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AlienLove: Environment

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 Going Green: A Curbside Crisis

How much of what you recycle ends up at the dump?

By Beth Porter

Do you cross the street to put your soda can in the recycling bin or avidly pluck plastics and paper from your neighbor’s trash cans? The current state of recycling in the United States may surprise you.

It’s in trouble for many reasons, including two straightforward ones. Most programs dump everything together — and consumers are confused about what goes into their recycling bins.

Single-stream recycling, first developed in the 1990s, offers the allure that everything can be recycled without duplicating efforts to handle paper, plastic, glass, and metal refuse. Creating a single blue bin where people can toss all kinds of recyclable items did away with the need to separate your bottles from your cans from your newspapers.

When your commingled recyclables arrive at the facility, they travel along conveyor belts where someone manually pre-sorts them. Then the stuff goes through a series of screens that separate items by weight and shape, and strong magnets mechanically sort the steel and aluminum products. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, April 18 @ 15:28:03 EDT (2951 reads)
(Read More... | 5449 bytes more | Comments? | Going Green | Score: 5)

 Business/Economy: The Fracking Rush Hits a Pothole

EnvironmentOil and natural gas gluts are driving prices so low that drill-baby-drillers may have to hit the brakes.

By Emily Schwartz Greco

Ever heard of Bryan Sheffield? The baby-faced tycoon enjoyed a brief blast of fame a few months ago when he became one of those rare non-tech billionaires under 40.

What ignited his rise to the ranks of Americans with money to burn? He owns a company called Parsley Energy Inc. that extracts oil and natural gas using the highly polluting technique known as fracking. Sheffield’s fortune hit the billion-dollar milestone when Parsley went public in May.

But a sudden plunge in oil prices quickly spiked the young Texan’s newfound status, trimming Sheffield’s fortune to a more modest $750 million.

You see, domestic oil production could hit 9.4 million barrels a day next year. This 42-year high, sparked by a fracking bonanza, is feeding a global glut that’s pushing oil prices down to levels not seen since 2010. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Sunday, November 30 @ 19:22:26 EST (1918 reads)
(Read More... | 5298 bytes more | Comments? | Business/Economy | Score: 0)

 Going Green: ‘Leave’ Them Alone

Each fall, trees offer homeowners a bounty of free mulch.

By Jill Richardson

This time of year, your trees are sending you a message.

Although I grew up in the Midwest, I’m experiencing it anew. After spending eight blissful years in California, I’ve returned to a state where people wear hats shaped like cheese and where leaves turn colors and drop off the trees.

I’m not completely ignorant of the weather here in Wisconsin. I remember having to pick a Halloween costume that could fit over a heavy jacket when I was a kid, and I know to expect the first snowflakes around the first week of November.

I’m also well aware that I need to purchase an ice scraper and a brush for my car’s windshield rather soon — and that I’ll have to use them regularly until at least March.

But my childhood experiences in the frigid north had little to do with yard work. Except for the times I was forced — very much against my will — to mow the lawn, I got off scot-free. The leaves fell from the trees, then the leaves went away. Someone else got rid of them — grown-ups, I suspect — and I didn’t know where they went.

Playing in leaf piles was something I did as a kid. Raking leaves was not.

As an adult, I now see the bounty of leaves the trees are heaping on my street through a gardener’s eyes. These leaves are a gift. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Tuesday, October 21 @ 17:40:01 EDT (1084 reads)
(Read More... | 4387 bytes more | Comments? | Going Green | Score: 0)

 Going Green: Some Serious Potty Talk


Composting toilets would save water and, uh, resources.

By Jill Richardson

There’s a photo-word montage on the Internet in which a little boy, presumably from Africa, looks skeptically at a woman who is apparently from somewhere else. The boy asks, “You mean to tell me you have so much clean water, that you (poop) in it?”

Umm…yeah. Yeah, we do. But why?

This probably isn’t a question you often ask, because as the wastewater treatment industry says, we have a “flush it and forget it” attitude as a nation. Number ones and number twos disgust us, and we don’t want to see, smell, touch, or God forbid, deal with our pee and poop.

Flush toilets magically make all that human waste vanish in an instant, so we can go on with our day in blissful denial that anything unpleasant-smelling ever came out of our bodies at all.

What’s the cost for that modern convenience? An awful lot of water. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, September 26 @ 15:21:04 EDT (1588 reads)
(Read More... | 5332 bytes more | Comments? | Going Green | Score: 0)

 Going Green: Cry a River over California’s Drought

With so much of the nation's food supply concentrated in the "Shake and Bake" state, its good weather is bad news for us all.

By Jill Richardson

As a Californian, I have not gotten too much sympathy from friends and family about our rotten weather this winter. Yes, I said rotten weather. It’s been incredibly pleasant— except for a few times when the temperature crept up to 90 — but we’ve hardly had any rain.

Cry me a river, you might think. Especially if you live in a part of the country where the term “polar vortex” was added to your vocabulary in the past few months. Boo-hoo. It was too sunny and perfect every day.

California’s climate problems have nothing to do with human comfort — but they have everything to do with human food. And not just for California.

Unfortunately for the rest of the country, Californians provide a huge share of the nation’s fruits and vegetables. If we can’t grow crops because we have no water, everybody misses out.

A recent Mother Jones article points out that nearly all of America’s almonds, walnuts, strawberries, broccoli, grapes, and more come from the Golden State. And just one walnut requires a whopping 4.9 gallons of water. That’s not 4.9 gallons for a pound of walnuts. That’s for just one nut. A stick of butter? That takes 109 gallons of water to produce. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, March 13 @ 00:01:55 EDT (1543 reads)
(Read More... | 5363 bytes more | Comments? | Going Green | Score: 0)

 Business/Economy: The Perils of Watered-Down Regulations

The West Virginia chemical spill brought to light the failure of the government to assess either the dangers posed by industrial chemicals or the factories that manufacture them.

By Jill Richardson

“There’s a folksy saying my grandma taught me: ‘If it smells like licorice and tastes like licorice, it must be licorice.’ Now it has a corollary: ‘Or it could also be a 4-methylcyclohexane methanol spill into your water supply, so grab the children and run for your lives.’ It’s not quite as folksy anymore.”

My friend Bill Harnsberger was joking when he posted that on his Facebook page, but it hints at a deeper truth. The world we live in isn’t as simple as the world of our grandparents.

Back in Grandma’s day, there were plenty of dangers around, but most of them were due to nature — or your own stupidity. But now, a corporation you’ve never heard of can screw up and contaminate the water supply for 300,000 people in nine counties so badly that they can’t use it for anything but flushing the toilet.

By now we’ve all heard about the massive chemical spill in West Virginia. Freedom Industries, the company that spilled the coal industry chemical, has now declared bankruptcy. Authorities say the people of West Virginia can drink their water again – although who knows how many of them actually feel it’s safe to do so.

As for the big “clean up” plan used in the disaster, it was simple: let the chemical dissipate. It’s still out there — all of it — just really, really watered down. Hopefully so much so that it won’t cause any health or environmental problems, but who knows. Because as the The Washington Post pointed out, the answer to many safety questions for the licorice-scented substance is: “No data available.” ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, January 27 @ 20:33:50 EST (2009 reads)
(Read More... | 5858 bytes more | Comments? | Business/Economy | Score: 0)

 International: Alberta Oilsands Projects: Canada’s Hiroshima

EnvironmentBy Eric Walberg

Canadian rock legend Neil Young has taken to the road with a mission. Sunday night, he laid down the gauntlet on national TV, calling the Canadian government “completely out of control” as he began his “Honour the Treaties” tour in Toronto. His goal is to help First Nations in their fight against the expanding oilsands projects in Alberta. To the government, “Money is number one. Integrity isn’t even on the map.”

Honour the Treaties is a series of benefit concerts in Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina and Calgary to raise money to support the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) in their battle against a multi-billion dollar expansion of the oilsands project in northern Alberta. ACFN’s 2007 court challenge to Shell’s lease at the Jackpine Mine failed in 2011, but is being appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada.

“The oil sands projects are among the very dirtiest on earth,” said a defiant Young. Just to extract and process the toxic sludge each day “produces as much CO2 as all the cars in Canada”, three times as much as more efficient methods. “This oil is going not to Canada, but to China where the air quality has been measured at 30 times the levels of safety established by the World Health Organization. Is that what Canada is all about?” ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Wednesday, January 22 @ 22:14:40 EST (2102 reads)
(Read More... | 11031 bytes more | Comments? | International | Score: 0)

 The News: Let the Sun Shine In

Why would the ALEC network of state-level lobbyists want to make solar energy cost-prohibitive for homeowners and businesses?

By Isaiah J. Poole

Now the Koch brothers are coming after my solar panels.

I had solar panels installed on the roof of our Washington, D.C. home this year. My household took advantage of a generous tax incentive from the District government and a creative leasing deal offered by the solar panel seller.

Our electric bills fell by at least a third. When people make this choice, the regional electric company grows less pressured to spend money to expand generating capacity and the installation business creates good local jobs. Customers who use solar energy also reduce carbon emissions.

What’s not to love?

According to the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative network better known as ALEC, our solar panels make us “free riders.” What?...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, January 02 @ 22:14:57 EST (2576 reads)
(Read More... | 6021 bytes more | Comments? | The News | Score: 0)

 Space: Earth's Gravity Scarred by Earthquake

EnvironmentFrom: European Space Agency (ESA)

ESA’s GOCE satellite has revealed that the devastating Japanese earthquake of 2011 left its mark in Earth’s gravity – yet another example of this extraordinary mission surpassing its original scope.

GOCE mapped Earth’s gravity with unrivalled precision for over four years, but nobody really expected the data to show changes over time.

Now, careful analysis shows the effects of the 9.0 earthquake that struck east of Japan’s Honshu Island on 11 March 2011 are clearly visible in GOCE’s gravity data.

Large earthquakes not only deform Earth’s crust, but can also cause tiny changes in local gravity.

The strength of gravity varies from place to place on our planet’s surface and it was GOCE’s task to map these variations very precisely. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Tuesday, December 10 @ 20:29:26 EST (3093 reads)
(Read More... | 4006 bytes more | Comments? | Space | Score: 0)

 War News: Planetary Weapons and Military Weather Modification:

Chemtrails, Atmospheric Geoengineering and Environmental Warfare

By Rady Ananda

Developed in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme and the UN’s World Meteorological Organization, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just published its Fifth Assessment Report [1] and maintains its silence on military weather modification applications which continue to skew the data.

“Extreme weather and climate events” are linked to climate change while no mention is made of government programs deliberately aimed at modifying the weather and inducing earthquakes, drought, rain, and tsunamis.

The modern weather modification program, at least in the US, is over 70 years old. Public service announcements printed in newspapers back in the 1960s warned of government intention to modify the weather.

Life Magazine, back in the 50s and 60s, continually covered US weather modification programs, including Project Stormfury which redirected and reduced hurricane intensity from 1962 to 1983. The IPCC’s continuing and absolute silence on such programs is deafening. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Tuesday, November 05 @ 20:11:18 EST (2216 reads)
(Read More... | 21721 bytes more | Comments? | War News | Score: 5)

 The News: The Price of Our Fertilizer Addiction

Compared to the lifetime of grieving ahead for the people of West, Texas, a few years of reduced crop yields is a small price to pay for converting from "conventional" to organic farming.

By Jill Richardson

My heart aches for the people of West, Texas, the tiny town where a fertilizer plant recently blew up. Many of the folks who perished in the blast were heroic volunteer firefighters who ran into danger instead of away from it.

With 14 dead and 200 injured, and a nearby nursing home, school, and apartment complex either badly damaged or destroyed, West’s brave citizens have hard work ahead.

As a nation, we must prevent a disaster like this from happening again. For starters, we can make fertilizer plants safer and locate them away from schools and nursing homes from now on.

This tragedy is even more painful because the factory was making a product — nitrogen fertilizer — that perhaps should not be used at all....

Posted by Blue1moon on Wednesday, April 24 @ 22:18:51 EDT (707 reads)
(Read More... | 5879 bytes more | Comments? | The News | Score: 0)

 Politics: Obama Approves Raising Permissible Levels of Nuclear Radiation in Drinking Water

Civilian Cancer Deaths Expected to Skyrocket Following Radiological Incidents

By Helen Caldicott, Global Research

The White House has given final approval for dramatically raising permissible radioactive levels in drinking water and soil following “radiological incidents,” such as nuclear power-plant accidents and dirty bombs. The final version, slated for Federal Register publication as soon as today, is a win for the nuclear industry which seeks what its proponents call a “new normal” for radiation exposure among the U.S population, according Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, the radiation guides (called Protective Action Guides or PAGs) allow cleanup many times more lax than anything EPA has ever before accepted. These guides govern evacuations, shelter-in-place orders, food restrictions and other actions following a wide range of “radiological emergencies.” The Obama administration blocked a version of these PAGs from going into effect during its first days in office. The version given approval late last Friday is substantially similar to those proposed under Bush but duck some of the most controversial aspects:

In soil, the PAGs allow long-term public exposure to radiation in amounts as high as 2,000 millirems. This would, in effect, increase a longstanding 1 in 10,000 person cancer rate to a rate of 1 in 23 persons exposed over a 30-year period; ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Tuesday, April 16 @ 23:11:12 EDT (6119 reads)
(Read More... | 4253 bytes more | Comments? | Politics | Score: 0)

 Going Green: Lose Your Lawn

Turning your lawn into something more beautiful and useful would save time and money while curbing pollution and water usage.

By Jill Richardson

Have you taken your hounds fox hunting lately? You haven’t? Well, maybe you’ve gone to visit a friend’s estate in a horse and carriage? You haven’t done that either, have you? Most of the popular trends of 19th century British aristocracy are not the norm in 21st century America. Except for one: the lawn.

Centuries ago, most Europeans (and their descendants on our side of the pond) produced food on their land. Whether in the form of kitchen gardens, farm fields, or pastures for raising livestock, most folks relied on their land in order to eat.

Only the rich could afford to flaunt their wealth by devoting large areas of land to an inedible, yet beautifully manicured, green lawn. Back then, without lawn mowers, lawn maintenance required paying a servant to “mow” the lawn with a scythe. Lawns were mega status symbols.

The usefulness of the lawn as a status symbol is a thing of the past. Today, if your lawn serves a function at all, it’s as a soccer field or play area for your family. For many Americans, lawns yield no benefit at all. You mow it, you water it, you weed it, you fertilize it. Why? ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, February 21 @ 19:52:53 EST (3006 reads)
(Read More... | 4642 bytes more | Comments? | Going Green | Score: 0)

 Politics: A Green and Golden Legacy

If there's one issue for President Obama to stake his entire second term on, it's the climate.

By Jill Richardson

Much of the nation is still suffering the worst drought in half a century, which began in 2012. Consumers are just now beginning to feel its effects in the form of higher food prices. Texas suffered another catastrophic drought in 2011. Full recovery from Superstorm Sandy will take years for the hardest-hit communities.

So President Barack Obama, whether you like it or not, the issue that will define your legacy will be the climate crisis and the extreme weather it seems to be making the new normal. Decades from now, historians will ask: Were you the transformational leader who helped the United States lead the world’s reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, or did you let eight more years pass while doing nothing?

Tackling the climate crisis will be a battle. Powerful and entrenched interests don’t want the country to stop mining, drilling, and burning fossil fuels. Corporations don’t want to change their practices, even if it means their CEOs’ grandchildren will enjoy better lives.

These powerful industries will try to fool the American people into believing that any action we take in greenhouse gas emissions will stifle economic growth and curtail our freedom and liberty. But the recent weather extremes show us the truth. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, January 10 @ 20:32:45 EST (628 reads)
(Read More... | 5052 bytes more | Comments? | Politics | Score: 0)

 Business/Economy: Fracking Liars

Supporters and leaders of the hydraulic fracturing industry aren't being honest about government support for this new natural gas boom.

By Jim Hightower

As they drill for quick corporate profits deep inside our Earth, ExxonMobil, Halliburton, and other titans of the natural gas hydraulic fracturing industry are harming people's health, the environment, and local economies across the country. They're also fracking something essential to a properly functioning democratic society: the truth.

They're hailing themselves both as exemplars of free-market success and as the "virtuous ones" in our society — the producers and makers, as contrasted to the mass of Americans that the far-right corporatists are now openly calling "moochers" and "takers." ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, October 22 @ 19:35:11 EDT (602 reads)
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Wednesday, September 05
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Tuesday, July 24
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Tuesday, July 10
· The Silence on Global Warming
Tuesday, June 26
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· Love That Dirty Water: Romney Water Pollution Record
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· Two Heads Aren't Always Better than One
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· Keystone XL's Dirty Little Secret
Wednesday, March 28
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Wednesday, March 21
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Tuesday, February 07
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Saturday, December 17
· How Now, Brown Cloud: What Smog Hath Wrought
Friday, December 16
· Occupy the Food System
Wednesday, November 30
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Monday, November 07
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Monday, July 18
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