Environment: Save It!

th[3]It’s a war of attrition against the gangsters who have no compunction in raping the planet for profit. It’s a war about the education of our politicians who seem awestruck by the wealth and the power of the big boys. They are as schoolkids, posters in their bedroom, dreaming of one day being as famous as their favourite star. The big difference is that kids grow up. Politicians will spout that they’re tied by the art of what’s possible and the eternal need to compromise. If I wasn’t choking on exhaust fumes I might accept their excuse.

The alarming stories about climate change just keep on running. In a report by www.france24.com/en/20150327- they outline a damning report by the European SpacethS6MBC7KN Agency, published in the journal Science which relates to the shrinking of the ice mass around Antarctica. The ice mass is the bulwark which prevents the permanent collapse of glaciers covering the southern continent. Think of it as a dam holding back an ocean. The study based on satellite measurements over the period 1994 – 2012 suggest that the ice mass has shrunk by almost 20%. The study also highlighted the speed of the melt:

  • In the period 1994 – 2003 there was little difference.
  • However, in 2003 – 2012 melting accelerated markedly.

If the ice mass is destroyed it will cause glaciers to slip into the ocean bringing a rise in sea levels. A rise of one (1) metre could prove devastating in many coastal regions. Separate studies of the South Pole are just as worrying. A report published in December 2014 found that thawing had trebled the number of glaciers falling into the Amundsen Sea. Two further studies in that year concluded that melting in Western Antarctica could lead to a sea rise of one (1) metre.

  • The real worry is that the process is likely to be irreversible!!!

The North Pole is also under threat, NYT 2015/04/24. The Arctic Council made up of interested nations: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia and the USA are due to meet soon. Their biennial meeting will be held on Baffin Island in Nth Canada. The others are concerned by the actions and intentions of Russia. The Russians have started to exploit oil from the Kara Sea and there is a worry that further exploration could damage the fragile environment.

It seems to be the way of business and politicians in general that they act first then wait for us to react before they consider the need to think. But unless they think and think quickly about the North and South Poles many communities will be devastated.

thINHWQFFZWe desperately need more scientific study on as many aspects of the environment as we can imagine. A report in the New Scientist of work carried out by Norwegian scientists on the potential damage or otherwise of microbes in the Arctic; coupled with the study of marine phytoplankton which may also hold a danger to the environment.

It’s all very technical but microbes in warmer climates draw to a halt at 40C but the little buggers in the Arctic continue producing methane at 270C. Worryingly, Arctic soils contain twice as much carbon as the entire atmosphere which leads to one estimate that the thawing of the permafrost could cause a similar problem as deforestation.

Another problem comes from the phytoplankton as their dark bodies can absorb more sun which could cause the Arctic sea to warm up by 20%. Obviously, this has effects on the ice mass and the rate of melt.

  • Methane: 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Away from the possible danger of the Arctic our politicians hold meetings, talk, eat and talk some more; arrange another meeting where they will talk and eat and talk again, at our expense. Little wonder that the process of change takes so long. The Arctic Council meets biennially; it’s not important enough in the busy schedule of our leaders to meet more frequently. Perhaps they are on a diet!! If it wasn’t so serious I might laugh at their lackadaisical attitude and contribute to their gym fees.

Meanwhile, politicians may be battering your eardrums with how they are spending huge amounts of money trying to improve the environment. Investment in renewable energy rose to $270bn worldwide, with nearly 50% coming from developing countries, e.g. China. France24.com/en/

I feel better now!!thDC82LPF2

Hold on! In an interview for, theguardian.com/environment/ on 2015/04/13 Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank called for the scrapping of subsidies and a carbon tax. Kim made the point clearly, “We need to get rid of fossil fuel subsidies now”. Why was he so agitated? It seems that governments around the world are currently spending $1 trillion per year to subsidize fossil fuels. One trillion $$$! That figure certainly puts spending on renewables deep into the shadows.

  • The irony – our taxes are being used to help kill the planet and therefore us.

They’re killing us but the profits excellent!

At a subsequent meeting in Hong Kong, Jim Yong Kim made another bold speech about climate change; he told delegates at the Nobel Laureates Symposium that climate change is a ‘fundamental threat’ to development. He warned that a sea rise of 15cm /6inches coupled by severe cyclones could inundate Bangkok by 2030s. This was based on a study by the Potsdam Institute.

A Japanese delegate, Ryoli Noyori, Nobel Prize winner for chemistry 2001 told the assembled that Japan has many coastal cities susceptible to floods. “But unfortunately, the government has not done enough in counter measures”. France24.com/en/2015/04/23

Several of the points raised by Jim Yong Kim are very relevant. He suggests that Africa needs to develop its hydroelectric potential as it only makes use of 1% of possible production. However, one major project has caused some controversy. A hydroelectric dam across the Blue Nile in Ethiopia would be the largest in Africa but is causing Ethiopia’s neighbours some misgivings. A study has raised a number of issues:

  • With the Aswan High Dam (Egypt) there will be 2 large dams on the one river.
  • Need to look carefully at aspects of the build.
  • Egypt & Sudan might not get water during drought periods.
  • Sudan might use more water for irrigation and so affect the amount of water to Egypt.
  • 60% of Egypt’s water comes from the Nile.
  • It will produce too much electricity and therefore needs an infrastructure e.g. pylons to transmit the electricity and an organised way of selling it.

Don Blackmore an Australian water specialist has warned: “The International community needs to focus on the Nile as a matter of urgency”. Theguardian.com/environment 2015/04/13

Water and its supply will become critical in the future but is already a major problem in Africa according to UNICEF as it estimates that 157m people in East & Southern Africa do not have access to clean and safe water.

The situation is deemed to get far worse. The UN warns that “…the world will face an increasingly severe global water deficit”. www.cbsnews.com/news/gambian Even in America the warning signs are imminent with www.USAtoday.com reporting that within the next decade 40 states can expect to have water shortages. Note that California is witnessing its worst ever drought. Will the bulb light up in republican land?

  • It really doesn’t matter what aspect of the environment you look at, it all needs saving!

Where are the peoples’ army?

There are many environmentalists, individual and groups but their voice is never raised in unison. Theirs is a disparate tone and because of that separation is sadly weakened. There are too many groups defending their own garden plot; too many individuals who think because they recycle they are doing their bit. Many tribes and tribal chief’s, each certain that their methodology and environmental agenda, is the true noble path to pursue. Unfortunately, therein lies the cog which maintains the raison d’etre of the market system.

All the groups, too many to mention, ply their wares with a swagger as though they have achieved something. They have achieved nothing! They have not stopped one demi-kilo of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. They are as midges to the big boys, to be swatted as an irritant. At the very least the environmental groups could convene a conference before national elections to endorse the political party which pledges the best deal for the environment. Such an endeavour could bring the environment to a much wider audience within the country and beyond.

Further demonstration will be to flag up where the government has failed throughout their term in office. It requires a sustained and well marketed approach, perhaps to include intensive programmes of activity in marginal seats. Show the intellectual rationale of the environment lobby by coming together. Put the environment first and parochialism into the dustbin of history.

The environmentalists are as guilty as politicians of putting politics above the welfare of the planet.thTXFQFN0B

Save Santa’s Homeland!!!!

Do some good…..join Robin Hood.

Food Waste: How can you Stomach it!

 

‘Rage, rage against the dying of the light.’ (Dylan Thomas) Rage is the correct noun to use about the ridiculous waste of food in every corner of the globe. What makes food waste the greatest scandal is that few seemed concerned about it.

The purpose of the line from the Dylan Thomas poem ‘Do not go gentle into that good night.’ was the emphasis it embodies. The poem is about death, a regular occurrence in some countries through lack of food and not just to the individual. We should rage against people dying of starvation when we have the means to feed them. The ‘dying of the light’ (taken out of context) to me epitomizes our loss of humanity: we pour money by the truckload into charities to feed those in need when we don’t really need to. We can and do produce enough to feed everyone but we are so inefficient that we lose or waste nearly half of it. Therefore this is basically a story of irony.

At every level food is wasted. When planting the food there is waste because of poorthCAVHV8S4 preparation, especially in developing countries. During harvest much is left to rot because it does not pass the ‘pretty look’ stage or the farmer cannot get a reasonable sell price. In developing countries it can    be: pests, drought, rains or just poor harvesting techniques.

In the industrial nations the waste is inexcusable, supermarkets, restaurants, cafes etc. dump millions of tonnes annually. Millions more tonnes are left on the ground because it will not pass the ‘pretty’ on the shelf look. Storage can also be a problem with pests such as; mice rats, birds and micro-organisms. But WE, US, together we waste over 20% of what we buy, just toss it in the bin. It could be we bought too much or it is near or past the sell-by-date.

Scenario:

Little Miss Muffet, (and partner. I’m so PC) goes to the supermarket to do her weekly shop. Apples look round and nicely red, the bananas are yellow and nicely curved, and carrots are penis size and straight, all in all a good days shop.

Between 20/40% of fruit and vegetables are discarded because they don’t look good. Tristanstuart.co.uk

Moral of the story – Get-a-life! If the goods are misshapen cut it up, make a soup. Mash it, the blessed kids won’t know. Cut the apple into segments, make apple pie or stewed apple and custard, scrumptious. Show initiative, problem solve.

There is more fruit and veg: tossed away than any other food, 45% of salads are tossed and apples are very high on the toss list. The very things that are supposed to keep us healthy we toss. It’s irony! I’m discombobulated! One third of food produced in the UK is never eaten, (United Nations Environmental Programme UNEP).

A staggering 6,700,000 tonnes was thrown away in the UK. That was in 2007, more recently, Love food- hate waste.com has estimated a figure of 7.2 million tonnes. The truly sad aspect of this is that some 4.4 million tonnes was still good to eat. However, it was on or near the sell-by-date so it got tossed. There’s a whole lot of tossing going on in the UK!

For all the global warmers out there, the tree huggers and environmentalists of whichever hue; that 4.4m tonnes that should have been consumed caused 17m tonnes of CO2 to go floating into the atmosphere from the landfill. A staggering 54% of landfill is    ———– food waste. And that is equivalent to 20% of all cars pumping out their fumes. Get with it – Join the campaign.

The truth will free you.

thCA99EMN4Did you toss that tomato?

Did you ditch that date?

Did you let that lettuce go?

Did you cast those apples adrift?

Let me tell you Kitty, methane gas is Twenty (20) times more potent than carbon dioxide. (Wikipedia) You want to sip that milk or eat the bowl!

This is act one, act two will follow soon with a statement that I believe could be the most important of the 21st century. Be there!