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Climate change threatens 771 endangered plant and lichen species

Despite the risk, very few of these species have recovery plans that directly address climate change

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Newswise — All plants and lichens listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act are sensitive to climate change but there are few plans in place to address this threat directly, according to a new study by Amy Casandra Wrobleski of Pennsylvania State University and colleagues, published July 26, 2023 in the open-access journal PLOS Climate.

Climate change is expected to have a major impact on species around the world, especially endangered species, which are already rare. A majority of the organisms listed under the Endangered Species Act are plants and lichen, and yet the risk that climate change poses to endangered plants has not been systematically evaluated in over a decade.

To address this gap, Wrobleski’s team adapted existing assessment tools used to examine the threat of climate change for wild animals and applied them to 771 listed plant species. Specifically, they evaluated how sensitive the listed plants and lichens were to climate change, if climate change was recognized as a threat for each species and if actions were underway to address the threat.

The researchers discovered that all listed plant and lichen species are at least slightly threatened by climate change. While a majority of the documentation for these species recognized climate change as a threat, there were few actions being taken to protect the listed species.

While acknowledging the threat that climate change poses to rare plants is an important first step, direct action must be taken to ensure the recovery of many of these species, the team concludes. As conditions continue to shift over the next century, clear and focused objectives will become even more vital for successful species recovery. They urge that their findings be used to aid in conservation planning for endangered plants and lichens, and to inform future recommendations for listing species and planning their recovery.

The authors add: “We evaluated the conservation plans for all endangered plant and lichen species listed in the Endangered Species Act and found that while climate change is recognized as a threat to the species, few conservation plans include actions to address climate change directly. Climate change will not only impact the lives of people, but also rare and endangered species and the ecosystems we interact with every day”.

Journal Link: PLOS Climate

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Exploring the Healthiest Communities in the United States: California Counties Shine Bright

Discover how California’s Marin County leads the healthiest U.S. communities, boasting high life expectancy and low obesity rates in a recent study.

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A recent study by MarketWatch has unveiled a list of the healthiest communities in the United States, with California counties claiming top spots. Marin County, nestled across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, emerged as the healthiest county, boasting a remarkable life expectancy of 85, a lower-than-average adult obesity rate, and a mere 5 percent of residents without health insurance.

The study evaluated 576 U.S. counties using 14 key metrics, including food insecurity, healthcare access, life expectancy, health insurance coverage, and environmental factors like water and air quality. Western states dominated the top 10 list, with Colorado, Hawaii, and Montana also showcasing exemplary county health profiles.

The findings emphasized a correlation between community health and wealth, with affluent areas exhibiting lower rates of food insecurity and higher levels of health insurance coverage. The presence of nature parks in many of the healthiest counties underscored the positive impact of green spaces on well-being, aligning with scientific research on the subject.

However, the study also shed light on disparities, highlighting that residents in the unhealthiest counties face challenges such as limited access to grocery stores, higher rates of food insecurity, and inadequate primary care services. Harris County, Texas, home to Houston, was identified as the least healthy county due to high uninsured rates and poor environmental quality.

In California, 37 out of 58 counties were ranked, with Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties clinching top positions. The data revealed a stark contrast in median incomes between the healthiest and unhealthiest counties, with Marin County boasting a median income well above the national average.

This comprehensive analysis serves as a valuable resource for policymakers and healthcare professionals striving to address disparities and promote well-being across communities. It underscores the importance of factors such as access to healthcare, environmental quality, and socioeconomic status in shaping overall community health outcomes.

https://patch.com/california/sanrafael/ca-has-3-10-healthiest-counties-u-s-new-study-says

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Celebrating National Random Acts of Kindness Day

“February 17th marks National Random Acts of Kindness Day, a celebration encouraging acts of kindness that spread joy and positivity nationwide.”

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Every year on February 17th, National Random Acts of Kindness Day gains momentum as a day dedicated to spreading goodwill and positivity. People from all walks of life come together to celebrate this occasion, emphasizing the importance of kindness in our daily interactions.

“Embracing Kindness: Celebrating National Random Acts of Kindness Day”

The essence of this day lies in the simplicity of performing acts of kindness, both big and small, to brighten someone else’s day. Whether it’s buying a coffee for a stranger, complimenting a co-worker, or simply offering a listening ear, these gestures have the power to make a significant impact on someone’s life.

What makes National Random Acts of Kindness Day truly special is its ability to inspire a ripple effect of positivity. Acts of kindness not only benefit the recipient but also uplift the spirits of the giver, creating a cycle of compassion and empathy that transcends boundaries.

As individuals, groups, and organizations come together to participate in this day, the message of kindness spreads far and wide, fostering a sense of community and unity. It serves as a reminder that even the smallest acts of kindness can make a difference in the world around us.

So, this National Random Acts of Kindness Day, let us embrace the spirit of generosity and compassion. Let us take a moment to brighten someone’s day, spread a little joy, and make the world a kinder place for all.

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The US Air Force Prepares for Great-Power Conflict: Overhauling Aircraft Fleets for a New Era

US Air Force overhauls fleets for potential great-power conflict, shifting focus from counterinsurgency to peer-level conflicts.

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Photo by Soly Moses on Pexels.com

In a strategic shift to prepare for potential great-power conflict, the US Air Force is undergoing a massive overhaul of its aircraft fleets and pilot readiness. With the looming possibility of conflict with China in mind, the Air Force is downsizing, upgrading, and reconfiguring its fleets, moving away from the counterinsurgency warfare focus that has dominated for the past two decades.

Lt. Gen. Richard Moore highlighted the urgency of modernizing the aging fleet, with 44% of Air Force aircraft past their designed service life. As the Air Force transitions from a focus on counterinsurgency to peer-level conflicts, the need for enhanced capabilities and pilot training becomes paramount.

The Pentagon’s acknowledgment of China as America’s “pacing challenge” underlines the growing threat posed by the Chinese military. Recent incidents in the South and East China Seas, where Chinese fighter jets have engaged in aggressive intercepts of US aircraft, highlight the escalating tensions and the need for preparedness.

Recognizing the evolving threat landscape, the Air Force is streamlining its fleets and intensifying pilot training for potential aerial combat scenarios with near-peer adversaries. The emphasis is on readiness for contested environments with complexities unseen in recent conflicts.

The planned changes aim to reduce fleet age, enhance capabilities, and field only relevant assets. These adjustments are driven by the realization that China’s rapid advancements in air force technology are narrowing the historical advantage held by Western forces in the air domain.

As the US military pivots towards preparing for a new era of conflict, the Air Force is embracing changes to meet the challenges posed by potential great-power adversaries. The shift signifies a strategic reorientation towards readiness for high-intensity conflicts, marking a significant departure from previous operational priorities.

https://www.businessinsider.com/air-force-aircraft-fleets-war-like-we-havent-seen-general-2024-2

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