Deadly Tornado In Massachusetts Pulls Water From River, And Other Friday Links

It’s a rainy Friday in northwestern Ontario as we head into a weekend which will include, for our family, watching the second hockey game of the Stanley Cup finals between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins. I know, today is significant because it’s the day that Stephen Harper’s government makes it first Speech from the Throne, but I’m not that interested in following what the feds are doing these days. I expect no innovative or creative ideas to come out of that quarter for the next four years (except for new kinds of divisive politics or fear-mongering).  Under Harper, Canada will be moving backwards. To stop this momentum, it will be up to the majority of Canadians to take a strong stand on what is important to them. Yes, Canadians have a reputation for being “nice”, but if we don’t take a firm, even loud/aggressive stand, we will get the (regressive) government that we deserve.

Whether the Canadian and U.S. federal governments recognize that human-forced climate change is real and is happening right now, the laws of physics and thermodynamics continue to demonstrate the reality of what we have wrought with our fossil-fuel loving ways.  Here’s some Friday links to ponder this weekend, including more extreme weather events, this time two tornadoes in Massachusetts that killed at least 4 people, flipped cars, and collapsed buildings. Dramatic footage of a twister sucking water from the Colorado River hundreds of feet into the air is now posted on YouTube:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25giqLidqug]

Deadly Massachusetts Tornadoes Flip Homes, Cars

A Potpourri of Other Interesting Links:

Climate Scientists Revealed: Tracking The Warming Planet: The Union of Concerned Scientists is currently leading a campaign to elevate the voices of climate scientists and educate the public about the overwhelming scientific evidence for human-caused global warming.  In this series, UCS partners with Grist magazine to “showcase and celebrate the researchers behind the news, the climatologists who are helping to save the planet—and your ass!”

Long Term Life Tips: Top 5 Regrets People Make on Their Deathbed:   Palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware shares what she has learned from the people she was worked with over many years.  The most surprising regret is that people wish that they had let themselves be happier:

Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

Here’s a cute video of a brand-new cyclist who hasn’t yet forgotten to experience happiness:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaIvk1cSyG8&feature=player_embedded]

Have a great weekend everyone, and don’t forget to “be happy of yourself”!

Whatever You Do, DO NOT Draw A Connection Between Tornadoes And Climate Change

Today’s article is cross-posted from 350.org. It was published in Monday’s Washington Post and is written by Bill McKibbon, founder of the global climate campaign 350.org, and Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College.

Caution: It is vitally important not to make connections. When you see pictures of rubble like this week’s shots from Joplin, Missouri, you should not ask yourself: I wonder if this is somehow related to the huge tornado outbreak three weeks ago in Tuscaloosa, or the enormous outbreak a couple of weeks before that—together they comprised the most active April for tornadoes in our history. But that doesn’t mean a thing.

It is far better to think of these as isolated, unpredictable, discrete events. It is not advised to try and connect them in your mind with, say, the fires now burning across Texas—fires that have burned more of America by this date than any year in our history. Texas, and adjoining parts of Oklahoma and New Mexico, are drier than they’ve ever been—the drought is worse than the Dust Bowl. But do not wonder if it’s somehow connected.

If you did wonder, you’d have to also wonder about whether this year’s record snowfalls and rainfalls across the Midwest—resulting in record flooding across the Mississippi—could somehow be related. And if you did that, then you might find your thoughts wandering to, oh, global warming. To the fact that climatologists have been predicting for years that as we flood the atmosphere with carbon we will also start both drying and flooding the planet, since warm air holds more water vapor than cold.

It’s far smarter to repeat to yourself, over and over, the comforting mantra that no single weather event can ever be directly tied to climate change. There have been tornadoes before, and floods—that’s the important thing. Just be careful to make sure you don’t let yourself wonder why all these records are happening at once: why we’ve had unprecedented megafloods from Australia to Pakistan in the last year. Why it’s just now that the Arctic has melted for the first time in thousands of years. Focus on the immediate casualties, watch the videotape from the store cameras as the shelves are blown over. Look at the anchorman up to the chest of his waders in the rising river. Click here to read the rest of the article on the Washington Post.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZlGrTpXS4U&feature=player_embedded]

To find out how to help those devastated by the recent tornadoes, go to the Salvation Army or Red Cross websites.

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More links:

Floods, Tornadoes, And Climate Change

Joplin Disaster Spurs Media Whirlwind on Link Between Climate Change Extreme Weather and Tornadoes