May 2016 was the warmest May on record, 1.56°F (0.87°C) above the 20th century average. It was the first month since November 2013 to have an anomaly less than 1°C above the 20th century average, a sign of El Nino’s demise.
For the year-to-date, temperatures are 1.9°F (1.08°C) above the 20th century average, according to NOAA, putting it 0.43°F (0.24°C) above where 2015 was at this point. A Climate Central analysis that averages NOAA and NASA temperature data and compares them to a 1881-1910 baseline (closer to pre-industrial temperatures) found that the year-to-date is 2.5°F (1.39°C) above that average, edging closer to 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures.
So far, it is likely that 2016 will top 2015 as the warmest year on record, but that depends in part on how the rest of the year plays out. If a La Nina forms by fall, as expected, that could depress global temperatures slightly.
In a mark of how hot the last few years (which saw three consecutive record hot years) have been, NOAA compared the top 10 warmest months globally as of November 2013 to the current list. As of last month, all but one of the 10 warmest months on recorded occurred in 2016 and 2015. The lone exception was January 2007, which was tied for tenth place. Back in November 2003, it was the warmest month on record.
Based on the observations of ocean heat content in the North Atlantic Ocean, the climate in the northern hemisphere is on the verge of a change that could last for several decades. This change is associated with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO)1 – a mode of natural variability occurring, with a period of 60 – 80 years, in the North Atlantic Ocean sea surface temperature (SST) field.
Observations made by Argo buoys2 have shown that the North Atlantic Ocean (60-0W, 30-65N) is rapidly cooling since 20073. This is associated with the natural variability in the North Atlantic Ocean sea surface temperatures – the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). However, the observed cooling does not only apply to the sea surface, but to the uppermost 700 m (2 296 feet) of the ocean.
The AMO index appears to be correlated to air temperatures and rainfall over much of the northern hemisphere4. The association appears to be high for North Eastern Brazil, African Sahel rainfall and North American and European summer climate. The AMO index also appears to be associated with changes in the frequency of North American droughts and is reflected in the frequency of severe Atlantic hurricanes.
“As one example, the AMO index may be related to the past occurrence of major droughts in the US Midwest and the Southwest. When the AMO is high, these droughts tend to be more frequent or prolonged, and vice-versa for low values of AMO. Two of the most severe droughts of the 20th century in the US occurred during the peak AMO values between 1925 and 1965: The Dust Bowl of the 1930s and the 1950s drought. On the other hand, Florida and the Pacific Northwest tend to be the opposite; high AMO is associated with relatively high precipitation.”
Cooling of the Atlantic is likely to bring drier summers in Britain and Ireland, accelerated sea-level rise along the northeast coast of the United States, and drought in the developing countries of the African Sahel region, a press release for a study by scientists from the University of Southampton and National Oceanography Centre (NOC) published last year said5. “Since this new climatic phase could be half a degree cooler, it may well offer a brief reprise from the rise of global temperatures, as well as result in fewer hurricanes hitting the United States. The study proves that ocean circulation is the link between weather and decadal scale climatic change. It is based on observational evidence of the link between ocean circulation and the decadal variability of sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean.”
Lead author of this study, Dr. Gerard McCarthy from the NOC, said: “Sea-surface temperatures in the Atlantic vary between warm and cold over time-scales of many decades. These variations have been shown to influence temperature, rainfall, drought and even the frequency of hurricanes in many regions of the world. This decadal variability is a notable feature of the Atlantic Ocean and the climate of the regions it influences.”
These climatic phases, referred to as positive or negative AMO’s, are the result of the movement of heat northwards by a system of ocean currents. This movement of heat changes the temperature of the sea surface, which has a profound impact on climate on timescales of 20 – 30 years. The strength of these currents is determined by the same atmospheric conditions that control the position of the jet stream. Negative AMO’s occur when the currents are weaker and so less heat is carried northwards towards Europe from the tropics. The strength of ocean currents has been measured by a network of sensors, called the RAPID array, which have been collecting data on the flow rate of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) for a decade.
The AMOC, part of which is known as the Gulf Stream, has been seen to weaken over the past 10 years, a study by Laura Jackson of the UK’s Met Office said6. Her study also suggests that this weakening trend is likely due to variability over decades. “The AMOC plays a vital role in our climate as it transports heat northwards in the Atlantic and keeps Europe relatively warm,” Jackson said. Any substantial weakening of a major North Atlantic ocean current system would have a profound impact on the climate of northwest Europe, including the UK. The research also showed a link between the weakening in the AMOC and decreases in density in the Labrador Sea (between Greenland and Canada) several years earlier.
In the diagrams below, courtesy of Ole Humlum4, only original (raw) AMO values are shown.
Humlum writes: “As is seen from the annual diagram, the AMO index has been increasing since the beginning of the record in 1856, although with a clear, about 60 yr long, variation superimposed. Often, AMO values are shown linearly detrended to remove the overall increase since 1856, to emphasize the apparent rhythmic 60 yr variation. This detrending is usually intended to remove the alleged influence of greenhouse gas-induced global warming from the analysis, believed to cause the overall increase. However, as is seen in the diagram below, the overall increase has taken place since at least 1856, long before the alleged strong influence of increasing atmospheric CO2 began around 1975 (IPCC 2007). Therefore, the overall increase is likely to have another explanation; it may simply represent a natural recovery since the end of the previous cold period (the Little Ice Age). If so, the general AMO increase since 1856 may well represent part of a longer natural variation, too long to be fully represented by the AMO data series since 1856. For the above reasons, only the original (not detrended) AMO values are shown in the two diagrams below:”
Annual Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) index values since 1856. The thin line indicates 3-month average values, and the thick line is the simple running 11-year average. Data source: Earth System Research Laboratory at NOAA. Last year shown: 2015. Last diagram update January 20, 2016.
Monthly Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) index values since January 1979. The thin line indicates 3-month average values, and the thick line is the simple running 11-year average. By choosing January 1979 as starting point, the diagram is easy to compare with other types of temperature diagrams covering the satellite period since 1979. Data source: Earth System Research Laboratory at NOAA. Last month shown: May 2016. Last diagram update: June 13, 2016.
The map below shows the North Atlantic area within 60-0W and 30-65N, for which the heat content within the uppermost 700 m is shown in the diagrams below it3.
North Atlantic area within 60-0W and 30-65N. Credit: Climate4you
Global monthly heat content anomaly (GJ/m2) in the uppermost 700 m of the North Atlantic (60-0W, 30-65N) ocean since January 1979. The thin line indicates monthly values, and the thick line represents the simple running 37 month (c. 3 year) average. The starting month (January 1979) is chosen to enable easy comparison with global air temperature estimates within the satellite period. Data source: National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC). Last period shown: January-March 2016. Last diagram update June 7, 2016.
Global monthly heat content anomaly (GJ/m2) in the uppermost 700 m of the North Atlantic (60-0W, 30-65N) ocean since January 1955. The thin line indicates monthly values, and the thick line represents the simple running 37 month (c. 3 year) average. Data source: National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC). Last period shown: January-March 2016. Last diagram update June 7, 2016.
Interestingly, in a study by Zhou et al.7, a significant correlation was found between the solar wind speed (SWS) and sea surface temperature (SST) in the region of the North Atlantic Ocean for the northern hemisphere winter from 1963 to 2010, based on 3-month seasonal averages. “The correlation is dependent on Bz (the interplanetary magnetic field component parallel to the Earth’s magnetic dipole) as well as the SWS, and somewhat stronger in the stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) west phase than in the east phase. The correlations with the SWS are stronger than those with the F10.7 parameter representing solar UV inputs to the stratosphere. SST responds to changes in tropospheric dynamics via wind stress, and to changes in cloud cover affecting the radiative balance. Suggested mechanisms for the solar influence on SST include changes in atmospheric ionization and cloud microphysics affecting cloud cover, storm invigoration, and tropospheric dynamics. Such changes modify upward wave propagation to the stratosphere, affecting the dynamics of the polar vortex. Also, direct solar inputs, including energetic particles and solar UV, produce stratospheric dynamical changes. Downward propagation of stratospheric dynamical changes eventually further perturbs tropospheric dynamics and SST.”
The solar-wind speeds peak about 3 or 4 years after the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) and sunspots peak in each cycle8.
Sunspot number progression observed from 2000 – May 2016. Credit NOAA/SWPC
Based on the current sunspot observations, their number for this solar cycle has peaked in January 2015, and our star is now on a steady path toward its next Solar Minimum, expected to hit the base just after 2020.
Global sea surface temperature anomaly for June 13, 2016 – current deviation of the surface temperature of Earth’s oceans from normal. Credit: NCEP (link leads to the latest map)
North Atlantic Ocean sea surface anomaly for June 13, 2016 – current deviation from normal. Credit: NCEP (link leads to the latest map)
Argo – UCSanDiego – Argo is a major contributor to the WCRP ‘s Climate Variability and Predictability Experiment (CLIVAR) project and to the Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE). The Argo array is part of the Global Climate Observing System/Global Ocean Observing System GCOS /GOOS
Your world is entering a period of immense destabilization.
In past messages we have referred to Chaotic Nodes as unexpected catalytic and chaotic changes. We have also noted in past communications that multiple Chaotic Nodes are emerging, and their interaction is what we are referring in this message as destabilization.
This destabilization of your world is occurring at the ecological, social and individual levels of existence.
Let’s begin with the ecological issues.
Your planetary environment is, essentially, being poisoned. The acidification of your oceans, the overuse of pesticides, chemical agents and fossil fuels are all interacting to create an ecological Chaotic Node of immense proportions. Indeed, a growing number of your scientists are saying that your Earth is entering the beginning stages of a “6th mass extinction.”
We will turn our attention to the ramifications of these issues in a moment but let us address the other two levels first.
At a social level your world is entering a highly volatile and destabilizing state. This is a complex situation but addressing the most rudimentary levels we would say you are witnessing a clash of cultural values as well as the impact of both climate change and war on migrations of human populations, some of which are being caused by circumstances and some of which are being manipulated by power brokers behind the scenes.
The third level is the individual—you—the one reading this message.
This is also a complex situation and there are several levels involved. One of these levels has to do with the poisoning of your planet’s environment that we mentioned earlier. And as a result of climate change and deforestation, new forms of bacteria and viruses are being spread globally.
These microforms of life are not inert. They are living intelligences that evolve, and they are evolving very rapidly in ways that will make your current medical methodologies for dealing with them ineffective.
A second challenge to your individual stability has to do with the magnetic shifts and dimensional alterations that are unfolding on your planet. Because your nervous system operates according to the principles of bio-electromagnetism, the neural networks in your nervous systems are being challenged by these shifts and alterations. Some of you, especially those who are energetically sensitive, will be prone to this more than others. But increasingly, no one will be exempt.
Communications between human beings will get more challenging—to be gracious about it.
What may surprise you is that some of these challenges will arise in close friendships and intimate relationships. You may find that seemingly insignificant external events can set off tsunamis of emotional responses.
There are two primary reasons for this phenomenon.
The first has to do with the destabilization of your nervous system making it more prone to losing its center. And the second level has to do with the process of catalytic evolution that you are undergoing as a human being at this point in time. What we mean by this is what has been hidden is being revealed. The deepest catacombs of your subconscious are being turned over like a plow cutting through a field. This is essentially a very disturbing state to deal with especially for those of you who think of yourselves as spiritual beings.
If you are of the opinion that being a spiritual being requires that you always be in a state of bliss and happiness then you will find this purification process deeply disturbing, but it is—quite frankly—required for individual evolution and liberation from the restrictions imposed by your religions and confining histories. It is also necessary for humanity, as a whole, to face and transform its own shadowmaterial (i.e., unresolved emotional issues and destructive belief patterns) if humankind is to survive.
In past messages we have said that a course of action could be changed in the 11th hour. By this we were referring to a metaphor meaning that in the last hour before an irrevocable shift occurs it is possible to change an outcome.
We are still of this opinion, but you are well past the 11th hour. You are at one minute before midnight, metaphorically speaking, of course.
What this means is that massive changes will have to occur in a very short period of time if you are collectively to avoid the 6th mass extinction.
As the ecological and social aspects of this destabilization process are so complex, we wish to confine our comments to practical suggestions for you.
One marker, evolutionarily speaking for transition states between dimensions as a human being, is the growing perception that life is a dream. If this occurs for you, you will experience your life and the events of your life as having a dreamlike insubstantial quality. You will still have to deal with the realities of your physical existence, but there will be an increasing sense that your physical existence has an unreal quality about it.
We do realize that in many of our messages we have sounded like a broken record, repeating ourselves again and again especially when referring to coherent states of emotion like happiness, joy and/or appreciation. This has to do with physics and neuropsychology. Coherent states of emotion are an antidote to the destabilization of your nervous system caused by the various factors that we mentioned previously.
There are many ways to accomplish this task of bringing coherency to your nervous system. For one, we suggest you work with the sound meditation A Bridge Between the Worlds (see Tom’s comments below) on a regular basis as a means to introduce this type of coherent emotion into your nervous system.
Another way to create more coherency is to introduce more joy into your life, which is indeed paradoxical for many of you. Very few cultures underwrite the necessity for joy as a value. Sacrifice, martyrdom and self-forgetting are what seem to be valued most in many societies, but from our perspective these are the greatest errors, at least from the perspective of spiritual evolution.
We are very sensitive to the fact that many of you reading this message may be dealing with this paradox (i.e., how to create more joy your life) in very direct and challenging ways.
Our advice, like all advice, should be “taken with a grain of salt.” This is simply our perspective on this particular challenge. Having stated this caveat, our suggestion is to cleave away from your life the thought forms of self-sacrifice and martyrdom. Find more ways to discover joy even in the smallest things. It does not matter how small they are.
And finally, find the courage to speak yourtruth to those closest to you. This type of truth speaking and self-revealing is, in our opinion, critical for your successful transition through the current and on-going period of global destabilization.
The climate engineers are increasingly desperate to mask the true extent of planetary meltdown by creating short term extreme chemical cool-downs. In recent winters the geoengineers kept most of their focus on the Eastern US. Boston was the target for headlines in the winter of 2014-2015. The engineered winter in the East was accompanied by engineered drought in the West. The 8 minute video below, “Engineered Winter, Engineered Drought” outlines this scenario.
The Nov. 4, 2015, map below shows extensive radio frequency/microwave transmission impacts which are clearly visible in the moisture flows feeding the engineered western winter event.
On the evening of November 4th, 2015, corporate media (like the Weather Channel) were trumpeting the big winter storm in the West. Does the next map below reflect true winter snow storm temperatures? There is only one temperature reading on the entire map that is even at the freezing mark, and that is not where the snow is falling. The majority of the map shows record or near record highs for a 6 pm temperature reading for November 4th. More record highs are expected in the East during the coming week and perhaps off and on during the rest of November. Welcome to geoengineered weather whiplash.
The Taos New Mexico report below shows possible snow showers for Thursday November 5th at a temperature of 41 degrees. Why would it snow at 41 degrees?
Let’s go North to Montana where snow showers can apparently occur at 43 degrees after rain at 41 degrees.
The map below is especially astounding and documents a very tragic event that occurred on October 4th, 2013.
Take a good look at the temperatures on the map above, they are as a whole, very high. The small cool section is a huge departure from the rest of the country, but still there are no below freezing temperatures shown. Yet, this map documented a snowstorm in South Dakota that killed up to 100,000 cows, how is that possible when temperatures were almost 90 degrees in regions surrounding the event? I captured the temperature map above before it was taken offline, the map reflects another example of engineered winter.
The next map shows the “departure from normal high temperatures” for a 2 year period from 2013 to 2015. The constantly engineered cooling Eastern North America is evident. It has been the most anomalously below normal zone in the entire world since 2013 (2012 was the warmest year ever recorded in the US). What happened? The geoengineering assault was ramped up to new highs. Temporary toxic cooling at the cost of a worsened overall warming.
The newly produced map below reveals the most recent NASA “forecast” for planet Earth, “mostly cloudy”. This composite image of Earth’s cloud patterns shows NASA’s Aqua satellite observations from July 2002 to April 2015. Colors range from dark blue (no clouds) to white (frequent clouds). Photo credit: NASA Earth Observatory
The bright white aerosolized cloud cover broadcasting out from the areas of precipitation in the map are indicative of the aerosol spraying that is taking place in each region. A massive heavily sprayed zonal flow of moisture is very visible plowing into the entire west coast, yet there is almost no precipitation showing up for the reasons already cited. Historically, counterclockwise swirls of low pressure storms constantly pounded the Pacific Northwest with heavy precipitation. Now, more often than not, there are just large drifting massive canopies of heavily aerosolized cloud cover with some rain in the most dense areas of moisture build up. “Mostly sunny” is now also a common meteorological term of choice and is often used in “forecasting” days with heavy spraying. “Meteorologists”, in so many cases, are now simply paid liars reading the scripts they are given .
Take a good look next map below, If you think the images in the map are just “clouds” showing up on radar, they are not, and the National Weather Service admits it. So what are these large and very distinct radar images from? According to the National Weather Service, it’s all just “butterflies”. No, this is not a joke. “Official statements” from “official sources” are becoming astounding beyond comprehension.
Below is the NOAA forecast (scheduled weather) map for the middle of October. Each shade represents a 2-3 degree “departure from normal” temperature zone. Places in the western US are thus “forecasted” to be a record shattering 20 to 25 degrees above normal which has already been the case for an extremely long time. The record heat and drought continues to fuel record forest fires in the region.
The next image shows that the remaining pool of cold air at the top of the world is rapidly shrinking as the geoengineering juggernaut of insanity continues to shred the ozone layer and the climate system as a whole (along with other contributing anthropogenic factors).
The global temperature maps below reflect the true state of our rapidly warming completely geoengineered planet.
Exposing the Climate Modification Assault Against Humanity
On August 14th, 2015, there was a major event in Northern California that was organized for the purpose of exposing and halting global climate engineering programs that are decimating our planet and the entire web of life. Numerous experts spoke out at this event including attorneys, former government scientists, a former defense industry technician, former military personnel, a prominent Northern California neurologist, and a CEO for one of the largest environmental and engineering consulting firms in the world. Approximately 1000 people attended this event.
This article features videos of 3 key speeches from this groundbreaking event, plus presentations from U.S. Air Force Bio-Environmental Engineer turned geoengineering whistleblower, Kristen Meghan.
Former U.S. Department of Agriculture Official, Rosalind Peterson
Rosalind Peterson is a former U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) farm service agency agricultural crop loss adjustor and co-founder of the Agriculture Defense Coalition (ADC). Rosalind has spoken on the floor of the United Nations about the climate engineering issue (at the 60th Annual Conference on Climate Change) and has fought long and hard to expose the the truth about many dire issues. Her statement of urgency is contained in the video below.
Former US Forest Service biologist, Francis Mangels
Former US Forest Service biologist, Francis Mangels, has shown tremendous courage by consistently speaking out about the extremely dire heavy metal contamination we are all being exposed to from the ongoing climate engineering fallout. Because Francis is a former government scientist, his ongoing lab testing has been extremely helpful in the battle to expose climate engineering. A short statement of urgency from Francis is featured in the attached video below.
US Military Veteran, Mario Ramirez
Mario Ramirez is a US Navy veteran who has shown tremendous courage by speaking publicly about the tyranny that is rampant within the ranks of our own government and military. I have great respect for Mario, he is setting an example of honesty that will help to compel other honorable armed services personnel to step forward and tell their story.
Former defense industry technician, Mark McCandlish
Former defense industry technician Mark McCandlish has been a very outspoken voice in the ongoing fight to expose the global climate engineering insanity. Mark has a long resume which includes employment by Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, McDonnell-Douglas, Northrop Grumman, the US military, and others. In the video below Mark shares his perspectives on the dire threat we face from ongoing aerosol spraying of our skies.
My deepest appreciation to emcee John B. Wells (radio host for the acclaimed “Caravan to Midnight” show), to all the speakers who participated in this event and shared their knowledge, to each and every activist that contributed countless hours, and of course our gratitude to all those that attended the event.
Ex-Military Specialist, Kristen Meghan
The following 2 videos are introduced by Andy Whiteley, Co-Founder of Wake Up World.
Kristen Meghan spent nine years in active duty in the U.S. Air Force, as a Bio-Environmental Engineer (Air Force Specialty Code 4BOX1). Meghan audited chemicals as part of her USAF duties, and when she heard about the “chemtrails conspiracy”, she wanted to prove it wrong — but the opposite happened.
“In an attempt to debunk it, it changed my life,” Meghan says.
In the following presentation filmed in Hauppauge, NY, 2014, Kristen Meghan gives an informative presentation of what she had discovered about Geoengineering while serving her country, and exposes websites “Metabunk” and “Contrail Science” as government sponsored disinformation sites.
In this second presentation, filmed at the 2013 Atlanta Music Liberty Festival, Kristen Meghan explains how she discovered evidence of Geoengineering programs, and reveals why she left the military — after an attempt to silence her from speaking out on employee exposures from industrial sanding operations.
California Jam 2015, featuring Dane Wigington
On March 27th and 28th of 2015, a major global awareness event was held in Southern California called “Cal Jam”. This gathering brought together several thousand concerned citizens from all arenas of the global community. Many that attended were from the medical and chiropractic professions, and a number of speakers presented information on critical issues that we face.
One of the primary subjects addressed was the issue of geoengineering. The 25 minute presentation below is an outline of the threat posed by global climate engineering. It is also an appeal for all of us to pull together in the critical effort to expose and halt the spraying of our skies with highly toxic aerosols which is contaminating every breath we take.
My deepest and most sincere gratitude to event organizers, Dr. Billy DeMoss, D.C. and Mary Jane Mirasol, for their tireless efforts toward the common good and for producing this video. I also wish to thank all the other speakers at the Cal Jam event as well as all those who attended. Cal Jam was truly a gathering of people who are committed to making the world a better place.
A ‘monster’ virus which has lain dormant in the frozen wastelands of northeastern Russia is about to be resurrected by researchers curious of its potential effects.
Scientists anticipate “reanimating” a 30,000-year-old virus to learn more about it and discover if it is harmful to animals or humans. Mollivirus sibericum, which translates to soft Siberian virus, has been dubbed “Frankenvirus” by many who are in opposition of the quest to bring it back to life.
In contrast to other viruses, the soft Siberian bug is a monster. Not only does it have 523 genetic proteins and measures 0.6 microns, it can also be seen using light microscopy.
As BBC News reports, the Mollivirus sibericum virus is the fourth prehistoric virus to have been discovered since 2003, and experts warn climate change and thawing ice could resurrect similar – and perhaps even more dangerous – pathogens.
The French National Center for Scientific Research made the discovery in the Kolyma lowland region of Russia. The soft Siberian virus is the second of its kind to be found by the team. In 2003, researchers discovered the Minivirus, followed by the Pandoraviruses in 2013, and Pithovirus sibericum which was discovered last year.
The saga of giant viruses started in 2003. Two additional types of giant viruses have been discovered [and] we now describe Mollivirus sibericum, a fourth type of giant virus isolated from the same permafrost sample. These four types of giant virus exhibit different structures, sizes, genome length, and replication cycles. Their origin and mode of evolution are the subject of conflicting hypotheses. The fact that two different viruses could be easily revived from prehistoric permafrost should be of concern in a context of global warming.
The regions in which these mega microbes are being discovered are being increasingly exploited for their mineral resources, especially oil. As Upriser shares, the rate at which they are exploited will no doubt increase as the areas become more accessible due to melting ice and climate change.
Said lead researcher Jean-Michel Claverie:
A few viral particles that are still infectious may be enough, in the presence of a vulnerable host, to revive potentially pathogenic viruses. If we are not careful, and we industrialize these areas without putting safeguards in place, we run the risk of one day waking up viruses such as small pox that we thought were eradicated.
That’s definitely concerning.
In the lab, Professor Claverie and his team will attempt to resurrect the newly discovered virus by placing it with a single-cell amoeba, which will serve as its host. The virus Pithovirus sibericum was revived in March 2014 using similar techniques.
Research has been carried out, and according to co-author Dr Chantal Abergel, the virus “comes into the cell, multiplies and finally kills the cell. It is able to kill the amoeba – but it won’t infect a human cell.”
Still, a lot of controversy surrounds the scientists plan to “revive” the Mollivirus sibericum virus. Different than most viruses circulating today, these ancient pathogens are not only bigger, they’re far more complex genetically.
The recently discovered virus has more than 500 genes, and the Pandoravirus found in 2003 has 2,500. Compare that to the Influenza A virus which has eight genes.
Of course, a philosophical debate will not deter scientists from doing their work, but a number of pros and cons deserve to be weighed before further research is conducted.
Researchers from the States traveled to Alaska to take frozen lung tissues from a woman who was buried in permafrost, and teased genetic details out of the samples and from autopsy issues stored in formalin. Their work allowed the team to reconstruct the code for the virus’ eight genes – but at what cost? All the work was done in a top-security lab at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), yet still wasn’t contained.
We have to ask ourselves as an informed public – and voice our concerns to those ‘in charge’ – if “reviving” a monster virus and is really in the best interest of the public.
Well, this is more than a little depressing: The politician who tried reducing NASA funding (and successfully shut it down for over two weeks) is now in charge of the senate subcommittee that effectively controls NASA. More than that, one of the most vocal climate-change detractors is now in charge of the United States Senate’s Environmental committee. Let’s let that sink in for a minute, shall we? Despite all the progress we’ve made so far with things like unmanned, deep-space space-flight and our efforts toward limiting the negative effects that humans have had on the environment, any future plans are now up in the air. Any major scientific progress is now at the mercy of Republican senators Ted Cruz and James Inhofe. With their actions and words over the recent years, the pair have proved just how little they understand about each area they’re now controlling.
In addition to exploring the reaches of space, NASA also has done a number of climate change studies — something that Cruz also is an opponent of. He once told CNN that climate change was a hoax and a bogus theory that was designed to be immune to detractors. “They’ll [scientists] say, well, it’s changing so it proves our theory.” He maintains that the problem with climate change is there’s no data to support it and that “there has never been a day in the history of the world in which the climate is not changing.” If you’re curious why he was on camera in the first place, it was to espouse his energy bill that, among other things, would repeal “harmful” EPA regulations and promote more oil drilling.
In 2013, however, he said that it’s “critical” that the US maintains its continued leadership in space. How he intends to do that isn’t exactly clear given his track record.
Inhofe, on the other hand, is even more keen to undo emissions regulations, according to The Independent. Why? He thinks that rising world-wide temperatures might be an asset:
“It’s also important to question whether global warming is even a problem for human existence. Thus far, no one has seriously demonstrated any scientific proof that increased global temperatures would lead to the catastrophes predicted by alarmists. In fact, it appears that just the opposite is true: that increases in global temperatures may have a beneficial effect on how we live our lives.”
That stands in stark contrast to what the some 97 percent of climate scientists — and non-climate scientists, like Stephen Hawking — have to say about climate change. For his part, Hawking compares climate change to a threat on par with nuclear weaponry.
The pair of lawmakers have proven time and again that they have a shocking misunderstanding of the world around them and now they’re in positions of direct power over topics they don’t grasp. Whether it’s due to willful ignorance or a simple refusal to accept fact is anyone’s guess. To quote Neil deGrasse Tyson, the good thing about science is that it’s true, whether or not you believe in it. Unfortunately, “science” can’t write legislation or filibuster, but Ted Cruz and James Inhofe can.
If you’ve been looking to the federal government for action on big challenges such as poverty, climate change, and immigration, this has been a devastating decade. Big money’s dominance of elections, obstructionism by the Tea Party, and climate denial have brought action in Washington to a near standstill. But while the media focuses on the gridlock, a more hopeful story is unfolding. Cities are taking action.
Cities can’t afford to wait for the ideological wars to play out.
Climate change is a case in point. Cities are already experiencing the damage caused by an increasingly chaotic climate. Many are located along coastlines, where rising sea levels coupled with giant storms bring flooding and coastal erosion. Some low-lying areas are being abandoned.
Others cities face protracted water shortages due to diminishing rainfall and shrinking snowpack. And cities are subject to the urban heat island effect that can raise temperatures to lethal levels.
Cities can’t afford to wait for the ideological wars to play out.
On Oct. 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast, flooding lower Manhattan, filling subway tunnels, twisting up the boardwalk along the beaches in the Rockaways, and turning Long Island and New Jersey communities into disaster zones.
Just two weeks later, Munich Re, a major insurance company, reported that weather-related disasters in North America had increased five-fold over the previous three decades, causing $1.06 trillion worth of damage. And the disasters are just starting, the report said.
While Congress debates whether climate change is a vast left-wing conspiracy, Houston is spending $200 million to restore wetland ecosystems in anticipation of increased flooding. The 4,000-acre Bayou Greenways project will absorb and cleanse floodwater while creating space for trails and outdoor recreation.
“Houston’s best defense against extreme climate events and natural disasters is grounded in its local efforts to leverage … its bayous, marshes and wetlands,” Houston Mayor Annise Parker said in a press release.
In Philadelphia, if you look up while waiting for a bus, you might find you are standing under a living roof. Philadelphia is dealing with excessive storm water runoff by encouraging rain gardens, green roofs—large and small—and absorbent streets that allow water to soak through into the soil.
Given the threat posed by runaway climate change, one would expect ambitious national and international action to reduce greenhouse pollution. But cities are out in front, taking action to reduce their own climate impacts with or without federal support. From New York to Seattle, cities are adopting efficient building standards, taxing carbon, switching to energy-efficient street lighting, promoting local food, and financing building-scale conversion to solar energy.
Cities are responsible for a new surge in bicycling, not just on the crunchy West Coast, but in old industrial cities. In September, Bicycling Magazine named New York the number-one U.S. city for bicycling, noting its hundreds of miles of bike lanes, ambitious bike-share program, and long-term commitment to cycling. “One million more people will come to New York City by 2030, and there’s simply going to be no more room for cars,” Janette Sadik-Khan, commissioner of the Department of Transportation, told Bicycling.
Chicago, named number two, is set to meet its goal of creating 100 miles of protected bike lanes by 2015, and it will soon have the nation’s largest bike-share program.
These developments are in part thanks to enlightened city officials, including those looking for low-cost ways to attract young, entrepreneurial residents.
But cities are getting more bike-friendly in large part because of persistent pressure by activists. For more than 20 years, Critical Mass bike rides have taken over streets in more than 300 cities around the world, with large groups riding together and claiming the right to a safe ride.
Chicago will have built 100 miles of protected bike lanes by next year, and the Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 calls for a 645-mile network of bikeways, up from the current 215 miles, to be in place by 2020. The goal is to make sure every city resident is within a half-mile of a bike path. Photo by John Greenfield.
A citizens’ group in Minneapolis made the point about bike safety by building pop-up bicycle-only lanes, using DIY plywood planters to separate the bike riders from automobile traffic. Bicycle advocates in Atlanta, Denver, Oakland, Calif., Fargo, N.D., and Lawrence, Kans., followed suit.
These urban climate solutions are not only homegrown. Increasingly, cities are sharing their best climate innovations. In September, the mayors of Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Houston announced the Mayors National Climate Change Action Agenda. The initiative will be built on other urban collaborations, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network.
Responsive to the poor and excluded
Cities are leading in other realms, too, where the federal government has failed to act.
Immigration reform is stalled at the national level. But Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Haven, Conn., and New York City are issuing identification cards to undocumented residents, allowing them to open bank accounts, sign leases, and access city services.
On issues of poverty and inequality, cities have a mixed track record. Some neglect poor and minority neighborhoods or steer polluting projects and noisy highways to those areas. Others promote policies that displace the most vulnerable residents, making desirable land available to the wealthy and well-connected. Some cities have even criminalized homelessness.
But in many cities, strong people’s movements are electing leaders with a greater connection to the poor and middle class.
The top 1 percent of New Yorkers took in 32.3 percent of the city’s total personal income; the bottom 50 percent shared just 9.9 percent.
New York City, one of the most unequal cities in the country, is a case in point. The top 1 percent of New Yorkers took in 32.3 percent of the city’s total personal income in 2009, according to the city’s comptroller. The bottom 50 percent shared just 9.9 percent.
But organizations like the Working Families Party have spent years building a grassroots power base, and their work paid off when they helped elect Mayor Bill de Blasio in November 2013. Today, de Blasio is working to boost the minimum wage and is requiring developers to offer affordable housing. And thousands of new prekindergarten slots opened up this fall, with the goal of universal access to free pre-K.
Richmond, Calif., and Newark, N.J., also have progressive mayors elected in cities with strong popular movements. Both were hit hard by the foreclosure crisis and the predatory lending that especially targets poor people and people of color. And both cities are now exploring using eminent domain to reduce home mortgages to current market value and restructure loans so that current homeowners can retain ownership.
Seattle is leading the nation by raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour, following a successful grassroots initiative in the nearby city of Sea-Tac, and an insurgent city council race that focused on a higher minimum wage. Popular movements across the country are pressing for better pay and human rights for the working poor.
What is it about cities that enables them to move forward while the nation as a whole is stalled?
Benjamin Barber, political scientist and author of If Mayors Ruled the World, thinks a lot about what makes urban leaders effective problem solvers.
City leaders can’t afford to be ideologues, Barber said in an interview with YES! Magazine. “Their job is to pick up the garbage, to keep the hospitals open, to assure fire and safety services and that police and teachers do their jobs.”
This pragmatism requires civility. “Mayors simply can’t afford to trade in bigotry,” he said. “A businessman like [former New York Mayor Michael] Bloomberg has to deal with the unions, and a progressive like de Blasio has to deal with business and developers.”
“Cities are points of intersection, communication, sharing, and travel. Cities have always contained multitudes.”
Perhaps this focus on getting work done explains why nearly two-thirds of Americans polled by the Pew Research Center have a favorable view of their local government, at a time when just 28 percent approve of the federal government.
Along with pragmatism, cities have the advantage of multiculturalism and the innovative spark that goes with it, Barber says. “Cities are points of intersection, communication, sharing, and travel,” he said. “And cities have always—to paraphrase Whitman—contained multitudes.”
Nations, on the other hand, are a more recent idea, more oriented around independence than interdependence, and more competitive. “The last 400 years of nation-states ruling the world has gone very badly, with war, genocide, rivalry, and very little social justice as a consequence,” Barber said.
Cities are solving problems while nation-states are failing, Barber said. So it’s time to put cities in charge. Of the whole world.
Barber laid out a plan for a global parliament of mayors in his recent book, and now he’s working with city officials on bringing the idea to reality.
Should cities rule the world?
Mention global governance, and some people imagine black helicopters. But Barber insists he is not proposing a top-down system. Instead he sees mayors and other city leaders reaching consensus on solutions and then bringing the policy ideas home. The result, he said, would be a sort of horizontal, pragmatic, noncoercive form of global governance.
Cities could agree on a universal minimum wage, for example. Such a move would remove incentives for companies to relocate to low-wage regions. Metropolitan regions are where most economic activity is happening, Barber said. So if enough cities agreed on a minimum wage, companies would just have to pay it, thus helping to alleviate poverty and inequality.
If Detroit were redefined to include the well-off suburbs, it would be the fourth most prosperous U.S. metropolitan region.
A first step in making this vision a reality is to incorporate the suburbs and central cities into metropolitan regions. Such a move would make sense for cities whether or not they rule the world. If Detroit, for example, were redefined to include the well-off suburbs, instead of being bankrupt, it would be the fourth most prosperous metropolitan region of the United States, Barber said.
From that foundation, cities could lead even in arenas like immigration that are not normally part of urban decision-making. If more cities begin issuing their own immigration documents, “you’re going to have a fast track to citizenship inside cities, since 85 or 90 percent of undocumented workers are in cities,” Barber said.
A global parliament of cities “is a means to regulate the global economy, address climate change, deal with immigration and global trade,” he said.
It’s a bold idea that is capturing the imagination of an international group of urban leaders. On Sept. 19, mayors, city planners, and others met in Amsterdam. If all goes as hoped, Barber said, 600 mayors could join him in London in September 2015 to launch a pilot parliament.
Not everyone thinks cities are up to the challenge. Following the Amsterdam meeting, Reinier de Graaf, a Dutch architect and city planner, wrote in European Magazine, “The current vitality of cities is largely based on the luxury that more heavy duty political responsibilities are kept at bay.”
But British journalist Misha Glenny found the proposal intriguing. In a column for the BBC he wrote: “This group of can-do politicians may end up rewriting constitutions across the globe … by doing what they always have—getting on with the job.”
The idea is worth exploring when so much else isn’t working, Barber said.
“In a time of pessimism about democracy, pessimism about government, a sense of too many problems, I believe the cities movement is a powerful note of hope and optimism,” he told YES!
“Moving the focus from states to cities is a new brief for democracy,” he said. “It’s a new brief for hope. And a new sense that maybe we can, after all, control some of the forces that seem to be pushing us toward an unsustainable, unjust world, so we can move instead in the direction of the more sustainable and more just world.”
Sarah van Gelder wrote this article for Cities Are Now, the Winter 2015 issue of YES! Magazine. Sarah is co-founder and editor in chief of YES! Magazine.
Contrary to the common belief that the Earth is simply a dense planet whose only function is a resource for its inhabitants, our planet is in fact a breathing, living organism. When we think of the Earth holistically, as one living entity of its own, instead of the sum of its parts, it takes on a new meaning. Our planet functions as a single organism that maintains conditions necessary for its survival.
James Lovelock published in a book in 1979 providing many useful lessons about the interaction of physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes on Earth.
Throughout history, the concept of Mother Earth has been a part of human culture in one form or another. Everybody has heard of Mother Earth, but have you ever stopped to think who (or what) Mother Earth is?
What is Gaia?
Lovelock defined Gaia as “…a complex entity involving the Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet.”
Through Gaia, the Earth sustains a kind of homeostasis, the maintenance of relatively constant conditions.
The truly startling component of the Gaia hypothesis is the idea that the Earth is a single living entity. This idea is certainly not new. James Hutton (1726-1797), the father of geology, once described the Earth as a kind of superorganism. And right before Lovelock, Lewis Thomas, a medical doctor and skilled writer, penned these words in his famous collection of essays, The Lives of a Cell:
“Viewed from the distance of the moon, the astonishing thing about the earth, catching the breath, is that it is alive. The photographs show the dry, pounded surface of the moon in the foreground, dry as an old bone. Aloft, floating free beneath the moist, gleaming, membrane of bright blue sky, is the rising earth, the only exuberant thing in this part of the cosmos. If you could look long enough, you would see the swirling of the great drifts of white cloud, covering and uncovering the half-hidden masses of land. If you had been looking for a very long, geologic time, you could have seen the continents themselves in motion, drifting apart on their crustal plates, held afloat by the fire beneath. It has the organized, self-contained look of a live creature, full of information, marvelously skilled in handling the sun.”
John Nelson illustrated the “Breathing Earth,” (below) which are two animated GIFs he designed to visualize what a year’s worth of Earth’s seasonal transformations look like from outer space. Nelson–a data visualizer, stitched together from NASA’s website 12 cloud-free satellite photographs taken each month over the course of a year. Once the images were put together in a sequence, the mesmerizing animations showed what Nelson describes as “the annual pulse of vegetation and land ice.”
As the climate changes, the planet comes alive. Earth appears to breathe when ice cover grows and melts–in and out, in and out.
White frost radiates out from the top of the globe and creeps south in all directions. It travels through Siberia, Canada, and northern Europe, heading towards the equator located around the circle’s edge, but ends before the top of Africa. The Mediterranean Sea is the visible body of water on the top left hand side, and the Great Lakes make up a small network of dark blue shapes on the land mass to the right.
The Earth acts as a single system – it is a coherent, self-regulated, assemblage of physical, chemical, geological, and biological forces that interact to maintain a unified whole balanced between the input of energy from the sun and the thermal sink of energy into space.
In its most basic configuration, the Earth acts to regulate flows of energy and recycling of materials. The input of energy from the sun occurs at a constant rate and for all practical purposes is unlimited. This energy is captured by the Earth as heat or photosynthetic processes, and returned to space as long-wave radiation. On the other hand, the mass of the Earth, its material possessions, are limited (except for the occasional input of mass provided as meteors strike the planet). Thus, while energy flows through the Earth (sun to Earth to space), matter cycles within the Earth.
The idea of the Earth acting as a single system as put forth in the Gaia hypothesis has stimulated a new awareness of the connectedness of all things on our planet and the impact that man has on global processes. No longer can we think of separate components or parts of the Earth as distinct. No longer can we think of man’s actions in one part of the planet as independent. Everything that happens on the planet – the deforestation/reforestation of trees, the increase/decrease of emissions of carbon dioxide, the removal or planting of croplands – all have an affect on our planet. The most difficult part of this idea is how to qualify these effects, i.e. to determine whether these effects are positive or negative. If the Earth is indeed self-regulating, then it will adjust to the impacts of man. However, as we will see, these adjustments may act to exclude man, much as the introduction of oxygen into the atmosphere by photosynthetic bacteria acted to exclude anaerobic bacteria. This is the crux of the Gaia hypothesis.
One of the early predictions of this hypothesis was that there should be a sulfur compound made by organisms in the oceans that was stable enough against oxidation in water to allow its transfer to the air. Either the sulfur compound itself, or its atmospheric oxidation product, would have to return sulfur from the sea to the land surfaces. The most likely candidate for this role was deemed to be dimethyl sulfide.
Published work done at the University of Maryland by first author Harry Oduro, together with UMD geochemist James Farquhar and marine biologist Kathryn Van Alstyne of Western Washington University, provides a tool for tracing and measuring the movement of sulfur through ocean organisms, the atmosphere and the land in ways that may help prove or disprove the controversial Gaia theory. Their study appears in this week’s Online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
The Story of Water by Alick Bartholomew, is another unique publication in that it reflects the author’s deep knowledge of the principles of whole geophysical systems, which helps us understand the Earth as an integrated Gaia system that sustains us. The book begins by describing our usual view of water based on Western science and then deftly moves on to the frontier sciences that embrace water as the source of life in terms of biological systems, quantum energy fields, etheric fields, spirals, vortices, and as a medium for communications and memory. An understanding of these principles can lead to strategies for treating our water in ways that guarantee a sustainable future for humankind.
How Does Gaia Work?
The homeostasis regulated by the Earth is much like the internal maintenance of our own bodies; processes within our body insure a constant temperature, blood pH, electrochemical balance, etc. The inner workings of Gaia, therefore, can be viewed as a study of the physiology of the Earth, where the oceans and rivers are the Earth’s blood, the atmosphere is the Earth’s lungs, the land is the Earth’s bones, and the living organisms are the Earth’s senses. Lovelock calls this the science of geophysiology – the physiology of the Earth (or any other planet).
To understand how the Earth is living, let’s take a look at what defines life. Physicists define life as a system of locally reduced entropy (life is the battle against entropy). Molecular biologists view life as replicating strands of DNA that compete for survival and evolve to optimize their survival in changing surroundings. Physiologists might view life as a biochemical system that us able to use energy from external sources to grow and reproduce. According to Lovelock, the geophysiologist sees life as a system open to the flux of matter and energy but that maintains an internal steady-state.
Beyond the scientific importance of what we have discussed here, we might do well to consider some of the more poetical thoughts of the originator of the theory:
“If Gaia exists, the relationship between her and man, a dominant animal species in the complex living system, and the possibly shifting balance of power between them, are questions of obvious importance… The Gaia hypothesis is for those who like to walk or simply stand and stare, to wonder about the Earth and the life it bears, and to speculate about the consequences of our own presence here. It is an alternative to that pessimistic view which sees nature as a primitive force to be subdued and conquered. It is also an alternative to that equally depressing picture of our planet as a demented spaceship, forever traveling, driverless and purposeless, around an inner circle of the sun.”
The strong Gaia hypothesis states that life creates conditions on Earth to suit itself. Life created the planet Earth, not the other way around. As we explore the solar system and galaxies beyond, it may one day be possible to design an experiment to test whether life indeed manipulates planetary processes for its own purposes or whether life is just an evolutionary processes that occurs in response to changes in the non-living world.
About the Author
Liz Bentley is a graduate in geology, professional photographer and freelance journalist with an acute insight into fossil records and climatology.