Category Archives: Climate Change

How do the candidates stand on America’s energy future? Here’s a radio piece from NCR

Energy policy, defining how we use energy to power our economy and our lives, is among the most pressing issues for the next four years. In this special edition of BURN, stories about the power of one: how, in this election season, a single person, place, policy or idea can — with a boost from science — affect the nation’s search for greater energy independence.

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Tell Mitt Romney: Climate Change Isn’t A Joke

Much of the nation is reeling from Superstorm Sandy. As families rebuild from Sandy’s destruction, our thoughts are with the victims of this horrific, fossil-fueled storm.

When Gov. Mitt Romney made climate change a punch line at the Republican National Convention, he mocked a real threat to the lives of Americans.

We can’t let Mitt get away with his laughing dismissal of the threat of rising seas caused by the carbon polluters who fund his campaign. Share this ad with friends and family to tell Romney: climate change isn’t a joke.

Ref: Three Ways Climate Change Made Hurricane Sandy Worse

 

Thanks to Climate Silence.org.

Halloween tonight…

Elly works late today, so the dogs and I will be ready to greet any costumed kids who come to the door with a bowl of miniature candy bars. I know this is going to drive my dogs crazy, but I’ll put up with it.

It looks like the rain has finally stopped outside. Hopefully it will stay this way. It would be very unfortunate for kids to have to go house to house in the rain. Out here in rural Harper’s Ferry the houses are spread pretty widely apart and it would be a very wet walk.

So I’m wishing all of you a happy Halloween out there. Let it turn a Wednesday evening into fun.

 

Suppose Romney was President now, during Sandy…

First of all, he would have discarded FEMA as a Federal Agency and given the costs and responsibilities back to the states or to private enterprise. I’ll bet governors up and down the east cost would not be thrilled to lose the federal support.

So what is Romney‘s status on federal funds protecting and helping Americans in times of natural disaster? Take a look:

I guess that means what President Obama is doing now to aid the various states in preserving life and helping states is “immoral.” Tell that to Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who as already come out praising Obama and thanking him for making federal funds and FEMA available… and being available to him by phone for any future problems. I’ll bet Christie is glad that it is Obama and not Romney who is on the other end of the phone call:

“I appreciated the president’s outreach today in making sure that we know he’s watching this and is concerned about the health and welfare and safety of the people of the state of New Jersey.”

–  Gov. Chris Christie, (R) NJ

 

NOT SURE HOW MUCH SANDY IS GOING TO EFFECT THE EASTERN PANHANDLE…

But the animations the weather shows are presenting have rainstorms crossing over us… apparently we’re about as far to the west as any of this will reach and I can’t imagine it will be like a nor’easter or a tropical hurricane.

To make sure what’s happening however, I’m hanging out the Weather Forecasting Stone:

I have absolute confidence in the stone’s accuracy. Don’t you wish you had one?

 

Environmental Scientist Barry Commoner Dies at 95

One of the men I admired most in the early environmental movement, Dr. Barry Commoner, has died at 95 at his home in Brooklyn Heights, and I think the world experiences a great loss. He was an early champion of recycling, organic food and reducing fossil fuel use… and, of course, he took a firm stand against nuclear testing.

Commoner was trained as a biologist at Columbia and Harvard and combined scientific expertise and leftist zeal. His work on the global effects of radioactive fallout, which included documenting concentrations of strontium 90 in the baby teeth of thousands of children, contributed materially to the adoption of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963.

He was a popular speaker and author 1n the 1960s and ’70s, and even campaigned for president in 1980.

Time Magazine called Commoner the Paul Revere of Ecology on the first Earth Day in 1970.

His four informal rules of ecology were:

1. Everything Is Connected to Everything Else

2. Everything Must Go Somewhere

3. Nature Knows Best

4. There Is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch.

Dr. Commoner’s was both concerned with ecology  and an ideal of social justice in which everything was indeed connected to everything else. Like some other leftist dissenters of his time, he believed that environmental pollution, war, and racial and sexual inequality needed to be addressed as related issues of a central problem.

Commoner insisted that the future of the planet depended on industry’s learning not to make messes in the first place, rather than on trying to clean them up after they were made. He thought scientists in the service of industry could not just create some new process or product and then remove themselves from a moral responsibility for the potential results. He was a lifelong opponent of nuclear power because of its radioactive waste and scorned the idea of pollution credit swaps because an industry would have to be fouling the environment in the first place to be rewarded by such a program.

He saw that social needs were tied up with environmental ones… for instance:

“I don’t believe in environmentalism as the solution to anything. What I believe is that environmentalism illuminates the things that need to be done to solve all of the problems together. For example, if you’re going to revise the productive system to make cars or anything else in such a way as to suit the environmental necessities, at the same time why not see to it that women earn as much as men for the same work?”

Harvard paleontologist Steven J. Gould’s summary of Barry Commoner’s work and achievements is clear:

“Although he has been branded by many as a maverick, I regard him as right and compassionate on nearly every major issue.”

Intro to Solar Class Offered at No Cost to WV Residents

 

 Thanks to a state grant, Mountain View Solar, in partnership with Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, will be offering “Introduction to Solar Energy Systems” in Berkeley Springs, WV and in Martinsburg, WV. The class is available at no cost to WV residents and can be taken for college credit and as a requirement toward a NABCEP certification.

The class will be held on Tuesdays from 6-8:30 PM from September 11 through November 13, 2012. There are still spots available for students who are interested in a career in solar energy or simply interested in how solar works.

For more information, email John@mtvsolar.com or to register contact Blue Ridge College at 304.260.4380 ext. 2411

 

For those in favor of a Sustainable economy:

Passed on to me by John Case:

The *Daly News*<http://dalynews.org>is where we question some of the most deeply ingrained (and deeply flawed)  myths of mainstream economics. The *Daly News* is named in honor of one of our authors, Herman Daly, a true leader in alternative economic thinking.

His most recent essay provides a counterpoint<http://steadystate.org/eight-fallacies-about-growth/>to the clamor for continuous economic growth. Our current essay is a doozy. Brian Czech attacks the nonsense spouted by George Will<http://steadystate.org/george-will/>, but surprisingly Czech agrees with Will on a critical point that has  ramifications for the transition to a sustainable and fair economy. I hope
you’ll take a look.
 
“Eye-opening.” “Beautifully written.” “Insightful.” Those are just a few reader responses to our essays on the *Daly News*. Please subscribe via email<http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=DalyNews&loc=en_US>or RSS feed <http://feeds.feedburner.com/DalyNews>.

I’ve put the Daly News on my bookmark list and will be referring to it when required.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Is anything what it seems?

 

Drew Sheneman in the Newark Star-Ledger:

Reasons or excuses… we’re still in the dark…

-and –

Joe Heller in the Green Bay Press-Gazette:

Danger or stupidity… there are so many morons…

-and –

Steve Sack in the Star Tribune:

Evil or evil… there is no difference…

-and –

Jim Morin in The Miami Herald:

Investigation or Reputation… we are known far and wide…

-and –

David Horsey in the Los Angeles Times.

Tuned in or tuned out… communication lost in technology…

 

 

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Wouldn’t you rather get back to real life?

David Horsey in the L.A. Times:

Is it politics that causes climate change?

– and –

Ben Sargent in the Austin American-Statesman:

 

Will reality overcome idiocy?

– and –

Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

What party chooses destructiveness over group participation?

– and –

Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Which candidate regularly displays his knowledge of the lower middle class?

– and –

Jim Morin in the Miami Herald:

And how does a candidate expose his nemesis by committing the same things as the accusations he makes?

A research visit to an Earthship…

English: A picture of the workings of natural ...

English: A picture of the workings of natural ventilation in a earthship. Schematic was based on a picture found in the book “Earthship Vol 2:Systems and Components by Michael Reynolds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Elly and I are in the planning stages of our earth bermed house project which we hope to be living in in a year or so. About a mile or so from our current house is an “Earthship“, a particular style of earth bermed house, originally designed and promoted by New mexico architect Mike Reynolds.  It is built with walls made out of earth-filled automobile tires that are then covered with clay and cement.

It uses south-facing solar windows and a number of other things (like greywater cisterns) which we are planning on.

While this is not the method of building we are looking at, it has enough of the same features that we felt it would be a source of information for us. Owners Larry and Karen spent four years doing much of the building themselves and they were a fountain of information answering all of our questions and giving us advice. We have a number of leads to look up that they have directed us to.

I’ll be getting into more stuff about our new house plan as we go along.

Side view of the Earthship near us.

The next time your pals say there is no such thing as Global Warming, show them this:

If this doesn’t convince them, suggest they go live in the grain producing areas of the midwest. That should back up their belief (but don’t laugh too hard.)

Attend a National Demonstration Against Fracking in Washington, D.C. — Saturday, July 28

 

I am passing this on to all my readers in the Washington DC area and around here in Shepherdstown and Harper’s Ferry who don’t mind a 90 minute drive. This is very important for West Virginia, already subject to the disaster that is Mountain Top Removal in the coal industry, which is about to be subject to widespread fracking.

This is from the Center for Biological Diversity:

A fossil fuel rush is sweeping the United States — with terrible consequences.  The oil and gas industry is surging into new areas all over the country as quickly and cheaply as possible, largely as a result of advances in fracking technology.
Fracking is a dangerous oil and gas drilling technique that threatens waterfowl, fish and endangered species like the California condor, not to mention human health. In addition to intense local pollution, fracking also emits methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas, and represents an increased dependency on fossil fuels when a rapid transition to clean, renewable energy should be our first priority.

“Natural gas” has been marketed as the clean alternative to traditional sources of oil, even though fracking routinely employs toxic chemicals like lead, arsenic, chromium 6 and benzene. This extreme drilling technique is set to explode across the United States, run by a largely unregulated industry.

We must demand that decision makers inside the Beltway take action to stop dangerous oil and gas industry practices before the damage is done. Join us on Saturday, July 28, in Washington, D.C., for a rally at the Capitol to demand a stop to dangerous drilling that hurts public health, water and air.

RSVP here.

What: Stop the Frack Attack: A National Call to Action

When: Saturday, July 28; rally starts at 2 p.m.

Where: The West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol

We’re joining with groups all over the nation for this day of action. Check out this video invite from Josh Fox, producer of the documentary Gasland, and Mark Ruffalo, star of this summer’s action hit The Avengers.

For more information on this and other Center for Biological Diversity activities, visit our events page.

Rose Braz, Climate Campaign Director
rbraz@biologicaldiversity.org
(415) 436-9682, Ext. 319

 

My life has changed… not for the better, I’m afraid

Following my radio show this morning, I’m sitting over at Mellow Moods having coffee while I wait for my friend Cecil to pick me up

He’s over at  workshop at the Contemporary American Theater Festival and are schedules our slightly skewed.

This not being able to drive, what I have been condemned to since my accident, stands a real possibility of going on for the rest of my life. If I were in a city with public transportation to everything going on, it would be one thing, but I’m a few miles out of town in an empty, rural neighborhood where walking to anything is out of the question and there are no buses or anything else.

I’m dependent on family and friends to go out, can no longer do the grocery shopping, which I enjoyed, and, basically I feel trapped. The internet is my only way out, so you, dear blog readers, are now my connection to the world. I enjoy hearing from you whether you agree with me or not.

Think I’ll go buy another cup of coffee while it becomes 102° outside.

Another hot day… and who says there is no Global Warming?

According to the Weather Bureau it’s going to get even hotter by Wednesday and we’ll all feel like hot dogs on a grill. The experts who have reported on the Weather Channel that this long stretch of heat is a sure sign of the existence of global warming, especially given the huge spread of the continent that it covers.

Those who disagree with that assumption… and for some reason the disagreement is political, which I have never understood… are saying “well, it’s summer,” but this contradicts years of summers before. As summer has just begun, I can’t wait to see what August, usually our really hot month, is like.

So stay inside with the AC on and keep as cool as you can. That’s what I’m doing.

The Power is Back! (9:00 AM)

We just finished a 13 hour power outage due, I am told, by a tree falling over a line down Uvilla Road.

Elly and I drove over to Charles Town to have breakfast (and COFFEE) at the Mountaintop Diner and came back to the lights being on (although the Potomac Edison trucks are still working on the lines around the corner from us.)

The wind and thunderstorms last night blew all kinds of things from Elly’s gardening around the yard and it will have to be picked up today… although it is getting up to near 90° outside… and there are more thunderstorms due later this afternoon.

Happy Memorial Day.

The loudest thunder I’ve ever heard…

We’re in some kind of direct thunderstorm path out here in rural Harpers Ferry. The thunder from last night’s storm, which woke me up, was incredibly loud… as it had been the night before.

Both our dogs were upset and  I had to come out into the living room and pet them and calm them down. Byron, the smaller of the two, crawled behind my recliner and put his head under the seat… I presume so he couldn’t see the lightning flash in the windows. Nestle, my big old boy, moved back and forth from couch to couch unable to rest comfortably.

We have even more of these storms projected by the Weather Channel for this afternoon… 60% chance, which is usually pretty good.

I hope my dogs are up for it.

The real war on coal

My friend Sean O’Leary wrote this well researched op-ed in the Martinsburg Journal, and I reproduce it here in its entirety… maybe now we can get Bob Manchin off Obama’s ass…

Much is made of President Obama’s and the Environmental Protection Agency’s “war on coal”. And it’s true. In order to reduce air pollution and retard global warming, this administration, along with the governments of nearly all industrialized nations, is trying to reduce the burning of coal for the generation of electricity.

But, how much of a difference are the president’s policies making on the amount of coal that’s mined and on the number of jobs in the mining and power generation industries? In fact, let’s ask the big question. If this president is swept from office in November and the EPA’s power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions is removed, as presumed Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, has said he would do, what would it mean for America’s coal industry?

Would there be a rebirth? Would coal-burning power plants that are currently slated for closing become viable again? Would new coal-burning power plants be built to meet the growing demand for electricity? Would mines that have been closed be reopened? And would there be a rebound in hiring creating thousands of new jobs in the mining industry?

If you believe that the answer to any of these questions is, yes, you haven’t been paying attention to the market forces that, far more than government action, are killing coal in general and the Appalachian coal industry in particular.

What are those market forces? First, there is natural gas.

If the Obama administration is conducting a “war” on coal, then the English language hasn’t invented a word of sufficient ferocity to describe the conflict between coal and natural gas. Although West Virginia politicians are loath to admit it, every new gas well that’s sunk in West Virginia is another nail in the coffin of coal. Why?

The practice of fracking has greatly increased supplies of natural gas and reduced the price to the point that it costs only half as much to generate a megawatt of electricity from natural gas as from coal half as much.

That’s warfare. And, in case you’re under the delusion that the competition between coal and gas is friendly, consider that between 2007 and 2010 Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy, the largest gas driller in West Virginia, donated $26 million to the Sierra Club’s campaign to block the construction of coal-fired power plants. Just last month McClendon did a victory dance when a Wall Street Journal writer asked him about his reputation as “the scourge of coal”. McClendon said, “I probably am not as strident as I used to be because I don’t have to be. Natural gas has won in the marketplace and it is continuing to win.”

Far more than the president’s “war on coal”, the natural gas industry’s war has had measurable effects. Last year the amount of the nation’s electricity generated by coal dropped by 8.9 percent and coal is now responsible for less than 40 percent of the electricity generated in the US. This was partially attributable to warmer-than-average winter weather, but the bigger factor was natural gas which saw its volume grow by 7.2 percent.

And natural gas’s price advantage isn’t going away anytime soon. One of the reasons gas is so cheap is that the “wet gas” found in many of the Marcellus shale wells in West Virginia, also produces byproducts such as ethane, which is used in the plastics industry. At current prices, these byproducts almost double the value of natural gas. Economically this functions as a subsidy for which coal has no answer.

The second market force crushing coal in Appalachia is cost. The volume of Appalachian coal produced per miner dropped by 25 percent between 2001 and 2008. This decline in productivity is driven by the exhaustion of easily accessible coal seams and produces higher costs and reduced competitiveness in the face of the onslaught by natural gas.

The third market force killing coal is the American people.

In its April issue, Mother Jones magazine ran a story by Mark Hertsgaard documenting the virtual moratorium that has fallen upon the construction of new coal-fired power plants, particularly in the eastern part of the country. While there are just over 30 new coal-fired plants currently under construction in the US, more than 160 have been blocked often by local residents who don’t want what they perceive as a dirty industry in their back yards. The look not only at the global warming impact of coal burning, but at its effect on health as measured in elevated levels of asthma attacks and death.

By the end of the decade these combined market forces will have produced almost twice as much of a reduction in carbon emissions as would have been achieved under the proposed (and, in West Virginia, the much-reviled) cap and trade legislation that died in 2010.

Does that mean that Obama administration actions on coal are irrelevant or superfluous? Not altogether. Clean-air regulations are causing some older coal-fired power plants to be taken offline sooner than they otherwise would be because it’s not worth the cost to retrofit them with pollution control equipment. However, this is only slightly speeding up the inevitable. Those plants, like the coal industry as a whole, are dead men walking, not because of government action, but because of the free market. And the question for West Virginia’s political leaders is whether they will finally focus on building a post-coal economy rather than trying to postpone the inevitable.

– Sean O’Leary can be reached at seanoleary@citlink.net.

I’m not happy with the World…

…but I can’t do anything about it on a scale that would change anything.

Listening to politicians on the morning news babble at each other that they will not do anything about jobs or or education or ANYTHING unless the debt is reduced (which most economists will tell you is a false concern in relationship to income)… and then seeing that they do NOTHING while they are in session to work with each other or the President, and ignore the wishes of the voters.

Then I see the report on Global Biodiversity which shows that we are gobbling up the Earths resources at an unreplaceable rate (we are “outstripping the Earth’s resources by 50 percent — essentially using the resources of one and a half Earths every year, according to the 2012 Living Planet Report, produced by conservation agency the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)”

Natural resources — and the rate at which humans burn through them — rarely appear on policymakers’ balance sheets.

– Emily McKenzie, the director of the WWF’s Natural Capital Program

Tie all this in with the ignoring of Global Warming which is leading us further down the path to an unliveable planet.

The fact that we are still at war in the Middle East and are committed there for at least a dozen more years with billions of tax dollars being spent and no budget cuts to aid the economy is frightening. In my lifetime there have been relatively few years when we were not at war with SOMEONE… and the claims that this would all lead to peace are now nothing but laughable.

So my thoughts come back again to “what can we do?”

Elly and I have replaced all our light bulbs with the energy controlled ones and, even then, we sit in the dark most of the time to keep electricity down. We are growing our own food now (and buying and trading with local farmers.) We are planning to add chickens.

I am working with groups like Sustainable Shepherdstown to promote local job growth and development of our  local and regional small businesses.

I am campaigning against Monsanto, Dow and the rest for poisoning our foods and making it more difficult to get organic seeds in the market… yet they are taking over the food industry at rates that are more than alarming (for instance, Kellogg buying out Kashi has removed the latter from the organic food makers and now fills their products with GMO grains.)

But I wake up every morning more depressed than the day before… worried about the future for my children and my grandchildren (currently four of them).

Do you worry about all of this as well? Do you try to do anything about it, or just throw your hands up and resign yourself to it?

Let me know.

 

Join science experts like the Unabomber if you believe in Global Warming…

Who? What? Ted Kaczynski? And other billboards with Charles Manson and Fidel Castro. Coming soon are billboards featuring Osama bin Laden and James J. Lee (who took hostages inside the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in 2010).

What nutjobs are responsible for this terrific promotional campaign showing us how science proves there is no Global Warming? Why, The Heartland Institute, a 28-year-old organization whose mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.

And, of course, to create the kind of stimulating, educational pieces like these billboards.

Heartland also produces books and brochures with titles like Climate Change Weekly: New York Times Misrepresents Global Warming Surveys and EPA Official Says Goal Is to ‘Crucify’ Oil and Natural Gas Companies, all of which seem to be written by noted scientist James M. Taylor, J.D. Senior Fellow and Managing Editor, Environment and Climate News.  (J.D. is that a scientific degree or a law degree?) Their Science Director is Dr. Jay Lehr, author of recent articles like Nuclear Fears Trumping Reality in Wake of Fukushima and An Open Letter to the Oil and Gas Industry: The Ethical Case for Fracking. Hmmm, support of Nuclear Industry and Hydrofracturing (Fracking).

Needless to say, given their support of corporations over individual citizens, my guess is that they will be advising Romney and the Republicans.

Help!

Watching Romney, Boehner, Ryan and the rest of them on Television, I realize that Republicans lie.

And not just a couple of mistaken notions here and there, but outright lies…some of them so far out that I couldn’t have imagined them if I tried.

Why is it, then, that we let them keep doing it? Why do the news shows repeat these gems in their speeches without pointing out the basic lack of truth? Perhaps there is influence being peddled here.

For instance, Mitt is always saying that Obama has made the recession worse…without mentioning, of course, that the Dow hit its 4-year high and NASDAQ hit its 11-year high under the President’s time in office. Or Chrysler posted its first profit in more than a decade  and  expects those profits to continue growing. The industry has hired enough workers to make up for all those laid off during the recession, and American and foreign automakers plan to add 167,000 jobs at American plants this year. So how has he made the recession worse?

Romney, Ryan and others have said that taxes are skyrocketing under Obama.
In reality, the U.S. tax burden is not only hovering around a historical low — it’s also low compared to other advanced industrialized nations.

Boehner has said that the President has accomplished NOTHING in his first term, ignoring everything from wiping out Osama Bin Laden, saving the auto industry and getting his health care plan PASSED.

According to Romney: President Obama “went around the world and apologized for America.”  Obama, however, has never used the word ‘apologize’ in a speech about U.S. policy or history. Any assertion that he has apologized for U.S. actions rests on an intentionally misleading interpretation of the President’s words.

The Republicans lie about everything. They deny the reality of global warming and the carbon emissions crisis. They deny the responsibility of Reagan and Bush for the deficits that they caused and that Obama inherited (along with a recession). They deny Clinton the credit for the vast economic growth that took place in 1990s as a result of his economic policies and for the fiscal sanity that his policies accomplished. They blame everything on the “liberal” academia and give credit for everything to Republicans, never mind that academic science is behind everything that business sells, and without it capitalism would be nothing more than exchange of basic commodities.

And they repeat this stuff over and over… a trick that Goering used in Nazi Germany when they had control of the media: repeat a lie often enough and people start thinking it is true.

Then there are the two big ones that Republicans try hard not to deny, but continue to perpetuate: that Obama was born in another country and that Obama is a socialist/communist trying to nationalize America’s industries (evidenced in the editorial page press by cartoonists like Glenn McCoy:

…if you see what I mean.)

So dealing with Republican lies now through November’s election is going to be an ongoing headache. I’ll just have to make sure that I point them out with some regularity and hope it keeps a few people from buying into this crap.

From Mother Jones: A Bayer Pesticide is reducing the population of bees…

Here’s another pesticide controversy… one we can add to the Monsanto Mix… it relates to Bayer (yeah, the people who make the aspirin you take every day.)

Here’s a clip:

3 New Studies Link Bee Decline to Bayer Pesticide

It’s springtime, and farmers throughout the Midwest and South are preparing to plant corn—and lots of it. The USDA projects this year’s corn crop will cover 94 million acres, the most in 68 years. (By comparison, the state of California occupies a land mass of about 101 million acres.) Nearly all of that immense stand of corn will be planted with seeds treated with neonicotinoid pesticides produced by the German chemical giant Bayer.

And that may be very bad news for honey bees, which remain in a dire state of health, riddled by large annual die-offs that have become known as “colony collapse disorder” (CCD). 

In the past months, three separate studies—two of them just out in the prestigious journal Science—have added to a substantial body of literature linking widespread use of neonicotinoids to CCD. The latest research will renew pressure on the EPA to reconsider its registration of Bayer’s products. The EPA green-lighted Bayer’s products based largely on a study funded by the chemical giant itself—which was later discredited by the EPA’s own scientists, as this leaked memo shows.

When seeds are treated with neonics, the pesticides get absorbed by the plant’s vascular system and then “expressed” in the pollen and nectar, where they attack the nervous systems of insects. Bayer targeted its treatments at the most prolific US crop—corn—and since the late 1990s, corn farmers have been blanketing millions of acres of farmland with neonic-treated seeds.

And it’s not just corn. In addition to the vast corn crop mentioned above, Bayer’s neonics have worked their way into substantial portions of the soy, wheat, cotton, sorghum, and peanut seed markets. In 2010, according to research by the Pesticide Action Network of North America, at least 142 million total acres were planted in neonic-treated seeds—a trend that will continue if not increase in  the 2012 growing season. That represents a landmass equal to the footprints of California and Washington State.

But even that’s not all. As I showed in this January post, Bayer’s neonics are also common in home-garden and landscaping products.

Read the rest (and there is a lot) HERE.

Planet Under Pressure Conference in London – We’re getting close to irreversible climate changes…

While politicians argue with scientists, the climate actually goes on changing.. and not to our advantage. Reuters has been commenting on this conference that runs through tomorrow:

Global warming close to becoming irreversible-scientists

The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter, making this decade critical in efforts to contain global warming, scientists warned on Monday.

Scientific estimates differ but the world’s temperature looks set to rise by six degrees Celsius by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are allowed to rise uncontrollably.

As emissions grow, scientists say the world is close to reaching thresholds beyond which the effects on the global climate will be irreversible, such as the melting of polar ice sheets and loss of rainforests.

“This is the critical decade. If we don’t get the curves turned around this decade we will cross those lines,” said Will Steffen, executive director of the Australian National University‘s climate change institute, speaking at a conference in London.

It’s amazing how many of the best scientific minds see the problem, yet they are faced with huge negative concepts by the politicians who would have to vote in the bucks to make changes.

As we argue this out for the rest of the decade, we can watch the polar ice caps melt and the tropical rain forests dry up and many species that we rely on disappear.

It is up to us as individuals to push our representatives into dealing with the truth. Right?

Living in the rural district…

Bird's nest over our front porch.

Sunny day, warm weather and I spent the last half hour sitting out on my porch with my next door neighbor, Francis, talking about lawn mowing, hay growing, birds nesting, different kinds of tree blossoms…etc,etc. This is nice.

If you are going to be retired, I can’t think of a better place. It’s a great place to write and develop theatre projects (John Case and I are working on an updated

Flowering Pear Tree

version of Odets’ “Waiting for Lefty” which will include contemporary references and some music… we’ll be performing it at The Folly sometime this summer.) It’s also wonderful for gardening and other outdoor activities.

There’s a whole different kind of concerns out here than there is in the closer suburbs… the weather relates more to how the land operates than to what you’ll wear and how you will move around. Rain out here is is a prized phenomenon (and we expect some this afternoon and tomorrow.)

And now that winter has been eliminated by an early spring, it looks like things will get even better.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – You Can’t Always Get What You Want… Thank Goodness!

Drew Sheneman in the Newark Star-Ledger:

So, if you get elected we’ll drop the big boy on Iran?

-and

Tony Auth in The Philadelphia Inquirer

So, if you get elected we’ll eliminate education?

-and

Tom Toles in The Washington Post:

So, if you get elected we’ll reduce population by increasing the death rate?

-and

a

So, if you get elected you’ll be able to mandate gas prices?

-and

David Horsey in the L. A. Times:

So, if you get elected you won’t get eaten up by your own deficit policy?