books, energy efficiency, Environment, environmental agencies, global warming, Green Movement, methane from livestock industry, Rivers, self-sustainability, Solar energy, Uncategorized, Weather, Wildlife, windfarms

News from The Treetalker

Greek island Tilos on its way to becoming fully powered by renewable energy, Oct 10, 2018, Megan Treaty, for TreeHugger

This small Greek island in the Aegean Sea, home to only about 500 people year-round, but whose population doubles during tourist season, is about to show the islands around the world how to become energy independent using only renewable sources, if only on a small scale, using wind turbines, photovoltaic and a battery storage system. They are hoping to initially cover 70% of their needs, ramping it up to 100% soon.

They are currently dependent on fossil fuels that are delivered by an undersea cable, which is unreliable and is subject to tectonic activity. For the full article, click here.

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How will 9 billion or 10 billion people eat without destroying the environment? By Joel Achenbach, for
The Washington Post, October 10, 2018

A sobering report published Wednesday in the journal Nature argues that a sustainable food system that doesn’t ravage the environment is going to require dramatic reforms, including a radical change in dietary habits.

The report comes on the heels of a warning from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that global leaders need to take unprecedented action in the next decade to keep the planet’s average temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

Global warming has typically been linked to the burning of fossil fuels, but food production is a huge and underappreciated factor, and the new report seeks to place food in the center of the conversation about how humanity can create a sustainable future.

Half the planet’s ice-free land surface is devoted to livestock or the growing of feed for those animals. That’s an area equal to North and South America combined. Rain forests are steadily being cleared for cropland. And the demand for food is increasing faster than the population: Rising income in China and many other formerly impoverished countries brings with it a higher demand for meat and other forms of animal protein. Some 70 percent of the world’s fresh water is already used in agriculture, and the demand for that water will intensify. To read the rest of the article, click here.

(Daniel Acker:Bloomberg)

The Climate Outlook Is Dire. So, What’s Next?
By Somini Sengupta, for The New York Times, Oct. 9, 2018

A report issued Sunday by 91 scientists painted a stark portrait of how quickly the planet is heating up and how serious the consequences are. In response, the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, warned world leaders, “Do what science demands before it is too late.”

With the world’s largest emitters of CO2 unwilling to back off on their own pollution-causing policies, and the poorer countries unable to afford to change, things look frighteningly like we’re headed for catastrophe, and a lot faster than we previously thought. For the rest of the article, go here.

rendon Thorne:Bloomberg

US states agree on plan to manage overtaxed Colorado River
By DAN ELLIOTT, Oct 10, 2018, for Associated Press News

Seven Southwestern U.S. states that depend on the overtaxed Colorado River say they have reached tentative agreements on managing the waterway amid an unprecedented drought. The plans announced Tuesday, Oct. 9 were a milestone for the river, which supports 40 million people and 6,300 square miles (16,300 square kilometers) of farmland in the U.S. and Mexico. The plans aren’t designed to prevent a shortage, but they’re intended to help manage and minimize the problems.

If you are interested in reading the details of this story, go here.

Ross D. Franklin

Also, Spotlight On:

Pipsissewa
The Creek Indians called the Spotted wintergreen “pipsisikweu,” which means “breaks into small pieces,” after the belief that that it could break down gallstones and kidney stones. The plant has been employed for centuries to treat many ills, but as it is increasingly rare, it is best not to collect it from the wild.
Pipsissewa has been a traditional ingredient of root beer and is still included in several brands. The oil is a flavoring agent for dental preparations, especially if combined with menthol and eucalyptus. In the 19th century Alice Morse Earle wrote in Old Time Gardens that the word Pipsissewa is one of a few words from the Algonquin that is today used in the English language.

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OK then. Another month gone by. Who knows what will happen next, right? Stay tuned to your local real news station…or not, as you choose.

Remember, Volume Three: The East of Secret Voices has been released see my page on Amazon to buy it. Have a great week (or month)!

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News from The Treetalker

Large wind and solar farms in the Sahara would increase heat, rain, vegetation

September 6, 2018

Wind and solar farms are known to have local effects on heat, humidity and other factors that may be beneficial — or detrimental — to the regions in which they are situated. A new climate-modeling study finds that a massive wind and solar installation in the Sahara Desert and neighboring Sahel would increase local temperature, precipitation and vegetation. Overall, the researchers report, the effects would likely benefit the region.

read the article here.

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Map by Eviatar Bach

GOING THE DISTANCE  Painted ladies travel 12,000 km each year, farther than any known butterfly migration

By Leah Rosenbaum, June 20, 2018

Though found across the world, the orange-and-brown beauties that live in Southern Europe migrate into Africa each fall, crossing the Sahara on their journey; analysis of butterfly wings suggests that the butterflies head back to Europe in the spring. The round-trip is about 2,000 more than successive generations of monarchs are known to travel in a year. Some tenacious individuals even make the return trip in a single lifetime.

Read the article here.

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A Leader in the War on Poverty Opens a New Front: Pollution
By Kendra Pierre-Louis, Aug. 24, 2018

The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II is resurrecting the Poor People’s Campaign, a movement started by Martin Luther King Jr. He sees the climate and environment as issues on par with poverty and racism.

He and Al Gore are bringing attention to the problem of coal ash, its pollution of local drinking water and the health of citizens and workers in the area.

Read the article here.

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News from The Treetalker

July 20, 2018 – In her blog for Scientific American, Jennifer M. Archambault wrote about Using Herbicides to Save Endangered Snails.

The habitat of the rare, tiny Panhandle pebbles snail, which consumes algae and other microorganisms and is integral to maintaining the ecological balance in river systems, is threatened by an invasive aquatic plant called hydrilla. Introduced through the aquarium trade in the 1950s into the ponds and canals of Florida, it has worked its way into many southern states and is on the Federal Noxious Weeds list. Humans aid in its spread, as it can easily propigate from small fragments on boat motors or fishing equipment. After much field study and testing, it was found in a pilot study in the Eno River in North Carolina that, with applications of a herbicide, the hydrilla is dramatically thinning, and the snails’ population is growing. A great deal of work is left to do to control the hydrilla in the greater Southern water system, but the data gives hope. Read Jennifer’s blog post here.

From ScienceDaily, July 5, 2018. Bacteria-powered solar cell converts light to energy, even under overcast skies!

U of BC researchers have found a cheap, sustainable way to build a solar cell using bacteria that convert light to energy. Their cell generated a current stronger than any previously recorded from such a device, and worked as efficiently in dim light as in bright light. This innovation could be a step toward wider adoption of solar power in places like British Columbia and parts of northern Europe where overcast skies are common. This is great news, particularly since it’s from Canada, where the government hopefully cares about its environment more than the current administration in the U.S.

“We recorded the highest current density for a biogenic solar cell. These hybrid materials that we are developing can be manufactured economically and sustainably, and, with sufficient optimization, could perform at comparable efficiencies as conventional solar cells.” Read the article here.

Another article from ScienceDaily, June 18, 2018

Cementless fly ash binder makes concrete ‘green’
Engineers use byproduct from coal-fired power plants to replace Portland cement. It is made primarily of fly ash, a byproduct of coal-fired power plants. If you noticed an article in the NY Times this week that reported the EPA is easing standards on the disposal of toxic coal ash, this development could provide some way of cleaning up some of the messes created by these plants. Read more about this new composite, environmentally friendly material here.

Another, related article about this sustainable alternative to traditional concrete using coal fly ash is here. This article mentions that the production method doesn’t require heating, which is one of the other polluting aspects of concrete manufacture. The cement less binder also aids groundwater and mitigates flooding, because water can pass through it, unlike cement. Read this article here.

Also, Focus On the Anhinga.

This bird quickly spears a fish with its sharp bill, then flips it into the air and swallows it head first. Sometimes the Anhinga spears the fish so hard it has to return to shore to get the fish off its bill by banging the fish against a rock.
Also known as snakebird, the Anhinga sometimes swims slowly underwater stalking fish around submerged vegetation, but when hunting at the surface, it stretches its head and neck flat out on the surface of the water, above its submerged body. With head and neck stretched out, it has the appearance of a snake is gliding through the water.
The Anhinga’s feathers are not waterproofed with oils, and can get waterlogged, but this helps it stay submerged for long periods of time. Afterwards, it will perch for long periods with its wings spread to dry them. If it tries to fly with wet wings, it has difficultly getting airborne, so it has to take off by flapping energetically and running on the surface of the water.
Once in the air, it is a graceful flier and can go long distances without flapping its wings, using thermals for soaring, and can achieve altitudes of several thousand feet.

 

 

 

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books, endangered species, Environment, environmental agencies, Frog, Green Frog, Grizzly Bear, Crow, Crow hunt, Wolf, Wolf rider, tariffs on solar panels, habitat restoration, Solar energy, solar power, trees, Uncategorized, Wildlife

News from The Treetalker

I haven’t posted for a while, as I’ve spent most of my time working on Volume Three: The East of my book series, Secret Voices from the Forest—Thoughts and Dreams of North American Trees. This volume concerns trees east of the Mississippi River, but doesn’t include most of Florida, as it will be featured in Volume Four: Tropics and Deserts.

Anyway, I’ve just spent some time updating my website http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com

where you can find the following articles, as well as my blog and updates on the book (and eventually) how to buy it.

in “Focus On”

 Green frog
rana-clamitans03    Ranidae has the widest distribution of all frog families, and its members are abundant throughout the world, occurring on all continents except Antarctica. Its origin was Indochina, and over a 40 million year period, its ancestors dispersed, diversifying according to the different environments they encountered.
The green frog has a smooth, moist skin, large powerful legs and highly webbed feet. Like another member of this family, the much larger bullfrog, the green frog will eat any other animal that it can fit into its mouth, including other frogs, sitting and waiting for the prey to come near.
It is both terrestrial and aquatic, and lives in the borders between freshwater ponds, streams and lakes, ditches and swamps, able to escape predators by leaping into the nearby water. The male is territorial, staking his 3-20 foot claim by patrolling the outer edge and singing, or growling if an intruder male comes near. A green frog has a number of different calls for different purposes; its call to advertise for a mate sounds has been likened to the plucking of a loose banjo string.
Mating takes place in the water, and produces egg clusters containing one to five thousand eggs each that float on the water or hang from aquatic plants. A tadpole, which eats algae and water plants, overwinters in the water, taking three to twenty-two months to mature and begin to breed. Adult frogs reach their maximum size at around the age of four, and may live ten years. (From Tamarack Companions, Secret Voices from the Forest, Volume 3: The East.)

From “Environmental Happenings”

from The Washington Post: 
Even under pro-coal President Trump, U.S. solar is doing pretty well

(Lucy Nicholson:Reuters)

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

By Chris Mooney March 15

An analysis by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Assoc. (SEIA), published on  March 9, 2018, found that the U.S solar industry had its second-best year on record for installations in 2017. New capacity of 10.6 billion watts was installed by a combination of Utilities, individuals (like me!) and businesses. The previous year set the record, with 15.1 billion watts, under President Obama, although installations in 2016 were boosted by companies that were moving quickly on projects to ensure they didn’t miss out on a 30 % federal investment tax credit.

With President Trump at the helm, who proposes slashing funding for solar energy programs, and has recently imposed import tariffs (China is a big producer of solar panels) that are expected to lead to few installations, because of increased costs.

However, the “growth in midsize solar, or the nonresidential market, was driven in part in 2017 by a major “community solar” initiative in Minnesota. In community solar programs, large groups of individuals in a community in effect share solar power from a larger installation. This is expected to be a growth area in coming years, in part because apartment and condo residents cannot put solar panels on their roofs but still may want solar power in some manner.

Mr. Trump’s tariffs will have the effect of slowing the growth of the industry by 10-15%, but the industry is considered to be strong enough to keep growing.

Full article at – www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/03/15/under-coal-boosting-president-trump-u-s-solar-is-actually-doing-pretty-well/?utm_term=.9deb5d0dd53c&wpisrc=nl_green&wpmm=1

Next:
Hunting Club Cancels Crow Shoot in Face of Criticism
March 25, 2018, WILLIAMSTOWN, Vt. (AP)

Lars Petersson

©️Lars Petersson


A Vermont hunting club has cancelled its crow shooting competition after a social media outcry.  Critics of the shoot say they understand “hunting for food” but are against “wanton killing.”

The Burlington Free Press, http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com

Full article:  www.usnews.com/news/best-states/vermont/articles/2018-03-25/hunting-club-cancels-crow-shoot-in-face-of-criticism

Good News for Grey Wolves—The Anti-Wolf Rider Didn’t Make it!

gray-wolf-sam-parks

©️Sam Parks, for Defenders of Wildlife

Posted on March 22, 2018 by Rachel Tilseth“Congress passed the 2018 spending bill without the War-on-Wolves rider that would eliminate Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Wyoming.”

Full wordpress blog post at:  wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com/2018/03/22/good-news-for-gray-wolves-as-the-anti-wolf-rider-didnt-make-it/

Zinke backs grizzly bear recovery in N. Cascades—Interior secretary surprises conservationists
By Joel Connelly, SeattlePI March 23, 2018

rizzly Bear #399 and her cubs. Photo by Mike Wheeler

“Bear 399 and her cubs” ©️ Mike Wheeler


“Restoring the grizzly bear to the North Cascades ecosystem is the American conservation ethic come to life,” said Zinke, a former Montana congressman.

“We are managing the land and the wildlife according to the best science and best practices. The loss of the grizzly bear in the North Cascades would disturb the ecosystem and rob the region of an icon. We are moving forward with plans to restore the bear to the North Cascades, continuing our commitment to conservation and living up to our responsibility as the premier stewards of our public lands. ”

Surprising words from the Trump administration’s point man in cutting 2 million acres out of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah.

I agree, and it seems a bit hypocritical, considering all the other areas that are threatened by this current administration, and the fact that it has already lifted Endangered Species Act protection for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

Federal agencies have received more than 126,000 comments and correspondence in preparing their environmental studies.  The bulk of it has supported grizzly recovery. “Wildlife science as well as public opinion support restoration of the grizzly bear to the North Cascades for ecosystem health and as a legacy for future generations.”

The British Columbia government has recently put an end to all trophy hunting of grizzly bears.

Full article at:  www.seattlepi.com/local/politics/article/Connelly-Sec-Zinke-backs-grizzly-bear-recovery-12777419.php

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Positive News about Trees & the Environment

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Costa Rica just became the first country in Latin America to ban hunting for sport. Costa Rica’s Congress voted unanimously on Monday to approve the ban, which will protect the country’s wildlife – including several species of native big cats, such as the pictured Jaguar. Any hunters caught breaking the new law will face jail time or hefty fines.

green.si

An Oxford-based startup, UAE Drones for Good, has an ambitious plan to combat deforestation by planting 1 billion trees a year by using drones.

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I don’t usually promote somebody elses sales pitch, but you can get a good book about seed libraries from Mother Earth News. See their site for details.

Rod Mast

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) funds grants to civil society groups that implement diverse projects to safeguard the world’s biodiversity hotspots – areas that harbor 90 percent of the biological diversity of the planet. The article, the gist of which you can read at

http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com

is about “Five of the Threatened Species We’re Fighting to Save.” They are: Rhinos, Tigers, African and Asian Elephants and the Saola, a deer-like animal.

 

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Stories from the Treetalker- Winter Solstice – 2014

Stories from the Treetalker- Winter Solstice – 2014

(Well, it’s only a day away.)

The Yuroks, CA’s largest tribe, is supplementing their income, not by selling their forests, but by selling carbon credits to some of the state’s biggest polluters. Believed to be a force in ultimately reducing carbon emissions, there is, of course, a lot of debate. Visit my website for details of this and the other stories.

Brian van der Brug

photo: Brian van der Brug, for the L.A. Times

 The U.S. Forest Service is growing “elite,” genetically resistant Whitebark pine trees to improve the chances of survival of the key high-elevation species, which blister rust is wiping out in the Northern Rockies. 

Tanya Murphy

photo: Tanya Murphy

http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com

Six years after a catastrophic coal ash spill in Tennessee washed away homes and polluted rivers, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday the first federal regulations for the toxic wastes created by coal burned to produce electricity. Many believe it is nowhere near enough regulation, believing coal ash should be classified as “hazardous waste.”

Gerry Broome:AP

photo: Gerry Broome, A.P.

Governor Cuomo of NY State bans fracking in the state. The state of New York has now developed the most comprehensive, deep-diving evaluation in the country of the science as it currently stands on fracking. You can be sure that affected communities and advocates in states across the nation will be bringing these science and health facts to their decision makers.

 

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Environmental and Tree News/The Treetalker

Environmental and Tree News/The Treetalker

Lotsa stories this week: First, an Indonesian project, funded by the Dutch branch of Oxfam, is helping survivors of the Dec 26, 2004 Tsunami to plant Mangroves and Casuarina trees along vulnerable coastlines, which is hoped will protect residents from future disaster, revive nature and improve local livelihoods.

Indonesian Mangrove forest/photo:Eric Guinther

http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com

Rainforest Rescue, funded by the Arbor Day Foundation, is working with locals in Madagascar to implement reforestation, which will also help wildlife. They gather fruit seeds that have been partially digested by lemurs, planting them in nurseries for eventual replanting.

The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee has partnered with Nashville’s Metro Parks to install custom tree signs in Centennial Park that have scanable QR codes and web addresses where you can go directly to a video of a Nashville music artist, telling you about that type of tree and why it’s important to us. Including Reba MacEntire, Will Hoge, Big Kenny.

John Partipilo/The Tennessean

Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen is funding a lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior. The suit claims that allowing coal mining companies to do business on public lands without considering the environmental ramifications of doing so violates the National Environmental Policy Act.

photo: Associated Press

The Lima, Peru climate summit talks have continued past the dates of the conference. They aim to advance a new global treaty, but the talks have been hampered by the “rich nation/poor nation issue. US’s John Kerry says, “No country should have a free pass.”

photo: Reuters

And last, but not least—for me, anyway, since my books are all about what the trees have to say . . .

Plants Can Hear You! – a video with Trace Dominguez/Discovery News from March, 2013, talking about research that has shown that plants can not only hear you, but feel you, smell you, and remember things. (So vegetarians aren’t so kind after all!)

 

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Stories this week:

Grenoble to Replace Street Advertising with Trees and ‘Community Spaces – The city’s 326 advertising signs, including 64 billboards, will be removed between January and April next year and its contract with JCDecaux, the world’s leading outdoor advertising company, will be cancelled.alamy

http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com

Money Grows on Trees with Great Walnuts of China – Demand for Walnut toys has grown alongside China’s economic boom, and vendors say they are especially popular among the newly wealthy and gangsters profiting from Beijing’s grey economy.

AFP

China’s barriers to imports of some U.S. GMO crops are disrupting seed companies’ plans for new product launches and keeping at least one variety out of the U.S. market altogether.Agrochemicals maker Syngenta's logo is seen in front of the company's headquarters in Basel

Other stories: Wildlife Managers Confirm Rare Sighting of Gray Wolf at Grand Canyon,

and France to Stop Credits for Coal Projects in Developing CountriesA pair of gray wolves are seen in the Red Feather Lakes, Colorado wolf refuge in this file photo.

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Trees in the News

Retired surgeon, Dr. Salem Saloom, from Evergreen, CO, takes special pride nurturing the Longleaf Pine, a plant species wiped out by intensive commercial logging more than a century ago. His 2,200 acres of pine forest is part of an effort, spearheaded by the federal government, and supplemented by conservationists and private landowners, to restore what was once called “the Piney Woods.”
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An announcement – Researchers have found some survivors of fatal Emerald ash borer beetle infestations of our native ash trees, and are asking for the help of private citizens in finding more in areas that have NOT been treated with pesticides. See http://nrs.fs.fed.us/SurvivorAsh to describe the whereabouts of ash trees they believe would be candidates.

http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com

And a slideshow of some of the most magnificent trees in the world.unnamed-18 unnamed-8

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Environmental News from The Treetalker

Oil Train Rule Cracks Down on Transport of Flammable Materials – Following a host of oil train derailments over the past year, the U.S. Department of Transportation has proposed regulatory changes to improve the safe transportation of large quantities of crude oil and ethanol by rail.

Federal Agencies Cut Greenhouse Gases, Increase Renewables – The federal government announced today that it has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent since 2008, the equivalent of permanently taking 1.8 million cars off the road, and that nine percent of federal government electricity is now from renewable sources.

Read more about all these storieshttp://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com

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Pop-Up Books Make Environmental Science Easy-Peasy For Kids, by Melissa Pandika, for National Public Radio – “You can teach anything to children if you pitch it at the right level and use the right words,” says Christiane Dorion, a U.K.-based author. Dorion distills hefty environmental concepts into bite-sized, kid-friendly explanations. Along the way, whimsical pop-up spreads — complete with pull-tabs, flaps and booklets ­­— engage even the shortest attention spans.

General Mills is tackling climate change, because it’s a threat to the bottom line.The huge corporation released a new set of climate policies that Oxfam says makes it “the first major food and beverage company to promise to implement long-term science-based targets to cut emissions.” The policy states unequivocally that [they recognize] the risks that climate change presents to humanity, our environment and our livelihoods.

What I’ve Learned about Food and Sustainability, by Jason Clay, for World Wildlife Magazine

and a Blessed Lammas Day to us all…

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