Category Archives: Weather

The Plateau as Canary

I like this idea of Kirk Johnson’s of the Green blog at the New York Times. The fragile Colorado Plateau acting as canary in the coal mine. It doesn’t take a dust storm in Arizona to notice that the air is always hazier on the Plateau than it was even 10 years ago. So few people live on the Plateau that man made haze here is a sign of illness elsewhere. …more>>

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Have you noticed that it is almost always hazy?

I was at a star gazing party in southern Utah recently and met a businessman my age as he showed me around his telescope setup.  As we got to know each other it turned out this guy, who seemed otherwise a lot like me, was a climate change denier.  He told me his reasons and I listened.  He was pretty sure of himself.  The only notion that seemed to set him back was the observation that the air around Capitol Reef National Park, air that used to be so clear there were view point signs touting it (150 miles visibility used to be), is now almost always hazy.  He had noticed that too.  Here, William Anderson, chairman of the Moapa Band of Paiutes in southeastern Nevada, talks about the external cost of air pollution and benefits of clean air, that is the externalities that don’t show up on a balance sheet or income statement but are real none the less, in this concise entry from Writers on the Range. . .more>>

They are dry in the mouth too.

Just like the Colorado River does not make it to the Colorado River Delta and on to the sea, Australia’s largest river, the Murray-Darling is dry in the mouth.  A 10 year drought there has made for necessary changes.  Brad Udall, director of the Western Water Assessment in Colorado, spent four months in Australia working with its Department of Water.  Cally Carswell of High Country News explores with Udall what happens when the door is opened and more than special interests and lawyers are allowed in the room to talk about solutions.   Udall says, “For 150 years, we’ve had three kinds of people in the room talking about water: we’ve had water users, we’ve had attorneys and we’ve had engineers. And for the most part, the public, economists and scientists have not been a part of this dialogue. In Australia, they don’t even let attorneys in the room — at least according to one gentlemen down there — when it comes to water. And they talk in these very holistic (terms): what’s good for our economy, what’s good for our social systems, what’s good for the environment — they have those three perspectives. It’s not just driven by the legal system, which is usually almost always the case here in Colorado.”    . . . more>>

Ranchers wearing Tevas!

Earlier I made a post referring to an article about grazing and land management in the Los Angeles Times.    Now here is one from The Atlantic, featuring 21st century ranchers, one even wearing Tevas.  Tevas on a Suburu driving rancher is not something you see every day.  The Atlantic has picked up on the critical idea that managing range land to optimize grass growth can make a significant impact on global carbon sequestration.  It’s good to see that deceptively benign appearing grazing practices are being seen in the national press as a globally important issue.  But, once again, it is the local “way of life” that stands in the way.  Can Wall Street actually help? . . . more>>