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Almanac Archive for March 4, 2021

Public Lands   |   Visualizing Climate History   |   Art of Meadows & Fields   |   View in your browser


The Conservation Almanac
     Love it - Protect it - MV: Meadows & Fields
          Protecting Public Lands
                Visualizing Earth's Climate History 
 
Love it - Protect it - MV #2: Meadows & Fields
 
From the native sandplain grasslands that support the unique biodiversity or Martha's Vineyard, to the picturesque farm fields that sustain our local food economy, much of the most iconic land on our Island is literally open space
 
A collaborative community arts & ideas project, "Love it – Protect it – MV" is a celebration of nature, open spaces, and our sense of place as an island. All are invited to join with VCS to honor our extraordinary home through the visual arts, written thoughts, and any other form of expression. 

Following the winter's deep dive into Shorelines, this month we turn our attention to Meadows & Fields. For info on how to participate please click here. The project is truly open to all, with no age or skill level requirements. In these challenging times, we can all benefit from a greater sense of connection with nature!

Right: "From the High Dune" by Kib Bramhall, one of the many excellent contributions for the Shorelines theme (art slideshow here, writing collection here)
Top: Katama Airpark, photo by Brendan O'Neill

Protecting Public Lands: Do it Now, Do it Right

Last week, the U.S. House passed the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act, a collection of bills that would strengthen protection of public lands in eight locations across the West. Passage in an evenly-divided Senate is uncertain to say the least, but since wilderness and natural resource protection has historically garnered some Republican support it is possible. Given the stakes – 2.7 million acres and 1,000 miles of rivers – this one is worth pinning our hopes on.
 
President Biden has pledged to work toward protecting 30% of America’s land by 2030, as well as to reverse the damage done to the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments (which, ideally, would be just the beginning). Though much of this could be addressed through the Department of the Interior via executive order, legislation would help accomplish these goals in a much more durable way. After all, a future president could undo orders protecting land just as easily as Biden can undo his predecessor’s orders to open it up to exploitation. Repealing legislation is not so easy.


Above: Valley of the Gods at Bears Ears National Monument, Utah (Sumiko Scott/Moment/Getty)
Turf Wars: Return of the Applicant

Tonight at 7:00, the MV Commission hosts yet another hearing for the review of the controversial proposal to build a new sports complex with an artificial turf field at the High School. Following the second hearing, which saw strong arguments in opposition, led by a presentation from the Field Fund (video) followed by additional testimony from environmental groups including VCS (video), tonight's return engagement will focus specifically on questions of chemical toxicity (see agenda). 

See this page for Zoom and dial-in info to attend the meeting. Speaking slots have already been assigned and there will likely not be time for additional public input tonight, but if you would like to submit written comments or speak at the next hearing (and we encourage everyone to do so), please contact Lucy Morrison at the MVC.
Climate Change, Human History, and . . . Stick Figures?
     The last climate data illustration you'll ever need

Did you know that the Earth’s climate changes naturally? It’s true! In fact, at one time the Earth warmed by even more than the worst-case scenarios predicted by climate scientists.
 
The trouble, of course, is that the Earth has never before warmed nearly as quickly as today. That previous rise, the huge 4-degree Celsius one that brought us to the modern climate era, took about 10,000 years (give or take a few thousand).
 
Which brings us to this graphic by Randall Munroe (creator of the wonderful comic xkcd), which may be the single best illustration of historical climate change on the internet. It’s funny, occasionally silly, and above all, truly informative. (And if you take just last 200 years and turn it on its side it resembles the all-too-familiar figures.)

So, the next time someone tries to argue that climate change isn’t important because the Earth’s climate is always changing, send them this. When nothing else seems to work, why not try humor?


   



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