out to plant a trillion trees at the tender age of 9. Young Finkbeiner is 19 years old, now. But with the help of the environmental group he started and the UN's Billion Tree Campaign, Felix Finkbeiner has "planted more than 14 billion trees in more than 130 nations." He learned, at a young age, that more was at stake from climate change than just polar bears. Humans are at risk too. Could it be that our children will save us?
Food and farming
Reviving ancient foods may sustain and nourish us as the climate changes. (biographic.com)
Did you know wheat, rice and maize make up just over half the world's food supply? We've lost a lot of food diversity because of monocropping. But many older plant varieties are better adapted to climatic changes. And also, we've traded nutritional quality for quantity. This topic fascinates me, and I hope to learn more about ancient foods that could be revived in California—a long but excellent read.
Organic food and pesticides
This is big. But as you probably guessed, some scientists disagree with the UN report. In my opinion, though, the fact that an important organization, such as the UN, is questioning the need for pesticides is a positive development.
Feeding the world with organic food (civileats.com)
I suggest you read the whole article because of its relevance to amounts of cadmium (a naturally occurring mineral) and organophosphates (class of pesticides) in specific food groups. It also covers nutritional differences between organic and non-organic foods along with the potential to reduce antibiotic resistance by choosing organic meats. The author also refers to the same study featured in the Atlantic article, below, regarding toxic chemicals and brain health.
EWG's 2017 dirty dozen list (ewg.org)
Well, the list is out—best and worst produce for detected chemical residues. Sometimes, we have to make difficult decisions based on our finances. A big thanks to EWG for helping us make more informed choices.
Health and beauty
Toxic chemicals that harm our brains, especially children's (theatlantic.com)
Have toxic chemicals become a critical health concern—especially for unborn children? Some renowned scientists in the fields of medicine and neurology say, unequivocally, yes. But is it an emergency? Other scientists don't think so. I hope we resolve this, soon, because the implications are huge and impact our children's health and development.
In the cited study, 22 out of 35 kids' electronic toys from fast food restaurants contained higher levels of lead than federal guidelines allow. Furthermore, the authors of the study recommend disposing of these toys with other household electronic waste.
A little hair trivia
Washing your hair with water—no shampoo (treehugger.com)
Have you tried the "no poo" hair washing method? I haven't, yet. The "no poo" method uses baking soda and water for washing, and vinegar and water for rinsing. Personally, I favor shampoo bars. But that's another story. The article's author goes one step further and skips washing her hair altogether, simply rinsing with warm water, instead. Yet, there's a method to her madness. So if you're interested in giving "no washing" a try, I suggest reading the article for more specific directions.
Those designers at IKEA are so clever. I appreciate their attempts to save our relationships by designing snap-together furniture. Actually, it looks really cool! IKEA has been a life saver for our family when we've needed to make the most of a small space. And IKEA is cheaper than therapy.
Science and technology
Is Norway going to build the world's first ship tunnel? (inhabitat.com)
Take a look at the images of what this might look like. Besides being architecturally pleasing, the tunnel would provide safer passage of ships in the Stadhavet Sea. I might have to visit Norway.
The Hijab will be available next year and provides Muslim girls and women with a breathable, adjustable option. Nike hopes more Muslim girls and women will participate in sports now that appropriate clothing has become available.
Do you ever make funny clicking noises with your tongue? No? I guess I'm a strange bird. But my clicking sounds can even take on the keyboard rhythm in "Touch Me" by The Doors. The trick is to make the clicking sounds while you're waiting for the kettle to boil. What songs does your tongue clicking lead to?
Have a great weekend!