Environmental News For A Sunday

This weekend begins and I wait for MoMo to make her rounds this early morn…..you see she patrols the property from the 40 foot wood to the hidy hole to the orchard before she decides all is well and starts her day of being cute.

Time for some FYI……

Today I want to share some environmental news with you…..

Remember when McDonald’s made the big deal out of them switching from plastic to paper straws?

Well the rest of the story can be told……

McDonald’s has come out in defence of its “eco-friendly” paper straws after it revealed the company is unable to recycle them, claiming that “everyone is in the same position”.

In September 2018, the fast food chain replaced its recyclable plastic straws with paper ones across all of its UK and Ireland restaurants in a bid to become more environmentally conscious. 

However, McDonald’s has confirmed that, while the materials which make up its paper straws are recyclable, their current thickness means they must be disposed of in general waste. 

“While the materials are recyclable, their current thickness makes it difficult for them to be processed by our waste solution providers, who also help us recycle our paper cups,” a McDonald’s spokesperson said on Monday.

“We are working with them to find a solution, and so the advice to put paper straws in general waste is therefore temporary.

(independent.co.uk)

What problem did the switch alleviate?

As long as we are talking about McDonald’s……more insights…..

https://soyummy.com/mcdonalds-secrets-straight-from-reddit/

A new trend is that of electric scooters for the urban dweller…..green tech at is best, right?

Well not really……

Electric scooter companies like to tout their green credentials, frequently reminding riders that every two-wheeled trip they take can help reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change — but the truth is much more complicated.

A new study from North Carolina State University found that shared e-scooters may be more environmentally friendly than most cars, but they can be less green than several other options, including bicycles, walking, and certain modes of public transportation. Riders tend to think they’re making the right move by hopping on a scooter that’s electric and thus carbon-free. But what they don’t see are all of the emissions that are produced by the manufacturing, transportation, maintenance, and upkeep of dockless scooters.

https://www.theverge.com/2019/8/2/20751610/scooters-electric-dockless-carbon-emissions-study-life-cycle-analysis

Just a bit of the con job around “green tech”…..

Finally a rode out the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in 2005….the homes destroyed were staggering…..can there be a better design that could survive a hurricane?

In a world where wildfires and hurricanes are becoming more frequent, design for new housing would be smart to anticipate the climate disasters that are coming. So these new buildings aren’t made from wood or any other conventional building materials. Instead, they’re made from bioceramic—which can withstand disasters, and perhaps dramatically lower construction costs.

It’s the design of a startup called Geoship, which is using the material to build new dwellings in the form of a geodesic dome and has plans to produce both backyard cottages and full communities. It’s caught the attention of Zappos and is working with the company to build a small “village” of the domes in Las Vegas near the online shoe retailer headquarters. The plan is to offer them as free housing for some of the many people who are experiencing homelessness in the city.

https://www.fastcompany.com/90385924/are-these-fireproof-hurricane-proof-geodesic-domes-the-post-climate-change-house-of-the-future

So ends this week’s FYI portion of IST…..enjoy and be well

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

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That Plastic Island

My weekend begins with thoughts from my younger days…..a bunch of us use to get together on Sunday morning at 10 am and watch bad monster movies airing on a local TV station……we called it “Atheist Theater”…..

One of the movies that made me think of things happening today was Godzilla vs Hedorah (Smog Monster)….it seems that this beast was born of the pollution in our oceans…..

 
Think about it…..there is this huge island of plastic and pollution in the Pacific…..sounds like the same thing in the movie from the 1970s……
 
Image result for plastic island in the Pacific images
 
Image result for plastic island in the Pacific images
 
Is there a solution on the horizon?  I mean Godzilla has gone Hollywood.
 
The plastic eating enzyme…….(another problem in waiting?)
 

The research was led by teams at the University of Portsmouth and the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Professor John McGeehan at the University of Portsmouth and Dr Gregg Beckham at NREL solved the crystal structure of PETase — a recently discovered enzyme that digests PET — and used this 3D information to understand how it works. During this study, they inadvertently engineered an enzyme that is even better at degrading the plastic than the one that evolved in nature.

The researchers are now working on improving the enzyme further to allow it to be used industrially to break down plastics in a fraction of the time.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180416155619.htm

There you have the answer to that great plastic island, right?

Maybe so but just how does this work?

The plastic bottles we throw away today will be around for hundreds of years. It’s one of the key reasons why the mounting plastic pollution problem, which is having a deadly effect on marine life, is so serious.

But scientists recently discovered a strain of bacteria that can literally eat the plastic used to make bottles, and have now improved it to make it work faster. The effects are modest – it’s not a complete solution to plastic pollution – but it does show how bacteria could help create more environmentally friendly recycling.

Plastics are complex polymers, meaning they are long, repeating chains of molecules that don’t dissolve in water. The strength of these chains makes plastic very durable and means it takes a very long time to decompose naturally. If they could be broken down into their smaller, soluble chemical units, then these building blocks could be harvested and recycled to form new plastics in a closed-loop system.

https://theconversation.com/how-plastic-eating-bacteria-actually-work-a-chemist-explains-95233

Now on first read that could be a good thing…..this could be the answer right?

Could be as simple as a newly discovered enzyme?

Probably not.

Recent reporting on the discovery and enhancement of plastic-dissolving enzymes in bacteria made me stop and think about what this might mean for the plastic pollution problem that is plaguing oceans and choking the world’s coral reefs.

While this development is interesting and draws necessary focus to an immense environmental challenge, it is premature to guess whether these kinds of enzymes might provide an effective silver bullet for treating plastics floating in the five great gyres of the sea.

There is so much more we need to understand about the complex relationships between plastics and marine ecosystems before we can take drastic action such as spraying the ocean with so-called plastic-eating bacteria.

https://www.edf.org/blog/2018/07/13/are-plastic-eating-bacteria-solution-ocean-pollution-its-not-simple-science-shows

A little FYI on this Saturday….after writing this I found myself looking for the movie to either buy/rent…..damn impossible for it is not available at this time….even on Amazon….go figure.

Have a day my friends.

Climate Change Vs The DNC

Most rational people realize that there is something going on with the climate and weather……but for some reason the “centrists” Dems do not seem to want to make it an issue in the 2020….why is that?

There will be as many as 12 Democratic presidential debates over the next year. But none of them will be devoted to climate change — for now, anyway.

Presidential candidate Jay Inslee — who is running as a climate change candidate with a deeply developed plan to transform the nation’s energy system and rapidly slash carbon emissions — had urged the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to host a debate dedicated exclusively to climate change. But Wednesday evening Inslee announced that his campaign received a call from the DNC “letting us know that they will not host a climate debate.”

What’s more, Inslee said the DNC told him that if he participated in another climate debate, outside of the DNC, the candidate and current governor of Washington would not be invited to any of the highly anticipated and televised DNC debates.

https://mashable.com/article/climate-debate-cancelled-jay-inslee/

The DNC does what it does best,,,,lip service….grand ideas with no substance…..

Glad to say that someone is paying attention to the lack of concern and debate on the issue of climate…..

The Sunrise Movement is planning a massive program of protest to bring the issue to the forefront of the 2020 debate….

With the DNC set to vote next month on whether to host a 2020 presidential debate focused specifically on the climate crisis, the youth-led Sunrise Movement is planning a mass mobilization aimed at ensuring the Democratic leadership approves the grassroots demand that is backed by nearly every Democratic presidential contender and 64 percent of the party’s voters.

During the DNC’s national meeting on August 22-24, committee members from each state are expected to vote on a resolution calling for an official climate-focused debate, which activists argued is more necessary than ever after the first two Democratic debates in Miami, Florida devoted a combined 15 minutes to the planetary emergency.

Ahead of the vote, Sunrise said it plans to hold demonstrations at the local offices of DNC members nationwide to make clear that “the people demand a climate debate.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/03/time-turn-heat-sunrise-movement-unveils-7-week-organizing-plan-force-dnc-approval

Hopefully their efforts will bear fruit….the issue of climate change has been ignored long enough……

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

At least those on the Left of the party see the need to expand our fight against the coming doom…..

In response to news on Tuesday that a European Union satellite agency declared last month the hottest June ever recorded, 2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders said, “Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to start treating this like a crisis and not a hoax.”

With campaigners across the world demanding leaders respond to the crisis of the rapidly heating planet as the “climate emergency” it is, Sanders was responding to a tweet by 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben noting new data released by the UN-supported Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) that showed global temperatures last month were the highest ever recorded for June since records began in the late 19th century.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/03/after-data-shows-last-month-was-hottest-june-record-sanders-says-maybe-now-time

Time to remove our collective heads from the sand…..time to make climate change a priority.  PERIOD!

Closing Thought–01Jul19

What are the situations facing this country….what is the biggest situation for our nation?

Terrorism is still a major concern around the world, but global warming is the bigger worry, and fear of cyberattacks is on the rise, according to a new Pew Research Center survey on threats.

Following similar studies in 2013 and 2017, Pew researchers asked people in 23 countries whether they considered the following a “major threat to our country”:

  • Global climate change
  • The Islamic militant group known as ISIS
  • Cyberattacks from other countries
  • North Korea’s nuclear program
  • The condition of the global economy
  • U.S. power and influence
  • Russia’s power and influence
  • China’s power and influence

Pew found that global climate change has risen from being a concern for 53% of respondents in 2013 to 63% in 2017 and now 67% in the most recent survey. Here are four major takeaways from the study, which was conducted among 27,612 respondents in 26 countries from May to August 2018:

https://fortune.com/2019/02/11/u-s-report-on-global-threats/

Seems the climate deniers are losing their steam with the American people…..

In The Year Of 2050

Should be a song from the 70s but this case it is some interesting news…..the 2050 is an interesting year. It is the year that we can have a clean environment if we enact certain laws to help climate change….it is the year that the economy will come to be more equable…..if only certain laws are put into place….in other words 2050 is a magical year for the planet…..if only certain laws take effect.

A harrowing scenario analysis of how human civilization might collapse in coming decades due to climate change has been endorsed by a former Australian defense chief and senior royal navy commander.

The analysis, published by the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, a think-tank in Melbourne, Australia, describes climate change as “a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilization” and sets out a plausible scenario of where business-as-usual could lead over the next 30 years.

The paper argues that the potentially “extremely serious outcomes” of climate-related security threats are often far more probable than conventionally assumed, but almost impossible to quantify because they “fall outside the human experience of the last thousand years.”

On our current trajectory, the report warns, “planetary and human systems [are] reaching a ‘point of no return’ by mid-century, in which the prospect of a largely uninhabitable Earth leads to the breakdown of nations and the international order.”

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/597kpd/new-report-suggests-high-likelihood-of-human-civilization-coming-to-an-end-in-2050

Further Reading: 

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/06/04/existential-risk-climate-crisis-could-lead-civilizational-collapse-2050-warns-report

Without good solid plan then I suggest that no one make long term plans after 2050.

Was that BLEAK enough for you?

But not to worry….the uber Centrist Biden has a plan……

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is pitching a $5 trillion-plus climate proposal that he says would lead the US to net zero emissions of carbon pollution by 2050, the AP reports. Biden’s plan calls for $1.7 trillion in federal spending over 10 years, with the rest of the investments coming from the private sector. Biden, who discusses the plan in a video posted online, proposes covering the taxpayer costs by repealing the corporate tax cuts that President Trump signed in 2017, while eliminating existing subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. “Science tells us that how we act or fail to act in the next 12 years will determine the very livability of our planet,” Biden said in a statement ahead of the plan’s unveiling Tuesday. “That’s why I’m calling for a clean energy revolution to confront this crisis and do what America does best—solve big problems with big ideas.”

Yeah…the “Private Sector” has been our partner for decades….and how has that worked out for the climate?

So much crap to gain some support from the environmentalists…..nothing about it is gonna work.  PERIOD!

Return To Sender

The weekend and I want to touch on something I was proud of in the past……my recycling efforts.

I am one of those tree huggers that recycles…..in my region it is voluntary which I do not agree with….it should be mandatory…..

When my city started a recycling program about 20 years ago we had a company that separated the different items paper, glass, metal…….then we changed the companies and the new companies just throw it all in a truck together with the exception of glass…it is NO longer recycled but sent to a landfill……

I wonder what was up….did they separate it at the site or just bundle it up and sell to another company…..

I got my answer (sort of)…..

“People think that when they put something in their recycling bin, it’s actually going to be recycled. But this is not the case.”

You may be tossing your recyclables into a blue bin supplied by a municipal recycling program, but the municipal government’s responsibility ends once the blue bin contents are sold to a recycling company. Waste and recycling is for the most part handled by private industry in the US.

“[Municipalities] are only responsible for that first contract,” said Hird. They need to know where the recycling and the waste first goes. After that, they’re not responsible for knowing the rest of that chain.” 

Seriously? Then who buys it?

Overseas companies buy the waste and then dump it on a 3rd world country……

Now these countries shave had enough and some are demanding that countries take back their crap…..

Malaysia will send back some 3,000 metric tons (3,300 tons) of non-recyclable plastic waste to countries such as the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia in a move to avoid becoming a dumping ground for rich nations, Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said Tuesday.

Yeo said Malaysia and many developing countries have become new targets after China banned the import of plastic waste last year.

Last week, the Philippines said it would ship back dozens of containers of garbage which Filipino officials were illegally shipped to the country from Canada in 2013 to 2014

http://amp.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/may/28/malaysia-to-send-back-plastic-waste-to-foreign-nat/

Now I do not feel so good about my recycling.  Leave it to capitalist to piss up something as noble as a recycling program.

How do you feel about this?

Can Planet Be Saved?

My Saturday begins…….now the wait for the predicted rain…..This is the South…if you do not like the weather….wait 30 minutes and it will change…….

Today is Armed Forces Day…….so please give our overworked and stretched thin troops a moment of silence and remember their sacrifices…..

MoMo is waiting in ambush for that damn squirrel……

Speaking of the climate…….

The debate on climate change has taken many bizarre twists in the last decade…..we have those that want to protect the planet at all costs and then we have the other end of that spectrum, the climate deniers.

I can understand the “deniers” but they need to purge the idiots from their ranks……those that think melting ice is a good thing…..or those that think CO2 is something new in the atmosphere……you know who these people are……

The question has been asked……

Our Dear Beloved Supreme Leader has shown that he supports the coal industry above all else….he promised to bring back the coal industry…..that was a lie…he is trying but the industry is dying in the 21st century.

One example of the possibilities of renewables…..

Avery Thompson Popular Mechanics reports that in the month of April for the first time in US history, the country produced more electricity with renewables than with coal.

Part of the solution to this puzzle is economic. In much of the US, Thompson notes, you could actually make more money building and running a wind farm than you could just keeping an existing coal plan open.

In April, renewables produced 2,322 thousand megawatt hours per day. Coal only did 1,997 thousand megawatt hours.

Back in 2010, burning coal provided the world 45 % of its power generation.

In 2018, that figure had drooped to 27 percent.

At the same time, the share of renewables in power generation in the US has grown to 18% (including hydro).

(Informed Comment)

I am waiting for the MSM to report this….but instead I get a royal birth or the fashion line by some artists or…….

This is GREAT news! But apparently not for the corporate media to pay attention.

On a side note…..the big environmental news was that the “Holy Grail” of recycling has been found…..

The “Holy Grail” of recycling may finally be here. Scientists at Berkeley Lab say they’ve found a new way to create plastics that are 100% recyclable, meaning they can be used, recycled, and re-used without losing value, Fox News reports. “Most plastics were never made to be recycled,” says lead scientist Peter Christensen in a statement. “But we have discovered a new way to assemble plastics that takes recycling into consideration from a molecular perspective.” Called poly(diketoenamine), or PDK, the new material could help unblock the plastic pileup at recycling plants and ease ocean pollution that could be sucking $2.5 trillion from sectors including fisheries, tourism, and human health, according to one study.

Unlike regular plastic, PDK can apparently be undone by a simple acid bath. “Recovered monomers can be re-manufactured into the same polymer formulation, without loss of performance, as well as other polymer formulations with differentiated properties,” per the study in Nature Chemistry. Most plastics are composed of molecules called polymers that are made up of compounds called monomers; the monomers are bound to chemicals that make them hard to process and recycle. Just 9.1% of US-made plastic was recycled in 2015, a 0.4% drop the year before, according to the EPA’s latest available numbers. But so far PDK is only in the lab, notes Gizmodo. For now the PDK team is trying to improve its invention by mixing in materials made from plants.

How many times have we heard about a “new” plastic that will not be a problem?  I am old so TOO MANY TIMES.

Try HEMP it is truly biodegradable and all natural….how hard is that?

***This is a commercial company that is not paying me in any way……https://hempplastic.com/

Or this one……https://www.cbdforlife.us/blogs/environment/rise-of-biodegradable-hemp-plastic/

Learn Stuff!

Be Smart!

Meanwhile MoMo waits out the rain……