Blue Marble - January 2012

No Maple Syrup by 2100?

| Thu Jan. 5, 2012 12:43 PM EST

Martha Carlson, Sandwich N.H.: James WestMartha Carlson, Sandwich N.H. James West

A few years ago, Martha Carlson, a veteran maple farmer, began noticing subtle changes in her 60-acre "sugar bush" in Sandwich, New Hampshire: Maple sap was unusually dark, and leaves were falling too early, never having reached postcard New England color. Her sugar maples, some of them nearly 300 years old, were sick.

At 65, Martha now leads the crusade to save the New Hampshire sugar maples—and the multimillion dollar local syrup and tourism industries they provide—from disastrous climate change. And in the process she's mobilizing a crack team of researchers: a group of elementary school kids.

Take a peak at the Climate Desk's slideshow of production stills from New Hampshire on Facebook (and make sure to like our page). We're also on Google Plus. Front page image: Adam Rose/Flickr

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New Hampshire Lawmakers Revive the Evolution Wars

| Tue Jan. 3, 2012 3:58 PM EST

New Hampshire kicks off the year with the presidential primaries, but also with a round of anti-evolution bills. The National Center for Science Education reports that there are two different proposed laws making their way through the state legislature:

House Bill 1148, introduced by Jerry Bergevin (R-District 17), would charge the state board of education to "[r]equire evolution to be taught in the public schools of this state as a theory, including the theorists' political and ideological viewpoints and their position on the concept of atheism," while House Bill 1457, introduced by Gary Hopper (R-District 7) and John Burt (R-District 7), would charge the state board of education to "[r]equire science teachers to instruct pupils that proper scientific inquire [sic] results from not committing to any one theory or hypothesis, no matter how firmly it appears to be established, and that scientific and technological innovations based on new evidence can challenge accepted scientific theories or modes."

In an article in the Concord Monitor last week, Bergevin, the author of the first bill, blamed both the rise of Nazis in Germany in the early 20th Century and the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School on the teaching of evolution:

Bergevin is less interested in the science of evolution than he is in the political and religious views of Darwin and his disciples. His bill would require schools to teach evolution as a theory, and include "the theorists' political and ideological viewpoints and their position on the concept of atheism."
"I want the full portrait of evolution and the people who came up with the ideas to be presented. It's a worldview and it's godless. Atheism has been tried in various societies, and they've been pretty criminal domestically and internationally. The Soviet Union, Cuba, the Nazis, China today: they don't respect human rights," he said.
"As a general court we should be concerned with criminal ideas like this and how we are teaching it. . . . Columbine, remember that? They were believers in evolution. That's evidence right there," he said.

His comments make those from Hopper—the sponsor of the second measure—seem pretty reasonable by comparison. Hopper's measure would force teachers to also include "intelligent design" in their science curriculum because, he argues, scientists are "just guessing" and "science is a creative process, not an absolute thing" anyway.

The newspaper notes that these are the first anti-evolution bills introduced in the state since the late 1990s. They've been referred to the House Education Committee, and hearings are scheduled for early February.

Coming Back to Earth

| Tue Jan. 3, 2012 3:49 PM EST

Time Lapse From Space - Literally. The Journey Home. from Fragile Oasis on Vimeo.

For all those finding the gravity of work kinda debilitating after the rarified air of the holidays...

10 Green New Year's Resolutions for 2012

| Sun Jan. 1, 2012 6:00 AM EST
Will you ride your bike to work more often in 2012?

Happy 2012! Now that the champagne toasts are made and the ball dropped, it's time to start thinking ahead: What's your green resolution for this year? We asked you to submit yours, from big (solar panels on the house!) to small (not driving to the supermarket that's embarrassingly close to home). Here are 10 of our favorites:

 

 

 

  1. "Going red meat free. I am not quite ready to take the next step into full-on vegetarianism just yet, but this is a big start. The beef industry, while very important to my state (Kansas) is a lead producer of waste, greenhouse gases, and more. Plus, the stuff they put IN beef these days is really not good for the human body. As a cancer survivor at 32, I'd really like to avoid having to go through it again." —Christina A.
     
  2. "Ride bicycle or walk to work more often (commute is 4.2 miles)." —Daniel B.
     
  3. "Last year, my chickens ate my garden, so we will be building a chicken coop instead of letting them free, although they did a great job: I did not see one grasshopper or earwig all summer." —Melissa S.

  4. "Convince husband to try Meatless Mondays." —Miranda S.
     
  5. "Buying paper books hurts the environment and my wallet. This year, I'm going to hit my local library. I can even borrow e-books from it." —Elizabeth R.
     
  6. "Buying everything except food and TP second-hand." —Wendy W.

  7. "I want to reduce the amount of food I waste by buying smaller quantities and finding creative ways to use ingredients I already have on hand." —Ilana G.

  8. "Hook up the rain barrel that has been in my garage since I moved a year ago." —Tasia M.
     
  9. "Saving money early in the year so I can do u-pick berries and such over the summer and freeze massive quantities for use in the winter. " —Megan H.
     
  10. "Moving to a town with a high walkability score & shared commuting options for work! My car will be happily neglected." —Abby A.