New Civilization News - Category: Environment, Ecology    
 Jeff Goodell Shines The Light On Big Coal2 comments
picture18 Apr 2008 @ 10:02, by jazzolog. Environment, Ecology
The puzzled ones, the Americans, go through their lives
Buying what they are told to buy,
Pursuing their love affairs with the automobile,

Baseball and football, romance and beauty,
Enthusiastic as trained seals, going into debt, struggling —
True believers in liberty, and also security,

And of course sex — cheating on each other
For the most part only a little, mostly avoiding violence
Except at a vast blue distance, as between bombsight and earth,

Or on the violent screen, which they adore.
Those who are not Americans think Americans are happy
Because they are so filthy rich, but not so.

They are mostly puzzled and at a loss
As if someone pulled the floor out from under them,
They'd like to believe in God, or something, and they do try.

You can see it in their white faces at the supermarket and the gas station
— Not the immigrant faces, they know what they want,
Not the blacks, whose faces are hurt and proud —

The white faces, lipsticked, shaven, we do try
To keep smiling, for when we're smiling, the whole world
Smiles with us, but we feel we've lost

That loving feeling. Clouds ride by above us,
Rivers flow, toilets work, traffic lights work, barring floods, fires
And earthquakes, houses and streets appear stable

So what is it, this moon-shaped blankness?
What the hell is it? America is perplexed.
We would fix it if we knew what was broken.

---"Fix" by Alicia Suskin Ostriker, from No Heaven. © University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005.

America is so concerned about Big Oil! The owners at Big Coal like it that way. They do their mining in the light of day now, but still they're most comfortable working in the dark. Underground movements...where no one can see. Why be concerned about coal? Isn't that some old issue from the 19th century...that just kind of went away? Like the locomotive? Like that big old pile in everybody's basement, dumped loudly through a little window from the coal truck, well into the 1940s? Gone the coal companies abandoning the little towns, full of worker families, all across the hills of Appalachia? Take a look at this~~~


Yeah so? Electricity? The fossil fuel burned for electricity generation is coal. "Electricity Generation." I like that. We're the Electricity Generation, but how many of us think of coal as our plug-in connector? Jeff Goodell didn't. He grew up in Silicon Valley, he told us in Athens Wednesday night, and never saw a lump of coal until he was 30 years old. Nobody in Silicon Valley thought coal was behind the screens of these computers. He lives in New York now and tells us no one in New York thinks of West Virginia mountains when they flip a switch. The trouble is, as we've learned at Ohio University during its tremendous presentations this Earth Week, coal releases twice as much carbon into the atmosphere when it's burned than anything else. But I thought everything everybody's heard lately is about Clean Coal. What's going on here?  More >

 HopeDance And Waking Up38 comments
picture8 Apr 2008 @ 10:03, by jazzolog. Environment, Ecology
No more "evidence" of collapse is needed; it's happening here and now and with dizzying speed. I no longer feel a need to "convince" anyone; I'm simply sitting back and watching the inevitable unfold, and as I report the daily news, I can scarcely keep up with the events that have turned prophets into historians.

---Carolyn Baker, historian and psychoanalyst , her valuable site

We Bring Democracy To The Fish

It is unacceptable that fish prey on each other.
For their comfort and safety, we will liberate them
into fishfarms with secure, durable boundaries
that exclude predators. Our care will provide
for their liberty, health, happiness, and nutrition.
Of course all creatures need to feel useful.
At maturity the fish will discover their purposes.

---Donald Hall, from White Apples and the Taste of Stone. © Houghton Mifflin Company, 2007.

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.

---Rachel Carson

The photo is called "Kelley's Tiger Lily," though that isn't what the flower really is, and can be found at [link]

The news about climate and economy are so disturbing every day, that even people who never talk to me about current affairs are doing so now. People acknowledge impending disaster and don't know what to do. What is there to do? Are we doomed?

This must be brief this morning, as I have taken so much time to read. But among the first articles to show up was something Carolyn Baker sent along to subscribers during her fundraiser. It's from a free magazine in Southern California apparently, which is called HopeDance. I couldn't find it at the actual site so I don't know when it was written. It is lengthy but it leads one through the "syndrome" of waking up from this lifestyle of convenience most Americans anyway have fallen into over the last 50 years. It's not impossible and in fact it ain't even so hard. Take the time and you'll feel better at the end~~~

[link]  More >

 Energy Efficiency Makeover: One Homeowner's Story4 comments
picture7 Mar 2008 @ 09:59, by jazzolog. Environment, Ecology
Energy efficiency---using improved technology and operations to deliver the same energy services with less fuel---is the foundation on which all of our other recommendations are based.

---Sierra Club Energy Policy Statement

When you do something, you should burn completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.

---Shunryu Suzuki

My religion is to live and die without regret.


Coastal ice melts in the city of Longyearbyen, in Norway's Svalbard Islands, on Feb. 27, 2008. Record-high temperatures have left people here wondering whether the melting ice is all a fluke in the fluctuating weather system, or a troubling sign of a warming world. (AP Photo/John McConnico) Full story here [link]

The March-April newsletter of the Appalachian Ohio Group of the Sierra Club is out. A feature article in Footnotes From The Foothills this time was written by my wife to describe weatherization work she initiated on our house last summer. It was a major operation, employed 3 different workcrews (sometimes all at once) and cost a lot. There's a teeny tax credit you can get for this stuff, but mostly we did it to reduce our footprint and hopefully save money in the long run.  More >

 Take A Tip From Me34 comments
picture8 Feb 2008 @ 10:55, by jazzolog. Environment, Ecology
There is neither heaven nor earth,
Only snow,
Falling incessantly.


Life is fleeting.
Gone, gone---
Awake each one!
Don't waste this life!

---The Evening Gatha

On the day you were born, you begin to die. Do not waste a single moment more.

---Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

In the striking photo by Roger Braithwaite of the UNEP, a stream of melt water cascades off the Greenland Ice Sheet.

I'm afraid my pun in the title shows poor taste. There is nothing appropriate to laugh about as the United States finally begins to realize the facts of The Warming. Just last week I still was being mocked by 2 industrial tech teachers at my school, but surely even they are beginning to wake up. Disasters like the tornadoes across the South the other day are the kinds of things it takes in this country to get something done. But even then we'll try to rationalize and put it off. It looked to me as if CNN was broadcasting hours of live coverage of the devastation yesterday, but did any news anchor introduce a segment on violent weather we can expect from Climate Change? We aren't much for preemptive action...unless it's shock and awe somewhere else based on "bad intelligence."

My wife sent out a heads-up on Wednesday that actually provides a bit of optimism, despite the frightening aspects of the report. What cheered me up is that it came from MSNBC, where Americans are not used to seeing this kind of thing I think. It speaks of Nine Tipping Points that we grimly approach with continued carbon emissions at our increasing rate. We learn that "tipping" no longer can be taken lightly. The report begins~~~

Nine 'tipping elements' for warming listed
Arctic sea ice and Greenland are top 'candidates for surprising society'
MSNBC staff and news service reports
updated 10:00 a.m. ET, Wed., Feb. 6, 2008

Concerned that humans might push Earth into major climate shifts, a team of experts has published a study that lists nine "tipping elements," or areas of concern for policymakers.

Arctic sea-ice and the Greenland Ice Sheet, both of which have shown significant melt, were regarded as the most sensitive tipping elements with the smallest uncertainty.

"Society may be lulled into a false sense of security by smooth projections of global change," the scientists at British, German and U.S. institutes wrote in a report saying there were many little-understood thresholds in nature.

"The greatest and clearest threat is to the Arctic with summer sea ice loss likely to occur long before, and potentially contribute to, Greenland Ice Sheet melt," they wrote in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The experts coined the term "tipping element" to describe those components of the climate system that are at risk of passing a "tipping point," which was defined as a critical threshold at which a small change in human activity can have large, long-term consequences for the Earth’s climate system.

"These tipping elements are candidates for surprising society by exhibiting a nearby tipping point," the authors added.

"Many of these tipping points could be closer than we thought," said lead author Timothy Lenton, of the University of East Anglia in England.

"Our findings suggest that a variety of tipping elements could reach their critical point within this century under human-induced climate change," he added. "The greatest threats are tipping of the Arctic sea-ice and the Greenland ice sheet, and at least five other elements could surprise us by exhibiting a nearby tipping point."

[link]  More >

 nobody Knows6 comments
picture2 Feb 2008 @ 20:35, by koravya. Environment, Ecology
Nobody knows how fast the ice will melt or how much of the ice will melt,
but if the methane hydrate factor is in fact a valid concern,
then the prospects for a desertification of all land north of Patagonia
are perhaps rather good.
And if that scenario unfolds, then the last outpost for humanity
will be whatever of the Antarctic land mass remains above water.
History of course shall continue to be written,
and the relics of ancient knowledge shall be scattered across the barren landscape.

Many forms of life will have been decimated.
Who can tell who those will be who will be the last ones?
What do you see when you walk down the street in your neighborhood?
JA  More >

 Making The Best Of The Toxic4 comments
picture30 Jan 2008 @ 10:27, by jazzolog. Environment, Ecology
There is pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is rapture in the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music is its roar.
I love not man the less, but nature more.

---Lord Byron

In my middle years I became fond of the Way
And made my home in the foothills of South Mountain.
When the spirit moves me I go off by myself
To see things that I alone must see.
I follow the stream to the source,
And sitting there, watch for the moment
When clouds rise up. Or I may meet a woodsman;
We talk and laugh and forget about going home.

---Wang Wei

To establish ourselves amid perfect emptiness in a single flash is the essence of wisdom.

---Dhammapada Sutra

The photo, taken by my daughter Ilona, is of the toxic iron/aluminum mix constantly flowing out of an abandoned coal mine at Snow Fork, Ohio. Snow Fork is the most heavily polluted stream in the Monday Creek watershed. A look at what it takes to clean it up is at this pdf [link] .

When the company moves on to---uhhh, greener pastures and meadows, it seems as if the taxpayer gets handed the bill for cleanup and care for displaced workers. I don't know who thinks this is such a great system. I know there's nobody cheerfully cleaning up any mess I may leave out from day to day. But then, I guess I don't provide wages to people for jobs that create my mess. I guess that must be the secret of success and wealth.

I suppose there are some companies that clean up the mess, and maybe even do it out of gratitude to a community that provided workers---rather than for a tax incentive. But the coal companies didn't in Appalachia, and the people left behind, many lured from homes elsewhere, sometimes struggle for generations to get back on their feet. That people eventually drink the water from Snow Fork is a testament to what can be done---but it's costly.

In other areas where coal was king around where I live, people are turning their legacies into historical projects. At New Straitsville, there's a cave where disgruntled workers huddled to form a union, and the United Mineworkers was born. Now there's a park and museum at the beautiful site. Inside you can learn about a misguided job action that purposely set a fire in the mine 125 years ago, and it's still burning today.

Up the road apiece at Shawnee, a place that once was a boom town is rebuilding. Grants are needed and slowly they are gathering. The architecture at Shawnee is unique and amazing, but the town is very poor and first the people need to become inspired. An astonishing theater at Shawnee is being restored, but it takes years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to do something like that. If it gets done it will be a showplace for the whole region. The owners run a giftshop across the street, and you should stop by.

These are a couple of the towns of a ravaged area becoming known as the Little Cities of the Forest...or of the Black Diamonds. Chunks of coal used to be called black diamonds when they were the main fuel of US industrialization. Since the State ended up with a lot of the land, Ohio has established state forests these past 70 years for recreation and hiking. The museums and restorations are coming along as people regain the pride they have for these towns, many of them built by the companies but now Home for 3 generations.

In neighboring Pennsylvania we hear about another approach. Erik Reece, who teaches at the University of Kentucky, has written about radical strip mining over the last few years. Most people in coal country know his name by now, because he has brought so many Appalachian problems to national attention. He has a new article in the current issue of the Orion magazine, and it's about turning the mess into art...which transformation takes quite a stretch~~~  More >

 Societal Speed and Global Warming10 comments
14 Jan 2008 @ 10:16, by swanny. Environment, Ecology
Jan 14, 2008


The engine of standard time may be causing global warming, thus we
have to slow things down to restore the Earth
normal temperature and carbon cycle
but how and by how much. But on the bright
side we may have inadvertently found a means of climate control
as there would seem to be a "direct" correlation between standard time/societal speed and planet warming.

A. Jonas

[link]  More >

 Climate Change and Crop Yields2 comments
23 Dec 2007 @ 12:27, by swanny. Environment, Ecology

Just a report I made and gave to the gov...

sir swan

Climate Change and Major Crop Yields
December 2007, Canada by Alfred G. Jonas
The issue of climate change is not new. In fact, studies have shown that climate change
itself, is part of the normal changes that occur on a regular basis on the Earth since its
creation some 4.5 billion years ago. Since that time the climate has varied both to colder and
warmer times and states. This though, has been mostly constructive as it, in good part is what
has given rise to the diversity of life here on the Earth, the life that we now know and enjoy,
in this the 21st century.
As recently then perhaps as 2,000 years ago it has been documented that a little ice age
may have occurred in the British isles and that somewhat more distant, about 8,000 BC a
warming on the North American ice shield may have caused a great flooding in the
Mediterranean which could have accounted for the Noah’s ark reference in the record of the
Holy Bible. So yes, climate change happens and has happened fairly regularly on Earth and
on a somewhat short though long in human terms, basis. It is perhaps safe to say too that the
changes that have occurred have probably been of somewhat different degrees and lengths
of climate temperature difference diversely around the globe.
Recently though as of the last decade or so some have been suggesting that a somewhat
novel situation is occurring, that being the case of where climate change is actually being
caused or contributed to by a particular species of planetary life via the cumulative activities
of their daily living. The historical evidence of this is kind of occurrence is somewhat rare if
not mostly nonexistent but this is what is said to be occurring right now as a result of the
activities, developments and technologies of us, the planets human species. These
contributions are said to be the cause of a current gradual warming of the Earth that has been
building perhaps over the last 250 years or so. A global warming due to the excessive
creation and production of CO2 gases in the planets closed atmospheric system, thus trapping
more heat than the normal checks and balances of the planet permit. This situation is thus
altering the planets natural “carbon cycle” and causing an apparent 1 to 3 degree Celsius
increase in the mean global temperature or more specifically an increase in its global
radiative forcings.
Is this true? Well given that we are certainly by our modern activities and technologies
creating a somewhat large amount of CO2 gases and if CO2 gas does as it is said to, and acts
somewhat like a global gaseous insulation that does not permit the planet to mitigate and
moderate the suns incoming radiations as it normally does then most likely a slight rise in the
whole planets temperature is happening. It thus seems possible that humans have created a
situation somewhat akin to the somewhat common but unnatural introduction of a species
into an area where it has no natural predators or competition, such thus disrupting the natural
harmony, checks and balances of the area. In this a climate case though, it is our somewhat
advanced and unnatural activities and technologies that are disrupting the natural carbon
cycle and causing global warming. Findings to date seem to suggest that this carbon cycle
disruption may thusly require stoppage or reductions of certain human actions to restore and
or find a new mutual harmony, cycle and balance. Certainly a large number of the scientists
of the day say that this is with 90% certainty what is indeed occurring and thus requiring
immediate attention and compensatory measures by the global human community to
Why the concern though we might ask? Well there are many consequences to this but
offhand one major one might be the effect of global warming on the global food production
for society. In that regard I recall seeing a TV program some years ago, that explained that
the demise of many past great civilizations occurred mostly due, not to war or disease or
economic collapse but likely to large famines from simple successive crop failures. One chief
example given and shown was that of the Mayan civilization of around 300 AD which is said
to have failed to recognize the insidious demise of their crops over a fairly long period and
which thus rendered there cities and civilization unsustainable. The old adage coming to
mind on this of being “an army marches on its stomach” thus with no or little food, there are
no full bellies and hence no army. This thus would indicate and reinforce the need then for
global food security and that it is an important consideration to assess in regards to the
possible effects on food production from any and all global climate change.
A few studies have been done somewhat in this regard and they have found that current
temperature changes can and do indeed seem to be stressing major global crops and thus
effecting their yield and that most of the current major global crops overall seem to be
smaller. One study even took into account the benefit of the fertilization capacity of the
added CO2 and still saw a reduction in crops. So thus the global 1 to 3 degree increase in
temperature (not noticeable without instruments) is causing a certain amount of major crop
reductions, at least in its initial stages. A couple of additional developments are also
compounding this emerging situation. One is the increase in demand for food crops for use
in the bio fuel industry, which is seem as one way of reducing CO2 concentrations and as
well the inefficiency of feeding grains to livestock in terms of transfer of caloric energy for
food value, as well too as the emerging suggestions that some of the current arable
agricultural lands may have to revert back to new forest lands to help offset the lack of
sufficient carbon sinks left on the planet to aid in the reduction and absorption of the excess
CO2 in the planets disrupted carbon cycle.
Thus in conclusion then, global warming with a 90% certainty of many of the planets
climate scientists does seem to be occurring and the stress of this is causing a reduction in the
yield of global crops which is being compounded as well by the increasing demands for food
crops from new and inefficient old technologies and too the possible need to surrender crop
lands for carbon sink purposes all of which seem to point to a dire emerging situation if not
crisis for human society to address and resolve. This though might point to a need or
opportunity for some brave entrepreneurs to develop a new type of farming, i.e. “space
farming,” where by food crops and suitable arable crop lands could be found and monitored
by remote sensing and other methods to ensure an adequate and future supply of sustenance
for humanity and the planets other creatures and our mutual continuance.
The Great Grain Robbery, 1970s between USSR and USA, NASA Landsat
TV Program on the Demise of Ancient Civilizations, broadcast around 1997, Author?
Global Crop Production Review, 2005 USDA’s Joint Ag Weather Facility
IPCC WG1, 4th Assessment Report, 2006-2007 United Nations Climate Change Committee
Global Scale Climate-Crop Yield…, 2007, David B. Lobell & Christopher B. Field
Bio Fuel for Transport, 2007 ISBN 9781844074228
The First State of the Carbon Cycle Report, 2007, Climate Change Science Program, Acting
Director W. J. Brennan


Wow and exactly
Ecological Economics
Couldn't have said it better than wiki...



The objective of ecological economics (EE) is to ground economic thinking and practice in physical reality, especially in the laws of physics (particularly the laws of thermodynamics) and in knowledge of biological systems. It accepts as a goal the improvement of human wellbeing through economic development, and seeks to ensure achievement of this through planning for the sustainable development of ecosystems and societies. It distinguishes itself from neoclassical economics (NCE) primarily by its assertion that economics is a subfield of ecology, in that ecology deals with the energy and matter transactions of life and the Earth, and the human economy is by definition contained within this system. In contrast, NCE has historically assumed implicitly (and, more recently, explicitly) that the environment is a subset of the human economy. In this approach, if nature is valuable to our economies, that is because people will pay for its services such as clean air, clean water, encounters with wilderness, etc. It is largely this assertion which allows for NCE to claim theoretically that infinite economic growth is both possible and desirable. However, this belief disagrees with much of what the natural sciences have learned about the world, and, according to EE, completely ignores the contributions of natural capital to the creation of wealth. Natural capital can be considered the planetary endowment of scarce matter and energy, along with the complex and biologically diverse ecosystems that provide goods and ecosystem services directly to human communities: micro- and macro-climate regulation, water recycling, water purification, storm water regulation, waste absorption, food and medicine production, pollination, protection from solar and cosmic radiation, the view of a starry night sky, etc.  More >

 A Strategy of Hope for the Future1 comment
18 Dec 2007 @ 16:43, by anniewarmk. Environment, Ecology
During this holiday season I find myself bowing out of the common life of America...most days it feels hollow and bankrupt. Each morning I seem to wake up to the WOUB radio just as they issue the war report, and even less hopeful the global warming report. Over my morning tea I try to make some sense of it, but I find there isn’t any sense to be made so I decided to put together my own credo for the future. Here’s hope for the future – for our precious children and their children…Annie

1. Politicians, I repeat "POLITICIANS" (American ones anyway) are not going to stop what is happening with global warming. There are no big companies representing global warming, solar or wind renewable energy in a position to pay for their causes in the halls of Congress. AND if the person in office has been there for any time at all they are owned by corporate America so it is absolutely fruitless to waste one ounce of energy in their direction.

2. We must work on our local elected officials – the ones who haven't had enough opportunity to become politicians. Focus on township trustees - most folks don't even know who they are in their area. Focus on city council and county commissioners. They control your life!

3. Many reports say to change your household light bulbs to compact fluorescents but doing that alone is like spitting into the wind. That's not to say we shouldn't change out the old light bulbs, but it isn't the message we can promote and expect change. Folks change their light bulbs, then they drive their SUV to shops 10 times that day for something made in China, something they forgot on the first five trips or another electric-guzzling appliance.

We need to focus on those locally elected folks to get them to make town centers where it is possible so that transport by car isn't necessary, and show them how to work towards community gardens, rehabbing existing buildings instead of tearing them down, and on and on and on.

4. The Earth has the ability to heal itself if given the opportunity. I'm hanging onto this mantra for dear life.

5. We owe it to our children to teach them through our example about peace with our land, our homes and our relationships. In order to do this - THEY must hang out the clothes on the line, THEY must do the dishes by hand (dishwasher is a job description, not a machine), and THEY must sit down with us at mealtime and talk about their day.

6. We must never stop visualizing in our minds and hearts that there is hope for the earth because right now everywhere we turn we are saying there isn't any. Our children are the ones who will suffer from this thinking - and most of the rest of the adults aren't really listening. They are too busy shopping for those new-fangled light bulbs or buying that cheap food that has ingredients no one can pronounce.

7. So just for today (and tomorrow and all the days after that) I am going to visualize a world of peace, filled with trees, and bees and flowers and people who aren't shopping, but instead are savoring what they already have.

Annie Warmke is the co-owner of Blue Rock Station Science Center, a writer, a scientist and a grandmother who milks goats and never stops talking about how much she loves the Earth.  More >

 Catastrophe Is Coming32 comments
picture18 Dec 2007 @ 08:48, by jazzolog. Environment, Ecology
When to the new eyes of thee
All things by immortal power,
Near or far,
To each other linked are,
That thou canst not stir a flower
Without troubling of a star.

---Francis Thompson

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.

---William Blake

When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.

---Kikuyu Proverb

The chart illustrated an article by Les Blumenthal in Sunday's McClatchy newspapers, under the headline "Oceans' growing acidity alarms scientists."

Last week my wife of 25 years fired off a letter to the editor. She didn't used to do this kind of thing, but world developments in recent years have convinced her wake-up calls like this are crucial. She comes from a family tradition of citizen involvement in current affairs. There's a big difference between a demonstration with folk singers and the hard work of political organizing. Increasingly she's going to community meetings nearly every evening, some of which she chairs.

The letter went to our biweekly newspaper, The Athens News. It was about global warming. The editor, Terry Smith, emailed back saying the piece was too long for the letters feature, but offered to publish it in the occasional Reader's Forum on the Opinion Page. He asked her, though, to compose a blurb about who she is. Well, that's kind of hard to do so we sat down together and came up with something simple and to the point:

"Dana Carlson has been a teacher for 30 years. She's been an advocate for sane environmental policy even longer." Here's her article~~~  More >

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