“What we do in my group is we zoom in on the aerosols.”
Vicki Grassian and her team look at aerosols at a microscopic level to determine their impact on our health and our climate. Aerosols can be mineral dust and sea spray from the ocean or created by human activity or stem from any number of sources. They can travel across the globe impacting people, animals, and the planet in their wake.
Grassian’s work seeks to understand how aerosols and other gases not only affect us but how we might harness them for solar geoengineering.
Everything you come in contact with, every second of every day, makes an impact on your health. It’s known as the exposome. It’s a relatively new concept, first defined in 2005. The exposome includes the food you eat, the beauty products you use, the air you breathe, your friends and family, and everything in between. Studying it, could be the key to understanding the obesity epidemic.
That was the focus of the 12th Annual Sugar, Stress, Environment & Weight Symposium put on by The Consortium for Obesity Assessment, Study, and Treatment at UCSF. Popular opinion would have you believe that obesity is a simple equation of too much food and not enough exercise. But, researchers say the problem is far more complex. In this eye-opening lecture series, you will hear how polluted air has been linked to obesity in children living in California’s Central Valley. You will learn about obesogens – chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system. And, you will understand how stress can create a vicious cycle of weight gain.
The final talk focuses on how you can remove toxins from your personal exposome and the progress being made around the world. New labeling in the food and beauty industries allows you to make smarter decisions. LEED buildings are becoming more common in the United States. And, monitoring systems for exposome pollutants are getting better. There is plenty being done, and plenty you can do, to make an impact.
Thanks to Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a “second front” of climate change mitigation has emerged, reviving hopes that the most dangerous consequences of climate change can at least be delayed for several decades. (If you haven’t already, you can follow his remarkable journey and landmark discoveries in the first three episodes of UCTV Prime’s series “Lifting the Blanket: The Pursuit of a Climate Solution.”)
But when an African teenager attending a United Nations event for high schoolers asked him what he is doing personally about climate change, Ramanathan realized that his recognized authority within the climate science community could only get him so far in affecting change. That encounter set Ramanathan off on the next phase of his career, forming meaningful alliances with religious and spiritual leaders who offer the moral authority to help make the matter of global warming — and the simple steps he’s helped develop to effectively reduce it — resonate on a personal level with today’s global citizens.
With enough involvement from policymakers and individuals around the world, Ramanathan projects that society can reduce the rate of global warming by as much as 50% during our lifetimes, which could help slow down the melting of the Himalayan glaciers, arctic sea ice, and sea level rise, while possibly saving as many as 4 million lives per year among those living under the blanket of pollutants that contribute to 40% of the current global warming problem.
UCTV Prime’s series “Lifting the Blanket: The Pursuit of a Climate Change Solution” has been following the remarkable journey of Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Veerabhadran Ramanathan, whose scientific curiosity took him from a refrigeration plant in his native country of India to becoming a globally recognized leader in climate change research.
Episodes one and two tracked the progress of his groundbreaking research that identified the significant contribution of CFCs and black carbon soot to global warming. In episode 3, “Can the World Breathe Easy?,” Ramanathan returns to India with an international collaboration to demonstrate that improving cooking methods in the developing world could slow global warming and improve public health along the way.
Watch episode 3 now, or catch up with Ramanthan’s quest to find human-scale solutions to climate change at the series website. Stay tuned February 12 for the fourth and final installment, “Scientific Authority Meets Moral Authority.”
In the first episode of UCTV Prime’s new series “Lifting the Blanket: Pursuit of a Climate Change Solution,” we introduced you to Scripps Institution of Oceanography researcher Veerabhadran Ramanathan, whose curiosity led him from working in a refrigeration plant in India to making a landmark discovery that changed the face of climate research forever.
Episode 2, “The Dirty Sky” depicts what came next in Ramanthan’s quest to find human-scale solutions to climate change. His research uncovered how the black carbon soot from the rural Asian subcontinent was creating damaging atmospheric brown clouds, a major contributor to global warming, second only to CO2. His discoveries led to unprecedented support from the United Nations Environment Programme and new hope for realistic interventions that could conceivably reduce the rate of global warming by as much as 50% in the next 50 years.