Local Updates

Climate change drives recent rough weather - Cedar Rapids Gazette

posted Aug 22, 2011, 5:52 AM by James Hodina   [ updated Aug 22, 2011, 5:57 AM by Lynne Carlson ]

The following letter from Charles Crawley to the editor was published August 5, 2011.

The July 28 storm in Dubuque pocket option and surrounding areas dumped 15 inches of rain in 12 hours, shattering the previous record.

This is but another example of extreme weather that will become far more common, according to a must-read series of articles recently published in Scientific American (www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=extreme-weather-caused-by-climate-change). And the reason for this is climate change.

While the cause of a particular weather event cannot be determined, its likelihood can be, according to the new science of “climate attribution.”

Gene Takle, professor of meteorology at Iowa State University, has data that show a 13 percent rise in moisture over the last 50 years in Des Moines. Was the 2010 flood in Ames caused by this? We cannot be sure, but the dice are now loaded for more such events.

How many wake-up calls do we need or how many can we afford?

Charles R. Crawley

Cedar Rapids

July, 2011 Update

posted Jul 5, 2011, 5:41 AM by James Hodina   [ updated Jul 5, 2011, 5:42 AM by Lynne Carlson ]

Cedar Rapids Climate Advocates:

1.  Our next meeting will be Friday, July 15, at 5 p.m., at Kesler Auditorium at Coe College.  Our speaker will be Tina Coleman, emergency pocket option free demo account operations director of the Grant Wood Chapter of the American Red Cross.  (The Cedar Rapids Public Library was not available that evening, so Paula Sanchini arranged for a room at Coe.)

2.  This is just a quick reminder that some of us will be having a table at the Green Farmers Market Day on Saturday, July 16, from 8 a.m. to noon, and participating in the Citizens Climate Lobby training on Saturday, July 23, from 9 a.m. to noon at Trinity Episcopal Church, 320 E. College Street, in Iowa City.  If you have not already signed up to help, and would like to do so, please let me know.

3.  Last week the Gazette reported on Rockwell's commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 15% by 2014.  This is great leadership by Rockwell - a significant step toward sustainability - and provides an opportunity for letters to the editor.

4.  I just wanted to share that yesterday's Gazette (July 3) had several articles that could warrant letters to the editor about the new era of climate-related and/or environmental disasters in which we live.  Here were the headlines:

Rush of disasters raising concerns about emergency response resources Mexico confirms 11 dead from Tropical Storm Arlene Yellowstone River hit by oil spill Wisconin storm kills 1, injures dozens

This is in addition to the recent U.S. disasters including flooding along the Missouri River; flooding in Minot, North Dakota; the wildfires of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas; the drought in Texas; the flooding along the Mississippi River; and the tornadoes in Missouri, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and across the South.
If you need pocket options review suggestions on letter writing, please let me know.

I look forward to seeing you July 15 if not before.


May 22, 2011 Meeting Notes

posted May 23, 2011, 12:50 PM by James Hodina   [ updated May 23, 2011, 12:52 PM by Lynne Carlson ]

1. Thanks to those of you who were able to attend our meeting today.  Both Elwood Garlock and Beth Robbins had letters to the editor this week in the Gazette.  Gary Hirshberg gave a great commencement speech today (which included examples of how consumers and businesses can slash greenhouse gas emissions and chemical use) to graduates from Mt. Mercy.

2. Our next meeting is tentatively set for Friday, June 17, at 5 p.m.  The location is yet to be determined.  I am also going to try to find a speaker.  At the next meeting, we want to work on organizing an event so we can participate in "Moving Planet" sponsored by 350.org on Saturday, September 24.

3. Our counterpart groups in Iowa City and Des Moines are meeting Tuesday, June 7, at 7 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church in Iowa City, and Thursday, June 23, at 7 p.m., at Holy Trinity Catholic Church at the corner of Urbandale and Beaver in Des Moines.  If you would like to participate directly in a statewide gressroots climate effort coordinated by the Environmental Law and Policy Center, please contact Steve Falck at sfalck@elpc.org.  The first Presidential candidate debate in Iowa is Thursday, August 11, in Ames.

4. On Saturday, June 18, the local Sierra Club is sponsoring a Green AmeriCorps Home Energy Audit workshop and demonstration.  Details to be announced.

5. On Saturday, July 16, the Green Farmers Market returns to Cedar Rapids.  We will discuss organizing a table for that event at our June 17 event.

6. On Saturday, July 23, there will be a Citizens Climate Lobby training in Iowa City.  Please mark your calendars and plan to attend.

7. There is a religious conference on climate tentatively set for Thursday, September 1, in West Des Moines.  I will provide more details when I have them.

8. One of our members is looking for a date in late July or early August to show the movie "Carbon Nation" - I will let you know the details when we have them.

9. The annual Environmental Film Festival will be held Saturday, November 5.

I hope this information is helpful.  Thanks again for your participation in this effort to prevent future climate disasters and help people who experience them.


The Gazette - Global warming crimping crop production

posted May 9, 2011, 6:01 AM by James Hodina   [ updated May 9, 2011, 6:02 AM by Lynne Carlson ]

From Frank Olsen:

An article entitled "Global warming crimping crop production" appeared in today's Gazette.  I will be writing to Senators Grassley and Harkin, and Rep. Dave Loebsack, urging them to enact legislation to dramatically reduce our country's emissions of carbon dioxide, and ask that you consider doing so as well.

Excerpts from the article from the Gazette follow:

The warming of the Earth has cooled the yields of corn and wheat in much of the world, a new study finds. 

Although agricultural advances have pushed global production of staple crops skyward, hotter temperatures in Russia, China, Mexico and elsewhere have stunted that growth and contributed to the long-term rise in food prices, concludes the analysis published Thursday in the journal Science. 

"This is tens of billions of dollars a year in lost (agricultural) productivity because of warming," said David Lobell, an Earth scientist at Stanford University and an author on the report. 

Three decades of global warming crimped worldwide yields of corn by some 5.5 percent and wheat by some 3.8 percent in recent years. 

Bill McKibben's Speech at Power Shift

posted Apr 18, 2011, 6:25 AM by James Hodina   [ updated Apr 18, 2011, 6:26 AM by Lynne Carlson ]

350.org has posted a video of Bill McKibben's speech at Power Shift this weekend and his announcement that their next day of action will be September 24 entitled Moving Planet.  You can get more information at www.350.org.

Chairman of Climate Counts to Speak at Mount Mercy

posted Apr 15, 2011, 6:34 AM by James Hodina   [ updated Apr 15, 2011, 6:35 AM by Lynne Carlson ]

Please mark on your calendar that Gary Hirshberg, Chairman of Climate Counts, will be the commencement speaker at Mount Mercy University on Sunday, May 22, at 1 p.m., at the US Cellular Center.  Below is the announcement from Mount Mercy University about the event.

I-Renew Annual Renewable Energy Expo

posted Apr 15, 2011, 6:33 AM by James Hodina   [ updated Apr 15, 2011, 6:33 AM by Lynne Carlson ]

The I-Renew annual renewable energy expo is April 28 through May 1 at the Iowa Memorial Union at the University of Iowa.  Perhaps we could do a table at this event, too, although I will not necessarily be available to help.  For more details, visit www.irenew.org.

April 15 Meeting

posted Apr 15, 2011, 5:54 AM by James Hodina   [ updated Apr 15, 2011, 5:55 AM by Lynne Carlson ]

This is a reminder that the next meeting of our climate advocacy group in Cedar Rapids will be Friday, April 15, at 5 p.m. at People's Church, 600 Third Avenue SE. Our hostess will be Kathy Hall. She will be providing light refreshments. Please use the Sixth Street door entrance (not Sixth Avenue), go upstairs, and go to the Cherry Room.

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