Screening of film on climate change – Washington, DC area

Glacial Balance: Film Screening and Discussion
Thursday, November 6, 6:30 p.m.—8:30 p.m.

Join the Koshland Science Museum and the National Research Council’s Polar Research Board for a screening and thought-provoking discussion about the documentary film, “Glacial Balance.”

This film provides scientific insights about the causes of climate change and explores the potential impacts on people and communities across South America. The film presents a vivid depiction of how scientists collect and preserve ice cores from mountain glaciers and describes the importance of collecting and analyzing data from ice cores.

Special guests include:

• Lonnie G. Thompson (featured in the film), Distinguished University Professor in the School of Earth Sciences and a research scientist in the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences
• Ethan Steinman, director of “Glacial Balance” and owner of Daltonic Films
• Ellen Mosley-Thompson, Distinguished University Professor and director of the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences
• Julie Brigham-Grette, professor in the Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and chair of the National Research Council’s Polar Research Board

Admission is $10 ($7 for students) and includes pizza and light refreshments:

Koshland Science Museum
525 E Street, NW, Washington, DC (main entrance: corner of 6th & E, NW)

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“Our Failing Weather Infrastructure”

From the NY Times, an article about another potentially disastrous deficiency:  Our Failing Weather Infrastructure. Clearly federal budget cuts in recent times have done a lot of damage. An excerpt:

Each of these instances revealed just how fragile our national weather program really is, and how desperately we need to invest significantly more in the weather infrastructure, technology and the kind of communication redundancies that will keep all of us safe.

This is not a new problem. For years, congressional allocations to the National Weather Service have all but flatlined. Meanwhile, the cost of storm recovery has skyrocketed. In the 20 years leading up to Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the United States suffered 133 weather disasters that exceeded $1 billion in damages, for a total of over $875 billion. Sandy, the second-costliest hurricane in the nation’s history, came with a price tag of an estimated $65 billion.

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A Critique of Free-Market or Ad Hoc Disaster Charities

Following the posting about problems at the Red Cross, here is another take on disaster charities.

The topic of free-market charities is not one I am familiar with, but this article in AlJazeera piqued my interest.  It is not written by an disaster expert, but probably someone who either experienced or watched the damage of H. Sandy first-hand.

See: The problem with free-market-based disaster relief;Two years after Superstorm Sandy, the non-profit industrial complex continues to rear its ugly head. An excerpt:

Aside from longstanding questions over how disaster aid is allocated and spent — public funds themselves being difficult to track — the management of privately managed donations raised a new set of questions. As bureaucratic and inefficient as a public response can be, placing money into private, philanthropist hands assures even less oversight and accountability. Robin Hood preaches something called “venture philanthropy, or charity that embraces free-market forces, to combat poverty.” Is it any wonder that a free-market-based approach to disaster recovery would gravitate towards aid money with scant, if any, oversight?

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The Red Cross Gets Socked by Pro Publica – updated

For the second time this year, ProPublica has gone after the Red  Cross for its disaster relief efforts.  This report focuses on two disaster responses in 2012.  See:The Red Cross’ Secret Disaster. From the lead to the article:

In 2012, two massive storms pounded the United States, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless, hungry or without power for days and weeks.

Americans did what they so often do after disasters. They sent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Red Cross, confident their money would ease the suffering left behind by Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac. They believed the charity was up to the job.

They were wrong.

UPDATE ON Oct.30th: here is the Red Cross’s reply to the article.


H. Sandy Rebuilding Strategy; Progress Report- Fall 2014

With no fanfare today HUD released its second progress report, as required by the Executive Order that created the H. Sandy Recovery Task Force.  The report is 184 pages, which the Diva has not yet had a chance to read. The press release and a link to the full report are at this website.

The Diva thinks this effort is significant because the existence of an Executive Order addressing disaster recovery and the formation of a Hurricane Sandy Task Force (which was headed by the HUD Secretary and which was required to make a report and follow up on recommendations) are the most substantive federal efforts to address and improve long-term recovery seen to date.

It remains to be seen how important and long-lasting the outcomes are from this effort.  Feedback from those of you working on this matter would be welcomed.

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New Climate Change Report from EPA

New Climate Change report from US EPA.  Access to the full report ( 112 pp.) is on this website.

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Effects of BP Oil Spill on Ocean Floor

BP Oil Spill Left Rhode Island-Sized ‘Bathtub Ring’ on Seafloor. Some details:

New research shows that the BP oil spill left an oily “bathtub ring” on the sea floor that’s about the size of Rhode Island.The study by UC Santa Barbara’s David Valentine, the chief scientist on the federal damage assessment research ships, estimates that about 10 million gallons of oil coagulated on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico around the damaged Deepwater Horizons oil rig. Valentine said the spill left other splotches containing even more oil. The rig blew on April 20, 2010, and spewed 172 million gallons of oil into the Gulf through the summer. Scientists are still trying to figure where all the oil went and what effects it had.

Posted in Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Environmental impact | Leave a comment