4-H’ers Participate in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Projects

4hnewsheader…from 4-H News

“In July, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) invited the National 4-H GIS Leadership Team and EquipoGIS, an international youth group, to conduct geographic information system (GIS)-based service projects for the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The results of their projects were presented at ESRI’s Education User Conference in San Diego, California.

“The first project was conducted at Gunpowder Point, an area that was once the site of the Hercules Powder Company Plant, where kelp was processed into acetone that was used to make cordite, a smokeless gunpowder used by the British during World War I.”

New Analysis Brings Dire Forecast of 6.3-Degree Temperature Increase

washingtonpost…from the Washington Post

“Climate researchers now predict the planet will warm by 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century even if the world’s leaders fulfill their most ambitious climate pledges, a much faster and broader scale of change than forecast just two years ago, according to a report released Thursday by the United Nations Environment Program.

“The new overview of global warming research, aimed at marshaling political support for a new international climate pact by the end of the year, highlights the extent to which recent scientific assessments have outstripped the predictions issued by the Nobel Prize-winning U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007.”

GIS Maps of Plastic Density in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre

Gyre_Count_Density_1999-2008_001“Since 1999 Algalita has been collecting data on plastic pollution in the NPSG. Originally Algalita suspected the “Eastern Garbage Patch” as the area of highest debris accumulation. As more data is collected we are discovering that the boundaries of the original Eastern Garbage Patch are likely an underestimation of the prevalence of plastic pollution in the NPSG. It is important to note that not one sample collected during any of our 6 research expeditions has been free of plastic!

“In attempt to understand the scope of the plastic pollution, the ORV Alguita has both resampled the same locations within the NPSG and extended our sample range. By resampling the same area we can compare the repeated sample locations to try and figure out the rate of plastic accumulation in the area. By extending our sample range we are gaining a better perspective on the pervasiveness of this problem.”

The Crisis of Academic Urban Planning

newgeography…from NewGeography.com

“A wide gulf has opened up between mainstream Australian values and the prescriptions of our urban planning academics. So much so that the latter are at risk of degenerating into a cult. While it’s usually unfair to criticise a group in generalised terms, there are ample grounds in this case. Anyone who doubts the existence of an urban planning “establishment” in and around the Australian university system, and that it’s in thrall to ultra-green groupthink, should revisit some recent correspondence to our newspapers.

“A perfect example appeared in the Australian Financial Review of 31 July 2009. On that day, the paper carried a joint missive penned by no less than eight leading-lights from various urban and planning related faculties, along with two others from like-minded institutions.”

Map of the Day: Influences of Land-Use Change on Water Fluxes in the Xilin River Catchment, Inner Mongolia

…from the ESRI Map Book, Volume 24

Click to Enlarge Xilin River Catchment

“Asian, and especially Chinese, grassland ecosystems are threatened by desertification since population and stocking rates have been growing rapidly in recent decades. This study intended to find an appropriate land use within the Xilin River watershed in Inner Mongolia, China, to sustain the ecological balance and secure peoples’ lives.

“Normative land-use scenarios were created to predict the influence of different land-use changes in the water cycle in the Xilin River basin. One scenario assumed that environmental protection will increase and another assumed that agricultural production will rise to a maximum. Scenarios were analyzed with the SWAT model (Soil and Water Assessment Tool, U.S. Department of Agriculture) and ArcGIS Desktop 9.2.

“The map shows the current land use of the Xilin river basin under different grazing intensities. As heaviest degradation is occurring around farms and villages, different grazing intensities were delineated by buffering rural settlements (1 km buffer threshold). In the next step, this map was joined with the current land-use map derived from Landsat 5 to produce the final land-use distribution. The current land use of the watershed was modeled with SWAT. The results were used to compare results from the other scenarios. The map was generated from data compiled by the MAGIM project (matter fluxes in grasslands of Inner Mongolia as influenced by stocking rate) funded by the German Research Foundation.

“Courtesy of Johanna Schäfer.”

Clinton Global Initiative, ESRI, NAVTEQ Commit Resources to Meet Climate Change Challenge

clinton…from Environment News Service

“A multi-billion dollar outpouring of generosity marked the fifth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative last week in New York. CGI members committed themselves to work toward solutions in four global challenge areas – energy and climate change, education, global health, and economic empowerment.

“2009 Clinton Global Initiative environmental commitments include:

  • “ESRI and NAVTEQ, in partnership with the City of San Francisco, commit to implement a pilot program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from specific municipal vehicle fleets, and mobile work force vehicles in the city and county of San Francisco. By using fleet route optimization software, city workers will locate routes that minimize fuel consumption.”

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Quote of the Day

“Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.  In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly.  A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government . . . The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present–and is gravely to be regarded.  Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

–U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his Farewell Address to the Nation, 17 January 1961