Sustainability Science
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Sustainability Science
How might we keep the lights on, water flowing, and natural world vaguely intact? It starts with grabbing innovative ideas/examples to help kick down our limits and inspire a more sustainable world. We implement with rigorous science backed by hard data.
Curated by PIRatE Lab
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For some, effects of drought not over

For some, effects of drought not over | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
HANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Knee-high tufts of grass dot the streets of Hardwick, a rural neighborhood with a few dozen homes hemmed in by vineyards and walnut and almond orchards …
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Overdrafting of our aquifers went beyond anything that we can reasonably recover from for many in California's Central Valley this past few years.
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Fires and drought cook Tennessee – a state represented by climate-change deniers

Fires and drought cook Tennessee – a state represented by climate-change deniers | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Was this fire caused by climate change? The answer is yes.

Via Garry Rogers
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Garry Rogers's curator insight, December 2, 2016 12:20 PM
The “Establishment” supports fossil-fuel companies and denies climate change. The incoming U. S. administration is populated by deniers. The harm caused to wild plants, animals, natural systems, and human society is devastating.
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A tour of California's water supply lays bare the tension between farmers and fish

A tour of California's water supply lays bare the tension between farmers and fish | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The country's largest agricultural water district, Westlands, maintains that California has plenty of water. It's just mismanaged.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
This is the consequence of directed efforts to fight environmental regulations via methods demonizing those seeking to make sure we have a healthy, long-term life-support system that perpetuates the remnants of the ecosystems that have thrived in California for many thousands of years.

Very sad state of affairs.  The fact people seek to stoke political wars rather than seeking true solutions that are sustainable and just is pathetic.
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Historic Drought Helps Predict How Climate Change Might Affect an Endangered Species

Historic Drought Helps Predict How Climate Change Might Affect an Endangered Species
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Is the era of dam-building over? Backers of several major projects say it shouldn't be

Is the era of dam-building over? Backers of several major projects say it shouldn't be | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
This tranquil ranching valley lies 15 miles west of the Sacramento River. A one-lane bridge spans a dried-up creek at the valley entrance. But when Jeff Sutton stands there, he imagines water, lots of it.
Never mind that talk of flooding the Antelope Valley north of Sacramento and turning it into...
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Go ahead, water your lawn

Go ahead, water your lawn | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Have you watered your yard lately? You probably should.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

The argument here is that we let everything die when we should be letting only subsets of things (like roses and lawn) go.

 

The challenge is how do we do that when irrigation systems are designed to water the grass and not the tree roots per se.

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Water district wants to set your shower to music to make it quicker during drought

There's nothing like blasting Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" to encourage water conservation -- at least that's the hope of one Southern California water supplier.
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Watch the LA Reservoir Fill Up With 96 Million Shade Balls

20,000 shade balls released into L.A. reservoir. #shadeballs #shade #balls Follow @pourmecoffee for shade balls news pic.twitter.com/rATHAc6Kg8— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) August 11, 2015 Los Angeles lakes and reservoirs: they just seem...
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This is an old technique.  I first recall seeing these when James Cameron filmed "The Abyss" in an abandoned nuclear power plant fuel pool/containment building.

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L.A. may require pool covers to fight drought

L.A. may require pool covers to fight drought | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Los Angeles water officials approved new watering restrictions Thursday that could be imposed if the city’s conservation efforts flag in the coming summer months.
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San Francisco gets no rain in January for first time in 165 years

San Francisco gets no rain in January for first time in 165 years | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
In another sign California's persistent drought, downtown San Francisco recorded no measurable rain in January for the first time in 165 years.
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Council for Watershed Health

Council for Watershed Health | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

How is the golf industry responding to short term drought and a longer term compelling need to reduce its water footprint? Can golf courses help us capture and clean storm water? Can they act as a filter for petrochemicals, heavy metals, and pharmaceuticals? What are the game’s leaders and partnering organizations doing to take the state’s 866 golf courses off the potable grid, and what’s next on the game’s agenda for even more sustainable design and management? And how can the golf industry’s experiences inform the management of other large landscapes?

Join us on Tuesday, February 3 for a sustainable landscape seminar showcasing innovations in efficient irrigation, turf reduction, recycled water, water reuse, and stormwater infiltration in this era of dwindling water resources. This program will bring together municipal officials, landscape architects, golf course superintendents and water efficiency professionals to examine existing programs, highlight case studies and determine the future for sustainable golf course design and management.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

This looks like it could be quite interesting, but I teach on Tuesdays.

 

I've posted previously about the raft of golf course-related news stories in the LA Times over the past year or two.  They are great and well received, but I can't help but think that golf courses (for all their pesticides, eutrophication, non-natives, and water consumption) have something of a massive bulls eye on their backs.  Many courses have made significant strides in reducing water consumption, although the data are not as transparent as we would like them to be.

 

See:

 

http://sco.lt/6pkIMr

 

And then (just to make sure we are keeping everything real) there is my old Stanford nemesis:

 

http://ecowatch.com/2014/07/21/battle-stanford-water-golf-course-protect-steelhead-drought-dam/

 

 

 

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34 Surprising Facts You Need to Know About California's Drought

34 Surprising Facts You Need to Know About California's Drought | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Why the Golden State's long dry spell—and its changing climate—will have implications far beyond the West Coast.
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Early snow blankets Sierra Nevada, delighting drought-weary California

Early snow blankets Sierra Nevada, delighting drought-weary California | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
An unusual early snowstorm blanketed the Sierra Nevada over the weekend, but the welcome sight isn't expected to last long as a warming trend spreads across California.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

The first accumulation in nearly seven months.

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Oroville Spillway Failure Flyover and Explanation 10 Feb 2017

Take a flight in the Luscombe over the Oroville Spillway just prior to overtopping.

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PIRatE Lab's curator insight, February 12, 1:10 PM
Climate change is giving us both increased droughts and increased rainfall events in climate crazy California.  Both of these situations have been long predicted, driven by the unprecedented anthropogenic greenhouse gas build-up in our atmosphere.  

Oroville is the tallest dam in the United States and (thanks to the intense precipitation this year) the focus of national attention and concern over infrastructure in the wake of a climate changed world.  The most recent estimate pegs the repair of the eroding concrete channel at perhaps $100-200 million (and we are only in early February).

See also these refs:

nice overview/explanation of the current conditions at the dam: https://youtu.be/jIzldNLv8ww
Construction of the Oroville Dam: https://youtu.be/p_5udzKfLQM
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Now this is a story all about how we found the Wet Princes of Bel Air

Now this is a story all about how we found the Wet Princes of Bel Air | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Reveal’s analysis found seven possible candidates for California’s biggest water user. Here’s how we did it.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
A great piece of "data journalism."
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Time to replace your lawn? We have the lowdown on 8 alternatives

Time to replace your lawn? We have the lowdown on 8 alternatives | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
We've put together a series of popular landscape options, along with information on how they fare against the traditional Californian lawn in five areas.
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As snowpack deepens, drought concern lingers

As snowpack deepens, drought concern lingers | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
News: As snowpack deepens, drought concern lingers | snowpack, water, california, year, reservoirs, percent, last, snow, rain, winter
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High-tech water-saving system draws a crowd at North Hollywood home

High-tech water-saving system draws a crowd at North Hollywood home | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Whether she's driving a hybrid car, installing solar panels on her roof or tearing up her beloved front lawn and replacing it with mulch, Carrie Wassenaar said, she wants to do her part for the environment.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Clearly, we don't all need computer controlled flushing our our rain barrel systems, but the idea is a sound one for larger systems (think apartments, office buildings, etc.).  Again, the cost will be huge for the early adopters but pave the way for more affordable systems in the future.

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Coca-Cola and water: the pause that refreshes

Coca-Cola and water: the pause that refreshes | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
In this week's cpolumn, Kevin O'Marah, Chief Content Officer at SCM World, focuses on the issue of water scarcity He highlights how Coca-Cola has reached its water reduction targets's five years ahead of schedule, revealing an accelerating trend among operations and supply chain people to take on the really big problems facing us all, including not only environmental sustainability but also human health and hunger

Via Acquisti & Sostenibilità not-for-profit
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Thousand Oaks residents cut water use by 35 percent

Thousand Oaks residents cut water use by 35 percent | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Residents cut water use by 35 percent last month, surpassing the state mandate of a 32 percent reduction in Thousand Oaks.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Impressive!

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Central Valley's growing concern: Crops raised with oil field water

Central Valley's growing concern: Crops raised with oil field water | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Here in California's thirsty farm belt, where pumpjacks nod amid neat rows of crops, it's a proposition that seems to make sense: using treated oil field wastewater to irrigate crops.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Indeed.  This is the old mantra of folks: if you don't look for a problem, you won't see a problem/can't prove a problem exists.

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State officials launch new advertising campaign for water conservation

State officials launch new advertising campaign for water conservation | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
When it comes to conserving water, Gov. Jerry Brown needs Californians' help.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Here comes the conservation arguments for the new California:

 

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ski-season-drought-20150403-story.html

 

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-mandatory-water-cuts-put-pressure-on-california-communities-20150401-story.html

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Increased frequency of extreme La Nina events under greenhouse warming

Extreme La Nina events occur when cold sea surface temperatures across the central Pacific Ocean create a strong temperature gradient to the Maritime continent in the west. This work projects an increase in frequency of La Nina events due to faster land warming relative to the ocean, and a greater chance of them occurring following extreme El Nino events.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Extreme La Niña events might be experienced about every 13 years, rather than every 23 years, as they are now, but not like clockwork, according to lead study author Wenju Cai, a climate scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Aspendale, Australia. "We're only saying that on average, we expect to get one every 13 years," said Cai. "We cannot predict exactly when they will happen, but we suggest that on average, we are going to get more."

 

The study finds that powerful La Niñas will immediately follow intense El Niños, causing weather patterns to alternate between wet and dry extremes.


see also:

 

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/global-warming-may-lead-more-frequent-la-nina-events-study-n292451


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With flush aquifer, Coachella Valley golf courses slow to conserve

With flush aquifer, Coachella Valley golf courses slow to conserve | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
At brunch on a recent Thursday, Sunny Butler nibbled at an omelet and considered playing a round later that afternoon. Part of the joy of living on the 18th hole of the Citrus Club in the Coachella Valley, Butler said, is the verdant green landscape just beyond the back door.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This is living in a fantasy world.  The notion that it is appropriate to consume the huge volumes of water that traditional large courses do is rooted in the 1950s and the era of Bob Hope.  While I understand that agriculture, etc. consume the vast quantity of water in California this notion of "we don't have to" or "we don't have to pay for it" is central to the issue of resource management challenges generally in the developed world.

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Trees may be making California's drought worse

Trees may be making California's drought worse | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Researchers are trying to find out if denser forests in California are soaking up more water and adding to the state's horrible drought.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Wow!  There is so much wrong with this story summary it is hard to know where to begin.

 

Nature "gets to water first" huh?  Really?  In California?  Not exactly.

 

And while it might be correct from an academic viewpoint, the notion that the problem with our water supply is an overly dense Sierra Nevada (a consequence of our fire suppression policies for the past century) is, how do you say....crazy.  The issue with water supply is the population northward of 34 million who drink, flush, water their almond trees, divert it with dams, etc.   And the fact we are actively manipulating the climate to become direr via increased greenhouse gas emissions for the past 150 years.

 

It may well be true that a slightly larger sliver of water would be remnant in the soils of our state relative to a more traditional tree stand density.  But the very notion of featuring a story such as this is fantastically ill informed and adds fuel to the ignorance fire.  Trees "vs." humans pretty much says all you need to know about this reporters conceptualization of the issue.

 

It would be nice if we had science reporters who actually knew something about science.

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