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Environment

Environment
“No Mow May” Campaign Asks Us to Leave the Lawn Alone Until June to Help Save Bees
Not mowing in May results in more flowers and nectar all summer long for struggling pollinators. Wildlife organization urges us to leave lawnmowers locked up until June. ... Not mowing in May results in a greater diversity and number of flowers throughout the summer, a British wildlife organization called Plantlife claims. .... The organization conducted an experiment in last year in which hundreds of homeowners agreed not to mow their lawns until June. Participants’ lawns produced a much wider variety of flower species and enough nectar to feed 10 times as many bees as normal lawns. ... Our results show these unmown long-grass areas are home to a greater range of wild flower species... Visit Website ]
May 18, 2020, 2:13pm

Environment
The end of plastic? New plant-based bottles will degrade in a year
Jillian Ambrose: A biochemicals company in the Netherlands hopes to kickstart investment in a pioneering project that hopes to make plastics from plant sugars rather than fossil fuels. ... The plans, devised by renewable chemicals company Avantium, have already won the support of beer-maker Carlsberg, which hopes to sell its pilsner in a cardboard bottle lined with an inner layer of plant plastic. ... “This plastic has very attractive sustainability credentials because it uses no fossil fuels, and can be recycled – but would also degrade in nature much faster than normal plastics do,” ... Avantium plans to use plant sugars from sustainable sourced biowaste so that the rise of plant plastic does not affect the global food supply chain... Visit Website ]
May 16, 2020, 12:08pm

Environment
Planet of the Humans Backlash
Yves Engler: The backlash may be more revealing than the film itself, but both inform us where we are at in the fight against climate change and ecological collapse. .... Despite the hullabaloo, the central points in the film aren’t particularly controversial. Corporate-industrial society is driving human civilization/humanity towards the ecological abyss and environmental groups have largely made peace with capitalism. ... It is a statement of fact that environmental groups have deep ties to the corporate set. Almost all the major environmental groups receive significant cash from the mega-rich or their foundations. ... Since 1950 US electricity consumption has grown 13-fold and it continues to increase... Visit Website ]
May 11, 2020, 11:36am

Environment
Your Perfect Green Lawn Is a Buzz Kill
Tom Philpott: The very essence of a lawn (closely shorn, uniform, weed-free) leaves little room for the sustenance that pollinators depend on—pollen and nectar from a variety of flowers ... Residential landscaping contributes to an alarming ecological crisis: a steep decline in the health of pollinating animals, whose services provide one-third of the food we eat. ... They don’t just power the supermarket produce aisle; pollinators keep forests, parks, and shrublands humming. ... Rather than provide a respite from the pollinator dystopia found on industrial farms, our lawns mimic it. America’s lawns cover about 40 million acres, an area roughly equal in size to the state of Wisconsin... Visit Website ]
May 7, 2020, 3:29pm

Environment
The Biomass Fiasco
Robert Hunziker: Stop cutting down trees for biomass... STOP WOODY BIOMASS! ... wood accounts for 79% of biomass production and accounts for 3.2% of energy production ... (1) Trees cool and moisten our air and fill it with oxygen. (2) They calm the winds and shade the land from sunlight. (3) They shelter countless species, anchor the soil, and slow the movement of water. (4) They provide food, fuel, medicines, and building materials for human activity. (5) They also help balance Earth’s carbon budget. ... the worldwide woody biomass industry consumes forests, gobbling up trees by the minute ... It is not carbon neutral. It’s a carbon emitter, the antithesis of clean renewable energy... Visit Website ]
May 2, 2020, 1:29pm

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


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