Climate Change This Week: Fossil Fuels Are Costing the US & World, Raising Royalties, and More!

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

2016-07-06-1467763483-9854571-bizarreleafgeckomadagascarCreditPiotrNaskreckiccr336.jpg

Saving BUB, Beautiful Unique Biodiversity, as in this cool leafy gecko from Madagascar, is another reason to conserve carbon-storing forests. Credit Piotr Naskrecki

Forests: the cheapest way to store carbon

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Gems of the Forest in Madagascar, such as this comet moth and panther chameleon, are increasingly disappearing as the forests disappear.

OO Madagascar, Africa: Turning Forest Into Charcoal – the island, an incredible global hotspot of biodiversity – think chameleons and lemurs just for starters – has already lost most of its forests, and many endemic species are endangered.

But burgeoning poor populations are increasingly cutting down the remains for cooking charcoal, there and elsewhere in Africa.

Are there any solar billionaires out there willing to make a difference, and save those forests?

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A Brilliant Piece of Amazon Biodiversity – the Spangled Cotinga and many more wildlife suffer when the forest is degraded. Source mostbeautifullworld.blogspot.com

OO Brazil: Forest Degradation Can Be As Bad For Biodiversity As Deforestation – we are failing to address some of the most dire impacts of human activities on forests and biodiversity, researchers are warning.

When we harm forests, we harm ourselves.

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FOSSIL FUELS ARE COSTING THE US, WORLD

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A Costly Business – fossil fuel industries are costing world economies due to their enormous unpaid social costs. Credit Joshua Doubek via Wikimedia Commons

OO Fossil Fuel Companies: Climate Costs Outweigh Their Profits – Takeaways:

  • unpaid cost of carbon pollution = a subsidy to polluting businesses;
  • IMF says: total global subsidies to energy (mostly fossil fuels) =5.2 trillion/year
  • top 20 fossil fuel companies create more social costs than after-tax profits *

Thus, if fossil fuel companies had to pay the costs of their pollution, they would not be profitable. Social costs include economic, environmental and health damages.

*says a new Cambridge University analysis of the years 2008-2012

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Where Your Dirty Air Comes From – mostly from the burning of fossil fuels.Source IEA

OO Air Pollution Seen Costing Trillions To Save Millions of Lives Yearly – and the fossil fuel industries are not paying for it; the world needs to invest trillions in cleaner energy and emissions controls, says a new International Energy Agency (IEA) report.

OO Air Pollution To Kill Millions More Without Change Of Energy Policy says the IEA:

  • premature deaths from air pollution will continue to rise to 2040
  • yearly, air pollution causes about 6.5 million deaths globally;
  • it is the world’s fourth-largest threat to human health;
  • particulate pollutants are mostly from unregulated, inefficient energy production and use.

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The Children Are Listening

Fossil Fuels Harm Kids in 2 Ways via toxic air pollution and the harmful effects of climate change, warns a leading US health scientist.

OO Fossil Fuels’ Two-Way Assault On Children’s Health Must Stop says a leading health scientist in a commentary from the US National Institute of Health.2016-07-06-1467764022-1051015-childinfloodTDCccr336.jpg

Children Are Losing against climate change.

OO The Case For A Child-Centered Energy And Climate Policy – Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels would achieve highly significant health and economic benefits for children worldwide.

To do less than we can to protect them from preventable harm is nothing short of neglect.

OO Climate Change Is Bad For Your Kidneys – Thousands of people working in the heat have been succumbing to a deadly kidney disease due to dehydration, and as the planet warms, the problem is likely to spread.

OO Extreme Oil Prices May Be Costly To The Climate especially when cheap oil encourages people to guzzle more gasoline in less fuel-efficient vehicles.

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GOOD IDEAS

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Time to Make Coal Pay Source Motherboard.vice.com

OO White House: Raising Coal Royalties A Boon For Taxpayers,
And For The Climate
– Public lands coal leases and royalties are undervalued, costing taxpayers money, and encourages higher emissions, a new report argues.

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OO Walmart’s Food Labels Can Help America’s $29 Billion Food Waste Problem – it will now require its suppliers to use a new date label designed to ease safety worries and prevent food from being tossed away too early.

OO Elon Musk Wants To Build A Clean-Energy Juggernaut,
Merging Tesla And Solarcity
hoping to create a single “end-to-end” clean energy company that would handle everything from solar power to batteries to electric cars.

OO 10% of China’s Wind Resources
Could Fuel 25% of Its Electricity by 2030
significantly boosting the global transition to renewable energy, says a new MIT study.

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HOT NEWS

@@ Preparing for Heat Deaths in Pakistan:
Digging Graves for the Living

OO Without Emissions Cuts, Summer Heat Will Get Even Deadlier – By 2060, large swaths of the planet could be hit by unprecedented summer heat waves that would exceed all historical records, says a new study by scientists at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research.

OO 3000+ Heat Deaths Yearly Predicted As New York City Heats Up, scientists say in a new study, succumbing to heat exhaustion, dehydration and respiratory conditions as the number of extreme hot days triples by 2080.

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OO As Planet Warms,
Climate Change Will Accelerate
– as further warming further sensitizes climate, based on the paleoclimatic record, indicates new research.

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SPEAKING OUT

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Heck No, We Won’t Go as protestors blocked an oil train in Vancouver, WA recently. Credit Alex Milan Tracy

OO Protesters Arrested For Blocking Railroad In Call For Oil-By-Rail

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Will We Act In Time To Prevent Total Devastation? Coral reefs worldwide are dying from warming waters, pollution, and human destruction.

OO Scientists Call On Australia Govt to Act
To Save Coral Reefs
– in a letter, signed on behalf of 2,000 international coral reef researchers, to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, urging his government to prioritise its Great Barrier Reef.

OO Economists Say Turkey’s Coal Surge An ‘Historic Error – and will be an expensive mistake for the country — and the climate.

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CLIMATE CHANGE HARMING FOOD SUPPLIES

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Climate Change Is Outrunning Maize Varieties – and it’s not clear that new varieties will catch up. Source lensng.com

OO New Crop Varieties ‘Can’t Keep Up With Global Warming’ – Crop yields could fall within a decade without action to speed up the introduction of new varieties, thanks to climate change, says a new study.

Related Headline:

OO Three Ways To Boost Crop Resilience To Climate Change – are offered by Prof Andy Challinor author of the above new study:

  • speed up sharing of genes in agro-institutions worldwide to speed hybrid development;
  • develop new hybrids in greenhouses at 0.5C higher than it is today;
  • dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions.

What is NOT discussed: there are physiological limits to temperature adaptation in all plants, and those limits are being approached for some cereal crops in the African Sahel.

OO Current Warming Will Reduce Yields Unless
Maize Breeding And Seed Systems Adapt Immediately
– Climate projections can help provide target temperatures for breeding new crop varieties, although adaptation as well as mitigation will be needed to reduce some of the ill-effects.

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New Dietary Guidelines could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1 billion tonnes by 2030, and could lessen country’s problems with obesity and diabetes.

OO China’s Plan To Cut Meat Consumption By 50 %
Cheered By Climate Campaigners

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OO Even As US Grain Growers Drain Aquifers,
They Rage Against Cutting Meat Consumption
– a Bayer Corporation crop unit apologized to their farmer clients after they twittered on how a vegetarian diet could halve people’s dietary carbon footprint.

Feed farmers for livestock were outraged that the corporation would promote an idea that would cut into their profits.

Do these farmers realize their livelihoods are doomed – and much of our agriculture – once they drain the aquifers for their short term profits? Apparently not.

Related Headline:

OO Why This Company Just Deleted A Tweet About Meat Eating And The Environment

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

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Brown to Green: fossil fuels to clean energy is the future.

OO The World Is Nearing Peak Fossil Fuels
(Especially The Developed World)
– and not because of decreasing supplies, says a new Bloomberg analysis. Takeaways:

  • Fossil fuels will peak by 2025 as clean energy becomes cheaper;
  • Solar will be the least expensive form of electricity by 2030;
  • by 2040, zero-emission forms of power will represent 60% of the global mix.

For our children’s sake, let’s hope this happens faster.

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Michael Bloomberg Blooms Again as co-chairman of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.

OO Cities Forge World’s Largest Alliance To Curb Climate Change – Takeaways:

  • named the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy;
  • represents 7100+ cities in 119 countries on 6 contients, and
  • 8 % of the world’s population.
  • Earth’s cities consume 70% of the world’s energy,
  • and produce 75 % of our climate-changing emissions.

Time to roll up your sleeves, mayors….

OO EU Smashes 2020 Emissions Target Six Years Early

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OO 72% of Corporations Are Actively Procuring Clean Energy – and are far more interested in buying their own renewables than they were even one year ago.

OO Solar Could Meet 13% Of Global Power Demand By 2030 say analysts at the International Renewable Energy Agency. Falling costs are driving investments around the world, with declines of up to 59% possible for solar PV in the next ten years.

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NATURAL REPERCUSSIONS

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Algae Turn Snow Pink – hence the term watermelon. The normally green critters live in snow, but when exposed to lots of sun, produce a natural “sunscreen” that turns them red, and tints snow pink. Credits L-R: Stephanie Lutz, Liane Benning, GFZ

OO Watermelon Snow: Not Edible But It Can Speed Climate Change – snow algae tints melting snow pink worldwide.

Researchers recently found that in the Arctic it can darken the snow enough to allow up to 13 % more light to be absorbed as heat, thereby speeding the melting of glaciers and ice cover, and further warming the world.

This “bio albedo effect” should be included in models of climate change, note researchers.

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BURNING UP

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Cooling A Hot Fire At Night – as a daytime heat wave thwarted efforts in southern California recently.

OO Raging Wildfires In The Southwest Stretch Resources Efforts to fight wildfires in five states were complicated by a relentless heat wave and bone-dry conditions, forcing much of the toughest work to be done at night.

OO Forest Fires Can Heat Up The Whole Planet Fires so intense that they consume millions of acres of trees and scorch the soil on the forest floor have become extreme disruptors.

They are remaking the boreal forest, damaging its role as one of the world’s great protectors against global warming.

CLIMATE LEADERSHIP

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OO Democratic National Committee Platform
Calls For Investigating Fossil Fuel Companies
for misleading the public on climate change.

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OO California: Oakland Proposes Ban On Coal Handling — potentially derailing Utah’s port investment. A city-sponsored report predicts coal shipments and handling would degrade local air quality and undermine public health.

OO California’s Last Nuclear Plant To Close Amid Longstanding Earthquake Concerns – it supplies 9% of the state’s power, which will be replaced with clean energy options.

Related Headline:

OO California: Utility to Replace Last Nuclear Plant With 100% Carbon-Free Resources – First-of-a-kind deal will use solar, wind, storage, demand response and efficiency to replace the reactor by 2025.

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Germany Just Got A Little More Beautiful – with its agreement to ban fracking. Neuschwanstein Castle. Source http://www.worldfortravel.com

OO Germany Agrees To Ban Fracking after years of dispute, but the law does not outlaw conventional drilling for oil and gas.

OO China Decarbonizes For Greener Growth – and doing so fast; building a clean, low carbon energy system is a priority for the upcoming five years.

OO Norway: Oslo Votes To Slash Emissions 95% By 2030 – to be accomplished, in part by the phase-out of car traffic in the city centre, prioritizing pedestrian, bicycle and public transport instead.

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CLUELESS LEADERSHIP

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Credit Michael Lukovich

OO GOP Is Trying To Stop The Pentagon’s Climate Plan – The Defense Department, long in the vanguard in dealing with climate change, may see its latest plan defunded.

OO Wyoming: US Federal Court Kills Fracking Rule concluding that the Bureau of Land Management has no authority over fracking.

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ELECTION YEAR:

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If You Don’t Vote For Climate Action, You Can Forget The Rest – in a climate-changing world of famine, drought, rising seas, giant storms and heat waves, there will be no security in jobs, health, wealth, or national safety. There will be chaos ensuing from increasing crises and disasters. Vote.

OO Global Warming Policies We Set Today Will Determine The Next 10,000 Years – of global warming, a new study shows — and whether our civilization survives or not: history shows that harmful climate change has destroyed civilizations before.

This time, it could be worldwide. Let’s keep “The Hunger Games“ in the realm of fiction.

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SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS

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OO Fading US Fishermen:
Historic Industry Faces A Warming World
after weathering overfishing, pollution, foreign competition and government regulation, America’s fishing fleet faces a challenge it can’t outrun: Climate change.

The US had 120,000 fishing vessels in 1996; today? 75,000, notes Daily Climate editor Doug Fischer.

OO Unable To Endure Rising Seas, Alaskan Villages Stuck In Limbo Villages cannot get government support to relocate in the face of climate-induced threats, but they are no longer receiving funds to repair their crumbling infrastructure.

OO West Virginia: Extreme Flooding Kills At Least 26 in the deadliest US flash flooding since 2010.

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Dusting It Up may mean something different if climate change increases the frequency of droughts in Oregon. Source oregonskiguides.com

OO Oregon: How Drought Harms The Outdoor Recreation Industry – Takeaways:

  • the industry supplies 100,000+ jobs and almost1 Billion in yearly revenues;
  • most outdoor recreation requires water/snow;
  • 2015 drought harmed all sectors:
  1. Low snowpack limited skiing and other snow activities;
  2. Low water levels limited boating, fishing, rafting and kayaking.
  3. Dryness upped fire risk, restricting accesses to parks.

Although a warmer summer boosted tourism a little, future droughts are likely to significantly harm the outdoor industry.

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OO Climate Change Could Be Even Worse On Boston
Than Previously Expected
-and far more calamitous than previous studies have suggested, a new report commissioned by the city says.

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Coming to a Shore Near You – shark attacks are up as warmer waters send more of them patrolling further north than ever before. Source news.nationalgeographic.com

OO How Climate Change Is Fueling A Rise In Shark Attacks The increase in shark attacks – 59 last year, up from 31 in 2011 – is connected to climate change, experts say.

Warmer weather means more people swim, while warmer waters means sharks expanding their range. Both add up to more shark attacks.

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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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CALIFORNIA DRYIN’

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California Spring Snowpack (average) in 2010, left; record low in 2015, right.Credit NASA

OO Snowpack Unlikely To Recover From Drought Until 2019 –
And Even Then It’s Not Likely*
– A new study supports state hydrologists, who have been saying for months that itt will take several years to recover from the four-year water shortage.

*The study does not take into account climate change or the rising heat of global warming, however, decreasing the likelihood of the drought ending by 2019.

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OO ‘Catastrophic’ California Wildfires Could Erupt
In ‘Unprecedented’ 66 Million Dead Trees
– as drought, hot temperatures, and beetle infestations have created a gigantic cache of dead trees in southern CA, a tinder box just waiting to be ignited, US officials say.

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FOSSIL FUEL FOLLIES

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No Fish Here – another pipeline spill in Venture sent crude oil down to the ocean.Source http://www.greenpeace.org

OO California: Up To 210,000 Gallons Of Oil Spilled From Pipeline into the ocean near the Southern California coast recently.

OO Fracking : ‘It just ruined everything — the whole life.’ Feeling abandoned by state regulators, hundreds of rural Pennsylvanians endure contaminated well water, chemical coated lawns, and more – all of which they blame on fracking.

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No Fish Here, Either – Amazonian villagers examine the oil slick fouling waters near their village. Source news.mongabay.com

OO Amazon Oil Spill Puts Peruvian Communities At Risk and has raised fears of yet more pollution of the water and fish on which indigenous villages and riverside communities depend.

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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 RISING

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OO Solar Power To Grow Sixfold By 2030 As It Becomes Cheapest Resourcewith the cost of production falls below competing natural gas and coal-fired plants, says the International Renewable Energy Agency.

OO Cooperative Utilities Win Fight for More Local Renewables

OO PACE Is Growing Fast And Solar Loans Are Replacing Leases – property assessed clean energy (PACE) allows homeowners to acquire clean energy installations and energy efficiency upgrades upfront with no cash down, and pay off the loan on their property taxes over a few decades.

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View of a Future Solar Road – letting the sun power road rest stops. Courtesy of Solar Roadways

OO Solar Road Gets Test Run as the Missouri Department of Transportation allows installation of a stretch of solar road that could generate enough energy to power a rest stop.

OO Solar Panel Recycling Will Be a $15 Billion Business in 30 Years

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OO SunPower Holds World Record for Most Efficient Rooftop Solar Panel, Again
an impressive NREL-validated 24.1 percent world record.

OO India Gets Serious About Microgrids as it pursues a solar power future.

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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, Jul 5, 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: the eastern Pacific warm spot continues and so does the drought in California.

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. 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 these wild flowers 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 textsare 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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