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Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park
Many environmentally related posts appearing at Daily Kos each week don't attract the attention they deserve. To help get more eyeballs, Spotlight on Green News & Views  (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue) appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The most recent Saturday Spotlight can be seen here. So far, more than 17,500 environmentally oriented diaries have been rescued for inclusion in this weekly collection since 2006. Inclusion of a diary in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.
Yosemite National Park - My Adventure—by elfling: "150 years ago, June 30, 1864, in the midst of the Civil War, the US Congress and Abraham Lincoln were convinced to set aside the first wild land in American history - Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia trees. This act paved the way for the entire American National Park system, and to the creation of Yellowstone as America's first National Park. (The protected areas of Yosemite were originally set aside as the first California State Park before it joined the National Park system in 1890 with its current, larger boundaries.)  I last visited Yosemite decades ago, as a child, with my grandparents, before my visit last week. Certainly I had always remembered it fondly and as a grand place, but even prepared, and even though I live in another quite beautiful section of California, I found it breathtaking to be back among the land of immense granite and powerful waterfalls amongst trees that touch the sky. This week, I was chaperoning a school trip, so my time was not my own, but that was traded for the sense of community that comes with being with a large group of friends and friends-to-be. (Yes, we still do some pretty wonderful things in public schools.) For a week we mixed hiking and camping with writing and math and history and science, plus perhaps some of the finest lifelong PE learning one can receive. Yosemite has changed since I last visited... a place sculpted by change for its past and future."
green dots
If Texans can't live with fracking, Californians can't either—by Txsharon and Jhon Arbelaez: "California has vast experience with oil and gas development. Bakersfield looks like a barren planet populated only by giant grasshoppers pecking away at the ground. But you haven'€™t seen anything like the brutality of this new kind of oil and gas development. It was about 2002 when fracking first blipped on my radar screen. At that time, no one in Texas thought fracking was a bad idea, and the industry'€™s intentionally misleading reassurance of fracking as an established technology was widely accepted. By 2005 some knew first-hand the brutality of modern fracking that uses new chemical mixtures and millions, rather than thousands, of gallons of water injected at far higher pressures--€”and couples that with horizontal drilling. By 2009, it was clear that fracking brought with it some unpleasant impacts. Municipalities in Texas started passing stronger drilling ordinances to keep fracking out. Corinth, Southlake, Dish and Flower Mound all beefed up their ordinances in an attempt to protect the public and property. Flower Mound has been sued five times by industry for their ordinance, but each time the city has prevailed."
green dots
Solar lamp being test driven in India.
Solar lamp being tested.
India transforming "Chicken in Every Pot" to "Solar on Every Roof"—by A Siegel: "Energy poverty is one of the world's greatest challenges. There are billions of people without access to reliable and reasonably priced electricity. In India, alone, there are some 400 million people in energy poverty. The new Indian government has set a major initiative to change this situation radically and rapidly: 'to harness solar power to enable every home to run at least one light bulb by 2019.' 'We look upon solar as having the potential to completely transform the way we look at the energy space,' said Narendra Taneja, convener of the energy division at Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party. This has the potential to change radically the situation throughout India. Access to even a few hours of light, for example, has had a major impact on the status of women as the lighting enables children to do their homework. A few hours of the lighting will equate to adding years of education to the poorest of Indians."

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

Climate Chaos

Frogs in a Warming Climate Pot – Let’s Jump Out Now Before We “Croak”—by Ellen Moyer: "The U.S. Global Change Research Program’s third National Climate Assessment (NCA), released on May 6, stridently warns us to act immediately to address climate change, saying it’s not too late to prevent the worst effects, including but not limited to inundation of land by rising sea levels, food shortages, water shortages, spread of infectious diseases, dislocated populations, destroyed coral reefs, species extinctions, damaged infrastructure, and economic disruption. This article is not about whether humans caused this crisis, the severity of the impacts, or when impacts will hit—the NCA says “yes,” “dramatic,” and “now”—but about our capacity to deal with this crisis. [...] we already have the technical tools to solve the climate crisis [...] But do we have the necessary intelligence, will, and institutions to prompt us to jump out of our lethally warming climate pot, which in this context means turning off the heat?"

Global Warming and Investors—by se portland: "On Thursday the S&P released a report of global warming. Starting as early as 2020 they will start rating countries on the investment risk attributed to global warming. Countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Senegal, Mozambique, Fiji, and the Philippines will be downgraded because of the increased risk due to global warming. They are the biggest player to come out and admit global warm is not only real, but inevitable. Despite what the Republicans like Rubio might say, the investment community is taking this seriously."

Earth tied for the warmest April on record says NOAA—by HoundDog: "Andrew Freedman of Mashable Earth Just Tied for Its Warmest April on Record, NOAA Says: April 2014 tied with the same month in 2010 for the distinction of being the warmest April on record globally, with an average global temperature 1.39 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Tuesday. The month also extended the unbroken string of months with global average temperatures at or above the 20th century average to 350 straight months, or more than 29 years. This was the 38th straight April that had a global temperature at or above the 20th century average as well. ... NOAA said that much of the globe was 'much warmer than average' during April, particularly in central Siberia, where temperatures were more than 9 degrees Fahrenheit above the 1981-2010 average."

Republican science denial - a clear and present danger to U.S. national security—by HoundDog: "On Sunday, George Stephanopoulos, of ABC's This Week, interviewed Governor Jerry Brown on the more than 1,500 wildfires in California in 2014, during which Brown asserted that they were caused, in part by global warming, and that the challenge of reducing our fossil fuel burning will be more difficult because 'virtually no Republican who accepts the science that virtually is unanimous.' PolitiFact decides to fact check Governor Brown's claim in 'Virtually no Republican' in Washington accepts climate change science. and found it to be 'Mostly True,' which is not surprising. Is it not time to push this issue to the the next step and ask what are the implications for America's economy, labor force, culture, and national security if mainstream Republicans can not push back on what I believe is actually a minority of their base who really does not believe in science, sand stop this silliness before the damage is irreversible?"

Pope Francis: Causing Climate Change Is a "Sin"—by TomP: "I hope this has an impact on people. Pope Francis recently spoke about climate change.  Yes, it's real: Pope Francis made the religious case for tackling climate change on Wednesday, calling on his fellow Christians to become “Custodians of Creation” and issuing a dire warning about the potentially catastrophic effects of global climate change. Speaking to a massive crowd in Rome, the first Argentinian pope delivered a short address in which he argued that respect for the “beauty of nature and the grandeur of the cosmos” is a Christian value, noting that failure to care for the planet risks apocalyptic consequences."

With new members, NC science panel will soon get to work finagling new forecast of sea-level rise—by Meteor Blades: "Two weeks after the legislators passed the changes in 2012, a new study was published showing that over the previous three decades, the sea level from Boston to Cape Hatteras in North Carolina was rising three to four times as fast as sea level in the world as a whole. If accurate, that would mean an even higher rise than the 39 inches the science panel predicted in 2010. Differentials in sea-level rise are no surprise to scientists, but many politicians seem unable to grasp the concept. At least when money is concerned. But then, many of them refuse to grasp the whole concept of global warming, period, either out of ignorance or greed. The coastal commission's science panel is carrying out another command of the legislation barring exponential calculations. It is preparing a new forecast to be released next March. But the panel won't try to predict sea-level rise until century's end, merely for the next 30 years. That's a clever move because the bulk of the rise will come in the later part of the 21st century, not in the next three decades."

CA Governor Brown on drought and wildfires: 'Humanity is on a collision course with nature'—by VL Baker: The situation in California is dire with 100% of the state in drought and much of that being exceptional and extreme drought. The drought has made vegetation very dry and created a tinderbox at great risk for wildfires. California is now in a very serious fire season and firefighters there have already seen more than twice the usual number of fires by this time most years. 'As we send billions and billions of tons of heat-trapping gases, we get heat and we get fires and we get what we’re seeing,' [California Gov. Jerry] Brown said [Sunday on ABC's This Week. 'So, we’ve got to gear up. We’re going to deal with nature as best we can, but humanity is on a collision course with nature and we’re just going to have to adapt to it in the best way we can.'"

European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 satellite: Antarctica shedding 160 billion tonnes of ice a year—by Laurence Lewis: "Once again, the science speaks for itself: Antarctica is shedding 160 billion tonnes a year of ice into the ocean, twice the amount of a few years ago, according to new satellite observations. The ice loss is adding to the rising sea levels driven by climate change and even east Antarctica is now losing ice. The new revelations follows the announcement last week that the collapse of the western Antarctica ice sheet has already begun and is unstoppable, although it may take many centuries to complete."

FL Gov. Scott lobbied by Evangelical Christians to accept climate change as pro-life issue—by VL Baker: "Lordy, the seas may have finally parted. In creative use of their fundamental beliefs some evangelical Christians have come to equate climate change action with their pro-life views and are calling on Governor Scott to come up with a plan to adapt and mitigate climate change. Rev. Mitch Hescox, president of the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN), is leading the group’s campaign for Scott to recognize climate change as a major threat in Florida. EEN is collecting signatures for a petition asking Gov. Scott to create a plan for climate change, one which so far has garnered about 12,000 signatures.  'We wanted to help the evangelical church understand in Florida that climate change is not a liberal issue or any issue other than a people issue,' he said."

More Bad News from Antarctica and Greenland—by xaxnar: "The news that the western ice sheets of Antarctica now appear to be headed for irreversible melting was bad enough. Additional data coming in suggests matters may be even more serious. The BBC reports on the latest ice measurements from ESA's Cryosat. Antarctica is now losing about 160 billion tonnes of ice a year to the ocean—twice as much as when the continent was last surveyed. The new assessment comes from Europe's Cryosat spacecraft, which has a radar instrument specifically designed to measure the shape of the ice sheet."

Landmark class action: Insurance company is suing 200 Illinois towns for ignoring climate change—by VL Baker: "It was bound to happen eventually. The impacts of climate change are becoming impossible to ignore. The impacts are dangerous and costly and now the discussion begins about who is going to pay for the damage. Farmers Insurance filed nine class actions last month against nearly 200 communities in the Chicago area. It is arguing that local governments should have known rising global temperatures would lead to heavier rains and did not do enough to fortify their sewers and stormwater drains. The legal debate may center on whether an uptick in natural disasters is foreseeable or an 'act of God.' The cases raise the question of how city governments should manage their budgets before costly emergencies occur."

America's Global Warming Legacy—by dsteve01: "These days, the question of whether climate change is 'real or not' is not simply of interest to scientists. It is an issue of importance for the American camping community. Over the past two decades we have seen a dramatic rise in carbon emissions which currently stands at an astounding 401.30 parts per million [1]. The global PPM in 1980 was 338.80 [2]. The world at large increased our global parts-per-million by eighteen percent (18.447%) over the course of 34 years! The situation posed by global warming raises questions about predicting trends in lung cancer, national park attendance, and, even, national security."

Pat Sajak: 'Global warming alarmists are unpatriotic racists knowingly misleading'—by Laurence Lewis: "I hadn't been aware that Pat Sajak still exists, but apparently, his TV show is still enormously popular. Sajak is a right wing Republican and an asshole. A frothing major league asshole. You can respond by boycotting Sajak's show and its advertisers."

Pat Sajak tweet that
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Climate Change Deniers—by Al in NY: "Lately I have noticed that the people who most vociferously deny man made climate change are also those who are the most threatened by evolution. But while you can hide your head in your religious dogma and deny evolution, climate change is coming for you. No matter if you 'believe' in it or not. I hope the deniers love their children too. We need them."

David Suzuki exposes the fossil fuel industry's war on climate science and scientists—by HoundDog: "Here is an outstanding interview by Bill Moyers: This week on Moyers & Company, scientist David Suzuki on capitalism and climate change. David Suzuki is a geneticist, zoologist, author, broadcaster, who calls out the politicians who are willfully deny science, and believes the fossil fuel industry is imitating the fossil fuel industry and seems 'recklessly determined to minimize or deny the reality of global warming, as well as undermine the authority of scientists,' just as the tobacco industry was after they knew smoking caused cancer. 'This is a very effective thing that we know has been done by the tobacco industry [and] it’s being done by the fossil fuel industry … You attack a person on the basis of their trustworthiness, their ulterior motives, anything to get away from dealing with the issues.'"

Extreme Weather

It doesn't only happen here: MASSIVE Flooding, Landslides Hit the Balkans - Worst in 120 Years—by jan4insight: "Heavy rains beginning earlier the week have triggered enormous floods, many landslides, massive power outages and stranded populations in Serbia and Bosnia-Hersegovina. Today the flooding spread to parts of Croatia, which so far has been relatively unaffected and in fact was one of the first countries to send help."

Some Perspective on the Balkan Flooding—by xaxnar: "The news coming out of the countries of the former Yugoslavia is truly heart rending. An area of the world so recently torn by civil strife is now coping with flooding from unprecedented rains. [...] Unfortunately, this is getting to be a familiar story: historic amounts of rain in a short time, overwhelming infrastructure built for a world that no longer exists. It's the flip side of the coin to areas of the world not getting the rain they used to expect. [...] We are moving into a new world. One of the consequences of Global Warming is that warmer air can hold more moisture, so where it rains, it can rain harder. Sometimes a lot harder. The Balkans are just the latest region to experience huge amounts of rain in a short time."

Food, Agriculture & Gardening

On the Monsanto Radar—by bisleybum: "Gearing up for Saturday’s March Against Monsanto, and already some of the opposition’s false flag operations are popping up on our local march Facebook page, in the form of a tin foil hat ear worm suggesting that Monsanto’s GMOs are designed to cull the population to reduce pressure on natural resources. Any activist who latches on to this meme of course will only discredit the movement. Meanwhile, I will be wearing a sign saying 'Ask Me Why,' and I will be carrying props in the form of healthy treats in an unmarked ziplock ( I will have the wrapper in my pocket) and offer to pop one in the questioner’s mouth if they close their eyes. They should say 'no way' whereupon I will give them the rationale behind supporting State Sen. Frank Nicely’s (R- 8th district) GMO required labeling bill now in the TN State Senate. GMO issues are far wider than just this bill, of course, but I will suggest this as a good place to start for newcomers to food activism. The progress on labeling is all around us, as stores are filling up with more low sodium, gluten free, tree nut warnings, organic products, no high fructose corn syrup. This is just one more step in a movement that has considerable momentum."

Basic rights and GMOs—by rgantibully: "According to Causes.com, "the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto's Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what's in your food. 'The GMA plans to sue Vermont to overturn its new GMO labeling law, H.112. And it's pushing a bill in Congress that would not only overturn every state's right to enact a GMO labeling law, but also legalize the practice of labeling GMO foods "natural."' These actions of the GMA have one purpose. To silence and make impotent the critics of genetically engineered food."

GMO opponents are the left's version of global warming deniers—by SkepticalRaptor: "Scientific denialism (also known as pseudoskepticism) is the culture of denying an established scientific theory, law or fact despite overwhelming evidence, and usually for motives of convenience. Sometimes those motives are to create political gain for their supporters. Two of the most annoying denier viewpoints are the darlings of the right wing: evolution denialism and global warming denialism. [...] Although denial of anthropogenic global warming and evolution tend to be the domain of the right wing, the left-wing have their own particular brands of science denialism–GMO's. Last year, I deconstructed and debunked a very poorly written article, published in Food and Chemical Toxicology by French researchers Gilles-Eric Séralini and Dr Joël Spiroux de Vendomois, which essentially invented data about a certain strain of GMO corn caused cancer in rats. As a sort of counter groundswell started to build against the anti-science nature of the GMO refusers, an article in Slate Magazine stated that the anti-GMO political left are using the same debate methods and tactics that have been adopted by the climate change denialists–they ignore the scientific consensus, cherry-pick data that supports their pre-determined positions, and use popular polls, instead of scientific evidence, to support their beliefs."

Update on the Maui GMO moritorium initiative—by Karen from Maui: "The Shaka Movement has organized the folks in Maui County to gather 10,000 signatures for a County initiative to ban GMOs in Maui County until an environmental study can prove their safety. In response, the GMO-Chemical corporations have created a plethora of astroturf organizations to promulgate their talking points. [...] According to lead organizer, Mark Sheehan, the 45 day window for the County of Maui Clerk to verify signatures is up this week. During the review, petitioners have continued to gather signatures and hope to have another 4,000 ready if the County invalidates too many. To go on the ballot the petition must have 20% of the number of voters in the last election—that's 8,500 registered voters."

We kicked Monsanto's Ass!—by madame damnable: "Election night in Jackson County Oregon. One County measure 15-119 was a measure to ban the growing of GMO crops in Jackson County. We were outspent by Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer and DuPont by more than three to one. An amazing grassroots effort by citizens going door-to-door and phone banking was very successfull. Despite constant negative ads on local stations our measure passed by more than two to one. GMO crops will be banned in Jackson County, Oregon. I worked on the campaign and wrote a diary about it recently. Here is a link. I am so happy!!!!!"

GMOs and Roundup / Glyphosate—by indycam: "Without the GMOs the amount of roundup / glyphosate that could be used was limited, the Roundup/ glyphosate would damage or kill the crop. To apply the amount of roundup / glyphosate to be enough to kill the weeds would also do in the crop. So the idea was to find some way to get the crops to be more tolerant of roundup / glyphosate. Dr Barry at Monsanto found a way to modify the soybeans, corn and cotton so that they could live with an amount of Roundup/glyphosate that would have done them real problems before, they could survive an amount that will kill off the weeds. It's brilliant that they could do this, but the Roundup/glyphosate is a problem."

Energy

Russia and China sign a 30 year gas deal estimated to be worth $400 billion—by HoundDog: "BBC reports that Russia signs 30-year gas deal with China between Gazprom, and the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) that has been 10 years in the making and is estimated to be worth over $400 billion, however the parties did not release details about exact price and volumes, China is thought to have driven a hard bargain. While some suggest a geopolitical significance of the deal is Russia is less vulnerable to sanctions from western sanctions over issues in Ukraine, since the pipeline will not star pumping gas into Chinese factories until 2018, in the most optimistic forecast, others suggest, its value in this regard is more symbolic. It seemed that President Vladimir Putin did not want to leave Shanghai without the deal and is thought to have made concessions to the Chinese on the price to have achieved it."

Fukushima: New Research Documents Biological Harm—by Joieau: "A previous field study had documented a decrease in the abundance of insects—particularly butterflies—in the contaminated region, while another documented a high incidence of morphological abnormality (mutations) in gall-forming aphids. This study quantifies physiological effects on a prevalent butterfly species in the polluted area, even to documenting how much cesium in the diet it takes to reach a 50% lethality level, and a 50% abnormality rate. The researchers conducted controlled experiments in the lab to reach their conclusions."

Blair Mountain—by eeff: "I get e-mails from Appalachian Voices.
To my surprise I got good news this AM! An order from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection will put a section of a mountaintop removal permit near historic Blair Mountain off limits to mining until at least 2018 when the permit comes up for renewal. Back in June of 2011 I went to Blair Mountain for a rally to protect the battle ground where the miners stood up against the company that had the backing of the US Government. It was in 1921 The Battle of Blair Mountain when the miners were trying to unionize. I meet Mentatmark there that weekend. He passed away a few months ago. I know he would want this Good News Posted."

Renewables

Hey, It's Windy out there!—by jamess: "If Wind Gusts ... were $20 bills, would more people pay attention to them? 9 Mind-Blowing Facts About Wind Energy—5. The United States has 60,000 megawatts of installed wind energy capacity. This powers the energy needed by roughly 15 million American homes. 6. America has barely scratched the surface of its wind energy potential. 'The land-based wind energy resource in the United States is over 10,000,000 megawatts, which could produce enough electricity to power the entire country 10 times over,' reports the American Wind Energy Association."

Germany got 74% of its electrical power from Renewable Sources the other day—by Lefty Coaster: "On Friday evening I went up to Bellingham to hear Bill McKibben speak. Bill has something fascinating to share with his audience, how Germany has reached the point where it had gotten over 74% of its electrical power from renewable sources the other day. That's a huge milestone, and it demonstrates that renewable sources can power a large industrial nation. Germany shows us that renewables aren't a potential source of power for some time in the future, they are a viable alternative TODAY."

A weekend of climate action with Bill McKibben—by James Wells: "We have had a big weekend for climate awareness and action here in Bellingham, Washington. Climate leader and author Bill McKibben visited us and had events Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, as well as generously taking the time to meet with activists such the leaders of the divestment movement at Western Washington University. People turned out in force for the major events, at Chuckanut Radio Hour and then Western Reads, as well as a divestment rally immediately after the Western event. [...] He had very kind and encouraging words for those of us who have working hard to stop plans for North America's largest coal export terminal. There's just no way to express how motivating it is to hear this from him."

Fracking

Letterman passes fracking torch. Colbert blows it up—by citisven: "David Letterman on Fracking: Ladies and Gentlemen, We're Screwed!  Stephen Colbert, aka The Fracker: Come on, we're trying to throw a fracking party here, and these people are ruining it with their suffering. As David Letterman is getting ready to pass the Late Show torch to Stephen Colbert, it's worth noting that when it comes to fracking, it's a hilariously explosive one. Who could forget Dave's epic rant? I thought it was worth reposting for the occasion of this week's California Fracking Moratorium Blogathon."

Fight Back, Don't Frack!—by Senator Holly Mitchell: "California’s earth, air and water face the threat of ongoing fracking unless the Legislature votes to impose a moratorium that the oil industry is determined to resist. My bill, SB 1132, needs your support! It would place a moratorium on this practice until it is studied and California’s public health and environmental sustainability can and will be protected. Now, more than ever, we need your help. This is a critical week for SB 1132. A decision will be made Friday by the Senate Appropriations Committee on whether it stays alive and moves forward for a vote on the Senate floor. Last year’s version of the bill was heavily watered down in the Assembly Appropriations Committee before dying on the Assembly Floor."

The boom that wasn't: EIA cut Monterey Shale oil by 96 percent.—by RLMiller: "In news that stunned most onlookers, the Energy Information Administration confirmed that it's cut its estimate of oil technically recoverable from California's Monterey Shale from 113 to 15 billion barrels of oil to 0.6 billion barrels - a downgrade of 96 percent. Ninety six percent. Not a typo. As any any California native and/or graduate of a high school geology class knows, California has messy geologic beds - folded, twisted, shaken, and stirred, unlike the neatly made geologic beds drawn with straight lines in textbooks. Geologists have long known that the Monterey Shale has 400 billion barrels of oil, but it was thought to be mostly unrecoverable. A 2011 estimate from the EIA pegged the amount of recoverable oil using today's technologies (fracking and acidizing) at 15.4 billion barrels, later downgraded to 13.7 billion barrels. But even that 13.7 billion barrels has turned out to be unrecoverable using fracking."

Energy officials downgrade Monterey Shale oil reserves by 95.6%—by Dan Bacher: "Oil industry representatives have continually claimed that the expansion of fracking for oil in California will lead to the creation of many thousands of jobs and the influx of billions of dollars into the economy, but these claims were exposed as false when federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) officials downgraded Monterey Shale reserves by 95.6 percent on May 20. In her recent blog, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association and former Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called 'marine protected areas' in Southern California, touted the jobs bonanza that would supposedly be created by expanded fracking."

Santa Cruz County first to ban fracking in California—by Dan Bacher: "The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 today to prohibit fracking and oil and gas development in Santa Cruz County. Food & Water Watch, 350.org, Environment California, Center for Biological Diversity, Californians Against Fracking, Santa Cruz Sierra Club, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and UC Santa Cruz students rallied with Supervisor John Leopold after the vote to celebrate the victory. 'We congratulate the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors for their historic vote towards protecting California’s air and water, and for setting a positive example for other counties and Governor Brown,' said Adam Scow, California Director of Food & Water Watch."

A fracking ban might just have to start at home—by danieljkessler: "They say all politics is local. The loosening of campaign finance laws may have altered this a smidge, but I think the maxim still holds mostly true. Consider the fracking fight, where the adoption of county-level bans could send a strong message to Sacramento that the expansion of fracking in California doesn’t enjoy popular support. This in turn could lead to a ban if things break the right way. It could all start in Butte County, where a volunteer-led fight was just featured in a New York Times profile."

SB 1132 Blogathon — Letters, Comments, Talking Points, Environmental Wisdom, and Music—by WarrenS: "Over the four years I sustained the Climate Letter Project, I wrote daily letters to the editor on virtually every aspect of climate change, and had them published in newspapers and magazines all over the world. So when it came time to pitch in for the 'Support California SB1132' blogathon, it was a relatively simple matter to pull up some of the letters I'd written in opposition to fracking and the use of natural gas in our energy economy. SB1132, of course, places a moratorium on fracking in CA. We're for it."

Fracking protest in North Carolina
NC Republicans shill for industry in bill that would jail anyone who discloses fracking chemicals—by Meteor Blades: "Twenty states now require companies to disclose the chemicals they use in the hydraulic fracturing process used to pry gas and oil from tight geological formations. But, as part of the omnibus Energy Modernization Act, SB 786, North Carolina Republicans want to impose civil and criminal penalties, including prison time, on anyone who makes such a disclosure. The bill has nine co-sponsors, all of them Republicans. Both houses of the state legislature have Republican super-majorities."

Fracking Confidential—by akmk: "An oil well near Tioga, ND hasn’t stopped leaking oil since local emergency officials were notified of the spill on Friday. But because the well is under a confidentiality agreement that makes some of the well’s information a secret, details such as the spill’s aren’t being released to the public. [...] Alison Ritter, spokesperson for the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, told ThinkProgress that because of the well’s confidentiality, only a few things about the well could be released to the public: the well’s operator, name, file and identification number, location (in coordinates), and the date that the company’s confidentiality agreement lifts...Ritter said confidential wells are common in North Dakota—18 percent of the state’s oil and gas wells are confidential, and her agency publishes a list of them on its website."

Southwestern Energy Executive Mark Boling Admits Fracking Link to Climate Change—by Steve Horn: "An Executive of a major shale gas development company has conceded what scientists have been saying for years: global shale gas development has the potential to wreak serious climate change havoc. Best known for his company’s hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') activity,Southwestern Energy Executive Vice President Mark Boling admitted his industry has a methane problem on the May 19 episode of Showtime’s 'Years of Living Dangerously' in a segment titled, 'Chasing Methane.' 'I think some of those numbers, they certainly concern me,' Boling says on the show. 'How could you say that that methane emission rate was one and a half percent—very, very difficult to there from here for that.'"

Fracking moratorium bill put in suspense file—by Dan Bacher: "Senate Bill 1132, Senator Holly Mitchell and Mark Leno's legislation to require a moratorium on fracking in California while studies are conducted, was put into the suspense file on Monday, May 19, following the morning hearing in the appropriations committee. You can bet that the placing of the bill into the suspense file by the legislative leadership was made under heavy pressure by the Western States Petroleum Association, the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento."

#PAGov: PA Voters Against Fracking Welcome Tom Wolf as Democratic Nominee—by S Kitchen: "At Tom Wolf’s acceptance speech last night in York, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Voters Against Fracking, the environmental group who has been following around the four democratic candidates for the past several months pushing for a statewide fracking moratorium, welcomed the democratic gubernatorial nominee at Santander Field.  Their message to Tom Wolf was simple, distinguish himself from Tom Corbett by supporting a statewide fracking moratorium."

Eco-Related DC & State Politics

Alaska's Joe Miller strives to be the denyingest climate change denier in state's Republican primary—by Meteor Blades: "More than a third of the U.S. Congress comprises men and women who don't accept the scientific consensus that human-causes are changing our planet's climate. If Joe Miller has his way, there will be another come January. The tea party favorite is making his second Republican primary run for the U.S. Senate from Alaska. He won the primary in 2010. But incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski won the general election against Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams with a write-in campaign, making her only the third person in U.S. history to win a Senate race as a write-in. This time around Miller has two Republican opponents for the August primary. There's Dan Sullivan, a former natural resources commissioner, and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell. The winner will face Democratic Sen. Mark Begich. Miller has been hammering both his GOP foes on climate change. And instead of sticking with their former views, they're bending in Miller's scientifically illiterate direction."

Trade & Foreign Policy

This Trade Deal Will Make You Sick, Maybe Give You Mad Cow Disease...Or Kill You Fast—by Tasini: "The president does not seem to understand, or care, that trade deals like TPP will drive inequality (though, after he held up Wal-Mart as an upstanding citizen, in utter rhetorical political stupidity given the party's focus on raising the minimum wage, it's less astounding). And despite his rhetoric about climate change, he doesn't seem to understand, or care, that trade deals like the TPP will undo environmental protections. [...] If the TTIP passes, the food you eat may make you very ill or just outright kill you. The Center for Food Safety has a revealing report. The first thing I think we should emphasize is the goal of these deals: A central aspect of trade agreements of the last two decades, including TTIP, is to harmonize differing safety standards between countries. In trade speak, 'harmonization'—represented by terms such as 'regulatory coherence or convergence,' 'mutual recognition,' and 'substantial equivalency'—results in a downward spiral of numerous safeguards for society and, perversely, constrains governments from setting safety standards higher than trade agreement rules. I have never seen a trade deal, since NAFTA, that raises safety standards. It's always about the lowest common denominator."

The Great Outdoors

Butterfly in Big Sur
Redwood and Wildflower Photodiary—by Jill Richardson: "I'm just back from a trip up the coast to Monterey, and I took advantage of the opportunity to do a bit of hiking in Big Sur. About Big Sur, I must say: I now get what all the hype is about. Yes, it's amazing. Go there. I looked up a number of different hiking options between Monterey and Big Sur. The Salmon Creek Trail sounded like the best option, but it was just out of the range of the redwoods, and I wanted to see redwoods. Instead, I went to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. First, I took a quick peek at McWay Falls. And then I did the Ewoldsen Trail. It's about a 5.5 mi round trip out and back that goes up to a vantage point where you might see a California Condor if you are very lucky (I wasn't). The trail is steep. It's nearly all straight UP. You begin along a stream, walking amongst redwoods. Eventually you top out above the redwoods and reach some black sage, a view of the ocean, and some oaks covered in lichen."

Trailing through the tangle of what grows around you—by Elizaveta: "The native trailing blackberry vines are climbing the stumps left from logging, which makes for easier picking if you can beat the birds and other critters to the berries. We frequently come across coyote scat full of blackberry and Indian plum seeds, so we know they're enjoying the fruit, too. We actually find most of the ripe berries closer to the ground where they 'trail' in the tangle of everything that grows around them. These are the only native blackberries in the PNW. A blackberry blossom holds the promise of one of the sweetest tastes of the PNW summer.

Bike Season!—by Tracker: "In honor of Bike Month, this diary is for people who are considering buying a bike. Here are some hints especially for beginners: Skip the big-box retailers and go to a bike shop. This has many advantages: you're shopping with a local business, the staff is knowledgeable, there's a wide variety to choose from, and your bike is more likely to be assembled by somebody who knows what she's doing. What bike is for you? There are a lot of choices. There are mountain bikes with shock absorbers and fat nubby tires. There are road bikes with curly handlebars and skinny tires.  There are single-speed/fixed gear bikes. There are comfort bikes with easy step-in and cushy seats. There are kids bikes, recumbent bikes, beach bikes, tri-bikes, cyclocross bikes and a score of other choices. Don't be intimidated! Forget what the bike looks like, think about how you will use it."

Critters

iguana ground
The Daily Bucket - no crocs...yet—by OceanDiver: "May 2014, Blackbird Caye, Turneffe Atoll, Belize. Most of my days down in Belize earlier this month I was underwater, swimming with the fishes and all. More on that later. But the small island where I stayed for two weeks, Blackbird Caye, has quite a variety of terrestrial life too, some of which I was able to see, wandering around between dives. Turneffe Atoll is a national Marine Reserve with wonderful biodiversity. The caye is narrow where I stayed, with the dock on the oceanside. Vegetation grows out of white coral sand, fertilized by dead leaves, bird poop and other organic material. Spiny-tailed Iguanas (Ctenosaura similis) are abundant. Their markings are varied, so I know I wasn't looking at the same one over and over. I've read they can grow up to 5 feet, but the largest ones I saw were about 3 feet long. This one scampered up a tree while we watched. They are omnivorous and will eat eggs from nests, as well as their more typical diet of fruits, leaves and flowers."

Dawn Chorus: Blackbird Singing In The Dead Of Night . . .—by Kestrel: "I'm talking about the awesome and vocal bad-ass, the Red-winged Blackbird, one of the most abundant birds in the world. [...] The Red-winged Blackbird is ubiquitous across North America, almost as common as the city pigeon. With its glossy black coat and brilliant red and yellow shoulder patches, the male of the species is a handsome guy. As usual, the female is rather dull and brown, though still an attractive bird. [...] One of the coolest things about the Red-winged Blackbird though is its distinctive voice. Field guide descriptions of bird calls always leave me scratching my head, seeing a bunch of consonants grouped together with a vowel or two and that's supposed to represent the way the call sounds. It never works for me."

Sign the petition: Don't let the tea party gut the Endangered Species Act!—by AshleyAllison: "Against all odds, the tiny black-footed ferret is making a miraculous comeback on the western American prairie. Once considered extinct in the wild, the wily creatures owe their fragile survival to one historic law: the Endangered Species Act. But right now, the Endangered Species Act is under attack -- and ferrets, gray wolves, and more than 1,500 other plants and animals it safeguards are in jeopardy. A band of pro-polluter members of Congress, led by Rep. Doc Hastings, is ramming through a series of misleading and devastating bills that would gut the ESA. They say their only goal is to "reform" the act, but we know what they really want: To let corporate polluters profit from logging, mining, and drilling our most vulnerable wildlife into oblivion."

Bonnethead shark
Daily Bucket: Wild Florida--Bonnethead Shark—by Lenny Flank: "The Bonnethead Shark (Sphyrna tiburo) looks like a miniature version of the Hammerhead Shark, and indeed it is the smallest of the ten species in the hammerhead family. Bonnetheads average about 3.5 feet long and can sometimes reach 5 feet. They are a common shark in shallow warm waters on both coasts, ranging seasonally from Brazil around the Gulf of Mexico all the way up to Massachusetts, and from Ecuador to California. In Florida, they can be found in bays and estuaries for most of the year, though they tend to move further south during the winter. I occasionally encounter them while kayaking in Tampa Bay. Unlike most sharks, who eat fish, Bonnetheads feed mostly on crustaceans and invertebrates, using their large flattened teeth to crush the shells. Like most sharks, they have electro-sensory organs in their snouts that can detect the electric field generated by a living organism, which they use to detect prey buried in the sediment."

Zimbabwe Elephant Crisis-Your Help Needed Now. Please Sign Petition.—by JrCrone: "Help is needed to safeguard a herd of elephants in crisis. Once protected by an explicit presidential directive, the elephants flourished. Now this directive needs to be reaffirmed. But shooting has already been heard in the area, and one of the most dedicated activists documenting this range, Sharon Pincott, is getting out. There is no reason that those gunshots might not catch her as well as an elephant. Please sign the Petition. Save the Presidential Elephants Now."

The Daily Bucket - Lake Chabot Heron Rookery—by enhydra lutris: "As many of you know there is a local Great Blue Heron Rookery. It is at Lake Chabot, CA and a couple of years ago the herons relocated from their longstanding rookery location to an island in the lake after Bald Eagles moved into their area. Though birds at several other Bay Area rookeries started nesting early, these did not. In fact, it is about half-way through the normal nesting season, and it does not appear that they are nesting this year at all."

What's killing Yellowstone Wolves—by ban nock: "The scientist who did the necropsy was a veterinarian, she'd done over 200 of these disections on wolves. It took her less than ten minutes to definitively establish the cause of death. Peeling the skin off the throat revealed muscle turned to hamburger and a fractured larynx yet the skin showed no signs of what was underneath. Underneath the skin of the torso was the evidence of many bites and a collapsed lung. 'Shredded' was the way the scientist described the results of an attack on a single wolf by an entire pack. Intraspecific mortality is a fancy way to say two packs have a war with each other. It's been the leading cause of wolf mortality in Yellowstone National Park for years. If you are a wolf, and you live in Yellowstone, chances are you will be bit to death by other wolves. When two packs clash usually it's one of the alphas that die, smaller wolves turn tail and run, the big wolf is left to the teeth of the rival pack. A new study suggests overcrowding is causing the high rates of wolf on wolf mortality. Sorry only a link to a newspaper story.  http://www.sltrib.com/.... (Secondary stories from journalists are always suspect, but for now I've no free access to the study.)"

Water & Drought

Great News for the Colorado River—by xaxnar: "It's taken around two months, but National Geographic reports the Colorado River has reached the sea once more. After coursing through its delta for nearly eight weeks, the fresh waters of the Colorado River have touched the high tides of the salty sea. It is the first time in sixteen years that the Colorado River, which flows 1,450 miles (2,334 kilometers) from its headwaters in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado  to the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) in northwestern Mexico, will have reached its final, natural destination. This reunion between river and sea is due to an agreement between Mexico and the United States, known as Minute 319, to advance the restoration of the Colorado Delta by releasing a pulse flow and sustaining base flows in a five-year experiment."

Texas in Drought: When Fanatical Religiosity Trumps Science—by rotekapellerin: "America is a nation of profound contradictions.  A leader in technology, the nation that put men on the moon also has (by far) the largest percentage of science illiterates and fierce nonbelievers. (In science, that is.) The US, whose middle class once was the envy of the world, is also a nation deeply divided by class: Thanks to Wall Street Americans today enjoy the dubious distinction of having the worst income inequality in the developed world."

Delta advocates oppose Senator Feinstein's bailout for agribusiness bill—by Dan Bacher: "Senator Dianne Feinstein is sponsoring a emergency drought relief bill, S 2918, that will enable more Delta water to be exported to corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley during the current drought. In a statement in April, Feinstein portrayed the legislation as a necessary measure to alleviate harm to the agricultural economy during a drought. 'More than 800,000 acres of California farmland will likely be fallowed,' Feinstein claimed. 'California’s economy faces a $7.5 billion hit. More than 15,000 jobs related to the agriculture industry are at risk. Food prices across the country will increase. This is an emergency, and this bill deserves a vote.'"

Delta Independent Science Board Slams Brown's Tunnel Plan—by Dan Bacher: "California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird in March 2013 claimed, 'At the beginning of the Brown administration, we made a long-term commitment to let science drive the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. Science has and will continue to drive a holistic resolution securing our water supply and substantially restoring the Delta’s lost habitat.' However, the hollowness of Laird's claim that the BDCP is founded on 'science' was exposed on Monday, May 19 when the Delta Independent Science Board (Delta ISB) criticized the science in its review of the draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement."

Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice

Chevron taking its ball and going... to Texas. Global Day of Action ensues, including Bike the Math—by citisven: "Then Chevron tried to sneak out the back door and woke up a sleeping people giant. The canceled shareholder meeting turned into a Global Day of Action, endorsed by nearly 100 groups with protests in 12 countries around the world. Because really, it's not like Chevron has gotten any better over the last 12 months. The opposite, whether it's illegally fracking in Romania, refusing to take responsibility for a gas-rig explosion in Nigeria, or bribing witnesses during retaliatory RICO lawsuits, these guys are just not making many friends aside from the Donny Rico's of the world. So as a result, this coming Wednesday, May 21, there are going to be actions throughout the worst-hit frontline communities from Nigeria to Ecuador, from Argentina to Romania. Right outside the Richmond refinery, Amazon Watch is joining with groups like APEN, the Richmond Progressive Alliance, the Sunflower Alliance, Greenaction, and over a dozen other groups to hold Chevron accountable for its crimes in Richmond and around the world."

Bill McKibben issues a call to action—by Meteor Blades: "Today, in Rolling Stone magazine, where 10 months ago was published his  seminal Global Warming's Terrifying New Math, there's a new piece by McKibben, a call to demand action on climate change in New York City Sept. 20-21. [...] Marching doesn’t solve anything by itself. But movements can shift political power—in fact, little else ever does. We need to show just how big and unified our movement has grown, from the environmental justice advocates fighting fossil fuel pollution in our communities to the students demanding divestment on our campuses, from the scientists who have seen their warnings so far ignored to the clergy now showing real moral leadership."

National Parks, Forests & Other Public Lands

Eel Lake Trail, Oregon's William Tugman State Park
The Eel Lake Trail (Photo Diary)—by Ojibwa: "The Eel Lake Trail is a short—3 mile in-and-out—trail along the southern end of Eel Lake at Oregon’s William Tugman State Park. Shown below are some pictures taken from the trail in April 2014."

Republican lieutenant governor candidate in Alaska: 'I'd probably invade ANWR'—by Hunter: "I repeat and expand upon my prior premise: All Republican candidates anywhere running for anything are batshit insane. Republican and current Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan is running to become the lootenant governor of Alaska, and apparently there's some quota where you have to say a certain amount of batshit crazy things to even be considered for the job.
And as a fourth-generation Alaskan, Sullivan said he'd be an enthusiastic ambassador for the state. Part of that would be fighting for Alaska's state rights. He said that includes getting the 20 million acres that's still owed to the state from the federal government, and controlling the state's resources. 'One of the things I've suggested, too, is that if I was governor today, I'd probably invade ANWR,' he said. 'What are they going to do, shoot you? Well, they might. But martyrdom goes a long way sometimes.' [...] It's not clear if he means he'd be invading the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge personally, or if he means he'd be sending other people to be martyrs on his behalf."

The author and family.
Score Another One for Wilderness—by Michael Brune: "For more than a century, presidents have been using the Antiquities Act to save our national treasures, and President Obama's just-announced designation of the Organ Mountains - Desert Peaks National Monument in southern New Mexico shows exactly why this law is so indispensable. At nearly 500,000 acres (making it by far the largest monument that President Obama has designated), Organ Mountains - Desert Peaks is packed with history, from archaeological sites to Billy the Kid's Outlaw Rock, to training areas for the Apollo space missions. The canyons and jagged peaks of the region's mountain ranges are both beautiful and unique. My family and I experienced that beauty firsthand last November when we hiked the Dripping Springs Trail together with many of the folks who've been working for years to gain this protection. It's estimated that the new monument will attract enough new outdoor recreation and tourism to give a $7.4 million boost to the local economy. No wonder the designation received strong local support across the board—from business owners to elected officials to residents."

Expanding the National Park System-#19 Maine—by MorrellWI1983: "This is the nineteenth diary in my "Expanding the National Parks' series. This week I'm in Maine, checking out the North Woods and trying the local lobster. Maine doesn't have much federally protected land, at 1.1% it ranks near the bottom,  46th in the country. Currently Maine has one national park, one national forest, 11 wildlife Refuges, and two historic sites/ other NPS Units. I will be proposing giving Maine its first national monuments. Starting with this diary, I will be posting links to pictures of each site, so that folks who read this diary can get a visual idea of each location."

Pollution, Hazardous Wastes & Trash

Kitty litter the cause of radiation leak at Nuclear Waste Isolation Pilot Plant—by HoundDog: "To clarify the kitty litter itself was not radioactive, apparently thousands of barrels of radioactive nitrate salts were pulled out of an old nuclear bomb dump used for decades and mixed with kitty litter as a means of long-term disposal. Kitty litter turns out to be great for absorbing any liquid that leaks out of drums before they are sealed. The plant recently switched from non-organic to organic litter so officials are investigating whether this could be the cause of the leak. I find the use of kitty litter  some what amusing. I taught a course in computer simulation for long-term strategic planning at the Idaho National Labs several decades ago to the teams planning for the permanent storage nuclear waste and they talked about all sort of exotic possibilities such as mixing nuclear waste down into small pellet and then embedding it in glass-like ceramic compounds, surrounded by salt, separated with graphite planes to absorb neutrons, or some kind of bothersome radiation that one would want riling up neighboring racks. So now we are mixing waste with kitty litter, throwing it into barrels, and down into mine shafts. Admittedly, though, most of folks I taught were working  with high level nuclear waste."

Eco-Philosophy, Eco-Essays & Eco-Poetry

Magnetic Field Effects On Ocean Currents—by Rich Lyles: "The most widely disseminated possible consequence of  Global Warming is a shift in the course of the  Gulf Stream that triggers an Ice Age that sweeps suddenly across the Northern Hemisphere with catastrophic affects. Deep ocean currents of fresh water from glacial melt change the salinity and density of sea water in ways that effect the regional thermodynamic fluid flow. Thus, thermal transport currents like the Gulf Stream can change direction rapidly as the whole system moves from one equilibrium state to another.  If you have ever seen the smoke streaming up from a cigarette in an ashtray suddenly change direction in a room where the air is very still, you have witnessed this effect in action. The mechanical analog is a long slender object, like a book, standing momentarily on edge before a breeze tips it over. The equilibrium forces can be out of balance for an undetermined period of time before finally reaching the critical stage or 'tipping point' were the object falls over. The concern of scientists about an 'imbalance' comes from the fact that once the hammer falls, there is no way to stop it.  Unfortunately for us, there is a wild card in this mix of thermodynamic fluid forces that we may have no control over."

Can attitudes about Climate change go through a transition like many did about equality lately?—by don mikulecky: "An article in Grist (crossposted from Slate) came to my attention on Facebook today, 'Climate change war' is not a metaphor, and it brought up this idea: Q. How quickly could the debate shift? How can we get past the stalemate on climate change and start focusing on what to do about it? A. People working on climate change should prepare for catastrophic success. I mean, look at how quickly the gay rights conversation changed in this country. Ten years ago, it was at best a fringe thing. Nowadays, it’s much, much more accepted. Is that possible with climate change? I don’t know, but 10 years ago, if you brought up the possibility we’d have gay marriages in dozens of states in 2014, a friend might have said 'Are you on drugs?' When we get focused, we can do amazing things. Unfortunately, it’s usually at the last minute, usually under duress."

Miscellany

New NFL stadium earns high environmental marks—by Laughing Planet: "A green NFL team? Seems like one of those oxymorons like military intelligence. But on some levels, in this case it might be true. With the use of solar panels and plants on top of the westside suite tower, the stadium will be net-zero to the electric grid on gamedays. Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara will be the new home of the SF 49ers in 2014. It will be the second NFL stadium to get the LEED Gold rating. Low-flow toilets systems and sinks were also taken into account along with recycled and reclaimed building products. Even the concession stands will feature food from local suppliers and excess waste will be recycled and composted whenever possible. Among other notable efforts are bike-friendly access, geo-thermal hot water, and grass that requires less water. It will also have the NFL’s first green roof. [...] The term "Ecological Marvel" may be a bit overstated, but a serious (read: not mere greenwashing) attempt was put forth to showcase what can be done. As this will be the venue for the Super Bowl in 2016, plenty of people will be made aware of the various things they can do with their own homes that can help reduce their impact on the planet."

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