|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 241 of these spotlighting more than 13,803 eco-diaries. Below are categorized links and excerpts to 83 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.]|
Dispelling Electric-Vehicle Myths, #1: About that CO2 Footprint...—by Assaf: "A few days ago we celebrated our own first anniversary as EV drivers. Ironically, it fell exactly as we were on a camping trip with our non-electric car ;) This coincidence is a great reminder that life consists of compromises and shades of grey. Indeed, the series will steer clear of ideological purity, and instead discuss the real-world properties and impact of EVs as a real-world, imperfect solution to real-world problems. [...] When I started sharing my experiences as an EV driver, I was taken aback by the level of controversy and vitriol about EVs among progressives and environmentalists. [...] If you want some sort of bottom line to skip reading the entire diary, here it is: roughly speaking, the median of all the recent complete-life-cycle analyses suggests that EVs on average have a global-warming footprint somewhat smaller (i.e., better) than the best of hybrids."
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The quiet spell is a bit strange because 2013 is supposed to be a year of solar maximum, with lots of flares and sunspots. Supporting this view are data from NASA-supported observatories which show that the sun's magnetic field is poised to flip--a long-held sign that Solar Max has arrived. Nevertheless, solar activity is low. Four years ago I wrote The Sun's magnetic field is fading, no one knows why. I reported that the fading of the sun's magnetic field was a possible portent of a coming collapse in solar activity. Sunspots are not produced when the magnetic field of the spots declines below a critical threshold. The image below shows a complex spot on the left and a tiny spicule on the right. The spicule is, in effect, a spot that failed to form because the magnetic field was too weak."
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More rescued green diaries can be found below the fold, including, at the very end, diaries of the Colorado and New Mexico floods.
Food, Agriculture & Gardening
My First Garden Was the Best: Adventures in Growing Vegetables—by Keith930: "I once grew a garden on my Mother's property...it was probably about 30' by 100'. It was the first vegetable garden I ever grew. I've planted many since, but never one that matched that garden. This was in 2001. My surviving relatives at the time...all of whom grew up in the country, and all of whom had grown home gardens for most of their lives...looked at my garden and said to me.... 'It's one of the best gardens I've ever seen.' They were, quite honestly, a bit shocked. Shocked mostly by the fact that a man of my generation still had any desire to put the effort into a home garden that is required. But garden I did. And that summer I prevailed upon my Mother, who at the time was only 63 years old, to teach me how to can/preserve. It was a wonderful summer."
Agroecology: "Rehabilitation of degraded land has the potential to double agricultural land"—by FinchJ: "Regeneration of abandoned agricultural land- either for direct human use as intentional agroecosystems or, potentially, as rewilded areas- is shaping up to be, in my opinion, the greatest and most important work that humanity can undertake in an effort to accept our species' role and niche on earth.2
Unfortunately, when it comes to mainstream environmental reporting on climate change, land use, agriculture, and the future of our planet, agroecology is all too often left out of the picture."
Dirty truth about factory farms coming from big business?—by VL Baker: "It couldn't be better timing. Just when it seems that our food system has been hi-jacked by corporate agriculture along comes Chipotle's new ad "The Scarecrow" which is a brilliant critique of factory farms and Big Ag. This ad has you believe that perhaps it is possible for big business to be on the side of the consumer and the environment. It pulls back the curtain on corporate green washing as only an insider could do in its format which is longer than the typical ad and more like a short infomercial. Chipotle gives the plot line: In a dystopian fantasy world, all food production is controlled by fictional industrial giant Crow Foods. Scarecrows have been displaced from their traditional role of protecting food, and are now servants to the crows and their evil plans to dominate the food system. Dreaming of something better, a lone scarecrow sets out to provide an alternative to the unsustainable processed food from the factory. [Chipotle]"
Macca's Meatless Monday: Take me to your daddy's farmers market—by VL Baker: "Here in Florida, one of the most welcomed harbingers of the fall season, after the very subtle temperature and humidity decrease, is the opening of the local Farmers Market. Although we have a long growing season the Farmers Market closes for the summer because it's just too darn hot for most to spend time outdoors in the open midday sun walking the large open area allocated for the market. It can't be healthy for the vendors or optimal for the perishable products either. When we finally have the opening of the market in early October, seasonal colors and produce reflect the coming cooler weather and my favorite time of year. Today I will share some recipes in anticipation of the local produce which will be available when the Farmers Market opens so that I will be prepared, shopping list in hand, when the doors open."
The Foodstamp Gourmet: Part 4: Leftovers—by Alexandra Lynch: "Around here, leftovers fall into two categories: "Things Dad Will Eat" and "Things Dad Won't Eat." If it's something Dad will eat, it will reemerge sometime that week as a meal for him, while the rest of us enjoy jambalaya or pork stirfry without him. He is perfectly happy to eat beef and noodles a couple times in a week, so that works nicely. If it's something he won't eat, usually I mark it on a card and stick that on the fridge, so J knows if he wants to forage at midnight what's available. Failing that, I will probably eat it for breakfast before I go donate plasma; I need a proper meal, and leftovers work fine."
Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 9.31—by Frankenoid.
The Great Outdoors
Photo Diary: Voyage to Sucia—by Lefty Coaster: "I spent a day bicycling on Lopez Island. Here's McArdie Bay."
Hummingbirds: Epilogue From Indian Country—by Aji: "So yesterday, I was supposed to post a diary as part of the 'Hummingbirds' blogathon on local climate change impacts. And then those local climate change impacts came home to roost. I know, I know: Not having Internet access falls very much into the category of #firstworldproblems. But the why of having no Internet access is soon going to be very much an #allworldproblem. It helps explain why I committed to this blogathon, and this issue, in the first place. Now, at the outset: Again, I know, I know; no single weather event is evidence of climate change. But I'm not going to be talking about a 'single weather event.' Rather, I'm going to be talking about our weather here of the last three or four days as part of an overall pattern, one that (for those who pay attention) has been changing rapidly in recent years, and one that has been drastically different this year in significant ways."
Hummingbirds - Hopeful Voices in Our Midst—by JekyllnHyde: "For the past many years, the struggle to find meaningful solutions to urgent environmental problems has been between rational forces of light on the one hand aligned against, on the other side, the denialist, anti-intellectual forces of darkness obstructing any and all kinds of sensible policy proposals. A well-financed disinformation campaign and flat out lies by their friends in the fossil fuel industry has created confusion amongst a compliant corporate media not inclined to seriously investigate scientific matters in the first place. Unethical campaign contributions have prevented many an elected official to act courageously and in our best interests. Irreconcilable ideological divisions have poisoned and paralyzed our politics, with gridlock the dominant political theme amongst politicians, aided and abetted by an apathetic populace. Given our propensity to destroy the earth's precious resources and ravage the environment in a furious race towards achieving economic 'growth,' the dark clouds of Climate Change threaten the horizon—with the promise of change looking like a distant and unattainable dream to tens of millions of Americans living on the edge of economic disaster. It doesn't have to be this way."
House hearing showed what blockheads climate change deniers are. But are delayers any better?—by Meteor Blades: "It's so tempting to call the overwhelming majority of the 17 Republican members of the House Energy and Power Subcommittee dunces, doofuses, know-nothings, nincompoops, ignoramuses or cuckoo birds when it comes to climate change. If you watched even a brief part of Wednesday's hearing on the subject with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testifying, you can see that this GOP crew most certainly qualifies for any and all those descriptors. Indeed, 14 of them are outright climate change deniers. Total scientific illiterates. Or at least pretending to be by carrying water for the fossil fuel companies that have spent hundreds of millions of dollars over two decades injecting disinformation into public discourse about climate change and smearing scientists whose research showed that it is happening and that it is human-caused. That was why several members of the audience donned tinfoil hats to mock those committee members when they asked questions."
Yes, Virginia, There Are Climate Solutions—by Michael Brune: "This year, Virginians will elect a new governor (one of only two gubernatorial elections this year, the other being in New Jersey). At the moment, Terry McAuliffe is leading climate denier and attorney general Ken Cuccinelli in the polls, but a lot can happen between now and November 5. The campaign has been—to put it politely, heated—but I think it's worth highlighting why reasonable Americans everywhere should hope that Virginia doesn't somehow get stuck with Cuccinelli. The problem with Cuccinelli is summed up by the address of a website that the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club has created: TooExtremeKen.com. Cuccinelli's extreme record not only shows him to be on the wrong side of every environmental issue but also to be anti-science and aggressively reactionary."
A "No Deniers Rule" For Solutions Companies—by Phil Radford II Greenpeace: "Is it possible for environmentally conscious companies to operate in Washington D.C. without selling their clean energy souls? Customers asked this question earlier this year when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s lobby group FWD.us released ads supporting the dirty tar sands oil pipeline, Keystone XL, and again this summer when news broke that Google hosted a fundraiser for Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, the zealous leader of the climate denial movement who famously called climate change a 'hoax' on the Senate floor and has compared the environmental movement to the Third Reich."
EPA's McCarthy announces rule limiting power plant emissions, opposition already having a conniption—by Meteor Blades: "Given the nature of the crisis that has spurred the proposed standards into existence, a war on coal—though, of course, not on coal miners—is exactly what is required. We have to stop burning the stuff, the sooner the better. That's also true for natural gas, something viewed widely by experts as a transition fuel but seen by many environmental advocates as a snare and delusion even though when burned its emissions of CO2 are about half that of an equivalent amount of coal. The proposed standards would limit emissions of CO2 from new coal-fired plants to a level that many in the industry claim will make it impossible to build such facilities. New large natural gas-fired turbines would be limited to 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per megawatt-hour of electricity generated. New small natural gas-fired plants would be limited to 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour. New coal-fired units would need to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, and would have the option to meet a limit of 1,000-to-1,050 pounds if they choose to average emissions over seven years."
Breaking: Obama administration moving ahead with limits on emissions from power plants—by VL Baker: "A year after a plan by President Obama to limit greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants set off angry opposition, The New York Times breaks the news that the administration will announce on Friday that it is pressing ahead with enacting the first federal carbon limits on the nation’s power companies."
Coal's war on humanity ...—by A Siegel: "As even the most casual student of history knows, yesterday's friends can be tomorrow's enemies and vice versa. Germany and Japan as America's most mortal allies transformed, post World War II, into two close allies. It is worth keeping this in mind to consider the overheated rhetoric about a supposed 'war on coal.' Coal was critical for the industrial revolution and was a serious player for transforming the world over the past several centuries. However, somewhat like international relationships, technology and energy systems can evolve and change. And, our understanding of costs and benefits can shift as well."
An 'Inconvenient' New Regulation for US Power Plants—by jamess: "Former Vice President Al Gore said EPA’s regulations for future power plants are a major step toward putting the United States 'on the path toward solving the climate crisis.' 'Today’s announcement by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is an important step forward for our nation and our planet. From now on, future coal- and gas-fired power plants must take responsibility for their global warming pollution by reducing or capturing their overall emissions,' Gore, a vocal advocate for action on climate change, wrote on his blog Friday."
What the New Power Plant Carbon Standard Means for Coal—by Mary Anne Hitt: "In the words of our Vice-President, this is a BFD. On Friday, September 20, the Environmental Protection Agency released draft carbon pollution standards for new power plants. If finalized as written, the draft will make it impossible to build a new, conventional, climate-destroying coal plant in the US. With climate-related disasters already landing on the doorsteps of millions of Americans, from Western wildfires to Superstorm Sandy, this new protection comes as welcome news."
Protecting Americans from Power Plant Pollution—by Mary Anne Hitt: "On September 20, the Environmental Protection Agency will release new safeguards against carbon pollution that, if expectations are on target, will confirm something investors, governors, community leaders, and everyday Americans have been saying for a decade - in the 21st century, it just doesn't make sense to build new coal-fired power plants. To be specific, we've said that 179 times. Since 2002, an unprecedented national network of more than 100 organizations and tens of thousands of volunteers has stopped the construction of 179 proposed coal-fired power plants across the U.S. This happened in red states and blue states, under the leadership of Republican and Democratic governors, in coalitions including doctors, teachers, mayors, ministers, dads, moms, young people, and pretty much everyone under the sun. As the director of the Beyond Coal Campaign at the Sierra Club, I've had the privilege of being part of many of these campaigns, alongside volunteer co-lead Verena Owen and senior campaign director Bruce Nilles."
Renewables, Conservation & Energy Efficiency
NYT Brings Up Solyndra in Discussion of Revival of DOE Loan Program, De-Emphasizes the Real Problem—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "Yesterday, The New York Times had an article on the revival of the loan guarantee program in the Department of Energy ('U.S. Revives Aid Program for Clean Energy'). The article foregrounds criticisms of government investment in clean energy, resorting at times to a 'he said/she said' frame, and de-emphasizes a more important criticism: the folly of the quest for 'clean coal' itself. Also, perhaps more problematic is the implicit conflation of investment in solar and wind with conflation with investment in CCS technology."
Open thread for night owls: How energy efficient is your city?—by Meteor Blades: "Does your city have a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions dramatically? Is it seeking to reduce car use through bike share programs and public transit subsidies? Does it partner with utility companies to help small businesses and homeowners save energy? And does it lobby for statewide energy-efficiency legislation? Those are just a few of the policies that have made Boston the top-ranked city for energy efficiency, according to a new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Portland, Ore., placed second, followed by New York, San Francisco, and Seattle."
Another Friday Night at the Frackersons—by thefarleftside.
Remember, the safe word is "eminent domain".
Fracking Up The Golden State - Part 1 : The Insinuating Implications—by FractivistForce: "Senate Bill 4 has officially made its way to Governor Brown’s desk and it will be signed within the next few days. 'SB 4 passed the State Assembly on Wednesday, [September 11th, 2013], 47-14, [and it passed] the State Senate, 28-8.' Senator Pavley’s bill is the only Fracking bill that made it through the legislative process. However, SB 4 does nothing to prevent or discourage the seditious depredation of our precious land, water and health. Instead, the hesitation to ignite a blitzkrieg of oil and gas extraction in California has finally been lifted. The next California 'gold rush' will finally begin. The bill calls for a study of these unconventional oil and gas drilling operations, determining if it can be done properly, exploring what necessary regulations will be made in order to appease our environmental concerns. Hydraulic Fracturing has already developed into one of the most polarizing debates this country has had in recent history. 'If this bill passes as amended, it will allow the fracking industry to shoot holes in CEQA, potentially exempting fracking from our state’s most important environmental law as the industry rushes to build new wells before 2015.'"
Big Oil PR Pros, Lobbyists Dominate EDF Fracking Climate Study Steering Committee—by Steve Horn: "Alongside releasing its controversial findings on fugitive methane emissions caused by hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') on September 16, University of Texas-Austin also unveiled an industry-stacked Steering Committee roster for the study it conducted in concert with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Stacked with former and current oil industry lobbyists, policy professionals and business executives, the Steering Committee is proof positive of the conflicts of interest evident in the roster of people and funding behind the 'frackademia' study. Only two out of the 11 members of the Steering Committee besides lead author and UT-Austin Professor David Allen have a science background relevant to onshore fracking."
Don't Let the Industry Frack the Facts About Methane Pollution—by Phil Radford II Greenpeace: "Today, the Center for Energy and Environmental Resources released a study funded by the Environmental Defense Fund and the natural gas industry that stated two things: that the sample size it looked at is "not sufficient" to fully understand the methane pollution from fracking, and that the rates of methane pollution from this sample size are nonetheless 10 to 20 times lower than those calculated from more complete measurements in other peer reviewed studies. This discrepancy may be attributable to the fact that industry chose the locations and times of the wells that were studied. At best this study will be considered an interesting outlier that calls for further research. At worst, it will be used as PR by the natural gas industry to promote their pollution."
Fracking, Methane Leaks, and EDF's Industry Partnership—by Historyofthe Future: "The Heavy-Hitter environmental organization, Environmental Defense Fund (known as EDF), sponsored this study in alliance with nine petrochemical companies (Anadarko Petroleum Corporation; BG Group plc; Chevron; Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc.; Pioneer Natural Resources Company; SWEPI LP (Shell); Southwestern Energy; Talisman Energy USA; and XTO Energy, an ExxonMobil subsidiary). This is a cozy relationship for major polluters and a major environmental group."
When it comes to Hydrofracking Cows are the New Canaries—by Steven D: "Remember how miners would take canaries into mines to warn them of dangers from the build up of dangerous gases from coal mines? Well, in the age of hydrofracking we have a new animal warning us of the dangers to human and animal life in those parts of the country where drilling for natural gas and hydrofracking is all occurring. You friendly neighborhood cow."
Frackademia: The People & Money Behind the EDF Methane Emissions Study—by Steve Horn: "The long-awaited Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)-sponsored hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') fugitive methane emissions study is finally out. Unfortunately, it’s another case of 'frackademia' or industry-funded ‘science’ dressed up to look like objective academic analysis. If reliable, the study—published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and titled, 'Measurements of methane emissions at natural gas production sites in the United States'—would have severly reduced concerns about methane emissions from fracked gas. The report concludes .42% of fracked gas—based on samples taken from 190 production sites—is emitted into the air at the well pad. This is a full 2%-4% lower than well pad emissions estimated by Cornell University professors Robert Howarth and Anthony Ingraffea in their ground-breaking April 2011 study now simply known as the 'Cornell Study.'"
Fracking Class Action Won against Chesapeake Energy Inc.—by Historyofthe Future: "Landowners in Pennsylvania who had leased land for fracking won a class action lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy, Inc. in early September. [...] The reported settlement amount is $7.5 million."
Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation
Hokum and Bunk in the Senate—by Michael Brune: "Our momentum is building. Today Americans are taking to the streets again (this time in more than 200 cities) to Draw the Line against the Keystone XL pipeline and dirty tar sands. And again, we have reason to be both determined and hopeful. We're hopeful because, in California, Colorado, Michigan, Iowa, South Dakota, and places all across the country, solar and wind are being installed at rates cheaper than new coal or new gas. Why build out fossil fuels when clean energy helps stabilize our planet, is cheaper, and puts more people to work?"
More Keystone XL pipeline truth coming from billionaire, Tom Steyer—by VL Baker: "Great to have this guy on our side. He's backing a one man action against the Keystone XL pipeline with these 'XL Truth' videos, the first one is here. He says he's taking this action to give President Obama the political room to reject the XL pipeline and as a major Obama donor he has the Presidents ear."
If Movement Fails to Draw the Line Against Keystone XL in TX & OK, We All Flunk the Climate Test—by Renewable Rider: ""I had a chance to read FAIL: How the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Flunks the Climate Test, a recent report issued by the Sierra Club and Oil Change International and endorsed by a dozen other environmental organizations. The 17-page report makes a rock solid case that 'constructing Keystone XL will lead to tar sands industry expansion, and tar sands industry expansion will significantly exacerbate climate pollution.' The report documents how the Keystone XL would be a pipeline through the U.S. by delivering toxic tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries, thereby opening the floodgates for Canada's dirty energy to be exported overseas. What the report fails to mention, however, is the central fact that it is the 485-mile southern leg of Keystone XL already being constructed in Texas and Oklahoma—not the pipeline's proposed northern leg—that will give TransCanada strategic access to these U.S. coastal ports."
Sorry About All This, Eh—by KGrandia: "I lived in the United States for the last three years and only moved back 8 months ago. When I first moved there, people would snigger and say something like: 'Hey, did you move here to run away from the right-wing nuts running your country!' At first it was in jest, but by the time I left folks were saying: 'You're not seriously moving back there are you? Canada is a mess right now.' I might have missed the exact moment the devil horns were passed from South to the North, but what I do know is who is to blame, and it can be summed up in two simple words: Stephen Harper. [...] Stephen Harper wants to ram regressive policies down the throats of its own people, and down the throats of Americans. He quite literally wants to ram a pipeline through US homesteads in places like Nebraska and pump our dirty crude to waiting offshore oil tankers in the Gulf of Mexico. And the consequences be damned."
Eco-Related DC & State Politics
While You Weren't Looking, The House GOP Just Passed Two Anti-Environment Bills—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "However, in addition to really hating the working poor, the elderly, the disabled, and children, the GOP really hates the environment--especially when it gets in the way of profit. Consequently, the House GOP passed two bills gutting environmental protections this week, both (unfortunately) with some Democratic help. On Wednesday, the House passed the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2013 by a vote of 246 to 178. 15 Democrats voted with the full Republican caucus in attendance in favor of this giveaway to mining companies. The bill would speed up the federal approval process for mineral mining and exploration, allowing federal agencies only 30 months to decide on whether to approve or reject permits and limiting the ability of parties to stop mining via the court system."
HI-Sen: Brian Schatz (D) Calls For Tougher Environmental Regulations In Wake Of Molasses Spill—by poopdogcomedy: "This week, the Senate has a chance to take a huge step forward on energy efficiency—saving taxpayer money, reducing greenhouse emissions, and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs at the same time—by passing the bipartisan Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Act. But we might not get the chance. Extremist Republicans are doing all they can to slow up or take down this important legislation. That's unacceptable and wrong, so I'm joining with the bill's author, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and my Senate colleagues Chris Coons, Kirsten Gillibrand, Mark Pryor, Mark Warner, and Mark Udall to call on Congress to come together and pass this strong bipartisan bill right away."
The Daily Bucket: the Game of Larvae—by OceanDiver: "Most of us are familiar with the radical changes in appearance we see from caterpillar to butterfly, or tadpole to frog. But insects and amphibians are not the only kinds of animals to undergo metamorphosis. Let's take a look at creatures that spend their whole lives in water. Aquatic animals - which are for the most part invertebrates - have very different lifestyles as youngsters than they do when they grow up. They eat different food, have different predators, prefer different habitats."
The Daily Bucket - musings on the weekly bird count—by bwren: "For a bit over a decade now I've been counting birds once a week at three locations on the southwestern edge of Lake Washington, long enough that patterns have begun to emerge. Summer counts are always low, perhaps a dozen species over a day. Maybe it's because I, like Gilbert and Sullivan's Englishman, tend to venture out in the noonday sun. The birds might well be smarter than I am, resting in the shade. It might be that there just aren't that many birds to be seen in the summer, just the usual suspects - Black-capped Chickadees, Crows, Anna's Hummingbirds."
A morning of birding at Montezuma NWR - a photo diary—by boriscleto: "I missed the Dawn Chorus yesterday because I was out birding. The Cayuga Bird Club had a field trip to Montezuma which included an opportunity to go out on the normally off limits dike at Knox-Marcellus marsh. [...] I started the day at the Van Dyne Spoor marsh in Savannah, NY. The only other person there must have been someone from the Refuge. They were driving down an off limits service road..."
What a Whale of a Surprise—by jamess: "File this under: "Well maybe we still DO have more to learn ..." Whale of a Surprise: Humpbacks Winter in Antarctica—Underwater conversations between humpbacks have revealed a surprising secret: Some of the whales in the Southern Hemisphere appear to skip their northward migration and stay in frigid Antarctic waters for the winter. [...] 'I was totally surprised, because the textbook-opinion until that day was that humpback whales migrate to Antarctic waters only in the austral summer months,' said Ilse Van Opzeeland, a marine biologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Germany, in a statement."
Eagle Cam—by ban nock:
The Daily Bucket: Seagrass Wildlife (with bonus Megalosnail)—by matching mole: "One of the benefits to living in Florida is the ocean. This whole other set of ecosystems chock full of cool critters just down the road and under a little bit of water. One of the dominant marine ecosystems in the big bend region of Florida (i.e. where the panhandle meets the peninsula) is the sea grass bed. These are expanses of shallow water dominated by marine grasses. Sea grass communities are apparently a major carbon sink. Although making up a tiny proportion of the ocean they store carbon extremely disproportionately to the rest of the marine ecosystems. Sea grass communities have declined to less than 50% of their 1950s levels here in Florida. The primary causes are siltation, turbidity, damage from boating, and other human habitat modification."
The Orangutan and the Hound—by AntonBursch: "It's been a pretty awful week so far. Here's something to make you feel a little bit of renewed hope for life on planet earth. A friendship, between an Orangutan and a Hound. Sniff. Got some onion in my eye."
Idle No More Against Shasta Dam Raise—by Dan Bacher: "The Bureau of Reclamation will be holding a 75th anniversary celebration of Shasta Dam on Saturday, September 21 - and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe and their allies will be there to protest plans by the federal agency to raise the huge dam on the Sacramento River. Tribal leaders say the dam raise will inundate many of the sacred cultural sites not already covered by the waters of Shasta Lake. They also oppose the dam raise because it is designed in conjunction with Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels. The construction of the twin tunnels would hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon and steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other species, as well as threaten salmon and steelhead runs on the Trinity and Klamath rivers."
What's the matter with Kansas? It's running out of water due to cattle production—by VL Baker: "A new study from Kansas State University gives a picture of what's the matter with Kansas. Basically Kansas farmers have been living in a bubble of water exuberance, drawing down water from The High Plains Aquifer, which supplies 30 percent of the nation's irrigated groundwater, at more than six times the natural rate of recharge. Farmers there have managed to become so productive that the area boasts "the highest total market value of agriculture products" of any congressional district in the nation, the authors note. Those products are mainly beef fattened on large feedlots and the corn used to fatten those beef cows. Tom Philpott at Mother Jones sums up the issue: So the area has dramatically ramped up both beef and corn production since 1980—and the great bulk of that corn comes from irrigated land. And while beef production in the region has at least leveled off, the region's farmers just keep churning out more corn—including irrigated corn."
Brown appoints big water lobbyist as DWR chief deputy director—by Dan Bacher: "The revolving door between corporate interests, water contractors and state government swung open once again on Wednesday, September 18 when Governor Jerry Brown appointed Laura King Moon of Woodland, a lobbyist for the state’s water exporters, to chief deputy director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR)."
Coalition opposes any tunnels funding in state water bond—by Dan Bacher: "Restore the Delta on September 16 released an expert legal opinion finding that attempts by Department of Water Resources (DWR) and Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) officials to bar anyone from videotaping at any “public meeting” are illegal - and violate the First Amendment. The legal opinion from the First Amendment Project to Restore the Delta refutes DWR's assertion that barring Gene Beley of the Central Valley Business Times or other Delta residents from recording activities at the DWR “Office Hours” held in Delta communities is 'legal.' 'The agency has no legal right to exclude members of the public who wish to record the public officials' answers to their questions,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta.'"
Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice
URGENT Action Ann Arbor Residents Must Contact City Council TODAY on Fossil Fuel Divestment—by peregrine kate: "At the Ann Arbor City Council meeting tonight at 7:00 PM, there will be an opportunity for the Council to reconsider its 5-4 vote AGAINST fossil fuel divestment. If you an Ann Arbor resident who cares about moving us forward on this issue, please contact your council member TODAY to voice your opinion. Due to Council protocol, if the measure is not passed today, it cannot be raised again for another year."
Decrapulation—by John Crapper: "The Church of the Holy Shitters believes we suffer from a disease in our society called consumer diarrhea. This basically involves the super-consumption by individuals of goods and services way beyond what is needed for survival. When this disease is taken to its extreme form it takes on a pathological condition know as compulsive hoarding. [...] Why do we buy and store so much stuff anyway? Chalk it up to evolution. 'Humans seem to be wired to acquire belongings' says Tim Kasser, PhD, psychology chair at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. Dr. Kasser compares our tendency to acquire stuff to the obesity epidemic."
Think your plastic is being recycled? Think again—by Jen Hayden: "Think those plastic items you carefully separate from the rest of your trash are being responsibly recycled? Think again. U.S. recycling companies have largely stayed away from recycling plastic and most of it has been shipped to China where it can be processed cheaper. Not anymore. This year China announced a Green Fence Policy, prohibiting much of the plastic recycling they once imported: For many environmentally conscious Americans, there’s a deep satisfaction to chucking anything and everything plasticky into the recycling bin—from shampoo bottles to butter tubs—the types of plastics in the plastic categories #3 through #7. Little do they know that, even if their local trash collector says it recycles that waste, they might as well be chucking those plastics in the trash bin. '[Plastics] 3-7 are absolutely going to a landfill—[China's] not taking that any more… because of Green Fence,' David Kaplan, CEO of Maine Plastics, a post-industrial recycler, tells Quartz. 'This will continue until we can do it in the United States economically.'"
Regulation & Litigation
The BP Oil Spill Settlement Is Wrong For America!—by Brian J Donovan: "The BP Oil Spill Multidistrict Litigation ('MDL 2179') officially started on August 10, 2010. The Transfer Order issued on that date by the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (“JPML”)clearly states: '.... Centralization may also facilitate closer coordination with Kenneth Feinberg’s administration of the BP compensation fund.' From the very beginning, the purpose of MDL 2179 was to replace democratic adversarial litigation with a fund approach to compensating victims of the BP oil spill. The vast majority of BP oil spill victims would never have their day in court. Judicial economy, rather than justice, was the primary objective."
Forests & Public Lands
A Strategic Purchase Yields New Access to 18,000 Acres of National Forest—by ban nock: "Many more miles of the Lewis and Clark National Forest, much of it Wilderness Area, will now be accessible due to a strategic land purchase. This is a perfect example of how local knowledge and good relations combined to do a large good with a very modest purchase.[...]This purchase is unlike many conservation easements in that the 40 acres, bought for a hundred ninety thousand, are being resold to the state of Montana for fifty thousand. A loss of three quarters of the purchase price. Who would buy land then immediately resell it at a huge loss as a gift to the people of not only Montana but everyone? The land has no usergroup restrictions and doesn’t limit access unless your main objective is riding some machine. Birders, hikers, campers, fisherfolk, photographers, foragers of flora and fauna, all the uses of National Forest that do not cause disruption will be allowed via this access. I like that. More public land available to everyone. I’m a liberal with socialist tendencies, I like public land, and I dislike large private entities excluding the public forever. Most public lands in the US are reserved for the use of the citizens, even most ranching or forestry still allows access for other users."
Nolan Puts Mining Company Interests Above Workers, Communities—by keewatinrose: "Mining is a part of the culture on Minnesota's Iron Range, and this issue more than any other defined the candidates in the 2012 race for 8th district Congress. Candidate Rick Nolan's position put the Cuyuna Range native on the correct side of the worker v mining company nuance that made him a true ally of Rangers: strongly support mining, but enforce the rules and regulations that protect our environment and the health and safety of our workers. Unfortunately, Congressman Rick Nolan appears to have abandoned this common sense approach in favor of a Company Man position, voting for the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act, legislation he previously vowed he would not support because it expedites the permitting process at the expense of our workers, communities and our environment. [...] What we do know is that Congressman Nolan firmly believed that provisions in last year's bill were harmful to workers, harmful to the environment and harmful to communities, and that gutting rules and regulations was not necessary to expedite the permitting process. We know that he clearly stated he would not support that bill. And we know he inexplicably reversed his position and chose to vote for a bill introduced this year that contained identical language."
Anglo-American Pulls out of Pebble Mine—by MorrellWI1983: "Big news from Alaska, as Anglo-American, one of two stakeholders in the Pebble Mine project, and one of the worlds largest mining companies, has pulled out, leaving the much smaller Northern Dynasty as the sole stakeholder. Anglo is taking a 300 million dollar bath on this, now the pressure should be put on Northern Dynasty to read the writing on the wall, and drop the project. investment carries risk, sometimes people lose their shorts. trying to build a huge open pit mine, in a tectonically active zone that regularly sees very powerful earthquakes, is just asking for trouble. it would be one thing, if this area was a empty, featureless, and uninhabited area, but this area contains 5 rivers, millions of acres of open space, and is the world's largest remaining fishery."
Transportation & Infrastructure
Sunday Train: Rapid Rail and Pedal to the Metal Climate Change Policy (pt 1)—by BruceMcF: "Earlier this month, Micheal Hoexter offered a "A Pedal-to-the-Metal Plan" to respond to the challenge of Climate Chaos at New Economic Perspectives [...] His plan is an overarching plan for a 15-20 year equivalent-to-world-war mobilization of our economy for the purpose of reducing the degree of severity of the climate catastrophe that our economy has signed up for under status quo policies. What I am looking at this week is the role that Rapid Freight Rail and Rapid Passenger Rail can play as part of the mix of Pedal to the Metal Climate Change policies addressing transport. There is a tremendous gap today between the maximum that is politically feasible and the minimum required to make a serious dent in the challenge that we face. This piece lies primarily on the 'minimum necessary' side of our current political dysfunction, looking at necessary (though not sufficient) structural transformations of our transportation system. However, it is also address in part to the 'maximum feasible' side, since these are policies that can be put into place on the back of only a partial political breakthrough, which may not on its own be enough to get a complete Pedal to the Metal policy package in place."
Eco-Philosophy & Essays
West Virginia, Kentucky, and the Deep South: a bastion for green energy, if we're smart—by Stormin: "Right now, these states are the greatest hurdles the green revolution faces in this country. We want a nation powered by solar and wind? Then we need to overcome the entrenched opposition in coal country and the Deep South. We need to completely turn the tables, and make these regions into green energy's biggest supporters. Absurd you say? Well, why is coal so important in coal country? Is it the nostalgia factor? Or is it the 30,000 coal jobs in West Virginia alone? It's entirely about economics. People know that their particular region is entirely dependent upon coal jobs to survive, and there sure as hell isn't anything else coming into Appalachia to replace it. That is the problem, and also the key to the solution."
Corporate PR: The War on Environmentalists—by Karen from Maui: "There has been a concerted effort of corporate PR designed to spread misinformation and blacken the reputations of environmental organizations and leaders. In fact, the PR techniques used to discredit those who seek to rein in corporate bad behavior have become the backbone of the PR industry. In order to recognize and fight these techniques, it is important that we know what they are. I'm going to lay them out with the help of a highly recommended book, "Secrets and Lies: The Anatomy of an Environmental PR Campaign" by Nicky Hager and Bob Burton and my first-hand experience with the GMO-Chem company actions in Hawai'i, ground zero for GMO-Chem experimentation."
Green Wizardry: People Get Ready—by zen sparky: "If you are troubled by a uncertain future due to climate change and other environmental karma coming our way, Green Wizardry is a book you will want to read. Not because it has all of the answers—it doesn't. Also, the author, John Michael Greer, sounds like an ecology dinosaur—grumpy and opinionated—even though he was a child himself in the Seventies. So what does this little book offer? Well, it sticks a hot poker in the wound of our conscience and pops the balloon of our wishful thinking that the global economy can grow its way out of the current predicament we're in. Green Wizardry is part physics/chemistry lesson, part apocalyptic rant and part toolbox dusted off from the days before cheap energy. Greer, author of The Archdruid Report blog, believes that the First World economy driven by cheap fossil fuels shortly will be going off the rails for good, and the prudent among us should get busy preparing for a radical change in lifestyle."
The Daily Bucket--I coulda been a contender—by 6412093: "The books said plainly, “No dinosaur fossil has ever been found in Nebraska.” Any dinosaur bones in Nebraska would be unfindable, buried under a mile or more of chalk, old sea bottom, loam and gravel. I was thwarted. That was one of my earliest clues that I was not a good fit for Nebraska. Another clue was the Army Corps bulldozing every twist and turn out of the Papio Creek, and turning it into a 100-yard-wide drainage ditch with gently sloping, treeless, grassy sides. [...] And then in 2003, amateur paleontologist Mike Baldwin nosed around a highway road cut one bitterly cold Nebraska December day, and saw two large vertebrae weathering in the hillside. He’d found a dinosaur fossil in Nebraska; a Plesiosaur."
Russians seize Greenpeace Ship—by cks175: "Breaking news that armed Russians fast roped from a helicopter onto the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise @gp_sunrise have taken control of the ship and have detained the crew."
Colorado/New Mexico Floods
New Day — This Week In American Indian News: Flooding In Indian Country—by Aji: "Yesterday afternoon, media outlets were reporting that the earthen dam at Crownpoint, on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico north of Gallup, was a mere two to three hours away from failing. It was billed as a question of when, not if, with a guarantee that flash flooding would occur that would likely take out the Crownpoint Indian Health Service [IHS] facility. Apparently, no one spoke with tribal officials who were on the scene. The dam did not, in fact, fail. Navajo officials and first responders were already aware of the issue and were on-site, working to create a spillway and set up portable pumps to release the pressure of the floodwaters swelling the reservoir."
Updated:Crownpoint Dam in New Mexico expected to fail tonight, live blog—by Horace Boothroyd III: "Navajo Tribal Police are asking the NWS to retract warning. As of yet the NWS is still saying the dam is in imminent danger of failing."
A tale of survival in the Colorado Flood—by ban nock: "In the middle of the storm, they took sleeping bags and a tent and hiked up the hill behind the house to camp in the rain. I’d think this all happened in the middle of the night but I’m not sure of that part yet. In a flood minutes count. Forget computers your heirlooms your photos your anything else and get to high ground. The next day he and his little boy went back down the hill to see if they had a house. [...] They had a house but no more road. Most people who die in floods die in cars. Do not drive to safety. Hike to higher ground. Yes it’s wet, and cold, but it’s the safe thing to do. Roads wash away and get covered with downed trees and boulders."
Amount of Damage in Colorado Flood Extensive—by ban nock: "The names of towns are meaningless if you don’t come from here. We are basically a flat plain with abrupt mountains rising to the west. All of the roads leading into those mountains are washed out, not just covered in debris but eaten out from underneath and washed away. That’s for an area perhaps sixty miles long up and down the mountains, Those mountains are highly populated. As the waters flowed out the rivers and creeks away from the mountains they continued to destroy bridges and roads wherever they crossed them. First they overrun the banks, then they eat away the soil underneath, then they wash out the asphalt, road gone."
The Thousand Year Flood that Didn't Really Happen—by ban nock: "It was somewhere close to a 1 in 50 year type flood. [...] One in forty nine years sounds a heck of a lot less sexy. That's why you need an interpreter to tell you that a one in one thousand year rain fall as reported in Climate Central, doesn't translate into a one in one thousand year flood as reported by Time Magazine's "ecocentric" blog. In our rush to judge any eco news to be "biblical" in media terms we often get things wrong. That's why I take things with a generous portion of salt."
FEMA arrives in Colorado to help, quickly grounds drones mapping damage—by Horace Boothroyd III: "A private company, in conjunction with County officials, offered to fly their drones for free as to accurately map the damage to towns otherwise inaccessible to ground based surveys. Until FEMA arrived; not only did FEMA ground the FAA approved drones they threatened the operators with arrest. The perplexed drone operators went to a town needing damage mapping and they were further perplexed at the less than technically advanced methods being used."
after flood in Colorado
Boulder's 100-Year Flood & Weather Weirding—by Renewable Rider: "I have lived in Boulder for nearly 30 years and have never seen anything—weatherwise—like what I've witnessed these past two years. Last summer, standing in the front yard of my friends' home in east Boulder, I watched pine trees near the iconic Flatirons burst into flames like matchsticks. We were in the midst of a severe drought, which had sparked a spate of deadly wildfires. Slurry bombers managed to extinguish that particular wildfire, but not before the National Center for Atmospheric Research—nestled on a bluff below the advancing flames—was evacuated. Consider the irony of the world's leading climate research facility being evacuated due to climate-induced wildfires. You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried."
Colorado Flooding is now at 500 YEAR Level—by jan4insight: "It's really bad there, folks. Boulder is completely cut off, road closures everywhere, several deaths reported, and a dam failure Rocky Mtn Arsenal Wildlife Refuge has forced evacuations in Commerce City. There are many areas under evac orders as well. Pres. Obama has signed authorization for disaster relief in 3 counties."
What a Relief! No Gas Leaks from Floods!—by ColoTim: "Now I'm not an expert and I don't have contradictory evidence at hand. I just hear her basically say 'nope, no significant leaks, no problems' and I just hear BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell and all the other companies that have had environmental disasters and I hear nothing different. Do I think she drinks water from wells in the fracking zone? Not before and not after the floods. Do I think she'll eat food from fields in the flood zone again? Do I think she would risk her family on the basis of what a big business PR Flack has to say? No, not really. I'm just posting this to help those know that the local media is acknowledging the attention social media is helping to bring to this."
Finally an Oil Leak in Colorado Flood—by ban nock: "Activists have had to make do with photos of tipped empty holding tanks and "fears of leaks" for a week now, finally a real live leak from a real live oil company. Pollution in general doesn't seem that much of a worry in this flood. Lots of cars and gas cans and fertilizers and industrial sources but the sheer volume of clean rain water seems to have diluted most."
Potential toxic leaks in CO getting coverage - from al Jazeera—by Bob Love: "Potential contamination from Colorado gas and oil wells, lines and tanks is being covered by al Jazeera. We should soon see how US media compares. 'Weld County, where the South Platt River has been flooding uncontrollably, has almost 20,000 active oil and gas wells,' Gary Wockner, Colorado program director for Clean Water Action, told Al Jazeera. 'It's the most heavily drilled county in the U.S., and its seeing some of the worst flooding,' he added. 'Oil and gas and chemicals associated with drilling are going to be spread across a wide swath of landscape.'"
Update: Is there a media blackout on the fracking flood disaster in Colorado?—by TXSharon: "Oil and gas wells drilled in a flood plain are under water and leaking in Weld County Colorado. There is at least one pipeline that broke as the dirt supporting it was washed away. Hydrocarbons and no telling what else are leaking into the flood waters yet the media is silent."
Colorado Flooding Worse Overnight—by ban nock: "They had a 10 foot high surge of water go through last night, and then the gage got swept away. Ten feet would reach up to the windows and with debris and cars and trees I think the house is probably down in Boulder in pieces today. Being no one's fool, Thursday he walked up to a neighbor's house that is a hundred feet higher taking his wife and 3 year old. A good day not to drive, I think most problems are from people driving, no need to go anywhere. Most roads for miles around are cut off. When I look at the road closures it sounds near impossible to go much of anywhere in a very large area. "