children and the environment


I usually post here on Wednesday. Imagine the probability of Earth Day occurring on the same day! So today I offer a more optimistic view of the world then mine. Think: Global Warming.

http://aeon.co/magazine/science/why-extinction-is-not-the-problem/

 

Rethinking extinction

by

The idea that we are edging up to a mass extinction is not just wrong – it’s a recipe for panic and paralysis

The way the public hears about conservation issues is nearly always in the mode of ‘[Beloved Animal] Threatened With Extinction’. That makes for electrifying headlines, but it misdirects concern. The loss of whole species is not the leading problem in conservation. The leading problem is the decline in wild animal populations, sometimes to a radical degree, often diminishing the health of whole ecosystems.

Viewing every conservation issue through the lens of extinction threat is simplistic and usually irrelevant. Worse, it introduces an emotional charge that makes the problem seem cosmic and overwhelming rather than local and solvable. It’s as if the entire field of human medicine were treated solely as a matter of death prevention. Every session with a doctor would begin: ‘Well, you’re dying. Let’s see if we can do anything to slow that down a little.’

Medicine is about health. So is conservation. And as with medicine, the trends for conservation in this century are looking bright. We are re-enriching some ecosystems we once depleted and slowing the depletion of others. Before I explain how we are doing that, let me spell out how exaggerated the focus on extinction has become and how it distorts the public perception of conservation.

Many now assume that we are in the midst of a human-caused ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’ to rival the one that killed off the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. But we’re not. The five historic mass extinctions eliminated 70 per cent or more of all species in a relatively short time. That is not going on now. ‘If all currently threatened species were to go extinct in a few centuries and that rate continued,’ began a recent Nature magazine introduction to a survey of wildlife losses, ‘the sixth mass extinction could come in a couple of centuries or a few millennia.’

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Quick not: He favors Nuclear Power

Go there and read. More next week.

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Normally I do not run purely local environmental articles, but this is pretty cool. I hope this actually happens.

 

http://www.sj-r.com/article/20141119/NEWS/141119436/-1/json

 

Study urges better use of Sangamon River

  • By Tim Landis
    Business Editor
    Posted Nov. 19, 2014 @ 10:00 pm

The Sangamon River is a major untapped resource for tourism, recreation and Abraham Lincoln history in the region.

A just-completed state study of an 85-mile section from Petersburg to Decatur also concluded the river is in need of a major image upgrade, including acknowledgement of the role it played in the life of Lincoln, improved boat access, bike and hiking trails, more public facilities, scenic driving routes, conservation incentives, and stepped-up efforts to reduce fly dumping.

Public presentation of the report — “Lincoln Heritage Water Trail” — at a policy breakfast of the Citizens Club of Springfield on Friday is timed to the 50th anniversary in 2015 of the Lincoln Heritage Canoe Trail.

Gov. Otto Kerner approved creation of the original 65-mile river trail in 1965

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The last excuse by the industrialists and their mouth pieces just went out the window. They totally bought the cancer and smoking defensive fall back approach. First they said that Climate Change wasn’t happening. Then they said we couldn’t “prove” it and came up with “scientists” that refuted it. Then they said it wasn’t as “bad” as what we were saying. Finally they said, “Well China isn’t doing it so why should we?”. So I am sure now they will say that any carbon tax or carbon emissions limit will be TOO MUCH. You heard it here first.

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120242/us-and-china-reach-agreement-climate-change

 

Environment

November 12, 2014

The World Has Waited for the U.S. and China to Take Action on Climate Change. They Just Did.

By

President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced on Wednesday commitments to reduce both countries’ greenhouse gas emissions. The surprise announcement, which came while Obama visits Beijing this week, is the clearest sign yet the two countries are serious on climate change.

After months of negotiations with China, Obama has pledged the U.S. to cut emissions between 26 and 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. This is double the pace of carbon cuts the U.S had already pledged to reach by 2020.

But China’s commitments might be even more unexpected, because it is the first time the growing economy has committed to a year for capping its emissionsseen as a crucial step for avoiding the worst-case scenarios of global warming. Xi pledged this will happen around 2030, though it will try to reach this peak as early as possible. China also agreed to increase the share of energy that doesn’t come from fossil fuels to 20 percent by 2030.

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Go there and read. More next week

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I was really suprised to open up my SJ-R today and see this really great article. Hope they print more.

http://www.sj-r.com/article/20141013/ENTERTAINMENTLIFE/141019833/-1/json

Commentary: Climate change is our problem

By Maggie Lenkart
Voice Correspondent
Posted Oct. 13, 2014 @ 10:29 pm

The effects of climate change and the environment have been in the news a lot in the past few weeks. Last month more than 300,000 people marched in New York to demonstrate for more regulations to help the environment. Celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio took to the podium to discuss the need for change. Even President Barack Obama called on the American public to start paying attention to this issue.

I plan on majoring in environmental studies in college, and all this focus on climate change makes me happy. I want to be someone to make a change, as I’m sure many other teens do. If we lose the earth, we can’t get it back. I hope that by doing things such as majoring in environmental studies and writing about climate change, I can make a change.

I’m not the only teen who cares about these changes. Other teenagers care — and they should.

“Environmental change will possibly cause our earth to die around us,” said Kayla Houston, a junior at Southeast High School.

Isaac Miller, a senior at Springfield High School, agreed with Kayla and said “If (the earth) gets too bad, we won’t be able to survive.”

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Go there and read. More next week.

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To the deserts of Texas, there are so many places that humans want to live in the United States  that they should not. In particular where they could not under normal circumstances build houses. Especially someplace like Las Vegas.

So I think that most of Southern California should be torn down. You say, are you crazy? That is one of the nicest places to live on the planet. But it is not if you have to live on the resources available directly in the area. By that I mean Energy and Water.

Lawn Dude was unveiled Thursday by the Southern California Water Committee, a nonprofit advocacy group, and Clear Channel Outdoor CCO +0.80% as part of a campaign to get southern Californians to conserve water during the state’s protracted drought.

The new mascot will be popping up on billboards donated by Clear Channel Outdoor across the parched region, spouting catchphrases like “Don’t hose me man!” as reminders to refrain from overwatering lawns. On another billboard, Lawn Dude carries a martini glass holding a daisy and says, “I only drink 2 days a week”—a nod to limits on outdoor irrigation to twice a week in some communities.

Lawn Dude’s debut came two days after California’s emergency restrictions on residential water use went into effect Tuesday—the same day, incidentally, that a water main burst on Sunset Boulevard here, gushing 20 million gallons of the precious resource into city streets and flooding much of the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. City officials said the wasted water represented 4% of the city’s daily use.

The new restrictions ban residents from washing off driveways and sidewalks, and from watering landscapes or lawns in a way that causes “excess runoff.” Rule-breakers could be fined up to $500 a day.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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But had I read this article before dealing with the problem in my basement I would have known to go straight for the water sources and not messed around with the other stuff I put outside on the porch or on the compost pile. But getting rid of that stuff did not hurt. I mean pancake mix that is two years old. Plant dubris that is months old and could act as food for the midges. So the energy saved in this case is MINE and that is important too.

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/Urban/midges.htm

Residential, Structural and Community Pest Logo

NCSU logo - click for NCSU home page

http://entomology.ncsu.edu/

 

 

BIOLOGY AND CONTROL OF NON-BITING AQUATIC MIDGES

By: Charles Apperson, Michael Waldvogel and Stephen Bambara, Extension Entomology

Insect Note – ENT/rsc-15

Non-biting midge flies or chironomids commonly occur in inland and coastal natural and man-made bodies of water. These midges are commonly known as “blind mosquitoes” because they are mosquito-like but do not bite. Midges are also called “fuzzy bills” because of the male’s bushy antennae. These aquatic insects are tolerant of a wide range of environmental conditions. Chironomid midges are found in swift moving streams, deep slow moving rivers, stagnant ditches, and in lakes and ponds that are rich in decomposing organic matter. The presence of certain chironomid midges is often used as an indicator of water quality.Bodies of water in urban and suburban areas are subjected to intensive human use through residential, recreational and agricultural activities. Through runoff, these ponds and lakes often become exceedingly rich in nutrients. Consequently, the variety of organisms in such habitats is usually low with just a few pollution tolerant species developing large populations. Some species of chironomid midges that are tolerant of low dissolved oxygen conditions often are a major component of the bottom invertebrate organisms of urban and suburban lakes, ponds and storm water retention ponds.
BENEFICIAL ASPECTS
Most species of chironomid midges are highly desirable organisms in aquatic habitats. Midges are an important food source for fish and predatory aquatic insects. Larvae “clean” the aquatic environment by consuming and recycling organic debris

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Go there and read. Got the little bastards. More next week.

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But if you live in Texas, or Oklahoma, or Nebraska your governors suck. They deny Climate change and refuse to do anything about Green House Gases. Some Republican Governors at least don’t deny the Climate is changing but again they don’t DO anything about it.

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/07/01/3454502/is-your-governor-a-climate-denier/

 

What Every Governor Really Believes About Climate Change, In One Handy Map

By Tiffany Germain, Guest Contributor and Ryan Koronowski

With all the recent talk at the federal level about the EPA’s proposed carbon regulations for new and existing power plants, it’s easy to forget about the executives that have front row seats to cutting American carbon pollution. And though climate deniers run rampant through the halls of Congress, a new analysis from the CAP Action War Room reveals that half of America’s Republican governors agree with the anti-science caucus of Congress.

Fifteen out of twenty-nine sitting Republican governors deny climate science despite the overwhelming level of scientific consensus, the enormous cost to taxpayers, and the critical place governors occupy in implementing new limits on carbon pollution. None of the country’s Democratic governors have made public statements denying climate change.

This map from the analysis categorizes governors into four groups: green for those who both accept climate science and are taking action to fight climate change; orange for those who either accept or haven’t openly denied climate science, but also have yet to take serious action to address climate change; red for those who have failed to take action or openly rejected to federal safeguards to address climate change, and red with stripes for climate deniers.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Green funerals are all the rage now.

http://www.greenlifestylemag.com.au/node/302/full

Dying to be green

G Magazine

Eco funeral alternatives that allow you rest in harmony with the Earth

My mother wants to be composted when she dies. Not just in a figurative “give my body to the Earth” way, but in a way that befits someone whose passion for gardening knows no bounds.

Her final act will be to produce the lushest crop of tomatoes and zucchini her garden and this world has ever seen. I’m not entirely sure what the health department will make of this request, but my mother doesn’t care. She’ll be dead.

As the Baby Boomers enter their twilight years and begin to consider the details of their demise, it’s no surprise that this enterprising generation are pushing the boundaries when it comes to their funerals. And with the environment front and centre of society’s conscience, many are planning their funerals with future generations in mind.

“There’s a global movement towards green burial,” says Zenith Virago, death consultant and president of the Natural Death Centre Australia in Byron Bay.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I asked the question last week about how these recent river pollutions reflect on the “environment be damned” attitude that you find in much of the South East. I mean really everyone in the world knows that America is one of the great violators of the environment worldwide. But hell, it is not like the other major countries care. Russia and China are nothing but open sores on the Earths skin and they have been at it longer than we have. Still, when you have the interface between a major polluter and local government like North Carolina then bad things are bound to happen.

http://grist.org/business-technology/ash-decisions-north-carolina-helped-river-ruining-duke-energy-duck-pollution-complaints/

 

Ash decisions: North Carolina helped river-ruining Duke Energy duck pollution complaints

coal-ash-river-north-carolina
Duke Energy

Last year, North Carolina’s top environmental regulators thwarted three separate Clean Water Act lawsuits aimed at forcing Duke Energy, the largest electricity company in the country, to clean up its toxic coal ash pits in the state. That June, the state went even further, saying it would handle environmental enforcement at every one of Duke’s 31 coal ash storage ponds in the state — an act that protected the company from further federal lawsuits. Last week, one of those coal ash storage ponds ruptured, belching more than 80,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River.

Now, environmental groups and former regulators are charging that North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who worked for Duke for 30 years, has created an atmosphere where the penalties for polluting the environment are low.

The Associated Press reports that McCrory’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources blocked three federal Clean Water Act suits in 2013 by stepping in with its own enforcement authority “at the last minute.” This protected Duke from the kinds of stiff fines and penalties that can result from federal lawsuits. Instead, state regulators arranged settlements that carried miniscule financial penalties and did not require Duke to change how it stores the toxic byproducts of its coal-fired power plants. After blocking the first three suits, which were brought by the Southern Environmental Law Center, the state filed notices saying that it would handle environmental enforcement at every one of Duke’s remaining North Carolina coal ash storage sites, protecting the company from Clean Water Act lawsuits linked to its coal waste once and for all.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I know this area is where the mantra – Government is BAD was born. Mainly because of integration and the regulation of tobacco (not to mention the moonshiners). This attack on all things paid for by taxes has continued unabated for the last 60 years. But really, 2 major rivers have suffer significant contamination in the past month and nothing has been done? Nothing. West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and now North Carolina and Virginia, and no legislation has been proposed. We do not even have testing to find out what these contaminates really are. And in the second case no studies into MGHM to say even what the chemical does. Really?

http://news.yahoo.com/nc-river-turns-gray-sludge-coal-ash-spill-024204513.html

NC river turns to gray sludge after coal ash spill

Associated Press

ON THE DAN RIVER, N.C. (AP) — Canoe guide Brian Williams dipped his paddle downstream from where thousands of tons of coal ash has been spewing for days into the Dan River, turning the wooden blade flat to bring up a lump of gray sludge.

On the riverbank, hundreds of workers at a Duke Energy power plant in North Carolina scrambled to plug a hole in a pipe at the bottom of a 27-acre pond where the toxic ash was stored.

Since the leak was first discovered by a security guard Sunday afternoon, Duke estimates up to 82,000 tons of ash mixed with 27 million gallons of contaminated water has spilled into the river. Officials at the nation’s largest electricity provider say they cannot provide a timetable for when the leak will be fully contained, though the flow has lessened significantly as the pond has emptied.

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And earlier this was West Virginia.

Federal grand jury investigates West Virginia chemical spill

By Drew Griffin. David Fitzpatrick and Patricia DiCarlo CNN

(CNN) — A federal grand jury investigation has been launched into the West Virginia chemical spill that left 300,000 people unable to use their water supply, CNN learned Tuesday.

Sources familiar with the grand jury’s activities tell CNN that subpoenas have been issued requiring testimony for what one federal official confirms is a criminal investigation.

Meanwhile, an independent water test conducted at CNN’s request has found trace levels of the chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, or MCHM, remain in both untreated river water and tap water from two homes in Charleston.

The results by TestAmerica found the chemical is within the safe level of 1 part per million set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; whether that level is safe is disputed

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Go there and read. More next week.

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