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#GreenFriday #OptOutside #Gratitude #ClimateChange #ClimateChangeReport

November 23, 2018

Instead of shopping today on #BlackFriday, I encourage you to join me in a different activity: go for a  #GreenFriday and #OptOutside. We usually go skiing at Mammoth Mountain in the Sierra Nevada, but last year, we camped at Refugio State Beach and went kayaking where we saw plenty of dolphins in the water just a few feet away. This year, we weren’t able to leave town so we’re going for a walk in the hillsides that burned in last year’s Thomas Fire, a landscape that has changed radically but is showing inspiring signs of recovery.

Climate change is increasing the number of severity of fires as our region is impacted by drought and other factors; details on a new report below.

If you’re a regular on this blog, you know that I often write about nature and how important it is to spend time outdoors. According to research published on July 6, 2018 from the University of East Anglia,

“Living close to nature and spending time outside has significant and wide-ranging health benefits — according to new research. A new report reveals that exposure to greenspace reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure.”

The study “gathered evidence from over 140 studies involving more than 290 million people to see whether nature really does provide a health boost.” And they “found that spending time in, or living close to, natural green spaces is associated with diverse and significant health benefits. It reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, and preterm birth, and increases sleep duration. People living closer to nature also had reduced diastolic blood pressure, heart rate and stress. In fact, one of the really interesting things we found is that exposure to greenspace significantly reduces people’s levels of salivary cortisol — a physiological marker of stress.”

Forgotten how wonderful it is to spend time in nature? Need some motivation?

This short film below is a beautiful expression of nature — and how much we have to be grateful for via Louie Schwartzberg’s lens. This brief video features time-lapse photography accompanied by words from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast. Let it remind you of all of the wonder and awe the world gives us every day. An award-winning cinematographer, director and producer, Louie Schwartzberg’s career spans feature films, television shows, commercials and documentaries. He’s won multiple Clio Awards for TV advertising, including best environmental broadcast spot, an Emmy nomination for best cinematography and the Heartland Film Festival’s Truly Moving Picture Award for the feature film “America’s Heart & Soul.”

Because that’s what we need if we’re going to save this planet — gratitude, an appreciation of what we have, and a sense of grief about what we about to lose if we don’t address climate change and other environmental issues.

I’ll never forget the student who said in class in response to another student’s research presentation about the plight of the polar bears — “Who cares if polar bears go extinct? Why do they matter? Why should I care?”

We need to figure out why diversity on our planet matters, and why we should care, before it is too late. And according to a climate report released today by from thirteen Federal agencies advancing the science of #climate and global change: U.S. Global Change Research Program.

Their report outlines these 12 impacts:

1. Communities

Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth.

2. Economy

Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century.

3. Interconnected Impacts

Climate change affects the natural, built, and social systems we rely on individually and through their connections to one another. These interconnected systems are increasingly vulnerable to cascading impacts that are often difficult to predict, threatening essential services within and beyond the Nation’s borders.

4. Actions to Reduce Risks

Communities, governments, and businesses are working to reduce risks from and costs associated with climate change by taking action to lower greenhouse gas emissions and implement adaptation strategies. While mitigation and adaptation efforts have expanded substantially in the last four years, they do not yet approach the scale considered necessary to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades.

5. Water

The quality and quantity of water available for use by people and ecosystems across the country are being affected by climate change, increasing risks and costs to agriculture, energy production, industry, recreation, and the environment.

6. Health

Impacts from climate change on extreme weather and climate-related events, air quality, and the transmission of disease through insects and pests, food, and water increasingly threaten the health and well-being of the American people, particularly populations that are already vulnerable.

7. Indigenous Peoples

Climate change increasingly threatens Indigenous communities’ livelihoods, economies, health, and cultural identities by disrupting interconnected social, physical, and ecological systems.

8. Ecosystems and Ecosystem Services

Ecosystems and the benefits they provide to society are being altered by climate change, and these impacts are projected to continue. Without substantial and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, transformative impacts on some ecosystems will occur; some coral reef and sea ice ecosystems are already experiencing such transformational changes.

9. Agriculture

Rising temperatures, extreme heat, drought, wildfire on rangelands, and heavy downpours are expected to increasingly disrupt agricultural productivity in the United States. Expected increases in challenges to livestock health, declines in crop yields and quality, and changes in extreme events in the United States and abroad threaten rural livelihoods, sustainable food security, and price stability.

10. Infrastructure

Our Nation’s aging and deteriorating infrastructure is further stressed by increases in heavy precipitation events, coastal flooding, heat, wildfires, and other extreme events, as well as changes to average precipitation and temperature. Without adaptation, climate change will continue to degrade infrastructure performance over the rest of the century, with the potential for cascading impacts that threaten our economy, national security, essential services, and health and well-being.

11. Oceans & Coasts

Coastal communities and the ecosystems that support them are increasingly threatened by the impacts of climate change. Without significant reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions and regional adaptation measures, many coastal regions will be transformed by the latter part of this century, with impacts affecting other regions and sectors. Even in a future with lower greenhouse gas emissions, many communities are expected to suffer financial impacts as chronic high-tide flooding leads to higher costs and lower property values.

12. Tourism and Recreation

Outdoor recreation, tourist economies, and quality of life are reliant on benefits provided by our natural environment that will be degraded by the impacts of climate change in many ways.

If this news is stressing you out, remember what the Anglia study co-author Prof Andy Jones said: “We often reach for medication when we’re unwell but exposure to health-promoting environments is increasingly recognised as both preventing and helping treat disease. Our study shows that the size of these benefits can be enough to have a meaningful clinical impact.”

So where will you go today to #OptOutside?

If you can get to one of Oregon or Washington’s State Parks, they’re free today! But even just going for walk in community park will south your soul so GO! #OptOutside today and every day!

Tell me in the comments where you went or will go!

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