/Spotlight on green news & views: 600th edition

Spotlight on green news & views: 600th edition


serendeputy writes—Lobster Fishing is my Passion…why I’m giving it up: “I am giving up lobstering because I am losing my love of humanity. The current mass psychosis that has enslaved small minded humans to the unreality of modern conservatism is being manifested in the thievery that I am experiencing throughout the summer. The anger and frustration I experience as I haul trap after trap only to find popped cable ties and no lobsters is a cancer of the mind and spirit. It is robbing me of far more than the dollars that I lose.  It is diminishing my capacity for tolerance and compassion. When all things of earth are left behind, what part of you will be left?” 


PHScott writes—The Daily Bucket: Seven Minutes with 3 Hawk Fledglings: “Mostly photos with a few quips tossed in..Yeah, quips tossed in like the way I saw one of the parents swoop up through the trees towards the nest but not land as it tossed some prey from its talons into the nest and then turned back downhill to the ponds. Photos taken on May 19, 2019 at 7 PM, Panhandle FL woods, as the setting sun lit the nest where 3 Red-shouldered Hawk fledglings waited, watched and waited some more. The nest is 100′ from my house and 60′ up a Hickory tree. The hawks are quite used to me even as approach within 50′ down in my garden.” 

Pasquale, Condor # 914, was wild born of captive bred parents who have successfully raised four other chicks. His sex was unknown until a blood sample was taken this spring after he was trapped for a health check by Ventana Wildlife Society biologists. He was fitted with a tag/radio transmitter and then released back into the wild on May 20, 2019.

OceanDiver writes—Dawn Chorus: Whistling Ducks & more! on Little Cayman: “In April we made a return visit to Little Cayman Island, about 150 miles south of Cuba, and had a chance to see how the bird life compared this year to the past few springs. We go to “Little” (as the locals call it, distinguishing it from “Grand”) for two weeks of scuba diving every April, having found a dive op, a place to stay and time of year that suit our needs as elderly divers, with coral reefs surrounding the island as healthy as you’ll find anywhere in the Caribbean Sea. Though diving is our primary focus, we’re interested in nature in general, and after our diving, late lunch, a shower and nap, we like to go for a short walk from our cabin on the beach to the brackish ponds nearby to see who’s around. Each year we’ve been coming to Little something stands out birdwise. This year it was the West Indian Whistling ducks, a rare and threatened species that we saw in the ponds. But the ducks were by no means the only fascinating birds within easy walking distance of our cabin. There are plenty of birds in the dry low forest that covers most of the island, however they are mostly invisible. The brushy woods are virtually impenetrable, plus it’s nearly all private property. I try to triangulate on bird calls as I walk along roads but even though the trees are mostly under 20 feet it’s as difficult to see birds in the foliage there as in any other forest.”

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – midMay at the beach: “May 15, 2019, Salish Sea, Pacific Northwest. An afternoon at the beach in mid-May is usually pretty quiet, wildlife-wise, once the ducks and most gulls have decamped for breeding grounds. One day last week I was lucky to be walking by when several critters were doing their individual things. The day was cloudy and cool, a big change from the hot sunny weather of the previous two weeks. Friendly Seal is far more standoffish now she’s grown up but she still comes into the bay for hunting time to time. This lone hen bufflehead is a straggler. She took flight all of a sudden when FS got too near. Which means she’s able to fly, so I’m not sure why she didn’t leave with the rest of the buffies.”

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – path/roadside native wildflowers, PNW: “Second/third weeks of May, 2019. Pacific Northwest. My last wildflower walk was in shady woods. This time let’s see a sampling of native wildflowers that are blooming on the sunny roadsides and paths near my house in mid May. All these plants do best in full sun and are pioneer species after clearing or fires. The Orange Honeysuckle is in peak bloom. As a vine, it can grow way up nearby trees, twenty feet or more. It has no scent I can smell but obviously it’s attractive to hummingbirds and bees (who tend to chew through the base of the flowers to get to the nectar).” 

A dark brown feathered condor is held tightly by a biologist wearing thick gloves in order to affix a radio transmitter and orange wing tag.

Besame writes—Daily Bucket: Condor news – Pasquale’s now tagged orange 14: “Remember the condor we watched hatch, grow, and fledge in 2018 via live cam inside his nest in a redwood tree cavity? He’s now a year old and wearing a snazzy radio transmitter with an orange 14 tag on his left wing. Pasquale hatched last year just before Easter (March 28th) in Big Sur, California. Another camera focused on outside of the nest cavity filmed him fledging on September 19th […] One week later, he was spotted in the top of an oak tree. […] Pasquale, Condor # 914, was wild born of captive bred parents who have successfully raised four other chicks. His sex was unknown until a blood sample was taken this spring after he was trapped for a health check by Ventana Wildlife Society biologists. He was fitted with a tag/radio transmitter and then released back into the wild on May 20, 2019.”

Angmar writes—Daily Bucket:”Science behind lightning’s crackle-Brontophonic sounds give lightning a unique hiss”: What does lightning sound like? The obvious answer is in the boom of thunder: an explosion of expanding, superheated air. But there are more subtle and less understood noises associated with lightning, known as brontophonic sounds, which are heard far less frequently. Two features make these sounds distinguishable from thunder. One is that in contrast to the deep reverberation of thunder, brontophonic sounds sound like the hissing of a red-hot iron in water or the tearing of fabric. The other is that there is no time delay. Thunder travels at the speed of sound and is usually heard several seconds after a lightning flash, but brontophonic sounds are perceived at the same time as the flash.” 


NHlib writes—No more Climate Change at The Guardian: “This week The Guardian newspaper in England announced that their internal editorial guidelines have been changed regarding the climate. Instead of ‘climate change’ the preferred terms are ‘climate emergency, crisis or breakdown’ and ‘global heating’ is favoured over ‘global warming,’ although the original terms are not banned.

Robertbuccellato writes—Climate Change – The New Frontier? “I can’t imagine I’m going to have to debate anyone on here about the Science of Climate Change. While the politics of Global Warming is still debated, the science is pretty cut and dry. I’m frankly shocked at the lack of innovation among our legislative and executive branches. This generation of elected official seems totally content with as President Kennedy once said “drown in the backwash” of discovery instead of reaching out for every new wave and leading every new era of technology. Over 50 years ago we had an American president who said that the exploration of space was the new frontier. That mankind was determined and would not be deterred and it’s peaceful quest for knowledge. That because this was the greatest challenge facing their generation and America was the greatest nation it must be a leader in this bold new quest  of discovery. Our Current President however not only didn’t add to the meager reforms his predecessor put into place, he did everything he could to destroy it.” 

occupystephanie writes—Real Climate News Coming! Thanks Bill Moyers! “Today marks the official launch of Covering Climate Now, a project co-sponsored by The Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation. Joined by The Guardian and others partners to be announced, Covering Climate Now will bring journalists and news outlets together to dramatically improve how the media as a whole covers the climate crisis and its solutions.   ~ Bill Moyers, The Guardian. In The Guardian article headlined What if we covered the climate crisis like we did the start of the second world war?Bill Moyer announces the beginning of serious, truthful coverage of our climate catastrophe. Below is his speech to the conference of Covering Climate Now project of The Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation.phen256 writes—Climate Catastrophe or Climate Solutions: So many people seem depressed over climate change that I felt compelled to write this. […] An old-new way to build a car, the Pulse Auto-cycle uses a motorcycle engine, tandem seating (one behind the driver), and jet like aerodynamics to get great gas mileage, depending on the engine. […] Electric cars and hydrogen powered transport are also making headway.  For example: London to have world-first hydrogen-powered doubledecker buses. […] We have the Green New Deal and from Huffington Post 5-15-19:  Democrats Flesh Out Green New Deal With Bill To End Sales Of Gas-Burning Cars By 2040. […] So please don’t give up hope.”

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Koch Network Adds A New Layer Of Propaganda To Conceal True Intentions: “While perusing the Koch’s Daily Signal yesterday, we came across what might arguably be one of the most fantastically stupid things ever written: a column ‘in defense of wealth. The piece is basically an argument for why wealth should be redistributed instead of hoarded–but, of course, that’s not how it’s written. Instead, the piece impies poor people are evil, in that ‘failing to develop wealth…is a sin against our creator.’ No mention is made as to the structural and systemic barriers the working class faces. But the fact that the Signal feels the need to defend wealth is important as a sign—it seems the Koch class is getting worried about all this socialist talk in the air. After all, the network has spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the past few decades fearmongering about how socialism poses a threat to American Freedom™. No surprise, then, the Koch network is itself rebranding as part of a supposedly shifting strategy.

Pakalolo writes—A quarter of the West Antarctic ice sheet is now in a state of rapid “dynamical imbalance”: “’We can see clearly now that a wave of thinning has spread rapidly across some of Antarctica’s most vulnerable glaciers, and their losses are driving up sea levels around the planet.” Andrew Shepherd, Lead author, and CPOM Director Professor. Troubling news out of Antarctica, again. Researchers have found that nearly a quarter of the West Antarctic ice sheet is now unstable. This includes some of the largest and most vulnerable ice streams such as Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers. From the University of Leeds: A team of researchers, led by Professor Andy Shepherd from School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds, found that Antarctica’s ice sheet has thinned by up to 122 metres in places, with the most rapid changes occurring in West Antarctica where ocean melting has triggered glacier imbalance. This means that the affected glaciers are unstable as they are losing more mass through melting and iceberg calving than they are gaining through snowfall.

Paul Frea writes—Poem: On the Other Side of Turning The Tide of Climate Change: “Sometime, in the future, the worst of the climate changes will come to a new balance. How bad will it be for all of us throughout the planet? What changes can we take now to make the inevitable a little better? Here is a poem written in the last couple of days which relates to these questions. 
On the Other Side of Turning The Tide of Climate Change.

We have passed the Malthusian Peak of diversity
In this Earth Cycle,
Before us lies the death of enumerable species
Due to the success of one animal – us.

How can I help slow the tide of climate change? […] ” 

Angmar writes—Thawing Permafrost: “25% of the Northern Hemisphere is permafrost”: “ Homes are sinking and trees are tipping over in Alaska. Mammoth bones are surfacing in the Russian Far East — so many that people have begun selling the tusks as a substitute for elephant ivory. And in 2016, more than 70 people in western Siberia were hospitalized for exposure to anthrax, likely spread from a decades-old reindeer carcass that thawed from frozen ground. In 2016, meltwater seeped into the entrance tunnel of the Global Seed Vault, a subterranean facility in Arctic Norway nicknamed the Doomsday Vault. There, millions of collected seeds are supposed to stay frozen indefinitely, with little upkeep, a safeguard to restart agriculture should the world’s crops be lost in a large-scale disaster. No seeds were harmed — the water refroze long before reaching the vault — but the breach made the world wonder: Will the Doomsday Vault last until doomsday? The events are connected, caused by the same phenomenon: They occurred in regions covered in permafrost, ground that should stay frozen throughout the year but is now thawing because of global warming.” 

Extreme Weather & Natural Phenomena

BubbaSan writes—Oklahoma ‘aint’ OK… flooding in the plains: “Everything is not OK in Oklahoma. Massive flooding today. More on the way. How much pain is required before red state residents wake up and start to lobby for…no, DEMAND…. effective efforts to mitigate climate catastrophe? Also, I note it is bemusing how all those climate maps that show the rise of sea levels and what coastal cities would be underwater… none of them show how low lying areas of the center of the USA from Texas all the way up to Iowa and Kansas and even Tennessee would turn into swampy marshland also prone to annual flooding. A lot of that land is not all that high above sea level even though far inland… and very close to rivers and other drainage that can back up and flood over dikes…The center is definitely not ‘safe’ from climate catastrophe effects.” 


ClimateDenierRoundup writes—GOP Witnesses For Today’s Biodiversity Hearing Couldn’t Possibly Get Any Moore Moranic: “Today at 10am, the House Natural Resources subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife will hold a hearing on the recent report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) warning that human activities, like land use and climate change, threaten a million species with extinction. Given that Senate Republicans have started getting positive press for slowly abandoning climate denial rhetoric, one might expect their House counterparts to similarly eschew the hardline denial position. But one would be wrong. While the main witnesses for the panel will be a few of the actual scientists who wrote the report, Republicans invited two of the biggest deniers on the planet to respond: Patrick Moore and Marc Morano. We recently talked about Trump’s tweet about Patrick Moore, the industry lobbyist and Roundup safety hypocrite who claims to be a co-founder of Greenpeace, something that’s not exactly true but is now pretty much beside the point. Regardless of his past connection to the organization, for decades Moore has been a staunch advocate for the industries that pay him, including nuclear power, mining, logging, plastics, and now, fossil fuels. Moore was recently named Chairman of the Board of Directors for the CO2 Coalition, a group funded by the Kochs, Mercers, and other conservative foundations.” 


Green New Deal & 100% Clean Energy

SkepticalRaptor writes—A right-wing, anti-vaccine, climate change denying, quack MD attacks Green New Deal: “Well, one of the most obnoxious anti-vaccine, right-wing, science denying MDs, Jane Orient, is back in the limelight. And she’s pushing the same old pseudoscience about climate change as she has about vaccines, HIV, and other sciences. Let’s take a look at what she wrote. And why she’s an ignoramus about science, whether it’s vaccines or climate change: If you believed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘joke’ about the end of the world in 12 years, you have ‘the intelligence of a sea sponge,’ she says now. And President Donald Trump called the Green New Deal a ‘hoax.’ The ‘joke,’ however, is being taught as truth in schools, and children are marching in the streets to demand ‘climate action’ to save their future. The Green New Deal has been endorsed by Democrat Presidential hopefuls and dozens of lawmakers. […] A more detailed conspiracy theory rant about the Green New Deal can be found on the Physicians for Civil Defense website. It’s still anti-science nonsense.”

 Angmar writes—Ocasio-Cortez: Jay Inslee’s Climate plan ‘Most serious one to address crisis in the 2020 field’: “She praised its meeting of ‘key marks,’ including ‘being big enough, fast enough, economically stimulating for working people, acknowledges injustice + w/ an eye to make communities whole’ in a tweet on Saturday. Using her bully pulpit as the social media star of the Democratic party is a power play by Ocasio-Cortez. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez turned her fire power on Joe Biden when she gave her blessing to a little known 2020 candidate’s environmental plan Her endorsement comes as Biden, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, has promised to reveal his own environmental plan by the end of the month. It’s not the first time the young, freshman lawmaker from New York has clashed with the 76-year-old former vice president on climate issues.


Oregon Dem writes—The Future Role of Nuclear Energy in Carbon Reduction: “I haven’t read widely but I understand that, while there’s been some ambiguity, the Green New Deal largely wants to reduce, rather than increase, nuclear energy. I also note that Inslee’s climate plan acknowledges that we must keep all low- and zero-carbon technologies on the table, including nuclear, and that O’Rourke’s climate plan doesn’t rule out nuclear energy. So when I see differences of opinion my typical inclination is to go see what the experts say.”

Fossil Fuels

Dan Bacher writes—Bill to protect National Monuments from oil and gas drilling passes through California Assembly: “Legislation by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) designed to protect National Monuments from the proposal by the Trump administration to open new oil and gas drilling leases on federal public lands in California passed the Assembly Floor on May 22. Assembly Bill 342 prohibits any state agency, department, commission or local trustee, with leasing authority over public lands, from entering into any new lease authorizing the construction of oil and gas related infrastructure upon state lands to support oil and gas production on federal protected lands. […] ‘The bill is meant to protect against the Trump Administration’s further opening of national monuments to oil and gas drilling, as was done in Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. Just last month, the Trump administration announced its intent to move forward with plans to open one million acres of land in Central and Southern California to oil drilling, including areas near Bakersfield, Santa Barbara and possibly in Sierra Nevada,’ according to Muratsuchi.”

TXL writes—Texas Commission on “Environmental Quality” looks to approve another risky hazardous waste dump: “Texas has no shortage of bad environmental news these days. Here’s another bad tidbit. While Donald Trump brags about the ‘American energy renaissance’ he’s supposedly ushered in, Texans are suffering from worsening air quality: The creation of petroleum and natural gas in West Texas is flourishing but it’s coming to residents that are often exposed according to a report issued by an environmental group. The Environmental Integrity Project mentioned in a report published Thursday the Permian Basin, which extends into New Mexico, is among the most effective hydrocarbon regions in the world, thanks largely to the advent over recent years of flat drilling and hydraulic fracturing. In another 2 years that the basin will account for approximately 40% of U.S. production, the group said. However, a result of that production is harmful levels of sulfur dioxide from the air about Odessa and other places, according to the report, that adds pollution levels in much of Ector County, where Odessa is situated, exceed standards set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Emissions Controls & Carbon Pricing

Meteor Blades writes—Much of the VW mitigation fund set up for states to curb pollution is spent on fossil fuel vehicles: “You may remember back in 2016 when Volkswagen got caught manipulating diesel-powered car emissions tests to look far better than they actually were and ultimately found itself coughing up $2.9 billion in a Environmental Mitigation Trust settlement to be paid to states, territories, and tribes where the VWs had been sold. The idea behind the trust was that these entities would purchase lower-emission vehicles for their fleets, cars, buses, and trucks that run on cleaner fuels, natural gas, or electricity. The entities receiving a piece of the settlement have wide latitude in what they buy with the money. And the majority of them are buying more fossil-fueled vehicles.”

Renewables, Efficiency & Conservation

Mokurai writes—Renewable Friday: India Since COP21: “Last week I published Renewable Friday: India Up To COP21, about India’s reluctance to move to renewable energy until then. Their turnaround at COP21 is an excellent instance of Bucky Fuller’s trimtab process. You turn giant ships by moving the rudder to one side, but the rudder is so big that it needs its own smaller rudder, called a trimtab, in order to overcome its resistance to moving. The first reaction in India to PM Modi’s stirring salute to the world at COP21 was the power ministry saying ‘Nohow’ and ‘Contrariwise’. tl;dr India will be one of the biggest markets for renewables in the world, but insists on doing it by fighting the forces of economics, instead of working with them. The Licence Raj Lives! Coal Rush in India Could Tip Balance on Climate Change. India’s development imperatives cannot be sacrificed at the altar of potential climate changes many years in the future,’ India’s power minister, Piyush Goyal, said at a recent conference in New Delhi in response to a question. ‘The West will have to recognize we have the needs of the poor.’ Mr. Goyal has promised to double India’s use of domestic coal from 565 million tons last year to more than a billion tons by 2019, and he is trying to sell coal-mining licenses as swiftly as possible after years of delay. The government has signaled that it may denationalize commercial coal mining to accelerate extraction. That was what a coal minister could say before COP21. No longer. Because there are consequences that cannot be ignored any more. And of course, renewables are now much cheaper than coal.

Robertbuccellato writes—How Much Does it Cost to Install Solar on an Average US House? ”A few years ago I was talking almost daily to two figures from Florida’s past. My Grandfather Walt Young who was a member of the Florida House of Representatives for twenty years and was the first person in the state to introduce solar legislation. […] Former Governor Wayne Mixson […] now a Republican, was a Democratic statewide officeholder during the 1970s and would often mock the sense of urgency the Carter White House had towards energy independence. ‘They would claim we would need to invest in Clean Air and Solar!’ he would say with a laugh and then make some mild insult about climate change. Both he and my grandfather worked closely with the Carter White House and its efforts to get states like Florida involved in promoting solar power for ordinary household use. While Mixson clearly didn’t value the lectures and presentations he was privileged to take part in, my granddad did. He would always consider it as a wasted opportunity, and if you look at Carter’s speech when he placed Solar panels on the Roof of the White House, so did he. As a new home owner, and as someone raised with solar panels on my house as a kid, I’m really interested in the costs of fitting my home with panels. This article by the Solar Power Authority is the best article I’ve found on the subject.”


ilyichd writes—Donald Trump Ignored Climate Change – Now It’s Costing Him: “Donald Trump ignored climate change for years – but now it’s finally costing him. Here’s how rising sea levels, arid conditions, and other deleterious effects of climate change are coming back to haunt President Trump. […] One of the most obvious ways that global climate change is costing Donald Trump is the fact that he’s being forced to grapple with real estate regulations pertaining to carbon dioxide emissions. New York City has levied fines against buildings which are major CO2 emitters, for instance, and recent developments point to Trump Tower and other Trump properties as being major sources of emissions that are likely going to be taxed sooner rather than later. This would be a first for Donald Trump – actually paying his taxes – but it certainly won’t be the last time he feels the financial sting of global climate change. Unless the Trump Organization takes extensive efforts to retrofit some of its major buildings, it could be slapped with steep fines of $2.1 million every year from 2030, the deadline by which positive changes must be made.

Angmar writes—Climate Change Suddenly Matters in 2020-polls say this could be a climate election Bill McKibben: “For three decades in American politics, climate change has been the issue that wasn’t. Even as the temperature steadily rose, and evidence mounted that it was human behavior—and human policies—that were driving this change, candidates mostly deflected. And it wasn’t hard: During the 2016 general election, no journalist even asked the presidential candidates a debate question on the topic. But that’s not the case this time. Climate change matters for Democratic voters: A Monmouth University poll last month showed the issue as the second most important to Iowa caucus-goers after health care, and a CNN national poll found that 82 percent of Democratic respondents said it’s ‘very important’ that their party’s nominee for president supports taking ‘aggressive action’ to slow the effects of climate change, the highest support among several items on the progressive wish list. Most of the candidates seem convinced it’s a key weakness for Trump, and the front-runners have all embraced the issue. (The latest to weigh in, Beto O’Rourke, chose climate as the subject of his first comprehensive policy plan: a $5 trillion proposal for clean-energy infrastructure.) The question is not whether the candidates are going to talk about global warming, but how.” 

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Daily Caller Tries To Prove AOC A Hypocrite For Driving, Instead Catches Her Walking:That the Koch-funded Daily Caller is more of a right wing propaganda machine than a news outlet is hardly a novel conclusion, but we would be remiss not to highlight a video post from Friday. The aim of the piece is to accuse Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of hypocrisy. The Caller’s headline asks why AOC drives to work when she doesn’t have to, given her environmental concerns, the GND’s call for clean cars, and her apartment’s proximity to Capitol Hill. The impetus was a Fox ‘news’ story combining the recent Uber and Lyft strike that AOC endorsed with a campaign finance report showing her campaign uses Uber and Lyft.The premise of the Caller piece is an obvious Mr. Gotcha bad-faith logical nightmare, implying that someone can’t call for better working conditions for services they use, or can’t call for a dirty product they have little choice but to purchase to be made cleaner. But it gets even more embarrassing for the Daily Caller. According to the video, ;a little birdie; told the Caller’s Maranda Finney that AOC likes to drive to work every day. There’s no evidence that the car rides are for her daily commute to work and not other travel in places where public transit isn’t a viable option, but of course, collecting actual evidence isn’t the Caller’s strong suit.”


Pakalolo writes—Trump changes the math-Gifts pollution interests thousands of deaths by removing them from the books: “The Environmental Protection Agency plans to change the way it calculates the health risks of air pollution, a shift that would make it easier to roll back a key climate change rule because it would result in far fewer predicted deaths from pollution, according to five people with knowledge of the agency’s plans. The E.P.A. had originally forecast that eliminating the Obama-era rule, the Clean Power Plan,  and replacing it with a new measure would have resulted in an additional 1,400 premature deaths per year. The new analytical model would significantly reduce that number and would most likely be used by the Trump administration to defend further rollbacks of air pollution rules if it is formally adopted. The proposed shift is the latest example of the Trump administration downgrading the estimates of environmental harm from pollution in regulations. […] The estimated premature deaths are really not accurate when you think about it. Because deaths from climate change are not in the calculations. Death certificates will not mention climate change. They will state heat stroke or drowning or old age and illness, instead of heat waves or failure of the electrical grid from powerful storms as we saw in Puerto Rico, South Florida, and New Orleans.

Dartagnan writes—Trump’s ‘EPA’ set to triple the amount of rocket fuel chemicals in your drinking water: “Apparently not satisfied with doctoring videos to smear its political opponents, the Trump adminstration through its Environmental ‘Protection’ Agency is now forging ahead with a plan to doctor your drinking water, as a gift to the chemical industry. The Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to raise the threshold for a chemical found in rocket fuel to triple the previous limit allowed in drinking water supplies. This is the first new drinking water rule introduced by the agency since the George W. Bush administration. In the EPA’s latest move to weaken environmental and health protections, it released a notice on Thursday requesting public comment on its proposal to raise the maximum level allowed for the chemical perchlorate — which is linked to thyroid problems — to 56 micrograms per liter. Raising the existing standard to an allowable 56 micrograms effectively triples the amount of perchlorate, a chemical oxidant found in rocket fuel, fireworks, matches and motor vehicle airbag inflators, than had previously been regarded as ‘safe’ by the EPA (prior to the transformation of that agency into a vehicle designed to poison rather protect our citizens).” 

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Interior Department Political Appointee Atypically Reviewing FOIA Requests: “The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a key tool that media and the public can use to hold politicians of both parties accountable. If sunlight is the best disinfectant, FOIA is a sunroof, a window into otherwise shadowy bureaucratic crevasses that those in power may prefer to be left unexplored. Which is why it matters that, as CQ Roll Call reported yesterday, in May of 2018, the Department of Interior quietly formalized a process for handling FOIA requests that brings political appointees into the mix instead of keeping the process in the hands of career staff who are loyal to the constitution and country instead of political patrons. The change essentially provides the opportunity for politically appointed leadership at DOI to weigh in on what’s released under FOIA. In less charitable terms, the new policy puts a thumb on the scale of what gets released and what doesn’t. And it’s not hard to understand how that plays out. In February of 2019, that policy was expanded to include former officials–specifically Ryan Zinke.


Dartagnan writes—Climate Change protests spur walkout of 100s of 1000s of students worldwide: The media yawn: “Sorry you only heard this here first. But our media were understandably preoccupied by the President of the United States promoting a doctored video to try to embarrass our House Speaker by suggesting she was drunk. (Hint: she was not). Meanwhile, the children who inhabit the rest of the world are more concerned about the survival of the planet. Hundreds of thousands of students around the world walked out of their schools and colleges Friday in the latest in a series of strikes urging action to address the climate crisis. According to event organizers Fridays for Future, over 1664 cities across 125 countries registered strike actions, with more expected to report turnouts in the coming days. I wonder what’s going to happen when this generation finally realizes just how horrifically their forefathers and mothers wiped out their futures. But we adults in front of our screens will all be dead by then, right?”

NHlib writes—Climate action goes big: ‘Young people have led the climate strikes. Now we need adults to join us too.’ So begins an opinion piece published today in The Guardian.  The authors include Greta Thunberg and 46 other youth activists on climate, among them Isra Hirsi, daughter of Rep. Ilhan Omar. Mark your calendars for Friday, September 20, 2019, the first day of week long worldwide general strike and protests.  Adults are explicitly asked to participate. Once again our voices are being heard on the streets, but it is not just up to us. We feel a lot of adults haven’t quite understood that we young people won’t hold off the climate crisis ourselves. Sorry if this is inconvenient for you. But this is not a single-generation job. It’s humanity’s job. We young people can contribute to a larger fight and that can make a huge difference. And the weekly Friday strikes continue as well.” 

Angmar writes—Global Strike For the Climate Vision:2040 everything we need for a sustainable world already exists‘I reached out to the environmental psychologist Renee Lertzman. She explained that when we receive information charged with fear, dread or anxiety, the limbic system in our brain can be activated, which can override the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with creative thinking and problem solving. These days our news feeds are filled with images and stories of a bleak future. This is what we bombard our consciousness with, the images we expose our children to and they may also be why many of us feel paralysed when it comes to taking action on solutions to save our planet’.”



USExpat writes—Beyond Seed Banks: Fine Dining To Promote Biodiversity: “Investigation and preservation are front and center at Central, chef Virgilio Martínez’s research institute and culinary crown jewel, located in Lima, Peru. Named best restaurant in Latin America three years running, Central Restaurante, moving beyond the warehousing of seeds and plant specimens for use by future scientists, offers a new (and delicious) path forward in a world where long-term food security is increasingly uncertain. So if you happen to find yourself in the area, treat yourself to a night on the town, and your dining dollars might help save the world in the process. Peru, current culinary darling, has no shortage of fancy restaurants. Nor does it suffer any lack of incredible comestibles. But much as is occurring in the world at large, a large portion of these ingredients remains little known and even less accessible to city-dwellers, and they risk being lost as both the habitats and the cultures they have traditionally thrived within shrink. […] Mater Iniciativa is run by Malena Martínez, sister of Central’s Virgilio. Her multidisciplinary team, boasting not only culinary experts but also an anthropologist, a geographer, etc., ventures out of the capital city each month to far-flung points Peruvian—everywhere from rich and riotous Amazonian riverbanks to figuratively and literally breathtaking Andean peaks—in the hopes of locating interesting ingredients and establishing meaningful relationships and learning opportunities with the communities who use them.” 

Chris Reeves writes—Billions of bushels destroyed as Trump’s farm policy continues to destroy farms: “Republicans will tell you they understand the heartland, the need of farmers. They will tell you that climate change isn’t real, and that the trade war with China should work out ‘in the end.’ When their own constituents suffer, though, retiring Senators occasionally let some truth out. Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, who isn’t running for re-elect, dropped this doozy to The Kansas City Star in talking about the current dilemmas facing farmers. ‘And there’s a snow melt sitting up there waiting to come loose and if you have a couple hot days in Montana and all this starts coming down… Look out Kansas City. Look out Atchison. And look out Leavenworth.’ A fourth-generation farmer, Biermann said farming has been his ‘lifetime dream’ and that he was born with dirt under his fingernails. Without federal aid to make up for flood damage, he will have to retire. Pat Roberts is retiring of his own accord, but farmers in his own state are finding they may be forced into retirement. And ‘who knows’ what could cause all these hot days in Montana and elsewhere?”

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Trump’s USDA Plans To Exile Inconvenient Researchers After Facts Embarrass Administration: “Today’s episode of Trump vs Science takes place at the US Department of Agriculture, which is expected to formally announce that it is relocating two research offices today. The Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) have experienced a slew of departures lately in the run-up to Trump appointee and USDA admin Sonny Perdue sending those offices out of DC to other areas of the country. […] According to Perdue, these relocations are intended to send scientists closer to the ‘stakeholders’ and ‘customers’ whose work relies on accurate science. Apparently, one can only provide science to stakeholders in person, because farmers don’t have email or the internet or anything. Unsurprisingly, science and agriculture organizations pretty unanimously oppose the move, suggesting that perhaps there’s an ulterior motive. And it appears there is! Politico’s Liz Crampton reported Wednesday that basically everyone who’s getting kicked out of DC are from research areas whose findings conflict with the stated positions of the Trump administration: scientists dealing with issues like how climate change impacts agriculture, how Trump’s trade policies are hurting farmers, and the impacts of food stamps.

Mimer writes—Saturday Morning Garden Blogging. Vol 15.21: Spring? Did somebody say spring? Part 2: “Well, May has been a wild weather ride so far, hasn’t it? Our average latest frost date here in the Twin Cities is May 15, but as I am writing this, Monday morning the 20th, I just removed frost protection from some of my IB iris buds, and up north in Duluth they had three inches of snow. Of course, it’s been much worse for those of you in the south, too much rain and terrible storms. I hope your gardens (and you) are withstanding the onslaught. But we had a lovely string of days this past week, and my SDB (standard dwarf bearded) irises have begun opening up. One of the iris lovers’ greatest pleasures must be going out in the early morning to see who has arrived overnight. This is especially fun for me this spring because during the past two years I have been adding irises to a newly expanded front bed. I do this when I divide them in July or August, and when I get new irises that I have ordered, and since I generally am so busy with all sorts of garden and assorted other duties, I plop the newly dug or received rhizomes here and there in the beds, sometimes forgetting to write down where I put them. Then the next spring, it’s updating the garden charts. This spring I have been surprised to see SDB Muppet and SDB Grape Cordial practically taking over the front bed. I didn’t remember planting so many of them.” 


buckweed193 writes—Who Is Happy About The Transportation System In This Country ? Then Why Are We Not Fixing It? “I think it’s a very poorly held secret why in comparison to many of the highly advanced nations of the world our development and investment into modern high speed rail systems more closely resembles that of an impoverished third world nation, than the major technological super power that we are. It’s really not that complex why we are at this point. As we started to invest in and develop our infrastructure after World War II, the airlines and the automotive industries saw the move to improve the speed and quality of trains as a form of public transportation a threat to their rapidly expanding markets and potential profits. We as a nation had our future decided for us by the commercial interests of certain elements of big business. Unfortunately, but fairly common in the U.S., the arc of our potential for what we might have achieved or what we may have become was basically torpedoed to keep massive profits for powerful established corporations as high as possible. Much of the rest of the world has moved on.”