|Every week Daily Kos diarists write dozens of environmentally related posts. Many don't get the readership they deserve. Helping improve the odds is the motivation behind the Green Diary Rescue. In the past seven years, there have been 240 of these spotlighting more than 13,612 eco-diaries. Below are categorized links and excerpts to 62 more that appeared in the past seven days. That makes for lots of good reading during the spare moments of your weekend. [Disclaimer: Inclusion of a diary in the rescue does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.]|
Sorry, Cass Sunstein, Your Record Shows That You Don't Fear Climate Change Enough Either...Or At All—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "Last week, Cass Sunstein, the former administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), penned an article in the Washington Monthly entitled 'People Don't Fear Climate Change Enough.' Sunstein wrote that article in response to the leaks about the forthcoming report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which will express the growing certainty of the seriousness of the problem, the effects of human actions in exacerbating it, and the grave dangers we face from inaction. [...] He then proceeds, in Sunstein-esque style, to discuss the psychological reasons for why people and governments do not respond to the problem in proportion to its severity. Human psychology is a problem, for sure. But so is our government's responsiveness to fossil fuel interests. Just take a look at Sunstein's own record at OIRA, and you'll see. "
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The Keystone Pipeline Is An Environmental Justice Issue—by Marcia G Yerman: "What do Indigenous people living in Fort Chipewyan in Northern Alberta, Canada have in common with communities of color in Port Arthur, Texas? The answer is the Keystone XL Pipeline—and the correlation isn’t positive. If anything, the connection shows how those without the clout of power and money are left holding the bag. [...] Dr. Cora Voyageur, whose work has examined issues impacting Indigenous people in Canada, has undertaken a study to look at how the health of those living near the oil sands where the pipeline will originate have been affected. To get an overview, I reached out to Dr. Robert D. Bullard, who I have previously interviewed. He is recognized as the 'Father of Environmental Justice.' He gave me a series of stats, which drew a clear picture of the challenges faced by the populace of Port Arthur—where the racial makeup is 76 percent people of color."
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Below the fold are lots more rescued Green diaries.
Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice
Letter to the Courier-Journal about Health Hazards of Burning Coal—by Merlin1963: "Seeing as I live in one of the big three coal mining states in the U.S., I thought that I would highlight a talk that was given by Dr. Alan Lockwood on the adverse health affects of burning coal. I sent the below letter to the editor of the Courier-Journal: You would have to be dead not to have heard of the EPA’s so called 'War on Coal,' but without the EPA’s efforts, dead is what more than a few Kentuckians would be without enforcement of the Clean Air Act. According to Dr. Alan Lockwood, a neurologist and author of 'The Silent Epidemic: Coal and the Hidden Threat to Health,' over 230,000 deaths from coal pollution will be prevented by 2020 because of the EPA and the Clean Air Act; this was one of many facts that Dr. Lockwood presented on August 22nd at the Clifton Center about coal pollution and human health sponsored by the Kentucky Environmental Foundation."
Frackers Cheating Landowners and Gov't Out of Billions—by Floyd Blue: "Thousands of landowners are receiving far less money than they were promised by energy companies to drill their properties. Some are being paid almost nothing. Note: No environments were hurt during the writing of this article about the money implications of the fracking industry. Of course, if an industry acts this way about royalty payments how can it be trusted at all?"
Island in the Sky: Big Coal Disrespects the Dead—by CharlesCorra12: "Situated in the center of a surface mining site, the hillside around the cemetery has been blasted away, leaving the Jarrell’s with quite literally an “island in the sky” plot of land. For years, the Jarrell family has had to fight tooth-and-nail against the coal companies whose mountaintop removal mining operations kept creeping closer to their cemetery. If it wasn’t insulting enough to have to fight to preserve the graves of their ancestors, the family cannot even visit the cemetery without putting in a request with the mine’s safety coordinator. But the Jarrell family has had enough. The Jarrells recently filed suit against Alpha Natural Resources for coming within 30 feet of their ancestors’ graves, which the family claims violates state law and a pre-arranged agreement with Alpha for a 100-foot buffer zone boundary."
DEFENDING INDIGENOUS LANDS AND WATERS IN HONDURAS: THE CASE OF RIO BLANCO—by Bev Bell: "On September 12, Berta Caceres, Tomás Gomez, and Aureliano Molina, leaders of the indigenous Lenca organization Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) must appear in court. Their charges? Usurpation of land, coercion, and causing more than $3 million in damages to DESA, a hydroelectric dam company. Berta, the general coordinator of COPINH and an internationally recognized social movement leader, is also facing separate charges of illegally carrying arms 'to the danger of the internal security of Honduras.'"
Oceans are Acidifying at the Fastest rate in 300,000,000 years. What Me Worry?—by FishOutofWater: "We may be slipping into one of the greatest mass extinctions in the history of the earth, but just how worried should we be? The world’s oceans are turning acidic at what’s likely the fastest pace in 300 million years. Scientists tend to think this is a troubling development. But just how worried should we be, exactly? My dear Post reporter: It's a troubling development when your cat persistently coughs up fur balls on your bed when you're sleeping. It's a troubling development when your car starts vibrating every time it hits 60 mph. When the chemistry of the ocean is reverting towards a primordial condition when it emitted poisonous sulfurous gases, it is not a troubling development. It is the beginning of a fucking catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. Here's a clue. Just because you don't know jack about the story you have been assigned don't assume there isn't a fossil record of mass death and destruction beyond anything ever witnessed by humans and beyond anything you are capable of imagining."
U.S., China and G-20 nations take major steps to regulate potent greenhouse gas emissions—by VL Baker: "In some good news a long time coming, the U.S., China and the other members of the G-20, meeting now in Bangkok, have announced a big step forward in reducing potent greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Meeting during the G-20, President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to establish a contact group under the Montreal Protocol on the potent greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) — a significant step following the presidential agreement to work together on HFCs three months ago. The G-20 also announced it supported serious progress in the U.N. climate talks in addition to using the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs. This could mean serious momentum for quick action to cut greenhouse gases now. This news is encouraging as it shows that the leaders of the most highly polluting nations understand the importance of a fast reduction of greenhouse gas emissions"
UN chief scientist urges action on climate: 'We have five minutes before midnight'—by VL Baker: "In an extraordinary statement, Rajendra Pachauri, head of the United Nations' group of climate scientists, said on Monday that humanity can no longer be content kicking the can down the road when it comes to climate change. 'We have five minutes before midnight,' he emphasized: 'We may utilize the gifts of nature just as we choose, but in our books the debits are always equal to the credits. May I submit that humanity has completely ignored, disregarded and been totally indifferent to the debits? Today we have the knowledge to be able to map out the debits and to understand what we have done to the condition of this planet.'"
William R. Polk: Climate Change and the Syrian Civil War—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "Syria has been convulsed by civil war since climate change came to Syria with a vengeance. Drought devastated the country from 2006 to 2011. Rainfall in most of the country fell below eight inches (20 cm) a year, the absolute minimum needed to sustain un-irrigated farming. Desperate for water, farmers began to tap aquifers with tens of thousands of new well. But, as they did, the water table quickly dropped to a level below which their pumps could lift it. In some areas, all agriculture ceased. In others crop failures reached 75%. And generally as much as 85% of livestock died of thirst or hunger. Hundreds of thousands of Syria’s farmers gave up, abandoned their farms and fled to the cities and towns in search of almost non-existent jobs and severely short food supplies. Outside observers including UN experts estimated that between 2 and 3 million of Syria’s 10 million rural inhabitants were reduced to 'extreme poverty.'"
Can I borrow some URGENCY? - A friendly note from your home planet—by Lefty Coaster: "Hi. This is your nurturing home planet writing to ask if you can spare some of all that urgency you are lavishing on an uprising in Syria. I could really use some. You see I'm more than just a ball of rock. I have some extraordinary things most of the other planets don't have. Like seas, and an atmosphere. In a lot of ways I'm like a living organism. But my seas and atmosphere are struggling and are getting desperately sick because of you are pumping billions of tons of carbon in to my atmosphere that then goes into my seas. I realize you wanted energy and that burning carbon seemed like the easiest way to make some. But you've known better for a while [...]"
Two Studies on Sandy-like Hurricanes striking New York City—by Lefty Coaster: "Both studies predict Climate Change will spawn more potential Sandys in the future but differ on the likely tracks these hurricanes will take. It would be interesting to see a comparison and analysis of the methodologies the two studies used. I don't think there are many climate denialists setting flood insurance rates these days. The insurance industry knows America's Atlantic and Gulf coastlines in particular are slowly retreating. They see the increase in extreme weather events reflected in their claims, and in their all important bottom lines."
Brown administration bars reporter from public meeting on tunnels—by Dan Bacher: "On March 2, 2012, California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird and Deputy Secretary of Interior David Hayes committed themselves to making sure that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels was an “open and transparent" process. [...] Yet, the Brown and Obama administrations have gone in the exact opposite direction from the one they committed to on that date, going so far as to bar members of the news media from recording a public meeting to answer Delta residents’ questions and concerns about the controversial project to build twin peripheral tunnels."
Food, Agriculture & Gardening
On Workable, Greener Living: My Worm Experiment—by karmsy: "Back in June, I wrote a rather breathless diary on my brand-new indoor vermiculture experiment. I'd bought 500 Red Wiggler worms and set them up with plenty of moist shredded-newspaper bedding, in a bin made from a 15" X 20" vinyl cat litter tray. I planned on feeding them my kitchen scraps and shredded junk mail. Eventually, I planned to harvest 'vermicompost' to use on my houseplants or sell. So, virtually 100% of my household food waste goes to the worms, who seem to thrive on it, and they also consume 30-40% of my considerable waste-paper-and-cardboard output."
Macca's Meatless Monday: I went into a MLK dream—by VL Baker: "As we end the week commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington it's gratifying to see that Martin Luther King Jr. dream is as strong as ever. His dream is not just for history, it is a living struggle that permeates our everyday existence. His dream is with us as we fight to stop voter disenfranchisement, for wage equity, fair hiring practices and to protect the gains that were made with the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. MLK recognized that we must always look forward and he would have understood the threat that climate change presents to minorities and to those most vulnerable. As a visionary he could have articulated solutions with the purpose of bringing people together to solve the most critical issue of our time: climate change. MLK has not lost the power to inspire and today I dedicate this post to those still carrying on the struggle. Today I have lightened and made Earth friendly some of the food identified with the African-American culture. It's likely MLK would not have recognized the recipes but he would have recognized the familiar ingredients."
Golden Rice Cheerleaders have a Credibility Problem—by Azehav: "An Open Letter to Andrew Revkin: You and Nina Federoff and all of the rest of the uncritical cheerleaders of the biotech industry have a real credibility problem. Its root is arrogance. In your New York Times piece, 'From Lynas to Pollan, Agreement that Golden Rice Trials Should Proceed, you decried the group of people who destroyed a GMO test plot in the Phillipines. You stated that if anyone wanted to have a "shred of reality" in this conversation, they needed to read, 'The True Story About Who Destroyed a Genetically Modified Rice Crop,' by Mark Lynas. I did, and I am unmoved. The crown jewel of this article appears to be the argument that the Filipino people who destroyed the test plot were not farmers, and that some of them had 'dyed hair.' To that I offer this outraged response: It does not matter whether the destroyers were farmers or not! The premise of this article seems to be that only 'farmers' have the right to participate in this conversation. No—the premise of your article and so many others is that YOU (and Federer, and maybe a few others) get to decide who has the right to participate in this conversation about the world's food supply. How dare you."
Saturday Morning Garden Blogging 9.29—by Ed in Montana: "Good morning everyone and welcome to SMGB, End of Summer Edition. It's Ed in Montana guest blogging for our esteemed hostess Ms. Frankenoid and our team of master gardeners. Please excuse my bleary-eyed state here in the early hours of the morning. It has been an interesting night and an interesting Summer, both weather wise and of course garden wise in the Northern Rockies."
At the end of the pipeline: Sickness and death—by VL Baker: "As the State Department proceeds with their investigation to decide whether they should approve the Keystone XL pipeline, perhaps they need to take a look at what is happening at the proposed end of the pipeline in Port Arthur, Texas. Port Arthur, an oil refinery town on the Gulf of Mexico, is where most of the oil from the U.S. and Canada is refined before being sent off on barges to the rest of the world. [...] Refinery spokespeople acknowledge that their facilities are emitting toxic chemicals. But they follow up that acknowledgment with a question: Are we as consumers willing to reduce our addiction to fossil fuel energy?"
Big BLM Coal lease sale draws ZERO bids! "The BLM can't give this stuff away"—by Lefty Coaster: "In June, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Inspector General released a report identifying numerous flaws in BLM's coal-leasing program. Among them, the report confirmed that over the last 20 years, 80 percent of lease sales in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming attracted only one bidder, and none attracted more than two. With the price of coal mired in a four-year slump with no end in sight, it increasingly makes no economic sense for coal companies to extract the resource and bring it to market. At the same time, Americans are demanding action on coal pollution, and clean energy is cheaper in most places in this country. 'The BLM can't give this stuff away,' said Bruce Nilles, senior director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign, in reaction to the failure of the Maysdorf II coal tract to attract any bidders. 'This is the beginning of the end of coal — it's officially worthless. This is what happens when community after community replaces their aging coal plants with clean energy.'"
Fukushima Update: 9/3/13—by Joieau: "The news lately has been featuring troubles at Fukushima Daiichi, a situation that has been getting steadily worse for the past couple of months, as Japan has repeatedly called for help from the world nuclear industry and their governments, which strangely (or not so strangely) doesn't appear to be forthcoming. [...] What is actually happening is that the corium lavas that are what's left of the three reactor cores than experienced 'China Syndrome' meltdowns two and a half years ago, have reached the water table beneath the plants. The good news on that is that none of them managed to cause the original 'Worst Case Scenario' that has a super-heated pressurized steam reaction beneath a layer of caprock causing a major 'hydrovolcanic' explosion where the whole facility goes sky high."
Internalizing Externalities - New Orleans Sues Big Oil—by Just Bob: "Legally, our case is based on two principles. First, most of the industry operations were conducted under permits that required the operator to minimize the damage they caused and restore the area to its pre-existing condition when operations ceased. We believe the industry did not comply with these permits. The second principle comes from Louisiana's unique legal tradition. The rest of the country's jurisprudence is based on English common law traditions, but Louisiana's is based on 'civil law,' which goes back to the Romans. For centuries, and included in state statutes for 200 years, is a concept called 'servitude of drain.' This prohibits one party from increasing the flow of water on someone else's property. By destroying coastal land, the industry increased the surge coming our way. It broke this law."
Going Solar. Finally—by ColoTim: "Just signed the paperwork yesterday. We're going to have solar panels put on the house and apparently even with shading from some trees, we will be able to have enough power provided over the course of the year to offset 95% or so of the power we currently buy through the local power company, Xcel Energy. [...] I will still have some utility bill since I'll be still connected to the main power grid. This is not an off-the-grid setup. In addition, I will not have battery backup for power outages. We've had outages, but when those happen our house will be disconnected so that power flowing to the grid won't electrocute workers who are trying to fix the lines. Maybe somewhere down the line we might be able to get a setup where we'd be able to get power during the day, but so far in three years here our outages have been a few hours at most. Not enough to worry about losing food or sleep."
NBC News: Fracking Conclusively to Blame for Ohio Earthquakes—by ericlewis0: "Before January 2011, Youngstown, Ohio, which is located on the Marcellus Shale, had never experienced an earthquake, at least not since researchers began observations in 1776. However, in December 2010, the Northstar 1 injection well came online to pump wastewater from fracking projects in Pennsylvania into storage deep underground. In the year that followed, seismometers in and around Youngstown recorded 109 earthquakes, the strongest registering a magnitude-3.9 earthquake on Dec. 31, 2011. The well was shut down after the quake. [...] The new investigation of the Youngstown earthquakes, detailed in the July issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters, reveals that their onset, end and even temporary dips in activity were apparently all tied to activity at the Northstar 1 well."
"Frackademia" By Law: Section 999 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 Exposed—by Steve Horn: "With the school year starting for many this week, it’s another year of academia for professors across the United States – and another year of 'frackademia' for an increasingly large swath of 'frackademics' under federal law. While the 'frackademia' phenomenon has received much media coverage, a critical piece missing from the discussion is the role played by Section 999 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Although merely ten pages out of the massive 551-page bill, Section 999 created the U.S. Department of Energy-run Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA), a 'non-profit corporation formed by a consortium of premier U.S. energy research universities, industry and independent research organizations.' [...] Meanwhile, almost no focus—comparatively speaking—has gone into scrutinizing Section 999, which subsidizes biased pro-industry studies for a decade and in turn, further legitimizes unfettered fracking nationwide."
Wolverines Want Public Comment on Hydraulic Fracturing Integrated Assessment—by LakeSuperior: "The University of Michigan has just released a draft series of seven reports addressing an Integrated Assessment Project on hydraulic fracturing and the oil and gas industry in Michigan. This was a multidisciplinary effort that featured a large amount of involvement from a wide variety of organizations, including environmental organizations. Public Comments on the draft reports are due October 7, 2013."
Eco-Related DC & State Politics
Sierra Club Endorses Brian Schatz—by Karen from Maui: "Mortal blow to his opponent in a state where every candidate backed by both labor and environment wins. In a setback to Colleen Hanabusa's ambitions to primary progressive Senator Brian Schatz, the Sierra Club today endorsed incumbent, Schatz. According to Sierra Club of Hawai'i executive director, Robert Harris: 'Senator Schatz is exactly the kind of clean energy leader Hawaii and America need. His commitment to homegrown, clean energy is second-to-none. Based on his lengthy background in working to protect Hawaii's environment, we are confident he is the best choice to protect Hawaii families' health, air and water, and build a clean energy economy that works for our state.'"
Internalizing Externalities - New Orleans Sues Big Oil—by Just Bob: "The lawsuit is being brought by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority East (SLFPAE) which was formed by an 81% vote to amend the state constitution following Hurricane Katrina. The claim is that the oil industry is partially responsible for the loss of 2000 square miles of coastal land that once protected New Orleans. They did that by dredging channels and other actions that allowed salt water intrusion resulting in the death of the plants that once held that land in place."
Rep. Matsui asks Governor to postpone BDCP document release—by Dan Bacher: "Expressing 'deep concerns' regarding the assumption that federal funding will be required to construct the peripheral tunnels, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06) and six other Representatives sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown asking him to postpone the release of Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) documents. Representatives George Miller (CA-11), Mike Thompson (CA-05), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), John Garamendi (CA-03), Anna Eshoo (CA-18) and Ami Bera (CA-07) also signed the letter. The state of California plans to release its draft BDCP Plan for public comment on October 1, 2013, just a month from the date of the legislators' letter, August 30."
Assembly Committee Approves 'Woefully Inadequate' Fracking Bill—by Dan Bacher: "The Assembly Appropriations Committee voted 12-5 Friday to approve a weak fracking bill, Senate Bill 4 , strongly opposed by over 100 groups that are calling for an immediate moratorium on the environmentally destructive oil extraction method. The passage of the controversial bill, sponsored by Senator Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, clears the way for the full Assembly to approve regulations for hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), acidizing and other unregulated oilfield practices, according to a news release from Pavley's Office. The weak bill was the only fracking legislation to pass through the Legislature's Committees. Other bills, including one calling for a moratorium on fracking in California, were defeated under intense pressure by the Western States Petroleum Association, the most powerful corporate lobby in Sacramento. Pavley's bill was weakened during the legislative process because of pressure from the oil industry and pro-Big Oil lawmakers."
NYC Sierra Club Endorsement: My son and I will be speaking—by mole333: "Today my son and I spoke at a rally where the Sierra Club endorsed Comptroller John Liu for mayor of NYC. In my speech, I emphasize exactly why I think John Liu is PRECISELY the person we need for mayor right here and right now in NYC and for America. I know John Liu personally and have had many long talks with him. He comes from a mathematical and scientific background and he is able to analyze problems like a scientist and deal with those problems effectively. He is a progressive force who can and will put the environment first. THIS is why the Sierra Club has endorsed him. They made it clear that they put all the candidates through a difficult endorsement procedure and John Liu came out as being by far the best environmental candidate. He understood environmental issues better than ANY other candidate for mayor and he had real solutions that the Sierra Club felt were realistic, productive and helpful. No other candidate came close to meeting the Sierra Club's standards."
The Great Outdoors
Glacier National Park: Scenery on Top of the World (Photo Diary)—by Ojibwa: "Leaving our campsite in the Apgar Campground in Montana’s Glacier National Park, we hiked less than a mile to the Transportation Center. After a short wait, we caught one of the big busses which took us up to the Avalanche area. Here we transferred to a small bus for the ride up the Going-to-the-Sun Road and to the top of the world, sometimes called Logan Pass. Shown below are photographs of the scenery taken from the top of the world."
The Daily Bucket - Velcroball Season—by Milly Watt: "What is it—a new late summer sport involving dogs? I'm brushing my dogs quite often these days to remove the seeds of plants from the genus Galium which has over 600 species. Many of the species go by the common name of Bedstraw. Members of this genus are found all over the country. We call the seeds 'velcroballs' because of the way they hook onto the dogs' hair. I have found two of the most widespread varieties in my yard. Well, to be accurate, my dogs found them first. One of them is the Fragrant or Sweet-smelling Bedstraw (Galium triflorum)."
An Island Photo Diary w Sunset—by Lefty Coaster:
Urban Change & Sustainability
An Open Letter to America's School Boards: Imagine being heroes ...—by A Siegel: "To America's School Boards, What if I could you offer you a reliable path to ... • Improve Educational Results • Improve Student, Teacher, and Staff morale • Improve Student, Teacher, and Staff health • Create Jobs in the Local Economy • Improve Economic Performance in the near-, mid-, and long-term •Save money ...Intrigued? You should be. And, the great news: A path exists to achieve all this. This is the simple reality of the benefits that come from serious (aggressive, even) efforts to green the school environment."
From The Worst Urban River To Model Restoration Project-Cincinnati Mill Creek Shines and Thrives—by JaxDem: "In 1992 the Ohio EPA knew that Mill Creek was in trouble when their first chemical and biological survey uncovered raw sewage driving levels of bacteria and viruses well beyond federal and state water pollution levels. Findings showed heavy metals, lead, organic compounds, pesticides, ammonia, zinc, copper, cadmium and chromium. By 1997 American Rivers, a national river conservation group, named Mill Creek as 'the most endangered urban river in North America.' That was then and this is now. Now, after one agency, two non-profits and a host of other partners turned what once was a cesspool and a blight into a renewal of the river, a greening of the banks, an edible forest garden in the midst of a food desert, a rotating art exhibit featuring local sculptors, and most notably the 'Freedom Trees Program' which is in the process of planting 10,000 native hardwood trees intended to honor the Underground Railroad with its' connections to Mill Creek."
Marine mammal rescue hanging by a thread—by factchecker: "Last April I posted a diary warning that "Obama's budget would kill dolphins and other stranded marine mammals." The danger was in the fact that the proposed budget would have totally eliminated what are called Prescott grants, which are the lifeline providing a miniscule fund ($4 million) that gives vital financial help to all the volunteer rescue groups across the country. This year has been a particularly hard year because of several "unusual mortality events" declared by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The first such event this year was a flood of starving, stranded sea lion pups on the California coast startiing in January. Well over a thousand had to be rescued, putting extreme pressure on the various volunteer groups' resources. More recent such mortality events have included hundreds of sick and dying dolphins on the east coast, and also manatees. Now on top of this the slashed budget has come in, and the news is mostly bad."
The end of the passenger pigeon—by CastleMan63: "In Europe, the drums of war had started, while here in the United States, the Senate was amidst a debate over a far-reaching law that would limit the economic power of robber baron industrialists. Events in Cincinnati, Ohio on Sept. 1, 1914 were not foremost in the human conscience. It was on that day that Martha, a passenger pigeon, died in that city's zoo."
Where the whale sharks go—by VL Baker: "September 4, was National Wildlife Day but it's never too late to celebrate the wildlife with whom we share our planet. One of the most majestic and mysterious is the whale shark. It's the biggest shark there is, 30 feet or more in length and weighing in at around 10 tons. Not only do we share our planet with these creatures but looks like I also share my neighborhood as whale sharks are found in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. I'm sure I've never seen one because who could forget a gigantic polka-dot whale shark who likes to swim with people? The polka-dot whale sharks have remained mysterious because until recently there was no knowledge of where this largest fish that has ever existed migrated or gave birth."
Red Bull-Energy Drink/Threatened Species/Right Wing Paramilitary—by ban nock: "First I should say I don't speak Thai. I have to think of the words first in my head but I know enough to get in trouble, and krating daeng never did sound like the words "red bull" to me. Oh, daeng is red alright, same in Lao, but krating? Doesn't match any word for cow or bull that I've ever heard. It wasn't until I was reading the fine print in Wiki or at the IUCN, as I'm want to do, that I had one of those aha moments. I saw it where they list local names. It's a guar! Fifth largest land animal, a big dog gone cow! It all got lost in translation. Truth be told the only way I've heard a krating described is as a "forest cow" (pa nua) or similar. Red Bull is probably just a simplification for us foreigners. Not disappearing in high enough numbers to be listed as 'endangered,' the guar is none the less decreasing in population, mostly due to hunting for food, and also for the trade in illegal wildlife parts."
People don't like mining in WI near public land? Let's shut down the public land...—by Rachel191: "Glenn Grothman, Wisconsin's pet idiot, strikes again. First noticed this one here: A new bill to allow the Gogebic Taconite iron mining company to bar the public from using public access land on an eight-square-mile parcel near their proposed mine site. This is an area that attracts people from all over the country to enjoy the excellent trout fishing and hunting. Announced late on Friday afternoon before the long Labor Day weekend, the bill is being fast-tracked and may pass into law before the end of September. It is up for a public hearing this Wednesday and is scheduled to be voted out of committee on Thursday."
Transportation & Infrastructure
A CAR that runs on fuel made from CO2 removed from the Atmosphere creating a carbon neutral loop!—by Lefty Coaster: "This is absolutely brilliant! A British company Air Fuel Synthesis has found a way using Air Capture Technology to get vehicle fuel out of the atmosphere around us by extracting the constituent carbon and hydrogen from it. The magic chemistry involves capturing carbon dioxide and water. Then through electrolysis, electric current isolating the hydrogen from the water, then having it react carbon dioxide to make liquid hydrocarbons. The outcome: a clean carbon neutral fuel, that holds the promise of dramatically reducing transportation's carbon footprint.
Its the creating of a closed loop by taking the carbon out of the atmosphere that's causing Global warming and um, and using it to make fuel."
Bicycling: To Plan or Not?—by GrindtheHills: "The bike path did not end. I know this because my instruments (eyes, ears, and legs) told me so. The online "route planner" that I tried, however, basically said I couldn't get there from here. Maybe I should have upgraded to the paid version or carried a GPS device. I doubt, however, that these would have warned me about the huge machinery that dug up the street and detoured traffic a good half mile away. Two of the joys of bike riding are the sheer unpredictability of how to get where I want and the surprises encountered along the way. So, beyond having some general idea of where I'm going (store, bank, library, etc.), I choose not obsess with the minutiae of every street, turn, or stop. I get on my bike and look forward to what happens. This is not simply hoping for the best; the best is just being alive and pedaling."
Bicycling on a Rural Road—by GrindtheHills: "A huge pickup truck rode my tail as I pedaled up a long hill on a narrow country road. Although the truck had plenty of room to pass, it drafted behind me, closing to about three feet. Then, the horn; but this was no ordinary horn; it was a powerful, bone-rattling train whistle! I resisted flipping an obscene gesture, and pulled on to a side road as the truck roared passed. My preferred means of transportation is a bicycle; it's free, easy to park, good exercise, and lets me enjoy being outside. I recently moved from Houston to a small town in the lovely Texas Hill Country. There's less traffic here, but the asphalt is as dangerous to bicyclists on a bucolic lane as in six lanes of crazy city traffic."
Interviews, Eco-Philosophy, Essays & Poetry
Missing Pieces—by xaxnar: "Remember 'the Circle of Life' from the Lion King? Lion cub Simba is told by his father how the animals the lions hunt feed them, but one day they too will die, and will feed the grass, which in turn will feed the grazing animals that the lions hunt and... Well, you get the picture. But that's a fairly simple picture. In nature, the relationships between all the organisms (plants, animals, microbes, etc.) in a given ecosystem are usually far more complex. Instead of a circle, the phrase 'food web' is closer to the truth. Teasing out all of the interconnections, and determining how important each is to the whole is one of the trickier tasks facing scientists. [...] Elk numbers have dropped. It's not just a matter of wolves killing and eating them that explains it. In a landscape with wolves, elk spend more time watching for predators and less time grazing. Their herd behavior changes, and so does their success rate at raising young. This reduces pressure on the plants that elk eat, so there have been changes in the numbers and variety of plants that can now thrive - and this in turn affects all the animals that depend on those plants. Further, with the return of fire to the Yellowstone ecosystem, this affects how the landscape recovers afterwards."
The Ancestral Values We Inherited: Protecting Indigenous Water, Land, and Culture in Mexico—by Bev Bell: "The following is from an interview with Saúl Atanasio Roque Morales, a Xoxocotla indigenous man from the state of Morelos, Mexico. He is a member of the Council of Peoples and the Xoxocotla Drinking Water Association. Within our indigenous community of Xoxocotla, we continue to hold the ancestral values we inherited. It never crosses our mind to leave them behind. Because in daily life we are always in contact with nature, with our lands, with our water, with our air. We live in harmony with nature because we don’t like the way that modernity is advancing, destroying our territory and our environment. We believe technological modernity is better named a death threat."
Accidental Environmentalist: The Amazing 1980s Childhood Experience—by DAISHI: "We all know it's coming. I mean, seriously, if you can't then you must be willing to close your eyes. In Florida we're seeing beaches disappear. We've got prolonged drought and raging forest fires. The world's oceans are heating up, acidity is ramping high, that hole over Australia isn't getting any closer to closing, hurricane seasons are getting crazier, and animal species are still going extinct. I grew up in a conservative household by 1980s standards, though in today's environment it probably counts as moderate to slightly left leaning. Despite whatever stereotypes that might bring along, it gave me the chance to grow up into an environmentally concerned citizen. Here's how, and try not to laugh at this too much along the way."
Drop Me in the Water—by 6412093: "Several recently published articles, and some Kos comments, claim that Syria's refusal to site a natural gas pipeline is the real reason the US is considering military action in Syria. The claim is that in 2009, Syrian leader Assad blocked a Qatar-to-Syria-to Europe natural gas pipeline. Syria blocked the Qatar line to protect their Russian ally’s near-monopoly on natural gas sales to Europe. Then Syria planned its own gas pipeline to Europe with Iraq and Iran. This all angered Qatar, who then poured $3 billion into funding the Syrian rebels to overthrow Assad, clear their pipeline’s path, and kill the Iran/Iraq pipeline. Now, the theory continues, the US will attack Syria to help its allies Qatar and Saudi Arabia get their gas pipeline through Syria to Europe. On the other hand, Russia backs Assad to protect their gas monopoly from competition from the Qatar pipeline. 'Pipelineistan' is the shorthand for this and similar assertions that hidden struggles for key oil and gas pipeline routes throughout the Middle East and the 'Stans' are actually fueling most current conflicts there, including the Syrian civil war."
The Niagara at Rest—by ruleoflaw: "Strollers pad over the sand with pails and shovels.
Bottle-cap doubloons and artifacts of driftwood gold await,
with jewel fragments of ship's crockery.
Dune grass and chips of mussel shell have no tongues,
no memories to tell of what happened here.
The paddle wheel steamer
that burned and sank off this point
has given up her ghosts.
Drowned, burnt or frozen,
their whispered curses and shrieked prayers
are crushed in the breakers.
Fifty-two feet down,
her iron boiler lies crusted with with shells.
She sleeps in a blanket of cold green weed.
No working boat or pleasure craft
plies the waves today, too rough, too rough,
but not too rough for gulls and ducks."
Products & Miscellany
White House Bows to Chemical Companies: US consumers beware—by cosmic debris: "I received a press release from the Environmental Working Group a little while ago, White House Bows to Chemical Companies notifying me that the White House has caved to the Chemical Industry and knocked down two EPA proposals that would have helped protect the American consumer, their families and the Environment. This story struck me as very ironic. For an Administration so concerned at the moment with toxic chemicals and their use in the Middle East, I find it more than disappointing that this same Administration turns the other way here at home when a different class of toxic chemicals are showing up in things we use in our daily lives. There is a large degree of difference of course, but the chemicals don't know the difference as they take effect on our health and safety, our lives."
Open thread for night owls: Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson is 'Greenwashing Hypocrite of the Year'—by Meteor Blades: "Yes the head of the second-biggest fossil-fuel funder of anti-science disinformation—whose goal is to kill the public’s trust in scientists and the scientific method—is worried that young people don’t want to study science or pursue science as a career."