Obama Points To Disappearing Alaskan Glacier As Powerful Sign Of Climate Change

SEWARD, Alaska (Reuters) – President Barack Obama walked down a winding wooded path past a small brown post marked “1926,” past a glacial stream trickling over gravel that eons of ice have scraped off mountain peaks.

He reached another post reading “1951” – a marker for the edge of Alaska’s Exit Glacier that year – and gazed up toward where the rock-rutted ice mass has since receded, a quarter-mile away.

“This is as good a signpost of what we’re dealing with on climate change as just about anything,” Obama told reporters waiting at the base of the glacier.

It was the signature moment of Obama’s trek to Alaska, aimed at making the world pay heed to how much damage rising seas have already caused, and demand their leaders reach a deal in Paris in December to curb climate-changing carbon emissions.

Last year alone, the Exit Glacier melted and retreated 187 feet (57 meters) toward the Harding ice field, which itself has lost 10 percent of its mass since 1950, mainly due to climate change.

“It’s spectacular,” Obama said, casting a glance over his shoulder and pausing, as the cameras clicked. “We want to make sure that our own grandkids can see this.”

Obama has announced a few new initiatives during his trip. He renamed North American’s highest peak, Mount McKinley, as Denali in a nod to the wishes of native Alaskans, and said he would press forward on building badly needed ice breakers.

But the White House rolled out Obama’s biggest climate initiative months ago – tough new rules to curb carbon emissions from power plants.

The main purpose of the Alaska journey is to create powerful images the White House will use to engage Americans on the issue.

Obama on Tuesday taped an episode of NBC survival television show “Running Wild with Bear Grylls,” set to air later this year.

His three-day visit seemed to delight Alaskans, who lined streets for his motorcade and packed into local coffee shops where he stopped to shake hands.

“We get to showcase our piece of paradise to the president of the United States, and that means a lot to us as it would any town,” said Jean Bardarson, mayor of Seward, near Exit Glacier.

Obama was to complete his tour on Wednesday with a stop in the salmon fishing center of Dillingham and then fly north of the Arctic Circle to the small town of Kotzebue. 

(Additional reporting by Steve Quinn in Juneau, Alaska; Editing by Andrew Hay and Lisa Shumaker)

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New international standards needed to manage ocean noise

As governments and industries expand their use of high-decibel seismic surveys to explore the ocean bottom for resources, experts from eight universities or organizations say new global standards and mitigation strategies are needed to minimize the amount of sound the surveys produce and reduce risks posed to vulnerable marine life, especially in formerly unexploited areas such as the Arctic Ocean and US Atlantic coast now targeted for exploration.

from Top Environment News — ScienceDaily http://ift.tt/1NLZUGy

Oxygen oasis in Antarctic lake reflects Earth in distant past

At the bottom of a frigid Antarctic lake, a thin layer of green slime is generating a little oasis of oxygen, a team of researchers has found. It’s the first modern replica discovered of conditions on Earth two and a half billion years ago, before oxygen became common in the atmosphere.

from Top Environment News — ScienceDaily http://ift.tt/1PKfAI7

Six Landmarks Ready For The Denali Treatment

President Barack Obama restored the Athabascan name, Denali, to the highest peak in North America on Sunday. The name, which means “high one” or “great one,” replaces that of former President William McKinley, who never even saw the place.

But what if the president used his executive power to restore the indigenous names of other monuments, parks and places?

Here are six places across the country ready to get the Denali treatment.

Devil’s Tower

Matȟó Thípila, “Bear Lodge” (Lakota) 

The name for Devil’s Tower, a monolithic rock formation in northeastern Wyoming created by millions of years of volcanic activity and erosion, comes from a mistranslation of “Bad God’s Tower,” which a scout serving under Lt. Col. Richard Irving Dodge erroneously bestowed on the monument in 1875. The name has been a subject of controversy ever since, as the monolith figures prominently in the cultural and spiritual beliefs of many indigenous nations on the plains, including the Lakota, Arapaho, Crow, Cheyenne, Kiowa and Shoshone.

Lakota medicine man Arvol Looking Horse is leading a push to rename Devil’s Tower “Bear Lodge,” which is an accurate translation of the cliff’s Lakota name, Matȟó Thípila. Looking Horse says the current name is offensive “because it equates cultural and faith traditions practiced at this site to ‘devil worship,’ in essence equating indigenous people to ‘devils.'”


Ahwahnee, “Gaping Mouth-Like Place” (Ahwahneechee Paiute)

While in pursuit of the Ahwahneechee in 1851, a battalion of California soldiers became the first European-Americans to set foot in the region. The battalion renamed the valley Yosemite, borrowing the Miwok term for the Ahwahneechee, yohhe’meti, which means “they are killers.” That would later become the name of the national park when it was created in 1890.

But the Ahwahneechee knew their homeland as Ahwahnee, which means “Gaping Mouth-like Place.” The last of the Ahwahneechee were evicted from the area in 1969, and their homes were burned down in a firefighting drill.

Grand Canyon

Havasu, “Blue-Green Water” (Havasupai) 

The Havasupai tribe once claimed a vast territory surrounding the Grand Canyon, but now live on a small reservation in Havasu Canyon, on the south side of the Colorado River, completely surrounded by the park. They call themselves the “people of the blue-green waters,” after the spectacular streams and waterfalls in their homeland. The name of Havasu Creek is taken from their language.

Spanish explorer García López de Coronado “discovered” the Gran Cañón, or Grand Canyon, in 1540, while under orders from conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado to find the mythical Siete Ciudades de Cíbola, or Seven Cities of Gold. President Theodore Roosevelt later designated the canyon a national monument in 1908, and it became a national park in 1919.

Mount St. Helens

Lawetlat’la, ”The Smoker” (Cowlitz)

Explorer George Vancouver named Mount St. Helens after his friend, Baron St. Helens, in 1792. Mount St. Helens is central to the oral history of the Cowlitz and Yakama nations in Washington state. The Cowlitz name for the mountain is Lawetlat’la, which translates as “The Smoker,” and derives from the mountain’s volcanic nature. The mountain violently erupted in 1980.

Mount Rainier

Tahoma, “Ice-Capped Mountain” (Puyallup)

George Vancouver named Mount Rainier after another friend, Admiral Peter Rainier, who fought for the British against the Americans in the Revolutionary War. The mountain is just 54 miles southeast of Seattle, and can be seen from the Seattle metropolitan area. The Puyallup called the mountain Tahoma, which is almost identical to Seattle’s neighboring city of Tacoma. The name roughly translates to “ice-capped mountain” in their language.

Harney Peak

Hinhan Kaga, “Making of Owls,” or He Winchinchala Sakowin Hocokata”Center of the Seven Sister Mountains” (Lakota)

Harney Peak, in South Dakota’s Black Hills, is the tallest point east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States. It is named after Army Gen. William S. Harney, who led a massacre of Lakota women and children in 1855. The Oglala Lakota in South Dakota are currently working on a proposal to change the name of the peak.

Some Lakota call the peak Hinhan Kaga, which means “Making of Owls,” but other oral historians say that the proper name is He Winchinchala Sakowin Hocokata, which translates as “Center of the Seven Sister Mountains.”

In addition, the Lakota people won a settlement from the Supreme Court, now worth $1.3 billion, for land in their sacred Black Hills that was illegally stolen by American settlers. The Lakota have refused the money, asserting that “the Black Hills are not for sale.

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Brazilian wasp venom kills cancer cells by opening them up

The social wasp Polybia paulista protects itself against predators by producing venom known to contain a powerful cancer-fighting ingredient. A new study reveals exactly how the venom’s toxin — called MP1 (Polybia-MP1) — selectively kills cancer cells without harming normal cells. MP1 interacts with lipids that are abnormally distributed on the surface of cancer cells, creating gaping holes that allow molecules crucial for cell function to leak out.

from Top Environment News — ScienceDaily http://ift.tt/1N8q1HP

Deaf Dog Took A Bullet For His Owner… And Now He’s Homeless

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes — including canine. A dog named Kiko took a bullet for his owner, lost his home and is now looking for his second chance.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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