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Leatherback turtle babies hatching on a Puerto Rico beach.
Leatherback turtles hatching on a Puerto Rico beach.
Many environmentally related posts appearing at Daily Kos each week don't attract the attention they deserve. To help get more eyeballs on these posts, Spotlight on Green News & Views  (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue) appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The most recent Saturday Spotlight can be seen here. So far, more than 18,825 environmentally oriented diaries have been rescued for inclusion in this weekly collection since 2006. Inclusion of a diary in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.
"Vast methane plumes escaping from the seafloor" discovered in Siberian Arctic Sea—by FishOutofWater: "Vast methane plumes have been discovered boiling up from the seafloor of the Arctic ocean on the continental slope of the Laptev Sea by a dream team of international scientists. Over the last decade a warming tongue of Atlantic ocean water has been flowing along the Siberian Arctic ocean's continental slope destabilizing methane ice, hypothesize the team of Swedish, Russian and American scientists. The research team will take a series of measurements across the Siberian seas to attempt to understand and quantify the methane release and predict the effect of this powerful greenhouse gas on global and Arctic warming. Because the Siberian Arctic contains vast stores of methane ices and organic carbon that may be perturbed by the warming waters and Arctic climate, Arctic ocean and Siberian sea methane release could accelerate and intensify Arctic and global warming."
Methane bubbles discovered on Laptev slope Arctic ocean.
Methane bubbles discovered on Laptev continental slope of Arctic ocean
green dots
OK-Sen: Watch Sheldon Whitehouse (D. RI) School Climate Denier Jim Inhofe (R) On The Senate Floor—by poopdogcomedy: "Senator James 'Global Warming Is A Hoax' Inhofe (R. OK) blocked a Senate resolution that would have simply stated that climate change is real. He claims that the earth has experienced 'no warming for the last 15 years' and because of a petition signed by 9,000 scientists has expressed doubt that greenhouse gases cause climate change.' Luckily, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D. RI) took to the Senate floor to royally debunk the infamous climate denier's remarks. Whitehouse began by addressing one of Inhofe’s most oft-used arguments against the existence of climate change—that the earth’s atmospheric temperature has not risen in the last 15 years. That 'little rhetorical device' Inhofe is using fails to consider two things, Whitehouse said. One, is that more than 90 percent of the heat generated from increased carbon emissions gets absorbed into the ocean, not into the atmosphere. Two, is that any changes in ocean temperature will eventually have 'a pronounced effect' on atmospheric temperature."


green dots
Illinois Newspaper Gives Up On Journalism, Bends Over For Fracking Industry—by Willinois: "The Southern Illinoisan has a long running competition with the Belleville News-Democrat over which Illinois newspaper has the strongest bias in favor of the coal industry. So I was pleasantly surprised last year when I saw the Southern Illinoisan doing good reporting on the fracking issue, even giving frequent voice to the opposition. That changed. A recent article in the Southern is so ridiculous, so over the top misleading, it looks like they've given up on doing real journalism about fracking. Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing our Environment (SAFE) sent out a press release last week full of facts and figures on worker safety problems in the fracking industry. Illinois' weak fracking law doesn't address the problem. The Southern fist responded with an article that gives more space to defensive responses from industry supporters than it does to citing facts and studies. That showed bias, but you won't believe what they published next! The Southern ran an article titled "Fracking workers: It's safe, it's good" with anecdotal stories from two workers in the industry who have witnessed non-fatal accidents at fracking sites in North Dakota. There was no mention of the fact that North Dakota now has the highest rate of deadly workplace accidents, thanks largely to the fracking industry."

You can find more rescued green diaries below the sustainable squiggle.

Climate Chaos

Daily Caller Lashes Out at Oreskes—by ClimateDenierRoundup: "The Daily Caller has a particularly pitiful story on Harvard professor Naomi Oreskes, co-author of Merchants of Doubt, the book that explores how fossil fuel companies created climate denial by using the tobacco industry's playbook (and even some of the same spokespeople.) Professor Oreskes has a new book out, discussed in Friday's Guardian, which is written from the perspective of historians in the year 2393 who are trying to figure out why humanity failed to combat climate change. Of all the possible denier criticisms to leverage, the Daily Caller chose to focus on the unrelated fact that Professor Oreskes occasionally travels via airplane. They link to her CV, inexplicably claiming that it 'outlines with a scholar's specificity her penchant to fly around the globe routinely.' They conclude the story by pointing out that since 2008, she's been to at least SIX other countries! Most cringe-worthy, however, are the comments, many of which focus more on her looks than even her flying. Clearly the Daily Caller and its audience are concerned with what really matters."

The Australian Botches Ocean Study—by ClimateDenierRoundup: "The Australian published a story on Friday misrepresenting a new study so badly the authors were compelled to write a letter to the editor correcting the false portrayal. The story claimed that new research shows deep oceans are cooling, which flies in the face of recent scientific research suggesting the 'pause' in warming is due to ocean heat absorption. In actuality, the study was much more mixed; it finds a tiny cooling trend in the deep oceans, but significant warming in the upper layers. Overall, the authors state their findings are 'tiny in a global warming context.' Carbon Brief has a detailed explanation for those interested, but the bottom line is that this is another example of a Murdoch-owned publication failing to accurately report climate science."

The Military Battles Climate Change—by Marcia G Yerman: "While Republicans are mobilizing to push back against President Obama’s carbon initiatives, those in military sector are sounding the alarm about climate change—and the slew of issues that it has the potential to precipitate. In case you missed the report issued in May by the CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board, which is comprised of sixteen retired Generals and Admirals from all branches of the services, the findings are grim. The research is a follow up to a 2007 report. Seven years later, the new title is 'The Accelerating Risks of Climate Change.' Underscored are the 'severe risks for national security,' which the team found 'very sobering.' With a nod to the fact that the conversation has reached a partisan and polarized level, the Board maintained that this tangible 'national security concern' cannot afford to get bogged down by politics or budget wrangling."

Peru Guts Environmental Protections—by jencke: "Even as Peru is gearing up to host the 2014 United Nations (UN) Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 20) in Lima, President Ollanta Humala has taken a huge step backward in environmental protections in Peru. Proyecto de Ley N° 3627/2013-PE was approved by the Standing Committee of Congress on July 9, 2014, designed to ease environmental restrictions to invite private investment and stave off a stagnating economy. Aside from severely limiting the Ministry of Environment's authority and "power to designate protected lands exempt from industrial activity," it also reduces the number of days for environmental impact studies to 45, complicates the process of creating nature reserves and protected lands, and hands out further tax cuts while easing permitting for mining companies."

16' Swells in the Arctic Ocean thanks to Global Warming—by Pakalolo: "Researchers have now measured swells of more than 16 feet in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea, just north of Alaska. These wind driven waves are breaking up the sea ice faster than the warm temperatures that have been melting the sea ice due to Global Warming. Jim Thompson of the University of Washington states that 'What we’re talking about with the waves is potentially a new process, a mechanical process, in which the waves can push and pull and crash to break up the ice.'"

The economic cost of ignoring climate change—by DWG: "One common complaint from the climate change "skeptic" crowd is that addressing carbon pollution will hurt our economy. Elected representatives of the fossil fuels industries have even gone so far as to label any regulation of carbon emissions as economic terrorism. Here is Rep. Mike Kelly, humping his new 'Coal Country Protection Act' (Mitch McConnell is introducing the Senate version) before the big brains at the Heritage Foundation. 'You talk about terrorism, you can do it in a lot of different ways,' he said. 'But you terrorize the people who supply everything this country needs to be great—and you keep them on the sidelines—my goodness, what have we become?' Pressed on the fiery language, Kelly appeared to walk back the remarks, saying that the regulatory action has the effect of smothering economic activity. What do you call the virus that robs you of integrity and your very soul? Money, but I digress."

Climate disinformer Roger Pielke, Jr. out at Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog—by Laurence Lewis: "Roger Pielke, Jr., a climate analyst with a contrarian streak, is no longer writing for Nate Silver's data journalism website FiveThirtyEight. Contrarian streak is an extremely generous framing, as my earlier post elucidates, but Pielke doesn't seem too happy about losing his position at FiveThirtyEight. Pielke, who wrote several sports-related items for FiveThirtyEight but almost nothing else about climate, told Kloor that Silver's site showed 'reluctance' to keep publishing his work, but that he wished them well and remains a fan. However, Pielke also criticized the way Silver handled criticism of the March story on disasters, noting, 'I do wish that 538 had shown a bit more editorial backbone.' Of course, backbone is exactly what FiveThirtyEight did show. Just not in the way Pielke would have liked. The real story here is that Silver and FiveThirtyEight have answered the questions about their credibility, and will no longer be used to promote disinformation about climate change. This is a victory for the cause of accurate and honest climate change messaging."

Oil company fights against the climate change it creates—by weinenkel: "Oil company to state: There's no such thing as climate change, but I need to protect my facilities from this darn changing climate! The Delaware City Refining Company has applied to state officials for approval on plans to reinforce its facilities. How come, you might ask? In its filing, the Delaware City Refining Company says its shoreline is disappearing. Rapidly. 'The extent of tidal encroachment is obvious,' the report says, adding: 'Review of historical photography suggests that the rate of shoreline erosion is increasing.' The only solution, it says, is to build a protective ring of buoys 'that has the resilience to deal with Sea Level Rise (SLR) for at least 50 years.' The best part, as pointed out by the Sierra Club, is that they are still only interested in protecting their business! The proposed buoys would dissipate wave energy from tides, boats, and storms, but they wouldn't do much about the actual sea rise, which is accelerating."

Climate Change and Geotherapy: Two Conferences, Two Workshops, and Another Chance—by gmoke: "I’ve been going to public lectures on climate change at Harvard, MIT, and other places since at least 1980.  Lately I’ve been thinking that I have yet to hear an ecologist talk about the subject.  I’ve seen climatologists, atmospheric chemists, atmospheric physicists, glaciologists, rocket scientists (thanks, S Fred Singer), oceanographers, and geologists address the subject.  But I can’t recall hearing an ecologist talk about climate change and ecological systems.  This becomes even more frustrating to me when I attend a lecture on geoengineering.  In the last couple of years, a joint Harvard and MIT group has been meeting to discuss this topic and the enormous intellectual effort devoted to rather simplistic solutions to complex systems problems is astonishing to me, especially since there seems to be such a great reluctance to engage on the systems issues. Recently, some friends and colleagues have begun trying to remedy the situation, focusing on the global carbon cycle and, in particular, soil carbon.  Part of this is through the work of Allan Savory and his practice of Holistic Management in relation to livestock grazing patterns.  Another part is through the work of Tom Goreau protecting and, in some cases, restoring coral reefs.  Through their efforts, this year's Northeast Organic Farming Association Summer Conference will have an extensive “Soil Carbon and Climate Track” introducing practicing farmers to ways in which their daily work can sequester carbon from the atmosphere for years, decades, and even centuries, becoming an important tool in diminishing climate change and, just possibly, reversing it."

'Coolest summer' debunked by Tweet—by ClimateDenierRoundup: 'Steven Goddard (whose real name is Tony Heller) has a blog post claiming it's the "Coolest Summer on Record in the US.' How did he come up with such a crazy claim? Well, he ignored the corrections and adjustments that scientists have made to improve the accuracy of the past century's climate record (calling the adjustments 'tampering,') and he only counted the 'frequency of 90-degree days,' not the actual temperatures. This has been spread pretty widely through social media, which is unsurprising as it appears to be (for those who fail to check their sources) a very counter-intuitive yet believable 'fact.' But of course, it's not a fact at all. AP's Seth Borenstein debunks it in just one tweet: 'False name denier wrongly claims 'coolest summer on record in the US;' Facts: 1. Summer not over & June 33rd warmest http://1.usa.gov/...

Food, Agriculture & Gardening

Alaska Fisheries In Midst Of An Economic Collapse.—by CanisMaximus: "And not one politician is talking about it. But fisherman are talking about it. The people in the villages are talking about it. People who rely on outfitting the boats, who repair boats; the fish buyers and brokers. The cannery workers(!), the roe packers, and all the ancillary businesses. They're talking about it. And what they are talking about is ocean acidification. [...] One captain with whom my daughter spoke said it's the worst he's ever seen. He's hauled maybe 5 tons when he should have had 100-120 thousand pounds. Others (crew, hands, etc) talk about working two weeks and being basically in the hole. My daughter says that many, many of them talk about 'ocean acidification.' The salmon just aren't showing up, especially Reds and Kings. Many have lesions or worms and parasites.The crabs they are seeing are more easily damaged and there is a lot of 'dead catch'. [...] The Arctic is the laboratory for Climate Change. In the more than 34 years I've been here, I've watch most of the vegetation change. I've felt the differences in the winters and summers now and then. (This summer is warm and gorgeous, BTW) I've watched year to year as the animals change behaviors; invasive weeds; seen the bubbling methane in our lakes and ponds; and watched my favorite fishing places—where at times it was possible to catch a fish every cast!- now bereft of even sculpins. Yet, from the politicians who are promising everything BUT action on climate change we get jabber about everything BUT climate change, even though it's slapping us in the face."

Alaskan Fisheries Are Not Collapsing—by realalaskan: "We have long prided ourselves in being the reality based community but there is a diary on the rec list that is not reality based. The title screams, "Alaska Fisheries in Midst of Economic Collapse"! Well folks, Alaska fisheries are not collapsing. [...] Is ocean acidification real? Yes. Are politicians fiddling while it happens? Hell yes. Are salmon runs collapsing from Barrow to Ketchikan? No. Are they at risk? Without a doubt, but fish stocks are not collapsing in Alaska. In fact, salmon runs are healthy and we continue to fight to keep mega projects like Pebble Mine from turning Alaska's great salmon runs into mere relics of their current spectacular display of the annual cycle of life."

Obama Pushing to Privatize Meat Inspections - Let Producers Inspect Themselves—by James Hepburn: "The USDA is moving toward final approval of a rule that would replace most government inspectors with untrained company employees, and to allow companies to slaughter chickens at a much faster rate. (The rule is called the 'Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection,' but advocates like the Center for Food Safety and Food and Water Watch are calling it the 'Filthy Chicken Rule.') It could be approved as soon as this week. This 'modernization' of inspections through privatization is likely to cause more problems than already occur because the company employees will be disinclined to cost their bosses money by slowing down, stopping production or removing chickens when there's a problem. 'It's really letting the fox guard the chicken coop,' says Tony Corbo of Food and Water Watch."

The Daily Bucket--Fighting to Survive—by 6412093: "My water irises (and pseudo irises) have all gone to seed in the last month. And odd seed pods they are. Here are some seed pods from my Louisiana water irises. They look like green nuts. They formed on the plant last month but haven't fallen yet. Salmon Woman urges me to pull off the seed pods, otherwise they will sap the irises' energy and they may not flower next year, so I do so. The pseudo irises (aka yellow flag) have similar, but different seed pods."

Meat lobbyist arrested for trying to take gun into US capitol building—by VL Baker: "The many scientific studies which show livestock production to be a major contributor to climate change also show that meat production, especially at current levels, to be a product which is unsustainable to carry into the future. So watch for more aggressive behavior coming from the meat industry as they try to hang on to their market share with complete disregard for the consequences."

Want to stop the worst effects of global warming? Give up beef rather than your car—by VL Baker: "Droughts, floods, ocean acidification, rising seas, loss of species etcetera; we are hearing about the severe effects of global warming on a daily basis. What we are not hearing as much about is what we can do about it. There are solutions which don't require risky geo-engineering. Our lives are going to change. Our food, travel and our homes are in for a major energy transition. The faster this is done the less damage is done to our planet and the more chance we have of moving our species forward on a livable planet. The title comes from Prof. Tim Burton of the University of Leeds commenting on a new study which builds upon the many studies released in the past few years  showing that the most effective way to reduce our carbon footprint to help in mitigating the worst effects of climate change is to eliminate/reduce our consumption of meat. Yes, giving up meat especially beef is even more effective than giving up your car."

The Daily Bucket--a Union Electrician Rescues the Frog Mitigation Area—by 6412093: "I've set up a 30-foot-long shallow stream in my side yard, that starts with a 3-foot-high waterfall, and drains into a 6'x6' pond, the newest of my three backyard ponds. I want to encourage lots of frogs and water-loving critters to occupy it. I bought a half-dozen native tree frog tadpoles and placed them in the new pond. But when the temperature got to ninety degrees, all of my pond pumps failed at once. I risked losing not only my tadpoles, but all my fish, to the summer heat. Where could I get an electrician in the middle of the construction season?  And how many thousands of dollars would a house rewiring cost? Continue reading below the tangle of low-voltage wires for the outcome."

Neil deGrasse Tyson upsets the anti-GMO applecart—by Tommy T: "I sense an identity crisis coming up for a LOT of people. Science is science. It doesn't care if you believe in it or not."

GMO's and Craft Beers: Cases of Market Failure—by arper: "Any connection between issues of GMO labeling and monopoly beer? Yes, I think so. The connection is 'market failure' in the supply of public goods by an 'unregulated' market. Regulation needs labeling. This morning's post about science and GMO's clicked for me with this item about 'big' beer's challenge to 'craft' beers. In the GMO case, I see no SCIENTIFIC objection to LABELING. The scientific evidence apparently shows no harm in CONSUMING GMO foods. But no scientific evidence is required to justify LABELING, which is (and should be) merely disclosure of truthful information. The harm I see (the market failure) comes in the concentration of food system control; widespread monocropping threatens future food supply through elimination of plant diversity. Seed banks preserve numerous varieties for potential future needs. How are they to identify GMO seeds if not by labeling?"

OR: GMO Labeling Bill Makes Ballot—by occupystephanie: "Oregonians will have the opportunity to vote this November on the consumer's right to know what is in their food thanks to the Oregon Right to Know campaign which gathered 156,390 signatures, 118,780 of which were certified on Wednesday by the Oregon Secretary of State to place the GMO Labeling initiative on the ballot. 'In only six weeks, we were able to collect more than 31,500 signatures more than the number needed to qualify," said Sandeep Kaushik, campaign spokesman for Oregon Right to Know. "That is a powerful indication that Oregonians understand that protecting the profits of chemical conglomerates and agribusiness giants should not take precedence over the public's right to know what is in the food they eat and feed their families.' Oregon campaign organizers expect big money in opposition to flood the state as it did in Washington and California; however, they are also confident that their measure will pass and become law."

Monsanto's Double Toxic Organic Cocktail—by Marnie1: "I was going to write this to show details about physiological effects of the study on the rats, but I have spent a lot of space explaining the hows and whys of the Monsanto Roundup spray and the GM (GMO) Monsanto plant and their probable dangers. As this has gotten rather long I leave it to the reader to go to the study for the nitty gritty details. Bottom line, Roundup is not good for anything living and the Monsanto GM PLANT is indeed a Franken-food monster."

Energy & Conservation

Report: Obama Exporting Climate Change by Exporting Coal—by Steve Horn: "Greenpeace USA has released a major new report on an under-discussed part of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan and his U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carbon rule: it serves as a major endorsement of continued coal production and export to overseas markets. 'Leasing Coal, Fueling Climate Change: How the federal coal leasing program undermines President Obama’s Climate Plan' tackles the dark underbelly of a rule that only polices coal downstream at the power plant level and largely ignores the upstream and global impacts of coal production at-large. The Greenpeace report was released on the same day as a major story published by the Associated Press covering the same topic and comes a week after the release of another major report on coal exports by the Sightline Institute that sings a similar tune."

Coal Emissions Flare Up in HI-Sen Race—by Karen from Maui: "Colleen Hanabusa is doubling down on her support for dirty coal emissions in her challenge against environmental champion, Senator Brian Schatz. Claiming (falsely, as it turned out) that implementing the EPA tougher coal-fired boiler standards would 'cost 800 jobs' at the dirty HC&S sugar mill on Maui, Hanabusa broke with most Democrats and all of the Hawaii delegation (including the Representative from Maui) and voted for the GOP's 'Regulatory Relief' act—yet another GOP attack on the EPA. The sugar plantation (HC&S) is the only remaining operation of its kind left in Hawaii. High land, labor, and water costs make any commodity that competes worldwide infeasible, which is why the other plantations are gone. (We'll explain why HC&S is still in business lower down.) Niche products that trade on the Maui name are much more profitable. All sugar plantations in the U.S. create 99% of their process heat and plant electricity by burning bagass (after-process sugar cane residue). HC&S stays profitable by burning coal and selling electricity to the local utility—not because of its sugar operation, which on its own would not be viable."

Eco-Related DC & State Politics

Which 14 Democrats Joined the GOP to Weaken the Endangered Species Act?—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "Today, the House passed the '21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act,' which, of course, was designed to weaken this landmark environmental law. The bill, as Republican environmental laws are wont to do, tries to burden the overseeing agency, redirect its funds, and restrict the role of citizens and scientists in decision-making. Here's an overview of the bill: This bill is a combination of four Republican-sponsored bills being brought to the Floor under the guise of increasing transparency in the listing of endangered species. However, their true aim is to create redundancy and force agencies to waste already-limited funds working through burdensome procedures instead of enforcing important environmental protections. It passed 233 to 190, on a mostly party line vote. 14 Democrats, however, voted for it: John Barrow (GA-12); Sanford Bishop (GA-02; Jim Costa (CA-16); Henry Cuellar (TX-28); Bill Enyart (IL-12); John Garamendi (CA-03); Gene Green (TX-29); Steven Horsford (NV-04); Jim Matheson (UT-04); Mike McIntyre (NC-07); Gary Peters (MI-14); Collin Peterson (MN-07); Kurt Schrader (OR-05); Filemon Vela (TX-34)."

Which 37 House Democrats Voted with the GOP to Poison Your Water?—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "Today, the House brought up several bills in suspension in order to finish off with some issues before the August recess. I would like to highlight one of those bills: H. R. 935. H. R. 935 would eliminate Clean Water Act protections for waterways that are being sprayed with pesticides. [...] Basically, it's a bill designed to make the life of polluters easier at the expense of your health and the environment. Since it was brought up under suspension (which requires a 2/3 majority for passage), the bill failed. But it has the votes to pass. 216 Republicans and 37 Democrats voted for it. 148 Democrats voted against it."

The Great Outdoors

Prairie smoke (Geum triflorum)
seedpod and flower buds
The Daily Bucket - Where have all those flowers gone?—by Milly Watt: "Gone to seed every (spring-blooming) one. We went up to Hurricane Ridge again on July 24. The wildflowers were dramatically different from matching mole's wildflowers of July 1st and my wildflowers of June 11th which were quite similar. The spring flowers are gone (productively to seed), replaced by an entirely new set of summer flowers. I have identified over 35 wildflowers that were not blooming in June and only 7 that are still making an appearance. [...] The Hurricane Hill trail is an extremely popular 3 mile roundtrip hike to a 5757 ft pinnacle of rock. The trailhead starts at about 5200 ft elevation, dips down a bit, and then climbs steadily. In spite of the crowds, we keep coming back to this trail because of my project to gather phenology data of the wildflowers over multiple seasons and various times during the seasons."

Glacier Park: Waterfalls Along the Sun Road (Photo Diary)—by Ojibwa: (Photo Diary)

Critters

Dawn Chorus: Headbangers—by lineatus: "What can I say?  I just plain love woodpeckers.  They're fascinating to watch, and just plain good looking birds.  They don't always choose to reveal themselves, clinging to the highest treetops, but sometimes they'll get front and center at a feeder or an eye-level branch. [...] Other woodpeckers are even more widespread, like the Hairy Woodpecker, found almost everywhere except the southwestern desert areas. Field guides say that you can separate the larger Hairy from its smaller cousin the Downy Woodpecker (below) by the three dots barely visible on the Downy's outer tail feathers (compare with the Hairy's solid white above). That can be hard to see in the field, so I find it much easier to tell them apart by their bills. Look at the Hairy's honkin' hammer, compared to the Downy's darling dinger."

Seismic Airgun blasting off Atlantic coast-New Jersey you're up first on 8-1-14—by Pakalolo: "New Jersey's marine life, ocean and coastal communities just can't get any relief. Probably the worst threat imaginable will be occurring within a few days. Recently COA, Clean Coastal Action and the NJ EPA, lost a case to prevent Rutgers University using sonic air gun blasts off the Jersey shore. This study was approved by the Obama administration as a climate change study designed to access deep sea sediments. Climate Change? WTF!? One thing is certain about the use of this technology in the Atlantic is that Obama is not fucking around. [...] Perhaps New Jersey will win in the end, but by that time untold thousands if not millions of marine life would have been slaughtered. Clean Ocean Action has filed an amicus brief with the Third Circuit last Thursday, urging the Court to grant the injunction in order to prevent any harm to marine life and to commercial and recreational users of the vast project area. COA stressed to the Court the public interest in this litigation."
horseshoe crab
Daily Bucket: Wild Florida--Horseshoe Crab—by Lenny Flank: "Most people consider it horribly ugly. Some people think it will pinch or sting you. Even its name is wrong--it's not a crab at all. But the Horseshoe Crab deserves a bit more respect than it gets--it is one of the oldest existing lineages of life on Earth. The Horseshoe Crabs are members of the Limulidae family. Despite the name, they are not crabs--they're not even Crustaceans. They are Chelicerates, and are closely related to spiders, scorpions and mites. They are the survivors of an ancient group of arthropods that is first found in the fossil record during the Ordovician Period, about 450 million years ago--and the "living fossils" of today still look much the same as they did then. The Limulids survived five mass extinctions, saw the first appearance of animals with bones, watched amphibians invade the land, saw the dinosaurs come and go, and were still here when a primate on the African savanna first stood erect and cracked two stones together. [...] In appearance, Horsehoe Crabs look ... well ... prehistoric. In total length, the females can reach as long as two feet from nose to tail tip; the males are much smaller. The Crab's body is covered by a rounded carapace that looks something like a horse's hoof. Two compound eyes are visible at the top of the shell--five smaller simple eyes are found along the edge of the carapace, and two more on the underside near the mouth. At the rear end is the long spikey "telson". Although the spike is scary-looking, it is actually harmless--the Horseshoe uses it only to turn itself back over again if it happens to land on its back. Horseshoe Crabs cannot bite, poke, or pinch."

pelicans—by blueyedace2: (Photo Diary)

❁ weeping petals 2014 - the continued sorrow of flower p0rn ❁—by blueyedace2: (Photo Diary)

✿ little skipper & some other pollen munchers ✿—by blueyedace2:

Anglers Struggle For Salmon On Sacramento, Feather Rivers—by Dan Bacher: "At legal fishing time, we put the rods out and set them in the rod holders, waiting for the hard strike of a salmon. As the sun rose over the water, we could see other boats around us anchored up trying for a salmon on opening day. We told stories, ate some great smoked salmon and got ready for a battle with a salmon, but we never got a hit or hooked up. We didn’t see any other anglers in boat from shore hook up salmon either. We stopped fishing about noon without hooking a fish. As we went down river, we didn’t talk to a single angler who reported hooking and or landing a salmon. The only good bite we heard of, via Facebook, was experienced by several guides."

A Haven for Ancient Turtles—by Dan Chu: "'This stretch of beach is where Leatherback turtles lay their eggs, and the other stretch of beach is where Hawksbill turtles lay eggs,' our local volunteer Ricardo pointed out to us as we stood on the wide sandy beach northeast of Luquillo, Puerto Rico. This is the Northeastern Ecological Corridor, eight miles of beach and over 2,000 acres of forest, critical to the survival of leatherback and hawksbill turtles. Leatherback turtles are an ancient species that have been in our oceans for over 50 million years. Adults can be eight feet long and weigh 2,000 pounds. They are deep sea divers and have a flexible 'leather' shell that withstands the crushing pressure of water thousands of feet underwater as they pursue jellyfish and other deep sea delicacies. Annually, female leatherbacks labor onto Puerto Rico's beaches to lay up to one hundred eggs some three feet under the sand. Sixty to seventy days later, baby leatherbacks emerge from the sand at night and make their way down the beach into the ocean. Unfortunately, over the last 30 years, leatherback populations worldwide have declined from an estimated 115,000 nesting females in 1980, to 35,000 today. In addition to the loss of beach habitat, ingestion of floating plastic bags, which look like jellyfish, is a likely factor in this decline. Light pollution from homes and resorts by nesting beaches can disorient turtles that rely on stars for navigation."

The Oceans, Water & Drought

Megadrought: Huge Surge of Pacific Heat Fails to Start El Niño, Heats Planet to 3 Warmest Months—by FishOutofWater: "Chances of a western north America megadrought of an intensity not seen since before the arrival of European explorers just went up. The largest surge of heat ever recorded moving west to east in the Pacific ocean along the equator just dissipated heating the planet to the warmest 3 months in history, but failing to produce an El Niño. Strong El Niño events intensify the jet stream across the Pacific, bringing rain to California and the southwestern U.S. Although a number of climate models still predict an El Niño, the chance of a drought breaking strong El Niño has gone way down with the passing of this huge Kelvin wave. One hundred percent of California is in severe or worse drought. The failure of this Kelvin wave to trigger a strong El Niño means that there is no end in sight to this drought. The likelihood of drought worsening across the southwestern U.S. has gone up because a strong El Niño would likely bring rains from California to Texas. Instead of a warm tropical Pacific pulling the jet stream down, warm water in the subtropics and temperate zones has pushed north in the northern hemisphere. This movement of heat will tend to move the jet stream poleward, leaving California and the Southwest in drought. Global ocean temperatures were the highest ever measured for June. According to NOAA the global sea surface temperature anomaly was the highest in history. At the end of July the oceans continue to be very hot and the temperature anomaly may be even higher."

Strongest Kelvin wave ever recorded in equatorial Pacific fails to start an El Nino. Ocean heat moves out of equatorial region.
Strongest Kelvin wave ever recorded in equatorial Pacific
fails to start an El Niño. Ocean heat moves out of equatorial region.
DEADLINE Wednesday to sign the petition: Don't let Exxon kill whales and otters!—by Jim Hines via Nathan Empsall SierraRise: "Beautiful -- but threatened. I never get tired of watching humpback whales breach the ocean and leap through the air. I'm a lucky man—the Santa Barbara Channel, near my home in California, is one of the best places in the world to see whales in their natural habitat.But this could change if Exxon gets its way - they're asking for permission from the government to harass and even kill an unlimited number of whales, seals, & otters! Exxon wants to "take" (i.e. harass) as many marine mammals as necessary to expand an offshore drilling platform—already one of the world's deepest—with hydraulic hammers. We're working hard at the Sierra Club's Los Padres Chapter to stop them, but we can't do it alone—I'm asking for your help."

Greenwashing Destruction—by Dan Bacher: "The Connections Between Fake Marine 'Protection' and Brown’s Tunnel Plan. Today, July 29, is the final day of the public comment period for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels and the Environmental Impact Statement/Report (EIS/EIR). Restore the Delta and other groups opposed to the construction of the twin tunnels will rally today at the West Steps of State Capitol, 10th St and Capitol Street, Sacramento at 11:30 AM. The rally will feature a variety of speakers and music. For more information, go to: http://restorethedelta.org/.... One of the least discussed issues—and one of the most crucial to understanding Jerry Brown’s twin tunnel plan - is the undeniable connection between the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative and the BDCP."

We may be out of water by 2040—by weinenkel: "Disturbing study has been conducted with researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark, Vermont Law School and CNA Corporation. The study and analysis has lead researchers to conclude our energy needs and population growth will lead to severe water shortages in the next few decades. Combining the new research results with projections about water shortage and the world population, it shows that by 2020 many areas of the world will no longer have access to clean drinking water. In fact, the results predict that by 2020 about 30-40% of the world will have water scarcity, and according to the researchers, climate change can make this even worse."

Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice

Oil Haters Busted for Blocking Train Tracks—by 6412093: "Police have arrested three protesters for blocking train tracks that would carry crude oil into the Tesoro Refinery in Anacortes. About twenty folks had demonstrated on the tracks, in the aftermath of an recent oil train derailment in Seattle, two hours south of the refinery. In recent years, unit (100 tanker car) trains have brought crude to this and other west coast refineries from the burgeoning Bakken oil fields of north Dakota and vicinity. These vast increases in train traffic have sharpened folks' fear of a catastrophic oil train accident, that would cause massive casualties and release thousands of gallons of oil pollution. The railroads have been reluctant to disclose the magnitude and routes of their oil shipments, even after the horrors of the Lac-Megantic train disaster in Canada that killed 42."

Sustainability & Extinction

NASA, Showing the Way to a Better Future on Earth - IF We Choose.—by xaxnar: "Via Huffington Post, there's an intriguing interview about NASA's Sustainability Base at the Ames Research Center. Jennifer Grayson's interview is a look at what can happen when technology is put to use to address the problems we're facing with energy and resources. The 50,000-square-foot lunar-shaped structure is the greenest government building ever built, as well as both a testament to and test bed for NASA aerospace technology. The Base produces more energy than it consumes, powered in part by fuel cell technology developed to send the Curiosity rover to Mars. It will eventually use 90 percent less water than a conventional building, recycling its water via a version of a system deployed on the International Space Station. And all of this technology is housed in a striking LEED Platinum–certified structure that maximizes airflow and sunlight to such an extent that for 325 days out of the year, no artificial lighting is necessary. Is this possible anywhere else? Well, different locations will call for different solutions—but the principles are simple. The building is designed to take full advantage—and full cognizance—of local conditions, i.e.: wind, weather, sun, terrain. Materials are locally sourced and chosen to be recyclable. The building contains sensors and control systems that make it not just a smart building but a genius building, as the interview notes."

Pollution, Hazardous Wastes & Trash

BP oil blowout negatively affected corals more than previously thought—by Meteor Blades: "New research by scientists at Pennsylvania State University has found two more reefs that were negatively affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout. The 87-day gusher spread an estimated 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Impacts on sea creatures and birds were extensive. But the lead PSU researcher, Charles Fisher, said: 'The footprint of the impact of the spill on coral communities is both deeper and wider than previous data indicated. [...] This study very clearly shows that multiple coral communities, up to 22 kilometers from the spill site and at depths over 1800 meters, were impacted by the spill.' The oil from the spill in the Gulf of Mexico has largely dissipated, so other clues now are needed to identify marine species impacted by the spill. Fisher's team used the current conditions at a coral community known to have been impacted by the spill in 2010 as a model 'fingerprint' for gauging the spill's impact in newly discovered coral communities."

Transportation & Infrastructure

Sunday Train: HSR from Houston to Dallas one step closer to reality—by Bruce McF: "The Texas Department of Transport and Federal Railway Authority announced in June that they were beginning an Environmental Impact Study for the proposed private Texas Central Railways (TCR) High Speed Rail corridor between Houston and Dallas. This is a private venture that is proposing to using the "Japan Rail Central" N700-I system, an internationalized version of the 186mph HSR train running between Tokyo and Osaka. TCR proposal is not only for the trains to be operated on farebox revenue, but for the corridor to be built with private funds. As the FRA announcement states: TCR is a Texas-based company formed in 2009 to bring HSR to Texas as a private-sector venture.  Working closely with Central Japan Railway Company (JRC), TCR is proposing the deployment of JRC’s N700-I Bullet System based on the world’s safest, most reliable, lowest emission, electric-powered, HSR systems, the Tokaido Shinkansen System. Developed and operated by JRC and the former Japan National Railways, the Tokaido Shinkansen has operated safely for almost 50 years and carries over 400,000 daily passengers. The most current generation Shinkansen train, the Series N700, runs at speeds up to 186 miles per hour. Being a private venture, the EIS process will give us our first public look at corridor alternatives that TRC is considering, as well as the first opportunity for formal public comment."

Tilikum Crossing—by Horace Boothroyd III: "This is the first major bridge built in the United Stated that has no capacity for private vehicular traffic. Transit, bikes, and walking only. So of course it is in Portland, Oregon. A vital element of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project is a new bridge across the Willamette River, the first span built over the river since the addition of the Fremont Bridge in 1973. Named Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People, this bridge will be distinctive in the United States, designed to carry light rail trains, buses, cyclists, pedestrians and streetcars, but not private vehicles. However, emergency responders will be able to drive on it if necessary."

Eco-Philosophy, Eco-Essays & Eco-Poetry

Einstein on a bike February 6, 1933. The photo was taken by Caltech trustee Ben Meyer at his home in Santa Barbara. A gift of Evelina Hale to the Archives in 1959.
How Genius Gets Around...—by citisven: "Came across this photo as I was biking an errand and stopped for lunch at a local biker favorite. Turns out it was taken on February 6, 1933, by a Caltech trustee named Ben Meyer at his home in Santa Barbara. I often wonder what Einstein would think of our contemporary obsession with growth, gratuitous wastefulness, and addiction to fossil fuels. For example, what would he think of this highway interchange in Atlanta that is the same size as the entire city of Florence, Italy? [I] found a few quotes that give a hint at the answer ... 'It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.' 'We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.' 'Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.'"
Warming Up To Global Warming—by Paul Peters: "Of course we can do something about these problems, but not if we continue the way we have done thus far. This is reason for many economists to sound the alarm bells that the era of unlimited growth is over and that we have to get used to eternal decline. But that only concerns the mass consumption model, the one-size-fits-all repeated over and over again, which is about as stupid as it gets. In fact, most of the problems originate from a too rigidly understanding of economies of scale. Many managers have grabbed back for advice on long term policies by reading books on military strategy, but it may not have escaped attention that not only do most plans fail in battle, but peace is much harder work than war. Besides, it creates rather warped expectations where businessmen act like George C. Scott’s version of US General Patton while most military men are more like the uncle you never had. In fact, a recent reunion with a friend from high school allowed me the pleasure of getting to know someone as close as a human gets to being a superhero."

An Osprey—by StewartAcuff: "I just saw an osprey straining against the sky
And the perpetual pull of the earth
As she carried a small rockfish over the Chesapeake
Taking it to her babies waiting in the giant nest new this spring
As Ecclesiastes says everything has its time and its season
No nest, no babies, no image of beauty, no reminder of effort
And yet joy prevails in the simple satisfaction of what must be done
In its time and season
It is time we birth a new season of simple struggle and joy
A season no longer about us, but about those yet to come
The absence of simple struggle and joy
Is the absence of compassion and love
Let us love mightily as the osprey."

Miscellany

Florida's libertarian beaches can kill you—by devtob: "This may essentially be another a story about how climate change sucks, but there's also a telling libertarian twist to it that should concern anyone considering swimming off Florida's beaches. According to Adam Weinstein's story in Gawker today, flesh-eating bacteria in Florida waters, which 'cause ulceration and rapid skin decay and is fatal in about 50 percent of people who get it in their bloodstreams,' killed almost one person a month last year. While Florida has warned generally about this deadly danger, which is 'naturally occurring and tends to flare up in the summer' when the water gets warmer, it does nothing to actually test its waters for this or any other bacteria. [...]  This particular bacteria is especially dangerous for those with weak immune systems—like the millions of older people who have retired to Florida for the tropical climate and low taxes—and anyone with an 'open wound.'"

Reconstruction or Haiti's Latest Disaster? Tourism Development on IŽle-a-Vache Island—by Bev Bell: "The following is adapted from a presentation by Jessica Hsu of Other Worlds and Jean Claudy Aristil of Radio VKM Les Cayes at the Executive Symposium for Innovators in Coastal Tourism conference in St. Georges, Grenada held from July 8 - July 11, 2014./i> A large-scale tourism project planned for the Haitian island of AŽle-A-Vache targets '€œthe well-heeled tourist from traditional markets—creating a place of exquisite peace and well-being,'€ as described in the government of Haiti's executive plan. The project aims to attract four character types: 'the Explorers, the Lovers, the Rejuvenators and the Homecomers.' The corporations behind the project intend to build 1,500 hotels and bungalows along the island’s beaches, an international airport, a golf course, island farms, and tourist 'villages'€ with cafes, shops, and night clubs."

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