Archive for December, 2010

Climate instability == Global ‘Weirdness’? The ‘Whole Obscene Era’

For years now, I’ve been touting ‘global warming’ was a questionable title for climate instability. Even today, to me, it boggles my mind that (wo)man thinks s/he can predict and control Mother Nature. So where are we now?

In general, I think our species has underestimated the effects of the potential, future climate instability and volatility. 2010 exhibited extreme weather events worldwide from start to finish with heat waves, floods, blizzards and droughts. Perhaps the masses now are starting to connect the dots?

And, I do not think we are in a position to mitigate this climate instability at this juncture in time–nor should we be able to. We belong to the Earth, she does not belong to us. The positive feedback loop to is in full-effect. Perhaps positive feedback loop would be better titled a self-reinforcing feedback er, the direction of change of exponentially growing responses ie. snowballs rolling down hillsides. Not to mention, the naysayers and doubters, especially those on the major media networks, don’t help by all the doubt that they manufacture.

I also think that we scientists and engineers need to do a MUCH BETTER job telling the story of the hydrologic (water) cycle. But, I need time to work-up a technically correct (and hopefully entertaining) story on the hydrologic cycle. Everyone likes a good story, ja?

In the the interim, let me try to lend a hand, mind you a rather ‘bent’ hand, at a short explanation at what we are currently immersed.

Indeed, I am a firm believer that we humans have exacerbated this instability, and eventually we will likely be digested by Momma Earth–thinning out the herd of humans/humanity, ridding itself of ‘human blight.’ No reason for us, humans, to be exempt from this process. It’s just evolution, and we’ve just exacerbated the whole DAMN thing. Yes, we are immersed The Whole Obscene Era which follows the Holocene.

Rrrarrhhhhh! Fear the GIANT Cockroach!!

DEFINITION: The Whole Obscene Era. Humanity’s entire monument will be a one-millimeter-thick layer of radioactive sludge with a serious mass extinction, followed by the Sane-o-zoic Era, dominated by genuinely intelligent fauna – cockroaches (or GIANT cockroaches similar to the fella on the right), that sort of thing. – Anonymous

NB: For those of you unfamiliar with the Holocene, it’s the current geological epoch. Altho, some may argue that the Holocene ended with the advent of the Anthropocene, which is considered to have started in the late 18th century when anthropogenic ‘activities’, er industrialization of the humans first began to have a significant global impact on the Earth’s climate and ecosystems.

“We belong to the Earth, it does not belong to us. We did not weave the web of life; we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.” – Chief Seattle, 1854

MORE Green Gone Wrong :: Organic Labeling

Altho I am a proponent of locally grown and organic, not all consumables marked organics adhere to organic standards. These standards have been defined loosely enough to allow for wide differences in farming practices. Major corporate ownership has taken a stake in organic food production over the years. The USDA Certified Organic label these days does not ensure the same principles upon which organics some 15 or so years ago were first founded are adhered. Heather Roger’s book Green Gone Wrong addresses the USDA Certified Organic labeling scheme which has been watered down and “where produce is not necessarily ecologically responsibly and sustainably farmed i.e. enhanced soil fertility and crop growth without the use of fossil fuel-based chemical N:P:K fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides, natural weed and bug-fighting methods and crop rotation are utilized prevent the buildup of harmful plant pathogens and stripping of vital nutrients, so not to harm the ecosystem of the farm. Soil is a living thing with mycorrhizal fungi interacting with plant roots and bacteria, cycling “organic”,  life-produced nutrients through the soil into the plants and animals eating the plants. It’s now dubious that many organic brands on grocery store shelves still adhere to organic methods and animal husbandry since a number of these companies have been acquired by industrial food processors over the years.” In Heather Roger’s book, she writes that the USDA Organics seal is supposed to represent that a farm employs organic methods…

Organic methods are intended to counteract deleterious effects of conventional industrial cultivation, which destroys biodiversity, wipes out soil health, contributes to erosion and helps deplete groundwater due to increased runoff. The organic seal is meant to signal that a farm abides by nature-supporting practices…

Dr. Phil Howard, an Assistant Professor at Michigan State, created an organic food business chart (June 2009) showing which companies own which organic brands. The Cornucopia Institute also has some interesting information. I found the Whole Foods Market unique 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating leaflet to be a welcomed read to understanding how animals are raised and treated. Read the labels, do the research and continuously stay educated.

Isn’t this rich? Climate change denial is policy on Fox News

I’ve always stated, whenever watching weather forecast broadcasts on the TV, that they habitually miss many opportunities to engage and assist the public in ‘connecting the dots’ on anthropogenic exacerbated climate change. Don’t these folks understand what happens to the planet happens to everyone?

Right, and at least with regards to Fox News, we now know it has been policy for Fox News to refrain from stating the warming/cooling in any given period on the planet without pointing out this information is based on data that critics have called into question. Casting doubt on solid evidence. Deflecting, distracting.

The memo establishing Fox’s climate reporting policy was written on December 8, 2009, shortly after Fox White House correspondent Wendell Goler reported that 2000-2009 would be the warmest decade on record, and that the scientific community remained united behind their belief in human-induced climate change.

According to the email, obtained by Media Matters, Fox News’s Washington bureau chief, Bill Sammon, imposed an order to make time for climate skeptics within 15 minutes of the airing of a story about a scientific report showing that 2000-2009 was on track to be the hottest decade on record.

I see all this as the tobacco-cancer debate all over again. Climate Gate at Fox News. What more could we ask for?

More scraps from the table? U.N. Climate Change Conference in Cancun

I am lamenting that the movement to challenge and mitigate anthropogenic exacerbated climate change may continue to be undermined for the interim few/several/indefinite years to come.

Thanks to the release of the WikiLeaks cables, there are ongoing discussions at COP 16 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico that the U.S.A. undermined the process in Copenhagen last year during COP 15. Really, no surprise at all. That’s (sadly) what the U.S.A. does, bullies. These cables are just affirmations that the U.S.A. bullies and manipulates to endorse it’s position–which is not my position on the matter.

Trading carbon credits is not a solution. Stopping carbon emissions is. It boggles the mind that political leadership is remiss on the law of nature, on the disciplines chemistry, physics, thermodynamics, and that (wo)man has visions of grandeur that they can manipulate and control nature. Mother Nature is not going to wait.

The problem is not going to go away. In the end, the U.S.A. will lose this ‘war’ against Mother Nature, along with everyone else riding this space ship. But for now, because of policy and powerful interests in the U.S.A., all the renewable energy industry can continue to expect to receive is ‘scraps from the table.’

NB: Renewable energy only receives ~1/12th of the subsidies the CONG==coal, oil, nuclear, (natural) gas conglomerates receives.

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What is a Hybrid RE Engineer?

An engineering generalist with an understanding of sustainable development whose skills set are typically comprised of an amalgam of mechanical and electrical engineering. One who is able to design and assemble systems and components that are comprised of more than one renewable energy (RE) technology i.e. solar, wind, hydro-kinetic (ocean/wave/micro-hydro), biomass, hydrogen fuel cell, geothermal and storage (battery, fly wheel, pumped-hydro). The RE technologies selected depend on one's geographical predisposition, resource availability, the end-use need, practicing conservation (behavioral change) to name a few considerations...

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