The Elections Were Exciting – But Big Coal lost

So after the Election we took three days off and went to Giant City State Park and drove over to see the Garden of the Gods. Giant City was disappointing:

https://www.google.com/search?q=garden+of+the+gods&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

With its breathtaking natural beauty and unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation, a trip to Giant City State Park near Carbondale is sure to delight visitors of all ages. From camping and horseback riding to fishing and rappelling, it’s an outdoor lover’s paradise. Visitors will marvel at the many wilderness trails. Especially popular is a hike on Giant City Nature Trail, home of the “Giant City Streets” huge bluffs of sandstone formed 12,000 years ago .

Nestled in the Shawnee National Forest, just minutes south of Carbondale, the Union / Jackson county park was named for the unique impressions made by its massive sandstone structures. Eons of geological faulting and folding have molded a landscape like none other, which is now clothed in lush garments of fern, moss, large flowering mints, hundreds of species of wild flowers and 75-plus varieties of towering trees. The natural splendor of Giant City has made it a renowned retreat that attracts more than 1.2 million visitors annually.

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But Garden of the Gods was amazing:

http://www.shawneeforest.com/Hiking/GardenoftheGods.aspx

More than 320 million years ago, the wind and rain patiently started to chisel away at large deposits of sedimentary rock located in what is now, Shawnee National Forest . Over the years, the elements have sculpted some of the most stunning and extraordinary rock formations known to man. This garden of sandstone sculptures and vast untouched wilderness was fittingly named Garden of the Gods.

The park contains a variety of plant and animal life, adding to the scenic beauty of the Shawnee Forest. Garden of the Gods covers more than 3,300 acres of forest throughout the Southeastern Illinois counties of Saline, Pope and Hardin. There are also plenty of trails for backpacking and horseback riding, allowing nature lovers a welcome tour of what the lively environment has to offer.

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Go there and be envious. More on Tuesday.

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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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World Wide Fund – The save the animals people are the best

People who work in poor countries to try save animals are some of the noblest people on the planet.

http://wwf.panda.org/

Elephants are the largest living land mammals on the planet.
Incredibly intelligent and social, they have no real predators in the wild. Except humans.

Due to their magnificent ivory tusks, which are carved and sold as luxury ornaments, elephants have been hunted for centuries. Now they are diminishing at such a rapid pace, that we risk losing them for good.

Join the million voices against illegal wildlife trade on our Facebook page and stay up to date with latest developments and campaign actions.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Environmental Defense Fund – One of my favorite organizations

To be candid, most of the national environmental organizations suck. They refuse to take local input and when they want something to happen because of a national agenda or a deal they have cut, they will shove it down the local’s throat. Case in point, the Sierra Club and other Environmental Organizations with a base in Chicago want to rip high speed rail straight through Springfield with no consideration for the town’s best interests for the path of that rail line. These guys are a little more sensitive to local issues.

http://www.edf.org/annual-reports/2011

Our mission is to preserve the natural systems on which all life depends.

Guided by science and economics, we find practical and lasting solutions to the most serious environmental problems.


Complete report

Individual chapters

 

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Voyager Leaves The Solar System – What an amazing and historic time

I am 57 years old and it may all be down hill from here. Seriously. In humankind’s 100,000 year history we just threw a spear out of here. In terms of what we were promised – you know warp drive, aliens and foreign civilizations it is kind of drab; but in terms of goal posts, it is a huge leap. Some might even say a quantum leap. All I can say is WOW.

http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2012/10/more-evidence-that-voyager-has-exited-the-solar-system/

More evidence that Voyager has exited the solar system

Friday, October 5, 2012

A science blog with Eric Berger

Something very, very interesting is happening with Voyager 1, the human probe that’s the very farthest from Earth.

New data from the spacecraft, which I will discuss below, indicate Voyager 1 may have exited the solar system for good. If true, this would mark a truly historic moment for the human race — sending a spacecraft beyond the edge of our home solar system.

At last check, NASA scientists said they were not yet ready to officially declare that Voyager 1 had officially exited the solar system by crossing the heliopause.

To cross this boundary scientists say they would need to observe three things:

1. An increase in high-energy cosmic rays originating from outside our solar system

2. A drop in charged particles emanating from the sun.

3. A change in the direction of the magnetic field.

As I reported in June,  in regard to the first point, scientists have observed a sustained increase in galactic cosmic rays during recent months.

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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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The Sierra Club – A group I join and quit when the price is right

The Sierra Club has drifted pretty far from John Muir’s roots. They signed a deal with Clorox about 10 years ago. I mean it is unclear when exactly because they keep the terms of the deal ultra secret. Anyway the rough outlines of the deal is that Clorox created a “green” cleaning supplies line and the Sierra Club gets a chunk (percentage) of the sales profits from that line. The deal must have obviously been that the Sierra Club get off the companies back about chlorine. So now, when they offer stuff to join for a year, and that stuff is good enough, I join.  Other than that I just cost them junk mail fees.

http://www.sierraclub.org/

 

Mighty Wind

09/28/2012

Did you notice that last weekend the largest onshore wind farm in America started operation in north-central Oregon? The 845 MW Shepherds Flat facility will generate an estimated 2 billion kWh each year — enough to power 235,000 homes. On top of that, this clean power will eliminate about 1.5 million metric tons of carbon pollution annually — the equivalent of taking approximately 260,000 cars off the road.

Who built Shepherds Flat? We, the people, did! Caithness Energy relied on more than a billion dollars in loans guaranteed by the Energy Department. With the project up and running, and with a long-term commitment from Southern California Edison to buy power, it looks like a good investment. Maybe that’s why Google also kicked in $100 million.

Shepherds Flat is the kind of project we should be building across the U.S. — or at least in those parts, like the Eastern Columbia River Gorge, with abundant wind resources. Yet the Republican Party opposes even extending the Production Tax Credit that wind power has had for decades. Right now, they would probably sooner move Burning Man to the National Mall than help finance more success stories like Shepherds Flat.

Here’s why that’s crazy:

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Greenpeace Is An Activist Organization – Sometimes I disagree with those actions

First on the list of actual green active organizations is Greenpeace. As with most activist organizations, I like them or I hate them based on their actions. When they challenge the whalers, I applaud. When they unroll banners from bridges over the Mississippi River or chain themselves up in trees, I must admit I become embarrassed. I have never been a member needless to say.

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/

Happy whales have sanctuaries


My Greenpeace colleagues aboard the Rainbow Warrior in the Indian Ocean shared a heartwarming experience when a frolicking group of humpback and minke whales put on quite a show. It’s not a stretch to say these whales were happy and playful. Why wouldn’t they be as the entire Indian Ocean is a whale sanctuary where they can live in peace? What a contrast this is to other parts of the world where whales not only don’t have protections but face a myriad of direct threats from humans. One huge emerging threat to whales, dolphins and other marine wildlife is happening now in the coastal waters of California. Read more

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

 

 

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