Tag: Nature

The notion that any significant percent of the carbon humanity spews can be sucked up by planted trees is a pipe dream. But it got rocket boosters in July, when Zurich’s Crowther Lab published a paper, in Science, proclaiming that planting a trillion trees could store “25 percent of the current atmospheric carbon pool.” That assertion is ridiculous, because planting a trillion trees, one-third of all trees currently on earth, is impossible. Even a start would require the destruction of grasslands (prairies, rangelands, and savannas) that reflect rather than absorb solar heat and that, with current climate conditions, are better carbon sinks than natural forests, let alone plantations. Also, unlike trees, grasslands store most of their carbon underground, so it’s not released when they burn.

From Planting Trees Won’t Stop Climate Change by Ted Williams (via MetaFilter)

This level of overt segregation no longer exists, of course, but its legacy lives on through the discomfort many people of color feel trying to navigate these foreign landscapes where people of color have never felt welcome. After all, people of color are concentrated in urban areas where they’re largely kept out of green spaces by default. Parks are often too far from their homes for them to enjoy, and those parks that are nearby may be riddled with toxic pollutants from local industrial facilities or gang violence, its own form of environmental hazard.

From ‘We Belong Here’: Racist Central Park Video Shows Why We Need Diversity Outdoors by Yessenia Funes

Those kinds of observations must be tempered by the day-to-day realities of those who don’t have the cheat codes of whiteness to help them avoid racial harassment, especially from police. The Jane Jacobian idea of “eyes on the street” very easily becomes “eyes on the black people” — which is why some African Americans disengage from public spaces like parks altogether. These peaceful green spaces just as easily induce anxiety and trauma for black and brown people, especially when they know the cops can be unleashed at any moment.

From The Toxic Intersection of Racism and Public Space by Brentin Mock

The Upshot section of The New York Times has a fascinating look (what’s the aural equivalent of “look”?) at how social distancing measures have changed the soundscape of cities.

Microphones listening to cities around the world have captured human-made environments suddenly stripped of human sounds. Parks and plazas across London are quieter than they were before the pandemic. Along Singapore’s Marina Bay, the sounds of human voices have faded. In suburban Nova Scotia, the noise of cars and airplanes no longer drowns out the rustle of leaves and wind. In New York, the city has been quieter than on the coldest winter days.

Addenda

  1. The aural equivalent of “look” of course is “listen”, and I don’t know what was happening that I didn’t know that at the time.

Apparently there are moments in St. Johns when the setting sun perfectly aligns along North Jersey.


Link Log Roundup for May 14, 2020

In this edition: autism and actual masking, dining with mannequins, genetic drift, ousting Burr, cats and coronavirus, a new giraffe, black churches, reopening Oregon, COVID-19 and the brain, Oregon restaurants, the post-pandemic commute, bicycles, disability claims, the sage grouse, lockdowns and history, “Obamagate”, walking a trail, test failures, the privilege of escape, Multnomah County, the last Blockbuster, public shaming, and an invasion of goats.

It’s weird that The Oregonian writes that the Oregon Zoo introduced Kiden, their new giraffe, to the public on Monday, given that the zoo is closed and their video of Kiden didn’t get posted until Wednesday, but mostly I wonder where they even have the room for a third giraffe, especially if they’re hoping that Kiden mates with Buttercup. Is there more indoor space at the giraffe exhibit than the part with the public-facing viewing window? My second-level concern is that now I need to learn to tell three giraffes apart, and it was only like last year, I think, that I finally learned how to distinguish Buttercup from Desi.

Although I haven’t been posting photos directly to the blog for awhile, in honor of getting the site migration pretty much settled in place, here’s the regular Western scrub-jay visitor outside my living room windows.

Link Log Roundup for May 6, 2020

In this edition: profit and incompetence, the 1918 economy, the third quarter, behavioral scientists, false expectations, co-dependent states, Oregon neighborhoods, Oregon restaurants, a giant agave, emoji, the Texas governor, coronavirus parties, frontline workers, a no-sneezing policy, the bubble concept, older adults, crowds, urban infrastructure, a speakeasy, and Rip Van Winkle.

Of course, this nightmare of nature is happening here in the Pacific Northwest. Eradicate the species before it gets to Portland.

With queens that can grow to two inches long, Asian giant hornets can use mandibles shaped like spiked shark fins to wipe out a honeybee hive in a matter of hours, decapitating the bees and flying away with the thoraxes to feed their young. For larger targets, the hornet’s potent venom and stinger — long enough to puncture a beekeeping suit — make for an excruciating combination that victims have likened to hot metal driving into their skin.

Halfway through the first episode of Night on Earth and already I’ve seen two things I’ve never seen before: a lion attacking a cheetah, and a mouse attacking a scorpion.