More doom reality:
Bottled Water Sales: The Shocking Reality
The Beverage Marketing Corporation, which tracks sales and consumption of beverages, is reporting that sales of bottled water grew nearly 7 percent between 2011 and 2012, with consumption reaching a staggering 30.8 gallons per person.
Despite having one of the best municipal tap water systems in the world, American consumers are flocking to commercial bottled water, which costs thousands of times more per gallon. Why? Four reasons:
- First, we have been bombarded with advertisements that claim that our tap water is unsafe, or that bottled water is safer, healthier, and more hip, often with celebrity endorsements. (Thanks a lot, Jennifer.)
- Second, public drinking water fountains have become increasingly hard to find. And the ones that exist are not being adequately maintained by our communities.
- Third, people are increasingly fearful of our tap water, hearing stories about contamination, new chemicals that our treatment systems aren’t designed to remove, or occasional failures of infrastructure that isn’t being adequately maintained or improved.
- Fourth, some people don’t like the taste of their tap water, or think they don’t.
Some people, including the bottled water industry, argue that drinking bottled water is better than drinking soft drinks. I agree. But that’s not what’s happening. The vast increase in bottled water sales have largely come at the expense of tap water, not soft drinks. And even if we pushed (as we should) to replace carbonated soft drinks with water, it should be tap water, not expensive bottled water.
This industry has very successfully turned a public resource into a private commodity.
Plants Flower Nearly a Month Earlier Than They Did A Century Ago
Compared to extreme drought, blistering heat, massive wildfires and tropical cyclones, the latest indicator of climate change is unexpectedly attractive: early spring flowers. According to a study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, unusually warm spring weather in 2010 and 2012 at a pair of notable sites in the eastern U.S. led to the earliest spring flowering times on record—earlier than any other time in the last 161 years.
The researchers involved, from Boston University, the University of Wisconsin and Harvard, examined the flowers at two sites well-known for their roles in the early environmental movement: Walden Pond, where Henry David Thoreau started keeping flowering records back in 1852, and Dane County, Wisc., where Aldo Leopold first recorded flowering data in 1935.
“We were amazed that wildflowers in Concord flowered almost a month earlier in 2012 than they did in Thoreau’s time or any other recent year, and it turns out the same phenomenon was happening in Wisconsin where Aldo Leopold was recording flowering times,” lead author Elizabeth Ellwood of Boston University said in a statement. “Our data shows that plants keep shifting their flowering times ever earlier as the climate continues to warm.”
In Massachusetts, the team studied 32 native spring flowering plant species—such as wild columbine, marsh marigold and pink lady slipper—for which average flowering dates had been fairly well-documented between Thoreau’s time and our own. They found that the plants’ flowering dates had steadily moved earlier as temperatures increased—Thoreau saw them flower on May 15, while they flowered on April 25 and 24 in 2010 and 2012, respectively. In the two years studied, 27 of the 32 species had their earliest flowering date ever…
Read more: SmithsonianMag
[Images: Chris Hadfield/NASA]
In a move surely designed to side-step Congress, Obama’s Council on Environmental Quality issued instructions to all federal agencies on how to adapt to climate change. All agencies, from the Food and Drug Administration to the Department of Defense, will be required to analyze their vulnerabilities to the impacts from climate change and come up with a plan to adapt. Thousands of governmental employees will be trained on climate science, like it or not.
The changes aren’t limited to just federal agencies. Countless numbers of private businesses that sell, build, provide logistics or maintenance, or anything else to the government will be forced to comply with new Federal climate adaptation guidelines—all because of Presidential Executive Order 13514.
How far reaching is this adaptation action? The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is holding a training and workshop conference on Obama’s Executive Order in May. NDIA is the primary private industry group that supports the Department of Defense. To be clear, NDIA connects the DoD to bomb makers Raytheon, bullet manufacturers Sierra Bullets, and the designer of the stealth bomber, Northrup-Grumman. Now NDIA is training defense contractors on climate science and analysis based on a little known Executive Order.
How did this happen?"
“Obama’s “Secret” Climate Adaptation Plan.” His little discussed - but very powerful - executive order on climate change would most definitely be dismantled by a Romney administration… (via climateadaptation)
See, if this is actually true, I would be all for it. Except for the fact that the Obama administration had to sneak around and hide this from the campaign, probably assuming (correctly, in my case) that Americans who believe in climate change would vote for Obama despite the lack of any plan, and he would need to focus on woo-ing moderates. I kind of tend to lean towards the camp that would say Americans should be allowed to vote for this issue (no matter how disastrous the results) BECAUSE THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT OF ELECTIONS. Romney is criticized for not being dedicated to one image of himself or his presidency - he’s playing with strategies in the election, JUST LIKE OBAMA DOES STUFF FOR POLITICAL GAIN, TOO. I dunno, man. I like this, but how much power should one guy be given, even if he is the right guy?
Solid reporting on this one.
Superweeds, Superpests: The Legacy of Pesticides
“The rapid adoption of a single weed-killer for the vast majority of crops harvested in the United States has given rise to superweeds and greater pesticide use, a new study suggests. And while crops engineered to manufacture an insect-killing toxin have reduced the use of pesticides in those fields, the emergence of newly resistant insects now threatens to reverse that trend.
Farmers spray the herbicide glyphosate, widely sold under the Monsanto brand Roundup, on fields planted with seeds that are genetically engineered to tolerate the chemical. Found in 1.37 billion acres of corn, soybeans, and cotton planted from 1996 through 2011, this “Roundup Ready” gene was supposed to reduce or eliminate the need to till fields or apply harsher chemicals, making weed control simple, flexible, cheap, and less environmentally taxing.
In fact, this system has led farmers to use a greater number of herbicides in higher volumes, according to the study, published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Sciences Europe.”
And yet we keep wondering why people are getting more and more sick …
Obama administration green lights killing 170 wolves in Wyoming after private businesses win years of lobby efforts. Techniques will be aerial gunning and gassing pups in dens. Via. (Connection to climate change).
Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
The Obama administration today gave Shell Oil the initial approval to begin controversial and dangerous oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska, despite the fact that a critical oil-spill containment vessel is still awaiting certification in Bellingham, Wash. Until now, the Arctic Ocean has largely been off limits to offshore drilling. Shell Oil is expected to begin the initial phases of exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea as soon as it can get its drillship in place, in the heart of habitat critical to the survival of polar bears.
“By opening the Arctic to offshore oil drilling, President Obama has made a monumental mistake that puts human life, wildlife and the environment in terrible danger. The harsh and frozen conditions of the Arctic make drilling risky, and an oil spill would be impossible to clean up,” said Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Scariest of all, the Obama administration is allowing Shell to go forward without even having the promised oil-spill containment equipment in place.”"
Perennials vs Annuals
Perennials: Plant Once | Annuals: Plant Every Year
Perennials have Longer Root Systems
- Improved soil stability = less need for tillage and reduced erosion
- Reduced fossil fuel consumption
- Better managed nitrogen
- Reduced need for pesticides
- Less labor intensive
- Increased soil water storage
- Better carbon firing
- Greater biodiversity