ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today I found this article about climate change causing an increase in kidney stones, which become more frequent as temperatures rise.

That reminded me of a previous article I read about climate change causing chronic kidney failure.  Normally dehydration is an acute problem, easily fixed by rehydration.  But the higher the temperature gets, the harder it becomes to stay hydrated.  If people work hard in high temperatures, eventually that starts destroying their kidneys.  Previously healthy people with none of the usual factors for kidney disease develop kidney failure over a few months, and often die because they can't get treatment.

So there you have it: climate change kills kidneys.  Since all humans have kidneys and need them to survive, that poses a threat to everyone.  It will hit the hardest workers first, and it is already an epidemic in the hottest parts of world, which will spread poleward as the climate cooks off.

Things you can do:

* Avoid high temperatures, and especially, working hard when it is very hot.  If you must work outside, consider the siesta pattern: work in the morning and evening when it is cooler, resting during the hot midday.

* Drink until you slosh, and if you sweat a lot, choose a beverage that replenishes electrolytes too.  Avoid dehydrating drinks such as alcohol or soda.

* If you have to work in the heat, especially if you can't keep up with water loss, keep a close eye on your kidney health.  Ideally, tell your health provider about your concerns and figure out a tracking plan.  Catching this stuff early can mean the difference between life and death.

* Know the symptoms for kidney stones and kidney disease.  Also learn about heat stress.

* Most crucially, remember that heat stress and dehydration are typically acute problems that are quickly fixable with lots of water and cooling off.  If that does not work,  then you have an emergency which requires expert care.  Then you have to avoid that situation again, or it's quite likely to kill you just like it's killing people around the equator.
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 I've said this myself, but this rendition is nearly liturgical in its elegance.  Look at the lovely parallels.  Such a graceful way of saying, "Bend over and kiss your ass goodbye."
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Here's an article about matching declines in native wildflowers and insects. Many insects rely on flowers for larval and adult food, shelter, etc.  Remove the host plants and you remove the insects.  Conversely, many plants rely on insects for pollination or other services.  Remove the insects and you remove the plants.

Bird species are collapsing too.  Many birds are insectivores.  Remove native plants, which kills off the insects, and the birds starve.  Birds need about 70% native plants to survive.  Most yards are food deserts for them.  

Amphibians are disappearing all over.  Most of those species are also insectivores.  Remove native plants, which kills off the insects, and there go frogs, toads, salamanders, etc.

This is a food web.  Plants fill in the bottom by creating biomass from soil, water, and sunlight.  Without the right plants, the insects that eat them die, and then the amphibians and songbirds that eat those insects die, and then the predators such as snakes, foxes, and birds of prey that eat the amphibians and songbirds will die.  Humans are the top of the food web now.  When too much of the food web collapses, it will take out the top, and then the detritivores like fungi will feast.  None of this is hard to understand, by the way, it's taught in grade school.  Apparently a lot of people slept through all that.

So when you read about plants and insects dying out, remember the food web ... and the fact that small things can knock over much larger things.

Everything is alive; everything is connected.  Whatever we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves.  Mitakuye oyasin.

Ugly Food

Mar. 23rd, 2019 10:33 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
A great deal of produce gets thrown out before consumers ever see it -- the "ugly" fruits and vegetables that don't conform to rigid standards.  Some people are pushing to make these available at a discount.

As long as they're cheaper than the ideal ones, I'm all for it.  You typically lose more to scraps from ugly good than ideal food, because you have to cut around seams and such, so without the discount you'd lose money.  But I buy "seconds" at the farmer's market precisely because they're cheaper and I'm just going to chop them up for spaghetti sauce or sloppy joe filling anyhow.
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Flood recovery is expensive, partly because it's badly planned.  People keep rebuilding in places that flood, and those places are flooding more often now than they used to.  As the ocean rises, it will encroach further on what is now solid land, swallowing many homes and businesses.  Things America needs to do but is not doing:

* Stop building anything in floodplains or other places subject to flooding.

* Wherever an increasing pattern of incursion flooding from waterways is appearing over developed land, pull back to higher ground.  That means don't rebuild structures there, move people somewhere else by giving them enough funds to build or buy an equivalent property somewhere safer.

* Increasing floods due to rainfall or other causes may need different responses, such as creating rain gardens and marshes, or upgrading water management infrastructure.

* Provide incentives and assistance for people currently living or working in flood-prone areas to move into safer areas before  a flood forces them out and requires expensive emergency measures.  This requires analyzing how many homes and businesses are in an area of responsibility, how many people they are, whether the population's needs are currently being met, how many replacement structures will be needed, and where would be a safe place to put those.

* If you live in a flood-prone area, move elsewhere as soon as it is feasible for you to do so.  It will be better to move before you are driven out (or possibly killed) by rising waters.

* Restore wetlands and other riparian features to reduce the tendency to flood.

While these would better be done on a national level, any individual town subject to flooding can do it on a local level.  Zone flood-prone areas for water management instead of building.  Identify safer areas and provide incentives for people to build there instead.  Assist people in flood-prone areas to move out of them.  This will save you a ton of money and trouble.
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I have long been aware that much fish for sale is mislabeled.  This article points out that a large portion of the product comes from endangered fish.

But it gets worse.  The most appalling point is that some of it is NOT EVEN FISH MEAT.  One incident in California involved "tuna" that turned out to be WHALE MEAT.

I am now making the face that Puddleglum made after eating the Talking Stag.  O_O 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article lists 5 species most likely to survive climate change.  They're all good bets.  Humans are not on the list; neither are tardigrades.  I'm sure tardigrades will survive.  I suspect humans will too, although civilization is a long shot at best.

"When the universe collapses and dies, there will be three survivors: Tyr Anasazi, the cockroaches ... and Dylan Hunt, trying to save the cockroaches."
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 As seawater rises, it inundates coastal wetlands, killing the trees.  That's a problem when we need those to buffer storms, absorb waters, and soak up carbon.  >_<
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
The greatest increase is at the most extreme end of the scale.

It's not just tornadoes though.  Wind in general is getting more obnoxious.  Around here, storms now tend to arrive not as a gradual increase of wind but as a sharp, intense wind wall.  This often snaps trees at the base because they don't have time to flex with the wind.  >_< 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article talks about American households burdened by unaffordable water costs.  While people claim that water is a human right, it is not treated as such.  It is a paid privilege.  If you can pay, you get water; if you can't pay, you don't.  There are public sources such as water fountains, but you can bet if people start filling jugs at those, the practice will quickly be banned.  So mostly what people do is lower their use of hygiene that uses up gallons at a time: bathing, washing clothes, and flushing toilets.  Suddenly it becomes everyone's problem.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 ... excel at storing carbon in addition to buffering storms, reducing floods, and protecting freshwater from saltwater incursions.  We really, really need to undo as much as possible of previous efforts to wipe out coastal wetlands, restore what we can, and protect every scrap that's left.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 ... has happened before without human intervention.  So if that happens again, for whatever reason, at the same time as climate change, then we are extra-special fucked instead of just fucked.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article looks at how much of the world is water-stressed and how much more will become so by 2025 or so.  Remember: no water, no life, no exceptions.  All of civilization is based on water, because humans need it to survive.  Where there is not enough water, people first fight over it, and then they either die or leave.  They can't live where there is no water; the carrying capacity is limited by how many people the water can support.

So whenever you hear of a place running out of water, look at how many people live there.  Those people will either die or leave, and before they do either, they will probably get into pretty bad fights over the dwindling water supply.  Outsiders will likely give zero fucks ... until the leaving starts.  They really don't want that to happen.  They don't want foreigners trying to move in and live on their land and drink their water.

People should think ahead.  If you don't want to be overrun by millions of refugees, take steps to protect the global water supply while there is still enough of it for people to stay where they are.
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Due to rising waters, floods that used to occur once a century will likely occur once a year or more.  That's about 100 times worse than it used to be on the basis of frequency.  While severity is important too, frequency is a big determiner in people's ability to recover from setbacks.  If they haven't recovered before the next one hits, they take more damage, which tends to be unsustainable.
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Weather whiplash happens when places go from drought to flood. This can cause agricultural runoff to contaminate drinking water.

Wow, people are stupid.  This problem is very expensive to fix at the far end, so not everywhere will even have that option.  But there is a lot that could be done to prevent the problem.

1) Obviously, start by reducing the causes of climate change that are causing more extreme weather.

2) Restore wetlands and other natural water-storage areas.  Other habitats such as forests and prairies are good too.  These help soak up water and release it slowly, reducing the tendency to flood.

3) Install green borders around fields, fencerows between fields, and especially marsh filters between fields and waterways.  The more plants between the fields and the waterways, the less contaminants will make it into the rivers and thence the drinking water supply.

4) Install catchment systems to collect rainwater from roofs and other areas.  This water can be stored for later use such as watering outdoor plants.  Doing this both reduces the amount of floodwater and minimizes demand on tapwater later.

5) Alter methods of agriculture to minimize runoff.  Multiple options exist, so people can explore what works best in their area.

When a problem is getting worse, for fucksake don't wait for it to hit the end of the line!  Start fixing it immediately and include prevention as much as possible.  Otherwise it may become unfixable while you are faffing around not fixing it.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 ... in lizards.

You know who else relies on gut bacteria?  Humans.

Well, there's a whole new thing to freak the fuck out over.

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