By Degrees: Covering climate change
Human activity is warming the planet. This change is already reshaping how we live and interact with our environment in New Hampshire, across New England and beyond. And just as more people than ever were beginning to wake up to the climate emergency, our lives collided with the coronavirus pandemic and a generational reckoning on racial justice.
Person to follow: Mara Hoplamazian
Mara Hoplamazian reports on climate change, energy, and the environment for NHPR, part of our By Degrees initiative. They joined the station in 2021 as a Couch Fellow. Originally from Chicago, Mara earned their undergraduate degree in American Studies from Yale University. Mara uses the pronouns they/them/theirs. You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or get in touch through Twitter @/mara_hop.
Coastal marsh migration may further fuel climate change
As rising sea levels cause marshes to move inland in six mid-Atlantic states, the coastal zone will not continue to serve as a carbon sink but release more carbon into the atmosphere, a new modeling study led by researchers at Duke University finds.
Earlier estimates focused on the potential for an expanded area of coastal marshes to capture more carbon, removing it from the atmosphere where it acts as a greenhouse gas in the form of carbon dioxide. But as coastal marshes invade low-lying forests and freshwater wetlands, the loss of trees and decomposition will release more carbon into the air than can be captured by the marshes, further contributing to global climate change…
Tweaking cows’ diets can reduce climate-warming pollution
[T]weaking a cow’s diet can cut those emissions by up to 40%, according to some estimates. Providing feed that’s easier to digest, adjusting the proportions of nutrients, and supplementing with certain additives can help reduce the methane produced.
Wightman says it also boosts milk production because less of the energy contained in the feed goes to waste.
2021 Plowprint Report
In a concerning trend, WWF’s 2021 Plowprint Report has revealed that, for the second year in a row, grassland plow-up across the Great Plains has continued to accelerate. The 2021 report, which utilizes the USDA’s annual Cropland Data Layer and the Canadian Annual Crop Inventory from two years prior to its release date, finds that from 2018-2019 an estimated 2.6 million acres of grassland were plowed-up, primarily to make way for row crop agriculture. This is an area larger than Yellowstone National Park. Within the Northern Great Plains (NGP), the Great Plains’ most intact region, nearly 600 thousand acres were plowed up during this same period.
America’s native grasslands are disappearing
Lendrum led a research team that released a report in September showing that from 2018 to 2019 an estimated 2.6 million acres of grassland were plowed up, primarily to make way for row crop agriculture — an area larger than Yellowstone national park.
For a few years, the rate of grassland loss was decreasing. But then in 2018 and 2019, the number started to increase again, Lendrum says. “That’s an alarming trend.” It’s also a huge blow for efforts to fight the climate crisis and represents a little reported unfolding environmental disaster in the US…
The most important thing you can do to fight climate change: talk about it
How do you talk to someone who doesn’t believe in climate change? Not by rehashing the same data and facts we’ve been discussing for years, says climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. In this inspiring, pragmatic talk, Hayhoe shows how the key to having a real discussion is to connect over shared values like family, community and religion — and to prompt people to realize that they already care about a changing climate. “We can’t give in to despair,” she says. “We have to go out and look for the hope we need to inspire us to act — and that hope begins with a conversation, today.”
Climate change in the American mind
About seven in ten Americans think global warming is happening Americans who think global warming is happening outnumber those who think it is not by more than 4 to 1. About seven in ten Americans (69%) think global warming is happening. By contrast, only about one in six Americans (16%) think global warming is not happening.
Nature’s make or break potential for climate change
Though his business card says Director of Forest Carbon Science at The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Bronson Griscom introduces himself as an ecological accountant. Griscom radiates an optimism somewhat rare in seasoned environmentalists, especially when he discusses the “carbon economy” of nature: the everyday role that trees, grasslands and coastal habitats play in the carbon cycle. Griscom can measure the carbon impact of logging in old growth forests, or how well different forest ecosystems work as sinks for absorbing and storing carbon from the atmosphere. He helps link our economy with the economy of the biosphere.
Five tips for talking about climate change
If you’ve been avoiding this tricky topic, you’re not alone. About two-thirds of Americans say they “rarely” or “never” discuss the changing climate with family or friends, though 70 percent believe it’s happening, according to a study from Yale University and George Mason University.
We’re here to help you navigate the climate talk and (gently) bust five common myths, so you can have more meaningful discussions that help spur understanding and action…