Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

We inspire and partner with our community to protect the natural resources and agricultural future of our District.

Empathy Conditioned Conservation: “Walking in the Shoes of Others” as a Conservation Farmer

Conservation tillage on farms can improve downstream water quality. Using a dual-interests theoretical framework guided by the metaeconomics approach, this paper examines the role of self-interest and shared other-interest in the conservation tillage adoption decision. The data is from a 2007 survey of farmers in the Blue River/Tuttle Creek watershed of Nebraska and Kansas. Logit models show that farmers who temper their pursuit of self-interest with shared other-interest reflecting empathy-sympathy are more likely to adopt conservation tillage. Habit and control also play a role. Farmers pursue a joint and interdependent own-interest and not only self-interest as presumed in microeconomics.

Read the paper here.

Source:  Robert Sheeder and Gary D. Lynne, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.2009.


Paul Stamets Presents: BioDiversity is BioSecurity – Strengthening Foodwebs using Mycological Solutions

Mycelium Running


Paul’s central premise is that habitats have immune systems, just like people, and mushroom forming fungi are the foundation of the foodwebs of land based organisms.

Listen to the podcast here.

Source:  Permaculture Voices, PVP121

Building Soil Health by Dr. Elaine Ingham

Key Takeaways:

  • Organic matter holds 10 times its weight in water.
  • Bacterial secretions provide a glue to help hold soil together.
  • 80% of inorganic fertilizers leach out of soil.
  • Look at perennial deep rooted, short plants as cover crops that put more bio-mass in the ground via roots versus above ground bio-mass.
  • Rainfall can compact bare soil.  Keep bare soil surfaces covered.  One option is a biological cover that feeds the microbial soil life.

Listen to the podcast here.

Source:  Permaculture Voices, PVP096

Miracle Farms, a 5-acre commercial permaculture orchard in Southern Quebec, Canada

Twenty years ago, Stefan Sobkowiak bought a commercial apple orchard with the intention of converting it to an organic orchard. He did just that, but eventually understood the limitations of the organic model originating from monoculture. He then decided to tear out most of the trees and replant in a way that would maximize biodiversity and yield while minimizing the amount of maintenance required. Inspired by permaculture principles, the orchard now counts over 100 cultivars of apples, plus several types of plums, pears, cherries, and countless other fruits and vegetables.

Source:  Possible Media, November 5, 2013



Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2 °C global warming could be dangerous

Abstract. We use numerical climate simulations, paleoclimate data, and modern observations to study the effect of growing ice melt from Antarctica and Greenland. Meltwater tends to stabilize the ocean column, inducing amplifying feedbacks that increase subsurface ocean warming and ice shelf melting. Cold meltwater and induced dynamical effects cause ocean surface cooling in the Southern Ocean and North Atlantic, thus increasing Earth’s energy imbalance and heat flux into most of the global ocean’s surface. Southern Ocean surface cooling, while lower latitudes are warming, increases precipitation on the Southern Ocean, increasing ocean stratification, slowing deepwater formation, and increasing ice sheet mass loss. These feedbacks make ice sheets in contact with the ocean vulnerable to accelerating disintegration. We hypothesize that ice mass loss from the most vulnerable ice, sufficient to raise sea level several meters, is better approximated as exponential than by a more linear response. Doubling times of 10, 20 or 40 years yield multi-meter sea level rise in about 50, 100 or 200 years. Recent ice melt doubling times are near the lower end of the 10–40-year range, but the record is too short to confirm the nature of the response. The feedbacks, including subsurface ocean warming, help explain paleoclimate data and point to a dominant Southern Ocean role in controlling atmospheric CO2, which in turn exercised tight control on global temperature and sea level. The millennial (500–2000-year) timescale of deep-ocean ventilation affects the timescale for natural CO2 change and thus the timescale for paleo-global climate, ice sheet, and sea level changes, but this paleo-millennial timescale should not be misinterpreted as the timescale for ice sheet response to a rapid, large, human-made climate forcing. These climate feedbacks aid interpretation of events late in the prior interglacial, when sea level rose to +6–9 m with evidence of extreme storms while Earth was less than 1 °C warmer than today. Ice melt cooling of the North Atlantic and Southern oceans increases atmospheric temperature gradients, eddy kinetic energy and baroclinicity, thus driving more powerful storms. The modeling, paleoclimate evidence, and ongoing observations together imply that 2 °C global warming above the preindustrial level could be dangerous. Continued high fossil fuel emissions this century are predicted to yield (1) cooling of the Southern Ocean, especially in the Western Hemisphere; (2) slowing of the Southern Ocean overturning circulation, warming of the ice shelves, and growing ice sheet mass loss; (3) slowdown and eventual shutdown of the Atlantic overturning circulation with cooling of the North Atlantic region; (4) increasingly powerful storms; and (5) nonlinearly growing sea level rise, reaching several meters over a timescale of 50–150 years. These predictions, especially the cooling in the Southern Ocean and North Atlantic with markedly reduced warming or even cooling in Europe, differ fundamentally from existing climate change assessments. We discuss observations and modeling studies needed to refute or clarify these assertions.

Check it here.

Citation: Hansen, J., Sato, M., Hearty, P., Ruedy, R., Kelley, M., Masson-Delmotte, V., Russell, G., Tselioudis, G., Cao, J., Rignot, E., Velicogna, I., Tormey, B., Donovan, B., Kandiano, E., von Schuckmann, K., Kharecha, P., Legrande, A. N., Bauer, M., and Lo, K.-W.: Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2 °C global warming could be dangerous, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 3761-3812, doi:10.5194/acp-16-3761-2016, 2016.

Climate guru James Hansen warns of much worse than expected sea level rise

The current rate of global warming could raise sea levels by “several meters” over the coming century, rendering most of the world’s coastal cities uninhabitable and helping unleash devastating storms, according to a paper published by James Hansen, the former Nasa scientist who is considered the father of modern climate change awareness.

The research, published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, references past climatic conditions, recent observations and future models to warn the melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets will contribute to a far worse sea level increase than previously thought.

Without a sharp reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the global sea level is likely to increase “several meters over a timescale of 50 to 150 years”, the paper states, warning that the Earth’s oceans were six to nine meters higher during the Eemian period – an interglacial phase about 120,000 years ago that was less than 1C warmer than it is today.

Continue here.

Source:  Oliver Milman, The Guardian, March 22, 2016

We had all better hope these scientists are wrong about the planet’s future

An influential group of scientists led by James Hansen, the former NASA scientist often credited with having drawn the first major attention to climate change in 1988 congressional testimony, has published a dire climate study that suggests the impact of global warming will be quicker and more catastrophic than generally envisioned.

The research invokes collapsing ice sheets, violent megastorms and even the hurling of boulders by giant waves in its quest to suggest that even 2 degrees Celsius of global warming above pre-industrial levels would be far too much. Hansen has called it the most important work he has ever done.

The sweeping paper, 52 pages in length and with 19 authors, draws on evidence from ancient climate change or “paleo-climatology,” as well as climate experiments using computer models and some modern observations. Calling it a “paper” really isn’t quite right — it’s actually a synthesis of a wide range of old, and new, evidence.

Continue here.

Source:  Chris Mooney, The Washington Post, March 22, 2016