Category Archives: Environment

“Stößt der Tourismus in den Alpen an seine Grenzen?”

SWR Doku: Alpenrausch im Klimawandel – Der Ausverkauf der Berge. (YouTube, 45min) “Der Kampf um die Urlauber in den Alpen wird immer härter. Durch den Klimawandel sind viele Skigebiete nicht mehr schneesicher. 70 bis zu 90 Prozent der Pisten müssen dabei ständig künstlich beschneit werden. Um den Skizirkus trotz Klimawandel in Gang zu halten, schrecken viele Betreiber auch vor illegalen Baumaßnahmen am Berg nicht zurück. Doch mittlerweile regt sich Widerstand bei den Einheimischen, die sich gegen solche Maßnahmen und gegen extremen Massentourismus wehren. Sie sehen nicht nur die Natur in Gefahr, sondern auch das soziale Leben in ihren Dörfern.” (Ursprünglich im Januar 2019 ausgestrahlt.)

“Women have their place in the world, but they do not belong in the Canyon of the Colorado.”

The Atavist Magazine: The Wild Ones. “People said that women had no place in the Grand Canyon and would likely die trying to run the Colorado River. In 1938, two female scientists set out to prove them wrong.”

“Not least among the journey’s many dangers, according to “experienced river men” who refused to give their names to the national newspapers covering the expedition, was the presence of women in the party. Only one woman had ever attempted the trip through the Grand Canyon. Her name was Bessie Hyde, and she’d vanished with her husband, Glen, on their honeymoon in 1928. Their boat was found empty. Their bodies were never recovered.

Unnamed sources told reporters that the two women in the crew were “one of the hazards, as they are ‘so much baggage’ and would probably need help in an emergency.” They were scientists—botanists, to be precise. “So they’re looking for flowers and Indian caves,” a river runner said. “Well, I don’t know about that, but I do know they’ll find a peck of trouble before they get through.”

In fact, Elzada Clover and Lois Jotter had come from Michigan with much hardier plants in mind. Tucked into side canyons, braving what Jotter called “barren and hellish” conditions, were tough, spiny things: species of cactus that no one had ever catalogued before. Clover and Jotter would become the first people to do so—if they survived.”

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Space Analogies

Alexander Gerst’s Horizon Blog: Cave Life for Space. “When you ignore some details, it is amazing how similar cave exploration is to going to space. After my experience with CAVES, I can say that, so far, this is the best analogue that I know for astronauts to mentally prepare for space.”

See also ESA: Caves 2019. (YouTube, 5:50min)

“In September 2019 in Slovenia, astronauts from five space agencies around the world took part in ESA’s CAVES training course – Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising human behaviour and performance Skills.

The six ‘cavenauts’ were ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, NASA astronauts Joe Acaba and Jeanette Epps, Roscosmos cosmonaut Nikolai Chub, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Joshua Kutryk and Japan’s space agency JAXA’s Takuya Onishi.

The three-week course prepares astronauts to work effectively in multicultural teams in an environment where safety is critical.

As they explored the caves, they encountered caverns, underground lakes and strange microscopic life. They tested new technology and conducted science – much like life on the International Space Station.

Inhospitable and hard to access, caves are untouched worlds and hold many scientific secrets. The astronauts performed a dozen experiments and were on the lookout for signs of life that has adapted to the extremes. They paid special attention to their environment, monitoring air and water quality, and looking for signs of pollution.”