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Top Photo: Satellite images captured by the European Sentinal 2 and Senential 5P show methane gas leaking from a gas pipeline in Kazakhstan. Photo credit: Image: • Image credit: Copernicus

Scientists now have a way to detect methane gas emissions from space, and the results are startling. Satellite observations reveal that large amounts of emissions of methane, a highly warming greenhouse gas, are being released all over the world. 

Methane, which is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide, is leaking from gas pipelines, oil wells, fossil fuel processing plants and landfills around the globe. Many of these leaks are ATTRIBUTED to negligence and improper operations. And these emissions are often not properly being tracked by those responsible as required.

According to NASA, methane accounts for roughly a quarter of global warming since the industrial revolution. Methane is the second-most abundant greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide, and it is the main component of natural gas.

The United States is the world’s largest natural gas producer, followed by Russia, Iran, China, Canada and Qatar.

Ilse Aben, senior scientist at the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON), told, that his team has seen many more large emissions than expected around the world. Aben heads a team of experts working with data collected by Tropomi, an instrument on a European satellite.

“We measure methane across the globe every day, and then we provide these locations to GHGSat, and they can zoom in and pinpoint the exact facility that is leaking those emissions,” Aben said.

Their observations have allowed the team to observe leaks often in unexpected places. Monitoring greenhouse gas emissions from space is still in its early stages, but hopes are high that it will be a tool in combatting climate change.

At the COP26 conference last month in Scotland, world leaders signed off on a new climate change agreement. Experts agree that some progress was made as some participating countries committed to ambitious cuts to heat-trapping pollution, but those countries must follow through on their promises, and additional cuts will be needed to produce the results the world needs.

You & Your Family Can Help Fight Hunger in AZ!

The holidays are here, and the coronavirus pandemic is still making life difficult for most of us. 

A lot of families, some for the first time, are having trouble making ends meet. Parents have lost jobs, and food, gas and rent prices are rapidly rising. 

One of the organizations that’s been forced to quickly adapt is the St. Mary’s Food Bank, which provides food for hundreds of thousands of Arizonans including kids and families. Here’s your chance for you and your family or classroom to make difference! 

“We kind of changed our motto or tagline to ‘If you need help, or if you can help, come to St. Mary’s Food Bank!’” says Lisa Notaro, chief community relations and development officer for the food bank. 

St. Mary’s was the first food bank in the nation! Started in 1967, farmers, grocers and other folks could “deposit” excess food and people who needed it would make “withdrawals” for free! 

With the help of about 900 partner agencies who help get the food to where it’s needed in Maricopa County and northern counties, St. Mary’s Food Bank provides about 300,000 pounds of food each day, covering 81,000 square miles of Arizona! 

The food bank is a huge operation relying on 200 volunteers each day. But the pandemic cut deeply into this volunteering effort, plus the need for food was greater than ever. So the Arizona National Guard was called in to lend a hand. 

 FOOD INSECURITY is a major problem across the nation. “Somebody who is food insecure means that they don’t have the food in their home or they do not have the money to buy that food. It means that they struggle and worry about going to bed hungry,” Notaro explains. For kids, St. Mary’s provides up to 20,000 weekend backpacks a month. Given out on Fridays, the backpacks have food to get kids through the weekend. She says kids and families can really help by collecting shelf-stable items, or you can have your parent donate to (amazingly, every dollar donated provides about seven meals)! 

But perhaps St. Mary’s best opportunity for kids is its Junior Hunger Heroes program. Kids can join by either donating a jar of peanut butter and jelly or raising $5 for the food bank. St. Mary’s holds special volunteering days for these heroes, where kids as young as 3 can come help. If your family needs help, visit the website and click on “Need Food?” at the top.

December 2021