Happy Earth Day – What an amazing coincidence

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

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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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Goodbye Secretary Chu – You did the best you could

Given the backward nature of American culture you did the best you could do. Tough job that nobody really wants.

Energy Secretary Chu Resigns Leaving Oil Markets in Turmoil

Raymond J. Learsy

Author, ‘Oil and Finance: The Epic Corruption Continues’

In his letter of resignation from the post of Energy Secretary, Chu characterized his Department as a “Department of Science, a Department of Innovation, and a Department of Nuclear Security.” He then goes on to point out the myriad achievements and initiatives during his tenure ranging from BioEnergy Research Centers, Wind and Solar Energy initiatives, nuclear safety, appliance efficiency standards and on. Not an unimpressive list of scientific and clean energy programs. Embedded deeply in his letter is his conviction that rising temperatures present a present and growing danger to the planet and need be addressed. His tenure at Energy addressed this issue relentlessly, and even with the $500 million Solyndra debacle, built a foundation for research, creativity, and with funding guarantees to a plethora of clean energy projects supporting manufacturing plants throughout the country.
Were this his exclusive mandate his four year tenure might well be termed a success. But the Department also has other fish to fry. They relate no only to the environment, but profoundly to the economy and to our national security. Energy, be it oil, natural gas, coal are core commodities to the functioning of our economic viability, and here the Department of Energy under Chu’s tutelage has approached disaster.

As example, within a month of Chu’s ascendency the price of crude oil hovered around $35/barrel (and gasoline prices well under $2.00/gallon). Today’s price is over $95/bbl even though our oil consumption is down some 2.4% from what it was four years ago and production from the Bakken and EagleFord Formations in North Dakota and Texas has increased our domestic production dramatically keeping our domestic oil market amply supplied (oil inventories are at or near all time highs). In a situation such as this it is the Department of Energy’s obligation to ask some hard questions just as Energy Secretary Bill Richardson did during his tenure during the Clinton Administration when he personally lobbied OPEC members only to be chastised, to his great credit, by the OPEC spokesman, “In the forty year history of OPEC there has never been the case of the Secretary of Energy calling OPEC in the middle of an OPEC meeting… We are upset and disappointed at external pressure. We don’t like it.

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Go there and read. More later.

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The Green Energy Council – Covering the world

These guys cover the globe.

http://www.greenenergycouncil.com/

The International Green Energy Council is an educational and advocacy body. We pride ourselves on educating from kindergarten students all the way up to leaders of nations about energy efficiency, environmental stewardship and renewable energy. We also aid international leaders on creating sound policy and regulatory atmospheres in order to promote expeditious applications for renewable energy and green technologies.

Over the past six years we have worked with 22 Governors in regards to Renewable Portfolio Standards for their states. Furthermore, we are liaison and facilitators with several countries including but not limited to the following: Canada, South Africa, Greece, Senegal, Zambia, Nigeria, Philippines, Netherlands, Russia, Brazil, China, Morocco as well as a host of others. The IGEC is also working with many utility company’s around the Globe to meet their Renewable Energy Portfolio mandates. We have chartered chapters in 68 nations around the World.

The GEC is a professional association comprised of individuals and companies that promote sustainable forms of energy production, renewable energy sources, sustainable design practices and advanced thinking in utilizing education and information for the promotion of being better stewards of our environment while providing National Security Energy Plans to nations around the Globe.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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The People Who Defend Nukes Are Ruthless – They can admit no fault

It always amazes me that the nuclear power business is just a beard for nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are a thing of the past, but no one can admit it. Thus the amazing charges in this case. What about the lax security measures? That is where the prosecution should start.

http://consortiumnews.com/2012/11/21/muzzling-an-anti-nuke-trial-defense/

Muzzling an Anti-Nuke Trial Defense

November 21, 2012

By John LaForge

Three disarmament radicals who snuck into the Y-12 nuclear weapons complex last summer are preparing for their February 2013 trial, and face the prospect that any mention of nuclear weapons will be forbidden.

Y-12 is the 811-acre site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, that’s been building H-bombs and contaminating workers and the environment since 1943. On July 28, Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed snipped through fences and walked up to the new Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility building. They unfurled banners, spray-painted the building with phrases such as “Woe to the empire of blood,” poured blood, prayed and broke bread.

Now they face felony charges that carry a maximum of $500,000 in fines and 15 years in prison. Additionally, in what looks like an attempt to scare them into pleading guilty now, federal prosecutors have mentioned bringing two heavier charges, including sabotage “during wartime,” which together carry up to 50 years imprisonmen

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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The Audubon Institute – Is old enough to be my great grandmother

Unlike some environmental groups, they first do no harm. And they do not support quackery. You go guys.

http://www.audubon.org/newsroom/news-stories/2012/because-conservation-doesnt-have-party

Because Conservation Doesn’t Have a Party

By Audubon President & CEO David Yarnold

Published: Oct 16, 2012

New York NY –

You have to get out of shouting range of the politicians in Washington to appreciate what’s really important to Americans.  Americans like Barbra from Arizona: “‘Environment’ is not a swear word, but too often it is treated like one in the halls of our legislatures.”

Barbra is one of thousands of Americans — Republicans, Democrats and independents — who have joined a national grassroots conversation aimed at taking the politics out of conservation and returning preservation of our wilderness land, waterways and wildlife to its original roots as a unifying, rather than divisive force in America.

Judging from responses from all across America, perhaps we are not a nation as divided as our political leaders would like us believe. We’ve heard from angry Republicans.  “Since when did breathing clean fresh air, drinking pure clean water and protecting our precious natural resources and environment become something that only Democrats should value?” wrote Lorrie from Pennsylvania.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Conservation International – An organization with a history

These type organizations when founded (1987) were founded for “the long haul”. The belief was then that Humans might damage the Earth but not destroy it. Well here we are,  when it looks like Humans may kill off themselves and maybe permanently in some respects changing the Earth, and these organizations sort of plod on. They need to pick up the pace. While I understand the desire to do good work in the 3rd world. They may want to change the minds help the 1st world countries first.

http://www.conservation.org/Pages/default.aspx

Two Conservation International Leaders Honored by World’s Top Conservationists

September 12, 2012
Conservation International Applauds its President Dr. Russell Mittermeier and Board Member President Ian Khama for receiving Honorary Membership of IUCN at World Conservation Congress

Jeju, South Korea – Conservation International’s long time President, Dr. Russell Mittermeier, a world-renowned  primatologist, herpetologist and conservationist, was granted Honorary Membership today by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the world’s largest international environmental organization. The award was presented at the World Conservation Congress taking place this week in South Korea, on the recommendation of the IUCN Council to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to conservation.

“Russ Mittermeier is an innovative, proactive and scientifically informed conservationist,” declared IUCN on its website.  “A renowned primatologist and herpetologist, he has undertaken extensive field work and made major contributions to the conservation of the fauna of Madagascar, the fauna of South America (especially in Brazil and the Guianas), primates in general, and freshwater turtles worldwide.”

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go there and read. More tomorrow.

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The United Nations Makes These Type Lists All The Time – There is a reason for that

The U.N does a whole lot of good. It does not balance out the bad that humans do to each other and to the planet. Not even close, but they are trying. Again in third world countries no less.

http://www.unep.org/

Afghanistan, UNEP Launch USD $6 Million Initiative to Help Communities Adapt to Effects of Climate Change

Bamyan, Afghanistan, 11 October 2012 – The Government of Afghanistan, through its National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA), has launched a USD $6 million climate change initiative, the first of its kind in the country’s history.

This landmark scheme – to be implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and funded mainly by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) – aims to help communities that are vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as drought, and to build the capacity of Afghan institutions to address climate change risk.

“The Government of Afghanistan is showing a remarkable commitment to working with communities for a landscape approach to dealing with climate change in the country,” said Michael Keating, UN Afghanistan Resident Coordinator, speaking from Bamyan in the Central Highlands, some 200km west of Kabul.

“We also welcome the opportunity to help Afghan institutions better deal with shocks and hazards, and increase resilience at a decentralized level,” he added.

UNEP identified Afghanistan as one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, because of the potential impacts and its current limited capacity to react to these impacts. Climate change adaptation is especially important in developing nations, since those countries are predicted to bear the brunt of climate change effects. The overarching goal is to reduce the vulnerability of biological systems to these impacts.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Environmental News Network – Just one article out of hundreds

This site is a little busy as they used to say, but it is really informative.

http://www.enn.com/climate/article/45052

From: Editor, Science Daily
Published October 5, 2012 01:11 PM

Non-Native Plants Show a Greater Response Than Native Wildflowers to Climate Change

Warming temperatures in Ohio are a key driver behind changes in the state’s landscape, and non-native plant species appear to be responding more strongly than native wildflowers to the changing climate, new research suggests.

his adaptive nature demonstrated by introduced species could serve them well as the climate continues to warm. At the same time, the non-natives’ potential ability to become even more invasive could threaten the survival of native species already under pressure from land-use changes, researchers say.

The research combines analyses of temperature change and blooming patterns of 141 species of Ohio wildflowers since 1895. Overall, the average temperature increased 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) in Ohio between 1895 and 2009. And 66 wildflower species — or 46 percent of the 141 studied — flowered earlier than usual in response to that warming.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Nanocrystaline Cellulose – Its nature’s way of telling you

This isa  pretty interesting piece. It implies that most of the complicated and expensive atom level experiments to create nanotubes and other “nanostructures” were something of a waste of time. They also imply that the next advance in nanotechnology maybe finding ways to form, market and install new nanostructures at the real world level. In the literature it is stated that this form of cellulose can be both an insulator and a conductor so it would be nice if someone came up with a shielded electrical cable that could be used in the housing market, for instance. I have included 2 references for clarity’s sake.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanocellulose

http://www.conservationmagazine.org/2012/06/nanocellulose-is-no-small-thing/

Nanocellulose Is No Small Thing

Trees could become part of electronics, medical devices, and military gear

 

For centuries, the forestry industry has produced paper and lumber. But what if trees could be transformed into an entirely new set of products, ranging from electronic sensors to biomedical implants to military protective gear?

The idea isn’t as improbable as it sounds. Researchers are studying a nanoscale material that can be extracted from trees and, in some forms, is about as strong as Kevlar. Called “nanocellulose,” this lightweight material is composed of bundled sugar chains from the cell walls of wood. Researchers can extract nanocellulose by grinding pulp or using chemicals to break it down into tiny particles. At such small scales, the material has fewer defects, making it stronger. One type of nanocellulose particle, called cellulose nanocrystals, is especially tough because the sugar chains are arranged in a highly ordered structure.

Researchers envision a huge array of applications for nanocellulose. It could partially replace fossil fuel–based products such as petroleum-derived plastics and might be cheaper than other high-performance nanoscale materials. Clear sheets of nanocellulose might be useful for windows or electronic displays. Studies have shown that some forms of cellulose are piezoelectric, meaning they generate an electrical signal when deformed, so nanocellulose-based sensors could potentially monitor structures such as bridges for signs of stress. Nanocellulose food packaging could block oxygen permeation and keep the contents from spoiling, while nanocellulose scaffolds implanted in the body might aid bone regeneration. And at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Maryland, researchers are investigating whether nanocellulose-reinforced materials could better protect soldiers on the battlefield.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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This American Land – Interesting media site

Man, I have been all over the map this month. Jumping from topic to topic like a gyrating Spider Man. Still this is a pretty cool site with pretty cool people so:

http://www.thisamericanland.org/blog/?cat=31

More on Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Author: Jeanna Thomas  |  Category: Behind the Scenes, Caroline Raville, Environment, Landscapes, Season Two, TAL on PBS

This is the third in a series of blogs written by This American Land host Caroline Raville on her recent experience shooting  a story for season two at Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Read the first two blogs in this series, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Season Two and Host Caroline Raville on Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

And now we are crossing over the mighty Paria River,” Dr. Titus observes.

I look down below. I see dirt and a puddle. Dr. Titus and Scott Richardson are grinning at my incredulous look as we bump along the pockmarked road. Apparently, this crack in the mud does become a river occasionally. Escalante experiences extreme weather ranging from boiling, fly-infested summers to frozen winters. Still, the evidence before me seems to suggest that this place is in a constant state of dry heat.

We drive deeper into the monument, and the paleontologists decide to take a quick detour promising spectacular views. After a steep climb with some seriously wicked turns, we find ourselves looking down on a valley littered in rock formations. There are the tar colored hills which look like a blackened sand dune. Further up, rust tinted rocks roll in the shape of a dragon’s back. And above are the whitewashed peaks dotted with green scrub brush. These layers are a physical timeline that helps scientists to establish the changes in habitat that occurred here. From ocean floor to swampland to the now arid desert, Escalante has experienced some major changes during its existence due to plate tectonics and the resulting mountain building.

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Go there and read. There are even pretty talking pictures. More tomorrow.

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OH and some housekeeping issue. The below websites asked for “links”. So by posting them here I believe we are linked. I have never used either so these are not endorsements, but they seem legitimate. As with all of the internet, buyer beware.

www.interectsolar.com

http://www.specialawnings.com/

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