Green Blog

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  1. Al Jazeera English writes about Exxon Valdez and how the massive oil spill disaster still continues to haunt the people and wildlife of Alaska more than two decades later. 

     

    "When we heard on the radio that an oil tanker, the Exxon Valdez, had run aground, we just knew it was bad, that everything was going to change," said the 61-year-old commercial fisherman.

     

    For Linville himself, that meant tying up his fishing boat and joining efforts to stop the fouling of Alaska's rich southern coastal waters. The ruptured hull of the supertanker began spewing crude almost immediately after it grounded outside the port of Valdez - more than 40 million litres of sticky, toxic goo.
     
    "They hired everyone and anyone to help clean up," said Linville. "The fishing was closed so they had to do it. We all joined in."
     
    As the slick spread west and south along Alaska's coast, Linville and others were sent to beaches to rescue animals coated with oil. Later he helped lay floating barriers and tried to scrub oil from the shore with soap. Some crews sprayed boiling water on rocky beaches, while others used dispersants to thin the oil coating.

     

    Read it: Exxon Valdez spill effects linger 25 years on


  2. CNN writes how the search for the missing Flight MH370, from Malaysia Airlines, is being hampered by the vast amounts of garbage in the ocean.

     

    "It isn't like looking for a needle in a haystack," Conservation International senior scientist M. Sanjayan said of the difficulty in finding the Boeing 777 aircraft. "It's like looking for a needle in a needle factory. It is one piece of debris among billions floating in the ocean."

     

    Read it: Plane search hampered by ocean garbage problem


  3. A new nationwide poll in Poland shows that 88 percent of its citizens want their country to shift to renewables, take serious action against climate change and for their political leaders to stop blocking important EU climate action.

     

    "The vast majority of Poles want their country to take strong action on climate change and shift to renewable energy. This is the result of a representative nationwide poll by TNS Polska in March 2014 commissioned by campaigning community Avaaz," writes Diana Maciąga over at 350.org. "This poll shows very clearly that Polish citizens want our country to take strong action on climate change and shift to renewable energy sources. Our government has to stop blocking EU climate action and we cannot allow private projects such as Elektrownia Północ, which put us on the worst possible path for our energy future."

     

    Read it: Poles want energy transition to renewables = no new coal!


  4. Documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, and published by the Huffington Post and the Danish newspaper Information, shows that the NSA spied on the talks at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009.

     

    "The Obama administration clearly never wanted Copenhagen talks to work," says Bill McKibben following latest NSA revelations concerning climate talks.

     

    Read it: 'Insane, Disgusting' and 'Epic Treachery': NSA Spied on Climate Talks


  5. Salon writes about the Sochi scandal no one’s talking about. Olympic construction is destroying Sochi. And the government is cracking down on the people who dare to speak out.

     

    "As athletes and fans from around the world descend upon Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics, they are (according to some) sitting atop a site of immeasurable loss and irreversible damage to what was once a unique and pristine ecosystem. They’re unlikely, however, to be aware of it, and authorities will be on their guard to prevent anyone with a megaphone or a picket sign from bringing it to their attention. Those would-be protesters are yet another group being silenced in Russia – where, along with everything else, it’s also a crime to defend the environment."

     

    Read it: How Russia is silencing its environmentalists


  6. The 'polar vortex' and severe cold weather don't mean climate change isn't happening, writes Yarrow Axford.

     

    "Climate change is a painstakingly well-documented long-term global trend, in which each recent decade has been warmer than the decade before. This is generally true for most parts of the globe, but more importantly is true when one considers the Earth as a whole. [...] Despite the overwhelming evidence that our planet is warming, there are two points of perpetual confusion that combine with our psychology to make winter weather a seasonal boon for climate skepticism. For one, a cold snap where we live should not be confused for a global event."

     

    Read it: No, Global Warming Isn't Suddenly a Myth Because It's Really Cold Out


  7. Athletes are getting ready for a warm, soggy Winter Games in >Sochi. But thanks to global warming, that could soon be the norm for the Winter Olympics. by mid-century, close to half of the previous host cities could likely be too warm for outdoor sports like Alpine skiing and snowboarding. From the 1920s to the 1950s, the average February daily high temperature in host cities was just 0.4 C, a figure that had risen to 7.8 C between 2000 and 2010.
     

  8. Russian courts sentence Evgeny Vitishko, an environmentalist and critic of the Sochi Olympics construction projects, to three years in prison less than a month before the Olympics.

     

    A court in the southern region of Krasnodar — where the Sochi Winter Olympics open next month — sentenced environmentalist Evgeny Vitishko to three years in a penal colony. A geologist and member of the Environmental Watch of the North Caucasus, Vitishko is an outspoken critic of construction for Sochi, a massive development project that comes not only with the heftiest Olympic price tag to date — a staggering $51 billion — but also, according to some critics, the unflattering label of most damaging to the environment.

     

    Read it: Russia cracks down on green activism ahead of Sochi Olympics


  9. Peter Hart complains about a recent climate debate on CNN's Crossfire which he says misleads viewers and spreads climate denialism.

     

     

    Right from the beginning, the January 6 episode of CNN's Crossfire sounded like a bad idea. Here's the announcement that aired at the top of the show: "How far below zero does it have to get to cool off the global warming debate?" To make things clearer, the top of the show announcement continued: "This week's historic cold brings out the skeptics. Will it put the climate change debate in the deep freeze?" But while cold weather might "bring out" climate change deniers, it was CNN that decided to put one on Crossfire, creating a familiar–and false– "balance" between those who accept climate science and those who do not.
     

  10. It’s not always easy to get through to kids; engaging them in conversation about the environment can be tedious, especially if they are twitching from video game withdrawal and anxious to return to their XBOX. Luckily, there are games out there that appeal to kids while conveying important environmental messages. It may sound like a long shot, but experts agree that video games are a great medium for teaching kids and for conveying information that will stick in the long run.

    One such game is ominously entitled “Fate of the World.” It’s a PC strategy game that deals with some pretty heavy issues—natural disasters, population growth, and energy consumption are but a few of the problems game players must face. As the game’s official website explains, “Your mission: Solve the crisis. But, like life, it won’t be easy. You’ll have to work through natural disasters, foreign diplomacy, clandestine operations, technological breakthroughs, and somehow satisfy the food and energy needs of a growing world population. Will you help the planet or become an agent of destruction?” And if your kid is more into iPhones, there’s the iPhone/iPad compatible “Face the Waste,” which also addresses environmental waste concerns.

    Another interesting environmental game is National Geographic’s “Plan It Green.” In the game you play as the Mayor of Greenville, and your mission is to change the city for the better by creating green jobs, constructing eco-friendly homes, and beautifying your surroundings (from sidewalks to garage doors). CEO Kirk Owens explains, “This is the right product for the times. Not only is it a fantastic game, but it integrates a theme we all hear hundreds of times a week. . . . By working with National Geographic, we were able to go beyond pop green ideas and make a game that truly conveys the possibilities of the future.”

    Do you feel that green video games are the key to get kids more involved and interested in green issues? What do you think is needed for these issues to resonate with adolescents? All comments are appreciated.

    View the full article


  11. Read the Green Blog article: Penn & Teller claims organic food is “bullshit”, fails to mention that their expert is paid by Monsanto

    But this is not the first time Penn and Teller's "Bullshit!" show receives criticism, and especially not when they cover environmental topics. In season one, aired 2003, Penn and Teller claims that the global warming crisis was created by "hysterical hippies and environmentalists". Their biased and misinformed global warming episode has since then been criticized and debunked. Logical Science has listed and debunked the claims Penn and Teller made in the episode:

    View the full article

    Michelle Goes Green likes this

  12. Photo credit: christian.senger The Times Online are reporting that France have been forced to close down a third of its nuclear power stations this summer due to heatwaves:

    ?France is being forced to import electricity from Britain to cope with a summer heatwave that has helped to put a third of its nuclear power stations out of action.

    With temperatures across much of France surging above 30C this week, EDF?s reactors are generating the lowest level of electricity in six years, forcing the state-owned utility to turn to Britain for additional capacity.

    Fourteen of France?s 19 nuclear power stations are located inland and use river water rather than seawater for cooling. When water temperatures rise,
    EDF
    is forced to shut down the reactors to prevent their casings from exceeding 50C.?

    It seems thirsty nukes can’t take the heat and that climate change puts nuclear energy into hot water. A question we must all ask our self: as the planet is warming up, is nuclear really a smart move?

    View the full article

    Michelle Goes Green likes this

  13. Photo credit: Hipnos

    I often hear people saying that overpopulation is the main problem to our environmental and ecological problems. Some people even claim that it?s responsible for global warming. I also agreed with this idea before. But after reading more about the subject over the years I have changed my mind.

    The rich countries in the ?North?, i.e. the West, have a ?rapidly decreasing? population which is ?expected to decline over the next forty years.? Developing countries such as India, China and most of Africa on the other hand is where we will see future population numbers increasing.

    And yes. It seems so easy to blame countries with an overwhelming rising population for being responsible for wrecking our planet, climate and environment. Because surely more people must mean more pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Right?

    Not really. The West is responsible for about 80% of the worlds CO2 increase. An average person living in Great Britain will in only 11 days emit as much CO2 as an average person in Bangladesh will during a whole year. And just a single power plant in West Yorkshire in Great Britain will produce more CO2 every year than all the 139 million people combined living in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.

    As Fred Pearce from the Yale Environment 360 blog notes, only a small portion of the world?s people are using most of the planets resources as well as producing the most of the greenhouse gases. And those are living in the West:

    View the full article


  14. This past week the non-profit film HOME was released in every format, including in movie theaters, on television, DVD/Blu-ray Disc and the internet, on the same day in over 50 countries in an effort to spread its message to the widest audience possible.

    "We are living in exceptional times. Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth's climate", Yann Arthus-Bertrand, director and photographer of the film, said.

    "The stakes are high for us and our children. Everyone should take part in the effort, and HOME has been conceived to take a message of mobilization out to every human being."

    HOME is directed by the internationally renowned French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, produced the famous director Luc Besson and narrated by five-time Academy Award nominee Glenn Close (Dangerous Liaisons).

    The film is shot in high definition in 54 countries and 120 locations over 217 days and will use a "first-time ever all-aerial filming style" highlighting "the Earth's wonders as well as its wounds and provides a necessary perspective to approach the changing environment".

    Home will be available on DVD for $19.98. But you can watch it for free in high definition over at YouTube.

    It's an amazingly beautiful and yet scary documentary about our home. It sort of reminds me about the Swedish documentary "The Planet" but with fewer facts. Watch it!

    Also watch: The Age of Stupid

    View the full article


  15. Photo credit: Joshua Davis (jdavis.info)

    Just as even the longest journey starts with one step, the salvation of the planet can start with one person: you. Each person that wants to be an eco- conscious traveller has to respect nature and seek for ways to reduce impact on it. That is achieved by making responsible choices and knowing well that just a few easy steps can make a big difference.

    Fly nonstop: Planes burn the most fuel on takeoff and landing. That means that a long haul flight that takes you straight to your destination emits less CO2 than short haul flights. For the same destination, a long haul flight may burn up to two-thirds less CO2 than short haul flights.

    View the full article