Environment & Outdoors

Dr. Ben Santer's life changed that day he got a phone call from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), asking him to be the lead author of a chapter on the causes of climate change for the 1995 Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The world changed the day these words were published: “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.”

Tom Kasper/Open Hands Food Project

Not even a week of rain can dampen Tom Kasper's enthusiasm for the Open Hands Food Project.

Last year, he donated over 2500 pounds of food to the Damiano Center over about three months.  This year he's thinking even bigger: weekly donations for 18 or 18 weeks.  More fruits and vegetables. Partnerships this year not just with the Damiano Center, but with local food initiatives like Second Harvest Food Bank, and the YMCA's meal program.

Copyright JR Kelsey. Used with permission.

Close to a week of wind, rain, hail (!) and clouds is enough to dampen the mood of just about anyone.

Until, of course, you hear what Larry has to say about what these days have wrought in our world outside.

Johnny Silvercloud/Flickr

No one's particularly surprised to discover a big corporation or entity is lying to the public.

Actually, we kind of expect it.

But Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is blowing past that kind of defeatism by filing suit last summer against Big Oil, charging they knew in the '60s about climate change, deliberately lied to Minnesotans about it, and made about $775 billion dollars in the process.

The fossil fuel companies had hoped to move their case to federal court, asserting that it was a suit about climate change and most appropriately tried there.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Mars Perseverance rover carried the Ingenuity helicopter carefully to the red planet ... then set it down and "trundled away."

Undaunted, Ingenuity unfurled its solar panels, charged itself up and survived a brisk (-130 ℉) night alone.

Fyn Kynd/Flickr

Welcome to Win-sprin, that strange little time of year between the melting of the snow and the greening of the forest floor.

Barb Barton/Flickr

It's not that people ignore news stories about climate change ... it's just that the information seems to really sink in when folks hear someone talk about how the climate crisis is affecting them.

So to that end, environmental activist Tone Lanzillo is coming up with ways for people to tell their stories - and there's even a newsletter and a podcast in the mix.

UMN Extension

Here's a disturbing thought: raking up your soggy leaf litter and whatnot from the lawn too early could deprive a mourning cloak butterfly of the shelter that's kept it alive through a long, tough hibernation.

And here's another one: some of your plants may be telling you when - and where - they want to be pruned. 

Charles (Chuck) Peterson/Flickr

March 2021 will appear on the books as a little warmer than "normal": closer to 34° than 26°.  The precipitation is above normal not only for the month but for 2021 as a whole so far, and the only "below normal" is snowfall. Larry's quick to remind us, though, that in April of 2013, we got 51" of snow!

In other news, a cloudy, 25°-ish day with no wind, might not seem too exciting, but that's only if you're looking, and not listening.

International Wolf Center

When Chad Richardson's son announced that wolves had been added to the newest update to the online video game Fortnite, the family paid attention.

Richardson is the communications director for the International Wolf Center, so he was curious about how wolves were presented in the game.

Turns out it's perpetuating a couple of troubling stereotypes: wolves as snarling predators that attack humans or as animals that can be tamed and turned into pets.

Sparky Stensaas. Used with permission.

The sky was just begging us to get out and look at it last week.

From the weekend auroras and the waxing crescent moon to the upcoming waning crescent moon (with appearances from guest stars Saturn and Jupiter), there are all kinds of things for star-gazers to get outside for in the next few weeks.

You can read more from Astro Bob at his blog here:

Casper Johansson/Unsplash

The low humidity and high winds forecast for today and tomorrow have prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Fire Weather Watch for the area.

Before the rain moves in on Sunday, the minimum RH dropping below 15 percent today combined with winds gusting to 20 mph today and over 35 mph on Saturday will cause near-critical fire weather conditions today and possibly exceeding critical fire weather conditions on Saturday.

André Benedix/Flickr

Especially on the warmish, sunny days, gardeners start anxiously pressing their noses against the windows and wondering when they can get outside.

Tom Kasper says there are a couple of things you can do:  prune your fruit trees, tidy up broken and fallen branches from your trees and shrubs, and while it's too early to rake, you can get out a broom and go after the snow mold:

Sharon Mollerus. Used with permission.

Whether it's a record-breaking 55° or snowflakes the size of drink coasters, March in the Northland is anything but full.

Andrea Pokrzywinski/Flickr

Here's what we know: Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are getting into Lake Superior and getting into fish.

Here's something else we know: Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) are the most common of these chemicals and they bio-accumulate - which means they move through the food chain.

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