Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Magic of Take Your Child to Work Night.

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Children
Early Childhood
Edward Hessler

NPR's Weekend Edition features a new book by Helena Ku Rhee and illustrated by Pascal Campion.

The Paper Kingdom is based on her own childhood. "Her parents were night janitors for a law office in Los Angeles. They couldn't afford a babysitter, so they brought her along."  They made those evenings magical and so "I wanted to write a book about that magic and wonder they instilled in me."

Illustrator Pascal Campion "liked that it wasn't 'a loud story,' but rather 'a little moment story.'" This book is one of double magic: writing and illustrations. Little moments make up a life and some of the more important ones fade but some remain in memory. All of us have them (I think).

NPR's Samantha Balaban writes that "Rhee's father went on to become a machinist, making parts for planes and cars. Her mother became a seamstress." Both are retired.

"Rhee says she hopes to send a message to her parent and to all hardworking parents; 'You feel like you're not doing enough for your children--but don't worry...' she says. 'They will survive and theyll take elements of beauty from even hardship.'"

Rhee became a corporate lawyer and writer. This book is one of three she has written. The title of this post is from Balaban's story.



 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Friday Poem

Environmental & Science Education
Poetry
Art and Environment

Good midday. Friday March 27 is the 87th day of the year with sunrise at 7:01 am and sunset at 7:34 pm. This day has 12h 33m 14s of sunlight.

I intend to post less about COVID-19 or leave a little more space between them. However, today a poem that you may have seen. is about the panbdemic and lovely beyond measure. I've been sending it hither and thither. It is from the president of Macalester College, just down the road as they say, from Hamline. The president is remarkable in every way and this poem seems so typical of him.

To the Macalester Community,

In moments of crisis, stress, and isolation, it is important to pause, breathe, and draw strength from things of beauty.  This message contains no instructions or warnings or new information.  It contains a poem that, I hope, brings to some of you the moment of peace that it brought to me. I am grateful to the Macalester parent who brought it to my attention.

Share it with someone you love.

Brian

Pandemic

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

Lynn Ungar 3/11/20
Take care.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Attacks on the Social Contract

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Society
Culture
Edward Hessler

Defeating Covid-19 makes some new demands on all of us. Persistence. Hunkering down. Following protective measures recommended by health care professionals and government officials.One of these is social distancing.

Lev Facher writing for STAT comments on the increasing politicization of  social distancing as President Trump and his allies are urging us to stop isolating and to forget it.  This idea, to state the obvious, is a "worry" to health care workers.

"In the face of a potentially once-in-a-generation pandemic, whether one takes steps to “socially distance” from others is beginning to serve as a statement of one’s political values. And as coronavirus cases in the United States continue to spike, the prospect that some conservatives might abandon those measures en masse has alarmed public health experts, who say that giving up now would result in thousands of unnecessary deaths — and effectively sacrifice many of society’s most vulnerable."

Facher cites and discusses several who would have us "break this social rule." They include Dan Patrick, the lieutenant governor of Texas (also was a radio talk host) who appears in favor of taking chances with the elderly; the president of Liberty University's Jerry Falwell, Jr. who said the school would welcome students back to campus after spring break; and others. I hadn't heard about recent comparisons President Trump has made to accidents and seasonal flu:

"In the past two days, Trump has resumed comparisons of the coronavirus to the yearly death toll from car crashes and the seasonal flu. Those remarks mirror his early talking points in February, when he called Democrats’ criticisms of his response a “hoax” and argued that despite the flu’s five-figure death count, the country did not shut down its economy each flu season."

This pandemic has ethics written all over it and Facher cites several experts who raise such concerns, including Dina Borzekowski (University of Maryland School of Public Health). 'What does it say about our society if we are willing to sacrifice one group for economic gain? This is a pandemic, and shouldn’t be played out as a skirmish on a neighborhood playground.'”
  
Facher also notes that Republicans such as Representative Liz Cheney and Senator Lindsey Graham, "a close Trump ally" both agree that "prioritizing the economy over the public health is likely a false choice."

Facher quotes Cheney who wrote in a Twitter that "'There will be no normally functioning economy, if our hospitals are overwhelmed and thousands of Americans of all ages, including our doctors and nurses, lay dying because we have failed to do what’s necessary to stop the virus.'

This article from the Washington Post will give you a chilling idea of what some conservative pundits, thinkers, and politicians are saying.  There is deep skepticism about facts, science, public health experts as well as following the necessary protective measures is merely a desire to move the country to the left.

Teresa Hanafin in the Boston Globe e-newsletter, Fast Forward (3.35.2020),  included a potent quote from the late Mario Cuomo, former governor of NY (he is the father of NY's current inspiring New York governor, Andrew Cuomo). Mario Cuomo made a memorable speech to the1984 Democratic National Convention in which he said,

"We believe in a single fundamental idea that describes better than most textbooks and any speech that I could write what a proper government should be: the idea of family, mutuality, the sharing of benefits and burdens for the good of all, feeling one another's pain, sharing one another's blessings -- reasonably, honestly, fairly, without respect to race, or sex, or geography, or political affiliation. We believe we must be the family of America, recognizing that at the heart of the matter, we are bound, one to another."


Hanafin closes with a simple observation and a good wish, "We are bound, one to another. Please stay safe."

Facher's column may be read here, something I hope you will do..


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

A Sighted Girl and an Unsighted Boy Take a Walk in a Meadow

Environmental & Science Education
Culture
Art and Environment
Children
Society
Play 
Nature
Edward Hessler

In this film (7 m) titled "Walk" by Polish documentary filmmaker Filip Jacobson we accompany two friends, a blind boy and a sighted girl in their experience of a meadow overlooking a lake and their exploration of sensory experiences.

"Now and then, the girl probes the contours of the boy’s sensory experience, often to his annoyance. After all, how can he explain what it’s like to not know or even understand colours, or why his experience doesn’t require them? ... Jacobson reflects on the possibilities and limits of communicating subjective experience, as well as the diversity of ways to internalise the exterior world."

The film is in Polish with English subtitles.

h/t and thanks: AEON

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Comic on on the Corona Virus

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Children
Early Childhood
Edward Hessler

NPR's "Goats and Soda" has a comic, created for children (good for adults too) about the Corana virus. The is, the is nots, and suggestions as well as assurance.

You can print and fold a version--directions included on how to fold it.

It ends with "But seriously though, PLEASE wash your hands!!!"

Monday, March 23, 2020

Reforesting the Highlands of Ethiopia

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Biodiversity
Climate Change
Global Warming
Sustainability
Edward Hessler

‘The church is within the forest, the forest is inside the church.’--Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church

I'm sure (now that should make you think I'm not) that I posted on the work of Ethiopian forest ecologist Alemayeh Wassie who is partnering with church leaders in Ethiopia "in a last stand against deforestation." This is a partnership between science and religion.

It will come as no surprise to learn that the highlands of Ethiopia were once forested but development and agriculture have left barren ground in their wake. Now, especially if one were to fly over the highlands, small odd shaped islands of forests dot the landscape. In the interior of each, the hub, are found round buildings.

Born of the centuries-old belief of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church that churches should be surrounded by forests so as to resemble the Garden of Eden, these sites have become valuable sanctuaries of biodiversity amid the extreme pressures of population growth.

In this film (9 m 22 s) the partnership between Dr. Wassie and the Tewahdo church is described. A link in the introductory comments will take you to an article about the project.  This essay from the British scientific journal Nature provides more details about these forests, Dr. Wassie and includes some splendid photographs.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

WaPo Daily Update on the Pandemic Free

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Edward Hessler

WaPo (Washington Post) offers a FREE coronavirus/Covid-19 update.

You may sign up to receive the newsletter daily or if you prefer, view it on-line.

To view stories see here..

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Message From a College President

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Miscellaneous
Health 
Medicine
Edward Hessler

The president of Macalester College (St. Paul) is known on campus among students as PBR. He sent the following note to students, staff and faculty on Friday. I share it with you, folks I'm concerned about.


To the Macalester Community,

In moments of crisis, stress, and isolation, it is important to pause, breathe, and draw strength from things of beauty.  This message contains no instructions or warnings or new information.  It contains a poem that, I hope, brings to some of you the moment of peace that it brought to me. I am grateful to the Macalester parent who brought it to my attention.

Share it with someone you love.

Brian

Pandemic

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

Lynn Ungar 3/11/20

Mistake Corrected

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Miscellaneous
Edward Hessler

I'm quite sure I sent a note in which I conflated SARS-CoV2 and Covid-19.

I apologize and make what is probably an unnecessary correction since you likely know better.

SARS-CoV2 is the label for the coronavirus.

Covid-19 is the disease the coronavirus causes.

Sorry for any confusion I might have created.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Announcement

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Edward Hessler

Posts will be spotty until....

Thanks.

Friday Poem

Environmental & Science Education
Poetry
Art and Environment
Edward Hessler

Greetings. It is the 79th day of the year and here in St. Paul the daylength is 12 h 11 m 10 s.

Today's poem is by Vernon Scrannell (birth name John Vern Bain).

The poem is introduced by Andrew McCullough.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

COVID-19: Live Streaming and Breaking News

Environmental & Science Eduction
STEM
Health
Medicine
Society
Edward Hessler

Novel coronavirus Live Streaming: Breaking news, world Map and live counter on confirmed cases, recovered cases (COVID-19). "I started this live stream on Jan 26th, and since Jan 30th I have been streaming this without stopping. Many people are worried about the coronavirus spreading. For anyone that wants to know the numbers and progression of worldwide spread of this virus, I offer this live stream. The purpose is not to instill fear or panic, nor is it to necessarily comfort; I just present the data to help inform the public of the current situation."

The author lives in South Korea and writes "I majored in life science and joined bioinformatics laboratory for master degree. At that time I used python. Since I decided to change my career as dentist, I have been stopped programming for 15 years. Now, I start to learn more about python with googling." 

There is much more information below the stream.

Monday, March 16, 2020

"Cat"tenning the Curve

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Statistics
Edward Hessler

COVID-19 has introduced many of us to an idea which may be new to some--flattening the curve to slow the inexorable advance of COVID-19 cases. The idea is to lengthen the transmission time so that the health system can cope.

The perspective provided by epidemiologist Anne Marie Darling is a clever way to help in understanding what the concept means. There are two kinds of outbreaks, the "Alert Kitty" and the "Lazy Kitty."

If you look very carefully you will see the standard graph in the background

To the left, the perpendicular Y axis: # of cases

At the bottom, the horizontal X axis: time since first case

About one-third of the way up, a dashed horizontal line: health care system

The first somewhat narrow and tall curve starting at the left (Lazy Kitty): without protective measures

The second considerably flatter and wider curve to the right of the first curve (Alert Kitty): with protective measures

Here you will find a STAT article by Helen Branswell, "Why 'flattening the curve' may be the world's best bet to slow the coronavirus."  It has a clear "Flattening the Curve" active display.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Soap and COVID-19

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Society
Microbiome 
Biological Evolution
Edward Hessler

What is the reason that plain old soapy water works so well in stopping and slowing COVID-19 from spreading?

Professor of chemistry Pall Thordarson (University of New South Wales, Sydney) wrote a Twitter entry about the soap effect that also went viral but in a nice way. He also published it in the British newspaper The Guardian.

It's chemistry.

Viruses are made of three kinds of molecules. You may recall them from school or college courses in biology. They are RNA (ribonucleic acid), proteins, and lipids (which I'll call fatty bits) consisting of two layers. One of those layers "likes" soapy chemicals and soapy chemicals like them. The soapy water dissolves the outermost layer and the virus breaks apart.

Viruses are kind of weird. They don't die for they were never alive. They simply are broken into smaller pieces.

Thordarson's Guardian piece includes a slightly longer story with some of the details about the chemistry and why soap is better than alcohol-based sanitizers but as he points out, "please use alcohol-based sanitiser when soap is not handy or practical."
And here is a CDC video (10 m 09 s) on where new viruses such as COVID-19 come from. There you can see the chemical structures mentioned above. 

Of course you've seen and heard this but the Italian response to COVID-19 warms the heart and is about the human spirit so it doesn't hurt to hear it one more time.

BBC Visuals: COVID-19

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Society
Edward Hessler

The Visual and Data Journalism Team of the BBC has produced Coronavirus:A Visual Guide to the Pandemic.

And, of course, it includes links to information about dealing with COVID-19.

I find these presentations immensely helpful and hope others do as well.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Intelligence of New Zealand Kea Parrots

Environmenttal & Science Education
STEM
Behavior
Maths
Mathematics Eduction
Biodiversity
Edward Hessler

On several measures of intelligence, New Zealand kea parrots (Nestor notabilis) outperform monkeys as explained in this film (4 m 20 s) from the British journal Nature.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Friday Poem

Environmental & Science Education
Poetry
Art and Environment
Edward Hessler

It is the 73rd day of the year. The sun rises at 7:27 am and sets at 7:16 pm. Those 3 minutes of new light are adding up. Today we have 11 hours, 49 minutes and 03 seconds of sunlight. One of the very few pussy willows in my life is full and I stood under it, looking up for a few minutes this morning. Paradise!

Hank Gutman, is an emeritus professor of English (poetry especially) at the University of Vermont. Several years ago I signed up for occasional notes from him--mostly extraordinary dissections of poems in which he teases out their anatomy and physiology.  

March 7, 2020, I received the first one in memory without commentary. Here are a few things Gutman had to say about a short, presient poem by William Butler Yeats.



I was walking to have coffee with a friend when the lines by Yeats below, bolded, came to me.  They seemed enormously appropriate to our times.  So I share them with you, without commentary.

[T]he poem was addressed to his friend Lady Augusta Gregory, and was about the failure of her effort to get Dublin to build a gallery of modern art. The poem, of course, is about the loneliness of being on the ‘right’ path. I was walking to have coffee with a friend when the lines by Yeats below, bolded, came to me.  They seemed enormously appropriate to our times.  So I share them with you, without commentary.

To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing

Now all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honor bred, with one
Who were it proved he lies
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbors' eyes;
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.

Pets, COVID-19 and You

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Edward Hessler

Pets and COVID-19. What if...?

This question is more salient given that a Pomeranian in Hong Kong tested positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome (i.e.,2019 novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19)) Can pets become part of the transmission chain? 

The American scientific journal Science published an interview (March 12) by David Grimm "with Dr.Shelley Rankin, a microbiologist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Philadelphia, about the risks of COVID-19 infection in pets. Her lab is part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network, a collective of veterinary diagnostic labs that could help determine the impact of the pandemic on pets and other animals. 

You may read the interview here.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

White-Winged Crossbills at Work: How They Feed

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Behavior
Biological Evolution
Edward Hessler

In this video (2m 41s) from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology you can take an up-close look at the remarkable physical adaptations and behaviors White-winged Crossbills use to retrieve seeds hidden inside tightly closed spruce cones.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

What a Breadboard Revealed at the Minnsota State Fair 2019

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Biological Evolution
Edward Hessler

Writing in the British science journal Nature, science communicator Maggie Ryan Sandford describes her experience and what she learned when she "went to the Minnesota State Fair (in 2019) wearing a sandwich board. It said, 'Ask me anything about evolution.' Proponents of evolution assumed I was a religious zealot. Creationists assumed I was there to mock their beliefs. The biggest challenge in fighting misinformation? Just getting a conversation started.
"This public-engagement stunt taught me a crucial lesson: the key to effective science communication isn’t the science. It’s communication."

Sandford describes the three lessons she learned: don't argue, listen, take time to find out what the person's sense of order is. Her essay states that Darwin said he wasn't an atheist but doesn't add he was one step removed, an agnostic. His views on religion changed--evolved one might say. They were nuanced, too. See the Wiki entry on Darwin's religious views. Sandford's essay includes a short video (1 m 12 s).
Sandford is the author of a non-technical book on evolution--Consider the Platypus. I've not read it but some of the customer reviews make me wary. They comment about the book's sloppiness and one reader noted that there are no references. Ms. Sandford responds very weakly to the lack of citations and says nothing about the sloppiness other than to commend the writer for noting them. This troubles me. My rule of thumb is not to read a book on science that lacks citations. I couldn't find any reviews other than those on the Amazon site.

By the way, what she did at our Great Get-Together takes some guts. She put herself out there and took on all comers with grace and decency.

 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Post-Conference Interview on Twitter

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Nature of Science
Miscellaneous
Edward Hessler

Flora Graham, senior editor for the daily Nature Briefing closed the column for March 9 with a Twitter post by exercise oncology researcher Dr. Diaran Fairman who demonstrates what it would be like if academics gave-post conference interviews the way footballers do. Brilliant!

Of course Wiki has an entry on football/footballers.




Monday, March 9, 2020

Hand Washing: COVID 19

Environmental & Science Educaton
STEM
Health
Medicine
Society
Culture
Edward Hessler

It is hard to imagine that you missed this but just in case there is a person who did, this is a public health video (1 m 59 s) on handwashing during the COVID19 outbreak from the Vietnam Health Ministry will make you smile and perhaps make you wonder about our tepid response. And besides even if you've seen it, the video tickles the heart as it tries to teach us an important practice.

And you don't need to speak the language to know how you should be washing your hands!

The web is filled with videos and information sheets on COVID19 so here is one more (2 m 16 s) from New Zealand.


Sunday, March 8, 2020

Cool Down! Well, We Are.

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Nature of Science
Edward Hessler

We've cooled off. A bit.

Our normal body temperature of 98.6 F (37 C) has decreased to 97.8 F (36.6 C). 

This new estimate is reported on by Ewen Callaway  n the British science journal Nature and is based on research "led by Julie Parsonnet, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Stanford University (CA)."

The 37 C figure was determined by German physician Carl Wunderlich...in 1851. The Parsonnet team "looked at three data sets--900 temperatures taken between 1862 and 1930 from American Civil War veterans, and hundred of thousands of measurements collected in the 1970s and between 2007 and 2017. ... Overall, temperatures dropped by 0.03 C per decade."

Parsonnet suggests that the cause is "lower rates of long-term infections, "which can elevate body temperatures." Epidemiologist Jill Waalen of the Scripps Research Translational Institute (La Jolla, CA) who was not involved in the research finds the research "'intriguing and plausible'" but notes that "none of the measurements the researchers used came from the period beginning in the 1940s, when antibiotics were widely introduced." If there was "a marked drop in body temperatures at this time," this "would support Parsonnet's" hypothesis.

See Callaway for more information, a link to the original research paper, and a graph of the data (black men/women and white men/women).

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Tomatoes and Climate Change

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Agriculture
Sustainability
Climate Change
Global Warming
Edward Hessler

The recent fires in the Australian bush introduced many of us to a new concept: the Indian Ocean Dipole, a key driver of Australia's climate.

What in the world does it have to do with tomatoes?  This short (2 m 39 s) BBC video tells us about the connection in East Africa, where prices of this important cooking staple are increasing.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Read and Weep, No Scream

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Health
Medicine
Society
Edward Hessler

Teresa Hanafin is a reporter for the Boston Globe who writes a wonderful, not-to-be-missed newsletter called Fast Forward, four days a week (Tu-F).

She has been writing about COVID-19. Today, March 6 she included a letter from a nurse about her inability to get tested. A nurse. Let that sink in. It is a story about one of the problems of living in a bureaucratic society where the left and right hands are at odds with one another.

Meanwhile, a nurse in northern California who is quarantined because she cared for a patient who tested positive issued a remarkable statement about her inability to get tested, a reflection of the federal government's fluctuating policy on testing and inability to get enough tests out across the country.

Her statement:


As a nurse, I'm very concerned that not enough is being done to stop the spread of the coronavirus. I know because I am currently sick and in quarantine after caring for a patient who tested positive. I'm awaiting "permission" from the federal government to allow for my testing, even after my physician and county health professional ordered it.

I volunteered to be on the care team for this patient, who we knew was positive. I did this because I had all the recommended protective gear and training from my employer. I did this assuming that if something happened to me, of course I too would be cared for. Then, what was a small concern after a few days of caring for this patient, became my reality:

I started getting sick.

When employee health told me that my fever and other symptoms fit the criteria for potential coronavirus, I was put on a 14-day self-quarantine. Since the criteria was met, the testing would be done. My doctor ordered the test through the county.

The public county officer called me and verified my symptoms and agreed with testing. But the National CDC would not initiate testing. They said they would not test me because if I were wearing the recommended protective equipment, then I wouldn't have the coronavirus.

What kind of science-based answer is that? What a ridiculous and uneducated response from the department that is in charge of our health in this country.

Later, they called back, and now it's an issue with something called the "identifier number." They claim they prioritize running samples by illness severity and that there are only so many to give out each day. So I have to wait in line to find out the results.

This is not the ticket dispenser at the deli counter; it's a public health emergency! I am a registered nurse, and I need to know if I am positive before going back to caring for patients.

I am appalled at the level of bureaucracy that's preventing nurses from getting tested. That is a health care decision my doctor and my county health department agree with. Delaying this test puts the whole community at risk.

I have the backing of my union. Nurses aren't going to stand by and let this testing delay continue; we are going to stand together to make sure we can protect our patients -- by being protected ourselves.


Material Added After Posting. Chris Hayes (MSNBC All In) has a short segment (2m52s) on this with the Executive Director of the National Nurses United for which see here.

Friday Poem

Environmental & Science Education
Poetry
Art and Environment
Edward Hessler

Friday March 6, 2020

In merry old St. Paul sunrise is at 6:40 am and sunset at 6:07.

In two days we spring forward and six days ago March 1, meterorological spring started. Astronomical spring, the Vernal Equinox is a-coming and it is early this year (19th March), the earliest in 100 years.

From Nautilus Poetry in Science, a poem by Sylvia Plath and a discussion of the poem by microbial ecologist Serita Frey.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Science Related Travel: A Scientist Reports

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Sustainability
Climate Change
Global Warming
Edward Hessler

Professor Gabriel Waksman has set up a native-tree-planting program to offset the carbon emissions of travel associated with his career as a biologist. Academics, scientists and even people attending the same conference can contribute to themed groves in the highlands of Scotland.

Waksman reports on his transistion from a conference traveller to conference traveller + tree planter in a career column for the scientific journal Nature. 

"Governmental actions will be crucial in solving the problem of climate change, but individual responsibility has a major part to play. ...

"There are many possible approaches, but I was especially drawn to native tree planting. Carbon needs to be withdrawn from the atmosphere and I like the idea of coupling carbon Fixing with reconnecting to a wonder of nature such as a native woodland."

To realize this ambition Waksman has set up a charity, All Things Small and Green, where "there is a website for the calculation of your carbon emissions in tonnes*, and work out how many native trees you need to plant to offset those, using a simple formula.

All Things Small and Green is dedicated to funding carbon mitigation projects that aim to restore native forest habitats.

*The tonne is a metric measurement and is equal to 1000 kg. A North American ton is equal to ~907 kg.