Archive for the Category ◊ Water ◊

Author:
• Thursday, August 01st, 2013

Disclosure: I was one of the hundreds of editors on the book.

Hat tip: Maureen Lafreniere

New book by Richard Heinberg:

Big Energy lies exposed in SNAKE OIL: How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future: http://bit.ly/FrackFighters

This is a critical book for a critical time. Fracking threatens watersheds, drinking supplies, public health, national security and common sense in an ever-increasing number of states and countries. SNAKE OIL empowers activists and citizens everywhere with the truths about a dirty energy fraud.

This is a self-published, community-supported endeavour, with supporters participating in the editing of the book.

From the Post Carbon Institute release:
Written by PCI Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg, SNAKE OIL casts a critical eye not only on the environmental impacts of new oil and gas production but also on the industry hype that has hijacked America’s energy conversation.

“SNAKE OIL exposes the unsustainable economics behind the so-called fracking boom, giving the lie to industry claims that natural gas will bring great economic benefits and long-term energy security to the United States. In clear, hard-hitting language, Heinberg reveals that communities where fracking has taken place are actually being hurt economically. For those who want to know the truth about why natural gas is a gangplank, not a bridge, Snake Oil is a must-read.”

– Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club and author of Coming Clean
SNAKE OIL is available as both a paperback and Kindle.

Category: Peak Oil, Waste, Water | Tags: ,  | One Comment
Author:
• Monday, November 12th, 2012

Bio mimickry increases farm production and profitsThis article proves scientifically that by using human skill to mimic nature and create closed loop ecosystems on farms, food production increases, environmental damage decreases, and profits increase. End of story.

Source: NY Times

[It] may be the most important agricultural study this year, although it has been largely ignored by the media, two of the leading science journals and even one of the study’s sponsors, the often hapless Department of Agriculture.

The study was done on land owned by Iowa State University called the Marsden Farm. On 22 acres of it, beginning in 2003, researchers set up three plots: one replicated the typical Midwestern cycle of planting corn one year and then soybeans the next, along with its routine mix of chemicals. On another, they planted a three-year cycle that included oats; the third plot added a four-year cycle and alfalfa. The longer rotations also integrated the raising of livestock, whose manure was used as fertilizer.

The results were stunning: The longer rotations produced better yields of both corn and soy, reduced the need for nitrogen fertilizer and herbicides by up to 88 percent, reduced the amounts of toxins in groundwater 200-fold and didn’t reduce profits by a single cent.

In short, there was only upside — and no downside at all — associated with the longer rotations. There was an increase in labor costs, but remember that profits were stable. So this is a matter of paying people for their knowledge and smart work instead of paying chemical companies for poisons...

…Adam Davis, an author of the study who works for the U.S.D.A., summarize[d] the findings, he said, “These were simple changes patterned after those used by North American farmers for generations. What we found was that if you don’t hold the natural forces back they are going to work for you.”

Author:
• Saturday, November 10th, 2012

I love the part when the Professor told the crowd of Harvard undergrads, “I don’t care about the haves – that means you. I care about the poor.” There wasn’t much applause…

Source: Harvard University Office for Sustainability

Author:
• Tuesday, October 09th, 2012

Source: Grist

Been jonesin’ for a Hollywood movie about a hot-button environmental issue? One without animation, penguins, or Al Gore?

You’re in luck: Promised Land could be just the ticket when it hits theaters on Dec. 28. Beyond being the first environmental-issue drama with Oscar chances since Erin Brockovich, this movie about fracking in small-town America comes from some big-name players. Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, and John Krasinski star. Gus Van Sant directs. Damon and Krasinski wrote the script based on a story by Dave Eggers.

Author:
• Thursday, July 19th, 2012

USA drought 2012Hasn’t the summer in Montreal been just wonderful? Many beautiful warm, sunny days with little rain. I love it.

However, there is such thing as too much of a good thing. Our warm days have been replicated over most of North America. With so much summer sunshine and so little rain, 61% of the lower 48 states of the USA has been declared a drought zone, the largest natural disaster by size in the history of the country.

Here’s a good dose of gloom with a bit of humor to help us come back to the reality that many of the intractable problems facing humanity, or rather our civilization, are not going away and seem to be getting worse.

Source: Dimitri Orlov

Corn prices are up over 40%. These are the only terms in which we can perceive the phenomenon of crop failure; we can’t see, touch, smell or taste the corn, it has been reduced to just a statistic. And when there isn’t enough of it, you too will be reduced to just a statistic. How do you like the sound of that?

A lot of people don’t like that at all, and react, strangely enough, by using the word “unsustainable.” You see, everything would be fine if we made it sustainable, by recycling or putting up solar panels or driving electric cars or what have you. We need to transition to a sustainable future, and for that we need a transition plan. We’ve been following the wrong plan, you see—the plan to exterminate all life on earth—but with a new plan, one that leaves out the bit about the extermination, all that would change, right? Why doesn’t it occur to anyone that the human industrial monoculture is, if anything, a little too sustainable? It may well sustain itself right up to the point where it kills everyone. A bit less sustainability might be a wise choice at this point.

Author:
• Saturday, April 07th, 2012

These are fascinating ideas that have a chance to work if we can step out of daily reality and look objectively at what our current monetary system is doing to our planet, and ourselves.

We must never forget that money is only a tool – it is neither evil nor good. It is what we choose to do with it.

I propose we start to consider new ways to use money so that it benefits all people (not just a few bankers and their friends who control money creation), and acts to protect what is sacred in our lives – people, clean air, clean water and nutritious food.

Source: Pittsburgh City Paper

Money, or at least the desire for it, is at the root of our biggest problems, from injustice and economic inequality to environmental destruction. The need for money always seems to make us do the wrong thing: Hoard wealth, strip the land.

But it needn’t be so. In his 2011 book Sacred Economics author and speaker Charles Eisenstein proposes fresh, even radical ways to think about how money is created, and even what it’s for.

Money as we know it is created through interest-bearing debt. It’s born when a central bank, like the Federal Reserve, purchases securities, or when your neighborhood bank makes a loan. The issuers of money demand to be paid back, with interest…

…By contrast, Eisenstein argues, the proper purpose of money is simply to connect people who need something with people who have something to give — “to facilitate the flow of gifts.” 

But how? Eisenstein argues for creating money differently. 

Rather than fabricating it from interest, or basing it arbitrarily on, say, piles of gold, “My idea is that we create money out of what’s becoming sacred to humanity today,” he says in a phone interview. “Intact ecosytems, rainforests, the beauty of the planet. The integrity of indigenous cultures. The health of the watershed. The sustainability of the aquifers, and the well-being of all human beings on earth.”

Eisenstein proposes setting up bioregional governments that would issue money based on things like the ability of the atmosphere to absorb air pollution, or the amount of water that can be sustainably drawn from a region’s aquifer.

“Today, there’s really not much of an incentive to conserve water,” he says. “But if aquifer depletion became very expensive, then conservation would have a financial incentive, and you’d be aligning money with what is sacred.”

Eisenstein also proposes that we reform the money system by making interest rates negative. In other words, the longer you held money, the less it would be worth: It would “decay.” And an interest rate of, say, negative-3 percent would encourage people to spend money and to loan it out (even at a low, or a 0 percent, return). That would spur economic activity. And it would help redefine wealth as a flow of resources, rather than an accumulation. (Negative interest differs from inflation, he says, largely because it would affect everyone equally — unlike inflation, which tends to raise prices and wages at different rates.)

Author:
• Friday, March 02nd, 2012

This animated film is extremely well done and entertaining. If you have any friends who don’t understand the dangers posed by Peak oil or the paradigm of infinite growth, this film will do the trick.

If you want to help translate the film, please join the Universal Subtitles group. Or go to the Hubbert’s Arms Forum, where you can collaborate with others.

Author:
• Monday, February 06th, 2012

Aquaponic gardeningHere is an exciting new book that I plan on reading. An aquaculture system is  a great compliment to a biodome, greenhouse or back yard garden.

Source: Amazon.com

Aquaponics is a revolutionary system for growing plants by fertilizing them with the waste water from fish in a sustainable closed system. A combination of aquaculture and hydroponics, aquaponic gardening is an amazingly productive way to grow organic vegetables, greens, herbs, and fruits, while providing the added benefits of fresh fish as a safe, healthy source of protein. On a larger scale, it is a key solution to mitigating food insecurity, climate change, groundwater pollution, and the impacts of overfishing on our oceans.

Aquaponic Gardening is the definitive do-it-yourself home manual, focused on giving you all the tools you need to create your own aquaponic system and enjoy healthy, safe, fresh, and delicious food all year round. Starting with an overview of the theory, benefits, and potential of aquaponics, the book goes on to explain:

  • System location considerations and hardware components
  • The living elements–fish, plants, bacteria, and worms
  • Putting it all together–starting and maintaining a healthy system
Author:
• Thursday, December 01st, 2011

suburban office parkIf there were no suburban office “parks” then there would be less incentive to live in the suburbs and less incentive to drive EVERYWHERE. There would be more incentive to live in urban, energy efficient communities where daily interaction with people and a sense of community was common.

Source: NY Times

IN an era of concern about climate change, residential suburbs are the focus of a new round of critiques, as low-density developments use more energy, water and other resources. But so far there’s been little discussion of that other archetype of sprawl, the suburban office.

Rethinking sprawl might begin much more effectively with these business enclaves. They cover vast areas and are occupied by a few powerful entities, corporations, which at some point will begin spending their ample reserves to upgrade, expand or replace their facilities…

suburban offices are even more unsustainably designed than residential suburbs. Sidewalks extend only between office buildings and parking lots, expanses of open space remain private and the spreading of offices over large zones precludes effective mass transit.

These workplaces embody a new form of segregation, where civic space connecting work to the shops, housing, recreation and transportation that cities used to provide is entirely absent. Corporations have cut themselves off from participation in a larger public realm.

Rethinking pastoral capitalism is integral to creating a connected, compact metropolitan landscape that tackles rather than sidesteps a post-peak-oil future. This requires three interrelated strategies. State and federal governments should stop paying for new highway extensions that essentially subsidize the conversion of agricultural land for development, including corporate offices. Existing infrastructure needs maintenance and renewal, not expansion.

Author:
• Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Source: Ecohouse.co.nz

Research Credit: Cryptogon