Kiribati is a flyspeck of a United Nations member state, a collection of 33 islands necklaced across the central Pacific. Thirty-two of the islands are low-lying atolls; the 33rd, called Banaba, is a raised coral island that long ago was strip-mined for its seabird-guano-derived phosphates. If scientists are correct, the ocean will swallow most of Kiribati before the end of the century, and perhaps much sooner than that. Water expands as it warms, and the oceans have lately received colossal quantities of melted ice. A recent study found that the oceans are absorbing heat 15 times faster than they have at any point during the past 10,000 years. Before the rising Pacific drowns these atolls, though, it will infiltrate, and irreversibly poison, their already inadequate supply of fresh water. The apocalypse could come even sooner for Kiribati if violent storms, of the sort that recently destroyed parts of the Philippines, strike its islands.
Drowning Kiribati. Climate change is destroying this island country. It won't be the last.
No fish, no birds, only trash
“No fish. No birds. Hardly a sign of life at all” for nearly 3,000 nautical miles. The only living things were fishermen aboard massive trawlers who were stripping a reef of every fish and keeping only the tuna, killing and dumping everything else.Macfadyen is frightened by what he saw. Shaking his head “in stunned disbelief,” he has concluded that “the ocean is broken.”
“In place of the missing life was garbage in astounding volumes,” some of it—but not all—debris from the 2011 tsunami, including telephone poles, trucks, factory chimneys, and all kinds of plastic. There were miles upon miles of tangled junk, some of it bobbing, some sunk below the surface. When winds were calm, the yacht couldn’t start its motor “for fear of entangling the propeller in the mass of pieces of rope and cable.”
--Greg Ray, Newcastle Heralld
In my lifetime the world could see 3.1°C of global warming. How about in yours?
"When a product is sufficiently distorted or changed in size or form, consumers perceive it as less useful. And when they perceive it as less useful, they're more likely to throw it in the garbage, as opposed to recycle it."
In Mertzon and Barnhart in western Texas, the worst drought in two generations is choking the water supply. Water shortages are raising tensions between locals and the fracking industry. Drilling for shale gas uses up to 8m gallons of water each time a well is fracked.
This is not the first time solar panels have graced the White House’s roof: President Jimmy Carter had 32 installed in the late 1970s to provide hot water, but President Ronald Reagan removed them in 1986. Then in 2003 President George W. Bush installed a photovoltaic system on a maintenance building and two solar thermal units. The system heated the White House swimming pool.
--quoted from The New York Times
On October 26th, a hole was blasted in the base of 125' tall Condit Dam on the White Salmon River in Washington. In less than 2 hours, the reservoir behind the dam drained completely and the White Salmon flowed unimpeded by a dam for the first time in 100 years.
The silly war over lightbulbs
That, said Chris Good, is the war cry of Republicans who insist that new federal lightbulb-efficiency standards--due to start in January--represent "a totalitarian invasion of personal liberty."
What conservatives seem to forget is that the new standards were not President Obama's fault--or even his idea. They were initially proposed by Republican Rep. Fred Upton, and were signed into law in 2007 by President Bush. At the time, most Republicans thought it sensible to phase in new, energy-efficient fluorescent lightbulbs that could cut U.S. electricity use by several percentage points, reduce dependence on oil-producing nations, and slow climate change.
But as the GOP has moved steadily to the right, the consensus around energy efficiency and global warming has completely fallen apart. Now the party's leaders and most of its presidential candidates, deny that global warming exists, and condemn better lightbulbs as an intolerable affront on Americans' God-given rights.
-- from a column in The Atlantic.com, quoted in "The Week" magazine
It's hard to imagine the damage over-fishing is wrecking on the oceans. The effects are literally invisible, hidden deep in the ocean. But there is data out there. And when you visualise it, the results are shocking.
Information is Beautiful: Plenty More Fish In The Sea?
Sorry I missed this
Yesterday was World Environment Day.
The "doodle" on today's Google Homepage is in honor of Earth Day. Be sure to mouse over the different animals to make them swim, climb, fly, etc. Mouse over the stream to watch the salmon swim upstream - watch until it gets to the top!
Earth Day Every Day
Q: What are the least sustainable activities Americans do today?
A: The two things that come to mind are the cars we drive and the food we eat. By giving up meat, you can comfortably reduce your negative footprint on the planet by 25 percent…We have food shortages and escalating food prices . Meat is a big, big issue.
from an interview with Jeffrey Hollender, author of Planet Home
How appropriate that his birthday is the day before Earth Day.
Today is the birthday of naturalist, author, and Sierra Club co-founder John Muir, born in Dunbar, Scotland, in 1838.
This is in honor of Earth Day on Friday.
How can they brag about this?
Republicans have undone efforts to "green the government" by reintroducing plastic and Styrofoam to the Capitol dining room.
The cold has reason in a deathly grip.
There were two silent calls, followed by a message left on my voicemail. She had a soft, gentle voice and a mid-Wales accent. "You are a liar, Mr Monbiot. You and James Hansen and all your lying colleagues. I'm going to make you pay back the money my son gave to your causes. It's minus 18C and my pipes have frozen. You liar. Is this your global warming?" She's not going to like the answer, and nor are you. It may be yes.
The Guardian: That snow outside is what global warming looks like.
Ahhh! Breathe that thin air!
Scientists collect fresh Colorado atmosphere to standardize the way pollution is measured globally.
More than a generation of Americans have been urged to save the Earth. After surveying the current climate and every H.G. Wells-inspired geoengineering project, Anthony Doerr says it’s time to pray for Homo sapiens.
The Morning News: Planet Zoo
Wild rivers vs stored water
Does it really "Save the Poudre" to build a reservoir?
It might be called the one feel-good story of the disaster that continues to ravage the Gulf of Mexico: the seemingly unparalleled effectiveness of Dawn dishwashing liquid at cleaning oiled birds. But few if any of the wildlife-rescue veterans restoring gunk-coated birds this summer know just why the soap is so singularly successful.
They help the environment, but...
The BP Oil Disaster: If it was My home...
A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves. No wonder the hills and groves were God's first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself.
---John Muir, naturalist, explorer, and writer (1838-1914)
Happy 40th anniversary!
Earth Day EVERY day!
And tomorrow is Earth's Day's 40th anniversary
It's the birthday of writer and naturalist John Muir, born in Dunbar, Scotland (1838).
He fell in love with the Sierra Mountains in California and spent much of his time hiking and camping there. He was largely responsible for the creation of Yosemite National Park in 1890, and in 1892, he helped found the Sierra Club.
Just in time for Earth Day
The German running shoe company Puma has come up with a shoebox that is also a bag. It's one of those ideas that seems obvious once it's been invented.
Save the dolphins!
"The Cove", a powerful and troubling documentary film, won an Oscar on Sunday. The Director of the film has a Boulder connection.
Only in Boulder...
A new Gallup poll finds that Boulder is the happiest, healthiest city in the U.S.
Tired of receiving all those phone books on your front porch twice a year? You need Yellow Pages Opt Out.
Today is Broomfield Days, and this year the event is going green.
There are 104 commercial nuclear generating units in the United States
"What they say about France is true: the country has mastered nuclear technology." La Hague: Recycling the French Model. How France has successfully gone nuclear; what lessons can we learn?
Tap water is found to be safer than bottled water... and a lot cheaper.
Last year, a tap water challenge was staged around the country to see if people could tell the difference between plain old water that comes out of the faucet and very expensive bottled water. Tap water won out much of the time.
Additionally, the disposal of the plastic bottles in which the water was sold has become a worldwide environmental problem.
The Sears Tower is going to receive a green up-grade. There will be wind turbines, roof gardens, and solar panels included in the five-year project, which will reduce the tower's electricity use by 80 percent and save 24 million gallons of water each year.
We are so tiny. Come on people, let's make Earth a better place, even if Earth doesn't give a damn about us and will survive happily with us extinct, thank you very much. Recycle. Don't waste stuff. Give us a kiss.
~ Gizmodo via Wil Wheaton.
Happy Earth Day!
Can Poetry Save the Earth?
by El'Jay Johnson, written at age 8
Waking up one day,?
Looking out your window starting to say...?
No bad smells?
No muddy waters.??
No dead birds because of?
No dead trees because of?
No dead people because of?
No place to play because of??
And just imagine a kid?
Living by the Anacostia River.
Only in Boulder...
For many years the city of Boulder has had small circulator buses (The Hop, The Skip, and The Jump). Now it has added The Climb
"The bus has been chugging up and down the mountain connecting Gold Hill, population 210, to Boulder several times a day for more than a month, powered by vegetable oil and leaving a cloud of French-fry scented exhaust in its wake."
Denver is one of 2,800 cities participating in Earth Hour tonight.
UPDATE: Here is a link to what it actually looked like in big cities around the world as the lights went out. There is a neat feature at this link that lets you click the lights off and on.
Myth: we have to save the earth. Frankly, the earth doesn't need to be saved. Nature doesn't give a hoot if human beings are here or not. The planet has survived cataclysmic and catastrophic changes for millions upon millions of years. Over that time, it is widely believed, 99 percent of all species have come and gone while the planet has remained. Saving the environment is really about saving our environment - making it safe for ourselves, our children, and the world as we know it. If more people saw the issue as one of saving themselves, we would probably see increased motivation and commitment to actually do so.
Robert M. Lilienfeld, management consultant and author (b. 1953) and William L. Rathje, archaeologist and author (b. 1945)
From the book "The Last Polar Bear"
A person who drives a less efficient sport utility vehicle rather than an average passenger car will, over the course of a year, use more energy than if he left his refrigerator door open for six years.According to Daniel Becker of the Sierra Club
I'm dreaming of a green Christmas
"World's Greenest Museum" opens in San Francisco.
-Alan M. Eddison
How can I carry the soup and the salad and my drink?
Why are some college cafeterias doing away with lunch trays? It may not seem like an environmental issue, but it is!
Sustainable vs Disposable
As part of Denver's green initiative efforts during the DNC, The Sheraton Hotel will give guests wooden room keys instead of the usual plastic ones.
Was Mar's huge surface gash caused by a giant asteroid impact 4 billion years ago?
Leave it to Boulder!
For the second year in a row the Boulder Parks and Recreation Department is using a herd of goats to graze down the noxious weeds around Boulder Reservoir. Dog owners are being cautioned to keep their pets on a leash during the two-week project.
We're a "car driven" city
Food for thought...
Earth Day Every Day
It takes 1000 years for a plastic bag to degrade. Some time back I started bringing my own reusable environmental bags to the grocery store, and I've noticed more and more people are now doing the same.
I felt like Lincoln reading by firelight.
Denver hardly plugged into Earth Hour. But I turned off all my lights and read a book with only candles from 8 to 9 PM Saturday night. It wasn't much, but I contributed a little.
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper is urging Colorado citizens to participate in this year's Earth Hour 2008.Turn off llights and non-essential appliances for one hour on Saturday March 29 from 8-9 PM.
Last year, WWF-Australia organized the inaugural Earth Hour. Creating buzz and turning heads around the globe, 2.3 million residents of Sydney simply turned off their lights for one hour. The result is immediate and gives a stunning visual of just how much energy is being used to power our cities. In that one event alone, Australia saw a 10% reduction in use of its power grid. In CO2 terms, that's the equivalent of taking 50,000 cars off the road for an hour.Earth Hour 2008 with photos from last year's event
The American West was won by water management. What happens when there's no water left to manage?National Geographic: Drying of the West
Can you fund literacy, care for the environment, and get a fair price on the books you want? Yep... BetterWorld.com
Plastic is Drastic