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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.

061818_LR_butterfly-est_feat

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.

00cli-ecojustice-barber2-jumbo-v4

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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, Brazilian rain forest, energy efficiency, Environment, forests, green living, Highland Gorillas, Maine lobster, methane, methane from livestock industry, methane leaking from oil and gas pipes, Ozone layer recovery, Pine Ridge, protecting rain forests, Rainbow Snake, Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC), Renewable Energy, Rwanda National Park, Solar energy, solar power, trees, Trees in the News, Trees, Water and People, Uncategorized, Wildlife

News from The Treetalker

Focus on: the Rainbow Snake

    Highly aquatic, this beautiful snake can be found among floating vegetation in freshwater streams, along riverbanks and in cypress swamps and marshes of the coastal plain of southern North America. Not a great deal is known about

Farancia-erytrogramma-6.24.03-SRS-SC-copy-300x200

Herpsofnc.org

this non-venomous species, as it is very reclusive and spends most of its life in the water or hiding in available cover.
As an adult, the Rainbow snake eats only American eels. Landlubbers such as myself probably never consider that eels are fish, with a complicated life cycle that begins in the Sargasso Sea. Visit this page for the rest of the article.

Young gorillas are working together to destroy poachers’ traps in Rwanda

Reblogged from Eben Diskin, June 5, 2018 – visit here for the full article:

Joakim Odelberg.jpg

Photo: Joachim Odelberg


The famed Highland Gorillas of the Rwanda National Park have apparently learned how to dismantle the traps that poachers have been setting for them, and have teamed up to do the job.  Kick ass! Read the original – it’s not very long.

Bringing more Green power to the Res, with Renewable energy:

Rachel Hamalian, volunteer from Trees, Water and People, reports from Pine Ridge about the Lakota Solar Enterprises. They say this about themselves:
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“In partnership with Trees, Water & People (TWP), Lakota Solar Enterprises founded and now operates the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC), where Native Americans from around the country come to receive hands-on training in renewable energy applications from fellow Native American trainers. RCREC’s facilities also include demonstration solar air furnaces, a solar electric system, straw bale home demonstration sites, a wind turbine, green houses and garden, buffalo from the Red Cloud herd, and wind break and shade trees. In addition to educating about the benefits of renewable energy, RCREC’s workshops are creating green jobs for residents of Pine Ridge, S.D., as well as visiting trainees from other tribes. As tribal leaders learn how to incorporate sustainable technology into housing plans, employment training, and energy strategies, the impact will increase exponentially.”

from the NY Times weekly newsletter, Climate Fwd:

from June 27, 2018, both positive and negative. Please visit the page for the stories in their entirety. The reporters are Henry Fountain, Livia Albeck-Ripka, John Schwartz and Brad Plumer

Getty images

Bad News for Ozone Layer Recovery  (Getty Images)

1)  Research by an investigative reporter from the Times, stationed in Beijing, has shown that there’s a high probability that several businesses in China are supplying and/or using CFC-11, even though it’s long been banned. This could delay the restoration of atmospheric ozone by 10 years or more.

Maine Lobster – Greta Rybus for The New York Times

2)  Apparently climate change can be bad for some, good for others. There has been a recent boom of Maine’s lobster fishery. Warming waters and conservation efforts by the lobstermen has helped the industry increase by 500%.

Carl de Souza:Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

3)  Brazil isn’t doing so well in it’s efforts to protect its rain forests, with more than 3 million acres cleared by ranchers, farmers and miners. Not only are fires set deliberately, to clear the land, but a severe drought last year caused the fires to spread rapidly, out of control, making the losses much worse. Double-whammy, causing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere to increase ever more.

In all the world’s tropical forests lost roughly 39 million acres of trees. This is only slightly less than the total losses from 2016. Tropical forests are shrinking overall, with losses outweighing the gains. And they’re just talking about tropical forests. . .

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Arkansas Rig – Andrea Morales for The New York Times

4)  From a new study that came out in mid-June, in the journal Science, we see that much, much more methane (the main component of natural gas) is leaking from domestic oil and gas operations than the industry admits – nearly 2 ½ percent – you might think, “That’s not much,” but in truth, it’s enough to fuel 10 million homes for a year.

Methane has the capacity to warm the planet 80 times as much as the same amount of carbon dioxide, over a 20-year period, if it escapes into the atmosphere before being burned. If the rate of leakage rises above 4 percent, it could actually be worse for climate change than burning coal!

The good news is that most of the leakage is fixable at a relatively low cost, and the fix would pay for itself with income from the saved gas, which is estimated to be some $2 billion a year. Exxon Mobil, the largest gas producer in the country, hopes to reduce its methane emissions by 15 percent over the next year and a half.

Not sure if that’s a sufficient sense of urgency.

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That’s all the news for this posting. Don’t forget, Volume 3 of my series, Secret Voices from the Forest—Thoughts and Dreams of North American Trees, is brand new, and available through Amazon. Here’s the link.

Vol. 3 - The East copy

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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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New stories from The Treetalker

First, a 250 year old Bur oak gets moved at the Ann Arbor campus of the U of Michigan to make way for the expansion of the Ross Business School – controversial, because it was pricey to do, but in the immortal words of George Pope Morris, “Woodman, spare that tree!”

aa1_9331-b96b6e12867a29dc863f33013726eaff01d3ba3e-s4-c85

Also, a lovely slide show of the Bristlecone pine, photos courtesy of Linda and Dr. Dick Busher. Check out my website for that:

http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com

Also some additional stories you may find of interest:

A CSIRO test plant in Australia has broken a world record and proved solar power could efficiently replace fossil fuels. “… this step proves solar has the potential to compete with the peak performance capabilities of fossil fuel sources,” says Dr. Alex Wonhas, CSIRO’s Energy Director.

orchard2Research is being done to ascertain the role of various antibiotic-producing soil microbes in the composition and variety of tree species in tropical rainforests.

And—seems to be catching on, this— The U of Pennsylvania community is coming together to plant a campus orchard. These guys aren’t the first, and hopefully won’t be the last.

 

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Ann Arbor, antibiotic-producing soil microbes, Australia, Bristlecone pine, bur oak, campus orchard, community orchard, CSIRO, Environment, fruit trees, Linda & Dick Busher, NPR, photography, Ross Business School, solar power, trees, trees in the cities, Trees in the News, U of Mich, U of Philadelphia, Uncategorized

New stories from The Treetalker

First, a 250 year old Bur oak gets moved at the Ann Arbor campus of the U of Michigan to make way for the expansion of the Ross Business School – controversial, because it was pricey to do, but in the immortal words of George Pope Morris, “Woodman, spare that tree!”

aa1_9331-b96b6e12867a29dc863f33013726eaff01d3ba3e-s4-c85

Also, a lovely slide show of the Bristlecone pine, photos courtesy of Linda and Dr. Dick Busher. Check out my website for that:

http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com

Also some additional stories you may find of interest:

A CSIRO test plant in Australia has broken a world record and proved solar power could efficiently replace fossil fuels. “… this step proves solar has the potential to compete with the peak performance capabilities of fossil fuel sources,” says Dr. Alex Wonhas, CSIRO’s Energy Director.

orchard2Research is being done to ascertain the role of various antibiotic-producing soil microbes in the composition and variety of tree species in tropical rainforests.

And—seems to be catching on, this— The U of Pennsylvania community is coming together to plant a campus orchard. These guys aren’t the first, and hopefully won’t be the last.

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