Tag Archives: climate change

About to Get Political on YouTube

Tomorrow, I’m recording my weekly science news video. It’ll be uploaded on Thursday. Over the first two weeks, I haven’t done anything remotely political, but this week, one of the biggest science news stories has to do with the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States. The chief of the EPA is a climate change denier and has made a conclusion about climate change and carbon dioxide without actually knowing the science.

I’ll be keeping my opinion out of the video, as I just want to report the news on it. But I’ll say it here: you can’t make a scientific conclusion if you haven’t actually studied the science. His opinion won’t change reality. Unless he shows evidence that he is correct, I won’t accept his conclusion.

The same goes for any science-deniers. Deny evolution? Think vaccinations cause autism? Give us the evidence. Not anecdotal evidence. Not opinions disguised as evidence. Not the Bible. Not Andrew Wakefield. If you can show that the science is wrong without any doubt, you’ll win the Nobel Prize.

So, show me the evidence.

What’s Going on Inside My Head

Here’s what I’ve been thinking about recently:

  • My daughter read her first book by herself. This is actually pretty exciting for me.
  • I worry about the future of science in the US.
  • Climate change is real. Stop trying to hide it.
  • I wonder which team will draft me when I finish this season in the OHL in NHL 17 in Be a Pro mode.
  • This had me laughing my ass off.
  • Tomorrow is my daughter’s 5th birthday. This weekend will be the first time that we have a birthday party for her and invited friends. I wonder how it’ll go.
  • What should I watch on Netflix?
  • I loved the school group that came through at work yesterday. Amazing kids.
  • I miss Japan.

What have you been thinking about recently?

Don’t Believe the Mt. Etna CO2 Meme

Have you seen this floating around on Facebook or Twitter?

mtetnameme

Don’t believe it. Don’t believe one word of it. Check this out. It’s a link to the Snopes article explaining why it’s not true. Simply, Mt. Etna releases the same amount of carbon dioxide in an eruption as a small European country does in one day. It’s rather insignificant when compared to the world.

I’ve seen this going around on Facebook with people believing every word of it. They’d take the word of a meme that cites no legitimate sources over the consensus of more than 99% of climate scientists. They say it’s a hoax or conspiracy. “They” are climate change deniers, people who have no formal training in climate science or atmospheric science. They are people who have no idea what science is.

I will fight against ignorance. When you understand the science, then I’ll take you seriously. If you look at all evidence and come to an unbiased conclusion, then I’ll listen. Unfortunately, all the people I’ve seen arguing that climate change isn’t happening are doing so from a political point of view, or they feel that local economics are more important than the future of our planet and the lives of our children and grandchildren. Such arrogance. Such self-centred righteousness.

Support Science, Fight Ignorance, Promote Education

If you’re new to this blog, you’ll know that I’m a big supporter of education and science. In December, I wrote a series of Mission Statements for my blog, and I touched on some of these topics. I would like to make a stronger statement about what I believe and know.

Support Science

Physics, chemistry, biology, and geology are all very important for our daily lives. Physics is used in engineering and electricity. Chemistry is used to create all the household goods we need to use. Biology is used in medicine. Geology helps us with raw materials for manufacturing. They’re all very important, and unfortunately, scientific illiteracy has made many people think they’re unimportant. Without science, we don’t have technology, health care, TV shows, or smartphones.

Fight Ignorance

Evolution is a fact. Climate change is happening. Vaccines work. I am against anti-evolution. I am against climate change deniers. I am against the anti-vaccination movement. I am against ignorance.

Promote Education

We must fight against ignorance through better science education. We must help people understand the basics of science and know that what we study is actually not some “belief.” Education is extremely important, and science is the backbone of modern society. Without technology, it wouldn’t work. Without education, we can’t maintain the technology or improve it. We need innovation.

So, please support science and education. Don’t support ignorance. Who’s with me?

Mission Statement – Passions and Beliefs

If you haven’t already done so, I recommend you read the following posts:

And now that you’re all caught up, it’s time for the fourth and final part of my blog Mission Statement. While those three posts talk about what you will see regularly on this blog in the future, this post will talk about some more behind the scenes things, passions of mine, and what drives me.

Education

I’m a big supporter of good education. As an English teacher and a former student, I believe in a good education. I strongly support the sciences, and think that they are an incredibly important part of education. They are what drive industry, innovation, health care, and research. Without these, society would stagnate. I’m extremely disappointed in how educators are regarded these days, and think that they deserve a lot of respect. They are what shape the youth of today and the future leaders of the world.

I’m also against misinformation by groups who deny responsible scientific research, such as anti-vaccination groups, climate change deniers, and creationists who want to take evolution out of science classes. Ignorance is not responsible education.

YouTube

Elsewhere on the internet, I’m active in making videos for my YouTube channel. At the moment, I have a huge number of Japan videos to edit and post, but in the future, I will discuss a lot about books, movies, and TV, as well as science. It’s a bit of a geeky channel. Whenever possible, I’ll be doing travel videos. I highly recommend subscribing.

Politics

In the past, I wasn’t into politics much. These days, I’m constantly watching what’s going on with the Canadian government, as well as other governments. I want to become more active politically, but not through this blog. I’m an Albertan, and my province is the most conservative in Canada. However, I am certainly not conservative. I’ve primarily been a Liberal Party supporter, and I have voted for them before.

Environment

I think this goes hand in hand with education. Good science education allows people to see the world as it is with an unbiased view. I love nature, and I wish to protect it. I’m all for research into alternative energy, and have the greatest hope in nuclear fusion. It’s clean and nearly limitless. I also support hybrid cars and advances in electric vehicles. Having lived in Japan for more than ten years, I’ve come to appreciate the train system here, and would love to see an all electric high speed rail system constructed in Canada, as well as extensive commuter rail systems in the major cities. And of course, let’s plant a lot of trees! I love homes that have trees and greenery.

While you may or may not see some of these things in my blog, I have mentioned them before. They won’t be a major part of the posts I make, but you can see aspects of them in my attitude and even my writing.

So, thank you to everyone for following this blog and reading it. I appreciate you all. You are also one of the biggest reasons I blog. The coming year will be exciting and full of new experiences, lots of writing, and hopefully a lot of books and movies. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the comments below.

The War Against Trees and Phytoplankton

People are always talking about rising carbon dioxide levels, talking about how to reduce emissions, and slow the rise in temperatures and sea levels. But what about increasing the rate of carbon dioxide being taken out of the atmosphere? That’s where trees and phytoplankton come in.

Trees in the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo, near the Imperial Palace.
Trees in the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo, near the Imperial Palace.

There’s a problem, though. It seems that with the rate of deforestation, especially in tropical regions, we’re eroding the Earth’s ability to reduce the greenhouse gas. Trees are also good at taking pollutants out of the air. It’s beneficial to have plants in your home, because they make the air cleaner and fresher. I look around where I live, and I see industrial areas surrounded by trees. But in the residential areas, people live on tiny properties with little to no plant life growing on their properties. It’s all concrete. In areas where people are living, they make them so unappealing to me. I like yards with grass and trees. It’s better for the air, too.

Trees are wonderful, but what about the plant that takes half of the job of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? That job goes to phytoplankton, which lives in the oceans. Over the past half century, the number of phytoplankton has actually increased by ten times. Sounds wonderful, and it seems that they’re able to handle an increase in ocean temperatures by about two degrees pretty well. However, with the increase of carbon dioxide, ocean water is acidifying, and that’s bad news for the phytoplankton, as they have chalk-like shells. Those break down in more acidic water. But increase global water temperatures by six degrees, and that’s the breaking point for phytoplankton. They will cease producing oxygen. And this will result in a very quick suffocation of the world’s animal life, including humans.

Oh, that sounds lovely, doesn’t it? This is something that hasn’t really been paid attention to before. While a six degree increase is a lot, and extremely unlikely to happen within our lifetimes, it could happen if left unchecked in our descendants’ lifetimes.

I, for one, do not want our generation’s mistakes to cause suffering to our children’s children’s children. But do people care? I find that there are a lot of people I know who post things on Facebook that are anti-science and claim to refute climate change, yet they have no clue that the things they are posting are written by people who have an agenda. They post articles that are from websites that are completely biased and leave no room for any debate. They pick and choose pieces of evidence, yet they don’t look at the whole picture. It’s a dangerous way of thinking, and I will argue against what they are saying. I dislike misinformation. They do it for the sake of local jobs and the economy. I’m far more concerned about my daughter’s future in a world that has more and more extreme weather, rising sea levels, and rising temperatures.

I wish it were an easy fix, such as planting more trees. More trees would help, but not enough. At least it would help slow the increase, even if it is a small amount.

What are your thoughts about this whole debate? I’d like to hear your opinions in the comments below.

Magazine in Danger: Rupert Murdoch Bought National Geographic

National Geographic is a long-running magazine that I’ve always enjoyed reading. The articles are all about our world, places you should visit, cultures, history, animals, science, and the environment. Well, it’s now a dark, dark time for the magazine. Fox now owns 73% of National Geographic Society. That means that Rupert Murdoch has way too much influence over the magazine.

Why is this a bad thing? Rupert Murdoch is a climate change denier. You can read all about this in the article I linked to, but here’s a quick summary. National Geographic Society gives grants to scientists. This includes climate change researchers. As it is an organisation that is concerned with the environment, Murdoch’s influence may destroy their efforts to raise awareness of environmental issues. This may be a bad thing for the scientists who receive grants from the Society. This is very worrying.

People like Rupert Murdoch should have absolutely nothing to do with anything related to the environment. His views are easily shown through Fox News. They obviously agree with him, because he’s their boss. Will this happen with National Geographic? Are we going to see articles that deny climate change? Maybe I’m overreacting. But I don’t think so. This is a legitimate concern.

What I’d like to know is who thought it was a good idea for the National Geographic Society to be bought by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox? Thank you for potentially destroying a well-respected magazine.

According to the New York Times, James Murdoch has said “he was personally committed to continuing the culture and the mission of National Geographic as it has existed.” I certainly hope that’s true.

What do you think of this situation?