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Wetlands Sunset
Myer Bornstein

Mass Audubon & climate change

“Climate change requires us to boldly and urgently act to protect the wildlife and people we love. In response, Mass Audubon has committed to achieving a carbon neutral future in Massachusetts by 2050.

Carbon neutrality, or net zero emissions, means that we don’t emit any greenhouse gasses that we can’t soak back up out of the atmosphere. To do so entails protecting and conserving natural climate fighting tools, mitigating climate change by reducing and eliminating our greenhouse gas emissions, and amplifying nature’s resilience to climate impacts…”

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Bird With Caught Fish

Leading by example

Mass Audubon is stepping up to face climate change and encourage their members and the public to help slow it down, in addition to adapting to its impacts. It has meant walking the talk.

Mass Audubon is taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint, and they hope to inspire their members and visitors to do the same. They want to do their part to reduce their carbon emissions from fossil fuel consumption in order to help prevent the worst effects of climate change.

Since 2003, Mass Audubon has reduced its annual carbon emissions from its buildings and vehicles by almost 50 percent. In addition to explaining why they care (and why you should, too), they’ve made improvements in several key areas…

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Grizzly With Salmon

Global warming is pushing Pacific Salmon to the brink, federal scientists warn

The salmon populations that have persisted in Western rivers since the dam-building era have adapted to some water warming, and their sensitivity to climate factors has been incorporated in conservation plans, Crozier said.

But beyond two degrees Celsius of warming (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to the pre-industrial era, all bets are off, she said, because then the chances increase for significant changes in the ocean that could lead to a catastrophic failure of salmon populations…

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Tree Frog

Adaptive responses of animals to climate change are most likely insufficient

“Biological responses to climate change have been widely documented across taxa and regions, but it remains unclear whether species are maintaining a good match between phenotype and environment, i.e. whether observed trait changes are adaptive. Here we reviewed 10,090 abstracts and extracted data from 71 studies reported in 58 relevant publications, to assess quantitatively whether phenotypic trait changes associated with climate change are adaptive in animals…”

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Two Blue Birds On Branch

Many animals can’t adapt fast enough to climate change

A new paper in Nature Communications, coauthored by more than 60 researchers, aims to bring a measure of clarity. By sifting through 10,000 previous studies, the researchers found that the climatic chaos we’ve sowed may just be too intense. Some species seem to be adapting, yes, but they aren’t doing so fast enough…

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Fish Death Parasite Caused

Fish Deaths in Montana’s Yellowstone River Tied to Warming Waters

“An outbreak of fish-killing disease along a 100-mile stretch of the Yellowstone River in Montana may be the latest sign that mountain stream ecosystems are being disrupted by climate change. Scientists point to warmer, slower rivers as a likely cause of the mass fish mortality.

Since Aug. 12, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has counted 4,000 dead mountain whitefish, along with smaller numbers of rainbow trout, Yellowstone cutthroat, longnose suckers, sculpin and longnose dace. The agency estimate that tens of thousands of fish may be dead and they closed the segment to recreation to reduce impacts to fish. This is happening along a river that’s an economic mainstay for nearby communities and thought of as a relatively healthy, undammed river…”

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Crop Pests Move Poleward
via EcoWatch

Crop pests and pathogens move polewards in a warming world

“Global food security is threatened by the emergence and spread of crop pests and pathogens. Spread is facilitated primarily by human transportation, but there is increasing concern that climate change allows establishment in hitherto unsuitable regions. However, interactions between climate change, crops and pests are complex, and the extent to which crop pests and pathogens have altered their latitudinal ranges in response to global warming is largely unknown…”

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Playing On The Ice Sheet
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

What’s Eating Away at the Greenland Ice Sheet?

“In the high-stakes race against sea level rise, understanding what’s causing the Greenland Ice Sheet to melt is critical. The problem isn’t just rising temperatures: soot from ships, wildfires and distant power plants, as well as dust and a living carpet of microbes on the surface of the ice, are all speeding up the melting.

Right now, predictions for sea level rise range from about 1 to 10 feet by 2100—a wide difference for coastal communities trying to plan seawalls and other protective measures…”

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Bacteria Close Up

Global warming pushes microbes into damaging climate feedback loops

Research is raising serious concerns about climate change's impact on the world's tiniest organisms, and scientists say much more attention is needed. As conservationists, this is important; it impacts the landscapes you care about.

“[G]lobal warming is supercharging some microbial cycles on a scale big enough to trigger damaging climate feedback loops, research is showing. Bacteria are feasting on more organic material and producing extra carbon dioxide as the planet warms. In the Arctic, a spreading carpet of algae is soaking up more of the sun’s summer rays, speeding melting of the ice.

Deadly pathogenic microbes are also spreading poleward and upward in elevation, killing people, cattle, and crops…

Research has shown that accelerated microbial activity in soils will significantly increase carbon emissions by 2050. In another study, global warming favors fungi that quickly break down dead wood and leaves and release CO2 to the atmosphere.

Other warning signs from the microbial world include spreading crop diseases that threaten food security, microbial parasites that threaten freshwater fish, as well as the fungal epidemic wiping out amphibians world wide…

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The Eye Of An Asian Elephant

Nature’s dangerous decline ‘unprecedented’; species extinction rates ‘accelerating’

“Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history — and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely, warns a landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the summary of which was approved at the 7th session of the IPBES Plenary, meeting last week (29 April – 4 May) in Paris…”

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