Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Top 5 Misconceptions of Climate Change Part 3

By Gabe Mouer

When we last left off we saw objections to climate change that utilized scientific data in an attempt to prove their claim. Misreading or misinterpreting data is perhaps the most common mistake when investigating climate change. As we will see, even a handful of scientifically learned individuals can mistake cause and effect and come to the conclusion that climate change is not man-made.

2) “Warming is caused by increased activity from the sun.”
The most scientifically ardent of anthropogenic climate deniers point to a relatively recent surge in solar activity as a natural explanation for Global Warming. In 2004 the BBC published an article with the startling headline “Sunspots Reach 1,000 year High.” Citing evidence presented by Dr Solanki, it shows that as sun spots have increased in the past, so too has the Earth's temperature.1 Unfortunately, this is an example of Conformation Bias; looking only at the evidence that supports your claim while ignoring that which does not. Though there are many instances where an increase in solar flares correlates with an increase in global temperature, there are also a near equal amount where they do not. This includes the last 35 years in which the sun has shown a cooling trend while the Earth has done the opposite.2


For a detailed breakdown of the evidence, I wholeheartedly recommend Peter Sinclair's Solar Schmolar video on youtube.

Next week I will wrap up our Top 5 countdown to see which takes the coveted top spot.


Saturday, February 23, 2013


        So many of us, myself included, shrug off the effects of human activity on the world.  I mean, I am just one person so really how much damage can I be doing? 
Lets stop and think about this for a second...Imagine every person thought this and did not give a second thought to changing any behaviors or actions.
       In October 2011, the world's population reached 7 billion people.  Now,imagine all those people not caring about the world they live in.  Needless to say, the end result doesn't look so good. 
      Now, if you are like me, it is difficult to grasp the concept of global change.  Right?  I can read every article, watch every video, and listen to every lecture regarding global warming and how humans are causing more damage.  But, until I ACTUALLY see it, in real life, right in front of me, it's easy to dismiss.  Let me just say this...
If it was a snake, we all would be bitten! 
      If we take a step back to get a look at the entire picture, instead of squinting thru a pin hole, this is what we will find.  First of all everything is connected.  The plants, animals, humans, water, hurricanes, glaciers, seasons, tides.  You name it.  There is not one thing I just mentioned that will go untouched. We don't call it the ripple effect for nothing.  Here is the super simplified version...
I will try to make this as painless as possible.  Because most of the world burns fossil fuels, from heating their homes, driving cars, using electricity, production, and agriculture, which release carbon dioxide (heat trapping gas) into the atmosphere, these extra gases cause the earth to get warmer, setting off many changes on land,
oceans and in the atmosphere. These, in turn, affect people, plants and animals.

If you haven't noticed, there have been an increase in the number of hurricanes, heat waves, droughts, etc.

Pick up the newspaper, listen to the news...start to take an active role to protect the world we live in. 

Tabitha Fish


Obama is being put to the test!

This article lays out some of the moral dilemmas that our president is facing.  When it comes to climate it is important to not only look at the pros and cons of a particular projects construction and its impact on the climate, but to also consider the impact on values. President Obama although certainly has weighed and measured the pros and cons of the keystone pipeline project and its physical impact on the environment, now he must look at the impact it will have on our country. Is he the climate enforcer that our nation has been waiting for? Only time will tell and he is certainly being put to the test! By Shawna Dobrean

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Climate Change and our Future

Climate change and our Future
           By Cathy Reese 


We have talked about the effects of climate change, both man-made and natural. We have discussed ways to help slow or reverse climate change. Now let’s talk about Climate Change and our future.
Let me list what I feel are the top 5 effects of Climate change in our future.

1)     Increased Average Temperatures.
The International panel for climate change predicts an average increase in our global tempature between 1.1 degrees to 6.4 degrees by the year 2100.

2)     50% less rainfall.  This will create water shortages and could affect 5 billion people. 

   3)     Many plants and animals will become extinct.  

4)     Sea Levels will rise. Melting of our ice caps. Increase storm wave heights. 


5)     Risk of Wars as water and habitats diminish. 


      As global warming progresses, more of our natural resources will be depleted, more wildlife will become extinct. There will be melting of the polar ice caps.  Our coral reefs will become bleached. There will be floods and droughts.  Sea levels will rise. There will be more disease, and more economic disasters. We must find a rational balance in order to protect our environment and preserve the developing human technology that we have become so comfortable with.

How do we do this you may be asking yourself?  How can I help? 

Well first you must become informed and educated.  We here at PSU can help.  Start first by visiting our website, read our blog and start doing something every day that will make our world a better place.



Photo Credits:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Climate Change and Black Women

by LaFreda Ceaser

Climate change is affecting Black Women!  As an African American woman I feel that it is imperative that I share this information with others to educate and especially with my African American sisters to empower them to take charge and do something about the climate change issues our country is faced with. 

Please take the time to watch this video and review my previous blog post as to what you can do to address climate change in your community.


Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest

By Anna Bertrand

Climate change often feels like more of a global problem than a local one. However, for those of us in the Pacific Northwest, Climate Change has the potential to affect our beautiful natural environment as temperatures continue to rise.

How fortunate are we to have gorgeous coastlines within driving distance? Most states do not have this area to appreciate. Global warming’s affect on the increase in sea levels as well winter precipitation, and the possibility of southeasterly winter storms will likely cause a drastic alteration in our coastlines as flooding, landslides, and erosion become more common with these events.

Salmon are also another cherished aspect of the Pacific Northwest.  Their sensitivity to their environment and the resulting amount of success with breeding means that they will be particularly susceptible to climate change.  Warm periods have specifically been shown to have a negative affect on salmon numbers. Greater rain fall rather than snow fall, as well as higher winter stream flows will cause damage to spawning nests and incubating eggs as the current scours streambeds.

Climate change also has the ability to affect our beautiful forests. Although biologists are not positive what scenario will take place, the most likely possibility is that rising carbon dioxide levels will increase forest growth initially, but rising temperatures will eventually overwhelm these growing efforts. Warmer temperatures will also affect the ecosystems in that many species may have to migrate in order to maintain their optimal environment, causing shifts in the very fragile ecosystems that typically do not take well to change.

From the scenery to living organisms, climate change has the ability to affect our visible world. Even though climate change may seem global and inevitable, we can prolong the beauty of our environment by taking little steps to reduce our own contribution to climate change!


Photo Credit:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Climate Change what can we do about it?

By Cathy Reese                                                                                               


Now that we have discussed the many reasons for climate change, natural and

man-made, you might be thinking “What can we do about it?”  or “Can we do

anything about it?”

Actually, there are many things we can do about it that will make a difference. 
Let me name for you some Top 5 solutions.
       1) Reduce electricity usage around the home.Switch to energy
           efficient light bulbs and appliances. Reduce your heat and air conditioning
      bills by using less energy and making your home insulated to save on energy.


 2)     Drive less and drive smart. Less driving will release fewer emissions into or air. Trying walking more, we can all use more exercise.  When you must drive make sure your car is running efficiently, for example, keeping your tires inflated can help with gas milage.

3)     Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Try to reduce waste by choosing reusable products instead of disposables. Recycle your paper, plastic, glass and aluminum cans. If you can recycle half of your waste, it is possible to save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.

4)     Support clean renewable energy.  Energy solutions such as wind and solar power can reduce our reliance on oil and coal burning power plants. If your energy company offers renewable energy, sign up for it.

5)     Plant a Tree. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen.  Did you know that a single tree can absorb one ton of carbon dioxide in its lifetime. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough of them to counter the effects of the amount of carbon dioxide that is being emitted into our atmosphere today.ere is lots of good information found on how you can help stop Global Warming.

There is lots of good information found on how you can help stop Global Warming. Here are just a few of the sites I found that I feel provide some insight to the problem and what we all can do to make our world a better home for us all.


If you are really brave, here is a great site by National Geographic, that is providing a quiz that you can take to really learn how much you know about global warming.










Photo Credit


Saturday, February 9, 2013


by LaFreda Ceaser

Efforts to address the potential affects of climate change is everyone's responsibility.  It is our individual efforts that are important in collaboration with larger scale changes that will become an agent of effective change.  So what can we do to become a part of the solution?

Take Personal Action
  • Reduce the amount of gas you burn by choosing a fuel-efficient car or other transportation that uses less (or no) fossil fuel per person, such as trains, subways, and buses; car pools; walking; and biking. 
  • Buy efficient appliances that use less electricity. Look for the Energy Star, awarded by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Reduce every day electrical use. Develop a plan to reduce daily electricity use around your home. Ask each member of your household to take responsibility for a different electricity-saving action, such as turning off lights when leaving the room, unplugging appliances when they are not in use, using compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), and only running dishwashers or washing machines with full loads.
Encourage Community Action
  • Make it easier for community members to use energy-efficient transportation. For example, promote community carpooling plans and the construction of bike lanes, and urge local businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations to install bike racks.
  • Encourage the use of clean, renewable energy in publicly funded projects. For example, suggest that new construction or significant remodeling projects incorporate passive-solar techniques.
  • Work with your local electric utilities. Encourage them to promote energy efficiency and the use of clean, renewable energy sources.
Influence U.S. Action
  • Write to your local newspaper about the significance of global warming and the need for U.S. leadership, or respond to stories and letters that dismiss global warming.
  • Write or call President Obama to let him know you expect him to be an international leader on this issue.
  • Contact your U.S. representatives and senators to encourage them to support actions that reduce the emissions of heat-trapping gases.
  • Ask your governor, state legislators, and public utility regulators to promote energy efficiency, nonpolluting transportation alternatives, and the development of clean, renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind power.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Climate Change is getting some attention! Shared by Shawna Dobrean

President Obama mentions climate change during his inaugural speech. The news mentions that it could be for different motives. I ask, what do you think? Was it genuine? Does our President have concern for climate change and plans to address it? Or is he working on establishing his legacy which is common for Presidents to do in a second term. Personally I say no matter what his motives lets give climate change some attention! Link below:

Top 5 Misconceptions of Climate Change Part 2

By Gabe Mouer

The topic of fervid debate, anthropogenic climate change has yet to gain widespread acceptance from the American public due to an enduring list of misconceptions and myths. As we saw in Part I, scientist overwhelming fall on one side of the argument. Moving forward, we continue to dispel errors in scientific understand in hopes to alleviate some of the confusion.

#4 “If global warming is real, why is it so cold this winter?”
A frequent mistake is to confuse weather, a short term measurement, with climate, which refers to prevailing conditions over a long period of time.1 Deniers often point to the record snow fall seen during winter 2009/10 and 2010/11 as proof that the effects of climate change may be greatly exaggerated. However, record snow fall is actually to be expected, as climate scientist Donald Prothero explains, “Warmer temperatures mean more moisture in the atmosphere, which increases the intensity of normal winter snowstorms.”2 It is important to note that although winter in North America saw increased activity during those years, the world as a whole continued to suffer unusually warm seasons.

#3 “It may be carbon from erupting volcanoes”
It is no secret that CO2 emissions are at fault for the increase in global temperature. Some have argued that Earth's natural carbon cycle may be the culprit. The core of the earth is filled with carbon and releases it as carbon-dioxide through volcanic activity both above and below sea level. Recent studies estimate that this global carbon cycle releases somewhere between 65-319 million metric tons of CO2 per year.3 These emissions have been pointed to as greatly contributing to the rise in global temperatures. Yet again, the data does not ally itself with this hypothesis.
Records do not indicate any significant increase in volcanic activity of the last several hundred years and fail to account for the drastic increase in temperature over the last 30 years. If that wasn't enough to put this idea to rest, consider that while the earth's natural carbon cycle releases up to 319 million metric tons at the most, independent estimates conclude that Fossil Fuel Carbon Emission release closer to 29 billion tons each year.4 As Terry Gerlach writing for Earth Magazine states, To scale up volcanic carbon dioxide output to the current anthropogenic level would require adding thousands of volcanoes to the 50 to 60 normally active volcanoes of the subaerial landscape and more than a hundred additional mid-ocean ridge systems to the seafloor.”5

In the following weeks we will dive into some of the more technical objections to climate change put forward by scientifically learned individuals. Investigating their claims we look to the latest work from climatologists to provide us with answers to these questions.

2How We Know Global Warming is Real and Human Caused, Skeptic Magazine Vol. 17, 2012

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Something else to suck the life out of you in good time

Blog Series: Climate Change and your Health
something else to suck the life out of you in Good time
 by Karen Cooper

It was a bad day at work. You were late, missed the early bird parking, fed the meter, then worked until lunchtime before you realized it was your furlough day. That's ok, you're Zen. It's an unseasonably warm and hazy day. You walk out to the warmth and take deep cleansing breath. You cough... a lot. Sadly Zen's not enough when it's smoggy.

Climate change and smog

Climate change brings extremes in weather. Smog (or as the geeks call it: ground-level ozone)  formation is highly dependent on the weather. It's likely the more hot days we have due to climate change, the more smog we'll have. Heat and light react with pollutants (such as PM2.5) to form smog.  A huge part of the pollutants in smog come from cars. Smog isn't usually such a big problem on cool days.

The PM2.5 story
PM2.5 is fine "particulate matter" in smog that's also known as particle pollution. Cars and industrial processes generate a lot of this pollution. PM2.5 contains very small particles and liquid droplets measuring less than 2.5 micrometers (about 1/30th the diameter of a human hair). The smaller the particles are the more damaging they are to your health.  Overall it would be best if we could avoid breathing in particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller. These are the ones that can enter your lungs. This cocktail of acids, organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles can play havoc on your heart and lung health. Learn more about PM2.5.

Life-sucking smog study

The Harvard School of Public Health published a study that covered 545 counties across the U.S. that found that between 2000 and 2007, a drop in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) corresponded with an average rise in life expectancy of 0.35 of a year. That's about four months. You can get a lot done in four months.

What health effects might you face due to smog?

  • Premature death due to cardiovascular effects
  • Strokes
  • Asthma and smog: watch a video (1.5 min)
  • Coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath
  • Some studies suggest long-term PM2.5 exposure may be linked to cancer, infant mortality, and low birth weight.

Bad news then the good news... If you were to talk to a research geek at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about smog they would tell you that brows there are furrowing. That's because the feds are looking at the latest scientific   research surrounding the health of people who are exposed to what's considered low levels of smog. They've been diligently sifting through thousands of studies that keep coming to the same conclusion: smog's more harmful than previously thought.  The good news is that the feds have announced they may be tightening the health-based federal standard for ground-level ozone in 2013. Find out what they're doing.

Will you do at least one thing (see below) to reduce smog? Guaranteed to help your Zen.

  • Use air-friendly products: avoid aerosol sprays, oil-based paints and insect repellents.
  •  Decrease energy use: 
    •   Cool your home using fans instead of air conditioning units. 
    •  Turn off lights and appliances when not in use. 
    •  Maintain your vehicle so it gets the best possible fuel efficiency (properly inflate tires and get regular tune-ups).
  •  Leave your car at home and consider alternative transportation:
    •  Also, ask your employer if they have an incentive program for not driving to work.
    • Work in Northwest, Oregon (including Portland)? Take advantage of employer incentives for employees taking the bus or carpooling. See Employee Commute Options some employers must provide.
    • If you're an Oregon state employee, apply for the Smart Commuter Program that gives incentives to those who don't drive to work.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013


We have heard that the oceans have an affect on the weather.  But how? 
Oceans are the largest water masses on the planet.  Since oceans are already in liquid form, they are able to absorb more heat, more effectively than snowy, icy surface or land.  The earths movements and wind currents cause the oceans to circulate, causing friction over the waters surface, resulting in waves and currents. Farther down the ocean we go, the colder the water becomes.  Salinity and density play a role its ability to move or change temperature.
Add all these factors, stored heat, wind, currents, temperature on land, together and the atmospheric conditions are altered.  Tropical storms form over warm water, which help form hurricanes and typhoons. In the winter, storms produce precipitation in the Western regions, causing a cooling in air temperature. 
The tremendous thermal and dynamic inertia slows and dampens climate change.  Ocean currents and mixing by winds and waves can transport and redistribute heat to deeper ocean layers. It can reside in this deep reservoir for centuries, further stabilizing the Earth’s climate and slowing the effects of climate change.
Ocean currents transport and redistribute heat and salt, playing an important role in the climate.  The western boundary currents and eastern boundary undercurrents transport heat from the tropics toward the poles, acting like a conveyor belt. The rate that heat is redistributed through the oceans can be changed by the slightest of fluctuations.  Sudden shifts in these currents are thought to have initiated past ice ages.

World ocean thermohaline circulation (alternative version)


American Factory Farming and Global Warming

by Omar Al Gwaiz
‘The Meatrix’ is a brief and even comical overview of factory farming in America. However, it presents a very real issue in an easy-to-understand format. Factory farming has a substantial impact on climate change in the United States, and without more strict and hands-on oversight, will continue to impact climate change here in the future.

For more information, visit The Meatrix website: