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.

A New Source Of CO2

This Sunday I have been waiting for MoMo to give up on that damn pesky squirrel so I thought I would write a post or maybe two….

Most of us know that CO2 is a atmosphere destructor and we have many sources that will need to be controlled it we are to survive (that is my opinion and I doubt if those deniers will agree)

The week after T/S Barry and all has returned to normal…..over 100 temp humidity around 90%…..makes A/C a welcome necessity.

Enough bitching about Summer in the South…..

I read an article that points to a large source of CO2….and it is on-line…..

Our porn-viewing habits are leaving a filthy footprint on the planet.

Video streaming accounts for around 60 percent of all data flow online, which means it also accounts for over 300 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Since almost a third of streamed video content is pornography, online porn pumps out around 100 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, more than the annual output of Israel. 

These figures come from a new report by The Shift Project, a French think tank that aims to limit climate change and our dependence on fossil fuels. In light of their findings, they argue that our digital consumption should be considered when looking at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, just as driving gas-guzzling cars and eating loads of red meat are. They also call on policymakers and architects of the digital space to consider the impacts of online services when designing digital technologies. 

https://www.iflscience.com/environment/online-porn-pumps-out-as-much-carbon-dioxide-as-a-small-industrial-country/amp.html

Here is another way for zealots to attack porn…..but that would mean they would have to think for themselves….something I feel they are not capable of doing.

As long as I am on the topic of CO2……we are always looking for a way to generate electricity that does not screw up the air quality…..and CO2 is a major contributor to air pollution…..but what if we could use it to generate electricity?

The world is quickly realizing it may need to actively pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere to stave off the ill effects of climate change. Scientists and engineers have proposed various techniques, but most would be extremely expensive—without generating any revenue. No one wants to foot the bill.

One method explored in the past decade might now be a step closer to becoming practical, as a result of a new computer simulation study. The process would involve pumping airborne CO2 down into methane hydrates—large deposits of icy water and methane right under the seafloor, beneath water 500 to 1,000 feet deep—where the gas would be permanently stored, or sequestered. The incoming CO2 would push out the methane, which would be piped to the surface and burned to generate electricity, to power the sequestration operation or to bring in revenue to pay for it.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/climate-solution-use-carbon-dioxide-to-generate-electricity/

Just a few thoughts for a Sunday…..

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Environmental Thoughts For A Saturday

The weekend begins and we Southerners are praying for some rain…..we had a wet Spring but so far this Summer nothing….which is odd considering where I live has water on three sides…even the heat of the day does not generate a shower or two.

I have always been an activist for the environment….I recycle, do not litter, plant trees, etc etc……so recently with the new coal industry ad that compares a coal burning plant to a tree got my attention…..it shows a tree which captures CO2 as does the new plant…..making it seem that it is totally clean….the problem trees give off O2 as a by-product something a coal burning plant cannot do…..so the comparison is silly.

But there is something simple that can be used to help eliminate the CO2 emissions…..

Carbon capture and storage is a hot topic among researchers striving to save the planet from climate change. Scientists are constantly trying to develop and improve materials which can capture carbon dioxide (CO₂) from the atmosphere. At the Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI) at Swansea University, we’ve developed a promising new material from a liquid amine – a chemical which is known for its ability to react with CO₂, but in liquid form can’t do so effectively.

By adding just enough glue to make the liquid amine fluff up into a solid, the resulting new material is capable of capturing one-fifth of its own weight in CO₂. The glue is a type of epoxy resin – used everywhere in paints, varnishes and flooring. Our work shows that epoxy resins can be a key ingredient in making effective carbon capture materials – and they have been staring us in the face for more than 70 years.

Since huge advances are being made in renewable energy – and the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels has reduced – is carbon capture technology becoming redundant? Unfortunately not. There remains about 1.5 times the concentration of CO₂ in the atmosphere that there was in pre-industrial times. If we are to limit global warming to 1.5°C to avert the worst consequences of climate change, atmospheric CO₂ will have to be captured on an industrial scale, and either made into useful new chemicals or buried deep underground in depleted oil reservoirs.

https://theconversation.com/glue-could-be-the-magic-ingredient-for-cheap-and-efficient-co-capture-119441

Time to use any method available to capture CO2 emissions…..it can only help the climate and planet heal.

The day is done for me…..trying to stay cool in a 100 degree day…..not an easy task…LOL

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!

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?

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