These 7 gifts are perfect for nature lovers

Give back to nature by helping restore forests, oceans and wildlife. Your contribution will boomerang back in countless ways, curbing climate change, teaching kids about the outdoors, feeding endangered monarch butterflies, making space for whales and even helping tree farmers. All you’ll get is that lousy T-shirt. (But this year, they’re actually pretty cool.)

Let’s start treating climate change like the enemy

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is hovering at a landmark 400 parts per million, a level never before experienced by human beings. Scientists say we’re playing with fire, risking the planet’s future if we don’t start to lower the greenhouse gas levels forcing climate change. How should we react to this news? First, we need to envision climate change more accurately, as a deadly threat.

Scientists predicted Hurricane Sandy (they just didn’t know her name)

If you don’t hear the words “climate change” in the dialogue about Hurricane Sandy just yet, wait for it. Today, people in the storm’s path are either bracing for the Monday evening surge or busy evacuating to higher ground.

But tomorrow expect to hear “climate change” invoked in Sandy’s aftermath, because this Frankenstorm is exactly what scientists have been warning about for many years.

OK skeptics, yes, hurricanes happen. But this one has been supercharged by warming oceans and will come ashore with an assist from rising ocean levels.

Arctic ice melt will bring more severe winters, according to Cornell scientists

ITHACA, N.Y. – The dramatic melt-off of Arctic sea ice due to climate change is hitting closer to home than millions of Americans might think.That’s because melting Arctic sea ice can trigger a domino effect leading to increased odds of severe winter weather outbreaks in the Northern Hemisphere’s middle latitudes – think the “Snowmageddon” storm that hamstrung Washington, D.C., during February 2010.

The state of our oceans, in a clamshell

Our oceans, long taken for granted, are being stressed by pollution, over-fishing and climate change. Plastic gyres, swirling pools of plastic refuse, occupy several spots in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The largest one, in the North Pacific, is estimated to exceed the size of Texas….These linked, but disparate problems — pollution, unsustainable fishing practices, jobs at risk — won’t be solved easily. That’s why several environmental and conservation groups working around the globe have formed the Global Partnership for Oceans. The groups hope that together they can work to save the marine environment before human pressures cause natural fisheries to collapse.

2011 was officially the 9th warmest year on record

Warmer than average global surface temperatures in 2011 added up to make the year the 9th warmest on record, or since 1880, when modern record-keeping began, according to NASA.

The finding, according to NASA scientists at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), confirms that the Earth’s temperatures are warming overall, with 9 of the 10 warmest years occurring since 2000. The only 20th Century year in the top ten was 1998. (2005 and 2010 tied for the hottest year(s) on record.)

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