Fish & Wildlife
A Desperate Plea To Save Africa's Lions—by ban nock: "How can an official charged with protecting the worlds largest lion population call for not listing to protect a species? It sounds counterintuitive. Listing as endangered would end trophy hunting which currently offers the best protection against poaching and loss of habitat. Simply put, hunting is conservation. Sixty percent of the trophy hunters that go to Tanzania are American, listing would make it illegal for them to bring their trophies back to the US. Read Mr. Songorwa's Op-Ed, he speaks much more eloquently about the subject than I could ever hope to."
Wild Notebook: watching birds without a cat on my lap—by Polly Syllabic: "It's snowing again. I retreat to my armchair with another cup of coffee, two chocolate-chip cookies and a soft blanket for warmth over my knees. I'm adding a dash of real Irish Cream to my coffee today, just because. "
For more rescued green diaries, please continue reading below the fold.
Dawn Chorus: Ospreys.—by lineatus: "Ospreys are also built pretty cool. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to prepare one as a study specimen which let me see some of its unique adaptations for fish hunting. (The bird died at a rehab center where it had been taken after being found tangled in fishing line. They cut most of the line off, but some of it had actually cut into the flesh on the bird's wing. Heartbreaking.) Most raptors talons look like the letter "D" in cross-section, rounded on the outside edge, but flat on the inside; Osprey have an oval cross-section shape. I was told this helps puncture fish more easily. Even more remarkable (to me, anyway) was the texture of their feet. The soles of their feet are covered with spicules - little spikes - that feel like extra coarse sandpaper, and help them hold onto their slippery prey."
The Winter the Polar Vortex Collapsed—by FishOutofWater: "The substantial build up of heat in the oceans since 1998 combined with an insubstantial increase in the temperature of the atmosphere has destabilized the atmosphere over the oceans. I think, based on recent research results, that this destabilization has led to the rapid increase in sudden stratospheric warmings over the past 15 years. This January, convection in the tropical western Pacific ocean over the deep oceanic warm pool lifted an enormous bubble of warm air that rose up over Tibet, breaking through into the stratosphere, causing the sudden stratospheric warming. Previous year's sudden stratospheric warmings have also occurred when tropical convection was enhanced over the west Pacific warm pool."
Climate Change Is Forever—by beach babe in fl: "I've been writing about climate change for years, and before that reading about it and looking for solutions. The more I learned about climate change the more I understood that the only solution would have to be a whole Earth solution. There are no simple fixes to this extraordinary problem. The reason for that is that climate change is an irreversable, forever problem, which must be understood in order to begin to understand solutions. David Roberts, writing in Grist gives a brilliant attempt at presenting the problem. He shows how climate change is so different from other environmental problems that it should not even be classified as one."
John Kerry on Climate Change: "The Science Is Screaming At Us"—by beach babe in fl: "Kerry obviously understands the urgency and the disaster of inaction. How will this influence his actions? That is an unknown at this point. As Secretary of State, he heads the agency which has the ultimate responsibility for the decision to approve or reject the Keystone XL pipeline. To not consider the environmental impacts of the XL pipeline would seem to betray his own words and jeopardize his credibility especially with the international community hoping that Obamas reelection and the appointment of climate hawk John Kerry as SoS would finally place the US in a position of leadership on climate change."
CO2 brought the dinosaurs; will it do so again?—by beach babe in fl: "Micheal D. Lemonick writing in Climate Central reports on a new study published in the journal Science that scientists have discovered the reason behind the planet catastrophe that wiped out almost all living species over 200 million years ago. The culprit was found to be CO2 and the study gives a parallel to the rise in CO2 today. At that time the rise in CO2 was caused by an enormous series of volcano eruptions."
Liveblog from Bernie Sanders and Bill McKibben Climate Conference in Montpelier, Today—by radical simplicity: [Bernie Sanders says] One of the privileges of being on these committees is that we get to sit down with some of the leading scientists in the entire world. The major point in the last year: Their projections about global warming were wrong. What they said was too conservative. The damages they now see and the speed is far more severe than they had previously thought. If we got you nervous before, you should be a lot more nervous today. No one can make predictions with 100% accurate, but it we don't get our act together, by the end of this century, the temp of earth will be 8 degrees f higher than today. That's only 85 years. In the lifetimes of students today, the temperature of the Earth can go up by 8 degrees. I hope you all understand what that means and the catastrophe."
Whales, sequestering carbon the natural way—by Aximill: "Did you know most whale poo is liquid? Had no idea myself. Turns out cetacean waste hangs out at the top layer of the ocean, the photic zone. That in turn has a useful side effect: 'Marine biologist Trish Lavery of Australia’s Flinders University estimated that defecation by the Southern Ocean’s sperm whales ultimately sequesters some 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide every year. Prior to their commercial whaling decline, that population alone would have accounted for about roughly the amount emitted by one decent-sized coal-fired power plant.'"
In Search of Climate Solutions—by wcalvin: "The obvious strategy is more leaves and more algae. Freeman Dyson laid out the reforestation strategy in 1977. But with the accumulation since then, planting more forests has become too little, too late. To do the job, we would need to quickly double the world’s forests –and then prevent them from rotting and burning. Currently, we cannot prevent this from happening even in rain forests like the Amazon."
CPAC: Young people and climate change—by Mike Stark: "I've spent most of the last three days covering CPAC for FossilAgenda.com. Today, I decided to spend some time speaking with young people about climate change. The science is clear: People that are young today are going to suffer increasingly extreme consequences related to climate. I was curious. What do young conservatives have to say about climate change? I approached a few and asked them to share their thoughts."
Climate change, some more reality—by Deward Hastings: "ENERGY INDEPENDENCE !!! There’s a great article over at http://www.nbcnews.com/... extoling the virtues of the growing North American oil and gas boom, and the resulting benefits of North American energy independence. It is full from beginning to end with the arguments you’re going to hear over the next few years regarding the benefits to American business, American consumers and America in general as production ramps up. So it’s “drill baby drill,” “energy independence” and “jobs, jobs, jobs,” from Republicans and Democrats alike, and a solid base of popular support for “cheap gas” and “cheap energy.” It’s the “future of America” ..."
Climate change: A bit of reality—by Deward Hastings: "You might want to read the March 17 “Tech Talk” post over at theoildrum.com if you imagine that there is going to be any reduction in human CO2 emissions over the next 20+ years. That post addresses the current power shortage in India, using Bangalore as a specific example."
Please, NO! Enough! More snow expected today (so that proves there's no global-warming, right?)—by 51percent: "I argued with a colleague recently; an ongoing disagreement that comes up when we are discussing alternative energy projects and efforts to boost our towns recycling numbers. 'Look outside,' he said to me, 'Look at that snow, how can you tell me there is such thing as global warming?'"
"The Era of Coal is Over": Los Angeles Will Move Beyond Coal by 2025—by Mary Anne Hitt: "I can't emphasize enough how big a victory this is. By abandoning coal, the LA Department of Water and Power will slash its climate-disrupting carbon emissions 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2025, while L.A.’s carbon emissions will drop by 40 percent, an achievement unmatched in the nation."
A Big One for L.A.—by by Michael Brune: "Tomorrow, I'll be standing with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as he officially announces that, within 12 years, the City of Angels will be entirely coal-free. Currently, L.A. gets almost 40 percent of its power from two old and notoriously dirty out-of-state coal plants -- the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona and the Intermountain Power Project in Utah.It's impossible to overstate the significance of this announcement from the second-largest city in the U.S. But getting rid of coal is only part of the story. Los Angeles is also leading on clean energy."
A "Second Manhattan Project" for Carbon Cleanup—by wcalvin: "Neither emissions reduction nor simple ocean fertilization will do much for the U.S. before we reach the 2°C (3.6°F) overheating frontier. That happens about 2028 when today’s toddlers finish high school. But there’s still a class of climate fix that is analogous to plowing under a cover crop. If we immediately bury the new green stuff, we get a big boost in the efficiency of cleaning up excess carbon."
The Great Outdoors
Dkos Tour Series: The San Rafael Swell (That Should Be A National Monument)—by richholtzin: "With reefs and an anticline region of exceptional beauty, San Rafael Swell is America's last and wild frontier. Divided into two main parcels of landscape. Its geography and picturesque terrain is perhaps one of the Southwest's best kept secrets."
DKos Tour Series: Goblin Valley State Park—by richholtzin: "Goblin Valley SP lies at the edge of the San Rafael Desert, with no town of any significance anywhere nearby. Its dimensions are about 1 mile across and 2-miles-long. The setting is confined to a valley formed by a seasonal, and usually shallow, wash (Red Canyon). This indeed is a bizarre and captivating landscape of continual change; an outback setting where imaginations are encouraged to run free. The valley is also a virtual playground decorated by an array of hoodoos. Here is also a strange and wondrous locale where water, wind and time have worked in concert to create a fascinating landscape that haunts and delights. In this predominantly arid and desert terrain a variety of goblin-shaped sandstone figures stand ready to delight visitors. To help protect the setting from vandalism, the State of Utah designated Goblin Valley a state park in 1964."
Dkos Tour Series: Acoma Pueblo (Literally a/k/a/ "Sky City")—by richholtzin: "Likely the second oldest continuously inhabited village in America. The Acoma people form a matriarchal society. The three hundred or so structures on the mesa pass down from mother to daughter and are entirely owned by women. The Acoma people are one of twenty-one Puebloan sovereign tribes. Numbering some 3,000 inhabitants, they are famous for their decorative pottery."
DKos Tour Series: Kodachrome Basin State Park—by richholtzin: "Kodachrome Basin State Park is a colorful setting in a quiet, out of the way desert terrain (the Great Basin Desert). The park is famous for its mysterious sandstone pipes––mysterious because scientists can’t decide what, exactly, created these formation. Thus the freestanding pipes accenting this broad basin continue to puzzle geologists who debate their origin and purpose. These eroded, multicolored rock formations come in various shades––red, pink, yellow, white and brown. Because of the variation of color, the National Geographical Society renamed the area after the Kodak Film company (of course, with the company’s consent). After sundown, stargazing throughout this region is popular because the basin is not hampered by light pollution."
sunny day snowshoeing—A Photo Diary—by blueyedace: "Heckrodt Wetland Reserve is a 76-acre urban nature reserve with habitats including forested wetland, cattail marsh, open water, created prairie, open field, and upland forest. Persisting despite the urbanization that continues to grow around it, the Reserve is home to numerous species of reptiles, amphibians, and mammals."
The Daily Bucket - Nesting Herons Triple Up.—by enhydra lutris: "First off, we decided that at least 4 of the nests at Lake Chabot are active nests, and we counted at least 9 herons in the nesting area. While we were there, an additional heron flew into a nest already containing a pair of herons. It was almost as if, at this late date, there was competition between two males for the nesting female going on. This should be well past, as nesting begins in February. A bit later, the same thing happened in an adjacent nest. The two standing, peseumptively male, herons at each of the subject nests were not combative, but were simply standing facing each other. This situation continued until my wife and I had to leave."
The Daily Bucket: Spring into Action—by AZ Sphinx Moth: "In South Eastern Arizona, in the high desert mountains, the weather has been unusually warm with only a slight breeze. Everything outside is getting its groove on including me. I’m thinning the invasive wild flowers, transplanting plants to new locations, removing the last of the old and frost bitten growth, and preparing the vegetable beds for spring planting. My groove skipped a beat when something started to excavate the yard while I was sleeping. All is good, now that I know what it is and more importantly, that it is not interested in eating the vegetable garden."
Daily Bucket: Limpkins, Eagles, and Frogs—by matching mole: "Limpkins have been calling frequently and vigorously in Lake Jackson over the last couple of weeks. Calls are most frequent at night but there is some calling during the day as well. My wife and I discovered a number of empty apple snail shells in Mounds State Park on the weekend, presumably left from Limpkin foraging a couple of years ago when the lake level was higher. Limpkins are snail specialists and the presence of an introduced apple snail is apparently maintaining the Limpkin population on the lake."
The Daily Bucket: Spring Woods—by Milly Watt: "This year, I discovered that we have at least one Indian plum (Oemleria cerasiformis) shrub on the property. I had never noticed it before and it is nice to be continually making new discoveries on this land. Indian plum, aka Osoberry, is one of the first things to flower in our area."
Food & Agriculture & Gardening
Monsanto sneakiness ALERT—less than 24 hours till Congress torpedos Judicial & USDA GMO oversight—by ivote2004: "URGENT: Make a call to Stop the Monsanto Protection Act today! If approved, the Monsanto Protection Act would force the USDA to allow continued planting of any GMO crop under court review, essentially giving backdoor approval for any new genetically engineered crops that could be potentially harmful to human health or the environment."
Macca's Meatless Monday...Chickpeas in the neighborhood—by beach babe in fl: "Today I'm celebrating one of the most Earth friendly foods in the world. Chickpeas also called garbanzos, cecis, Indian pea and Bengal gram are high in protein, one of the earliest cultivated vegetables traced back 7,500 years, and a delicious addition to a vegetarian meal. They are used in most cultures and today I will show some familiar and some perhaps not so familiar recipes for chickpeas."
The Consumers Change the System: Farmer Ben Burkett on Racism and Corporate Control of Agriculture—by Tory Field and Beverly Bell: "Ben Burkett is a family farmer and coordinator of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives for the state of Mississippi. He is also president of the board of the National Family Farm Coalition and a member of the food sovereignty commission of Via Campesina, the international network of small farmers and landless people. He gave the following interview one early morning in New Orleans, where he went to deliver a truckload of his cooperatives’ okra to Whole Foods."
Bill to Mandate Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods Hits PA Senate—by ProgressivePatriotPA: "'Pennsylvania's leading progressive state senator,' as he described himself, has done it again. State Senator Daylin Leach (17th District - Montgomery & Delaware counties), in addition to bills in favor of marriage equality and marijuana legalization, has now introduced Senate Bill 653 which would mandate the labeling of all genetically engineered (GE) foods, or foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMO's), sometimes referred to as 'Frankenfood.'"
Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 9.5—by Frankenoid: "Good morning, and happy… spring? Welcome to Saturday Morning Garden Blogging. Our weather here in Denver has not been pleasant. If you consider just the temperature, it doesn't look too bad: highs hitting 60°, some sunshine — perfect March weather! Except when you add in the wind. Oh, lordy, the wind. On the calmest day this week we had gusts at 13 mph; the other days the gusts have ranged from 22 to 31 mph (that's from the Weather Underground station nearest my home). It was really hard to get photos this week because the wind kept whipping everything around."
This makes no sense—by DWG: "President Obama has proposed creating an "Energy Security Trust" with a portion of royalties from offshore oil and gas extraction. It would be used to fund research and development of alternative energy in the transportation sector. The ultimate goal is to reduce our reliance on oil. Here is what does not make any sense, particularly in the context of the Energy Security Trust proposal.The Government Accountability Office released a report on March 15 that documented $51 billion in unspent funds allocated to the Department of Energy. Most of the money is for renewable energy and "Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing" (ATVM) loans."
It's a long, long road from Here to There—by Jamess—[Pew Research Center for People and the Press poll states]: "By a 54% to 34% margin, more Americans say the priority for addressing the nation’s energy supply should be developing alternative energy sources, such as wind, solar and hydrogen, over increased production of oil, coal and natural gas. Since 2011, the public has prioritized alternative sources over expanding production. Last October, the gap had narrowed: 47% said the priority should be developing alternative sources while 39% said the focus should be on expanding oil, coal and natural gas. Further, fully 62% favor setting stricter emission limits on power plants in order to address climate change while 28% oppose this."
Coal Follies, Part I.—by Mike Stark: "Over at FossilAgenda.com, I'm writing about energy and climate change issues. Generally speaking, my goal is to cut through the industry propaganda (clean coal, climate-change denialism, etc.) and otherwise bring attention to fossil industry malfeasance. I've been doing this work for three months now. For the most part, I've spent most of my time on deep dives into the coal extraction industry. I've been more than a little overwhelmed by what I've found. Coal mining is dominated by industry chiefs that Hollywood couldn't make up."
Canada's Tar Sands Take Big Hit With Major Study Being Dropped—by KGrandia: "The Helmholtz Association of Research Centres, a major German scientific body with more than 30,000 researchers and US$4.4 billion in annual funding, has dropped out of a joint Alberta tar sands project over fears that the project was damaging the institution's reputation. In April 2011, the Province of Alberta invested $25 million to form the 'Helmholtz-Alberta Initiative' that would study ways to deal with leakage from the toxic tailings ponds that are a by-product of tar sands mining operations."
Celebrating a Huge Offshore Wind Victory in Maryland—by Mary Anne Hitt: "The winds of change brought some great progress to Maryland this week when the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 passed through both houses of the legislature. The offshore wind bill has been championed from the start by Governor Martin O'Malley, who stands ready to sign the bill into law. This is a huge victory that is nationally significant for two reasons. First, it could well be the tipping point that allows us to finally tap the massive offshore wind potential off the East Coast. Second, it will ensure historically underrepresented minority groups and small businesses will benefit from the jobs and investment dollars that offshore wind projects will generate."
Apple corporate/data centers now running on almost pure renewables—by Brainwrap: "Ironically, the company's overall carbon emissions--including the manufacture, transportation and actual usage of the products and packaging--have actually gone up 34%, but that's mostly due to their sales continuing to grow (obviously, if you produce 100 widgets this year and 200 next year, your total emissions are still going to go up even if you cut emissions by 20% per widget)."
Fracking on the Blackfeet Reservation—by Ojibwa: "Anshutz Exploration Corp., an energy exploration company that has been searching for oil and gas on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, has just announced that it would cease drilling and shut down the project. The company notified the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council of its decision on Monday. Opposition to Anshutz and to fracking on the reservation has resulted in the formation of the Blackfeet Anti-Fracking Coalition on Facebook. The Facebook group was started by Destini Vaile, a Blackfeet tribal member who has studied the fracking process and opposed full-field development on the reservation."
Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Pipelines
Open thread for night owls: 17 Democratic senators say "yea" to pro-Keystone XL amendment—by Meteor Blades: "The Senate voted 62-37-1 Friday night on a non-binding amendment to the budget bill in support of the Keystone XL pipeline. All the opposing votes on the amendment introduced by Republican Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota came from Democrats and the two Senate independents, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine. The 17 Democrats who voted "yea" are generally the Senate's most conservative, many of them from states with large deposits of fossil fuels."
Senate votes to Symbolically Approve Keystone Pipeline—by GloFish: "Hoeven's amendment was basically a "Sense of the Senate" and it won't ever be signed into law. But it shows significant support within the US Senate for construction of the Keystone Pipeline, especially among conservative Democrats. Republicans will clearly continue to use the Keystone Pipeline as a wedge issue."
Ending Keystone XL / Tar Sands "FUD" arguments about rail—by ImpeccableLiberalCredentials: "Pipelines are less safe than rail, and weakly regulated. Weak pipeline regulations are responsible in part for massive pipeline disasters, says the National Transportation Safety Board, in a July 10, 2012 press release on the Enbridge 6B Kalamazoo River spill. The NTSB also cited the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's weak regulations regarding pipeline assessment and repair criteria as well as a cursory review of Enbridge's oil spill response plan as contributing to the magnitude of the accident. An argument for accepting Keystone XL has been that tar sands will be used anyway, and will be transported by rail, if the pipeline is not approved."
State Dept. Redacted Keystone EIS Writer's Ties to TransCanada—by FishOutofWater: "Andy Kroll writing for MoJo and Grist has found out that the State Department redacted information that linked the contractor that prepared the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to the pipeline company applying for state department approval. Experts working for environmental organizations slammed the report as biased and misleading. The contractor carefully ignored factors (such as dilbit is not oil. Dilbit spills are much harder to clean up than oil spills.) that were unfavorable to building the pipeline to reach a rosy conclusion that the pipeline would have little environmental impact.
"The contractor's close working relationship with TransCanada, the owner of the Keystone XL pipeline, is an extreme conflict of interest that should have barred the state department from contracting with them. When I managed grants and contracts for the federal government, my understanding of contracting regulations would have made me fear indictment for contract fraud if I had redacted a document to hide conflicts of interest. This cover up of COI appears to me to violate federal contract laws and regs."
State Dept. Hid Contractor's Ties to Keystone XL Pipeline Company—by beach babe in fl.
Canadians Import Texas Oil Instead of Building a Pipeline East, Fear Spills—by FishOutofWater: "Eastern Canada will be importing oil by tanker from Texas instead of piping tar sands extract from Alberta because Canadians don't trust the pipeline companies to follow environmental standards according to Thomas Mulcair, the leader of Canada's New Democratic Party. [...] What do Canadians know about tar sands pipelines that most of us south of the border don't understand? The heavy tarry substance extracted from tar sands is not oil. It has to be diluted with solvents to get it to flow. One of those solvents is carcinogenic benzene. The exact mixture of solvents is a proprietary company secret, but experience shows that it's very toxic. Experience also shows that when the diluted bitumen - dilbit - spills, the solvents evaporate and the heavy oil sticks to sediments and sinks to the bottom of rivers, lakes and ponds. It's hell to clean up."
Obama Administration Clearly Anti-Keystone XL Pipeline. But They Need Our Help—by ericlewis0 from an email from OFA: "They'll try to block the EPA's climate change rules, end renewable energy tax credits, and circumvent the State Department's process evaluating the Keystone XL oil pipeline."
The Keystone XL Pipeline: “Game Over”?—by Ivy Main: "NASA scientist James Hansen famously warned that if the Keystone XL pipeline gets built, it’s 'game over' for the climate. That dire warning lit a fire under the feet of activists, who rightly argue that Canada shouldn’t be producing the dirty, carbon-intensive tar sands oil, and the U.S. shouldn’t enable the climate destruction by building a pipeline to get the oil out of North America. But stopping Keystone won’t stop global warming, and building it won’t make environmentalists throw in the towel. If this is a game, we are pawns as well as players, so we can never walk away. Frankly, it’s hard to understand right-wing enthusiasm in the U.S. for a pipeline benefiting a Canadian company extracting Canadian oil intended for the world market."
"If Obama approves the XL, expect more lawsuits, blockades and actions we haven seen before"—by S Kitchen: "In an interview I conducted with Philip Phil Aroneanu, 350.Org Co-Founder and Campaign Director, he had a simple warning for President Obama. He said: 'If President Obama approves the Keystone XL Pipeline, expect more lawsuits, blockades and actions we haven’t seen before...' The interview is 22 minutes long and we cover the XL, our Congress, State Department, Obama's climate legacy and future direct actions."
USGS water data under sequester threat—by robbinsdale radical: "A flow gauge near you is likely to be discontinued in the near future due to the sequester and anticipated FY14 budget cuts, putting both the scientific value of long-term data records, and the data's usefulness to save lives and property, at risk."
Bay Delta Conservation Plan will fail to restore the estuary—by Dan Bacher: "Tuesday, March 20 was a busy day for Restore the Delta (RTD), a coalition opposed to the Brown administration's rush to construct massive peripheral tunnels to divert millions of acre-feet of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to corporate agribusiness, oil companies and Southern California developers."
Eco-Philosophy, Eco-Activism & Sustainabilty
Within Reach: Journey to Find Sustainable Community—by Words In Action: "WITHIN REACH explores one couple’s pedal-powered search for a place to call home. Mandy and Ryan gave up their jobs, cars and traditional houses to “bikepack” 6,500 miles for nearly 2 years around the USA seeking sustainable community."
Earthaven: Intentional Community Case Study—by Words In Action: "Earthaven is an ecovillage outside Asheville in northwestern North Carolina. Earthaven considers itself a developing ecovillage and intentional community. In my research so far, however, it appears to me to be a fairly mature community in many ways."
Earth Hour this weekend, March 23rd.—by ShoshannaD: "It will take place at 8:30 PM Saturday your local time. More information at this link: And yes, turning the lights off for an hour is a very small thing. But Earth Hour has become a worldwide phenomena which helps raise awareness of this more than vital issue. It has grown from one city to 152 countries. Earth Hour also now features other actions to support the planet."
What Is It About A Solitary Tree That Captures One's Gaze and Imagination?—by Keith930: "A forest is lush. Dense. But while a forest has its own charms, it can sometimes seem impenetrable. Uninviting, even. A lone tree holds a completely different kind of allure. It is somehow mysterious. It's almost magnetic, especially when the cleared land around it is expansive. You ask yourself how that one tree, and only that tree, managed to escape the axe and survive. You sometimes may even feel compelled to walk across the field to look at it from a closer perspective. Stand in its shade. It provokes contemplation. The trees in a stand of woods lose their individuality and become almost indistinguishable from one another, at least until fall. But a lonesome tree? It calls out to you. 'Look at me. I'm still here!'"
'Better living without chemistry'—by Obfuscation Rescue: "Yes, that's right. (Missed your name in the message you sent). Conscience and the recent additional news about the dangers of plastics touching foods led us to cease use of plastic containers in the kitchen. Probably we are too old for the chemical transfer to harm us, but it is a pleasure to be rid of all those bags and rigid plastic containers."
Greener coffee?—by Obfuscation Rescue: "I like buying the small-farmer coffee products, when affordable and available. The shipping cost from some well-known sources is discouraging to this purpose. May try adding pure chicory to such a coffee myself, someday. Community Coffee and perhaps others sell bags of pure roasted chicory cheaply."
Eco-Related DC and State Politics
Chris Stewart, climate denier, now head of congressional climate science committee—by JesseC: "Chris Stewart, a republican from Utah, was recently appointed Chair of the House subcommittee on Science. This means that Congressman Stewart now has dominion over the EPA, climate change research, and 'all activities related to climate.' Unfortunately for the EPA, NOAA, and anyone worried about climate change, Chris Stewart is a climate science denier. Mr. Stewart believes there is "insufficient science" to determine if climate change is caused by humans. He believes this in spite of the fact that the EPA, NOAA, and all experts in the field (which he now oversees), disagrees with him."
Blunt Places Hold on EPA Nominee—by snappydogs "Senator Roy Blunt has placed a hold on EPA Administrator Nominee Gina McCarthy, because of a longstanding project of the Corps of Engineers to complete completion of a levee in the bootheel of Missouri."
OR-Sen: Senate Budget Committee Passes Merkley (D) Amendment To Create Jobs in Overgrown Forests—by poopdogcomedy: "An amendment by Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley aimed at putting people to work in the woods and improving the health of our overgrown forests passed the Senate Budget Committee with bipartisan support. This amendment to the funding outline for fiscal year 2014 makes it possible for Congress to move legislation to improve federal forest land management by increasing timber production, protecting communities from wildfires, enhancing forest resilience to insects and disease, and improving forest ecosystem without running afoul of budget rules."
HI-Sen: Will Environmental Issues Help Brian Schatz (D) Keep His Senate Seat?—by poopdogcomedy: "Sen. Brian Schatz's work in Hawaii with renewable energy has landed him a leadership role not often offered to freshman senators: head of a Senate subcommittee, his office said in an announcement scheduled for today.
Sen. Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said he believes Schatz is in a good position to lead the Water and Power subcommittee, which is under the Energy Committee."
Democratic Climate Hall of Shame—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: [Regarding four recent votes on Keystone XL and a carbon tax, here is the] "CLIMATE HALL OF SHAME—Seven Democrats voted consistently for the anti-environment position: Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR).Four more Democrats belong in our CLIMATE HALL OF SHAME for voting both against the carbon tax and for Keystone: Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), Sen. John Tester (D-MT), and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)."
MA-Sen: Despite Markey's objection, billionaire environmentalist will launch anti-Lynch campaign—by 51percent: "Despite a statement by Ed Markey asking Thomas Steyer to stay out of the Massachusetts special senate election, the billionaire environmentalist is going forward with his campaign against Markey's primary opponent, Stephen Lynch. Voters will decide which of the two Democratic candidates, both current US Reps, will face one of three Republican's on April 30."
Turn the Endangered Species Act over to the States ???—by fwcetus: "Can you imagine turning the Endangered Species Act over to the ~states~? How about prohibiting ~any~ regulation of climate change causing pollution? Those are among the proposals offered, by the likes of Inhofe, Lee, and Heller, in amendments to the US Senate budget bill last evening."
Forests & Public Lands
CO-Sen: Mark Udall (D) Delivers On Watershed Recovery Federal Funding—by poopdogcomedy: "A national struggle to get Colorado millions of federal dollars for watershed recovery could end Monday with a much-anticipated U.S. Senate vote. Colorado politicians and land management officials have fought since the end of 2012 for Emergency Watershed Protection Program money, which lawmakers first cut then reintroduced into Senate and House bills. The Senate’s Monday vote could all but guarantee El Paso and Larimer counties much needed millions to rehabilitate watersheds damaged by wildfire."
Riding a Bus is Good for More than just the Environment—by DAISHI: " Regardless of which vehicle you're taking though, I've come to realize, everyone should ride in mass transit on at least a semi regular reason, and for reasons that go beyond environmental concerns. [...] They've looked shabby and nice, worn second hand clothes and suits, had different attitudes, agendas, and destinations. What's intriguing though, is the slice of life you get when you are simply around others. I find it hard to think you could be unsympathetic with the poor if you had to bus with a few low wage earners every day of your life. I think you'd find it difficult to continue hating gay people if you got to overhear loving conversations or just normal, day to day talk, instead of always perceiving them as caricatures communicated to you by talking heads. I don't think you could continue being racist, or at least you could find your prejudices softened, if you had to interact with other people of different ethnicities each day of your life."
The Bayou Corne "sinkhole," actually a man-caused salt dome collapse, has consumed 10 acres so far—by Old Redneck: "Much of Southern Louisiana is underlain with massive salt domes below the ground surface. Some of these are quite deep, others come close to the surface. Water is pumped into these salt formations to create brine which is then extracted to produce salt that has various industrial and agricultural uses. As the salt is extracted, the dome begins to disappear. More water is pumped in to prevent the whole thing from collapsing. But it collapsed. A year or so ago, local folks noticed methane gas bubbling up out of the bayou and wells. They also noticed the ground sinking in several locations."
Of marine wilderness, private enterprise, the Koch brothers and oysters—by maggiejean, who writes about how the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm was bought after it was clear it was headed for wilderness status and how they are fighting by pleading they're being imposed upon: "Despite Drakes Estero being located in an area where people are sensitive to environmental issues, there has been a real conversation about whether an exception should be made for this particular family. That, to me, is not encouraging."