A grim milestone for Earth

A grim milestone for Earth

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography is one of many scientific bodies that monitor CO2 levels on our planet and they noted in the last few days that we’ve crossed an alarming threshold.

After examining the data for the month of April, they’re announcing that the concentration of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere has crossed the 410 ppm threshold for the entire month, something which hasn’t happened on our planet for 800,000 years.

This is a very bad thing.

The Nation seems to be totally polarized now. About most any subject relating to our common life. I would include anything relating to politics; issues around the environment, especially climate change, are certainly on the list.

As I post on another grim event relating to the change in climate on our planet, I know that readers who live in the fact-based world and embrace science will not need any more evidence to persuade them that the time for foot-dragging is over.

Those who draw their opinions from science-deniers and the drivel put out by agencies who get their funding from corporate interests will not be persuaded by anything they read, especially on an obscure blog with a tiny readership.

But I’m going to go on beating the drum.

To see a timely and very informative article about this grim milestone and what this uber-high concentration of atmospheric CO2 means for humanity, just follow this link.

To have a look at the home page for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and learn more about their amazing work, click here.

The longer we wait to take action, the harder it will be to mitigate the damage to our Earth.

 

Bulldog Ben Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

 

Ben does not own this photo and believes it is covered under Fair Use.

 

Tabasco HQ is in deep trouble!

Tabasco HQ is in deep trouble!

I keep one eye open for important stories about worsening climate change. There’s certainly no shortage of those these days.

This article is about one spot where the results of warming and the accompanying rise in sea levels is affecting the heart of Cajun country. It’s a place where many folks hold strongly conservative beliefs and where warnings about climate change from scientists and treehuggers are at considerable risk of being ignored or blithely explained away.

Avery Island–where Tabasco Sauce has been made for over 150 years–is slowly sinking. But the main problem is that the water surrounding most of the island is rising very fast. Faster than almost anywhere else on the planet.

It’s not actually an island in the technical or scientific sense, but it’s going to become one soon. By 2050, according to recent estimates.

The Island rises 163′ above sea level now, but the marshes surrounding it are retreating by a staggering 30′ per year. At that rate, the 2,200 acres of Avery Island will shrink dramatically before the mid-century mark, leaving only its core above water. That’s hardly enough real estate to support the growth of peppers and the production of the hot sauce which has made Tabasco one of the best known brands in the food industry and made the McIlhenny family very, very rich.

The Guardian published an article just this morning by writer Oliver Milman which lays out skillfully and in painstaking detail how this unhappy development is unfolding. I strongly recommend this piece to anyone who’s interested in climate change, great hot sauce, or contemporary events affecting life in the American south.

Climate change is real. The seas are rising. And regardless of how long it takes for some Americans to see what’s actually happening all around us, we’re going to have to meet the challenges caused by the damage we’ve done to our planet, and we’re going to have to be for real.

The denying, the explaining away and the foot dragging have got to stop. If we still have a lot of people and a lot of corporations–who have a financial interest in mucking up the issue–pulling in the wrong direction, wondering how we’re going to keep our favorite hot sauce on the store shelves will be the least of our worries.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

Climate Scientists Issue Second Warning: We Are Killing the Earth

We are killing our planet. Humanity received a first warning from scientists who specialize in the environment in 1992.

Nothing changed. Exploitation of our planet for her resources–often in the most rapacious and unsustainable ways–has only accelerated. The Paris Agreement is a very substantial step in the right direction, but is only now beginning to be implemented.

The tRump Administration has pulled the U.S. out of the Paris agreement, taken steps to gut the E.P.A., is trying hard to eliminate incentives to use wind and solar and killed through Executive Orders every possible policy put in place by previous administrations to safeguard the environment.

The overall situation has gotten much worse, with only one issue relating to the earth’s degradation improving–that being the hole in the ozone layer of our atmosphere–and all other indicators sliding downhill far faster than climate scientists feared.

And now a second warning has gone out. We’ve been put on notice. Twice.

It’s time–way past time, actually–to pull our heads out of the rapidly-warming sand, try to mitigate this damage and begin to heal the earth.

Our survival depends on it.

 

 

Benjamin Lawrence Basile

A Visit to My County’s Ag Extension Service

A Visit to My County’s Ag Extension Service

Some of you may know that I’ve been wanting to find ways to grow stuff. I had a ball gathering some ideas at Orlando’s Veg Fest nine days ago. There were hundreds of companies, growers, educators and agencies who rented tables for the event; one of them was the Orange Country (Fla) Agricultural Extension Service, and those folks were very helpful to me. The University of Florida’s Ag Dept cooperates with each of Florida’s 67 counties, and many of them do great work in helping their residents who engage, or–as in my case–hope to engage in anything related to agriculture.

I found the folks who were staffing the OCAES table at Veg Fest to be very, very helpful. They had stacks of publications on a thousand topics relating to growing things, permaculture, landscaping and green living and so on, and I took about ten or so. And they very patiently answered my questions, gave suggestions and told me about other resources which they believed would be helpful to me.

Because I found them to be so helpful, I decided to pay a visit to their Conway Road location in south Orange County. I made it out there last Monday and I’m glad I did. Way back in 2006, I scored a free tree from them when they were located much closer to the family homestead, but I had not seen the new and much bigger campus since the move. And, yes, I got a few good pix out of my visit to this new-to-me location.

The gardens there are lovely. There’s plenty there for folks who like to dig in the dirt, whether they’re mostly into landscaping and flowers, or, like me, stuff you can harvest and eat. You probably noticed the pergola that welcomes visitors in the banner photo; here’s a closer view of this inviting structure’s roof which I think makes for a pretty good photo:

I do enjoy seeing the landscaping or aesthetic side of what they do at the Ag center. Here’s a shot that features some mighty fine landscaping that any gardener would be proud to display or would look amazing at any park or place of business, too:

When the visitor gets a little further into the grounds, they’ll find the part of the gardens devoted to agriculture, to growing things we can cook and eat. Because I’ve done plenty of the “pretty stuff” and am now focused on microfarming, this is the part of my visit I liked best. And for some reason, this spiffy little shed attracted my attention and I just had to get a shot or two:

The staff has been so helpful to me, both at Veg Fest and when I came for my visit. I’ve gathered some very good ideas and will soon be planting. This is going to require some serious planning and preparation, as I have a small and very shady yard, but grow stuff I will!

If you’re also here in Central Florida, I recommend you stop by and take a look at the facility and their lovely gardens. You can find the Orange County Agricultural Extension Service at 6021 So. Conway Rd, that’s just a bit north of where Conway meets Judge Road. The hours of operation can be found here on their web site or by calling them at 407 254-9200.

 

 

Bulldog Ben Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

Bulldog’s Journey Towards Rustic, Sustainable Living

Bulldog’s Journey Towards Rustic, Sustainable Living

Bulldog’s deep, dark secret: I have a huge interest in greener, simpler living and have wanted to live in a rustic setting for many years. Would go off grid tomorrow if I had all my preps made.

For some reason I haven’t had too much to say about that here on my blog. I’ve done something in the last 24 hours that will help me escape my typical suburban life and get closer to bringing to reality this long-held dream. I’ve launched a new twitter account focused like a laser on the stuff I think about a hundred times a day but rarely ever talk about: sustainability, rustic or off grid living, homesteading, micro farming and the like! Throw in home brewing, raising chickens, and on and on!

I could go on about why I’ve mostly kept all of this locked up in my over-worked brain but that truly would be fodder for another post. The important thing is that the foot-dragging is over and I’m on my way to making this thing real.

Now as far as how a new twitter account is an important first step, it’s true I’ve been on Twitter for a very long time. But my main focus there is political stuff. And I’m thinking that the folks I’ve linked up with on twitter about politics and so on may or may not be into my love for going green and living in a 340 sq ft shack in the woods! So it seemed like a new and separate account in the Twitterverse was the way to go. (Not kosher with Twitter’s TOS, but we’ll ignore that for the moment!)

If you’re on twitter and you’d like to “hook up” over green stuff and rustic/small living, would love to see you on that platform. Click on this next link and you’ll land on my teensie-tiny little home in the vast wilderness of twitter! Or anytime you’re on twitter, just search @sustainable4me and you’ll also find me. Would love to see you over there!

I will have a lot more to say about these very cool–and very trendy–subjects here on my blog in the near future. Because of my limited financial means I’ve been acting as though I’d never actually be able to make any of those hopes and dreams real. And I’m going to stop letting such baleful thoughts “drive the bus!” Whether I get my life arranged the way I’d like or not remains to be seen. But I damn sure would never get it done if I waited until I could concoct some perfect effin plan in my head! I know it doesn’t work like that so I’m off on that journey!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Photo description: that’s the Florida Cracker Cabin found at the Barberville Pioneer Settlement in Barberville, Florida. B’ville is about 25 mins north of Deland.