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Posts Tagged ‘temperature’

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Photo: Anonymous twitter user
An embroidered “village” of temperatures, inspired by Nathalie Cichon. Handcrafters aren’t about to look away from the reality.

Every day I think about a blogger I know who had to step back from WordPress due to illness in the family. She wrote the most beautiful posts and commented thoughtfully on the posts of others. And because she was a weaver, quilter, and broadminded thinker, among other things, I know she would have liked this story about people using their handcrafts in a cause. Perhaps I will email her the link.

Rebecca Onion writes at “Future Tense,” a feature of Slate magazine, “As January became February, I noticed that green shoots from the daffodils in my front yard in Ohio were already poking above the ground. On Sunday, writer Josie George shared a photo on Twitter of a scarf she had been knitting, with a daily row for the temperature and weather in her town.

‘It felt like a good way to engage with the changing climate and with the changing year,’ she wrote. ‘A way to notice and not look away.’

“In response to George’s viral Tweet, a number of knitters, cross-stitchers, and quilters shared their own projects. The idea of a temperature scarf, it turns out, is at least a half a decade old, and a whole lot of people are trying to chart the ‘new normal’ in yarn.

“In 2015, Joan Sheldon, a marine scientist, knit a scarf depicting global average temperatures from the 1600s to the present. Last year, the St. Paul Star Tribune covered a knit-along called Weather or Knot, conducted by one of the city’s yarn stores, that asked knitters to make a temperature blanket or scarf; that knit-along was inspired by the Tempestry Project, a group founded in Washington state in 2017, that now has chapters across the country. Climate crafting, it seems, has come into its own. …

“The image at the top of this article is the work of a cross-stitcher from France, who is making a little ‘village’ of houses with the low temperature of the day stitched on the door and windows and the high temperature on the walls. She said via email that she started her project after seeing the idea discussed on a Facebook fan group for the French cross-stitch designer Nathalie Cichon. …

‘ I pictured my project as a personal memo of the temperatures of 2020,’ she said over email. ‘However, the further I go the more I can see the impact it can have. I am angry and sad every time I have to stitch a house with a color that shouldn’t be there. …

“I spoke with Fran Sharp, a quilter from Massachusetts who had begun work on a temperature quilt without quite knowing how many other people were carrying out similar projects. … When I shared George’s thread with Sharp, she was full of new ideas. ‘This got me thinking about all the different things one could portray,’ she said. ‘I made a list. Temperature extremes, effects on animal life, food production.’ …

“The knitter, quilter, or cross-stitcher who works on a climate-related design can make interesting design choices that force deep interaction with the data. The Weather or Knot design, for example, featured different colors for absolute temperatures, and varied stitches that reflected whether the day’s temperature was above or below the average. …

“Katharine Schwab pointed out in a Fast Company piece, knitting has long been recognized as conveying mental health benefits. But there’s more to this particular kind of craftivism than self-care. The act of crafting [is], itself, a sort of protest against the industrial world that gave us climate change in the first place. ‘Crafting creates slow space, a speed at odds with the imperative toward hyperproduction,’ Jack Bratich and Heidi Brush write in a history of crafting and activism. …

“These projects also play with the idea of ‘steganography’— the concealment of secret information in plain sight. … The history of fiber and textile art is full of steganography, real, fictional, or anecdotal: Madame Defarge of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, knitting a list of people to be guillotined; the Belgian resistance during WWII, recruiting women whose windows were located over train yards to knit patterns of the trains’ arrivals and departures; enslaved women sewing codes into quilts that helped people navigate the Underground Railroad.” More.

“Future Tense” is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society.

Hat Tip: ArtsJournal

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20180920_hermit-warbler-bird-decoy_greg-davis-f208c2c85f8d0a82d81fc01641221184b94fd12d-s600-c85

Photos: Greg Davis/OPB
Oregon State University doctoral student Hankyu Kim sets up a decoy of a hermit warbler. Songbird populations have been declining, and rising temperatures are one reason.

Nearly all birds are “canaries in the coal mine,” in the sense that when they’re in trouble from habitat destruction, rising temperatures, pollutants, and so on, they’re heralding trouble for all species, including the human one. For that reason, among many others, I love to hear of efforts to protect even one kind of bird.

Consider this story by reporter Jes Burns at National Public Radio (NPR).

“Each spring, songbirds migrate thousands of miles to breed in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. Deep in a forest, Oregon State University researcher Hankyu Kim feels he has gotten inside the head of one species, the hermit warbler.

” ‘These birds are territorial in the breeding ground, they set up their territories, and they fight with each other to defend it,’ he says.

“Armed with this knowledge, a nearly invisible net strung between two repurposed fishing poles, a lifelike plastic warbler decoy and a looped recording of birdcalls, Kim’s trap is set. …

” ‘We have these long-term population monitoring routes across the Northwest. And a surprising number of species are declining,’ says Oregon State professor Matt Betts. ‘Actually, more than about half of the species that live in a forest like this are in decline.’

“Rising temperatures can shrink where some birds can live and where they can find food. For the hermit warbler, those declines are up to 4 percent each year.

“Research by Oregon State’s Betts and Sarah Frey found warblers declined in areas with young forests, including those replanted after clear-cut logging. But hermit warblers are doing better in other areas.

” ‘In landscapes that had more older forest, their population declines were lowered, or even reversed, even though the climate has been warming,’ Frey says.

“The Pacific Northwest has had a decades-long push to preserve its old-growth forests, and the warblers thrived in them. That suggests these forests somehow shielded them from the ill effects of rising temperatures. The question is why, and that is where this new study comes in.

“Kim and fellow Oregon State researcher Adam Hadley move the trapped hermit warbler’s feathers aside and attach a tiny radio tag to its back using nontoxic glue (the kind used for fake eyelashes). Then they release the bird, and it flies away. …

“They walk down a drainage though a 50-year-old tree plantation, a remnant of the logging past at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest. Then they cross into a grove of much older trees, some close to 300 years old.

“Hadley explains that the temperatures can be different at various heights of a tree. ‘It’s possible that when it’s warmer, [songbirds] may be only using the bottom and more shady parts of the trees,’ he says. He guesses they may move up higher when it becomes cooler.

“He says the complex layers and sheer biomass of old-growth keeps the temperature in these forests up to 5 degrees lower. But the researchers can’t fully understand what’s going on without knowing more about how the birds use the forests. …

“Hadley waves the antenna through the air trying to pinpoint the warbler’s location. … He and the others will compare the hermit warblers’ movements with temperature data they’ve also been gathering. They hope to get another step closer to understanding how this native songbird species might cope with the warming climate.”

More. This seems like an extra reason to protect old-growth forests, not just replant after logging. But how long will five degrees cooler be enough?

Kim, do you know about this? And are you seeing these warblers at your banding station?

Oregon State scientists are tagging and tracking hermit warblers in hopes of learning why their numbers have stabilized in places with old-growth forests, despite declines in other areas.

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