Global warming threatens pine forests, forcing federal officials to shift strategy
More Band Aids. Watching Rome burn and fiddling. Bioroot Energy is headquartered in the middle of the beetle kill epidemic in western Montana and there is no way that treating individual trees can stop or shorten this mortality event in our western forests. None. We must get in front of the underlying problem and rethink what’s driving it.
Climate scientists really (really) need to start talking to energy scientists about responsibly converting all types of waste and fossil “carbons” (municipal wastes, biomass, coal, methane and coal-fired CO2) to a clean, 138 octane fuel that displaces the hydrocarbon fuels, i.e., gasoline, diesel, methane and coal, whose emissions are driving the climate change feedback loop.
When pine needles, barks, branches, cones and any other biomass along with what’s in your trash can are being turned into a benign yet powerful alcohol fuel that displaces fossil fuels, things will begin to change for the better. Not until.
The evidence is overwhelming. And still some will argue about climate change. Man made or natural cycling of the environment? Who cares, the climate is changing and mankind’s use of fossil energy is at least partly responsible for driving this feedback loop.
Dr. James Hansen heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He has held this position since 1981. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.
Every activist engaged in combating human-caused climate change or specific elements of the current energy economy knows that the work is primarily oppositional. It could hardly be otherwise; for citizens who care about ecological integrity, a sustainable economy, and the health of nature and people, there is plenty to oppose—biomass logging [for generating electricity] in Massachusetts, mountaintop-removal coal mining in West Virginia, natural gas drilling in Wyoming, poorly sited solar developments in California, river-killing dams in Chile and Brazil, and new nuclear and coal plants around the globe.
These and many other fights against destructive energy projects are crucial, but they can be draining and tend to focus the conversation in negative terms. Sometimes it’s useful to reframe the discourse about ecological limits and economic restructuring in positive terms, that is, about what we’re for.
What do rampant beetle kill, rising temperatures, massive floods, and oil spills all have in common? They’re all being fueled by fossil-energy combustion—here in Montana, and around the planet.
Crews work to clear oil from the Yellowstone River in Laurel, Montana. (Jim Urquhart, AP/ July 5, 2011)
This poignant article about recent disasters in Montana, as seen through the eyes of two people who are not just fighting floodwaters and an oil spill on their property, they are also working tirelessly (as are we) to educate and inform Montanans about their clean energy options.
Alexis Bonogofsky and her partner, Mike Scott, are at the forefront of the fight against a carbon-centric vision of Montana’s future. When they aren’t growing their own food or taking care of their goats, both are full-time environmental activists: Alexis is with the National Wildlife Federation, Scott is with the Sierra Club. They don’t just fight coal and oil companies; they work to show their fellow Montanans that there are other ways to create energy and jobs.
We sent Alexis and Mike a message of solidarity and asked how we can work together in this “mother” of all fights here in Montana.