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.
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World's largest carbon producers face landmark human rights case

World's largest carbon producers face landmark human rights case | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Filipino government body gives 47 ‘carbon majors’ 45 days to respond to allegations of human rights violations resulting from climate change
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Wow!  This an amazing development.  We have heard of small island nations doing so, but for a major country like the Philippines to take this step is huge.

I suspect this first round will not go very far, but the writing seems to be on the wall for large scale carbon emitters who seem to be resisting reducing emissions.
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Thirty years ago today--Close-up lesson from Chernobyl 

Thirty years ago today--Close-up lesson from Chernobyl  | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
 I was in Munich as a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry when Chernobyl exploded.   Below is the letter I wrote to friends in San Diego on May 1, 1986... ...I’m writing to give you
PIRatE Lab's insight:
This is a great piece of history.  It shows that we often seem to have problems relating timely data to decision makers when the crisis in question is large in scale.  We have seen very similar responses during the Deepwater Horizon, Fukushima, etc.
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L.A. heat wave: Medical emergencies expected to spike this weekend

L.A. heat wave: Medical emergencies expected to spike this weekend | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
A heat wave that’s forecast to bear down on the Los Angeles region this weekend is likely to bring not only a heightened threat of wildfires but also a spike in medical emergencies.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Thank you climate change deniers and failed leaders who think that tacking climate change is a "waste" of energy and time.  Although, I suspect the people that will die in this heat wave and the ensuing waves of heat stress over the coming decades won't be so appreciative.

 

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Will frackers cause California's next big earthquake?

Will frackers cause California's next big earthquake? | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
More than half of the wastewater injection wells being used by frackers in the state are within 10 miles of a recently active fault.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

The data from Ohio is quite concerning.  Not being a tectonic expert, I am not sure of their data.  But in quick overview, the stories that started emanating from the Buckeye State about two years ago certainly seem to suggest that messing with injection wells to the magnitude that modern dense tracking operations do is not a great idea.

 

But no need to worry.  We here in California NEVER have earthquakes.

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Bad Drivers In Los Angeles? It's Not Your Imagination; New Study Says We Truly Stink

Bad Drivers In Los Angeles? It's Not Your Imagination; New Study Says We Truly Stink | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
A new survey of "Best Drivers" ranks Los Angeles and Glendale among the absolute worst. And the survey includes more than 200 cities.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
What drives drivers to drive poorly?  Clearly training is part of it, but frustration and lack of social cues and reinforcement to drive responsibly are part of it.  I wonder if anyone has done a experimental test of reducing the amount of cars on the road (via more public transportation, more bike lanes, etc.) and then examine the per capita vehicle accident rate.

Anyone?
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Read DOD report: 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap

Read DOD report: 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

In a 20-page report released on Monday, the Pentagon details its strategic blueprint to address climate change.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

The Pentagon is integrating climate change threats into all of its "plans, operations, and training" across the entire Defense Department, signaling a comprehensive attempt to tackle the impacts of global warming. In a 20-page Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap released on Monday, the Pentagon details its strategic blueprint to address climate change, calling it a "threat multiplier" that has the power to "exacerbate" many of the challenges the U.S. faces today, including "infectious diseases and terrorism."

 

See also:

http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/220575-pentagon-unveils-plan-to-fight-climate-change

 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121352495

 

http://www.npr.org/2014/10/19/357341772/dod-climate-change-is-a-volatile-factor-in-international-security

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Cause of New Mexico nuclear waste accident remains a mystery

Cause of New Mexico nuclear waste accident remains a mystery | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
A 55-gallon drum of nuclear waste, buried in a salt shaft 2,150 feet under the New Mexico desert, violently erupted late on Feb. 14 and spewed mounds of radioactive white foam.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

For my money, the waste issue is the largest challenge with nuclear power production.  Our general inability to administratively deal with this (e.g. know what materials were in the exploding barrel), the childish political NIMBY arc we are only too familiar with, and the growing realization that the devil is literally in the logistical details when it comes to safety and security of transuranic waste is crushingly disappointing.

 

I understand why some have called for an increased reliance on nuclear power in this era of growing carbon emissions, but none of those advocates seem interested in addressing the issues at Yucca Mountain, WIPP, etc. or at least feel that this side of the ledger is less problematic than global carbon emissions increasing.

 

see also:

 

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/nuclear_power/2013/01/nuclear_waste_storage_why_did_yucca_mountain_fail_and_what_next.html

 

http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/14/3038814/yucca-mountain-wipp-wasteland-battle-entomb-nuclear-waste

 

and the most recent congressional activity:

 

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/211890-house-rejects-bids-to-abandon-yucca-mountain

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