arctic ice melting, bird flyway, books, cleaner car emissions, Environment, environmental news in New Mexico, global warming, Lebanon, Nature, oceans, Sunflower, Uncategorized, Weather, Wildlife

A little more news…

NOAA Climate.gov

Our Future Depends on the Arctic
Save it from the ravages of warming and we can save the planet.

By Durwood J. Zaelke and Paul Bledsoe
The authors work for groups focused on climate policy.
Dec. 14, 2019, NYTimes California Today

Delegates from all over the world spent two weeks in Madrid, trying to work out how to reach a global goal of net zero emissions by 2050. As the United Nations’ secretary general, António Guterres, warned in opening the meeting: “The point of no return is no longer over the horizon. It is in sight and hurtling toward us.”

Perhaps nowhere is that more true than in the Arctic. The surface air there is warming at twice the global rate and temperatures over the past five years have exceeded all previous records since 1900.

A study published in Geophysical Research Letters in June described the catastrophic consequences of losing the Arctic’s reflective summer sea ice, which reflects incoming solar warming back to space, that would otherwise be absorbed by the ocean. Equal to an extra 25 years of current levels of emissions, it will push us more quickly towards catastrophic damage: more intense heat waves and coastal flooding, extinctions of species and threats to food supplies.

The heating up of the Arctic is also speeding the thawing of permafrost, causing the release of more carbon dioxide and methane, a greenhouse gas 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide when measured over 20 years, along with nitrous oxide, a powerful long-lived climate pollutant.

If we are to keep the Arctic ice strong, we not only need to cut diesel emissions, limit methane emissions from landfills, and keep strict regulations on refrigerants in air-conditioners and consumer products. California has cut these emissions by more than 90% since the 1960s.

Several other geoengineering ideas are being floated, such as putting a covering of white sand over first year ice, to enhance its reflectivity, or introduce particles into the atmosphere to reflect solar radiation. There are potential risks with these procedures, and there could be experiments to see if the risks are worth the effort.

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New Clean-Car Rules for New Mexico,
December 4, 2019, Sierra Club

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that New Mexico will join 14 other states in adopting clean-car standards requiring new cars sold in the state to emit fewer greenhouse gases. The standards also mandate an increasing percentage of cars to have zero emissions.

Lujan Grisham made the announcement in September at Climate Week in New York City, where U.S. governors met to discuss states advancing ambitious climate action in the face of federal inaction. The move came on the heels of the announcement that the Trump administration is revoking California’s authority to set fuel-efficiency and greenhouse-gas standards stricter than federal standards. California and nearly two dozen other states are suing the administration over the attack.

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Diego Ibarra Sanchez

Where Eagle Feathers Fall Like Snow,
By Helen Sullivan, NYTimes Climate Forward

January 6, 2020

Adonis Al Khatib, of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon, works with students, community leaders and hunting associations to instill sustainable hunting practices. Hunting is ubiquitous in Lebanon, which has the 11th-highest rate of small-arms ownership in the world. Half to three-quarters of boys own guns, and birds can be a common target.

Among the Society’s top concerns is protecting the 2.5 billion migratory birds that pass over the country twice a year. During those journeys, 2.6 million migratory birds are shot or trapped illegally, according to BirdLife International; S.P.N.L. is that organization’s official partner in Lebanon. As other countries examine why some of their protected birds aren’t returning from migration, Lebanon has come under the spotlight.

Lebanon’s topography is dominated by two long mountain ranges. Various bird migration routes, or flyways, pass through the country; when squeezed between mountains, the routes narrow, forming bottlenecks. The bottlenecks create conditions for satisfying bird-watching, and make it easier for organizations like S.P.N.L. to conduct bird counts.

But the bottlenecks also serve hunters. At certain points throughout the country, the narrow flyways funnel birds through elevated vantage points from which hunters can get easy shots.

Assad Serhal, a founder of S.P.N.L., is a reformed hunter. The organization has lobbied Lebanon’s government for stricter anti-poaching laws, and has reintroduced a traditional Islamic system of conservation to Lebanon.

Twenty years ago, on very old military maps, he noticed areas labeled, “hima.” In Arabic, hima can mean refuge, protected area, private pasture or homeland; “Humat al-Hima” (Defenders of the Homeland) is Tunisia’s national anthem. Mr. Serhal had known vaguely of the idea, but had no idea that hima had existed in Lebanon.

He discovered that the concept dates back more than 1,000 years, with a mention in the Quran. Muhammad had designated certain areas as hima, which meant they were subject to rules about grazing, hunting or even trade. On Mr. Serhal’s maps, it turned out, hima signified communal areas. The word’s appearance gave him an idea: Perhaps he could revive its traditional meaning.

Mr. Serhal thought that, instead, hima might be accepted as a traditional concept; it also would include communities and municipalities in the design of the conservation areas. Hima wouldn’t be just about protecting nature, Mr. Serhal said; it would be “nature plus people.” When S.P.N.L. helped a community design a local hima, the group suggested additional conservation methods, like banning hunting.

The first hima was established in southern Lebanon in 2004. Today there are 25; they have been given legal status by the government and cover more land than Lebanon’s national parks. Five of the designated hima are also what BirdLife calls “Important Bird Areas,” of which there are 15 in the country.

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And in “Spotlight On”

http---cdn.cnn.com-cnnnext-dam-assets-190815135835-03-north-dakota-sunflower

 Sunflower

Our native Sunflower was domesticated and cultivated by indigenous Americans, possibly as long as five thousand years ago, when seeds were selected for the best size and shape to produce the largest crop. They were used to make flour, cooking oil, dye, and medicinal ointments. It has been suggested that the sunflower was domesticated before the maize plant. Some American Indian tribes planted sunflowers as a “fourth sister” to the combination of corn, beans, and squash.
Early Spanish explorers took seeds back to Europe around 1500. In 1716, the English granted a patent for a process of squeezing oil from sunflower seed. By 1769, sunflower oil had become a popular commodity with members of the Russian Orthodox Church, because it was one of the few oils not forbidden during Lent.
By 1830, the manufacture of sunflower oil had become a commercial enterprise, and Russian farmers were growing over two million acres of the plant. By 1880, sunflower seeds called the “Mammoth Russian” were being marketed in catalogs in the U.S.
Canada began the first government sponsored breeding program in 1930, and because of high demand for sunflower oil, production grew. More recently, because of increasing concerns about high cholesterol in the diet, demand increased further, and U.S. production took off. Today the sunflower is the most important native crop plant produced in the United States. (from Volume 2, Elm Companions)

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And again, don’t forget you can buy all three volumes of Secret Voices from the Forest, Thoughts and Dreams of North American Trees, on Amazon.

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Children taking Action, Dolphins, endangered species, Environment, green living, Green Movement, hydrogen fuel, invasive species, Nature, oceans, plants, Renewable Energy, self-sustainability, Uncategorized, water purification, Whales

News from The Treetalker

Invasive, native marsh grasses may provide similar benefits to protected wetlands, Science Daily, via N.C. State University

Researchers here have noticed that the Common reed, which is an invasive species, has many of the same benefits for protected wetlands as the native marsh grasses it is crowding out, such as equivalent or even better levels of carbon storage, erosion prevention and plant diversity.

A great deal of money is spent trying to eradicate it, this research could impact management strategies, since this species protects shorelines from erosion by spreading more quickly. Shoreline erosion is a major problem, with rising seas.

read more here.

Seth Theuerkauf

Photo: Seth Theuerkauf

Researchers create hydrogen fuel from seawater, Stanford University, March 18, 2019

A “Water Engine” splits the molecules in water to access the hydrogen, which is then used as alternative energy (in hydrogen powered vehicles, for instance.) However, the existing water-splitting methods rely on highly purified water, which is a precious resource and costly to produce.

Stanford researchers have devised a way to generate hydrogen fuel using solar power, electrodes and saltwater from San Francisco Bay.

Splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen with electricity — called electrolysis — is a simple and old idea: a power source connects to two electrodes placed in water. When power turns on, hydrogen gas bubbles out of the negative end — called the cathode — and breathable oxygen emerges at the positive end — the anode.

But negatively charged chloride in seawater salt can corrode the positive end, limiting the system’s lifespan. The team wanted to find a way to stop those seawater components from breaking down the submerged anodes. They discovered that if they coated the anode with layers that were rich in magnetically negative charges, the layers repelled chloride and slowed down the decay of the underlying metal.

The surprisingly quick and simple solution is detailed in the following article, which you can read here.

H. Dai, Yun Kuang, Michael Kenney

H. Dai, Yun Kuang, Michael Kenney

Schools’ climate strike: Young people protest across EnglandBBC News, March 15, 2019Young people who have skipped school to join climate change protests across England have told the BBC there is no point in learning when their future is at risk.Thousands of schoolchildren have flooded into city and town centers across the country as classrooms around the world were abandoned for a day of demonstration. Some of their administrators were not in favor of the demonstrations, and said there would be consequences for skipping classes. One student responded, “I really don’t care what consequences they give us, it’s more important that we fight for our future. This is the world we’re going to have to live in.”Read more here

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An Elusive (Recently Discovered) Whale Is Found All Around the Worldby Karen Weintraub, for The New York Times, March 22, 2019.Researchers are learning about a newly identified species of baleen whales, tracing sightings and sounds to learn that they stay mainly in tropical waters. Salvatore Cerchio stunned the small world of whale science in 2015 when he found examples of a new species in the wild for the first time. Now, he’s mapped the habitat of that species, called Omura’s whale after Hideo Omura, a prominent Japanese whale biologist.The surprise in the new study, published in Frontiers in Marine Science, is that Omura’s whales, though little seen, are widespread across the tropical world.A researcher found a population off the northwest coast of Madagascar, where he works, and compiled reports of sightings from Japan, Australia, Brazil and off the coasts of Indonesia, among others. In total, from photographs, audio recordings, museums and documents, he identified 161 accounts of Omura’s whales in 95 locales.Technological innovation in recording devices, advances in genetic analysis — and simply knowing what to look for — seem to have led to the new insights. Scientists said the finding is a reminder of how little we actually know about what goes on in the world’s oceans.Read details here.

photo quora

Photo: Earth.com

Also, this week, “Spotlight On:” the Atlantic spotted dolphin…

atlantic_spotted_dolphin_stenella_frontalis

Photo: Quora

and remember, you can find all three volumes of “Secret Voices from the Forest, Thoughts and Dreams of North American Trees, on Amazon.

Make sure you buy them from me personally. There are people selling them for some outrageously high prices, which is some new weird scam. Vols 1 & 2 are $28.95, and Vol 3 is $32.95.

Vol. 3 - The East copy   cover-SV2  cover

 

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ants, books, coral reefs, Environment, Nature, oceans, Uncategorized, wild horses, Wildlife

News from The Treetalker – Nov 26, 2018

Lisa Carne

photo: Lisa Carne

Saving Coral

BBC Earth, by Zoe Cormier

“So far we’ve lost half the world’s reefs, and one of the biggest threats – climate change – shows no sign of abating. Scientists say if we do nothing, 90 per cent of the world’s tropical reefs will be gone by 2050, along with all the fish, wildlife and humans that depend on them.”

The Director of the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology says that we have learned that “putting a big seawall around the reefs” and leaving them alone doesn’t work. “We have to stop thinking that if we leave nature alone and treat it with the utmost respect that is sufficient. It’s not,” she says.

Not all hope is lost, she says: we just need to apply the science, ingenuity, manpower and – above all – money, while we still can.

“It might seem hopeless – but look at the hole in the ozone layer,” she says. “We identified the problem, acted to remove harmful gases from the atmosphere, and boom: the hole closed. That’s remarkable, and it shows that we can fix these things, we just have to start acting now.”

Read the entire article here

Larisa Bogardis

photo: Larissa Bogardis

Judge blocks controversial plan to sterilize wild horses in Oregon

From NBC News, by Daniella Silva, Nov 5, 2018

“U.S. District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman issued a preliminary injunction on Friday that stops the Bureau of Land Management from moving forward with its plan to surgically remove the ovaries of wild mares in the Warm Springs Management Area of Hines, Oregon, according to court records.”

Read the entire article here.

Timothée Brütsch

photo: Timothee Brutsch

For ants, unity is strength — and health: Ant social networks put a brake on disease spread

From ScienceDaily, 23 November 2018

“High population density, as well as frequent and close contacts between individuals, contribute to a rapid spread of diseases. To protect their colonies, ants have developed disease defense mechanisms, including adaptations to their social organization. Ants do not interact randomly with other colony members, but are organized in sub-groups according to their age and the tasks they carry out.

“How ants collectively deal with problems, such as the risk of an epidemic, could give insights into general principles of disease dynamics. Social interactions are the routes on which diseases travel and define how epidemics may spread. Basic research on ants can help us to deeper understand epidemiological processes, which can be relevant also in other social groups.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Also, if you’d like to visit my website, here is the link.

And if you are interested in my books about the sentience of North American trees, visit Amazon to purchase.

Vol. 3 - The East copy

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algae, algae farms, beer, Environment, global warming, oceans, plastic, spiders, The Ocean Cleanup, Uncategorized

News from The Treetalker

The Ocean Cleanup Has Reached the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Ocean Cleanup, an idea brought to life by founder and CEO Boyan Slat, has been in the news for a month or so. The 2,000 foot-long U-shaped floating pipe, launched a month ago from San Francisco, reached its goal on Thursday—the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” an area in the Pacific Ocean that is more than twice the size of Texas. The goal of the mission is to trap floating plastic, return the debris to shore, recycle the plastic and create new products from it.

There will certainly be some trial and error, but if successful, the project could expand to the other 4 garbage patches. They are hopeful that they can clean up 90% of the plastic garbage in the world’s oceans by 2040.

First, a link to the CNN article, with video.

Here is a link to the project’s site.

It is also good to know that this is not the only program committed to help clean up the oceansthe California Coastal Commission’s volunteer group is focusing on trash reduction with land-based efforts. There are a group of volunteers that clean up beaches and coastal waters, preventing yet more plastic waste from entering the ocean in the first place.

Also, The Marine Debris Program is an initiative included in the Save Our Seas Act, signed by President Trump last week.

 

Below, a view of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Photo AFP


Experts say algae is the food of the future. Here’s why.
by Rachel Crane   @CNNTech

The article’s author visited an Algae “farm” in southern New Mexico, where a strain of algae, nannochloropsis, is being grown. It is already available in supplement form at The Vitamin Shoppe and on Amazon, and is being developed into snacks and protein powders. These powders will be “virtually imperceptible when added to other foods, and not going to change the flavor.”

The company’s CEO, Miguel Calatayud, believes that if the world’s population grows from 7.5 billion to 10 billion as expected, we’ll need to think more seriously about protein alternatives like algae.

“There will not be enough animal protein or other vegetable protein,” he said. “There won’t be enough arable land, and what’s even more important, there won’t be enough fresh water.”

Their strain of algae takes what would otherwise be wasted — saltwater, desert land and CO2 — and turns it into something special. Made up of 40% protein, it can produce about seven times the amount of protein as soybeans on the same amount of land. The plant also releases oxygen into the air. (About 50% of the world’s oxygen comes from algae).

“There are tons of desert areas all over the world and most of them have brackish water underneath,” he said. “What we are building it’s 100% sustainable and 100% scalable.”An interesting article.

Read the rest of it and see video here.

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And now, here’s some news that might motivate governments to take action on climate change:

Add beer to the list of foods threatened by climate change
Rising temperatures and periods of drought will target barley crops worldwide

By Jennifer Leman, October 15, 2018, for ScienceNews

‘Malted barley — a key ingredient in beer including IPAs, stouts and pilsners — is particularly sensitive to warmer temperatures and drought, both of which are likely to increase due to climate change. As a result, average global barley crop yields could drop as much as 17 percent by 2099, compared with the average yield from 1981 to 2010, under the more extreme climate change projections, researchers report October 15 in Nature Plants.

That decline “could lead to, on average, a doubling of price in some countries,” says coauthor Steven Davis, an Earth systems scientist at University of California, Irvine. Consumption would also drop globally by an average of 16 percent, or roughly what people in the United States consumed in 2011.’

The report also mentions that other crops such as maize, wheat and soy and wine grapes are also threatened by the global rising of average atmospheric temperatures as well as by pests emboldened by erratic weather.

Some other details here

Danielle Griscti:Flickr

And Spotlight on:

Yellow garden spider
They
are found throughout most of the United States. They are orb-weaving spiders, spinning their webs in circular, spiral patterns. Orb-weavers have an extra claw on each foot, to handle the threads while spinning. They prefer sunny places with as little wind as possible to build their webs. The web of this spider spirals out from the center and can be two feet across. The female builds the large web, and a male will build a smaller web on the outer part of her web. The male’s web is a thick zigzag of white silk.
The spider had various meanings—it could be a trickster, a creator, or an intercessor between gods and man. Here is an Osage legend, which teaches that smaller doesn’t mean less significant:
“The Spider and the People”
One day, the chief of the Isolated Earth people was hunting in the forest. He was also hunting for a symbol to give life to his people. He came upon the tracks of a huge stag. The chief became very excited.
“Grandfather Deer,” he said, “surely you will show yourself. You are going to become the symbol of my people.”
He began to follow the tracks. His eyes were on nothing else as he followed those tracks, and he ran faster and faster through the forest. Suddenly, he ran right into a huge spider’s web that had been strung between the trees, across the trail. When he got up off the ground, he was very angry. He struck at the spider sitting at the edge of the web. But the spider jumped out of reach. Then the spider spoke to the man.
“Grandson,” the spider said, “why do you run through the woods looking at nothing but the ground?”
The chief felt foolish, but he had to answer the spider. “I was following the tracks of a great deer,” the chief said. “I am seeking a symbol of strength for my people.”
“I can be such a symbol to you, “said the spider.
“How can you be a symbol of strength?” said the chief. “You are small and weak, and I didn’t even see you as I followed the great Deer.”
“Grandson,” said the spider, “look upon me. I am patient. I watch and I wait. Then all things come to me. If your people learn this, they will be strong indeed.”
The chief saw that this was so. Thus the Spider became one of the symbols of the people.

From Black Walnut Companions, Secret Voices from the Forest, Vol. 2: Midcontinent

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Also, remember that Volume 3 of my series of books about trees is available on Amazon.

Vol. 3 - The East copy

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