The Environment
A Middletown Thrall Library Blog

News, reports, information, advisories, and other
environmental resources online and in the library.

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United Nations Climate Change Summit 2014

September 24, 2014

On September 23, 2014, the United Nations hosted their Climate Change Summit.

The summit was intended to "engage leaders and advance climate action and ambition" with the hopes of the Summit serving "as a public platform for leaders at the highest level - all UN Member States, as well as finance, business, civil society and local leaders from public and private sectors." (source)

For more about the UN Climate Change Summit 2014 and related news:
Comments? or Questions?


Clean Power Plan

July 17, 2014

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a new plan to reduce carbon pollution generated by power plants.

"On June 2, 2014, EPA proposed a commonsense plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants. States, cities and businesses across the country are already taking action to address the risks of climate change. EPA's proposal builds on those actions and is flexible - reflecting that different states have a different mix of sources and opportunities, and reflecting the important role of states as full partners with the federal government in cutting pollution. This proposal will maintain an affordable, reliable energy system, while cutting pollution and protecting our health and environment now and for future generations." (source)

You can learn more about the EPA's plan and related topics through these links:
Comments? or Questions?


National Climate Assessment

May 7, 2014

The National Climate Assessment, a new report concerning "the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future," is now available online at this link.

The report is said to have involved over "300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee... reviewed by the public and experts, including federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences."

In related news, President Obama recently announced "a series of executive actions to reduce carbon pollution, prepare the U.S. for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to address global climate change."

You can explore this new initiative at WhiteHouse.gov:
For further exploration...
Comments? or Questions?


Climate Assessment Report

April 2, 2014

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently accepted and formally published their "Fifth Assessment Report": The report "consists of the full scientific and technical assessment undertaken by Working Group II" and is "the second volume of a four-part assessment by the IPCC."

IPCC states the report was created by "243 lead authors and 66 review editors from 70 countries, and 436 additional contributing authors from 54 countries" and is said to cite over "12,000 scientific references."

For more information on the IPCC and its recent findings:
Comments? or Questions?


President Obama on Climate Change

June 25, 2013

President Obama delivered a speech today at Georgetown University.

His speech focused on the global challenges of climate change.

Here is an excerpt:

"...scientists had known since the 1800s that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide trap heat, and that burning fossil fuels release those gases into the air. That wasn't news. But in the late 1950s, the National Weather Service began measuring the levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, with the worry that rising levels might someday disrupt the fragile balance that makes our planet so hospitable. And what they've found, year after year, is that the levels of carbon pollution in our atmosphere have increased dramatically.

That science, accumulated and reviewed over decades, tells us that our planet is changing in ways that will have profound impacts on all of humankind." (source)


In the course of his speech, the President also introduced a new national climate action plan.

You can learn more about President Obama's proposal and related topics through the following links via WhiteHouse.gov:



See also:
Comments? or Questions?


Climate Temperature Study

January 16, 2013

NASA has published a new study on climate temperature changes:

NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, which monitors global surface temperatures on an ongoing basis, released an updated analysis Tuesday that compares temperatures around the globe in 2012 to the average global temperature from the mid-20th century. The comparison shows how Earth continues to experience warmer temperatures than several decades ago. (source)


For more about on this study:
For books, reports, and videos, please explore these links to the library system catalog:
For additional online resources, please consider:
Comments? or Questions?


Regional Farmers & Food

July 21, 2012

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) established "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" as a way to "coordinate, share resources, and publicize USDA efforts related to local and regional food systems." (source).

The USDA just updated this service:

"Updated in July 2012, the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food map shows you the local foods landscape in your community and around the country. Data includes USDA-supported local food projects, farmers markets, food hubs, meat processors and more! Now fully searchable." (source)


Topics in this service include:
Please click here to access Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food.
Comments? or Questions?


State of the Oceans

June 21, 2011

The summary of a new report concerning the world's oceans was just published by International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO).

IPSO describes their findings as follows:

"The 27 participants from 18 organisations in 6 countries produced a grave assessment of current threats - and a stark conclusion about future risks to marine and human life if the current trajectory of damage continues: that the world's ocean is at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history." (source)


Two versions of the report are available online (in Adobe Reader PDF format):
IPSO also provides several case studies (all in PDF format):
IPSO indicates its full report be available in the future.

For more information on IPSO's report, please see these links:

For more information about oceans and oceanography, please consider these additional links:
Comments? or Questions?


MyEnvironment Is Yours!

December 15, 2010

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers a free online service called MyEnvironment, which is "designed to provide a cross-section of environmental information based on the user's location."

After you reach their website, enter an address, ZIP code, city, or the name of a known place, you can view whatever information the EPA has on file for that location.

Information provided in "MyEnvironment" reports include:
You can click here to learn more on how to use MyEnvironment or here to access the main MyEnvironment search page.
Comments? or Questions?


Understanding Ecosystems

December 1, 2010

"Ecosystem" - it's a word often mentioned during environmental discussions, but what does it actually mean?

Here's how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines the term:

"An ecosystem is defined as place having unique physical features, encompassing air, water, and land, and habitats supporting plant and animal life." (source)


More generally, ecosystems are areas where one or more groups of living things tend to exist.

"Biomes," "biotic communities," and "ecological communities" are also terms used to describe ecosystems.

Numerous organisms (be they plants, animals, fish, or insects) can often occupy a specific region (habitats) and dwell there in a mutually beneficial relationship (a "symbiosis").

Most ecosystems rely on very specific criteria, such as temperature ranges, chemical composition, the presence of one or more specific plants or creatures, and more. This is why ecosystems can be quite fragile, susceptible to natural phenomena (e.g. weather) and cycles (e.g. seasons) as well as human-induced changes or industrial pollution.

Understanding and respecting the fragility of ecosystems is a key factor in becoming more a environmentally mindful individual, organization, or company. Indeed, if one is truly to "go green," potential environmental impacts on ecosystems should be considered prior to any final decisions.

Recent topics in the news such as the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Hydraulic Fracturing remind us how humankind's constant need for energy can unintentionally jeopardize entire ecosystems and the surrounding creatures, plants, and person relying on those ecosystems remaining healthy.

To learn more about ecosystems and habitats, please check out these links:
You can also click here to view Thrall / RCLS library system items about ecosystems.
Comments? or Questions?


Hydraulic Fracturing?

September 21, 2010

Talk of "hydraulic fracturing" and "fracking" has been in the news a lot lately.

What is all that about?

To give you a chance to explore the topic in a calm and organized way and learn why there are such vigorous voices on either side of the debate, we have updated our Special Coverage Center with information and Internet resources on the topic of hydraulic fracturing.
Comments? or Questions?


World Oceans Day

June 8, 2010

With all the recent setbacks and troubling images arising from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the fact that, as designated by the United Nations, June 8th is "World Oceans Day" might easily be missed amidst all the heartbreaking headlines. Indeed, the situation in the Gulf is unprecedented and yet unresolved.

Consequently, this is perhaps less of a day of celebration and more of a day of observation, education, and appreciation.

As creatures wash ashore helplessly, stuck or still, and as entire ways of life in and beyond the Gulf region are impacted by the events, we are reminded how, as majestic and mighty the oceans are, they are neither immortal nor impervious to pollution, nor do such pollutants simply sink to the bottom of the sea or float away beyond the horizon, forever forgotten.

Our oceans assert, in their own deep and powerful voices, just how physically interconnected the world has always been: considered from this perspective, the oceans connect, not separate, continents and people, past and future. Happenings over many days and great distances are carried by currents, waves, wind, evaporation, rain. Energies from earthquakes can often ripple outward, into the seas, provoking tsunamis.

The oceans can teach us many things. Among some of their most recent lessons in the Gulf are these considerations:
The oceans represent far more than the raw forces of nature. Earth's oceans host some of the most amazing sights humankind has ever witnessed, from underwater mountains to bioluminescent creatures who dwell where no sunlight comes yet are resourceful enough to illuminate themselves to communicate with each other or ward off prey. New organisms are being found all the time, and many discoveries are yet to be made.

While humans have explored land masses many times over, even from space, the oceans still remain largely unexplored and incompletely understood. Satellite pictures only show so much, not nearly a big enough picture of how things in and around oceans often exist within a delicate balance of factors.

From space, Earth's oceans distinguish the rarity of our planet from the remainder of our solar system. They constitute Earth's most dominant feature: the beautifully blue hues of a world hospitable to all of life as we know it, even as searches for Earthlike planets advance and inspire many of us to reflect back on our own world with renewed interest and concern.

Here are some resources to help you learn and appreciate more about Earth's oceans and water:
Comments? or Questions?


Happy Earth Day 2010!

April 22, 2010

Earth Day is a national day of heightened environmental awareness and appreciation for our planet, including its oceans and lifeforms.

As the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), NASA's Kepler Mission, and other studies of possible life beyond Earth dramatically demonstrated so far, we Earthlings are quite priveleged to occupy such a rare and beautiful world!

Majestic images from the Hubble Space Telescope also remind us the universe is a vast and amazing expanse of possibilities. The prospect of discovering new planets (known as "exoplanets"), be they alien, Earthlike, or so-called "Super Earths," excites and inspires many scientists and astronomy enthusiasts. Such ideas also teach us about our own world and its delicate place in space.

Astronomer Carl Sagan famously described Earth as "a pale blue dot," reminding us how, even when viewed from within our own solar system, our humble planet fades quickly against the void of the greater cosmos.

As we return our attention toward planet Earth, we can see there is much to celebrate and be grateful for on this Earth Day (or any day), and yet there is also much to be reconsidered with regards to persistent issues such as pollution, drinking water, and natural resources.

To help you get into the spirit of Earth Day and to increase your environmental awareness, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established an Earth Day website. There you will find free tips, videos, and more thematic materials for students, teachers, and everyone else.

The White House also has an Earth Day website, as does NASA, the Library of Congress, among other federal and state governmental agencies including New York States's own Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

For additional information on Earth, the environment, and related Internet or library resources, we invite you to explore these links:
Comments? or Questions?


Biodiversity

March 15, 2010

Biodiversity: it's a word invoked regularly during environmental discussions and debates, but what does it mean?

From the prefix (bio-) we know the word as something to do with life while the "diversity" part clearly suggests variety, as in biological diversity.

As a result, we might try to define the word as "variety of life," but that would be insufficient: biodiversity means more than "different organisms."

When considered in its totality, biodiversity speaks of a richness and complexity of all things alive, existences past, present, and future, all of which continue or decline based upon an interconnected web of biological conditions: habitats, ecosystems, genetics, natural occurrences and resources, climatic variations, pollution, hereditary and other issues, as well as ongoing conservation challenges and efforts.

Throughout nature there are symbiotic relationships, where one organism's actions (or simply its existence) can benefit other living things (or contribute to the very things making their own lives possible).

As we contemplate this, we are reminded, if not humbled: however independent and masterful us humans might allow ourselves to feel, we all still incredibly dependent on a world of natural resources, environmental phenomena, and biological processes carried out across the globe.

Comprehending and responding to this ever-changing situation presents numerous challenges for environmental scientists and the rest of us, especially as diverging opinions and inconclusive studies continue to emerge and yield new observations or questions concerning the environment and humanity's potential impacts on the world.

A number of resources dealing with conservation and biodiversity factors and issues can be found in Thrall's own Going Green: Sustainable Living and Development information guide.

For more specific resources dealing with biodiversity and related topics, check out these sites:
For books, DVDs, and additional information...

Biodiversity & Conservation Resources in the Library Catalog: You can click any of the above subject headings to explore items available in the library system.
Comments? or Questions?


Copenhagen Climate Change Conference

December 21, 2009

Information concerning the recent Climate Change Conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark (AKA "COP-15") can be found in our Special Coverage: Climate Change web guide, specifically within the Government Information section.

Here you will find, among other existing U.S. Government climate change websites, links to the COP-15 website as well as recent postings from The White House (including President Obama's speech at Copenhagen).

For Republican responses to the President's speech, please see these links:
Comments? or Questions?


New Water Information Guide

October 9, 2009

Middletown Thrall Library has created a new Special Coverage Guide on all aspects of the topic of water.

Subjects in the guide include: The Water guide also contains a convenient menu of related subject headings in the library system catalog so that you can quickly and easily locate books, videos, and other materials.

Please click here to access the Water information guide.
Comments? or Questions?


Permafrost Melting

August 17, 2009

The National Science Foundation (NSF.gov) recently published an article about melting permafrost and its potential affects on the environment:

"Permafrost Could Be Climate's Ticking Time Bomb: Researchers conduct fieldwork to track permafrost melting in Alaska and gain insight about the release of carbon into the atmosphere."

These websites offer introductions to permafrost:
For more information and news, consider these sites:
Comments? or Questions?


GreenFILE Database

July 28, 2009

Ebsco is currently providing a free environmental research database called GreenFILE.

Ebsco states this database focuses "on the relationship between human beings and the environment." GreenFILE is said to contain over 600 "scholarly and general interest titles," government documents and reports, and an "6,800-term thesaurus."

You can access GreenFILE and other environmental research resources in the Environment section of our recently expanded Going Green information guide.
Comments? or Questions?


Arctic and Antarctic Ice

April 10, 2009

Images and information concerning the effects of climate change on the Arctic and Antarctic ice shelves and ice bridges have been published by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC):

For more news and information on the ice shelves and related topics, check out these links:
Comments? or Questions?


Senate Hearing on Climate Change

February 2, 2009

On Wednesday, January 28, 2009, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing on climate change. Former Vice President Al Gore addressed the Committee.

Transcripts and videos are available at the Committee's web page for this hearing: "Addressing Global Climate Change: The Road to Copenhagen".
Comments? or Questions?


NOAA Climate Change Study

February 2, 2009

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has published findings of a recent study on climate change.

You can learn more about this study ("Irreversible Climate Change Due to Carbon Dioxide Emissions") through the following links:
Comments? or Questions?


Obama Administration on Energy and the Environment

January 28, 2009

The newly renovated White House website provides some details concerning the energy and environmental agendas of President Obama's Administration.
Comments? or Questions?


Sea Levels Report

January 27, 2009

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a report concerning "the impacts of sea level rise on the coast, coastal communities, and the habitats and species that depend on them."

The EPA's press release for the report can be found at this link.

The full report can be found at this website: "Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-level Rise"
Comments? or Questions?


Climate Change Guide Updated

October 23, 2008

Our Climate Change Special Coverage guide has been revised and expanded.

Formerly filed under "Global Warming," our guide has expanded to include more information, news, research, and technologies related to climate change around the world.

In addition to major websites, we also provide direct links to related subject headings in the library catalog so you can browse materials available in our library system.

There is a new category for Students and Teachers, where you will find some introductory information about climate change as well as curriculum development materials offered from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other sources.

You will also find a directory of U.S. Government information covering all aspects of climate change, from research to policies and laws to new initiatives, consumer advisories, and technologies.

As with all our Special Coverage guides, we hope the Climate Change guide can help you locate essential information quickly while letting you pursue a more comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand so you can make better informed decisions in the future.

Whenever need more information, we are ready to help! Just contact Reference or use our Ask a Librarian service on the web.
Comments? or Questions?


World Database on Protected Areas

October 15, 2008

The United Nations Environment Programme, World Conservation Monitoring Centre has announced the redesign and relaunch of its "World Database on Protected Areas" (WDPA).

Maps and "associated data on the world's protected areas" are contained in the database, which is also now integrated with Google Earth.

You can read more about the new database in the UN's press release (PDF file: view with Adobe Reader)

You can access the new WDPA website by clicking here.

The UN's World Conservation Monitoring Centre website provides additional information on its "Protected Areas Worldwide" page.
Comments? or Questions?


Energy Awareness Month 2008

October 3, 2008

October is "Energy Awareness Month," and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) offers federal agency and public awareness resources in support of this theme.

The theme for 2008 focuses on the future of American energy with an emphasis on "clean energy solutions."

Among the resources you will find at their Energy Awareness website is the Energy Savers Consumers Guide.

A document called "Working to Secure a Clean Energy Future", which they say "encourages everyone to work together to make wise energy choices," is also available (PDF format: view with the Adobe Reader).

For more information on this theme, you can read their press release: "Energy Awareness Month 2008: Working to Secure A Clean Energy Future" or visit some of their other related web pages:
Comments? or Questions?


Tips to Help the Environment, Your Wallet

August 11, 2008

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has published a concise list of suggestions for consumers interested in saving some money at the gas pump while reducing their environmental impacts:

Please click here to access the DEC's "Gas Saving Tips to Help the Environment and Your Wallet" website.
Comments? or Questions?


Businesses & Climate Change

June 23, 2008

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a new guide "for businesses committed to addressing the risks and opportunities associated with climate change."

EPA describes the guide as featuring "profiles on 35 EPA climate-change related partnership programs, as well as a handy table so companies can look up programs most appropriate for their industry and business objectives."

Other factors the guide addresses are: cost savings, operational efficiency, business risks, new or expanding markets, business reputations and brand protection.

You can read more about their new guide at their press release page: "New EPA Guide to Help Businesses Confront Climate Challenge"

The guide itself can be viewed at this link (in the Adobe Reader PDF format).
Comments? or Questions?


U.S. Climate Change Report

June 2, 2008

The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) and U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) announced a new report concerning the effects of climate change on the United States.

The report's press release describes the publication as follows:

"Analyzing current and future trends in climate for the United States, the report assesses the present understanding of the impacts of climate change on key sectors of the Nation, such as water resources, transportation, agriculture, ecosystems, and human health."

The report and related documents are currently available at ClimateScience.gov:
Comments? or Questions?


China Earthquake Information

May 15, 2008

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has updated their Earthquake pages to include information about the recent earthquake activity in China.

The USGS' China Earthquake Information page includes the following sections: Learning from Earthquakes: China, China Seismological Bureau (Chinese), China Digital Seismograph Network (Chinese), Seismological Society of China, Hong Kong Observatory, Political Map of China, Notable Earthquakes, Historic and Recent Earthquakes in China.

You can click here for some of the most recent headlines reported by Google News on this topic.

China's main government website also currently has information and updates on the situation.

Wikipedia also has some details and links to various news networks reporting on the earthquake in the Sichuan province. As always, please note Wikipedia's disclaimers!

For more information about earthquakes, see also this recent blog post.
Comments? or Questions?


All About Earthquakes

May 5, 2008

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) maintains an informative guide to the phenomenon of earthquakes.

From "Earthquake Facts" to animations, photos, a "Visual Earthquake Glossary", and "Today in Earthquake History," the USGS website has much to offer anyone curious about earthquakes.

There are also special sections for students, teachers, and children, as well as links to USGS publications and public awareness materials addressing safety and emergency response issues related to earthquake events.

You can click here for current and recent maps of earthquake activity reported around the world via the USGS website.

For books and videos about earthquakes, you can click here to browse what's available in the library catalog.
Comments? or Questions?


National Environmental Education Week

March 26, 2008

The U.S. National Environmental Education Foundation is offering a wealth of information about the upcoming National Environmental Education Week, which, as reported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), runs this year from April 13 to April 18, 2008.

At the "National Environmental Education Week" website you will find a variety of information, visuals, and news for all ages and grade levels. There are sections for teachers, for students, and everyone else.

The EPA offers environmental education resources.

You can also click here to browse some of the many environmental education resources in the library catalog.
Comments? or Questions?


Environmental Health Perspectives

February 9, 2008

At the library we purchase and subscribe to a number of different environmental resources to help you learn more about certain issues affecting you and your world as well as to help you make better decisions.

One such publication is Environmental Health Perspectives, which is described by its publisher as follows:

"[EHP] is a monthly journal of peer-reviewed research and news on the impact of the environment on human health. EHP is published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and its content is free online."

Current issues of EHP are available in print at the library, and we retain issues from the previous four years.

You can also click here to browse other items in the library catalog that relate to environmental health issues.
Comments? or Questions?


Drought.gov

November 14, 2007

Drought.gov is a new website that centralizes government information concerning drought conditions in the United States. The official description from Drought.gov reads as follows:

"The U.S. Drought Portal was officially launched on November 1, 2007. It was created to provide comprehensive information on emerging and ongoing droughts, and to enhance the nation's drought preparedness. The Drought Portal is part of the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), which was recommended by the Western Governors Association in 2004 and enacted into law in 2006."

For more information on this topic, check out our earlier blog post from October.
Comments? or Questions?


Going Green Guide

November 8, 2007

Middletown Thrall Library has created an Internet resource guide called "Going Green" that highlights websites and library system materials relating to sustainable living and development.

Included in this guide are such topics as alternative energy sources, ecofriendly building and engineering, organic food, home improvements, pollution and waste reduction, conservation, recycling, reducing your "carbon footprint," finding green products, and related technologies.

Click here to access our Going Green guide.
Comments? or Questions?


Drought Information Center

October 27, 2007

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) maintains a website called Drought Information Center.

Current and Background Information categories include such subheadings as: Drought Assessment, Soil Moisture Monitoring, U.S. Drought Monitor, U.S. Statewide/Regional Moisture Status, Animated Indicator Maps, Monthly Standardized Precipitation Index, Hazards Assessment, Palmer Drought Severity Index, Drought Calculator, Current Monthly State of the Climate Report, Crop Moisture Index, Hydrologic Information Center, All About Droughts, All About Heat Waves, Billion Dollar Weather Disasters, Climate Monitoring, State Climate Offices, Extreme Climate and Weather Events, U.S. and Global Climate Perspectives, NOAA Climate Portal.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) offers related information on its U.S. Water Resources and WaterWatch pages.

NASA's own Earth Observatory website offers some additional background and historical information about drought conditions in the United States.

Some books about droughts are also available in the library catalog.
Comments? or Questions?


GEO-4 UN Assessment

October 26, 2007

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released an environmental assessment called GEO-4 as part of their Global Environment Outlook efforts.

The U.N. describes the report as "a comprehensive and authoritative UN report on environment, development and human well-being, providing incisive analysis and information for decision making."

In the press release, The United Nations Environment Programme states, "...major threats to the planet such as climate change, the rate of extinction of species, and the challenge of feeding a growing population are among the many that remain unresolved, and all of them put humanity at risk."

Press releases, media briefs, executive summaries, fact sheets, graphics and photos, videos, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages, Decision Maker's Summary, brochures, as well as the complete GEO-4 report can be downloaded from the GEO-4 media page in a variety of languages.

Most of the information at their website is in the PDF format, so you will need a PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader to be able to download and read those documents.
Comments? or Questions?


California Fires

October 25, 2007

Information concerning the recent fires in southern California can be found at the following government websites:
Comments? or Questions?


Hurricane Studies

August 2, 2007

Scientists at National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Georgia Institute of Technology have released findings from a recent study of how frequent hurricanes have formed over the years: "Frequency of Atlantic Hurricanes Doubled Over Last Century; Climate Change Suspected" (press release also available at this website).

For more information about hurricanes, how they form, behave, and are impacted by various factors, check out these other possibilities:
Comments? or Questions?


Northeast Climate Impacts Study

August 1, 2007

A new report has been issued by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS): "Confronting Climate Change in the U.S. Northeast: Climate, Impacts, and Solutions" (PDF format, Adobe Reader required). A two page overview of the assessment (also in PDF format) is available as well.

They described their study as "a collaboration between the [UCS] and a team of more than fifty independent experts to develop and communicate a new assessment of climate change, impacts on climate-sensitive sectors, and solutions in the northeastern United States."

You can read more about this study and the scientists involved at the Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (NECIA) website.
Comments? or Questions?


UV Safety

July 23, 2007

July is UV Safety Month. To help you understand the dangers of UV rays (or "UV radiation"), various health agencies in the U.S. Government have established these online resources: NASA also offers some information about the science behind UV rays:
Additional informative materials in the library system can be found under the subject headings of ultraviolet radiation - health aspects or ultraviolet radiation - safety measures.
Comments? or Questions?


Climate Connections

July 10, 2007

National Public Radio (NPR) and National Geographic are providing a series of articles exploring how humans affect and are affected by climate change: Climate Connections: How We Are Shaping Our Climate, How Climate Is Shaping Us.

Here are the links to their special websites:
Comments? or Questions?


Climate Technology Gateway

July 10, 2007

Sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (U.S.AID), the United States Climate Technology Cooperation Gateway (U.S.-CTC Gateway) is described on their About page as "an online resource about specific activities and to provide useful information and resources that can allow users to implement climate-friendly technologies and practices throughout the world."

Information at their website can be browsed, accessed by region, or searched. Some information at the site is in PDF format and requires the Adobe Reader.
Comments? or Questions?


How Clean Is Your Electricity?

June 28, 2007

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the creation of a new service to help consumers determine how their electricity usage impacts the Earth through related greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

This new service is called the Power Profiler and is described by EPA as follows:

"With just a few clicks of the mouse and a ZIP code, consumers can see how their individual energy use is affecting the Earth. EPA's Power Profiler calculates how much air pollution results from individual electricity use, the fuels used to produce that electricity and how to reduce the impact."
Comments? or Questions?


World Environment Day

June 5, 2007

Today, June 5, 2007, is World Environment Day, a day designated by the United Nations to "stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment and enhance political attention and action." This year's theme is "Melting Ice - A Hot Topic?"

Their website features photographs, activities, promotional materials, news, and more, including themes for previous years back to 1974.

To learn more about WED, click here to visit the official WED website or click here for their About page.
Comments? or Questions?


Wildlife and Global Warming

May 16, 2007

National Wildlife Federation has information on the potential impacts of climate change on wildlife around the world: "Wildlife and Global Warming"

Included at their website are excerpts (relating to wildlife) from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Reports, videos, information about bird migration, coral reefs, the Arctic region, and even hurricanes.
Comments? or Questions?


Gardener's Guide to Global Warming

May 16, 2007

National Wildlife Federation has published a Gardener's Guide to Global Warming at their website. Topics covered include "State Trees and Flowers," "Garden Zone Maps," and "America's Top NOT Wanted Plants."

NWF also provides related PDF documents (view with Adobe Reader):
Comments? or Questions?


Antarctic Melting Study

May 16, 2007

NASA has posted information from their studies of recent melting in Antartica:

"NASA Finds Vast Regions of West Antarctica Melted in Recent Past"

The study includes a high-resolution graphic detailing areas where melting occurred.

If you are interested in learning more about this region, try these links:
Comments? or Questions?


Climate Change Skeptics

May 16, 2007

The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has published a report in their blog concerning some scientists changing their minds on aspects of the topic of climate change:

"Climate Momentum Shifting - Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming, Now Skeptics: Growing Number of Scientists Convert to Skeptics After Reviewing New Research" (PDF file; Adobe Reader required. Also available in text/HTML)

Included in their report are links to related skeptics and their shifting positions on climate change.

For more about the ongoing debate of climate change, check out these links:
Comments? or Questions?


Five Years

May 16, 2007

The World Wide Fund for Nature has issued a new report on "key decisions" the conservation organization believes must be made "within the next five years" in order to minimize effects of climate change: Here is their press release: "Five Years the Key to Planet's Future"

On the top right side of that page is a link to their full report, Climate Solutions: WWF's vision for 2050 (free Adobe Reader required).
Comments? or Questions?


Deforestation Study

May 11, 2007

Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation has announced their findings after researching deforestation effects on climate change:

"Confirmed - Deforestation Plays Critical Climate Change Role"

For more information about deforestation, try these links:
Comments? or Questions?


Air Compare

May 9, 2007

The Environmental Protection Agency has established a new air quality comparison website called AirCompare.

The tool is said to provide "local air quality information to help people make informed decisions about moving, vacationing or living in different areas of the country."

Here is a link to their announcement: "New EPA Tool Helps Answer Air Quality Questions"

For more information about air quality and related information, try these links to items in our library catalog:
Comments? or Questions?


Encyclopedia of Life

May 9, 2007

The Encyclopedia of Life is a new website launched today in hopes of serving as "an online reference source and database for every one of the 1.8 million species that are named and known on this planet, as well as all those later discovered and described."

This effort, which will involve collaborating experts worldwide is still a work in progress. Publicly accessible encyclopedic content is said to be planned for "some time in 2008." For more information about this initiative, you can read their press release here.

Right now members of Middletown Thrall Library can enjoy free access to the complete Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. A print edition of the encyclopedia is also available in the library's circulating collection.
Comments? or Questions?


Seesawing Climate

May 2, 2007

The The Swedish Research Council (English version here) has announced a new study of Earth's climate, which is described as "seesawing."

Follow this link to read their press release: "The Earth's Climate Is Seesawing"

Comments? or Questions?


Climate Change Debates

April 26, 2007

Even as new reports, books, websites, and television programs explore the topics of global warming and climate change with what appears to be alarming sense of certainty capable of projecting predictions decades into the future of planet Earth, there are many scientists and skeptics who demand more evidence and testing and those who take issue with various current findings and explanations, often calling into question the nature in which certain theories and conclusions were reached.

At the heart of the debate are some larger questions pertaining to what is considered known about Earth's past and what is calculated by some to be in Earth's future. Below are some websites that can help you explore different viewpoints in these ongoing climate change debates:
If you are a member of Thrall you can also use your library card to access over 100 diverse articles on the topic of global warming and climate change in the Opposing Viewpoints database. Many more articles can be accessed through Expanded Academic ASAP and MasterFile Premiere databases.

As the climate debates demonstrate, there are still no definitive explanations and understandings, much less a consensus in the scientific community of what is actually happening in terms of climatic phenomena or what may be the true cause(s) behind those events.
Comments? or Questions?


Global Dimming

April 25, 2007

You've heard of global warming, but have you ever heard of global dimming? If not, you can read up on this interesting concept by visiting some of the links below:
Comments? or Questions?


Gardening Fact Sheets

April 23, 2007

The Department of Horticulture of Cornell Cooperative Extension has an extensive offering of Gardening Factsheets in the Gardening Resources section of their website.

Vegetables, fruit, flowers, lawn, trees, pests, and soil are some of the many subjects you'll find at their site, along with such topics as ecogardening and plant diseases.

Their collections can be browsed or searched. Also see this blog post for more gardening resources available right at Thrall.
Comments? or Questions?


National Garden Month

April 23, 2007

In support of National Garden Month, the National Agriculture Library of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published a collection of online gardening resources.

At NAL's site you can learn how to identify plants and find out what their names mean as well as learn about organic food and ask questions. You can also visit related websites elsewhere on the Internet, including National Garden Month.org, provided by the National Gardening Association, which offers a number of informative articles and related resources.

At the library we have plenty of gardening books you may find helpful for both indoor or outdoor planting. Also check out the plants, trees, and horticulture categories for more titles yet.

Our Ready Reference guide has a Gardening category you might like to check out too!
Comments? or Questions?


Ethanol Study

April 23, 2007

The Stanford Report news center from Stanford University has posted an article based on the findings of a Stanford University atmospheric scientist: "Ethanol Vehicles Pose Significant Risk to Health"
Comments? or Questions?


Sustainable Living

April 19, 2007

Our local newspaper, the Times Herald-Record, maintains an online archive of articles about sustainable living that might interest you.

"Sustainable living" has been defined in different ways over the years; it generally means to live in such a way that environmentally mindful, in a way that does not place you at odds with the environment, and in a way that does not require you to exhaust natural resources in a non-replenishable fashion. Recycling is encouraged, along with natural building materials.

There are a number of titles relating to this topic that are available in the library catalog.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) maintains a collection of sustainable development and living news and resources. At the bottom of their page, under the Resources section, click the "See all" link for their complete list.

Henry David Thoreau's book Walden is often cited an early, if not the earliest, example of sustainable living. Available both in the library and on the web as an eBook at Project Gutenberg, Walden is a celebrated classic for its patient and poetic meditations on life and nature.

For example, Thoreau wrote, "I was suddenly sensible of such sweet and beneficent society in Nature, in the very pattering of the drops, and in every sound and sight around my house, an infinite and unaccountable friendliness all at once like an atmosphere sustaining me."

As discussions concerning climate change grow to consider possible solutions to problems such as global warming, pollution, and dwindling natural resources, "sustainable living" may become a more popular and integral topic as everyone looks for ways to better harmonize work and living situations with the environment.
Comments? or Questions?


Climate Change for Kids

April 18, 2007

As part of their effort to educate people of all ages on issues of climate change, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created a "Climate Change for Kids" website that breaks down some difficult concepts into easily understood passages accompanied by illustrations and animations.

Also included are games, links to related websites, and resources for teacher.
Comments? or Questions?


Greenhouse Gases

April 18, 2007

"Greenhouse gases" get mentioned often in discussions of "climate change" and "global warming," but what are they really? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains a Greenhouse Gas Emissions page as part of their Climate Change website.

Included at their site is an overview of greenhouse gases -- what they are, where they come from, what they do -- as well as a recently published study of U.S. emissions from 1990 to 2005.

You can also try their Personal Emissions Calculator to estimate your own contribution to the greenhouse gas problem and to find possible ways to reduce harmful emissions.
There is also a "What You Can Do" section worth checking out!

In our library catalog there are books and government documents about greenhouse gases that might interest you as well.
Comments? or Questions?


Climate Change 2007

April 17, 2007

The Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change has published the "Summary for Policymakers" portion of their upcoming report on climate change: Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (Adobe PDF format).

Additional statistics, illustrations, webcasts, and news are available at their website.
Comments? or Questions?


Earth Day

April 16, 2007

Since 1970, April 22nd has been designated as "Earth Day," described by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as "a day of national environmental recognition" that has "evolved into a world-wide campaign to protect our global environment."

EPA has updated their website to include information about Earth Day, including ways to celebrate it, the history of Earth Day, environmental tips, and more. Information is also available in Spanish.
Comments? or Questions?


"Non-green Plants on Other Worlds"

April 11, 2007

NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies published an article today called "Non-green Plants on Other Worlds."

In the article NASA scientists theorize about the color of plants in solar systems beyond ours.

They also provide a link to another article: "The Color of Life, on Earth and on Extrasolar Planets"

For more related information on this subject you can visit the NASA Astrobiology Institute website as well as explore the astrobiology and extrasolar planets categories in the library catalog for related materials.

You can also visit Exoplanets.org to browse information indexed on over 200 worlds said to exist around nearby stars other than our sun.

Our Ready Reference web guide also has a great list of Astronomy and Space Exploration sites.
Comments? or Questions?


Trees: A New Study

April 10, 2007

The Carnegie Institution published an article today ("Tropical forests: Earth's Air Conditioner") to announce findings of a new study involving trees, deforestation, and varied impacts on climate change.
Comments? or Questions?


Catalogue of Life

April 9, 2007

The Integrated Taxonomic Information System website (ITIS.gov) has been updated with a report of ongoing efforts to catalog all living organisms on planet Earth.

So far there have been over one million species accounted for. The project is set to continue until 2011.

At CatalogofLife.org you can browse or search their findings so far.

The Species 2000 website is another place where information on this epic project exists.
Comments? or Questions?


Supreme Court Decision on EPA Regulating Greenhouse Gases

April 3, 2007

The U.S. Supreme Court has rendered a decision concerning Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the regulating of greenhouse gases.

Their decision at the above link is provided in the PDF format, which can be viewed using the Adobe Reader.
Comments? or Questions?


Space Weather

March 29, 2007

SpaceWeather.com offers a truly extended weather reports and forecasts that stretch out into space. Catch up on atmospheric and auroral activities, nearby asteroids, meteor showers, solar flares, sunspots, the solar wind, comets, and more.

For your convenience, a link to this site is available in our Current Interests guide in the weather section.
Comments? or Questions?


Yellowstone Supervolcano

March 28, 2007

The "supervolcano" located below Yellowstone National Park has been an area of great interest to scientists for its past, present, and potential future volcanic activities and potential eruptions.

The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory has news, answers to frequent questions, and other information regarding this site and the potential for a "supervolcanic" eruption that would, according to many experts, have global consequences.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has a fact sheet (dated 2005) concerning the region along with an extensive FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions; dated 2007).
Comments? or Questions?


Disappearing Climates

*March 28, 2007

Scientific American has an article called "100-Year Forecast: New Climate Zones Humans Have Never Seen".

Information in their article is based upon a report that will appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This link will lead to an abtract of the article. (The report may eventually become available as full text through our article databases.)

(* Post included here from an earlier listing in our Current Events guide.)
Comments? or Questions?


"Top Ten Rivers at Risk" Report

*March 28, 2007

A new report called "Top 10 Rivers at Risk" has been published by the World Wildlife Fund. The report focuses on "the world's rivers that are facing widespread degradation while millions of people depend on them for survival." Includes full report in PDF format.

(* Post included here from an earlier listing in our Current Events guide.)
Comments? or Questions?


Live Earth Concert

*March 28, 2007

Liveearth.org is the official home page of the "Live Earth Concert: The Concert for a Climate in Crisis," musical events to be held around the world to promote awareness of environmental issues related to global warming.

MSN also has a related website.

(* Post included here from an earlier listing in our Current Events guide.)
Comments? or Questions?


"Doomsday Vault" to be built

*March 28, 2007

As part of an effort to preserve world crop diversity from the effects of global warming, there is a report from Global Crop Diversity Trust of a "Svalbard International Seed Vault" (AKA "Doomsday Vault") to be constructed in Norway.

(* Post included here from an earlier listing in our Current Events guide.)
Comments? or Questions?


Arctic Summers Study

*March 28, 2007

A new study, reported by National Geographic, projects that summers in the Arctic region will be "ice free" by 2040.

(* Post included here from an earlier listing in our Current Events guide.)
Comments? or Questions?


Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee

*March 28, 2007

As reported at Speaker.gov, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the creation of a select committee on energy independence and global warming.

(* Post included here from an earlier listing in our Current Events guide.)
Comments? or Questions?





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