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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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David Collet's curator insight, August 2, 8:26 PM

A thoughtfull read.

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Keep dogs and cats safe during winter

Keep dogs and cats safe during winter | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
(HealthDay)—Winter can be tough on dogs and cats, but there are a number of safe and effective ways you can help them get through the cold season, an expert says.
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Four die of bird flu in Libya: minister

Four die of bird flu in Libya: minister | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Four people have died of bird flu in Libya in recent days, the health minister of the country's internationally recognised government said on Saturday.
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Russia battles to contain Black Sea oil spill

Russia battles to contain Black Sea oil spill | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
A Russian Black Sea city declared a state of emergency Thursday after a burst pipeline spewed oil into the landlocked water body, with stormy weather hampering cleanup efforts.
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Dengue app allows Costa Rica to report mosquito hatcheries | Dan Griliopoulos

Dengue app allows Costa Rica to report mosquito hatcheries | Dan Griliopoulos | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Dan Griliopoulos: Costa Rica had 50,000 cases of dengue fever in 2013 but developers have created an app to help the government quickly reach infected areas
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Vietnamese farmers' overuse of pesticide harms fertile soil - News VietNamNet

Vietnamese farmers' overuse of pesticide harms fertile soil - News VietNamNet | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
VietNamNet Bridge – In the 1950s, Vietnamese used about 100 tons of
pesticide in agricultural production a year. The figure soared by 150
times 40 years later.
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Doubts as China project's water reaches capital

Doubts as China project's water reaches capital | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
A towering dam in central China holds back a vast expanse of water destined to travel over 1,000 kilometers north to Beijing, but critics say it will only temporarily quench the city's thirst.
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Thieves fry Kenya's power grid to cook fast food

Thieves fry Kenya's power grid to cook fast food | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

Stolen oil from power transformers is used to fry chips, threatening electrical service.

 

The morning scene is increasingly routine for Kenyans. When it's time to start the day, the power is already out. Somewhere nearby, the shell of a wrecked electrical transformer lies on its side underneath the pole where it had been fixed 20 feet off the ground.

 

The culprit is an unusual one: A vandal who is selling the toxic oil, drawn from the transformer, to chefs who use it for frying food in roadside stalls. Five liters of the viscous, PCB-laden liquid sells for $60. It looks like cooking oil, but lasts much longer, users say.

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Nicaragua defies canal protests

Nicaragua defies canal protests | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

Scientists call for independent environmental assessment.

 

Nicaragua has great expectations for the Grand Canal, a US$50-billion, 5-year project to link its Caribbean and Pacific coasts with a 280-kilometre waterway. President Daniel Ortega and other supporters of the canal, who celebrated the start of construction on 22 December, say that it will generate much-needed income for residents of the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

 

But the plan has attracted protests from residents along the proposed route and from scientists around the world (A. Meyer and J. A. Huete-Peréz Nature 506, 287–289; 2014), who charge that the Nicaraguan government and the Chinese company overseeing the project have sidestepped the environmental review process.

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Chemicals’ phaseout a 'success story’ for S.F. Bay wildlife

Chemicals’ phaseout a 'success story’ for S.F. Bay wildlife | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

Ten years after government regulations forced an industry phaseout of once common but toxic flame retardants, a new study of San Francisco Bay has shown a steep decline in the presence of the chemicals in the bay’s wildlife. A decade ago, the chemicals known as PBDEs were recorded in the bay at higher pollution levels than anywhere else in the world, but state and federal curbs that began in California in 2003 have averted a hazard that could have damaged bay birds, shellfish and fish for years to come, the study researchers said. “This is quite a success story,” said Rebecca Sutton, the study’s lead author and senior scientist at the San Francisco Estuary Institute ...

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Cuomo Turns "I'm Not a Scientist" on its Head

Cuomo Turns "I'm Not a Scientist" on its Head | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
New York banned fracking last week. One amusing footnote: In explaining why, Governor Andrew Cuomo explained that, since he "was not a scientist", he decided to listen to those actual scientists wh...
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At AGU: A Historic Series of Interviews

At AGU: A Historic Series of Interviews | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
I'm working with John Cook of Skeptical Science blog, interviewing an amazing list of some of the most productive researchers in the most critical areas of climate science. We've been completely bo...
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Electric vehicles could reduce air pollution deaths by 70%, study finds

Electric vehicles could reduce air pollution deaths by 70%, study finds | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Electric cars can save lots of lives from air pollution, but only if they're powered by renewable energy, not energy from coal or ethanol, a new study find
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Duane Tilden's curator insight, December 19, 2:55 PM

>" [...] The study, published Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that deaths from air pollution could be cut by 70% if electric cars use only renewable-source electricity. But if they use energy from "dirty" sources like coal, they could actually make matters worse and could increase the number of deaths by 80% or more.  

“These findings demonstrate the importance of clean electricity, such as from natural gas or renewables, in substantially reducing the negative health impacts of transportation,” said Chris Tessum, co-author on the study and a researcher in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering in the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering.

The University of Minnesota team estimated how concentrations of two important pollutants — particulate matter and ground-level ozone — change as a result of using various options for powering vehicles. Air pollution is the largest environmental health hazard in the U.S., in total killing more than 100,000 people per year. Air pollution increases rates of heart attack, stroke, and respiratory disease. [...]"<

David Collet's curator insight, December 19, 11:56 PM

I want to scoop this more because of other considerations than the actual topic.

 

Too often we race in a direction hoping to solve a problem when we have spent enough time investigating the problem.

 

Take electricity. I has many ways of being generated. There is no one solution that is suitable to all situations. 

 

In Canada on of the first water powered generators was installed a Niagara Falls and was a tremendous success. So much so that when it aged and needed to be seriously maintained, they opted to build a new one in a new place. No serious affect on the local geography. If fact the park that resulted was and is a serious tourist draw. Few people, if any, were displaced. Few trees cut down. At the time of construction and re-construction the distribution network had no other choice. High wires and land easements. Over the years it has paid for itself with little in the way of environmental impact. But if that were today, the story would be quite different.

 

Now, in China, the three gorges dam - almost the opposite. Now there are many alternatives to big generation facilities that result in much less environment disturbance, scale much more effectively for the target customers and lead to much less disturbance of local inhabitants.

 

In Germany, the local utility has committed to eliminating all coal fired generation and replace it with green energy - wind, solar, and yes, even water where it is suitable - in the span of about 10 years. Next will be the other fossil fuel, petroleum. 

 

Maybe moves like this are resulting in the melt down if fuel oil prices. 

 

My opinion.

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Current World Energy Demand, Ethical World Energy Demand, Depleted Uranium and the Centuries to Come

Current World Energy Demand, Ethical World Energy Demand, Depleted Uranium and the Centuries to Come | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Guest Post by NNadir (who blogs occassionally at Daily Kos, profile here). This is a long but really interesting post. If you'd rather a PDF version, click here. The International Energy Agency (IE...
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Ebola expert calls for European anti-virus 'corps'

Ebola expert calls for European anti-virus 'corps' | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Europe will be 'vulnerable' if it does not regard viruses as a 'national security issue' like the United States, the microbiologist who discovered Ebola said in an interview published Friday.
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Hong Kong raises bird flu alert level as woman critical

Hong Kong raises bird flu alert level as woman critical | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Hong Kong hospitals raised alert levels Sunday as a woman diagnosed with the deadly H7N9 avian flu virus was in a critical condition.
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Bird flu case causes concern in Hong Kong

Bird flu case causes concern in Hong Kong | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
A woman is critically ill in Hong Kong with the deadly H7N9 strain of bird flu, the first case in months.
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U.S. Forest Service set to allow oil, gas drilling in — not on — Pawnee National Grassland in Weld C | GreeleyTribune.com

U.S. Forest Service set to allow oil, gas drilling in — not on — Pawnee National Grassland in Weld C | GreeleyTribune.com | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
The U.S. Forest Service’s recent “no surface occupancy” stipulation for developing oil and gas leases on more than 100,000 acres within Pawnee National Grassland is receiving a lukewarm reception
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Study: Sundarbans food chain broken by oil spill | Dhaka Tribune

Study: Sundarbans food chain broken by oil spill | Dhaka Tribune | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
The food chain of aquatic species living in the world’s single largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans, has been severely disrupted by the Sela River oil spill, a study report says.
The study report conducted by Khulna University (KU) said the presence of primary food producers like phytoplank
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Water Source for Almonds in California May Run Dry

Water Source for Almonds in California May Run Dry | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
The business of growing almonds has thrived in California despite drought because of a federally controlled project that allowed for Sacramento River water flows, but the law requires that that source nurture salmon as well during scarcity.
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Race to Build on River Could Block Pacific Oil Route

Race to Build on River Could Block Pacific Oil Route | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
In Vancouver, Wash., a proposed terminal for oil shipments has led the city and environmental groups to push a builder to quickly finish a competing waterfront real estate project.
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Pope Francis’s edict on climate change will anger deniers and US churches

Pope Francis’s edict on climate change will anger deniers and US churches | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Pontiff hopes to inspire action at next year’s UN meeting in Paris in December after visits to Philippines and New York
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That's Right ZuZu: Another Republican Signals Reality Check on Climate Denial

That's Right ZuZu: Another Republican Signals Reality Check on Climate Denial | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
I've posted twice in recent weeks on Republicans who are increasingly unwilling to ride the climate denial crazy bus. Seems like every time a bell rings these days, a Republican finds his or her co...
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New Conventional Wisdom: Climate Change is Real and Urgent

New Conventional Wisdom: Climate Change is Real and Urgent | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
David Gergen is a frequent go-to guy on news programs looking for good-old-boy Washington insider conventional wisdom. Gergen served in the Nixon, Ford, Reagan, as well as Clinton Whitehouses. He's...
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Arctic Report Card: It's Getting Dark in Here

Arctic Report Card: It's Getting Dark in Here | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Seth Borenstein of AP reports from AGU. AP: In the spring and summer of 2014, Earth's icy northern region lost more of its signature whiteness that reflects the sun's heat. It was replaced temporar...
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Tropical deforestation threatens global food production

Tropical deforestation threatens global food production | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Loss of forests in the southern hemisphere is accelerating global warming and distorting rainfall patterns
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