Climate Change This Week: Hot Spiral, Big Oil Cleaning, and More!

Today, the Earth got a little hotter, and a little more crowded.

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Bizarre Biodiversity in the Boreal are wood frogs that freeze in winter, thaw in spring – another reason to help preserve these important carbon storing systems.Source LATimes

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

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Boreal Circle of Fire – a wildfire emitted many tons of climate-changing carbon emissions as it burned Fort McMurray, Canada, which helps produce climate-changing fossil fuels that, when burned, help warm and dry out boreal forests. Both fires and fossil fuels up the chances for… more carbon-emitting wildfires. This wildfire is just the latest in a growing lineage of early northern wildfires, indicating climate change.

OO Global Warming Spurs Wildfires Increase In Boreal Forest – worldwide, scientists have warned for decades, as rising temperatures, drying trees and earlier melting of snow spur increasing wildfires.

Large-scale loss of boreal forest could help speed climate change, since their destruction releases vast amounts of gases that further fuel climate change.

Under climate change there:

  • northern temperatures are rising faster than anywhere else,
  • snow cover is melting prematurely,
  • forests are drying out earlier than in the past.
  • excess heat could be causing an increase in fire-causing lightning.

Related Headline:

OO It’s Not Just Alberta:
Warming-Fuelled Fires Are Increasing
– worldwide, from China, the US, to Brazil and Australia.

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Smouldering Peat, Smouldering Fuse that firemen battle to prevent more wildfires. Credit Leyland Cecco

OO Alberta Wildfire Lit the Peat Fuse:
Bigger, Hotter Fires To Follow
– burning deep underground, smouldering peat, laced throughout Canadian boreal forest, will release tons of climate changing gas for months in the Fort Mcmurray area, that helped create the dry conditions for the current fire.

Smouldering peat fires can create flare-ups throughout the forest, starting new fires.

Incredibly difficult to stop, they have been known to burn for decades in some cases.

At this point, only weather can kill it,” says the city’s retired fire chief.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

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Regrowing Forests Soak Up Carbon far more cheaply than any other method, short of preserving forests. Source http://www.economist.com

OO Forests Re-Grown On Cleared Lands
Key For Climate, Land Rights
says a new study, by trapping carbon from the atmosphere and mitigating climate change.

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A Swath of Death shows the extent of large scale mangrove die-off in Queensland, Australia. Credit James Cook University

OO Australia: Large Mangrove Die-Offs
Linked to Unusual Heat and Coral Die-Offs
that happened simultaneously along the north Queensland coast; the die-offs have only recently been observed, being located in remote areas.

Mangroves act as coastal erosion buffers and marine kidneys, cleaning land water headed towards the sea.

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Getting a Pollen Protein Boost that bees need to feed their young. But if pollen produces less protein, bees have to expend more precious energy to collect enough of it.

OO Rising CO2 Levels
May Spur Die-Off of Bees
– suggest new studies. Takeaways:

    1. 100+ studies show that rising CO2 produces less nutritious food plants;
    2. goldenrod is an essential late summer food source for bees;
    3. as CO2 has risen since the 1840s, pollen protein in goldenrod has declined 30%;
    4. the most dramatic drop occurred during the most dramatic CO2 rise, from 1960 to 2014;
  • Decrease in pollen protein may be undermining bee nutrition and reproductive success;
  • This could contribute to the global die-off of bees being observed.
  1. Pollen protein decreases as CO2 accelerates enables faster and more growth of the plant’s starchier parts, including starchier pollen, which dilutes the protein content.

“Pollen is becoming junk food for bees,” says a leading USDA researcher.

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What’s Not To Love About Plants? They provide food, beauty, healing, and inspire love – yet human exploitation is sending many into extinction. Source http://www.wonderslist.com

OO One In Five Of World’s Plant Species At Risk Of Extinction – says a new assessment from a leading botanical institution. Takeaways:

  • About 390,000+ species of plant exist;
  • 30,000 of them are used by humans;

20% are at risk of extinction from humans due to:

  1. Spread of invasive plants that wipe out natives;
  2. habitat loss to due to farming and logging;
  3. Climate change, a smaller extinction threat, but a growing one.

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FIXING CLIMATE CHANGE

@@ A Simple And Smart Way To Fix Climate Change given by Dan Miller in 2014 at a Ted talk suggests a way to profit as we tackle climate change, by finally charging those who sell and use fossil fuels – and distributing the revenues back to all of us.

The strategy is sure to speed transition to clean renewable energy. What’s not to like? Check it out!

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HOT NEWS

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Reddest Is Hottest Ever – and shows just how much of the Earth has gotten record hot in April alone on the planet from this map of how much temperatures have strayed from average. El Nino may move the heat around, but global warming is supplying it. Credit National Centers for Environmental Information at NOAA

OO April 2016: Earth’s 12th Consecutive Warmest Month on Record –

  • 2016 is shaping up to be the hottest year yet;
  • El Nino is weakening;
  • Arctic sea ice at its lowest April extent on record, and keeps falling;
  • 12 costly 2016 catastrophes worldwide so far,1 Billion or more each;
  • 2 US weather catastrophes in April alone topped1 Billion each.
  • Heat records were broken worldwide, especially across India

Update: India clocked in with a new national record high of 51 C (123.8 F) on May 19, 2016.

Related Headline:

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Concerned Yet? Credit Stephane Mahe at Reuters

OO Earth Just Recorded Its Warmest April On Record, And It Wasn’t Even Close – with a near-record large margin compared to the average, NASA data shows.

OO April Breaks Global Temperature Record,
Marking Seven Months Of New Highs
– and at least 1 C (2 F) degree higher than average for those months during 1951-1980, it adds.

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Get the Picture? Climate scientist Ed Hawkins shows with this graphic how global warming is starting to skirt dangerous levels, especially in the last year… will we act? Credit Ed Hawkins

OO See Earth’s Temperature Spiral Toward 2°C – as rising levels of greenhouse gases trap more and more heat, the planet is spiraling closer to the point where warming’s catastrophic consequences may be all but assured.

OO Can A GIF Change The Way We Think About Global Warming? Maybe.The International Panel on Climate Change, which produces the most comprehensive reports on climate change, sees digitally smart communication as a priority, especially to spread its message of the developing threat of climate change.

Meanwhile, the GIF of spiraling global temperatures created by a climate scientist has been retweeted 3000+ times, and calledthe most compelling global warming visualisation ever made“.

Love ‘dem GIFs.

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Grim News at Cape Grim – CO2 levels are passing the 400 ppm level at this southern hemisphere monitoring station … and will continue to rise. Credit John Woudstra

OO World’s CO2 Concentration Teetering on Point of No Return – when global concentrations of carbon dioxide never again dip below the 400 parts per million (ppm) milestone, as monitored by stable CO2 tracking stations — as long as “business as usual” continues.

One of them, at Cape Grim in Australia, tracks stable levels due to the lack of land, which introduces fluctuation in the data; once it observes 400 ppm, it will keep seeing that level… until it rises.

OO Confirmed: Southern Hemisphere CO2 Level
Now Above 400 ppm Milestone
– at the Cape Grim, Australia, monitoring station; it will take a lot of action on humanity’s part to bring it down, and slow the onset of disastrous climate change.

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MASSIVE HEALTH THREATS

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A Sick, Murky Future is here already for many in China and in urban centers worldwide.

OO Air Pollution Rising At An ‘Alarming Rate’ In World’s Cities – having risen 8% in five years with fast-growing cities in the developing world worst affected, according to a new World Health Organization study that surveyed 3,000+ cities.

Related Headline:

OO WHO: Global Air Pollution Is Worsening –
Poor Countries Hit Hardest
– it is contributing to a wide range of potentially life-shortening health problems.

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OO Billion People Face Global Flooding Risk By 2060 – China and India are among the countries most threatened, says a new study. All eight of the most vulnerable cities are in Asia, followed by Miami.

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A SWEET SPOT IN CREATING SUSTAINABLE POPULATIONS

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Triple Win: Using Profits to Provide Needed US Family PlanningMedicines360.org is key to creating a sustainable US population and bright futures for women – AND saving taxpayers many billions yearly in community costs by preventing unintended pregnancies. Source medicines360.org

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CORAL CATASTROPHE CONTINUES

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Coral Death Spiral, Up Close – from bluish pink to white to a light green alga then blanketed by dark, slimy mat of algae: a coral’s lights wink out. Credit Coral Watch

OO Great Barrier Reef: Devastating Images
Tell Story Of Coral Colonies’ Destruction
at a scale that would fill an area the size of Scotland.

OO Coral Bleaching Puts Damselfish In Distress
By Masking Predator Scent
– with the odor from coral bleaching, finds a new study..

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Memories of the Way Things Used To Be for an Indian reef. Source http://www.iasdiscussions.com

OO ‘Heart Wrenching’: India’s Coral Reefs
Show Widespread Bleaching & Death
says the head of a reef monitoring program. The reefs were just starting to recover from the 2010 El Nino bleaching, when the reefs were hit again.

Many fish that feed on coral, such as beautiful butterfly fish, quickly decline once the corals die.

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Fish Die With the Corals As Both Are Heat Stressed on Indian coral reefs.Courtesy of Nature Conservation Foundation

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US RIVER FLOWS IMPACTED BY CLIMATE CHANGE

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River Runs Less? Climate change is robbing US rivers of water. Source http://www.hdwallpapera.com

OO Climate Change Affecting Flows In US Watersheds – says new research. Takeaways:

  • US Southwest: Flows at both high and low flow times have decreased from 1980 to 2010;
  • US northeast: flows have increased in autumn and winter as warmer temperatures prevent freezing;
  • Elsewhere, flows are “more variable but still associated with changes in climate” with river flows mostly down from changing rainfall, but evapotranspiration may be an increasing factor, too.

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ZIP ME THERE, SCOTTY!

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It’s a Bullet, It’s a Train, It’s …It’s… Hyperloop! Source http://www.ibtimes.co.uk

OO Hyperloop Transportation Says It Cracked 760 mph travel with magnets,
using a “passive levitation system.”

The technology is similar to the Maglev train systems used in Asia, but should be cheaper to install and safer to operate. Can’t wait to try it out…

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CLIMATE WILL CRIPPLE COFFEE

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Too Hot For Coffee? It will be in many places, by 2050, creating a 50% decline in beans, says a new study.

OO Coffee Bean Shortage Predicted Due To Climate Change – 80 % of areas in Brazil and Central America that grow Arabica coffee now, will not by 2050 if current temperature trends continue; internationally, the decline is estimated to be 50 %.

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SPEAKING OUT

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And It Will Get Worse and more expensive to fix, if we don’t act in time.

OO UN Climate Science Chief: It’s Not Too Late To Avoid Dangerous Temperature Rise – but the costs rises with delay, and even more so if we do nothing. Global warming has already increased temperatures by 2 degrees F.

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CLUELESS COMMUNICATION

@@ How Media Misleads the Public On Science –
And Clouds Climate Change Understanding: John Oliver
Beware these words on AM Talk Shows & commercial news programs: “New studies suggest…“ — accurate scientific reporting is as rare there as organic vegetables are at 7-11s.

Such unqualified media reporters sow distrust by:

  • misreporting the results of studies
  • covering poorly executed studies
  • simplifying the scientific process
  • looking for bold, rather than real conclusions,
  • not reading or understanding studies
  • not understanding how flawed studies can be

This corrodes public trust in the valuable science that lies behind our understanding of climate change and other important problems.

What to do? Go to reputable sources for their reporting of the science you want to understand. For climate change, go to NASA, NOAA , IPCC and other reputable institutions’ websites.

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CLIMATE CHANGE IS SHRINKING, HARMING WILDLIFE

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A Knotty Problem – climate change is robbing these migrant birds of food for their young, resulting in smaller birds and beaks. Not Good.

OO Shrinking Red Knots:
Arctic Bird Suffers Double Hit From Global Warming
– as Arctic snow melts earlier, these migrant birds are hatching chicks too late to catch the peak of their food source, the insect bloom triggered by melting snow.

Undernourished, the chicks develop into smaller, shorter billed birds that find it harder to capture the shellfish they eat in the mudflats of their winter home in Mauritania.

Just one of many unexpected ways that climate change is harming wildlife.

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MELTDOWN

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A Glacial Brake Fails – the collapse of the Larsenb Antarctic ice shelf allowed far more ice behind it to speed into the sea. Source European Satellite Agency

OO Continuing Collapse Of Antarctic Ice Shelves Will Affect Us All as record heat helps destroy these glacial “brakes” holding back far more ice from entering the ocean.

The Big Worry? If the fringing ice shelves, the “brakes” of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, undergo similar collapse, this could set off a chain reaction leading to a vast ice-sheet recession over just a few decades – and adding a devastating 3m (yeah, 9 feet) of sea level rise worldwide.

2016-05-24-1464115182-6628625-arcticicefracturesMay2016Sourcemashable.comccr330.jpg

Fractured Photo – this is our Arctic ice cap, on global warming. Source mashable.com

OO Rapidly Melting Arctic Sea Ice Fracturing –
And It’s Only May
signaling that ice melt is well ahead of schedule – and a near record or record low sea ice extent to come in September.

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CALIFORNIA CONSERVES FOR UNENDING DROUGHT

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OO California Braces For Unending Drought as Gov. Jerry Brown made the state’s water conservation efforts permanent despite a slight easing of dry conditions from rains brought on by El Niño.

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

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OO U.S. Utilities Boost Investments in Wind, Solar Power taking advantage of government subsidies.

OO Big Oil Unexpectedly Backs Newest Non-Fossil Fuels

OO Big U.S. Companies Spearhead Renewable Energy Drive

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2016-05-24-1464115308-5763456-solarwindflowersdaisiesSourcecleantechfinance.netccr302.jpg

OO Big Oil Company Transitions Towards Big Solar:
Buys Energy Storage Company

OO Oil Companies Abandon Arctic Drilling Rights for now…

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Windy Blows the Farm as more farmers make money from wind. Source energyrealestates.com

OO Iowa Wind Boom Highlights Transformation In Midwest – as the U.S. power grid is undergoing an extreme makeover from the hulking power plants that generate most of the electricity all the way down to tiny meters attached to millions of homes.

OO US Energy Sector CO2 Emissions Fall 12 % Since 2005 – as coal collapses, but natural gas continues to rise, and the methane leaks from its production and distribution has boosted climate changing emissions.

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CLIMATE LEADERSHIP

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OO Obama And Nordic Leaders:
Economic Activity In The Arctic Must Pass Climate Test
– what about the tar sands stuff already there?

OO U.S. Sets Rules To Cut Methane Emissions
From New Oil And Gas Wells –
But Not For Existing Ones
not so good news.

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OO Hillary Clinton’s Climate and Energy Policies, Explained – they are quintessentially Clintonesque, rich with wonky detail, conversant with the policy levers available, and careful, always, to stay within the bounds of the politically possible (as she sees it).

OMG, it’s… it’s… LOGIC from a presidential candidate!

OO Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation Divests Entire Holding In BP — yessss!

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CLUELESS LEADERSHIP

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Useless on Climate Action, Too … what did you expect?

OO Trump Taps Climate Change Skeptic As Energy Adviser

OO Meet Donald Trump’s New Energy Adviser who supports replacing the Clean Power Plan with a useless small carbon tax; he said he may challenge Trump ‘s assertions about climate change being a hoax promoted by Democrats. I’ll bet D(D)T has flying saucer theories, too.

OO Trump Promises He Will Reopen Coal Mines.
He Probably Can’t
– analyses indicate.

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

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OO Global 2040 Forecast Sees Only Slight Fall In Fossil Fuels so expect a much higher number of climate change disasters, including coastal flooding, heat waves, and more, much more!

OO The Cost of Low Oil Prices
Oil and Gas Job Losses Mount Globally
– with 350,000+ shed by oil and gas production companies worldwide, says a new report. Time to invest in clean renewable energy!

OO Over Half of US Coal Assets Are Stranded as many major US coal companies file for bankruptcy.

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Bakken Burps Methane – leaking 275,000 tons of the potent climate changing gas annually, a significant amount but less than previously believed. And then there’s all those leaky distribution pipes, nationwide…

OO Bakken Oil Field Leaks 275,000 Tons Of Methane Yearly – study says.

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One of These Landscapes Is Not Carcinogenic – guess which one?

OO US Fracking Rises As “New Coal” – Natural Gas –
Use Does, Too

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If we do not grow sustainably,
Our children will die inhumanely.

@@ How Parents Can Help Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Teen childbearing cost US taxpayers $9+ Billion in 2010
And the costs of raising a child usually ensures decades, if not a life, of poverty for its mother.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Help prevent unintended pregnancies in your community:
publicize where women can access affordable contraception.

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They can go here to find locations:

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And there are many more actions you can do, right here.

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SOLAR KEEPS FLYING

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OO How Solar Brought Muslims And Jews Together In One West Bank Village– as a US nonprofit looks beyond politics to unite people with solar power.

OO $12.5 Million Raised for Nanowire Solar Materials Development

OO Indian Railways’ First All Solar-Paneled Train

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Check it out here, right now!

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WHY WE SHOULD ACT NOW: RISING RISKS

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Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, May 24, 2016

How unusual has the weather been? No one event is “caused” by climate change, but global warming, which is predicted to increase unusual, extreme weather, is having a daily effect on weather, worldwide.

Looking above at recent temperature anomalies, much of the US and the waters surrounding it are experiencing warmer than normal temperatures: California continues its drought, as its wise governor makes water conservation measures a permanent fixture.

Much of the areas surrounding the North Pole are experiencing much warmer than normal temperatures – not good news for our Arctic thermal shield of ice, which is melting at a record rate this spring. Hotter than usual temperatures continue to dominate human habitats.

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There is, of course, much more news on the consequences and solutions to climate change. To get it, check out this annotated resource list I’ve compiled, “Climate Change News Resources,” at WordPress.com here. For more information on the science of climate change, its consequences and solutions you can view my annotated list of online information resources here.

To help you understand just what science does and does NOT do, check thisout!

Every day is Earth Day, folks, as I was reminded by this wild flower I photographed one spring. Making the U.S. a global clean energy leader will ensure a heck of a lot more jobs, and a clean, safe future. If you’d like to join the increasing numbers of people who want to TELL Congress that they will vote for clean energy candidates you can do so here. It’s our way of letting Congress know there’s a strong clean energy voting bloc out there. For more detailed summaries of the above and other climate change items, audio podcasts and texts are freely available.

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For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly columns at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week

 

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About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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