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Photo: Kevin Bacher / NPS, Flickr CC BY 2.0.
A Student Conservation Association crew is all smiles as they work to restore a trail in the popular Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park.

I love the way the radio show Living on Earth zeroes right in on whatever environmental issue is most important at any given time. In this episode, it discusses federal plans to tap civilians concerned about climate change — kind of the way FDR tapped civilian energy during the New Deal.

Host Steve Curwood talks to Washington Governor Jay Inslee about how a climate corps could aid conservation, combat climate disaster, and help save energy.

“CURWOOD: The modern CCC harkens back to the Civilian Conservation Corps created by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s. FDR’s CCC put some 3 million men to work in conservation efforts. … Today a Civilian Climate Corps could put people to work reducing the risk of forest fires, restoring wetlands, planting trees, and weatherizing homes both in the United States and abroad. During the Democratic primary, several of President Biden’s opponents also proposed a climate corps. Among them was Washington state Governor Jay Inslee. … Welcome back to Living on Earth, Governor!

“Let’s say that you were to take a look at your own state of Washington for some examples of the kind of work that the CCC would do. You’ve had horrendous wildfires, so I imagine you’re very interested in thinning the forests, the fuel that can add to those. Where else might it be especially useful?

“GOV. JAY INSLEE: Everywhere. This is a ubiquitous opportunity, because anywhere there’s a house, there is an opportunity to reduce energy wastage. And that’s the first place you get clean fuel, the very cheapest, first, most productive fuel, clean energy … stop wasting it. So helping people rehab their houses, get more insulation into their homes, starting with those who are in low-income homes, who frequently are living in places that just waste humongous amounts of energy, so these poor folks are trying to make huge energy payments to the utility company. … Then a part that I think hopefully is more focused on vocational skill development … to really focus on a long-term career, not just in the climate corps. That might be as exotic as, you know, learning how to maintain electric vehicles, because that’s we’re going to be driving. …

“CURWOOD: Many young people I speak to are desperate to do something to deal with the climate emergency, which they see as this humongous freight train barreling at them out of the future, and no way to jump out of the way. …

“INSLEE: I hear this as well, how do I plug in? What do I do? Where do I go, you know, what, you know? And this is just perfect to capture that huge energy that’s out there. [We] want that energy to be released. And I think this climate corps is a way to do that. It will help as well build, you know, public support, political support. …

“CURWOOD: The original Civilian Conservation Corps under FDR reinforced some social injustices, and even segregated black and white corps members into different camps, and there weren’t a whole lot of women that were involved in this. How can this new CCC help progress towards greater equity in our society?

“INSLEE: You’ve put your finger on a very important point. One is the most obvious one, which is economically to give people more economic opportunities. And I’m convinced it will do that big time. [Also] we have so many children, urban children particularly, who’ve never had experiences in the natural world. And giving them these experiences in a vocational setting is life changing for people. …

“My dad and mom used to re-vegetate alpine meadows on the slopes of Mount Rainier during the summer. They ran a group called the Student Conservation Association. [They] were kids, mostly from the East Coast, who came out to Mount Rainier National Park. [Once] they got that shovel in their hands, and once they spent a night in the tent, they were conservationists for their whole lives.”

More here.

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Photo: Stuff.
To meet methane goals, New Zealand must cut the number of sheep and cows by 15 per cent, the Climate Change Commission’s decarbonisation blueprint says.

Although I’m eating a vegetarian meal tonight, I’m disappointed in myself for not coming up with lots of interesting vegetarian recipes during lockdown. I had plenty of time to think about it. Part of my problem is that my Covid-era delivery services didn’t offer many prepared vegetarian meals, but it’s a weak excuse. Fortunately, my daughter-in-law knew I was interested in anything vegetarian and often added me to her shopping.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, they’re way ahead of everyone as usual — not only in terms of trying to cut back on livestock emissions but addressing many other aggressive climate-change goals.

Olivia Wannan writes at Stuff, “Whether you work on the land, in a factory, an office or are still in school, life in 2035 will look significantly different under the Climate Change Commission’s decarbonisation blueprint.

“[If] the Government follows it to the letter., by 2025, you’ll be eligible for a public transport card offering discounted fares until you’re 25, to encourage low-carbon transport habits that may last a lifetime. …

By 2023, the Government’s emissions standards will start to bring lower-carbon cars into the country. The ban on petrol and diesel cars will also be in place as early as 2030. By 2035, both restrictions will also be influencing the second-hand car market, so if you do become an owner, the vehicle will be a lot greener than the cars on the road today. …

“Between now and 2035, you may be one of the thousands of employees that will transition out of carbon-intensive industries and into new jobs. … If you work in an at-risk industry, you’ll be eligible for government support to be re-trained for other roles. If you’re tangata whenua, you’ll be able to opt for education and training developed by Māori. By 2035, many Māori workers will have already transitioned to new industries, with the job gains outweighing losses. …

“The renewable electricity sector will be busy – the country requires one new wind farm to be built almost every year to meet the increased demand for power, plus new transmission lines. …

“By 2035, most truck drivers will be behind the wheel of a low-emissions vehicle, after the battery technology has developed enough to cover longer distances. But there will be fewer trucking jobs, as more freight will travel by rail or sea. … You’ll be twice as likely to head to the office by bike or on public transport, compared to today. If you still want to drive to the CBD, you may have to pay a congestion charge, with your cash helping to fund lower-carbon forms of travel. …

“By 2035, your office must be a pleasant place to be in all seasons, courtesy of energy efficiency standards for new and existing buildings. Building owners will have ditched coal in all heating systems by 2030. Natural gas will be phased out after that. …

“Across the country, dairy and meat farmers will reduce animal numbers by 15 per cent between 2020 and 2030. However, this isn’t an across-the-board cut. The efficiency gains you’ll make on your farm will probably differ to what your neighbours achieve. It’s the collective effort that matters.

“This could mean changing your farm management. You’ll need to use the plans, advice and tools developed by the agricultural industry partnership with Government, He Waka Eke Noa – though this guidance won’t be finalised until 2022. You may require reliable internet to precision-manage your farm, so you should have access to broadband by 2023 at the latest. …

“A farm might take a look at the efficiency gains required and choose to replace its cows and sheep with horticulture. An additional 20,000 hectares of land will grow grain, fruit and vegetables by 2035.

“Farmers staying in the meat or dairy business will carefully manage their use of nitrogen fertiliser (which creates the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide) and supplementary feed, which will cut expenses. Some will try their hand at regenerative farming, which aims to create healthier soil and land.

“Sheep farms will select rams that carry the genes to produce less methane when food is digested. The widespread uptake of low-methane sheep breeds will cut the country’s agricultural methane by 3 per cent by 2035. …

“If you have unproductive land sitting around, you’ll be able to access public funding to plant it with native trees. Nearly 250,000 additional hectares of sheep and beef farmland will be afforested by 2035. Combined with a ban on native deforestation in 2025, you’ll more frequently spot native birds and lizards, particularly if you fence off your bush and undertake pest control.

“Collective action will allow New Zealand to continue to promote the comparatively low-carbon credentials of its dairy and meat to international markets. …

“Buildings will be increasingly constructed using timber, which is less emissions-intensive than concrete and steel. By 2025, new natural gas connections will be banned. A decade after that, remaining gas appliances for cooking or heating will be increasingly costly. Because the domestic carbon price will steadily rise, the average annual gas bill will cost $150 more in 2035 compared to 2020.

“In comparison, the price of electricity will drop during the 2020s, after the Tiwai smelter closes. It’ll gradually rise again towards the end of the decade but should stay lower than today’s costs. …

“Remote and Māori communities will be able to access funds to build their own solar generation.”

It will likely to be hard to achieve all that, even with the less environmentally friendly biomass use and burning of “renewable” wood. But I think they are taking this seriously.

More at Stuff, here. Hat tip: Svein Tveitdal, @tveitdal, on twitter.

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Photo: Bee and Tom Rivett-Carnac.
A painting by Bee Rivett-Carnac in the free digital children’s book
What happened when we all stopped.

Children are really good at understanding the need to protect Nature. When I read about this free book and the video featuring Jane Goodall, I knew they would make good ammunition for kids needing to convince skeptical adults. The Covid angle was cool, too, and made the book seem even more timely.

Rohini Kejrwal has a report at Hyperallergic.

“ ‘No time for sorry, we’re building tomorrow,’ writes author, climate policy strategist, and former Buddist monk Tom Rivett-Carnac in his new and free digital book, What happened when we all stopped. The book emerged during the lockdown as a collaboration between Tom and his sister Bee Rivett-Carnac, who illustrated his poem.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the entire world was forced to stay home, it became an opportunity for Mother Nature to heal, for the smog to melt, the birds to sing, and the rivers to run clear. As the world began to phase out lockdown measures, Tom’s message to his readers, young and old, was this: Let’s choose well.

“Talking about the inspiration, he says:

‘The creative process is just a mystery to me. But I was thinking a lot and feeling inspired by the idea of a trillion trees — this idea that we can replant a trillion trees and reforest the earth. There were no planes in the sky; people were noticing the birds and remembering a better way of living. It was a strangely optimistic time, and the book was written out of a hope that we need to do things differently.’

“One evening, he sat and wrote the poem in a stream of consciousness. A few edits later, he invited Bee to illustrate it. ‘We were at Mum’s house in Devon, having breakfast, when Tom asked me if I’d fancy illustrating his poem. …

“Bee chose the medium of watercolor paintings to create a sense of lightness and depict the connection to nature. … Being someone who divides her time between spending time with her children, gardening and illustrating, and her shamanic practice, her personal style naturally lent itself to the inspiration and imagery for the book. To make the poem more accessible to children, she introduced two primary characters — a little girl and an owl — who carry the story forward. …

“As the book shaped up, it opened the door to further collaborations. It was developed into a beautiful, animated poem by TED-Ed, an auxiliary of the renowned conference organization geared toward teachers and students. Jane Goodall, celebrated anthropologist and United Nations Messenger of Peace, offered narration. …

“The two collaborations happened fairly organically, owing to Tom’s role as the UN’s chief political strategist and his work as one of the architects of the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change. …

“Tom reiterates that the book is a reminder of the urgent need for change. ‘The next 10 years are the most consequential in the history of humanity. We have to do something, or we’ll lose control over the climatic systems and never get it back,’ he says. ‘We need to reclaim a sense of agency in climate change, which has been deliberately undermined by fossil fuel companies.

“We all have a choice as to who we want to be during this time. Do we want to look back 30 years from now and say we gave up because it was difficult or say that we did everything possible to make a difference even if we don’t succeed? And why won’t we succeed? Real, genuine success is possible!’ he wraps up, firm optimism in his voice.”

More here. Check out the illustrations. Especially the owls.

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Photos: Sea Forest
Asparagopsis is a species of Red Algae that can fight global warming. When eaten by cows, it releases bromoform, which reduces methane production and limits how much CO2 goes into the atmosphere.

It isn’t hard for me to give up eating beef — but milk? For one thing, my doctor wants me to drink it. I do know that cows and other livestock are not helping with our global-warming problem, and that’s a worry. Here’s something that could help.

Tatiana Schlossberg writes at the Washington Post, “One of the most powerful weapons in the fight against climate change is washing up on shorelines around the world, unnoticed by most beachgoers. It’s seaweed. Specifically, Asparagopsis taxiformis and Asparagopsis armata — two species of a crimson submarine grass that drifts on waves and tides all around the world’s oceans.

“It doesn’t seem like much, but it could practically neutralize one of the most stubborn sources of a powerful greenhouse gas: methane emissions from the digestive processes of some livestock, including the planet’s 1.5 billion cows, which emit methane in their burps.

“Reducing methane from livestock, and cows in particular, has long been a goal of scientists and policymakers but is especially tricky: How do you change a fundamental fact of animal biology in an ethical way that doesn’t affect milk or meat?

“In lab tests and field trials, adding a small proportion of this seaweed to a cow’s daily feed — about 0.2 of a percent of the total feed intake in a recent study — can reduce the amount of methane by 98 percent. That’s a stunning drop when most existing solutions cut methane by about 20 or 30 percent.

“Meanwhile, growing seaweed used for the feed supplement could also help sequester carbon dioxide, another greenhouse gas, and reduce ocean acidification, because the plant sucks up carbon in the water as food.

“Rob Kinley, the scientist who identified asparagopsis as a methane inhibitor, said it might just be the most promising way to eliminate methane emissions from livestock in the next decade.

“That’s significant because livestock overall account for about 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, with nearly 40 percent of that linked to methane from the digestive process, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. …

“In a study published in 2016, Kinley and his co-authors found that asparagopsis virtually eliminated methane emissions in lab trials. When a cow eats grass or other fibrous plants, microbes inside its rumen, or first stomach, use carbon and hydrogen from the fermentation of those plants to produce methane, which escapes from the cow mainly through burping, although about 5 percent is released through flatulence.

“Asparagopsis and other types of seaweed have specialized gland cells that make and store bromoform, an organic compound. When the blurry red seaweed is freeze-dried, powdered and sprinkled as a garnish on a cow’s meal, bromoform blocks carbon and hydrogen atoms from forming methane in the stomach.

“In response, the cow makes more propionate, a fatty acid that helps produce glucose in the metabolic process, allowing the animal to more efficiently grow or to produce more milk. That may enable farmers to use less feed and save money. …

“Some evidence suggests that herders in ancient Greece fed their cows seaweed, as did many in 18th century Iceland. The most recent effort began when

Joe Dorgan, a farmer on Prince Edward Island in Canada, observed that his cows that grazed on seaweed that rolled up on beaches had better pregnancy success, produced more milk and suffered less from mastitis than cows that didn’t eat seaweed.

“Before Dorgan could sell the seaweed to other farmers, the Canadian government required proof that it was safe, said Kinley, who was then at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and was hired by Dorgan. …

“Dorgan’s seaweed reduced methane by about 18 percent, [but, he says,] ‘The light came on for me that there’s probably a seaweed in the world that’s better than that.’ …

“A number of companies have been working to make asparagopsis taxiformis and asparagopsis armata into commercial products that can be added to animal feed. … While their approaches differ, they share an urgency in getting asparagopsis to farmers, something they recognize is not easy. It’s a challenge to figure out how to grow and process asparagopsis at scale and in a way that will translate into higher earnings for farmers.”

At the Washington Post, here, you can read about four companies that are working on this.

Cows by the sea.

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Photo: Jay Godwin
At a 2018 LBJ Library Future Forum, climate scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, a professor at Texas Tech University, discusses how climate change is affecting Texas.

Some people think religion is incompatible with science, but that depends on the individual and the particular field of science you’re talking about. One of my brothers is both devout and a scientist. And at his Zoom retirement party this past year, I learned he wasn’t the only one in his lab.

A woman who heads up an important climate change center is Texas is another example. Sarah Kaplan wrote about her at the Washington Post.

“ ‘What world have I brought my child into?’ the new mom pleaded. ‘What can I do to make sure my baby isn’t brought up in a world that’s being destroyed?’

“It was 2019, and climate researcher Katharine Hayhoe was at a church breakfast in Fairbanks, Alaska, when a young woman tapped on her shoulder and confessed that she was terrified. Ever since the birth of her daughter, the young woman said, she couldn’t stop worrying about the threat of a rapidly warming planet.

“ ‘That heartfelt question is one I thought I could only really answer as a fellow mom,’ said Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University and an evangelical Christian who has spent years trying to educate the public about climate change.

“Hayhoe told the Alaska woman the same thing she sometimes had to tell herself when she worried about her own son’s future: Channel your fear into action. Talk to your friends and family. Advocate for change in your town, your church, your school, your state. Now, Hayhoe aims to replicate that exchange on a much bigger scale.

“Along with five fellow climate scientists who are also mothers, she has teamed up with Potential Energy, a nonprofit marketing firm, to launch Science Moms, a $10 million campaign to educate and empower mothers to do something about climate change.

“Advertisements featuring Hayhoe and the female scientists will air on national TV and online for the next month. The initial push will be followed by ads in several key states where the effects of climate change are already being felt, including North Carolina, Arizona and Wisconsin. …

“In one video, Colorado State University atmospheric scientist Melissa Burt narrates a montage of images of her 4-year-old daughter, Mia, juxtaposed with footage of a hurricane.

“ ‘You don’t have to be a climate scientist to want to protect the Earth,’ she says. ‘And for Mia, I want you to know that I worked really hard to be a part of the change and to make it a better place for you.’

“The campaign also has a website featuring facts and resources, including links to books on talking to kids about climate and a form for contacting elected officials. …

“Mothers are the ‘sweet spot’ for inspiring social change, said John Marshall, a veteran marketing executive and consultant and a founder of Potential Energy. They have a long track record of political activity: Mothers Against Drunk Driving helped lower the legal limit for blood alcohol content in drivers. Moms Demand Action has lobbied for initiatives to prevent gun violence. …

“His research suggests that mothers are not more vocal about the warming threat because they’re not confident they understand the science and are unsure of what to do about it. That’s where Science Moms comes in.

‘Moms trust moms,’ said Burt. She hopes that viewers will see her — a Black woman who studies the warming Arctic and presents at scientific conferences but also cooks spaghetti for her family and gardens with her daughter — and feel represented.

“ ‘I want to connect with moms who look like me. … We are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change. I just want other moms who look like me to know they have a role in combating this crisis,’ she added.

“Science Moms is funded through donations, including large gifts from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott and former Nature Conservancy chief executive Mark Tercek. The group says it will be the biggest educational awareness campaign around climate since Al Gore’s $100 million ad blitz about the issue in 2007. [The] group cannot engage in political campaigns or seek to influence legislation.

“Marshall will measure success in heightened awareness of the threat posed by global warming and increased willingness to take action. He said his aim is to double the proportion of Americans who say they are ‘alarmed’ about climate change — a number that hovers around 26 percent, according to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. …

“Hayhoe hopes the ads will help counter the climate misinformation and misconceptions that so many Americans are exposed to: claims that it only affects polar bears (weather-related disasters cost the United States $95 billion and killed more than 200 people last year); assertions that the climate is always changing (in 4.6 billion years it has never warmed this fast); accusations that other countries are more at fault (the United States is the largest historical source of planet-warming emissions). …

“ ‘What we want to do is empower other moms to become messengers in the most-trusted category, which is friends and family,’ she said. ‘I really believe that using our voices is the way we can make a difference.’ ”

More at the Washington Post, here.

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herrera-3-624x543402x

Art: Diana Beltrán Herrera
The artist makes birds and other wildlife from paper and in recent years has started to use her art to support nonprofits fighting for the environment.

Although it is not new for artists to celebrate nature — a compulsion dating at least to prehistoric cave paintings — there’s a new sense of urgency in the era of global warming.

In a 2018 article in the New York Times, for example, 12 artists described how the crisis is influencing their work.

Here artist Xavier Cortada explains to the Times why he made a work showing residential street numbers underwater. “In response to South Florida’s vulnerability to rising sea levels, the village of Pinecrest, Florida will encourage its 6,000 households to install an ‘Underwater HOA [Homeowner Association]’ yard sign (similar to the 18- by 24-inch ‘Home for Sale’ yard signs used by realtors) on their front lawns during the first week of December. I numbered each yard sign from 0 to 17 feet (the municipality’s land elevation range) to show how many feet of melted glacial water must rise before a particular property is underwater.” Oy.

860_climate_change_and_artArt: Xavier Cortada
This painted sign is a marker that someone can plant in their yard showing that the property would be underwater with a sea-level rise of five feet.

Meanwhile, the fascinating website This Is Colossal has for some years been following the amazing paper creations of Diana Beltrán Herrera as she expands from birds she knows to environments she has never seen to helping nonprofits battle climate change.

Grace Ebert writes, “In 2012, Bristol-based artist Diana Beltrán Herrera [began] sculpting impeccably layered paper birds and other wildlife as a way to record her surroundings. Her lifelike pieces continuously have captured nature’s finely detailed and minuscule elements, like the fibrous texture of feathers and the veins running through leaves.

“Today, the artist has expanded the practice to include exotic species and environments she’s never seen up close, developing her paper techniques to express the more nuanced details of the shapes and textures she studies in biology books. Now focusing on the structural elements of fungi, fruit, and florals, Beltrán Herrera shares with Colossal:

‘Paper as a medium for documentation allows me to register and create notions and ideas of subjects that I have not experienced in real life but that I can experience when a sculpture is completed. I like this approach because it is not harmful, and through my work, I can show and tell my viewers about the things I have been learning, of the importance of nature just by researching and making it myself.’

“Much of her work centers on conservation efforts and environmental justice. For example, a recent commission by Greenpeace UK bolstered the organization’s Plastic Free Rivers campaign. ‘I am constantly looking for more subjects that are relevant to the times we are living in, so that through my work I can communicate important information that can educate or just make things more visible.’ …

“Her hope is to merge graphic and digital design with her paper pieces, potentially adding in animation, as well. Ultimately, her goal is to dive into larger projects. ‘I don’t see my work as something I want to know how to make and stay safe, but as a challenge, that will always allow me to wonder how to execute and create things that were never made with paper,’ she says.” More.

Other Colossal articles on the artist’s work can be found here. Follow her on Instagram, @dianabeltranherrera.

A musical composition created from climate-change data is another example of using an art to raise consciousness about the current state of the natural world.  From the website Science News for Students.

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oceanbased-tidal-launch.902568

Photo: OceanBased Perpetual Energy
Using the constant flow of the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean to generate power holds promise for an energy future based on renewables.

People fighting global warming have been understandably concerned that coronavirus has soaked up all the oxygen (to coin a phrase) in the public forum. On social media, they try to remind us that health issues — and racial justice, too, for that matter — are inextricably tied to pollution, global warming, and climate justice. I heard one expert opine on the radio that our clearer skies would not last and that as polluting manufacturing slows down so does manufacturing related to renewable energy.

So I was happy to see from today’s story that inventors in the renewable arena are still inventing.

Craig Pittman writes at the Washington Post, “Nasser Alshemaimry was on a boat last month, heading for a spot in the Atlantic Ocean to test out his turbines. He was also, he said, heading for completion of his final life goal.

“ ‘This is my last hurrah,’ said Alshemaimry, 70. ‘I’m going to do this and then retire.’

“A year ago his company, OceanBased Perpetual Energy, agreed to work with Florida Atlantic University to develop a way to generate electricity by harnessing the steady-flowing Gulf Stream, the powerful ocean current that brings warm water from the Gulf of Mexico into the Atlantic and up the East Coast to Canada. Now his company was ready for the first test of five types of turbines to see which one would work best while anchored 80 feet below the ocean’s surface.

“A successful test, Alshemaimry said, would lead to a project that would cost an estimated $16 billion. The goal: in five years, producing 5 gigawatts of electricity from turbines spun by the Gulf Stream, which would be sent through underwater cables to a power distribution station built in the West Palm Beach area.

“The 12-person team submerged the turbines in the Gulf Stream current approximately 20 miles offshore between Broward and Palm Beach counties [and] left them there for 24 hours to see which ones would spin the best in the Gulf Stream’s flow, producing power with the fewest problems. …

“All of the turbines worked well, but the team selected a design that looks like a pair of airplane engines mounted on a single wing to eliminate the torque caused by the rotating propellers.

Ocean energy works very much like wind power — the force of the sea turns the propellers of a turbine, activating a generator to produce electricity.

“Small numbers of underwater energy devices are unlikely to harm marine life, change their habitats or affect the natural flow of ocean waters, according to [oceanographers] with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in conjunction with the International Energy Agency. But submerged turbines do come with unique challenges — electrical parts have to be sealed and must resist corrosion, while underwater repairs are disruptive and difficult.

“Producing energy from the ocean is not a new idea. The La Rance tidal power station in Brittany, France, has been using 24 turbines to convert ocean tides into electrical power since 1966. Ocean power produces none of the carbon emissions linked to climate change, and it appeals to some energy executives because tides and currents are predictable, unlike solar and wind. But the cost of building the complex infrastructure required is so great that, so far, solar and wind have outpaced it. …

“ ‘Many of these niche applications, while interesting and helpful for research purposes, can’t compete in the wholesale power market,’ said the [Energy Information Administration’s] Glenn McGrath. …

“Gabriel M. Alsenas, director of the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Florida Atlantic, said that’s in part because ocean energy hasn’t been given the same government subsidies [as] solar and wind. …

“Alshemaimry, a Saudi entrepreneur with prior experience building solar-powered homes, spent several years working on a never-completed tidal energy project in Sweden. Then [he] met a U.S. Department of Energy official who suggested he contact Alsenas at Florida Atlantic University about the use of ocean currents. …

“After one phone conversation … Alsenas said, Alshemaimry dropped his Swedish project, switched from waves to currents and moved his entire operation. …

“ ‘Tidal is not 24/7 power,’ [Alshemaimry] said. ‘It’s back and forth. … The Gulf Stream flows 24/7/365.’ ” More here.

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cali_wwfus

Photo: Julia Kurnik, World Wildlife Fund
WWFUS hopes that a research-based pilot project could identify the best crops to grow in the mid-delta Mississippi region as climate change forces California to reconsider what it should grow
.

As changes in weather patterns damage agriculture in California, scientists are wondering if the Mississippi Delta could pick up the slack. The potential benefits of moving some farming to Mississippi include employment, better distribution systems, and less waste.

Radio show Living on Earth says,”Droughts and extreme weather are already taking a toll on the produce grown in the Central Valley of California. Now researchers from the World Wildlife Fund have found that the mid-Delta region of the Mississippi River, where rich soils currently mostly grow commodity crops like rice, corn, and soybeans, is ripe for growing more specialty crops such as fruits and vegetables.

“Jason Clay of WWF spoke with Host Steve Curwood about how the types of crops now grown in California could also be grown in the Mississippi mid-Delta region to enhance climate resilience and address poverty, food waste and food insecurity in America’s Heartland.

“CURWOOD: When you take a juicy bite out of a honeydew melon or chomp down on a handful of almonds, chances are that food came from the central valley of California. This region has perhaps the world’s largest patch of Class 1 soil, with abundant sunlight and no winter snow. But as the climate has changed, the flow of water from the Sierra Mountains has become less reliable. There have also been more heat waves and choking smoke from wildfires. So scientists and economists from the World Wildlife fund [say] the Mid-Mississippi river delta region is ripe for a switch from commodity crops such as cotton, rice and soy, to more high value specialty crops such as fruits and vegetables. …

“So how did you get into this study of farming and food?

“CLAY: I actually grew up on a farm, a very small farm in northern Missouri. And we lived on less than $1 a day. And so, as you might imagine, I couldn’t get away from farming fast enough. But everything I’ve done in my life has kind of led me back to farming. And about 20 years ago or so I started to work with WWF and convince them that, in fact, the biggest threat to the planet to biodiversity to ecosystem services is where and how we produce food. And from that point on, we begin to develop a program around agriculture, around livestock, around aquaculture, seafood. …

“CURWOOD: So Jason, what’s the importance of California to our food systems?

“CLAY: For the last hundred years or so California has become the major source of the fresh food that we eat. About a third of all vegetables about two thirds of the fruits and nuts all come from California. So, almonds and pistachios and things like that, but also cling peaches and olives and Kiwi and honeydew. California is just very important to the food system. 100 years ago it wasn’t, but it is today. …

“CURWOOD: What are some of the risks to this system? Looking ahead?

“CLAY: Well, it’s actually not even looking ahead. We’re already seeing that California is being affected by droughts, by fires, by freezes late in the spring, [also] by winters that are too warm to actually allow the fruit trees to bloom well and [we’re seeing] below normal snowfall in the mountains. And then in the summer, the snow melts too fast so that we don’t have enough water all year round to irrigate the crops. We’re losing at least the last of four crops and maybe the last two, depending on where you are. …

“CURWOOD: So I understand that you and your colleagues at the World Wildlife Fund have just released a report that identifies the potential of the Mississippi River mid-Delta region, that’s near Memphis, as I understand it, as perhaps an agricultural engine for fruits and vegetables. You’re calling it the Next California plan. …

“CLAY: Could we actually begin to shift production in a logical, organized way into this region without major disruptions in the food system? Because if we can anticipate this change, we can can make it happen much more smoothly, much more efficiently and a lot cheaper. …

“Fruit trees, for example, which require cold winters, are perfect for this area. In fact, they’re better than in California. There’s also the fact that in this region, there’s a lot of poverty, a lot of unemployment. …

“We’re probably going to get back to a much more distributed food system with the impacts of climate change. [One] of the things that struck me about farming in the Midwest is that most of the farming areas are actually food deserts. …

“They don’t have access to fresh food all year round. And this is no exception. In fact, people in the mid-Delta region are like number 49 or 50, in terms of [eating] fresh fruits and fresh vegetables.

“CURWOOD: Jason, some folks point out that we waste about 1/3 of our food. …

“CLAY: What the Next California does is reduce the transportation involved in food. It increases the quality of food on the shelf by having it more local. [We] can really take advantage of how close this region is to Chicago and St. Louis and Kansas City and New Orleans and [through] the intercoastal canal up to the East Coast. And so those things all should reduce food waste.”

More here.

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Photo: Murdo MacLeod/Guardian 
Helped by volunteers, Trees for Life planted nearly 2 million native trees on its Scottish projects.

Sometimes a tree has to be cut down because it’s rotting. But if it’s your tree, you can offset the loss for the planet by donating to an organization that plants lots of trees. Planting a lot of trees is important because it takes a long time before a bunch of little trees has the climate-saving benefits of one big tree.

I gave to the the Arbor Day Foundation last year after sadly saying good-bye to an old, old maple. Then the New York Times suggested Eden Reforestration Projects, which sounded excellent. The Times also provided names of organizations working on other climate-saving activities, including the Coalition for Rainforest Nations and a group providing fuel-efficient stoves in Kenya.

Patrick Barkham, reporting for the Guardian from Scotland, shows what can be done with a dedicated group of volunteers.

“The bracken-clad hills are marked ‘Dundreggan forest’ on the map but this Scottish glen is mostly stark Highland scenery: open, beautiful, and almost totally devoid of trees.

“On a steep-sided little gully, 40 years ago, a few baby silver birches escaped relentless browsing by red deer and grew tall. Now, the nearby path through the bracken is dusted with thousands of brown specks: birch seeds.

‘Each year, this “forest” produces trillions of birch seed,’ says Doug Gilbert, the operations manager for the charity Trees for Life at Dundreggan. ‘Until we reduce the deer pressure, not a single one has grown into a tree. Once we get the deer population right, this forest will absolutely take off. It’s starting to do that now.’

“The charity purchased the Dundreggan hunting estate 11 years ago. Slowly – ‘at tree speed,’ smiles Gilbert – it is rewilding 4,000 hectares (10,000 acres) of this degraded Highland landscape, restoring a diversity of native trees, scrub and associated life, from the dark bordered beauty moth to black grouse and, yes, red deer. …

“During the general election campaign, politicians desperately tried to outbid each other with tree-planting pledges. Who doesn’t love a tree? More trees can tackle the climate crisis – absorbing carbon dioxide – and the biodiversity crisis. But Trees for Life’s efforts reveal it is not quite so simple.

“Since Victorian times, when the sheep estates that followed the Highland clearances were replaced by more lucrative deer hunting estates, the landscape, and economic model, has been shaped by red deer. Around Dundreggan there are also non-native sika and roe deer. …

“The first step at Dundreggan has been to increase deer culling. Ecologists calculate that a red deer population of five per sq km in the wider landscape will allow natural regeneration; in many Highland regions it is 20. But culling deer is controversial because the value of stalking that estates base on deer numbers.

“Trees for Life has proceeded slowly with culling, seeking positive dialogue with neighbouring stalking estates. They’ve also tried non-lethal methods such as bagpipe-playing volunteers acting as nocturnal deer scarers. Trees and deer can coexist and Dundreggan’s deer population is now at a level where some young birches, pines, rowans and junipers will grow tall. …

“All the trees come from Scottish seeds – meaning they are suited to Highland climates and species, as well as being free of novel diseases. Half have been grown from seeds collected around Dundreggan. Its on-site nursery bristles with 94,000 saplings.

“Seed-collecting is not as simple as it sounds. Seed must come from a wide variety of individual trees to ensure genetic diversity. Cones from Scots pines have to be harvested before they drop to the ground, so specialist tree-climbers are employed. Trees for Life specialises in growing non-commercial high-mountain species such as woolly willow and dwarf birch. Surviving specimens are often only found on cliffs and crevices – with seeds or cuttings only retrievable by specialist climbers.

“Because of the deer grazing, every sapling is planted within a fenced enclosure (costing £10 [$12.79] per metre). Fencing is ‘a little bit of an admission of failure,’ says Gilbert. In the long term, when reducing deer numbers becomes less controversial, trees won’t need fences. Gilbert hopes the fences will last 30 years, when the well-established trees and scrub will survive browsing deer.” More.

(By the way, does anyone remember deer stalking in the children’s classic Wee Gillis?)

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Photo: Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District
Some California dairy farmers, concerned about their farms’ effect on global warming,
are working on long-term carbon sequestration.

My recent post “Farmers Turning Waste to Energy” described an effort to combine food waste with cow manure and convert methane gas to electricity. But as Earle noted in Comments, burning methane ultimately means more global warming. He recommended helping farmers put carbon back in the ground in ways that also improve the farm’s bottom line. It’s happening in California.

I went online and found this report at the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District (RCD) website.

“As much as one-third of the surplus CO2 in the atmosphere driving climate change has resulted from land management practices on agricultural lands.

Carbon farming, an array of strategies designed to promote long-term carbon sequestration, holds the potential to significantly reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases by capturing carbon in the soil and plant material, while enhancing soil health and productivity.

“The RCD and its LandSmart partners are working to develop a carbon planning component to the comprehensive conservation plans developed through the LandSmart program, identifying practices that would … provide multiple benefits for climate change resiliency, by reducing atmospheric CO2 levels while improving soil health, water holding capacity, and crop and forage production. …

“Practices such as hedgerows and windbreaks [also] work to both sequester CO2 while enhancing on-farm wildlife and pollinator habitat. …

“With the use of a wide variety of beneficial practices, Sonoma County farmers have the ability to reach our County’s goal for greenhouse gas reductions. … In the words of our Executive Director, Brittany Jensen, carbon farming is a regional tactic to address a global problem.

“ ‘By helping farmers make carbon farming a part of their daily operations, we have the opportunity to work on a global problem – climate change – and make a local difference.’ …

“The Ocean Breeze Dairy has been operated by the producer Jarrid Bordessa, a fifth-generation dairy operator, since 2003. In those last 16 years, his business model has shifted to grass-fed, certified organic milk production, and he is the right place to do just that. The Valley Ford dairy covers 310 acres of coastal grassland and over 4,500 feet of perennial stream.

“In the 2018 annual newsletter, we shared an article about Ocean Breeze Dairy, their distributor, Organic Valley, the Carbon Cycle Institute and the RCD developed a Carbon Farm Plan for the property, identifying opportunities to increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2018, the RCD was successful in securing a California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Healthy Soils Program Demonstration Project to implement two of the practices identified in the plan and to engage with local farmers and ranchers through public workshops.

“The two practices being implemented are the application of compost and the restoration of riparian habitat along lower Ebabias Creek, the primary tributary of Americano Creek, whose watershed estuary, the Estero Americano, drains into Bodega Bay and the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Considered one of California’s most unique coastal wetland types, the Estero Americano contains a diverse assemblage of wetland communities and estuarine habitats.”

Read more here.

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Photo: Anonymous twitter user
An embroidered “village” of temperatures, inspired by Nathalie Cichon. Handcrafters aren’t about to look away from the reality.

Every day I think about a blogger I know who had to step back from WordPress due to illness in the family. She wrote the most beautiful posts and commented thoughtfully on the posts of others. And because she was a weaver, quilter, and broadminded thinker, among other things, I know she would have liked this story about people using their handcrafts in a cause. Perhaps I will email her the link.

Rebecca Onion writes at “Future Tense,” a feature of Slate magazine, “As January became February, I noticed that green shoots from the daffodils in my front yard in Ohio were already poking above the ground. On Sunday, writer Josie George shared a photo on Twitter of a scarf she had been knitting, with a daily row for the temperature and weather in her town.

‘It felt like a good way to engage with the changing climate and with the changing year,’ she wrote. ‘A way to notice and not look away.’

“In response to George’s viral Tweet, a number of knitters, cross-stitchers, and quilters shared their own projects. The idea of a temperature scarf, it turns out, is at least a half a decade old, and a whole lot of people are trying to chart the ‘new normal’ in yarn.

“In 2015, Joan Sheldon, a marine scientist, knit a scarf depicting global average temperatures from the 1600s to the present. Last year, the St. Paul Star Tribune covered a knit-along called Weather or Knot, conducted by one of the city’s yarn stores, that asked knitters to make a temperature blanket or scarf; that knit-along was inspired by the Tempestry Project, a group founded in Washington state in 2017, that now has chapters across the country. Climate crafting, it seems, has come into its own. …

“The image at the top of this article is the work of a cross-stitcher from France, who is making a little ‘village’ of houses with the low temperature of the day stitched on the door and windows and the high temperature on the walls. She said via email that she started her project after seeing the idea discussed on a Facebook fan group for the French cross-stitch designer Nathalie Cichon. …

‘ I pictured my project as a personal memo of the temperatures of 2020,’ she said over email. ‘However, the further I go the more I can see the impact it can have. I am angry and sad every time I have to stitch a house with a color that shouldn’t be there. …

“I spoke with Fran Sharp, a quilter from Massachusetts who had begun work on a temperature quilt without quite knowing how many other people were carrying out similar projects. … When I shared George’s thread with Sharp, she was full of new ideas. ‘This got me thinking about all the different things one could portray,’ she said. ‘I made a list. Temperature extremes, effects on animal life, food production.’ …

“The knitter, quilter, or cross-stitcher who works on a climate-related design can make interesting design choices that force deep interaction with the data. The Weather or Knot design, for example, featured different colors for absolute temperatures, and varied stitches that reflected whether the day’s temperature was above or below the average. …

“Katharine Schwab pointed out in a Fast Company piece, knitting has long been recognized as conveying mental health benefits. But there’s more to this particular kind of craftivism than self-care. The act of crafting [is], itself, a sort of protest against the industrial world that gave us climate change in the first place. ‘Crafting creates slow space, a speed at odds with the imperative toward hyperproduction,’ Jack Bratich and Heidi Brush write in a history of crafting and activism. …

“These projects also play with the idea of ‘steganography’— the concealment of secret information in plain sight. … The history of fiber and textile art is full of steganography, real, fictional, or anecdotal: Madame Defarge of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, knitting a list of people to be guillotined; the Belgian resistance during WWII, recruiting women whose windows were located over train yards to knit patterns of the trains’ arrivals and departures; enslaved women sewing codes into quilts that helped people navigate the Underground Railroad.” More.

“Future Tense” is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society.

Hat Tip: ArtsJournal

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Photo: Chelsea Call
A young girl plants a seedling at the ASRI clinic in Gunung Palung National Park in Borneo, where a nonprofit enables patients to pay for medical care without resorting to illegal logging.

The radio show “Living on Earth,’ Public Radio International’s environmental news magazine, is a great source of stories about nature, climate change, and ecological initiatives worldwide. In this episode, we learn that medical costs in Borneo were the main reason that communities were illegally cutting down trees. And we see how one visionary addressed the danger to the rainforest by first asking the local community what needed to be done.

“Gunung Palung National Park on the island of Borneo is home to diverse species found nowhere else, and beloved by the people who live on the Indonesian island. But like many people who live near tropical forests, they have at times had to resort to illegal logging to pay for healthcare. Now the nonprofit Health in Harmony is providing healthcare that patients can pay for with a simple trade of labor, seedlings or manure, so that no one ever has to log to pay cash for essential health services. Founder Kinari Webb and Host Bobby Bascomb discuss the importance of listening to what forest communities say they need in order to stop logging.

“BASCOMB: The rainforests of Borneo are some of the oldest tropical forests in world, roughly 130,000 years old. And because they evolved on an isolated island the forests are teeming with endemic species found nowhere else on earth. From highly endangered orangutans, tigers, and rhinos to pygmy elephants just five feet tall.

“Borneo’s Gunung Palung National Park is a critical habitat for many of the island’s endangered species and a huge carbon sink – crucial in our fight against climate change. The rainforest was also being deforested at an alarming rate when Kinari Webb first visited in the early 90’s. Kinari was a student at the time, but she was so alarmed by the deforestation she saw that she went on to found the nonprofit Health in Harmony, which aims to keep the forest healthy by keeping people healthy. …

“WEBB: I first went to Borneo when I was an undergraduate. I took a year off and spent a year deep in the rainforest studying orangutans. And Gunung Palung National Park is considered the jewel in the crown of all the Indonesian national parks. … There’s a lot of people who live right around the park, about 60,000 people. They love the forest as well. …

“They want it to be there for future generations. But the logging was rampant, it was completely out of control. … I was just so angry at these people. But then I realized, and I talked to many of them, and what they told me was, you know, if my child is sick, or my family member is sick, I have no choice and it’s one of the only ways to get cash. … One medical emergency can cost an entire year’s income. …

“That just broke my heart. How can that be? And how can we be allowing that to be? So I ended up going to medical school and returning to Indonesia so that I could try to work on this intersection between human and environmental health.

“BASCOMB: You call it radical listening, the way that you discovered what these people need and how to help them. Can you tell me more? …

WEBB: We actually do what people say. And that is wildly unusual in the way that development is done and conservation is done. … We ask them, what would you all need as a thank you from the world community so that you could actually protect this precious forest that you all are guardians of?

“And it was amazing because every single community and everywhere we’ve been, it’s been the same, that every community will independently come to a solution that is the same in a given region. So around Gunung Palung, it was we need access to healthcare, and we need training and organic farming. And if we have those things, we can stop logging. Now, I just, in the beginning, I just trusted on faith that they truly knew what the solutions were.

“But 10 years later, we had incredible data that showed a 90% drop in logging households; a stabilization of the loss of primary forest, which had been shrinking like crazy. We had a re-growth, actually, of 52,000 acres of forest, and we had a 67% drop in infant mortality. …

“BASCOMB: A lot of NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] will go to a community and say, Oh, you need a school, or you need a road. But if you actually stop and ask people, they might say, we need water. We need sanitation. …

“WEBB: We ended up providing a kind of simultaneous to the government healthcare system, when the government was struggling to get a system that was quite functional. And since then [2007] they have done a much, much better job. And we coordinate with them all the time, and I think that together, we have really made a great difference in these communities. And one of the heads of the Department of Health at one point said to me, he said, ‘You know, I didn’t even know it was possible to provide high quality health care in a remote area. It wasn’t even trying until I saw your clinic.’ ”

More at the Living on Earth radio show, here.

Photo: Chelsea Call
An orangutan in Indonesian Borneo. “Kinari Webb was studying orangutans in Borneo in the early 1990s when she found out that much of the logging there was done so locals could cover healthcare costs,” says
Living on Earth.

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Photo: NTV
Led by a grandmother, an amateur theater group in Turkey is raising awareness about climate change and the lives of rural women.

Wherever you live, whatever age you are, you have the power to do something valuable for the world. A grandmother in rural Turkey understood that from an early age and is making her voice heard.

The BBC garnered this story from NTV, the Turkish television news channel.

Dilay Yalcin and Krassi Twigg reported, “A 62-year-old grandmother from rural Turkey who rose to national fame with her all-women village theatre group is now set to stage a play raising awareness about climate change.

“Ummiye Kocak from the village of Arslankoy in the Mediterranean province of Mersin recently began rehearsals for her new play ‘Mother, the Sky is Pierced!’

“She told Anadolu news agency that she wanted ‘people to realise just how serious it is.’

The climate crisis is ‘not only our problem, it is the world’s problem,’ she says. ‘I am shouting as loud as I can — this world is ours, we need to take good care of it!’

“Ummiye Kocak has written plays for many years, always aiming to change perceptions. Her previous works have tackled issues from poverty and domestic violence to Alzheimer’s Disease. … In 2013 she won an award at a New York festival with a film focusing on the difficulties of women’s lives in a Turkish village. …

“Ummiye Kocak grew up in a conservative rural area, and only got primary education ‘by chance — as each family was required to send one girl to school.

“But she says her father was open-minded enough to take all his children to the cinema at a time when no other dad in the village would, sparking her love of drama.

“She says that when she first arrived in the village of Arslankoy as a young bride, she noticed that women there had to do all the work — in the fields as well as in the house. She thought that wasn’t right and told herself: ‘Ummiye, you have to make the voices of these women heard!’

“Her village doesn’t have a stage, so she gathers her performers under a walnut tree in her garden for rehearsals while they do their domestic chores. …

“People in other parts of the country want a piece of the action, issuing invitations on social media for the group to perform locally.

“One woman in Istanbul wrote: ‘I’m proud and honoured on behalf of all women every time I see you, Aunt Ummiye. … I hope all women lead their lives knowing they have this power like you do.’ ”

More at the BBC, here.

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Photo: Loren Kerns, Flickr
Many carbon offset projects reduce carbon in the atmosphere by protecting forests. Cool Effect offers other, carefully vetted offsets. The average American creates 17 tons of carbon pollution every year, so at $5 t0 $13 a ton, offsetting your footprint is a real deal.

When an arborist came to our house to remove a dangling limb on our big old tree, I was so sad to learn that the whole tree was diseased and had to come down. Not only was it beautiful, it was removing carbon from the atmosphere, which helps reduce global warming. I made a donation to the the Arbor Day Foundation, as an offset, but that’s not as good as keeping an ancient tree.

Here is what a recent episode of the radio show Living on Earth had to say about some good carbon offsets.

“Carbon-intensive activities, including global air travel, have been growing for decades. For individuals and companies interested in reducing their carbon footprints, carbon offsets promise to mitigate the damage caused by flying and other emissions sources through the investment in projects that either sequester carbon, like reforestation or forest conservation, or develop alternative energy infrastructure that reduce future emissions. Cool Effect CEO Marisa de Belloy discusses her non-profit crowdfunding platform that sells these offsets with host Bobby Bascomb.

“BASCOMB: [What] do people choose to offset with your carbon emissions offset program? …

“DE BELLOY: They’ll offset a flight, they’ll offset their trips to work; some will offset their entire year. The average American emits about 17 tons of carbon pollution every year. And so some people like to wipe that clean by offsetting that at Cool Effect. These are people who are committed environmentalists who are already doing what they can do in their daily lives, to reduce their impact. And that might be eating less meat, it might be traveling less often, it might be having an electric car or solar panels. …

“BASCOMB: [Give] me some examples of projects that participate.

“DE BELLOY: [Each] of these projects will have met the requirements of an independent standard, they’ll have been verified independently of us, and then we do our own very deep due diligence that lasts a couple of months on each project, to make sure that they’re doing exactly what they say they’re doing. …

“We have a project, for example, in Vietnam that installs biogas digesters, which is a very simple technology that takes animal waste, and turns it into clean cooking fuel for homes. We have a project in the United States that’s protecting the forest, or another one protecting grasslands; a project in Honduras that is providing clean cookstoves for families down there who were basically dying from air pollution from cooking over open fires. …

“They all are truly additional, meaning they’re truly having an impact on the planet and then they also all have their own set of co-benefits. [For] the cookstove project, it’s the health of the families. In some cases, it’s local jobs. In some cases, it’s protecting wildlife or a whole forest ecosystem and the people who live there. [The] key thing that underlies all the projects is that we have made sure that they’re actually doing the work of verifiably reducing carbon emissions.

“BASCOMB: And how do you actually verify that? I mean, how do you know that this project wouldn’t have been done anyway without this money? …

“DE BELLOY: [A] couple of different ways, but one is you have to understand what their financial model is, both when they started the business and currently. Is there a profitable way to do what they’re doing without the revenue from carbon offsets? And if the answer is yes, then the project is likely not additional. Another way to look for additionality is regulatory additionality. So, is there a law in place that’s requiring this business or this nonprofit to do what it’s doing? …

“BASCOMB: And then once you’ve identified a good project to work with, how do you guarantee the longevity of that? I mean, I saw that you have one in Brazil, protecting the Amazon, and Brazil is a famously lawless area, especially with the new president that really doesn’t encourage conservation. How can you be sure that those trees will still be standing 10 years from now, or that the landowner won’t take that money and then clear cut in a different area?

“DE BELLOY: [On] the trees still standing portion, that’s built into the methodology, so they will no longer be able to offer credits if those trees start disappearing. And each of the methodologies includes a certain buffer amount of trees, you know, because trees do die, and you can have natural fires and that sort of thing. And we take a particularly conservative approach to these projects, if there’s any doubt that, you know, the cook stove was in use, or the tree was still standing, or, you know, the animals were still having access to these grasslands, then a credit is not issued for that amount. So wherever there’s doubt, the credit is not issued. …

“[The cost for an offset] goes from about $5 to about $13 a ton. So if you think about the average American having 17 tons of carbon pollution every year, it’s a really reasonable amount of money to spend to wipe away that impact that we’re all having.” More from Living on Earth, here.

The best example I know of someone practicing what they preach is young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who is traveling from Canada to Chile without using fossil fuels. Read this.

Photo: New York Times
So as not to use any airplane’s fossil fuels, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg crossed the Atlantic Ocean aboard the Malizia II, a zero-emissions racing yacht.
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Photo: BioCarbon Engineering
Drones can have a peaceful purpose. These are fighting climate change by “bombing” seeds into places that need trees. Trees are essential for decreasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Drones can have peaceful purposes. Some folks use them for photography or research on birds. Others have tapped drones to plant the trees our planet needs to reduce carbon dioxide and combat global warming.

Leo Shvedsky writes at Good, “Technology is the single greatest contributor to climate change but it may also soon be used to offset the damage we’ve done to our planet since the Industrial Age began.

“In September 2018, a project in Myanmar used drones to fire ‘seed missiles’ into remote areas of the country where trees were not growing. Less than a year later, thousands of those seed missiles have sprouted into 20-inch mangrove saplings that could literally be a case study in how technology can be used to innovate our way out of the climate change crisis.

“ ‘We now have a case confirmed of what species we can plant and in what conditions,’ Irina Fedorenko, co-founder of Biocarbon Engineering, told Fast Company. …

“According to Fedoranko, just two operators could send out a mini-fleet of seed missile planting drones that could plant 400,000 trees a day — a number that quite possibly could make massive headway in combating the effects of manmade climate change.

“The drones were designed by an ex-NASA engineer. And with a pressing need to reseed an area in Myanmar equal to the size of Rhode Island, the challenge is massive but suddenly within reach. Bremley Lyngdoh, founder and CEO of World Impact, says reseeding that area could theoretically house as many as 1 billion new trees. …

“For context, it took the Worldview Foundation 7 years to plant 6 million trees in Myanmar. Now, with the help of the drones, they hope to plant another 4 million before the end of 2019.

“Myanmar is a great case study for the project. In addition to the available land for the drone project, the nation has been particularly hit by the early effects of climate change in recent years. Rising sea levels are having a measurable impact on the population. In addition to their ability to clear CO2 from the atmosphere, healthy trees can also help solidify the soil, which can reduce the kind of soil erosion that has been affecting local populations in Myanmar.”

Adele Peters at Fast Company explains, “The drones first fly over an area to map it, collecting data about the topography and soil condition that can be combined with satellite data and analyzed to determine the best locations to plant each seed. Then the drone fires biodegradable pods — filled with a germinated seed and nutrients — into the ground. For the process to succeed in a mangrove forest, several conditions need to be right; if the tide comes in unexpectedly, for example, the seeds could wash away. In tests, Biocarbon Engineering has looked at which species and environmental conditions perform best.

“If drones do begin to replant entire forests, humans will still play a critical role. That’s in part because some seeds don’t fit inside the pods. But people living nearby also need a reason to leave the trees standing. ‘The project in Myanmar is all about community development and enabling people to care for trees, providing them with jobs, and making environmental restoration in a way that it’s profitable for people,’ says Fedorenko. ‘The forest didn’t vanish by itself—the forest was cut down by local people.’ ”

More at Good and Fast Company.

Hat tip: Maria Popova on Twitter.

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