Blackrock, books, cutting pollution, Environment, Fausto Llerena Tortoise Center, Gallapagos tortoise, Glistening Inkcap, Green investing, green living, habitat restoration, Lawrence D. Fink, recycling, San Francisco, Uncategorized

odds and ends

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Diego, the Tortoise Whose High Sex Drive Helped Save His Species, Retires

With the future secured, he’s finally going home. Good job, Diego.

By Aimee Ortiz
Jan. 12, 2020

A member of the giant tortoise species indigenous to Española Island in the Galápagos in Ecuador, Diego was one of 15 tortoises in a captive breeding program at the Fausto Llerena Tortoise Center on the island of Santa Cruz.

Among the males, Diego displayed an exceptional sex drive, so much so, he’s credited with helping save his species from extinction. Approximately 40 percent of the 2,000 tortoises repatriated to Española Island are estimated to be Diego’s descendants, officials said.

Now, more than 100 years old, he is retiring, since the Galápagos National Park announced the end of the breeding program, saying an evaluation showed it had met its conservation goals. (Maybe he doesn’t want to quit now!!)

Begun in 1965, the program on Pinzón Island started with the last 2 males and 12 females, plus Diego, a 30-year old male from the San Diego Zoo who is believed to have been taken from Española Island in the 1930s.

For many years, feral goats overran the island, competing for food and destroying the habitat. Conservationists have worked to restore the island’s habitat, including the growth of cacti, which are a main source of food for the tortoises.

There are more details on the breeding program here.      And here.

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LAURENT GILLIERON-AP

Photo: Laurent Gillieron. AP

Climate Crisis Will Reshape Finance,
Andrew Ross Sorkin,

January 14, 2020

Laurence D. Fink, the founder and chief executive of BlackRock, announced Tuesday that his firm would make investment decisions with environmental sustainability as a core goal.

BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager with nearly $7 trillion in investments, and this move will fundamentally shift its investing policy — and could reshape how corporate America does business and put pressure on other large money managers to follow suit.

Mr. Fink’s annual letter to the chief executives of the world’s largest companies is closely watched, and in the 2020 edition he said BlackRock would begin to exit certain investments that “present a high sustainability-related risk,” such as those in coal producers. His intent is to encourage every company, not just energy firms, to rethink their carbon footprints.

“Awareness is rapidly changing, and I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance,” Mr. Fink wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The New York Times. “The evidence on climate risk is compelling investors to reassess core assumptions about modern finance.”

In recent years, many companies and investors have committed to focusing on the environmental impact of business, but none of the largest investors in the country have been willing to make it a central component of their investment strategy.

In that context, Mr. Fink’s move is a watershed — one that could spur a national conversation among financiers and policymakers. However, it’s also possible that some of the most ardent climate activists will see it as falling short.

More details here.

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Tyler Varsell

Photo: Tyler Varsell

Climate Fwd – One Thing We Can Do: Fix Recycling
by Eduardo Garcia,

January 15, 2020

For years, we relied heavily on recycling operations in China to take our waste. But that came to an end in 2018, when Beijing barred the import of recycling materials. The result is a waste crisis that has caused at least dozens of municipalities to cancel curbside recycling programs, with many more implementing partial cuts. Huge amounts of recyclables are now going to landfills.

Experts say that we would need to implement changes across the board. Legislators may need to pass laws requiring manufacturers to use more recyclable materials, companies would need to build much-needed recycling infrastructure and people would need to recycle properly.

Cities can’t do all that. But they can play an important role.

For a possible model, consider San Francisco, which runs one of the most successful waste-management programs in the United States. Through recycling and composting, the city manages to keep around 80 percent of its waste out of landfills.

San Francisco’s program has been years in the making. In 2000, it introduced the “fantastic three” citywide curbside collection program with separate, color-coded bins for recyclables, compost and trash. In 2009, it passed a law requiring residents and businesses to separate their waste.

Other policies include bans on hard-to-recycle items including single-use plastic bags and polystyrene packaging and an ordinance requiring food vendors to use compostable or recyclable food containers.

San Francisco’s system is built on a highly unusual partnership with a single waste company. That company, Recology, has had a monopoly on handling San Francisco’s waste for almost 90 years. That no-bid, no-franchise-fee concession has come under harsh criticism over the years.

More here.

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Also, in “Spotlight On” –

800px-Coprinellus_micaceus_Glimmer-TintlingGlistening Inkcap

This is a common edible fungus found all over the world. It grows in dense clusters on rotting hardwood and disturbed ground sites. Under humid conditions, it can also grow indoors on rotting wood. In one instance it was discovered about four hundred feet underground in an abandoned coal mine, growing on wooden gangways and props used to support the roof. The Glistening inkcap can be highly productive, with several successive crops appearing during one fruiting season.
The entire cap surface is covered with reflective cells that look like flakes of mica, which give this mushroom its name.
It is edible, and is enjoyed in omelets and sauces. Nutritionally, it contains a very high concentration of potassium, but also accumulates heavy metals from exposure, so it should not be collected from roadsides and other areas that may be exposed to pollutants.
The scientific community has found the Coprinellus micaeus of interest since 1601, when it was the subject of a monograph by Carolus Clusius in The History of Rare Plants. As this mushroom is plentiful and easily grown in laboratories, it has often been the subject in studies of cells and the processes of spore production.
Bioactive compounds have been isolated from Coprinellus micaeus. One was found to inhibit the enzyme that aids cancer cells to resist chemotherapy, and one has been shown to have some modest potential as an antioxidant. (From Volume 1 of Secret Voices, Coastal Redwood Companions)

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And, don’t forget my books, Secret Voices from the Forest – Thoughts and Dreams of North American Trees, are on sale on Amazon.com. p.s. There are some weird people offering them for sale, sometimes for hundreds of dollars! Don’t be fooled. The list prices are $28.95 for Vols. 1 & 2, and $32.95 for Vol. 3.

cover    cover-SV2    Vol. 3 - The East copy

See ya later, alligator.

 

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