Closing Thought–09Oct19

We all know about, if not we should, about all the pollution in the oceans of this world. Of course all think something has got to be done to curb this trend…..one cruise line will do their part…..

When it comes to the environment and sustainability, cruise ships and many cruise ship operators get failing grades when it comes to controlling carbon emissions, recycling, and treating water, waste, and sewage.

But thanks to new technology and the scrutiny of passengers, government agencies, and environmental groups, the tide is beginning to turn.

Norwegian cruise operator Hurtigruten just launched the world’s first hybrid electric-powered expedition ship, the 530-passenger MS Roald Amundsen. The vessel is named for the Norwegian explorer who was the first person to navigate the Northwest Passage by boat and the first person to cross Antarctica and reach the South Pole.

https://www.nbcnews.com/business/travel/first-electric-cruise-ship-hopes-turn-tide-war-against-ocean-n1062581

I think that it is noble to switch from petrol to electric but will that curb the amount of pollution dumped into our oceans?

The cruise ships seem to be a problem in themselves…

Princess Cruise Lines Ltd. has been hit with a record-setting criminal penalty for deliberate pollution. The California-based cruise line — a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, the largest cruise company in the world — pled guilty to felony charges for illegal dumping of oil contaminated waste. It will pay a $40 million fine as part of a plea agreement, the Department of Justice reported.

The case came to light after an engineer reported that employees aboard the Caribbean Princess were using a “magic pipe” to dump oily waste off the coast of England in 2013 in order to save money. It is inarguably troubling, not least because the chief engineer’s response to the whistleblower was to attempt a cover up. (The same man was known by the crew as a broccino corto, the DOJ notes, an Italian phrase for an exceptionally frugal man whose arms are too short to reach his wallet.) The ship had a long history of environmental violations, going back at least to 2005.

https://psmag.com/news/how-cruise-ships-are-polluting-our-oceans

Like I said before…I am not so sure that the pollution problem will be solved by the switch to electric.

Thoughts?

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

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Closing Thought–02Oct19

When my father was alive he was a big donr to the animal funds like Sierra Club and the WWF….I always admired his dedication to these organizations and their task of helping the wildlife of this planet.

Sp an article I read recently made me feel a little sick and then made me angry…….

This was a sensitive moment for one of the globe’s most prominent charities. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) had long helped fund and equip Chitwan’s forest rangers, who patrol the area in jeeps, boats, and on elephant backs alongside soldiers from the park’s in-house army battalion. Now WWF’s partners in the war against poaching stood accused of torturing a man to death.

WWF’s staff on the ground in Nepal leaped into action — not to demand justice, but to lobby for the charges to disappear. When the Nepalese government dropped the case months later, the charity declared it a victory in the fight against poaching. Then WWF Nepal continued to work closely with the rangers and fund the park as if nothing had happened.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/tomwarren/wwf-world-wide-fund-nature-parks-torture-death

That was Part One….and the rest of the series is listed here…..

Part 2: Leaked Report Shows WWF Was Warned Years Ago Of “Frightening” Abuses
Part 3: WWF Says Indigenous People Want This Park — But An Internal Report Reveals Fears Of Ranger “Repression.”
Part 4:
WWF-Backed Guards Raped Pregnant Women And Tortured Villagers At A Wildlife Park Funded By The US Government
Part 5: WWF Is Investigating Two More Alleged Murders At A Park Where Rangers Are Accused Of Rape And Torture
Part 6: The US Government Spent Millions Funding WWF-Backed Forces Accused Of Torture and Murder

This is disgusting and one reason why all my charities are local ones that I can check on to be sure they are doing what they say they are doing.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

“I Read, I Wrote and now You Know”

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

How To Deal With The Climate Crisis

Closing Thought–27Sep19

We have heard all the lies and the innuendoes about climate change and how we should approach the problem.

I read a workable plan for dealing with the climate and I believe it came out of Canada.

The meat of the article was…what if we treated the climate crisis like a war?  Remember these are just suggestions…..all of which I do not agree with but at least there is someone thinking about a solution before it is too late……

“We ended WWII with the highest debt-to-GDP ratio ever,” Klein said. ”But it also marked the beginning of the strongest economic performance the country has ever seen. It wasn’t a drag on the economy; it was quite the opposite.”

There are plenty of reasons to question this kind of all-in jingoist climate stimulus plan. The government would need to consider measures to control inflation, or the possibility that rich people would just move their money somewhere else. Researchers have also suggested we might enter an unhinged new era of eco-nationalist propaganda, which would surely add to, not subtract from, a general sense of doom.

https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/vb53x9/what-would-happen-if-canada-treated-climate-crisis-like-war

Canada has a plan for the environment…it is called a “Just Transition Act”……..

A re-elected Liberal government would halve the corporate tax rate for companies that develop or manufacture products with zero emissions — part of the party’s plan to move to net-zero emissions by 2050, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau announced today.

Taxes for small clean technology businesses would be reduced to 4.5 per cent from the current nine per cent under the Liberal plan, while larger companies would pay 7.5 per cent in taxes instead of the current 15 per cent.

Eligible sectors could include manufacturing related to renewable energy, production of renewable fuels, zero emission vehicles and batteries for them, carbon capture and removal technology and electric vehicle charging systems.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/liberals-climate-change-action-plan-2050-1.5295027

Has anyone else noticed that plans are about saving corporations money not so much about the planet.  I believe that this very thing is what Greta Thunberg was bitching about at the UN….

In case you have NO idea what I am talking about here is a transcript of her speech to the General Assembly….

https://www.npr.org/2019/09/23/763452863/transcript-greta-thunbergs-speech-at-the-u-n-climate-action-summit

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

What Happened To States Rights?

Closing Thought–19Sep19

The GOP has used the term to justify so many pull backs from the national stage issues like voting, abortion, marijuana and other social issues….now Trump decides a policy or something for a state…..

As expected, President Trump announced Wednesday that his administration is revoking California’s authority to set auto mileage standards stricter than those issued by federal regulators, a move critics said would result in less fuel efficient cars that create more planet-warming pollution. In a series of tweets, Trump said his action would result in less expensive, safer cars. He also predicted Americans would purchase more new cars, which would result in cleaner air as older models are taken off the roads. “Many more cars will be produced under the new and uniform standard, meaning significantly more JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! Automakers should seize this opportunity because without this alternative to California, you will be out of business,” Trump tweeted. Trump’s tweet does not address the money consumers would save at the gas pump if cars got better mileage.

Top California officials and environmental groups pledged legal action on Wednesday to stop the rollback, the AP reports. “You can’t get serious about climate change unless you are serious about vehicle emissions,” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat. “This is such a pivotal moment in the history of the climate change debate.” The state attorney general, who said the action will hurt US automakers and American families, pledged to fight it in federal court. It’s not clear yet what the Trump administration will propose as its final fuel-efficiency rules, but in the past it has favored freezing Obama-era mileage standards at 2021 levels. Under the Obama administration requirements, the fleet of new vehicles would have to average 30 mpg in real-world driving by 2021, rising to 36 mpg in 2025. Currently the standard is 26 mpg. (More on Trump’s claims of cheaper, safer cars and a cleaner environment here.)

Just another governing technique of the Trump regime……spread chaos and take everything to court…..

Will the GOP step up and challenge this attack on states rights…of course they will not for it would prove disastrous at the ballot box.

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Where Are Those Tourists?

Closing Thought–10Sep19

My region is a mecca for sun worshipers and more recently gamblers…..

I live on the Gulf Coast and we have people on our beaches year round…..but for the last couple of months the beaches have been empty…..the only activities has been the machines used to groom the beaches…..why is this?

Ship Island Excursions has survived hurricanes, global recessions, a world war and a host of economic challenges since the ferry company began taking passengers to the barrier islands that dot coastal Mississippi in the 1920s. But this year, a new threat has emerged: an explosion of blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, that has shut down virtually all of Mississippi’s beaches since July 4. 

No one knows when the algae will disappear, and many wonder how many businesses that operate in the region will survive the hit. 

“Beach vendors have been wiped out,” said Louis Skrmetta, operations manager for Ship Island Excursions. “I’ve never seen something so dramatic. It’s very similar to the BP oil spill…people are frightened to just walk in the sand.”

Scientists have never seen anything like this before in the ocean off’s Mississippi coast ― blue-green algal blooms are normally confined to fresh-water species. Mississippi officials say the bloom is the result of record flooding this year in the Midwest, which has pushed a deluge of polluted, nitrogen-rich water down the Mississippi River. It has forced state officials to issue water and health advisories warning people to stay out of the water and to avoid contaminated seafood

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/algae-mississippi-gulf-of-mexico_n_5d715cc6e4b03b3b730a914a

Oysters are big business down here and 90% of the reefs are dead and will take years to come back.

The only creatures that are enjoying the serene days are the several bird species that use these beaches for nesting.

Plus the casinos have helped some of the businesses survive this down turn….a hit below the belt to a region that depends on the waters and beaches of the Gulf for their livelihood.

We will make it through….we did for Katrina and then from the BP spill and now this…..a lot of hits and the people keep smiling and trying…..am hardy bunch indeed.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

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”

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.