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Transportation & Infrastructure

Don't buy an electric car because some dude likes something else—by kos: "The car I want to drive doesn’t come in electric. There are two kinds of people in this world: car people and everyone else. I am a car person. I’m very particular about how I get from point A to point B. I have no idea why [...] Don't buy an electric car because the car he wants isn't available in electric. And make sure you check with him before you buy anything else too, because it's all about him."

Model S chassis and powertrain
Model S chassis (the battery) and powertrain
Tesla at war with sleazy auto dealers—by kos: "Of course, conservatives hate anything that helps the environment, even if it's good despite the fact it helps the environment. So naturally, they hate Tesla. Especially since it received government loans. But the company is now profitable, and supply is so constrained that the waiting list to receive a car is about eight months. But Tesla is fascinating for another reason—it is a disruptive technology, and we know how the fossil-fuel and auto industry have worked hard to squelch any challenge to their dominance. And there is certainly an entire national infrastructure in place that is dependent on dirty, gas-guzzling vehicles. And that infrastructure is a definite barrier to change."

Does driving less mean living in The Matrix?—by Steve Masover: "About a year ago CalPIRG put out a report called Transportation and the New Generation. I wrote about it in If you don't want to drive you've got to be driven.  [...] Yesterday, the NY Times published an article about this year's report in the same vein, A New Direction, published by the federation of California's CalPIRG and other state Public Interest Research groups, U.S. PIRG."

Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 17th—by this is only a test: "Commuting by bike is easier than you might imagine. It does take some preparation and some planning, especially if work is a long way from home. A couple months ago, I offered some thoughts on the logistics of longer-distance bike commuting, including route planning, work clothes, and so on. One of the best ways to learn how to commute by bike is to ride with friends! Bike to Work Day offers lots of opportunities to meet other bike commuters and get tips on routes and practicalities."

Reducing my own carbon footprint—by dhonig: "I have an 18 mile commute, each way, every day. How can I reduce my own carbon footprint? I could get a higher-mileage car. Or perhaps even switch to an electric vehicle. Here in Indiana, electricity is relatively inexpensive, a little bit of it is generated by an enormous windmill farm between Indy and Chicago, so an electric car is probably carbon efficient (compared to driving a gas-powered car). But I had a better idea.That's my new Borealis V3, a velomobile. It's an aerodynamic carbon/kevlar shell over an Ice Trike recumbent tricycle."

Climate Change

New Mexico Faces Disaster as Extreme Drought Intensifies West of the 100th Meridian—by FishOutofWater: "The rains stopped. Two years of drought led to record fires in Arizona and New Mexico, then the rains stopped completely as New Mexico entered its third year of drought. This week New Mexico faces extreme fire weather while water supplies are the worst experts have ever seen. [...] Brief rains in California in late January raised hope that the western drought, entering its third year, was breaking, but the opposite happened. High pressure intensified off the coast of California and Oregon pushing the jet stream far north of its normal track. The intense sudden stratospheric warming in January coupled with a semi-cyclic oscillation in the Pacific called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) to produce areas of strongly atmospheric subsidence over the Arctic and the eastern north Pacific oceans. These areas of sinking air produced exceptionally strong and dry high pressure areas. Cold air, pushed out of the Arctic by the huge high pressure areas, plunged into the central U.S. The jet stream pushed up over the north Pacific then dove down the eastern slope of the Rocky mountains, bringing cold weather to the central and eastern U.S. while leaving the western states parched. Europe also had a very cold spring because exceptionally high pressure over the Labrador sea blocked the normal storm track, pushing it south of its normal track across the Atlantic."

“If we introduce tar shale and tar sands - then the problem becomes unsolvable.” James Hansen—by Lefty Coaster: "Exploiting oil and gas trapped in tar sands and shale threatens to make climate change 'unsolvable,' said James Hansen, the former NASA scientist who raised concerns about global warming in the 1980s. Conventional reserves of oil, gas and coal already have more carbon embedded in them than is safe to burn without causing 'dangerous' levels of warming beyond a rise of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since industrialization, Hansen told a U.K. panel of lawmakers today."

Bangladesh: elevation above sea level
Global Warming, Islam, and the US: Flashpoint Bangladesh?—by MrJayTee: "Bring up global warming and my mind turns to Bangladesh. What other nation finds so many people, so poor, so under the thumb of a money-grubbing elite, and so damnably close to the rising ocean? A recent re-assessment of the 2007 IPCC report on sea level rise, published last January in Nature Climate Change (preview only, full article behind pay wall), and reported on here by John Platt of Mother Nature Network, tells us that by 2100, melting Antarctic and Greenland glacial ice sheets could cause a sea level rise between 11.4 and 33 inches (there was only a 5 percent chance of reaching this [33-inch] level, according to the experts' data). If rising temperatures also cause ocean waters to expand, the total sea rise could be more than three feet."

The Overview Effect—by Michael Brune: "Although the notion of sending Congress, the president, and every other decision maker into outer space has some appeal, it's not exactly the most practical thing. Yet the climate crisis demands the same kind of cognitive shift experienced by astronauts: We cannot let that CO2 ppm number keep ticking up, and the best way to stop it is to stop burning fossil fuels and replace them with renewable energy as fast as we can.

Unfortunately, although President Obama has spoken eloquently about the climate crisis, the energy policies of his administration too often say "business as usual," not "cognitive shift." "

Nightly news gave British royals seven times more coverage in 2012 than they gave climate change—by Meteor Blades: "Last year was the warmest on record for the contiguous United States. The average temperature was 55.3°F in 2012. That's 3.2°F above the 20th century average and 1.0°F above the previous record in 1998. Nonetheless, as Media Matters and the Climate Reality Project point out, members of the British royal family were covered in more than seven times as many nightly news broadcast segments as climate change was."

Climate change will displace hundreds of millions soon—by Meteor Blades: "At the Guardian, Robin McKie writes Climate change 'will make hundreds of millions homeless'. Now that in itself isn't news. Several reports have been saying that for years. But what's different is that what was thought to be decades away is much closer to happening than previously thought by all but the pessimists."

Chart showing scientific consensus on global warming
Skeptical Science flattens deniers: 97% of peer-reviewed papers say humans causing climate change—by Meteor Blades: "[R]esearchers under the guidance of John Cook at Skeptical Science discovered in a 'citizen science' survey of 11,944 peer-reviewed articles, 1.6 percent of the authors expressing an opinion on the subject rejected or were uncertain about the consensus that the earth is undergoing anthropogenic (human-generated) global warming (AGW). And 97.1 percent of the nearly 4,000 articles in which the author(s) took a position endorsed the AGW consensus. [...] Cook says the findings are important because 'people who correctly perceive the scientific consensus on human-caused global warming are more likely to support government action to curb greenhouse gas emissions.'"

Obama tweets analysis that 97% of peer-reviewed science confirms human-caused global warming—by Laurence Lewis: "[S]cientists don't have political pull, and too often are marginalized by the traditional media. We need political leaders leading on climate issues, and by sending this tweet to his 31,532,141 followers, President Obama is ensuring that this analysis will get the attention it deserves."

Fresh Air Brief: Climate Change Shifts Locations of Earth's Poles—by Joshua Wiese: "Welcome to this edition of the Fresh Air Brief, a service of the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA). Each week we bring you an overview of trending climate news and upcoming meetings, events, and issues that our our partners & peers are tracking. Here's a peek at what you'll find below: Arctic Ministerial wraps up in Sweden; South Korea's carbon trading scheme to be world's most ambitious; Climate change has shifted the location of the Earth's poles."

An Open Letter to the Wall Street Journal on CO2—by Mokurai: "The US edition of the Wall Street Journal recently published this article. Harrison H. Schmitt and William Happer: In Defense of Carbon Dioxide The demonized chemical compound is a boon to plant life and has little correlation with global temperature. Vanessa Warheit took them to task in a letter which I quote in full below the fold, with her permission, and with minor copyediting and formatting, and two minor corrections to do with geologic ages. She also sent this letter to several environmental groups."

Bleeding Glaciers: "And the rivers and oceans shall turn red..."—by GreyHawk:

The Great Outdoors
Apache Plume - Fallugia paradoxa
Apache Plume - Fallugia paradoxa
The Daily Bucket: Southwestern bouquet—by AZ Sphinx Moth: "Bisbee, Arizona—In celebration of Mother's Day, I present to you this photo diary of flowers blooming in my yard and in the Mule mountain foothills."

The Daily Bucket, Gray Fox—by burnt out: "Gray fox are found over much of north America and often share the same habitats as their red cousins. We have both species here in mid Missouri, but I see far more reds than grays. On the rare occasion that I do catch sight of a gray, it's usually no more than a fleeting glimpse as it streaks across the road in the headlight beams of my truck or as a road kill along the side of the highway. I think I can count the daylight sightings on one hand with fingers to spare. In this area they seem to prefer dense thickets and other places where there is heavy cover and they also seem to be mostly nocturnal, even more so than the reds so sightings are rare. Like most wild things they are facing a steady decrease in habitat and a steady increase in danger as more and faster highways crisscross their territories."

The Daily Bucket - Crows vs Owl—by bwren: "It's hard not to interpret that behavior as hatred—how the crows feel about owls. They are so intelligent, you have to assume they are thinking, remembering, planning. I can understand why, since they are preyed upon by owls, but that relentless group attack mode has a malevolent atmosphere. (OceanDiver, May 11, 2013.) One of the watchers catches up to me in the Forest with an observation. She'd seen one of the adults from the middle nest carrying something to a branch close to the nest, something large and dark, watched as the owl dug in to its meal. Things dropped as it fed. Under the owl's perch she found clumps of black feathers.The next day another watcher spoke of seeing an owl flying toward the middle nest with a crow in its talons."

The Daily Bucket-swift swallows—by 6412093: "Every half hour, the wind picks up, and then it drizzles.  About the time you put on your rain jacket, the drizzle stops. But leave your jacket off, and soon your sweater's wet. For some reason, the swallows just arrived.  Has the weather stirred up the bugs? They swoop just in front of us, as our striding through the grass drives the bugs into the air, vulnerable to the swallows.  I see lots of swallows, certainly dozens.  But they aren't swarming into a mystical, collective murmuration."

The Daily Bucket: eagles in a squall—by OceanDiver: "What would eagles be doing standing on the beach? We have many Bald Eagles in the Salish Sea and I see them most days. They are fish eagles, but a major part of their diet here is terrestrial animals, such as rabbits and carrion. I've heard there's a nest uphill a ways in the trees but it's private property so I have no idea how close it is to the beach. I've seen eagles on the beach in the past working on carrion, sometimes in competition with turkey vultures, but this time there was no carrion in sight."

The Daily Bucket: It's Pretty But It's Not Normal—by PHScott: "Coralbean (Erythrina herbacea) is a lovely native plant found growing along the coastal southeast. It's in the Pea family. One of my fieldbooks refers to it as Cherokee Bean or Cardinal Spear. With bright red tubular blooms, you can probably guess what little bird with a long beak and the ability to hover likes to visit. Here is a typical flower. The blooms open starting at the bottom and going up, a process that can take weeks"

The Daily Bucket: Wild Rhodies—by Milly Watt: "The wild rhododendrons are blooming right on schedule.  This is the week of the Rhody Festival in my little town of Port Townsend, WA (here on the NE corner of the Olympic Peninsula)."

Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice

Is OFA Serious about Climate Change or Not?—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "A few weeks ago, at the end of April, OFA began its push on climate change.  I was pleasantly surprised to see them decide to get involved; however, I was immediately disappointed with their strategic decisions.  The video OFA created (in the article hyperlinked above) calls out Republicans for climate denialism.  However, in the end, the video is just giving more air time to climate denialism.  It reminded me of Obama's use of the hardly inspiring phrase "not a hoax" during his speech at the DNC last fall.  Psychologists have long noted that the use of such frames can undermine one's messaging goal: the repetition of false claims only strengthens their hold in people's minds and creates an'"illusion of truth effect.'"


Barrigan-Parrilla will oppose Delta tunnels at Senate hearing—by Dan Bacher: "Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, will voice her strong opposition to Governor Jerry Brown's plan to build two Peripheral Tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta on Tuesday, May 14, at the Senate Natural Resources & Water Committee hearing at the State Capitol in Sacramento. 'We oppose the rush to build a project that would exterminate salmon runs, destroy sustainable family farms and saddle taxpayers with tens of billions in debt, mainly to benefit a small number of huge corporate agribusinesses on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley," said Barrigan-Parrilla. "Governor Brown’s Peripheral Tunnel proposal is fatally flawed. It’s a bad investment.The total cost is unknown; the financing unsecured, and the only certainty is water customers will pay billions and billions in increased rates.'"

Food & Agriculture & Gardening

Fast-food workers protest low wages.
NYC fast-food workers protest low wages.
A PENNY A POUND, PLUS POWER: THE COALITION OF IMMOKALEE WORKERS CHANGES HISTORY—by Bev Bell: "As Wendy's shareholders convene their annual meeting in New York, farmworkers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) are calling on the remaining, hold-out, major fast food corporation to commit to workers’ rights and fair wages. On Saturday, May 18th, farmworkers and their allies will gather in Manhattan's Union Square (14th St.) at 2pm for a rally and march to a nearby Wendy's. [...] For most tomato pickers in the US, a bucket brings in 50 cents, a piece rate that has remained virtually unchanged for more than 30 years. Because the rate is set so low, a worker has to pick more than two and a quarter tons of tomatoes per day—the weight of a young elephant—to make the minimum wage. Until 2005, no restaurant or grocery chain had ever taken responsibility for the fact that its profits played a role in creating such deplorable conditions and wages."

Supreme Court and Monsanto Kick 75 Year-Old Farmer Squarely in the Beans—by ProgLegs: "Today the Supreme Court sided with Monsanto in a case against a 75 year-old farmer in Indiana who was charged with planting Monsanto's proprietary seeds without paying a fee. Vernon Hugh Bowman bought the seeds at a grain elevator which sold soybeans for other purposes (animal feed for example) than planting. Then he planted them. Monsanto contended that Bowman's actions violated its patents and sued him in 2007, seeking $84,000 in damages. Monsanto won the case in district court in 2009, and Bowman appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court."

Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 9.13—by Frankenoid: "Having suffered through first, second, third and fourth winter, here in Denver we seem to have sling-shot right through spring and directly into summer. Just a couple of weeks ago we armored against the cold and snow in parkas and boots so it feels exceedingly weird to bop out the door sans sweater and wearing sandals."


US oil boom, stock market hits new high - Are all Republican talking points lies?—by Fordmandalay: "For years the Republicans have built their houses of sand on screaming about how the only sensible energy tactic is 'DRILL BABY DRILL!', and how Obama is crushing the oil industry - and of course, how he's wrecking the stock market. So how do they explain the current US oil boom, that is sending shock waves through OPEC?"

Open thread for night owls: Was the global oil market rigged?—by Hunter: "The ongoing lesson here seems to be that in every financial market that relies on "voluntary" price reporting, the market can and will be manipulated by the largest players—and as it turns out, that consists of nearly every financial market, period, full stop. As Matt Taibbi says, everything is rigged. The entire world's financial market suffers from a single, fatal flaw: The largest companies within it, the companies that therefore manage and govern it, either implicitly or explicitly, can make very, very large amounts of money at no perceptible risk simply by being crooked."

London Offices of BP and Shell Oil Raided by European Commission Over Price Fixing Collusion—by markthshark: "Offices of both BP and Shell Oil were raided yesterday by European regulators investigating allegations of collusion between the two oil companies to rig oil prices for more than a decade. 'Unannounced inspections' were also carried out at several other oil companies in London, the Netherlands and Norway. Regulators allege the oil companies may have '... colluded in reporting distorted prices to a price reporting agency [PRA] to manipulate the published prices for a number of oil and biofuel products.'"

Time for a tar sands reality check—by Tzeporah: "Canada's federal government launched its latest attack on the truth behind the oil sands, a multi-media extravaganza of billboards and print and online advertisements. Click on the web ad and you'll end up at the government's “Go with Canada” website, a collection of well-crafted messages that play fast and loose with the facts about the oil sands, particularly the significant social, economic and environmental impacts the world's largest industrial project imposes on Albertans, Canadians and the rest of the world. There's no room here to respond to all of the half-truths and misinformation you'll find there, but suffice to say they're the same tall tales the oil sands industry and Alberta and Canadian politicians have been using to try and persuade Canadians, Americans and Europeans that, despite all the evidence to the contrary, the oil sands are an environmentally benign bonanza of energy riches managed through responsible environmental policy."

Beijing construction through the haze
A view through the haze of new Beijing construction
China's changing coal market may undermine economic case for more proposed NW Coal Export Terminals—by Lefty Coaster: "Having just recently returned from China, I've seen how quickly smog levels in urban centers like Shanghai and Beijing can spike. Chinese tourists inside China often comment on the air quality of the tourist spots they visit. Air quality has become inordinately important to the Chinese people who have had to deal with some of the worst air pollution on earth. But a recent report by Wall Street colossus Goldman Sachs says this will be a transformational year for China, with its seaborne coal imports dropping for the first time since the global financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 and continuing to decline in the coming years. China’s own coal production has spiked, Goldman Sachs said, along with investment in Chinese railroads to move its coal."

Friday Trash Dump: Obama DOE Approves 2nd Fracked Gas LNG Export Terminal—by Steve Horn: "Friday is the proverbial “take out the trash day” for the release of bad news among public relations practitioners and this Friday was no different. In that vein, yesterday the Obama Department of Energy (DOE) announced a conditional approval of the second-ever LNG (liquefied natural gas) export terminal. LNG is the super-chilled final product of gas obtained – predominantly in today’s context – via the controversial hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) process taking place within shale deposits located throughout the U.S. Fracked gas is shipped from the multitude of domestic shale basins in pipelines to various coastal LNG terminals, and then sent on LNG tankers to the global market."

The Oil Industry is planning on obliterating the Ecuadorian Rain Forest—by Pakalolo: "The Waorani tribesmen, who live in the rainforest of Ecuador, are getting ready to challenge the Ecuadorian government’s plan to auction as much as 8 million acres of rainforest for oil drilling. They will challenge the decision constitutionally and also pledge to fight to the death to protect the land. Bless them in the huge fight that they have on their hands. China has been aggressively seeking the rights to exploit oil resources, but they are not alone. In March of this year, Ecuadorian officials met with China's oil industry in Beijing."

10 Reasons Canada's Tar Sands Suck—by KGrandia: "As a Canadian it blows my mind that we can have the second largest deposits of oil in the world, but our government remains billions in debt and one in seven Canadian children live in poverty. I feel like we are being played for fools here in Canada, because foreign owned oil companies like ExxonMobil, British Petroluem and PetroChina (71% of oil sands production is owned by foreign shareholders) are making billions exporting raw tar sand from our country, while us citizens are dealing with all the nasty downsides. Time for a tar sands reality check."

Simple Solar Principles—by gmoke: "Simple solar principles
dark gets hot
light reflects
clear keeps the wind out
insulation keeps heat in
heat can be stored and moved
and any window that sees sunlight
is already
a solar

Energy Efficiency Strikes Again—by gmoke: "I've been following the work of Edward Mazria since he published The Passive Solar Energy Book: A Complete Guide to Passive Solar Home, Greenhouse and Building Design back in 1979.  It was a great introduction to passive solar design and probably still is.  In 2002, he founded  Architecture 2030 with a goal "to achieve a dramatic reduction in the climate-change-causing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the Building Sector by changing the way buildings and developments are planned, designed and constructed." Looking at the EIA's latest Annual Energy Outlook (http://www.eia.gov/....), he saw that 2030 projections for building energy consumption are in steep decline and that, even though the USA plans to add over 60 billion square feet of new buildings by 2030, the energy demands in those buildings will be so low we won't need any new power plants to service them."

Koch Brothers Storing Oil Sands Waste on Bank of Detroit River—by zwoof: "Windsor, Canada—'A three-story black mountain of petroleum coke is covering an entire city block on the other side of the Detroit River.' Petroleum coke is a byproduct of refining Canadian oil sands bitumen. According to an article in the New York Times, Kerry Satterthwaite, a petroleum coke analyst at Roskill Information Services, said, 'It is worse than a byproduct,' Ms. Satterthwaite said.'It’s a waste byproduct that is costly and inconvenient to store, but effectively costs nothing to produce.'"


Faulkner County: ExxonMobil's "Sacrifice Zone" for Tar Sands Pipelines, Fracking—by Steve Horn: "There are few better examples of a 'sacrifice zone' for ExxonMobil and the fossil fuel industry at-large than Faulkner County, Arkansas and the counties surrounding it. Six weeks have passed since a 22-foot gash in ExxonMobil's Pegasus tar sands Pipeline spilled over 500,000 gallons of heavy crude into the quaint neighborhood of Mayflower, AR, a township with a population of roughly 2,300 people. The air remains hazardous to breathe in, it emits a putrid strench, and the water in Lake Conway is still rife with tar sands crude. These facts are well known. Less known is the fact that Faulkner County - within which Mayflower sits - is a major 'sacrifice zone' for ExxonMobil not only for its pipeline infrastructure, but also for the controversial hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') process. The Fayetteville Shale basin sits underneath Faulkner County."

Three Fracking Moratorium Bills Pass California Assembly Committee—by Dan Bacher: "The bills are strongly opposed by the Western States Petroleum Association, headed by their President Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the former Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called “marine protected areas” on the South Coast."

Eco-Related DC & State Politics

Gina McCarthy, EPA
Gina McCarthy
Republicans keep making unreasonable demands of EPA nominee McCarthy—by Meteor Blades: "It's not a stretch to say she's been pummeled with questions, 1,079 of them altogether, and she's has answered them all. But there remain three sticking points. Which is no surprise given that many Republicans would like to see the EPA dealt with the way the Romans dealt with Carthage, leaving not one of its bricks atop another and then salting the ground they stood on. If they can get her and the agency to say no on any of those questions, they'll have what they consider justification for blocking her confirmation."

Big Victory: Minnesota's Landmark Clean Energy Standard Charts Course Beyond Dirty Energy—by Mary Anne Hitt: "Minnesota has taken a first step in outlining the next big leap forward in the state's sustainable energy future. Pushed by more than 60 environmental, labor, business, youth, and faith groups, the jobs omnibus bill—expected to be signed by Governor Mark Dayton—includes a Clean Energy and Jobs package that sets a standard of 1.5 percent solar by 2020 with a broader goal of reaching 10 percent by 2030. This is a great start for a state that is in position to lead the Midwest into the clean-energy economy."

2008 Senate Hearing: Tax Status of Entire Environmental Movement in Question—by coigue: "Here is the Congressional hearing with Senator Inhofe's remarks: http://www.gpo.gov/....These groups [League of Conservation voters, Greenpeace, NRDC, Sierra Club and Pew Charitable Trust] profess to be stewards of the environment and solicit contributions from a variety of sources using these claims, but they demonstrate more interest in hyping the extreme environmental scenarios to raise money for raw political purposes than working toward actual real-world environmental change for the benefit of all Americans. Not surprisingly, given these deceptions, these nonprofit groups are tightly affiliated with and fund the 501(c)(4) lobbying organizations and 527 organizations. And we all know that 501(c)(4) organizations and 527 organizations are lobbying organizations that get involved in political campaigns."

I Just Saw The Most Unusual Political Advocacy Ad about Gina McCarthy—by commonmass: "While watching The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC in the Portland, Maine market, I just now saw the most unusual advocacy ad: an ad advocating the confirmation of Gina McCarthy to head the EPA, a vote on whom was recently boycotted by the GOP. This kind of political advertisement seems like a queer bird indeed. I find it extraordinary that the President's nominees have become so universally obstructed by Congress that television ads begging for their confirmation are being produced by independent groups."

Video: GOP Rep. Says Climate Change A Lie & A Conspiracy—by mmcintee: "Minnesota State Representative Glenn Gruenhagen (R), known for his outrageous statements  about homosexual genetics and welfare as a government scheme to pay black men to impregnate women, has added another notch to his legacy of misinformation. Citing reliable sources such as CPAC, Gruenhagen outlines how alternative energy is a 'disaster' and global warming/climate change is a 'lie' and a 'conspiracy.'"

President Obama's statement on confirmation of Ernest Moniz as next Secretary of Energy—by Transcripts Editors: "I am pleased that today, by a unanimous vote, the Senate confirmed Ernest Moniz as our next Energy Secretary. Dr. Moniz is a world-class scientist with expertise in a range of energy sources and a leader with a proven record of bringing prominent thinkers and innovators together to advance new energy solutions. He also shares my conviction that the United States must lead the world in developing more sustainable sources of energy that create new jobs and new industries, and in responding to the threat of global climate change. I am thrilled that Ernie is joining my team, and I look forward to his counsel on these issues as my Administration continues to increase our nation’s energy security, strengthen our nuclear security, develop the next-generation of clean energy technologies, and compete for the jobs of the 21st century."

MA-Sen: Carole King, "Ed Markey's environmental credentials among reasons I support his Senate bid"—by poopdogcomedy: "In a stump speech that married music with politics and activism, award-winning singer/songwriter Carole King told a room full of Ed Markey supporters in Springfield Sunday that the longtime Massachusetts congressman's stance on environmental issues is, in her eyes, another reason to support his bid to become the state's next U.S. senator."

Fish & Wildlife

Blue Ringed Octopus...Great Barrier Reef
Blue-ringed octopus. Don't touch!
Marine Life Series: The Blue-ringed Octopus—by Mark H: "I’ve owned fourteen octopuses over the years, and the most depressing part of bonding with these incredibly intelligent animals is their short life span. My local ones only live for about a year. I once stretched one’s life span out to 18 months by severely restricting its calorie intake, but I felt guilty about that and now just let their natural longevity take its course. Native to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the blue-ringed octopus’ life span is only about two years. But it could end yours in a matter of minutes."

Bay-Delta salmon population just one fifth of mandated goal—by Dan Bacher: "'After two closed salmon fishing seasons in 2008 and 2009, and a token season in 2010, fishermen are fishing again, but we remain far below the abundant runs required by law,' said Zeke Grader, executive director of Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association and GGSA board member. 'Stronger Delta pumping restrictions are paying off but we have to finish the job and get these salmon runs rebuilt.'The groups say these results are only "marginally better" than the 12 percent of salmon produced in 2011, when NRDC and GGSA released the first analysis of the Central Valley Chinook salmon population goals."

These Cooters (Pseudemys concinna floridana) were kind enough to stay put for a picture before sliding off. On the Ochlockonee River in Georgia.
These Cooters (Pseudemys concinna floridana) were kind enough to stay put for a picture before sliding off.
Natural Wanderings: It's called the Ochlockonee River—by PHScott: "Yesterday I took my kayak out on the closest river to me. This is the Ochlockonee that flows down from south Georgia thru Florida to the Gulf. Altho it is late spring I figured there would be something blooming. Putting in at US-90 at the ramp, where the river separates Leon from Gadsden counties, I headed upstream."

Plight of the Elephants—by Pajaro: "An international outcry is desperately needed, or we will awake one day soon and the elephant will be extinct as a wild species. I recognize that this is a painful subject and that most people avert their gaze and their attention, but if we do not help these creatures by raising public awareness, we will see the end of elephants in the wild. Personally, I find this completely horrifying. What to do? Here are some things that I’ve done. I encourage you to come up with other ideas, do them and share them here."

Laughing gulls at San Blas
Laughing gulls and a fine sea.
Dawn Chorus: Birding in the Puerto Vallarta region—by BCO gal: "[M]y husband and I decided to head south to Puerto Vallarta and chase a few birds. While digging around the internet I ran across a company I’ve used before in PV—Birding in Mexico. We signed up for two trips, the 2-day San Blas trip and the half-day trip to the Marietas Islands.  So, let’s head south! San Blas, in the state of Nayarit is located two hours north of Puerto Vallarta. Our guide and owner of the company Birding in Mexico, Alejandro Martinez, picked us up from our B&B in Puerto Vallarta and we headed north and west on our trip to San Blas. Our drive took us through tropical forests and shaded coffee plantations until we go to our first birding spot. It’s a community owned cooperative called Comisaridado Ejidal de Tecuitata. For a $50 peso donation (approximately $4.13 USD) you can enter this cooperative."

Forests & Public Lands

Many Glaciers Hotel
Many Glaciers Hotel
Glacier National Park: The First Decade—by Ojibwa: "On May 11, 1910, Glacier National Park in Montana became the tenth national park in the United States. Half of the new park was formed by the 'mineral strip' which had been sold by the Blackfoot to the United States in 1895. The enabling legislation for the park, however, contained no reference to the Blackfoot, nor does it acknowledge their hunting, fishing, and timber rights to the area, rights which they had reserved in their treaty with the government. The tribe was not invited to the congressional hearing about the park. During the first decade of the Park’s existence, tourism was developed in conjunction with the Great Northern Railroad. Glacier’s first superintendent was William Richard Logan, the son of an Army captain who made a career out of fighting Indians. He was no friend to Indians, calling them 'natural beggars and bummers' and subsequently served as the Indian agent to the Blackfeet and to the Assiniboine and Gros Ventre at the Fort Belknap Reservation. Since he also had little sympathy for conservation, he was made superintendent of Glacier National Park and introduced programs that were developmental rather than environmental."

Environmental studies vs austerity - Case Study #1, Losehill Hall—by shortfinals: "Since the majority of my family now live in the North of England it is logical that I travel via Manchester Airport, and this means I can often fit in a visit to the beautiful Peak District National Park. The majority of the National Park (the first founded in Great Britain in 1951) lies within the boundaries of Derbyshire, but some peripheral areas of the counties of Cheshire, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire are also included. The Park contains large areas of heather moorland and peat bog, and this ecosystem is of extreme significance. Indeed, the heather moorlands in Great Britain represent 75% of the world’s total. [...] Due to the overall financial position of the UK Government, a savage series of austerity measures have been imposed, and the Peak District National Park Authority has been told to save between £1.0M and £1.9M over the next four years."

Menominee Park, Oshkosh, WI
menominee park - oshkosh wisconsin—by blueyedace2. A photo diary.

Clearcutting in Berkeley/Oakland—by foolrex: "Yes, you read that correctly ... clearcutting about 85,000 trees with NO replanting. Instead, to make matter worse, they will be applying thousands of gallons of herbicides (including Roundup) to discourage re-sprouting and covering the area with two feet of wood chips.  Those that know the Bay Area (and especially the East Bay) may know where Strawberry Canyon and Claremont Canyon are—that is where this travesty is planned"

Eco-Philosophy, Sustainability & Essays

If a Species goes Extinct in the Forest, Before anyone Names it ...—by jamess: "Did it really exist? ... How would we know? Most of the world's plant and animal species could be named before they go extinct, say researchers. Writing in the journal Science, the researchers said it could be achieved this century."

Buying stuff and zero waste—by cordgrass: "I know a lot of Kossacks are watching every penny and can't afford to concern themselves with sustainability or zero waste or fair trade in their purchases. I'm lucky enough to have a little wiggle room with my buying habits, so I can be more picky."

Fiddling? Or Eating Bread in Circuses?—by Vijaya: "Bees are dying off, and the company that was doing important work studying and protecting bees was bought by the company which made the very products which probably contributed to CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder).  Whole species of animals and birds are dying off.  Monsanto is today's Satan, along with all the politicians who support it."

Parable of the African Bee—by LeftOfYou: "It's a story of unintended consequences, the story of a rock climber and his dog, attacked and killed on Friday by a disturbed colony of Africanized Honey Bees. I immediately thought of the growing threat of genetically modified organisms in our environment. [...] The commercial interests and political clout of the agrochemical complex are likely to prevent implementation of even cursory expansion of regulation in this field until a regional disaster or worse occurs. The industry's official position is that regulation is already stifling. Sigh. Nobody intends anything will go wrong, of course. They're just trying to make a buck. They didn't plan to kill anyone. Shit happens. The Parable of the African Bee."

Sierra Club and a CON CON—by oldpotsmuggler: "What's striking to me is that I realize how much the Sierra Club has to gain from our nation engaging in The Second American Constitutional Convention, yet the Sierra Club shows no awareness of this. The decision to be made to hold the Convention requires change flowing from the base upwards. However, what the actual purpose of the Convention is is to create change from the top down, and that is exactly what needs to happen for the new age of environmentalism in our country to be born."

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat May 18, 2013 at 01:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS and Meatless Advocates Meetup.

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