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Every week Daily Kos diarists write dozens of environmentally related posts. Many don't get the readership they deserve. Helping improve the odds is the motivation behind the Green Diary Rescue. In the past seven years, there have been 234 of these spotlighting more than 13,204 eco-diaries. Below are categorized links and excerpts to 68 more that appeared in the past seven days. That makes for lots of good reading during the spare moments of your weekend. [Disclaimer: Inclusion of a diary in the rescue does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.]
Green Diary of the Week
side pocket dumping mosquito fish into swarm of mosquito larvae
side pocket releases hungry predators.
Mosquito Control—by side pocket. After deciding not to use chemicals and finding mechanical means to be ineffective: "Then I thought.....Mosquito Fish. Most counties have a mosquito control agency of some sort; some of them stock these fish. They are called Gambusia affinis and they have a voracious appetite for mosquito larvae and pupae. They can eat from 100-500 larvae a day and give birth to live and active young. When you get them from the tax-supported agency they are about the size of small guppies. They gave me three fish in a waxed carton. So I cleared the pond of detritus with a sieve. The pond was then crystal clear. Then I added the fish from the container. They were so happy. They immediately set about chasing the swimming larvae and eating them. They are fun to watch. Three cheers for the public sector."

••• ••• •••

Momentum for Change: 'Lighthouse Activities' Signal Hope for Sustainable Urban Develpment—by boatsie: "Solar Sister is the only organization in the world formed with the exclusive mission to build an Africa-wide network of women clean energy entrepreneurs. As the primary consumers of household energy, women are critical for successful adaptation of clean energy solutions. Solar Sister was founded on the belief that investing in women is a prerequisite for large-scale adoption of clean energy technologies at a grassroots level. It is this gender inclusive system approach, combined with a women led enterprise-based model to bring sustainable livelihood opportunities to address energy poverty, that makes the Solar Sister model unique."

••• ••• •••

Privatization of weather and climate data: What could possibly go wrong?—by VL Baker: "And so private industry is stepping into the void, with companies such as Skybox Imaging with its mini-fridge sized satellite, so much more flexible and easier to launch.  Still, this would not be the first time the government has tried to solve its satellite data problems through privatization. A similar dynamic played out in the intelligence arena during the past decade, when private companies such as DigitalGlobe and GeoEye (the two have since merged) launched satellites to capture super-high resolution images for secretive spy agencies, including the National Reconnaissance Office and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Indeed, what could possibly go wrong?"

More rescued green diaries can be found below the fold.

Climate Change

US Rates High on Climate Risk Index—by boatsie: "In a survey of 14 metereological record breaking events between 2000 and 2012, the 2011 drought in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Louisiana is one of only three events where confidence in attributing the occurrence to climate change is rated "HIGH,"  according to Germanwatch's 2013 Global Climate Risk Index. The other two events were the European heat wave in Summer 2003, where 70,000 died, and the 2008 dry winter in the Middle East and Mediterranean which devastated cereal crops."

New Poll Finds Wide Bipartisan Support for Climate Action, But Legislators Aren't Listening—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "The Natural Resources Defense Council just came out with a poll, conducted by Hart Research Associates and Chesapeake Beach Consulting, that tested public responses to the President's climate plan. The poll showed wide bipartisan support for key climate change action proposals included in Obama's speech from several weeks ago. [...] [The poll's] framing of the President’s climate plan here stressed (1) EPA standards on power plants, (2) increased fuel efficiency standards, (3) energy efficiency standards for new appliances and buildings, and (4) increased investment in renewable energy.  The description left out some of the parts of Obama’s plan that are less attractive to liberals and environmentalists, e.g. fracking and “clean coal.” However, leaving those out allows us to see the support for the good parts of the plan."

Tisha B'Av & Climate Change: James Hanson, A Modern Day Jeremiah?—by remembrance: "I was one of a panel of three in which we were asked to bring awareness about Climate Change to our congregation in the context of the upcoming Tisha B’Av and to describe our personal connection to Climate Change. I learned about the association between Tisha B’Av and Climate Change initially from our Rabbi and then through reading the work of Rabbi Arthur Waskow. I am often amazed at the depth of knowledge and feeling that some people are capable of conveying, and these two Rabbi’s are no exception."

Climate Change is Real—by Paul Deaton: "Last week was arguably the best summer weather Iowa has had in many years. Temperatures were moderate and humidity low; some rain, but not too much; and glorious partly cloudy skies coupled with a light breeze. A bit of imitation vanilla extract on the nose, and even swarms of gnats couldn't spoil the enjoyment. Everyone I know who has a garden is having an abundant year of produce. Foragers can find plenty of black raspberries, and while the Iowa DNR sprayed the lily pads on Lake Macbride, one more toxic substance in the water won't kill us— we hope."

New Study predicts Sea Levels to rise 6.6 ft. for each degree Celsius increase in temperatures—by Lefty Coaster: "We've known for some time that Climate Change has locked us into centuries of rising sea levels. There has been some debate about just how fast sea level will rise. This new five nation study quantifies what we can expect over a very long time frame. Sea levels may rise by more than 2 meters (6.6 feet) for each degree Celsius of global warming the planet experiences over the next 2,000 years, according to a study by researchers in five nations. The findings signal that melting of ice in the Antarctic will take over from thermal expansion, where warmer water occupies more space, as the main cause of rising seas. In the worst-case scenario examined, a temperature gain of 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 Fahrenheit) would result in seas rising by about 9 meters since industrialization began in the 18th century. A few years ago the City of Seattle was planning to put a major transportation artery in a cut and cover tunnel along the downtown waterfront. I thought it was a terrible idea because of sea level rise. Highway planners weren't looking at a long enough time frame IMHO. That plan was eventually scrapped."

If God came back: His message to climate polluters—by VL Baker: Animation.

Food & Agriculture & Gardening

green pepper
Stupid Garden Question(s): How To Preserve Peppers—by webranding: "OK just the third year of my garden. First year I put in some raised beds and made my own soil. Although I can read, I often don't follow written instructions and I planted everything too close together. Not bad results, but limited. I ended up just drying the peppers by hanging them in my kitchen with a needle and thread."

MORE THAN JUST FOOD: CONNECTING FARM TO COMMUNITY—by Bev Bell: "Just Food in New York City is doing what its name suggests: working to make the food system more just. It does this, first, by making community supported agriculture (CSAs), farmers’ markets, and gardens, more accessible and affordable in the city. Second, it helps small farmers survive, and even thrive, in the process. Former Executive Director Ruth Katz said the group grew out of a contradiction. 'In New York City, we had these growing soup kitchen lines of people who couldn’t get food and, at the same time, nearby farmers going out of business because they couldn’t sell their food anywhere. It seemed strange that you couldn’t match farmers selling food with people needing food.' Just Food connects urban communities interested in bringing CSAs to their neighborhoods with nearby farmers who can truck their goods into the city."

Macca's Meatless Monday: It's easy being part of solution to climate change—VL Baker: "Reducing meat consumption not only helps our planet but it also can improve our health and is kind to our budget. And it's so simple. Today I will share some easy, fast and economical recipes which are great when you're in a hurry to put together a fast healthy meal."

Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 9.22—by Frankenoid: "While all y'all have been sweltering in the east, here in Denver the arrival of the monsoonal rains have kept things pleasantly cooled.  Our highs have stayed out of the upper 90s, and overnight we've cooled to the low 60s, all thanks to the thunderstorms."

Energy

Small Community College To Build $500,000 Solar Array—by webranding: "SWIC (Southwestern Illinois College) is the local community college about 5 miles down the road from me. It used to be called Belleville Area College (BAC). Or in the 80s when I was in high school and college BAC stood for "Bring a Crayon." It was a joke, but has since morphed into something pretty darn cool. [...] They are going to spend $419,320 to build a solar array and Sun-Arbor parking structure (whatever that means), or as the only story I can find says they are basically going to build parking with solar above all the parking spaces. Somehow they can figure out how to fill out paper-work and they are getting $250,000 of that funding from the Illinois Green Economy Network through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Then as you read down in the story the spokesperson for the college says once completed this will save the college $17,000 a year in utility costs, so in nine years they we recoup their entire investment. Let me say that again in nine years they will recoup their entire investment."

Renewable & Clean Energy is not a "Fad"—by Lefty Coaster: "I was reading the news about climate change as I frequently do. An AP piece about an increased level of US Chinese cooperation on fighting Climate Change titled Obama's unlikely climate change partner: China The article was interesting and informative, then I came to this word that jumped out at me: Beijing may also see renewable and clean energy as a growing global fad and want to ensure they're not left out. In 2010, China's government spent more than $30 billion subsidizing its solar panel industry, U.S. energy officials said. And the U.S. shale natural gas boom is attracting major Chinese investment, too. Fad. noun a temporary fashion, notion, manner of conduct (Dictionary.com Unabridged) There is nothing temporary about an economy relying on sustainable clean energy."

FERC fines Barclays for manipulating US energy prices—by Horace Boothroyd III: "US regulators have fined Barclays $435m (£287m) for manipulating energy markets in California and other states from November 2006 to December 2008.
Barclays and four of its traders must also pay $34.9m to the low-income home energy assistance programs of Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington. They have 30 days to pay the fines imposed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Barclays said it intended to 'vigorously defend this matter'
."

Sixpack of Solar: How Many Solar Devices Can You Make from a Plastic Bottle?—by gmoke: "How Many Solar Devices Can You Make from a Plastic Bottle?"

Black Stuff Found Around Eastern Japan May Be Fukushima Nuclear Fuel—by SDstuck: "Marco Kalofan, an environmental engineer in the US was able to obtain a sample for detailed analysis. What was found was quite unusual. The substance isn™t a sand but an aggregate of radioactive substances, metals and rare earth materials. The materials for some reason clumped together into an aggregate rather than dispersing as tiny particles. What the detailed analysis showed was that the material may have come from inside failed fuel assemblies from the damaged reactors. The high level of uranium daughter an indicator of amounts of unburned uranium fuel. The sample also has a mix of other substances like cesium 134 & 137 and cobalt 60 that are reactor emissions as they do not exist in nature. The specific combination of substances found and the aggregate nature of the pieces confirm it is not organic in nature. The sample also contains a number of things expected to be found in used nuclear fuel."

Today is a Bad Day for Wind Electricity Generation in Large Portions of the U.S.—by LakeSuperior: "If you had the job of being a utility electric generation system operator, you would say that today is a bad day for wind generation in a massive region of the eastern United States and Canada. Wind generation is valuable for generating electricity as a renewable source and thereby helping to potentially reduce emissions from fossil fuel combustion electric generation units.   However, a day like today with current adverse meteorology conditions in a substantial portion of the nation illustrates that wind generation cannot act as a substitute for base-load electric generation plants."

Larger Scale Renewable Energy Systems (Bigger than Household)—by gmoke: "The World Meteorological Organization recently released their Global Climate Report:  Decade of Extremes (pdf alert:  http://library.wmo.int/.... and video at http://youtu.be/....) looking at general weather patterns decade by decade from 1881 to 2010. '...it is worth noting the very large increase (more than 2 000 per cent) in the loss of life from heatwaves, particularly during the unprecedented extreme heat events that affected Europe in the summer of 2003 and the Russian Federation in the summer of 2010. On the other hand, there were fewer deaths due to storms and floods in 2001–2010 compared to 1991–2000, with decreases of 16 per cent and 43 per cent, respectively, thanks, in good part, to better early warning systems and increased preparedness.' 2,300% increase in casualties from heatwaves, 189% increase from cold snaps in the 2001 to 2010 decade."

Fracking

Brace for more earthquakes in southern Illinois thanks to fracking—by Willinois: "A new scientific study confirms that pumping fracking fluids into the ground increases seismic activity. It's grim news as Illinois begins a fracking rush in major seismic zones. The scientists looked at three big quakes: the Tohuku-oki earthquake in Japan in 2011 (magnitude 9), the Maule in Chile in 201 (an 8.8 magnitude), and the Sumatra in Indonesia in 2012 (an 8.6). They found that, as much as 20 months later, those major quakes triggered smaller ones in places in the Midwestern US where fluids have been pumped underground for energy extraction. Unless I missed a major section of the bill, Illinois' new fracking rules haven't found a way to regulate an increase in earthquakes."

Fact Checking Josh Fox/Gasland #3-EPA Enforcement Case Shows Gas Industry Bust Under Clean Water Act—by LakeSuperior: "Among the principle claims of Gasland is that oil and gas industry hydraulic fracturing operations, including all produced process wastewater and hydraulic fracturing fluids, are exempt from the Federal Clean Water Act. This claim --- that oil and gas industry activity is exempt from the Clean Water Act ---  is a central tenet of the Gasland conflation/fabrication and anti-science campaign.   The present results and damage from this campaign is the widespread broadcast of totally erroneous 'facts' by Gasland that have become widely believed in a manner of urban myths by major portions of the United States green/environmental movement."

The Best Fracking Health Study Pennsylvania's GOP could Buy—by S Kitchen: "Pennsylvania Republicans are once again playing politics, pitting the welfare of Commonwealth residents against the natural gas industry. Here’s a  hint: it’s buried deep inside the 2013-2014 fiscal code (SB 591) – Page 35 lines 20 to 22, to be exact. Those lines provide a $150,000 appropriation for “independent research regarding natural gas drilling,” and some argue that this is just another handout to the natural gas industry."

Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation

Keystone XL pipeline raises American gas prices says new study—by VL Baker: "A new study from Consumer Watchdog says that Keystone XL pipeline will raise American gas prices 20 cents to 40 cents in the Midwest with no long-term economic benefit to U.S. economy. The report finds that: • Drivers, especially in the Midwest, would pay 20 cents to 40 cents more at the pump if the disputed pipeline were built, as the current discount of up to $30 a barrel for Canadian oil disappears. • The true goal of multinational oil companies and Canadian politicians backing the pipeline is to reach export outlets outside the U.S. for tar sands oil and refined fuels, which would drive up the oil’s price. • With U.S. oil production rising fast, any “energy security” benefit for the U.S. would vanish as American oil output exceeds that of Saudi Arabia in about 2020, according to the International Energy Agency."

State Dept Keystone XL Environmental Reviewer Claimed Delaware Tar Sands Refinery Made Air Cleaner—by Steve Horn: "A DeSmogBlog investigation reveals Environmental Resources Management, Inc. (ERM Group), the contractor that performed the environmental review for TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands export pipeline, was also recently hired by a major Delaware City refinery to study air quality around the plant. Conducted in March 2013, the study concluded the “air quality [near the refinery] is as good as, and in some cases, better than samples taken during the 2011 study before the refinery restart,” as explained on a flyer obtained by DeSmog promoting two public meetings hosted by ERM to discuss results. However, an independent air sample study detected the cancer-causing compound benzene far above levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as soot and sulfur dioxide, in an area one mile from the refinery."

Keystone XL Scandal: Obama Attorney's Law Firm Represents TransCanada's Pipeline in Alaska—by Steve Horn: "A DeSmogBlog investigation reveals that Robert Bauer, former White House Counsel and President Barack Obama's personal attorney, works at the corporate law firm Perkins Coie LLP, which does legal work for TransCanada's South Central LNG Project, formerly known as Alaska Gas Pipeline Project. Furthermore, Dan Sullivan, current Commissioner of Alaska's Department of Natural Resources, and former Alaska Attorney General and former Assistant Secretary of State in the Bush Administration, is a former Perkins attorney. These findings come in the immediate aftermath of a recent investigation revealing the contractor hired by Obama's U.S. State Department to do the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the northern half of TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands export pipeline - Environmental Resources Management, Inc. (ERM Group) - lied on its June 2012 conflict-of interest filing. ERM Group checked the box on the form saying it had no current business ties to TransCanada."

FOE Sues Obama State Department on Keystone XL FOIA Delay—by Steve Horn: "Friends of the Earth-U.S. (FOE) has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. State Department for failing to expedite its April 2013 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking communications between TransCanada Keystone XL tar sands export pipeline’s influence peddlers and the agency tasked to make the final decision on KXL’s northern half. FOE’s request seeks records of communications between State – which FOE has yet to hear back from since the April expedition request denial – and a cadre of powerful lobbyists."

NJ Sand Hill Indians File Cease and Desist Against Tennessee Gas Pipeline—by Carol Hoernlein: "Sad to say, the ground for this betrayal of the Raritan Lenape began nearly 14 years ago. Unfortunately this story is way bigger and sadder than I could have imagined. The best explanation is that this not only affects the Sand Hill but their non-native friends and neighbors all over NJ. At first it seemed like an oversight, a thoughtless slight that needed to be rectified. Now it appears that the efforts to discredit and marginalize the Sand Hill began years ago for a reason. We are seeing the devastation of NJ forests laid waste this year in the rush for the Natural Gas industry to build pipelines and compressor stations.  I wish this was just about casinos – but it appears not.  The only way the gas industry could get their pipelines across NJ – which is now the only speed bump in the way of liquefying and selling fracked Marcellus shale natural gas from Pennsylvania, to Asia – is to get rid of the only Native American Tribe who never signed away their rights and never gave up their sovereignty - The only tribe who could complain and possibly stop them."

More Lies: John Kerry Must Clean Up the Keystone Permit Process—by RossHammond: "Last week brought fresh revelations of lying and deceit in the State Department’s environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline. Research conducted by Friends of the Earth revealed that Environmental Resources Management -- the London-based consulting firm hired by the State Department to do the supplemental environmental impact statement for Keystone XL -- lied on its conflict of interest disclosure forms when it claimed it had no business relationships with pipeline builder TransCanada or the many oil companies active in the Canadian tar sands who are counting on Keystone to be built. Although widely reported in Canada, the revelation that ERM lied on its conflict of interest forms has been reported on by Business Week and the Washington Post but otherwise has so far been ignored by many of the other key news organizations that have been covering the Keystone controversy."

Exxon's Secrecy Over Mayflower, Arkansas Ruptured Pipeline Could Mask National Dangers—by Bateach: "More great reporting from InsideClimate News on the state of pipeline safety in the wake of the tarsands pipeline spill in Mayflower, Arkansas. Lest we forget, it's not just older pipelines that are spilling ...TransCanada's Keystone I pipe leaked 12 times in just its first year of operation."

Eco-Related DC & State Politics

Confirmed at EPA 136 days after being nominated, Gina McCarthy now starts the hard part—by Meteor Blades: "It wasn't so much McCarthy with her sterling, bipartisan credentials that held up her nomination, but rather the Republicans' effort to cripple various government operations that they don't like but can't get rid of. And make no mistake, in the Senate and House sit plenty of climate-change deniers who would, if they could, get rid of the EPA altogether. In the words of Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, they see it being engaged in 'aggressive bureaucratic power grabs.' The rhetoric has it that EPA's rule-making is killing jobs and crippling the economy when, in fact, done right, regulating carbon emissions will mean more jobs, a sustainable economy and a healthier environment."

Gina McCarthya
A stone cold, coal-powered pollution killer—by Environmental Action: "Why all the Sturm und Drang? Simple: McCarthy is a stone cold coal-powered-pollution killer. And that is some seriously good news for the planet and all of us who live on it. When I started as an environmental organizer almost 20 years ago, fighting to clean up or close down coal fired power plants was one of my first jobs. But it was a grueling job because coal is an old, familiar fuel. Like oil it's made a lot of fossil fuel barons very rich. And they've used that money to consistently stamp out opposition, run roughshod over the rights of local communities and workers around the country -- So powerful was the coal industry that they got the nickname 'King Coal' - because they ruled our energy economy with the impunity of a monarch. And nothing ever threatened the rule of King Coal as much as rules to regulate global warming pollution from power plants. The idea was so threatening to the coal industry and their puppets in the Senate that Senator Joe Manchin once famously shot a law to regulate global warming in a campaign commercial as a chilling demonstration of how 'dead' climate campaigners were to him and his campaign."

James Inhofe fundraiser email invites Google to "upset the environmentalists"—by JesseC: "James Inhofe, the Senator from Oklahoma, is one of the most outspoken and bombastic deniers of climate change and attackers of science, bar none. He tried to criminally investigate 17 climate scientists whose emails were hacked and leaked. He 'wrote' a 'book' called The Greatest Hoax, about climate change. He compares the EPA to the Gestapo. He also receives a huge percentage of his campaign money from the fossil fuel sector. Most of the rest comes from arms manufacturers. James Inhofe is exactly the kind of politician that has stopped any meaningful action of climate change in the United States. And Google just threw him a fundraiser at their Washington DC Lobbying Headquarters."

NM-Sen: Tom Udall (D) Calls For Action On Climate Change—by poopdogcomedy: "If anyone still denies that climate change is real, I invite them to come to New Mexico. New Mexico is suffering the worst drought conditions in the nation. Temperatures in our state have been rising 50 percent faster than the global national average in recent decades. Climate change is very real. And so are the costs to New Mexico's economy, our families, and our way of life. [...] For years, I've been fighting for a "Do It All, Do It Right" energy policy -- one that takes on the threats of climate change and our dependence on foreign oil together. I've worked to pass a Renewable Energy Standard to increase development of clean energy and diversify our energy supply."

If You Want to Breathe Clean Air, Senate Reform and Democracy Matter—by Phil Radford II Greenpeace: "While a few Senators are working to ensure that President Obama's election has no consequences by blocking him from staffing the administration, the Supreme Court has already pushed forward the Corporate Right's two additional strategies to dismantle democracy of, by and for the people: suppressing the vote and unleashing limitless, secret money into elections. This means that the voting blocs who most support the environment -- youth and people of color -- are being pushed out of the electorate, and powerful moneyed interests who fight environmental safeguards grow more powerful through keeping people out and pumping their money into politics."

The Great Outdoors

A Walk to the Vatnajokull Glacier—by Land of Enchantment: "I can't bear to pay attention to the news just now. And I've also got some pictures to work through from a recent trip to Iceland. Here's the first batch, from an excursion to Skaftafell National Park, recently incorporated into the larger Vatnajokull NP.  Vatnajokull is the biggest of Iceland's glaciers, the world's largest outside Antarctica and the Arctic Circle."

Rural farm along the southern coast of Iceland.
Rural farm along the southern coast of Iceland.
The Daily Bucket: Summer Rain—by matching mole: "I never really paid that much attention to weather patterns until I lived in Arizona.  In the arid southwest every rainfall is an important event and you tend to notice the times of year when it tends to rain. [...] Rainfall in the interior southwest is concentrated in two seasons.  During winter, 'storms' off the Pacific sometimes reach the interior and bring widespread gentle rain.  The summer is the monsoon season. Hot air rises, drawing in moister air from the south.  There are frequent, local thunderstorms. The effect of these seasons varies geographically. Western Arizona is primarily influenced by winter rain with summer storms being uncommon. Eastern Arizona has less winter rain and more summer rain."
Great Blue Heron
The Daily Bucket - Beachwalk with bwren—by Milly Watt: "During week of July 4th, bwren was in my town for a music festival.  So, we met for a walk along North Beach, near Fort Worden State Park, and an east facing beach along the Olympic Discovery trail, here on the NE corner of the Olympic Peninsula of WA state. What a pleasure to go birding with bwren!  I learned a lot from her, especially from her remarkable skill and technique for birding-by-ear.  She is also a careful observer and is meticulous in recording what she finds. I hope she doesn't mind that I now consider her a mentor. [...] There was a bit of drama out on the water. We saw evidence of a bait ball of fish with a huge cluster of gulls above it in a feeding frenzy. A bald eagle took off from shore and flew over us. It went directly toward the gulls which erupted into the air just as the eagle arrived.  The eagle failed in its attempt to snatch anything and immediately turned around to fly back to shore. The gulls took no time settling back onto their prey."

The Daily Bucket: Cow Country - and What Gets Left Behind—by PHScott: "Everywhere we go in Jefferson County we see dairy farms and corn and hay. There are lots of abandoned older barns and silos, farms of the last century when a farmer could get by with 100 acres and 20-30 cows. Those oldtime farms have been consumed by newer, bigger dairies—now it's a 1,000 acres with 200-300 cows. Those cows produce a lot of manure. That manure is spread liberally across the fields. Manure stinks! Manure has high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous. That can pollute groundwater and streams. By NY regs, at 200 cows, the farm becomes known as a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) and must obtain a comprehensive nutrient management plan (CNMP) developed by a certified planner. The CNMP is very expensive. The original plan may cost the farm $10,000 or more and then thousands of dollars for yearly updates. Required practices, such as a manure storage lagoon, may cost the farm nearly $100,000."

The Daily Bucket: Bouncing Bet—by PHScott: "A quick bucket for the day - another hot one here on the east shore of lake Ontario, mid-80s and dry. The cow corn out in the fields is starting to tassel already but the leaves are stressed. Any rain in the next week and the corn should be fine."

Swallow
Patient swallow guards nest.
Daily Bucket; Cliff Swallows—by burnt out: "On previous trips we had seen Cliff Swallows that were colonizing the many bridges that cross the various lake arms, and we were interested in getting a better look at them since we never see them in our neighborhood, even though we are only a hundred miles south of there. We knew nothing about them other than the fact that they lived in large colonies and built very cool mud nests that were shaped more or less like gourds which they attached to the bridges."

Animals

Sachem
The Daily Bucket:Backyard Butterfly List:Slim Pickings—by billybush: "The start of this year's butterfly season has not been good.  A total of 21 butterflies through mid-July puts me just one ahead of where I was in April of last year.  There is no doubt that our late Spring had something to do with it.  Hard freezes in late April capped of by several inches of snow at the beginning of May were sure to have a dramatic impact on early butterfly totals.  And they did.  But, it eventually warmed up, plants germinated and flowered, and the butterflies have begun appearing.  I suspect that as more plants in my yard come into flowers, weekly numbers will go up. Only time will tell. Despite the year's crummy start, there have been a few bright spots.  Last Sunday I spotted a Great-spangled Fritillary(Speyeria cybele, pictured right) in the yard, a butterfly that was absent last year.  Also Sunday, I watched a Red Admiral(Vanessa atalanta) laying eggs on a common garden weed.DSCN3057 Red Admiral caterpillars feed on plants in the nettle family, and I had no idea this plant was a member of that family. I guess I'll have to be a bit more careful when I do my weeding."

Dawn Chorus: The Shoreline at Mountain View—by angelajean: "The ponds on the other side of the park are extensive and we didn't even walk halfway around before heading back. Honestly, we could have spent hours walking trails. We found swallows nesting in one of the maintenance buildings. We saw ducks and coot hanging out in one nearby pond. We kept our eyes peeled for raptors high over head and were lucky enough to view a gorgeous juvenile kite perched in a small bush in the distance. Thank goodness for the viewing scopes of Lineatus and Senor Unoball. It made the bird watching even more enjoyable!"

Should Animals Have the Right Not to be Tortured or Killed?—by Jason Hackman: "Over a year ago I was ambushed two days before 4th of July with a video e-mailed by my girlfriend's co-worker called "Earthlings". It's a fairly comprehensive documentary about how people make use of and abuse animals in a variety of ways. As an avowed eater of animals I normally would steer clear of this sort of thing, but it caught me at a weak moment. I had never seen video footage of what happens to animals during testing, the "production" of clothing, or in factory farms before and I wound up having surprisingly strong negative reaction despite my desperate attempts to forget all about it and shove it back down into the deep dark memory hole of denial. I couldn't though."

Water

Water in a Dry Land—by Desert Scientist: "The deserts of the American Southwest and northern Mexico are, like most deserts, caused by a rain shadow - in this case produced by the coastal mountains of California and West Mexico. The deserts or semi-deserts extend as far north as southern British Columbia, but my experience is mostly with the more southern Chihuahuan and Sonoran Deserts in New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and California in the United States and in northern Mexico, including much of Baja California, Sonora and Chihuahua, and to a lesser extent, with the Mojave Desert in California and northwestern Arizona.  These generally receive 10 inches (250 mm) or less of rain a year, with Yuma at less than three inches (75 mm) and Tucson around 12 inches (300 mm), although the surrounding land is certainly desert.  In the Mesilla Valley of New Mexico, where I currently live, the rainfall is on average about 8 inches (200 mm), but so far this year my backyard rain gage has registered only 21 mm, or about a tenth of our normal yearly rainfall."

A Great Blue Heron in a threatened habitat - marshes along the Rio Grande in New Mexico.
A Great Blue Heron in a threatened habitat - marshes along the Rio Grande in New Mexico.
The Daily Bucket—Undermining The Rivers—by 6412093: "Often, very young, and very old rivers meander in  shapes like coiled snakes.  The river may wander for 100 miles, but only move 50 miles in a direction.  Sometimes rivers double back on themselves so severely, that they cut new channels, and leave a curved portion of the old channel behind. The abandoned channel is called an oxbow lake.  Many rivers have spawned oxbow lakes that provide popular recreation spots, safe from a river’s often dangerous currents."

A Magical Disappearing River—by 6412093: "Meet the largest of those rivers in the Basin and Range region of the western United States, the Humboldt River of Northern Nevada.  Beginning in muddy mountain meadows near the eastern Nevada/Idaho State line, the Humboldt meanders for about 600 miles, while advancing just over 300 miles to the west. But after the Humboldt had struggled West for hundreds of miles, gathering water from every stream in sight, it began to lose water.  The Little Humboldt and the Reese River reach out with their gallons, but they usually dries up short of the Humboldt, which enters what is called its “losing” stretch, where its flows lessen every mile. More water sinks into the porous River bottom, than flows in from the tributaries. Finally, it winds down into the Humboldt Sink, a boggy area an hour east of Reno. Yet the Humboldt Sink isn’t far from the Carson sink, where the Carson River also vanishes, and the resulting lakes and bogs create vital habitat for the Pacific Flyway, which migratory birds have utilized annually for hundreds of thousands of years."

Restore the Delta calls for cost-benefit analysis of peripheral tunnels—by Dan Bacher: ""The Brown Administration has repeatedly refused to conduct a comprehensive benefits-cost analysis, ignoring the rules of the very agencies pushing the project. Instead, they have produced partial and scattered reports that the public will not find useful in determining whether this largest-ever California water project is worth the crushing cost. The project would cost a typical Los Angeles family up to $9,000, according to a report from ECONorthwest," Restore the Delta said."

Feds plan to release Trinity water down Klamath to prevent fish kill—by Dan Bacher: "The federal government plans to release water down the Trinity River to stop a potential fish kill from taking place like the one of September 2002 when over 68,000 salmon perished. The Bureau of Reclamation on July 17 released for public review the "Draft Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact" for using Trinity Reservoir-stored water to supplement flows in the Lower Klamath River to lessen the likelihood of a fish disease outbreak and fish mortalities during late summer."

Federal reports confirm Delta tunnel plan not based on sound science—by Dan Bacher: "In March, California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird claimed that the controversial Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDC) to build two giant peripheral tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is driven by 'science.'"

Public Shows Overwhelming Opposition to Shasta Dam Raise at Workshop—by Dan Bacher: "One thing became became clear from the public workshop regarding the proposed Shasta Dam raise held at the Holiday Inn in Redding on July 16 -  the vast majority of people, ranging from Winnemem Wintu Tribe members to local business owners, oppose the raising of the dam. When one woman in the crowd asked for a show of hands of those who oppose the dam raise and those who support it, the overwhelming majority of the 250 people in the audience raised their hands in opposition. Only a handful of hands went up in support of the controversial plan."

Forests & Public Lands

Catholic Church levels centuries-old trees in Brazil—by Jen Hayden: "Pope Francis is headed to Brazil next week for World Youth Day. He plans on visiting slums and meeting with prisoners, with some hoping his visit will spark "social and economic change for the region." He's not off to a good start after news comes that the Catholic Church destroyed hundreds of centuries-old trees in preparation for his visit."

Eco-Activism

Carbon Footprint Friday—by dhonig: "What did you do to reduce your carbon footprint today? And how easy, or how hard, did your community make it to do so? I rode to work twice this week. I had to send YeloVelo to the shop for its first tune-up. After 700 plus miles in 8 weeks, cables started to stretch and things got sloppy. The week before I got in 4 rides, and next week I'm going for all 5 days."

Mining, Hazardous Wastes & Trash

Question 1: Will Minnesota's Water Stay Safe and Clean?—by Mining Truth: "It can sometimes be surprising to learn that naturally occurring substances on Earth are not always benign or safe to humans or our environment. Sulfides are those kind of substances. When left deep within the Earth, unexposed to air, they present no problem. But when brought to the surface, as is done with mineral extraction, sulfide ores undergo a chemical reaction that can create long-lasting contamination to water and the plants and animals dependent on that water. When sulfides interact with oxygen (in our air) and water (in rain or snowmelt, for example), they create sulfuric acid - the same caustic substance used in car batteries. If this acid makes its way into streams, rivers, lakes, and groundwater in sufficient quantity, it will kill all organisms that cannot tolerate highly acidic waters."

Question 2: Are there strong safeguards in place for when things go wrong?—by Mining Truth: "To date, mining companies are unable to point to a sulfide mine that has ever been developed, operated and closed without producing polluted drainage from its operations. Yet studies show that the companies and state agencies reviewing mine plans consistently predict no pollution will occur during the planning and permitting process. Analysis of environmental impact statements for hardrock mines showed that 100 percent of mines predicted compliance with water quality standards before operations began. When researchers examined the track record of these mines after operations began, they found that 76 percent of them were actually discharging pollutants in excess of water quality standards."

A New Approach to Waste Management: More Good Jobs and a Cleaner Environment—by Leslie Moody: "The top 37 metro areas in the country are poised to create new jobs, make bad jobs into good ones, and solve tough environmental problems by transforming the way they handle their trash and recycling. Transforming Trash in Urban America, a new report from the Partnership for Working Families, shows that creating jobs and slowing climate change through a new approach to waste management is both possible and urgent for America’s largest cities."

Wisconsin pro-mine group made death threats toward 4 women opposed to mine—by DownstateDemocrat: "Just when I thought that things couldn't get any uglier in Wisconsin's Northwoods, the pro-mine supporters are now threatening to kill people who are opposed to the proposed mine. That kind of conduct is highly unacceptable, and whoever was operating the "Wisconsinites for Safe Mining" Facebook page at the time the death threat was made should have criminal charges filed against them."

Scott Walker's Mining Buddies Deploy Militia—by Patience John: "There is a little slice of heaven, especially for the hunting and fishing-type, up in Wisconsin called the Penokee Hills. Unfortunately for said little slice of paradise, it appears to contain taconite, which is used for heavy industrial iron. Scott Walker was so excited to destroy this part of Wisconsin's heritage for his pay masters, he even had the law rewrote. I was not aware that law would allow for corporations to use militias on public use lands to stop peaceful protesters and families on vacation from enjoying themselves. But of course, this is the new GOP of whom we are speaking."

BP: The Settlement is unfair. We swear the oil spill rate was only 5,000 barrels of oil per day!—by Brian J Donovan: "BP pled guilty to the crime of obstructing justice by providing false and misleading flow rate information to Congress during the BP oil spill response. The company provided that same false information to the National Incident Command by email and to the public through filings with the SEC. BP’s false flow rate statements were developed under the direction of the company’s attorneys, as BP itself explained to the Court in multiple filings. Accordingly, the U.S. argues that under blackletter law BP’s use of attorneys to aid in its wrongdoing destroys any privilege for the communications BP used in its criminal or fraudulent activity. This bedrock principle of privilege law is known as the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege."

Third Lawsuit Alleges Gross Negligence and Fraud by BP Oil Spill Fund Administrator—by Brian J Donovan: "A third lawsuit has been filed in state court in Florida against Kenneth R. Feinberg and Feinberg Rozen, LLP, D.B.A. Gulf Coast Claims Facility (“GCCF”). William G. Green, Jr. is also named as a Defendant. Mr. Green, a resident of the State of Florida and an "Independent Adjuster - All Lines" licensed by the State of Florida, was "Liaison" to GCCF and the "Overseer" of all seafood claims for GCCF in the State of Florida who trained accountants to specifically handle claims of clam farmers. [...] On August 23, 2010, Defendant Feinberg Rozen, doing business as GCCF, replaced the claims process which BP had established to fulfill its obligations as a responsible party pursuant to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (hereinafter "OPA"). The protocol established by the defendants sets forth the procedure for the submission and resolution by GCCF of claims by individuals and businesses for costs and damages incurred as a result of the BP oil spill incident."

Transportation & Infrastructure

Solar Plane flys across America—by jamess: "Because the flight across the United States took more than 24 hours (specifically, about 2 months), the plane needed to collect energy during the day and then use it at night. It used lightweight lithium polymer batteries to do this. The Solar Impulse team says the “total efficiency of the propulsion train”—counting power lost by the solar cells, the batteries and other components—was about 12 percent."

Tour the Veterans Green Bus—by gordonsoderberg: "Preparing for our next demonstration of the bus in Visalia, CA. We still need to raise the rest of the West Coast tour budget of $4,100. That money will be used to get the rest of the graphics printed and more flyers. We want to keep making improvements to our presentation capabilities and address any repairs we might face. Please, help us reach our goal."

Sunday Train: Why Does Congressman Mica Lie About Amtrak?—by BruceMcF: "Congressman John Mica, Republican from the Florida 7th district and member (former chair) of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, has been on the attack against Amtrak again. During the testimony to the committee by John Robert Smith, head of Transportation for America and Reconnecting America, and former Republican mayor of Meridian, Mississippi, faced aggressive questioning by Congressman Mica promoting his desired defunding of Amtrak: ... But Mica spared his real invective for the next part, where he let Smith know he’s seen 'your little memo that you sent to my mayor.' Something about the belittling, eyes-in-the-back-of-my-head tone there was just chilling, like he’s saying he found the love notes Smith was writing to his wife. 'House of Representatives slash Amtrak funding, putting the future of the national system in jeopardy!' Mica read the line in a high-pitched tone, mocking the hysteria Smith was clearly exhibiting when calling Winter Park Mayor Ken Bradley’s attention to the House cuts."

Eco-Philosophy & Essays

Vital Signs for Planet Earth—by zen sparky: "If planet Earth were a hospital patient, she would be dehydrated, low on electrolytes, feverishly sick from poor nutrition and toxins, and morbidly obese around the middle while standing on sticks for legs. And when the doctor says the patient's life on its current course is not sustainable, she and her family refuse to listen. This is the sense one gets from Vital Signs, Volume 20: The Trends that are Shaping Our Future, released by Worldwatch Institute this week."

Miscellany & Products

Revealed: Gen. David Petraeus' Course Syllabus Features "Frackademia" Readings—by Steve Horn: "'Frackademia' is shorthand for oil and gas industry-funded research costumed as independent economics or science covering the topic of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), the controversial horizontal drilling process via which oil and gas is obtained deep within shale rock basins. According to the syllabus, Petraeus will devote two weeks to energy alone, naming those weeks 'The Energy Revolution I' and 'The Energy Revolution II.' The two 'frackademia' studies Petraeus will have his students read for his course titled 'The Coming North American Decade(s)' ? are both seminal industry-funded works."

FDA Takes Another Overdue Step Against Bisphenol-A but the Fight Goes On—by Wisper: "Thanks specifically to then-Rep Edward Markey (D-Our Side of Almost Every Policy Fight) the FDA has finally banned BPA from any packaging material used for Baby Formula. This was the step we we’re seeking in 2011-2012 when they only banned the substance from baby bottles and sippy cups. This is good. Plain and simple. But the BPA story is long and the fight is far from over. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a synthetic compound used to harden plastic and prevent the growth of bacteria, because of this it is frequently used in food containers.  Specifically BPA-based resins are used to coat the inside of most canned foods and BPA plastic is used for everything from packaging (salad dressing bottles, plastic jars, etc) to consumer products (cups, bottles, bowls, utensils)."

Hey Climate Hawks: I Need Info on Wetlands Mitigation Banking—by OllieGarkey: "Anyone know anything about Wetland Banking? Pros? Cons? Problems with the system?"

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