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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.
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DeMenno/Kerdoon

DeMenno/Kerdoon | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
DeMenno/Kerdoon largest recyclers of motor oils in the Western United States.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This DK plant deals with recycling motor oil, anti-frezze, oil water and is also one of the largest plants in the United States.

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Adding olive oil to California's salad

Adding olive oil to California's salad | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
ARTOIS, Calif. — Nestled in a corner of the Sacramento Valley known for its rice, almonds and walnuts, densely packed rows of manicured olive trees stretch toward the horizon.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Industrialization can be one approach to more sustainable food systems.  but it must be done right (and it normally isn't).  This is possibly a case in point in that they are able to generate a higher yield of fruit without a corresponding massive increase in pesticides, water, etc.  While we need to see the hard numbers on water use, etc. this is an interesting model.  

 

So the upsides: reduced transportation costs of oil (for California/U.S. consumers) and more efficient agricultre.  The downside is that with increased mechanization comes fewer people jobs (although those that are there tend to be higher wage).

 

A similar "new" approach to agriculture can be seen with a local industrial tomato grower here in Ventura County, CA: (http://future360.tv/video/houwelings-tomatoes).  A wonderful approach (but their tomatos lack taste/flavor).

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Breakthrough for biofuel production from tiny marine algae

Breakthrough for biofuel production from tiny marine algae | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Researchers have developed a method for greatly enhancing biofuel production in tiny marine algae.
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Keystone XL oil pipeline clears significant hurdle

Keystone XL oil pipeline clears significant hurdle | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON (AP) â€" The long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline cleared a major hurdle toward approval Friday, a serious blow to environmentalists' hopes that President Barack Obama will block the controversial project running more than 1,000 miles from Canada through the heart of the U.S. The 1,179-mile pipeline would travel through the heart of the United States, carrying oil derived from tar sands in western Canada to a hub in Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines to carry more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day to refineries in Texas. Canadian tar sands are likely to be developed regardless of U.S. action on the pipeline, the report said, and other options to get the oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries â€" including rail, trucks and barges â€" would be worse for climate change. "The choice for the United States is clear: oil supply from a reliable, environmentally responsible friend and neighbor or from unstable sources with similar or higher greenhouse gas emissions and lesser environmental standards," he said. The new report comes only days after Obama's State of the Union address, in which he reiterated his support for an "all-of-the-above" energy strategy that embraces a wide range of sources, from oil and natural gas to renewables such as wind and solar power. The remarks were a rebuff to some of his environmental allies who argued that Obama's support of expanded oil and gas production doesn't make sense for a president who wants to reduce pollution linked to global warming. The report says oil derived from tar sands in Alberta generates about 17 percent more greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming than traditional crude. [...] the report makes clear that other methods of transporting the oil â€" including rail, trucks and barges â€" would release more greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming than the pipeline.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This is insanity.  Simple insanity.

 

Last Summer, President Obama said that he would reject the pipeline if it caused a significant impact on the climate. Based on that standard, he has all the evidence he needs to reject the pipeline: the nation’s top climate scientists agree it’s a climate disaster, as do a host of independent economists.

 

Keystone XL would carry 800,000 barrels per day of tar sands oil from Canada to refineries in the US, to be shipped overseas and burned. Anyone who says that won’t have an impact on the climate is simply not credible.

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In pictures: forest clearing by the Tanjung Puting National Park

In pictures: forest clearing by the Tanjung Puting National Park | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Greenpeace International on Friday has taken another shot at Singapore-based Wilmar International and its alleged deforestation practices - literally.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

More from the pal oil front lines.

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As Pentagon invests in green fuel, critics focus on the cost

As Pentagon invests in green fuel, critics focus on the cost | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON — When the U.S. Navy sailed an imposing fleet near Hawaii that was powered in part by algae and used cooking grease, environmentalists weren't the only ones who were thrilled.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This critique seems strange to me.  We are talking about military R&D.  The apparent uproar seems to miss that point.  The critiques from congressmen were apparently absent when the miitary was developing its own private Space Shuttle, it brain imaging initiative, all the robots and "future warrior" tech, ARPANET, etc., etc.  Let alone the congressional penchant to build military hardware that either fails cost benefit projects (such as the military's joint strike fighter) or simply is a joke and outright boondoggle (e.g. almost any new heavy caliber cannon/tank/etc.).  If we are going to critique R&D, then critique ALL R&D.  Critiquing a technology that is certianly in development and fraught with risks but which holds the possibility of huge benefits for society as a whole (not merely war fighting) seems to greatly miss the mark.  I am all for watchdoging and oversight, but this seems a very, very strange target with which to begin that activity.

 

 

I would also add that (while it is certainly within his purview) it is unusual to say the least that the former Captain Kiefer who is essentially 80% of this story is also chiming in with unreferenced statistics in the comments section of this section following the story text.  This seems to smack of a personal crusade on his part rather than a reasoned, objective analysis of the issue of government spending.

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