January 2, 2012

Unsustainable water use depleting the world's major aquifers

A decade-long research project shared by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Germany's Aerospace that has monitored underground water sources via satellite has revealed significant drops in the levels of the world's largest aquifers.

Some of the most pronounced losses are being seen in the western USA, India, the Middle East and China. These findings indicate that the combined factors of climate change and pumping for uses such as agriculture are causing water to be used at a rate faster than it can be replenished.

Warning of the unsustainable future faced by humanity if such a process continues, US Geological Survey hydro-geologist Leonard Konikow stated, "Something will have to change."

With grave concern about this unsettling trend, we thank the researchers for your work in sharing this urgent information. May we all act to conserve precious resources in the best ways possible to sustain global food security and lives on the planet.

During an August 2011 videoconference in Chicago, USA, Supreme Master Ching Hai addressed the serious need to wisely use Earth’s limited water supplies.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: You must have witnessed firsthand, while traveling, what life is like for people who don’t have enough safe water to drink, to apply to their crops, or even to keep themselves clean and not sick, for their children even. Children are even more vulnerable, more sensitive, to the unhygienic environment and unclean water. But most of the water is to grow the grains and soya beans, again, to feed the animals, not humans.

The livestock industry is becoming a bigger and bigger threat to our water supplies, which scientists warn are shrinking worldwide, fast, due to climate change. Also what causes climate change? Animal industry as well. So we arein a devil’s cycle here.

So, while this staggering waste of water, of both water and food, is occurring, one billion people in our world lack access to safe drinking water and go hungry.

Such tragedies could be minimized or even averted if everyone became vegan, because the vegan diet saves nearly 70% of our precious water resources. 70%.

Sources: UPI, Science News

Recent research reveal unprecedented methane plumes being released from the Arctic seabed

In December 2011 interviews with various media, Dr. Igor Semiletov of the International Arctic Research Center in Alaska, USA revealed recent research findings of forceful and unprecedented methane plumes being released from the Arctic seabed floor, which suggest that the true scale of danger for runaway global warming is much higher than previously understood.

Sources: Independent, Digital Journal

Shorelines in Texas, USA, have receded up to a mile in some places

Published on December 29, 2011 by US-based TechMedia Network, satellite images of lakes and reservoirs in Texas, USA, reveal shorelines that have receded up to a mile in some places as the driest 12 months on record are now threatening water supplies.

Sources: Sott.net

January 1, 2012

Climate change ‘fights’ rice farmers in Northern Ghana

As reported by Ghana News Agency on Friday, December 30, 2011, cereal farmers met with Ministry of Food and Agriculture officials to discuss climate-related dry spells and unpredictable weather patterns that have led to an estimated 36% loss of the nation's total 2011 crop harvest goals.

Sources: Vibe Ghana, My Joy Online, Ghana News Agency

December 31, 2011

France has had hottest year since 1900

Reporting on December 27, 2011, the French national meteorological service Météo-France states that the average daily temperature over the past year was 13.6 degrees Celsius, which is the warmest ever on record, while the Russian capital city Moscow also noted the highest ever December temperatures in history.

Sources: Telegraph, France24 link 1, France24 link 2

Hundreds of dead magpies found in Chin'a Hebei province

On December 25, 2011, hundreds of dead magpies were found throughout the woods near Hengshui Lake in China's Hebei province, with experts saying that the cause of the birds' death was thus far unknown.

Sources: Sohu.com, Pandemic Information News

December 30, 2011

Studies highlight growing urgency of preserving biodiversity

A review of eight studies conducted by 30 scientists from Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, published in the scientific journal Pacific Conservation Biology, has found that climate change is worsening the situation for flora and fauna in the Oceanian region, which is already severely impacted by intensive agriculture, habitat loss, and other problems.

Land, marine, and freshwater environments are all affected. Recently, US scientists at the University of Miami in Florida also drew attention to the danger of ever-enlarging dead zones in the ocean, which are shrinking the habitat of all marine species, including fish. Their study evaluated the survival of blue marlin, billfish,
and tropical tuna, whose size and active movements necessitate large amounts of dissolved oxygen.

The researchers found that not only are the fish being deprived by dead zones of habitable regions, they are also being forced into waters closer to the surface where they are more vulnerable to fishing.

University of Miami researcher Dr. Jiangang Luo noted, (PhD) “In human terms, you might describe it as if you were in a house on fire with ... only one exit, then discovering you have a robber inside the house at the same time.” Despite a commitment made in 2002 by governments across the globe to protect 10% of the world's oceans and their inhabitants by 2012, the agreements created so far cover only a little more than 1%.

Lead author of the Oceania study, Australian Professor Richard Kingsford of the University of New South Wales, spoke of the urgency of addressing these issues as he stated, "There are opportunities to mitigate some of these impacts but it requires planning now, not when future generations inherit the problem."

Many thanks, international scientists, for your efforts to inform the public of this alarming imbalance on our planet.

May we join in acting now to implement Earth-saving practices that protect and preserve all lives. Speaking with deep concern for the alarming loss of biodiversity, Supreme Master Ching Hai during an August 2009 videoconference in Thailand reminded of what humanity must do in order to ensure the continuation
of life on Earth.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: It’s a very sad thing because our animal friends are suffering terribly due to the effects of global warming. Many of the animals are dying or at the brink of extinction or already gone due to unbearable temperatures or they are being forced out of their habitats, just like human climate refugees, except they are not nearly as equipped as we are at adapting to new environments.

To ensure the peace and comfort of all our animal co-inhabitants, we really should first cease to consume them, any animals at all. Then, the wild areas and habitats will be restored as will be the animals’ natural lives. That’s the best way to protect them, to show our love to them.

Sources: PBL, UPI, Straits Times, ABC.net

60 ringed seals perished in the Arctic and Bering Strait due to unknown cause

The US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated on December 20, 2011 that 60 Ringed seals in the Arctic and Bering Strait regions of Alaska had perished, with 75 found still alive but suffering from skin lesions, and the cause still unknown.

Sources: ENS Newswire, The Republic, Alaska Dispatch

December 29, 2011

Temperatures in December 2011 were a full six degrees Celsius warmer than usual in Finland

As meteorologists in Finland noted temperatures at the beginning of December 2011 that were a full six degrees Celsius warmer than usual, two major ski events were canceled due to lack of snow, and a majority of the country was still without the traditional white ground cover as of Christmas Day.

Sources: France, NaharNet, YLE

December 28, 2011

Increased chance of runaway Arctic global warming due to permafrost melt

A report by the US-based New York Times describes the growing concern of scientists over the threat that the frozen layer of soil known as permafrost, which runs beneath the entire Arctic tundra region, is melting.

Although the ancient plant matter from which permafrost was formed has been frozen for the past tens of thousands of years, climate change is causing it to thaw and decompose.

If this process continues at its current rate, sufficient methane would be released at some point to set off irreversible global warming. In addition, some Arctic regions such as northern Alaska, USA are showing an increase in a phenomenon called thermokarsts, in which the melting permafrost layer has caused the ground
above it to collapse into hollows.

In the low-lying areas that are created, wetlands and lakes are forming, whose dark water surfaces absorb the sun’s heat and cause still further thawing of the permafrost in and around the lake, with often forceful methane plumes up being seen bubbling up through the waters.

Dr. Katey Walter Anthony and colleague Dr. Guido Gross from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, USA have been mapping the thermokarst lakes, saying that these could strongly accelerate the Arctic permafrost melt and methane production.

Yet another newer factor being studied as the region warms is a potential increase in tundra fires. Scientists warn that these combined factors could turn the Arctic from a vast carbon sink into a potentially lethal source of methane in less than a decade.

Dr. Walter Anthony, Dr. Gross, and all scientists involved, we appreciate your research and fieldwork that is helping us understand the growing threat of melting permafrost in the crucial Arctic region.

May we act promptly to avoid further catastrophic warming and stabilize the planet on which all lives depend. Supreme Master Ching Hai has often mentioned permafrost melt as a potential source of runaway global warming, as in this interview published in the September 2009 edition of The House Magazine.

Interview with Supreme Master Ching Hai Published in The House Magazine September 2009 edition

Supreme Master Ching Hai: According to Dr. Hansen, our planet is on a dangerous course to passing irreversible tipping points with disastrous consequences. These you know already, like the melting of permafrost which in turn releases toxic methane gas, resulting in more warming of the atmosphere.

The reason scientists are now turning their attention to methane is that research has shown this gas has a heating capacity 100 times greater than CO2 within the first 5 years.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization states that livestock is the single largest human-caused source of methane and accounts for 37% of total greenhouse gases. Thus, if meat eating were to be halted, methane production from livestock would be minimized, and then, consequently all the methane from the permafrost will also be stopped, then we will still have time to handle the CO2.

It’s very logical, scientifically speaking and otherwise. So, being veg means saving our planet.

Sources: NY Times, Smart Planet