Mary Anne Hitt helping with the solar-panel
ribbon-cutting at Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church in West Virginia.
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 19,140 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.
Labor of Love: How My Small WV Town Launched a Game-Changing New Model to Go Solar
—by Mary Anne Hitt
: "This week, my small town in West Virginia cut the ribbon on a solar project that isn't just the largest crowd-funded solar project in the state, but also launches a new model making it possible for any WV community organization to go solar. On a perfect sunny day, 100 elementary school students and dozens of community members joined my husband, Than Hitt, and my daughter Hazel, who cut the ribbon for a 60-panel solar system at the historic Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church. It was an unforgettable day that crystalized all our hopes for the future of West Virginia, and exemplified the power of regular people to change the world. The genius of this project was that the church went solar for just $1, thanks to over 100 community members who contributed - but they donated their water heaters, not their dollars. Maryland-based Mosaic Power pays homeowners $100 per year to have smart meters installed on their home water heaters that save energy and, in the aggregate, operate as a safe, efficient mini-power plant. These community members are each donating their $100 per year to the church solar project, collectively raising enough money to pay for the solar system. The financing model was developed by our brilliant friend Dan Conant and his company Solar Holler, and now that we have proof of concept in Shepherdstown, he's taking it statewide. The church is going to generate nearly half of its electricity from the sun, reducing pollution, saving money, and living out the congregation's commitment to caring for the Earth."
Huge Dam Removed, Fish and Critters Happy, Union Jobs Saved
: "They're done demolishing the 108-feet-tall Elwah Dam in northwest Washington State. It's the largest dam ever removed. The formerly huge runs of huge salmon are beginning to recover. The fish are reaching some river areas from the first time in over 100 years. The restored river is creating restored habitat for many critters besides the fish. The River's new estuary will allow crabs and other shoreline sea critters to get established there. Birds of every size and shape will feed on the restored aquatic life. Land mammals will nibble on the revegetated former reservoir areas. Another thing I like about this dam removal project was the preservation of an endangered species, the Pacific Northwest Unionized Paperworker."
Solar voltaic energy production nearly doubles in U.S. in 2014
: "Here's some good news that may brighten up your day: US electrical generation from renewables hits 14.3%. Dennis Schroeder of NREL reports that U.S. solar power generation more than doubled in the first half of 2014 according to a new report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Data from the EIA’s latest Electric Power Monthly report indicates non-hydro renewables, including solar, wind, geothermal and biomass, made up a 7.3% share of electrical generation, while conventional hydropower accounted for 7%. ... Solar-generated electricity more than doubled, growing by 115.7%, while wind power increased by 9% compared to last year, accounting for 5% of the nation's electrical generation during the first six months of the year. Biomass also grew by 4%. Geothermal power, however, dipped by 1.5% and conventional hydropower declined by 4.2%. ... 'Not long ago, EIA was forecasting that renewables would not reach 14% of U.S. electrical generation until the year 2040,' noted Ken Bossong, executive director of the Sun Day Campaign. 'And even the current 14.3% figure undoubtedly understates the real contribution from renewables inasmuch as EIA's data does not fully reflect distributed and off-grid generation.'"
Why We March... Against Extinction
: "We March for Elephants. We March for Rhinos. We March for Lions. People have asked us—“Why do you march? What good is marching? You should be making direct contact with people in power, with people who can ‘make a difference.’ Every day 96 elephants are killed. That’s one every 15 minutes. A march does not stop this. You need to raise money and lobby politicians. And you should be writing: writing legislation.' Other people have told us, 'Why do you march? What good is marching? You can do nothing. Those with the power to make a difference, in China, overseeing the 37 ivory carving factories and 145 licensed shops, will do nothing because you march. Elephants will continue to die. No elephant will be saved because of the protest actions in the United States.' Regarding rhino horn, they say 'you cannot lessen its fashion or influence those in Vietnam who consume it.' The people who question us say that marches seem “nice” and make those who march 'feel good,' but are ultimately useless—a futile gesture good for nothing other than the egos of those who take part, far away from the halls of power, far away from the carving factories, far away from the scenes of injustice, death, and wholesale destruction of the elephant, rhinoceros, and lion populations that have been under relentless attack by poaching, wildlife trade, corruption, and consumption. They say we are too far away and our activities are merely a waste of time and resources. They are wrong to say this."
You can find more rescued green diaries below the sustainable squiggle.
The Great Outdoors & Critters
Washington State Settles in With Wolves—by ban nock: "If there's been one generalization that has held true in all states that have had increasing wolf populations it is that the more wolves there are, the less people seem to like them. Don't get me wrong, the overwhelming majority of people in all states like wolves, they just seem to like them a little less once they have them. 70% of Washingtonians support having wolves in the state, 15% don't. In the six years between the surveys strong to moderate support for wolves in general has dropped from 75 to 64 percent. Wildlife managers don't do elections or ballot measures, they try to figure out what they can get away with and encounter little to no opposition. Managers like when 75 or 80 percent of the public support something. At the same time strong to moderate opposition to wolves has increased from 17 to 27 percent. Familiarity informs opinions. Western Washington has no wolves and the people there like them just fine, Eastern Washington where all the wolves live is where the problems have arisen."
The Daily Bucket - baby whelks & missing seastars
: "One of the sites I've been checking for seastars since spring is under this dock. The rocky slope in its shade is popular with invertebrates sensitive to dessication or light, so there's always a wealth of marine life there. Up until July that included seastars, in particular the Ochre Star (Pisaster ochraceus), the most common seastar in the Pacific Northwest. In July, instead of shiny plump brightly colored seastars (on left, June), approximately one third were dying from Seastar Wasting Syndrome (on right). By August, no Pisaster under the dock were present except for the one in this photo: limp, mushy, falling to pieces and smelling rotten. Seastar Wasting Syndrome is not new. Outbreaks have been observed periodically over the past century, and seastars have rebounded each time. What's different this time is the scale of the outbreak, both over a larger geographic range and in percent mortality. Hypotheses for the cause of this extreme episode include a warming sea temperature, the decline in ocean pH or other stressors, pathogens spread by human activity, or cyclical population changes, but no one knows at this point (it is not radiation from Fukushima though). The specific pathogen has not been isolated yet either. However, when a species is decimated in an ecosystem, there is a ripple effect."
Where the Plains Collide with the Rockies (Photo Diary)—by Ojibwa: "For thousands of years the Blackfoot Indians have lived on the Great Plains along the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. To the Blackfoot, the mountains were the Backbone of the Continent. Later, non-Indians would call these mountains the Crown of the Continent. Leaving Glacier National Park at St. Mary, tourists enter the Blackfeet Reservation. Travelling south toward the Two Medicine entrance to Glacier National Park, tourists can see where the Rocky Mountains collide with the Great Plains and Big Sky Country begins."
The Daily Bucket - Nuttall's Woodpecker
—by enhydra lutris
: "I have often noted that we have a Nuttall's woodpecker (Picoides nuttallii) resident in the neighborhood. Even when not in my yard, his presence is known off and on throughout the day. Because the bird is a California specialty, I decided to provide a bit of information on them. In the process I learned that a "toss-up" bird I spotted in the distance in Anza-Borrego a while back, that I had called a Nuttalls' due to how far West it was, was almost certainly a Ladderback, due to the specific habitat it was in. The Nuttall's woodpecker is a small black-and-white woodpecker with a black-and-white barred back. It has white streaks on side of head and the male has red patch on back of the head. It is primarily found in California's oak woodlands and non-coniferous riparian woods. It is only found in California. It looks a great deal like a ladder-backed woodpecker. The ladder-backed has more red on the head and a little more white on the face due to broader white stripes. They are pretty much identical in size range, 6.3 to 7.1 inches, or about 2/3 the size of a hairy woodpecker. Luckily, in the area where their ranges overlap their habitats do not. The Ladder-back is a bird of desert scrub."
Obama Draws Fire—by ClimateDenierRoundup: "A New York Times story describes President Obama's efforts to make meaningful international progress on climate change despite a contrarian Congress. The article explains how Obama's climate negotiators are trying to build off the 1992 UNFCCC to craft a hybrid agreement that is 'politically' rather than 'legally binding' so as to avoid the requirement that a legally binding treaty be ratified by Congress. Deniers, predictably, are upset about this. Breitbart has a piece calling Obama the 'Al Capone of climate change' who is launching an 'assault on democracy, the Constitution and the US Economy,' meanwhile others are trotting out the usual myths saying climate change is a job killing communist hoax. Again, this is in reference to a potential agreement where the primary enforcement method would be embarrassment; hardly mutually assured destruction. The administration has also clarified that it's premature to speculate on what type of agreement might arise, and that it would consult with Congress regardless of the outcome."
Extreme Weather & Natural Phenomena
Confirmed: Bárðarbunga's Lava Is Glowing on the Live Cam—by FishOutofWater: "Based on a grouping of recent earthquakes, combined with the image on the live cam I am estimating that lava is flowing from the north end of the rift zone north of the large glacier. So far this eruption appears very mild on camera. I have examined the developing earthquake pattern. There appears to be a cluster of earthquakes at 15 km deep, so there's apparently a deep lower crustal area where magma is moving and breaking the rock. There's also one earthquake that is located just below 20km deep, but it isn't a verified depth so it's unreliable. We don't know what's going to happen next, but so far so good. We have no way of telling what is going on under the glacier at this time. Apparently this eruption is in a lava field that has had quiet flow basalts in the past, but we have no way of telling how this situation will evolve. This appears to be erupting away from Askja's caldera, so an eruption of Askja is not an issue at this time. Iceland's authorities recently raised the warning level for Askja to yellow because of recent earthquakes near the caldera, but this eruption could slow the advancement of the active magma bearing dyke in that direction, at least, for now."
Bárðarbunga: BREAKING: Sigkatlar - Visual Confirmation Of Potential Subglacial Eruption (upd. +8)
Nighttime image of eruption merged with daytime image looking at Bárðarbunga.
: "So what happened yesterday? Because, frankly, the ongoings near Bárðarbunga's caldera were both unpredicted and kind of weird. There were the surface signs of a subglacial eruption (sigkatlar), appearing overnight... but no apparent eruption tremors. They appeared southeast of the caldera... where nothing major has happened, seismically, in nearly two weeks. A large amount of ice disappeared, presumably melting to water... but none of the river flows increased measurably. And then the day after they flew TF-SIF, the coast guard research plane, over the site... they remained unchanged."
Bárðarbunga: About 6 Million Cubic Meters Of Magma (Updatex3: New eruption!)—by Rei: "Rögnvaldur Ólafsson in the coordination center of the public protection services conirms in a conversation with Vísir that an eruption has begun north of Dyngjujökull but south of Askja. 'This is likely in the place where the dike ends going north,' says Rögnvaldur in a conversation with Vísir. He considers that what we're talking about is a 200-300 meter rift but they're trying to position the eruption better. Employees are collecting in the coordination center which got news of the report around 12:30. He says that scientists are in the area conducting research and that they will keep up with this progressing issue. It's believed to be pahoehoe / low viscosity lava. [...] Scientists on the scene (1-2 km away) report that the erupting fissure is about 300 meters long, according to the RÚV twitter feed. There are reportedly no spectacular columns of fire of note."
Iceland's Troubles Pile Up: Now a Tropical Storm—by Village Vet: "On the predicted track, [Hurricane Cristobal] is expected to go extra-tropical (meaning its warm-core hurricane centre will become a cold-core storm, but it does not lose any energy), and will slam into Iceland's south coast on Sunday. It is not expected to drop below Category 1 hurricane strength until it crosses 55 deg N, between Greenland and Iceland. Category 1 is 64 knots / 74 mph / 119 km/h wind speed minimum. It is expected to reach the south coast of Iceland at tropical storm strength (18–32 m/s, 34–63 knots, 39–73 mph, 63–118 km/h). Bear in mind these are speeds relative to the eye of the storm. The storm rotates counter-clockwise and will be moving roughly north, so the east side of the storm will be tropical storm wind speeds plus the storm's forward momentum. (On the west side it will be minus the storm's momentum.) Hence, depending on exactly where it reaches Iceland determines whether the country gets smacked hard, soft, or not at all."
Energy & Conservation
Obama Opened Floodgates for Offshore Fracking in Recent Gulf of Mexico Lease—by Steve Horn: "In little-noticed news arising out of a recent Gulf of Mexico offshore oil and gas lease held by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the floodgates have opened for Gulf offshore hydraulic fracturing ('fracking'). With 21.6 million acres auctioned off by the Obama Administration and 433,822 acres receiving bids, some press accounts have declared BP America—of 2010 Gulf of Mexico offshore oil spill infamy—a big winner of the auction. If true, fracking and the oil and gas services companies who perform it like Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Schlumberger came in a close second. On the day of the sale held at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, an Associated Press article explained that many of the purchased blocks sit in the Lower Tertiary basin, coined the 'final frontier of oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico' by industry analysts."
Plutonium in the Pacific Ocean From Fukushima—by MarineChemist: "A new monitoring network called InFORM was recently funded by the Marine Ecosystem Observation Predication and Response (MEOPAR) Network part of the Government of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence Program. The goal of the program is to monitor the arrival of the contaminated seawater plume resulting from the Fukushima nuclear disaster along the western and Arctic coasts of Canada, determine the radiological health risks for the marine ecosystem and Canadian public and communicate these results in a timely way to the public. Members of the public are concerned about the presence of the alpha-emitting isotopes of Pu and have been asking why measuring for these elements in seawater and marine biota is not a priority of the InFORM network. The purpose of this diary is to explain why such measurements are less likely to provide information about the plume and its impacts."
Fuku #3 Debris Removal Breaks Bad. Again.—by Joieau: "Today there was another accident at what's left of the Fukushima Daiichi unit 3 reactor building, when workers operating a remote control crane dropped the control console for the refueling machine into the spent fuel pool. The console weighs close to a thousand pounds. TEPCO told reporters that they haven't noticed any change in the radiation levels around the pool after the accident, which is nice. Those levels are already high enough to require workers to use remote control, debris removal has been a notoriously dirty job. As reported in a previous diary, on August 19th of 2013 TEPCO reported more than 1.1 trillion becquerels of contamination was released in a 4-hour period during debris removal at unit 3, up to 4 TBq over two days."
No New Oil Drilling in our Oceans—by Dan Chu: "Though President Obama and this Administration have done more to combat climate disruption than any other president, true progress can't be made if offshore drilling is expanded. If we are serious about avoiding the catastrophic impacts of climate disruption, we have to keep dirty fuels like oil and gas in the ground and scrap any plans that would allow new offshore drilling off of our coasts. Oil and gas from new offshore drilling dumps more carbon pollution into the air, increasing sea level rise that destroys coastal communities and beaches. More major cities such as New York will flood—as we saw during super storm Sandy—as well as other cities such as Miami, Norfolk, New Orleans, and Boston. The Everglades and the marshes of Louisiana will melt into the Gulf of Mexico. The Florida Keys, North Carolina’s Outer Banks, barrier islands from New Jersey to Florida, and beaches across America could simply disappear. Some communities, like those in Norfolk, Virginia, are already dealing with increased flooding from rising seas. New offshore drilling threatens our coastal economies. Every summer millions of Americans vacation at our coasts and beaches. They spend time with their families, and spend billions of dollars supporting coastal economies that create millions of jobs. Those jobs depend on clean, healthy beaches that could be lost to a single accident."
22.6% of homes in South Australia use solar energy meeting 2020 goal six years early—by HoundDog: "Giles Parkinson of CleanTechnica brings us the good news that 22.6% Of Homes Use Solar In South Australia. Nearly one in four homes in South Australia now has rooftop solar, as the share of renewable energy in the state neared 33 per cent in 2013/14 – delivering the state’s ambitious 2020 target six years ahead of schedule. Official data released by the Australian Energy Market Operator shows that the share of wind and solar generation in South Australia jumped to 32.1 per cent in 2013/14. This exceed the state’s target, but doesn’t include the 275MW Snowtown II wind farm that was brought on line in July."
Pennsylvania Makes Public 243 Cases of Fracking Contaminated Water—by FishOutofWater: "The state of Pennsylvania has released redacted details of 243 cases of water contamination caused by fracking and related activities by the natural gas industry. Claims made by the fracking industry that they have not contaminated water are utter rubbish. These 243 cases which took place in Pennsylvania between 2008 and 2014 involve a wide range of contamination problems including the contamination of multiple water supply wells by one fracking operation. State officials did not indicate how many more cases of contamination may have occurred since 2008 that are not included in this list."
Details of 243 water contamination cases by Pennsylvanian oil and gas companies finally released—by weinenkel: "Pennsylvania has had a natural gas boom over the past 6 years. During that time no one has been able to get any information on what that boom is doing to Pennsylvania. As Associated Press points out: The Associated Press and other news outlets have filed lawsuits and numerous open-records requests over the last several years seeking records of the DEP's investigations into gas-drilling complaints. Finally, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has released information on these cases. The DEP does not have a particularly good record of transparency. [...] Well, as the headline says, they finally released some information. The 243 cases, from 2008 to 2014, include some where a single drilling operation impacted multiple water wells. The problems listed in the documents include methane gas contamination, spills of wastewater and other pollutants, and wells that went dry or were otherwise undrinkable. Some of the problems were temporary, but the names of landowners were redacted, so it wasn't clear if the problems were resolved to their satisfaction. Other complaints are still being investigated."
Keystone XL & Other Fossil Fuel Transportation
State Dept. Overseers of Contentious Enbridge Tar Sands Pipeline Workaround Have Industry Ties—by Steve Horn: "The Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and other green groupsrecently revealed that pipeline giant Enbridge got U.S. State Department permission in response to its request to construct a U.S.-Canada border-crossingtar sands pipeline without earning an obligatory Presidential Permit. Enbridge originally applied to the Obama State Department to expand capacity of its Alberta Clipper (now Line 67) pipeline in November 2012, but decided to avoid a “Keystone XL, take two”—or a years-long permitting battle—by creating a complex alternative to move nearly the same amount of diluted bitumen ('dilbit') across the border. The move coincides with the upcoming opening for business of Enbridge’s 'Keystone XL' clone: the combination of the Alberta Clipper expansion (and now its alternative) on-ramp originating in Alberta and heading eventually to Flanagan, Ill., the Flanagan South pipeline running from Flanagan, Ill. to Cushing, Okla. and the Cushing, Okla. to Port Arthur, Texas Seaway Twin pipeline. Together, the three pieces will do what TransCanada‘s Keystone XL hopes to do: move dilbit from Alberta’s tar sands to Port Arthur’s refinery row and, in part, the global export market."
Sustainability & Extinction
Birds are in trouble and that means we are too—by weinenkel: "According to Birdlife international: Since the year 1500, we have lost over 150 bird species—an extinction rate far higher than the natural background. Today, one in eight bird species is threatened with global extinction, with 197 species Critically Endangered, and Red List assessments show that things are getting worse. Particularly alarming are sharp declines in many formerly common and widespread species. This is a signal of wider environmental problems, and of the erosion of biodiversity as a whole. This is significant because that's a lot of birds. It's also important to realize that birds are possibly the greatest survivors we know. They are the most hearty species on the planet. National Geographic points out: The ice of Antarctica doesn't faze them. Nor does the heat of the tropics. They thrive in the desert, in swamps, on the open ocean, on sheer rock faces, on treeless tundra, atop airless mountaintops, and burrowed into barren soil. But birds are in trouble. They evolved from DINOSAURS, people. [...] Over the years, the correlations between bird populations and human populations around the globe has been increasingly studied. The same chemicals and pollutants seeping into different environments–spelling health issues for bird populations–has also shown a correlation in our human population."
URGENT: Scientists give this porpoise until Monday—sign today!!!—by Nathan Empsall SierraRise: "We're just months away from seeing one of the most beautiful species of porpoises go extinct. Less than 100 vaquita porpoises are left off the coast of Mexico—and they're being trapped and drowned by massive, floating fishing nets. Experts say that "unless drastic action is taken immediately, the vaquita will be lost"—maybe even by the end of this year. That's why scientists are recommending an emergency ban on gillnet fishing in vaquita habitat—and they say it must be put in place by this Monday, September 1, or we could lose these porpoises forever. There's no time to lose: Tell the governments of Mexico, the U.S., and China to work together to crack down on illegal fishing and save the last of the vaquita!"
USF Ranked 7th in Nation on Sierra Club's Sustainable Schools List—by jtietz: "Ecology Florida joins the University of South Florida in celebrating the school's top-ten ranking in the Sierra Club's "Cool Schools" listing. Coming in 7th overall, USF is ranked ahead of all the Ivy League schools, as well as its better known in-state colleagues, the University of Florida and Florida State. USF is by far the highest ranked school in the state of Florida. The Sierra Club recognized a number of USF's achievements, including 'America's first 20,000-watt solar charging station for electric vehicles, the Clean Energy Research Center … and the school's 24-year-old recycling program [that] has diverted more than 48 tons of aluminum and 9,700 tons of papers from local landfills.' In a state that lags woefully behind much of the nation in sustainability programs, regenerative environmental initiatives, and government commitment to ecological stewardship, USF has emerged as a beacon of progress and inspiration. The Sierra Club recognized what USF is doing to restore the environment, even if many Floridians have not. What the Sierra Club did not mention is the rich and deep commitment to ecological education revealed in the curriculum of the university."
Koalas are rapidly dying out; nose prints could help save them—by WonkyNewsNerd: "The koala – a cultural icon Down Under—is in serious decline, suffering from the effects of habitat destruction, wildfires, and a chlamydia epidemic. A new technique that could revolutionize koala research. It’s based on the realization that koalas have the equivalent of human fingerprints—on their noses."
Agriculture, Food & Gardening
Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 10.27—by Frankenoid: "Denver has had an extremely long and strong monsoon season this year. We've had thunderstorms and rain almost every afternoon this week. Overall, August temperatures have been a couple of degrees below normal, while rain totals are more than an inch greater. While the moisture is appreciated, the lack of heat has led to slow ripening tomatoes, squash and melons. And it took forever for the brugmansia to set buds and bloom. I think they were worth waiting for. This one is about 5 feet tall; a smaller specimen is indoors so the house, too, is full of the delightful, lemon pie scent."
Eco-Related Candidacies, DC & State Politics
NC-Sen: Mark Ruffalo Teams Up With CREDO Action To Go After Thom Tillis (R) On Fracking—by poopdogcomedy: "Received this e-mail today from actor and activist Mark Ruffalo on behalf of CREDO Action: As it goes, I know a thing or two about coming to the rescue against evil plans -- it’s part of my day job. But it's one thing to fight bad guys on the big screen, and quite another to stop pro-fracking extremists like Thom Tillis who are working to destroy vital protections that keep us safe from toxic drilling. In real life, we can’t depend on a superhero to protect us. But when we come together in action, we are all at our most powerful, and we can accomplish amazing things. One thing we need to accomplish this November is to defeat Thom Tillis, who cares more about serving the fossil fuel industry than protecting us. Please join me in taking a stand against fracking by supporting CREDO SuperPAC's grassroots campaign to defeat Thom Tillis."
Eco-Justice & Eco-Activism
The Necessity Defense
Ken Ward, left, and Jay O'Hara before
sailing to block a coal shipment.
: "'The legal brouhaha was set in motion in the spring of 2013. Following an early-morning waterfront prayer in Newport, R.I., Ward and O’Hara navigated a lobster boat into a shipping channel, pulled close enough to shore to shout to supporters on land, and dropped an anchor weighing more than 200 pounds—one that was chained and locked to their vessel. They called local police. Coast Guard officers boarded their boat, inspected it, and remained on board as the hours ticked by and the sunny day became overcast and windy. The 690-foot Energy Enterprise idled along the shoreline, unable to deliver its payload of coal to a power plant in Somerset, Mass.' This is what we have been talking about! Ken Ward’s and Jay O’Hara’s day long blockade of a coal delivery. There were no arguments, no fights, no shootings, it was a pretty laid back affair. The men were not arrested, but did receive criminal charges in the mail with a trial scheduled 9-8-14 in Fall River District Court, MA. (Hey New England, you have the date and place if anyone wants to show support.) 'The men's attorneys are planning to use a new approach called, The Necessity Defense, and will argue that the urgency of climate change and greenhouse gas pollution was so great that their clients’ actions were legally justifiable.' [...] According to Climate Central, Jim Hansen and Bill McKibben are going to testify in support of Ward and O'Hara. How cool is that? Please Gods and Goddesses let this become National news!"
Why I March: For Love, and Lackawanna Sunsets—by The Poet Deploreate: "I was in Buffalo from Love Canal until the closing of Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna. Two socio-cultural bookmarks that forever changed the environmental landscape of Western New York. And my world-view. A man’s (or a woman’s) house is supposed to be their castle. Unless, of course, it is built over a toxic waste dump. Then it becomes the place where they, or their kids sicken, and maybe die; it becomes an albatross, impossible to sell, and impossible to live in. In the end, it becomes a nightmare, bought by a government who has no choice but to tear the house down to get at the toxins below the basement, which seeped into the basement. The government can’t price the dreams and memories that linger, like ghosts drifting through a tomb, long after the house is vacated. For me, living less than 15 miles from Love Canal, the idea that an entire neighborhood, city blocks, dozens of houses- two schools, for G-d's sake- could suddenly become petrie dishes for a man-induced epidemic of toxin-caused diseases was inconceivable. From 15 miles away, I watched as one of the early heroes of environmental activism movement, Lois Gibbs, fought to focus attention on the issue. Her son, after attending a school built in the neighborhood, had developed epilepsy, asthma, a urinary tract infection. His white blood cell count was low. All of this occurred during the first four months he attended the school."
Oceans, Water & Drought
Short, funny ocean acidification video!—by Dont Just Sit There DO SOMETHING: "You may be thinking those words don't go together—nevertheless, here's a short, funny video to explain ocean acidification and its effects without ...you know ... crushing your soul. (Unlike the leaked, latest report from the U.N. warning about 'severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.') This episode couples the drastic, carbon-pollution-induced changes to our ocean chemistry with our trademark humor. A spoonful of sugar, and all that. As an aside, you can tell how extremely important water is to us humans, just by how many idioms and puns abound. Without further ado, I give you Don't Just Sit There—Do Something! Episode 20: The Silence of the Clams."
Must-read on dwindling Louisiana coasts, global warming, etc.—by pico: "Very short diary because there's not much I can add to this excellent, interactive article that went live today on ProPublica: "Losing Ground", by Bob Marshall, Brian Jacobs, and Al Shaw. Here's the lede: In 50 years, most of southeastern Louisiana not protected by levees will be part of the Gulf of Mexico. The state is losing a football field of land every 48 minutes—16 square miles a year—due to climate change, drilling and dredging for oil and gas, and levees on the Mississippi River. At risk: nearly all of the nation's domestic energy supply, much of its seafood production, and millions of homes. None of the information in the site is, strictly speaking, news to anyone who's followed this issue, but it's assembled impressively, with an interactive map showing the extent of the devastation and projections for further losses, interviews with locals whose livelihood and culture are most at risk, and a thoroughly documented history of negligence, with the scant hopes for a better set of policies in the future. It's a great example of how technology, politics, journalism, and research can combine into a gorgeously-rendered vehicle for (we hope?) social change."
Bay Delta Conservation Plan Delayed!—by Dan Bacher: "The Department of Water Resources announced Wednesday that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels will be delayed and a new plan, EIR/EIS and implementing agreement will be drafted, followed by a new public comment period. The decision was made after the state and federal agencies received an avalanche of thousands of public comments, the vast majority sharply criticizing the plan and accompanying environmental documents for an array of flaws."
BDCP on Life Support; Prognosis Poor—by Dan Bacher: "Here's a sizzling hot news release from Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. Jennings says the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels is 'on life support; prognosis poor' after the U.S. wrote a scathing 43-page letter on the project's environmental documents. [...] The controversial Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) that proposes to construct two 35-mile long tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to divert Sacramento River water to agricultural plantations in the deserts of southern California was placed on life support following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) scathing 43-page comment letter on the BDCP’s draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS). The Department of Water Resources announced that a revised EIR/EIS would be delayed until sometime in 2015. BDCP’s friends and family anxiously expressed hope that an infusion of additional millions of dollars and months of treatment would enable the project to recover."
Judge rejects Westlands bid to stop releases for Klamath salmon—by Dan Bacher: "As members of the Hoopa Valley, Yurok, Karuk, Winnemem Wintu and other Tribes and their allies held a “Bring Our Water Home Rally” at Lewiston Dam Wednesday, a federal judge in Fresno rejected a motion by San Joaquin Valley agribusiness interests to block emergency water releases to avert a fish kill on the Klamath River. U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill denied the temporary restraining order (TRO) sought by Westlands Water District and the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority after the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation increased releases on the Trinity River below Lewiston Dam on Saturday, August 23. O’Neill ruled that potential harm to salmon facing low and warm water conditions at this time outweighs the potential harm to irrigators, who receive Trinity River water through the Central Valley Project, next year."
Tunnel opponents applaud EPA's scathing comment letter—by Dan Bacher: "Opponents of Governor Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels plan quickly responded to the state and federal governments' decision to delay the $67 billion proposed project following the 43-page comment letter by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) slamming the Bay Delta Conservation Plan’s draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS). 'BDCP’s friends and family anxiously expressed hope that an infusion of additional millions of dollars and months of treatment would enable the project to recover,' quipped Bill Jennings, CSPA Executive Director. 'However, the EPA comments coming on top of some 4,500 pages of searing reviews by municipalities, counties and water agencies that would be adversely impacted by the project, almost 2,000 pages of highly critical comments by environmental and fishing organizations, hundreds of pages of harsh analyses by government agencies and stinging comments from many thousands of California citizens reveal that BDCP is suffering from a congenital terminal illness. Additional delay is unlikely to improve BDCP’s prospects for survival,' said Jennings. Jennings observed, 'BDCP was doomed from the beginning because it was conceived on the fatal premise that you can restore an estuary hemorrhaging from a lack of flow by depriving it of another 2.5 million acre-feet of flow.'"
Transportation & Infrastructure
"My e-car runs on HEMP" - breakthrough in supercapacitor-science—by elziax: "So, it seems that there's even another ingenious possible usage of hemp-fibers: you can power your e-car with it. Yes, possible even better than with the latest, top-of-the-notch graphene - supercapacitors and at a fraction of the costs! The American Chemical Society reports: As hemp makes a comeback in the U.S. after a decades-long ban on its cultivation, scientists are reporting that fibers from the plant can pack as much energy and power as graphene, long-touted as the model material for supercapacitors."