Young people are the demographic most passionate about protecting the environment and addressing climate change, perhaps because they're the one who will have to live with it the longest. The problem is they're also the least likely group to vote. That means that their voices and their concerns are often drowned out by the well-funded lobbying of fossil fuel interests.
Now the nonpartisan group Headcount.org, which uses musicians and other celebrities with appeal to a younger audience to drive voter participation, has announced a massive Election Day social media push to get people to #GoVote. The organization hopes to reach the so-called "drop-off" voters who cast ballots only in presidential years, not realizing the significant impact of midterm elections.
And while Headcount.org doesn't endorse candidates or positions, more younger voters casting ballots is good news for the planet, likely leading to elected officials paying more attention to issues young people care about, like fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline. A poll from the University of Texas at Austin, released this week, found voters under 35 are significantly less likely than those over 65 to vote for candidates who favored building the Keystone XL or expanding offshore oil development and much more likely to vote for one who supported reducing carbon emissions, expanding incentives for renewables and decreasing coal use.
“The incumbent Congress is the least popular in history, so we can't leave it to the candidates alone to inspire people,” said Marc Brownstein, HeadCount’s co-founder and bass player in the Disco Biscuits. “We're trying to get the message across that being dissatisfied is a bad reason not to vote—it's the exact reason why participation is so important."
More than 300 entertainers have already signed up for the effort, promising to post photos of themselves to social media on Election Day, urging their fans to #GoVote. Among the celebrities who have taken photos of themselves holding artwork that says #GoVote are Dave Matthews, Linkin Park, RZA, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Fergie, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, Russell Simmons, T.I., Weird Al Yankovic, Stephen Colbert, Conan O'Brien, Sarah Silverman, Lewis Black, Andy Richter and George Lopez. To show they're not just interested in young voters, Crosby Stills and Nash, Quincy Jones, Mavis Staples, Chaka Khan, Ed Asner and all the living members of the Grateful Dead are participating too. Together these celebrities have more than 350 million followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Each of the participants will tweet and post the photos on Election Day—Tuesday, Nov. 4—to create a media blitz that anyone using social media won't be able to miss. And each post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr will include a link to a page where voters can find information about their polling place location, ID requirements and what's on their ballot. You can preview the photos here.
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By Katherine Kornei
Clear-cutting a forest is relatively easy—just pick a tree and start chopping. But there are benefits to more sophisticated forest management. One technique—which involves repeatedly harvesting smaller trees every 30 or so years but leaving an upper story of larger trees for longer periods (60, 90, or 120 years)—ensures a steady supply of both firewood and construction timber.
A Pattern in the Rings<p>The <a href="https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/coppice-standards-0" target="_blank">coppice-with-standards</a> management practice produces a two-story forest, said <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bernhard_Muigg" target="_blank">Bernhard Muigg</a>, a dendrochronologist at the University of Freiburg in Germany. "You have an upper story of single trees that are allowed to grow for several understory generations."</p><p>That arrangement imprints a characteristic tree ring pattern in a forest's upper story trees (the "standards"): thick rings indicative of heavy growth, which show up at regular intervals as the surrounding smaller trees are cut down. "The trees are growing faster," said Muigg. "You can really see it with your naked eye."</p><p>Muigg and his collaborators characterized that <a href="https://ltrr.arizona.edu/about/treerings" target="_blank">dendrochronological pattern</a> in 161 oak trees growing in central Germany, one of the few remaining sites in Europe with actively managed coppice-with-standards forests. They found up to nine cycles of heavy growth in the trees, the oldest of which was planted in 1761. The researchers then turned to a historical data set — more than 2,000 oak <a href="https://eos.org/articles/podcast-discovering-europes-history-through-its-timbers" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">timbers from buildings and archaeological sites</a> in Germany and France dating from between 300 and 2015 — to look for a similar pattern.</p>
A Gap of 500 Years<p>The team found wood with the characteristic coppice-with-standards tree ring pattern dating to as early as the 6th century. That was a surprise, Muigg and his colleagues concluded, because the first mention of this forest management practice in historical documents occurred only roughly 500 years later, in the 13th century.</p><p>It's probable that forest management practices were not well documented prior to the High Middle Ages (1000–1250), the researchers suggested. "Forests are mainly mentioned in the context of royal hunting interests or donations," said Muigg. Dendrochronological studies are particularly important because they can reveal information not captured by a sparse historical record, he added.</p><p>These results were <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-78933-8" target="_blank">published in December in <em>Scientific Reports</em></a>.</p><p>"It's nice to see the longevity and the history of coppice-with-standards," said <a href="https://www.teagasc.ie/contact/staff-directory/s/ian-short/" target="_blank">Ian Short</a>, a forestry researcher at Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, not involved in the research. This technique is valuable because it promotes conservation and habitat biodiversity, Short said. "In the next 10 or 20 years, I think we'll see more coppice-with-standards coming back into production."</p><p>In the future, Muigg and his collaborators hope to analyze a larger sample of historic timbers to trace how the coppice-with-standards practice spread throughout Europe. It will be interesting to understand where this technique originated and how it propagated, said Muigg, and there are plenty of old pieces of wood waiting to be analyzed. "There [are] tons of dendrochronological data."</p><p><em><a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Katherine Kornei</a> is a freelance science journalist covering Earth and space science. Her bylines frequently appear in Eos, Science, and The New York Times. Katherine holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.</em></p><p><em>This story originally appeared in <a href="https://eos.org/articles/tree-rings-reveal-how-ancient-forests-were-managed" target="_blank">Eos</a></em> <em>and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.</em></p>
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