Limits to growth

Who, not in the trade, would have thought there was not enough sand. This is another issue that needs global cooperation.

The World’s Disappearing Sand

According to the United Nations Environment Program, in 2012 alone the world used enough concrete to build a wall 89 feet high and 89 feet wide around the Equator. From 2011 to 2013, China used more cement than the United States used in the entire 20th century.

It once seemed as if the planet had such boundless supplies of oil, water, trees and land that we didn’t need to worry about them. But of course, we’re learning the hard way that none of those things are infinite, and the price we’ve paid so far for using them is going up fast.

We can do it

There is a huge amount of plastics in the oceans. To clean it up seems impossible given that the oceans cover 70% of the earths surface. Yet here is a scheme being researched to start that clean up.

Dutch prototype clean-up boom brings Pacific plastics solution a step closer

World’s largest ocean cleanup operation one step closer to launch

We need a similar plan for R&D to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

Who would have thought?

Synthetic fibers seem to answer many problems, strong & long lasting, low cost, and easy to wash. Now we find a serious problem. The bigger message is not to be so certain that new technologies are safe in the longer term even if there are no short term problems and no future problems can be envisaged.

How your clothes are poisoning our oceans and food supply

In a groundbreaking 2011 paper, Mark Browne, now a senior research associate at the University of New South Wales, Australia, found that microfibers made up 85% of human-made debris on shorelines around the world.

Mason said her concern is not necessarily with the plastic fibers themselves, but with their ability to absorb persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and to concentrate them in animals’ tissues.


Others suggest a filter on home washing machines. More than 4,500 fibers can be released per gram of clothing per wash, according to preliminary data from the Plastic Soup Foundation.

But the washing machine industry is not yet ready to act. Jill Notini, vice president of communications and marketing for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, said the washing machine could very well be a source of microfiber debris, but that the proposed solutions are impractical.

Climate change is an emergency today

Here is a good summary of the current situation:

Shattered records show climate change is an emergency today

Let’s have the Rush for Renewables. This is the real WWIII and it really is the whole world’s biosphere. Let’s redirect resources into R&D of energy production that does not emit CO2; energy from fossil fuels is so 19th century. Let’s develop technologies and ways of living that use less energy anyway.

The road to a solar powered global transport network

Suncatcher

I would have dismissed the thought that at this time we could have solar cells on roads, but here is the start of that thought becoming reality. What gives me a thrill is that there could be so much that we dismiss that some tenacious person somewhere makes work. The possibilities for solar power are enormous. So much new industry with work for people to do. Renewables win in every way.

CO2 turned into stone in Iceland

CO2 turned into stone in Iceland in climate change breakthrough

The unique project promises a cheaper and more secure way of burying CO2 from fossil fuel burning underground, where it cannot warm the planet. Such carbon capture and storage (CCS) is thought to be essential to halting global warming, but existing projects store the CO2 as a gas and concerns about costs and potential leakage have halted some plans.

The new research pumped CO2 into the volcanic rock under Iceland and sped up a natural process where the basalts react with the gas to form carbonate minerals, which make up limestone. The researchers were amazed by how fast all the gas turned into a solid – just two years, compared to the hundreds or thousands of years that had been predicted.

I hope that this is not used as an argument for continuing to burn fossil fuels. We should see it one way to remove CO2 from the atmosphere as we reduce emissions of CO2 to as near zero as possible.

– they know not what they do

Environmental campaigners have been calling for a reduction in the waste allowed to drift from rivers into seas and oceans, and for an end to the use of artificial microplastics in cosmetics. Greenpeace launched a campaign against microbeads early this year, and several companies have committed to phasing them out.

However, the study suggests that damage has already been done, and preventing the leakage of more microplastics into the oceans should be a matter of urgency, as once they are in our seas they are almost impossible to get rid of.

Microplastics killing fish before they reach reproductive age

Some young fish have been found to prefer tiny particles of plastic to their natural food sources, effectively starving them before they can reproduce.

Do we behave like this by the very act of producing things that will destroy our food base? The environment will not forgive us. Ocean life also sequesters carbon so here is another addition to acidification of ocean and burden of atmospheric CO2.

Priorities

Diocese backs wind farm despite local opposition

The Archdeacon of Cornwall, the Ven. Bill Stuart-White, who chairs the diocese’s environment group, said last week that, in light of the “serious damage” caused by fossil fuels, the diocese would “support and encourage, in principle, the use and development of varied forms of renewable energy, including wind turbines, wherever possible and appropriate”.

The group’s submission argues that “issues of visual impact are largely subjective. . . It is our view that having a Grade I listed church and 21st-century wind turbines in the same landscape is a positive and consistent witness to the Christian commitment to the Fifth Mark of Mission. . . The ‘substantial harm’ that is of far greater significance is that inflicted on the planet by the impact of global warming, caused in no small measure by our reliance on fossil fuels.”

Centrica awarded rights to explore Barents Sea

Licence to drill

A spokeswoman for Centrica said it had no plans to drill in the Barents Sea at this time saying its focus currently was on concessions further south in the Norwegian and North Seas.

But she said that the company would take the utmost care to weigh up any risks if it did look at drilling in the Barents Sea: “Clearly before we started to do anything we would undertake a comprehensive environmental survey to identify any issues and reduce any potential risk to the environment.”

The global survey has been going on for years. The risk is dire. Global warming means eliminating fossil fuels, we do not need to explore for more.