Tag Archives: microplastics

Friday Linkage 5/8/2020

Where do we go from here?

If you are a Trumplican, it is time to reopen everything.  Consequences be damned!  The economy is worth more than any single life.

Isn’t it ironic that the political party that supposedly defends the sanctity of the life of innocents—at least until these lives are out of the womb and require any sort of assistance—is the same party telling people that there is an acceptable level of death in order to make sure the stock market rebounds.  If you thought the money changers were a bad sort these people are historically awful.

The election is just six months away and I cannot fathom how people could vote for Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell or Joni Ernst or any other member of the Republican death cult.  However, no matter what these people do there is a core of the American population that will not abandon them regardless of how bad things get.

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

‘There’s a sense that celebrities are irrelevant’: Has Coronavirus Shattered Our Fame Obsession?—We can hope that people stop caring about Kardashians or, gasp, Trumps when this is all over.  Our obsession with celebrity is one of the things that got us into this mess.  When you elect a failed reality television star to lead your country expect the result to be like a failed reality television show.

Local: A Glimmer of Hope for a Post-Pandemic World—I think there is a blueprint here in hyper local craft beer.  These are brewers who sell almost exclusively through their taprooms to their immediate communities eschewing the rate race of commercial accounts and package beer.  Now apply that to a restaurant or a salon.  Imagine the city of the future is really just a series of mashed up little villages.

Need More Outdoor Public Space? Maybe Cities Already Have It.—Golf courses.  Never has so much land been allocated to such a small sliver of the population.  God help you if you consider closing a golf course as visor clad retirees will fill a meeting and yell about access.  As if they were toddling over on foot to play a round.

The Oil Execs on Trump’s “Opening the Country” Council Are Major GOP Donors—He really is the best president that money can buy because he does not care about anything else.  Except for Kentucky Fried Chicken.  The man loves fried chicken.

How Working From Home Will Impact Oil Demand Forever—Even if we do not stay at massive levels of working from home in the future, I have to believe that something structural has changed in our work culture that will allow us to break the daily commute cycle that drives so much demand for energy.

False Solutions to Climate Change: Transportation—If the current crisis has shown us anything it is that maybe there is a way forward where we just drive and fly less.  Fewer miles driven means fewer miles of roads are needed.  And the virtuous cycle continues.

London Looking to Increase Cycling Tenfold after the Coronavirus—The humble bicycle will be our salvation.

The US Wind Industry Installed over 1,800 Megawatts in First Quarter, but the Coronavirus Remains a Risk—Every clean, green megawatt is a good thing.  If we can keep our demand lower these wind megawatts will replace dirty coal megawatts.

Looming Coal and Nuclear Plant Closures Put ‘Just Transition’ Concept to the Test—We are getting to the point in the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables where we are forced to reckon with the economic/social impact of plant closures and the ripple effects through an energy economy.  This is a good problem to have to solve.

City of Houston Surprises: 100% Renewable Electricity — $65 Million in Savings in 7 Years—Houston, the beating heart of the American fossil fuel industry, is a surprisingly progressive place.  Of course, saving millions of dollars will turn even the crustiest wildcatter into a greenie.

Microplastics Found in Greater Quantities than Ever before on Seabed—We will be known as the plastic age when generations of the future dig up the layers of garbage we have left behind.

Bioplastics Developer Raises $133 Million in New Funding in Quest to Replace Single-Use Plastics—I have learned not to get my hopes up when it comes to bioplastic.  Most bioplastic innovations are just ways for the plastic industry to push more plastic into the waste stream at the expense of doing something truly beneficial.

Cutting U.S. Meat Consumption by Half would Reduce Dietary Emissions by 35% within Decade—As the public learns just how brutal the meat packing industry is in America in 2020 maybe we can stop blindly buying cellophane wrapped packages of steaks for the grill.  Each purchase perpetuates a system that debases humans, tortures animals, and is bad for the planet.

Your Perfect Green Lawn Is a Buzz Kill—As I sit here typing I can see a lawn care company applying chemicals to a neighbors lawn in a hopeless attempt to turn a crappy lawn into a green carpet.  The problem is that the underlying soil is junk, but my neighbor has no desire to put in the hard work to rejuvenate the soil.  He just wants to spray some chemicals and hope for the best.  The lawn care industry is only too happy to take his money.

Pakistan Turns Unemployed Workers into Tree Planters—Why can’t we do this in the United States?  Hire people in rural communities to plant trees in burnt over areas.  It’s jobs and climate change mitigation all in one.

Friday Linkage 4/19/2019

Easter is such a strange holiday in the United States.  It is, ostensibly, a religious holiday for Christians but it is also a non-denominational consumption opportunity.  There is nothing Christian about dying eggs, eating candy, and buying pastel colored crap.

And what is up with having a family dinner centered on ham for Easter?

On to the links…

A Shocking Discovery Shows Just How Far Wind Can Carry Microplastics—The planet is our wastebasket for plastic.  It is everywhere.

This Scientist Thinks She has the Key to Curb Climate Change: Super Plants—This may be our only hope and at the same time it may be our undoing.

Lack of Demand Hasn’t Stopped Trump from Opening Tons of Land to Oil and Gas Drilling—Fossil fuel interests are treating the Trump administration like the last orgy before everyone finds religion.  It does not matter what the oil and gas interests want, Trump will give it to them.

How a Single Sentence in a Colorado Bill Could Pump the Brakes on the Fracking Boom—Imagine governments being told to regulate rather than foster oil and gas development.  As if there was any other purpose to government besides making money for fossil fuel companies.

Global Economy Would Save up to $160 trillion by Shifting to Renewables, Electric Cars—Here is a punch line for everyone to remember: Invest a dollar in renewables, get seven in return.

California’s Solar Power Record Setting Season is Here—This chart is amazing:

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That is a whole lot of solar.  What surprises me is solar’s “shoulders” in terms of its ability to generate a lot of power.  It does not peak and decline.  It peaks and stays.  This is the future.

How Coal-Killing Solar Panels Can Help US Farmers—Let’s have a real discussion here.  Besides coal, who does not benefit from more deployment of solar?  This is why, even with the most rabid anti-renewable energy administration in the White House, people are still installing solar.  It just makes sense.

Republicans Push Anti-Wind Bills in Several States as Renewables Grow Increasingly Popular—This is your modern day Republican party fighting against stuff that a majority of people like because a small coterie of wealthy donors and a reactionary base are what fuels its policy decisions.

Plummeting Battery Prices to Make Electric Cars Cheaper than Gas Cars in 3 Years—Like solar before it, the cost of electrical vehicles is dropping by a lot.  Now parity with gas cars is three years away.

US Electric Car Registrations Doubled Between 2017 and 2018—Most of the increase was in California, but a doubling is still a big deal.  I think the bigger problem for states not named California is that dealers are reluctant to embrace electric vehicles.  Trust me, when I bought a used Nissan Leaf it was like pulling teeth at the dealership.

Amazon says it’s a Leader on Fighting Climate Change. 5,000 Employees Disagree.—No business that sends a single order of five things to your house in five boxes can be a leader on climate change.  Amazon is part of the problem, not the solution.

The Hidden Horror of Hudson Yards Is How It Was Financed—Hudson Yards is an architectural monstrosity that was constructed for the lowest price per square foot.  Even worse is that it was financed by the lies of the EB5 visa program.

Hormel Admits Natural Choice Meats Aren’t Very Natural—The term “natural” means jack shit nothing when it comes to food labeling.

A 30-year Harvard Study Reveals the 5 Simple Habits that May Prolong Your Life by 10 Years or More—Are we really shocked to learn that these habits will help us live longer?

Breckenridge Tourist Walking Dog Injured After 10 Minute Standoff With A Moose—I may get a chuckle out of the signs warning skiers about moose on the trails, but these giants are no laughing matter.

Friday Linkage 7/27/2018

I want to wake up and think that today is going to be a good day, but with the current state of affairs in American politics I wonder if that is ever possible anymore.

Do you remember a time when the talking heads on Fox News would bloviate about how Barack Obama wore a tan suit or put his feet up on the desk in his own office?  Yep, it happened.  Where is Sean Hannity’s outrage now that the current occupant is a thrice divorced serial philanderer who has paid off multiple women to keep the stories about their affairs quiet prior to an election?  Where is Sean Hannity’s outrage now that the head cheese puff is literally taking the side of a Russian dictator over the intelligence agencies of the United States?  Where is…oh, fuck it, we’re screwed.

On to the links…

POW Wants Skiers to Become Effective Climate Advocates—I am a member of Protect Our Winters because I fear that my generation will be the last to remember real winters where it got cold and snowed.  If we want our children to be able to play in the snow it is essential that we act in this time of national environmental disgrace.

The Teenagers Fighting for Climate Justice—As the right wing gets older, whiter, and closer to death these kids—now I sound old—are the future of our politics.  Republicans are going to have to reckon with multiple generations of people that they have screwed over for the benefit of the Baby Boomers.

Fossil Fuel Industries Outspend Clean Energy Advocates on Climate Lobbying by 10 to 1—Do you want to know why Exxon Mobil wins in Washington D.C. every time?  Dollars.

Accidentally-Released Documents Show Interior Agency Prioritized Industry Over Public Lands—Why did national monuments get shrunk by Donald Trump?  For the oil, gas, and mining industries to take advantage of our public lands.

Trump Administration to Stop Collecting Money from Companies that Damage Public Lands—Not only are these companies getting a sweetheart deal on leases on public land, but now they will not have to worry about paying for the cleanup.  This administration is officially worse than that of Warren G. Harding.

Most Americans support the Endangered Species Act—People like these environmental rules.  You know who does not like these rules?  Rich people who run companies that benefit other rich people.  You know who is going to win out on this issue?  The rich guys.  Always bet on the rich guys to win in Washington D.C.

This Is Why Lawmakers Want to Gut the Endangered Species Act—It is my contention that a lot of these interests see the intersection of this current Congress and Donald Trump as the last time in a generation when their policy prescriptions will find traction.  They are trying to get while the getting is good, so to speak.

Trump Wants to Weaken Coal Miner Protections as Black Lung Disease Makes a Comeback—Trump loves coal miners so much he wants to make it easier for them to get black lung, harder for them to get treatment for black lung, and probably wants coal miners to thank him for all of his “help.”

Scandals Pile Up For Interior Chief Ryan Zinke—Ryan Zinke is no Scott Pruitt, but he probably now holds the mantle for Trump’s most scandal plagued cabinet member.  Remember, this guy thinks he has a chance to become President of the United States in a few years.  Oh wait, given the current occupant I would not be surprised to hear that Paul Reubens thinks he has a shot as well.

Trump’s Plan to Revoke California’s Car Pollution Waiver makes a Mockery of Conservative Principles—Just stop at “Trump makes a mockery” and you will be fine most of the time.  Seriously, Republicans only care about states’ rights when it refers to abortion.  Everything else falls under the federal purview.  I do look forward to this court battle because it will place a lot of people at odd angles to each other.

The Billion Tree Project In Pakistan Is A Success—Given the current wildfire situation in the western U.S. I have to wonder if there is a place in our national discussion about a massive effort to reforest degraded landscapes.  Let’s see, it would bring jobs to rural areas and improve the environment.  It would provide long term benefits for important watersheds and help mitigate the impacts of climate change.  Yeah, it’s got no chance.

China Made Solar Panels Cheap. Now it’s Doing the Same for Electric Buses.—Do you remember when seeing a house or building with solar panels was rare?  Now, it is common.  Get ready for the same thing to be true with electric buses.

What Other States Can Learn from California’s Solar Mandate—I do not think we should worry about pushing small scale distributed rooftop solar onto residential roofs until every warehouse, big box store, and parking lot is covered in solar panels.  If you want to put panels on your house’s roof like me, make that choice, but the effort should be going into the big roofs first.

Climate Change May Cause 26,000 More U.S. Suicides by 2050—Well, isn’t that an uplifting headline.

How to Fight the Actual Source of Ocean Garbage (Which Isn’t Straws)—I bet if you asked one hundred people what the major source of ocean pollution is that not one of those one hundred would name abandoned fishing gear.  Demand change.

Microplastics Are Invisible, Scary, and Everywhere—The archaeological record of this late stage of our civilization will record us being the “plastic people.”  Someone or something will dig up our remains and wonder what our obsession was with plastic.

Disney to Eliminate Use of Plastic Straws by Mid-2019, Other Single Use Products to Follow Suit in the Coming Years—Straws are one thing, but the other single use plastics are the things that get me.  We need to eliminate disposable plastics across our consumption patterns.

What Does It Take to Make a Decent Paper Straw?—Now that more and more places are foregoing the plastic straw you are going to have to become used to what makes a good paper straw and what is just cheap, imported crap.