Tag Archives: prairie

Friday Linkage 3/27/2020

Please stay safe out there.

If you do not have to go out, do not go out.

Wash your damn hands.

Hold your family members tight, call your parents, and remember what is important.

Also, turn off the news.  Listening to these people talk all day long is not doing anyone any favors right now.  Our collective mental health depends upon it.

On to the links…

‘Nature is taking back Venice’: Wildlife Returns to Tourist-Free City—Nature will find a way, right?  Your move Mr. Goldblum.

With Humans in Lockdown, Animals Flourish—I was so hoping that the drunken elephants story was true.

One Root Cause of Pandemics Few People Think About—The market’s desire for meat drives companies to throw caution to the wind and raise ever increasing numbers of animals within close proximity of one another where diseases can spread.  A quick hop, skip, and jump away to humans is all it takes to put us into the situation we find ourselves in today.

How Will The Coronavirus Affect Energy Use In America?—Will there be any long-term systematic changes or will things bounce back to pre-COVID-19 norms?

Why Rich People Use so Much More Energy—If there is one thing that COVID-19 is going to show us it is that the frivolous travel of the richest portion of the global population is unnecessary and indefensible.

Four Federal Policies Could Help Offshore Wind Jump Start Our Coronavirus Economic Recovery—Who wants to make a bet that rather than looking forward Donald Trump and his cronies in the U.S. Senate will propose policies that benefit fossil fuels?  Furthermore, these policy proposals will be framed as the path to get America out of the forthcoming recession.  Takers?

Big Wins Expected for Offshore Wind Over Next Decade—We can hope so.  Imagine thousands of megawatts of offshore wind just miles away from the large population of the eastern seaboard?

The $638 Billion Cost Of Keeping Coal Alive—If you are in charge of a utility that is building coal fired electrical capacity you are costing your ratepayers money.  This situation will only get worse as communities reject coal fired power plants because of pollution and climate change impacts.

Wyoming Coal Interests Funneled Money, Experts to Influence Colorado PUC Decision on Closing Parts of Pueblo Plant—Nothing like a lot of out of state money flooding in to influence an issue and still failing.  Wyoming has to try everything it can to keep coal viable because the state’s economy is so dependent upon coal mining.  Without coal Wyoming is West Virginia with better skiing.

Siemens Receives First Order For Battery-Powered Trains—The idea here is not to have the entire journey be conducted on battery power alone, but to use the battery as a bridge between electrified sections of track.

The Pros and Cons of Planting Trees to Address Global Warming—I understand the idea of balance in reporting, but do we really see a lot of downsides to planting a lot trees?  Furthermore, are those downsides really all that bad?

How will Tree Planting Help the UK meet its Climate Goals?—Mistakes will be made and the end result may not be as carbon “negative” as projected, but what is the real downside to trying if the right species of tree is planted in the right ecosystem?

A Vision for Agriculture—We know how to raise animals in a way that does not poison our air, land, and water.  It is not a question of knowledge, but one of will.

Dentists Under Pressure to Drill ‘Healthy Teeth’ for Profit, Former Insiders Allege—As if COVID-19 has not shown the flaws in America’s for profit health system perhaps you need a reminder why it is not a good idea to have private equity or hedge funds determining care plans.

Friday Linkage 11/1/2013

I feel like I am finally getting back to a sense of normal after two months of crazy.  The next couple of weeks should bring some good project notes on some things that I have been working on and a plethora of beer related musings.  In recent weeks I have bottled a couple of batches, brewed another, and planned trips to several breweries within the region.  Good things are coming.

On to the links…

Surly Brewing Breaks Ground on New Brewery—Why is this the lead link?  Because the brewery is going to quadruple annual capacity bringing hope to those of us not living in the Twin Cities that Coffee Bender might make a trip to our environs.

Annie Leonard Shows us How to Solve Our Problems—I just love the simple and impactful way that these “sketchboard” videos lay out issues that are sometimes very difficult to process in a meaningful way.  Take a few minutes and watch with intent.  When you are done watch the Story of Stuff as well.

Shutdown Of National Parks Cost $30 Million In Just One State—It is a damn shame that anyone has to argue about the value of the National Parks.  At least the recent government shutdown highlighted the value that these parks possess.  Now, if anyone on the right actually learns the lesson it will be a miracle.

Vision of Prairie Paradise Troubles Some Montana Ranchers—When the Poppers proposed the “Buffalo Commons” many years ago a lot of people laughed the idea off as east coast elite nonsense.  It looks like the folks behind the American Prairie Reserve did not think it was such a silly idea.

Why You Should Care About Everglades Restoration—It’s hard to love a swamp and it’s even harder love Florida.  But, the ecosystem of the Everglades is very important and its restoration could be a harbinger of common sense for a state devoid of it, in general.

Natural Allies for the Next Sandy—In the future, we are going to have to consider every solution to ensuring our communities are protected from super storms.  These storms will become more common and more intense.  Bet on it.

Over 100 North Dakota Oil Spills went Unreported—The dark side of the oil boom in North Dakota is seeping out story by story, day by day.  None of it is really good.  Now we know that the safety record of these companies is pretty piss poor.  Are these the same people you want in charge of a pipeline bringing sludge from Canada across the American heartland down to Texas?  Did not think so.

Want to Stop Hunger? Shift the Food Industry to Plant Based Foods—As the ecological and economic impacts of our rampant meat eating become more and more apparent, a movement is going to grow that treats such wanton consumption with the same contempt that we have for smoking.  A guy can hope right?

Should You Eat Chicken?—Mark Bittman nails the problem on the head with the simple statement that the issue with the food system is that “We care more about industry than we do about consumers.”  In this light, decisions made by regulators make sense.  A speed up of processing lines?  Sure, why not, we’ll just tell people to cook their chicken until it resembles a Duplo block to ensure no contamination.  We should not have to handle our food like it is hazardous waste.

Organic Crusader Wants Food Labels to Spell it Out—Ronnie Cummins and the Organic Consumers Association, a Minnesota based advocacy group, have been a key player in the push to have labels that tell the consumer if genetically modified ingredients have been used.  Voters in Washington will go to the polls soon to decide the fate of a labeling measure similar to the measure that failed in California recently.

F.D.A. Finds 12% of U.S. Spice Imports Contaminated—Now it looks like the spices that we import from overseas are contaminated and adulterated at a rate that is twice that of other food contamination.  Like was said in Fast Food Nation, there’s shit in our meat.

Watchdog Warns Of ‘Dirty Dozen’ Hormone Disruptors As Scientists, Industry Argue Regulation—I remember when talking about ensuring your child had BPA free bottles was just “hippie talk.”  My search for glass bottles was treated like some kind of project in Wicca or dark arts.  Now labels proudly proclaim the chemical is not present.  Too bad these endocrine disruptors are everywhere.

Should You Be Afraid Of Your Smart Meter?—Add smart meters to the things that might be potentially dangerous.  More and more I want to live some kind of neo-Luddite, off-grid existence.

What Is Coffee’s Carbon Footprint?—I am a coffee person.  Over the years I have reduced my Starbucks habit to about once per month as a treat with my daughter, but my mornings always begin with a cup of coffee from the Aeropress.  Reading about the carbon footprint is just a buzzkill.

WalMart has More Solar Capacity than 38 States—Granted, in terms of economic size, WalMart is bigger than most states as well.  The thing that gets me is that not every roof in America is being measured for panels like the store in this picture.  When flying into Chicago’s O’Hare Airport I was struck by the acres of flat and low sloping warehouse roofs that I could see from the window of the airplane.  So much acreage that could host solar panels.

As Solar Takes Off, Utilities Fight Back in Australia—This is getting to be a common refrain.  As solar becomes more accessible, utilities see a threat to their business model.  Fighting tooth and nail they delay progress on a truly transformative power generation method.  It’s all about control.

2013 to be Record Year for Offshore Wind—The lack of progress on U.S. offshore wind hides the fact that nations around the world are making it happen.  Although the total amount installed is low compared with what is deployed on land, a growth rate of 40% per year is very sporty.  Also, offshore wind allows wind power to be deployed closer to clusters of population that need renewable energy.

Portland Swaps 163 Parking Spots for 1,644 Bike Spots—The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland.  The thing that blows me away about car parking is how much space we devote to our cars being stationary.  At my place of employment the new cubicles for employees are less than half the size of the average parking spot at the same company.  What is truly valued?

Friday Linkage 8/12/2011

Perfect summer week in Iowa.  The daily temperature stayed below 85, the sun was shining, and the sky was blue as far as the eye could see.  At night the mercury would drop to the low-60s and the sleeping was good.  Even the endless fields of corn destined for feed lots and ethanol plants are beautiful in some way.  On to the links…

Build Your Own Seltzer Maker—I make my own seltzer water at home using a Sodastream machine, but the C02 cartridges are somewhat expensive for the amount of carbonation provided.  I have thought about ordering a modification kit from Co2 Doctor.  Now, an article on Etsy shows how to bypass all of that and craft a system from commonly available parts.  Why do I feel a trip to Menard’s coming up?

Oregon Joins Fight Against Shark Finning—As I have linked to in the past, several states have taken action against this brutal practice and even the federal government has taken action.  Oregon has now joined Washington and Hawaii that ban the sale, trade, and possession of shark fins.  A similar bill has passed the California Assembly, but has yet to clear that state’s Senate.  There is no reason that sharks should be killed just to harvest their fins in order for people to enjoy a delicacy.  It is barbaric and anachronistic.

Yards Can Go Au Natural in Minneapolis—A movement is growing in Minneapolis and the surrounding suburbs to allow for lawns, those unnatural expanses of invasive grass that require too much water and too many chemicals, to exist in a more natural state.  Imagine a suburb where the weekend hum of lawnmowers and the fear of chemical exposure were replaced with silence and native plants.

Which Composting Method is Best for You—My love of the infographic is well documented.  This little dandy from WellHome, cross posted on Treehugger, runs down the options for composting at home.  My first priority before next year’s gardening season starts is to site my new compost bins.  Since moving in November I have been without.  At least Cedar Rapids has municipal composting so my green waste does not end up in the landfill. 

Six Reasons Every Garden Should Have a Pond—I have thought about putting a pond in my landscape at two previous houses and again at my current house.  What has stopped me is a general laziness for cleaning out anything wet.  Nothing ruins a spring day like spending a few hours on a ladder cleaning leaf debris out of gutters.  At least the goop makes for a good addition to the compost pile.  Here is a rundown of some good reasons I should overcome my slacker attitude and get digging.