Today the Green Diary Rescue begins anew. It will appear every Saturday afternoon. I was going to save this re-debut for Earth Day but decided not to wait.
The GDR and the Eco-Diary Rescue that preceded it is dedicated to those who believe that environmental advocacy is an essential part of progressive politics. Every week at Daily Kos, diarists take on various aspects of the environment, from sustainable agriculture to alternative energy, from the use and enjoyment of public lands to environmental justice. Because many of these go relatively unseen, the GDR seeks to afford them a little extra attention. I urge you to follow as many links as you have time for.
When you're done, let me encourage you to read Bruce Barcott's two-part series at SolveClimate, In Thawing Arctic, Fragile Food Web at Risk of Unraveling (and Part II). A nibble to whet your interest:
"The more complicated and interconnected the food web, the less damage you can expect if one or two species are lost," explains Deborah Bronk, a biological oceanographer and specialist in nutrient cycling at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the College of William & Mary. "In these very simple food chains, if you lose one species you can really mess up the whole thing."
Complexity yields resilience. Without resilience, there's risk of a crash. Scientists who study trophic cascades, in which the loss of a single species sets off a reaction throughout the food web, report that this sort of crash generally happens in low-diversity ecosystems, where one or a few species exert great influence.
That describes the Arctic marine and coastal food web.
(The Rescue this week covers Wednesday until 2 p.m. today. Future editions will cover the entire week):
A Siegel wrote "Drill, Baby, Drill" is the right answer to Libya turmoil: "Yes, we need to 'Drill, Baby, Drill' ... but the resource to tap is one staring them (and us all) in the face that they (and too many of U.S.) seem unable to see. Very simply, we should drill the bottomless well of energy efficiency. We could, with reasoned and not emergency measures, reduce our oil usage (and other fossil-foolish dependencies) five percent per year (year-in, year-out) while improving the economy, putting more Americans back to work, reducing our vulnerability to foreign disruption of oil (Libya, anyone?), improving our national security, improving our balance of payments, improving our health, improving our productivity (healthier workers and students translates, directly, to better performance), and, oh by the way, reducing the damage to our planetary climate system (and other pollution impacts)."
DWG cheered as Students stand up to the National Coal Council: "A rainbow broke through the clouds this week in St. Louis where a group of students from Washington University helped stop a meeting of the National Coal Council. The protest was organized by the university chapter of Green Action. They combined acts of civil disobedience with engagement of passersby on the problems created by coal from extraction to the mountains of combustion waste. They succeeded in getting the meeting cancelled."
Erich Pica wrote DailyKos ads promoting dirty oil pipeline - what you need to know: "The Keystone XL would carry over 900,000 barrels per day of the dirtiest oil available — oil from Canada's tar sands. Extraction of oil from the tar sands in Alberta may be the most ecologically destructive project ever undertaken, destroying forests, poisoning indigenous communities, and producing three times the carbon pollution of traditional oil."
(More in the jump)
Tom Friedman's full of hot gas explained mheido: "No, no, Tom’s plan is much much bigger. He’s gonna make it a two-fer. He’s also gonna solve our deficit problem too! How are we gonna do all this you ask? What’s the magical plan? A $1 a gallon national gas tax! I told you it was brilliant. We’ll reduce our dependence on foreign oil AND use the extra revenue to reduce the national debt!"
rperks discussed "Pumping for Nothing" (Tar Sands Song Parody): "In case you're not familiar, this refers to the dirty fuel from Canada, which is derived by clear-cutting pristine forests in order to mine and drill tar sands, then turning crude bitumen into crude oil. This process uses vast amounts of energy and water and causes significant air and water pollution — and it's destroying Canada's majestic boreal forests and wetlands. America is the biggest consumer of tar sands oil, and NRDC is working with local allies on both sides of the border to prevent the construction of a massive oil pipeline that would extend from Alberta all the way to the coastal shipping centers along the Gulf of Mexico."
greywolfe359 argued that You Can't Be Friends With Coal: "You can't be friends with coal. You can't be a friend of coal. You can't be coal's enemy or out to destroy coal or declare a war on coal. Coal is just a black rock. To be more specific, it's a “black or dark brown mineral substance consisting of carbonized vegetable matter.” It cannot be your friend or your enemy."
I say NO to Expansion of Nuclear Power, Road Dog wrote: "Nuclear energy plants or nuclear reactors are based on the same principle as the atom bomb. The only difference is that it uses a controlled fission chain reaction for peaceful use. But what is the safety record of the nuclear industry to date?"
In the Weekly Mulch, The Media Consortium explained Why Natural Gas Companies Fear Josh Fox, Gasland, and the Oscars: "The Media Consortium's Weekly Mulch has been tracking the fight over natural gas drilling. As noted back in September, Sandra Steingraber, in Orion Magazine, has called the rise of hydrofracking 'the environmental issue of our time.' In a more recent dispatch for the magazine, Steingraber reports from an Environmental Protection Agency hearing on fracking, a technique for extracting otherwise hard-to-reach gas from the ground."
Armando gave the legal lowdown on whether Rick Scott Can Be Compelled To Greenlight Florida's HSR Project: "The issue in this matter appears to be whether Governor Scott is bound by the 2009 legislation passed by the Florida legislature (and signed by Governor Charlie Crist.) If it were my case, I would expand the argument to the issue of whether Scott is bound by the certification Crist submitted to the federal government to accept the stimulus funds in 2009."
Agriculture, Gardening & Food
Frankenoid wrote the sixth anniversary edition of here wonderful series, Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 7.1.
joanneleon visited the "Orchid Extravaganza 2011" at Longwood Gardens: "Two weeks ago, we visited one of our favorite places in the world."
In a round-up, Jill Richardson diaried about Sustainable Food News of the Week.
She also spotlighted a highly disputed report in A Scientific Bombshell Dropped This Week: "The letter makes some pretty serious claims about problems with Roundup and/or Roundup Ready crops. As I made clear above, this is preliminary research, so it's certainly not solid enough to believe as fact. … Simply because something is genetically modified does not make it dangerous or harmful. But it DOES mean that we need to study the heck out of each GM variety of seed before we commercialize it and put it into the food supply. And we should do that because we know quite well by now that containment of a GMO is impossible. Once a GMO is out there, it's out there. If you screw up once, it's game over."
This was followed by her coverage of a response from Scientists 'Debunking' Anti-Biotech Letter: "There's a new post on Food Safety News about a formidable team of Purdue scientists who think Huber (who authored a letter to Tom Vilsack raising preliminary findings of problems with glyphosate or Roundup Ready crops) is full of baloney. Their reasoning sounds quite plausible to me (a non-scientist) and I can say for sure that, scientifically, this is WAY out of my league. So what do we non-scientists (who rely on the integrity and intelligence of scientists to understand these issues) make of it?"
Before that diary appeared, the fan man argued that "Scientific Bombshell" Very Likely a Dud: "Since Roundup Ready alfalfa is now approved for planting in the US, I imagine it was time to pull out all the stops in an attempt to get the USDA to reverse its decision, and by all means, I mean scaring the public once again. (Here's my disclaimer: I am not a scientist. I'm am in the field of agriculture, on the marketing side, having worked with hundreds of farmers over the last thirty years.) So what do I make of this "scientific bombshell"? Not much. Maybe there is a new micro-fungal or viral organism that attacks plants and animals (that would be an astounding find) but my money is on this being nothing more than what I think it is, an attempt to get the gov't to reverse itself on GM alfalfa."
Dr Teeth took a far more acid approach in The Anti-Science Left and Genetic Engineering: "There is a diary on the rec list that should never have made it past the smell test of educated readers. It makes dubious claims without presenting any evidence. It is on the rec list, because it supports what people want to believe is true. There is no difference in this mentality, and that of a Glen Beck viewer. It is the 'tell me what I want to hear' culture, which has overtaken American intellectual discourse."
Patric Juillet regaled us with Tales from the Larder: Brown Rice & Health:
"Now I know that brown rice is not 'sexy' like its hulled counterpart but it does pack a huge wallop of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, iron, selenium, manganese, and the vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B6. Additionally brown rice is also a good source of dietary fiber, protein, and gamma-oryzanol. It is said to substantially reduce the risk of colon cancers as well as minimizing the amount of time cancer-causing substances. So what's not to like?"
Koch-Powered Tea Party Pushes Climate Denial Bill In New Hampshire had THE CUNCTATOR mightily irked: "Fueled by the carbon pollution giant Koch Industries, Tea Party Republicans in New Hampshire are attempting to scuttle the state's involvement in the region's successful climate program. Robocalls from Koch's Americans for Prosperity group flooded the state over the weekend in support of a bill that would repeal participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which has cut greenhouse and other pollution and created 1,130 jobs as a result of energy efficiency benefits. Rep. Sandra Keans (D-Rochester), told the Nashua Telegraph that AFP's calls were 'sleazy' and deliberately false. 'I have never seen such a cowardly perpetration pulled on the citizens of New Hampshire,' Keans said."
In the series Warming Wednesday, Scientician gave us the good (relatively) news that Acceptance of climate reality rebounds in U.S.: "This broadly comports to other polling on the climate crisis, but even as question wordings vary the trend is important, a 6-point gain on acceptance of the problem and a 10-point decrease on denial of the problem is good news. Climate realists now outnumber denialists by more than 2:1. As for Canada, the numbers are better — 80% believe global warming is happening and only 14% deny it."
boatsie wrote a round-up of climate justice news in climate justice & global democracy: COP17 leadup: II.
jimstaro gave us the skinny on An Altered Ocean: "Another scathing report we'd better pay attention to and start what should have already been a couple of decades old advancing this country towards the innovations, we were once envied for, needed to move forward."
Phil Radford II Greenpeace talked about A familiar – and frightening – story in Wisconsin: "If Americans for Prosperity sounds familiar, it should – they’re the group that has been touring the country for years telling people climate change isn’t real. Today we have found out that AFP is upping their work in Wisconsin with a $350,000 ad campaign to support Governor Walker's attack on workers' rights."
In the latest edition of the Gulf Watchers series, the 479th!, Lorinda Pike wrote that: Greenpeace Gets Permission to Sue - BP Catastrophe AUV #479: "On Thursday, a High Court judge granted permission for Greenpeace to bring a case arguing that it was unlawful for the government to grant new licenses in the wake of BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The environmental group wants a moratorium on all new deepwater licenses. Greenpeace will argue that the government is failing to carry out 'appropriate assessment' of the risks that new drilling may pose, after the US accident that caused an environmental disaster and killed 11 men in April last year."
In Gulf Watchers 478th diary, peraspera brought us the sad news that Gulf Dolphin Infant Mortality 10x Normal - BP Catastrophe AUV: "Infant dolphins dying in high numbers … These heartbreaking deaths are extremely troubling. One hopes the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies has the funding to do necropsies and through tissue sampling of all the dead baby dolphins. While there is no proof positive as of yet that BP's black scourge was responsible it's very difficult to think of anything else that would would cause such a shocking rise in dolphin infant mortality."
Michael Brune laid out How Politics Can Endanger Every Species: "Now, it's not just the gray wolf that's threatened -- it's the Endangered Species Act itself. HR 1, the Continuing Budget Resolution passed by the House last week, has an amendment that would specifically exclude wolves from protection in Montana and Idaho. Similar legislation was introduced by Montana's senators."
Julie Waters directed us "To the Birdmobile!": "I looked at and wrote back 'I'm sure I must be wrong about this, but it very much looks like a Townsend's Solitaire.' Turns out it was a Solitaire and has been hanging out there since. I gave it a shot yesterday, clearing my schedule for it 'cause it's kind of a haul."
Serpents Choice gave us a look at Disease!: An "unprecedented epidemic": "Eastern North America is again bearing witness to a horrible plague, from the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, down to the American Upland South -- so far. As before, the mortality rates are almost so high as to be unbelievable. 90%. 95%. 100%. Communities of thousands have been wiped out in a single season. For less populous groups, the specter of complete elimination looms. But this plague has not become the news story to end all news stories, or an impetus for widespread panic. It has only barely entered the media's attention at all. Because this isn't a human pandemic. It is killing bats."
YellerDog gave us a cold-weather tour of Snow Birds and Mud Snails: "Capitol Lake is just 6 blocks from home and has some of the best birding in the state. I counted 16 species today but unfortunately I don't have a $10,000 camera to take professional pictures, especially of the small, shy,birds so for photos I have to concentrate on birds I can get fairly close to."
Public Lands & The Great Outdoors
RLMiller looked at the rationale behind digging up rare earths on public land in Toxic tulipmania in a Wyoming national forest?: "Clean energy proponents and policymakers have recently become interested in so-called 'rare earths.' These are 15 elements known as lanthanoids in the periodic table, plus scandium and yttrium; uses include wind turbines and hybrid car batteries. Despite the name, they’re not truly rare. Much ado is being made over the fact that China presently controls 97% of the world’s rare earths, and recently announced its intent to crack down on illegal mining and smuggling. But are we in danger of running out of rare earths, or is this a market-driven bubble? And should a potential shortage justify toxic strip mining in the Black Hills National Forest?"
NourishingthePlanet posted a video describing how Reducing Wastewater Contamination Starts with a Conversation: "In this week’s episode, Nourishing the Planet research intern, Evelyn Drawec discusses how the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is working with urban farmers in Accra, Ghana to identify simple ways to reduce crop contamination from irrigating with wastewater to improve health, diets, and livelihoods."
DaNang65 lamented the consequences for The Few, The Proud, . . . The Poisoned: "For thirty years Uncle Sam poisoned not only many thousands of our finest fighting men, but no small number of their wives and children. What's that you say, Uncle Sammy wouldn't do that? If they were stationed at Camp LeJeune, one of the two Marine Corps mega installations, the East Coast equivalent of Camp Pendleton in California, I'm sorry to say that's the case. Not intentionally, of course, but through a combination of horribly ignorant environmental practices …"
DWG had a smile and a frown in Up in smoke: EPA adopts weaker regulations for industrial air pollution: "The good news is that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally announced air quality standards for emissions from industrial boilers and incinerators. These standards are an improvement from the 2007 rules adopted by the Bush administration that were laughed out of court. The bad news is the new rules are much weaker than the ones announced in September and withdrawn in December."
In another diary on the new regulations, Mary Anne Hitt wrote about the importance of Fighting Back for Clean Air and Water: "On Wednesday, they issued long-overdue new health standards that will finally limit mercury and other air toxics from thousands of industrial boilers, including those found on college campuses. EPA estimates the new standards will create 2,000 new jobs, will save 2,600 - 6,600 lives per year by 2014, and will prevent 42,000 asthma attacks and 4,100 heart attacks every year. There is more to the story though - the final rule proposed by EPA is weaker than their initial proposed rule, and many health advocates worry the EPA backed down from the stronger standards due to heavy pressure. That's why people across America are standing up and fighting back."
NNadir took one of his usual acerbic looks, this time at Self-Sustaining Smoldering Combustion For Contaminated Soil Remediation: "I do realize that it is far more relevant to discuss things like Post-Chernobyl Radionuclide Distributions in an Austrian Cow, but in the spirit of fun, I thought I would discuss the many cubic kilometers of soil contaminated with dangerous fossil fuels - including that along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico (and the sand under the Gulf of Mexico) in hopes that someone might actually give a rat's ass - recognizing that it is nowhere near as important as the Austrian Cow that is a warning to all of humanity."
Policy & Green Philosophy
Muskegon Critic explained how the Great Lakes Generate 1.5 Million Jobs: "The Great Lakes have been taken for granted for a long time, and Obama's commitment to finally provide Federal money for Great Lakes restoration efforts is an excellent start. The amount allocated was reduced this year from 450 million dollars to 300 million dollars. But it's still an incredible investment."
He also complained that Cutting Lamprey Control Funding is a Disastrous, Costly Mistake: "Obama's new budget is proposing $3 million in cuts to the $18 million lamprey eel-control program: the only thing keeping the lamprey eels from devastating fish stocks in the Great Lakes again. These are the same eels that collapsed the fish populations in the Great Lakes in the space of just 9 years."
NourishingthePlanet focused on Lasting Skills for Sustainable Change: "The Land O’ Lakes company is best known for its butter, but the company also has a nonprofit division—Land O’ Lakes International Development (IDD). Land O’ Lakes IDD is part of the U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council, a group of organizations that share the belief that 'cooperative techniques, which have helped millions of American families, can be adapted to help poor and low-income people in developing countries achieve a better way of life.' The organization does this through various programs, mainly focused on dairy production, livestock farming, and enhancing local food networks."
Audreybeardsley urged us to choose options that would Dry Up Oil Companies One Drop at a Time: "Seventy percent of all oil use in this country does not go to transportation. Where does it go? If we could cut our oil use by half that would send the loudest possible message to the oil giants, and we wouldn't have to touch the car...yet. To do this it would be ideal to stop putting oil on everything we wear, everything we clean with,and things we put into our mouths."
Dem Forever offered another take on a discussion that's been making the rounds in environmental circles for several years, Argument for Less Immigration: "I believe in environmental protection. I don't think you can protect the environment while having lots of immigration, especially to the Southwest which is largely desert and is having water supply issues. America consumes so much of the world's resources and inviting additional people will certainly exacerbate consumption patterns. Although immigrants themselves have low rates of consumption, their children will have similar levels once they assimilate in the wasteful habits of Americans."
ALifeLessFrighteningFollow presented a proposal for a weekly series in Living Simply.