Label: Global Warming

August 12, 2010

Last week Greenland’s Petermann Glacier shed a 100-square-mile chunk of ice, releasing a huge iceberg. Although the glacier has been regularly shedding smaller chunks, this was nearly one-quarter of the entire ice shelf of the glacier. It is the largest piece of ice to detach from an Arctic glacier since 1962 and follows the six warmest months on record. The chunk of ice is four times the size of Manhattan island, and is a possible danger to ships as it drifts into North Atlantic shipping lanes.

Unfortunately, this is yet another sign of the rapid advancement of Global Warming, as our formerly solid ice masses continue to shrink either via melting or "calving" big icebergs like this one. You can see an excellent slide show, courtesy of Britain’s Guardian newspaper, of satellite photos documenting this disturbing recent event by clicking on this link.

The above photograph of the Petermann Glacier was taken by Dave Walsh, a natural history photographer who won an Environmental Photographer of the Year Commendation in 2009 for his photograph entitled "Solar Energy vs Fossil Fuel."

   

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Global Warming   •  Permalink (link to this article)

August 5, 2010

Alana G. is ten years old, a great friend of Earth, and is working with us this summer to report on her activities as an environmentalist in her own community. Here is her most recent report.

- Seymour


Hello fellow Shipmates,

            I can’t believe how fast this summer is flying by. I wish I could stop the clock or at least add more hours to my day because I have so much more crusading that I would like to do before the summer ends. But that’s okay, I will just continue to parade up and down the streets of Southern California, spreading our message, fighting pollution and battling Planet Poachers with our friends from "KIDS TODAY FOR A BETTER TOMORROW" for as long as I can. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine asked me last week "With Summer coming to an end do you feel sad that your KTFBT group will be over?" Hmm… I paused for a moment to think about it and then I said "No! Who ever said that my crusade would have to be over?" grin I sure didn’t. The way I see it is, my journey has just begun. This world is humungous. Bigger then we can ever imagine and with change happening everyday there will always be a poor little animal to defend, an ocean to protect and eco systems all over the world that will need our help to save them and it all starts at home with each and every one of us.

            There are little changes that we can make in our daily lives that can have a huge impact on the world around us. And just like you, I want to learn as much as I can to make sure that I am living a sustainable life or in other words, a planet friendly life. Like Seymour has mentioned to us all before, if we all do our best at lowering our carbon footprints we can help slow down the greenhouse effect that is causing the Earth’s climate change. Not sure what that means? Don’t worry; I’m sure Seymour will come to our rescue. (Seymour…can you help a kiddo out please?)* I learned all about climate change (well, not all but a lot) because I’ve always wondered about it and what all fuss was about when I heard my parents or the news talking about "Global Warming." My mom tried to explain it to me and I also did some research on the Internet and then I kind of understood what is going on but not enough to feel confident enough to explain it to someone else which really bugged me. I always try to learn things well enough where I feel comfortable telling someone else…like you…what it is I am trying to explain.

 

Well, then I met Seymour Simon and now I know to never fear…Seymour’s here. wink Seymour was kind enough to send me a copy of his book called "Global Warming." It is a great book because it is easy for us kids to understand but still tells us everything we need to know. Like, did you know that Polar bears live in the Artic and depend of the sea ice to live? Well, because of climate change the sea ice is disappearing right before our very eyes. They ice and glaciers are melting. :-( It is sooo sad. And if the ice melts it adds water to the oceans which...

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Posted by: Alana G

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Climate Change, Global Warming, Environment, Greenhouse Gases   •  Permalink (link to this article)

July 28, 2010

             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s late July and gardens are bursting with tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and chard. Tall sunflowers lean against garden fences, berries are plentiful and pots of thyme have a profusion of tiny blossoms. It is a gardener’s happiest season, the bountiful payoff for weeks of hard work in the garden earlier in the spring.

Gardening with your children is a wonderful way to teach them about food sources and the global benefits of “eating locally”…..very locally, if you are growing your own produce!

Kids enjoy the process of planting, they rejoice as everything grows, and they will love the “treats” that they pick themselves. Even a child who thinks she doesn’t like vegetables will love eating a sweet cherry tomato picked right off the vine, still warm from the sun. And kids feel like proud helpers when you send them out to get handfuls of aromatic herbs to chop for a dressing or marinade.

Even if you didn’t plant a full garden this year, it’s not too late to have some of these kinds of experiences with your family. If you have a sunny windowsill or deck close to the kitchen, plant some herbs for cooking. You can still get basil, oregano, parsley, and mint starter plants at your local gardening store.

Of course, very few of us are in a place where we can realistically grow all our own food. But, we can choose to buy our vegetables and fruits from a local organic farmer, rather than from the supermarket. A recent study from the University of Texas/Austin’s Biochemical Institute reported that the average vegetable found in today’s supermarket is lower in healthy minerals (the range was from 5% to 40% lower) than those harvested just 50 years ago.

As an added benefit, when you buy produce that has been grown locally you reduce your carbon footprint. Think about all the greenhouse gases generated in producing food that has been chemically fertilized, stored in refrigerated compartments, flown to your area and then delivered by truck to your local supermarket. Contributing to the creation of those CO2 emissions can be avoided simply by eating sparklingly fresh, locally grown produce. And, they taste better simply by virtue of having just been picked!

 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Global Warming, Summer Vacation Science, Carbon Footprint, Gardening   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 28, 2010

             

While working on the Teacher Guide for Seymour’s upcoming book, TROPICAL RAINFORESTS, we came across this US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data on the effects of deforestation on average surface temperatures. Two 100-year simulations were carried out with CFS (Climate Forecasting System): 1) a current climate control simulation {CONTROL} and 2) a deforestation simulation {DEFOREST} in which tropical rainforest in the Amazon region was replaced with perennial ground cover.

 

The results suggest that the impact of Amazon deforestation would be a warmer and drier Amazon, as well as a warmer tropical Pacific and tropical North Atlantic, with the caveat that CFS is not specifically designed for long climate change simulations.

If you are interested in more detail about this study and others like it, you can find it here: Climate Test Bed Joint Seminar Series.

Deforestation and other words related to life in the Tropical Rainforest, such as Canopy, Emergent Layer, Epiphyte and Understory, are all defined for children in Seymour’s online Science Dictionary. As each new book comes out, we will be adding all relevant terms, with images, to this digital information source for kids. This is all free content, so please introduce it to any children you know who are interested in learning more about the amazing world around them.

 

 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Climate Change, Global Warming, Tropical Rainforests   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 5, 2010

             

A few weeks ago we were so pleased to report here that the Eco-Libris blog had named Seymour’s GLOBAL WARMING book the "green book of the week."

 

Today we received a note from the reviewer, Raz Godelnik, who is doing valuable work on behalf of the environment at Eco-Libris.

 

He wrote: As you will see, our mission is to green the book industry and make reading more sustainable and we hope to make it happen sooner than later! One of our main activities is a tree planting program, where we work with readers, publishers and authors to plant trees in developing countries for the books they read, publish or write. So far we have planted with our planting partners around 150,000 trees! You’re welcome to see some of the planting activity on our planting gallery.

 

I took his suggestion and learned a lot on the Eco-Libris website. For one thing, more than 30-million trees are cut down annually for virgin paper used for the production of books sold in the U.S. alone.  That is sobering.

 

Eco-Libris has come up with a very simple idea to enable those of us who are readers (and therefore big consumers of books) to do something simple and affordable that will have an impact: plant one tree for every book we read. They see it as a way of taking responsibility for the environmental impact of the books we read.

 

This is a big idea. Here is how it works:

 

You go to the website and make a commitment to plant 10 trees every month, for a cost of $10 per month. Eco-Libris has carefully selected qualified planting partners in Nicaragua, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Malawi – places where planting trees will not only benefit the environment but also the local community – and they will plant the trees.

 

You willl receive stickers like this one (printed on recycled paper) for every tree that you plant, affixing them to your books to demonstrate your commitment to the environment.

 

I’m not only signing up to support Eco-Libris myself, I’m going to give a gift subscription to my college student, who as a History/Literature major, will be very happy to start to balance out the environmental impact of all those books!  What a great idea. A simple, elegant way to make a difference.

 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Climate Change, Global Warming, Conservation   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 5, 2010

I received this great letter today from Miranda in Maryland. She didn’t tell me what grade she is in, but her Elementary School teacher is using my books in the classroom.

Here’s what Miranda wrote about GLOBAL WARMING.

Before I read your book, I did not know anything about Global Warming. Now that I read your book I know a lot. I learned that coral reefs are in jeopardy. The photograph where the coral reef is bleached white surprised me a lot. In addition, I also learned that polar bears, walruses and the seals (sic) survival might be impacted by global warming. I am glad that you are telling kids like me and grownups some ways to help stop global warming. My family and I will be sure to help stop global warming, by turning off the lights when we are out of the room and by using fans instead of air conditioning in the summer. I want to help the earth.

 

I hoped, when I wrote this book, that children would be empowered by the facts and become stewards and protectors of our Planet Earth. I was so pleased to receive this letter from Miranda!

   

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Climate Change, Global Warming, Kids comments   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 25, 2010

We received an interesting letter today from Sharl Heller, who works with her husband, Dr. Eric Heller, on his art. You may have seen some of it several months ago on this blog, where we used one of his spectacularly beautiful images in a post explaining Rogue Waves and why they happen.


Ms. Heller wrote:


Since reading the Seymour Science blog,  ART & SCIENCE: "Working Together to Explain Rogue Waves", based on my husband Eric Heller’s work,  I have been enjoying Dr. Simon’s website and your postings. I am delighted to see so many interesting topics explained in a way that makes complicated issues accessible to non scientists and children.  Besides helping my husband with his artwork, I am working locally to raise awareness about global climate change, encouraging the people in our area to replace their landscaping with native plants to help mitigate global climate change and maintain biodiversity. In searching Seymour’s website I was very pleased to see that you are researching a new book on butterflies. The page mentions planting milkweed to sustain monarch butterflies, so I know you will be promoting the idea that people should plant native plants that support wildlife. I believe your book will be very important and useful to those of us who think we must all do whatever we can to mitigate global climate change. Thank you for including my husband on your blog. I look forward to your new book and the new blogs.
 
In fact, we’re going to be doing a whole series of posts this spring and summer about sustainable gardening, both as a nurturing family activity and as a way for individuals to move the needle when it comes to reducing their own carbon footprints and combatting global warming. And, I will be posting about the design of our new Butterfly Garden, at the same time that Seymour is finishing up the manuscript for his upcoming Collins/Smithsonian book, BUTTERFLIES.

All coming up on the Seymour Science Blog.  Thanks for writing, Ms. Heller!

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Butterflies, Global Warming, Gardening, Earth Day 2010   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 22, 2010

     
   

COST-SAVING, HIGHLY EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES

YOU’VE PROBABLY NEVER HEARD OF

 

         

Everyone knows that you can reduce your carbon footprint if you go out and buy a hybrid car, or replace all your household appliances with new EnergyStar models. But most people can’t afford to make these kinds of big changes.

Here are three effective actions that cost little or nothing, and you can start TODAY!

 

1. Consider eating vegetarian one or two nights per week.[1]

Producing one calorie of meat protein means burning more than ten times as many fossil fuels (generating more than ten times as much heat-trapping carbon dioxide) as does the production of one calorie of plant protein.

As surprising as it may sound, raising animals for food creates huge amounts of greenhouse gases. A recent report by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences concluded that almost a fifth of all greenhouse gas come from livestock production. That’s more emissions than from all of the world’s transportation (cars, buses, trains and planes) combined.

  

2. Get the best fuel economy out of the car you have.[2]

Not everyone can afford to buy a new hybrid, but fuel consumption is directly related to the amount of CO2 emitted no matter what kind of car you drive.

Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid...

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Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Climate Change, Global Warming, Earth Day 2010   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 20, 2010

This past Saturday, April 17, Seymour Simon was invited to read from his GLOBAL WARMING book as part of the The Climate Rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The stage was placed directly in between the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument, so it was quite an honor to be on the program!

Here are some excerpts from what he told the crowd about why he wrote GLOBAL WARMING:
             

"There is a Native American proverb that powers and informs the reasons and ideals of our approach to the problems of climate change and global warming.

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents;
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors;
we borrow it from our Children.

        

 

 

I was a teacher in the New York City School System for nearly 25 years. I’ve written over 250 books for children about animals and the wonders of Earth and Space. Each year, I speak to thousands and thousands of children in schools in all parts of the country, in the South to the North, from East to West. I tell them about butterflies and polar bears, I talk to them about lightning and tornadoes; I take them on a journey from Earth to the ends of the universe using the words and images in my books. I’ve written books about nearly every science and nature subject you can imagine.

The earth is so big and the subject is so vast, that you might think that kids get overwhelmed. ‘What does all this mean to me?’ you might think that they respond. Well, you might be surprised at what they really do say. Here’s what many of them ask me: ‘Where do I fit in? What’s my place in the universe? What is it all about? And what about me?’ ”

        

 And then he read excerpts from his GLOBAL WARMING book, with images projected on the big screen. He finished and left the crowd with the following thought:

"Knowledge empowers people with our most powerful tool: The ability to think and decide. There is no power for change greater than a child discovering what he or she cares about."

 By the way, does anyone know the name of the red brick building in the background of this photograph? It’s the Smithsonian Institution - how appropriate a setting for Seymour’s Earth Day speech!

   

 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Global Warming, Earth Day 2010   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 18, 2010

                     

When I was in Washington, DC this weekend to speak at the Climate Rally in honor of Earth Day, I picked up this hand-out, provided by The Alliance for Climate Protection, Earth Day Network and The Nature Conservancy.

CONSIDER THESE SOBERING FACTS:

·      Climate change is linked to stronger hurricanes, more drought and increased coral deaths from bleaching.

 

·      One-fourth of the Earth’s species will be headed for extinction by 2050 if the warming trend continues at its current rate.

 

·      Oceans span 70% of the Earth’s surface. And only one percent of oceans are protected.

 

·      The current pace of sea-level rise is 50 percent faster than in the last century.

 

THINGS THAT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY OR FRIENDS CAN DO:

·      You can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide per year by recycling just half of your household waste.

 

·      Plant trees. A single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime.

 

·      Turn down that air conditioner! Air conditioning and heating account for almost HALF of electricity use in the average American home.