Using Satellites to support effective global methane climate policy, plus meet Girl Trek. And wild bees get help from Washington researchers.
Satellites to Support Effective Global Methane Climate Policy, Girl Trek, Wild Bees Get Help from Washington Researchers
USING SATELLITES TO OBSERVE ATMOSPHERIC METHANE
Harvard faculty and students are advancing solutions to climate change and its wide-ranging impacts through new scientific, technological, legal, behavioral, public health, policy, and artistic innovations. Ten research teams will share $1.3 million in the eighth round of the Climate Change Solutions Fund (CCSF) awards. Aiming for impact at both the local and global level, these projects will seek to reduce the risks of climate change, hasten the transition to renewable energy, diminish the impact of existing fossil fuels on the climate, understand and prepare for the effects of climate change, and propel innovations needed to accelerate progress toward a healthier, more sustainable future.
Daniel Jacob, Vasco McCoy Family Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Engineering, SEAS, Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences; Robert Stavins, A. J. Meyer Professor of Energy & Economic Development, Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas. Decreasing methane emissions represents a significant way to mitigate climate change and is an essential element of achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement. However, the national accounting of methane can be inaccurate because of the variety of methane sources and the complexity associated with them. Using high-resolution satellite observations, this project will deploy a new, publicly accessible system for quantifying methane emissions from top-emitting countries. The project will engage stakeholders to validate and to improve national emissions inventories in support of the Paris Agreement and the Global Methane Pledge.
GIRL TREK: CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTABILITY
The reality of climate change is it’s unpredictable. After all, climate change is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed. Humans like predictability. It’s a stabilizing force that contributes to our well-being. But how do you deal with the unpredictable nature of climate change, environmental injustices and coping with something nobody on the planet has ever experienced before?
Well how about Girl Trek? It was started in 1996 by Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison’s shared belief in radical acts of self-care. In 2010, they got the idea for a 10-week walking challenge. They emailed 200 black women and asked them to forward the message. Six hundred responses came back from across the country. “At the end of 10 weeks, we weren’t prepared for what happened,” recalled Garrison. Stories flooded in. People said they were amazed they’d been able to stick with it. “We heard: ‘This is changing my life. When are we going to do it again?’”
And thus Girl Trek was born. In 2020, GirlTrek hit a milestone of inspiring 1 million Black women to walk towards their healthiest, most fulfilled life.
Why does Girl Trek matter to us? According to an article on Girl Trek in the New York Times, Gary G. Bennett, a professor at Duke University and a leading researcher on obesity, said, “I’ve been doing work on obesity as it affects medically vulnerable populations for 15 years, and I don’t know of anything in the scientific community or any public health campaigns that have been able to produce and sustain engagement around physical activity for black women like GirlTrek does. Not even close.”
For the record, GirlTrek focuses on Black women because their need is highest, but the organization welcomes anyone. And ya know who’s a Girl Trek fan? Former First Lady, Michelle Obama!!
It’s no secret walking builds resilience, and walking with a community of people strengthens resilience, too. Resilience is what’ll be needed to thrive in the era of Climate Change.
THREATENED WILD BEES GET HELP FROM WASHINGTON RESEARCHERS
Few creatures exist closer to the front lines of climate change than wild, native bees. And few are more important, or as irreplaceable. They’ve always been subjected to a long list of existential threats: habitat loss through agriculture, construction and urban development; pesticides, insecticides and other harmful chemicals; and competition from domesticated honeybees.
Add to that list the growing impacts of a warming planet — wildfires, heat waves and drought — all of which are growing in frequency and intensity — and the gravity of the situation lurches into focus.
In Washington, where the impacts of climate change become more apparent with each passing year, understanding the emerging perils faced by native bees could prove vital in their conservation and protection. Across the state, researchers and conservationists are doing just that.
At 10 different sites in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Autumn Maust, a doctoral student from the University of Washington, is researching the impacts of wildfires on native bee communities. She strives to better understand how fires exacerbated by climate change are impacting the pollinators, and to eventually identify the plants they depend on so that forest managers can protect them.