A weekly gathering of interesting articles and media from across the globe.
How do you plan for an almost-certain mega-tsunami in the near future? The Pacific Northwest is long overdue for an earthquake with a magnitude of around 9.0 and a resulting tsunami that could wipe out towns along the coast…including Seattle and Portland? This is the reason why I always slept in my clothes when I lived in the area.
From the New Yorker: “In Oregon, it has been illegal since 1995 to build hospitals, schools, firehouses, and police stations in the inundation zone, but those which are already in it can stay, and any other new construction is permissible: energy facilities, hotels, retirement homes. In those cases, builders are required only to consult with DOGAMI about evacuation plans. “So you come in and sit down,” Ian Madin says. “And I say, ‘That’s a stupid idea.’ And you say, ‘Thanks. Now we’ve consulted.’
This story created a lot of buzz; here is a response article from Slate.
The battle between farms and development will only grow more tense. We construct taller buildings to combat the lack of desirable land, but can we do the same with farms?
From Bloomberg: “The last thing you expect to find midway down a shadowy alley in downtown Newark, N.J., is a farm. But that’s exactly what’s inside the former Distinct 89 nightclub and lounge, which closed last year. Past cluttered tables and industrial rolls of fabric, the dance floor has been cleared to make room for a 15-foot-high stack of planters, each one 10 feet long, 3 feet wide, and a foot or two deep. Stranger still, there isn’t any soil beneath the leafy green vegetation bursting from the flower boxes. There’s only air.”
M.C. Davis, the man who spent $90 million creating the largest privately-owned block of conservation land in the Southeast and who once described himself as politically “right of Attila the Hun,” has died.
From the transcript of a radio interview with him on All Things Considered: “So how did this committed capitalist become a conservationist? He says it all started 20 years ago in a traffic jam.”It’s drizzling rain, and I was sort of just sort of frantic with exasperation,” he says. “Stuck in traffic, and I looked up, and I saw on the marquee of the high school, ‘Black Bear Presentation.’ “Davis pulled out of traffic and went inside.”I hate to confess to this,” he says. “I didn’t know Florida even had black bears at the time.”He heard the passionate pitch, and it changed his life. He started reading books by environmentalists and had an epiphany: He should dedicate his fortune to nature.”
A real-life version of Mad Max: the Salton Sea in eastern California has transformed from a tourist-mecca to a complete wasteland over the past several decades.
From recently re-posted article in Mental Floss: “In the 1960s, there were a half-dozen booming beach towns along the Sea’s 80-mile coastline. That was before the days when dead fish littered the beaches — the “sand” along the water’s edge nothing more than the crushed-and-rounded bones from millions of fish skeletons — and before the death-and-decay stench of the Salton in the 110-degree heat of summer became unbearable. Flooding in the 1970s buried beachfront structures in several feet of salted mud, hastening people’s departure from the area. These days, the beachfront is a post-apocalyptic wasteland of houses, trailers and boarded-up beach clubs slowly sinking into the toxic mud.”
Is Georgia going to officially start planning for climate change? It appears so: the Department of Natural Resources is working climate change into its new Wildlife Management Plan.
From a transcript of an interview on the radio show “A Closer Look” with the Assistant Chief of Non-Game Conservation of the DNR Mary Pfaffko: “For example, we’re seeing increases in sea level along the coast of Georgia and climate models predict that changes in the distribution and extent of some coastal habitats will change over time, but the plan acknowledges that we simply don’t know many of the long-term impacts,” Pfaffko explained “So [the new wildlife plan] emphasizes research, monitoring, and well-established conservation practices that we’re already doing that will maintain habitat quality and connectivity,” she said.
Which states are the most self-sufficient in providing residents with the greatest number of resources? Hint: they aren’t in the Southwest or Northeast. Generally, the fewer people per square foot, the easier it is for an environment to provide all the needed resources for residents. Unfortunately, Georgia, as most states are, is an ecological debtor.
From National Geographic: “These five states have racked up the most ecological “debt” per person, with Maryland topping the list. Each person in this coastal state would need, on average, 21.8 more acres of land and water to meet their consumption needs. The report goes on to say that Maryland is trying to pay down its debt by conserving wetlands and reducing energy consumption.”
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