The United Nations Environment Program came out with an important report this week. Decoupling Natural Resource Use and Environmental Impacts from Economic Growth" [150-page pdf presents three scenarios for 2050. If humanity continues to use resources as inefficiently as it does now, it will be consuming three times more natural resources than it does today because of growth in population and prosperity. That is, 140 billion tons annually of minerals, ores, biomass and fossil fuels. Which is unsustainable. At the other extreme, resource consumption could be returned to 2000 levels with restrictive regulations, 50 billion tons annually. But the authors of the report say the chances of that are highly unlikely because politicians simply will not go along with such unappealing rules. And, they say, even cutting back that much wouldn't be sustainable, according to some scientists.
Co-lead author Mark Swilling from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, explained what would drive the surge in demand for resources.
"The reality is that there is another billion middle-class consumers on the way as a result of rapid industrialisation in developing countries," he told BBC News.
So, what to do? Some optimism on that score appeared in another UNEP report, this one published in February, Visions for Change — Recommendations for Effective Policies on Sustainable Lifestyles. The recommendations are based on a survey of 8000 young adults from countries as diverse as Australia and Vietnam. The survey, Global Survey for Sustainable Lifestyles, found that young people see poverty and environmental degradation as the world's two greatest challenges. Among the findings:
• Although most young people consider environmental degradation as one of the top two global challenges, this varies from region to region; 82.3 per cent of young people in Australia, 73.8 per cent in Vietnam and 71.1 per cent in Sweden consider environmental degradation as one of the top two global challenges, while only 42.4 per cent in Egypt, 38 per cent in Brazil and 34.2 in Argentina do so.
• Young adults are very satisfied with their lives, with only a few of them dreaming of luxury lifestyles, but they still seek financial, social, environmental and personal security. They want to live in a clean environment, as opposed to chaotic and polluted urban areas, and be closer to nature, particularly in developing/emerging countries like Brazil, Vietnam and Lebanon.
• Young people want local options that they can include in their daily lives: Asked to react to sustainability scenarios -mobility (car sharing, bicycle centre, car pooling), food (urban gardens, vegetable bag subscription, family take-away) and housekeeping (collective laundry, urban composting, energy management) - most young people choose the bicycle centre, urban gardens and urban composting. This shows the need to have initiatives that are involving but not intrusive, where they can interact and participate at the local level. .
At the time the report was issued, Tim Jackson, a professor at the University of Surrey, which is a partner in the Global Survey for Sustainable Lifestyles, said:
"Our responsibility to future generations rests on building strong and credible visions of a sustainable future and the GSSL has taken a first important step in this direction. Visions for Change shows genuine seeds of real hope and that hope may be the most powerful resource at our disposal."
That may sound like a revved-up version of the truism, "children are the future." But for a world on the brink, the survey injected some optimism that the up-and-coming generation maybe gets it a lot better than the ones now in charge.
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Green Diary Rescue is a regular Saturday afternoon feature of Daily Kos. Inclusion of a particular diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement with it. The GDR begins below and continues by category in the jump.
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ban nock posted a Great Goshawk Video
Air, Water and Soil Pollution
In a pair of diaries, Elisa took on air quality. First there was Got Allergies? It's the Air That You're Breathing: "This is the thing. Even if allergies were caused by genes alone, we can't deny that air quality exacerbates these symptoms. I am now too painfully aware of this every time I hear my son snore or see his nose running after playing outside. I am reminded of this each and every time he takes his medicine, which is every day, and probably for the rest of his life as the allergy specialist told me. We are officially part of the $18 billion spent every year on allergy treatment in the United States. Do you or your child suffer from allergies? Then please join me and the Moms Clean Air Force in urging the EPA to strengthen our air quality laws. Having to lock up our kids to keep them healthy should not be acceptable to anyone."
And then there was her Coal Industry Attempts to Muddy School Curriculum: "I have been writing a lot about air quality as part of my work with Moms Clean Air Force, an initiative by the Environmental Defense Fund. While I have always been passionate about preserving our environment for my children and future generations, I have also learned a lot on the job. For one, I never realized that half of our electricity is produced by coal plants — heavily polluting coal plants that not only sicken workers and their communities with lung disease, asthma and other respiratory illnesses, but are also responsible for a significant amount of green house gases that are causing erratic weather patterns."
Agriculture, Gardening & Food
Global Press Institute explained how Farmers Revert to Traditional Methods in Sri Lanka to Preserve the Environment, Health: "Thilak Kandegama, a local environmentalist, manages the Kandyan Forest Garden, a natural farm in Ukuwela, a village in Sri Lanka’s Central Province. Kandegama started this 12-acre farm in 2009 with the goal of creating an environmentally friendly farming system. He says that crops should be cultivated in a way that protects the environmental balance in Sri Lanka, a country rich in biodiversity."
Chris Chasteen gave us some inside information on Growing a Progressive Garden—Part 2—Planning: "A little over a week ago I wrote a dairy about my exploration of building and growing a rain garden on the property I am currently renting. While writing the piece it struck me that such a process might make for a good series of diaries while I continued to explore and ultimately build out the garden—your comments and recommendations confirmed my thoughts. With that, this is the second installment in that series."
In the most recent Macca's (Mouthwatering) Meatless Monday, beach babe in fl definitely succeeded in the title quest,I Don't Want To Spoil The Paella: "Today I'm inviting you all over to my house to join me for a typical company dinner. I love to entertain and have guests over frequently. It's usually a casual indoor and outdoor evening or afternoon..no mornings please! I like to plan an easy to prepare menu and so much the better if it's a one pot meal that has all the essentials and with a dramatic and festive presentation to get the ohhs and ahhs started. A Paella dinner with all the trimmings always works. Yes, it's possible to have an elegant and satisfying dinner party starring a vegetarian or even vegan iconic entree. I never use a recipe when I make Paella so it's different each time but I always start a Paella dinner with one of my favorite drinks: POMEGRANTE SANGRIA."
Tales from the Larder is Patric Juillet's series on his cooking delights, this week's being Pâtés & Terrines, Part 2: "If you enjoyed last week's demonstration on how to make a proper terrine, you will like this week's recipes: pâtés a-go-go! One of the most incredible pâté I've made was with monkfish livers. This happened a few years ago here in Eire. I was talking to a fisherman I knew on the pier, and being ever vigilant when food is concerned, I asked him why he didn't keep the livers from the pile of freshly caught monkfish. He answered that he didn't have a market for it and cleaned the fish out at sea, good for the seagulls et cetera. I asked him to keep them for me next time he goes out. The following week I became the recipient of a full bucket filled with the little buggers. And for free!"
jayden filled in for Frankenoid in the latest installment of Saturday Morning Garden Blogging: " I love things made with tomatoes like sauces, soups, and chili but you couldn't pay me to eat one raw. Yuck! Blech! Ack! My maternal grandfather had a ginormous vegetable garden. He grew all sorts of veggies but tomatoes were his first love and one true passion. I remember bags and bags and bags of tomatoes during the summer when we would visit. We always came home from trips to my grandparents with at least two bushels of tomatoes plus corn and other assorted produce. I never really understood why we lugged so much home with us because we had our own humongous vegetable garden which my parents used as a forced labor camp for me and my sisters. A large garden in constant need of weeding and tending was the primary pitfall of growing up on an acreage."
Steven D wrote that Climate Denial Is a Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Exxon: "Heard the one about the 900 papers that dispute global warming? It's been the big new meme in the Global Denial-o-sphere this year. Well, The Carbon Brief did a little analysis of all those papers and guess what they found? The heavy hand of Exxon."
Taking on that same subject was boatsie in ExxonMobil ‘Linked to 9 of Top 10 Climate Skeptics’: "Drum roll, please. All cards are on the table! The ExxonMobil climate 'beast deck' has been disclosed! The oil behemouth, currently braced for a fight on Capitol Hill over oil company tax breaks, was recently exposed for funding nine of the top internationally renowned authors of climate change denial literature. The charges emerged in a report conducted by the European organization The Carbon Brief."
A Siegel asked Who's a Climate Scientist?: "Let's be clear, there are a lot of complicated issues in the world and perhaps none more than climate science. And, well, many of the scientific terms translate with difficulty into the general discussion. 'Positive Feedback' sounds pretty good, no? Or, well, 'Theory' means lots of uncertainty, no?"
RLMiller was not very optimistic in her diary, Urgent action needed on climate. Lather, rinse, repeat.: "This one (pdf summary) has an impressive pedigree. It's put out by the National Research Council, an arm of the Congressionally chartered National Academy of Sciences. Several years ago Congress ordered the scientists to produce an action plan to deal with climate change, and this report is the last in a series of results. And it uses by-now-familiar language of Cassandra, speaking of 'crucial challenges,' a 'pressing need for substantial action,' 'more intense and frequent heat waves, risks to coastal communities from sea level rise, greater drying of the arid Southwest, and increased public health risks.' And most Democrats will ignore it."
Target Global Warming wrote that Climate Crisis Fueling Mississippi River's Historic Floods: Flooding like the Mississippi River is seeing in 2011 used to be considered extremely unusual. But thanks to the climate crisis, floods are becoming more frequent and more severe over much of the Mississippi River basin — so much so that the old way of measuring things is tragically outdated."
Saving The Planet Should Matter If You Are in High School was Clifflyon's conclusion: "While the fat-headed, gas bags lurk in the weird shadows of climate denial, sniffing for any specter of scientific uncertainty, like dogs among the carcasses of dead scientists, the mother load of scientific errors, the narcotic of righteousness awaits them in the most recent IPCC report. From the first prediction to the last, scientific consensus has underestimated pretty much everything from ice melt and sea-level rise to temperature. Why should I care? I'll be dead before the real ugliness happens. Who should care are the kids. Last chance, maybe. We certainly couldn't do it."
A Siegel enjoyed a monumental bit of modern guerrilla theatre in Caring Coal...: "Reminiscent a bit of Caroling Coal, my in-box this morning was deluged with Peabody Energy press releases and other announcements of a new public relations campaign: Coal Cares. Evidently stung by the medical community's highlighting of the linkages between the burning of coal (mainly for electricity) and health problems in America's youth, especially a heavy asthma toll, a decision was made to take steps to address the reality that energy usage creates choices and that all energy options come with costs. To address the externalities of asthma costs, evidently there will be a move to make inhalers more available and affordable for youth living downwind from coal-fired electricity generation facilities."
Mary Anne Hitt also found the parody of Peabody Coal pretty funny in Nationwide, Coal Does Not Care: "This week we've had a few too many reminders of how much coal does not care. First, while we all laughed at the parody 'Coal Cares' website that the Yes Men created to look as if it was a Peabody Coal project, Peabody Coal's response was quick reminder of that website's true message about the coal industry's focus on profits over people. Claiming the website's information about the health effects of coal was false, Peabody officials went on to tout the supposed health benefits of life with coal."
RDemocrat said it's time to get real about Sarah Palin and the Sad Truth About Gas Prices: "The real fact is that the kind of energy Palin is shilling for is running its course. It is no longer sustainable and needs to be replaced. We have know this for a long time and have allowed greedy politicians to be bought off by those who profit by the old system to not get serious about investing in research and development of a new way. We simply cannot overlook it any longer. With American innovation and ingenuity, investing in our own people we can create a new industry growing, refining and shipping the fuels of the future right here in our own country. We could create American jobs in many regions of the country that desperately need them."
HerndonDavis took a different point of view in The Real Reason behind High Gas Prices and 3 Things Pres. Obama, Congress Can Do: "First the true culprit, the actual driving force behind the rising gas prices is a big surprise (tongue firmly planted in cheek.) It is the actions of greedy Wall Street speculators who have driven up oil futures prices and in turn caused spikes in the price of gas, identical to their actions back in 2008 when the price for crude oil peaked at $147 a barrel."
Catskill Julie had some tough words about the 6th biggest corporation on the planet Exxon wants your clean WATER, to FRACK your State!: " ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy has applied for a permit to take 250,000 gallons of water every day for natural gas development, HYDRO FRACKING, in Broome and Delaware Counties of New York, just from the Oquaga Creek, a native trout stream that flows to the West Branch of the Delaware River."
And she had more bad words (backed up by research) to say about natural gas advocates in Industry attacks PNAS study: Methane contamination of drinking water linked to hydro fracking: "This peer-reviewed study by Duke University researchers was conducted in Marcellus and Utica Shale gas drilling regions of PA and NY. It was published Monday, 5/9 in PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the US. Methane contamination of drinking water accompanying gas-well drilling and hydraulic fracturing by Stephen G. Osborn, Avner Vengosh, Nathaniel R. Warner, and Robert B. Jackson 'Our results show evidence for methane contamination of shallow drinking water systems in at least three areas of the region and suggest important environmental risks accompanying shale gas exploration worldwide.'"
boatsie looked at report on fracking predating the PNAS study in Fracking the Future: "Several days before yesterday's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the US (PNAS) report outlined the inherent dangers of hydraulic fracturing on health, climate and water, the DeSmog Blog published a ground-breaking analysis of the multiple devastating impacts of unregulated and rapidly increasing extraction and of 'unconventional gas.' ' Among the findings from Fracking the Future: The potentially devastating impacts from unconventional gas development on water supplies, air quality and the global climate deserve much greater study and scrutiny. The emerging red flags of concern raised by scientists conducting research into unconventional gas threats clearly indicate that a precautionary approach is necessary. Despite the uncertainties, one fact is clear: the U.S. unconventional gas industry is currently exempt from many of the needed transparency, oversight, monitoring, and enforcement statutes designed to protect public health and safety. That must change.'"
harveywasserman suggested that the United StatesJoin Japan and Junk New Nukes: "Japan will build no new nuclear reactors. It's a huge body blow to the global industry, and could mark a major turning point in the future of energy. Says Prime Minister Naoto Kan: 'We need to start from scratch… and do more to promote renewables.' Wind power alone could—and now probably will—replace 40 nukes in Japan."
davidwalters compiled the Results for New Nuclear Builds: "It should be noted that anti-nuclear tribunes like Harvey Wasserman and Greenpeace don't talk, often, about the 'failure of the Nuclear Renaissance' in a country like China. This is because the PRC is the leader in nuclear builds with 27 reactors under construction and dozens more about to break ground. From the current 9GWs of power and expected 80 to 100GWs are expected to be online in only the next 9 years...and another 200 GWs of low-carbon nuclear for the next 20 years after that. The Chinese, wisely, halted all new applications/proposals until site issues can be gone over, again, in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. There is zero slowdown in all plants currently under construction or those that have been approved."
jamess Oil's Well ... that ends Well ...: " How'd we get here? With Big Oil Exec's claiming
poverty economic hardship, and Average Americans pinching every dollar at the pump?"
RLMiller debunked a specious claim inLet's supersize a disaster!: "The State Department is currently considering the Keystone XL pipeline, expanding the Keystone pipeline carrying oil from the Canadian tar sands to Cushing, Oklahoma. The original Keystone pipeline has been in operation less than one year, and its owner TransCanada predicts no more than one spill every seven years. Instead of one spill every seven years, oil has spilled eleven times in the last year."
And she pointed us to a new report in IPCC to Hippies: You were right.: "Today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its special report on renewable energy, concluding that renewables - especially solar energy - could provide 80% of the world's energy by 2050. Yes, it's the same IPCC long derided as conservative, cautious, and stodgy, now agreeing with the hippies. We can run the world on renewable energy, and we'll keep carbon below 450 parts per million to boot."
boatsie looked at that report, too, in IPCC Alt Energy Report: NGO Reactions: " 'The IPCC and governments of the world signal loud and clear: fossil fuels and nuclear are no real alternatives to renewables,' said Dr Stephan Singer, Director for Global Energy Policy for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) International. 'As oil and gas within easy reach is dwindling, the world needs to move to clean and sustainable sources of energy and avoid any investment into dirty alternatives.'"
And so did I in I'll be 104 in 2050, and I want to live in a world powered by renewable energy: "To summarize the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation's conclusions: With an investment of only 1 percent of global gross domestic product, 80 percent of our electricity could be provided by renewable sources in 2050."
jamess was bemused in Oil Execs haunted by their own words ...: "Those Barons of Greed seemed mighty foolish today, arguing to keep their Oil Subsidies — when their own words from 5 years ago — said those Subsidies would NOT be needed, if the price of Oil would only rise some ..."
frandor55 was unhappy in Obama, Salazar Encouraged Coal Burning: "President Obama and Secretary Salazar obviously know that the increased burning of coal is detrimental to the goal of reducing carbon emissions. A rational person could question the administration's commitment to reducing Global Warming, as this promotion of US coal exports is counter-productive to that goal."
Steven D was irked in Why Exxon is Running Ads Saying Natural Gas is Safe: "The ads are very upbeat. They feature a man who is allegedly an Exxon Geologist extolling the virtues of vast new deposits of natural gas that can supply "clean burning' energy for the next 100 years. He says the gas deposits are thousands of feet underground and that the gas can be "safely" extracted. He never mentions hydraulic fracturing (i.e., "hydrofracking" or just fracking) as the means by which this natural gas will be produced. He never mentions where these new deposits are located, but I know exactly what he is talking about and the location of reserves he claims will provide us 100 years of glorious clean burning natural gas. I live in Western NY, under which lies part of the vast Marcellus shale formation."
Green Communities & Sustainability
citisven wrote about Street Art and its Role in Creating Ecocity Culture: "...is the title of a presentation I will give at the upcoming Ecocity World Summit August 22-26 in Montréal, Canada. I just found out a few days ago that my proposal got accepted, and so now I've got to figure out how to squeeze everything there is to say on the topic into a 15
jam dance show talk."
Green Essays, Green Philosophy & Green Poetry
lipowg was optimistic in I have cancer — a personal meditation on technology, sustainability and social context: "[A]ccording to Jeanette Chung and David Meltzer, our current inefficient medical system is responsible for about 7.5% of US emissions. Since most of that is electricity which could be generated by wind and solar power instead of coal, and because our medical system uses energy very inefficiently in ways which detract from rather than improve health, there is no reason a decent medical system for the entire world should result in emissions of more than .5% of the world current total greenhouse gas pollution, perhaps less. We can provide not only medical care sustainably, but all of our needs and many of our wants if we choose to.
fake consultant suggested on ways to spend some war money in On Redistribution, Or, “Afghanistan Peace Dividend Stimulus Lotto? OK!”: "So whaddaya think, America? Should we continue the endless war and keep on looking for those last 100 or so Al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan, to the tune of $100 million a month for each guy, for the next decade or so…or would you rather do a giant lottery for a couple of years, for half the cost of what we’re spending every month over there now, that creates lots and lots of jobs and permanently lowers our national energy bill?"
Stranded Wind delved into the Nine Rings of Hell: "I couldn’t help but think of this as I read NewScientist’s curiously named Ocean to Ozone: Earth’s Nine Life Support Systems. We’ve broken every single one of them, these systems that feed and protect us. We’re approaching a point where we’re going to get honest about this stuff, because Mother Nature isn’t going to leave room for any more denial …"
Reverend Billy wondered if 600 Tornadoes Had Nothing To Say?: "In the face of monstrous disasters we find a way to consign the natural world to the background. We fear the idea of Earth-life. When we stick to those emotional “human interest stories” and value-neutral reports (like weather reports) – then something paradoxical happens. When we demote the Earth we dismiss ourselves. "
Troubadour went for the big picture in The Ocean of Light: Ad Astra, Ad Infinitum: "What are the Top 10 problems that face humanity? Unless your answer contains "Humanity itself" — in which case the problem is your misanthropy rather than anything wrong with the species — the meta-solution is invariably an expansion of the resources, environments, physical volume, and cultural/economic/genetic diversity of the species. Just for the sake of demonstration, here is one plausible list: 1. Unsustainable energy 2. Climate change / environmental degradation 3. Nuclear weapons 4. Water shortage 5. Food shortage 6. Lack of economic opportunity 7. Disease 8. Corruption 9. Oppression 10. Political instability."
Green Policy, Green Activism & Politicians
Joan McCarter alerted us to some political maneuvering by the Majority Leader of the Senate in Reid to Boehner: If you want trillions in cuts, start with 'welfare for Big Oil': "Boehner isn't likely to agree, since in Republican-land, ending a generous, tax-payer funded subsidy to industry is a tax hike to that industry. Never mind that the industry is seeing record profits from gouging those same taxpayers.
She followed up with Democrats keep up pressure on Big Oil welfare:
In a Night Owls thread, I pointed out that ConocoPhillips thinks cutting oil subsidies is 'Un-American'
: "Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey may be toughest of all. He is demanding an apology from the CEO of ConocoPhillips for a company press release headlined 'ConocoPhillips Highlights Solid Results and Raises Concerns Over Un-American Tax Proposals at Annual Meeting of Shareholders': 'For ConocoPhillips to question the patriotism of those elected officials who believe that they do not deserve billions of dollars in wasteful subsidies is simply beyond the pale. I expect an apology from the CEO tomorrow at tomorrow’s hearing. It is simply not acceptable,' said Menendez, who is leading the charge to strip billions of dollars in tax incentives from the five largest oil companies."
And I followed up the next day with Democrats grill top oil execs, but Sen. Menendez doesn't get his apology: "Near the end of the hearing, Sen. Jay Rockefeller said what he had heard convinced him that the executives are "out of touch" with average Americans. "The main reason you're out of touch … is that you never lose. You've never lost. You always prevail in the halls of Congress. … [You are] "deeply and profoundly committed to sharing nothing.""
Phil Radford II Greenpeace highlighted some campus activism in Students Gear up to Protest Exxon Graduation Speech: "As college students around the country are wrapping up their semesters, graduating seniors at Worcester Polytechnical Institute (WPI) find themselves in the midst of an ethical controversy. On Saturday, WPI's commencement speaker is none other than oil baron Rex Tillerson, CEO and chairman of ExxonMobil, although perhaps you're more familiar with his role as the national president of the Boy Scouts of America."
And A battle for the Earth's last remaining frontier is going on in the Arctic: "There are clear signs that a new Arctic oil rush has begun. Earlier this month Shell submitted plans to the US government for for new drilling in the icy waters off Alaska's north coast, and now a Scottish company has won permission to take a similar gamble near Greenland. Tomorrow Hilary Clinton will fly to the picturesque town of Nuuk in Greenland to discuss how spill response equipment might work in one of the world's most extreme and beautiful environments. I can save her the trip — it won't."
And he also spotlighted a victory in Salem Citizens Win Against Big Coal
: "This week the people of Salem, Massachusetts got the news they've been waiting for years to hear: the 60 year old, dirty coal plant in their community that leads to 53 premature deaths per year is shutting down. The Harvard School of Public Health reported that pollution from the Salem Harbor Coal Plant not only leads to 53 premature deaths per year, but also 570 emergency room visits a year, 14,000 asthma attacks a year, and nearly 100,000 daily incidents of upper respiratory irritation."
Reverend Billy looked at the guerrilla theater prank in Things I Think After Jail: Reflections on Koch Brothers' Drive-In at Lincoln Center: "Right now — you silence the message with the messengers. No-one is more responsible for climate change than Charles and David Koch. And yet their names are plastered all over our most prestigious buildings. Let’s break from our old misguided ideas of 'security.' Earthalujah!"
Heather TaylorMiesle NRDC Action Fund said Senator Brown Tries to Distract From the Real Issue: "Last week, the League of Women Voters launched an ad campaign to let the public know that Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MI) both voted in April to undermine the Clean Air Act. The proposal didn’t pass the Senate, but if it had, it would have endangered people’s health. That’s why the American Lung Association, the American Academy of Pediatricians, the American Thoracic Society, and many other medical groups opposed it. But Senator Brown doesn’t like being confronted with the consequences of his vote. Ever since the ads appeared, he has deployed a classic political tactic: when you are held accountable, don’t provide answers. Attack the messenger instead."
Spedwybabs alerted us to Your Chance to ask 2 Members of the Progressive Caucus Questions!: "First up, on Wed. 5/11 at 6 PM EDT we'll chat with Rep. Donna Edwards about a bill she is about to introduce. From the email I received asking me to host this call: 'Our bill is called the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act. This legislation would establish up to five regional Centers of Excellence for green infrastructure in the United States. The centers would be charged with conducting research on green infrastructure relevant to the geographic region where the center is located. Communities would receive training and technical assistance on how to implement the best green infrastructure management practices. Basically, the bill uses centers to conduct research and empower communities to pursue green infrastructure practices using the natural environment for clean water, flood control, and stormwater management.'"
jamessreported on the Senate Majority Leader's recent eye-opening trip inReid Returns from China with American Jobs and a Dream: "Reid's 10-senator delegation visited renewable energy facilities in Chengdu and met with officials of the Chinese Rail Ministry to discuss high-speed rail, which is being pushed by President Obama. Sen. Reid backs the high-speed, steel-rail Desert Xpress train from Las Vegas to Victorville, Calif. Reid said he also met with leaders of A-Power Energy Generation Systems, a Chinese firm that partnered with an American company to announce plans to build a wind turbine manufacturing plant in Southern Nevada. They claim the project would create 1,000 jobs — if it is ever actually built."
credstone told us about a choice she made in Going to Jail for Mother's Day?: "For Mother’s Day I decided to give my kids a gift and go to jail for them. … I was arrested for fighting for their future. I have worked tirelessly to get our public officials to stop poisoning our air, water and soil and to stop the bullet train we are on headed for a cliff that is climate change. But there is no getting off. It seems our politicians, along with their friends in dirty energy corporations have locked us all on this high speed trip to death and suffering. I have written, met with, begged, petitioned, campaigned for and against and still these politicians and policy makers do little to protect our children and future generations from what we have done only since the industrial revolution."
The Natural World & The Great Outdoors
birdbrain64 introduced us to Itasca State Park: The Mighty Mississippi's Humble Beginning: "The headwaters of the Mississippi River, Lake Itasca, became the primary feature and namesake for Minnesota's first state park (and the second state park in the nation), designated on April 20, 1891. Lake Itasca is one of seven national natural landmarks in Minnesota. Currently encompassing almost 33,000 acres, the landscape of Itasca State Park and environs were formed by repeated glaciation events — anywhere from 200 to 600 feet of glacial drift overlay the Precambrian bedrock. Red and white pine forested moraines are interspersed with hundreds of small lakes and wetlands, also known as 'knob and kettle' terrain"
The Daily Bucket series added several new entries:
bwren: weekly birdlist: "Most of the winter ducks are gone. Only the Buffleheads and Ring-necked Ducks remain. They'll be leaving over the next couple of weeks, though I expect a few stragging Buffleheads to remain through the middle of June."
enhydra lutris : Don't Mow Edition: "We've been hellaciously busy, largely away from home, and even more busy when at home because we've been out so much. One result is that the 'lawn' out back has become excessively long and unruly. Last night, my wife gently hinted that it had better drift up to the top of my to-do list, or she would do it herself. Ain't gonna happen. I'm Saved! Follow me while I back away from the lawn and I'll explain."
enhydra lutris: Flammulated Owl Edition: "What kinda owl? THIS KIND showed up in Hayward, CA. yesterday. I've never heard of one in the S.F. Bay Area before, though it appears that they should be here. "
enhydra lutris: Cowbirds, ack: "[W]hen I got home, I noticed that I had a Brown-Headed Cowbird female in my bird fountain. This is bad news for the whole neighborhood because they are a nest parasite. This one in my own yard, no less."
cotterperson: Karst creeks edition: "This is mostly a re-post of a long comment about our hollow ('holler') — a small, flat place among mountains — in this case, it's a 40-acre mining claim in the Ozarks that has been in our family more than 100 years. It has been mostly left alone since about the 1920s. The creeks run together and on to the White River in north central Arkansas, about 10 miles south of the Missouri border and equidistant to our home in Cotter, Ark."
Karl Rover told us about a very interested tree in Toothbrush or Pesticide. You decide.: "The Neem tree (Azadirachta indica) is commonly planted in tropical and sub-tropical areas around the world, thriving in arid lands like the Middle East as well as very wet places like Central America. As a member of the mahogany family, its wood is used for making furniture. Neem's other uses are nothing less than amazing, hence the title of this little ode to the 'panacea tree'."
matching mole told us about a very interesting body of water in A More Ancient World: The Fall and Rise of Lake Jackson: "Tonight I'm going to talk about my backyard. Lake Jackson is a mid-sized lake just north of Tallahassee, Florida. It is a shallow, flat-bottomed lake that is approximately 'L' - shaped, about 8 miles from southern tip of Meginnis Arm all the way to the northeastern end of the lake. The lake has an unusual property of 'disappearing' on a regular basis and then re-appearing. This diary is about the interaction of the disappearance of Lake Jackson with human impacts on the lake."
Oceans, Wetland & Water
Patience John reflected on the fact that Texas Republicans to Repeal Dam Common Sense: "Little known fact, every lake in Texas is man-made. That means we have quite a few dams, most holding back water around cities across the Lone Star. Now say some rich dude in Dallas wants to play JR and gets himself a ranch. Well, his show cattle are gonna need a lake, but come hell, or high water, he doesn't want to have to make sure its safe."
Round-ups, Wrap-ups, Live Blogs & Summaries
ninkasi23: Tasty Bits v1.10: "Three varieties of Monsanto’s GM corn — Mon 863, insecticide-producing Mon 810, and Roundup® herbicide-absorbing NK 603 — were approved for consumption by US, European and several other national food safety authorities. The data used for this approval, ironically, is the same data that independent researchers studied to make the organ damage link.[. . .] The data 'clearly underlines adverse impacts on kidneys and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, as well as different levels of damages to heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system,' reported Gilles-Eric Séralini, a molecular biologist at the University of Caen."
Gulf Watchers #515 by Lorinda Pike: We Didn't Lie; Everything Was Fine - BP Catastrophe.
Gulf Watchers #516 by shanesnana: Ignored: Health Issues Post Spill - BP Catastrophe.
Gulf Watchers #517 by peraspera: Wednesday - Gulf rig worker aid funds wanting for applicants - BP Catastrophe.
possum: Science Tidbits.
boatsie: Mom's Sick: Mother's Day Edition Climate Change News Roundup: "Thomas Jefferson said "Every generation needs a revolution. "This is ours." iMatterMarch invites youth around the globe to march for a planet worth inheriting. Visit the website to find a march near you, or to organize your own March. This event continues through March 14 is being produced by Earth Island Institute and Kids VS Global Warming."
rebel ga: (BP) British Petroleum Oil Spill And Continuing Implications Of Adverse Effects On Environment.
raatz urged us to Get moving: Alternatives to commuting by car: "Maui's nearly 730 square miles include several non-contiguous residential and employment centers. We haven't had transit infrastructure since the demise of the plantation-railway system, which connected the island's towns for many years starting in 1879 (though the decade-old Maui Bus system is improving). So, in the most oil-dependent state in the nation, we are a car-dependent island. As a result, working families, already squeezed by Maui's high cost of living and comparatively low salaries and wages, are suffering. Parents and guardians often work two or three jobs, usually driving solo to each of them. Children need to get to school, practices and rehearsals - usually driven by parents or other family members. Transportation costs have been a topic of conversation almost everywhere I've gone the past few weeks. The collective sentiment: We've got to do something different."
citisven showed us one version of "something different" Imagine There's No Cars in the Streets: "This year's third Sunday Streets, the City of San Francisco's closing off stretches of a neighborhood’s streets to automobile traffic, and opening them to pedestrians, bicyclists, and activities for several hours on a predetermined Sunday, happened last weekend. While the series of events was met by healthy skepticism — especially from business owners — when it was first launched three years ago, any lingering doubts about its benefit to all corners of urban society were removed as soon as blocks across the city started closing down on Sundays. And really, who would have a problem with this scene?"
And again in You Can Ride Your Bike to Work? Really?? WTF!: "Yesterday, as part of National Bike Month, the 17th annual Bike to Work Day was observed and put into action all over the Bay Area. In San Francisco, an unprecedented number of local political and business leaders joined tens of thousands of commuters flocking from all corners of the city to participate in SF's biggest BTWD yet."
DWG showed us another someting different in Electric cars strut their stuff in the Japanese disaster zone: "A story in the New York Times ('After disaster hit Japan, electric cars stepped up') highlights the utility of the electric vehicles (EVs) in the devastated areas of Japan. The keys to their utility have been their ability to go without gasoline and durability. The earthquake and tsunami destroyed refineries and fuel delivery infrastructure in the region, making it impractical to rely on gas-guzzlers to move people and supplies around the area."
nthelurch had a personal version of the something different story in My Electric Ride - Week 3: "I received a check from the California Center for Sustainable Energy in the amount of $5000.00 this week. Not a bad way to start the week. I'm still waiting to see my San Diego Gas and Electric bill. It's overdue, but I think that with the Time-of-Use pricing study I'm a part of, the delay isn't unexpected. We drove the car more efficiently this week. Whereas previous weeks we were getting about 4 miles per Kwh, this week we moved to 4.4 Miles per Kwh. I think I have enough information to track this more accurately on a daily basis."
In another of the Sunday Train series, BruceMcF discussed a little tête-à-têteStates Rights to Living Transport: Cap'n Transit Rides Again wrote about 'Getting People Out of their Cars by Not Subsidizing Roads', which perplexed Yonah Freemark at The Transport Politic, which drew a response from Cap'n Transit asking whether we want to be serious, or right. Boiling them down well beyond the point of oversimplification, Yonah argues that transit advocates must go along to get along, and Cap'n Transit argues that if you ain't anti-car, you ain't doing it right. The same debate we get anytime the maximum that is politically possible is less than the minimum our society needs for survival. How do we break on through to the other side, where the minimum we must do lies within the maximum that we can do?"
jamess was a little surprised that Reluctant Environmentalist Frank Luntz gave some sage advice: "So what should environmentalists say instead? Luntz suggests less talk of dying polar bears and more emphasis on how legislation will create jobs, make the planet healthier and decrease US dependence on foreign oil."
nathguy: Fukushima: A lean to the left: "Tepco released video of the sample test at the Unit 3 Fuel Pool. It's above,
the test results show Iodine at 1EE6 times normal background. Today is May 11, the Tsunami was March 11 or 72 days ago. That's 9 Half lives for
I-131, and, given The fuel pools in Unit 3 are composed of Old fuel from the
last refueling excercise which was some 2 years back, we are looking at either
Fresh new Iodine or iodine driven in to the pool on the March 13 explosion."
FOYI: Fuked-Up Up-Date with SFP 3 Video: "A little update on Tepco's Experiment from last Sunday. To recap-at unit 1 they got the debris cleared, robots checked for leaks, air filters installed and running-- so good to go for workers to get in to install water measuring instruments, a new feed for the nitrogen and hook up the heat exchangers. Hold on--not so fast. They seemed to have encountered a few glitches. About 700 or so—millisieverts per hour that is."
nathguy: Fukushima: Nothing to be concerned about: "'Japanese officials said on Sunday they were committed to nuclear power after Prime Minister Naoto Kan called for another plant to close, but that the target of obtaining half of Japan's electricity from nuclear power by 2030 needed to be examined.' In my opinion, that's Kan getting a clue that Nuclear power doesn't work as an energy cycle or financial cycle. Now maybe to the apologists, it's really positive news, but,
from where I sit, i wouldn't invest into japanese nuclear construction. "
Me: Confirmed: Fuel rods at Fukushima reactor have mostly melted. Taxpayer-funded bailout announced: "But U.S. nuclear power plants are safe, government regulators said in a hearing in Washington Thursday. Thank goodness. It's a great relief to hear it can't happen here since nuclear power plant operators are not required to prepare for the kind of disaster that struck Fukushima."
LeftOfYou: Sayonara Fukushima.: "It's not because everything at Fukushima is under control and all the leaks have stopped and there is no longer any reason for concern. It's not under control, it's still leaking and until its a long time over, we won't know how serious this will turn out to be. But we can already tell that in the end, Fukushima will fall on the Seriousimeter somewhere between Very Serious and Oh My God! Run!"
Joieau: Fukushima Roundup 5-14-11: "First up is an article suggesting that the revelation casts doubt on TEPCO's credibility across the board on technical issues. The people of Japan and the rest of the world have considered TEPCO's credibility in matters of releases and dangers to the exposed public all along."