Thursday, January 29, 2015

Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow

[The Independent] The world has entered an era of “peak food” production with an array of staples from corn and rice to wheat and chicken slowing in growth – with potentially disastrous consequences for feeding the planet.
New research finds that the supply of 21 staples, such as eggs, meat, vegetables and soybeans is already beginning to run out of momentum, while the global population continues to soar.
Peak chicken was in 2006, while milk and wheat both peaked in 2004 and rice peaked way back in 1988, according to new research from Yale University, Michigan State University and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Germany.
What makes the report particularly alarming is that so many crucial sources of food have peaked in a relatively short period of history, the researchers said.
“People often talk of substitution. If we run out of one substance we just substitute another. But if multiple resources are running out, we’ve got a problem. Mankind needs to accept that renewable raw materials are reaching their yield limits worldwide,” said Jianguo “Jack” Liu, of Michigan State University.
“This is a strong reason for integration ... rather than searching for a one-for-one substitution to offset shortages,” he added.
Peak production refers to the point at which the growth in a crop, animal or other food source begins to slow down, rather than the point at which production actually declines. However, it is regarded as a key signal that the momentum is being lost and it is typically only a matter of time before production plateaus and, in some cases, begins to fall – although it is unclear how long the process could take.
“Just nine or 10 plants species feed the world. But we found there’s a peak for all these resources. Even renewable resources won’t last forever,” said Ralf Seppelt, of the Helmholtz Centre.
The research, published in the journal Ecology and Society, finds that 16 of the 21 foods examined reached peak production between 1988 and 2008.
This synchronisation of peak years is all the more worrying because it suggests the whole food system is becoming overwhelmed, making it extremely difficult to resurrect the fortunes of any one foodstuff, let alone all of them, the report suggested. Read More

Monday, January 26, 2015

Climate Change Could Double the Risk Of Extreme Weather From El Niña

[Business Insider] The risk of extreme weather events from La Niña in the Pacific Ocean could double due to climate change, researchers say. The projected twofold increase in frequency could lead to more droughts, floods in the western Pacific regions and Atlantic hurricanes. Weather patterns could switch between extremes of wet and dry.
El Niño and La Niña events are opposite phases of the natural climate phenomenon, the El Niño/Southern Oscillation. Extreme La Niña events occur when cold sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean contrast with the warming land areas of Maritime Southeast Asia in the west.
The latest research suggests increased land warming, coupled with an increase in frequency of extreme El Niño events, will mean extreme La Niña could occur every 13 years, rather than the 23 years previously seen.
Professor Mat Collins from the University of Exeter says: “Our previous research showed a doubling in frequency of extreme El Niño events, and this new study shows a similar fate for the cold phase of the cycle. It shows again how we are just beginning to understand the consequences of global warming.”
The results of the research, led by CSIRO scientist Dr Wenju Cai, are published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The U.S. has caused more global warming than any other country. Here’s how the Earth will get its revenge.

[Washington Post] Last year, we learned what is probably the worst global warming news yet — that we may have irrevocably destabilized the massive ice sheet of West Antarctica, which contains the equivalent of nearly 11 feet of sea level rise. The rate of West Antarctic ice loss has been ominously increasing, and there are fears that if too much goes, the slow and long-term process of ice sheet disintegration could accelerate.
Humans have a hard time conceiving of the incredible scale of an ice sheet, so the consequences of such a change can be lost upon us. But in a new paper in the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers — Forensic Engineering, researchers Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., and John Abraham of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. – summarize what we now know about West Antarctica. That includes a finding that may serve as a wake-up call for Americans in particular.
Namely: If West Antarctica collapses entirely — a process that would likely play out over centuries, but that could substantially begin in this one – the expected 11 feet of sea level rise won’t just spread out evenly across the ocean. The United States will actually get a lot more sea level rise than many other parts of the world — possibly over 14 feet. Call it geophysical karma — we’re the nation most responsible for global warming and, at least in this particular case, we’ll get more of the consequences.
So what source of cosmic equity will mete out just deserts in this case? As it turns out — and the mechanisms will be explained in much more detail below — the answer is none other than Isaac Newton’s law of universal gravitation — which states that all objects in the universe attract one another in relation to their masses (and the distance between them). Read More

Friday, January 16, 2015

Scientists: Human activity has pushed Earth beyond four of nine ‘planetary boundaries’

[Washington Post] At the rate things are going, the Earth in the coming decades could cease to be a “safe operating space” for human beings. That is the conclusion of a new paper published Thursday in the journal Science by 18 researchers trying to gauge the breaking points in the natural world.
The paper contends that we have already crossed four “planetary boundaries.” They are the extinction rate; deforestation; the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; and the flow of nitrogen and phosphorous (used on land as fertilizer) into the ocean.
“What the science has shown is that human activities — economic growth, technology, consumption — are destabilizing the global environment,” said Will Steffen, who holds appointments at the Australian National University and the Stockholm Resilience Center and is the lead author of the paper.
These are not future problems, but rather urgent matters, according to Steffen, who said that the economic boom since 1950 and the globalized economy have accelerated the transgression of the boundaries. No one knows exactly when push will come to shove, but he said the possible destabilization of the “Earth System” as a whole could occur in a time frame of “decades out to a century.”
The researchers focused on nine separate planetary boundaries first identified by scientists in a 2009 paper. These boundaries set theoretical limits on changes to the environment, and include ozone depletion, freshwater use, ocean acidification, atmospheric aerosol pollution and the introduction of exotic chemicals and modified organisms.
Beyond each planetary boundary is a “zone of uncertainty.” This zone is meant to acknowledge the inherent uncertainties in the calculations, and to offer decision-makers a bit of a buffer, so that they can potentially take action before it’s too late to make a difference. Beyond that zone of uncertainty is the unknown — planetary conditions unfamiliar to us. Read More

Monday, January 12, 2015

Restored Forests Breathe Life Into Efforts Against Climate Change

[New York Times] Over just a few decades in the mid-20th century, this small country chopped down a majority of its ancient forests. But after a huge conservation push and a wave of forest regrowth, trees now blanket more than half of Costa Rica.
Far to the south, the Amazon forest was once being quickly cleared to make way for farming, but Brazil has slowed the loss so much that it has done more than any other country to limit the emissions leading to global warming.
And on the other side of the world, in Indonesia, bold new promises have been made in the past few months to halt the rampant cutting of that country’s forests, backed by business interests with the clout to make it happen.
In the battle to limit the risks of climate change, it has been clear for decades that focusing on the world’s immense tropical forests — saving the ones that are left, and perhaps letting new ones grow — is the single most promising near-term strategy.
That is because of the large role that forests play in what is called the carbon cycle of the planet. Trees pull the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, out of the air and lock the carbon away in their wood and in the soil beneath them. Destroying them, typically by burning, pumps much of the carbon back into the air, contributing to climate change.
Over time, humans have cut down or damaged at least three-quarters of the world’s forests, and that destruction has accounted for much of the excess carbon that is warming the planet.
But now, driven by a growing environmental movement in countries that are home to tropical forests, and by mounting pressure from Western consumers who care about sustainable practices, corporate and government leaders are making a fresh push to slow the cutting — and eventually to halt it. In addition, plans are being made by some of those same leaders to encourage forest regrowth on such a giant scale that it might actually pull a sizable fraction of human-released carbon dioxide out of the air and lock it into long-term storage.
With the recent signs of progress, long-wary environmental groups are permitting themselves a burst of optimism about the world’s forests.
“The public should take heart,” said Rolf Skar, who helps lead forest conservation work for the environmental group Greenpeace. “We are at a potentially historic moment where the world is starting to wake up to this issue, and to apply real solutions.”
Still, Greenpeace and other groups expect years of hard work as they try to hold business leaders and politicians accountable for the torrent of promises they have made lately. The momentum to slow or halt deforestation is fragile, for many reasons. And even though rich Western governments have hinted for years that they might be willing to spend tens of billions of dollars to help poor countries save their forests, they have allocated only a few billion dollars.
Around the world, trees are often cut down to make room for farming, and so the single biggest threat to forests remains the need to feed growing populations, particularly an expanding global middle class with the means to eat better. Saving forests, if it can be done, will require producing food much more intensively, on less land. Read More

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Rare ‘Ice Halo’ Appears In New Mexico Sky

[Inquisitir] A rare and complex ice halo appeared in the sky above New Mexico on Friday, as a record breaking arctic blast continued to make its way across the country.
The optical phenomenon was photographed above the town of Red River, which has experienced sub-zero temperatures in recent days, according to the Daily Mail. Ice crystals suspended in the air interact with sunlight, creating a dazzling display of rings and arcs. The halos can be created either by sunlight or moonlight, and often occur within 24 hours before precipitation is expected. Read More

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Seven Hermetic Principles

Yesterday marks the last week of Shamballa - the week of Celebration of Spiritual Fire. This time is set aside for personal purification, intentions, reflection, and meditation for the upcoming year. It is  alleged that the Brotherhoods and Sisterhoods of Light review plans for  the following 365 days, and a candle is lit for each of the Seven Rays. Each candle signifies the seven Hermetic Laws, featured in this wonderful YouTube by Leurona Star. - Lori 


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Passages 2014

This week marks the end of the third week of Shamballa – a week revering love, friendship, and soul families. Throughout the years we have had many significant friends and supporters of our work at I AM America, and I would be remiss to not remember two amazing friends who passed away this year. - Lori

Jean Benson

Our beautiful Jean made her transition into spirit on March 23, 2014. She had been ill for several years. Jean moved to Payson in 1999 and soon discovered that the I AM America office was also located in the stunning Rim Country of Arizona. After attending one of our local seminars she offered to volunteer in our office and with her background in accounting and business practice Jean was more than a perfect fit – there wasn’t anything in our office that she couldn’t handle. For over twelve years Jean rolled maps, helped to pack customer orders, ran errands, delivered orders to the post office, and picked up the mail. But more importantly, Jean was always available to share her insight and keen, practical problem solving. She was a ready ear for any predicament, designed and built storage solutions from discarded cardboard boxes, organized and cleaned the wrap n’ pack area, saved packing materials for books, fed the cats and watered plants if we were away, and told Len (like a doting mother) when to change his shirt or get a haircut. And if you ordered anything from I AM America several years ago, no doubt you wouldn’t have received that book or map without Jean’s help. In essence, she was our trusted and beloved friend.

Velma Jean Benson was born in Seattle on October 18, 1933. She graduated from Puyallup High School in 1951, but the course of life would inevitably lead her to California, where she lived for many years and raised three sons as a single mother. She shared many stories about raising her boys and their adventures camping on the beaches of the Pacific Ocean and traveling to the Salton Sea. After her sons left home she returned to college and entered the professional world working as an accountant. During this time Jean took up golf, and won several local championships.

A debilitating stroke changed Jean’s life in 1996. Yet Jean rallied, and re-taught herself how to walk, drive a car, and most importantly, how to read again. Spiritual topics always piqued her interest, and Jean especially enjoyed the works of Edgar Cayce, past-life regression, and of course Ascended Master teaching. After Jean joined our volunteer staff in 2001 we had many interesting conversations about Ascension and the Violet Flame, subjects close to her heart. Pictures of the Ascended Masters adorned her office and work-space alongside the latest photos of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They were all her “dear ones.”

Jean, you are our eternal “dear one.” And although we know you are just a breath away from our Earthly dimension, you are missed from our holiday table and family events. You taught us well, and left us the valuable gifts of unending devotion, practical grit, and the precious action of love. Come back soon. 

Sherry Takala

Our cherished friend and mentor, Sherry Takala, passed onward to the spiritual planes on June 5, 2014. Sherry was an influential voice and advocate of the I AM America Spiritual Teachings, and organized and managed my fledgling company’s first office in 1990. Sherry also monitored many trance sessions, and her invaluable contribution to these spiritual teachings is memorialized in the autobiographical book, “Sisters of the Flame,” released in early 2014.

“Sisters of the Flame,” is the story about four women and others from surrounding rural Idaho communities who gathered around Sherry’s kitchen table in the summer of 1990, and participated in numerous trance sessions with spirit guides, angels, and spiritual teachers. Sherry organized and facilitated the weekly sessions which proved to be a significant help to women struggling with life’s important questions surrounding children, job security, relationships, and their continued spiritual growth and development. A surprising story for conventional thinkers, but if you knew Sherry Takala this is no surprise at all. Sherry was always helping someone. In fact, it was the lifeblood of her existence.

Sherry was an accomplished and talented fine artist. She taught painting and many of her landscapes hung in galleries and local cafes. An avid Tarot Reader, Sherry worked closely with Saint Germain to design a whimsical Tarot Deck based on gnomes, salamanders, undines, and sylphs. Her seasoned knowledge of this topic added Master Cards like Astral Travel and Universal Love, alongside insightful illustrated cards of Major Life Lessons that included Denial, Addiction, Intuition, and Joy. When we began to work on the world Earth Changes information, she immediately crafted large cartographic renderings of Canada, Mexico, Central, and South America. These maps were published in the first edition of “New World Atlas, Volume One.” After one of many conversations prior to the release of “Sisters of the Flame,” Sherry painted a possible cover for the title (pictured above) depicting the generational feminine passage into universal knowledge. She telephoned before she mailed the canvas, “I’ve sent another painting – it is a special piece for you and Len.” I eagerly tore the brown paper from the package to reveal a colorful soaring eagle.

I have certainty that Sherry is soaring like an eagle in her beloved spirit world. She was connected to its profound knowledge every minute, and her treasured advice helped many to segue difficulty into solution, victimization into empowerment, and sorrow into comfort and healing. Rest in peace my friend, fellow traveler, teacher, and soul-mate; we will joyfully meet again.

Sherry’s obituary follows, as it appeared online in the Lewiston Morning Tribune, June 12, 2014:

Sherry (Mallory) Takala began her life adventure on May 26, 1938, in Logan, Utah. She grew up on a farm caring for animals, but discovered early her love for painting and art in all mediums. In adulthood, she moved to Nevada and worked as a showgirl, keno writer and pit boss while raising her two children and painting on the side whenever she could. Eventually she left Nevada to pursue her love of painting and the wilderness.

Being a gypsy at heart, she moved throughout all of the Western states. The job she was most proud of was that of a battered women's counselor at the YWCA. Finally she met the love of her life, Steve Takala. She followed him in his job and eventually up to Alaska, where they mined for gold in the Porcupine and also converted an old Navy landing craft into a very unique bed and breakfast/fishing tackle store/art gallery in Haines, Alaska, called "Noah's Art." Later, after returning to the lower 48 and Steve's death, she took to the road again in her motor home searching for yet new adventures. She landed for short visits in Lava Hot Springs, Orofino and Kamiah, making many friends and learning new skills such as ham radio operation, which came in handy while working with the Idaho search and rescue crews.

Sherry was preceded in death by her parents, Wallace and Adlissa Mallory; her brother, Brett Mallory; and by her beloved husband, Steve Takala. She is survived by brothers Kim, Cleve and Ronnie Mallory; and by sisters Vicki Wolfsen and Lara Coley. She is also survived by her daughter, Kathleen; son-in-law Lloyd Gilman; and their children, Tawnia, Tennille, Zack, and Porsha; and by great-grandson Clark "Super Baby" Gilman; and also by her son, Bill Carver; daughter-in-law Cindy; and grandson James Carver. She is also survived by many friends, students and followers of both her mystical and art talents and training.