Beginning next week, Eco-Diary Rescue will always include an action item, something you can do to make the world greener.
Intrepid (and apparently tireless) A Siegel had praise for a Netroots success story last week in Energy Smart from Illinois? Foster in Congress ..., a new Representative who happens to be of a green hue: "In Illinois 14, as all are aware, held a special election to fill the seat of the Dennis Hastert. Rather than a seemingly corrupt, extreme right-winger who (at times) makes other Republicans seem almost in the reality-based community, Illinois-14 will be sending someone of substance to the Congress, a man with serious scientific credentials and successful business experience. Bill Foster is now Congressman Bill Foster. In short: YEAH!"
The DailyKos Environmentalists can be found here.
POLLUTION & REGULATION
Drugs in the water supply caught the attention of several Diarists, including, a gnostic, who wrote Water supplies contaminated with pharmaceutical drugs,: "If you don't drink water treated by reverse osmosis, you are drinking anti-psychotics, antibiotics (!), tranquilizers and anti-epileptic drugs in your tap water, amongst many many other drugs. Granted it is trace amounts but nevertheless there are serious health concerns about the nation's water supplies being contaminated by Big Pharma's wares ....and nobody is doing a damn thing about it.
JDWolverton reported, however, that Pharma Water Supply Contamination - Old News: "Traces of pharmaceuticals in our tap water is old news. German scientists and other European chemists noticed it in the early 1990's. The problem was discussed and dismissed by the EPA in 2005. Despite the New York Times running the AP article, the problem isn't that the traces are there so much as there is no safety standard and too little is known about the effects trace amounts of drugs have on our health. The Water Research Center (University of Arizona) has studied the subject and have found the problem to be widespread. So what's BushCo doing about it?
And Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse saw the matter in a different light in the Diary Environmental Justice & Human Rights: Doped-Up Drinking Water Supplies: "An AP investigation found that our nation's drinking water supplies for at least 41 million Americans are contaminated with pharmaceuticals that had been initially provided to people, pets and cows. Some of the drugs are absorbed by the body while the remainder ends up in wastewater. The contamination extends to drinking water supplies, watersheds and groundwater basins. Some of the drugs will not even be removed by modern drinking water and wastewater treatment processes and no sewage treatment systems are specifically engineered to remove pharmaceuticals. There really are no cost effective alternative options because private drinking water wells are affected, water bottlers often use tap water and home filtration system makers do not usually treat the water or test for drugs. Only the reverse osmosis technology removes virtually all pharmaceutical contaminants but is very expensive for large-scale use. While it is shocking to find out that we may be involuntarily ingesting unknown quantities of a variety of drugs, this really is business as usual."
Like many other people, history geek was unhappy because the EPA Sets unacceptable Standards--WaPo article: "The Environmental Protection Agency has decided to lower the allowable amount of smog-forming ozone in the air to 75 parts per billion, a level significantly higher than what the agency's scientific advisers urged for this key component of unhealthy air pollution, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post. This is evidence, once again, that the Bush White House is unconcerned with both science and health."
The Light Brown Apple Moth, Aerial Spraying, and You was aigeanta’s explanation of a longstanding practice: "Many are also questioning the motivation behind the massive aerial spraying of urban areas, as opposed to the pheromone twist tie technique or more localized agricultural spraying. For example, to date there has been no extensive crop damage from the moth, which, considering its range, must have existed in the state for many years. The ‘emergency’ seems to have been prompted by a USDA quarantine on exports from affected counties, and its declaration resulted in $75 million in funds made available from the federal agency to eradicate the moth, a goal that is probably unattainable according to experts, but $500,000 is being spent on PR to convince us otherwise. In addition, it has recently come to light that ‘the company that makes one of the pesticides state officials are considering spraying over the Bay Area to fight the light brown apple moth is owned by a wealthy California agribusinessman who has been a generous contributor to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other state officials.’"
Dry Observer wrote a pair of Diaries on an innovative use of carbon offsets inMake Billions Fighting Global Warming/Peak Oil/Credit Crunch w/Carbon Offsets, If You're a Charity: "For those who missed it, my last article described -- a new, public-domain innovation -- how charitable foundations could dramatically impact climate change, peak oil and the credit crunch while taking the sale of conventional carbon-offsets and turning them into immense profits. How? By picking financially stable cities in areas with a surplus of renewable energy sources and offering them loans at incredibly favorable rates -- 2% interest on loans repaid in the first few years, 0% if repaid in a year to 18 months, and 10% of the loan would be forgiven if repaid within one year. Given the time horizon on peak oil and climate change, we also allow for the forgiveness of 20% of loans repaid within nine months and of 30% of loans repaid within six. How does this give a charity, but not a for-profit corporation, immense "profits"? Because unlike normal carbon offsets, you're not buying the renewables or energy efficiencies outright, but loaning governments the money to make the necessary changes, quickly. And Carbon Offsets – Trees and Gardens – The Other Low-Hanging Fruit.
Terre pointed to symbolic protest in ACTION: EARTH HOUR 2008 - DKos Community Participation Requested: "LIGHTS OUT FOR ONE HOUR! organized by EARTH HOUR 2008. Current count is at 83,905 people that have "signed up" and 5,315 businesses. Let's make those numbers jump. There are lots of additional action items you can participate in. Tell a Friend(s) - Create your own Earth Hour - Support. Not to mention the all important Earth Hour Every Day."
In another installment of the exceptionally good Diaries being produced under the EENR theme, pioneer111 offered a perspective on EENR for Progress: Climate Change and Water: Maude Barlow spoke in Berkeley on February 8 on this issue: "A couple of facts she is providing in this talk: 1. The US is sending a third of its potable water out of the country as exports every single day. 2. 36 states are now in danger of serious water shortages in the next five years. Several have the problem now.
wclathe reminded us that with Global Warming News: It's always worse than expected: "When will 'we' get it? The news that comes out from scientific studies consistently and relentlessly reports that all indicators of climate change are worse, much worse, than most of our worst case scenarios. Arctic ice, temperature change, CO2 rates, IPCC's worst case scenarios weren't bad enough. Well, chalk another one up to 'not bad enough:' China's CO2 emissions are outpacing previous estimates by 2 to 4 fold."
In Another nail in the coffin? China gone wild edition..., bklynarch took a look at the same data: "It's generally agreed - despite the fact that America is, by far, historically the number one contributor to global warming – that the ultimate hurdle to climate stabilization will be China. Alarmingly, the word on the street is that China’s emissions are not just growing at a furious pace, they are growing more than twice as fast as feared. How bad is it? Conservatively estimated, China will have added between 2000 and 2010, 600m tons of CO2. For perspective, Kyoto was only seeking 116m tons of reductions worldwide by 2012. Death spiral anyone? The numbers are staggering - and conservative!"
In a second Diary, bklynarch argued that It's the Planet Stupid!: "Iraq, health care, the economy - all important issues. And all are a diversion from the one true crisis we face. For if we don't solve the global warming crisis all other important issues will cease to be, period. An article by Joseph Romm, ‘Obama and Clinton plan to cool it’ takes a look at Hillary and Barack and climate change."
A Siegel challenged corporate whining in ASS-U-ME: "One sign that serious people consider some form of carbon-constraining legislation in the United States a serious possibility is the proliferation of industry-funded "analysis" somehow ‘proving’ that ‘Global Warming is going to wreck the economy.’ You know the old adage, ‘Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.’ Well, there really should be a new category added: Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics, and Statistics from Industry Projecting Pollution Control Costs. Time after time, when faced with potential mandates, industry has warned of disaster to come economically. Seat belts, crash worthiness, air bags in cars: people won't be able to buy cars. Need to replace CFCs, costs will be so high that you'd have to be a Rockefeller to afford air conditioning or a refrigerator. Reducing sulphur emissions and electricity bills will skyrocket. Every time the potential mandate has emerged, the screams of pain to come fill our ears and politicians' in-boxes, backed by tainted study after tainted study."
According to futurebird, It's not the CAFE, but where you put the café...: "Joseph White sees the debate about environmental impact shifting to focus on total miles driven rather than improved fuel efficiency. That's because even if we do improve fuel efficiency for cars the built environment is designed (and, thanks in part to local and federal policies, largely continues to develop) to require a large amount of car driving to get even the simplest tasks done. You see, the kinds of zoning laws and building codes we have, along with parking regulations and the distribution of transportation funds between public highways and public roads vs. mass transit has an impact on the built environment. People are going to go and buy lunch, go to work, and do other tasks no matter what-- so, what would it be like if we structured our small and large cities in such a way that this was possible without driving for every trip?"
futurebird pondered Public Transit vs. Public Roads: "People tend to choose a mode of transportation based on the out-of-pocket cost. The value above the line represents the out-of-pocket cost per trip for each mode of transportation, the value below the line accounts for subsidies, environmental impact, social and indirect costs. This graph shows how our government policies about parking, public roads, and tolls make driving a more attractive option for many people in US cities. This is why changing planning policy, eliminating parking lot requirements, increasing the gas tax so that fully covers the costs of highway construction and the other social and environmental costs of driving is so important for creating sustainable, inter-modal transportation systems in our cities."
In the most recent edition of his Marine Life Series, Mark H gave us the lowdown on Hermit Crab Symbionts: "Symbiosis is a relationship between unrelated species of animals. There are several different types, ranging from parasitism, where one species benefits and the other is harmed, to mutualism, where both species benefit from the relationship. With hermit crabs, symbiotic relationships tend to be mutualistic, meaning that although the relationship isn’t neccessary for the the survival of either species, it is nonetheless beneficial to both parties. I’d like to take a look at three symbiotic examples here."
FoundingFatherDAR urged CA Kossacks: Help save the CA Sea Otter Fund: "Have you filed your California Form 540 FYE 2007 yet? If not, please consider donating to the California Sea Otter Fund. If yes, please spread the word and urge others you know to help. Defenders of Wildlife is asking for taxpayer help in saving this fund. In order for it to remain as a "check-off" donation on Form 540, taxpayers need to donate a minimum of $250,000 each year. During 2007 the fund just barely met that minimum, collecting $255k from individual taxpayers."
FOOD, AGRICULTURE & HORTICULTURE
Will Easton urged Ohioans, Don't Let Monsanto Muzzle rBGH-free Farmers: "Dearest Residents of the Buckeye State. As reported this past Sunday in the NYTimes business section, Monsanto's sales of Posilac have been dropping off recently. So guess where they're turning for relief now? That's right, your very own Ohio Department of Agriculture. I manage our activism efforts here at CREDO Action (from Working Assets), and have been working with shirah and some other activists in recent weeks to stop Monsanto's plans state-by-state."
Wheat Flour Prices Tripling, Quadrupling everywhere around the world, wrote bink: "Here in the U.S., the story is no different, with exploding wheat flour prices putting pressure on domestic bakeries and food manufacturers. Check out this story, where a Minnesota baker explains that the bag of flour that cost her $13 a year ago now costs $50. ...The newspaper notes that the whole world wants to eat like Americans. Indeed, I suspect that our diet, based so heavily on wheat and meat proteins, is the envy of many developing nations. The problem is that we simply don't have the capacity for producing that kind of food for everyone on the planet. We need fewer people, or a bigger Earth. I think it's unlikely that either of those things is going to be happening soon."
For evilpenguin, however, food prices haven’t been so bad, as he reported in Kermit Wrong: It IS Easy Being Green, Ep. 5 Green makes GreenThe big surprise was one that should surprise almost anyone who has been to a gas station or a grocery store over the las six months. Last year, a half share in my CSA's harvest cost $275. That was more than enough food to feed my wife and myself for 6 months. And this year probably longer as we have now bought everything we need to freeze, pickle, and can our harvest for the winter. But here's the shock: This year a half share in my CSA's harvest costs... drum roll, please... $275. Not one more cent, shekel, or drachma this year than last. But everyone knows that food prices are through the roof! Aren't they? For those who haven't heard about them before (or read diaries about them by people like OrangeClouds or your present humble diarist), ‘CSA’ stands for Community Supported Agriculture."
shirah weighed in on media coverage of food additives in Got rBST? This year's rBST/Milk coverage by the NYTimes: "The Philadelphia Inquirer was the first to sound the alarm about Monsanto's campaign to censor milk labels and take our right to know how our food is produced. The story was picked up and moved forward by local independent papers such as Voices of Central Pennsylvania and the Williamsport Guardian. But the newspaper that has really dug into the subject has been the New York Times. So here in chronological order is the story as carried by the Times this past year. Interesting where it has been carried as opinion or as news."
OrangeClouds115 had A Chat with the Father of U.S. Organic Standards: "If you could identify a father of America's organic standards, Harry MacCormack would be it. He's been farming organically since before the term existed. Of course, during his childhood in upstate New York, there was no need for the term. No one used chemicals yet, so there was no alternative to what we now refer to as "organic farming." Back then, they just called it ‘farming.’ Like many consumers of organics, I am interested in how organic my organic food actually is. Can it contain chemical residues? Is it truly good for the environment? Or are the American organic standards merely a sellout to Big Business like so much else in our country is? Few people are better equipped to answer my questions than Harry."
And she wondered Why Do We Let Other Countries Dump Their Crap In America: "You want major infestations of pests? Try monoculture. OK, so then what's so wrong with it if individual idiot farmers want to wreck their own soil and grow sickly, genetically identical crops? Because of genetic contamination. Bees or wind can carry GMO pollen or seeds far away from their original location. You can't contain GMO crops. Plants have evolved for millennia to act like horny frat guys with their genetic material. They want to spread it far and wide! Give Us Your Poor, Your Tired, Your Genetic Modification Experiments. Our laws are more lax than other countries for GMOs. If a company wants to take a risk on our soil that can't be corrected if it goes awry, great! If the only benefit we can possibly get from it is that company's profit, great! It's just like Wisconsin's tipping fees - we'll accept everyone's garbage here!"
Demfem gave us what might be good news in Amaranth can feed the world..: "This is a diary which will try to bring to the attention of those that are interested in food resources a grain that may well be what saves the human race from starving to death. It is an ancientt grain, grown by early American civilizations. The article linked above, one of many that I will be using, says Amaranth has a long and interesting history in Mexico where it's been grown and harvested for thousands of years by the Mayan and Incan civilizations. The Aztecs believed Amaranth had magical properties that would give them amazing strength."
Frankenoid had some of that good ol’ Colorado weather (don’t like it? wait a minute), as she wrote in Saturday Morning (Home And) Garden Blogging Vol. 4.4: "Ah, Springtime in the Rockies. Well, I'm not really in the Rockies. People who haven't been to Denver assume it's in the midst of the mountains, but the ‘Front Range’ is a misnomer. Denver's 20 miles from the foothills, let alone the mountains. Ahem... when it's Springtime in the Rockies, the weather flip-flops like a fish. The first half of the week was quite nice, into the mid-60s on Tuesday. Then the cloud cover started building, and we've cooled down so that yesterday we barely broke into the 50s, and the weekend is forecast to be in the 40s, with possible drippiness."
Compound F reminded us that maybe Malthus was right after all in The Population bomb, Club of Rome, & Limits to Growth: "If I had the chance to ask our presidential candidates a question, it would not be, Are you ready on Day 1? Can you answer a phone at 3 am? Will you keep us safe from terrorists? What is your Iraq policy? Healthcare? The economy? Jobs? Global warming? Biodiversity? Relatively speaking, those are "lesser issues" subsumed by the central issue, from which all those other issues flow: What are you going to do about carrying capacity?"
Not usually to be found writing environmental Diaries, Granny Doc gave us an old, much-ignored warning in Don't Mess With Mother Nature: "Back in the late 1960's it was possible to walk across the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers on the 14ft, open boats, each with 1 or 2 fishermen hauling in their limit of salmon swimming up stream to spawn. Freezers all over the Valley were filled with cleaned, dressed salmon that weighed 35 ot 40 lbs. each. By the mid 80's the size and the weight of the catch had decreased by half. Early in 2000 a salmon that weighed 15 lbs was cause for celebration. Federal fisheries managers meeting this week in Sacramento, Calif., canceled early spring salmon fishing in the Pacific off Northern California and Oregon to protect salmon that remain alive in the ocean. There is a basic truth that both commercial and sports fishermen chose to ignore for over one hundred years - you can't keep killing the parents, one at a time or by the humdreds, and expect to maintain breeding stocks. But overfishing has not been the only culprit."
In her regular Frugal Fridays Diary (yes, it does have to do with environment), sarahnity explained how she does Brick and Mortar Shopping: "I don't know about the rest of you, but I am a comparison shopper. I am usually constitutionally incapable of walking into a store and buying something, no matter how small, without first checking at least a couple other places to make sure that I am getting a good price and good quality. I'm not necessarily interested in the lowest price, because paying more for an item that will last can be more frugal in the long run, but I want to make sure that the price I'm paying will be reasonable. .... Now all this comparison shopping takes time and energy, but over the years, I have found that there are some stores that I have grown to know and trust."
Winter Rabbit reported that Arctic Is New Gold Rush, Ignoring Inuit Is Not New: "The first question asked in ‘The Dawes Commission: And the Allotment of the Five Civilized Tribes’ by Kent Carter is, ‘What can you do when you discover a continent but there are already people living on it?’ People, what people? ... The ambient devastation and the climatic changes have become an actual debate on the polar areas and its destiny; they are also well known as geopolitical and energy areas. But very little attention is given to the people that live and of course are born in those areas and especially in the Arctic area. The reference is obviously to the Inuit culture ... bearers of a stratified culture reinforced in the centuries by the severity and the adversity from the atmosphere and climate conditions."
A Siegel had some tough words about Greenwashing reckless legislation: "This press conference, Boxer and Environmental Leaders United on Urgent Need to Address Global Warming, was to show a ‘unifed front’ as to the need for serious action in the US Congress and by the United States to deal with Global Warming. This comes, of course, in the looming shadow of the Lieberman-Warner Coal Subsidy Act which fails fundamentally, across the board on basic principles for policy action on global warming: Lieberman-Warner fails to meet scientific requirements to avert catastrophic climate change; Lieberman-Warner fails to make polluters pay for the damage they wreck on the air your/my children breathe and the water they drink; Lieberman-Warner fails to promote social equity; Lieberman-Warner fails ..."
He also explained about Making the Green Economy Dirty: "One of the challenges in pursuing a greener economy ever quicker is the risk, the quite real and serious risk, that quicker could mean dirtier. The Washington Post carried an expose of one of those risks on its front page this Sunday: Solar Energy Firms Leave Waste Behind in China. The WashPost calls out Luoyang Zhonggui High-Technology Co, a producer of ‘polysilicon destined for solar energy panels sold around the world,’ for dumping a ‘bubbling white liquid’ (silicon tetrachloride) in the middle of a village. ‘The land where you dump or bury it will be infertile. No grass or trees will grow in the place. . . . It is like dynamite -- it is poisonous, it is polluting. Human beings can never touch it,’ said Ren Bingyan, a professor at the School of Material Sciences at Hebei Industrial University."
That was a subject which kevin22262 also took up in Green Energy and Solar Cells, Are They Killing Us?: "Today as I was cruising the internet, I came across this unsettling story about Green Energy production that is killing areas of China. A Dark Side Of Solar Power. The growth of the solar power industry is poisoning land in China, according to the Washington Post. In the rush to make polysilicon cheaply for use in solar panels, a Chinese company reportedly is dumping toxic waste into the ground, killing wildlife and endangering human health. The newspaper describes green fields in the nation's eastern central Henan Province that have turned snow-white from the powdery waste of silicon tetrachloride, four tons of which result from every ton of polysilicon created. Toxic hydrogen chloride gas and acids waft from the waste."
futurebird told us Why urban is green: "Consider this image from a recent advertisement: a suburban woman tossing her old, but still fully functioning dryer in to a swimming pool, so it will break and she can buy a new one. Now consider the fact that the vast majority of city dwellers do not even own their own washer and dryer. This isn't a function of wealth, as much as it is a function of space. There is simply no place to put the noisy and bulky machines in your typical apartment and, since people live closer together, sharing is possible. In cities people wash their clothes in shared facilities located in their building, or at a local Laundromat. Wealthy people send their clothes out to be cleaned, while most of us load up the cart and roll it down to the basement or around the corner to do the wash. In either case, the machines used in this process are used by 100s of people, they are built to last as long as possible, they are only replaced when they are broken. This clothes-washing arrangement is not possible in a suburban setting because the low density development makes it inefficient."
chapter1 was happy to his own work promoted, as he wrote in Renewable Incentives on Our Keyboards and in Congress: "On March 6th, US Rep Jay Inslee (D-WA) proposed the Clean Energy Buy-Back Act which would guarantee U.S. producers of clean energy connection to the grid and predetermined rates from utilities for their power. It is the first ever proposal in Congress that would implement... a performance-based incentive (PBI) policy, also known as a feed-in tariff. Hmmm... wherever did I read a proposal to require utilities to guarantee renewable energy producers a minimum price? Oh yes, maybe it was the Micro Power Producers Act of 2007(pdf), produced by an Energize America Team that I led."
WattHead chimed in with These Guys Are No Fossil Fools! Markey and Waxman Call for Ban on New Coal Plants: "Ed Markey and Henry Waxman are no Fossil Fools! The two Chairmen and Congressional Climate Champs released a new bill yesterday calling for a moratorium on any new coal plants that do not capture and sequester their greenhouse gas emissions. The ban would stay in place until Congress adopts and implements comprehensive global warming regulation and is designed to addresses the largest new source of global warming pollution — new coal-fired power plants that are being built without any controls on their global warming emissions."
A Siegel pointed out the differences between the two Democrats and the Republican in the presidential race this year with his Diary, GBCW? Not quite yet: The Globe's Future and November's Choice: "Looking back over the past 7+ years, is it possible to imagine that Al Gore would have pursued energy, environmental, and global warming issues as incompetently and disastrously as we’ve seen from the Bush-Cheney (mal)Administration. Energy Task Force dominated by people from fossil fuel industries; tax cuts favoring polluting over renewable energy; regulatory support for mountain top removal; failure to enforce existing laws and regulations; etc ... Would Gore have assigned rabid foxes to guard the hen houses of America? While I could spend millions of words speaking to the past seven years, the issue of import is looking forward. There are fundamental differences between Obama and/or Clinton, on the one hand, and McCain, on the other, when it comes to energy concepts, global warming, and environmental issues. Sadly, however, these fundamental differences are too often obscured by the McCain ‘Straight Talk Express’ which translates into a Dirty Energy Twisted Non-Action Machine when it comes to the real world."
In Beyond Al Gore and Inconvenient Truths: A New Generation, A New Vision, a New Dream, watthead proclaimed independence from an icon: "Al Gore, the erstwhile trumpeter of inconvenient truths and dire warnings of climate catastrophe has fallen under attack by the climate deniers and flat earth-ers of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. CEI is taking Gore, perhaps the most visible figurehead of the climate movement, to task for living in ‘a posh Nashville mansion’ that allegedly uses 20 times the energy of a normal American home while making money as he calls for action to halt the climate crisis. Adhering to the age old maxim, ‘If you can't kill the message, kill the messenger,’ they cry ‘Hypocrite!’ trying to besmirch Al Gore's cause as they besmirch his reputation. Some of my friends and fellow bloggers have been bustling to rise to Al Gore's defense. I on the other hand, have not. So what if Al Gore isn't a perfect model of a modern major climate hero? That's only a problem so long as we insist on making him our figurehead."
rjones2818 was excited because Labor Boosts Kucinich, Green Economy! w/poll: "There's other good news on the labor front! The Nation reports on Labor's War on Global Warming. Figuring out how to respond to global warming has been difficult for organized labor. The issue can pit union against union and unions against environmentalists. Now, however, a new alliance is developing around the idea of "green jobs"--the jobs that will be needed to rebuild our economy and drastically reduced greenhouse gasses. Many of us realize that our infrastructure needs to be rebuilt. Our manufacturing sector needs the same. The greening of the economy is a good idea who's time has come!
My Green OR-Sen Candidate was sarahlane’s paean to a Democratic challenger: "As many of you know there is a Senate seat up for grabs here in Oregon. Republican Gordon Smith is up for re-election and has an approval rating below 50%. We have two progressive candidates running against each other for the nomination, House Speaker Jeff Merkley and lawyer/activist Steve Novick. Today the Sierra Club endorsed Jeff Merkley for Senate, joining numerous other unions and progressive organizations. Steve Novick is a highly respected environmental lawyer, so why would Merkley get the Sierra Club's endorsement over Novick?"
Johnny Rook wrote his weekly EcoNoticiario Undersea Waterfalls, Melting Glaciers and Water Shortages: Spanish & LA News: "This week stories include melting glacier ice in Peru and Argentina, undersea waterfalls near Spain, a meeting on sustainable forestry in Cuba, biodiversity education in Costa Rica, and water policy in Colombia. We also have two stories from Chile: one concerning La Niña and the country's ongoing drought, the other about plans to build an Antarctic museum on the Strait of Magellan in Punto Arenas. Your Spanish environmental word of the week: humedal--wetland."
>A Siegel informed us about a renewable system in Energy COOL: SolFocus and the Five Rs: "When it comes to the fundamentals of education, there are the "three Rs": Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic. Environmentalism's Three Rs: Reduce use; Reuse things; Recycle as much as possible.And, for energy, there are these Three Rs: Reduce use (via efficiency and conservation); Renewable power as much as possible; Remediate for any use of non-renewable power sources. ... As one impressive element, SolFocus's CSP system can be almost entirely from recycled products: 97% of its weight is aluminum and glass. Imagine the cans and bottles from your curbside recycling collection ending up in solar power systems in their next lives."
AnotherMassachusettsLiberal gave us a glimpse at The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative: An Energize America Diary: "Currently, the island state of Hawaii gets more than 90% of its electricity by running large diesel generators - this leads to a very high cost for electricity, over $.20 per kWh. Aside from being blessed for the natural beauty it's famous for, Hawaii is also blessed by an abundance of alternative energy options: Wind; Solar (with lots of solar hot water already); Geothermal; Ocean (Wave Power, Ocean Thermal Energy, Ocean Current); Biomass. These features make Hawaii the ideal test bed for Freedom From Oil - join me over the fold for a peak at the positive developments there..."
DJ Monet reported that the Smart Money Spurns Nuclear Power: "The resurgence of nuclear power suffered a couple of hard blows in the past months putting the ‘nuclear renaissance’ back in the Dark Ages. The culprit was not anti-nuclear activists or even NIMBYs. No, the latest group to turn the other cheek to nuclear power is a consortium of investors and companies, including MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. In a letter to residents of Payette County, Idaho Bill Fehrman, the president of MidAmerican Nuclear Energy stated ‘...the company’s due diligence process has led to the conclusion that it does not make economic sense to pursue the project at this time,’ referring to a proposed nuclear power plant for Payette County."
On the other hand, and when it comes to nukes, there is always an "on the other hand," davidwalters explained about MOLTEN SALT REACTORS - SAFETY OPTIONS GALORE: "The Molten-Salt Reactors (MSR) that are the subject of this paper, are fluid-fuel reactors (FFR) that utilize primarily fluoride salts as their working fluid. These reactors have the fissile material, as a salt, homogeneously mixed in the carrier salt. Fluid-fuel reactors differ fundamentally from solid-fuel reactors. Some of the more important differences are that the fuel can be readily processed on line to
remove, or add, selective components. This processing differs from solid-fuel reprocessing where the entire fuel (elements) must be removed, treated, remanufactured into elements, and reinserted in the reactor. In contrast, the processing of fluid fuel can consist of continuous removal of gases and volatiles in an on-site processing of a selected side-stream. Another important difference is the fact that the fuel itself can be the coolant and circulated to a heat exchanger that is external to the core. This cooling method is referred to as external cooling. External cooling and on-line processing are contributors to unique safety features of FFRs."
From the beginning of Unregulated Power - Utilities that is, shirah admitted that: "Utilities, especially power utilities, are not my area. However, a new report released by GAO last week is a must-read, especially if you are concerned that power companies have now found a way to excuse themselves from regulation and oversight. It appears you may be correct. One unique aspect of this report is that GAO has provided on-line access to its survey results."
Stranded Wind gave credit to a long-time Kossack in Jerome a Paris is almost entirely to blame: "Things got serious after this. I was introduced to Jerome's co-conspirator, A. Siegel, and then from there to the Energize America 2020 wind ninjas. Among the ninjas I found a guy with the ammonia as a fuel solution to much of our agricultural energy concerns and another guy who knew a bit about getting wind farms built and who happened to be a black belt industrial chemical process guy. Once all of the players came together the rest of it has been a simple entrepreneurial exercise; the need was obvious - ammonia for fertilizing our crops, fueling our farm machinery, and good paying greencollar jobs laid out to fit the lives of those who will work them. The solution, once laid out clearly as we are doing now, always elicits this response from those who live here: ‘Why didn't we build this twenty years ago?’"
In what took the week’s prize for stories you wish you didn’t know about, Magnifico let us know that Water and Energy Demands are on a Collision Course: "The future is drying up in much of the United States reported The New York Times last October. ‘Water tables all over the United States have been dropping, sometimes drastically, from overuse. In the Denver area, some cities that use only groundwater will almost certainly exhaust their accessible supplies by 2050.’ Drought hit hard the Southeast this fall and before the winter rains came, the residents of Atlanta were less than 90-days away from exhausting the city's freshwater supply. Adding to the drought-caused strain on America's water supply, is the country's increasing energy demands. McClatchy Newspapers reports that America's Energy and water demands are on collision course. ‘It takes a lot of water to produce energy. It takes a lot of energy to provide water. The two are inextricably linked, and claims on each are rising.’
Leftywingnut lamented the latest plunder in Dr. Seuss and Colorado's Roan Plateau: "The oil and gas industry front-group of dubious repute – Americans for American Energy – in it's lone role of praising the Bush Administration's Department of Interior's decision to plow ahead with drilling Colorado's Roan Plateau – ignoring a compromise proposal from Colorado's Governor Bill Ritter – is now making the outlandish claim that unless Ritter also backs down on implementing new state oil and gas regulations, Colorado might have to pay industry a billion dollars."
In another of his wide-ranging and thought-provoking Burning the Midnight Oil series, BruceMcF discussed Coalition Change Strategy: "...when we say ‘Energy Independence,’ it is far more than just a way for Greens to say to Blue Collar Workers, ‘here's a growth industry for you where you can make things that do things.’ It is far more than just a way for Blue Collar Workers to say to Greens, ‘If you support the development of a New Energy Economy, we are certainly willing to support it being a Sustainable Energy Economy.’ It’s more than an ploy to get ecologically sustainable jobs. It’s also a Nationalist policy in the most progressive possible sense of the word ... in the sense of taking care of our nation, and seeing to it that we are not staking our future on decades of War for Oil."