Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Climate War Room now has new .eco domain

The Climate War Room, an initiative of The Cayman Institute is committed to using a .eco domain, which is a new web address ending for anyone committed to positive change for the planet.


.eco is a new web address ending—known as a top-level domain—for anyone committed to positive change for the planet. .eco web addresses are available to any business, government, non-profit or individual working toward a sustainable future.

The .eco domain is backed by more than 50 environmental organizations including Conservation International, United Nations Global Compact and WWF and is a trusted symbol for the environmental community. www.climatewarroom.org

Towards a livable future


Humans have influenced nature since as early as the Ice Age, and over the past century our impact has become even greater with our many new technologies and a growing world population. Leiden researchers study this impact and how we can keep it within reasonable limits so that nature can be preserved. We cannot do without nature: we need it for our food and for raw materials, as well as for relaxation.

Human and nature: a complex relationship

Humans were probably already deliberately burning down forest areas at the end of the Ice Age, in order to create a more variable landscape. Since then the world population has grown exponentially, and will continue to do so, which means that man's impact on the planet will also increase. Natural systems and cycles are becoming disrupted leading to such problems as pollution, depletion of resources and climate change. There is evidence that biodiversity plays a major role in stable ecosystems, and, besides this, nature is a valuable asset for humans because of the peace and relaxation that it can offer. The way we use the planet does not always reflect our desire to create -- and maintain -- a healthy living environment. In Leiden researchers investigate how we can bridge this gap and how we can provide a good life for ourselves without harming the planet and future generations.

What works for us?

Leiden researchers from different disciplines conduct research on nature and biodiversity, investigating such questions as what man's impact is in farmland areas, for instance. 'The Netherlands is a small country with a super-intensive agrarian culture,' Gert de Snoo explains. De Snoo, Professor of Conservation Biology, and his colleagues discovered that maintaining small areas of nature on farmland, such as wild flowers along the borders of fields, can have a positive effect on biodiversity. Ecotoxicologists conduct research on the effects of biodiversity, exploring the influence of pesticides on local biodiversity. We can also learn from the past. Archaeologists study how man influenced his living environment in the past and what the consequences were. This could be something like the erosion of areas of loess in South Limburg, a process that was started by the Romans, but that only in the 20th century led to extensive mudslides, making the land permanently unsuitable for agriculture. All these insights generate knowledge about how we can best approach our need for food while at the same time preserving the planet.

Don't exhaust nature: use it wisely

We all want so much today: we want to live in nice houses, fly all over the world and have the newest and best smartphones. All this is possible, but at the same time we are exhausting the planet because all these products and services need raw materials. Over the years Leiden has collected enormous amounts of data on raw material supplies. How do physical flows of raw materials move across the world? Where can they be found? Leiden has the world's biggest database on this issue, which makes it possible for our researchers to chart the metabolism of society. This offers insights into the best ways of using and reusing sustainable materials so we are better able to create a circular economy.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Leiden, Universiteit.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Caribbean Transitional Energy Conference

WHY CAYMAN? WHY NOW?

Caribbean economies suffer from some of the highest electricity prices in the world. Despite their abundance of renewable energy sources, Cayman has a relatively low level of renewable energy penetration; the economy continues to spend a large proportion of its GDP on imported fossil fuels.

The Caribbean Transitional Energy Conference (CTEC) is about building our resilience as a small nation, about diversifying our energy sector and the way that we do business.

It is about ensuring sustainable social and economic growth through strong leadership, recognising the threat of climate change and the vulnerability of islands across the world and voicing our commitment to take the measures that we can take now. More

Sunday, March 5, 2017

This grazing and cover crop system is producing some impressive numbers - By Gabe Brown


Phone calls, emails and even a few old-fashioned letters — all say the same thing. As I travel presenting at conferences and workshops, the statement comes up repeatedly.

If only I had a dollar for the number of times I had people tell me, “Gabe, you just don’t understand that our soils are not like yours.” I have learned to listen patiently (OK, sometimes not so patiently) as these people tell me all the reasons my soils are productive, and theirs are not.

When they finish, I ask them what they imagine their land looked like pre-European settlement. To this I usually receive a puzzled look.

My point is this: How is it that these lands were once healthy, functioning ecosystems? What changed between then and now? Could it be that we are the reason our land is no longer as productive as it once was? Could it be we are the reason that our soils do not function properly?

We get a lot of visitors to our ranch, more than 2,100 last summer alone. I think most come wanting a “silver bullet.” What we show them is simply how to use the principles of nature to their advantage.

I make it a point to show the difference between soils on our ranch and those of nearby operations. All have the same soil types.

The accompanying table shows soil testing results for four operations in my neighborhood. The one titled “Organic” is just that — an organic operation that is very diverse in its cropping system. The operator grows spring wheat, barley, oats, corn, sunflowers, peas, soybeans, dry edible beans and alfalfa. Natural, organic fertilizers are used. No livestock are integrated onto this cropland. More

Climate Ecoforestry

In 2008 we asked Frank Michael a tough question. Frank is a physicist, formerly with the Ames Research Center group that created the first Flying Solar Laboratory to study the sun and its “weather” and prevent astronauts from being fried by solar storms. We asked him what would happen to atmospheric carbon if everyone on earth planted a tree each day.

It was an interesting question, and one that was not easy to answer. Frank explained some of the variables to us. You would want to know what kind of trees are planted; what their lifespan will be; what happens to their carbon store when they die; the net photosynthetic productivity of the forest, by hectare, based on soils, rainfall, latitude and expected climate change; the effect of all the stored carbon in the ocean that would “leak back” into the atmosphere in response — trying to re-balance the distribution of carbon dioxide — and much more.

Nonetheless, he agreed to give it a go. Thus began a system model that Frank Michael will be presenting at the 7th World Congress on Ecological Restoration later this year in Foz do Iguassu, Brazil.

The question changed to “what amount of trees, land and biochar would be needed to return the atmosphere to ‘normal’ and how long would it take?” We know much less about paleoclimate drawdowns and feedbacks than we know about epochs of carbonization. As his calculations and his global model became more elaborate, he began to be drawn to the complexity of the social dimension. What are the potentials for unplanned reversals like deforestation, population pressure, energy demand and urban sprawl? How many of those trees would survive one year? 5 years? 100 years? Who would care for them and how would those people be compensated? How would you pay for the biochar conversion?

Frank came up with a model that we can only describe as pure genius, worthy some day of a Nobel Prize should he ever be recognized. His “step harvest” system, which we first described in The Biochar Solution, sets out a practical methodology for employing hundreds of millions of forest stewards to regenerate and revitalize neglected and abandoned “wastelands,” working with principles of ecological regeneration and patch management to stack yields while optimizing ecological functions. Rather than rely on charity, it relies on capitalism – a healthy return of investment in semi-autonomous but coordinated microenterprises. More

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Chevron is first oil major to warn investors of risks from climate change lawsuits


Big Oil’s lies about the existential risk posed by its product are now catching up with the industry and threatening profits.

For the first time, one of the major publicly owned fossil fuel companies admitted publicly to investors that climate change lawsuits poses a risk to risk to its profits.
You’re probably thinking that seems like an obvious admission. After all, 190 nations unanimously agreed in the December 2015 Paris climate deal to leave most fossil fuels in the ground because of the existential threat they pose to human civilization.

But this is Big Oil — the industry that has been denying or pretending to deny the existence of climate change for over half a century.
In the “risk factors” section of Chevron’s 2016 10-K financial performance report to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) — amid a discussion of how those pesky climate rules governments are enacting might hurt demand for its product — is this sentence: “In addition, increasing attention to climate change risks has resulted in an increased possibility of governmental investigations and, potentially, private litigation against the company.” http://bit.ly/2mndUir

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Great Change: Mount Pleasant by Albert Bates

Sunday, February 19, 2017

"The problem is not our understanding of the science or the efficacy of our potential solutions. The problem is human willingness to do the right thing before its too late."

We first latched onto the notion of catastrophic climate change back around 1980 when we were a young attorney taking quixotic cases involving impossible-to-rectify injustices like cancers among atomic veterans, trespass of sacred sites or nuclear waste disposal, and shoving those insults under the noses of attorneys-general, judges and justices to try to get a reaction.

Occasionally we would finesse a surprising win and that helped attract donations to keep the enterprise running and the entertainment value high, attracting more donors, and so it went.

One such case was against the deepwell injection of toxic effluent from the manufacture of pesticides and herbicides by agrochemical companies in Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee. The effluent in question had been extracted from an aquifer and tested by State laboratories where was quickly ranked as the most concentrated poison they had ever pulled from the wild. A single green fluorescent drop killed all the fish in the tank. There were 6 billion gallons injected under Middle Tennessee from 1967 to 1980. It made Love Canal look like the kiddie pool.

https://goo.gl/gw1SCk