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Environment

Environment
Review: Planet of the Humans
Richard Heinberg: The film is controversial because it makes two big claims: first, that renewable energy is a sham; second, that big environmental organizations—by promoting solar and wind power—have sold their souls to billionaire investors. ... the ways we use energy today are mostly adapted to the unique characteristics of fossil fuels, so a full transition to renewables will require the replacement of an extraordinary amount of infrastructure ... the only realistic way to make the transition in industrial countries like the US is to begin reducing overall energy usage substantially ... The future will be renewable; there simply isn’t any other option. What is very much in question, however, is the kind of society renewable energy can support... Visit Website ]
May 1, 2020, 3:17pm

Environment
Construction Causes Major Pollution. Here’s How We Can Build Better.
Zoë Schlanger: Buildings of the future will be grown on-site, says Wil Srubar. They’ll be made from hemp, or algae or specially engineered wood — or bacteria that can photosynthesize, like the cyanobacteria mortar he and his research team recently grew between a lattice of sand and water-based gel. ... “In my future world, we don’t burn limestone to make cement, and we don’t melt sand to make glass,” he says. Instead, essential building materials might be grown from bacteria that glow (bioluminescence) or from engineered lichen, so that walls are infused with the organism’s remarkable properties. Imagine a house that could filter carbon dioxide from the air or change color if harmful gases are present... Visit Website ]
Apr 25, 2020, 3:05pm

Environment
America’s Great Greenwashing
Robert Hunziker: Celebrating 50 years of Earth Day, Michael Moore, executive producer and the director Jeff Gibbs re-released their daunting and alarming documentary about the heart and soul of America’s Green Movement in a compelling film: Planet of the Humans (2019). ... It’s an explosive exposé of the Greening of America ... it exposes new pathways to multifarious failings within a horribly misguided and vastly misrepresented Green Movement ... effectively fossil fuel interests have “consumed the green movement” in various unorthodox ways ... The film thus exposes a wholesale abandonment of ethical standards at the highest positions... Visit Website ]
Apr 24, 2020, 2:34pm

Environment
Ten years ago today: Natural gas could be as bad as oil and coal
Lloyd Alter: On April 16, 2010 (ten years ago at this time of writing) TreeHugger emeritus Michael Graham Richard wrote Because of Methane Leaks, Natural Gas Could be as Bad as Oil & Coal ... "The problem is that methane is a powerful greenhouse gas - much more so than CO2 - and the more natural gas you produce and distribute, the more of it will leak in the atmosphere." ... Because of the rapid growth of fracking, more methane (which is what natural gas basically is) has been escaping into the atmosphere than ever before. ... Studies actually show that the effects of the leaking gas completely offset the reduced CO2 emissions from burning gas instead of burning coal... Visit Website ]
Apr 16, 2020, 2:55pm

Environment
Depleted Forests
George Wuerthner: When it comes to wildfire safety, the timber industry, the Forest Service, and many collaboratives are selling Snake Oil to the public. ... Studies have shown that in many instances, dense forest stands often burn at low and moderate intensity, in part, because they are shadier, cooler, and moister. ... If there is a problem with our forests, it is that they are degraded and “depleted” from a hundred years of forest management. ... We must allow natural processes like wildfire, bark beetles, mistletoe, and other agents to continue to “manage” our forest ecosystems... Visit Website ]
Apr 14, 2020, 2:56pm

Environment
Nature Is Bouncing Back During the Coronavirus Crisis—but for How Long?
Jonathan Watts: “The drop in emissions is global and unprecedented.” ... The environmental changes wrought by the coronavirus were first visible from space. Then, as the disease and the lockdown spread, they could be sensed in the sky above our heads, the air in our lungs and even the ground beneath our feet. ... As motorways cleared and factories closed, dirty brown pollution belts shrunk over cities and industrial centers in country after country within days of lockdown. ... it is a glimpse of what the world might look like without fossil fuels ... The respite for nature will be less important than what follows. That is already being decided in closed meetings while the public is locked down at home ... nature is sending us a message that if we neglect the planet, we put our own wellbeing at risk... Visit Website ]
Apr 11, 2020, 3:16pm

Environment
Could COVID-19 Lead to a Cleaner World?
Honah Liles: The widely published image of a clear and bright Beijing, China — a city otherwise often covered under a sooty fog — offers hope that there could be a silver lining to this devastating pandemic. According to one analysis, carbon dioxide emissions in China were down by as much as 25 percent during the country’s weeks of industrial shutdowns. Particulate matter in the air also decreased. ... The question is: Will any of these positive impacts last? ... Congress should find ways to include environmental incentives into stimulus legislation moving forward ... environmental advocates who are politically savvy to team up with businesses and work together to convince lawmakers to funnel stimulus money their way... Visit Website ]
Apr 8, 2020, 3:21pm

Environment
Covid-19’s viral lessons for climate heating
Kieran Cooke: There are some glimmers of hope discernible in the loss, confusion and misery that’s spreading worldwide, and one is that Covid-19’s viral lessons could help to equip us all to tackle the climate crisis that’s remorselessly building up. ... Epidemiologists have constantly warned of the likelihood of the worldwide spread of a virus ... In the same way, climate scientists have been warning for decades of the catastrophe threatened by global heating. ... Covid-19 also reinforces the difficult-to-get-hold-of concept that nothing is normal any more. ... Scientists say climate change will mean even greater and more sustained adjustments to our lives... Visit Website ]
Apr 3, 2020, 3:11pm

Environment
In race for a sustainable alternative to plastic, Indonesia bets on seaweed
Johan Augustin: Edible cups made from seaweed. Shopping bags from cassava starch. Food containers from sugarcane fiber. These are some of the bioplastic alternatives being tried out in Indonesia, the world’s No. 2 producer of seaweed... A local government initiative to revive seaweed farming off Bali comes amid growing interest in the crop’s promise to tackle environmental problems ranging from carbon emissions to plastic waste pollution. ... Cultivated at scale, seaweed can grow up to 60 times faster than land-based plants, making it an important carbon sink. ... Local startups are also exploring its potential to make bioplastic that is naturally degradable and even edible, for use in food packaging and other applications to replace plastic... Visit Website ]
Mar 30, 2020, 3:37pm

Environment
Scientists find bug that feasts on toxic plastic
Damian Carrington: The bacterium, which was found at a waste site where plastic had been dumped, is the first that is known to attack polyurethane. Millions of tonnes of the plastic is produced every year to use in items such as sports shoes, nappies, kitchen sponges and as foam insulation, but it is mostly sent to landfill because it it too tough to recycle. ... The research, published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, identified a new strain of Pseudomonas bacteria, a family known for its ability to withstand harsh conditions, such as high temperatures and acidic environments. ... Scientists revealed in 2018 that they had accidentally created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles, which are made of PET, potentially enabling the complete recycling of bottles for the first time... Visit Website ]
Mar 27, 2020, 2:35pm

Environment
Scientist Is Saving Corals by Breeding Them in the Lab
Lana Cohen: Cued by the lunar cycle and ambient temperature, entire colonies of coral reefs release their tiny packages of eggs and sperm, called gametes, in unison in mass coral spawning events known as “broadcast spawning.” The gametes float to the surface of the ocean, and fertilization begins. This is how baby corals — which start out the size of the tip of a needle — are born and, ultimately, how coral reefs are made. ... “Coral reefs are one of the premier valuable ecosystems on earth,” ... integral to, among other things, marine biological diversity, the economy, and protecting coastal areas from destructive storms. ... Worldwide, coral reefs account for a $172 billion annual income from fisheries, tourism, and recreation ... the reefs absorb wave energy, protecting tens of thousands of miles of coast from erosion, flooding, and storm damage.... Visit Website ]
Mar 25, 2020, 2:36pm

Environment
Native Activists Are Forging A Just Transition To Renewable Energy
Winona LaDuke: Native activists and youth are shaping a clear vision for the transition necessary to guide us toward an environmentally just future — and there are more of them coming. ... Transition is inevitable, but justice is not. ... “Just transition” is a framework for a fair shift to an economy that is ecologically sustainable, equitable and just for all. ... “The just transition framework,” Enei Begaye of Native Movement reminds us, “upholds relationships that stem from time immemorial and must recognize it was not people who governed the land, but rather the land and the spiritual beings of the land prescribed relationships among humans and their relationships to the land... Visit Website ]
Mar 13, 2020, 4:13pm

Environment
Revealed: Monsanto’s secret funding for weedkiller studies
Damian Carrington: The research, used to help avoid a ban, claimed ‘severe impacts’ on farming if glyphosate was outlawed ... The research was used by the National Farmers’ Union and others to successfully lobby against a European ban in 2017. ... The tendency of the results of scientific studies to favour their funders – called funding bias – is widely recognised in research on chemical toxicity, tobacco and pharmaceutical drugs. ... Citizens, media and decision-makers should know who pays for studies on subjects of public interest. ... campaigners claim Monsanto has defended the product by ghostwriting research papers for regulators and using front groups to discredit critical scientists and journalists... Visit Website ]
Mar 13, 2020, 3:49pm

Environment
Dumping Contaminated Water from Fukushima Plant Into Ocean – the Lesser Evil?
Vladimir Odintsov: In February this year, a number of media outlets reported that the Japanese authorities intended to drain more than one million tons of radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean. According to some experts, this method is the lesser evil because the ocean is able to dilute contaminated water, thus making it safe for people. ... 9 years have passed since the accident at the Fukushima power plant, but three of its damaged reactors are far from being dismantled ... Every day, cooling the molten reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant yields an additional 150 cubic meters of contaminated water containing tritium (a radioactive isotope of hydrogen) and other chemicals ... TEPCO is currently storing 1.1 million cubic meters of radioactive water in one thousand special tanks... Visit Website ]
Mar 12, 2020, 3:12pm

Environment
Can Free Public Transportation Transform a Country?
Lana Cohen: The small country of Luxembourg launched an interesting social experiment this week: If you make public transportation free in a country that has the European Union’s (EU) highest number of cars per capita, will people ditch their automobiles and switch to trains, buses, and streetcars? ... As of March 1, anybody in this country of 600,000 can use all of these modes of transportation for free — regardless of whether they are a resident; a cross-border worker commuting from neighboring France, Germany, and Belgium; or one of the many tourists who come to take in the sights of the lush, hilly country. ... Officials in Luxembourg said that, while lower emissions are a nice side effect, the primary purpose of the decision to offer free transportation is to help reduce inequality and provide more efficient mobility. Visit Website ]
Mar 4, 2020, 4:06pm


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