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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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.

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……

A Great Idea!

I have found that many people in my area do not recycle….the biggest excuse is that they cannot see how they benefit from it….I am sure that there are other that feel that way….after all we Americans are self-centered and want everything to be about themselves.

I read a great article about a program in Turkey that should be considered here in this country especially those cities with a subway…….

If you find yourself in Istanbul and you’re short on change for your train fare, the bottles of water or cans of beer that are hiding in your recycling bin might come in handy. İTÜ-Ayazağa metro station in Maslak, the city’s second-largest financial district, now accepts recyclable cans and bottles as train fare. The city’s municipal government and an Istanbul-based IT company called Isbak introduced reverse vending machines to the station in mid-October to encourage customers to recycle more by making it super convenient.

Customers can top up their city transportation pass (Istanbul Card) by feeding the reverse vending machines with recyclable plastic bottles and aluminium cans. The machines will crush, shred and sort out the recyclable waste. According to the New York Times, the city wants to introduce 100 more at 25 locations, including schools and universities before the year is out.

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/news/2018/10/19/reverse-vending-machines-istanbul/

A great way for people to see a benefit to recycle plus a way for many plastic and tin cans out of the streets and environment…..

I Like this type of thinking….shows there is hope yet.  Is there a reason the US cannot do this?

Saturday–25Aug18

I apologize for the short postings yesterday…I went to work in the yard and got overheated….not a good feeling…..

I try to give my readers info that they have missed during the week or so….an FYI sort of thing.

We hear about the destruction of the environment almost day….and prediction have been forthcoming since the first A-bomb test….there was even an attempt to try a living within a self-contained, the Biosphere…..http://biosphere2.org/

Since those days there have been other ideas to try and limit a person carbon footprint….the newest one is in Minnesota and an abandoned Ford factory…https://www.wired.com/story/ford-st-paul-development-housing-cities-yimby-nimby/

Not to be out done by us Colonials……the Nederlands has a new approach…..

A half-hour commute from Amsterdam, a piece of farmland is slated to become a new kind of neighborhood. Vertical farms, along with traditional fields and orchards surrounding homes, will supply food to people living there. Food waste will turn into fish feed for on-site aquaculture. Houses will filter rainwater, but won’t have driveways. A “village OS” tech platform will use AI to simultaneously manage systems for renewable energy, food production, water supply, and waste.

https://www.fastcompany.com/90207375/the-worlds-first-high-tech-eco-village-will-reinvent-suburbs

Human attempts to change the direction of the planet……will these attempts just be something “novel” for B roll news reports?  Or will this help our understanding of what we are doing to our home?

I am old and will not be here to see the destruction first hand…..but my granddaughter will be and I try to let her know what we are doing to this blue marble of wonder.

I am stilling fighting my bout with the heat so I will take it easy this weekend…..hopefully that will correct the damage I may have done.

Let the weekend begin!

The Eco-Village

My Sunday and I feel like a lazy mutt that wants to lay in the sun and ignore everything around him.  But I have a tradition to maintain of at least one post per day even on weekends…..I will not disappoint.

Over the years there have been several attempts to put together a totally environmentally friendly living space…..even one that a moron like Bannon was part of in the past……The Biosphere 2 , I believe….well there is yet another attempt to put together an eco-village…….

Ford’s Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, Minnesota opened in 1925 to build Model Ts in a state-of-the-art facility powered by a hydroelectric dam on the Mississippi River. At its peak, the factory employed 1,800 well-paid UAW workers in a 2 million-square-foot facility about 7 miles from both downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis. When the last vehicle, a Ranger pickup truck, rolled off its line just before Christmas in 2011, it was Ford Motors’ oldest factory. About 7 million vehicles were built here over 86 years.

The closure left behind an economic hole in St. Paul, and a formidable environmental challenge: The site was laced with residue from decades of automaking—petroleum compounds, paint solvents, lead, and arsenic.

https://www.wired.com/story/ford-st-paul-development-housing-cities-yimby-nimby/

Not as ambitious as the Biosphere but at least it is an attempt……I wish them well in this endeavor….but let’s be honest the average American does not care one iota about the environment until it is too late and then they will sob and ask why…..

On another ecological front……..

Take the big announcement from Starbucks about there banning of the straw tops……

Based on this ambitious goal, Starbucks hopes to eliminate one billion straws a year from its 28,000 stores worldwide. As an alternative, the company has designed a straw-less lid made of a recyclable plastic that, unlike lightweight, single use straws, can easily be captured in the recycling process. The lid will be introduced to Seattle and Vancouver consumers this fall with pilots in other global stores starting in 2019. Other options being considered include paper or compostable straws that can be used for cold drinks. As an industry leader, Starbucks has the influence to persuade other brands to reconsider their approach to packaging and plastic waste.

As with everything……there is more to the story……

2018 will forever be remembered as the year that hating plastic straws went mainstream. Once the lonely cause of environmental cranks, now everyone wants to eliminate these suckers from daily life.

In July, Seattle imposed America’s first ban on plastic straws. Vancouver, British Columbia, passed a similar ban a few months earlier. There are active attempts to prohibit straws in New York City, Washington, D.C., Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco. A-list celebrities from Calvin Harris to Tom Brady have lectured us on giving up straws. Both National Geographic and The Atlantic have run long profiles on the history and environmental effects of the straw. Vice is now treating their consumption as a dirty, hedonistic excess.

Not to be outdone by busybody legislators, Starbucks, the nation’s largest food and drink retailer, announced on Monday that it would be going strawless.

http://reason.com/blog/2018/07/12/starbucks-straw-ban-will-see-the-company

Hope your day is good…….chuq