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Cin 02-27-2012 08:47 AM

Environmental News
I didn't see a thread specifically for news about the things that are happening to our environment, so I thought I would start one.

I look forward to learning some things from what other people post here.

But since I started the thread, I'll go first.

Plastic Lies

Cin 02-27-2012 01:04 PM

If climbing Mount Everest is on your bucket list, you might want to do it soon while it's still possible.
‘Super sherpa’ says climate change may make Mount Everest unclimbable

From Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Climate change is altering the face of the Himalayas, devastating farming communities and making Mount Everest increasingly treacherous to climb, some of the world’s top mountaineers have warned.

Apa Sherpa, the Nepali climber who has conquered Mount Everest a record 21 times, said he was disturbed by the lack of snow on the world’s highest peak, caused by rising temperatures.

“In 1989 when I first climbed Everest there was a lot of snow and ice but now most of it has just become bare rock. That, as a result, is causing more rockfalls which is a danger to the climbers,” he told AFP.

“Also, climbing is becoming more difficult because when you are on a mountain you can wear crampons but it’s very dangerous and very slippery to walk on bare rock with crampons.”

Speaking after completing the first third of a gruelling 1,700-kilometre (1,100-mile) trek across the Himalayas, Apa Sherpa would not rule out the possibility of Everest being unclimbable in the coming years.

“What will happen in the future I cannot say but this much I can say from my own experiences — it has changed a lot,” he said an an interview with AFP in the village of Gati, 16 kilometres from Nepal’s border with Tibet.

The 51-year-old father-of-three, dubbed “Super Sherpa”, began his working life as a farmer but turned to the tourism industry and mountaineering after he lost all his possessions when a glacial lake burst in 1985.

He is on a 120-day walk dubbed the Climate Smart Celebrity Trek with another of the world’s top climbers, Nepali Dawa Steven Sherpa, with the pair expected to reach the finish on May 13.

The expedition, the first official hike along the length of Nepal’s Great Himalayan Trail since it opened last year, will take in some of the world’s most rugged landscapes and see the duo ascending beyond 6,000 metres (19,600 feet).

“I want to understand the impact of climate change on other people but also I’d like tourism to play a roll in changing their lives as it has changed mine,” said Apa Sherpa.

Research published by the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) last year showed Nepal’s glaciers had shrunk by 21 percent over 30 years.

A three-year research project led by ICIMOD showed 10 glaciers surveyed in the region all are shrinking, with a marked acceleration in loss of ice between 2002 and 2005.

Scientists say the effects of climate change could be devastating, as the Himalayas provide food and energy for 1.3 billion people living in downstream river basins.

Environmental campaigners refer to the mountain range as the “third pole” and say the melting glaciers are the biggest potential contributors to rising sea levels after the North and South Poles.

Scientists blame confusion and scepticism over climate change on a blunder in a 2007 United Nations report which falsely claimed that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear by as soon as 2035.

On the ground, however, mountain communities are already alarmed by dramatic shifts in weather patterns, two-time Everest summiteer Dawa Steven Sherpa told AFP as he and Apa completed the first 530 kilometres of their trek.

“Right from the beginning we saw the effects of climate change on tea plantations in Ilam district,” he said.

“These areas would not normally get frost and it is destroying their entire crop. These are cash crops that employ thousands of people, even on one farm.

“From what the local people are saying, it’s getting colder in the winter and hotter in the summer and it is the cold they are worried about.”

Cin 03-02-2012 09:00 AM

How “Drill, Baby, Drill” and “Yes We Can” Got Married
by Subhankar Banerjee

American military prefers to make preemptive strikes. We know this. In America, corporations have enormous influence over the government—these days they essentially run the government. We know this too. And now a giant corporation has made a preemptive strike against nonprofit organizations. “Arctic Ocean drilling: Shell launches preemptive legal strike” is the title of a recent Los Angeles Times article. Shell’s legal attack is against REDOIL—a small indigenous human rights organization in Alaska and 12 environmental organizations fighting to stop dangerous drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas in Arctic Alaska—Alaska Wilderness League, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Greenpeace, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Ocean Conservancy, Oceana, Pacific Environment, Sierra Club, and The Wilderness Society. This is historic.

On Thursday, I requested Cindy Shogan, Executive Director of Alaska Wilderness League in Washington, D.C. about how she would respond. Following is the email statement I received from her:

“In a true–life David vs. Goliath parable, Royal Dutch Shell, a foreign company that makes millions of dollars in profits per hour, is forcing Alaska Wilderness League, a grassroots–based nonprofit with the sole purpose of advocating for Alaska’s lands, waters and native people, into court—and seeking fees and costs against us. I suppose if you’re like Shell, and you have billions of dollars to throw around, you can engage in this desperate ploy, instead of proving on the ground that you can actually clean up an oil spill in Arctic conditions.

My response to Shell is this: Alaska Wilderness League will not be bullied. We will take the time we need to evaluate whether Shell’s oil spill response plan, for the most aggressive course of Arctic Ocean drilling ever proposed in history, meets the letter of the law. We owe that much to the Iñupiat people who have thrived on Alaska’s Arctic coast for thousands of years, and the extraordinary Arctic ecosystem that is among the most vital in the world.”

How did we get here? I’d suggest through a cruel marriage of two phrases. You perhaps never thought that two phrases could marry, right? And, that they can even produce babies, right? In America, anything is possible.

Once upon a time vice–presidential hopeful Sarah Palin uttered the now (in)famous phrase “Drill, Baby, Drill.” Also, once upon a time presidential hopeful Barack Obama uttered the now (in)famous phrase “Yes We Can.” These two phrases got married along the way, and will now produce their baby “Kill, Baby, Kill.”

Recently I was at a panel with Robert (Bob) Emmet Hernan, former New York State assistant attorney general. Bob pointed out that something remarkable has happened in the US during the past decade—it is stealing of the meaning of a phrase: “We must reduce our dependence on foreign oil.” Both Big Oil and the environmental activists seized upon that phrase. The activists wanted to reduce dependence on foreign oil and move America toward clean, sustainable energy, and create jobs, lot of jobs, along the way. Big Oil on the other hand wanted to reduce dependence on foreign oil by drilling every place in North America—not easy oil, but what resource expert Michael Klare has called extreme energy—dirty tar sands oil; oil in the deep ocean in the Gulf of Mexico; and perhaps most dangerous of all, oil in the harsh environment of the Arctic Ocean. Bob pointed out, “Big Oil has successfully stolen the phrase reduce our dependence on foreign oil.” That is “Drill, Baby, Drill” everywhere in North America. And, the Obama administration is going along with all those projects (and there is fracking also). That is “Yes We Can” drill everywhere.

That is how those two phrases got married.

But why?

Penny at the Pump Returns

In January the Obama administration rejected the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The republicans complained about high gas prices and made the argument that the tar sands crude would indeed bring down price at the pump. So, recently the White House did a 180–flip. In a recent op–ed Jim Hightower writes that the republicans’ use of “gas price pain as a whip for lashing out at Obama’s January decision to reject the infamous Keystone XL pipeline” is a “cynical political stunt.” He continues on to say correctly, “The pipeline and the toxic crude it’ll carry across six states would do absolutely nothing to shave even a penny off of the price we pay at the pump.”

Each time Big Oil wants approval on a dirty oil project, they and their cronies in Congress and Cabinet creatively use “price at the pump” as the most powerful argument to fool the American public. In 2005, when the Bush administration was pushing hard to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska—the most biodiverse conservation area in the entire Arctic, to oil and gas development, they had used that same argument—we had high gas prices then too. At that time, activist Carol Hoover and I co–designed an ad in collaboration with Alaska Wilderness League, Gwich’in Steering Committee and The Wilderness Society that came to be known as the Penny ad. The text of the ad began with these words: “According to the latest data from the Department of Energy, if Congress lets the oil companies into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, you’ll save a whopping penny a gallon at the pump. And of course you wouldn’t even see that penny until 2025.” We used one of my photos of pregnant female caribou from the Porcupine River herd migrating over frozen Coleen River as the backdrop. It was printed full page in the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today on November 14, 2005. You can see the Penny ad here. Because of the hard work of the activist community, we prevailed and defeated all of Bush’s attempts to sell off the Arctic Refuge to Big Oil.

Hightower is correct in saying that if we allow the Keystone XL pipeline today, it “would do absolutely nothing to shave even a penny off of the price we pay at the pump.”

McClatchy Newspapers reported, “energy experts say that the Keystone XL pipeline wouldn’t do much to lower gasoline prices. The recent price spike stems largely from speculators bidding up prices at a time of growing fear of future oil–supply disruptions if a war with Iran develops over its nuclear program.”

So why did Obama make the 180–flip? The obvious reason is that he wants to get reelected, and so he is going where the money is flowing (read: Wall Street, Big Oil, Big Coal). But it’s more than that—US has decided to stay firm on the coaley–oily–gassy path when it comes to energy, rather than make the hard choice of taking the path of clean energy and create real jobs.

Shell’s Dangerous Game

On February 17 the Obama administration approved Shell’s spill response plan in the Chukchi Sea. But why is Obama giving Shell the key to destroy the Arctic?

Unlike Hightower’s assessment of the Keystone XL pipeline issue—the usual Republicans pushing the Democrats argument isn’t true in this case. Despite tremendous opposition from environmental and indigenous human rights organizations, in 2009 when Obama was still riding the wave of popularity, his administration had approved Shell’s plan to drill five exploratory wells—two in the Beaufort and three in the Chukchi Seas. Then, on March 31, 2010 standing in front of an “environmentally friendly” F–18 Green Hornet fighter jet the President had announced a new energy proposal, which would open up vast expanses of America’s coastlines, including the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, to oil and gas development. BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster that spilled more than 200 million gallons of crude oil and extremely large amount of methane in the Gulf of Mexico put a damper, and the President did a temporary 180–flip. But slowly and surely his administration has been rubber–stamping permits after permits—for Shell. The government has not done a thorough Environmental Impact Statement; and knows full well that Shell does not have the technology or the preparedness to respond to a spill in the frozen Arctic Ocean, and yet, in approving these permits the administration is essentially saying, “Yes We Can” drill in the Arctic Ocean.

So the story goes, “Drill, Baby, Drill,” marries “Yes We Can.”

If you take a bit of distance from “price at the pump” and other bogus arguments, you’ll realize that North America is determined to stay on course with fossil fuel driven energy for this century, and avoid any significant direction toward clean, sustainable energy, and deal with the devastating issue of climate change—the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. That is a major crime against all species of this earth. In 2010, I wrote a piece, “STOP: Another One Hundred Years of Fossil–Digging in North America?” that you can read here. That nightmare is becoming reality now—Shell’s Arctic Ocean drilling; Keystone XL pipeline and consequently massive expansion of tar sands extraction in Alberta; and major expansion of the deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico—are all moving forward.

What can you do?

Right now I’d urge you to sign the Alaska Wilderness League petition, Tell the President: “Shell No” to Arctic Drilling.

And, fight, yes, fight we must against all those who like to steal phrases, and along the way steal the meaning of survival for all species on earth. It is possible to defeat destructive projects when a community fights and keeps on fighting. Just in the last two weeks we have had two good news—the New Mexico anti–nuclear campaign stopped after an eight–year long battle a Plutonium Bomb Factory; and the anti–coal campaign in Chicago after a decade–long battle shut down two Model–T–era coal fired power plants in a historic victory. I recently edited an anthology “Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point” that will be published by Seven Stories Press in June. In the book we offer many stories and ideas of resistance–against–destruction. You can also check out the ClimateStoryTellers special series on Shell’s Arctic drilling here.

The US government continues to ignore what the Iñupiat people and the environmental organizations have to say about Shell’s Arctic Ocean drilling, so it is no surprise that we are at this historic moment when an Oil Giant has made a preemptive legal strike against these nonprofit organizations. Only two centuries ago the US government supported a policy that exterminated nearly 50 million buffalo in less than one hundred years and destroyed the way of life of the Native American communities. Will the US government repeat that today by sending Shell to the harsh Arctic Ocean and along the way destroy the rich marine habitat and the way of life of the Iñupiat communities?

Let us thank our colleagues at Alaska Wilderness League and other organizations who have been sued by Shell. Instead of backing down they’re speaking truth to power, as Cindy has articulated so well, “Alaska Wilderness League will not be bullied.”

SoNotHer 03-02-2012 09:02 AM


SoNotHer 03-27-2012 06:55 AM

McDonald’s Trials to Stop Using Styrofoam Cups

by Paul Canning, March 26, 2012


25 years ago, a campaign started to get McDonald’s to replace its use of Styrofoam. In 1990, McDonald’s said they would phase it out but that only happened with burger boxes. Now they actually are testing paper cups in thousands of stores, following a shareholder resolution.

These cups don’t quickly degrade, fill up landfill and end up in places like the great Pacific garbage patch. The chemicals and waste used to produce them pollute and laching from them may effect health.

Conrad MacKerron, of corporate accountability group As You Sow, described the move as “a great first step for McDonald’s.”

“Given the company’s history of using high levels of recycled content in other food packaging, we hope that it follows suit with its cups and also establishes a robust recycling program for post-consumer waste left in its restaurants,” he said in a statement. MacKerron’s group introduced a shareholder proposal last summer, asking McDonald’s to consider alternatives to polystyrene. Last year, the Republicans in Congress fought a battle to get Styrofoam cups back in their cafeteria as part of the fight against the liberty-removing House composting program.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/mcdonald...#ixzz1qJz7jFkW

Passionaria 04-06-2012 01:57 AM

How could it not be??????
Radiation update provided by Daisy Luther and co-author NinaO. This report was originally published at Inalienably Yours.
The mainstream media and the federal government will soon have the blood of the world on it’s hands.

Radiation from the Fukushima Nuclear Plant disaster in Japan is now actively in the ecosystem all along the North American west coast… even the sea weed is now radiated. The Vancouver Sun reported one year ago that the seaweed tested from waters off the coast of British Columbia were 4 times the amount considered safe. No further test results were released after the initial report.

The governments of the United States and Canada are not conducting tests for radioactivity – at least not to the knowledge of the public. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has agreed to continue purchasing seafood from Japan, despite the fact that the food is not being tested for radioactive contamination. Last November, independent testing in Japan showed 65 per cent of the catches tested positive for cesium (a radioactive material). Instead of refusing to purchase the poisoned fish, food safety agencies in both the United States and Canada have simply raised the “acceptable level of radiation.” We can’t go offending the Japanese after promising to buy their tainted goods, now can we?

After the North American governments refused to fund testing, oceanographer Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist at the non-profit Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass, along with Nicholas Fisher, a marine sciences professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and other concerned scientists, managed to secure private funding for a Pacific research voyage. The results?

Cesium levels in the Pacific had initially gone up an astonishing 45 million times above pre-accident levels. The levels then declined rapidly for a while, but after that, they unexpectedly levelled off.

In July, cesium levels stopped declining and remained stuck at 10,000 times above pre-accident levels.

This means the ocean isn’t diluting the radiation as expected. If it had been, cesium levels would have kept falling.

The finding suggests that radiation is still being released into the ocean long after the accident in March, 2011.

Less than two weeks after the tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster, Michael Kane, an investigative journalist, reported, “In the wake of the continuing nuclear tragedy in Japan, the United States government is still moving quickly to increase the amounts of radiation the population can “safely” absorb by raising the safe zone for exposure to levels designed to protect the government and nuclear industry more than human life.”

The radiation has absolutely reached the shores of North America. Water samples from across the continent have tested positive for unsafe levels of radioactivity. The levels exceeded federal drinking water thresholds, known as maximum contaminant levels, or MCL, by as much as 181 times.”This means that the complete ecosystem of the Pacific Ocean is now poisoned with radiation and we aren’t being warned.

Samples of milk taken across the United States have shown radiation at levels 2000 percent higher than EPA maximums. The reason that milk is so significant is that it it representative of the entire food supply. According to an article published on Natural News, “Cows consume grass and are exposed to the same elements as food crops and water supplies. In other words, when cows’ milk starts testing positive for high levels of radioactive elements, this is indicative of radioactive contamination of the entire food supply.”

The GMO Food and Drug Pushers Administration and the EnvironmentalDeception Protection Agency, instead of refusing to prohibit the sale of tainted foods and mandatory testing of foods produced and harvested from the Pacific Coast, have simply raised the “acceptable levels” of radioactive material in foods.

Clearly, the “it’s-all-for-your-own-good” government will not protect us, or even inform us of the dangers so we can protect ourselves, because it might dip into the pockets of the global elite, the nuclear energy industry, and the food industries. There is big money behind this cover-up. Refusing to purchase and consume their tainted goods is the best way to fight back, while keeping our families safe and healthy.

How can we protect ourselves? First, be aware of what items are likely to be highly tainted.

1.) SEAFOOD: Question the origin of ALL seafood. Fish and crustaceans from the Pacific Ocean should all be considered to be poisoned with radiation.

2.) WATER: The rainfall and snowfall are all radiated. Do not drink any water that has not been filtered. The tap water that flows from your faucet has NOT been treated to rid it of radioactive particles. A recent report from the NY Times stated, “A rooftop water monitoring program managed by UC Berkeley’s Department of Nuclear Engineering detected substantial spikes in rain-borne iodine-131 during torrential downpours …

3.) DAIRY PRODUCTS: Milk and milk products from the West Coast states currently have the highest levels of radiation in North America.

4.) PRODUCE: Leafy Vegetables, Wines, Tomatoes, Strawberries….all produce from California or any other West Coast State are also likely to be tainted.

5.) MEAT: If a animal eats any leafy vegetable all along the West Coast, that animal has consumed radiation, and is poisoned. This is any animal from cows, pigs, goats, sheep to wild deer and other game.

If you eat the above foods from areas with high radiation levels, you are eating radiation and feeding it to your children. Slowly the radiation levels within your body will build up. This is PERMANENT.

Infant mortality rates across the United States have increased by more than 35% since the nuclear disaster, according to a court statement by Dr. with independent scientist Leuren Moret, MA, PhD. A study published in The International Journal of Medicine indicates that more than 20,000 deaths right here in North America can be directly attributed to the release of radioactive material from Fukushima.

Radioactive isotopes of the type released from Fukushima have a half life of 30,000 years. This means that we must permanently change the way we prepare our food.

Wash your food with soap and rinse it in filtered water.
Be aware of the origins of your vegetables, fish, game and seafood.
Keep abreast of radiation levels to help monitor where your food is acquired.
Use only filtered water for drinking, cooking and ice.
Check in tomorrow at Inalienably Yours to read more about our increasingly toxic land and the intentional poisoning of the United States.

SoNotHer 04-06-2012 07:13 PM

Over 600 Dolphins Found Dead


Jake Richardson
April 4, 2012

On beaches in Peru well over 600 dead dolphins have been found by conservationists from an organization called BlueVoice.org. The head of this group was quoted in MSNBC as saying the deceased dolphin count is 615, but on the the Blue Voice blog, the number was said to be potentially much higher by a marine mammal rescue director in Peru. In fact the Blue Voice blog says the stranding could be the largest dolphin mortality event yet recorded.

“I was stunned to hear we’d counted over 200 dolphins. We hit a length of beach no more than 100 yards long in which we found ten dolphins of varying levels of decomposition. The numbers continued to mount. By the time the rising tide forced us off the beach the count had reached 615, counted over 135 kilometers,” said a Blue Voice employee who visited Peru. It sounds like there could be many more. It isn’t clear yet exactly what caused the deaths. One speculation is sonic testing conducted by oil companies, because it is believed the very loud noises can cause internal bleeding in dolphins. (Sound travels faster in water, than in air.)

“We have been noting that the animals were suffering from acute decompression syndrome – that is to say, a violent death produced by an acoustic boom that disorients the animal and produces haemorrhages which cause the animal to end up dying on the beach,” said ORCA director Dr Carlos Yaipen. (Source: 3news) Another speculation is that a disease caused an epidemic. In the United States an increase in deadly dolphin strandings in the Gulf has been tied to habitat damage due to the huge oil catastrophe, a situation which is ongoing because there is still some oil in the Gulf.

BlueVoice.org is an ocean conservation organization founded by Hardy Jones and Ted Danson. They have been working to help save marine mammals and protect habitats for about twelve years.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/ove...#ixzz1rJRySQf9

Hollylane 04-14-2012 12:19 AM


Originally Posted by SoNotHer (Post 560034)
Over 600 Dolphins Found Dead


Jake Richardson
April 4, 2012

On beaches in Peru well over 600 dead dolphins have been found by conservationists from an organization called BlueVoice.org. The head of this group was quoted in MSNBC as saying the deceased dolphin count is 615, but on the the Blue Voice blog, the number was said to be potentially much higher by a marine mammal rescue director in Peru. In fact the Blue Voice blog says the stranding could be the largest dolphin mortality event yet recorded.

“I was stunned to hear we’d counted over 200 dolphins. We hit a length of beach no more than 100 yards long in which we found ten dolphins of varying levels of decomposition. The numbers continued to mount. By the time the rising tide forced us off the beach the count had reached 615, counted over 135 kilometers,” said a Blue Voice employee who visited Peru. It sounds like there could be many more. It isn’t clear yet exactly what caused the deaths. One speculation is sonic testing conducted by oil companies, because it is believed the very loud noises can cause internal bleeding in dolphins. (Sound travels faster in water, than in air.)

“We have been noting that the animals were suffering from acute decompression syndrome – that is to say, a violent death produced by an acoustic boom that disorients the animal and produces haemorrhages which cause the animal to end up dying on the beach,” said ORCA director Dr Carlos Yaipen. (Source: 3news) Another speculation is that a disease caused an epidemic. In the United States an increase in deadly dolphin strandings in the Gulf has been tied to habitat damage due to the huge oil catastrophe, a situation which is ongoing because there is still some oil in the Gulf.

BlueVoice.org is an ocean conservation organization founded by Hardy Jones and Ted Danson. They have been working to help save marine mammals and protect habitats for about twelve years.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/ove...#ixzz1rJRySQf9

I hope hell exists for the jackasses who knew this would happen and continue to do it. Fuckwads. Pardon my moment of uncouth, or don't, because I mean it.

Hollylane 04-18-2012 11:37 AM


Next week, the USDA will decide whether to allow Monsanto and Dow to introduce one half of the chemical mixture Agent Orange into our food supply. Widescale use of Roundup has led to a new generation of resistant weeds, and the next step in the pesticide arms race is 2,4-D -- a chemical linked to cancer, Parkinson's and reproductive problems.

Farmers that sign up to use genetically-engineered 2,4-D-resistant corn will be required to spray down their fields with both 2,4-D and Roundup, double-dosing our food, our soil and our waterways with the toxins. Some experts estimate this will increase the use of 2,4-D 50-fold, even though the EPA says the chemical is already our seventh-largest source of dioxins -- nasty, highly toxic chemicals that bioaccumulate as they move up the food chain and cause cancer, developmental damage, and birth defects.

We can stop this. The use of 2,4-D is banned entirely in parts of Canada and Europe, and right now the US Department of Agriculture is accepting public comments on 2,4-D to decide whether or not to approve the widespread industrial use of the toxin.

Add your name to our letter to the USDA urging them to deny approval for Dow's 2,4-D-resistant GMO corn.

This is part of a growing problem, an escalating herbicide war going on across America’s heartland. From 1996 to 2008, herbicide usage increased by 383 million pounds. Nearly half of this took place between 2007 and 2008 after the introduction of another strain of herbicide-resistant plant pushed by Dow. Like Roundup before it, 2,4-D is only a temporary solution that will require more and more tons of toxins and more and more potent chemicals leaching into our food supply.

2,4-D is nasty stuff and has been linked to a number of health problems, such as tripling the rates of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in Nebraska farmworkers exposed to it and causing reproductive problems -- birth defects and high rates of miscarriage -- in both mice and men exposed to it in the lab and field.

Tell the USDA - we don’t want Monsanto’s toxic pesticide.

-Kaytee, Claiborne Taren and the rest of the team

SoNotHer 05-09-2012 10:46 AM

The Age of the Antrhopocene
The film was commissioned by the Planet Under Pressure conference, London 26-29 March, a major international conference focusing on solutions.

SoNotHer 06-09-2012 11:26 AM

Thanks to my dear friend Hollylane and the original poster of this information. Please let me know if you know or hear anything more about this. I live uncomfortably close to the target area.



Hollylane 07-10-2012 11:19 PM

Good News for Baby Sea Turtles

The Sierra Club's Puerto Rico Chapter notched a huge victory when the island's governor signed a bill protecting nearly 2,000 acres of the Northeast Ecological Corridor from development. For more than 15 years, a proposal to build two megaresorts loomed over the Corridor, which includes one of the most important nesting grounds on Earth for the endangered leatherback sea turtle.

"Golf courses and baby sea turtles don't mix," says Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. Find out how the Sierra Club Puerto Rico Chapter and other grassroots groups kept this wondrous place from being turned into condos and putting greens.

Glenn 07-15-2012 08:42 AM

The Drought Of 2012

Here's the drought map updated weekly
Instead of July it looks like September here with leaves falling and brown lawns. Even the bugs are dying of thirst, so they eat everything the drought does'nt kill. Even the bee's are starving for nectar and are raiding each other's hives and getting more aggressive near their own. The commercial crops are looking miserable. and the price will go up. Corn is already at a high price due to using it for ethanol. You'd think Congress would drop the ethanol mandate when it gets too high. Natural gas is getting a little cheaper though due to fracking.

Hollylane 01-02-2013 12:31 PM

Efforts to save grounded Shell Arctic rig postponed

Attempts to rescue a Shell drill rig grounded off the Alaskan coast have been delayed because of high seas and strong winds.

The rig, named Kulluk, ran aground on Monday after drifting in stormy weather as it was being towed.

The rig is grounded on the south-east side of Sitkalidak Island.

The US Coast Guard said the rig, carrying about 143,000 gallons of diesel and about 12,000 gallons of other oil products, appears stable.

A Coast Guard plane and helicopter flew over the Kulluk on Tuesday to assess the rig and said it did not appear to be leaking.

"There is no sign of a release of any product," Coast Guard Capt Paul Mehler said.

He said a team made up of Shell, Coast Guard and local officials aimed to get salvagers aboard the Kulluk to assess it and then refloat the rig.
Endangered species

Shell has said that the design of the Kulluk - with fuel tanks isolated in the centre of the vessel and encased in heavy steel - means that a significant spill is unlikely.

However, spill response equipment was being prepared in the event of a leak in the area which is home to at least two endangered species, as well as harbour seals, salmon and sea lions.

Environmentalists have said the incident illustrates the risk of drilling for oil in a fragile region.

"Shell and its contractors are no match for Alaska's weather and sea conditions either during drilling operations or during transit," Lois Epstein, Arctic program director for The Wilderness Society told Reuters.

The rig was being moved for maintenance and upgrades when it broke away from one of its tow-lines on Monday afternoon.

Its 18-member crew had already been evacuated by the Coast Guard on Saturday because of the risk of storms.

Sean Churchfield, operations manager for Shell Alaska, could not explain why the Kulluk had been caught in the weather.

"I can't give you a specific answer, but I do not believe we would want to tow it in these sorts of conditions," he said.

femmeInterrupted 02-27-2013 12:26 PM

Hope it's Ok to post this here. I definitely consider it to be a world issue. It's such an emotional trigger for me, because something about dolphins are so sentient.
I can't believe Japan won the bid to host the 2016 summer Olympics with the Dolphin slaughters still going on.





Toughy 02-27-2013 12:52 PM

San Francisco Experiencing Driest Start To Year Since 1850s


femmeInterrupted 03-10-2013 08:33 PM

Plastic pollution


Hollylane 03-11-2013 10:12 PM

10 March 2013

Jonathan Kathrein was surfing on the California coast when he was attacked by a great white shark. The high school student battled to free his leg from the 12ft fish's jaws as it dragged him underwater.

Today, Mr Kathrein is fighting to save the same fish that nearly took his life.

Though great whites have been off-limits to commercial and sport fishers since 1994, their populations have continued to decline. Environmentalists estimate only 340 of the sharks are left in the north-western Pacific.

This month the state of California added the great white shark to its list of protected animals.

Since surviving the 1998 attack, Mr Kathrein has written books about his experiences and the threat to sharks around the world.

Hollylane 04-01-2013 10:02 AM

BBC News Science & Environment 3/29/2013
Cash shortage stretches to sea bed
By Roger Harrabin Environment analyst

The government has admitted moving slowly to protect wildlife in the seas because of the cost.

Environment Minister Richard Benyon said that in the current financial squeeze he could not designate as many areas for protection as he would like.

He said he was hoping to confirm the designation of the current tranche of 31 Marine Protected Zones under a consultation that ends on Sunday.

Environmentalists have accused the government of dragging its feet.

This is because 127 zones were originally nominated for protection after a compromise deal agreed with other users of the sea.

Jolyon Chesworth from the Wildlife Trusts said: "We are disappointed at the rate of progress. The government has an international obligation to protect wildlife in the seas.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

I want to do as many zones as we can for as little as we can”

Richard Benyon Environment minister

"The marine environment is not as obvious to people as it is when they see wildlife walking through a woodland or downland but it's just as important and equally worthy of protection.

"The 127 zones were only nominated after very long discussions with anglers, sailors and the fishing industry. We are now being asked to compromise on a compromise."

But Mr Benyon told the BBC that with cuts to the Defra budget, the cost of making scientific assessments and then developing rules for the use of different areas could not be dismissed.

"We are constrained by a hugely expensive process at a time when we have little money in government", he said.

"I want to do as many zones as we can for as little as we can. People have waited many years for this; we will designate the first tranche in September and will announce the next lot for consultation then."

Environmentalists are worried that the UK might slither back from its international commitment to create an ecologically coherent network of sites.

They are angry that several key sites have been left out of the first tranche on the grounds that insufficient evidence was supplied to justify them.
Sailors' fears

Mr Chesworth said that in his south of England region there was a cast-iron case for designating, among others, Bembridge Levels on the Isle of Wight - home of the stalked jellyfish and Poole Harbour - a key breeding ground for sea horses.

But both of these zones have been contested by sailors who fear that new rules will prevent them anchoring on sensitive sites. One boat owner on the Isle of Wight told Mr Benyon that the designations were "bonkers".

Boaters are the mainstay of the local economy and have lived in harmony with wildlife for decades, he said.

John Pockett from the Royal Yachting Association told the BBC: "We fear we won't be able to anchor our yachts; we fear we won't be able to train our next Ben Ainslie (the Olympian) because we won't be able to anchor marker boats."

Sailors are not the only ones protesting. In some areas fishing crews object to MPZs, even though they are supposed to provide a breeding ground for fish stocks to recover.

Conservationists warn that recently revealed chalk arches off the North Norfolk coast could be destroyed by one careless pass of a trawl net.

A further complication is the fact that UK jurisdiction ends six nautical miles from the shore, even though its responsibility for wildlife stretches further.

"It would be terrible to stop our own fishermen from exploiting a sensitive areas then allow boats of other nationalities to come in", Mr Benyon said. "We are trying to negotiate this with Brussels."

The proposals stem from the 2009 UK Marine Bill. If all the sites had been approved, just over a quarter of English waters would end up under some kind of protection. Currently, the total is way under 1%.

Globally just 0.6% of the world's oceans have been protected, compared to almost 13% of our planet's land area.

Marine author Callum Roberts told the BBC: "There's no way you'll have an effective network of marine-protected areas the way we are going. It's undermining trust."

But public sector cutbacks are a reality. And the government insists that the state of the economy will inevitably be felt on the sea bed, like everywhere else.

Hollylane 08-25-2013 09:18 AM

European forests near 'carbon saturation point'

European forests are showing signs of reaching a saturation point as carbon sinks, a study has suggested.

Since 2005, the amount of atmospheric CO2 absorbed by the continent's trees has been slowing, researchers reported.

Writing in Nature Climate Change, they said this was a result of a declining volume of trees, deforestation and the impact of natural disturbances.

Carbon sinks play a key role in the global carbon cycle and are promoted as a way to offset rising emissions.

Writing in their paper, the scientists said the continent's forests had been recovering in recent times after centuries of stock decline and deforestation.

The growth had also provided a "persistent carbon sink", which was projected to continue for decades.

However, the team's study observed three warnings that the carbon sink provided by Europe's tree stands was nearing a saturation point.

"First, the stem volume increment rate (of individual trees) is decreasing and thus the sink is curbing after decades of increase," they wrote.

"Second, land use is intensifying, thereby leading to deforestation and associated carbon losses.

"Third, natural disturbances (eg wildfires) are increasing and, as a consequence, so are the emissions of CO2."

Co-author Gert-Jan Nabuurs from Wageningen University and Research Centre, Netherlands, said: "All of this together means that the increase in the size of the sink is stopping; it is even declining a little.

"We see this as the first signs of a saturating sink," he told BBC News.

Sinking feeling

The carbon cycle is the process by which carbon - essential for life on the planet - is transferred between land (geosphere and terrestrial biosphere), sea (hydrosphere) and the atmosphere.

Carbon sinks refers to the capacity of key components in the cycle - such as the soil, oceans, rock and fossil fuels - to store carbon, preventing it from being recycled, eg between the land and the atmosphere.

Since the Industrial Revolution, human activity has modified the cycle as a result of burning fossil fuels and land-use change.

Burning fossil fuels has resulted in vast amounts of carbon previously locked in the geosphere being released into the atmosphere.

Land-use change - such as urbanisation and deforestation - has reduced the size of the biosphere, which removes carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis.

Dr Nabuurs explained that saturation referred to the point where the natural carbon sinks were unable to keep pace and absorb the additional atmospheric carbon being released by human activities.

He said emissions had risen a lot over the past decade, primarily through the rise of emerging economies in countries such as China, India and Brazil.

The researcher's conclusions appear to contradict the State of Europe's Forests report in 2011 that showed forest cover in Europe had continued to increase. The report said trees covered almost half of Europe's land area and absorbed about 10% of Europe's annual greenhouse gas emissions.

But Dr Nabuurs said that the rate of afforestation was slowing, adding that a sizeable proportion of forests were mature stands of trees, which were mainly planted in the early part of the 20th Century or in the post-World War II period.

"These forests have now reached 70-80 years old and are starting a phase in the life of a tree where the growth rate starts to come down," he explained.

"So you have large areas of old forest and even if you add these relatively small areas of new forest, this does not compensate for the loss of growth rate in the old forests."

However, mature woodlands have been recognised as a key habitat for supporting and conserving biodiversity.

Will this lead to policymakers making a choice between forests' ecological value and their effectiveness at sequestering CO2?

"That is indeed a large challenge," said Dr Nabuurs.

"Old forests in Europe are necessary and we certainly need those forests.

"I think policymakers at a national level and within the EU have to be clear that in certain regions, within valuable habitats, that the focus is on old forests and biodiversity.

"But in other regions, maybe it is time to concentrate more on continuous wood production again and rejuvenate forests again, so then you have growing forests and a continuous flow of wood products.

"This seems to be the optimal way to address both the need for wood products and maintaining a carbon sink in growing forests."

'Real problem'

The study's findings could have implications for EU and member state's climate mitigation efforts to reduce emissions.

"Most European nations, as part of their emissions reduction commitments, can also use forest carbon sinks," Dr Nabuurs observed.

"Under the Kyoto Protocol, countries were voluntarily choosing to take that sink into account.

"But in the next commitment period, forest management will be an obligatory part of reaching the emissions reduction targets.

"For some countries, the sink is a very large part of their emissions reduction commitment so the saturation is a real problem, requiring them to take additional measures, for example in the electricity generation or transport sectors."

As a sizeable proportion of Europe's forest areas are owned by smallholders, the process of changing the age-profile of the continent's tree cover could prove challenging with some owners resisting the idea of increasing wood production and tree harvesting.

One potential solution is a pan-European, legally binding agreement on forest management that would look to balance the ecological value of forests against the trees' commercial and climate mitigation value.

Delegates from more than 40 nations have been working on such a framework since 2011.

However, talks stalled in June when negotiators were unable to reach agreement on a number of technicalities.

"This is a very important process where all the European states are working towards a legally binding agreement," Dr Nabuurs commented.

"It is a very important framework in which the member states can devise their own national policies.

"It is obvious that within nations, forest policy is often quite weak. To strengthen this, this agreement is certainly necessary."

Talks are set to resume in the autumn, with the aim of having a draft agreement in place by mid-November for EU forestry ministers to consider.

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