No Soil & Water Before 100% Renewable Energy | Loki’s Revenge

Gr.– Hard to check some of the assumptions, but sound or not, the conclusions might be right.  Definitely worst-case arguments, and those are the ones we must plan for–are they not?

China’s pollution problem.

Loki’s Revenge.– “The funny thing is that meat and fire saved our ancestors from extinction and now meat and fire will cause mass extinction of all the life we love on earth. Survival is not an optional menu item as is eating meat. We have to act now, not 5 years from now, or forever be not remembered as the least greatest generation because there’ll be no one left to remember us.”  ContinueNo Soil & Water Before 100% Renewable Energy | Loki’s Revenge

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The Guardian Editorial: Population Pressures & International Development

GR.– There are solutions to the human population problem.  In this article, Joe Bish introduces one that the Guardian is promoting.

Joe Bish, Population Media Center.– “Breaking down the barriers that stop women and girls having the right to choose should be at the heart of every development project.”

“The editorial board of The Guardian issued the following opinion two days ago, and the ultimate message is a good one: breaking down the barriers that stop women and girls from exercising the human right to control their own fertility “should be at the heart of every development project.”

“Interestingly, the catalyst behind this welcome opinion seems the product of the stressful social crucible that has been the so-called “Brexit” referendum campaign (Note: polling will take place today). It appears the editorial board has come face-to-face with a dreaded truth — despite influential quacks like Hans Rosling, who hawk tinctured mental concoctions to comfy bourgeoisie audiences suggesting the population issue is both relatively benign and already solved, ongoing rapid population growth in high fertility countries is no longer an issue confined to “over there.”

“The board states clearly that “population pressures are an important part of the [migration] story,” before transitioning into their advocacy for unrestricted access to family planning information and services as needing to be a fundamental aspect of “every” international development program. In other words, The Guardian brain-trust understands the inseparable link between unrestricted access to contraception and low fertility; most importantly, they have determined that positively influencing this link is a crucial foreign policy intervention — as it is a tactic in addressing demonstrably unsustainable population “pressures”. That fertility is highly-amenable to change through efforts that strengthen human-rights is not only wonderful to comprehend, it also creates a “case-closed” story.”

The Guardian view on family planning: the unsung human right.– “Millions of women are barred either by cultural taboo, cost or availability from being able to decide for themselves when they have children. Empowering them to take control should be a basic objective of every human health project.

A family planning advertisement in Cotonu, Benin. Photograph: Godong/Alamy

Continue reading: The Guardian Editorial: Population Pressures & International Development

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In Defiance of Harmful Fuels — Is Tesla/Solar City the New Model For What an Energy Company Should Look Like?

GR.– CO2 continues to rise, a positive methane feedback loop may form, marine and terrestrial habitats are dying, and then there’s Elon Musk’s business enterprise with some good news.  Power your home with your car?  Read on:

RobertScribbler.– “It could well be said that we are subsidizing our own destruction. Despite centuries of use, fossil fuels around the world today receive about 500 billion dollars annually in the form of economic incentives from Earth’s various governing bodies. With alternatives to fossil fuels becoming less costly and more widely available, and with the impacts of human-forced climate change growing dramatically worse with each passing year, such wasteful and harmful misuse of public monies is starting to look actively suicidal.

Fossil Fuel Funding for Global Catastrophe

“Given so much money going into the hands of what are already the wealthiest corporations in existence, one would expect that the practice of providing these economic powerhouses with such a massive largess of public generosity would result in some kind of amazing overall benefit.

“Energy itself is certainly a benefit. It allows for the rapid and easy transportation of groups and individuals. It lights up homes, powers machinery, keeps us warm in the winter and cool in the increasingly hot summers. But despite what the industry would like you to believe, fossil fuels themselves only represent a small fraction of the global energy available to human civilizations. And the kinds of energy fossil fuels provide is often in its lowest efficiency and most highly externally destructive forms.”  Continue reading:  In Defiance of Harmful Fuels — Is Tesla/Solar City the New Model For What an Energy Company Should Look Like? | robertscribbler

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CO2’s Vertigo-Inducing Rate of Rise — In First 5 Months of 2016 Hothouse Gas Concentration Rocketed 3.7 Parts Per Million Above 2015

GR.– A recurring warning from climatologists is the possibility that melting permafrost will generate a positive feedback loop in global warming.  Such an event would move the “Climate Emergency” into an extreme phase from which we could not recover without massive damage to Earth’s ecosystems and the current human civilizations.  Prudence demands that we never dismiss such fears.  We must try to prevent the event, plan contingency responses, and hope it never happens.

“Perhaps the most worrisome threat is that because the Arctic is warming so much faster than the globe as a whole, the permafrost — soil that remains frozen year-round — is thawing. As it does, organic matter which is trapped within can decay, and when it does it releases CO2 into the atmosphere, except those places where instead of releasing CO2 it releases CH4.” — Tamino.

RobertScribbler.– “With the Northern Hemisphere Pole warming at a rate 2-3 times faster than the rest of the globe, there’s a risk that we start to set off a kind of runaway warming feedback. We may be near that threshold now… God help us if we’ve crossed it… ” Continue reading:  CO2’s Vertigo-Inducing Rate of Rise — In First 5 Months of 2016 Hothouse Gas Concentration Rocketed 3.7 Parts Per Million Above 2015 | robertscribbler

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Scientists, business leaders and prominent Australians call for emergency climate action

Climate emergenecy statement published in “The Age” 23 June 2016.

More than 20 prominent Australians have called for emergency-scale action on climate change in an open letter to the new parliament, published in “The Age” on 23 June.

Signatories run across the political spectrum, and include business leaders, scientists, a former Australian of the Year and a Nobel Laureate.

Climate emergency petition

Ian Dunlop, a former Chair of the Australian Coal Association and former CEO of the Australian Institute of Company Directors says:

We are out of time for gradualist policy. We need courage rather than procrastination from our aspiring leaders. Emergency action is a call increasingly being taken up by leading scientists and responsible leaders around the world as extreme events escalate.

The statement reads:

  • At the Paris climate talks, scientists and people from low-lying island states set 1.5ºC of warming as a red line that must not be crossed. However, earlier this year, the global average temperature spiked past 1.6ºC of warming.
  • The bleaching of coral reefs around the world, increasing extreme weather events, the melting of large ice sheets and recent venting of methane from thawing permafrost make it abundantly clear that the earth is already too hot.
  • The future of human civilisation, and the survival of the precious ecosystems on which we depend, now hang in the balance.
  • There must be an immediate ban on new coal and gas developments and an emergency-speed transition to zero emissions.
  • We must begin the enormous task of safely drawing down the excess greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.
  • We call on the new parliament to declare a climate emergency.

Epidemiologist Professor Fiona Stanley says she is already measuring the health impacts of global warming: “Our children top the list of those most likely to suffer . . . .”  Continue reading:  Climate Code Red: Scientists, business leaders and prominent Australians call for emergency climate action

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Exceptional rates of population growth are causing stress on many fronts

GR.– At 24 million, Australia’s population might not seem a problem.  The country is the same size as the U. S., and the U. S. is home to 324 million.  You might argue that it’s just a perception thing, and that Australian people just have to adapt to changing times.  In fact, 24 million exceeds the carrying capacity of Australia’s resources.  324 million far exceeds the carrying capacity of U. S. resources.  Both countries are guilty of overshoot.

Joe Bish, Population Media Center.– “Both major parties have promised to improve infrastructure, but neither have mentioned the chief reason for the need to do so: growing numbers.

“Jenny Goldie, former president of Sustainable Population Australia (SPA), alerted me to the following op-ed, which was published yesterday in 3 of Australia’s most prominent newspapers: The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the Canberra Times. The author is Katharine Betts, an Australian sociologist specializing in environmental and population issues, who also holds the title of Adjunct Associate Professor of Sociology with Swinburne University.

“As you may know, Australia’s population sprinted past 24 million earlier this year. (You can view a short video about Australia’s demography by clicking the image below.) You may also know that the population issue in Australia is consistently a political issue of significance; in addition to advocacy groups such as SPA, there is also a political party called Sustainable Australia (formerly Sustainable Population Party), whose platform is based on stabilizing the country’s population and achieving smaller per-person impacts on the environment.

“If there was any doubt of the veracity of these strong, popular, and consistent concerns, look no further than a recent report on water scarcity in Canberra, which explains there is not enough water currently being stored and supplied in Canberra to sustain future residents. (See: Canberra water supplies not enough to meet growing population, experts warn.)

Katharine Betts, June 22.– “For the past 10 years Australians have been subjected to exceptional rates of population growth. Now many voters are losing patience with its effects.

“During the election campaign both major parties have promised to improve infrastructure, but neither have mentioned the chief reason for the need to do so: growing numbers.

“Indeed the day before the election, July 1, the Turnbull government’s new rules granting visas to international students as young as six, and their guardians, will come into effect. Guardians will be allowed to buy property, and pressure on primary schools in sought-after areas will increase.

“In November 2015, a survey commissioned by Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) found that 51 per cent of voters thought Australia did not need more people. Then in May this year a survey done for SBS TV found that 59 per cent thought that the level of immigration over the last 10 years had been too high.”  Continue reading: 

 

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Project Protects Military Macaw Nests from Poachers

GR.– The green body of these Macaws remind of Poirot, the mischievous little parrot in my children’s stories.  In one story, Poirot comes close to becoming a victim of the pet trade.

Juan Carlos Cantu.– “For the third year in a row, this nest monitoring project prevented poaching of endangered military macaws.

“At one time, you could see the striking plumage of the military macaw up and down the length of Mexico. But over decades, as we lost swaths of forest habitat and saw poaching for the illegal pet trade become more aggressive, these birds began to disappear from the wild. Today, only a few thousand remain in Mexico, in small, fragmented areas isolated from one another. And the threats that put this species in danger still continue.

“Military macaws are one of the most sought-after parrot species in all of Mexico for the illegal pet trade. While poachers will take macaws of any age, nestlings are the most vulnerable. And the methods they use to reach these young parrots are devastating in more ways than one.

“Military macaws nest in cavities high up in trees. To reach a nest, poachers will often cut down the entire tree – a practice that puts the nestlings in danger, and destroys healthy nesting habitat for the species. So three years ago, we joined forces with a team of scientists in Puerto Vallarta to start a nest monitoring program. With a watchful eye on a specific group of nests, the scientists could collect important data about these birds in the wild. And if poachers knew the nests were monitored, they would be less likely to strike.

“This year, I’m happy to say that we closed out the third successful season of the project in a row! MS Carlos Bonilla and his team of researchers were able to monitor 22 nests this season, 14 of which had successful parents rearing chicks until they fledged the nest. Not one of these nests was poached by traffickers. The end result: 15 fledgling macaws safely left their nests with their parents.”  Continue reading: Project Protects Military Macaw Nests from Poachers

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How Brexit could damage our health

GR.– Here’s a good discussion of the benefits Britain loses by exiting the EU.

Christopher Birt.– “We would lose drug research and health service funding as well as free treatment in Europe, and we’d have no external arbiters of food, air and water quality. This is dangerous

Woolacombe beach in Devon. ‘We have Europe to thank for our cleaner bathing beaches and the high standard of our water.’ Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

“Much of the EU debate is conducted at the level of insults and unsupported claims and assertions. But, if we care to look, there are many areas where it is not difficult to identify the effects of Brexit. Health and health services are one such area – and Brexit could be devastating.  Continue reading:  How Brexit could damage our health | Christopher Birt | Opinion | The Guardian

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Having lost the ability to reproduce, ‘Coral zombies’ may spell doom for coral reefs around world

GR.– Human damage to coral comes from a growing a list of lethal chemicals.  We know that the oceans are absorbing more CO2 and that this increases acidity and weakens coral.  We know that runoff from cities, farms, and mines carries toxic chemicals that kill corals.  Now we can add sunblock to the list of lethal human impacts.  Changing the activities causing these impacts is a daunting prospect.  It requires that we stop burning fossil fuel, make huge investments in water filtration, and gain the cooperation of divers and fishermen.  Can we do all that in time to save Earth’s coral?

Phys.org.– “Scientists, like UCF Biologist John Fauth, have known for a while that coral reefs around the world are dying, and in a worst-case scenario they were counting on large, healthy-looking corals to repopulate. But a new study presented at the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium in Honolulu today shows that these seemingly healthy colonies are ‘Coral Zombies’ with no reproductive ability, which makes them useless in a recovery effort. Credit: UCF: Nick Russett

“Basically the places with the heaviest tourism had the most severe damage,” Fauth said. He dove and took samples from all of the Puerto Rican sites in the study, along with marine biologists Michael Nemeth and Katie Flynn.

“This study adds to growing evidence that coral reefs frequented by divers are in peril. Last year a study found that oxybenzone, a common UV-filtering compound in sunscreen, is in high concentrations in the waters around the more popular coral reefs in Hawaii and the Caribbean. The chemical not only kills coral, it causes DNA damage in adult corral and deforms the larval stage, making it unlikely they can develop properly. The highest concentrations of oxybenzone were found in reefs most popular with tourists. Fauth was a co-investigator of that 2015 study, which was published in the journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.

“Oxybenzone also causes coral bleaching, which is a prime cause of coral mortality worldwide. Corals bleach when they lose or expel the algae that normally live inside them, thus losing a valuable source of nutrition.”  Continue reading:  ‘Coral zombies’ may spell doom for coral reefs around world

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