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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 252 of these spotlighting more than 15,344 eco-diaries. Below are categorized links and excerpts to 57 (+ 1 I added that I had missed) 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.]
"Humanity is altering Earth's life support system"—by A Siegel: "This video—transcript after the fold —calmly reviews with both data visualization and a rather disconcerting calm narration how 'humanity is altering Earth's life support system.' The clock is ticking ... Note: Along with this video, a number of other interesting (even distressing) visualization tools entered the inbox today ... These include: • the Carbon Atlas which provides an interactive tool tracking carbon changes and impacts. • SwissRE's graphing of support for renewable power."

green dots
Laughing Gull
Laughing Gull
Daily Bucket: Laughing Gulls--Florida's "Sky Rats"—by Lenny Flank: "If you've been to Florida, then you've seen Laughing Gulls. The large raucous flocks with their distinctive high-pitched "laugh" are found virtually everywhere--at the beach, in parking lots, at the parks, wheeling around in the sky--begging for tidbits (and actively stealing food) from tourists. Toss a few french fries on the ground, and you're likely to be mobbed by dozens. I refer to them affectionately as 'sky rats'. The Laughing Gull, Leucophaeus (formerly Larus) atricilla, can be found along the entire US east coast and Gulf coast, from Canada down to Florida and across to Texas, then down to Venezuela. In the north, the gulls are summer residents and migrate south for the winter; in the south, they stay year-round. They are one of the smaller gull species. Juveniles are various shades of brown and grey. The adult winter plumage includes slate-grey back and wings and a white body, black legs, and red or black beak; during summer breeding season they develop jet-black heads."
green dots
How I Learned to Stop Wasting and Love the Trash—by citisven: "Each year, Americans generate 389.5 million tons of municipal solid waste, 69 percent of which gets landfilled. As Edward Humes breaks it down in his eye-opening opus Garbology, that's about 7.1 pounds of garbage per person per day, 365 days a year. Collectively, Americans generate 18 times the weight of the entire adult population in trash each year. Individually, each of us is on track to generate 102 TONS of trash across a lifetime. The waste we create is literally bigger than ourselves. Throwing away precious resources is not just an environmental issue. In Mississippi, where fewer than one in five people recycle and only around half of residents even have access to a community recycling program in their area, $210 million a year worth of materials is thrown in the garbage and $70 million spent to bury it in landfills. In vast parts of the U.S., even if you would like to treat your used materials with more respect, there's no infrastructure for it. A 2011 Ipsos poll found the top barrier to recycling for Americans is it’s not convenient where they live. That’s exacerbated in a rural state like Mississippi, where the nearest bin might be 50 or more miles away. Clearly, something has gone awry in the modern American mindset that we would not only accept this glaring imbalance on our ecological spreadsheet but choose to throw away billions of dollars worth of precious materials."
Trash and recycling
Additional rescued diaries can be found below the sustainable orange rigamarole.

The Great Outdoors

The Daily Bucket - fall (v.)—by bwren: "Seattle. December 1, 2013. So you go away for a couple of weeks and when you return everything has changed. The air glowed yellow when we left:

October 30, 2013. View from the Stump.

The Daily Bucket - brrrr....—by bwren: "Got up in early morning twilight this morning. The hummingbirds had already gotten up, their hard little voices chipping from the tree next to where the feeder should have been. The feeder was sitting on the dining room table, safe from the cold. This cold crept into the neighborhood last Monday, revealing itself first as thick frost on the rooftops and a crunchy glaze on the edges of the gardens, both of which melted soon after the sun rose up. By Wednesday the lower part of the garden had frozen to the ground, not even thawing in the afternoon's slanty sunlight. On Thursday the pond down at the Wetland had a thin glaze of ice along its edges. Yesterday the ice had thickened and spread. The pond's usual winter contingent of Mallards were absent. I found them in the open water of the lake, better swimming there, at least for the time being."

October 30, 2013. The Forest. View from the Stump.
and had rediscovered its winter monochrome by our return.
November 28, 2013. View from the Stump.

 Nov 28, 2013. The Forest. View from the Stump.
We missed the time when fallen leaves lay so deep that the paths disappear, when even the regular walkers sometimes find themselves just a little bit lost. Now there is a trodden place to follow even on the most seldom used trails, but we can only follow in single file.

The Daily Bucket: Southwest Virginia - Jackie's Place—by PHScott: "It's winter in Southwest Virginia, up in the mountains and across the valleys. Thanksgiving was spent driving the 600 miles north to VA; thankful I got a break in the weather and no freezing rain or snow. The goal was to celebrate another winter for Jackie, freed from her elderly mother who travels south each year to be put up with by her son. And the dog Buster that no one likes."

cover madrona sea
The Daily Bucket: relentless roots and luscious fruits—by OceanDiver: "Madronas are exceptionally well adapted to rocky habitat, anchoring in tiny crevices, like the fingertips of a rock climber, and then splitting the rock as the roots grow larger. This is a powerful example of organic weathering, effectively demolishing solid rock, what we usually attribute to physical weathering processes like frost wedging, water action, and thermal stress. Other biological organisms—such as lichens,mosses, mycorrhizal fungi and bacteria—actively break down rock in more subtle ways. [...] There are many Madrona trees (Arbutus menziesii) on this rocky headland, young and old. Their curvy trunks and branches are unique in the Northwest. Madronas prefer an open sunny setting, and can be overtopped and shaded by our tall conifers. We see them mostly on inhospitable bedrock bluffs where it's difficult for other trees to successfully take hold."

Climate Chaos

2C limit: climate scientists say this means disaster—by A Siegel: "In a very broad way, climate specialists have laid down a target for climate mitigation: keep global warming below two degrees centigrade and we have a decent chance at avoiding catastrophic climate change. This target has always troubled me. Problems include speaking "centigrade" to metrically-challenged Americans (e.g., 2C = 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit);; the esoteric nature of "2 degrees" across a global temperature to essentially every thinking person; and the serious uncertainty as to how much risk actually exists. One particularly troubling element: How do we define 'catastrophic'? How many species going extinct is acceptable 'cost' before it is 'catastrophic'? How much disruption to agricultural systems is acceptable? How much sea rise? How much damage before we say it is 'catastrophic'?"

Scientists warn that "Warming will be hard to reverse"—by Pakalolo: "Princeton University- led research was published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The report concludes that "even if carbon dioxide emissions came to a sudden halt, the carbon dioxide already in Earth's atmosphere could continue to warm our planet for hundreds of years" The study suggests that it might take a lot less carbon than previously thought to reach the global temperature scientists deem unsafe. The scientists simulated a planet where emissions continue to grow to 4 times the pre-industrial levels (1800  billion tons released into the atmosphere) and then stop the emissions altogether. They found that in this case the carbon would be absorbed by forests, grasslands, algae, coral and shells etc., and that after a time the planet would begin to cool for approximately a century but would begin to warm again and go on warming for centuries afterwards."

A means against deforestation—by Save the Environment: "It is believed that if bamboo were planted on a mass basis it could completely reverse the effects of global warming in just 6 years, while providing a renewable source of food, building material, and erosion prevention. I’ve read a lot that’s exciting in environmental news lately, from new types of recycling programs, to rocket ovens that can help people in rural areas use firewood much more efficiently, to new types of solar cells that stick onto windows as a transparent, thin film. And this is no less exciting. Bamboo, a type of grass, and one of the most common plants in the world, holds great promise for mollifying the urban world’s demand for wood for furniture, combating deforestation, and ameliorating global warming. And new techniques have turned bamboo into super-strong beams that can replace modern building materials."

Extreme Weather

Ninth Typhoon Update: Philippine Historical Record Natural Disaster Death Toll—by oldpotsmuggler.

Food, Agriculture & Gardening

USDA takes its bad idea of speeding up chicken inspection lines and makes it worse—by VL Baker: "The Obama administration Department of Agriculture has been pushing its proposal to 'modernize' chicken processing inspection to include speeding up inspection lines and using fewer inspectors. They use the old excuse of saying it will save money and make the process more efficient. The USDA claims that it would save taxpayers $30 million per year by laying off inspectors, and save the poultry industry 'at least' $256 million annually. The chicken industry—dominated by Tyson, Pilgrim's Pride (now mostly owned by JBS), Purdue, and Sanderson—strongly supports the proposal. Of course, food safety and labor advocates are up in arms arguing that the combination of more speed and fewer inspectors would lead to dangerous conditions for both consumers and line workers. The faster inspection lines would make the various commonly found pathogens  of salmonella and campylobacter, which are often antibiotic-resistant, more prevalent. But the USDA has a solution for that. They plan to unleash a barrage of anti-microbial sprays onto chicken carcasses as they zip down the line. Doesn't that make you feel better?"

Saturday Morning Home Repair: Compost Bins—by Glen the Plumber: "A few years ago while considering ways to reduce our trash stream, we started composting at our house. It seemed a waste to dump food scraps in with the garbage destined for the landfill when we could so easily recycle it into useful food for our plants without it ever leaving our property. The concept is easy, simply create a pile with the correct ingredients and large enough for the little bugs and bacteria to do their work. Most people living in the suburbs like myself don’t necessarily want big piles of rotting organic materials just scattered around their yards, so creating bins to neatly contain the stuff is important. This will also keep pets and creatures from digging around in search of a meal. Every year Americans throw out 35 million tons of food scraps and only compost 1 million tons.  We threw out an additional 34 million tons of yard trimmings and only composted 19 million tons. Searching the internet, you will find many commercially sold bins and plans to make your own. The commercially sold tumbling bins are more complicated than necessary and usually not very big. I chose to make my own taking into consideration a number of options, some as easy as using 3 old pallets to make a three-sided box leaving the front open to allow for easy access to your compost pile occasionally. I decided upon a design that would contain the piles on all four sides, but due to its clever stackable design allowed easy access when needed. It surely didn’t hurt that I had just dismantled some old shelving that left me with most of the wood needed for the project. I used Douglas fir 1”x6” boards, but other sizes and types would work if you have them available."

I'm not lonely anymore—by VL Baker: "When I first started writing about meat consumption and its ridiculously huge contribution to global warming I was one of the very few doing so. The Meatless Monday site had just started up, but at the time it focused primarily on the health benefits of a reduced meat diet. And of course there was PETA and a few others who focused on the animal rights aspect for reducing meat consumption. Back when I started writing about the climate benefits of meat reduction here in July 2008 there had been some sporadic rumblings about the connection between meat consumption and climate change due to the seminal UN study Livestock's Long Shadow which had been published at the end of 2006. [...] It's been a long lonely road but finally I'm having some company. With the soft release of the news that Al Gore has become vegan and George Monbiot admitting that he has seen the light; some of the major environmental voices are joining the movement to reduce meat consumption to stop the worst effects of climate change. Welcome aboard guys!"

Macca's Meatless Monday: Let it be leftovers—by VL Baker: "Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I spent time with friends and family and our Thanksgiving feast was a lovely vegan dinner which was based on traditional ingredients but assembled in some new and interesting ways. Everyone was happy from omnivores to vegans. We have leftovers of a few dishes so this diary is a way of finding some solutions to our leftover dilemma."

Vegetarianism and the environment—by Save the Environment: "We really need to start personally using the right technologies and living our lives in a more efficient and eco-friendly way, and encouraging others to do this, too- showing them what we do to help the environment or telling them about it. So, if you did even get an electric car or solar panels, great. But don’t rest on your laurels. At least every few weeks, try to talk to someone about how to help the environment or try to do something new in your life that will help the environment, or try to check out tips about how to be more green online, on YouTube videos. Don’t sort of say to yourself that since you bought the electric car, you now don’t have to make any other improvements in your life. So in that spirit: Simply put, the meat and dairy industries contribute much more to the greenhouse effect and are much more harmful to the environment in general than the industries behind other foods."

Why Label GMOs?—by atana: "In Europe, GMOs are tightly regulated in the food chain. Foods that receive the various prestigious European 'Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée'-type markings cannot be made with GMO yeasts, dairy products, plants etc. Foods that do contain greater than 0.9% of approved GMOs must be labelled. A limited number of GM crops have been approved, mainly for animal feed. Even these approvals remain controversial, and there are attempts to regulate gene flow between approved GM crops and non-GM crops by requiring buffer zones. In the US, the explosion of GMO in the food chain occurred during the Bush II years. The public was deliberately kept in the dark. The Bush administration even issued regulations prohibiting labeling foods as GMO-free. They didn't want Americans asking 'what are GMOs? Americans are supposed to eat what their corporate rulers put on their plates and be grateful for it."

Saturday Morning Garden Blogging, Vol. 9.42—by blue jersey mom: "Good morning, gardeners! I am happy to report that my first two 2014 seed catalogs arrived in the mail yesterday. I plan to spend the Christmas-New Year's break planning next summer's garden. However, the next two weeks will be frantic. I have two more classes to teach, and then I have to attend a 3-day conference and finish my grading. By the time Xmas rolls around every year I am almost ready for the ICU."


Drilling in the Arctic Refuge—by Karen from Maui: "Colleen Hanabusa, while voting no on the latest attempt to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas drilling made this statement: 'I could not support legislation that would essentially open up the entire Coastal Plain of ANWR to oil and gas development. I believe the native people, the Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation as well as the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, should have the right to self-determination and the right to decide whether or not they want to develop their own land. If the bill limited development to the native people, I may have voted differently,' [emph added]. Again, Hanabusa has it both ways.  No on drilling and Yes on drilling."

Chill the Drills: Climate and America's Arctic—by Dan Chu: "America's Arctic is a place like no other. Its unique conditions - extreme weather, long periods of darkness, and its remoteness from infrastructure, make it both at once extremely harsh and fragile. Here sea ice meets the northern edge of the continent, and animals congregate in great numbers. [...] The Arctic is already paying the price for our fossil fuel habit. Northern Alaska is warming at twice the rate of the lower 48. The people of the North Slope see the impacts every day - in loss of sea ice, changes in animal abundance and behavior, and the loss of important subsistence opportunities. The Obama Administration is in the process of deciding if we should offer up new oil and gas leasing in the Arctic's Chukchi Sea and Shell Oil recently announced that it wants to try once again to drill in the Arctic Ocean. This week the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) closed its official 'Call for Information and Nominations for the Chukchi Sea.' This 'Call' is the first step in a multi-step lease sale process, where the oil industry must provide specific information to support nominations of areas to be considered for leasing. We need the Obama administration to refuse Shell's new, but not improved, exploration plan and decline to offer any new lease sales in the Arctic Ocean."

Nuclear Secrecy & Disposable People—by joieau: "Today the East Bay Express newspaper featured an article entitled Fukushima Panic, a thinly-veiled take-down of activists and citizens concerned about radioactive contamination from the Fukushima disaster heading in towards the western coast of North America, and that which has already arrived. After portraying the activists' concerns with a derisive mention of 'blog posts with scary headlines,' the reporter [Sam Levin] goes straight to UC Berkeley's Department of Nuclear Engineering to get the pablum-of-the-day dismissals from the usual suspects... 'I haven't seen a single record of anything that would be of concern.' [Prof. Edward Morse] Morse goes on to lob the standard, long-discredited denials that nuclear WMD and reactor meltdown isotopes pose no danger at all to humans and other life forms. Same old same, likening exposures to stray gamma in an airliner and K40 in bananas. Ignoring, as always, the fact that contaminates like cesium and strontium bioaccumulate up the food chain, concentrating up to a thousand times the levels present in the wider environment."

Orwell had nothing on Abe: Secrecy law goes into effect in Japan—by MadScientist: "To add to economic malaise, Fukushima still spews radioactive material and probably nobody has a clear idea of the extent of the problem, because TEPCO and the government suppress that information. So now it is illegal to even ask questions.  It is 1984 in Japan."

Fukushima Cesium in North Atlantic Ocean Fish—by MarineChemist: "This is part of a continuing effort to communicate the findings of researchers investigating the fate of Fukushima derived radiation in the marine environment. A recently published study by Kanisch and Aust of the Thünen Institute of Fisheries Ecology in Hamburg reports that Fukushima sourced cesium (Cs) has been detected in fish collected in the north Atlantic Ocean. Like fish sampled thus far in the north Pacific the contribution of Cs to overall exposure of human consumers to radiation by consuming these fish is very small. In the Atlantic given that only modest atmospheric deposition of Cs has occurred radiation from Cs isotopes to human fish consumers is 26000-fold lower than the naturally occurring isotope polonium-210.  The authors conclude that the typical consumption of 10kg of affected fish per year: ' not expected to cause concern according to present guidelines for radiation protection.'"


President Obama orders the federal government to get 20% of its energy from renewables by 2020—by Meteor Blades: "As part of his second-term efforts focusing more attention on climate and energy goals, President Obama has worked around the congressional blockers, and he did so again Thursday with an executive order nearly tripling to 20 percent the current goal for the federal government's use of renewable energy. The government currently gets about 7 percent of its energy from such sources, in part as a consequence of an October 2009 executive order. The goal is 10 percent by 2015."

Near Shore Wind: A viable change the game potential for NYC—by A Siegel: "Renewable energy electricity options (with the general exception of biomass) are capital intensive and low-cost maintenance/operational cost. Pay upfront and reap the benefits for a long time to come. A hydroelectric dam is far from cheap but—assuming reasonable maintenance and upgrading investment—will provide electricity for a century or more to come with nearly zero marginal cost for each additional generated electron.  If we look at the major hydroelectric dams around the nation, they were developed with low-cost government money and leveraging existing technologies (even as they were, such as Hoover Dam, significant engineering challenges). America's hydro-electricity was therefore developed with the model of low-cost public money (with public ownership) + low-cost technology to deliver affordable electricity for generations. For a variety of reasons—good, bad, indifferent—decisions occur that drive projects toward the 'high' rather than 'low' cost option. Offshore wind for New York State provides an excellent example of this issue."

ALEC to assault clean energy efforts—by DRo: "ALEC calls for penalties on 'freerider' homeowners in assault on clean energy. Documents reveal conservative group's anti-green agenda. Strategy to charge people who install their own solar panels. Environmentalists accuse Alec of protecting utility firms' profits."

Leaked Documents: IRS Concerns, Funding Crisis At Corporate Lobbying Group ALEC—by Steve Horn: "The Guardian has published a major investigative piece that once again exposes the scandalous ways of the right wing lobbying group, American Legislative Exchange Council(ALEC). Among the biggest revelations: ALEC may soon face a budget crisis, and is feeling the heat of public pressure from activists and its own membership in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin shooting by George Zimmerman in Florida. Dozens of corporations have jumped ship from what critics have coined a “corporate bill mill” for statehouses nationwide. Another explosive revelation: ALEC State Chairs were handed a draft pledge to put ALEC’s interests over its constituent’s interests, asked to 'act with care and loyalty and put the interests of [ALEC] first.' ALEC confirmed to The Guardian that it was 'not adopted by the membership committee or by any of the state chairs.'"

Documents: ALEC's Looming Attacks on Clean Energy, Fracking Laws, Greenhouse Gas Regulations—by Steve Horn: "The Guardian has released another must-read piece about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), this time laying bare its anti-environmental agenda for 2014. The paper obtained ALEC’s 2013 Annual Meeting Policy Report, which revealed that ALEC — dubbed a 'corporate bill mill' for the statehouses by the Center for Media and Democracy—plans more attacks on clean energy laws, an onslaught of regulations pertaining to hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') and waging war against Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) greenhouse gas regulations. 'Over the coming year, [ALEC] will promote legislation with goals ranging from penalising individual homeowners and weakening state clean energy regulations, to blocking the Environmental Protection Agency, which is Barack Obama’s main channel for climate action,' explained The Guardian. 'Details of ALEC’s strategy to block clean energy development at every stage, from the individual rooftop to the White House, are revealed as the group gathers for its policy summit in Washington this week.'"

Wind Farms Can Now Kill Eagles—by ban nock: "Today in an administrative change the Obama administration has given wind farms legal protections from prosecution for killing eagles for up to thirty years."


The impossible task of making fracking safe—by Willinois: "I'm going to comment on several sections, including 310 on permit denial, section 1120 on penalties and 240 and 260 on public participation. First, I’d like to say that I have sympathy for the [Illinois Department of Natural Resources] today because you've been charged with an impossible task. You've been asked to make fracking safe, as Governor Quinn promised his inadequate fracking law would do, but we all know there's no evidence that fracking can be made reliably safe. You truly have an impossible task because the best practice is to not frack at all. We also know that fracking causes more frequent earthquakes, as several studies have shown. An earthquake doesn't care what regulations you pass. We don't know what happens when you frack in major seismic zones like the Wabash and New Madrid fault lines. That means Illinois is being subjected to a massive science experiment with hundreds of thousands of area residents being used as human subjects."

Chicago and Southern Illinois Hearings Show Unity Against Fracking—by Willinois: "At two public hearings on proposed regulation, residents of Chicago and southern Illinois showed they stand united against fracking in the Land of Lincoln. The crowd in Chicago got rowdy when a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hearing officer told a packed room they shouldn't speak out for a fracking ban because that "train has left the station." In southern Illinois, residents showed fierce determination to protect their communities and promised ongoing resistance. Several hundred people attended over two hours of public comments at Rend Lake College in southern Illinois. Only two expressed support for fracking. A former oil rig worker, a 30-year former coal miner, small business owners, at least three Eagle Scouts, and lifelong southern Illinois residents gave testimony criticizing fracking and the proposed rules."

Bad news for pregnant women near fracking. Study shows toxins linked to heart defects—by TXsharon: "A newly released study focused on industrial pollutants found that congenital heart defects are strongly associated with mixtures of toxic air pollutants. The list of toxins are the same toxins people are being exposed to in shale oil and gas areas. [...] What the researchers found is mixtures of pollutants made up of organic compounds and metals had a strong correlation to congenital heart defects. In 2006 a chemicals management plan was put in place to bring down the air pollutants and the congenital heart defect rates decreased as the air pollutants decreased. Women who are pregnant should avoid living in heavily polluted areas. These are the chemicals and metals listed in the study: benzene, butadiene, carbon disulphide, chloroform, ethylene oxide, hexachlorobenzene, tetrachloroethane, methanol, sulphur dioxide, toluene, lead, mercury and cadmium. If they sound familiar, it's because they are commonly found in areas of shale oil & gas development."

Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation

Tar Sands’ Next Frontier: Shipments on the Great Lakes—by Steve Horn: "The Great Lakes, drinking water source for over 40 million North Americans, could be the next target on tar sands marketers’ bullseye according to a major new report out by the Chicago-based Alliance for the Great Lakes. The 24-page report, 'Oil and Water: Tar Sands Crude Shipping Meets the Great Lakes?' unpacks a new looming threat to the Great Lakes in the form of barges transporting tar sands along the Great Lakes to targeted midwestern refinery markets. As the report suggests, it’s a threat made worse by an accompanying 'Wild West'-like regulatory framework. 'The prospect of tar sands shipping on the Great Lakes gives rise to fundamental social and economic questions about whether moving crude oil by vessel across the world’s single largest surface freshwater system is a venture this region wants to embrace, despite the known risks,' the report says early on."

Privatized Profit & Shared Risk, As Explained by Pipeline Safety Official—by TheGreenMiles: "Want to know why oil companies can turn billion dollar profits and leave taxpayers at risk of oil spills? Listen to what Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) official Bill Lowery told DeSmogBlog's Julie Dermansky, keeping in mind he's supposed to be one of the good guys: At a Public Safety Trust conference on Nov. 21, Lowery was asked, 'Knowing what you know about the problems in the Keystone XL's construction, what would you do if your house was in its path?' His answer: 'Here is what I did when I bought my house—I looked on all the maps, I looked for all the well holes. I found there is nothing around me but dry holes and no pipelines. And it's not because I'm afraid of pipelines, it's not because I think something will happen. It's because something could happen. ... You're always better off, if you have a choice....' He trailed off before finishing his sentence, but added that, 'If I was building a house, I wouldn't build it on a refinery ... I wouldn't build it on a pipeline, because they're all industrial facilities. That's just the reality.' Again, this is a federal pipeline safety official saying he wouldn't let his family live next to an industrial oil facility—yet the agency he works for permits those same facilities near residential areas like an over-eager third base coach waving runners home."

Eco-Related DC & State Politics

Tell Terry McAuliffe: Use Dirty Money for Clean Future—by A Siegel: "The fundraising for the inaugural party for the incoming Virginia Governor, Democratic Terry McAuliffe, is seeing a serious lift due to donations from fossil-fuel dependent Corporations.  Most notably, McAuliffe’s Inaugural Committee has received $25,000 from Alpha Natural Resources, an $8 billion coal company that gave $92,500 to Cuccinelli’s campaign. Dominion Resources, a Virginia-based coal, gas, and nuclear conglomerate that gave Cuccinelli $75,000, has given McAuliffe’s committee $50,000. Yes, of the $325,000 from large contributors through 2 December, just under 25 percent comes from two firms closely associated with seeking to undermine climate science, hamper Virginia's moves to greater energy efficiency and a cleaner electricity system, and who strongly supported the campaign of fossil-foolish climate-science denier Ken Cuccinelli. Differences on climate science and clean energy were stark during the election campaign.  And, those differences played a significant role in McAuliffe's election, as Virginians want to move forward to a clean-energy 21st century rather than double-down on polluting 19th century energy concepts."

Maine's Republican Gov. Paul LePage says climate change may help Maine. Rep. Mike Michaud rolls eyes—by Meteor Blades: "Credit where credit is due, I suppose. At least he admits the summer ice is melting more than previously. Back in 2010, LePage said he doesn't think global warming is a myth, but like many politicians trying to weasel-word their public statements on the crisis, he added: 'I just don't know how severe it is and I'm not sure how much we as human beings contribute to it,' saying that 'scientists are divided on it.' And, just to prove how seriously he actually takes the issue, in June this year he vetoed a study designed to prepare residents and businesses in Maine for the risks they will face from climate-change. That study was meant to be follow-up to a study in 2010 under the previous administration: People and Nature Adapting to a Change in Climate: Changing Maine's Course. Gov. LePage shelved that study when he came into office."

Colorado voters overwhelmingly support net metering—by BaileyA: "Four hundred Colorado voters were surveyed on their opinions of net metering last month, and results of the survey show that almost 4 out of 5 Coloradans (78 percent) support giving full retail credit for the extra energy that families, schools and businesses produce from solar panels on their rooftops. Only 11 percent showed opposition toward net metering. Meanwhile, Colorado utility Xcel Energy is proposing to significantly undermine metering and give half the credit to consumers for the valuable energy they feed back to the grid. Xcel then turns around and sells this excess energy at the full retail rate to nearby homes."


Nelson Mandela the Big Game Hunter—by ban nock: "While celebrating Nelson Mandela's amazing life I thought I'd chime in and mention the contributions he made to conservation in South Africa. While many species have declined across Africa in South Africa they have increased and in many places thrived due to a mutually beneficial confluence of big game hunting and local stakeholders. [...] Nelson Mandela: 'It is important for conservation and rural development to be combined,......Nature conservationists must take into account the needs of people around the reserves. They need to encourage education programmes about protecting wildlife and always act in co-operation with the local communities.' Mr. Mandela's advocacy of issues environmental is widely credited to his two-week hunting trip in the early 1990s at the Lowveld nature reserve where he harvested an impala and on a later trip a blesbok."

Redtail hawk
Dawn Chorus: Preview of Coming Attractions—by lineatus: "But seriously, look at this redtail.  You could probably call it a rufous-morph, but I call it just plain gorgeous. Good numbers of them out there, and we had to look at every one, just to make sure it wasn't a Ferruginous or Rough-legged.  We continued down Creed, crossed Highway 113 and started looking for Mountain Plovers, who had been reported near the 'Elbow.' No luck.  At the next stop, there was the sound of the air being torn and a flock of shorebirds took flight with a Prairie Falcon in hot pursuit. Even if there had been plovers, they were not going to make themselves visible now. We decided to move on to Woodbridge Road, near Lodi, for Sandhill Cranes and friends."
Daily Bucket: Florida's Invaders: The Lionfish—by Lenny Flank: "Florida is the land of invasive species. Because of our status as a center for the importing of exotic pets and houseplants from overseas, and our neo-tropical climate, we have been invaded by everything from kudzu plants to Burmese pythons. One of our invaders is the Lionfish, also called the Turkeyfish--an attractive and popular saltwater aquarium fish that has venomous spines on its back, breeds like a rabbit, and has an insatiable appetite for eating local fish. There are 10 species of Lionfish in the genus Pterois. They are members of the Scorpaenid family, which includes about 400 species of scorpionfish, stonefish, and lionfish. Most members of the family have a series of long spines hidden inside their dorsal and pectoral fins which are connected to venom glands at the base. When the fish is stepped on or molested, the skin on the fins slides back to expose the spine, which injects venom on penetration. In several species, the venom can be lethal to humans."

Porcupine Eating An Apple in A Snowstorm—by Choco8: "We had a visitor this afternoon. A rather sleepy (or possibly smashed) porcupine had ambled into one of the small apple trees below our house, and had found himself a grand little spot to tuck himself into a ball and munch away on the bounty that surrounded him. Then the snow began to fall. It was such a peaceful sight. Your 4 minutes of Porcupine Zen below the squiggle of eternity."

Pod of Pilot whales stranded in the Everglades—by Pakalolo: "Rescue crews were en route to help a pod of 20 to 30 pilot whales stranded in shallow waters in a remote area of Everglades National Park on Wednesday, officials said. The goal is to keep the whales alive during low tide, and then when high tide comes in, crews will try to get them back into the sea, Linda Friar, Everglades National Park spokeswoman said. Four boats and a crew of 15 were heading to the remote spot, Friar said."

Raising Monarch Butterflies—by DrFerbie: "Diaries published this week here and here have documented the decline of Monarch butterfly habitat and migratory numbers. I would like to share with you the joy of raising Monarchs in your own home.  Flutter below the fold to enter the world of Monarch butterfly ranching. The process begins with the creation of a habitat hospitable to Monarchs. My lovely wife has removed our suburban lawn and transformed it into gardens. Native milkweed and nectar plants have been nurtured here in the hope that Monarchs would come. A good source of the plants is Monarchwatch. This summer our first egg laying Monarch appeared July 21st. She was battered and beaten but managed to lay a fair number of eggs before dying in our back yard."

Monarch caterpillar
There are plenty of other fish in the... What? There aren't? Really? Darn—by thefarleftside:

Jellyfish sticks, anyone?

What about the Elephants?—by sherman54: "From 1979 to 1989 there was such extensive poaching of elephants for their tusks (tusks=ivory=$$$) in Africa that the Elephant population was on its way to becoming extinct. I went to Africa in 1988 and among other places, visited the Elephant Orphanage and Nursery in Nairobi run by Dame Daphne Sheldrick. Daphne had worked with her husband, David, from 1955 to 1976, and continues his work (along with their daughters) today. The regions throughout Kenya (and many other African countries as well) have evolved into a war zone between the poachers and the rangers, the conservationists, and the citizens determined to protect this incredible species and the land they all share. David Sheldrick is one of my heroes, (I shall write about the others as well.)  David held his post as Warden of Tsavo East (another fabulous spot along my journey) until he was transferred to head the Planning Unit for all of Kenya's Wildlife Areas based in Nairobi at the end of 1976. Sadly David died 6 months later, but the legacy he left in Tsavo endures."


Huge fresh water discovery under oceans—by gnosticator: "'The volume of this water resource is a hundred times greater than the amount we’ve extracted from the Earth’s sub-surface in the past century since 1900,' Dr. Vincent Post, lead study author and senior lecturer at Australia’s Flinders University, told the Agence France-Presse. It would be great if mankind could come together and reject the fossil fuel industry and their Climate Denials once and for all ... And face the coming environmental crisis head on so that future generations have a chance. The time has come to face it, or we face mass deaths worldwide and crises, wars, and costs the quaint free marketers never mention. Those 'free market' talkers don't calculate the vast damage their system imposes on mankind, do they? One would think with a 'free' market, such costs would get factored in? How do you put a price on worldwide calamity? Can you sue for that?"

Tell Governor Brown No to the Tunnels!—by Dan Bacher: "If you want to stop Governor Jerry Brown's plan to build two giant water export tunnels, this coming week is the time to take action. The Public Review Copies of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and its companion Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will be available on-line Monday, December 9, 2013. The Federal Government will begin the public comment period on Friday, December 13, 2013."

Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice

Will Your Tax Dollars Fund a Highway that's a Mountaintop Removal Coal Mine in Disguise?—by Mary Anne Hitt: "Today, Appalachian community leaders are in Washington, D.C., to protest a Virginia coal boondoggle that has set its sights on $2 billion of your federal tax dollars. Mountaintop removal coal mining is already a shocking, devastating, and destructive practice on its own - but what happens when you add in coal companies making deals with state and federal transportation agencies in order to seize private land and blow it up for coal? Well then you get the planned Coalfields Expressway in Southwest Virginia. The project is a public-private partnership between the Commonwealth of Virginia and coal mining companies, including Alpha Natural Resources. The coal companies would get to strip mine the land and leave it razed for building the highway (which may not ever be completed). In order to make this bad deal work, the coal companies were allowed to re-route the highway's proposed route, moving it away from local business districts and threatening to take thousands of acres of privately-owned land through eminent domain."

Coal Expressway protest, 12/5/13 in DC
National Parks, Forests & Other Public Lands

December 19: A Dark Day for Science and the Ocean—by Dan Bacher: "December 19 will mark the first anniversary of the completion of the network of so-called "marine protected areas" off the California coast under the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative. On that date last year, nineteen 'marine protected areas' went into effect in the Northern California coastal region between the California/Oregon state line and Alder Creek, near Point Arena in Mendocino County, amidst great jubilation by state officials and corporate 'environmental' NGO representatives. [...] Yet the mainstream media, state officials and corporate 'environmentalists' refuse to discuss one of the biggest scandals regarding the creation of these marine protected areas—the terminally flawed and incomplete science that these MPAs were based upon and the alarming news that Ron LeValley of Eureka, the co-chair of the MLPA Initiative Science Advisory Team that oversaw the crafting of these alleged 'Yosemites of the Sea,' is now awaiting trial on federal conspiracy to embezzle charges."

Expanding the National Parks System #7- Connecticut—by MorrellWI1983: "Last week i walked in the footsteps of John Denver in Colorado, this week I'm visiting the Nutmeg State, Connecticut. Connecticut is the first East Coast state visited so far in the series,most of the states so far have been in the West.Connecticut is small, covering less than 6000 sq miles, and has very little federally protected land, along with Rhode Island, it has the least among the states, only 0.4% of Connecticut is federally owned. Connecticut has just two Wildlife Refuges and an historic site, it has no national parks, monuments, forests or preserves."

Glacier National Park: Ice on the Creek (Photo Diary)—by Ojibwa

Transportation & Infrastructure

Sunday Train: 'the successful communities are going to be the ones who get rail.'—by BruceMcF: "Why not pursue to community economic development without rail, like we are used to doing? There is very good reason to believe Adams County [Colorado] Commissioner Adams when he says the successful communities of the future are going to be those that get rail. (Note: the details below are US-centric, but anyone who has been in a Malaysia traffic jam knows the general issues are not restricted to the US.) To understand why, let's step back and understand a fundamental principle of the sprawl development system that dominated property development in the US from the '60s through the turn of the century. The sprawl development system was based on a system of cross-subsidies from urban and inner-suburban residents to residents of newly developed suburbs on the outskirts of urbanized areas. There are a range of cross-subsidies that could be mentioned."

1969: Reagan Wanted to Give Away Electric Cars—by Lib Dem FoP: "In 1969 Reagan, then Governor of California, visited a symposium on electric vehicles in Phoenix, Arizona. He was so impressed with one foreign model which was in limited production, he declared "Why can't we do that here?". He offered to find the manufacturer a factory site and promised subsidies and guaranteed orders. He even suggested that people buying a home on Catalina Island should be given one - petrol vehicles were, and still are, restricted there. A two-seat commuter vehicle, it could reach 48 m.p.h. and had a range of up to 56 miles using the lead-acid battery technology available at the time. Some enthusiasts are looking to updating their vintage cars to modern batteries to illustrate how the range could be extended. It was charged by simply plugging in to a domestic mains socket."

Eco-Philosophy & Essays

Will climate change saints save the Earth?—by Cassiodorus: "My mission in this diary is to tell you this: your task as a climate change saint is to change society.  You need to change our world-society because the current world-society is incapable of dealing with climate change.  In fact, even if you thought you were doing your good works to actually do something about the climate change situation itself, you were wrong about that, because, all by themselves, your good works won't do anything to stop accelerating greenhouse gas emissions.  You can stop patting yourselves on the back now, and adopt that attitude of humility for which Catholic saints are noted. Even stopping the Keystone XL pipeline, the pet project of, is mainly intended to prove that we can make our politicians respond to climate change, rather than to actually stop the mining of tar sands, because TransCanada has long made it clear that the tar sands will somehow reach a market."

The Geopolitics of Energy: An Interview with Steve Horn—by Frack the Media via Steve Horn: "If there is an up-and-coming investigative journalist to follow, it’s Steve Horn of DeSmog Blog. If you follow any of Frack The Media’s social media, you’ve been exposed to Steve. What draws us to Steve (and others like him) is his attention to detail surrounding the energy issue. It’s a multifaceted, highly complex and propagated geopolitical issue — regular reports often miss these intricacies (as mainstream media outlets tend to gloss over complex topics ). Long story short, we got to pick Steve’s brain and highlight some of the important investigative work he does."

Welcome To The Save The Environment Diary Series!—by Save the Environment: "Environmental issues are now so important, they should perhaps be just about the only thing people write about on Daily Kos. This new series of diaries is going be published every two or three days, and it’s going to be only about environmental issues.  I’ll put a great focus on what could help the environment- on what we should support and do ourselves. Instead of just watching a movie about the environment or reading a book about the environment, people have to remember to takes steps in their own lives to help the environment, even such as buying an electric vehicle.  That’s the spirit this diary series is going to be written in hopes of encouraging."

Grassroots clothes recycling—by Save the Environment: "The following is something I wrote to someone I was encouraging to get involved in environmental activism. I was kind of trying to explain why so many people know about environmental problems and know that they're very important issues, yet the problems aren't being sufficiently solved. What I just chalk it up is that people need to have more initiative. More people need to make doing something about the environment a priority in their lives, and need to encourage their friends and families to do the same things."


Masked Artist Forces Japanese to Think About Fukushima—by Mishima: "Japan is not known for graffiti or its graffiti artists yet, occasionally an artist with a message will break through the fog of indifference and force people to think about that which they wish to forget about. Antinuke 281 is an artist who hides his identity to not only avoid Japan's harsh anti graffiti laws but Japan's aversion for those who choose to stand apart from society and question its very core. 'Perhaps because everyone believes people telling them on television that everything is fine, they don’t seem so worried,' 281 Antinuke told Reuters. 'I hope by leaving my art I can remind people that we’re not safe at all ... and that they will do something to protect themselves.'"

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 01:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS.

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