Climate Change

The Pulitzer, photographer David Johnson

What is St. Louis doing to combat climate change? And how can art and design move those plans forward?

The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts wants to publicize ongoing efforts and encourage new collaborations in its Marfa Dialogues competition. Winners will receive $2,500 and the opportunity to display their ideas in a public forum, which may take many forms, including exhibitions, readings, concerts and film screenings.

courtesy photo

St. Louisan Larry Lazar used to be a climate change skeptic, but a 2006 trip to see family in Alaska changed his mind.

“One of the things you do in Alaska is tour the glaciers. And when you see the before and after pictures there, and when you talk to the park rangers and read the information about why they’re doing what they’re doing, and they’re doing it around the world, you get hit with reality,” said Lazar. “I realized then that what I’d been reading and my sources of information at that time were just wrong.”

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Last week, people all over St. Louis – and all over the Midwest and East Coast, probably – celebrated the official start of spring. They celebrated because the winter has been unusually long and cold and, somehow, darker than usual. And they celebrated with a tinge of worry that the brutal winter could give way to an equally brutal, hot summer.

If that does happen, be prepared for a lot of talk about climate change. 

(© Randall Hyman)

In his book “Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming,” author and freelance journalist McKenzie Funk moves the conversation on climate change beyond whether or not it is happening to focus on people around the world who are finding ways to profit from it.

(© Randall Hyman)

Randall Hyman is a St. Louis-based photojournalist and writer. For more than three decades, he has traveled the globe covering cultural and environmental issues.

Hyman recently spent four months in the Norwegian Arctic on a Fulbright project documenting climate change.

He told St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra that Norwegians are already feeling the effects of global warming.

There is a consensus among scientists that global warming is occurring, and the increase in temperature is man-made. The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is currently preparing a new report on the topic that is expected to include strongly worded warnings to reduce the world's consumption of fossil fuels.

Environment America

Missouri's coal-fired power plants are among the largest sources of carbon dioxide pollution in the country and a significant contributor to global warming.

(Art Chimes)

If you happen to be near the Saint Louis Science Center planetarium at around 2 o’clock in the afternoon, look up. You might see a weather balloon.

Students at Saint Louis University are launching them as part of a study sponsored by the U.S. space agency NASA.

The mission aims to improve our understanding of air pollution and global climate.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s decision to bypass Congress and impose new regulations that aim to reduce harmful emissions drew praise Tuesday from environmental groups and harsh criticism from many coal-state lawmakers.

Arguing that the challenge of climate change “does not pause for partisan gridlock,” Obama told a Georgetown University audience that his Climate Action Plan would cut carbon pollution and “protect our country from the impacts of climate change.”

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: It was high noon on a sunny day when about two dozen environmentalists – one of them holding a cardboard “flat Earth” -- gathered recently outside the St. Louis County office of U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner to protest her stance on climate change.

In particular, the Missouri chapter of the Sierra Club is highlighting a recent letter that the first-term member of Congress sent to a constituent, in which Wagner wrote that the theory that humans are responsible for the planet’s recent temperature increase is “inconsistent and unsound science.”

Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

If you are a fan of wine, particularly European wines, from France, Italy or Germany, you can be proud of the role Missouri plays in creating that wine.

Ever since the mid-1800s roots from Missouri grapes have been grafted on to European varieties, because of their natural resistance to certain pests.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In the last few years, the Mississippi River has given us floods and drought, devastating highs and devastating lows. 

"We so often associate climate change with coastal cities, and we don’t often associate a change in the middle part of the country," said John Hoal, head of the master of urban design program at Washington University. 

But those changes exist.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: “There is nothing more frightening than ignorance in action.”

--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I teach a night school course in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at a local university. To encourage classroom dialog, I tell my students that the only stupid question is the one they fail to ask because they’ll never learn the answer to it. Alas, there are exceptions to every rule as Deb Feyerick demonstrated rather convincingly last month.

(via Flickr/Paulo Otavio)

St. Louis is getting hotter. With this summer’s record-breaking temperatures, that probably doesn’t sound like news.

But a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists shows our hot weather isn’t an anomaly — things have been heating up across the Midwest for the past six decades.

U.S. Geological Survey

A new report from the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that the frequency of severe storms across the Midwest has doubled over the past 50 years.

The report analyzed precipitation data from more than 200 weather stations in eight Midwestern states.

(Asha Paudel)

The Himalayan mountain range in Asia is one of the highest places in the world, with several peaks rising above 8,000 meters. It’s also one of the most vulnerable to climate change.

Seven years ago, Missouri Botanical Garden senior curator of ethnobotany Jan Salick traveled to the Himalayas to begin a study of how climate change is affecting alpine plants—and the local people who depend on them.

St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra sat down with Salick to talk about her research.

(Environment Missouri)

A new report from Environment Missouri presents data on U.S. federally-declared weather disasters from 2006 to 2011, and says climate change will make extreme weather events like droughts and storms more common – and more severe.

State advocate for Environment Missouri, Ted Mathys, says 2011 was a particularly bad year for extreme weather in Missouri and across the country.

(EPA.gov)

Power plants are the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the U.S., followed by petroleum refineries.

That's according to data released today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The data set shows 2010 emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases from more than 6,700 of the largest sources in the U.S., including large industrial facilities and suppliers of certain fossil fuels and industrial gases.

There is strong evidence that human-produced greenhouse gases—like carbon dioxide and methane—are changing the Earth’s climate.

So says the President of the National Academy of Sciences, Ralph Cicerone.

He spoke about the science of climate change at the Saint Louis Science Center this week.

And Cicerone told St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra that although the climate has changed in the past, this time is different.

An exhibition on climate change has opened at the Saint Louis Science Center.

The exhibition stays away from political controversies, focusing on the science of climate change and its human and environmental implications.

Through text, diagrams, interactive stations, and videos, the exhibition shows how human activities are producing greenhouse gasses and contributing to climate change.

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