“We’re in the red and gambling with ecological bankruptcy, as the fracking debate shows.
If it chose to, the Government can always print more money, but it can’t print more planet.
Ecological overshoot should lead the political agenda.”
Andrew Simms, climate economist at Global Witness
Earth is in overdraft just EIGHT months into the year
Humans have used up the natural resources the world can supply in a year in less than eight months, campaigners have warned. The world has now reached ‘Earth Overshoot Day’, the point in the year when humans have exhausted supplies. This includes natural resources such as land, trees and fish, and means today we have outstripped the planet’s annual capacity to absorb waste products such as carbon dioxide. For the remainder of 2014, we will be living on resources borrowed from future generations, scientists claim. For the rest of the year, the world is in ecological debt, with food stocks and forests being depleted, land degraded and carbon dioxide building up in the atmosphere. The problem is worsening, with the planet sliding into ‘ecological debt’ earlier and earlier. In 1961, humans used only around three-quarters of the capacity Earth has for generating food, timber, fish and absorbing greenhouse gases, with most countries having more resources than they consumed.
- Here’s another way to look at our consumerism. “Embodied energy” is the sum of all the energy required to produce any goods or services. Did you know that some estimate that roughly 30% to 40% of the emissions each one of us creates come from the things we consume? Even if our home, office, and car(s) are 100% solar or wind powered, we are still responsible for climate emissions. It’s not just driving to the Big Boxes; it’s also what we haul home.
At this remarkable, innovative “Climate Camp” held in Santa Fe this month, one session was on embodied energy, starting with various items we might have at home, made with basic materials (metals, paper, and plastics) and going all the way back through multiple steps including regional warehouses, manufacturing, container ships, to the bulldozing of lands to extract the basic resources. “Energy Buttons” were put on any step requiring energy (all major steps). The session, of course, ended with some solutions- a variety of ways to greatly reduce our waste stream.
This Climate Camp should be implemented in a variety of ways all over the country! This article, alas, only hints at how this Climate Camp was done, and its real potential. Contact Global Warming Express to find out more. – Editor
Climate Camp- Girls’ interest in helping environment gaining momentum
Global Warming Express Camp participants make 3-D maps with dough to learn about Earth. The camp came to be after a pair of Santa Fe girls set out to educate the community and world about global warming. Students today are not given many hands-on opportunities to really experiment with science. The Global Warming Express camp “will provide them with more skills to understand their world. Instead of looking at the world’s problems, they can look at multiple solutions.” “Science is fun. There is no reason anyone should dislike science. If it’s not fun, people are doing it wrong.”
Genie Stevens said she is working with others to raise funds to offer Global Warming Express as an after-school program in both public and private schools this coming school year.
- “There is no away” is the third rule in the embodied energy session. The kids at Climate Camp learned that the dumpster is only the very last resort, and that anything put in there does not really go “away.” – Editor
Zero Waste World- When the economy goes in circles, everybody wins
Welcome to the emerging world of the circular economy. Faced with rising prices for energy and raw materials, along with pressures from environmentalists and regulators who have passed “extended producer responsibility laws” in Europe and some U.S. states, forward-thinking companies are finding ways to take back, reuse, refurbish or recycle all kinds of things that would otherwise be thrown away. In contrast to the traditional “take-make-dispose” linear economy, which depletes resources, a circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. Inspired by nature, a circular economy aspires not merely to limit waste but to eliminate the very idea of waste: Everything, at the end of its life, should be made into something else, just as in the natural world, one species’ waste is another’s food.
The transition to a circular economy could generate savings of more than $1 trillion in materials alone by 2025.
- The first rule in the embodied energy session is “Everything comes from somewhere.” We know electric cars must soon come in very large quantity, and paying China to destroy its environment to glean rare earth minerals is still destruction. Rethinking how we do everything is in order these days! – Editor
No Rare Earths in Next Generation Electric Vehicles
A variety of electric motors that use no rare earth minerals are being developed in the United States to power future generations of electric vehicles. China supplies nearly all of the world’s supply of rare earths. These minerals are found in other countries, including the United States, but are difficult to mine safely. China controlled the world’s supply due to low labor costs and lax environmental regulations. In August, China announced it would cut production of rare earths by 20 percent to improve the environment and consolidate the industry, prompting complaints to the World Trade Organization by countries that produce hybrid cars.
Oregon Rejects Key Permit for Coal Export Terminal
The state of Oregon stood up to dirty coal exports today by denying a key dock-building permit. This denial is a major victory for residents and climate activists who have waged a huge, high-profile campaign against coal exports. Coal export proponent, Ambre Energy asked the Oregon’s Department of State Lands for permission to build a new loading dock to ship Powder River Basin coal down the Columbia River to ocean-going ships bound for Asia. Oregon said no, saying the coal export project “would unreasonably interfere with the paramount policy of this state to preserve the use of its waters for navigation, fishing and public recreation.” Today’s decision marks the first time a Pacific Northwest state agency formally rejected a coal export permit.
ACTION: Thank Washington Governor Jay Inslee for pressing forward on climate action-
- Are we really protecting our rivers and our drinking water by prohibiting fossil fuel transport? You bet! Here’s an example of why this is so important, in addition to climate change. – Editor
Duke Energy Spilled At Least 5,000 Gallons Of Diesel Into The Ohio River
“To change everything,
it takes everybody.”
- Having thousands of people show up to this extremely important event is critical. Some will not want to spew carbon getting there, so make an event happen where you are. We will have one in New Mexico’s capital Santa Fe. World leaders need to get serious! – Editor
TAKE BIG ACTION: People’s Climate Mobilisation: A Global Invitation
A weekend to bend the course of history
In September, heads of state are going to New York City for a historic summit on climate change. With our future on the line, we will take a weekend and use it to bend the course of history.
In New York City there will be an unprecedented climate mobilisation – in size, beauty, and impact. This moment will not be just about New York or the United States. Heads of state from around the world will be there, as will the attention of global media.
Our demand is for Action Now, Not Words: take the action necessary to create a world with an economy that works for people and the planet – now. In short, we want a world safe from the ravages of climate change.
Register your event or join scheduled events throughout the world here. After you register, we’ll send you additional resources so you can ensure you’ll have a successful event.
To say you will go to the march in New York or join a march elsewhere
“I think a lot of people hear the word ‘injection well’ and they don’t realize they inject wastewater into the ground.
I said the poisoned waters travel under the feet of all the people in the area.
That’s a true statement.
‘Bitter’ speaks about something not desirable, not something you’d ever want to drink.”
Michael Boals, who put up billboards
- Fracking is visible, but what is happening to precious, irreplaceable underground water is not. Here one man has decided to raise consciousness in his own way. – Editor
Brine firm sues over biblical fracking billboard
An Ohio man who uses a biblical reference and a statement against “poisoned waters” on billboards opposing wells for disposal of gas-drilling wastewater is fighting a legal threat from the Texas well owner on free-speech grounds. The complaint by the company and Rodney Adams, who owns the land and operates the well site, contends the wells are safe, legal and meet all state safety standards. Michael Boals, a 55-year-old timber harvester, refuses to pull his billboards, which he said cost him more than $1,000.
- Most people don’t go to meetings that present this kind of research. Delving into the science of parts per million or even billion fails to motivate the majority of people, despite its tremendous importance. Billboards reach far more people! – Editor
Health alert over fracking’s chemical cocktails
Fracking is once again in trouble. Scientists in the US have established that some chemicals used in the controversial process of fracking to extract gas and oil could represent health and environmental hazards. Such additives, which are necessary for the extraction process, include: acids to dissolve minerals and open up cracks in the rock; biocides to kill bacteria and prevent corrosion; gels and other agents to keep the fluid at the right level of viscosity at different temperatures; substances to prevent clays from swelling or shifting; distillates to reduce friction; acids to limit the precipitation of metal oxides. Eight substances were identified as toxins. And even innocent chemicals could represent a real hazard to the water supply.
- Maybe this U. K. Ad Council should come help the U.S. Congress be more honest, too! Of course there is no such thing as “clean coal!” Start with clear-cutting of beautiful mountain forests to blast in mountain-top removal and go from there, as they did in the embodied energy session. – Editor
U.K. Ad Council Rules ‘Clean Coal’ Isn’t Clean, Bars Peabody Energy From ‘Misleading’ Public“
“Clean coal” is not clean. Even if the best coal plants had completely eliminated emissions of acid rain pollution and mercury — which they haven’t — you’d still have that pesky carbon pollution to destroy a livable climate and ruin the lives of billions of people. So it should not be surprising that the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has barred Peabody Energy from using the term “clean coal” to imply coal is emission-free or “the solution for better, longer and healthier lives.”
A Public Wiki Shines Light on North America’s 4 Million Oil & Gas Wells
When residents of America’s fracking communities want to know if a particular oil or gas well in their neighborhood has a good environmental track record, they usually face the cumbersome task of searching through state records, which can take hours. Now, a new website called WellWiki is trying to eliminate that frustration by making user-friendly data just a click away. WellWiki currently lists data on more than 250,000 oil and gas wells drilled in Pennsylvania since 1859. Other sites also offer oil and gas data to the public.
SkyTruth and FracTrackerprovide maps and satellite images of drilled regions, and FracFocus is a registry where operators disclose certain information about the chemicals they use during fracking. WellWiki is different, however, because it combines data extracted from state databases and a Wikipedia-like mentality that allows the public to contribute their own stories.
- “We need interested stakeholders like you to complement these numbers with narrative-driven content, just like with Wikipedia” – To help
Renewable energy provides 100% of all new U.S. generating capacity in July 2014
According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, all new U.S. electrical generating capacity put into service in July came from renewable energy sources: 379 megawatts (MW) of wind, 21 MW of solar, and 5 MW of hydropower. Renewable energy sources now account for 16.3% of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S.
For the report
“No one really knows what international gas prices are going to do in the future.
This means that relying on gas is a big gamble- a gamble that the study found
could cost a typical Australian family of four almost $500 more a year.
By contrast, renewables are a sure bet.”
Dr Jenny Riesz, lead researcher
Gas gamble could cost 40% more than renewables in low-carbon shift
Relying on gas-fired electricity generation “as a serious option” for reducing greenhouse emissions and cleaning up Australia’s power sector could cost up to 40 per cent more than a shift to renewables, and leave Australian households $500 a year worse off, a new report has found. The UNSW report found that rising and uncertain gas prices were likely to create a market where investment in renewable energy generation would become the cheaper and lower risk option for Australia.