outdoors


Time and time again experts have said, drilling in subzero weather is dangerous. Here is why. It’s BP. They should know better. Right?

Oil well leaking out of control on Arctic Alaska North Slope

An oil pipeline runs from an on-shore facility. The Caelus Energy Oooguruk Development Project is situated on a six-acre gravel island in the Beaufort Sea that’s home to several producing oil wells, on the North Slope in Harrison Bay, Alaska, on Feb. 17, 2017.
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

By Steven Mufson, The Washington Post

A BP oil and gas production well in Alaska’s North Slope blew out Friday morning, and on Saturday afternoon, the well was still not under control as responders fought subfreezing temperatures and winds gusting up to 38 mph.

Efforts to get the well under control were also being hampered by damage to a well pressure gauge and by indications that the well itself has “jacked up,” or risen three to four feet, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said in a situation report Saturday afternoon.

BP, whose Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico blew out and caused the largest oil spill in U.S. history, has responded to questions about the well, but information was limited and there was no estimate about volumes of natural gas and oil released.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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The Unitarian Church in Springfield Il. has invested in itself and its environment. I must add frustration here, as an accumulator type journalist, because I had the article in my hands. It did a great job of describing what they have done. I could not find so I had to use two sources that do it justice, but not as good as the first article. I am sorry.

http://www.aluuc.org/togetherweshare/wp-content/uploads/ALUUC-Newsletter-March-2017-web.pdf

Page
8
Green Sanctuary News
Notes from the ALUUC Prairie
The Green Sanctuary Committee burned the ALUUC prairie the
first Sunday in February. What a blaze! Flames over 5 feet tall
for
maybe 10 minutes. These burns have to be conducted with care using
equipment and training that have been developed over years of experi-
ence with prairie burning.
So why burn? Before Europeans arrived in the U.S., native people
routinely burned the prairies to stimulate growth of new plants for game
and to make hunting easier. Lightning also set prairies ablaze. Over thou-
sands of years, prairie plants adapted to these fires
sending roots deep
into the earth to protect against both drought and fires. Fires can kill less
adapted plants such as cool season grasses and some shrubby plants that
can take over the prairie. So we burn for the same reason
to rid the area of last year’s growth, stimu-
late new growth and rid the prairie of undesirable plants such as cool season grasses.
A common concern is that burning releases carbon
into the air adding to global warming. True, burning
does release carbon into the air
but this carbon is
“new” carbon that has been circulating in the air in the
last few years
not “old” carbon sequestered millions of
years ago in the coal and oil we now burn. Because of
their deep roots, prairie plants sequester more carbon in
their roots than released in a burn, even in prairies
burned every year. So in balance, prairie plants are a
carbon sink. (Chris Helzer, Nature Conservancy’s Direc-
tor of Science in Nebraska).
-trip-part-3-questions-about-frequent-prairie-burning/

http://www.sj-r.com/news/20160925/16-springfield-sites-part-of-saturdays-illinois-solar-tour

Springfield resident Bob Croteau has been involved in local solar projects since 1989 and played a major role in three of the local sites on the tour.

The Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation held fundraisers and used members from the church who are contractors to purchase and install their solar array. It has been operational since early 2015, features a web-based remote monitoring system, and “faces southeast, toward the morning sun, so solar electricity is running the lights and sound during the morning services,” said Croteau, who spearheaded the effort.

The net metering program offered by CWLP means that “if we are producing power when we don’t need it, it allows the meter to spin backward,” he added.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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There are times when I do not think words do a story justice. But if this story is true then I just had my “I told you so” moment.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/how-disappearing-arctic-ice-could-lead-global-climate-catastrophe

How Disappearing Arctic Ice Could Lead to Global Climate Catastrophe

The monumental loss of sea ice is triggering a cascade of effects that could destabilize the global climate system.

This article first appeared on Yale Environment 360.

The news last week that summer ice covering the Arctic Ocean was tied for the second-lowest extent on record is a sobering reminder that the planet is swiftly heading toward a largely ice-free Arctic in the warmer months, possibly as early as 2020.

After that, we can expect the ice-free period in the Arctic basin to expand to three to four months a year, and eventually to five months or more.

Since my days measuring the thickness of Arctic Ocean ice from British nuclear submarines in the early 1970s, I have witnessed a stunning decline in the sea ice covering the northern polar regions — a more than 50 percent drop in extent in summer, and an even steeper reduction in ice volume. Just a few decades ago, ice 10 to 12 feet thick covered the North Pole, with sub-surface ice ridges in some parts of the Arctic extending down to 150 feet. Now, that ice is long gone, while the total volume of Arctic sea ice in late summer has declined, according to two estimates, by 75 percent in half a century.

The great white cap that once covered the top of the world is now turning blue — a change that represents humanity’s most dramatic step in reshaping the face of our planet. And with the steady disappearance of the polar ice cover, we are losing a vast air conditioning system that has helped regulate and stabilize earth’s climate system for thousands of years.

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Go there and be horrified. more next week.

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Let me make this point right up front. The United States does not need the the pipeline heading for Illinois. More bluntly put Humanity does not need this pipeline. We need to leave the tar sands in Canada and Fracked oil in North Dakota IN THE GROUND. But even worse here, Native Americans are being locked up, while the malicious militia men were released in Oregon.  (ps this article largely consists of photos…the text is paltry but I think people need see the conflict for themselves.)

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2016/10/north-dakota-native-americans-protest-pipeline-161028150518748.html

Standing Rock tribe protests over North Dakota pipeline

Clashes erupt as police break up protest camp in the path of pipeline construction that threatens sacred land.

| | US & Canada, United States

Cannon Ball, United States – Thousands of Native Americans have been camping out in North Dakota since April to protest against a pipeline that is meant to cross sacred burial grounds and the Missouri river – the main water source for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Last week, some protesters moved their camp directly in the path of the proposed pipeline as construction nears the river, but on Thursday morning, police descended on the camp with a show of force not yet seen in the months of peaceful protests.

Clad in riot gear and backed by armoured vehicles, the police cleared the protest camp, using sound cannons, pepper spray, taser guns, and shotguns said to contain beanbags against the protesters.

More than 100 people were arrested, including elders praying peacefully in the roadway, according to the Morton County Sheriff Department.

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Go there and look at the ugly video and pictures. More next week.

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Not much more I can say about this report. Well done sirs, Well done!

http://www.paxtonrecord.net/news/business/miscellaneous/2016-07-25/report-wind-energy-means-billions-illinois-economy.html

Report: Wind energy means billions to Illinois’ economy

NORMAL — A new report on the economic impact of wind energy in the state shows Illinois’ 25 existing wind farms have supported 20,173 jobs during construction and will add $6.4 billion to local economies over the 25-year life of the projects.

Released by Illinois State University’s Center for Renewable Energy, the report also shows how wind power creates jobs in the short and long term, provides millions of dollars for farmers and landowners, revenue for counties and municipalities, and supports businesses both in and out of the wind supply chain.

“Wind power does much more than generate clean energy,” said  Kevin Borgia, public policy manager for Wind on the Wires, a nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minn., that works to advance renewable energy in the Midwest. “Wind power is an economic engine for the state, providing jobs, landowner payments, tax dollars and business opportunities.”

The report further details all that the state’s wind farms offer, including $30.4 million in annual property taxes for local communities and $13.86 million in extra income for landowners who lease their land to developers.

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Go there and read the good news. More next week.

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This is a happy fuzzy story, that i normally wouldn’t post. But here is the thing, as fun as it is, I dare you to say the name of the monument. Can you huh huh huh?

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/08/obama-creates-world-s-largest-park-off-hawaii/

The Power of Parks

Hawaii Is Now Home to an Ocean Reserve Twice the Size of Texas

A 583,000-square-mile “no-take” zone: President Obama just quadrupled the size of a national marine monument off northwestern Hawaii.

Capping a week of 100th anniversary celebrations for the National Park Service, President Barack Obama on Friday turned to the ocean to create the largest protected area anywhere on Earth—a half-million-square-mile arc of remote Pacific waters known for both exceptional marine life and importance to native Hawaiian culture.

The Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument, established in 2006 by President George W. Bush, already covered 140,000 square miles of ocean around the uninhabited northwestern islands of Hawaii, Obama’s home state. (Learn about the name and how to pronounce it.)

Obama more than quadrupled Papah?naumoku?kea’s size, to 582,578 square miles, an area larger than all the national parks combined. Using his executive authority under the U.S. Antiquities Act, he extended most of the monument’s boundary—and its prohibition of commercial fishing—out to the 200-mile limit of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).(Read about a monument established this week in the Maine woods.)

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Go there and read in wonderment. More next week.

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I had originally planned on Posting about Obama’s new environmental goals, but I couldn’t find the article. I had been offered a guest blogger’s article about recycling. However I had been wanting to read this article about how industry was using organized crime to dump toxic crap into the environment, so here it is.

http://mosaicscience.com/story/how-mafia-causing-cancer

 

24 June 2016

 

How the mafia is causing cancer

When doctors in rural Italy began to see a surge in cancer cases, they were baffled. Then they made the link with industrial waste being dumped by local crime syndicates. Ian Birrell learns about the tragic consequences.
A few days before I visited the rather scruffy Hospital of Saint Anna and Saint Sebastian in Caserta, a boy aged 11 arrived complaining of headaches. Doctors feared the worst – and sure enough, the case was rapidly diagnosed as another child with brain cancer. Some of these young patients arrive in agonising pain, others mystified by falling over all the time; they do not know lethal tumours are swelling up inside their heads. Yet more turn up with cancer in their blood, their bones, their bladders. There are so many cases not all can be treated in the hospitals of Campania, a largely rural region of southern Italy.It was too early to provide a prognosis for the boy with the brain cancer, let alone to offer real comfort to his distraught family. Yet in a town where doctors used to rarely come across a child with cancer, never mind brain cancer, they now see these traumatic cases crop up almost every month. Too many young patients are ending up dead, some barely out the womb but with bodies riddled with disease. Then there are all the women getting breast cancer unusually early, the men with lung cancer despite never smoking, the children born with Down’s syndrome despite the comparatively young age of their mothers.

So why is this happening in an area north of Naples known as the ‘Triangle of Death’? The answer, locals believe, can almost certainly be found in places such as an old quarry three miles away by the historic town of Maddaloni, which I visited with an energetic 57-year-old youth worker named Enzo Tosti. As we drove there, he told me he was having treatment to counter the high levels of dioxins found in his blood five months earlier. “My wife works for the hospital as a radiologist and she is very concerned,” he said. “I thought about leaving for my health and going to live somewhere else, but where would I go? This is my land.”

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Go there and read, read, and read. More next week.

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This article claims that solar power could be as cheap as 4 cents a kilowatt. It speculates that solar power might even reach the 3 cent level. I have doubts about those prices, but it is good news however low it goes.

Solar Is Going to Get Ridiculously Cheap

Solar Is Going to Get Ridiculously Cheap

Costs of the clean energy tech will keep falling over the next decade.

Solar will become the cheapest source to produce power in many countries over the next 15 years, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Part of the cheap solar power will be unleashed because the cost of installing solar panels at big solar farms and on rooftops will drop 60% to an estimated average of around four cents per kilowatt hour by 2040, the report said. That’s cheaper than coal and natural gas power in many regions.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I was going to write something positive today. You know Sunday is Mothers Day. Tomorrow is National Solar Power Day. But, today the press announced that a forest fire had started south of the main town in the tar sands of Alberta AND that if it got into the tar sands themselves it could burn forever. Forever! 80,000 people have been evacuated on a single road north and  who knows where they will seek shelter.

http://www.kansascity.com/news/nation-world/article75446407.html

May 4, 2016 12:54 PM

Residents evacuated as fires threaten Canada oil sands town

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Go there and cry. I mean read. More next week.

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Yes I am a Headline Whore. But this is a very real nitty gritty get your hands dirty post. Most of the posts here are about environmental theories, or solar power writ large. But many environmental issues involve a compost pile and turning them, or washing off crud from recyclables. In this case if you have grass, and live in town you have to cut it. That means you have maintenance things to attend to. So here they are.

http://www.familyhandyman.com/automotive/lawn-mower-repair/lawn-tractor-maintenance-tips/view-all

The Family Handyman

Lawn Tractor Maintenance Tips

Professional tips that prevent expensive repairs

Following the lawn tractor maintenance advice in your tractor’s manual is the best way to keep it humming along smoothly. But owner’s manuals usually only tell you basically what to do and when to do it—they seldom include the tips and real-world wisdom gained through experience. So we asked veteran mechanics which steps are the most important and how to make lawn tractor maintenance and tubeless tire repair faster and easier.

You’ll save too. Dealers typically charge more than $200 for routine maintenance that includes an oil change and new spark plugs and filters. But you can do all these things—and more—in just a few hours. A lawn tractor maintenance kit from your dealer (less than $75) might cost a few bucks more than buying parts separately but ensures that you get all the right stuff. And new tubes for a tubeless tire repair cost from $5 – $15.

Clean the mower deck

Remove the belt guards and blow off the debris that wrecks belts and pulleys. Scrape away any debris buildup under the pulleys with a screwdriver.

(thus it starts)

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Go there and read a heck of a lot. More next week.

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