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Counting the hidden costs of energy

Counting the hidden costs of energy | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
By Martin Nicholson and Barry Brook. This article was first published on The Conversation. A response was then published on Business Spectator. It is worth reading both pieces, and the comments tha...
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News that effects the sustainability of life on Earth
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Stupidity Is Not A Valid Defense For Us - The Automatic Earth

Stupidity Is Not A Valid Defense For Us - The Automatic Earth | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

If we can't plead stupidity, what else is there? How do we live with ourselves? Is it all the stuff we buy that manages to numb our brains and consciences?

 

When I see a headline like this one at Bloomberg today, World Needs Record Saudi Oil Supply as OPEC Convenes, there’s just one thought that pops into my head: what the world needs is for us to stop doing this thing we’re doing. Even apart from peak oil concerns, it’s obvious we’re going to run out at some point or another, and it doesn’t matter whether that’s tomorrow or at some other point in the future, though we do know it’s not going to take another 100 years, or even 50.

 

And nothing will ever take the place of oil; once those unique carbons are gone, that’s it, we’ll have to find a completely different way of running our societies, and if we’re not smart enough to prepare for that beforehand, we’ll be cats fighting in a sack and use the last scraps to kill off each other. And our legacy won’t be the Greek thinkers and Picasso and Dostoyevsky and Walt Whitman and Maria Callas, since there won’t be the means for our children anymore to share what makes man great between them. Our main legacy will instead be bloodshed, we will have gone the exact same path that any non-thinking or even primitive organism would have taken, who don’t have opera or philosophy or poetry to their name.

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Recommended: Transcendence

Recommended: Transcendence | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Missed this in theater. Too busy. It was not a huge box office - maybe because it's so damn disturbing - and includes the most menacing array of solar panels ever captured on film. Nuclear War and ...
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Raising Backyard Chickens for Dummies - Modern Farmer

Raising Backyard Chickens for Dummies - Modern Farmer | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Blogger Jason Price recounts the ups and downs of his backyard chicken rearing adventure.
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Focusing on Food Miles is a Mistake | Eric Garza

Focusing on Food Miles is a Mistake | Eric Garza | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

In The Energy Basis of Food Security I note how tightly linked food prices are to energy prices, pointing out that the primary reason for this link is that food production is incredibly energy intensive. A series of recent posts have explored the energy intensity of different modes of food transport within food systems, and these have attracted a fair amount of attention. This doesn’t surprise me as many in the local food movement value highly the fuel savings attributed – sometimes falsely – to reducing the number of ‘food miles’ associated with their grocery lists. While I’m all for reducing the energy demands associated with food production, I think the singular attention given to the issue of food miles is misguided, and I’ll use this post to explain why.

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For Biggest Cities of 2030, Look Toward the Tropics

For Biggest Cities of 2030, Look Toward the Tropics | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
A report by the United Nations predicts that only four of the 30 largest cities — New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Osaka, Japan — will be in high-income nations in 16 years.
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Storms challenge wastewater treatment plants

Storms challenge wastewater treatment plants | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

Summer downpours have a gleaming reputation for clearing the air.

 

But, they don't clear the water.

 

A downpour on July 3 likely prompted a beach closing in Burlington on Tuesday, experts say. Not missing a beat, a thunderstorm Tuesday night appears to have overwhelmed the sewage treatment plant in Essex Junction.

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Stewards of the Earth: Local churches going green as part of their faith

Stewards of the Earth: Local churches going green as part of their faith | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
It started with an outdoor garden to attract wildlife. Then came a new lighting system to reduce energy use. A recycling program followed that.
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State to San Antonio: No, You Can't Own Your Wastewater, by Neena Satija

State to San Antonio: No, You Can't Own Your Wastewater, by Neena Satija | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Several months after San Antonio Water System's bold move to secure ownership of its treated sewer water even after it gets released back into a public waterway, state regulators are saying they doubt that's possible.
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INFLUENCE GAME: Shaping railroad safety rules

INFLUENCE GAME: Shaping railroad safety rules | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON (AP) â€" A string of fiery train derailments across the country has triggered a high-stakes but behind-the-scenes campaign to shape how the government responds to calls for tighter safety rules. Billions of dollars are riding on how these rules are written, and lobbyists from the railroads, tank car manufacturers and the oil, ethanol and chemical industries have met 13 times since March with officials at the White House and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The pitches illustrate why government officials, who must show that safety benefits outweigh the economic costs of rules, often struggle for years, only to produce watered-down regulations. Since 2008, there have been 10 significant derailments in the U.S. and Canada in which crude oil has spilled from ruptured tank cars, often resulting in huge fireballs. A year ago this month, a runaway train with 72 tank cars of crude en route from the Bakken to a refinery in Canada hurtled into the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic, exploded and killed 47 people. The ethanol industry, including agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland, has told regulators that if tank car standards must be strengthened, the new requirements should apply only to crude oil, Dinneen said. The chemical industry, which ships both flammable and nonflammable liquids in tank cars, has told regulators that if they propose a new tank car standard, it should be phased in, starting with oil shipments. Rather than new rules for tank cars, the oil and ethanol industries want regulators to turn their attention to whether railroads should do more to prevent accidents.
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Equity Firm Restores Louisiana Marshland to Earn Credits It Can Sell

Equity Firm Restores Louisiana Marshland to Earn Credits It Can Sell | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
A private equity company that is funding the restoration of Louisiana wetlands plans to sell environmental credits to private developers and government agencies.
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Cashes Ledge, long closed to fishing, may reopen - The Boston Globe

Cashes Ledge, long closed to fishing, may reopen - The Boston Globe | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Twelve years ago, in an effort to bolster declining fish stocks, regulators cordoned off 550 square miles around Cashes Ledge, making it one of the largest areas closed to fishing from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia. Now, with fishermen hurting from strict government limits on the size of their catch, regulators are considering reopening some or all of the area to trawlers.
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Midwestern farmers wage war against 'superweeds' : Business

Midwestern farmers wage war against 'superweeds' : Business | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
An increasing number of weeds are Roundup-resistant, forcing changes in agricultural practices.
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Microplastic waste: This massive (tiny) threat to sea life is now in every ocean

Microplastic waste: This massive (tiny) threat to sea life is now in every ocean | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Pollution of the oceans by tiny pieces of plastic debris is now so widespread that only radical action to eliminate the waste at source can limit further damage to marine wildlife, according to scientists.
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Climate Series Wins Two Emmy Nods

Climate Series Wins Two Emmy Nods | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Visit the post for more.
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Study of Organic Crops Finds Fewer Pesticides and More Antioxidants

Study of Organic Crops Finds Fewer Pesticides and More Antioxidants | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
A comprehensive review of earlier studies found higher levels of antioxidants and lower levels of pesticides in organic fruits and vegetables compared with conventionally grown produce.
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These Companies Own All the Food Brands

These Companies Own All the Food Brands | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
These 10 mega-companies own much of what you'll find in your local supermarket.
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To Cool Cities, Build Them Tall and Shiny

To Cool Cities, Build Them Tall and Shiny | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
A jungle of reflective skyscrapers will usually be better off than a low-lying district of similarly shaped townhouses.
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Struggling to rebuild the crashing Yukon River king salmon run

Struggling to rebuild the crashing Yukon River king salmon run | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
The king salmon’s disappearance is an ecological mystery as cryptic as it is alarming, and for the villages that dot the banks of the 2,200-mile-long Yukon River, the salmon’s absence hasn’t just eroded fishing culture. It’s strained local health and prosperity.
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As rail moves frac sand across Wisconsin landscape, new conflicts emerge

As rail moves frac sand across Wisconsin landscape, new conflicts emerge | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
While the number of Wisconsin car-train accidents has remained relatively steady in recent years, and derailments actually are down, some residents who live near train tracks used for transporting sand, primarily in western and northwestern communities, complain about noise and traffic delays in addition to safety worries.
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California braces as drought sparks early fire season | State News | FresnoBee.com

California braces as drought sparks early fire season | State News | FresnoBee.com | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
State, local and federal firefighters have seen blazes break out exceedingly early in the calendar year, when forests typically would be awash in moisture. Agencies are bracing for one of the longest and most difficult fire seasons in memory.
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Arctic air clearer after Soviet Union's collapse, long-term study says

The clouds of black carbon soiling snow and ice in Finland’s Arctic region have diminished significantly since the middle of the 20th century, a change attributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the cessation of some of the most polluting industrial practices in northwestern Russia, according to a new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.
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Texas, Leader in Greenhouse Gases, Stands Vulnerable to Their Effects

Texas, Leader in Greenhouse Gases, Stands Vulnerable to Their Effects | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Its economic boom heavily dependent on the emission-producing energy industry, Texas has resisted evidence of climate change, even within its own borders.
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Scientists use birds to track pollution

Scientists use birds to track pollution | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Birds are providing some insight into contamination in the Great Lakes.
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Drive must focus on roots

Drive must focus on roots | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
  The government needs to clamp down on real culprits instead of chasing down petty traders in its drive against adulterated and contaminated food, experts and civil society members said yes...
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Near spill, reservation wrestles with oil's impact - US News

Near spill, reservation wrestles with oil's impact - US News | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

Saltwater leaks into this stream after running downhill, Thursday, July 10, 2014, near Mandaree, N.D. A pipeline leak on Fort Berthold Indian Reservation spilled 1 million gallons of saltwater, a byproduct of oil and gas production. Company officials say the leak likely started over the Fourth of July weekend. 

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Toxic cargo ahead

Toxic cargo ahead | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

Transportation by truck, train or pipeline of hazardous materials that can poison us, gas us, burn us and blow us to bits is such a part of everyday life it goes largely unseen and unrecognized. But there’s an ever-present threat in the valley created by transporting dangerous things in a maze of pipelines, rail lines and roads.

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