|Every week Daily Kos diarists write dozens of environmentally related posts. Many don't get the readership they deserve. Helping improve the odds is the motivation behind the Green Diary Rescue. In the past seven years, there have been 246 of these spotlighting more than 14,979 eco-diaries. Below are categorized links and excerpts to 65 more that appeared in the past seven days. That makes for lots of good reading during the spare moments of your weekend. [Disclaimer: Inclusion of a diary in the rescue does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.]|
Five cat conservation programs making a difference (part 1)—by Username4242: "The worldwide plight of the Felidae is well known. Tigers are down to a mere 3,500 individuals. Snow leopards may have only 3,500-7,000 representatives. Cat conservation faces numerous problems, including habitat loss, depletion of prey bases, human-livestock conflict, and an extensive Asian black market for wildlife parts. However, numerous organizations are facing these odds and working to make a difference at large and small scales across the world. Given that much of their effort is unsung, I would like to use this series of posts to expose some of their work to the large audience that KOS provides. [...] Panthera, The Snow Leopard Trust, Shan Shui, and other organizations partner with Buddhist monasteries to conserve snow leopards. The elusive snow leopard is a big cat living in the rugged, mountainous habitats of the Himalayas. Found in 12 countries, snow leopards are wide-ranging and sparsely populated. However, 60% of their population is thought to occur in China. Research performed by Panthera, The Snow Leopard Trust, Shan Shui, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and other organizations (linked here) emphasized the importance of Buddhist monasteries in conserving the cat. The Sanjianyuan region of China holds 89,602 square kilometers of snow leopard habitat. Of this habitat, 7674 square kilometers lie within core protected regions, while an additional 8342 square kilometers lie in or adjacent to mountain Buddhist monasteries. Surveys of goat herders and other peoples living within those Buddhist regions indicate that reverence for the snow leopard and other wildlife is high, with very few people reporting any killing wildlife. [...] In the three years the program has been active, there have been no reports of snow leopards killed within the study area. Extending this program to the rest of the Himalaya could cover as much as 80% of the snow leopard's range."
The Daily Bucket - light in the Forest—by bwren: "The Forest inhales green from the ground up in early spring. In fall it exhales everything but green. My camera cannot find the colors. Not in the half fogged early afternoon when we go out to walk. Not an hour later when the sun breaks through. We walk in light that seems compressed, packed by cold air into crevices of the Forest that I have never seen. There: a stand of Western Hazelnuts, their fruit picked clean by Stellars Jays, their last leaves yellow below the place where I found a Townsend's Chipmunk for the first time when Bill-the-Dog could leap over the nurse log that still moulders across the trail. There: beyond the hollow where the southern Barred Owl fledglings appeared on Mother's Day the first year we found them, a Doug Fir embraced by glaringly red poison oak climbing so high up its trunk that the whole seems to be some weird chimeric tree creature, evergreen and deciduous at the same time."
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Climate Change: How Much Will It Cost - And How To Pay For Dealing With It?—by xaxnar: "Paul Krugman has a review of The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World by William D. Nordhaus over at the New York Review of Books. I will admit up front I have not read the book, but Krugman's review makes it sound like a worthwhile, even essential, read. Krugman goes way back with Nordhaus, working as a research assistant for him decades ago. He spent many hours in the Geology Library at Yale gathering material Nordhaus would use in a pioneering fusion of economic theories, resource allocation, engineering and best guesses at future technologies in order to model the long term economics of exhaustible resources like coal and oil. Forty years later, the predictions in the book have run up against the reality of where we are now, with some guesses proving to be too optimistic, others the reverse - and of course, technological developments that weren't anticipated, like wind and solar energy."
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Don't miss the food justice diaries linked and excerpted at the end of the Green Diary Rescue below the sustainable squiggle.
Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice
Asheville Votes to Move Beyond Coal—by Mary Anne Hitt: "Chicago. Los Angeles. Austin. Asheville. Wait, what? That's right, Asheville, North Carolina, can now join the ranks of cities that have chosen to move beyond coal. On Tuesday night the city council voted UNANIMOUSLY to move the city from coal-fired electricity toward a clean energy future. I was just in Asheville in July with my new friend Ian Somerhalder (of TV's "Vampire Diaries" fame) to speak at a rally where hundreds of people gathered to urge the city to invest in clean energy. Here's video from that rally."
Activists Across PA Join Global Monsanto Protest, Could Help Achieve Statewide GMO Labeling—by ProgressivePatriotPA: "A small fraction of the states in our union are seemingly on the verge of requiring GE foods to be labeled as such, and while Pennsylvania isn't as close to passing ours as they are, we have our own statewide proposal that is steadily gaining momentum. To be able to know and choose what we put into our bodies ought to be a human right. Of course, if all these activists that came crawling out of the woodwork in PA to join the worldwide Monsanto protest also hit the streets for the political campaigns of candidates that support their position on GE food labeling, that momentum could culminate in enacted law a lot sooner than it otherwise would."
This Week in Freewayblogging—by freewayblogger: "Lately the trend in freewayblogging has been back to the basics: "Save the Planet" and "Save the Earth" signs in bold fonts like Impact, Arial and Cooper Black. While future sociologists may interpret this as a sign of heightened societal urgency - a sort of artistic/semiotic supplication or existential pleading - it could also be that I found a bunch of moving boxes. I passed by this sign - up for over two weeks now by LAX - on my way to San Francisco."
We Must Stay on the Path to Clean Air—by SenatorBoxer: "The battle is on. The Obama administration is moving to clean up dangerous pollution from coal-fired plants and other sources. Many in Congress will fight this. Reducing conventional air pollutants and carbon pollution go hand in hand and we must stand with the President and support his leadership on these issues. And we must also note that the Keystone XL pipeline is not without problems. It will carry the dirtiest oil known to man through our country. Environmental safeguards are not only good for public health, but they are also good for the economy. Over the last 40 years, air pollution has dropped 68 percent, while our national GDP has grown 212 percent. And for every dollar we invest in complying with the Clean Air Act, we get more than $40 of benefits in return."
When will your City's "climate departure" occur? For NYC & DC estimate is 2047—by Lefty Coaster: "This is sobering news on what climate change holds in store in the near future for when particular cities and regions are expected to be wrenched our of historic norms our stable climate we have known since our species emerged on this planet. We now have a rough timetable of when a particular locale or megalopolis will experience their "climate departure" and begin the long process of a climatic regression to a distant prior age when our planet had CO2 levels similar to the massive economic/energy experiment our species has embarked on that is altering the basic makeup of our atmosphere and the chemistry of our Oceans. Two very big factors in out planetary environment we all share."
The cost of carbon: Join over 18 million as they face reality—by VL Baker: "We are now into the 24 hours of reality: The cost of carbon. Emphasis is on placing a price on carbon and a price for denial. Join the global conversation!"
Yes, we too can profit from killing the planet because...we're Harvard—by wild thang: "On October 3, Harvard President Drew Faust issued a letter detailing why Harvard will not be divesting from fossil fuels. The letter is a litany of the familiar objections raised by financial institutions and endowments to the idea of divestment: that seeking social ends will cost them money; that divestment reduces their investment options; that, rather than ostracize them, they prefer engagement with fossil fuel companies to “encourage them to become a positive force.” But Faust also breaks new ground with a novel rhetorical contortion by claiming Harvard will not be divesting because…academic freedom!"
How Long Did It Take Tesoro to Leak 865,000 Gallons of ND Oil?—by dweb8231: "I don't know about you, but my sense is that 865,000 gallons of oil covering seven acres of land is a big deal. This story obviously is not something the oil or pipeline industries want to publicize, especially given the interest in the proposal to construct the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the US Gulf to feed US refineries with Alberta Tar Sands Oil."
More Fun With Shale Jobs Numbers in Pennsylvania—by ThirdandState: "Last week, the Marcellus Shale Coalition trumpeted a new claim on the shale drilling industry's positive impact on Pennsylvania jobs: Raymond James analysts crunched the numbers, and between 2005 and 2012 almost 90 percent of the job growth in Pennsylvania at that time came from oil and gas jobs ... That’s the highest percentage of any state, according to analysts Pavel Molchanov and J. Marshall Adkins, who based the math off data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As meaningless statistics go, this is one of the more meaningless. Here's why: Since 2005, many states, including Pennsylvania, have created few jobs overall. Pennsylvania averaged 5,704,000 jobs in the 12 months of 2005 versus 5,746,000 for the 12 months ending August 2013 — a 42,000 increase. Given this small increase in the overall number of jobs, it doesn't take a lot of shale jobs to account for a high percentage of this increase. In other words, 90% sounds like a lot (leaving aside whether the 90% claim is even accurate), but 90% of a small number is, well, a small number."
An argument for fusion—by Frank Paine: "Last weekend, I bumped into Senator Markey at a charity event. I asked him a question about Hydrogen Fusion research funding at MIT, which had been cut again because of sequestration. He commented that the Department of Energy does not want to fund fusion research. I also contacted with a small independent fusion research team based in New Jersey called Lawrenceville Plasma Physics. Their response after sharing the funding link was DOE has a policy of not funding fusion research. MIT's research lab is top in the nation and can not get funding while small independent teams won't apply for grants. The Department of Energy Portal doesn't list fusion! Doesn't this contradict the Obama administration "all of the above" focus on energy?"
MA Voters Keep Rejecting Wind Turbine Restrictions—by TheGreenMiles: "It's happened again, this time in Plymouth. Once again, an effort to limit wind turbines was put before voters, citing hazy "health" concerns, and once again clean energy has won in a landslide. The Plymouth Town Meeting on Saturday rejected a de facto ban on new wind turbines. [...] The Plymouth vote comes on the heels of similar election results over the last few months in the nearby towns of Fairhaven and Falmouth. Falmouth elected officials put a plan to tear down the town's wind turbines before voters, who rejected it by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. And in Fairhaven, voters chose a pro-reality candidate for Board of Health over an turbine hysteria candidate, also by a nearly 2-to-1 margin."
GOOD NEWS: Ann Arbor City Council Passes Resolution to Divest Retirement Fund of Fossil Fuels—by peregrine kate: "[T]he resolution was taken up for discussion, and PASSED by a vote of 9-2. This makes Ann Arbor among the first dozen or so municipalities in the U.S. to take such a step. Now, there were some changes introduced to the resolution which could have the effect of watering it down, or delaying implementation. As the Ann Arbor Chronicle reports, language requiring immediate action has been deleted, and language that "urges" the board to take action has been replaced by 'requests.'"
How to Build a Clean-Energy Future—by Michael Brune: "By now, we know what to expect if we fail to act on climate disruption: more severe storms, wildfires, droughts, and destruction. To avoid that future, we have to make stopping carbon pollution a priority. But at the same time, people are also realizing that this is more than an urgent challenge -- it's a fantastic opportunity. We have the chance to do something that's never been done: build a society that is 100 percent powered by clean energy. Instead of being daunted, we should be thrilled. [...] To reach that future, we (and the president) need to do more than move beyond dirty fuels like coal, gas, and oil. We need to move beyond pessimism -- the kind of thinking that limits our ambition and our willingness to fight for big ideas."
Utility Transition—by gmoke: "The second largest utility in Germany, RWE, says, "…we will position ourselves as a project enabler and operator, and system integrator of renewables." RWE is based in Essen, Germany and provides 50,000 MW of electricity generated from coal, oil, and gas-fired plants to 24 million customers throughout Europe. [...] They are also one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases in Europe."
Collier County (Florida) "OIL WARS"—by obamarmy: "This is a political DECLARATION OF WAR against the DAN A. HUGHES OIL & GAS COMPANY and co-conspirators, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION and COLLIER BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, in opposition to horizontal drilling and FRACKING in Collier County, Florida."
Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation
Has TransCanada Labeled YOU an "Eco-Terrorist?"—by Renewable Rider: "Imagine my surprise as I scrolled through Part II of TransCanada's presentation to find a photo of Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson Ron Seifert and me posing in front of my "rocket trike" during our 2011 Tour of Resistance down the Keystone XL pipeline route. Maybe TransCanada has never seen a recumbent trike before and thought it was a real rocket? The irony, of course, is it is actually TransCanada and the tar sands industrial complex—blinded by the disease of greed -- that are terrorizing life on Earth through their lethal exploitation of Canadian tar sands and the construction of Keystone XL's 485-mile southern leg in Texas and Oklahoma. This is a common tactic used by guilty parties: Dishonestly accuse others of what they themselves are actually doing to deflect attention from their own sordid acts."
For the Koch brothers: Possible $100 billion in tar sands profit if Keystone XL pipeline is approved—by Meteor Blades: "Authors of a 40-page report by the liberal think-tank International Forum on Globalization have concluded that the billionaire duo, David and Charles Koch, stand to make as much as $100 billion in profits from their holdings in the tar sands of Alberta if President Obama approves the Keystone XL pipeline. Because it would cross the boundary between Canada and the United States, the pipeline, which would connect the tar sands to refineries on the Texas gulf coast, requires a presidential permit based on U.S. national interest. Given the mandates of the review process, a decision isn't likely until early 2014."
The Great Outdoors
Last Most Beautiful Moment in Nature—by erratic: "It's been awhile since I've done one of these, partly because there haven't been many for me recently, but a few days back I stopped on the way back from the dentist for a run along the Potomac River, and had an amazing one. Before I get into it, for those who are new to the series, what was your last most beautiful moment? It's easy to get caught up in all the Things That Are Going Wrong, And Are Not As They Should Be. I still hope that one day all the headlines will read "Everything's fixed! Things are great!", but that seems statistically unlikely. Which it's why it's important to sometimes celebrate the moments of beauty that we experience. I love trail running in nature. I don't like running on roads or sidewalks or paved trails. Give me a curving trail of hard-packed dirt through nature, jumping fallen logs and weaving through trees, along stream banks, and I'm in bliss. I don't have that near me right now, and have not been exercising much the last few months, but a few days back everything came together and dropped me on a trail from Carderock, along the Potomac, downstream of Mather Gorge."
Morning Open Thread - Restoring the Atleo River—by Joy of Fishes.
Eco-Related DC & State Politics
Which 12 Dems Voted Against Protecting Environmental Review for Water Projects?—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "Today, in a nearly unanimous vote, the House passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, which authorized waterways and port projects across the country. Many Democrats expressed their concerns about how the bill could weaken environmental protections, but they voted for it anyway. Numerous amendments were proposed, but I'd like to highlight one in particular, the one that addressed the problem noted above. Rep. Pete DeFazio (OR-04) proposed an amendment to delay the streamlined environmental review process until the backlog of projects falls to less than $20 billion from its current level of about $60 billion."
Governor Brown fails to show for environmental award under pressure from protest—by Dan Bacher: "Over 60 people, including indigenous leaders, environmentalists and labor activists, gathered at the Le Parc Hotel in San Francisco on Thursday, October 17 from 5:30 to 7 pm to protest the Blue Green Alliance’s honoring of Governor Jerry Brown with its 'Right Stuff' Award. Faced with the protest condemning his anti-environmental policies, Brown apparently decided to back out from receiving the award. In particular, the protest focused on Brown’s support for fracking, a massive twin tunnels project and his emissions trading scheme."
Governor Jerry Brown’s 10 Worst Environmental Policies—by Dan Bacher: "Every year, the Apollo Alliance Project of the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation recognizes business, community, environmental and labor leaders for their 'outstanding work in advocating for family-sustaining jobs, clean energy, stronger infrastructure, and a better future for all of us.' This year, they selected Governor Jerry Brown as a winner in the government category. (http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/....) Outraged over the selection of Brown for the award after he has advanced so many bad environmental policies such as promoting fracking, a coalition of environmentalists, indigenous leaders and labor activists organized the protest to expose the real, abysmal environmental record of Governor Brown. [...] Brown's ten worst environmental policies were outlined in an alternative program that protesters handed out to attendees of the dinner. [Among them]: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA): Brown is trying to weaken or even eliminate CEQA, one of California's greatest environmental laws, to fast-track big developments for giant corporations like Walmart, Berkshire Hathaway, General Electric, Valero and Chevron."
The Worst Kind of Government Waste: Promoting Climate Change—by Michael Lux: "Far worse than simple corporate subsidy waste, though, is when we hand out money to companies to do things that actively harm us. One of the worst examples of this right now is the federal government, through the Export-Import Bank, is directly subsidizing overseas carbon-vomiting coal production. Because Ex-Im is handing out money to extract coal in places like Australia, this doesn’t even create American jobs. Meanwhile, it is going to contribute dramatically to over-heating the planet even faster. It is an obscenity that our government is doing this. The Export-Import Bank, which backs loans to boost US exports abroad, has financed a number of coal projects in the past few years. And this support is growing: Funding for fossil fuel projects has shot up from just under $3 million in fiscal year 2009 to $9.6 billion in 2012. Loans for renewable energy, meanwhile, have barely moved an inch."
Vitter blocks DOE nominee over delays in NASA's Orion project that have nothing to do with her—by Meteor Blades: "Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana placed a hold Monday on President Obama's nominee for undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Energy. The nominee, Elizabeth Robinson, is currently the chief financial officer at NASA. Vitter said he's imposed the hold because she has delayed approving contracts for work on the Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The contracts would provide 300-600 jobs at the facility, according to Vitter. In fact, budget cuts at NASA that Vitter has raised no objection to are a key element in the delay. The program's developers are also part of the problem."
Why expiring Monsanto Protection Act is huge—by nicteis: "The Monsanto Protection Act, thankfully allowed to expire in December thanks to Senator Tester and associates, would turn government approval of any particular GM crop into a one-way gate, irreversible in court by discovery of any future harms. It took an article in a recent Nature ('US regulation misses some GM crops') to bring home to me just how wide-open that one way gate currently is. [...] I'm probably in a minority here on dKos, in that I support the development of GM crops in principle. But I agree with the majority that it should be allowed only under the auspices of a precautionary principle—which would have outlawed all the most common GM crops in use today—and not only should GM foods be labeled, they should have each GM 'ingredient' listed, altered gene by altered gene."
The Daily Bucket - Pssst, Check This Out!—by enhydra lutris: "Yep, it's that time of year again. That package arrived 10/09/2013 and my mail is usually a tad slow arriving. If you don't have yours yet, you might start checking up on them. There's a whole new website feederwatch What? You don't participate? Hey, it isn't too late. Just go to the website above, feederwatch. The first day for observing is November 9, 2013, just around the corner. It is as easy as making a note of what comes to your feeder(s) and then submitting that information to, (you got it) feederwatch."
After getting stung by a Yellowjacket last summer, I became very cautious and watchful in all my doings outdoors from then on. We had a particularly bad Yellowjacket season this year because our spring was mild and dry, unlike the last two springs. I'd forgotten how aggressive they can be in the later part of the season! Besides donning full-body protection to pick fruit, I also started paying closer attention to who else was enjoying my blackberries, pears, raspberries, figs and apples. As I watched, I noticed there were changes in the foraging insect populations."
Stephen Colbert rips into black rhino hunters—by BruinKid: "Last night, Stephen Colbert tore into the Dallas Safari Club, which is auctioning off a permit to hunt and kill an endangered black rhino in Namibia... in order to "protect" the black rhino. Now, luckily folks, one group has stepped forward with a bold conservation plan. The Dallas Safari Club has announced they will save the endangered black rhino by auctioning off the chance to shoot one. (shocked audience reaction) It's like the old saying, if you love something, set it free. Then, when it has a bit of a head start, open fire. (If It Comes Back To You, Run!) (audience laughter)
in a dead palm tree, about two blocks
from my apartment.
Dawn Chorus: Random Bird Pictures—by matching mole.
Three Coyotes Bite the Heck out of Man—by ban nock.
Wyoming hunter parks in Jackson Hole town square with wolf he shot strapped to roof of SUV—by Meteor Blades: "Bill Addeo swears he didn’t park an SUV with a dead wolf strapped to the roof on the Town Square just for the attention. Addeo sat on a bench next to his Ford Excursion across the street from the Cowboy bar Thursday afternoon, eager to answer questions posed by folks passing by. 'It’s a neck shot,' Addeo said. 'The bottom of the neck is blown apart and there’s blood everywhere, so I didn’t want to put him in the back.'"
Second Day of Second Season—by ban nock.
Wisconsin Republican Hotbed Running Out of Water—by LeftOfYou: "After decades of typical Republican behavior of exploitation, extraction and excess, the Republicans in Waukesha have reacted to their water shortage with yet another typical Republican idea: it's time for someone to bail them out of the trouble they've got themselves into. Waukesha is pursuing a diversion of Lake Michigan water that, according to the city’s Water Utility, is the best solution to replace its failing deep wells with lake water and comply with a 2018 stipulation it reached with the Department of Natural Resources to supply radium-free water. Lack of compliance with this date will result in stiff fines."
National Parks, Forests & Other Public Lands
Expanding the National Park System #3- Arizona—by MorrellWI1983: "Arizona is called the Grand Canyon State, so obviously we will spend some time at one of our most famous national parks, that President Theodore Roosevelt pleaded to ' leave it be, as man can only mar it". Arizona was the last state in the Lower 48 to join the Union, in 1912. Arizona is home to three national parks, as well as a staggering 18 national monuments, the most currently of any state. many of them are small, with 7 covering 2000 acres or less. The ones I will propose to add, will be considerably bigger."
Pollution, Environment Hazards, Hazardous Wastes & Trash
Chemical Security Now—by JesseC: "With the media flurry since the West, TX explosion it would seem that chemical disasters are somehow a new issue. Yet, communities who live near these facilities and workers who operate them have lived with these dangers for decades. President Obama, too, has talked about the need for action on this issue since his early days in politics. As early as his book The Audacity of Hope in 2006 he said '…let me suggest at least one area where we can act unilaterally and improve our sanding in the world – by perfecting our own democracy and leading by example. When we continue to spend tens of billions of dollars on weapons systems of dubious value but are unwilling to spend the money to protect highly vulnerable chemical plants in major urban centers, it becomes more difficult to get other countries to safeguard their nuclear power plants.'"
Transportation & Infrastructure
Sunday Train: A Train Running A Profit is Charging Too Much—by Bruce McF: "Note that the statement is abbreviated for the title. The full statement is, a common carrier like a train, bus, or plane that running a profit based on passenger revenue while paying its full operating and capital cost is charging too much for its tickets. The radical abbreviation of the title is in part because of the radical abbreviation of the lie that is commonly used as a frame. The lie is that a common carrier like a train, bus or plane that is paying for its full operating and capital costs out of passenger revenue ought to run a profit, commonly expressed as a charge of, "SERVICE_XYZ is losing money, it needs to be reformed!", which assumes that Service_XYZ is supposed to be making a profit. And, of course, in the sense described above, if its a common carrier transport service, of course it shouldn't be making a profit. And further, if under the above conditions, if its making a profit, you're doing it wrong. In the sense given above, PROFIT=FAIL."
Eco-Philosophy & Essays
Climate Change: We're all going to have to change our lives and you're going to love it—by VL Baker: "Except for a small amount of deniers and the greedy who profit from the status quo the science of climate change has been settled; that beings us to solutions and here is where we have stalled. It's not that we have no solutions it's that we don't want to take the trouble to implement them. The solutions tend to be very simple. Climate change is a crisis of over consumption so mitigation revolves around the need to reduce consumption."
Mining - State's Rights GOOD Local rights BAD—by cordwood22: "Only days after the GOP shut down the government as a demonstration of defending the local rights of constituents, Wisconsin law makers are defending mining interests by abolishing local rights. You can't have it both ways. [...] Republican lawmakers want to rein in the powers of local governments to impose restrictions on the burgeoning sand mining industry. A proposed bill would prohibit counties and other local governments from placing limits on more than 100 sand mines that have popped up since 2010. The projects are normally the province of the state Department of Natural Resources. The bill by Ballweg and Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) would specify that local governments could regulate sand mines by zoning, but not other means."
Veterans Green Bus to the Rescue: Now invited to White House—by Jennifer Grayson via gordonsoderberg: "Enter Veterans Green Bus. Started by Gordon Soderberg, a U.S. Navy veteran with over 30 years of disaster response experience, his Crown Coach conversion can run 3,500 miles on a single fill-up of biodiesel or waste veggie oil (WVO, not to be confused with EVOO) and is equipped with solar windows that power its refrigeration. In the works: A satellite internet system that can run through the evening via solar-charged batteries. Conceived by Soderberg while serving as a volunteer post-Hurricane Katrina (he built a small-scale biodiesel plant there to run equipment to keep lots cleared), the bus was purchased in 2010 and deployed for the first time during Hurricane Sandy at the behest of veterans service organization Team Rubicon, for which Soderberg served as a volunteer. For the response to Sandy, the Green Bus (lovingly nicknamed Large Marge) transported volunteers to Rockaway Beach, Queens from Detroit and Chicago, as well as delivered much-needed tool donations from Home Depot. [...] We just received an invitation to the White House."
Food, Agriculture & Gardening
The Need to Save Seeds is a Bad Sign—by marc brazeau: "A lot of people who opine about the current intellectual property issues in modern agriculture are unaware that the patenting of seeds didn't start with biotech in the 80's. It started in the US with the Plant Patent Act of 1930 with assists from Thomas Edison and Florio LaGuardia. An updated version was passed in 1970 with the Plant Variety Protection Act which allows farmers to save conventional seeds but not to sell them. (you can copy and burn a CD, but you can't start selling CD's) My response to the GRAIN piece was that it raised legitimate concerns, but breeding has become more sophisticated and resource intensive, the seeds add more value, breeders need to be rewarded properly and their rights protected."
Macca's Meatless Monday: Veggie caucus on the hill—by VL Baker: "Finally some good news coming out of Capital Hill with the formation of the new 'Vegetarian Caucus'. Roll Call breaks the news which was a long time coming. Interest in and membership of the Vegetarian Caucus has exploded in the weeks since the group was profiled in a March 14 article in Roll Call. That was when the 10-member staff organization went public with its quest for better and more diverse vegetarian and vegan options in the eateries scattered throughout the Capitol complex. In the aftermath, 20 staffers, including Dominguez, reached out and joined the caucus’s efforts."
Still think Big-Ag is the answer? Read Bittman—by angelajean: "I've been following [Mark] Bittman's writing since my boys bought me his cookbook, How To Cook Everything, a few years ago. His ideas, as well as his cooking style, matched my own and I've been watching him insert difficult topics into everyday cooking conversations. While he writes about food, he also makes people think about how they eat and what they eat. I hope that he helps people change their approach to food as well. Which is why I want to share his opinion piece with you. I've seen many people on DailyKos argue that we can't feed the world without BigAg. That's exactly the topic that Bittman tackles and he explains very well why we can and must feed the world through 'peasant farming.'"
Monsanto: Poisoning Argentina & The World—by Joieau: "Apart from the United States, Argentina has been a world showcase for Chemical/GMO giant Monsanto's one-two punch for establishing industrial agriculture dominance, the pairing of its glyphosate weed-killer 'Roundup' and crop seeds genetically engineered to resist glyphosate poisoning. Known as 'Roundup Ready,' Monsanto has engineered a number of staple food/feed crops including corn, soybeans, sorghum, canola, alfalfa and cotton. The Roundup Ready cultivars became immediately popular in the U.S. due to a food production model relying on extensive monocropping on an industrial scale and a Big-Ag supporting EPA that regulates agricultural chemicals based on cost-benefit analysis. This means the potential of harm to farm workers and other rural dwellers (including deaths, miscarriages, stillbirths and birth defects) is weighed against the presumed benefits to farmers of those chemicals, and routinely comes down on the side of Big-Ag against the health of farmers, farm workers and assorted 'other' rural dwellers. (including all their families)."
SuperBugs & The GMO Connection—by War on Error: "I think I can prove a possible connection between Genetically Modified Drugs/Foods and SuperBugs, antibiotic resistance bacterial infections. Bear will me as I present the research to support my conclusion which was inspired by FRONTLINE this week. One of my life teachers taught me 'If you ask the wrong question, you always get the wrong answer.'"
Saturday Morning Garden Blog Vol. 9.36—by Merry Light: "Some of my plants are getting ready for the long winter's night, and some are just now perking up. Frankie's cranesbill is a nice contrast with the pansy purple and yellow. Some trees are turning a beautiful red. [...] I also got busy with some winter storage. I put up several jars of pickles, both regular and hot dills, along with all the hot peppers I grew this summer. I also have some squash and pumpkin. I thought I'd try a red kuri, so I got one from the farmer's market, roasted it in the oven, and turned it into a delicious cream soup. I've got a cinderella pumpkin and a kabocha, hanging out in my cool back room waiting to be turned into something yummy.
Butterfly Woman—Food Justice Blogathon
Butterfly Woman: Announcing the 2013 Blogathon for Food Justice—by Aji: "I'm honored to announce the launch of this year's annual Daily Kos blogathon to fight hunger in America. This year, we're taking a bit of a different approach: We're focusing on food justice specifically for underserved populations, including those in communities of color, and on local community programs designed to help provide nutritious food raised in sustainable ways. It's a two-fer: fighting hunger while supporting food sovereignty and food justice. We know from the experiences described by Kossacks that national and international efforts at 'feeding the hungry' too often have nothing to do with food justice — that is, with supporting homegrown efforts in specific communities to ensure food security and food sovereignty for their members. Food justice is a concept that encompasses all of these issues. It's not merely a series of stopgap measures to provide whatever food might be most readily available to people who would otherwise go without at this moment."
Butterfly Woman: Growing Power, Growing Food and Justice for All—by Growing Power: "I started Growing Power 20 years ago. As farmer, founder and CEO I travel all over the country and even the world, talking about urban agriculture. I have over 50 years of experience in sustainable agriculture. But I am also committed to dismantling racism in the food system. That’s why we started the Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative. GFJI is a network of activists who are working toward a just food system and world. It works to develop a shared language and common understanding of the historical roots of racism in the United States and how it has impacted our food system. GFJI is leading a critical path toward creating new organizational structures that can end hunger and poverty in our communities."
The Hunger Games: Let’s Stop Shaming the Poor and Start Solving the Problem—by Phaedra Ellis Lamkins: "There has been an alarming increase in the number of Americans who rely on food stamps—it jumped from 26 million in 2007 to 48 million today. That should be a red flag—not that people are taking advantage of the system, as conservatives seem to think—but that something’s very wrong with our economy. After all, most of those receiving food stamps are children and the elderly. And it’s not like they’re feasting—the average benefit in 2012 worked out to $4.45 a day. The assault on food stamps would be appalling enough on its own. But the truth is, it’s just the latest in a series of escalating attacks on the most vulnerable among us. From the crusade against the Affordable Healthcare Act and Medicare to efforts to shrink Social Security, what we’re seeing in Congress these days looks a lot like a war on the poor."
Food Justice - Context—by NikkiHenderson: "The lived experience of those working toward a healthier, just food system is a critical building block of solutions that work. As an Executive Director of a food justice organization in Oakland (CA), I’ve attempted to incorporate my experiences and those of our team into the ways we operate—from our management practices to our community outreach approaches. If I interacted with the grandmother at the 99 Cents store on my way into the office and I arrive with a heavy heart, can I take that feeling and utilize it during our outreach to the housing project across the street? If we all notice 10 year olds at the liquor store, can we use that experience to design our youth programming? This methodology has dramatically impacted our programmatic success, and more significantly, it has supported our team with having a personally sustainable approach to community-based work in the midst of very difficult circumstances."
Butterfly Woman: Heifer International and Food Justice---Looking Beyond the Cuddly Animals—by Mrs. side pocket: "Most people who recognize the name Heifer International think of it as 'that group that gives animals.' Those who know a bit more are probably familiar with Heifer’s policy of 'passing on the gift.' When a family receives a gift of livestock from Heifer, it is always with the understanding that the first offspring of that animal will be passed on to another family. When side pocket and I visited Heifer projects in Honduras in 2008, we learned that passing on the gift may take many forms. In one case it was putting the first profits from one’s honey sales back in a revolving loan fund so that the next family could borrow to buy hives. But, it was the passing on of learning that seemed to please people the most. You may not have thought about this, but before a person can receive an animal, she must provide shelter for it, know what it needs nutritionally, maybe even plant a new crop. She must know how to provide medical care if it becomes ill and how to assist it in birthing if necessary. This training may take up to a year before Heifer actually brings in animals. Then, when the offspring are passed on, all the learning is passed on as well. Every recipient becomes a giver and a teacher. This practice reflects Heifer’s concepts of community development that are somewhat countercultural for us, like: 'we can accomplish more if we help each other than if we each try to make it on our own,' and: “we can’t truly prosper until the whole community prospers and the environment thrives”. Hmm…'"
Butterfly Woman: Healthy Food is Human Right—by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse: "There are 50 million people hungry in the U.S., and that includes 17 million children. Nikki Henderson (one of our special guests for our Butterfly Woman Food Justice Blogathon, and Executive Director of People's Grocery in West Oakland) talks about the importance of food justice and cultural appropriateness: Food justice is the belief that healthy food is a human right, so everyone has an inherent right to access healthy, fresh food. Access is a mixture between location, affordability, and cultural appropriateness. Food justice is important for everyone because food is culture. Food is your family. Food is part of how we communicate with one another; it’s a way we share our love. Being able to enjoy and prepare food that actually nourishes the body and keeps us healthy is connected to our ability to stay sane as human beings."
Hunger in America—by Barbara Lee: "When I was a single mom in the 1970s, food stamps were a bridge over troubled waters. I would not be where I am today without that vital safety net. In recent years, I’ve participated several times in the SNAP Challenge, in which one lives on $4.50 a day, the food budget of a food stamp recipient. The Challenge is difficult to sustain, fattening due to cheap processed food and unhealthy. I challenge more Members of Congress to see how difficult it is to eat cheaply and healthfully. It boggles the mind that Tea Party Republicans want to cut SNAP benefits during these difficult economic times. I am very proud that Oakland is home to some excellent food justice programs, bringing nutritious food to under-served neighborhoods."
Butterfly Woman: A Blogathon for Food Justice—Anti-EBT Bigotry—by Denise Oliver Velez: "As the number of hungry people, and food insecurity has increased, government programs have expanded, and today close to 1 in 6 Americans receive some type of food assistance or supplement. Rather than addressing the real reasons for this, in the wealthiest nation in the world, the right wing noise machine daily fuels anti-food stamp/EBT bigotry, aided and abetted by individuals who spew a continuing stream of hate and misinformation in online comments, on their facebook pages, on youtube, and in their family and social networks. Piling on top of the racist memes of "welfare queens", and "lazy parasitical illegals" the myths, lies and distortions continue to spread, culminating in our current head of state being labelled as the "food stamp president" and bullshit stories of rampant fraud abound. We need to increase our efforts to dispel the myths, and fight back against the lies."
Butterfly Woman: Food Justice in Indian Country, Even Unto the Seventh Generation—by Aji: "This is the fourth year in a row that I've participated in the Daily Kos blogathon to fight hunger in America. It's also the fourth year in a row that I've focused my efforts specifically on the concept of food justice in Indian Country. This year, I have the honor of introducing you to a Native-founded, Native-run organization that works specifically to ensure food justice, and food sovereignty, in Native communities. My predecessors in this year's blogathon have done an excellent job of explaining what we mean by 'food justice.' I want to expand the understanding of that concept in the context of specific cultural and historical traditions and ethnic health variations. For our peoples, this is nothing less than an existential issue: Traditional Native foods and foodways are inextricably linked with our cultural identities, but also with our very physical survival. Their near-destruction over the past ~200 years has jeopardized our peoples' survival—and for too many, the destruction is already complete. For we who remain, the risk likewise remains, manifested daily in staggering rates of obesity, diabetes, and other means of death."
Butterfly Woman: Food-like products are making us sick—by rb137: "I don't begrudge genuine advances in agriculture. What I detest is the big lie -- the one that tells us that we either support high tech agribusiness or we want to let poor people starve. That leaves Big Ag, Big Pharm, and Big Chemical beyond reproach in all of their practices -- because they produced a necessary solution a century ago. It's time we call this a logical fallacy. [...] We have an image of a wholesome country farm with a proud farmer working hard to feed his community—it appears on packages, in advertisements, and in grocery stores. That is the big lie. What should come to mind is a convergence of Big Ag, Big Pharm, Big Chemical, and Big Energy standing around a lab table stirring a beaker. And if you don't think our food is chemicalized, I challenge you to eat for one week without consuming a single food additive, nutritional isolate, or processed food chemical. MSG, high fructose corn syrup, and trans-fatty acids barely scratch the surface."
Butterfly Woman: Do We Really Take Care Of Our Own?—by Avila: "I am my brother's keeper. I am my sister's keeper. These exact words are what I grew up believing, and have never had a reason to doubt. You don't have to go to church, and you don't have to like my "messenger," President Obama. It's very simple: If you're hurting, then I hurt for you. And let's face it, there are more people hurting and hungry today than I can even believe when I look at the data. Roughly 49 million Americans don’t know where their next meal is coming from. The Great Recession and its aftermath have provided us with a lot of numbers, and none of them are encouraging."