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American crocodile
Many environmentally related posts appearing at Daily Kos each week don't attract the attention they deserve. So, more than seven years ago, a new feature was launched to highlight those diaries. Initially called Eco-Diary Rescue, the name was changed to Green Diary Rescue after a couple of years. In April, because of the growing number of eco-diaries being posted at the site, the name was changed again, this time to Spotlight on Green News & Views. It appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The most recent Saturday Spotlight can be seen here. As has all along been true, inclusion of a diary in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.
Indigenous Amazonian People Threatened by Oil Drilling—by Aaron Isherwood: "Pristine jungle and indigenous culture have long been huge draws for me. So last fall, when my brother Nicholas -- a professional opera singer and avid world traveler -- and I decided to go to Ecuador, an Amazon adventure was at the top of our list. We chose the pristine and little-visited southeastern part of the country, territory of the Achuar indigenous people whom we hoped to visit. Nicholas emailed Pachamama Alliance, an organization whose mission is to empower indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest to preserve their lands and culture, to inquire about visiting the area independently. Pachamama Alliance responded that we'd need permission from the Achuar to visit, and put us in touch with Jaime Vargas, President of the Achuar Nationality of Ecuador, to seek permission. From Jaime and the Internet, we learned that Ecuador is planning to auction off millions of acres of the Amazon where the Achuar and other indigenous people live, for massive oil drilling. Jaime explained that the Achuar need help from the outside world to defeat the petroleros. He invited us to visit the Achuar to learn about their struggle and help spread the word."

green dots
Bite-sizing climate change—by MessagingMatters: "Here's what bite-sizing climate change could entail: 1. Regionalize—The NCA thankfully discusses climate change impact on each region of the U.S. [...] Breaking the effects of climate change into regions is a good start. You can further localize climate change, for example, by discussing its effects with your friends, loved ones and colleagues where they live. Did one of them have a bridge wash out in their town due to flooding? How did that affect the businesses or commuters in the town? Knowing your audience is key to any effective communication. If you want to help others get a grasp on climate change and begin to seek to lessen its effects, you might at least want to start with the region where they live, and focus the climate change discussion on the disruption to their region's way of life."
green dots
The Most Striking Climate Change Sculpture You'll Ever See—by David Harris Gershon: "The image below is of a sculpture by street artist Isaac Cordal, which has been dubbed 'Politicians Debating Global Warming.' The first time I saw this image, my visceral reaction was immediate and profound, gazing upon politicians debating our planet's global crisis with the waters lapping at their lapels, filling their mouths and covering them completely. And then I learned more about this image, and about Cordal's work. These are tiny, clay figures which he crafted and then placed in a puddle on a street in Berlin, Germany. When seen from afar, they are nothing but dots poking out of temporarily collected water. However, when one zooms in, this is the result: a majestic, striking picture of politicians refusing to act even as the waters overcome them, and us. It's a perfect metaphor for climate change inaction: from afar, it's easy to ignore and dismiss, but zoom in and the crisis is clear."

You can find more rescued green diaries below the sustainable squiggle.

Climate Chaos

Atmospheric CO2 levels last month averaged what a year ago was unprecedented in human history—by Laurence Lewis: "Almost exactly a year ago, the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide passed 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history. In fact, the global atmosphere hadn't seen such a concentration of the greenhouse gas in 3 million years. It was a watershed moment, and a screaming alarm, yet the White House Press Corps ignored it. As Pulitzer Prize-winning website InsideClimate News reported: 'This is another global emissions target that we've blown past without doing anything,' said Jim Butler, director of global monitoring at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory. 'Stronger storms, droughts, rising seas. We are already seeing the impacts of increased CO2 in the atmosphere ... How much further can we really go?'"

Graph of carbon dioxide concentration at Mauna Loa Observatory for the month ending May 3, 2014
In plain language, the National Climate Assessment says change is already being felt and will worsen—by Meteor Blades: "The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has in the past nine months released its three-volume Fifth Assessment Report on climate. In February the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society jointly released Climate Change: Evidence and Causes. And today, the third National Climate Assessment opened its pages to the public. Put together by more than 300 contributors, it's a compilation of peer-reviewed climate science published over the past several years. A reader-friendly, 800-page report focusing on the climate chaos that already is underway. It includes descriptions of how climate change is affecting and likely will affect Americans in eight regions. Altogether, thousands of pages of analysis in these reports, with graphics and charts and tens of thousands of grim words that just a tiny sliver of Americans will read and a large portion of the nation's corporate and political leaders will ignore or ridicule despite the ominous world portended. You don't have to wait to see what numbskullery will greet the report. Check out the comment threads below any newspaper's story on it."

Sen Inhofe claims National Climate Assessment's release was timed to influence vote on KeystoneXL—by Lefty Coaster: "Senator James Inhofe reacted with suspicion to today's release of the National Climate Assessment trying his best to insinuate its release was timed to influence the Senate's upcoming vote on taking the KeystoneXL decision away from the Obama Administration. [...] Imhofe dismisses Physics, Chemistry, along with Climate Science in his preposterous claims this is all about "fundraising, electioneering and social engineering". Speaking of fundraising I suspect his ideas on climate has a lot more to do with Imhofe's dependence on campaign cash from Big Energy interests, than any honestly held convictions on his part."

Charles Krauthammer Peddling Dangerous Lies [again]—by LaFeminista: "“The science is unstable. Because in the case of climate, the models are changeable because climate is so complicated. The idea that we who have trouble forecasting what’s going to happen on Saturday in the climate, could pretend to be predicting what’s going to happen in 30 to 40 years is absurd. And, you always see that no matter what happens, whether it’s a flood or it’s a drought, whether it’s warming or cooling, it’s always a result in what we are ultimately talking about here – human sin with pollution of carbon. It’s the oldest superstition around. It was in the Old Testament. It’s in the rain dance of native Americans. If you sin the skies will not cooperate. A sin? Moron, nobody has called it a sin, pure idiocy perhaps.
And of course Krauthammer thinks he is Einst[ei]n's peer. You make some bold assertions Mr Krauthammer without a shred of evidence supported empty rhetoric."

Climate Change "is visible everywhere from the top of the atmosphere to the bottom of the ocean,"—by Lefty Coaster: "What can we do to help President Obama get the message out? Well its a little old fashioned but I would suggest we start writing some Letters to the Editors. And don't just target the big newspapers in your area, we shouldn't overlook more local publications with smaller circulations. The more voices we can get to join the chorus the better."

"The dinosaurs never saw that asteroid coming. What's our excuse?"—by A Siegel: "At this time, US television screens are graced with several blockbuster science programs.  Showtime's The Years of Living Dangerously provides serious and substantive looks at climate change. With Cosmos, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, NewsCorp is giving thinking people a substantive reason to tune in every Sunday evening. 'Cosmos aims to be a primer on the incredible grandeur of the world around us, lionizing the scientists that have made our greatest discoveries, and hopefully stoking the fires for education and learning in the process.' If we think about the political demographic associated with Fox News, Cosmos' calm, rather, and thoughtful scientific-based take on the history of Earth (no, not 6000 years), evolution (yes, it happens), and climate change (not that word) might appear shocking. As to the last, Cosmos' discussion to date has been relatively muted—certainly not a central focus—but yesterday's show changed that equation."

Global warming has arrived in the U.S. asserts White House in National Climate Assessment—by HoundDog: "Scientists writing the report boldly asserts that 'Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present.' Climate change deniers are no longer denying abstract claims about the future, but current day realities! This line may be worth reading twice, Kossacks! One implication of this study may be a growing scientific foundation for upgrading the term "climate deniers" to 'reality deniers.'"

I spoke with Limbaugh today about climate.—by Mike Stark: "Along with elected Republicans, I'm one of the few remaining members of Rush Limbaugh's listenership. I'm convinced that he owns the most powerful media voice in the world, notwithstanding the wonderfully effective work done by ProgLegs and the #StopRush movement. He may be hemorrhaging advertisers and audience, but his iron grip on Republicans and their agenda persists; if you want to know what DC Republicans are going to do before they know what they are going to do, listen to Rush. With that in mind, I tuned in this afternoon to hear him issue the GOP's marching orders regarding the National Climate Assessment. And I figured that since I was listening anyway, I'd call his show and try to get on the air. After all, every minute of his broadcast time I use to tell the truth is a minute he can't use to spread Republican manure. It worked."

The Reason I'm Pessimistic About Climate Change Is On Your Wall—by ban nock: "China and India build more coal burning power plants to fire the engines of their economies.  They are expanding renewables and also burning more coal and oil, and they intend to continue to do so for a long time. There is no downside to burning more, not economically, not individually. There are no carbon tariffs. There is no carbon tax. Until burning more carbon hurts us individually we'll ignore it. We look to blame others, never looking at ourselves. We buy green tote bags to fill our hybrids with consumer trash as if solar panels will ward off the rays of our ever hotter sun. Outside it might well be hot or cold, our HVAC systems hum along with only a slight sigh of forced air, whether that air is hot or cold makes no difference, the auto setback is keeping us at a just right temp year round."

To Live Dangerously or Not to Live Dangerously? It's Our Choice—by Mary Anne Hitt: "What's next? What can I do? Those are questions you might be pondering if you tuned into Years of Living Dangerously on Showtime this weekend, or if you've been watching online clips from the 'Preacher's Daughter' story that was featured on Sunday night, or if you saw today's National Climate Assessment. In the Years episode, actor Ian Somerhalder follows Anna Jane Joyner, a young woman trying to persuade her evangelical pastor father that climate disruption is real, while she is also a full-time climate activist and one of the real-life heroes working with me and thousands more to move beyond coal."

Holy Sheet! Eastern Antarctica Melt Will Cause Seas To Rise 3-4 Meters—by Dartagnan: "First, the bad news: For years scientists have pointed to the instability of the Western Antarctic as posing the greatest immediate potential threat of rising seas. A 1998 study published in Nature suggested sea rise could amount to 4-6 meters assuming warming trends in the ocean surrounding the Western Antarctic continued their relentless increase. A new study, however, suggests that the Eastern Antarctic, containing far more ice than its smaller Western counterpart, is now at risk."

It's approaching 'Certainty' -- Climate Change is NOT a Myth—by jamess: "Is global warming just a giant natural fluctuation? Statistical analysis rules out natural-warming hypothesis with more than 99% certainty. The study, published online April 6 in the journal Climate Dynamics, represents a new approach to the question of whether global warming in the industrial era has been caused largely by man-made emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Rather than using complex computer models to estimate the effects of greenhouse-gas emissions, Lovejoy examines historical data to assess the competing hypothesis: that warming over the past century is due to natural long-term variations in temperature. 'This study will be a blow to any remaining climate-change deniers,' Lovejoy says. 'Their two most convincing arguments—that the warming is natural in origin, and that the computer models are wrong—are either directly contradicted by this analysis, or simply do not apply to it.'"

More please: OR Willamette Week challenges the GOP Candidate on Climate Change—by jamess: "GOP candidate booted from editorial meeting after calling out 'blah blah' dis [...] 'You want to talk about disrespect, I see what you're writing down there,' he said, pointing at a reporter at the table. 'You just wrote down 'blah blah blah blah blah' for everything that Jo Rae said. Jo Rae is a respectable woman. Why are you not respecting her by writing 'blah blah blah blah blah' on your notepad?' The moderator tried to get Callahan to 'move on' and answer a question about whether climate change is a ' myth or a reality.' Callahan said 'myth.' Then, the same reporter, later identified by the newspaper as Nigel Jaquiss, asked him a follow-up: 'Where are you on the Easter Bunny?' 'What's that?' Callahan said, and the reporter repeated the question. The interview really went downhill from there."

Climate Change: How we got here in one stunning video—by VL Baker: "Time history of atmospheric carbon dioxide from 800,000 years before until Jan 2014."

Food, Agriculture & Gardening

Contract With The Devil—by Robocop: "The first ever, stand-on-its-own GMO labeling law recently passed in Vermont, and Governor Peter Shumlin will sign it. Aside from any discussion about whether the major food companies will simply decline to stock grocery stores in such a small market (Vermont’s population is 626,000), the passing of this law is significant. Significant, too, by the fact that Monsanto, The Grocery Manufacturing Association (GMA) and the Biotechnology Industry Organization did little to fight it other than testify against it.  Unlike other states’ attempts to enact GMO labeling laws, such as in California and Washington, there was no massive lobbying or advertising to kill votes.  Amy Shollenberger, a lobbyist hired by the Vermont Right to Know Coalition, commented on the mild industry opposition by stating [it’s been a mystery. I’m sure there’s a strategy to it.' "

Energy

Net Energy Matters, Too—by richturc125: "Like many of the critically important but genuinely inconvenient details about fossil fuel production carefully excised from the stories told, 'net energy' is another of those terms which will almost never be found in any discussion or writing by fossil fuel industry cheerleaders claiming that Peak Oil is a myth/nonsense/doom and gloom frivolity or any variation thereof. But most of us [all, actually] are obliged to deal with reality no matter how much Happy Talk industry spokespeople try to cram down our throats."

Renewables

Colorado is smoking with Wind Power—by The Wizard: "Colorado is learning how to integrate its significant wind turbine capacity with its electrical needs. Wind is intermittent power generation, which creates a systems operation challenge. Colorado has changed from believing that more than 10% of their electrical energy from wind would be impossible to now believing that they can reliably integrate very large percentage of wind and have demonstrated this with a 60% wind energy contribution on one day. Here is an excellent article in MIT's Technology Review. Wind power is booming on the open plains of eastern Colorado. Travel seven miles north of the town of Limon on Highway 71 and then head east on County Road 3p, a swath of dusty gravel running alongside new power lines: within minutes you’ll be surrounded by towering wind turbines in rows stretching for miles. Colorado has been quietly generating wind capacity, but have been fought by one of the largest energy corporations. Before the forecasts were developed, Xcel Energy, which supplies much of Colorado’s power, ran ads opposing a proposal that it use renewable sources for a modest 10 percent of its power. It mailed flyers to its customers claiming that such a mandate would increase electricity costs by as much as $1.5 billion over 20 years."

Fracking

Little Town vs. Big Oil—by BlueDuPage: "Faced with an onslaught of fracking companies using high-pressure tactics to obtain rights to drill and fearing the adverse consequences of fracking, many communities, including Dryden, have voted to institute bans on fracking. After instituting its ban, Dryden was sued by a fracking company, Anschutz Exploration Corporation, in an attempt to overturn it. The town won the first two rounds of litigation and is now in the midst of a third, supported by the environmental law NGO EarthJustice. EarthJustice produced this beautiful mini-documentary about the town's struggle. It touched me, because of my personal connection to this place, and enrages me because of the ruthlessness of these energy companies, who are often abetted by corrupt government officials. I hope you'll take a few minutes to watch it. Hopefully, Dryden and other small communities like it will prevail in their struggle. I am pessimistic, however, because the forces arrayed against them are strong and the amounts of money involved are large."

Big Oil spokesman admits water use will rise with expanded fracking—by Dan Bacher: "Oil and gas industry representatives constantly like to talk about the “small amounts” of water that they currently use in fracking and steam injection operations in Kern County and coastal areas of California. However, on April 28, Tupper Hull, spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Association, admitted in an interview on National Public Radio (NPR) what the anti-fracking community has known for a long time: Once they figure out how to make the Monterey Shale economically viable, the water usage will ramp up significantly."

Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation

Bill to Remove President Obama as XL Pipeline Decisionmaker—by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse: "Some lawmakers say jobs are important, not so much for us, but their jobs are so critical that they would do anything to remain in Congress. Not just taking money from the fossil fuel industry, but also seeking to enact laws that violate existing laws and precedent because they can't get their way without stacking the decks.  When the price is right, like say $21 million, then a foreign corporation can get a permit for a project with devastating impacts, including worsening climate change that affects people globally, creating racist sacrifice zones targeted at Indian and African-American communities, risking water sources, including the Ogallala Aquifer that has a high water table in many locations, negatively impacting the health of adults and children sufficient to cause Senators Boxer and Whitehouse to request a study on public health risks, and risking harm to our wildlife and natural resources. Sen. Landrieu and Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) introduced recently bill (Bill S. 2280) that would nix President Obama as decisionmaker; nix National Interest Determination standard, federal agency review and public participation from the cross-border permitting process for TransCanada; approve existing XL pipeline immediately and the future unknown route in Nebraska as special legislation for TransCanada, and nix a full NEPA  (National Environmental Policy Act) analysis. A few Democrats are joining with Republicans against the leader of their party hoping to save their jobs from GOP campaign attacks, but no compromise of principle will appease the GOP."

Senators making yet another attempt to greenlight Keystone XL pipeline by going around Obama—by Meteor Blades: "Last week, Republican Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota and Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu introduced legislation that would circumvent the current process for deciding whether the Keystone XL pipeline gets built or not. Bill McKibben, co-founder of climate-change activist group 350.org, said of the move: 'The endless attempts of bought-off politicians with Big Oil money to ram this thing through America’s Heartland are as disheartening as they are predictable. We will do all we can to meet their money with science and their cynicism with conviction.'"

For First Time, TransCanada Says Tar Sands Flowing to Gulf in Keystone XL South—by Steve Horn: "TransCanada admitted for the first time that tar sands oil is now flowing through Keystone XL's southern leg, now rebranded the Gulf Coast Pipeline Project. The company confirmed the pipeline activity in its 2014 quarter one earnings call. Asked by Argus Media reporter Iris Kuo how much of the current 530,000 barrels per day of oil flowing from the Cushing, Oklahoma to Port Arthur, Texas pipeline is tar sands ('heavy crude,' in industry lingo), TransCanada CEO Russ Girling confirmed what many had already suspected. 'I don’t have that exact mix, but it does have the ability to take the domestic lights as well as any heavies that find a way down to the Cushing market, so it is a combination of the heavies and the lights,' said Girling. 'I just don’t know what the percentage is.'"

Eco-Related DC & State Politics

NYS Legislature: 7 GOP State Senators Kill Legislation Banning Importation of Fracking Waste into NY—by Upstate Blue: "Last week, legislation introduced by progressive Upstate State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk (D - Schenectady County) that would've banned the importation of fracking waste fluid into New York from other states (S.5123-A) was voted down by seven Republican State Senators on the chamber's 13-member Environmental Committee, in effect killing the bill and preventing the legislation from ever reaching the floor for a full vote. The seven Republican State Senators who blocked the legislation were Mark Grisanti (R-Buffalo), Kenneth LaValle (R - Long Island), Betty Little (R - North Country), Carl Marcellino (R - long Island), George Maziarz (R - Niagara County), Thomas O'Mara (R - Southern Tier) and Catherine Young (R - Southern Tier)."

The 5 State Legislators That Do The Biggest Dirty Work of the Fracking Industry in New York—by Upstate Blue: "Yesterday I wrote a diary highlighting the seven Republican State Senators that killed legislation which would've banned the importation of fracking waste fluid into New York from other states (S.5123-A). After conducting more research, back in 2011 there was another significant piece of legislation aimed at protecting public health and safety which would've required all gas drillers to fully disclose the contents of the chemical components used within hydraulic fracturing fluids (S.425) and it was also blocked by the Senate's Environmental Conservation Committee from a floor vote by many of the same State Senators that blocked last week's bill banning fracking waste importation. The five State Senators which consistently appear to serve big-money energy interests over the interests of their middle and working-class constituency are Betty Little (R - North Country), Carl Marcellino (R - Long Island), George Maziarz (R - Niagara County), Thomas O'Mara (R - Southern Tier) and Catherine Young (R - Southern Tier)."

Repubs In CO Accuse Dems Of Being "Terrorists", Waging "Jihad" Over Fracking.—by pollwatcher: "And you don't think these Republicans aren't dangerously crazy?! With each passing day they demonstrate just how crazy they are and just how far they'll go to protect the Oligarchs and industries that fund their campaigns. Colorado has been on the front line of pushing back the powerful oil and gas industry that doesn't give a frack about the communities they invade with their drills and chemicals. Several communities passed local anti-fracking legislation in last year's elections. Of course the oil/gas industry immediately started dragging these small communities through the courts with suits that tried to overturn the election results. It turns out that Jared Polis, U.S. Representative from CO is a very wealthy person (dot com wealth) and is helping to get initiatives on the ballot that would make sure local communities would be able to control their own future."

League of Conservation Voters Ad Ties Cory Gardner (CO-R) To Kochs—by pollwatcher: "I like this Ad and I like what they're doing with it.  I first saw this Ad on MSNBC in Colorado and was a bit surprised.  Normally you don't want to be preaching to the choir, but since this is going to be a base election, and it's going to take lots of activists helping to get that base to the polls, I think I can see why they're playing it where they are. It nicely ties the Koch brothers to Colorado Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner. The Koch brothers are really representative of what's wrong with America today, and how our very democracy is threatened by Oligarchs like them.  Even though many people don't know who the Koch brothers are, yet, it leaves a really bad taste just to see them on the screen. The Kochs, and other Oligarchs like them, are undermining democracy and supporting a new Plutocracy for America. They support organizations like ALEC that literally write legislation that benefits large corporations and hands it to Republican legislators to be introduced in the legislative process. They've built secret contribution networks that help hide their's and their cronies efforts to buy American elections... well, you know who they are."

Western States Petroleum Association spent $1,456,785 in 3 months—by Dan Bacher: "Former marine protected area chair slams 'anti-oil activists' The new numbers for the amount of money spent on lobbying in Sacramento in the first three months of 2014 just came in from the Secretary of State's Office and guess who finished first? Yes, holding fast to number one is the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), 'making sure lawmakers don't forget about the Big Oil little guy' according to Stop Fooling California. (http://www.stopfoolingca.org). The Western States Petroleum Association, the most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento, spent $1,456,785 in just 3 months."

Conservatives next big policy failure will be climate change—by VL Baker: "Conservatives are flailing from the results of the Obamacare success. But they won't have time to recover before another major policy failing hits the wall. Climate Change is not something that can be hidden forever. The actual physical evidence is piling up and people around the globe are starting to feel the impacts up close and personal. The US has been insulated from hearing much of the impacts due to our corporatist media (many whom profit by maintaining the fossil fueled status quo) but those who understand the dangers are becoming more vocal about going forward on solutions."

Trade & Foreign Policy

Coal—by indycam: "By 2030 Australia is predicted to increase its export of coal from 240 million tonnes this year to 787 million tonnes in 2030. Queensland's liquefied natural gas and coal exports are soaring in order to deliver atmospheric-warming carbon fuels to satisfy Chinese and Indian markets. [...] The ports of Gladstone and Abbot Point are poised to become the busiest in the world. In 2011, the shipping industry alone increased our export trade coffers by $38 billion. In 2012, 3950 ships entered these Great Barrier Reef ports and these numbers are set to treble by 2030."

The Great Outdoors

The Daily Bucket--Irises, Please—by 6412093: "My backyard pond is now five weeks older than it was in this March 27th picture. All pictures are in lighthouse mode, so you can click on them for more clarity. In the next picture, taken May 3, the arrowhead now have little white flowers, nicely matching the snow-on-winter growing to the pond's left. There are many new lily pads, after the 89 degree day earlier this week. The rush and the water irises are larger, but I am disappointed the water irises aren't blossoming yet. One reason I love the Springtime, is because I get to see newly flowering irises with their delicate pedals. Since the water irises have failed me, I must go elsewhere to fulfill my unrequited needs to gaze at those blooming beauties."

California Nature Photo Diary—by Jill Richardson: "I've been taking photos around SoCal for several months (under Eddie C's tutelage), and I've got quite a few that are pretty nice, so I thought I'd share them. The one below is from a hike this weekends to Tahquitz Peak in Idyllwild, and I plan to get a poster size print of it for my new apartment in Madison after I move."

Tahquitz Peak near Idyllwyld, California.

Critters

American crocodile
Daily Bucket: Wild Florida-American Crocodile—by Lenny Flank: "Florida is well-known for its population of Alligators, which thrive throughout the state.  Less well-known, though, is the Alligator's close cousin, the American Crocodile. Though widespread in Central and South America, the American Crocodile is very rare in the US, extending only to the southern tip of Florida. The American Crocodile, Crocodylus acutus, is the largest of the four crocodile species found in the tropical areas of the Western Hemisphere, and the only one found in the US. South Florida is also the only place in the world which has both alligators and crocodiles, though they are seldom found together since Alligators prefer freshwater habitats while Crocodiles like estuarine tidal salt water, especially mangrove swamps. In appearance, Alligators have a black color and a wide snout, while Crocodiles are a greenish-gray color with darker squarish markings on their back, and have narrow snouts."

Dawn Chorus: A Morning at Alley Pond Park—by nookular: "This week spring migration moved into the northeast like a tidal wave.  After weeks of the slow buildup of new arrivals, the floodgates opened on Friday.  The New York City Parks were host to a great wave of migrants, and I was lucky enough to get in on some of the fun on Saturday morning at Alley Pond Park in Queens.  Below is a sampling of some of the more cooperative species photographed on Saturday morning, along with a few ID notes that most of you will already be familiar with.  As a side note- I'll be leading a birding trip to Alley next Saturday, May 10th, meeting time 7 AM. The trip is run by a local Audubon group, but is open to the public free of charge. No guarantees that the birding will be as good as it was this weekend, but, since it's free, you'll at least get your money's worth!"

2014 Backyard Science Yardbird Race Tally #5—by bwren: "Welcome to the 2014 Daily Kos Backyard Science Yardbird Race! This is the 5th tally for 2014 and is the official place to post your sightings, ask for help, and brag some if you wish. [...] Here's what the race is all about: The Daily Kos Backyard Science Yardbird Race is a birding competition where, over the course of one year, participants strive to identify the most bird species - by sight and/or by sound - from the confines of their yards. There are a number of categories, so people who live in urban centers don't have to compete against others who have a lot of open space or waterfront views."

"CONSUME, SCREW, KILL"—by Agathena: "CONSUME, SCREW, KILL
The origins of today’s mass extinction. That’s us in the title of Daniel Smith’s essay in Harper's on the book The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert. From the book: They [the new species] cross rivers, plateaus, mountain ranges. In coastal regions, they gather shellfish; farther inland, they hunt mammals. Everywhere they settle, they adapt and innovate. On reaching Europe, they encounter creatures very much lie themselves, but stockier and probably brawnier, who have been living on the continent far longer. They interbreed with these creature and then, by one means or another, kill them off. From Daniel Smith: And there you have it, on page two: consume, screw, kill. The Homo sapiens way. […] humans have blanketed the globe; slaughtered and/or eaten all the flashy megafauna; humped their numbers into the billions; chopped down the forests; spread disease; discovered coal and oil; and caused global warming. What follows , often in great detail are the grisly specifics. We see the headlines everyday now, blue whales beaching themselves on Canada’s east coast, frogs and other amphibians disappearing, bat caves filled with bat corpses, 100 Sumatran rhinos (living fossils) left, Monarch butterflies in danger of disappearing… And in each case, human behaviour has something to do with it."

The Daily Bucket: the stuff nightmares are made of...—by bwren: "Sometimes life just gets in the way, and I didn't get back to wetland with either net or collection bottle for over ten days, but I did check back on April 28 during the weekly bird count. Again, the light was perfect for seeing all the way to the bottom of the pond, and this time there were huge numbers of these little tadpole-like creatures suspended halfway between the surface and the muddy bottoms. They were just far enough out from the pond's edge that I was able to focus on them with my binoculars, and after many minutes of peering I was able remember enough that I could make a very crude sketch."

Chico, CA's Endangered Species Faire And A Couple Of Distractions—by Caddis Fly: "Its the 35th Annual Endangered Species Faire sponsored by The Butte Environmental Council. In the 70s, the emerging environmental movement realized early on that the way to win the hearts and minds of the public was by educating the kids. To do that, it has to be FUN! So, most of all, The Endangered Species Faire is a celebration."

Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice

Young People Sue Federal Government: Ignoring Climate Change Violates Constitutional Rights—by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse: "Over the past few years, young people across the U.S. have been suing the federal government for violating their constitutional rights by ignoring climate change. The issue is obvious: refusing to take effective measures against climate change is 'destroying their futures.' The lawsuits are based on the public trust doctrine, which generally provides that the government must protect natural resources (e.g., water, tidelands) for the public's use because the public resources are owned by the people and the government protects them as trustee. There is a federal lawsuit now pending  in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Alec L v. Gina McCarthy, where 5 teenagers, two non-profit organizations joined forces to file the lawsuit. 'The youth seek to require the federal government to immediately plan for national climate recovery according to the scientific prescription of Dr. James Hansen and other leading international climate scientists that will restore our atmosphere to 350 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 by the end of the century and avoid the disastrous scenarios of 2°C of warming.'"

Stanford University Divests from Coal—by srkp23: "Good News, short and sweet. Stanford to Purge $18 Billion Endowment of Coal Stock. Stanford University announced Tuesday that it would divest its $18.7 billion endowment of stock in coal-mining companies, becoming the first major university to lend support to a nationwide campaign to purge endowments and pension funds of fossil fuel investments. Such things give me hope. Activist students can make a big difference."

Holy Coaly! Stanford University bids farewell to the coal industry. Largest endowment to do so!—by citisven: "Okay, so no more excuses about how kooky it is to think divestment from fossil fuels could really happen on a large scale. Fossil Free Stanford Statement on Coal Divestment. Today, the climate movement won a groundbreaking victory. In a striking acknowledgement of the need for a bold and immediate response to climate change, Stanford University is divesting from the coal industry. The Stanford endowment, valued at $18.7 billion, will now become the largest in a growing group of funds to partially divest from fossil fuels."

"Rethink Divestment" 5/1/2014 Pomona College—by Cassiodorus: "The movement to pressure colleges to divest from fossil fuels is important because colleges claim to be in the "knowledge business" while at the same time they are handmaidens of capital. The real knowledge, the knowledge that the colleges ought to be producing and that therefore their trustees ought to know, is that capitalism (and especially fossil fuel capitalism) is the driver of a process that will, if carried far enough, wreck global ecosystems and make human life much more perilous here on planet Earth than it is now. Colleges, then, are by their collective position in society the first place to fight what Antonio Gramsci called the "war of position" -- the struggle to influence society so that it is poised to change for the better."

Pollution, Hazardous Wastes & Trash

Cleaning up the Environment at the basic level—by ban nock: "Every year for a few years now I've gone with a couple friends and my kids to some 300 acres and pick up trash. Yesterday was our day this year. There are widely spaced ponderosas and lodgepole with sage, bitterbush, and low juniper. The land hasn't been disturbed much in the past hundred years. A half mile west of the land is a small landfill and the area often sees very strong winds. The empty shopping bags at the landfill sometimes get lifted up into the air and they float on over onto the 300 acres. That's mostly what we pick up. [...] There are also always a few empty cardboard boxes from neighbors that are swept over from careless trash handling. We also sometimes find old bits of glass or other signs of trash from 50 or more years ago before the woman who now owns the land was there."

Earthquakes in Oklahoma
USGS issues 'damaging earthquake' advisory for Oklahoma, its first ever for east of the Rockies—by Meteor Blades : "In a joint release, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Geological Survey are advising that the increase of earthquakes above 3.0 on the Richter Scale since October last year has raised the possibility of a "damaging" quake of 5.0 magnitude or higher in central Oklahoma. Possible cause: injection of wastewater associated with hydraulic fracturing ("fracking') of tight rock formations to pry out oil and gas."

Open thread for night owls: Who gets the worst of it from chemical plants?—by Meteor Blades: "At the environmental website Grist, which just turned 15 years old, Brentin Mock writes Chemical plants endanger 134 million Americans. Who gets the worst of it?
Remember the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, last August, that claimed the lives of 15 people and injured another 160? We tend to think of such accidents as isolated incidents that won’t happen near us. But there are over 134 million Americans who can’t afford to think that way, according to a new report from the Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform that maps out where the facilities handling the most dangerous chemicals are, and who lives near them."

Judge rules Citgo Petroleum owes victims nothing after 10 years of criminal pollution—by Jen Hayden: "Yes, even though they discovered the problem two months after installing, they knowingly disregarded safety and as a result emitted benzene, a known carcinogen, into the air, at the serious health risk of those in the community.
After a lengthy legal battle, nearby residents finally found out how much restitution they were to receive ... NOTHING. Nada. Zip. [...] And just to add more salt to the wound, the Department of Justice estimates that Citgo made $1 billion in profits at that refinery over the same period. Why no restitution? It would take too darn long to figure just how much exactly how much money Citgo made during that time."

Transportation & Infrastructure

Sunday Train: Freight Transport and the Highway Funding Crisis—by BruceMcF: "We are going to be hearing increasingly this year about the Highway Funding Crisis. Much of that discussion will be directed toward exploiting the political leverage that our car addiction gives to the Highway Lobby. But there is the other side of the Highway Funding Crisis, which is freight transport. Our freight transport system has been as deliberately addicted to road funding as our passenger transport system, and in the process is quite heavily addicted to diesel fuel. Now, the Sunday Train has frequently tackled this issue from the side of the physical unsustainability of our dependence on petroleum based fuels for a majority of our transport. However, its also the case that the system of public finance upon which we built our road transport system is becoming more and more financially unsustainable."

Solar Roads - Electric Vehicles—by New Minas: "Imagine roads that are built to last for twenty years, never have snow and ice on them, generate electricity and warn drivers of potential hazards ahead.  Imagine if this roadway had built in wireless charging platforms that would allow electric vehicles unlimited driving distances. Well, this is actually happening. Solar Roadways has built their prototype and is crowdsourcing their seed money for their first production facility. Here is an introduction to the technology."

Eco-Philosophy & Eco-Essays

ALEC protecting their Interests—But not our Environment—by jamess: "As with spiders and roaches, so it is with corporately-sponsored legislators—Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Otherwise ALEC and their sponsors will simply continue to rollback, the hard-fought gains of Scientists to protect our Environment, as if our natural resources were THEIR private piggy bank. Because without the constant spotlight shining on them and their anti-environment, anti-science agenda—they will exploit every last legal loophole, as if our natural resources were THEIR private, unhindered profit-generating machine."

Hardline Conservative Warns Grade School Kids About Dangers of Climate Change—by Dartagnan: "I found out that Capra produced a total of four films for Bell Labs, including one called 'Meteora: The Unchained Goddess.' The Unchained Goddess examines what weather is and how it works. It was the fourth and last film in the series that was produced by Frank Capra, who wrote the screenplay with Jonathan Latimer. Unlike the first three of the films, this film was directed by Richard Carlson, who also appears in the film.[10] The film was televised on February 12, 1958, with a disappointing audience share and many critical press reviews. The Unchained Goddess contains one of the earliest portrayals of man-made climate change: In 1958, there weren't a lot of people talking about global warming. But director Frank Capra was, and made an educational film, 'The Unchained Goddess" about exactly that."

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