The far north is burning—and turning up the heat on the planet
The Arctic and surroundings are being transformed from carbon sink to carbon emitter.
The far north is both a massive carbon sink and a potent environmental time bomb. The region stores a huge amount of CO2 in boreal forests and underlying soils. Organic peat soil, for instance, covers just 3 percent of the Earth’s land area (there’s some in tropical regions, too), yet it contains a third of its terrestrial carbon. And Arctic permafrost has locked away thousands of years’ worth of plant matter, preventing rot that would release clouds of planet-heating carbon dioxide and methane.
But in a pair of recent papers, scientists have found that wildfires and human meddling are reducing northern ecosystems’ ability to sequester carbon, threatening to turn them into carbon sources. That will in turn accelerate climate change, which is already warming the Arctic four and a half times faster than the rest of the world, triggering the release of still more carbon—a gnarly feedback loop.
Xen The Zen Of The Other – The Audio Drama, Free Version
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What the “other side” thinks
Usually, I’m not particularly eager to push people’s outrage buttons. However, I think this may include a teaching moment.
This is a “true crime” podcast that uses real, small-town cops telling their stories about small-town crime and is hosted by Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson.
Why I include this today is because it really struck me as a prime example of what law enforcement and mainstream folks think of radical environmentalists. So, take your blood pressure medication and listen and learn.
For more than a decade two mugshots of fugitive environmentalists have sat amongst airplane hijackers, bombers and murders on the FBI’s Most Wanted Domestic Terrorists list.
One of the photos is of a tall, hipster looking engineer from Seattle. He’s wearing a red shirt, has a light shadowy beard.
His name: Joseph Mahmoud Dibee.
The other photo is of a young white woman with thick eyebrows, piercing brown eyes and long brown hair. Across her back is a large tattoo: a bird with its wings outstretched, soaring.
Her name: Josephine Sunshine Overaker.
To the authorities, Joseph Mahmoud Dibee and Josephine Sunshine Overaker are dangerous, violent extremists, part of an eco-terrorist movement that in 2005 the then Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI called the number one domestic terror threat in America.
And now one of them – Joseph Dibee – has been caught.
For the past eighteen months journalist Leah Sottile has been recording with Joe Dibee as his case progresses through the courts and as she works to understand the truth behind the mugshots and how they ended up here.
Burn Wild is a story of radical environmentalism and morality that journeys into one of the most thorny and murky questions of our time: How far is too far to go to stop the planet burning?
Answering this will take Leah and producer Georgia Catt into radical activist communities past and present on both sides of the Atlantic, amongst people who’ve spent their lives running from the authorities, and those who carry the weight of that word – terrorist – on their shoulders.
In this story people will take away very different things on what they hear, but where you sit isn’t a question of the past. It’s a question of right now.
Decades after Ted Kaczynski was caught, society is still asking some of the same questions about him: Is Ted a genius who went astray? Or simply a madman who murdered three people in cold blood? Project Unabom takes an in-depth look back at the Unabomber saga and Ted Kaczynski’s legacy from the perspective of FBI agents who worked to solve the case, his brother who turned him in, and Ted’s very own writings. New episodes out every Monday. Project Unabom is an Apple Original podcast, produced by Pineapple Street Studios. Listen and follow on Apple Podcasts.
Download all episodes here.
If Nietzsche Were a Narwhal: What Animal Intelligence Reveals About Human Stupidity
Author(s): Justin Gregg
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, Year: 2022
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“A dazzling, delightful read on what animal cognition can teach us about our own mental shortcomings.”
– Adam Grant
– The New York Times
This funny, “extraordinary and thought-provoking” (The Wall Street Journal) book asks whether we are in fact the superior species. As it turns out, the truth is stranger—and far more interesting—than we have been led to believe.
If Nietzsche Were a Narwhal overturns everything we thought we knew about human intelligence, and asks the question: would humans be better off as narwhals? Or some other, less brainy species? There’s a good argument to be made that humans might be a less successful animal species precisely because of our amazing, complex intelligence.
All our unique gifts like language, math, and science do not make us happier or more “successful” (evolutionarily speaking) than other species. Our intelligence allowed us to split the atom, but we’ve harnessed that knowledge to make machines of war. We are uniquely susceptible to bullshit (though, cuttlefish may be the best liars in the animal kingdom); our bizarre obsession with lawns has contributed to the growing threat of climate change; we are sexually diverse like many species yet stand apart as homophobic; and discriminate among our own as if its natural, which it certainly is not. Is our intelligence more of a curse than a gift?
As scientist Justin Gregg persuasively argues, there’s an evolutionary reason why human intelligence isn’t more prevalent in the animal kingdom. Simply put, non-human animals don’t need it to be successful. And, miraculously, their success arrives without the added baggage of destroying themselves and the planet in the process.
In seven mind-bending and hilarious chapters, Gregg highlights one feature seemingly unique to humans—our use of language, our rationality, our moral systems, our so-called sophisticated consciousness—and compares it to our animal brethren. Along the way, remarkable tales of animal smarts emerge, as you’ll discover:
The house cat who’s better at picking winning stocks than actual fund managers
Elephants who love to drink
Pigeons who are better than radiologists at spotting cancerous tissue
Bumblebees who are geniuses at teaching each other soccer
What emerges is both demystifying and remarkable, and will change how you look at animals, humans, and the meaning of life itself.
Over half of known human pathogenic diseases can be aggravated by climate change
It is relatively well accepted that climate change can affect human pathogenic diseases; however, the full extent of this risk remains poorly quantified. Here we carried out a systematic search for empirical examples about the impacts of ten climatic hazards sensitive to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on each known human pathogenic disease. We found that 58% (that is, 218 out of 375) of infectious diseases confronted by humanity worldwide have been at some point aggravated by climatic hazards; 16% were at times diminished. Empirical cases revealed 1,006 unique pathways in which climatic hazards, via different transmission types, led to pathogenic diseases. The human pathogenic diseases and transmission pathways aggravated by climatic hazards are too numerous for comprehensive societal adaptations, highlighting the urgent need to work at the source of the problem: reducing GHG emissions.
Rainwater everywhere on Earth unsafe to drink due to ‘forever chemicals’, study finds
Rainwater almost everywhere on Earth has unsafe levels of ‘forever chemicals’, according to new research.
Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large family of human-made chemicals that don’t occur in nature. They are known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they don’t break down in the environment.
They have non-stick or stain repellent properties so can be found in household items like food packaging, electronics, cosmetics and cookware.
But now researchers at the University of Stockholm have found them in rainwater in most locations on the planet – including Antarctica. There is no safe space to escape them.
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Ozark Magic with Brandon Weston
This week Ken and Mark venture into the deepest wooded mountains of the Ozark region to discover the hidden magic contained within. Our spirit guide on this quest is author of ‘Ozark Folk Magic’, and ‘Ozark Mountain Spell Book’, Brandon Weston.
This week we discuss: How does one acquire ‘The Power’, Plant magic, the myths and monsters of the region, just how do you pronounce ‘Appalachian’ and much more.
Joining me on his cunning throne this week is Mar(c)k™ Satyr
Main theme by Simon Smerdon (Mothboy)
Music bed by chriszabriskie.com
Check out Brandon’s book over at Llewellyn BooksBrandon Weston Bio:
My work is a living tradition. It’s the work that Ozark healers have been doing for hundreds of years. You can see many different cultures and traditions represented in Ozark folkways. These beliefs and practices, much like the Ozark people who created them, are a mixture of many places, beliefs, and ways of life. Specific folk traditions that have had a great influence on Ozark folkways include the European Cunning craft, Cajun/Creole folk medicine including the path of the Traiteur, Pennsylvania German Braucherei often also called Powwowing, Indigenous healing practices from the diverse nations of the Southeastern US, West African folk traditions by way of Southern Rootwork, Hoodoo, and Conjure, and even Central/South American Curanderismo. An important aspect of my research includes looking into all the traditions that have had such a great impact upon Ozark folkways. In looking at where these traditions intersect, we can start to understand so much more about the lives and practices of our ancestors. While you can look at Ozark folkways and see the fingerprint of all these traditions, remember that these practices remain unique to this specific area and should be approached with that mindset. I’m an Ozarker through and through. This is the land where I was born, the land where my parents and my grandparents were born, as well as many more of my ancestors before that. In this way, my work is my own, the spirits I honour are my own, and while my work may be seen as a part of the larger tapestry of Southern folk magic, there are many practices that are unique to me as I have learned them. I hold true to all these traditions that I’ve been taught and those that have been Spirit led.