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Let's read about a few things

I am deeply appreciative of this concept of co-produced research as an important alternative to colonialist methods. Another important facet of this, to me, is the idea of focusing one's research efforts on topics and systems that are locally relevant. That might sound somewhat hypocritical coming from someone who has just trucked ants and crickets all the way across the country, but to some extent those ants and crickets are stopgaps for me while I also spend time getting to know the local flora and fauna and thinking about how to transition over to local systems.

Apropos to the most recent grim forecast from the IPCC (story from The Guardian), a reminder of an older XKCD charting out a timeline of Earth's average temperature, putting contemporary temperature changes into perspective: https://xkcd.com/1732/

I also recently read a commentary piece from the New Yorker on narrating stories of biological loss, which made me think differently about what's happening right now in terms of sea ice loss. I'd been thinking about sea ice loss as a fairly abstract thing, but suddenly the NY piece made me think: there are people whose research programs consist of taking ice cores and then analyzing characteristics of the layers within those ice cores, to make inferences about previous climatological conditions. (Yes, mostly Antarctic, but surely Arctic as well?) With the ice now turning over more frequently, the time-depth of ice core samples must be changing, too. The reality is just hitting home in different ways now.

These climate change reports have been repeatedly warning that drastic cutbacks in carbon dioxide emissions are the only way to reduce the forecasted negative impacts of climate change. As with many other people, I wish I could be optimistic about humanity managing to make those cutbacks. But I have a hard time envisioning that happening, especially in the U.S., when I read reports about increases in how often people fly on airplanes, and when I see how many people have lifestyles that seem inextricably car-dependent. Not to mention the fact that a lot of the recommended changes have to occur through political will rather than via individual decision-making, and let's see, the last time I looked at the state of politics in the US, well, yeah.

But at least there are occasional sources of hope. This one doesn't address climate change directly, but was still heartening to read about: a program in NYC is taking used oyster shells from restaurants and using them to re-seed oyster reefs in the New York Harbor. We've got to keep trying, while also preparing for the worst.

This entry was originally posted at https://rebeccmeister.dreamwidth.org/1256024.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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