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Earth Citizens Perspective
Developments affecting the environment worldwide
Curated by Bert Guevara
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Three ways to fix the climate in 2012 and beyond

Three ways to fix the climate in 2012 and beyond | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
How can we move Americans more quickly toward climate action? Here are three answers.

What can each of us do to insure we get there soon, rather than too late?

 

There are three answers. The first is to build political power. Elect clean-energy champions at the municipal, state, and national levels who can pass policies enabling a clean-energy revolution.

 

The second is to stop expansion of the global carbon infrastructure. This will cut pollution — some — but will also build the morally grounded movement that must ultimately drive a strong clean-energy politics.

 

Answer three? Grow the green shoots of the emerging sustainable economy.

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"Wanted: Organic Rice" - Levels of Arsenic in Rice Skyrocket, FDA Urged to Set Standards

"Wanted: Organic Rice" - Levels of Arsenic in Rice Skyrocket, FDA Urged to Set Standards | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Lisa Garber NaturalSociety September 20, 2012 A year after consumer groups pressured the Food and Drug Administration to define standards for arsenic in apple juice, they are now forming a similar push for rice.  A new study shows unsettlingly high...

While arsenic is naturally occurring is water, air, food, and soil, only the organic variety passes through the body harmlessly, while inorganic arsenic—found in pesticides and insecticides—are carcinogenic. Consumer Reports’ Urvashi Rangan says, “It doesn’t make sense not to have standards for rice,” especially since inorganic arsenic can, over time, build up in the body.

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Climate Parliament ­Legislators working worldwide to combat climate change

Climate Parliament ­Legislators working worldwide to combat climate change | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
MPs launch new Bangladeshi Climate Parliament Group to fight for action on climate change: http://t.co/sQjujHhc #Bangladesh...

Climate Parliament Bangladesh’s core group consists of male and female MPs representing the three main political parties of the country – the Bangladesh Awami League, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, and the Bangladesh Jaitya Party. ...

As part of its commitment to provide electricity for all by the end of the decade, the Bangladesh Government aims to power 10% of its total power demand from renewable sources by the year 2020. Effective and large-scale utilization of renewable energy resources is still some way off, but the Climate Parliament Group is sure to play a critical role in establishing the robust legislative framework required for renewable energy to thrive in Bangladesh.

 

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Freaked-out climate scientists urge other freaked-out climate scientists to speak up, fight Man

Freaked-out climate scientists urge other freaked-out climate scientists to speak up, fight Man | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
You say climate chaos is HOW close?! In my previous post, I discussed some new modeling which shows that avoiding climate chaos — limiting average global temperature rise to 2 degrees, generally agreed to be the threshold of danger — is still...

Can we make the radical changes necessary to meet that challenge? No, say climate scientists Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows in a recent commentary in Nature Climate Change, not “within orthodox political and economic constraints.”

There is no political or economic constraint more orthodox than the primacy of economic growth. No solution to climate change that threatens economic growth can get any traction at all — even the most “alarmist” climate hawks fear to tread there. Which is too bad, Anderson and Bows say, because “climate change commitments are incompatible with short- to medium-term economic growth (in other words, for 10 to 20 years).” What’s worse, “work on adapting to climate change suggests that economic growth cannot be reconciled with the breadth and rate of impacts as the temperature rises towards 4 °C and beyond.” In other words: We either give up economic growth voluntarily for a little while or suffer a climate that will reverse economic growth long-term.

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Raising a glass to environment victory - Taranaki Daily News

Raising a glass to environment victory - Taranaki Daily News | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Raising a glass to environment victoryTaranaki Daily NewsBut the Environment Court's recent ruling on the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council's (Horizons) One Plan was as sweet a victory as it gets.

''We also know what is causing that decline, and we know how to stop it, and reverse it'' and to fail to take available steps ''would be inexcusable'', it says.

The council can now apply a ''land-use capability'' regulatory regime for the amount of nitrogen applied to land used for dairying, intensive sheep and beef farming, and horticulture.

When other regional councils throughout the country review their individual regional water plans, this decision only further reinforces how important it is to set measurable water quality objectives and limits.

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Climate change: all that is solid melts into water - The Guardian

Climate change: all that is solid melts into water - The Guardian | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Sydney Morning HeraldClimate change: all that is solid melts into waterThe GuardianIn fact, pessimists in the climate change community warn that within the next century global mean temperatures could rise by 6C.

It is the ice cap that keeps the Arctic cold. Sunlight that hits white ice bounces back into space. Dark ocean absorbs light, and therefore warmth, making the next winter's ice pack thinner, and less enduring. The difference between the torrid tropics and the icy Arctic governs weather patterns in the northern hemisphere. The frozen ocean and permafrost at the perimeter prevents ground methane from escaping into the atmosphere and thereby accelerating global warming. The polar seas drive the marine ecosystem and fuel the north Atlantic fish stocks. So the consequences of ice loss could be considerable, although nobody with political authority seems so far to have sufficiently considered them.

Bad news from the far north has just been matched by a bleak warning from the tropics. German, US and Australian scientists report in Nature Climate Change on Mondaythat the double menace of increasing greenhouse gas emissions and rising ocean acidity could spell the end for most of the world's coral reefs.

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Oil, coal spills contaminate Louisiana in Isaac's wake

Oil, coal spills contaminate Louisiana in Isaac's wake | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The Gulf Restoration Network has documented an oil spill at a Conoco Phillips refinery and a coal spill from a major port on the Mississippi River.
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Cooking Oil Gives Plastic Sizzle - they call it PHB (polyhydroxybutyrate) - a biodegradeable plastic

Cooking Oil Gives Plastic Sizzle - they call it PHB (polyhydroxybutyrate) - a biodegradeable plastic | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Cooking oil could become the raw material for plastic, giving those forks used to spear greasy french fries their own new sizzle.

"The use of biodegradable plastics such as PHB (Polyhydroxybutyrate) is encouraged to help reduce environmental contamination," said lead researcher Iza Radecka in a press release. “Unfortunately the cost of glucose as a starting material has seriously hampered the commercialization of bio-plastics "Using waste cooking oil is a double benefit for the environment as it enables the production of bioplastics but also reduces environmental contamination caused by disposal of waste oil."

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Mocking the Earth - Forbes

Mocking the Earth - Forbes | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
ForbesMocking the Earth ForbesMitt Romney stated in his Republic nomination acceptance speech, “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans,” implying that healing the planet would not help families in need.

Well-choreographed mass genuflections to denial are designed to win the hearts and minds of the unwitting; of those myriad communities, families and individuals who are hurting and therefore, goes the theory, most vulnerable to ignorance....

With the promise of 12 million jobs, any and all ecological illiteracy, embracing every known cliché and insult, apparently sleeps easily despite parishes – with their tens-of-thousands of stricken denizens in Louisiana – struggling to survive the rising waters; tens-of-millions of mothers and their children going hungry in East Africa; and hundreds-of-thousands of species and populations verging towards extinction on every continent.

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U.S. Tidal Power Ready for Prime Time

U.S. Tidal Power Ready for Prime Time | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The nation's first commercial tidal power plant is going online near Eastport, Maine.

The turbine blades “are similar to an airplane wing,” Sauer said. “Water moves over the foil and gives it lift, which rotates the turbine that turns a shaft and generates electricity.”

The electric power is fed directly into the local grid through an underwater cable -- just like wind power. While attempts to harness tidal power has been kicking around for a long time -- recent advances in composite materials for turbine blades and sealed water-proof generators have helped make it a reality, Sauer said.

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Pesticide-resistant insects add insult to drought injury

Pesticide-resistant insects add insult to drought injury | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The Western corn rootworm in its adult stage.

For years sustainable agriculture advocates from Wes Jackson to Michael Pollan have decried farmers’ move to this corn monoculture, but not just for philosophical reasons. The danger of biotechnology and chemical-based agriculture as practiced today is the false sense of security it offers farmers. When you adopt Monsanto’s seeds and chemicals and “simplify” your farming, it seems like you’ve solved all your problems.

But what you’ve actually done is increased what finance-types call “tail risk,” which means in essence that all your assumptions about the chances something bad will happen to you turn out to be wrong. And probability being what it is, you can go a long time without disaster striking and then, when it does, you find yourself totally screwed.

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NOAA Says Oceans, Ecosystems Soak Up Half of Carbon Emissions | IIP Digital

NOAA Says Oceans, Ecosystems Soak Up Half of Carbon Emissions | IIP Digital | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The planet’s forests and oceans are doing humankind a favor in soaking up excess greenhouse gases that humans are pumping into the atmosphere. But they are going to reach a limit, U.S. researchers say.
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The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic

The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The average land temperature on earth has risen 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years — essentially all of it caused by human emission of greenhouses gases.
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You can’t replace a forest -- New Internationalist

You can’t replace a forest -- New Internationalist | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Calling a plantation a ‘forest’ is like branding a big swimming pool a ‘lake’ says Friends of the Earth’s Isaac Rojas.

The reality is that timber plantations have a negative impact on communities, local economies and biodiversity. These plantations are not a solution to climate change or to biodiversity loss. They are simply a huge concern and cause numerous problems in many countries, ...

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Biodiversity: policy challenges in a changing world

Biodiversity: policy challenges in a changing world | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The complex interrelation between food, energy, and water security in the context of climate change might be taking us into a ‘perfect storm’ that could lead to civil unrest and conflict.

“The challenges we face in providing enough safe, clean and affordable energy, water, and food for our growing global population, which is moving into cities, are intimately linked to the challenge of mitigating and adapting to climate change. It is clear that any effective way to solve these challenges should continue to recognize the importance of maintaining our rich ecosystems. Scientists are increasing their understanding of the benefits that well-functioning ecosystems provide ‘behind the scenes’, for example, in sequestering our carbon, purifying our water, and pollinating our crops. It is vital that we continue to bring these issues to the attention of policymakers.”

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A degree by degree explanation of what will happen when the earth warms

A degree by degree explanation of what will happen when the earth warms | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
A degree by degree explanation of what will happen when the earth warms http://t.co/LKG1vOpO #Climate #Rio...

Even if greenhouse emissions stopped overnight the concentrations already in the atmosphere would still mean a global rise of between 0.5 and 1C. A shift of a single degree is barely perceptible to human skin, but it’s not human skin we’re talking about. It’s the planet; and an average increase of one degree across its entire surface means huge changes in climatic extremes.

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Review of National Biodiversity Strategy Underway - Ghana

Review of National Biodiversity Strategy Underway - Ghana | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Review of National Biodiversity Strategy UnderwayGhanaMonday, 17 September 2012 12:29.

As part of the process a workshop was held here last Wednesday under the theme, ‘Living in harmony with nature’ for stakeholders to make inputs in the area of conservation in protected areas and those outside protected areas as well as agriculture biodiversity and forest biodiversity. Others are socio-economic considerations of biodiversity conservation, invasive alien species, access to genetic resources and benefit sharing, traditional knowledge and the legal and policy aspects of biodiversity conservation.

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Nuclear's heavy double blow - Climate Spectator

Nuclear's heavy double blow - Climate Spectator | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The HinduNuclear's heavy double blowClimate SpectatorTwo of nuclear power's greatest champions dealt the industry a heavy blow on Friday, with Japan deciding to phase out its plants and France confirming plans to cut its heavy reliance on the technology...
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Water and biodiversity recognised as vital for food security at IUCN Congress

Water and biodiversity recognised as vital for food security at IUCN Congress | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Day 2 of the IUCN congress focused on the nexus between biodiversity, water and food security and saw the World Bank get serious about nature conservation. The day’s theme was ‘secure n...

Highlighting the link between biodiversity, water and food security, the aim was to address a lack of understanding among many policy makers of the importance of biodiversity for achieving food security. Wild sources of food are often overlooked in discussions about food security, but they form an integral part of many people’s diets around the world, especially for poorer, rural communities. Humans consume more than 7,000 different species of plants and animals, many of them wild!

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Elongated, 19-inch earthworm discovered in China - Examiner.com

Elongated, 19-inch earthworm discovered in China - Examiner.com | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Elongated, 19-inch earthworm discovered in ChinaExaminer.comAn earthworm's body size is closely related to their environment, and depends on variables like the weather, precipitation and the texture of the soil.
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New Study Slams Indonesia's Forest Protection - Only 4% of Forest Will Be Intact | Biodiversity IS Life: Ecosystems, Wildlife, Rivers, Water, Forests

New Study Slams Indonesia's Forest Protection - Only 4% of Forest Will Be Intact | Biodiversity IS Life: Ecosystems, Wildlife, Rivers, Water, Forests | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
May 3, 2012 Asia Sentinel:  US National Academy of Sciences says forest is being converted even faster than thought Indonesia’s tropical forest is being converted to oil palm plantations even faster than was thought, giving rise of the possibility...

Since 1990, according to the scientists’ report, Indonesia has experienced one of the most rapid plantation expansions worldwide. The Agricultural Ministry’s records indicate that from 1990 to 2010, oil palm area increased 600 percent to 7.8 million hectares, with more than 90 percent of the development occurring in Sumatra and Kalimantan, regions that lost roughly 40 percent of their lowland forests between 1990 and 2005.

“As a result of this extensive deforestation, annual greenhouse gas emissions in Indonesia—currently among the top 10 national emitters—are sourced predominantly from land cover/land use change,” the report says. “However, the locations, patterns, and land cover sources for oil palm plantation expansion; the extent and distribution of undeveloped oil palm leases pending near-term development; and carbon emissions from oil palm agriculture remain largely undocumented.

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Drastic desertification: Researchers study Dead Sea climate past, finding ... - Phys.Org

Drastic desertification: Researchers study Dead Sea climate past, finding ... - Phys.Org | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Drastic desertification: Researchers study Dead Sea climate past, finding ...Phys.OrgOver the past 10000 years, climate changes in the Dead Sea region have led to surprisingly swift desertification within mere decades.

In addition, this look back allows developing scenarios for potential future trends. "Our results are dramatic; they indicate how vulnerable the Dead Sea ecosystems are," says Prof. Litt. "They clearly show how surprisingly fast lush Mediterranean sclerophyll vegetation can morph into steppe or even desert vegetation within a few decades if it becomes drier." Back then, the consequences in terms of agriculture and feeding the population were most likely devastating. The researchers want to probe even further back into the climate past of the region around the Dead Sea by drilling even deeper.

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Climate Change: Countries That May Be Hit Hardest - Huffington Post

Climate Change: Countries That May Be Hit Hardest - Huffington Post | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Climate Change: Countries That May Be Hit HardestHuffington PostThe countries potentially facing the worst fates may not necessarily experience the greatest climate change, but instead lack the resources to cushion their people against climate-related...

The 2012 edition of the risk atlas identified 30 countries as being at extreme risk. The top 10 most at risk include: Haiti, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Cambodia, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and the Philippines.

Some countries with lower risk ratings still have danger zones that face "extreme risk" from climate change. Maplecroft pointed to the southwest of Brazil and China's coastal regions as examples, even though both countries rate as "medium risk" overall. Six of the world's fastest-growing cities also received "extreme risk" ratings: Calcutta in India, Manila in the Philippines, Jakarta in Indonesia, Dhaka and Chittagong in Bangladesh, and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

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Loss of habitats irreplaceable - Khaleej Times

Loss of habitats irreplaceable - Khaleej Times | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
SYDNEY - It is hard to replace a lost habitat without losing species, even though the goal may be laudable, warn scientists.

”There’s been a lot of talk among policymakers about ‘offsets’, meaning that if you damage or lose the environment in one place, you compensate by restoring or protecting an equivalent area somewhere else,” ...

”Current conservation policies talk glibly about offsets and seem to promise much - but it isn’t clear they really appreciate how difficult and expensive it can be to translocate a whole ecosystem with all its species and their relationships,” he said.

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Alarming Biodiversity Collapse in Protected Forests

Alarming Biodiversity Collapse in Protected Forests | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
{from Mother Jones} In the science journal Nature this week, a piece was co-authored by more than 200 scientists from around the world—a veritable who’s-who of researchers from the world of t...

The gist of the paper is alarming:

The rapid disruption of tropical forests worldwide probably imperils global biodiversity more than any other force today.
The best hope lies in protected areas.
Yet many protected areas are not effectively protecting biodiversity.
The authors write:

Our analysis reveals great variation in reserve ‘health:’ about half of all reserves have been effective or performed passably, but the rest are experiencing an erosion of biodiversity that is often alarmingly widespread taxonomically and functionally.

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