Watershed Info No 1166

 Daniel Salzler                                                                                       No. 1166                                                  EnviroInsight.org                              Five  Items                             September 9, 2022     

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1.  How Plants Respond To High Heat Stress.  Feeling the heat: Steroid hormones contribute to the heat stress resistance of plants

January 4, 2022  Source:Technical University of Munich (TUM)

Plants, like other organisms, can be severely affected by heat stress. To increase their chances of survival, they activate the heat shock response, a molecular pathway also employed by human and animal cells for stress protection. Researchers have now discovered that plant steroid hormones can promote this response in plants.

It may be hard to remember, but July 2021 was the hottest month ever documented. In the USA, the mean temperature was higher than the average for July by 2,6 degrees Fahrenheit, and many southern European countries saw temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius including an all-time high temperature of 48,8 degrees Celsius recorded on the eastern coast of Sicily in Italy.

The past few decades have seen an increased incidence of heat waves with record highs around the globe, and this is seen as a result of climate change. Heat waves have been occurring more frequently, have been hotter, and have been lasting longer with severe consequences not only for humans and animals but also for plants. “Heat stress can negatively affect plants in their natural habitats and destabilize ecosystems while also drastically reducing crop harvests, thereby threatening our food security,” says Brigitte Poppenberger, Professor for Biotechnology of Horticultural Crops.

Cells activate a molecular defense pathway for heat stress protection.To survive short periods of heat stress, plants activate a molecular pathway called the heat-shock response. This heat-shock response (common to all organisms) protects cells from damage inflicted by proteotoxic stress, which damages proteins. Such stress is not only caused by heat but can also result from exposure to certain toxins, UV light, or soil salinity.

The heat shock response protects cells in various ways, one of them being production of so-called heat-shock proteins, which serve as molecular shields that protect proteins by preventing misfolding.

Brassinosteroids can increase the heat stress resistance of plants (Brassinosteroids (BRs) are a group of steroid hormones, essentially important for plant development and growth. BR signaling functions to promote cell expansion and cell division, and plays a role in etiolation and reproduction.)

Plants respond to heat stress by activating heat shock factors and also other molecular players. In particular, hormones as chemical messengers are involved. Potential applications in agriculture and horticulture

“These results are not only of interest to biologists trying to expand our understanding of the heat shock response but also have potential for practical application in agriculture and horticulture,” says Prof. Poppenberger.

Bio-stimulants containing brassinosteroids are available and can be tested for their ability to increase heat stress resistance in plants. Such substances are natural products that are approved for organic farming and thus could be used without problems. Alternatively, BES1 may be an interesting target for breeding approaches. This could be used to create varieties that are more resistant to heat stress and thus provide more stable yields in the event of future heat waves.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Technical University of Munich (TUM). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

2.  Brainy Birds May Fare Better Under Climate Change.  Study is first to directly link cognitive power to a physical response to warming  nFebruary 10, 2022Washington University in St. Louis

Many North American migratory birds are shrinking in size as temperatures have warmed over the past 40 years. But those with very big brains, relative to their body size, did not shrink as much as smaller-brained birds, according to new research from Washington University in St. Louis. The study is the first to identify a direct link between cognition and animal response to human-made climate change.

The body size changes in songbirds are small but significant, affecting familiar species of sparrows, warblers and thrushes. In fact, the size changes are so pervasive that some scientists have suggested that reductions are a universal response to warming. But new research published in Ecology Letters shows that bigger-brained birds have been able to out-think shrink, at least to a certain extent.

Baldwin and his co-authors analyzed information on some 70,000 birds that died when they collided with buildings in Chicago from 1978 to 2016. They augmented this vast dataset, first published by researchers at the University of Michigan, with new brain volume measurements and lifespan data for 49 of the 52 species of North American migratory birds included in the original study.

Birds that had very big brains, relative to their bodies, had body size reductions that were only about one-third of those observed for birds with smaller brains, the Washington University scientists discovered.

And bigger brains matter for birds.  Relative brain size is often considered a proxy for behavioral flexibility in birds. The idea is controversial when it is applied to some other animals, Baldwin said, but it works well for birds.

“In this case, a bigger-brained species of bird might be able to reduce its exposure to warming temperatures by seeking out microhabitats with cooler temperatures, for example,” he said.

“This doesn’t mean that climate change is not affecting brainy birds,” Botero said, “or that brainy birds are going to do just fine. What our findings suggest is that climate change can have a much stronger effect on the less-brainy birds.”

“The findings also have practical implications for conservation, as 3 billion birds (about one in three) have been lost in North America since the 1970s. “That’s probably a lot of natural selection that hits different species differently,” Baldwin said.

Story Source:   Materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis. Original written by Talia Ogliore. 

3. Which PoliticiansArc Lying?  BY THE NUMBERS: The Inflation Reduction Act.


Here are the facts: The Inflation Reduction Act will lower costs for families, combat the climate crisis, reduce the deficit, and finally ask the largest corporations to pay their fair share. President Biden and Congressional Democrats have worked together to deliver a historic legislative achievement that defeats special interests, delivers for American families, and grows the economy from the bottom up and middle out.

Here’s how the Inflation Reduction Act impacts Americans by the numbers:\

HEALTH CARE  Cutting Prescription Drug Cost|

Today, Americans pay two to three times what citizens of other countries pay for prescription drugs.  5-7 million Medicare beneficiaries could see their prescription drug costs go down because of the provision allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug costs.

50 million Americans with Medicare Part D will have the peace of mind knowing their costs at the pharmacy are capped at $2,000 per year, directly benefiting about 1.4 million beneficiaries each year.

3.3 million Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes will benefit from a guarantee that their insulin costs are capped at $35 for a month’s supply.

Lowering Health Care Costs. 13 million Americans will continue to save an average of $800 per year on health insurance premiums

3 million more Americans will have health insurance than without the law.

The uninsured rate is at an all-time low of 8%, which the historic law will build on. Defeating Special Interests $187 million: The amount the Pharmaceutical industry has spent on lobbying in 2022. 1,600: number of lobbyists the pharmaceutical companies had in 2021 – three times the number of Members of Congress 33 years: the amount of time Congressional Democrats have been trying to lower prescription drug costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

19 years: number of years Medicare has been blocked from negotiating prescription drug costs 


Lowering Energy Costs

Families that take advantage of clean energy and electric vehicle tax credits will save more than $1,000 per year.

$14,000 in direct consumer rebates for families to buy heat pumps or other energy effiicient home appliances, saving families at least $350 per year.

7.5 million more families will be able install solar on their roofs with a 30% tax credit, saving families $9,000 over the life of the system or at least $300 per year.

Up to $7,500 in tax credits for new electric vehicles and $4,000 for used electric vehicles, helping families save $950 per year.

Putting America on track to meet President Biden’s climate goals, which will save every family an average of $500 per year on their energy costs.

Building a Clean Energy Economy Power homes, businesses, and communities with much more clean energy by 2030, including:

950 million solar panels 120,000 wind turbines 2,300 grid-scale battery plants

Advance cost-saving clean energy projects at rural electric cooperatives serving 42 million people.

Strengthen climate resilience and protect nearly 2 million acres of national forests. Creating millions of good-paying jobs making clean energy in America.

Reducing Harmful Pollution Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 1 gigaton in 2030, or a billion metric tons – 10 times more climate impact than any other single piece of legislation ever enacted.

Deploy clean energy and reduce particle pollution from fossil fuels to avoid up to 3,900 premature deaths and up to 100,000 asthma attacks annually by 2030.


Making the Tax Code Fairer

$0: how much some of largest, profitable corporations pay in federal income tax.

55: the number of America’s largest, wealthiest corporations that got away without paying a cent in federal income taxes in 2020.

$160 billon: how much the top 1 percent of earners is estimated to evade each year in taxes.

15%: the minimum tax on corporate profiits the Inflation Reduction Act imposes on the largest, most profitable corporations.

$124 billion: savings over 10 years the Inflation Reduction Act will generate from collecting taxes already owed by wealthy people and large corporations, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

And no family making less than $400,000 will see their taxes go up a penny.

Reducing the Deficit The Inflation Act will achieve hundreds of billions in deficit reduction.

The deficit is projected to fall by more than $1.5 trillion this year after falling by more than $350 billion last year.

126 leading economists – including 7 Nobel Laureates, 2 former Treasury Secretaries, 2 former Fed Vice Chairs and 2 former CEA Chairs – have said reducing the deficit will help fight inflation and support strong, stable economic growth.

4. Green Backyards Help Increase Urban Climate Resilience: Here is how Source: January 24, 2022 Pensoft Publishers

Green spaces in cities have a number of positive effects: they’re good for our physical and mental health, they’re good for the environment, and they can even help fight off the effects of climate change.

To explore the impact of additional green structures in cities, Katja Schmidt and Ariane Walz, affiliated with the University of Potsdam, Germany, quantified their effects on different aspects such as thermal comfort, biodiversity, carbon storage and social interaction. Their study, published in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal One Ecosystem, combines knowledge from health research, ecology and socio-ecological research, and shows how the better we know a particular type of ecosystem, the better we can adapt to climate change.

While doing the research, even small differences in the green structure affect the provision of benefits, but one thing was clear: the greener courtyards yielded more benefits. Trees have the vital ability to cool down the environment and increase thermal comfort. Remarkably, the researchers report additional cooling effects of up to 11°C in the greener court yards. This means that residential green structures can prove of great value for human health during summertime heat, when asphalt and buildings make hot days even hotter. Considering the ageing demographic and the likely increase of heatwaves in the area, this is likely to have even greater health implications in the coming years.

Urban green spaces can also be an important factor in carbon storage, as urban soils and trees have the capacity to act as a sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide. The residential yards with more and larger trees, logically, have the power to store more carbon. This is where proper maintenance comes in: when yards are managed sustainably, trees live longer and can store more carbon.

As a conclusion, the researchers point out that if land owners and leaseholders receive incentives to commit to climate adaptation, and neighborhoods come up with deliberate management strategies, these benefits could be further enhanced, contributing to a more sustainable urban development.

5.Irrigating With Gray Water.  Gray water can be a reliable source of  water for desert landscape. Clint Culberson and Michael Gettens with Galaxy Gardens will share how they plan and install simple gray water systems.  Discover how to send gray water from laundry machines, handwashing sinks, baths, and showers to your landscape.  

Saturday, September 10 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Glendale main library (5959 W down St., Glendale, AZ)

Copyright: EnviroInsight.org 2022


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