Category: Recycling


Ocean Cleanup Array developed by 19-year-old could save millions each year, and impact human health

Saturday, March 30, 2013 by: Antonia

 

ocean

 

(NaturalNews) Plans were unveiled by Boyan Slat, founder of The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, for an Ocean Cleanup Array, brought on after launching a school project that analyzed the amount and size of the plastic particles in the ocean’s garbage patches.

The Ocean Cleanup Array project has the potential to remove 7,250,000 tons of plastic from the world’s oceans; save hundreds of thousands of aquatic life each year; and reduce PCB, DDT, and other pollutants from affecting the food chain, which includes humans.

Besides the potential of the positive environmental and health changes, the Arrays could impact other areas including tourism (which can be lost as a result of ocean waste), and marine vessels (which are prone to damage from the garbage).

Those changes, and other clean-up costs results in millions of dollars spent each year, money that can be saved with this innovation.

What is the Ocean Cleanup Array device?

“The device consists of an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms.” It would sit stationary and span the array of an existing garbage patch, rather than move freely through the ocean. It would behave like a giant funnel, sucking in and filtering the debris.

The angle of the booms would bring the plastic into the funnel, a filtering process would take place to separate out the plankton, and then store the plastic for later recycling.

The harm of plastic to life and the ecosystem

In Slat’s TEDx talk he discussed how a portion of the 300 million tons of plastic each year ends up in the water ways and ultimately into the ocean.

He mentions how animals mistake the plastic for food and die as a result of the consumption. Also, the chemicals in the plastic poison the food chain, which in result harms the population of sea life, and of humans.

One message Slay hopes to convey is that “we need to stress the importance of recycling, and reducing our consumption of plastic packaging.”

Sources for this article include:

http://inhabitat.com
http://www.boyanslat.com/TEDx/
http://www.boyanslat.com/bio/index.html

About the author:
A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well.

Read more: http://rawfoodhealthwatch.com/writers/antonia/

 

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Ocean Array Could Clean Up Tons Of Plastic

Mar 26, 2013 02:02 PM ET // by Tracy Staedter
Discovery.com

Millions of tons of tiny bits of plastic float in giant patches — or gyres — in oceans around the world. There are five large patches of plastic. One of them, the North Pacific Gyre, is roughly twice the size of the United States. All of them are a problem. These bits of plastic look like food to fish and birds and once consumed, end up killing these animals. But the plastic bits also contain chemicals, such as DDTs and PCBs, that once consumed by small sea creatures then enter the food chain to be consumed eventually by people. And because plastic doesn’t break down and dissolve, these gyres are going to be around for hundreds, if not thousands of years, even if we stopped polluting tomorrow.

VIDEO: What’s an Ocean Garbage Patch?

What to do?

Young entrepreneur, Boyan Slat, has an idea. He wants to develop an array of floating devices designed to clean up the more than 7 million tons of plastic bits suspended in the top layer of the gyres — that’s the weight of 1,000 Eiffel Towers. The array would be made of manta-ray-shaped platforms connected in a zig-zagging pattern and affixed to the seabed. Ocean currents would drive plastic debris toward the platforms, which would be powered by the sun and wave action. Long, floating booms — not nets — would be used to sift plastics from the water with very little bycatch. Slat found that zooplankton, microscopic animals important to the bottom of the food chain, can be removed safely from the water using a centrifuge.

NEWS: Pacific Plastic Soup Sees 100-Fold Increase

In a TED talk for TEDxDelft 2012, Slat detailed his plan. Not only would his plan clean up the ocean, save the lives of aquatic animals and reduce the amount of pollutants from entering the food chain but it would also save industry millions per year. Marine vessels are damaged every year from the garbage floating in the ocean, countries lose money when tourists no longer want to visit their polluted beaches. And Slat also thinks that he can make millions of dollars from the plastic he collects, by recycling it.

Credit: Erwin Zwart

via Inhabitat

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Corporate Assault on Our Lives And Our Health

How plastic bottled water is harming you and the environment

water
by: Anita Khalek
(NaturalNews) As soda sales leveled off in the U.S., multinational corporations like PepsiCo, Coca Cola and Nestle found a cash cow in marketing bottled water as the healthy alternative. Though blessed with an abundance of clean water, the U.S. now consumes more bottled water than any other country, piling up enough empty bottles to run the circumference of the equator every 27 hours, and we do so at an unacceptable price to both human health and the environment.

A feigned image of health

The World Bank estimates the bottled water market at $800 billion, making the prospect of a fraction of this fortune enough for companies to salivate over. Marketing words like pristine, pure, and fresh, have been used to describe bottled water, while undermining the perceived quality of tap water. Yet, contamination issues have led to over 100 recalls on bottled water in recent years. Unlike tap water, which is tested hundreds of times a day and is under constant monitoring, bottled water producers are not required to provide water quality reports. Bottled water is not regulated, as the FDA has no jurisdiction on bottled water sourced and sold in the same state, which is often mined from local streams and lakes before being sold back to the public at a cost thousands of times more than what they can readily get from their own faucet.

Hazards on the environment

The hazards of bottled water far outweigh its convenience. Small towns across the U.S. and around the world are being exploited for water resources to feed the manufactured demand of giant corporations selling public water and commodifying a necessity of life. Furthermore, poor neighborhoods, often in minority communities, are being poisoned by the toxic manufacturing of plastic bottles.

According to the Environmental Working Group, the annual manufacturing of plastic bottles for water alone in the U.S. market takes as much oil as required to fuel a million cars. At the consumer end, it is estimated that only one out of five bottles actually gets recycled, with much of the rest polluting our fragile environment. The throw-away bottled water economy has a significant burden on its resource as well, where it is estimated that two liters of water are needed to bottle every liter on the store shelf, resulting in approximately 72 billion gallons wasted annually worldwide.

Harzards on health

Producers of bottled water are not required to offer water quality reports, leaving a consumer to wonder what kind of filtering is actually occurring. In third-party testing, bottled water showed traces of bacteria, chemicals, fluoride, endocrine disruptors such as BPA and PETE (or PET). In fact, whether the filtering process is pure or not does not exclude some of these chemicals since the process of storing the water in the PET plastic water bottles (especially after being exposed to heat during transportation and storage) infuses the water with leaching from the plastic. The fact is plain and simple: in the majority of counties across the U.S., local tap water is safer than the plastic-laced water bought for insanely inflated prices.

A clearer path ahead

Given its ease and convenience, it takes commitment and planning to relinquish the costly addiction to bottled water. Nonetheless, it must be done for the sake of our own health, the health of others, and for the sake of our fragile, over-polluted environment. A healthier alternative would be to install a good quality filter in the home and use non-plastic, reusable water bottles. If a need arises, glass-bottled spring water is a better choice as it is bottled at the source and is naturally filtered underground.

Sources for this article include

http://www.ewg.org/bottled-water-2011-home
http://recipes.howstuffworks.com
http://thewaterproject.org/bottled_water.asp
http://earth911.com
http://www.rd.com/health/rethink-what-you-drink/3/
http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com

About the author:
Anita is a researcher, a writer and a passionate believer in the healing power of food. Using her culinary skills and amateur photography, she regularly creates new recipes and shares her techniques on her food blog at www.myfreshlevant.com.
Questions and suggestions can be directed to anita@myfreshlevant.com

Crossroads News – Our Changing World And Our Place In It

Published on Aug 11, 2012 by

Cement production alone accounts for five per cent of all global carbon dioxide emissions — that is more than the entire aviation industry. The answer could lie in a field of cannabis plants in Oxfordshire, the UK. Joyce Ohajah follows the process.

Using wastewater as fertilizer

by Staff Writers
Stuttgart, Germany (SPX)


Struvite fertilizer recovered from wastewater is a high-quality product that slowly releases nutrients into the soil. Image courtesy Fraunhofer IGB.

Sewage sludge, wastewater and liquid manure are valuable sources of fertilizer for food production. Fraunhofer researchers have now developed a chemical-free, eco-friendly process that enables the recovered salts to be converted directly into organic food for crop plants.

Phosphorus is a vital element not only for plants but also for all living organisms. In recent times, however, farmers have been faced with a growing shortage of this essential mineral, and the price of phosphate-based fertilizers has been steadily increasing. It is therefore high time to start looking for alternatives.

This is not an easy task, because phosphorus cannot be replaced by any other substance. But researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart have found a solution that makes use of locally available resources which, as unlikely as it might seem, are to be found in plentiful supply in the wastewater from sewage treatment plants and in the fermentation residues from biogas plants: a perfect example of the old saying “from muck to riches”.

The new process was developed by a team of scientists led by Jennifer Bilbao, who manages the nutrient management research group at the IGB. “Our process precipitates out the nutrients in a form that enables them to be directly applied as fertilizer,” she explains.

Mobile pilot plant for field tests
The main feature of the patented process, which is currently being tested in a mobile pilot plant, is an electrochemical process that precipitates magnesium-ammonium phosphate – also known as struvite – by means of electrolysis from a solution containing nitrogen and phosphorus. Struvite is precipitated from the process water in the form of tiny crystals that can be used directly as fertilizer, without any further processing.

The innovative aspect of this method is that, unlike conventional processes, it does not require the addition of synthetic salts or bases. Bilbao: “It is an entirely chemical-free process.”

The 2-meter-high electrolytic cell that forms the centerpiece of the test installation and through which the wastewater is directed contains a sacrificial magnesium anode and a metallic cathode. The electrolytic process splits the water molecules into negatively charged hydroxyl ions at the cathode. At the anode an oxidation takes place: the magnesium ions migrate through the water and react with the phosphate and ammonium molecules in the solution to form struvite.

Energy-saving, chemical-free process
Because the magnesium ions in the process water are highly reactive, this method requires very little energy. The electrochemical process therefore consumes less electricity than conventional methods. For all types of wastewater tested so far, the necessary power never exceeded the extremely low value of 70 watt-hours per cubic meter.

Moreover, long-duration tests conducted by the IGB researchers demonstrated that the concentration of phosphorus in the pilot plant’s reactor was reduced by 99.7 percent to less than 2 milligrams per liter. This is lower than the maximum concentration permitted by the German Waste Water Ordinance (AbwV) for treatment plants serving communities of up to 100,000 inhabitants.

“This means that operators of such plants could generate additional revenue from the production of fertilizer as a sideline to the treatment of wastewater,” says Bilbao, citing this as a decisive advantage.

Struvite is an attractive product for farmers, because it is valued as a high-quality, slow-release fertilizer. Experiments conducted by the Fraunhofer researchers have confirmed its effectiveness in this respect: crop yields and the uptake of nutrients by the growing plants were up to four times higher with struvite than with commercially available mineral fertilizers.

The scientists intend to spend the next few months testing the mobile pilot plant at a variety of wastewater treatment plants before starting to commercialize the process in collaboration with industrial partners early next year. “Our process is also suitable for wastewaters from the food-industry and from the production of biogas from agricultural wastes,” adds Bilbao. The only prerequisite is that the process water should be rich in ammonium and phosphates.

 

Related Links
Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology
Farming Today – Suppliers and Technology

Boffins nail oceanic carbon capture process

It’s official: the Southern Ocean sucks

By Richard Chirgwin

The world’s oceans are known to be carbon sinks, but the process that draws CO2 from the air down into the deep ocean hasn’t been documented.

Until now.

A team of British and Australian scientists have identified huge plunging currents – as much as 1,000 kilometers wide – that appear to be key to the process of storing CO2 in the deep ocean. Those currents, the researchers say, are the result of local eddies (resulting from a combination of wind, currents, and massive whirlpools) that create localized pathways down from the surface.

Published in Nature Geoscience, the research used Argo robotic floats to help explore ocean dynamics up to 2 Km down, along with analysis of temperature, salinity, and pressure data.

The Argo floats – 80 in total – were deployed in 2002 and collected data for ten years as the basis of this research. CTD (conductivity, density and temperature) profilers were also used to collect data at depths of up to 7 Km, the researchers say.

The Southern Ocean is an important carbon sink (at least for those who believe that anthropogenic carbon emissions are driving climate change – a list which now includes formerly skeptical scientist Richard Muller). It’s calculated to take up as much as 40 percent of the CO2 absorbed by oceans (which in turn soak up a quarter of total annual emissions).

The British Antarctic Survey’s Dr Jean-Baptiste Sallée says the study means scientists are “better placed to understand the effects of changing climate and future carbon absorption by the ocean.”

Collaborator Dr Richard Matear of Australia’s CSIRO noted that while observations had measured the CO2 found in the deep ocean, it’s important to identify the pathways used to get there – particularly since significant climate change could change the behavior of those processes.

Southern Ocean currents are also affected by other atmospheric changes like ozone depletion, which could also change its effectiveness as a carbon sink.

He told The Conversation that the processes the team is researching “sets how much carbon the ocean can take up”.

As well as mapping the processes for incorporation in future modeling, the scientists believe the research could also help assess the effectiveness of methods proposed to increase the ocean’s carbon capture. ®

 

Oregon criminalizes permaculture; claims state ownership over all rainwater – ponds and swales restricted – jail time for violators

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com

 

(NaturalNews) There’s nothing more refreshing than standing in a cool, summertime rain shower. Or bathing in the warm sunlight on a crisp spring day. Or inhaling the cool autumn air, fresh with the scent of turning leaves and pine needles. These things — rainwater, sunlight, air — have long been assumed to be not only free, but un-claimable. You can’t claim to own the sunlight that falls on my front yard, for example. A corporation can’t claim intellectual property ownership over the air that you breathe and demand you pay a royalty for inhaling.

But today, Jackson County, Oregon says it owns YOUR rainwater, and the county has sentenced a man to 30 days in jail and fined him over $1500, for the supposed “crime” of collecting rainwater on his own property.

The man’s name is Gary Harrington, and he owns over 170 acres of land in Jackson County. On that land, he has three ponds, and those ponds collect rainwater that falls on his land. Common sense would say Gary has every right to have ponds with water on his 170 acres of land, but common sense has been all but abandoned in the state of Oregon.

Much like California, Oregon is increasingly becoming a collectivist state. You didn’t build that! The government built that! You don’t own that! The government owns that! That rainwater that just fell on your land? That’s the government’s rainwater, and you’re going to jail if you try to steal from the government!

That’s the explanation from Jackson County officials, who initially granted Harrington “permits” to build ponds back in 2003. Yes, in Oregon you actually need to beg for permission from the government just to have a pond on your own land. But the state of Oregon revoked his permits a few years later, after he had already created the ponds, thus putting Harrington in the position of being a “water criminal” who was “stealing” rainwater from the state.

Tom Paul, administrator of the Oregon Water Resources Department, is an obedient water Nazi. He insists, “Oregon law that says all of the water in the state of Oregon is public water and if you want to use that water, either to divert it or to store it, you have to acquire a water right from the state of Oregon before doing that activity.”

What he means, of course, is not that the water is “public” water, but that it’s government water. The government owns it, and if you “steal” from the government by, for example, collecting rainwater off your own roof, you will go to jail.

Thus, even when rainwater falls on your own property, you don’t own it! The government owns it. You didn’t build that! The government built that. That’s not YOUR land, you only lease it from the King, and by the way, your property tax is due again…

Paul continues, “If you build a dam, an earthen dam, and interrupt the flow of water off of [YOUR OWN] property, and store that water that is an activity that would require a water right permit from us.” (http://www.nwpr.org/post/southern-oregon-man-sentenced-jail-time-ille…)

You don’t own the rain that falls on your own yard, Oregon insists

The state of Oregon openly admits, on its website, that you don’t own the rain water that falls on your land! As stated on Oregon.gov:

Under Oregon law, all water is publicly owned. With some exceptions, cities, farmers, factory owners, and other water users must obtain a permit or water right from the Water Resources Department to use water from ANY source… (http://cms.oregon.gov/owrd/pages/pubs/aquabook_laws.aspx)

That page describes an exception to allow rainwater collection from rooftops, but not from a yard or natural landscape: “Exempt uses of surface water include …collection and use of rainwater from an artificial impervious surface (like a parking lot or a building’s roof)…”

So, in other words, if Harrington had paved his fields with asphalt, then collecting the rainwater would have been legal in Oregon! But because his fields were natural grasses, shrubs and trees, the rainwater collection was deemed illegal.

Harrington said that he will never stop fighting the government on this issue. As reported in CNS News: “When something is wrong, you just, as an American citizen, you have to put your foot down and say, This is wrong; you just can’t take away anymore of my rights and from here on in, I’m going to fight it.” (http://cnsnews.com/news/article/oregon-man-sentenced-30-days-jail-col…)

If states claim they own the rain, they may soon claim to own the sunlight, too

Rainwater, it turns out, isn’t the only thing that falls on your land. Sunlight also falls on your land. Air resides above it, and minerals below it.

If the state of Oregon already claims to own all the water that falls on your land, what’s to stop them from claiming ownership over all the sunlight, too? Imagine a day when the state erects solar panels on your land, but the electricity isn’t yours to keep. You still have to pay for it, because the sunlight belongs to the state, get it?

If you erect your own solar panels on your own land, the state could then arrest you and charge you with “stealing” state property. All those photons, you see, belong to the state. Once the state declares sunlight to be “community property,” you instantly become a criminal for having solar panels on your house.

State of Oregon declares war on permaculture and sustainable living

Collecting rainwater — and sunlight — are practices taught in sustainable living, permaculture and throughout the green movement. Rainwater capture using ponds and swales is one of the most important strategies for restoring a local landscape. See a good video overview of this here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keXhHMmA2Xk

These rainwater capture practices help trees grow more quickly and accelerate the return of animal life to any region. They can even be used to restore a desert to a lush, food-producing forest. Watch these remarkable videos with Geoff Lawton:

http://tv.naturalnews.com/v.asp?v=C8103CF932330F50C3517F90AD81CBAB
http://tv.naturalnews.com/v.asp?v=566CDDCCEAB4F13F84BD671136D07F10
http://tv.naturalnews.com/v.asp?v=9F5EE67E76B9EEF613327E144B1B9973
http://tv.naturalnews.com/v.asp?v=E6AA432FA7063A24C998BC96C1363A72

See more permaculture videos on the permaculture channel at TV.naturalnews.com:
http://tv.naturalnews.com/Browse.asp?memberid=18014

Capturing rainwater also reduces the burden on groundwater supplies and municipal water systems. Capturing rainwater actually protect aquifers and raises the value of land, which results in higher property tax revenues for the county.

That Jackson County officials actually criminalize permaculture practices is abhorrent to not only the green movement on the left, but also the Libertarians and Constitutionalists on the right. Much like in California, Oregon County officials are lying, power-hungry tyrants who falsely accuse Harrington of “diverting” stream water when, in reality, he was only capturing water that normally flows off his own property and later joins the stream.

“Water law is water law, whether you agree with it or not,” said Jackson County Water Master Larry Menteer. (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/07/16/man-disputes-oregon-convictions-…)

In other words, the power of the state is absolute, even if the state departs from the realm of sanity. Importantly, if the state of Oregon can claim ownership over rainwater, what’s to stop the state from claiming ownership over the AIR, too?

To clarify: Oregon state bureaucrats are claiming they own the RUNOFF water from rainwater that falls on your own land! Some of the communist-minded critics who are defending state officials in this case are lying and trying to claim this man “dammed a stream,” implying it was a stream that ran through his property. That’s a lie. All this man did was dam up his own runoff which later dumps into a stream. Thus, he only captures his own rainwater. He takes no water from anywhere else. And when his own ponds are filled, that rainwater overflows directly into the stream where it used to flow before he built his dams.

This practice of capturing rainwater has been used throughout the history of civilization to restore landscapes, preserve soils, grow food and live more sustainably. Do not fall for the disinformation campaigns being waged on this issue by the Oregon communists and socialists who believe no individual has any right to anything.

What if Oregon claims ownership over the air you breathe?

If the state of Oregon can claim it owns the water that falls on your land, then it can also just as easily claim ownership over the sunlight that falls on your land. But it doesn’t stop there: What about the air you breathe?

There is absolutely nothing stopping Oregon — or any other state — from proclaiming air is “state property.” If you breathe it, you owe the state money.

The fees will be small at first — perhaps $10 / month — but over time they will be raised to exorbitant levels. It’s a state-run shakedown, after all, and once the People become apathetic enough to allow the state to expand its power beyond all reason, there is no limit to the state’s desire for total control over everything under the sun… even including the sun and the air!

This is not a difficult matter for the state to achieve. Oregon could simply pass a new law declaring all air that exists within state boundaries to be state property. Those who “divert” air by engaging in activities such as inflating balloons or compressing air and storing it in air tanks would be given stiff jail sentences.

Think this couldn’t happen? Think it’s too stupid? It’s no more stupid than what has already happened — the criminalization of capturing rainwater, a common permaculture practice for sustainable living.

Environmental

Green grabs: The dark side of the green economy

by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX)


If sustainable development is genuinely to be pursued at Rio+20 and beyond, we need to recapture nature from the market’s grasp, nurturing and legitimising more interconnected human-ecological relationships and understandings, along with tried-and-tested forms of local ecosystem stewardship based on them.

‘Green grabbing’ – the rapidly-growing appropriation of land and resources in the name of ‘green ‘ biofuels, carbon offsetting schemes, conservation efforts and eco-tourism initiatives – is forcing people from their homelands and increasing poverty, new research has found.

Ecosystems being ‘asset-stripped’ for profit is likely to cause dispossession and further poverty amongst already-poor land and resource users, according to a set of 17 new research case studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America, published in a special issue of the Journal of Peasant Studies.

“Green grabs are the dark side of the green economy,” said Professor Melissa Leach, director of the ESRC STEPS Centre. “If market-based mechanisms are to contribute to sustainable development and the building of economies that are not only green but also fair, then fostering an agenda focused on distribution, equity and justice in green market arrangements is vital.”

This means including meaningful local engagement and consultation based on transparency, accountability and free, prior informed consent. Yet green markets cannot do it all. In the rush to repair a damaged nature through trading and offset schemes, the political-economic structures that caused the damage in the first place must not be neglected.

Responsibility for tackling unsustainable practices in wealthy industrialised settings should not be offloaded by financialising ecosystems in other parts of the world.

And if sustainable development is genuinely to be pursued at Rio+20 and beyond, we need to recapture nature from the market’s grasp, nurturing and legitimising more interconnected human-ecological relationships and understandings, along with tried-and-tested forms of local ecosystem stewardship based on them.

Examples of green grabs include: in Guatemala, conservation agencies, ecotourism companies and the military are ‘protecting’ the Guatemalan Maya Biosphere Reserve as a ‘Maya-themed vacationland’, violently excluding local people.

In Eastern and Southern Africa, businesses are revaluing soil systems and farming practices for ‘biochar’, dispossessing farmers and pastoralists from land and resources important for their livelihoods.

Meanwhile evidence is mounting that some Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD and REDD+) schemes are dispossessing local forest users of vital resource access.

Related Links
Institute of Development Studies
Farming Today – Suppliers and Technology

Scientists develop first satellite deforestation tracker for whole of Latin America

by Staff Writers
London UK (SPX)


This shows deforestation around the dry Chaco of Paraguay from 2004-2011. Credit: http://www.terra-i.org/Karolina Argote/Louis Reymondin.

An international team of researchers in Colombia, the UK, USA and Switzerland have developed the first ever system to monitor deforestation across Latin America in near real-time using satellite data. Preliminary results from the new system reveal that in parts of Colombia, deforestation has increased by 340 per cent since 2004; and over a million hectares of forest have been lost in the Gran Chaco region of Paraguay.

The new satellite system, known as Terra-i, is being launched this week in time for the Rio+20 UN environment conference, and is soon to be expanded to cover all tropical regions. Although Brazil has had a sophisticated near real-time deforestation monitoring system in place since 2008, until now there has been no equivalent for the rest of Latin America.

Terra-i has been developed to monitor changes land cover every 16 days and for every 250 metres on the ground, in order to help national governments, conservation organisations and those implementing climate-related policy to assess recent trends in deforestation and emerging hotspots of change.

The system uses data supplied by NASA’s MODIS satellite sensor and is the result of collaboration between the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in the USA and South America, the School of Engineering and Management of Vaud (HEIG-VD) in Switzerland and King’s College London.

Deforestation can lead to widespread loss of biodiversity and also impacts the ‘ecosystem services’ that foster a stable climate and secure freshwater supplies. However, in many parts of the world the scale and pattern of deforestation is infrequently and inconsistently monitored and this makes management of change very difficult.

Huge volumes of data need to be processed to detect land cover change at a 250m spatial resolution every 16 days. Moreover, separating real human-induced changes, such as deforestation, from changes brought about by natural seasonality and by droughts, floods or persistent cloud cover, has made the development of an operational monitoring system a real challenge.

The availability of MODIS imagery means that assessment of land cover change can be made in a geographically consistent manner between countries and also updated frequently.

The development of the Terra-i system was led Louis Reymondin, PhD student in the Department of Geography at King’s College London, supervised by Dr Mark Mulligan, in collaboration with CIAT and HEIG-VD and funded by TNC.

‘We developed a computational neural network and ‘trained’ it with data from 2000-2004 to recognise the normal changes in vegetation greenness due to seasonal variation in rainfall in different areas,’ said Dr Mulligan, who is attending the Rio+20 conference this week.

‘The network now recognises where and when greenness suddenly changes well beyond these normal limits as a result of deforestation. The system runs on data for every 250 square metres of land from Mexico to Argentina shortly after the data comes in from MODIS and highlights every 16 days the pixels that significantly change, writing these results to Google Maps for easy visualisation,’ he said.

Preliminary data from Terra-i show that in Caqueta, Colombia for example, deforestation grew from around 4,880 hectares in 2004 to 21,440 in 2011, up by 340 per cent. Deforestation has grown significantly in the buffer zones of the Chiribiquete National Park where deforestation rates increased by 196 per cent from 2010 to 2011.

The Gran Chaco in Paraguay is the second largest forested area in South America. Terra-i found that between 2004 and 2010, over a million hectares of this area was deforested with a peak in 2009 of 454,700 hectares.

‘As we approach Rio+20 in which the world will define the targets that will guide us along the road to a more sustainable development, it is critical that we deploy the appropriate tools to carefully monitor and manage our landscapes,’ said Dr Mulligan.

‘We need to ensure that we maintain enough farmland to feed the nine billion to come but we must also have protected natural landscapes that provide clean water, a stable climate, a refuge for biodiversity and space for increasingly urbanised populations to experience and appreciate the wonders of nature.

‘Achieving the right balance between intelligently intensive agriculture and protected natural environments across the world will be fundamental to achieving truly sustainable development and requires sophisticated, geographically detailed and timely tools such as Terra-i to support appropriate policy and decision-making’.

Related Links
King’s College London
Forestry News – Global and Local News, Science and Application

Researchers search for viruses to save honeybees

by Staff Writers
San Francisco CA (SPX)


File image.

In an effort to save the dwindling honeybee population researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas are looking to viruses to help treat one of the most destructive and widespread bee brood diseases in the United States. They report their findings at the 2012 General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

“Our food supply depends on the actions of millions of insects such as the common honeybee. Due to the importance of honeybees a pollinators in the agriculture of the United States and therefore the current and future food supply, honeybee health is of great concern,” says Diane Yost, a researcher on the study.

American Foulbrood Disease (AFD) is the most widespread and destructive brood disease affecting honeybees. It is caused by a bacterial pathogen, Paenibacillus larvae. Young honeybee larvae become infected when they ingest the bacterial spores in their food. Infected larvae normally die after their cells are sealed. The bacteria eventually die as well but not before producing millions of spores.

While there are some chemical treatments that can be used to hold AFD in check they must be continued indefinitely. Once the treatment is suspended the American foulbrood spores germinate successfully again leading to a disease outbreak. Because the spores can survive up to 40 years, many states require diseased hives to be burned completely.

Yost and her colleagues are researching an alternative treatment for AFD. They are focusing on using bacteriophages, viruses that infect and kill specific bacteria, to target the bacteria responsible for AFD and eventually treat the disease.

“If an effective remedy for the disease could be developed, hives that are infected with the pathogen could be treated rather than burned, which is currently the only effective treatment,” says Yost.

The researchers conducted an extensive search for phage from environmental sources including samples from desert and garden soils, beehives, flowers, compost and cosmetics containing beeswax.

Nearly 100 samples were tested for the presence of phages. A total of 31 phages were isolated and each were subsequently tested against 8 different strains of the AFD pathogen. The researchers identified 3 phages that had activity against all 8 strains of the bacteria.

“These results demonstrate that bacteriophages capable of infecting P. larvae are present in the natural environment, and these phages may represent the first step in developing a potential treatment for AFD,” says Yost.

Related Links
American Society for Microbiology
Farming Today – Suppliers and Technology

UCSB scientists compile first study of potential for tsunamis in northwestern California

by Staff Writers
Santa Barbara CA (SPX)


File image.

Using studies that span the last three decades, scientists at UC Santa Barbara have compiled the first evidence-based comprehensive study of the potential for tsunamis in Northwestern California. The paper, “Paleoseismicity of the Southern End of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, Northwestern California,” was co-written by professors Edward Keller and Alexander Simms from UCSB’s Department of Earth Science, and published in a recent issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

The paper is based on the Ph.D. dissertation of David Valentine, a research programmer at the Spatial Information Systems Laboratory at UC San Diego. Valentine, Keller’s former student, completed his doctorate at UCSB in 2002 and is first author of the paper.

The region has long been known to experience large earthquakes, and scientific studies of seismic activity in the southern end of the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) – which stretches northward from the area of Mendocino, Calif. – have previously appeared in grey literature and in guidebooks. However, comprehensive, reviewed evidence-based work has been lacking, according to Keller.

“Science goes on evidence,” he said, adding that in light of the recent earthquakes in Japan and Chile, the study of the same potential closer to home is “timely.” The authors studied sedimentation patterns in salt marshes, floodplains, and estuaries in the northwestern corner of California for signs of seismic events that could lead to tsunami activity. They combined this with information gathered from numerous studies conducted over nearly 30 years by researchers at Humboldt State University

During an earthquake, the researchers say, there is a tendency for the coastal wetlands to become submerged, with coastal sediments depositing over plants and animals that live there. These become a fossilized record of sea-level change in the area.

The process has preserved a sequence of marsh surfaces and forest soils. Analysis of structure, texture, and organic content, as well as the use of radiocarbon dating to identify the age of the materials, revealed evidence of smaller strong-to-major earthquakes in the area (magnitude 6.5 to 7.2). Larger quakes (greater than magnitude 8.2) that involved the regional subduction zone, were also in evidence.

According to the study, the local California section has experienced three major earthquakes over the last 2000 years, and accompanying local sea-level changes at roughly 300- to 400-year intervals, with the last one occurring 500 to 600 years ago. The researchers also found that the entire CSZ erupted, causing local submergence at least three times in roughly 500- to 600- year intervals, the last activity taking place in 1700 AD.

“It’s not a matter of if, but when,” said Keller, of the potential for the next major earthquake/tsunami event in the region – a great earthquake that would impact not only the Northwest, but also send waves to Japan and Hawaii. The evidence, he said, is leading to far more foresight and planning along the impact areas in the region to avoid catastrophes on a level with the Japan earthquake of 2011 or the Indian Ocean quake of 2004.

Other researchers contributing to the study include Gary Carver, a professor emeritus at Humboldt State University; Wen Hao Li from Northrup Grummond Co. in Redondo Beach; and Christine Manhart from Environmental Services and Consulting in Blacksburg, Va.

Related Links
University of California – Santa Barbara
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest

Bulgaria passes new waste law in bid to dodge EU fines

by Staff Writers
Sofia (AFP)

 

Bulgaria’s parliament passed a new waste management law Thursday meant to bring the country into line with European Union rules and avoid the looming threat of non-compliance fines.

The law had been stalled in parliament for a year because of strong opposition from recycled metal dealers.

Bulgaria has more than 2,000 scrap-metal buyers who are rarely forced to show the required “certificate of origin” for their wares — enabling a thriving trade in stolen rails, road signs and electric lines.

Local media often carry reports of youths, mainly Roma, who die stealing high-voltage power lines.

Under the new law, recycled metal dealers must apply for new licenses and set up shop in locations authorised and monitored by local authorities. Only electronic payment will be allowed.

The law also requires towns to recycle at least 50 percent of household waste by 2020, a big change for a country that recycles little of its rubbish other than metals.

Environment Minister Nona Karadjova said she was confident the law would allow Bulgaria to escape European Commission fines despite being adopted well after the EU’s December 2010 deadline for countries to comply with new waste management regulations.

The EU rules require countries to legislate regulations such as the “polluter pays” principle and implement policies to reduce, reuse and recycle much of their waste.

Related Links
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up
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Cyber Space

check to see of your computer is infected here

300,000 Infected Computers to Go Offline Monday

By Gregg Keizer, Computerworld    Jul 6, 2012 7:03 am

As many as 300,000 PCs and Macs will drop off the Internet in about 65 hours unless their owners heed last-minute calls to scrub their machines of malware.

According to a group of security experts formed to combat DNSChanger, between a quarter-million and 300,000 computers, perhaps many more, were still infected as of July 2.

DNSChanger hijacked users’ clicks by modifying their computers’ domain name system (DNS) settings to send URL requests to the criminals’ own servers, a tactic that shunted victims to hacker-created sites that resembled real domains.

At one point, as many as 4 million PCs and Macs were infected with the malware, which earned its makers $14 million, U.S. federal authorities have said.

Infected machines will lose their link to the Internet at 12:01 a.m. ET Monday, July 9, when replacement DNS servers go dark.

The servers, which have been maintained under a federal court order by Internet Systems Consortium (ISC), the non-profit group that maintains the popular BIND DNS open-source software, were deployed last year after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seized more than 100 command-and-control (C&C) systems during the take-down of the hacker gang responsible for DNSChanger.

The FBI’s “Operation Ghost Click” ended with arrests of six Estonian men — a seventh, a Russian, remains at large — the C&C seizures, and the substitution of the replacement servers. Without the substitutes, DNSChanger-infected systems would have been immediately knocked off the Internet.

Originally, the stand-in servers were to be turned off March 8, but a federal judge extended the deadline to July 9.

It’s not just consumer PCs and Macs — DNSChanger was equal-opportunity malware — that remain infected, but also corporate computers and systems at government agencies, said Tacoma, Wash.-based Internet Identity (IID), which has been monitoring cleanup efforts.

Last week, IID said that its scans showed 12% of Fortune 500 firms, or about one out of every eight, harbored DNSChanger-compromised computers or routers. And two out of 55 scanned U.S. government departments or agencies — or 3.6% — also had failed to scrub all their PCs and Macs.

The newest numbers were down from earlier scans by IID. In March, for example, the company pegged the Fortune 500 DNSChanger infection rate at 19% and the government agency rate at 9%.

In January, both groups’ rate was an amazing 50%.

Read Full Article Here

MegaUpload Founder Seeks Compensation for Illegal Search

By Sim Ahmed, Computerworld-New-Zealand-Online

MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom’s lawyers appeared in Auckland High Court this week, seeking relief and reparation from the government over what has been deemed an illegal search and seizure of Dotcom’s property.

Last week chief High Court judge Justice Helen Winkelmann ruled that the police search of Dotcom’s rented Auckland mansion and the seizure of property there, including data shipped offshore to the U.S., was illegal.

Davison says the amount of the compensation being sought has not been discussed yet, but adds that his client wants access to the data and computers seized to assist his defense.

Justice Winkelmann clarified for the court that Dotcom is not seeking to exclude evidence seized from future proceedings.

Dotcom and co-accused Finn Batato and Mathias Ortmann were present in court.

Meanwhile The New Zealand Herald has reported that Dotcom is claiming that the shutdown of MegaUpload was ordered by the White House after Hollywood studio executives met with U.S. vice president Joe Biden. Publicly available White House logs show Biden met with a number of Hollywood executives and the Motion Picture Association’s Asia Pacific managing director Mike Ellis.

According to the report, Ellis met with former New Zealand justice minister Simon Power in March last year.

Read Full Article Here

British Airways Faces Privacy Backlash for Googling Passengers

By Jared Newman, PCWorld

We’ve all Googled ourselves from time to time, but British Airways has crossed the creepy line for looking up its own passengers on Google Image Search.

The airline is rolling out a new program, called “Know Me,” that tries to improve passenger recognition through Google search and other methods. British Airways will create “dossiers” on passengers, and will use the profile data to offer 4500 “personal recognition messages” by the end of the year, the London Evening Standard reports.

For instance, flight attendants may reference Google image results to greet a high-profile, first class passenger when he or she boards the plane. British Airways will also dig into its own passenger data, so if a regular customer experienced a delay on a previous flight, airline staff can offer a personal apology.

Not surprisingly, some privacy advocates are upset. “Since when has buying a flight ticket meant giving your airline permission to start hunting for information about you on the Internet?” Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, told the Standard.

Read Full Article Here

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Survival / Sustainability

Intruder Defense Bag : IDB

Uploaded by on Aug 10, 2009

Protecting yourself from a Burgler or Home invasion begins with a little planning. Having what you need ahead out time could save your life.

SHTF Lighting Ideas!

Published on Jun 12, 2012 by

Some of the back up lighting products I have in case of SHTF!

Bug In or Bug Out ?? making decisions

Uploaded by on Aug 18, 2009

Identifying the threat of the emergency is key, desiding which plan to follow and how to carry it out, is where planning comes in.

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Activism

Twitter Ruling Disappoints, but Doesn’t Surprise Privacy Advocates

By Jaikumar Vijayan, Computerworld

Privacy advocates this week said they are dismayed, but not surprised about a New York Criminal Court judge’s decision ordering Twitter to hand over all the data it has on an Occupy Wall Street protester being investigated for disorderly conduct.

In an 11-page ruling, Judge Matthew Sciarrino denied Twitter’s motion to quash a subpoena from New York City prosecutors seeking the deleted tweets, email addresses, IP address and other information of Twitter user Malcolm Harris, who was arrested last year in connection with the New York OWS protests.

The ruling marked the second time the same court has rejected arguments that the data being sought by prosecutors is constitutionally protected and can only be obtained via a search warrant. Harris had earlier sought to quash the subpoena.

The court rejected Harris’ claims because the data sought by prosecutors belonged to Twitter, not him. The court asserted that Harris therefore had no standing to challenge the subpoena.

In filing its motion to quash the subpoena, Twitter contended that under its terms of service, the data belonged to Harris.

Twitter argued that taking away Harris’ ability to challenge the subpoena unfairly puts the onus on Twitter to legally defend its users rights.

Twitter and Harris both contended the data being sought was protected under Fourth Amendment prohibition of unreasonable search and seizure. Thus, Twitter maintained that prosecutors needed to obtain a search warrant before they could ask for the data to be handed over.

In dismissing the arguments, Judge Sciarrino held that the Fourth Amendment didn’t apply in this case because there would be no physical intrusion into Harris’ Twitter account.

“If you post a tweet, just like if you scream it out the window, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. There is no proprietary interest in your tweets, which you have now gifted to the world,” he wrote.

Tweeting is very different from a private mail, private chat or other forms of private online communications, Sciarrino wrote.

“Those private dialogues would require a warrant based on probable cause in order to access the relevant information. ” The same is not true of public tweets, he noted.

The ruling elicited predictable groans from privacy rights groups. “We think the judge missed the point on the privacy analysis,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).

“It’s one thing for the police to overhear a person shout an incriminating statement. We agree there would be no expectation of privacy” in those situations, Rotenberg said. “But when the police go to a communications service provider and demand that the company turn over records of a customer, that is a very different scenario.”

Read Full Article Here

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes 'FAIR USE' of any such copyrighted material.]

Bulgaria passes new waste law in bid to dodge EU fines

by Staff Writers
Sofia (AFP)

Bulgaria’s parliament passed a new waste management law Thursday meant to bring the country into line with European Union rules and avoid the looming threat of non-compliance fines.

The law had been stalled in parliament for a year because of strong opposition from recycled metal dealers.

Bulgaria has more than 2,000 scrap-metal buyers who are rarely forced to show the required “certificate of origin” for their wares — enabling a thriving trade in stolen rails, road signs and electric lines.

Local media often carry reports of youths, mainly Roma, who die stealing high-voltage power lines.

Under the new law, recycled metal dealers must apply for new licenses and set up shop in locations authorized and monitored by local authorities. Only electronic payment will be allowed.

The law also requires towns to recycle at least 50 percent of household waste by 2020, a big change for a country that recycles little of its rubbish other than metals.

Environment Minister Nona Karadjova said she was confident the law would allow Bulgaria to escape European Commission fines despite being adopted well after the EU’s December 2010 deadline for countries to comply with new waste management regulations.

The EU rules require countries to legislate regulations such as the “polluter pays” principle and implement policies to reduce, reuse and recycle much of their waste.

 

Related Links
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up

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