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The Buffalo staff may be a little distracted this week. A giant Lake Effect snowstorm has shut down the city. This co-managing editor is currently stuck at my home in South Buffalo under a State of Emergency, a travel ban, and the ongoing potential for a 100 inch snowfall by Friday. Already nearly 60 howling inches have fallen. The streets are impassable. The news is that FEMA will be declaring the area a disaster area soon. The National Guard has arrived in my neighborhood, but they had to helicopter in.  I still have power, heat, and food, so these are First World problems–so far at least!

Below is a time lapse video of how the storm has raced down Lake Erie and dumped so much snow on my neighborhood. Notice the water vortexes rising from the relatively warm water surface as the cold air flows in from the lake. These vortexes create massive amounts of snow, which then fall about a mile inland, or- on my house!

While Buffalo is experiencing a historic water related weather event, even the Great Lakes waters are not safe. Today’s post profiles NASA’s Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE) recent findings about groundwater depletion. Focus on California (Text and Video):

Depleting the Water–Leslie Stahl reports on disturbing new evidence that our planet’s groundwater is being pumped out much faster than it can be replenished.

CBS 60 Minutes 16 November 2014

It’s been said that the wars of the 21st century may well be fought over water. The Earth’s population has more than doubled over the last 50 years and the demand for fresh water — to drink and to grow food — has surged along with it. But sources of water like rainfall, rivers, streams, reservoirs, certainly haven’t doubled. So where is all that extra water coming from? More and more, it’s being pumped out of the ground.

Water experts say groundwater is like a savings account — something you draw on in times of need. But savings accounts need to be replenished, and there is new evidence that so much water is being taken out, much of the world is in danger of a groundwater overdraft.

See the Whole 60 Minutes piece here.

Read a Natural News article about this here.

 

 

The Buffalo staff may be a little distracted this week. A giant Lake Effect snowstorm has shut down the city. This co-managing editor is currently stuck at my home in South Buffalo under a State of Emergency, a travel ban, and the ongoing potential for a 100 inch snowfall by Friday. Already nearly 60 howling inches have fallen. The streets are impassable. The news is that FEMA will be declaring the area a disaster area soon. The National Guard has arrived in my neighborhood, but they had to helicopter in.  I still have power, heat, and food, so these are First World problems–so far at least!

Below is a time lapse video of how the storm has raced down Lake Erie and dumped so much snow on my neighborhood. Notice the water vortexes rising from the relatively warm water surface as the cold air flows in from the lake. These vortexes create massive amounts of snow, which then fall about a mile inland, or- on my house!

While Buffalo is experiencing a historic water related weather event, even the Great Lakes waters are not safe. Today’s post profiles NASA’s Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE) recent findings about groundwater depletion. Focus on California (Text and Video):

Depleting the Water–Leslie Stahl reports on disturbing new evidence that our planet’s groundwater is being pumped out much faster than it can be replenished.

CBS 60 Minutes 16 November 2014

It’s been said that the wars of the 21st century may well be fought over water. The Earth’s population has more than doubled over the last 50 years and the demand for fresh water — to drink and to grow food — has surged along with it. But sources of water like rainfall, rivers, streams, reservoirs, certainly haven’t doubled. So where is all that extra water coming from? More and more, it’s being pumped out of the ground.

Water experts say groundwater is like a savings account — something you draw on in times of need. But savings accounts need to be replenished, and there is new evidence that so much water is being taken out, much of the world is in danger of a groundwater overdraft.

See the Whole 60 Minutes piece here.

Read a Natural News article about this here.

 

 

The Buffalo staff may be a little distracted this week. A giant Lake Effect snowstorm has shut down the city. This co-managing editor is currently stuck at my home in South Buffalo under a State of Emergency, a travel ban, and the ongoing potential for a 100 inch snowfall by Friday. Already nearly 60 howling inches have fallen. The streets are impassable. The news is that FEMA will be declaring the area a disaster area soon. The National Guard has arrived in my neighborhood, but they had to helicopter in.  I still have power, heat, and food, so these are First World problems–so far at least!

Below is a time lapse video of how the storm has raced down Lake Erie and dumped so much snow on my neighborhood. Notice the water vortexes rising from the relatively warm water surface as the cold air flows in from the lake. These vortexes create massive amounts of snow, which then fall about a mile inland, or- on my house!

While Buffalo is experiencing a historic water related weather event, even the Great Lakes waters are not safe. Today’s post profiles NASA’s Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE) recent findings about groundwater depletion. Focus on California (Text and Video):

Depleting the Water–Leslie Stahl reports on disturbing new evidence that our planet’s groundwater is being pumped out much faster than it can be replenished.

CBS 60 Minutes 16 November 2014

It’s been said that the wars of the 21st century may well be fought over water. The Earth’s population has more than doubled over the last 50 years and the demand for fresh water — to drink and to grow food — has surged along with it. But sources of water like rainfall, rivers, streams, reservoirs, certainly haven’t doubled. So where is all that extra water coming from? More and more, it’s being pumped out of the ground.

Water experts say groundwater is like a savings account — something you draw on in times of need. But savings accounts need to be replenished, and there is new evidence that so much water is being taken out, much of the world is in danger of a groundwater overdraft.

See the Whole 60 Minutes piece here.

Read a Natural News article about this here.

 

 

Photo credit: Red Power Media/Frank Thorp

Photo credit: Red Power Media/Frank Thorp

There’s plenty of great media out about the Senate vote, but here’s an aspect of the story worth us highlighting in our modest way this morning–the real significance and rallying point of the Sioux response, even up to and after the vote by Senate. It’s really important that the protests and arrests happened despite the squeaker vote against the pipeline: The protesters made a point that the fight is not over and that the vote is not really a cause of celebration, just a step in a struggle.

An essay by Alexander Reed Ross in Counterpunch this morning further articulates this idea. He writes:

In short, the Big Fail and ensuing celebrations from the Environmental NGOs looks suspiciously like a setup. It’s definitely not time to demobilize.

[The] KXL must be met through sincere and dedicated efforts at Indigenous solidarity with the Rosebud Sioux, who have called the KXL’s passage through the House an “act of war,” and others who are resisting not only the pipeline, but the tar sands as well.

Read Ross’s whole essay here.

Native Americans Arrested Following Keystone XL Pipeline Vote

By Anastasia Pantsios, EcoWatch. 19 November 2014

Anyone following the Keystone XL pipeline vote in the Senate yesterday heard what appeared to be chanting or singing in the background when the final tally of 41-59 was announced, signaling that approval of the pipeline had failed to clear the bar of 60 votes and that congressional approval of the pipeline was delayed for the time being.

 Read Pantsios’s whole article here.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Frontline Communities, Uncategorized

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Frontline Communities, Uncategorized

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Frontline Communities, Uncategorized

This is part 1 of a four-part article series “Cultivating Climate Justice” which tells the stories of community groups on the front lines of the pollution, waste and climate crises, working together for systems change. United across six continents, these grassroots groups are defending community rights to clean air, clean water, zero waste, environmental justice, and good jobs. They are all members of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, a network of over 800 organizations from 90+ countries.

 This series is produced by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and Other Worlds.

Cultivating Climate Justice: Brazilian Workers Leading the Charge Toward Zero Waste                                      

The streets of Belo Horizonte were filled with singing, dancing, chanting, and marching. It was not a holiday or an election day or a soccer game. The chant was: “We don’t want incineration! Recycle! Recycle!”

It was September 19, 2014, and this was the launch of a national Zero Waste Alliance, Brazil style. Exuberant, celebratory, and led by recycling workers.

The recycling workers of Brazil have long been a powerful force in protecting their communities and the climate. Now they are on the forefront of a nation-wide movement for zero waste.

Zero Waste: A Just Alternative to Pollution         

To those hearing about it for the first time, “zero waste” may sound unrealistic. But in fact, zero waste alliances are forming all over the world and making great strides toward building a new kind of economy that is good for people and the planet. Zero waste encompasses the full lifecycle of our stuff, starting with reduced extraction and responsible product design, and ending with all materials being reused, recycled, or composted.

The current practice of burning or dumping waste is a major contributor to climate change. Pound for pound, burning waste is even worse for the climate than the dirty practice of burning coal. It also releases cancer-causing toxins and other air pollutants. The potential benefits of zero waste for the climate and clean air are enormous.

But at its best, zero waste is about much more than reducing pollution and greenhouse gases.

Whereas incineration and waste dumping frequently violate the principles of environmental justice, zero waste has great potential to improve the lives of people that feel the greatest impacts of our “dig, burn, dump” economy.

This is particularly true when zero waste systems are designed with worker rights at the center, as in the case of Brazil, where recycling workers are at the forefront of the zero waste alliance. And in Brazil, where the workers collaborate closely with local non-governmental organizations like Instituto Polis, the labor-environmentalist alliance is fundamental.

So how did the workers of Brazil get involved in a zero waste alliance? They started by getting organized.

A National Movement of Recycling Workers

Recyclers do the work of collecting and separating out recyclable materials from the waste stream. It’s often a dangerous and low-paying job. But in Brazil—and other Latin American countries, including Chile and Colombia—recycling workers have made great strides toward good pay and safe working conditions.

Since its formation in 1999, the Brazil-based National Movement of Recycling Workers (MNCR) has achieved major victories for the sector. Earlier this year, one of the leading members of the MNCR, Maria Monica da Silva, won a Living Legacy award for her work [for]  “creating significant improvements in the situation and recognition of the… recyclers in…Sao Paulo, Brazil. The vast majority of these recyclers are women, and together they make an enormous environmental contribution, but the value of their work is too often unrecognized.”

What’s particularly inspiring about the recycling workers’ union in Brazil is that their ambitions for justice go far beyond their own working conditions. The recyclers understand their work as being on forefront of solving the climate, waste, and air pollution crises that impact their families, communities, and the entire world. The first line of the mission statement of the MNCR is to “contribute to building just and sustainable societies through the social and productive organization of recycling workers and their families.” Their mission also includes “improving the quality of life of all people and future generations.”

MNCR started building its power in the way that so many other groups have done: by stopping incineration.

A Force to be Reckoned With

When the incineration company Usina Verde rolled into Sao Paolo in 2002, it was widely expected that their incinerator proposal would move forward quickly and easily. Instead, the company was pushed out by a coalition of recycling workers, NGOs, activists, and community members.

Magdalena Donoso, Latin America Coordinator for the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), explained that “The recycling workers of Brazil are a force to be reckoned with. Anytime there is a vote, public hearing, meeting, etc., the recycling workers turn up more people than the incinerator company.”

But as with anti-incinerator movements all over the world, the question was always asked in Brazil: If not incinerators, then what? For the recycling workers of that nation, the answer was built into their job description.

The transition from fighting incinerators to working toward zero waste in Brazil came naturally. Beth Grimberg from Instituto Pólis explained that, “Zero waste alliances were being formed all over the world. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to work on this. We had strong international solidarity and decades of organizing experience. On September 19th, with hundreds of people participating in person or online, we launched the Brazil Zero Waste Alliance.”

Alex Cardoso, a third generation recycler and member of the MNCR, said, “It is important that recycling workers are the primary organizers for zero waste in Brazil. We are the ones on the streets every day making it happen. Our knowledge is critical. We are the principal agents in these conversations and the defenders of the earth.”

There you have it: zero waste is clean air, good jobs, and justice. No wonder the brass band was playing and the crowd was singing down in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

 

Action Alert! On the other side of the ocean, recycling workers of South Africa are currently fighting to protect their livelihoods and the planet against a new threat of incineration. Please take a minute to support them.

 

 

Almuth Ernsting and Rachel Smolker are co-directors of Biofuelwatch, and partners  with the Global Justice Ecology Project. You will find their work frequently on Climate Connections.

(Photo: Truthout/Richard Brand / Flickr)

(Photo: Truthout/Richard Brand / Flickr)

Their considerable contributions to characterizing and defining large-scale biofuels as false solutions to climate change are very important and influential.

This work is based on both carbon footprint and deforestation issues and is leading the global fight to promote the understanding of many complex, corporatized strategies that are being employed to promote oxymoronic development schemes. These industry based schemes continue to lead to catastrophic human rights, climate, and ecological collapses. The schemes are a disaster for humanity.

This article, written by Almuth Ernsting, takes a critical look of renewable energy strategies overall and suggests we are far from solving energy problems as long as we continue to be focused on corporate energy intensive strategies rather than low-energy strategies that are more human-needs based.

Ernsting’s most recent piece, linked below, was published in Truthout this past Sunday.

Abundant Clean Renewables? Think Again!
By Almuth Ernsting, Truthout. 16 November 2014

Although “renewable” energy is growing faster than ever before, it is neither carbon neutral, “clean” nor sustainable. We need to transform into low-energy societies that meet human – not corporate – needs.

Read the whole article here.

 

Almuth Ernsting and Rachel Smolker are co-directors of Biofuelwatch, and partners  with the Global Justice Ecology Project. You will find their work frequently on Climate Connections.

(Photo: Truthout/Richard Brand / Flickr)

(Photo: Truthout/Richard Brand / Flickr)

Their considerable contributions to characterizing and defining large-scale biofuels as false solutions to climate change are very important and influential.

This work is based on both carbon footprint and deforestation issues and is leading the global fight to promote the understanding of many complex, corporatized strategies that are being employed to promote oxymoronic development schemes. These industry based schemes continue to lead to catastrophic human rights, climate, and ecological collapses. The schemes are a disaster for humanity.

This article, written by Almuth Ernsting, takes a critical look of renewable energy strategies overall and suggests we are far from solving energy problems as long as we continue to be focused on corporate energy intensive strategies rather than low-energy strategies that are more human-needs based.

Ernsting’s most recent piece, linked below, was published in Truthout this past Sunday.

Abundant Clean Renewables? Think Again!
By Almuth Ernsting, Truthout. 16 November 2014

Although “renewable” energy is growing faster than ever before, it is neither carbon neutral, “clean” nor sustainable. We need to transform into low-energy societies that meet human – not corporate – needs.

Read the whole article here.

 

Almuth Ernsting and Rachel Smolker are co-directors of Biofuelwatch, and partners  with the Global Justice Ecology Project. You will find their work frequently on Climate Connections.

(Photo: Truthout/Richard Brand / Flickr)

(Photo: Truthout/Richard Brand / Flickr)

Their considerable contributions to characterizing and defining large-scale biofuels as false solutions to climate change are very important and influential.

This work is based on both carbon footprint and deforestation issues and is leading the global fight to promote the understanding of many complex, corporatized strategies that are being employed to promote oxymoronic development schemes. These industry based schemes continue to lead to catastrophic human rights, climate, and ecological collapses. The schemes are a disaster for humanity.

This article, written by Almuth Ernsting, takes a critical look of renewable energy strategies overall and suggests we are far from solving energy problems as long as we continue to be focused on corporate energy intensive strategies rather than low-energy strategies that are more human-needs based.

Ernsting’s most recent piece, linked below, was published in Truthout this past Sunday.

Abundant Clean Renewables? Think Again!
By Almuth Ernsting, Truthout. 16 November 2014

Although “renewable” energy is growing faster than ever before, it is neither carbon neutral, “clean” nor sustainable. We need to transform into low-energy societies that meet human – not corporate – needs.

Read the whole article here.

 

NoBarTree3Martha Crouch, a biologist and a consultant on science issues with the Center for Food Safety, wrote this pointed response to a recent story in Syracuse.com about the GE chestnut being worked on and promoted by Drs. William Powell and Chuck Maynard from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse.

 

SUNY ESF plan to release genetically engineered chestnut tree is too hasty (Your letters)

By Dr. Martha L. Crouch, syracuse.com. 14 November 2014.

To the Editor:

Regarding Glenn Coin’s Nov. 6, 2014 story, “Breakthrough at SUNY ESF: Genetic engineering may save the nearly extinct American chestnut”:

Genetically engineered chestnuts? Not so fast.

Imagine: “Bald eagles genetically engineered with pigeon genes to withstand pesticides.” Or, “Scientists insert synthetic DNA into Florida panthers to resist deadly virus.”

Many conservationists would balk at interfering with wild animals in such an extreme way – directly manipulating their very nature by adding genes from unrelated species.

Read more about it at syracuse.com and leave a comment!

Three Halliburton employees were injured in a blast that occurred as they tried to thaw out a water pipe at an oil well site, the Denver Post reported on 13 November 2014. Two of the workers are being treated for serious injuries, but the third, however, died during the accident.

Fracking uses water pressure mixed with chemicals to break deep into rock to release energy reserves, such as natural gas and brine. The workers were warming the pipe when the rupture occurred.

The Halliburton fracking site where one person was killed and two others were injured Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. Photo: Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

The Halliburton fracking site where one person was killed and two others were injured Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. Photo: Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

Fracking blast kills one Halliburton worker, injures 2 in Weld County
by By Jesse Paul and Mark Jaffe, The Denver Post, 13 Nov. 2014

MEAD — One worker was killed and two were seriously injured Thursday when a frozen, high pressure water line ruptured at a Weld County oil well site.

The workers were trying to thaw the line when the accident occurred, officials said.

The Anadarko Petroleum Corp. well was being hydraulically fractured, or fracked, by the Halliburton Co. and the workers were Halliburton employees.

Anadarko said it was suspending all fracking operations in the area pending a review of the accident.

The area has been the scene of drilling since at least 1979, but this year Anadarko has sunk at least nine, deep horizontal wells, according to state records.

Each of those wells has to be fracked by pumping a mixture of water, sand and trace chemicals into the well at high pressure to crack rock and release oil.

Get the full story here.

Three Halliburton employees were injured in a blast that occurred as they tried to thaw out a water pipe at an oil well site, the Denver Post reported on 13 November 2014. Two of the workers are being treated for serious injuries, but the third, however, died during the accident.

Fracking uses water pressure mixed with chemicals to break deep into rock to release energy reserves, such as natural gas and brine. The workers were warming the pipe when the rupture occurred.

The Halliburton fracking site where one person was killed and two others were injured Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. Photo: Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

The Halliburton fracking site where one person was killed and two others were injured Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. Photo: Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

Fracking blast kills one Halliburton worker, injures 2 in Weld County
by By Jesse Paul and Mark Jaffe, The Denver Post, 13 Nov. 2014

MEAD — One worker was killed and two were seriously injured Thursday when a frozen, high pressure water line ruptured at a Weld County oil well site.

The workers were trying to thaw the line when the accident occurred, officials said.

The Anadarko Petroleum Corp. well was being hydraulically fractured, or fracked, by the Halliburton Co. and the workers were Halliburton employees.

Anadarko said it was suspending all fracking operations in the area pending a review of the accident.

The area has been the scene of drilling since at least 1979, but this year Anadarko has sunk at least nine, deep horizontal wells, according to state records.

Each of those wells has to be fracked by pumping a mixture of water, sand and trace chemicals into the well at high pressure to crack rock and release oil.

Get the full story here.

Three Halliburton employees were injured in a blast that occurred as they tried to thaw out a water pipe at an oil well site, the Denver Post reported on 13 November 2014. Two of the workers are being treated for serious injuries, but the third, however, died during the accident.

Fracking uses water pressure mixed with chemicals to break deep into rock to release energy reserves, such as natural gas and brine. The workers were warming the pipe when the rupture occurred.

The Halliburton fracking site where one person was killed and two others were injured Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. Photo: Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

The Halliburton fracking site where one person was killed and two others were injured Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. Photo: Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

Fracking blast kills one Halliburton worker, injures 2 in Weld County
by By Jesse Paul and Mark Jaffe, The Denver Post, 13 Nov. 2014

MEAD — One worker was killed and two were seriously injured Thursday when a frozen, high pressure water line ruptured at a Weld County oil well site.

The workers were trying to thaw the line when the accident occurred, officials said.

The Anadarko Petroleum Corp. well was being hydraulically fractured, or fracked, by the Halliburton Co. and the workers were Halliburton employees.

Anadarko said it was suspending all fracking operations in the area pending a review of the accident.

The area has been the scene of drilling since at least 1979, but this year Anadarko has sunk at least nine, deep horizontal wells, according to state records.

Each of those wells has to be fracked by pumping a mixture of water, sand and trace chemicals into the well at high pressure to crack rock and release oil.

Get the full story here.