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alligators
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 Wednesday Spotlight can be seen here. So far, more than 18,700 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.
Senator Bernie Sanders explains why a tax on carbon and methane is the best way to reduce emissions—by HoundDog: "Senator Bernie Sanders explains Why We Need a Carbon Tax, announcing that he is proud to have teamed up with Senator Barbara Boxer to advance the Climate Protection Act which would add fees to the largest emitters of carbon and methane. Sanders reminds us that 'Global warming is the greatest environmental threat facing the planet and averting a planetary disaster will require a major reduction in the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels.' The carbon fee would apply to only 2,869 of the largest fossil fuel polluters, covering about 85 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the approach used in our bill will reduce greenhouse gas emissions levels by about 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2025 and will generate $1.2 trillion in revenue over 10 years. Our bill returns 60 percent of that revenue directly to American taxpayers to offset any efforts by the fossil fuel corporations to jack up their prices. The rest of the revenue would support large investments in renewable energy, weatherize a million homes a year (which itself would create hundreds of thousands of jobs and save each household hundreds of dollars a year on their energy bills), fund $1 billion a year in worker training, and put hundreds of billions of dollars into reducing the national
debt."
green dots
Fox News stole my light bulbs—by elsaf: "People who know me know I'm a landlord. The housing crash happened just as I came into a small inheritance, and I used a lot of the money to buy houses that I rent out to support myself since my job evaporated. [...] One of the things I pride myself on is energy efficiency in my houses. I can't afford to put solar arrays on every roof, but I do make sure that the heating and cooling is as efficient as possible and that every light fixture has either a CFL or LED bulb. And this points to one of my pet peeves. I'm preparing a house right now. I just spent $80 on light bulbs. Ceiling fans always get LED bulbs because the CFLs don't tend to hold up under the vibration of a fan. (Just my experience -- not any proven principle.) Energy efficient bulbs are expensive compared to the old incandescent bulbs, but supposedly, they last long enough to make that up. Heh... trouble is, as soon as most tenants move in, they substitute old-style bulbs for all my energy efficient bulbs. And they don't save my bulbs, they throw them away. (Going forward, I'm amending my lease to make it clear—they will be charged for every missing LED or CFL bulb when they move out.) Why do they take my bulbs, that are going to save them money on their electric bills, and throw them away? Because right-wing news idiots told them that CFLs are dangerous because of the mercury inside."
green dots
Bash Bish Falls of Massachusetts
Daily Bucket - Bash Bish Falls—by Attack Gardener: "Bash Bish Falls is located in the southeast corner of Massachusetts in the Mount Washington State Forest. It's approximately an hour and a half from our place and a fine, scenic drive on a Saturday afternoon. [...] I had been to Bash Bish once, many moons ago in my twenties. I have very clear memories of a large, open parking lot and the falls visible immediately to the right of the lot with a lovely grassy lawn to lounge on. Upon arriving at The Place, I discovered that my memory was not just slightly degraded but downright fraudulent. The parking lot was your typical state park lot, unpaved, everyone crammed in like cattle and lowing uneasily. To be fair, it WAS a large lot and there was a ranger on hand to direct traffic. We found a spot quickly and unloaded ourselves and Gracie the Wonder Pug. Gracie is a great fan of parks and gets quite put out when we take off without her."

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

The Great Outdoors

The Daily Bucket: 67º is too warm—by OceanDiver: "for Pacific Northwest waters. Our normal surface water temperatures range from about 9ºC (~48ºF) in winter to 13ºC (~56ºF) in summer (varying not just with season but with tide cycle, river runoff, the Pacific decadal oscillation, and other factors). Sometimes in summer it heats up excessively and our community of marine creatures suffers. After the spell of clear sunny weather we've had lately, there are areas in the Salish Sea that have warmed up into a range where we're starting to see effects on sea life. These are most extreme in shallow protected bays right now, but as the temperature of these inland waters increases with global warming, we can expect to see this more often. [...] I kayak around in this bay near my house frequently. Lately I've been observing the rocky shorelines closely, monitoring the incidence and progression of Seastar Wasting Syndrome (SSWS) (update on that anon). Of all the sites I had checked on my island, this stretch of shoreline on the east headland is the only place I had seen any affected seastars. These photos were taken last Sunday, July 6."

crab cove 7/6
Climate Chaos

Powerline & Hinderaker's Cynical Attack on Tom Steyer Likely a Welcome Diversion for Koch Brothers—by KGrandia: "The bloggers over at Powerline, led in this case by the Koch-cozy John Hinderaker, are all in a tizzy this week after the New York Times reported that Tom Steyer, a major political force in the fight for climate justice, used to invest heavily in coal mining operations. I think Powerline has either misread the Times story or has conveniently ignored the fact that Tom Steyer used to invest in coal, but since transitioning from his career as a hedge fund manager to his new role as a full-time climate action crusader, he has divested himself of interests in carbon-intensive industries. This nothingburger story is being trumped up by Powerline and the right-wing echo chamber as proof of hypocrisy in Steyer's commitment to fighting climate change."

Munich Re, Monsanto, and insights from a Norwegian post-doc—by jencke: "This afternoon I made a rather happy discovery as my inexpert mind attempted to digest the recent announcement that reinsurance giant Munich Re plans to collaborate with Germany's Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Peruvian government to develop an insurance system to mitigate climate risk for the country's agricultural industry. [...] The last decade, in the District of Chuquibamba, in the province of Condesuyos, comes bearing frost weather and sharp drops in temperatures at any time of the year. This phenomenon results in ever worse havoc on the production efforts of Maria Ibárcena, who cultivates flowers and fruits sold in the market for the family economy. Her situation is very difficult since the harvest of flowers can end abruptly by being 'burnt' by the excessive cold, and fruits are diminished. Currently, she and other cultivators take only 20 percent of the planting in comparison to previous seasons. Agricultural activity is their means of livelihood."

Group Representing 500 Million Christians Divests From Fossil Fuel—by ericlewis0: "Perhaps recalling the parts of the Bible in which God asks that his followers be good stewards to the Earth, the World Council of Christians, a global coalition of 345 churches moved to no longer invest in oil, gas, or coal companies and urged their members to follow their lead.
... The move is the biggest one yet by Christian groups attempting to reconcile the damages that climate change is causing with their beliefs to serve the planet well."

Heartland's Anonymous Donor Revealed—by ClimateDenierRoundup: "According to tweets from PolluterWatch, wealthy industrialist Barre Seid has admitted to being the big money behind the climate-denying Heartland Institute. Video footage taken at Heartland's recent climate denial convention is forthcoming. Barre is behind the Seid Foundation, and has also previously used the dark money group Donors Capital Fund to support right wing and climate denial causes, according to SourceWatch."

The World Is Going To Hell, Congress Is Broken, What Are YOU Doing To Help?—by liberaldad2: "Carbon is the greatest threat to the planet today. Congress refuses to act and the EPA can only do so much. What can each of us do to reduce our carbon footprint? Use less gasoline. If you drive an inefficient vehicle, get a new one. Get a bicycle and ride it to work once a week. Consolidate your errands instead of driving to the store every day. If the errand is less than a km (2 km? 3 km?), then walk. Turn your weekly shopping trip into cardiovascular exercise, make it a routine. Kill 2 birds. Use less energy. Turn your thermostat down one degree in the winter, up one in the summer. Wear a sweater in the winter. Caulk your windows and doors. If you have any incandescent bulbs in your home, replace them tomorrow. Install a solar panel. If you leave lights, appliances, or TVs on when you are not using them, well, stop it. Do you use elevators? Well, don’t. Find the stairs. Make it a rule - the elevator is OK for a climb of 3 flights or more, or carrying 10 kg or more. Down? Never OK. Unless you are injured or disabled! You will reach your destination faster, use less energy, gain a free cardio workout, and maybe even lose some weight in the bargain. And you will never die in an elevator accident."

CFACT Hustles Its Own—by ClimateDenierRoundup: "Remember that 'Big News' CFACT promised? Well, they've delivered! They've announced a new documentary film project titled 'Climate Hustle.' Not content to tap their usual funders for money to produce a documentary with the tagline "The global warming shakedown," Morano and friends are crowdsourcing this project. They've started with $12,241 of their $50,000 goal, apparently learning the lesson of their last failed video project which sought $130,000 and only raised $56,769. However, they are hoping to raise an additional $200,000 for marketing, distribution and screenings. Soliciting donations from individuals for a project about how climate change is a 'hustle' 'scam' and 'shakedown?' Pretty ironic for a group aimed at protecting corporate interests."

Poorly Understood Fact with Climate Change—by Joe Jackson: Some details about thermal expansion of the oceans.

Food, Agriculture & Gardening

Houston, we have a science problem—by mem from somerville: "I stepped away a while back because it was clear that my science advocacy was not well received here. The name-calling and troll-rating on items of fact were flung at me and made conversations on the actual issues futile. Environment-related diaries I wrote were not welcomed into the round-ups. Questions to management about these things were dismissed. So I chose to work on science and evidence-based policy elsewhere, where it might be welcomed and supported. Lately, though, I had begun to see some folks in my science circles posting here--on vaccines, and GMOs. I thought maybe it was time to look in again, and see if the climate had changed. 'Fraid not. I recently arrived after hearing about a diary on twitter, and found out this smart woman in my science circle had been called a shill repeatedly and a Monsanto fluffer. For those of you who don't know what kind of a misogynistic slur that is, you can see the definition here [NSFW]. That got a bunch of recs. Alas. So much for the environment. Charming."

Why I Oppose GMO Labeling—by liberaldad2: "Full disclosure here – I do not work for Monsanto, and as far as I know, I have no vested interest in their financial health one way or the other. Nor of any other GMO-influenced corporation or agency. But I am a scientist. And I love my children. And this is a teaching opportunity. In California where I live, there was a ballot initiative in 2012 to require labeling for GMOs. I take great pride in looking for evidence-based answers to seemingly complex and controversial questions. I looked for evidence that would mandate labeling of GMOs. I couldn’t find any. I read accounts by scientists who touted the history of human-initiated genetic modification (which goes back a few thousand years), and the potential benefits to humankind of GM food. I came to recognize that the fears that opponents are stirring about 'frankenfoods' are without any scientific basis. They are all based on 'what if' scenarios that argue against anything unknown and often reflect a basic misunderstanding of science. I rejected those non-scientific arguments. I voted 'no' to labeling GMOs."

Good, Kindhearted Parents are Pro-GMO—by ksenapathy: "I can only imagine how it feels to live on the edge of financial disaster, or to worry about my child’s physical well-being. Like most kindhearted and empathetic people, my heart breaks for those less fortunate. Like many self-proclaimed liberals and democrats, I’m pro-welfare, pro-social programs, and pro-affordable and government-subsidized healthcare. This is why I simply cannot comprehend why so many liberals, selfless in so many ways, are anti-GMO. Yes, yes, I know. Corporations. [...] This is a world map of the prevalence of Vitamin A deficiency based on WHO data. See that Americans? We in our cushy existence don’t have to deal with this. While we’re here marching against Monsanto, pretentiously shopping at Whole Foods, and berating Chobani for using GMO feed, many in those red and orange nations on the map are living off of less than what a serving of Chobani costs. They are also watching their precious children–as precious to them as ours are to us–suffer from dreadful micronutrient deficiencies like VAD. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of blindness in children, and greatly inhibits immune system function. Furthermore, VAD is a leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide."

Non-labeled GMOs: All I Wanted For Mother's Day—by ksenapathy: "Genetic Modification is a contentious topic these days. Many consumers demand their right to know and right to choose whether or not to purchase GMOs. Read on for some of the science behind GM tech, and reasons this mom thinks labeling is a bad idea at best. This article originally appeared on Grounded Parents, a parenting sister site to Skepchick. As a parent, there are a few things I want my children to know. Of these, one is that vehement opinions can’t logically be had without at least basic understanding of an issue. Another is that it’s okay and righteous to change one’s mind when a convincing argument is presented. This is why I’ve recently had a change of heart when it comes to GMO labeling. I used to be very pro-GM technology, but felt that labeling would help appease consumer fears. I’m still very pro-GM technology, but now I also believe labeling will prove harmful, and should not be pursued. Please, hear me out before you start throwing labels like 'Monsanto shill!'"

GMO/Food Labeling - Let's get serious—by serendipityisabitch: "I've been watching people debate labeling, and I've come to the conclusion that, to calm all the fears and doubts that have been expressed, something like the following would need to be implemented. Remember the last time you got prescription medication? Remember the thin sheet of paper, folded about 5 times, with both front and back printed in 6 point type? The one that listed all the chemical information, all the drug interactions, all the potential problems known to occur as side effects? Multiply it by - I dunno, but a large number. Include one with not only every package of processed food, but every fruit and vegetable, every cut of meat, fish, and poultry, that you buy from any retail outlet."

morning glories
Saturday Morning Garden Blogging :: Vol 10.20 • It's Summertime!—by jayden: "Much to almost everyone's delight Austin has yet to hit the 100° mark and we're already well into July. It's a welcome departure from recent summers when the temps soared for days and weeks on end beginning as early as June. It's summertime in Texas so it definitely has been hot 'round these parts but just not that hot! But that's all about to change this weekend with our first 100° day predicted for Sunday. Thankfully the triple digit heat will only last for a day or two. Next week the temps cool back down to the low 90s due to the latest weird and wild weather dubbed 'the summer polar vortex' which will sweep south midweek. Y'all will get no complaints from this Central Texan enjoying a few days respite from the summer heat. There is even a chance of rain with the cold front which we desperately need as usual because everything is bone dry again. Hopefully it will also wash some of the Sahara African dust out of the air."

Energy & Conservation

Nebraska Supreme Court sets hearing on Keystone XL case for September. Ruling likely after midterms—by Meteor Blades: "Juliet Eilperin reports that the Nebraska Supreme Court will hold its first hearing in a case over the route of the Keystone XL pipeline in September. Although the court could rule as early at October in Thompson v. Heineman, it might also not rule for several months, well past the midterm elections."

Fractured Communities: How Fracking Is Widening The Gap Between The Haves & Have-Nots in Rural Ohio—by Virally Suppressed: "Bill Valput could be a Baptist bass fishing enthusiast who lives by himself in an old Tudor cottage and it wouldn't change the simple fact that he is a very successful, very negligent landlord. On this count, Valput is no different than the thousands of other not quite above board landlords across this great nation of ours who don't maintain many of their properties and threaten their tenants with eviction at the drop of a hat. No, what makes Valput special—or at least special enough to get me to drive all the way from Cincinnati to speak with him—isn't what he does, but where he does it. With roughly 300 properties in Wheeling (WV), Martin's Ferry (OH), and Bellaire (OH), Valput just so happens to be situated atop the Utica Shale, a massive geologic formation that could contain up to 15.7 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas."

Passing Gas to the Consumer—by brasch: "However, because the oil companies have laid a thick propaganda shield upon the America people to make them believe that fracking the environment and destroying public health, while yielding only temporary job growth, will lead to less dependence upon the Arab nations and lower costs to Americans, the Industry has to come up with some excuses to drill the taxpayers. Through deft journalistic intrigue and a lifetime of investigative reporting, I was able to obtain insider information from the ultra secret Gas and Oil Unified Greedy Excuse Maker sub-committee (GOUGEM). I have not been able to verify the transcript, but in the developing tradition of 21st century journalism, that doesn’t really matter."

Drill, Baby, Drill Has Morphed Into Ship, Baby, Ship—by flower: "'Drill baby drill' is a memorable phrase from days gone by. If we would only let energy companies drill in more places, our energy costs would come down and our nation could become more energy independent. If it weren’t so serious, that belief would be laughable. Now that the United States is being turned into Swiss cheese from drilling, prices should be coming down. So why are they going up? Domestic gasoline consumption is declining. U.S. oil production is now comparable to Saudi Arabia’s. We have more natural gas than we know what to do with. Drill baby drill has morphed into ship baby ship. Refined oil products, such as gasoline, are being shipped abroad at unprecedented rates. Natural gas and propane terminals are being built and expanded to support export. In the latest quest for shortsighted profits, legislation (H.R. 4349, Crude Oil Export Act) has been introduced to allow crude oil to be exported after a 40-year prohibition."

Eco-Related DC & State Politics

House Actually Votes Down Republican Efforts at Gutting Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency Spending—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "The House today began voting on the 2015 Water-Energy appropriations bill. Several Republican hardliners put forth amendments to gut DOE's renewable energy and energy efficiency budget, but they were all voted down. Vance McCallister (LA-05) offered an amendment to increase funding for Corps of Engineers Flood Damage Reduction projects in the Mississippi River Valley below Cape Girardeau, Missouri by $47 million and to reduce funding for Renewable Energy Programs Construction by $127 million. It was voted down 284 to 132."

Sam Graves to EPA: Stop your aggression and quit enforcing your rules—by Meteor Blades: "Yet another Republican attack on the Environmental Protection Agency emerged Wednesday when seven-term Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri introduced legislation to hamstring the agency. Unlike other GOP legislation introduced with Orwellian titles like the education budget-slashing 'Student Success Act,' the 40-hour workweek-eliminating 'Working Families Flexibility Act' and the clear-cutting 'Healthy Forests Initiative,' Graves' H.R. 5034 is labeled straightforwardly: 'Stop the EPA Act.' The bill would block the implementation of any pending EPA regulations and mandate a study of all existing regulations. It would require that all regulations with an economic impact of more than $50 million be approved by Congress. Imagine what that would mean in the current House of Representatives with the Republicans in charge (and aided by a pack of conservative Democrats)."

FL-Gov: Charlie Crist (D) Slams Rick Scott (R) For Rejecting High-Speed Rail—by poopdogcomedy: "Received this e-mail today from Charlie Crist's (D. FL) gubernatorial campaign: For years now, we've been asking why on Earth Rick Scott would turn down $2.4 billion in high-speed rail. Finally, we're starting to get answers. Scott said no to high-speed rail in order to cut out competition for a private company with strong ties to his chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth. Scott's showing his true colors once again. He put special interests and personal connections above real Floridians. Scott has got to go."

House Rs Attached a Slew of Anti-Environment Amendments to Energy Approps. Which Dems Joined Them?—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "Yesterday, the House passed its latest appropriations bill, that on energy and water appropriations. And, as to be expected, House Republicans attached a lot of anti-environment amendments to it. Let's take a look at some of them. Social Cost of Carbon—James Lankford (OK-05) offered an amendment to add a new section prohibiting the use of funds to prepare, propose, or promulgate any regulation or guidance that references or relies on, the analysis contained in specified documents, on the subject of the Social Cost of Carbon. The amendment passed 227 to 191. 3 Democrats voted for it: Jim Matheson (UT-04), Collin Peterson (MN-07), and Nick Rahall (WV-03). 1 Republican voted against it: Chris Gibson (NY-19)."

Critters

Daily Bucket: Wild Florida--Orb-Weaver Spiders—by Lenny Flank: "OK, most people don't like spiders. Especially the big ones. But spiders play an important role in our ecosystem. Many of them have fascinating lifestyles and habits. And despite their large size, gigantic webs and fearsome appearance, Florida's orb-weaving spiders are harmless to humans. Anyone who has ever spent some time roaming in Wild Florida has likely had the experience of walking along, minding your own business, and suddenly feeling a silken web pressing against your face like a volleyball net. Congratulations—you just met one of our orb-weaver spiders. With its tropical climate and its abundance of insect life, Florida is spider heaven. We have hundreds of known species, and probably hundreds more that have not yet been studied and scientifically described. During the day, you are likely to see some of our Jumping Spiders--little metallic-looking things with two big eyes that watch you curiously. Jumpers are believed to be among the most intelligent of spiders. At night, you may also see some Wolf Spiders--big hairy things with green-glowing eyes. Like Jumping Spiders, Wolf Spiders don't make webs, but wander around in search of prey. In springtime, male Wolf Spiders, looking for females, often wander inside houses, where they sometimes fall into the sink or the bathtub and can't climb back out, scaring the bejesus out of the homeowner in the morning."

Golden-Silk Orb Weaver, Nephila clavipes.
Golden-Silk Orb Weaver, Nephila clavipes.
St Augustine FL Alligator Farm (Photo Diary)—by Lenny Flank: "In 1893, two friends named George Reddington and Felix Fire, who were avid outdoorsmen, opened up a public display of their American Alligator collection. Located on Anastasia Island just off the historic city of St Augustine FL, by 1910 the "St Augustine Alligator Farm" became a popular attraction with vacationers who were arriving on the newly completed Flagler railroad. At the end of 1920, the Alligator farm was hit by a violent storm and then had two fires in quick succession. As a result, the entire attraction was relocated several miles away on the south coast of the island. During the 30's and 40's the Alligator Farm expanded its collection and was soon exhibiting ostriches, monkeys, giant tortoises and native Florida snakes and turtles. With help from the Florida Audubon Society, a large outdoor area was set up for wild egrets, herons and storks to breed. In 1989, the Alligator Farm was accredited as a zoo by the AZA, and began to focus its attention on captive-breeding of endangered crocodilians and educating the public about these animals. By 1993, the Alligator Farm had breeding pairs of all of the 23 known crocodilian species--the only place in the world to do so--and has been captive-breeding them for release in the wild."

Victory. It's done. We win! Sea turtles protected by US law—by VL Baker: "It's been a long time coming but finally Sea turtles have received the protection they need to sustain their species into the future. I've been active in Sea Turtle habitat protection for many years, so for me, this is a victory I take personally. I've written about some of my work here and announced our initial success here. But now, we have jumped all the hurdles, all the i's have been dotted and the protection is written into US law."

The Oceans, Water & Drought

Activists in hazmat suits protest offshore fracking—by Dan Bacher: "Congressman Jerry McNerney on July 9 applauded the vote by the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors to oppose the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels. 'I completely agree with the unanimous vote taken yesterday by the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors – the BDCP is a bad idea that does nothing to address California’s long-term water needs,' said McNerney. 'Those of us who live and work in the Delta region deserve a solution that actually protects our vital natural resources. I’ll keep fighting to make sure our voices are heard.' The Supervisors voted 4 to 0 on July 8 to oppose Governor Jerry Brown's plan to build two 35 mile long tunnels under the California Delta and to send nearly 100 pages of critical comments to state and federal officials as part of the public comment period process that ends on July 29."

Lake Mead at lowest level ever—by tln41: "Drought in the southwestern U.S. will deplete the vast Lake Mead this week to levels not seen since Hoover Dam was completed and the reservoir on the Colorado River was filled in the 1930s, federal water managers said Tuesday. [...] The lake's previous record, broken this week, was in 1956 after another persistent drought. However, there is greater demand today. The population of Los Angeles City was less than 2.5 million in 1960 and is over 3.8 million today. The problem: inflows continue to exceed outflows, with inflows 62% of what they were last year."

Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice

Rally Against #OilTrains & #WaterShutoffs in Detroit—by Fuzzytek: "Tonight the Detroit Light Brigade and DCATS (Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands) will be holding a candlelight vigil at the old train station in Detroit. There will be performing talent, speakers and discussion. On Thursday July 10th from 8:30 pm – 9:45 pm, folks from Detroit and all across SE Michigan will come together to “shed light” on the unjust water shut-offs in Detroit and stand alongside vigils and actions happening all across North America this week for the 1 year anniversary of the oil train derailment in Lac-Megantic. The same explosive Bakken oil trains are heading to MI and refineries in Detroit in the next few years unless we the people say otherwise. Lac-Megantic’s struggle is a grim reminder to us all: Big Oil will stop at nothing to extract, transport, and burn every drop of oil in the ground. No matter the risk, no matter the cost to public health, safety, and the climate, the oil industry will jump at every opportunity to profit. We will also hear updates from activists working on the #WaterShutoffs targeting 40% of households within Detroit."

National Parks, Forests & Other Public Lands

America's Arctic: Look at What We Did—by Michael Brune: "I returned from the Arctic last week, and the beauty and peacefulness that I experienced there still occupy my dreams. Sure, the grizzly we encountered in our camp the first night has a starring role, but mostly it's the grandeur and sublime tranquility that were so captivating. I knew the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was big, but I didn't really comprehend how big until we flew into it. For miles and miles and miles on end, we passed over one mountain, broad valley, and watershed after another. Such an expanse of untouched wilderness was inspiring, humbling, and breathtaking all at once. Could there be any better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act than to explore (in my case, for the first time) the most completely wild place in the United States? If you want to be as far as possible from any human trail, road, or settlement, then this is where you come. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge encompasses more than 19.6 million acres, of which eight million are designated as a federally protected wilderness area. It's not called a wildlife refuge for nothing, either. This is as north as North America gets, but animals ranging from shrews to grizzlies call it home, along with more than 160,000 free-roaming caribou."

Pollution, Hazardous Wastes & Trash

Majorities of Both Parties in the House Fine with Turning Nevada into a Nuclear Wasteland—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "Dina Titus (NV-01) offered two amendments related to the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository site. In 1987, Yucca Mountain was designated as a potential site for storing spent nuclear fuel. It has faced significant (justified) opposition from environmentalists and the broader public because of the risks involved. Although approved by Congress in 2002, the site was closed in 2011 for safety reasons. Titus offered an amendment to eliminate all $150 million allocated for nuclear waste disposal and divert the funds toward reducing the deficit. She argued that this money would be eventually be spent developing the Yucca Mountain site. It failed 75 to 344."

Rolling Coal: Uneducated, unsound, un-American—by Jacob Geers: "Yes, I used the word. There is a group of hicktown barbarians, who in-between reminiscing about the good ole’ days before Social Security and the foundation of the EPA, have decided that they can do more to expedite the end of the world than by just simply voting for Republican candidates. They have spent — in many cases over thousands of dollars — to modify their trucks to emit even more pollution than anyone thought to be possible."

Miscellany

Science Disorder Spectrum—by DocDawg: "In the interest of truth in advertising I should also briefly mention that science has been berry berry good to me professionally and financially, as well. At the tender age of six I announced to my parents, "I want to be a scientist when I grow up!" (much to their horror...Dad wanted me to follow in his footsteps into the aluminum siding business). In my first career I was a university professor and biomedical researcher (so long, and thanks for all those grant dollars!). In my second career I was a biomedical entrepreneur (not a particularly noteworthy one, you understand...you've probably never heard of me...but I managed to make some useful things happen that might not have happened otherwise). Today, as mostly a small-time gentleman farmer, I consult in my 'spare' time for a variety of start-up biomedical companies, as well as biotech investors. These careers have at least kept the wolves from the door, put one kid through college and another into a well-paying craft, and were deeply satisfying when they weren't incredibly frustrating. On balance, I feel like my career gave more back to society than it extracted from it...though it's admittedly a close call, and Opinions Differ on this topic. It should come as no surprise, then, that I've spent the better part of an increasingly long lifetime thinking a lot about the role and place of science in society today...particularly, though hardly exclusively, biological science...and have more than my fair share of passionately held opinions on this topic. Slowly but surely, I find that this body of opinions, for so long disparate and inchoate, have begun to crystallize (please don't say 'petrify'!) into something like (dare I say it?) A Theory, which just this morning on the can I decided to christen Science Disorder Spectrum (or, for short, SDS). Hereinafter follow some of the main postulates and, as I see them anyway, consequences of SDS."

Welcome Back Home, Wisconsin Chautauqua—by jorogo: "Today I live within 10 miles of John Muir's boyhood home, and that means a lot to those rural folks who gather every year to celebrate his birthday by seeing who can pick up the most trash from the brush and the roadsides near the park that honors his legacy and connection to this special place in a special state. Our County newspaper's reporter is quite the John Muir historian, having family ties reaching back to his. While having made several trips to Madison to join the protests, it became unmistakably obvious to me that we're all in this together. (Red Green's been a big influence on me) Remember the farm tractor convoy on one of the finest days of political protest this nation has ever seen? Some of my most cherished pics of that time were of the smiles radiating from atop those tractors that had ambled through the Wisconsin countryside while anticipation built, on both sides, for their triumphant slow-motion arrival. As those rural machines rumbled around the Capitol, it was as if worlds didn't collide as they often do, but fused together into some new hybrid that had the power to grow change, not just crops & cattle. Damn, that was a proud moment for those, us, all of us, folks."

Pool of chilly air will send midsummer temps plunging in Great Lakes region w a 'Polar Vortex'—by Lefty Coaster: "Next week residents of the upper Midwest will blanketed with a pool of unseasonably chilly air that's likely to set records across the region. Bearing a haunting resemblance to January’s brutally cold weather pattern, a deep pool of cool air from the Gulf of Alaska will plunge into the Great Lakes early next week and then ooze towards the East Coast. Of course, this is July, not January, so temperatures forecast to be roughly 10 to as much as 30 degrees below average won’t have quite the same effect. The heart of the chilly airmass will probably just skirt the East Coast, but temperatures are likely to be about 10 degrees below normal. One of the factors in creating this midsummer extreme weather event is Typhoon Neoguri now unleashing its fury over Japan."

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