The Bulletin—July 24, 2012
The Bulletin compiles news from in and around the US South. We hope these posts will provide space for lively discussion and debate regarding issues of importance to those living in and intellectually engaging with the US South.
Farmers and ranchers across the South, Midwest, and West are struggling to bring their crops to harvest and feed their herds. Texas ranchers sold nearly 36,000 head of cattle last week, triple the number from a few weeks ago. The Arkansas River Basin has been hit especially hard, which is evident in this map depicting drought severity across the country, with almost all of Arkansas in severe or extreme drought. Another set of annual drought maps, from the New York Times, demonstrates the extent of drought across the country since the 1890s.
According to a recent report issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the scorching summer of 2012 has brought record temperatures and the worst drought in the continental United States since the 1950s. NOAA's report and a study they completed with a similar agency in the United Kingdom suggest that rising global temperatures may have contributed to the increased frequency of droughts in the last few years.
Environmentalist Bill McKibben recently penned an essay in the magazine Rolling Stone which details the ways in which carbon emissions contribute to rising global temperatures. McKibben highlights the "terrifying new math" which reveals how serious the global warming crisis is and how the international community can address it.