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Spotlight on green news & views: Tipping points; tap-tapping birds; species slip-slipping away

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This is the 620th edition of the Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue).  Here is the November 23 edition. Inclusion of a story in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.

OUTSTANDING GREEN STORIES

boatsie writes—Climate Crisis: Are COPs in Danger of Extinction? “The annual Dec. 2 -13 UNFCCC Climate Change Conference — COP25 — launches in Madrid Monday, just days following the release of the dire UNEP Emissions Gap Report. The report stressed the urgent need to power up our response to the climate crisis beginning in 2020.  Cutting emissions by 7% each year, the report concluded, is the only scenario towards a trajectory of limiting global temperature rise to less than 1.5 degrees C. To limit temperature rise to the 2 degrees C, emissions must be cut by 2.7%. The Gap report echoes the IPCC’s earlier findings which called for expediting cuts in emissions on a global scale to avert a point of no return.  This year’s COP venue was scheduled in Chile but due to massive protests against social inequalities was moved to Madrid.  The rapid response to finding a new venue for the Climate Talks and the fact that the talks were not postponed indicates how seriously the COP is taking these new warnings.  (Read 1.5°C ‘Almost Impossible’ Without Deeper and Faster Cuts, Warns UNEP Emissions Gap Report.)”

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—On Climate, Coal Industry Spent 50 Years Denying. Now It’s Dying: On Friday, the Huffington Post ran a great story from Élan Young that shows that ‘Coal Knew, Too.’ The documents at the center of the story are a 1966 copy of the Mining Congress Journal, featuring a piece from a former coal research group’s president, James Garvey, and a brief one responding to Garvey’s piece from a Peabody Coal engineer. The essays are both relatively straightforward and unexceptional, focused mostly on sulfur emissions, but Garvey does mention an area ‘under serious study”: carbon dioxide and the threat that “vast changes in the climates of the earth will result’ from continued emissions. Changes that ‘will cause melting of the polar icecaps, which, in turn, would result in the inundation of many coastal cities, including New York and London.’ In his response, Peabody engineer James Jones focuses on the sulfur emissions issues Garvey discussed, ignoring the climate concern entirely. But his response nonetheless was indicative of how the industry, and indeed even the company, would address climate change: ignore it and distract from it, ultimately ‘buying time’ before regulations are put in place.”

CRITTERS AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Username4242 writes—Filming birds! A wildlife biologist wanders the woods in wonder: “Have my camera (Nikon COOLPIX P900) back after it broke, which means that I’m once again able to film wildlife for you all. In today’s video, I rove around some of the woods near my old hometown in eastern Montana, and film much of the beauty I run into. Expect a lot more of these wildlife videos and wildlife videography in future episodes. Starring: Chickadees, Canada geese, and a red-tailed hawk!” 

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6412093 writes—The Daily Bucket–Eagle Eyes: “I walk from my house to Bethany Lake, west of Portland Oregon, on many days. The Lake is adjacent to a wide utility easement, a golf course, a park, and farmland, so there is considerable open water, undeveloped area, and large trees. All that space, and open water, and lots of fish and ducks, and good nesting sites, have attracted eagles. They nest a mile to the north of the Lake. They sit many days in one of the tallest lakeside trees, from which they can watch the Lake, and their nest. Mostly this last week I only saw a single eagle, but yesterday they both were in the Eagle Tree. Sometimes I can see them from far away, the white of their head feathers seems to flash like a beacon when the sun is behind me. Seeing two eagles pretty much makes the walk worth it. Nonetheless, I persisted.”

6412093 writes—The Daily Bucket–Working on some Night Moves: “Sundown in Portland Oregon was at 4:32 pm.  At 4:40 pm, I walked past my kitchen window and startled a Great Blue Heron who was eating goldfish out of my backyard pond.  Then we both pretended not to see each other.  I began watching from a small bathroom window, and the heron continued fishing. It was too dark to take pictures so I didn’t fetch my camera at first.  And sure enough, the Heron decided to act goofy, and belly-flopped into the pond like a pelican, grabbing a fish. I did get a picture of the heron standing in the water, which I hadn’t seen it do, for years. Usually it fished from the pavers that line the pond edge. It moved around in the water for awhile, scaring the living daylights out of the fish, no doubt. At 5:07, it gave up and strolled over to another pond of mine. Twilight was gone. I was 15  feet from the heron, peering through the opening of the minutely raised blinds. It was so dark I could barely see its white cap feathers, but the heron was still plugging away at the goldfish in the second pond.”

OceanDiver writes—BackyardBirdRace/Daily Bucket combo – November tally: “In January, we introduced the new and revised version of the Backyard BirdRace. This time around, we each watch for birds in our yard — however you want to define that —  and keep a list of them to share here each month in the BirdRace diary. We’ll each be keeping track of our own bird lists this time. eBird is a very easy way to do that. Or you can write them down in a notebook. We hope to generate some conversation amongst us comparing and contrasting who we see, and perhaps find some insights into the world of birds as they intersect with our lives. The “race” aspect is a form of gentle humorous encouragement to keep watching throughout the year…. perhaps you will see more birds than you thought, or than you saw last year or a decade ago, or your fellow regional kossacks, or other birdracers who live in the same kind of setting as yourself. It’s all a discovery, and meant to be fun.”

Hooded Meganser ducks

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – hoodies provoked: “November 2019. Salish Sea, PacificNorthwest. Buffies are a lively bunch, especially at dusk, and on this evening they couldn’t help but stir up their fellow ducks at that end of the bay. Usually all these sociable little ducks settle down in shallow water as it gets dark, but sometimes as they congregate in a tight little flock they get a bit feisty with each other.  The hoodies (Hooded Mergansers) were all tucked in, heads under their wings, drifting by the shoreline. The buffies (Buffleheads) were chasing and squeaking amongst themselves. Then a couple of drake buffies paddled over and woke them up. Ducks don’t sleep soundly of course but that was the end of their snooze.”

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – birding on the Skagit River delta: “Winter is prime birding season on the delta, especially the triangle of flat agricultural land between the north and south forks of the Skagit River, known as Fir Island. Washington Dept of Fish and Wildlife has jurisdiction over several sites there, mostly coastal estuarine marshland, where birds congregate for winter feasting and sheltering. Hayton Reserve is a no hunting/no dogs site that is very popular among birders, for good reason. On our way through Fir Island a couple of days ago the tide was medium, leaving enough muddy intertidal for shorebirds. They were very very busy, there being few hours of mud exposure during daylight hours in winter.” 

giddy thing writes—Dawn Chorus: The Uncommon Beauty of Leucistic Birds: “One of the delights of birding is discovery of the unusual, whether a rare species, a behavior never seen before, or a quick glimpse of a legband on a migrating songbird. Some of my more exciting finds have been birds affected by an abnormal genetic condition called leucism (pronounced LUKE-ism). This rare mutation results in a total or partial reduction of color in a bird’s plumage due to inadequate deposition or fixation of pigments, namely melanin, in the feathers. Leucism is distinctly different and relatively less rare than albinism. The albino mutation affects the melanin pigments of the entire bird, giving albino birds their characteristic ‘white’ (colorless) plumage with pink eyes and skin (though, importantly, albinism does not affect carotenoid pigments). Leucistic birds, however, have normal coloration of the eyes, bill, legs, and bare parts.”

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Ojibwa writes—Public Lands: Sacajawea State Park (photo diary): “Washington’s Sacajawea State Park is located at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers. The park is named for the Shoshone woman, Sacajawea (also spelled Sacagawea), who accompanied the American Corps of Discovery (aka the Lewis and Clark Expedition). The Corps of Discovery camped at the confluence of the rivers in October 1805. The park was founded in 1927 by the Daughters of the Pioneers of Washington, Pasco Chapter No. 3. They built a monument and planted trees and shrubs. In 1931, they deeded the park to the State of Washington. According to a sign in the park: ‘Here, many cultures have traditionally come together, Today, this park continues to be a place of gathering, celebration and exploration’.”

Username4242 writes—The Bison Reborn: Ghosts of the Prairies – Episode 4. Return of the Buffalo: “In the final episode of the Ghosts of the Prairies series, I cover the place of the American bison in the modern world. Having escaped extinction in the 1800s, the bison / buffalo now numbers hundreds of thousands, though many of these are privately owned livestock (see a future bonus episode). In this video, I cover the controversies and wonders of the bison, from the annual Yellowstone bison cull in efforts to prevent brucellosis transmission and prevent movement out of the the park to reintroductions of the bison onto native lands. Thanks to Linwood Tallbull (Northern Cheyenne historian) for his enthralling interview, and Chamois Anderson (Defenders of Wildlife) for contributing footage of the Fort Peck reservation bison introduction to this video.”

Cypress trees
Cypress trees that are usually under water.

CaptBLI writes—The Daily Bucket: Sardis Lake, Mississippi: “The US Corp of Engineers have opened the spillway and drained (all but the main channel) of Sardis Lake. This is an interesting season for man and beast alike there. I was able to visit on a dreary day when I knew other folks would stay home. It seemed I had the whole place to myself. Here are some of my observations. The Cypress trees in the title photo are usually under a foot or two of water. They are young and haven’t produced knees (roots nodes that rise above water level) that would be needed for deeper water. These roots are protruding high enough out of the ground to sustain these trees.” 

CaptBLI writes—The Daily Bucket: Knock, Knock, bird sounds: “Everyday there is a faint (some days loud) tapping or knocking on a tree in my yard or just out of view in the nearby woods. The tiny Nuthatch flits about, lands, and taps lightly on acorns to crack the shells it gathers. They and the Blue Jays share that habit. A short series of taps readily breaks the shells. The motion is easy to spot when looking into a tree for the sound. There is the distinctive ‘drumming’ the Pileated Woodpeckers make when establishing territory and seeking mates. That deep toned sound resonates from my hilltop to the lower country side. When hunting insects, the hammering is short but solid and louder than the other woodpecker species here. You know you’ve heard a big bird when that sound echoes from afar. Then there is the long and loud call that let’s you know he has something for everyone to hear. […] The Red Bellied Woodpecker will choose a limb that trembles in a lighter tone when drumming for a mate.  The rapping is longer lived and will taper off in strength toward the end of the session.  Their insect probes are short and blunt sounding in comparison.  They chatter when in groups with usually happy sounding blasts.”

CLIMATE CHAOS

Walter Einenkel writes—Greenhouse gases reach highest recorded levels in over 3 million years: “According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Earth has reached a new high in the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere; CO2 in the atmosphere reached 407.8 parts per millions this past year, up from 405.5 parts per million in 2017. This trend is consistent with recent years, but slightly higher than previous decades, according to the WMO. WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas released a statement trying to put these numbers into a perspective that even a Republican could understand: ‘It is worth recalling that the last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago. Back then, the temperature was 2-3°C warmer, sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now’.”

xaxnar writes—ICYMI: Greenhouse Gas Levels Are Still Rising: “Note that this is different than just looking at emissions. Concentrations are what’s left in the air after a complex series of interactions between the atmosphere, the oceans, the forests and the land. About a quarter of all carbon emissions are absorbed by the seas, and a similar amount by land and trees. Using data from monitoring stations in the Arctic and all over the world, researchers say that in 2018 concentrations of CO2 reached 407.8 parts per million (ppm), up from 405.5ppm a year previously.”

Liberal in a Red State writes—Need Your Best Messaging Input to Clap-Back on Knuckle-Dragging GOP Climate Trolls: “We all know that some people are really good at delivering quick, witty, comebacks that put trolls back on their heels and win ‘the argument’ on both substance and style. In the celebrity world, Chrissy Teigen has literally made a brand for herself for her ability to ‘clap back’ successfully with scathing style and humor. AOC is also another master at the substantive political clap-back. So here’s my challenge. Over the weekend, I engaged is several Twitter battles regarding the students protesting at the Harvard-Yale football game. In case you missed it, several hundred students swarmed the center of the football field at halftime and refused to leave for 30 minutes. Their protest had a specific goal which was to pressure their respective Universities to divest from fossil fuel corporations and hedge fund managers to cancel any debt from Puerto Rico.”

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—In Germany, EIKE’s 200 Deniers Run and Hide From 20 Protesters: “Every year, the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), Germany’s version of the Heartland Institute, holds its annual climate denial conference. Like its US counterpart, at this point no one pays it much mind–it’s little more than angry old men yelling at one another about liberal snowflake climate communists. This year was different. EIKE’s alignment with Germany’s far-right AfD party gives it some relevance. But a small group of activists also protested the event, which forced it to relocate to a new secret location and milk that drama for all it’s worth. Apparently an anti-capitalists climate facebook group with fewer than 250 likes joined with some Antifa activists to visit the Munich hotel that was hosting the group of some 200 deniers. The combined 20 or so people went to the lobby and ‘sang songs and distributed leaflets,’ according to a Google-translated report from Donaukurier. […] Deniers, predictably, used this as an excuse to complain about their persecution. Whining about it in TownHall, Heartland’s James Taylor laments how the ‘street thugs allied with the German government force free speech, academic freedom, and disfavored political views into hiding’.”

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Ian Plimer Proves Murdoch Wrong With Climate Denial Rant In NewsCorp’s Australian: “The scientific consensus that climate change is caused by human activity reached 100 percent this year. All 11,602 studies published on the issue in the first seven months of 2019 reflected this reality, according to a study published last week in the Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society (h/t Ed Maibach.) Also published last Wednesday? This story by Graham Readfearn, wherein Rupert Murdoch is asked why NewsCorp ‘gives climate deniers… so much airtime in Australia?’ In response, Murdoch assured stockholders that “there are no climate change deniers around” NewsCorp, and then rattled off some stats about reducing the company’s carbon footprint. Phew! What a relief to know that Murdoch’s multi-continental media machine gives no platform to climate deniers. Oh, what’s that? We should maybe take a look and see if perhaps Murdoch is in denial about the rampant denial in his news outlets? Hmm, actually, yes; it seems just two days after Murdoch’s assurance, his Australian ran a lovely op-ed by Ian Plimer that claims ‘there are no carbon emissions’ and ‘it has never been shown that human emissions of carbon dioxide drive global warming.’  Doesn’t get much more denier-y than that!”

PolRSearch writes—Climate Blackout! The problem is large, but sneaky: “So one day Anderson Cooper wants to do a climate segment. He thinks an interview with Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, a renown climate scientist, would be good. Dr. Hayhoe gets to the studio and does the interview. Then word comes down: she is a no go. Her interview is cancelled. Rick Santorum, the climate denier, will take her place. Strange. The IPCC comes out with a report that major changes must occur in our energy use if life on this planet is to continue. A news anchor wants to talk about that. Word comes down from management: the anchor must have a debate — a climate denier on one side and and the hapless anchor on the other. So the segment is filled with lies and misinformation. Ahead of a Democratic debate, CNN polled their viewers to find out which topics they want to see more of. Then they turn around and give them none of what they wanted to see more of. Word came down: ‘Sorry, no.’ The net result of a whole lot of programming decisions like these is that the American TV-watching populace is being underinformed on the subject of the climate.”

melharte writes—A Powerful Secret Solution to Climate Change: “Yes, reduce consumption, which means changing our economic goals and standard economic perspectives. But our planet cannot sustain the current number of people on it.  Any biologist who studies how animal populations peak and crash in the natural world knows this, and understands the human trajectory we are creating.   Our technology cannot change this, but simply provide temporary solutions, as the ‘Father of the Green Revolution,’ Norman Borlaug, admitted: he recognized that overpopulation would overwhelm his techno fix. And often, as in the case of climate change and our declining soil fertility worldwide, ‘buying time’ worsens our ability to address problems humanely, both present and future.”

Angmar writes—Climate Emergency world may have crossed tipping points Warning ‘existential threat to civilisation’: “GreenRevolution A Direct Action Environmental Protest Group. (The future is NOW): The planet is now rapidly moving towards an uninhabitable future … But that future is NOW. Our leaders are not taking this crisis seriously, or taking action,and are thus failing us, and future generations, as well as planet Earth. The end of our present societies means the end of human and animal lives,and the potential death of planet Earth. We have little time left to alter our societies,governments,and to prevent this catastrophe happening. Our Methods: Uses of nonviolent resistance to protest against climate chaos, biodiversity loss, and total ecological collapse. inspiration from grassroots movements such as Occupy, Martin Luther King and others in the civil rights movement, and Extinction Rebellion. To create support worldwide and a sense of urgency, to tackle total ecological breakdown. Protest, and Direct Action to deal with the inaction of world governments.Making a commitment to saving the planet, and trying to create a sustainable Green future for all. JOIN www.dailykos.com/…

Extreme Weather & Natural Phenomena

marksb writes—The Last Day of the Fire Season in Santa Barbara (Updated with morning report): “Monday was cool and dry, with the season’s first storm arriving by Wednesday morning, effectively ending our ‘fire season.’ We also had one last day of strong off-shore winds, blowing up to 60 mph from inland, coming over the mountains behind Santa Barbara and down-slope to the coast. Due to our mountain ridges going east to west, instead of north-south like in much of SoCal, our winds are called ‘sundowners’ and ‘off-shore’, whereas in much of SoCal the winds are called Santa Annas. A small fire started Monday afternoon just after 4 pm, on the ridge behind Santa Barbara, near Painted Cave community on top of San Marcos Pass. Painted Cave has been the source and victim of many fires in the past, mostly because it sits on top of the pass near 154, a major road from Santa Barbara to the Santa Ynez valley.”  

ECO-ACTION & ECO JUSTICE

Spoonamore writes—The MIHS Committee to Save The Earth 1981. A GenX contemplation of Greta’s justified anger: “I have been reflecting for some time on Greta. Her Anger. Her blunt, pointed, understated -and to my ears — partly hopeful effort to hold people accountable. She is angry. She wants people to listen. To get angry with her. And to act. Yes. She is 16. This does not diminish her message. This may increase her belief people will listen. Greta is calling for a survivable world for all creatures, born and unborn. Good. I have been listening to her. ‘Our house is on fire.’ She says. Yes it is. It has been for several decades, and some of us have been saying so. For decades. ‘You should panic.’ She says. Yes you should. Some of us have been fighting this panic for decades. ‘We are on the brink of a global extinction.’ She says. Well, on this Greta, I must disagree. Data indicates we crossed over that brink 20 or more years ago. Perhaps we can agree we are still accelerating the effects of Anthropocine Extinction, and we should stop doing that. ‘We have to act.’ She says. Yes. We have to. We already should have. A few have. Many more have to. Not many are’.”

Marissa Higgins writes—‘OK boomer’: Hundreds of activists chant and delay Harvard-Yale football game for climate protest: “During the Harvard-Yale football game on Saturday, Nov. 23, up to 500 students, alumni, and spectators participated in a climate change protest during halftime, as reported by NBC News. Initially, a group of fewer than one hundred protesters, including members of Divest Harvard and Yale Endowment Justice Coalition, took to the field with signs, banners, and chants, calling on the two Ivy League schools to both divest from fossil fuel companies and forgive Puerto Rico’s debts, but others soon joined from the audience. Ultimately, the protesters delayed the game for over 30 minutes, though the game was not canceled. In total, 42 people were issued misdemeanor summonses on disorderly conduct charges. As Nora Heaphy, an organizer and student at Yale University told BuzzFeed News, participants knew getting arrested was a risk. “The game is a focal point for press and alumni who may not know the university is invested in the climate crisis,’ Heaphy told BuzzFeed in an interview. ‘It’s a huge opportunity to spread our message.’ She stressed that their intention was not to cancel the game, but to raise awareness. The game is traditionally well-attended by both current students and faculty as well as alumni. It also airs on television.” 

MTmofo writes—Climate change protest disrupts Harvard-Yale game at half-time: “Most protesters left after about an hour when they were escorted off by police, who then told about two dozen who remained they were under arrest. The field was ultimately cleared, and the game resumed at 2:48 p.m. ET. However, the delay led to an issue for the game’s finish because the Yale Bowl lacks stadium lights, and sunset in New Haven, Connecticut, was set for 4:26 p.m. on Saturday. […] Rachel Sadoff, a junior at Harvard, said about 150 students from the two universities planned to participate in the protest. She said about 100 more students who had been sitting in the stands joined in, and that those arrested were released and given a court date.” 

Black Friday for the Future Nov. 29 2019, Berlin
Black Friday climate strike in Berlin.

Angmar writes—Photos From The Climate Strikes Taking Over Black Friday Around The World: “Young activists and their supporters ― inspired by Swedish 16-year-old Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future movement, in which students skip class on Fridays for climate action ― came together for the global day of protest ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference that starts in Madrid, Spain, on Monday. […] Protesters rallied from London, England, to New Delhi, India, and Sydney, Australia ― with many carrying cleverly worded placards to make their point, with some making reference to Black Friday.””

CANDIDATES, STATE AND DC ECO-RELATED POLITICS

AmericaAdapts writes—Evaluating the 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates’ Climate Disaster and Adaptation Policies: “In episode 101 of America Adapts, host Doug Parsons talks with Dr. Samantha Montano, a disasterologist/Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska in Emergency Management and Disaster Science.  Samantha, along with her colleague Amanda Savitt, evaluated the disaster and adaptation policies of the 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates. Doug and Samantha discuss what makes for effective disaster policies and where the candidates stand on these issues. Samantha also recommends how these policies can be improved heading into the 2020 election.” 

RogerMisso writes—Climate Change Action for More Than Just The Rich: “ ‘Climate change is an existential crisis.’ The line is so true, but is said so often by Democratic politicians, that it might as well be, ‘The sky is blue.’  I am tired of the same kinds of candidates and politicians talking in the same, tired tropes about climate change without understanding the reality of climate inequality that persists today. I say this with environmental bonafides: I am a longtime Sierra Club member and, last year, joined the fight to help preserve the Land and Wildlife Conservation Fund from Republican budget cuts. But we need to recognize an uncomfortable truth about the fight against climate change: it is predominantly white, and predominantly well-off. It is hardly a surprise that climate change is a rallying cry now that white and wealthy communities are feeling its effects. But communities of color, indigenous peoples, and lower-income folks have felt it for generations.” 

ENERGY

gmoke writes—Zero Net Energy – November 23, 2019: “Carbon-neutral science museum in Sweden to be powered by bicycles • http://www.cobe.dk/project/science-center
https://inhabitat.com/carbon-neutral-science-museum-in-sweden-will-be-powered-by-bicycles/
Bergen, Norway’s masterplan for a zero-carbon urban mixed use development of over 1,600 homes
https://www.dezeen.com/2019/06/28/trenezia-masterplan-waugh-thistleton-bergen/
https://inhabitat.com/zero-carbon-masterplan-on-the-water-aims-to-revitalize-bergens-urban-growth/ 24 storey mixed use PassivHaus building in midtown Manhattan
https://zh-architects.com/midtown-mixed-use-passive-house/
https://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/24-storey-passive-house-tower-built-manhattan.htmlNet Zero plant-filled Singapore pavilion for Dubai’s 2020 World Expo
https://www.dezeen.com/2019/08/29/woha-singapore-pavilion-dubai-expo-2020-architecture/
https://inhabitat.com/woha-unveils-a-lush-net-zero-singapore-pavilion-for-the-2020-world-expo/
https://www.woha.net” 

Fossil Fuels & Emissions Controls

Pakalolo writes—Coal knew they were killing the biosphere since 1966 and yet, still commits itself to ecocide: “More damning evidence against the fossil fuel industry for lying to the world about coals role in climate change. They knew! Elan Young writes in the Huffington Post: ‘Exxon knew.’ Thanks to the work of activists and journalists, those two words have rocked the politics of climate change in recent years, as investigations revealed the extent to which giants like Exxon Mobil and Shell were aware of the danger of rising greenhouse gas emissions even as they undermined the work of scientists. But the coal industry knew, too — as early as 1966, a newly unearthed journal shows. In August, Chris Cherry, a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, salvaged a large volume from a stack of vintage journals that a fellow faculty member was about to toss out. He was drawn to a 1966 copy of the industry publication Mining Congress Journal; his father-in-law had been in the industry and he thought it might be an interesting memento.” 

Dan Bacher writes—Newsom Freezes New Fracking Permits – But All Oil Drilling Permits Still Outpace 2018: “On November 19, Governor Gavin Newsom froze the approval of new fracking permits as a scientific study of fracking is conducted, but the total number of permits approved under the Newsom Administration still outpace those approved under Jerry Brown in 2018. State oil and gas regulators have not issued a new permit for fracking or acidizing in California since mid-July and have slowed the overall rate of permitting oil wells. Yet public interest groups Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance point out that regulators have granted oil permits at a pace that is 8.8% greater in the first ten months of 2019 than in the same period last year under Governor Jerry Brown, based on an analysis of state data.”

Renewables, Efficiency, Energy Storage & Conservation

Mokurai writes—Renewable Friday: Wind and Solar Industry, Hypocrisy vs. Truth: “You might have thought that wind and solar power suppliers would all support the Green New Deal, and Democrats in general. You might even have thought that utility companies in general would support lower cost power. You would have been wrong. Reuters: Clean energy sector swings Republican with U.S. campaign donations. May 2, 2018 – Renewable energy has typically depended on government subsidies and policies to help fuel its growth, and the donations come at a time when Republicans control both houses of Congress as well as a majority of state houses across the country. Republicans have so far left subsidies for the industry largely intact. But that was then. Where are we now?”

POPULATION, EXTINCTION, SUSTAINABILITY

elenacarlena writes—Regenerative Culture: Strategies for Sustainable Holidays: “Next, think about your holiday preparation: How to have a sustainable Thanksgiving applies to other holidays as well, from correct recycling to careful selection of whom to invite or where to go (since travel is carbon-expensive) to cutting down on food waste. Also, as most of you probably know, plastics recycling isn’t working out so well! So here are 15 ways to shrink your plastic footprint: Only 9% of plastics get recycled, and significant reductions will require systemic change – but there are easy tips for individuals to cut back.  On the other hand, aluminum and glass aren’t carbon-free or recycling dreams either! What’s the best buy in beverage containers? It depends. If you can find them, buy recycled aluminum cans; second best choice is probably glass. https://earth911.com/… Saving food and eating leftovers is climate friendly, so it helps to have a plan for leftover foods. Here are some more non-plastic “eco-friendly” ways to save leftovers. Foil is not the answer, https://curiosity.com/… Unless you wash and reuse it and/or buy recycled, https://science.howstuffworks.com/…Even washing reusables needs to be done efficiently to not waste too much water! https://www.inputfortwayne.com/…

Angmar writes—Remembrance Day For Lost Species – November 30th: “The Sumatran rhinoceros has become extinct in Malaysia, zoologists have announced. The last of the species in the country succumbed to cancer in the state of Sabah on the island of Borneo, it was revealed. The rhino, named Iman, had suffered from uterine tumours since her capture in March 2014. ‘Iman’s death came rather sooner than we had expected, but we knew that she was starting to suffer significant pain,’ said Augustine Tuuga, the director of the Sabah wildlife department. ‘Despite us knowing that this would happen sooner rather than later, we are so very saddened by this news,’ added Christina Liew, Sabah environment minister.”

NATIONAL PARKS AND OTHER PUBLIC LANDS

sgtaotahto writes—Public Lands. The end of an era. Part 3. They’re readying their move: “William Pendley (the Bundyite who now controls our Public Lands…but her emails) recently wrote an op ed proclaiming the Constitutional Sheriff the highest law of the land and designating that Federal Rangers (you know, the people he once called ‘Nazis’ who now work under him) should defer to the county Sheriff. Coming soon. A militia takes over Public Lands and when (if) confronted by Federal law enforcement say ‘your boss says you need to back down.’ [,,,] If you have some time over the Holidays, get out and enjoy your Public Lands while you still can. Next year, maybe not. And oh, if you happen to see a Park, Forest Ranger, a BLM agent or some other federal employee, thank them for their service. What was once a dream job enjoying the outdoors and serving the public has become no less than combat duty. Their lives are in danger. A danger fomented by their very employer.”

TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE

Mokurai writes—EV Tuesday (Electric Vehicles): Electric Mail Trucks Should be a No-Brainer; That’s the Problem: “Postal Service Wrapping Up Testing of New Mail Truck Prototypes. The Postal Service is testing 50 prototypes from five companies as it looks to replace its aging fleet of Grumman Long Life Vehicles, or LLVs. The old mail trucks lack modern safety features, have poor fuel economy and have been plagued by fires and increasingly expensive repairs. At least six burned up last month. They were also built to handle mostly letters, not packages, which make up more of today’s mail volume. Political headwinds are also likely…The “America first” mantra of the current administration may make it hard for the agency to choose a foreign automaker for the contract, even if the vehicles would be produced here. And it’s no secret President Donald Trump already is unhappy with Postal Service finances and how the agency does business with commercial package shippers like Amazon.”

AGRICULTURE​, FOOD & GARDENING

Garden deck
Not too much gardening going on today.

Mimer writes—Saturday Morning Garden Blogging. Vol 15.48: Giving thanks for the garden: “Happy Thanksgiving weekend everyone! I hope you all had a good time with friends, family, and good food. I think this is my favorite holiday because it is not a religious holiday so everyone can celebrate it, and I believe that even in hard times there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for. Among the blessings I have, I count my garden close to the top.  Truly my garden is my refuge and my therapy because I am able to leave home only rarely. The first two weeks of November were bitterly cold here, as in much of the country, and the garden did not get properly ‘put to bed.’ The only plants that were cut back and cleaned up were the peonies and most of the iris. There will be no further cleanup until spring, so my garden is a real mess right now. Especially sad to see are the frozen, matted hosta leaves everywhere. Still, I ventured out this week with my camera to see if I could find some interesting remnants for which to be grateful in a bleak and grey time of year. In shameless copying of estreya’s quest for autumn primary colors a couple of weeks ago, I went looking for color too, but ANY color at all!” 

MISCELLANY

Besame writes—Overnight Science News Digest: Science vs EPA, human bycatch, satellite pollution & more: “Disaster research and inadvertent capture of human images by wildlife camera head the Ethics Needed category although tech projects also pose ethical challenges like “Is it better to have 50,000 satellites in low earth orbit transmitting high speed internet to remote areas or be able to use telescopes to spot Earth-bound asteroids?” (I might vote for the internet access. It’s slow and expensive in my not-really-remote area.) Other news this week includes a “new and strange” El Niño climate pattern, monarch butterfly hearing check, planting out captive-bred abalones, personal and environmental value of vegetarian/vegan diets supported by data, and climate crisis consequences of landslides. Also, Ohio Man reports finding Life on Mars and French-Spanish researchers discover where there’s no life on Earth. (I added bold to key points.)”

Pretiare writes—Biocracy, not Democracy, to Save Planet Earth: “After dealing with Trump and Republican immorality I believe we will move towards a collective renaissance of moral intelligence.  The kernel comes when we come to a recognition that we can only survive and thrive if Earth survives and thrives.  Escaping to another planet won’t change that.  We won’t thrive in a monarchy or any of our current governments.  I see now a vision of a biocracy. My first encounter with the term, biocracy was reading Wild Mind by Bill Plotkin, PhD. Plotkin speaks to the part of the human psych that he calls Dark Muse-Beloved. ‘The Muse imagines deeply, wildly, and from beneath things, and who inspires us to all sorts of revolutions and psychospiritual deaths and rebirths.’ No set-in stone map can get us there. Maps are helpful, to a point. Seeking answers deadens us. Also, don’t seek answers, seek mysteries which are key sources of energy for our growth.” 

eclift writes—Environmental Disasters Loom Large but Remain Unnoticed: “Among the most egregious decisions of the Trump administration is the recent “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” proposal promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This terribly dangerous idea would require scientists to disclose all their raw data, including confidential medical records, before the EPA would consider academic studies as valid.  Scientific and medical research would be severely limited leading to Draconian public health regulations as well as environmental crises. EPA officials call the plan a step toward transparency, but it is clearly designed to limit important scientific information that should drive policy related to clean air and water, among other health-related environmental impacts. As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump pledged to roll back government regulations as part of his pro-business ‘America First Energy Plan.’ Once in the White House he immediately signed executive orders approving two controversial oil pipelines and a federal review of the Clean Water Rule and Clean Power Plan. Shortly thereafter, the Clean Water Rule was repealed.” 

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