Tom Brady supports Donald Trump. Peyton Manning is starring on the field as a weaker armed version of the Hall of Fame quarterback. Jay Cutler is doing Jay Cutler things again in Chicago. You could say that I spent some time this last week watching football and just plain zoning out. Go Hawks!
On to the links…
How Much Of Your Retirement Fund Is Tied Up In Fossil Fuels? Now, You Can Find Out.—A person’s 401k will be one of the two largest investments in a portfolio, with a home being the only competitor. How much of that money is going to support fossil fuel interests?
Half Of California’s Electricity Will Come From Renewable Energy In 15 Years—California passed a major climate change related bill recently. Although it was watered down by fossil fuel interests at the last minute there is still a lot of good things in the legislation.
A Third American City Is Now Running Entirely On Renewable Energy—It is still one the most pretentious ski towns in the world—go Steamboat Springs!—but it is now 100% fueled by renewables. There is a lot of marketing involved in the effort, but it is commendable nonetheless.
Meet the New National Geographic and Weep—The same people who bring you the sheer horror that is Fox & Friends will be the same people who publish one of the most amazing magazines in world history. Rupert Murdoch ruins everything that he touches and National Geographic will be no different.
AB InBev plans takeover bid for SABMiller—You want to talk about mega-merger. This is it. Nine of the world’s twenty largest breweries would be controlled by a single entity. Now, a lot of that volume would be made up of junk macro beer that has seen flat to declining sales for the past decade. So, maybe this is a doubling down on a losing bet hoping for a nag to come through.
National Grid CEO: Large Power Stations For Baseload Power Is Outdated—The distributed model—think the internet—has supplanted the traditional centralized model of most industries save for electrical power generation.
Siemens Looks Toward Next-Generation 10–20 MW Wind Turbines—Think about a 10 to 20 MW wind turbine for a moment. At the mid-range it could be the equivalent of 10 GE 1.5 MW turbines that dot the American landscape. Wow!
The Palm Oil Plantations Powering Communities and Tackling Climate Change—Why aren’t all large scale agricultural operations taking such a holistic approach to their energy use and lifecycle? The number that got me was reducing the diesel use from 2.8 million liters per year to under 500,000 liters per year.
10 Ways to Get Rid of That Awful Smell in Your Kitchen Sink—If you cook a lot in your home you are quite familiar with the strange odors that can come from the disposal drain in the kitchen sink. I use a combination of Dr. Bronner’s peppermint liquid soap and hot water. It takes care of any funk lickety split.
8 Things to Never Bring into Your Home—We are always looking for those quick hit things to make our homes a little bit greener. Here are eight easy things to avoid.
25 Things you Should Start Adding to your Compost Pile—How many of these things do you throw away that could be put into the compost?
This Southern State Made A Big Commitment To Start Teaching About Climate Change—Welcome to the modern age Alabama. Roll tide!
These Two Genius Tricks to Improve School Food Have Nothing to Do With What’s for Lunch—Simple and cost effective. These are the changes that we can make on the local level that will really impact our children’s lives.
Posted in Linkage
Tagged AB-InBev, Alabama, aspen, beer, climate change, Climate Progress, compost, Fox News, kitchen, linkage, links, merger, National Geographic, palm oil, renewable energy, Rupert Murdoch, SABMiller, Siemens, Think Progress, Treehugger, wind turbine
If you workplace is anything like mine then people are still attached to getting their daily news on dead trees. Every morning stacks of newspapers are dropped off for distribution. I do not know what the business model of the Wall Street Journal is but those guys drop off at least one extra stack of newspapers every day. How do I know? Because the stack is moved beside the large recycling bins without ever getting cut from its binding.
What a waste! Now, you could argue that even printing the Wall Street Journal was a waste considering it is part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire and I will stand you that opinion. I thought there had to be a better use for these dead trees besides straight up recycling.
Enter the compost pile. A lot of people who compost will have no trouble ensuring the right mix of carbon and nitrogen in their pile—the sacred mix of brown and green that you hear compost cognoscenti speak about—but I lack some of the best sources of carbon rich material, namely fallen leaves. Living in a house that is less than five years old means that my trees are also less than five years old and do not drop a lot of leaf litter.
Newspaper is carbon rich, but you do not want to just throw sheets of the latest business gossip into you pile because the material will become a matted and soggy mess. I use the paper shredder that we have in the home office to turn sheet after sheet of newspaper into perfect little crosscut confetti that is perfect for mixing into the pile:
You have to be careful to really mix the newspaper in because I can form balls of mushy pulp even in a finely shredded form. The stuff will break down eventually, but the process will be slowed considerably. This is true, however, for just about anything in your compost pile. The larger the pieces, the longer the wait for rot.
By the way, those are torn up pieces of pizza boxes mixed in with the paper. The greasy cardboard is not acceptable for our curbside recycling, so I separate the panels that are not greasy–usually the top of the box–and tear up the rest for composting. Although most compost guides tell you not to compost oils and dairy I have never had a problem with rodents or other animals getting into my bin for those tasty morsels.
I have two compost bins set up in my yard. My plan is to fill one up and have it “percolate” for a period of time so that I can have a bin full of rich compost for revitalizing my yard’s soil come spring. The picture above is from the bin that I am going to let sit all summer and rot. The alternating bin will be the active dump for the year. Come spring 2014 my hope is that I can sift the compost from the one bin and use it as the active dump while the previous season’s active dump “percolates.”
One of the amazing things about the compost pile is how much the freeze/thaw cycle breaks down the material. Before the winter, this bin was probably two-thirds or more filled with primarily kitchen waste. It was less than half full when I mixed in a bucket of shredded newspaper. Nature is amazing.
Posted in Gardening, Household
Tagged brown, carbon, coffee grounds, compost, confetti, crosscut, fertilizer, food waste, garden, Green, landscaping, nature, newspaper, nitrogen, recycle, rot, Rupert Murdoch, shredder, trees, Wall Street Journal, yard
Don’t know what happened last week, but the links from 7/15 were published yesterday. Probably an artifact of the heat affecting my brain.
It has been nothing short of brutal here in Iowa this week. The heat wave that is broiling most of the middle of the United States has really settled in and everyone is getting a little squirrely. Heat index readings in excess of 110 degrees will do that to people. I guess now would be a bad time to ask Congress to think about taking up a bill tackling climate change. Clowns.
A Way to Save America’s Bees—The decline of the honeybee population in the United States is well documented even if the causes are not. Solutions have been proposed, but the answer posited by this article is elegant in its simplicity: let rangelands serve as vast homes for pollinators. Interesting.
Midwest Economy Would Get Boost From Clean Energy Investment—I file these sort of studies under the “Duh!” category because it seems so simple. Maybe I am jaded by seeing wind farms being constructed in Iowa and knowing people who work in facilities across the state producing components for these very same farms.
Conservative Media Misled Light Bulb Consumers—t has been a bad week for Rupert Murdoch and his media empire. Considering that the repeal of new light bulb efficiency standards is a dead letter in the Senate and it would not get past President Obama’s veto pen there is little threat. However, the case illustrates the lengths that conservative media will go to in order to demonize anyone who disagrees even tangentially with their worldview. Too bad for them most of the world disagrees with their worldview. This cartoon nails it:
MediaMatters also has a great mash-up of Fox News personalities—I hesitate to call them journalists or anything dignified—in full demagogue mode about the specter of energy efficient light bulbs.
Plastic: the good, the bad, and the ugly—Mike Sanclements spent the past two weeks trying to purge plastic from his life. No easy task. In the end, I think his assessment of plastics falling into three categories is totally spot on. Too often, we demonize plastic in general rather than focusing purely on the disposable or single use plastics that are truly evil.
Car Makers Oppose Fuel Standards—Never mind the future savings for consumers, how about the fact that the U.S. taxpayer is the one who bailed out the auto industry thus enabling GM and Chrysler to even be standing here today. My bad, it’s necessary for a giant corporation to get a handout but when it comes to saving consumers money it’s a government overreach.
Soap Harmful to Teens—Soap containing a pesticide…who thought this was a good idea? Apparently the geniuses at Bath & Body Works, that emporium of infinite scent variety, thought that it would be grand to include triclosan in one of its summer varietals. Never mind that triclosan does not make the soap more effective than just regular soap and water. Or, that triclosan can act as a hormone disruptor.
Posted in Linkage
Tagged Bath & Body Works, CAFE, colony collapse disorder, fuel standards, green jobs, honeybees, hormone disruptor, light bulbs, News Corporation, plastic, pollinators, recycle, reduce, reuse, Rupert Murdoch, Think Progress, triclosan