World Leaders commit to Pledge for Nature, Environmental Recovery

Worldwide, the natural environment is straining under the weight of a myriad of threats, and time is quickly running out to stem the damage before it becomes irreversible. The urgency of the situation prompted leaders from 64 countries around the world to sign a Pledge for Nature on Sept. 28, committing to work together to put ecosystems—land, ocean, and freshwater—on a path toward sustainability. The group released the pledge ahead of the Sept. 30 United Nations Summit on Biodiversity, which will bring together heads of state and other government representatives under the theme of “Urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development.”

Can you guess which “advanced” nation hasn’t yet decided if it should sign on to such a radical proposal?

Fuzzy green “glacier mice”


Glacier mice in IcelandRuth Mottram

In 2006, while hiking around the Root Glacier in Alaska to set up scientific instruments, researcher Tim Bartholomaus encountered something unexpected…

Scattered across the glacier were balls of moss. “They’re not attached to anything and they’re just resting there on ice,” he says. “They’re bright green in a world of white.”…

…In the journal Polar Biology, they report that the balls can persist for years and move around in a coordinated, herdlike fashion that the researchers can not yet explain.

“The whole colony of moss balls, this whole grouping, moves at about the same speeds and in the same directions,” Bartholomaus says. “Those speeds and directions can change over the course of weeks.”

Similar “mice” are found on many glaciers around the world. And the whole picture, a complete understanding of how these “herds” move in unison, hasn’t yet been proven. They are being tagged – and tracked. They change direction sometimes. There are individual “mice” scientists have watched for years. RTFA. Stay in touch. The suspense is unbearable!

10 years difference in Euro Parliament elections

I am honoured to have been elected as a Green party MEP. I can’t wait to get to work on behalf of all those who put their faith in me and in our movement’s vision of hope. We are truly building a common world, rooted in the aspirations of the young and set to deliver lasting change for all.

❝ Millions of citizens from Sheffield to Stuttgart have grown weary of the same old politics of tribal allegiances…Ten years after Yorkshire and the Humber sent a member of the BNP to the European parliament, we’ve elected a black, Muslim refugee standing for the Green party. Now isn’t that something?

❝ The election results from across Europe are bittersweet. Yes, they show that dark shadows of hatred continue to enshroud us – reminding us that xenophobia and hate are by no means a uniquely British problem. Yet we have also witnessed the mighty Green wave cascading through Europe and landing on our shores. We have seen the light of hope beaming not only on the distant horizon, but right here and now in front of us – where we comfortably beat the Tories in all parts of the country, with seven elected Green MEPs. Through this spirit of resistance, we are able to see clearly the path that will carry us to a kinder, fairer, more tolerant Britain and to a greener, more welcoming and more democratic Europe.

Good for you, brother. A significant portion of the American Left would self-identify as Green. Yet, time and again, we confront a one-time lurch into electoral politics by a seemingly isolated solo Green candidate. I don’t know if this is rooted in American impatience or what; but, this kind of effort rarely produces more than disappointment. Maybe our Euro brothers and sisters are accustomed to the building – and the role – of minor parties, Dunno.

I register as Democrat so I can participate in their primaries. That’s about it. Feels like the number of folks doing the same thing grows every year. Believe me, I’d much rather register as Green.

Green Dragon in the Sky over Iceland


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A gargantuan green dragon hisses in the sky over Iceland. Either “Game of Thrones” really upped its production budget for its final season, or the sun belched a barrage of charged particles into our atmosphere again.

As much as any of us would like to see a real dragon breathe flames into the winter sky, buzzkill NASA blames solar activity — as usual — for the writhing, “fire-breathing”- aurora that loomed over Iceland earlier this month.

Of course, I like the GAME OF THRONES scenario.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia

Looks like a trend to me — louder than the whining from public utility companies

net metering
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Furthermore:

A charitable fund of the Rockefeller family – who are sitting on a multibillion-dollar oil fortune – has said it will withdraw all its investments from fossil fuel companies.

The Rockefeller Family Fund, a charity set up in 1967 by descendants of John D Rockefeller, said on Wednesday that it would divest from all fossil fuel holdings “as quickly as possible”.

The fund, which was founded by Martha, John, Laurance, Nelson and David Rockefeller, singled out ExxonMobil for particular attention describing the world’s largest oil company as “morally reprehensible”.

Line freeways with wind turbines: [1] highways are ugly and [2] no one lives there anyway


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Britain’s motorways should be lined with wind turbines because they are already unattractive and very few people live alongside them, according to Baroness Brown, the UK’s green energy ambassador.

Wind farms built along the 2,300-mile motorway network would generate less local opposition than those constructed in unspoiled rural areas, predicted Baroness Brown, an independent peer in the House of Lords.

“You don’t really want to live beside a motorway – it’s not good for you and it’s noisy. I do a lot of driving up the east side of the country and I wonder why we don’t line the sides of our motorways with wind turbines…

“We haven’t got infinite space and you have got to be sensitive about where you put these things. But motorways seem like an ideal location…”

Seems like a good idea here in the US, as well. Think they’d spoil the view driving through Secaucus on the New Jersey Turnpike?

The cost of onshore wind power has plummeted in recent years and is now the cheapest of all electricity sources. But the Government has made it difficult for new onshore windfarms to be built despite them offering the best way to meet ambitious climate targets in an affordable way.

Many stretches of motorway are not windy enough to power turbines, experts warn. But other parts of the motorway network provide plenty of scope for wind farms, they say, such as the 152-turbine Clyde array on either side of the M74 near the Lanarkshire village of Abington and the 11-turbine Swinford complex by the M1 in Leicestershire. The turbines on windfarms such as these have to be set back from the motorway so they don’t fall on to it if they keel over.

Hopefully, the Brits – and other folks – are capable of erecting wind turbines that don’t fall over onto freeways. Unlike our out-of-repair bridges.

Kratom, a botanical dietary supplement alternative for addicts — is addictive itself

Three shaky months into recovery from heroin addiction, Dariya Pankova found something to ease her withdrawal. A local nonalcoholic bar sold a brewed beverage that soothed her brain and body much as narcotics had. A perfect solution — before it backfired.

Ms. Pankova grew addicted to the beverage itself. She drank more and more, awakened her cravings for the stronger high of heroin, and relapsed. Only during another stay in rehab did Ms. Pankova learn that the drink’s primary ingredient, a Southeast Asian leaf called kratom, affects the brain like an opiate and can be addictive, too.

“It’s preying on the weak and the broken,” said Ms. Pankova, 23, a Brooklyn native who received treatment in Delray Beach. “It’s a mind-altering substance, so people like me who are addicts and alcoholics, they think just because it’s legal, it’s fine. It’s a huge epidemic down here, and it’s causing a lot of relapses…”

Concern is particularly high in South Florida, where a rising concentration of drug-treatment providers has coincided with the sprouting of kratom bars. But kratom is now available around the country. Powdered forms of the leaf are sold at head shops and gas-station convenience stores and on the Internet. Bars have recently opened in Colorado, New York, North Carolina and other states where customers nurse brewed varieties, varying in strength, from plastic bottles that resemble those for fruit juice…

Just because a substance is “green” – and not yet illegal, doesn’t mean it isn’t addictive and harmful. Of course, a sensible drugs policy which regulated public access and distribution of any substance like this would go a long way towards providing help for addictive personalities and nudge DEA coppers and drug squads in the direction of useful employment.

That ain’t about to happen either. But, don’t kid yourself about quasi-legal green goodies always being better for your health. Just a prettier monkey on your back.

Earth Day

Earth-Quotes-6

Each year, Earth Day — April 22 — marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.

The height of hippie and flower-child culture in the United States, 1970 brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album, and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Protest was the order of the day, but saving the planet was not the cause. War raged in Vietnam, and students nationwide increasingly opposed it.

At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. “Environment” was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news. Although mainstream America remained oblivious to environmental concerns, the stage had been set for change by the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962. The book represented a watershed moment for the modern environmental movement, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries and, up until that moment, more than any other person, Ms. Carson raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and public health.

Earth Day 1970 capitalized on the emerging consciousness, channeling the energy of the anti-war protest movement and putting environmental concerns front and center.

Thanks, Ursarodinia