Sunday, October 28, 2007

GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT OUTLOOK

The CNN Special: Planet in Peril

Graph Source: BBN News


We watched the CNN special. The part that tore me up the most was the part about the animals that were being sold to China... I read China Inc. and am convinced that most Americans are unaware of the significance of China's growth and what it will mean to the planet. I think of Ross Perot's famous words about NAFTA, "You will hear a giant sucking noise of all the jobs leaving this country for Mexico." He was only partly correct. The jobs went to Mexico briefly and then moved on to the Pacific Rim.

As far as this planet is concerned, there is now a huge vacuum that will not only suck all the jobs out of North America, but also will drag along with it many of the species that live on this planet. The Chinese will eat anything and everything. There are a lot of hungry people who live in China who are just beginning to experience a higher standard of living instead the poverty they have known for centuries.

There is a saying China that goes something like this,"
If faced with the decision about whether or not to eat the last tiger on earth you should share it with my friends and family..”

There will be a giant sucking noise of the earth's species going extinct as they are hunted and sold to the Chinese market for food. As of today, Google reports that the population of China is 1,321,851,888. The US population is 301,139,947.

Let’s look at the numbers again:
300 million vs. 1.3 billion people.
Where do you think they are going to find food for all of these people?

That’s the part that I found the most disturbing about Anderson Cooper’s report on the planet Earth.


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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Stayed home for a couple of days... Looking forward to seeing Anderson Cooper's specail report, Planet in Peril


PHOTO SOURCE: YaleGlobal Online

Stayed home Thursday and Friday. Needed to time out from the hectic pace I've been keeping. I'm looking forward to watching the CNN Special: Planet in Peril. Let's hope they don't sugar coat it and try to make it "politically correct" and downplay the warnings!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Why the whacky right hates Al Gore

Here's a good article by Paul Krugman. He kind of hits the nail on the head when he describes why are infected by the Gore Derangement Syndrome. Best line in the article: "I believe, largely motivated by the desire to expunge the stain of illegitimacy from the Bush administration."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sources: $4.6 billion settlement in power plant air pollution case


I hope this is the beginning of a new era, where companies that are destroying our atmosphere and our planet reaping their just rewards in monetary fines slapped on them. I like what someone said recently who was speaking for the National Wildlife Federation; “Environmentalists need to fight a war! If you aren’t a sore looser, you aren’t a good advocate for the environment.”

Blog Action Day Coming -- October 15!


Around the world On October 15th -

bloggers will unite to put a single important issue on everyone's mind.

The Environment!



Patagoina sets an example for Green Biz


Patagonia Distribution Center Built Green With Eco-Friendly LEED Certification


Patagonia's new distribution center is a model for combining growth and green making green consumers happy! We need to support them by buying their products.

A team will study the trashing of our oceans



Since reading Alan Riseman's extremely depressing book, "The World Without Us", I've been trying to find evidence that there are places in the Pacific Ocean the size of California that are filled with plastic and trash. Yesterday I attended a National Wildlife Federation's training on Global Warming and there was a PhD student there from the University of South Florida who was also attending. I asked her about it and she said that one of her oceanography classes had pictures of this. I found this website for a team of researchers that will be investigating the trash situation in the Pacific. This should be interesting to follow. Maybe we can learn more about this situation from their study.

Free Wu Lihong

Mr. Wu is an environmental hero and is sitting in prison in China for standing up and speaking out against a corrupt system that allowed Lake Tai to become a cesspool of filth and pollution. The water from Lake Tai flows into the Yangtze River. This polluted water ends up irrigating crop land for food shipped around the world. The world needs to stand up for Mr. Wu and demand his release from prison.

Environmentalist in China Arrested for speaking out! Why it should matter to Americans.


Photo credits: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Photo credits: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times


Photo credits: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Mr. Wu was sentenced to three years in prison as retribution for blowing the whistle on local officials for allowing Lake Tai in Yixing, China to be used as a giant toilet. Mother Nature had her revenge though. The lake exploded with cyanobacteria and toxic fumes poured out of the lake, creating a hazard for 2.3 million people according to the New York Times.

Mr. Wu, who was sounding the alarm for years, is still sitting in prison from fake charges that he was tortured to confess to. There is a price that people pay in China for sounding the alarm and speaking out about the growing pollution problem.

Why should that matter to us in America? We all live downstream. Over time, all the pollution will move into the ecosystems and make their way into the oceans. The oceans touch us all in some way. But a more immediate concern is our food supply. Americans now import much of its food from other countries.

Here is a quote from the article:
“One letter from local farmers described how a nearby factor making 8-hydroxyquinoline, used as a deodorant and antiseptic, emitted noxious fumes that “make our days and nights impassible.” Another writer referred to a local factory as “ a new Unit 731” named after the Japanese team that conducted chemical warfare experiments in World War II.
Members of another group said they did not dare tend their rice paddies without wearing gloves and galoshes because irrigation water caused their skin to peel off."

How do we know where the rice that we eat is grown?
How do we know that this rice is not mixed into many of the products that we buy in our country? There is not labeling to show country of origin for any of the food that we eat. We are at risk because our own leaders are bought out by special interests who do not want the American consumer to know that we are buying food that is grown where the water is polluted. That is why it matters. Our food supply is at risk.


When you look at the pictures, for me it raises a moral issue as well. How can we, in good conscience, not care about the living conditions our consumer frenzy for cheap products helps create for these people. What about their rights? Do they have none? Would we like to trade places with them? I certainly don’t. Why is it OK to encourage commerce without requiring some type of worker and environmental protection?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize


I felt like crying when I heard the news. Al Gore is one of my heroes. He made me aware of environmental issues in my formative years. He is one of the first people I ever heard speaking out about climate change, even when it was not popular to do so. I am so happy for him.


I met a teacher yesterday who was teaching a unit on energy and didn't know what fossil fuels were. We have a long way to go. I'm so happy that this will give him one more moment in the spot light where he can try to help educate those who don't understand why this matters.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Reading the book, "The World Without Us" by Alan Weisman


I'm reading his book right now. So far it's been an eye opener. The saddest thing I learned about was the over abundance of polymers that is entering the oceans food chain. Organisms of all sizes are beginning to ingest polymers. They mistake them for jelly fish, fish eggs, and small animals. The plastics are not biodegradable. Right now there is a ratio of 6:1 in our oceans of polymers to phytoplankton. Phytoplankton is beginning to ingest the polymer too. Most organisms can not digest material and die from it.

The Pacific Ocean now has places where there are miles and miles of trash floating on the surface. Ships avoid the area but if they accidentally enter this area, they have to crawl through the debris with as much caution as if they were moving through ice filled waters. He said this area in
the Pacific Ocean where trash has accumulated is as large as the state of California. He also said that there are other tropic oceans that are getting as bad as the Pacific Ocean. ( If this is true, I wonder why there aren't any photos of this. Is that not something you can see from space? If anyone knows of photos, please share them.)

Even it if it's not quite as bad as he claims it to be, this doesn’t sound too good does it? What will happen to the ocean’s web of life? Even if we stop producing polymers today, the plastic that is already in there will reek havoc for centuries to come. How can we continue to let this happen? How can we stop. It seems hopeless to me right now.

I’m just now starting the second part of his book. I hope that he has a more upbeat message….

Monday, October 01, 2007

CO2 Capture Project

If you listen to the video, you will hear “experts” say, “We’d better get started doing carbon sequestration soon or its going to be too late to stop the damage that will follow. I know Al Gore is pro carbon sequestration. I've heard some things about it that make me wonder if it's a good idea. Burying it can be risky. A leak would suck all the oxygen out of an area for miles and kill everything that breathing nearby. The ocean projects involving carbon sequestration discovered that the carbon turns into a think blob at the bottom of the ocean and it kills all the aquatic life in its path.

Of course, technology can improve this, hopefully it will. But I don’t think we should exchange one problem for another.

Don't be fooled by BP's claims to be "green"





Echoing the words of the Apollo 13 astronauts, “Houston, we have a problem.” I would also like to sound the alarm. There is a lot of “green washing” going on right now. There is a “green rush” taking place in multinational corporations. BP boasts about the money it is spending on “alternative energy” which sounds good unless you take a close look. It is estimated that it will cost the US $1 trillion dollars to convert our energy system to a renewable system that incorporates wind, solar, biomass etc.

BP says is going to invest $8 billion dollars over ten years for alternative energy. It sounds like a lot of money, but it’s really $992 billion dollars short of what is needed to convert to a renewable energy system. If that sounds like a lot of money, consider the fact that the US has already spent over $700 billion dollars on the Iraq war. Just think what we could have done if we had made our priority renewable energy.


So don't be fooled. This is good PR, but that's all it is, PR....