What may be coming in climate


Adaptation. Credit: blog.usejournal.com

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

—The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkein

We have reached a critical point in the climate change saga.  The global temperature is now one degree Celsius higher than the pre-industrial average, and the latent effect of fossil fuel emissions already in the atmosphere is enough to warm the planet another half degree.  This means that we will reach the critical 1.5-degree threshold that portends severe and irreversible climate change even without another iota of emissions.

Add to this the fact that there are no indications that the world is prepared to cut fossil fuel emissions (they are actually going to continue to increase), and it is understandable that those who concern themselves with this subject are beginning to doubt our ability to avoid a full-blown crisis.  This doubt has caused some to begin to turn their thoughts towards adapting to what increasingly seems to be the inevitable.

The dictionary defines “adapt” as follows: “to bring one thing into correspondence with another.”  In other words, to establish a stable relationship in which tensions are reconciled and a tranquil status quo can be established.  Such a modus vivendi is possible, however, only if there is a stable state to which we can adapt.

Unfortunately, it will take the planet hundreds or thousands of years to return to thermodynamic equilibrium, depending on how hard we force the climate with our carbon dioxide emissions.  During this time the climate will undergo continuous change, and this means that we will not be able to adapt to it.  Instead we will be continuously fighting a rear-guard action, as it were, both preparing for and reacting to ever-worsening conditions.

This will be the new normal, and it will increasingly challenge the ability of individuals and societies to survive.  There will be no détente with the forces of nature that we have unleashed.  We cannot adapt; we can only extemporize. We will continuously prepare, repair, and relocate.

Let me hasten to add that I am not endorsing a fatalistic do-nothing policy.  Of course we need to do our best to prepare for the oncoming crisis.  I am merely pointing out that it is misleading to call this “adapting” because mankind will never again be at peace with the climate.  That was the Holocene.  We are now in the Anthropocene.

Let’s say that you are the mayor of Miami.  The sea level is rising.  You want to build a sea wall, but how high do you build it?  Do you build it for the sea level in 2040, in 2060, in 2100, or beyond?  Whatever height you choose, the sea will eventually rise to crest it.

And, how do you react when saltwater begins to permeate the sandy ground that underlays south Florida and begins to invade the freshwater aquifers that provide Miami and other cities in the area with drinking water?  You cannot build a wall to contain it.  All you can do is pipe water in from farther inland (if it is available) or move.  You can call this adaptation if you like, but it seems more like capitulation.  We will be doing a lot of capitulating as we defer to mother nature’s increasing hostility.

Now let’s say you are the mayor of Dharan, Saudi Arabia, one of the hottest cities in the world.  In a recent heat wave, the city recorded a wet-bulb temperature of 92 degrees Fahrenheit.  The wet-bulb temperature is taken with a thermometer wrapped in a wet cloth with air blowing over it.  It gives the equivalent dry-bulb temperature at 100% humidity.  Weather reports give dry bulb temperatures, but the wet bulb temperature is more important when measuring human tolerance to heat and humidity.  When the wet-bulb temperature reaches 95 degrees Fahrenheit, the body can no longer cool itself because it cannot perspire.  Humans can only survive for about six hours at this temperature.

As the world continues to warm, heat waves in Dharan will increase in frequency and wet-bulb temperatures will get closer and closer to 95 degrees.  Eventually they will begin to exceed it on a regular basis and living in Dharan will become like living in hell.  As mayor, how to you adapt to this?

You will need to run air conditioners a lot more.  Dharan is home to Aramco, the Saudi Arabian national oil company, so the city should have ample oil to produce electricity to power its air conditioners.  But this increases carbon dioxide emissions, which compounds the fundamental problem.  Some other things you will also need to do:  increase the city budget for energy use, provide for energy assistance to the poor, restrict the use of vehicles to curtail emissions, and issue a climate curfew to restrict outdoor activity during the hottest times of the day.

The growing health hazards of living in such a hot climate and the deteriorating quality of life will eventually force residents to relocate to cooler climes.  There will be nothing you can do as mayor to stop it.  By the end of the century, climate scientists expect that much of the Middle East will be uninhabitable. This will put tens of millions of climate refugees on the road headed north with frightful social, economic, and geopolitical consequences.

Over the next three decades, droughts, floods, and heat waves will reduce global agricultural production by ten to twenty percent while at the same time we will add another two billion souls to the human family.  How do we adjust to this?  We can ration food up to a point, but what happens when there is simply not enough food to go around?  We can’t adapt to this, and many will die.  The poorest among us will be the first, but no one will be spared if the planet continues to warm.

I don’t think that most people have a clear idea of how dramatically conditions will change and how long that change will go on.  What we can try to do is coexist with the change, survive the change, struggle to cope with the change, and generally just keep our heads above water (metaphorically and literally).  What we cannot do is adapt to the change.

Sisyphus was the life of the party.  He was always kidding around and never showed the gods on Mt Olympus much deference.  He also liked to play tricks on them, thinking that he was smarter than the lot of them.  Zeus became irritated at this arrogance and condemned Sisyphus to endlessly rolling a boulder up a steep hill, only to lose control of it near the top.  The boulder rolled back down the hill and Sisyphus had to start the whole process over again and again.  Zeus wanted to remind Sisyphus who was boss.

Somewhere along the way we lost our sense of place and purpose in the world – ideas that gave depth and meaning and purpose to our lives.  Without them, we are at sea.  The disorientation is intolerable, so either we settled for an indolent aimlessness, or we sought substitutes:  fame, money, power, influence, friendships, entertainment, recreation, hobbies, and other pastimes and purposes to fill the emptiness inside.  But these are inadequate substitutes because they don’t contain or represent a deeper meaning or purpose for us.  They are only what they are.  So, we pursued them to excess in a futile effort to fill the unyielding inner emptiness, and in the process, began to destroy the world we live in and depend upon.  But having lost our connectedness to nature, we had become either blind to or indifferent to the damage we were inflicting.

Comes now Mother Nature, like Zeus, to punish us for our arrogance, our irresponsible waywardness, and our callous disregard for her.  She comes to condemn us to endlessly adjusting to a harsh and unstable climate – our version of the Sisyphean fate.  But our punishment, unlike that of Sisyphus, will not be eternal.  Either we will survive the catastrophe that we created, and the torment will end, or we will not survive and will join the 99.9% of all other species that have ever existed and which have become extinct.

Whether we survive this punishment is a question we cannot answer.  What we can say is that, the sooner we get started on serious efforts to curtail fossil fuel emissions, the more we improve our chances.

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The solar sipper’s unique design for drinking water for outdoor animals

Give outdoor animals the same loving daily fresh water your indoor pets receive.

The Solar Sipper is a delightful summer and winter portable watering device for wild birds, pets and wildlife. Its traditional common sense origin comes from large water tanks painted with black tops developed by prairie livestock ranchers in the Old West to use sunlight to keep drinking water from freezing too soon in blizzard weather.


In today’s environmentally conscious world, it’s a responsible outdoor water station because it is designed to work in daytime when most animals like to drink. It’s designed to work to a temperature healthy for animals, about 20 degrees F, using sunlight not electricity from fossil fuels.


To use, fill with clean water in morning and place outside in sunlight sheltered from wind in time for animal daylight drinking. Works in all seasons and in winter the unique patented passive solar top design keeps pet or wildlife drinking for most daylight hours ice free down to wind free ambient air temperature of about 20 degree F. Safe, no electricity to shock. It’s common sense. You can fill your Solar Sipper with clean water at the same time as you prepare your daily indoor pet water.


The Solar Sipper works better than any open water bowl or birdbath. Its top design helps to protect inside water from droppings and bacteria. It’s portable with no wire to chew. Check out test results for performance video in winter storms. Google at solar sipper tests 21415.


Another innovative product from Happy Bird Corporation, home of Thomas Hollyday Chesapeake fiction, useful nature books and environmental safe drinking water products for animals, and blogs on water resources for animals. http://solarsippers.com/ Write our president Tom Hollyday at tomah@solarsippers.com



Solar Sipper: Wildlife loves it’s water

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Pros and Cons of Feeding Wild Birds

blog article birds 1 21 18

pros and cons of feeding wild birds

blog article birds 1 21 18

Animals in Winter

animals in winter former nature naturually nov 12

“Water, water everywhere but not a drop for me!”



Years ago, I had a dream that I was in my studio working on a story. I heard a tap at my back door. I stood up and went to the door. I remember thinking that one of the neighborhood children must be there asking me for help finding one of their soccer balls constantly kicked over my fence.


When I opened the door I looked around my large backyard with all its heavy shrubs and my wife’s flower beds, but spotted no children. Perhaps, I thought, someone is playing a trick on me. The kids are always up to something and kidding around is part of life on my street. Perhaps my wife could speak to some of the other women on the street and see what could be done. Honestly, I work at home and could use a little more peace and quiet.


I pulled on the handle and closed the large wooden door. Just as I turned towards my studio, there was another tap.


This time I opened the door and looked down more closely. A bundle of brown and black fur moved near my shoe. Two small animals were resting there. Their eyes were on me. They were chipmunks and one had no tail.


Now, this is the funny part. My mind received a message. How that happened I do not know nor understand. Be that as it may, the message was in good English and in a courteous tone.


The chipmunk with no tail asked, in a chuckling sort of voice, “Can I have a drink of water from your kitchen faucet?”


After I recovered from surprise, I spoke, “Sure.” Then I added, after glancing around the large backyard, still wet from morning dew, “What happened to the water out back?”


He nodded that he understood me and sent his mental answer, “It is polluted.”


Needless to say, and even though I was not a little surprised at the pollution, I asked him to wait a moment. I rushed to my kitchen and fetched a saucer of cool water. I put this in front of them. They stood on hind feet, front paws on the side of the small glass dish. They gulped and licked the water.


After a minute, the one with no tail rubbed his mouth with his front paws and sat back satisfied. Apparently chipmunks don’t spend much time doing any one thing. He chuckled again and sent his mental message,


“Thanks. This warm weather makes me thirsty especially when I run around chasing my girl.”


“What happened to your tail?”


He replied over his shoulder as they ran away, “My mom said the bad water she drank caused me to be born without a tail.”


When I woke up I went to the back door and looked out. The yard was the same as always. I placed a bowl of fresh drinking water on the ground and watched as the chipmunks came to drink. I didn’t see one with no tail and I didn’t get any mental messages.


Later as I began studying better methods of providing wholesome drinking water to animals, I attended a meeting of my bird watching friends at the suburban home of the club president. It was a colorful get-together with about fifty birders, both men and women and a few children. There was the usual collection of imitation of bird sounds with human callers showing their latest voices. I remember one caller voicing a plaintive nuthatch which was delightful.


I was in a conversation with several of my friends when an older gentleman joined us. We were talking about my new favorite subject, providing fresh water to wildlife, and he asked me, “It’s foolishness. Don’t you think that birds can find water?”


Well, he was a distinguished birder, known for achieving a life list of hundreds of local birds he had seen. I didn’t want to start an argument. I did reply, “I know that they can find some kind of water around the yard.”


He replied, “That’s the whole point. Nature takes care of itself.”


Then I asked him a more pointed question. “Would you drink from the puddles on your lawn?”


He smiled at me as he realized I’d just pointed out the whole issue. He walked away without answering.


These days, each morning I go to my backyard and place fresh water outside for the wildlife. I always look around for a chipmunk with no tail. He’ll be a descendant of the one I dreamed about. If I should spot him, I’ll look into his eyes, give him a wink, and let him know that I’m trying.


Something to remember:


Water covers 71 percent of the earth’s surface. Of this 96 percent is in the oceans and about 2 percent is in groundwater. 2 more percent is in ice and the rest is in the atmosphere. Only 2.5 percent of this water is fresh and almost 99 percent of that is in ice or underground, not easily available to animals. Less that .3 percent is in rivers and lakes and the atmosphere. A tiny bit more is carried in plants and animal bodies.


Here’s another interesting fact. About 70 percent of the small portion of the water on earth that is drinkable by animals is used in human agriculture including animals raised by humans to be eaten.


Wildlife doesn’t have much left to drink, does it?

Thomas Hollyday 8 /22/2017

Bird watching made easy

Bird watching, like any hobby, can become quite complicated. For example, many folks prefer to be called birders. In the United Kingdom they call themselves “twitchers.” On top of that, the technical name for those who study birds is ornithologist.


However, watching birds is relatively easy. You can be a successful birder just by walking trails. As you get more experience you will find that different birds live in various types of shrubbery and terrain. Like humans, wild birds have likes and dislikes about where they live and what they eat.  Some forage on the ground and some catch insects as they fly. Some like to hide in shrubbery and some like trees. So as you walk, scope out the different foliage to see who’s home.


You may want to see them up close and you will yearn for a telescope of some kind. Basic 7 x 35 power binoculars start at about $25. Then, when you get confused about identifying what lots of us jokingly call “the little brown bird” or LBB, you will probably buy yourself a wild bird guide. The Peterson guide, as good as any in the bookstore, starts about $10. This gear is easily carried in a small and lightweight fanny pack, leaving your arms free as you walk.


Let’s start with some likely sightings flying over you or sitting in a tree.


Usually you’ll spot some crows. These large black birds are fascinating to watch. For one thing, like ants, they are gifted with organization talents and seem to follow leaders. Many experts have written articles on the meanings of their system of calls. A group of crows will form up in a flock and attack a hawk that has invaded its territory. This “mobbing” is probably to defend nesting sites. You will only see this if the hawk is fairly large as small hawks can maneuver quickly enough to fight the swarming crows.


As you look at the crow remember what we know about this bird. It is one of the smartest animals in the world. It has the ability to make and use tools, often considered a trait only of humans. The family of the American crow includes Jackdaws, Jays, Ravens and Rooks. Most of these have been characters in stories and fables since ancient times.


You might observe some Canada geese. These are the large birds that fly in chevron formations, some all the year, but most in the colder months when they come south from Canada. Walk a little faster and you might see them land in a nearby field or pond for their lunch. This is spectacular as you see them come in, their wings cupped. They enter the water gracefully with hardly a ripple as they settle in and begin paddling around using their web feet. Canada geese can be pretty big birds. One of this species weighed in at 24 pounds with a wingspan of 7.3 feet.


Pretty soon, in the trees and shrubs around you you’ll hear some excited chatting. The source could be a finch, a sparrow or a wren, as they all have similar fussing sounds. You can be sure it’s one of the wren family if the bird sports up thrust tail feathers. Remember when you are watching to approach quietly, slow if possible. Birds scare easily. Hold still a few moments and they will start calling again so you can spot them.


If you keep an eye on larger trees as you pass, you’ll probably see a little bird heading directly down a tree trunk. This is a nuthatch and sooner or later you’ll hear his call, “yank, yank.” Not a lot of birds do this type of walking up and down as they search for food.


On a nearby tree trunk you likely will hear a rhythmic tapping. It’s one of several woodpecker types that hunt for insects in tree bark. If it is big and loud you’ve found birder treasure. This is a pileated woodpecker, huge and noisy and beautiful.

Chances are good on any day you’ll continue to entertain yourself with new specie sightings. On your computer you can easily check out birds that you spot. Google the description and most times you’ll see your bird up close with all his data. You’ll find sites at Audubon and Cornell University that will show you more birds. You will quickly learn what seasons they appear in your area, what kind of shrubbery they like to sit in, and what they look and sound like. Pretty soon you might want to keep a list of the first day you discovered each new bird. This activity is called by birders “keeping a life list.”  After a few years you’ll want to look back at old friends and remember when you met them. Just in case you wanted to know, the current life list record holder has spotted about 9000 different birds.


You can be a happy and accomplished birder without spending any money. Or, you can spend your dollars thoughtfully and buy only equipment you need to enjoy the hobby even more. So, get outside and enjoy birding.

Water for outdoor animals in winter

A unique outdoor water station for use with you r backyard pets, birds and wildlife at the same time as you prepare you daily indoor pet water and food dishes. Works all day better than open bowl to give animals the same loving daily fresh water your indoor pets receive. In winter sunlight passive solar top provides radiant sun heat to keep water ice free to 20 deg F (15 deg F on Super Solar Sipper). Easy to clean. Top protects water from bacteria. Portable and safe with no electric wires to chew. Check out Google for recent “solar sipper tests 21415” for performance video in winter storms  


10011 solar sipper may 2014

Solar Sipper the best value

“The Solar Sipper is simply the best all season non-electric drinker for wild birds, pets, and backyard poultry” “A remarkably simple and effective water device”
“Far better than any open dish in preventing harmful bacteria” “Absolutely safe and provides fresh water” “Energy efficient way to heat and cool the water” “An American made product that ships all over the world

10012 solar sipper may 2014