Tag Archives: farm

Friday Linkage 9/20/2019

The hardest lesson to impart to children is the idea that they are the ones responsible for their actions.  Heck, it is hard for adults to learn this lesson.

The current occupant of the White House places blame for everything that swirls around him on someone else.  He even blames his orange skin on something other than himself. If you are the color of a cheese puff in natural sunlight, it’s on you.  If you are the color of an oompa loompa under the lights of an arena during one of your fascist-esque rallies, it’s on you.  Blame LED light bulbs all you want, but your desire to mask your pallid skin with spray tan is all Donald, all the time.

On to the links…

The New Face of Climate Activism is Young, Angry — and Effective—We can hope.  We can hope that this generation will do better than previous generations.  We can hope.

Five CEOs Tell Us Why They’re Joining the Climate Strike—These CEOs understand that the climate strike represents the future.

Unfriendly Climate—We live in a society where elected officials without any scientific training or respect for science are allowed to make speeches and policy regarding science.  Why is it acceptable for someone to say, “I am not a scientist…” and then follow it with pseudo-scientific thought passed off as rigorous truth?

American Migration Patterns Should Terrify the GOP—Demographics may be destiny, but will that destiny get here before the radical GOP wrecks the country.

Renewable Energy to Overtake Natural Gas in the U.S. by 2035—2019 is the tipping point?  How do we accelerate the transition?  What is holding it back?

First National Platform for Renewable Energy Helps Consumers Slash Electric Bills up to 20%–Step by step renewable energy is becoming the default.  Energy exchange platforms allow for producers and consumers who are not linked physically to transact for available renewable energy.

It’s That Light Bulb Moment: Time For A Radical Rethink Of Power Generation Based On Renewables—It’s not radical, it’s rational.

Air Pollution Particles Found on Fetal Side of Placentas—We are now exposing our children to pollution before they ever draw a breath of air. We are doomed.

Monsanto’s Spies—This is the world we live in now.  Monsanto, a giant agri-chemical company, employs “spies” to discredit its critics.  These are the same critics who have had the temerity to question the safety of its products and the ethics of its business practices.

More Residents Turn to Solar Power as North Coast Faces Growing Threat of Wildfires, Blackouts—This is the future.  As centralized power generation becomes more expensive, less reliable, and non-existent in some cases individuals and communities will turn to locally produced energy.

Climate Change: Electrical Industry’s ‘Dirty Secret’ Boosts Warming—I have never heard of sulphur hexafluoride until this article.  How many “dirty secrets” of our modern world like this exist?

$1M a Minute: The Farming Subsidies Destroying the World—We, as a society, subsidize the very practices which are causing climate change.  Imagine, for a moment, if we deployed that level of subsidy toward practices that regenerate the environment and promote a better world.

Hormel, Kellogg’s Getting Into the Plant-Based Meat Business—Have we reached the tipping point for plant based meat alternatives?

Ireland Plans to Ban Single-Use Plastics—Here is why nothing short of bans work to eliminate things like single use plastics…people are really freaking lazy.

Colorado Plans to Abandon its Battle Against the Emerald Ash Borer—We have lost the war against this pest wherever it has been found.  The goal now must be to rebuild the forest, urban or otherwise, with a wide variety of tree species so that we never have a problem like this again.

The Air Force Spent More at Trump’s Scottish Resort than Originally Thought—It is just run of the mill government corruption.  I cannot wait for this to be over in January 2021.  Is it really more than a year away?

Why Don’t Americans Wear Helmets in the Shower?—It’s a silly question meant to spark a debate about helmet shaming.  Listen, I wear a helmet whenever I ride a bicycle because in America cars are out to kill you.  I live in an area with a lot of cyclists and the cars are still out to kill us.  I cannot imagine living somewhere with less of a cycling subculture.

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Friday Linkage 8/30/2019

It is my belief that the last couple of weeks represent the turning point in the Donald Trump era of American politics.  Between proclaiming himself to be the “chosen one,” blatantly violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution by promoting his janky resort as a host site for a future G7 summit, and in general being an incoherent gas bag this is where the vast majority of the American public realizes that our time in the dark valley is near an end.

Perhaps it is the same across the globe as Brazilians realize their current leader is a corrupt profiteer, as Italians wake up from their decades long dysfunction to recognize the threat posed by nationalists, and as the United Kingdom comes to grips with the political calculus of Boris Johnson’s coup via the Queen.

Nothing is complete nor can anything be taken for granted, but within the next eighteen months I believe that we can put down this ugly episode like the diseased dog that is has become.

On to the links…

We Now Have the Technology to Create a Grid of Cheap Fully Renewable Electricity—These are opinions being written for sites like Forbes, Marketwatch, and CNBC.  This is hardly the opinion of green eyed dreamers anymore.  The reality is that the future is possible and it is incumbent upon us to demand that it happen soon.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Issue Largest Clean Energy Procurement to Date; Aim to End Coal Use, Replace Oil—Hawaii, due to its remote island location, is the United States’ energy lab for the future.  When Hawaii goes 100% renewable it will provide the blueprint for the rest of the country and, by extension, the rest of the world.

Energy Lobbyists Changed Politicians’ Official Letters Supporting Gas Project—To get to the ideal future we are going to have to deal with the fact that legislators and regulators literally have fossil fuel lobbyists write the opinions on projects.  This is not politics.  This is corruption.

EPA Plans to Abandon Regulations on Methane Emissions, Reports Say—Industry is breaking with the Trump administration on this and other proposals because they realized that the backlash that is coming is going to be brutal.  It will be even more so due to the Trump administration’s brazen gutting of anything that even looks like it might be beneficial to the environment.  What incentive does a Democratic lead government have to help an industry that was so in bed with Trump?  None.  Furthermore, the logic the Trump administration is using to gut these regulations works in reverse so the change will be quick, fierce, and dramatic when change comes to the White House.

These Are the Cities That Should Be Worried the Most About Climate Change Disaster—Is it any surprise that Florida is at risk and not prepared?

Can Solar Panels Handle the Heat of a Warming World?—It is a valid question, but does it really matter in a world where we need to stop burning fossil fuels?

The $30 Billion Exodus: Foreign Oil Firms Bail on Canada—The “smart” money in the investment community is turning against oil and gas investments that are seen as vulnerable in a world where there is an emerging political consensus to keep the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground.

Coal Sector Outlook Drops from ‘Stable’ to ‘Negative’: Moody’s—Despite the Trump administration’s best efforts, which is really about the same as your kid putting all his toys under the bed when he “cleans” his room, coal is seen as a loser by people who actually have to put their money where their mouth is.

Australian Thermal Coal Exporters Warned of Falling Demand from India—India was the great hope of the Australian coal industry, but a softening global economy will reduce demand.

Offshore Oil and Gas Rigs Leak More Greenhouse Gas than Expected—The story about fossil fuel emissions is much more complex than just what is released when these fuels are burned to produce energy.  At every stage of production and consumption there is a contribution to the emissions of potent greenhouse gases.

The Surprisingly Great Idea in Bernie Sanders’s Green New Deal: Electric School Buses—Why is this not a standalone idea for all potential Democratic presidential candidates?  The benefits are well established and this could serve as a seed for a wider adoption of electric commercial vehicles.

‘World’s First’ Solar-Powered Rail Line Opens in the UK—I actually believe that there is a short line railroad in Australia that beat the Brits to the punch, but who is counting amongst friends?

This New York Agency Cut Its Energy Usage By 40%, & So Can You—Now, imagine a world where we took the initiative to reduce our energy usage by 40%.  It’s not hard and the tools exist.   All that is lacking is will.

How Copenhagen Plans to Reach Carbon-Neutral Status in Just Six Years—I applaud just about everything that happens in Copenhagen, but what I really want to know more about is this place:

Crazy Bike Lanes.jpg

Betting the Farm on Drought—As a group, farmers may lean toward conservative politics and not be great believers in the science behind climate change.  However, the reality on the ground is forcing farmers across the world to figure out what adaptions must be made in a changing climate.

Getting Coral To Reproduce—Is there going to be a time when the default question about music to get animals into the mood does not involve the smooth baritone of the late Barry White?

Friday Linkage 9/28/2012

Where did September go?  The fall color is going to be early and short lived because of the drought that gripped much of the Midwest during the spring and summer.  So, no beautiful reds, yellows, and oranges to ease us into winter.

The Iowa Hawkeyes gakked all over themselves en route to a 2-2 non-conference record in football.  So, we have very little to look forward to as Big 10 play begins this weekend with a visit from the Minnesota Golden Gophers.  Who, by the way, are 4-0 on the season and riding a 2 game win streak against the hapless Hawks.  Ugh.

Ahhh, but the weather has been pitch perfect the past week.  Warm days and cool nights.  The fleece is getting broken out and hot chocolate has made its way back onto the daily treat menu.  There are few more guilty pleasures than sneaking an extra marshmallow into my daughter’s hot cocoa.  I am a bad man.

On to the links…

Chipotle in Hot Salsa over Farm Workers’ Rights—I lead off with this because there is no reason that Chipotle should not do the right thing.  If freakin’ McDonald’s can do the right thing and sign on to the Fair Food Program, Chipotle can do so as well.  It already cultivates the image of a “better than the rest” chain, but it’s appalling lack of action on behalf of farm workers obliterates that illusion.

Dispatch from Ohio, Land of Public Markets and Urban Farms–When I read stories about public markets across the U.S. it really gives me hope that the about to open Newbo City Market in downtown Cedar Rapids will develop into one of those cornerstone type establishments.

What Does History Say About the Costs and Benefits of Environmental Regulation?—Just think about how much misinformation about the cost of environmental regulation has been spewed in the current election cycle.  Now, think about the historical trend.  In essence, as the infographic from the Environmental Defense Fund shows, industry lies about the cost by a great deal:

What Cuts to National Parks would Mean—The looming threat of sequestration and the trend of declining funding for the national park system has been brutal and promises to be catastrophic.  Somehow, Republicans can find it in their moral compass to support boondoggle military procurements (see F-35, Littoral Combat Ship, Future Combat Systems, and others too numerous to mention) and big subsidies for big oil, but the national parks are a bridge too far:

Republicans Claims Wind Tax Credits too Expensive after Voting for Big Oil Subsidies—I guess for Big Oil it pays to have friends in the right places.  Especially when your friends are hypocrites.  There is no other label to apply to congressional Republicans except for hypocrites because these clowns continually beat the drum of fiscal responsibility yet constantly rain largesse on oil companies and defense contractors.

Offshore Wind Turbines Could Power Entire Eastern U.S.—That’s right, the eastern U.S. could be powered entirely by offshore wind.  Okay, so it would take 140,000 offshore wind turbines but once those are installed the power is essentially free.  No coal, no nuclear, no natural gas…oh wait, Republicans wouldn’t like that.

Europe Accounts for 70% of Global PV—Pretty self-explanatory.  Europe is leading the way in installing solar photovoltaic power.  It’s not just the sunny Mediterranean countries either.  Germany is the leader.

How to Reclaim Our Seed Culture—It is one thing to be able to coax healthy produce from our gardens and farms, but our resilience depends on the ability to save seeds from one season to the next.  Too many modern plants are designed to not pass on genetic information from one generation to the next because it makes us reliant on seed companies.  This is unacceptable.

The Farm Life Draws New Blood—The honest work of agriculture appears to be an option for new college graduates and others who view traditional corporate careers with a jaundiced eye.  The world would be a better place if more people actually saw the value in the work that grows our food.

Why do We Eat so Much Tuna—Basically, it does not taste much like fish.  In the U.S. we like to eat a lot of foods as long as they all taste like bland white meat.  Even our chicken does not taste like chicken.  It tastes like bland white meat.  It’s why I have never understood the aversion to tofu by most people.  If you eat a commercial broiler in the U.S. you might as well eat firm tofu because the taste and texture is about the same.

Your Dust Bunnies are Likely Toxic—Great, now the dust in my house is not only annoying but also potentially toxic.  I feel a little better about my situation because we avoid the nasty chemicals meant to help you dust and I am freak about wiping things down with a microfiber cloth.  Still…

Long Bike Rides are a Journey for the Mind—There is something to the rhythmic cadence of pedaling down a lonely road that refreshes and reinvigorates like nothing else.  I think this is what separates cyclists from non-cyclists.

Post-Apocalyptic Lego Homestead

On a random walk through the Internet, I somehow stumbled across the Lego model for a post-apocalyptic home:

Is this the vision for the world after the apocalypse—zombie, religious, or otherwise—or is it the vision for how we will live in a world ravaged by climate change—an apocalypse of a sort I guess?

A lot of the items that make this house seem like part of a ravaged world are the same things that can make a house self-sufficient and resilient today.  Alternative energy?  Check, although I would think that solar thermal and photovoltaic panels would be a better choice for most locations.  However, as the folks over at Otherpower have shown a wind turbine can be made out of pretty simple materials.  Small scale livestock?  Check, nothing is better at turning scraps into both fertilizer and calories like a pig or flock of chickens.  Rain barrels?  Check, gotta’ make sure that you can wait out a dry spell like we are dealing with right now across much of the U.S.

Heck, there even seems to be a rooftop garden:

I am glad to see that a bicycle was included.  One thing that always chaps me about any post-apocalypse or peak oil story is the sudden resurgence of horses and the complete lack of bicycles.  Really?  In my neighborhood I do not know of one horse, but I can probably put my hands on at least a dozen bicycles between me and my neighbors.  Heck, I have three well-maintained adult sized bikes in my own garage.  Bicycles represent fuel free—aside from the calories burnt by human motive power—transportation devices.

I guess that is too much of a hippie vision for people to accept.

If you want to see the entire gallery, check it out here.