You can find more spotlighted green diaries below the sustainable squiggle.
New IPCC report: Averting climate catastrophe would be extremely affordable. If we act now.—by Laurence Lewis: "This must be done. With the urgency an unprecedented global crisis demands. Diverting hundred of billions of dollars from fossil fuels into renewable energy and cutting energy waste would shave just 0.06% off expected annual economic growth rates of 1.3%-3%, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report concluded. Furthermore, the analysis did not include the benefits of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which could outweigh the costs. And that's the key. Because the most comprehensive analysis of the economic impacts of climate change concluded that, among its many devastating human and environmental impacts, will be a loss of 5 to 20 percent of global GDP. Which the lead author of the analysis last year said was an overall under-estimation. Another study concluded that the net benefit of avoiding climate catastrophe would be $615 to $830 trillion. One of the biggest lies promoted by opponents of action on climate change is that it will be too costly to address. Well, that lie has been completely debunked."
IPCC report shows action on climate change is not spending, it's investing—by Meteor Blades: "One lesson that most of us humans, individually and institutionally, seem to have a hard time internalizing is the cost of deferred maintenance. That applies to everything from fixing bridges to getting more exercise. Delaying means damage. Combining heavy use with the impacts of the elements and age and buildings will deteriorate, roads crumble, bodies weaken. Wait long enough before initiating preventive maintenance and only extraordinary repairs will patch the harm. Wait too long and the consequences will be fatal. The years of deferral finally cause so much damage that no amount of remedial work can mount a rescue. The bridge collapses. The road must be rebuilt, not merely restored. Deferred maintenance is how we're treating our planet's atmosphere. Despite what we now know to a certainty about the effects caused by pouring billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the air every year, we just keep doing it—at an increasing level—and making all kinds of rationalizations for not stopping. Meanwhile, the percentage of one of those gases in the atmosphere—carbon dioxide—is higher than it's been since Homo erectus was the most common human species on the planet 830,000 years ago."
"Imagine a world without snow"—by gmoke: ""Imagine a world without snow." The winter sports industry can and is organizing to change that vision. On Tuesday, April 8, I attended an event on the subject of the future of snow for the students of MIT's Sloan School of Business. The speakers were Porter Fox, editor of the skiing magazine Powder and author of Deep: the Story of Skiing and the Future of Snow, more at http://www.deepthebook.com; Auden Schendler, a sustainability person for the ski areas in Aspen, CO, the first ski areas to consider climate change as part of their business planning, and the author of Getting Green Done, more at http://www.gettinggreendone.com; and member of the US Olympic Cross-country Ski Team Andy Newell who circulated a petition among winter sports athletes urging world politicians and policy-makers to take action on climate change (http://www.change.org/....)."
The United Nations now sounding the Climate Change Alarm—by jamess: "It's not hard to imagine that those nations of the world most impacted by effects of Climate Change, are also those nations of the world most willing to acknowledge the very real risks—both economic and humanitarian. After all it is these nations (the less developed nations) that are most often disproportionately impacted, first. [...] Climate-resilient pathways include strategies, choices, and actions that reduce climate change and its impacts. They also include actions to ensure that effective risk management and adaptation can be implemented and sustained (high confidence). Delaying actions may reduce options for climate-resilient pathways in the future. See Figure TS.13. Prospects for climate-resilient development pathways are related fundamentally to what the world accomplishes with climate change mitigation. Climate-resilient development pathways will have only marginal effects on poverty reduction, unless structural inequalities are addressed and needs for equity among poor and non-poor people are met (medium confidence)."
Global Marshall style plan on climate being initiated by UN climate change panel—by VL Baker: "I am using the phrase "the style of the Marshall Plan" as it is often used to describe a proposed large-scale rescue program. Indeed there has never been a rescue program on the scale needed to stop the worst effects of climate change. This program is being lead by the UN rather than the US. Here's hoping the US understands the importance of joining the global community in this historic endeavor."
Food, Agriculture & Gardening
What's For Dinner v.8.37: Marvelous meatless protein—by SteelerGrrl: "It's now been fourteen years since I went vegetarian. I was already an avid home cook adept with Thanksgiving turkeys and London broil, but beans and grains and ... tofu? It was learning to cook all over again without bacon grease and chicken broth, and the learning curve was steep. My early efforts with tofu were mostly piles of tasteless mush and/or burned-up crumbles. Today, tofu is a staple in my kitchen. It remains inexpensive, high in protein, and incredibly versatile. Notoriously bland out of the package, it has a natural affinity for whatever flavors it gets cozy with. The tricky part is getting the flavor in there, then cooking the result to an appetizing texture. The most common way of flavoring tofu is to marinate, then bake, saute, or grill it."
Rising Prices, Food Fraud and Regulatory Redundancy—by Marc Brazeau: "The Department of Agriculture predicts food prices will rise between 2.5 and 3.5 percent this year. And while the consumer price index was up 0.1 percent in February, the food index rose more sharply, at 0.4 percent. I don't know about you, but I've definitely noticed sticker shock at the check out aisle. Little wonder. According the the USDA ERS, while the CPI rose 1.1% in 2013 it rose 1.4% for food. That 1.4% broke out into .9% for groceries (the same rate as 2012) and 2.2% for restaurant spending. But it's since the beginning of the year that I've noticed the pinch and the numbers bear that out, especially for the kinds of foods I buy. Last year theose items went up faster than the rest of the CPI basket. Since the beginning of this year that trend has accelerated, especially since February and the forecast is for more of the same as we recover from the drought in California and the economic recovery returns inflation to normal historical levels."
NJ Explains: The Rain on the Plains, Mainly to Blame?—by marc brazeau: "Maybe partly. Nathanael Johnson starts us off with some good news. As you can see, farmland has leveled out at about 75 percent. But erosion has gone down. The most interesting part of that first graph, to me, is the far right-hand side: There’s been less topsoil washing down the Raccoon River in the last two decades than at any other time. Or at least any other time on this record: If you go back before European settlement, there was very little erosion on the prairie. But still, for the period in which anyone was farming, the modern farmers look like the best stewards; the year with the lowest recorded sediment loss was 2000. But point out that in other parts of Iowa high corn prices have driven the kind of fence row to fence row plant that results in stream and creek bank erosion. The disheartening thing we learn is that while the USDA has spent billions on agricultural conservation efforts and farmers have made great strides, climate change erases many of those gains."
The 10 Minor Realizations That Flipped My Thinking About GMOs—by marc brazeau: "When I first started learning about GMOs, my model was trans fats and vitamin supplements. We thought that we could engineer a food that was healthier than saturated animal fats and it blew up in our face. We thought that if eating vitamin rich foods conferred health benefits, then supplementation would be even better. Except in cases of malnutrition, that hasn't proven to be the case. I wasn't ideologically opposed to genetic engineering, I just figured that given our current understanding of nutrition and ecology, the technology wasn't really ready for prime time. I figured if we couldn't figure out margarine, then we weren't ready to start tinkering with plants at a genetic level. Common sense, right? It took a while to realize that was an incorrect model for thinking about GE breeding. There are a number of realizations that I went through before leaving that behind. Here are ten of them."
Two Sides To Most Oil Production Stories—by richturc125: "'Leaders' in the fossil fuel industry and their preferred media outlets work very hard to make sure their part of the story about pressing issues regarding future energy supplies gets the most coverage. The problem is that their part of the story is only their part of the story, and it’s one light on facts and context. It’s the one with lots of Happy Talk and undying faith in the Technology Fairy and don’t-worry-be-happy creeds. Their audiences are left with little to make informed decisions or plans. Why?"
90-Strontium Released from the Fukushima Disaster Compared to Other Human Sources—by MarineChemist: "In the days following the documented, significant releases of radionuclides to the atmosphere, the Fukushima atmospheric plume of contamination was detected over North America by US and Canadian monitoring stations. A study by Smith and others published in 2014 in the Journal of Environmental Protection documented the arrival of the plume and determined that the activities of isotopes of radiological health concern (Iodine-131, 137-Cs, 134-Cs) were present at levels that were 10 times lower than the amounts detected over the San Francisco Bay area in the days following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. In addition, Smith and colleagues also analyzed rainwater samples collected in central California for the presence of 90-Sr. While 137-Cs was detected in the rainwater at activities of 0.01-0.4 Bq/L with an average of ~0.14 Bq/L no 90-Sr was detected in any sample. The detection limit for 90-Sr was ~0.009 Bq/L so conservatively assuming 90-Sr was present at activities exactly equal to the detection limit the 137-Cs/90-Sr level in rain during the peak of atmospheric fallout from Fukushima was ~11. As we will see below this is likely a minimum ratio and that 90-Sr release was likely much lower than that of 137-Cs."
What The Fracks Up With China? China About To Go Fracking Crazy!—by pollwatcher: "A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found: that drilling operations at seven well pads emitted 34 grams of methane per second, on average, much higher than the EPA-estimated 0.04 grams to 0.30 grams of methane per second. Methane is really, really bad for the climate! Yesterday I went into pretty great detail warning of the dangers of a new Fracking binge in China and the problems methane creates in trying to control the effects of Global Warming. I'm afraid some people may mistakenly believe that Natural Gas is our savior from Climate Change, when it might actually be a wolf in sheep's clothing."
Ohio geologists link fracking to earthquakes, state implements stricter permit conditions—by Rachel191: "Ohio state geologists have recently linked fracking to earthquake activity. As a result, new permit conditions were put in place: Today Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director James Zehringer announced new, stronger permit conditions for drilling near faults or areas of past seismic activity. The new policies are in response to recent seismic events in Poland Township (Mahoning County) that show a probable connection to hydraulic fracturing near a previously unknown microfault."
Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation
The Great Outdoors
Dawn Chorus: Green Cay Wetlands—by JupiterSurf: "We have bird migration, going north, these days out of South Florida...Goldfinches have been gone for a few weeks, so has the yellow rumped warbler that was at my feeders, I have only 2 male painted buntings left, about 4 females still here..will be quiet at my feeders soon, except for the squirrels and the blue jays. When I first moved to Palm Beach County way back in 1983 it was mostly residential along the coast. West of I-95 and the Florida Turnpike was farmlands. It was where winter vegetables were grown..Over the course of the last 30 years that land become very valuable and the farmers one by one sold off their land for development. Thanks to the Winsberg Family, Green Cay Wetlands did not become a residential neighborhood..But is part the Palm Beach County's Southern Region Water Reclamation Facility and was designed to naturally filter highly treated water every day. Today these wetlands are surrounded by nothing but commercial and residential property."
Heartening Story: Rich Person Does Something Amazing—by LaughingPlanet: "After years of some of the worst poaching across Africa in years, news today gives hope to those who care about some of the world's most endangered species. On a visit to Tanzania, Howard G. Buffett, the elder son of American investor and philanthropist Warren Edward Buffett, Thursday pledged to provide a helicopter for surveillance of poachers in the Selous Game Reserve. Through the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a private foundation in the United States that he heads, the American billionaire also will support capacity building and anti-poaching efforts in Tanzania through purchase of vehicles, GPS equipment and the training of helicopter pilots and game rangers. During a time when many of the game reserves cannot even afford to pay its employees, this largess will profoundly impact the reality on the ground."
The Daily Bucket: Spring Yellow—by kishik:
Daily Bucket: Little Floating Fuzzballs—by Lenny Flank: "Recently I was visiting one of St Pete's local wildlife refuges when I came upon a mom and dad Moorhen and their kids. So I stopped to watch for a while."
Governor Brown’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan Lacks Answers—by Dan Bacher: "Three environmental organizations today asked the big, unanswered question of the state and federal officials behind the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the twin tunnels: Who will pay? 'With just 60 days remaining for public examination and comment, the parties involved in the creation, planning and implementation of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) have failed to reveal a binding Implementation Agreement (IA) showing how the Delta tunnels project will be financed, built or operated,' according to a news release from Restore the Delta, the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance and the Environmental Water Caucus. The groups said the 'continuing failure' to file the agreement without specificity and detail highlights the unwillingness of water exporters to document a commitment to funding construction and mitigation costs for the proposed Delta tunnels project. Specific financing information for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan has not been included in the 40,000 page BDPC Plan and corresponding EIR."
Secretary John Laird, ocean 'protector'—by Dan Bacher: "Laird is one of the worst Natural Resources Secretaries for fish, oceans and the environment in California history. He presided over record exports of water to corporate agribusiness interests in 2011, resulting in the massacre of millions of Sacramento splittail in the Delta water export pumps. Nearly 9 million Sacramento splittail, a native fish species, were 'salvaged' in the death pumps, a new record. The actual number of fish lost in the pumps is estimated by scientists to be 5 to 10 times the 'salvage' numbers. Laird and federal officials also presided over the systematic draining of northern California reservoirs during a drought in 2013 to fill the Kern Water Bank and Southern California reservoirs, resulting in enormous damage to salmon and steelhead populations and endangered Delta and longfin smelt, as well as imperiling the water supplies of Sacramento, Folsom and other cities. He has relentlessly pushed the most environmentally destructive project in California history, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels."
Friends of the River stands up for the First Amendment—by Dan Bacher: "The officials behind the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels, just like the political hacks and corporate operatives who oversaw the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create so-called "marine protected areas" in California coastal waters, have gone out of their way to suppress the First Amendment. [...] While BDCP officials haven't gone as far yet as arresting a journalist for exercising his/her First Amendment rights, they have openly suppressed Freedom of Speech by refusing to post any correspondence other than project material touting Governor Jerry Brown's plan to build the twin tunnels."
Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice
Desmond Tutu Calls for Global Boycott of Fossil Fuel Industries—by StewartAcuff: "Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who helped lead South Africa to freedom after a long struggle against apartheid, has just called for a global boycott similar to the one employed against the racist South African government. Now Tutu wants the global community to wage a boycott as part of a massive campaign against fossil fuels, corporations, and climate change. In an opinion piece in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Tutu singled out the Keystone XL Pipeline as one of the biggest potential hazards in climate change. Tutu said that if the pipeline only affected the United States and Canada the rest of us could just wish them luck, but the Keystone XL pipeline would affect the whole world."
Meanwhile, in college campuses across America—by Cassiodorus: "Pitzer College has announced it will divest its $125 million endowment of financial holdings in fossil fuel companies by the end of the year. The move makes Pitzer the first college in Southern California to commit to climate divestment, and the largest endowment in higher education to do so to date. [...] Congratulations to the student protesters who at least made this outcome more likely. So yeah. Something is happening! In the ritual continuum of American life, college (by which I mean the experience of going to an institution and getting a degree after four years of coursework) is the site of what the anthropologist Victor Turner (1920-1983) called 'liminoid' experience. (There's also the term 'liminal experience,' which Turner reserved for traditional situations.) In 'liminoid' experience, the structural realities of other phases of human existence have been suspended, opening up the experience itself to possibilities of social invention. (This is not to say "unstructured" but, rather, 'less structured' or, in Turner's terms, containing 'antistructure.') College, then, is potentially an inventive time of life, full of youthful experimentation and exploration.
National Parks & Other Public Lands
Selling off the People's land—by Oregon Expat: "I wanted to write tonight to let others who may be interested to know that the State gov't of Oregon is thinking of selling off the entire Elliott State Forest. All 90,000 acres of it. The state just auctioned off about 2700 acres as a sort of test run. Now they are considering selling it all. Let that sink in. Selling off public land. Privatizing the public land; a space for wild plants, animals, fungi and other organisms and where people go to fish, hunt, hike, and reconnect with nature. The more I think of it, the angrier I get. There is some beautiful land there; it is mostly forest that grew up after a terrible forest fire in 1868. The forest is nearly a century and a half old, biologically rich and hosts endangered creatures such as the marbled murrelet. Headwaters of coho and steelhead streams flow there. The land is likely to be sold off to timber companies, who will promptly clear cut it. No more murelets, and the salmon streams will be choked with silt."
Krystal Ball calls out Rancher Cliven Bundy And His Gang Of Thugs—by Egberto Willies: "These guys are not patriots. They do not recognize the United States as their government. They do not respect the rule of law. They disregard the ruling of the courts. Why are they called patriots? They are called patriots because many allow them to get away with it. In not pushing back it becomes a reality for many. Krystal Ball said it best when she said: We on the left should not allow conservatives get to away with appropriating patriotism; bastardising it and claiming it as their exclusive domain. We should not accept their loaded rendering of the term. Because real patriotism should be grounded in the recognition that from the highest heights of power down to the homeless vet sleeping on the streets we are all Americans."
Glenn Freaking Beck suggests Ranchers avoid violence—by xxdr zombiexx"...and they savage him for it."
It's Not About the Cows, man. It's Not About the Cows—by TonyAlexiouShow: "The cows and grazing fees are not why the story is important – that’s not why I’m writing this post. Yeah, having your stuff seized because you owe the feds money is never a nice thing but if you don’t pay your taxes (or your grazing fees, for that matter) well, these sorts of things happen. No, the story is important for what it has become; a flashpoint for the Tea Party / Patriot / Oathkeeper / Whatever-they’re-calling-themselves-now movements. With the federal government backing down from the armed portion of the dispute, these groups have made this a ‘victory against tyranny.’ As Dylan Scott said in his piece in Talking Points Memo, this has become some sort of proxy battle for the future of American freedom, or at least that’s how these people perceive this."
Armed Maoist Thugs Run Amok In National Park—by LaFeminista: "That would be the title on Faux Noise if some progressive group carried more than a straw in defense of a National Park from drilling operations. How dare these vicious thugs impede the economy of our great nation, they should be forcibly removed whines Rush. Hordes of drug crazed commies impede freedom screams the World Nut Daily. Drudge reports the presence of Pink Panthers and wails that acorns are falling from the trees. The American Freedom Foundation For The Family and Traditional Patriotic Freedom Values bemoan that these insurgents are free to roam our land with impunity."
Eco-Philosophy & Eco-Essays
Lets Talk About Carbon—by Hermenutic : "I have been making environmental art depicting the results of society’s love affair with carbon based energy. A while back I made a little video of my art on the topic of “King Carbon”. It appears at this moment U.S. Politicians have the desire to crucify the electorate on a cross of carbon as they fight feverishly to be sure big carbon interests construct the Keystone Pipeline across the belly of the nation’s bread basket. They undertake this initiative despite the dismal track record of pipeline failures. The number is growing rapidly but the sheer number of pipeline failures which have occurred in the last 14 years is staggering. We’ve been addicted to carbon for a long time. We are now in the terminal stages of that addiction.What will we do? Will we simply overdose and vanish from the planet?"
The Problem with Crypto-Currencies and Why SolarCoin is Different—by nuketeacher: "All currencies depend on the assumption that someone else will accept it for the things they have to give. In order to succeed, an alt-coin must eventually become a currency for the exchange of tangible things. Bitcoin has managed to do this. Most alt-currencies don’t even seem to have a plan for how that is going to happen, except within the community of miners and speculators that stay up all night playing with working on that sort of stuff. But SolarCoin is different because it will mostly be distributed to people that are actually producing something that people want and need. One SolarCoin (SLR) is granted for each documented MW-hr of solar generated electricity. This isn’t the only compensation solar electrical generators get. No, this is IN ADDITION to any economic benefit that generation has for people, be it sales of the generated electrical energy or reductions in one’s electric bills. SolarCoin is being created with the express purpose of encouraging more people to install solar generating facilities. Whether or not it succeeds depends upon the value that SLR can achieve."
Landslide in Oso, Washington – Don’t Blame Nature and Acts of God for Reckless Logging—by Ellen Moyer: "The 300-acre landslide in Oso, Washington, which killed at least 30 people and destroyed the local community on March 22, 2014, reveals a consequence of a relatively unregulated and unseen industry: logging. Logging was not the sole cause of the disaster—March was the wettest on record, a condition possibly exacerbated by climate change, and the geology of the area features soft soils—but logging apparently played a major role. [...] The plateau above the hillside that gave way has been logged for almost a century, and the hillside has a history of landslides dating back more than 60 years. For more than 25 years, as the slope became more unstable, scientists challenged the timber cutting and warned of possible calamity. Yet the state continued to allow logging on the plateau. A 'clear-cut' is an area of land in which all the trees have been cut down. One suspected trigger of the Oso landslide is a clear-cut, undertaken 9 years ago, that apparently encroached into a restricted area and is only now being investigated."
Bug Farts Nearly Killed Us—by Wee Mama: "The great extinctions are all striking and puzzling: how on earth could things go so terribly wrong that 25%, 50% or even (as in the case of the Permian event) 90% of species go extinct? [...] A new study may have solved the puzzle by combining three different kinds of contributions. It began with the observation that the carbon isotope anomalies, which are an indirect measure of changes in the activity of organisms and the climate, didn't take the shape you would expect from an abrupt physical event. A discrete physical disaster would be expected to add a pulse of isotope and tail off.The Permian changes are the opposite; they begin slowly and increase rapidly from there. In fact they change exponentially, and the scientists began looking for the most likely kind of exponential growth, organisms. Key suspects were the methanogens, which as the name suggest release methane as a product of metabolism."