Spotlight on green news & views: Debate mods avoid mentioning climate; Trump backs CO2 pollution

by koku_jin

This is the 614th edition of the Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue). Here is the October 12 edition. Inclusion of a story in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.


This Old Growth Mountain Hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) hosts a large example of what I believe to be Heterobasidion annosum, a destructive parasitic fungi that destroys conifers by attacking exposed roots and tree butts, as shown here.

RonK writes—The Daily Bucket: Cavorting Among Ancient Trees in an Old Growth Forest: “Pacific Northwest. Whatcom County, WA. There is a 700-acre stand of old growth forest sequestered in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains about 25 miles east of Bellingham, WA, and about 10 miles west of Mt. Baker at the edge of the Mt.  Baker—Snoqualmie National Forest. I had long wanted to see and experience this ancient forest as it is one of the two largest such stands in the Pacific Northwest—the other being Grove of the Patriarchs in the Mt. Rainier National Park. Around here old growth forest is revered as an endangered vestige of our natural world as it once was in the same way that other revered PNW icons, the Orca and the salmon are endangered.  And maybe for that reason, it is a good thing that this forest is not readily accessible to the public. This old growth tract resides within a larger 2,300 acre parcel, currently owned in part by our county park system and is designated as a nature preserve that is technically open to the public. However, access is limited. The only access is via a system of gated and active logging roads owned by Sierra Pacific Timber company.  On occasion the Whatcom Land Trust, which initially orchestrated the purchase of this tract in 1998 and holds a conservation easement on those roads, can obtain the keys to the gates. Without access to a key, it is an additional 5.7 mile hike past the locked gate just to get to the trailhead.”

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Climate Protesters: We need system change. Lomborg: Why aren’t protesters demanding system change? “It’s been years since anyone could be excused for taking Bjorn Lomborg’s “Skeptical Environmentalist” schtick seriously. Time and again he’s proven himself to be a hollow shell of pseudo-intellectual pretense, a good-looking argument that falls apart upon even the most cursory inspection. His latest op-ed in the NYPost is nothing new. In the piece, Lomborg claims, as is his mantra, that protesters are ‘focused on all the wrong solutions.’  The thrust of his argument is that individual actions, like not driving, flying, or eating meat, aren’t enough to save the climate. That’s true. What isn’t true, though, is Lomborg’s mischaracterization of the protests, which no honest observer could possibly claim is about asking people to make token sacrifices.


CaptBLI writes—The Daily Bucket – Hornets and wasps: “I watched, fascinated by the speed and skill, as the Bald-faced Hornets built the nest on the bottom of the electrical transformer in my front yard.  The swarm had the construction finished in two weeks. I informed the electric company and they sent a repairman out. “Don’t mess with it” was his sage advice.  I heeded his words. I’ve been an active outdoors person all my life and have been stung or bitten by everything, smaller than a bat, that flies. Here are few important things I’ve learned. The single point of interest is the difference between a bee and a wasp or hornet sting. Bees have a barbed stinger with a poison sac attached.  The venom will pulse into you even when a bee is brushed off.  The bees dies due to the bodily damage of the stinger’s separation from it’s body. A hornet has a syringe-like stinger that can puncture you repeatedly, inject all their venom and live to brag about their attack (they also bite).  Mean little cusses too.”

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CaptBLI writes—The Daily Bucket – A Fall Friday in Mississippi: “My home in Oxford, MS., on the morning of October 18th, 2019, was a crisp 45 degrees, with clear skies and a hint of a breeze.  The temperature would climb to 74 degrees, with spotty clouds and no wind by noon.  Certainly, a Fall day that anyone could enjoy. I was greeted by a neighborhood Blue Jay that was compelled to announce her joy. The Golden Rod shown bright in the early rays. […] The fence line was aflutter.  There were several species of butterflies on the Aster and Golden Rod there. I tried to get as many photos as I could, but ran out of time. There were just as many that I missed but I hope you will enjoy these. I certainly did.”

   Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)                                                 Flipped over to show the underside.

OceanDiver writes—BackyardBirdRace/Daily Bucket combo – October tally: “In January, we introduced the new and revised version of the Backyard BirdRace. This time around, we each watch for birds in our yard — however you want to define that —  and keep a list of them to share here each month in the BirdRace diary. We’ll each be keeping track of our own bird lists this time. eBird is a very easy way to do that. Or you can write them down in a notebook. […] So if you’d like to participate, please list the birds you’ve seen, naming your general locale and type of setting. Pointing out who are the new birds since last month will be useful information too. For me up to mid September: • My general locale is coastal northwest Washington state, a mix of habitats from shrubs to woods to roadside to beach overlook. • New birds: 3. New total for me: 73.”

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – seals fishing: “October 13, 2019. Salish Sea, PacificNorthwest. Harbor seals are usually loners at sea. They will haul out at close quarters on rocks and islands but once out fishing, each goes their own way. Usually. On this day there were at least four in this bay. It was hard to tell because they were diving most of the time, as they do, chasing down fish, only surfacing to take a breath and occasionally get a look at what’s going on elsewhere. But I could tell there were two pretty far out from shore, and two nearer. One in particular was right below the bluff where I stood.By the shape of its face I can tell it’s a youngster, likely born this summer, weaned in August. Every seal has a distinctive unique pattern of markings that persists through annual molts, so if I see this individual again I’ll know it’s the same WhiteEars.” 

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – first of season Red-Breasted mergansers: “October 16, 2019. Salish Sea, Pacific Northwest. Blustery day yesterday. I grabbed a window between the gale wind and pouring rain to go out for my walkies. Halfway along I was gifted with a sighting well worth the rain that started just then. […] First Red-breasted mergansers of fall. These ducks migrate up to Alaska and northern Canada to breed. Birds of North America calls them “late breeders”, with young fledging into September. They will hang out in the shallow waters of the SalishSea until spring, feeding on fish.…” 

PHScott writes—The Daily Bucket: A Year and a Bit: “A year and a bit ago Hurricane Michael hit the center of the Florida Panhandle; wiped out a whole bunch and damaged much more. Tonight another tropical storm, not near as big, follows the same track across the Panhandle and into Georgia. Dang, really? Who plans these things? Not me that’s for sure. I spent most the day cleaning up my typical outdoor stuff for the expected 30-45 mph winds. Gusts to 50 maybe but it seems the storm is tracking a bit farther west (just like Michael) so maybe it’s simply rain and some wind and my 80-100’ trees get another chance to toughen up for the next storm. No rain yet, no wind. Looking at radar, it is still well offshore but at 20 MPH, Nestor will be here soon. I will not be sleeping in my bed tonight — not in the bedroom next to the huge Water Oak leaning at 45º right outside. Bless the big Magnolia for holding it up for the last year as the oak slowly rots and falls in pieces. Or it gets really windy and bigger pieces fall tonight. ” 

North Flicker

Kestrel writes—Dawn Chorus: These State Birds May Be Forced Out of Their States as the World Warms: “From Brad Plumer at The New York Times—Each state in America has an official state bird, usually an iconic species that helps define the landscape. Minnesota chose the common loon, whose haunting wails echo across the state’s northern lakes each summer. Georgia picked the brown thrasher, a fiercely territorial bird with a repertoire of more than 1,000 song types. But as the planet warms and birds across the country relocate to escape the heat, at least eight states could see their state birds largely or entirely disappear from within their borders during the summer, according to a new study. The research, released Thursday by the National Audubon Society, projects that hundreds of bird species across North America are likely to drastically shift their ranges in the decades ahead in response to rising temperatures and other threats from climate change.

The report raises the prospect that many bird species could struggle to cope as warming forces them into unfamiliar territory or shrinks their existing habitats. And it illustrates how thoroughly the avian world as we know it may be remapped if humans continue pumping greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.”


Meteor Blades writes—Summer sea ice has stopped melting, but 2019’s grim Arctic news ought to spur aggressive activism: “Three-and-a-half weeks ago, right when Greta Thunberg and 6 million other young activists were gearing up for the Global Week for Future—the second in a round of strikes and protests directed at persuading world leaders to prove themselves unambiguously serious about the climate crisis—summer came to an abrupt end in the Arctic Ocean as the sea ice reached its minimum extent for the year. This was hardly the biggest recent news about the Arctic, just another milestone, a symptom of the disruptive, planet-wide changes we’re seeing from Pole to Pole. It was another summer of Arctic heatwaves. The news from Greenland alone was astounding, with the ice sheet melting six times faster than it was in the 1980s and a new phenomenon happening as the island’s ice cap melts ‘like ice cream sliding off a piece of cake.’ […]  If what happens in the Arctic stayed in the Arctic, the change going on at the top of the world right now would be troublesome only for the 4 million people living in places like the near-Arctic Siberian city of Yakutsk where buildings are literally tipping over because of melting permafrost and for the 400,000 indigenous circumpolar peoples who are seeing whole towns collapsing for the same reason. As we know all too well, however, what happens in the Arctic will have far-reaching effects.”   

teacherken writes—about global climate change: “I am on an emergency alert email system for severe weather. We have had almost no rain in the past month. We are in a drought. And perhaps 5 of every 7 days I get a severe weather alert for coastal flooding, 1-2 ½ feet above ‘normal.’ Except it now seems to be the new normal. […]  And yet, we have some, including the occupant of the Oval and far too many elected Republicans both in DC and in state capitals, who do not want to accept the reality — and who challenge the science. I hope more people will take that into account when they vote, starting with elections in Virginia and Kentucky this fall.” 

AmericaAdapts writes—You Can’t Handle the Truth: Rising Sea Levels and the Law: “In episode 98 of America Adapts, which is a re-release of episode 64,  Doug Parsons talks with Margaret Peloso, of the law firm Vinson and Elkins. Margaret shares insights from her book Adapting to Rising Sea Levels: Legal Challenges and Opportunities. Doug and Margaret dig into topics such as the conversion of private land to public land as the oceans rise; adaptation and the public trust doctrine; coastal Superfund sites and corporate responsibility; will eminent domain drive coastal planning in the years ahead and much more! Bonus material, Jesse Terry and Alex Wong share their music album about climate change!”

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—WSJ Columnist Uses Baby-Eating Attack on AOC to Misrepresent Bernie, Environmentalists: “Last Thursday, WSJ columnist Joseph Sternberg used his perch at the ‘political economics’ blog, which ‘draws on personal insight and experience’ to talk about the E.U., to talk about AOC, Bernie Sanders, Japan, and babies. In a piece titled ‘A Hostile Climate For Children,’ Sternberg writes that AOC just ‘couldn’t quite bring herself’ to say no to the ‘faux constituent’ ‘prankster’ that asked about eating babies—a thesis that demonstrates Sternberg’s willingness to participate in an obvious hoax, even while acknowledging it as such. He connected the hoax with a response Bernie Sanders gave at the recent climate town hall, when he said that making sure women have access to birth control is “a key feature of a plan to address climate catastrophe.” From there, Sternberg mentions Prince Harry’s announcement that he would only have two children for environmental reasons, before finally getting to his point: Japan’s low birth rates. Japan’s waning population growth is, as Sternberg writes, a social issue that’s cause for concern. But what he doesn’t note is that it’s in no way actually related to or caused by environmental concerns.” 


cultureanimal writes—Four Million Marchers Were Not Enough! “According to The Guardian, large-scale greenhouse gas emissions data are traditionally collected at a national level, but this new report focuses on fossil fuel producers. Compiled from a database of publicly available emissions figures, it’s intended as the first in a series of publications to highlight the role companies and their investors could play in tackling climate change. This report found that more than half of global industrial emissions since 1988 (the year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was established) can be traced to just 25 corporate and state-owned entities. The scale of historical emissions associated with these fossil fuel producers is large enough to have contributed significantly to climate change, according to the report. Entitled the Carbon Majors Report, it’s found that direct actions like [Jane] Fonda’s are necessary to save us from the climate crisis. Fonda was arrested for blocking the Capitol steps. It’s important to block traffic, stop drawbridges from opening, turn the valves off, and do anything else that will get attention and stop business as usual. Four million of us marched worldwide and nothing has changed. We need direct action like Fonda is taking!”

Dan Bacher writes—Extinction Rebellion joins worldwide direct action – State Capitol die-in set for Thursday: “Extinction Rebellion Sacramento will join the October International Rebellion when it holds a funeral procession, eulogy and die-in at the State Capitol (North Steps). The direct action begins at 11:15 a.m. at 1100 L St. with a funeral procession, followed by the eulogy and die-in at the North Steps of the Capitol. […] (4) We demand a just transition that prioritizes the most vulnerable people and indigenous sovereignty; establishes reparations and remediation led by and for Black people, Indigenous people, people of color and poor communities for years of environmental injustice, establishes legal rights for ecosystems to thrive and regenerate in perpetuity, and repairs the effects of ongoing ecocide to prevent extinction of human and all species, in order to maintain a livable, just planet for all.”


6412093 writes—NYT, CNN play Gotcha! with Senator Kamala Harris’ Environmental Record: “Since Senator Harris served six years as the Attorney General of California, and vigorously enforced some of the toughest environmental laws in the US, and world,  she should benefit from her stellar environmental achievements. But The New York Times and CNN have accused Harris of misrepresenting her environmental record.  Their vitriol began to flow after a climate change forum, when a moderator  asked Harris what she would do about global warming and giant polluters like Exxon that lie about it.… ‘I’ll sue them,’ Harris said, ‘I’ve sued Exxon.’ The New York Times fact-checkers now claim that Harris never sued Exxon over global warming issues.  This is a classic case of Gotcha!, because  Harris, as senator, recently submitted an amicus brief to support a prominent global warming court suit against Exxon and others, filed by California cities, although she did not sue Exxon herself. But the NYT never disclosed  that Harris had provided this important and supportive filing of a amicus brief on behalf of a global warming suit against Exxon. They allowed the impression that Harris had done nothing against Exxon on this issue, and that she fibbed about it.”

Angmar writes—Climate change: Shame on CNN and the New York Times moderators for ignoring the climate crisis: “The climate crisis was everywhere and nowhere to be found in Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential primary debate. American foreign policy—and wars in the Middle East, especially – are deeply bound up in the politics of oil, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. The conflict in Syria discussed at length can be linked to historic droughts fueled by rising temperatures, which pushed many people off land they could no longer farm. The Wall Street banks Elizabeth Warren worked to regulate through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – an agency Joe Biden took credit for creating—have funneled $1.9tn into the fossil fuel industry since the adoption of the Paris agreement. And the billionaires Bernie Sanders hopes to eliminate have some of the largest carbon footprints on Earth. Given that it’s the context in which all politics over the coming century will play out, ever-accelerating climate impacts can already be found in virtually every policy field brought up on stage last night. Several candidates – Sanders, most frequently – used questions about them as a bridge to talk about rising temperatures and a Green New Deal. Debate moderators with CNN and The New York Times just couldn’t be bothered to mention it.”


Meteor Blades writes—Knowing they would lose, Democrats force Senate vote on lame Trump emissions rule as election tactic: “Amid the shouts and demurrers and twisted rationalizations accompanying the ever-growing exposure of the Trump regime’s roster of crooked behavior, a tactical move by Senate Democrats barely made a ripple in the media Thursday. Senators voted 41-53 against blocking Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy rule that eco-activists and others view as a gift to the fossil fuel industry. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, ‘Time is running out for the U.S. to meet the existential threat posed by climate change and that’s why this rule is such a grave mistake.’ Among other things, the Environmental Protection Agency itself has stated that the ACE would mean 1,400 more deaths annually than would occur under the Obama era’s Clean Power Plan that the Trump rule replaces. Knowing from the outset that they would lose, Democrats forced a vote anyway, seeing in it a matter with which to hammer vulnerable Republicans in the 2020 elections.”

Hunter writes—Trump EPA appointees bypassed rest of agency to invent claims ‘specifically to target California’: “This is the sort of thing that would have been considered a legitimate scandal in the last Republican administration, and would have caused Fox News to chew its own foot off in the last Democratic one. The New York Times reports that Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency chief, Andrew Wheeler, circumvented the agency’s California office and pretty much everyone else in order to put together claims on a ‘human feces’ problem in California that Trump would quickly amplify in his pissant little campaign against the state in September. Yes, that was several dozen scandals ago. The Times reports that Wheeler’s claims were ‘put together by a small group of political appointees in Washington assigned specifically to target California, according to three current E.P.A. officials.’ First off, no kidding. And second off, this marks Wheeler and fellow Trump appointees as explicitly using their government office to manufacture a political claim against California for the apparent sole reason that Donald, fuming hate-pustule, wanted to attack California and needed fodder for it.”


Fossil Fuels

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Big Gas Running Same Ol’ Misinformation Playbook To Paint Gas as Climate Friendly: “A few weeks ago we talked about the new advertisements the American Petroleum Institute is running that claim natural gas is a climate solution, and how the ads show fossil fuel companies are shifting away from outright denial. While you don’t need us to tell you that API is full of hot air, considering this keeps coming up, and Trump is speaking at a natural gas event next week, we thought we’d dive into the substance of the issue.   Or, well, we’d dive into a great fact-check of the ads by Justin Mikulka published this week at DeSmog. First, API claims that the US is reducing emissions thanks to natural gas. We know this isn’t true because the US isn’t reducing emissions at all—we saw a 3.4 percent rise in 2018. Mikulka points out that API is likely referencing power sector emission specifically, but even so, while emissions from that sector are down from their high in 2005, they rose nearly 2 percent in 2018. Plus, it’s not fair for natural gas to claim full responsibility for this decline in emissions, considering wind and solar have also been replacing coal.” 

Walter Einenkel writes—Bankrupted PG&E rejects San Francisco’s bid to buy back the power grid: “At the beginning of Sept. San Francisco offered to buy Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) electrical grid in the city for $2.5 billion. The energy giant filed for bankruptcy in January, after historic wildfires ravaged California, leading to billions in liability cases against the company. At the time city attorney Dennis Herrera told reporters, ‘There has been a lack of investment in infrastructure over the course of the last decade by PG&E. And that is, and was, motivated primarily by pursuit of profit. That’s not something that San Francisco is going to be pursuing. We’re not interested in profit. We’re interested in providing safe affordable power to ratepayers rather than trying to make sure that stockholders are getting some great rate of return on their investment.’ On Monday, Reuters reports that PG&E CEO Bill Johnson replied to the San Francisco offer with a letter of his own, saying, ‘Although we cannot accept your offer, we want to clearly communicate that PG&E intends to continue working with the City to best serve the citizens and businesses of San Francisco. Mayor London Breed and attorney Dennis Herrera, who sent the initial offer to the energy company, said they were not surprised by the response, but would continue trying to get control over the city’s power grid.”

Dan Bacher writes—Newsom appoints two top oil regulators – one a former Chevron staffer – to Dept. of Conservation: “On October 12, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed David Shabazian as the new director of the Department of Conservation, and Uduak-Joe Ntuk — a former Chevron staffer — as the new division supervisor, which operates under the Department of Conservation umbrella. On the same day, the Governor also signed several bills, including AB 1057 by Assemblymember Monique Limόn (D-Santa Barbara), which renames the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) the Geologic Energy Management Division. ‘It also specifies that its mission include protecting public health and safety and environmental quality, including the reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions,’ according to the Governor’s Office.”

Renewables, Efficiency, Energy Storage & Conservation

Meteor Blades writes—Study shows 4% of U.S. workforce and 7% of GDP come from green economy’s $1.3 trillion in sales: “A new study released by Palgrave Communications Tuesday estimates that the U.S. ‘green economy’ employs 9.5 million people and cranks out $1.3 trillion in annual sales revenue. That’s 4% of the nation’s workforce and 7% of the gross domestic product. It’s also 16.5% of the global green economy. U.S. green sales rose 20% between 2013 and 2016, and they are expected to rise further as more efforts are made to reduce the impacts of the climate crisis. During that same four-year period, the coal industry saw the loss of another 37,000 jobs. The study found especially big increases in renewable energy, with consultancy and wind energy rising 9.36% and 8.56% respectively in 2015-2016. That strong showing was more than three times the GDP growth rate for the same period. Competition is rising. China plans to create 13 million clean energy jobs by the end of next year.”

Mokurai writes—Renewable Friday: Oil and Gaslighting II: “Yes, folks, it’s Oil and Gaslighting time again. We looked at the Power Past Impossible campaign not long age. This time we are going to look at a different industry association, the oxymoronic Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, and its worldwide corporate members. They are publicly in total denial that electric vehicles and grid storage and ever-cheaper renewables are about to give them the Death of Many Thousand Cuts that coal has been going through. I leave you to imagine the language they are using about that in private.”

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Mokurai writes—EV Tuesday: Sources and Methods, With Poll: “Welcome to the first EV Tuesday from the EV Revolutions group. We will look at every kind of electric vehicle, from scooters to ships and spacecraft, and how EVs can save the planet, with assistance from other technologies covered in Renewable Friday Diaries. There wasn’t room in Renewable Fridays for all of the topics that have been coming up, as we start to take a serious bite out of the Global Warming crisis. Mokurai and Rei are authors to start with, and we welcome more volunteers. PM Mokurai to get started. And once in a while, we will look at cats finding new ways to ride Roombas. It isn’t only hoomanz who can show ingenuity, you know.”


Dan Bacher writes—Plans to Privatize National Parks Outlined in Trump Adminstration Memo: “A new memo from a Department of the Interior’s industry-ladened ‘Made in America’ Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee proposes recommendations to privatize America’s national parks, which would lead to ‘blackout’ dates for seniors, and fee increases. ‘While the move would hurt working Americans, it would fill the pockets of Trump donors who stand to benefit from lucrative contracts. New reporting from Yahoo News reveals the privatization push by industry and private corporate concessionaires,’ according to a press release from the Western Values Project. ‘David Bernhardt and President Trump won’t quit until the American people are left totally empty-handed, and special interests own our outdoor heritage. Privatizing America’s public campgrounds and jacking up national park fees to appease big-business concessionaires and powerful corporate campaign donors is just the latest egregious attempt to rip public lands out of public hands,’ said Jayson O’Neill, Western Values Project Deputy Director.”

Colorado Blue writes—Trump administration issues plan to lift limits on logging in the Tongass rainforest – Updated: “OMFG. Another day another act of senseless insane vandalism by the CREEPS in the White House. Facing climate catastrophe and crashing species these FOOLS want to log in the last intact temperate rainforest in America. Damn these people.  Is there NOTHING they wouldn’t do for short-term gain? President Trump ordered a reversal of the longstanding limits on tree cutting in the Tongass National Forest at the request of Alaska’s top elected officials, on the grounds that it will boost the local economy. The administration first floated the idea in August after Trump spoke to Alaska’s governor. Critics say that protections under the ‘roadless rule,’ finalized just before Bill Clinton left office in 2001, are critical to protecting the region’s lucrative salmon fishery and tourism operations.”

Walter Einenkel writes—Trump administration moves to open up the largest U.S. national forest to logging and development: “At the end of August, Donald Trump reportedly told his Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to loosen up the logging restriction on the United States’ largest national forest—Tongass, in Southeast Alaska. The Tongass National Forest is home to over 16 million acres of trees and wildlife, and for private industry that means lots of money. The Trump administration released a ‘USDA Forest Service Seeks Public Comment on Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Alternatives to a Proposed Alaska Roadless Rule,’ Tuesday. Inside Climate News reports that the Trump administration’s intentions here are to exempt the rainforest area from the Clinton-era Roadless Rule, opening up 10,000 old-growth acres to logging. But there’s a lot more: If enacted, it would allow roads to be built throughout the now-protected area, and it would convert 165,000 old-growth acres and 20,000 young-growth acres previously identified as unsuitable timber lands to suitable timber lands.”


Wee Mama​​​​​​​ writes—Small life hacks for a vegetable garden: “Someone said that the only work done in paradise was gardening. I do agree that done with a light hand, keeping a vegetable garden comes close to paradise: healthy, delicious food, healthy exercise, better carbon footprint, lighter environmental impact. What’s not to like? Our only significant light is in our front yard, so that’s where we grow our vegetables (and some fruits — that’s another day). The front beds have grown over time and now cover about half the front yard. We play around a bit, enjoying the hortoporn of the Fedco catalog and trying new varieties or new plants. It’s not serious; there is no way to fail at it. A few decades of gardening has given us a number of tips to share.” 

beaky writes—Saturday Morning Garden Blog Vol: 15:42 Saturday, October 19, Gardening As Community Service: “I am the Vice President of the Board of Trustees of my county library. We have one library building for the entire county and it is located in the county seat which has the largest population of around 7600 people. It is an historic building with an addition added in the 70’s or 80’s. Our Director has been wanting something to be done with this garden plot by the front entrance but doesn’t know anything about gardening so asked for my help. As you can see it is a very sad little garden plot. So, we met at a local garden center and I picked out plants. Then, on a Sunday, because the library is closed, my husband and I set to work. […] After getting everything out of the bed we added mushroom compost and peat moss to improve the soil. Then, finally, the fun part. This is a north facing garden that gets morning sun so I picked out plants that can handle shade but will also hold their color over the winter.” 

Pitiful before

Glorious after


gmoke writes—Donella Meadows’ Guidelines for Living in a World of Systems: “Donella Meadows’ Guidelines for Living in a World of Systems [my comments]: Get the beat of the system. [music and dance].  Expose your mental models to the light of day. Honor, respect, and distribute information. Use language with care and enrich it with systems concepts. Pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable. [system failure is too often the first clue to what’s important]
Make feedback policies for feedback systems. Go for the good of the whole. [Sarvodaya, a concept from Gandhian economics*] Listen to the wisdom of the system. Locate responsibility within the system. Stay humble – stay a learner. Celebrate complexity. [and recognize simplicity]
Expand time horizons. Defy the disciplines. Expand the boundary of caring. Don’t erode the goal of goodness. My notes to Donella Meadows’ Thinking in Systems at”

Austin Bailey writes—5 Things: Fossil Fuels Denial, So Does Big Tech, Citizens’ Assemblies, Little Plastics, 2x Vodka: “Citizens’ assemblies have been used to create public policy in many democratic countries including Canada, Ireland and Australia. In Great Britain, Extinction Rebellion is calling for the use of this tool to take the process of developing climate policy away from politicians who are often more beholden to corporate interests than the public good. Extinction Rebellion has three areas where they believe that a citizens’ assembly could generate more enlightened public policy such as the initiation of  a formal “climate emergency” declaration, implementing government commitments to carbon neutrality by 2025 and… Their third demand is for the public to drive climate policy through a citizens’ assembly. Because parliamentary democracy — under pressure from lobbyists and fearful of big trade-offs — has proven unfit for such challenges, says Linda Doyle of Extinction Rebellion.”

Austin Bailey writes—5 Things: Primate Extinction, Trump’s Best, Costly Recycled Plastic, Clouds & Ghosts, Banned: “As a member of that order, humans need to consider that what happens to the smallest, most innocuous primate can happen to those species at the top of the food chain as well. Sadly, the greatest danger to the world’s primates are homo sapiens. With 43 percent of the world’s primates classified as critically endangered or endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, it’s feeling like the time to help them is now. ‘This report reveals the bleak prospects of some of the world’s most incredible animals. Despite this, I still have hope that this is not too late,’ said Christoph Schwitzer, chief zoological officer at Bristol Zoological Society and IUCN Red List Authority coordinator for the SSC Primate Specialist Group. ‘There is an unprecedented level of interest in world environmental issues, particularly among the younger generation, many of whom are more inspired, passionate and motivated than ever before to do their part to help make a difference. It is this kind of support, combined with effective conservation action, which is vital if we are to avoid losing these wonderful and charismatic animals forever’. I highly recommend reading the report (PDF here).” 

Austin Bailey writes—5 Things: Airline Meal Waste, Natural Gas PR, Clean Water & Beer, PG&E, Saving Coal Power: “If you’re an airline passenger, you’ve had a airline meal at some point in your travels.  Unless you’re in 1st class, the first thing you will notice is that your meal immediately has generated more plastic waste than actual food.  As you look around, you’ll also notice that most of your fellow travelers are leaving more food on their trays than they are eating.  So, it’s no surprise that your less than satisfying airplane meal will generate more waste than nutrition. Airline passengers generate 3 pounds of waste per person per flight, according to British research. This includes disposable cups and headphones, napkins, food packaging, uneaten food, and more. All of this goes to landfill or gets incinerated, depending on the requirements of the country in which the plane has landed; and none is recycled, as regular flights are not equipped to deal with separate waste streams. … When the composition of airline trash created by 145 flights into Madrid was analyzed by the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change, they found that ‘33 percent was food waste, 28 percent was cardboard and paper waste, and about 12 percent was plastic’.” 

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Ethan Huff is a Prolific (Fake News) Reporter. But Does He Actually Exist? “By the looks of it, Ethan A Huff is a very busy reporter. Or, rather, a very busy poster. Content under his byline appears across various conspiracy, climate denial and anti-vaxx blogs like the Epoch TimesNatural NewsNewsTargetClimate.NewsScience ClownsPropaganda.News and elsewhere. In just the past week Huff published stories about how climate alarmists are working with the LGBT community to depopulate the planet, how vaccines are causing polio and YouTube and other online giants are covering up this vaccine-caused polio outbreak, how 600,000 Mexicans were protesting abortion and ‘LGBT indoctrination,’ as well as stories on  Greta Thunberg, white people not being allowed to speak anymore, Hillary Clinton threatening Ronan Farrow, a Chinese bitcoin farm catching fire, Blizzard appeasing China, Johnson and Johnson facing lawsuitsvaping, Trump claiming Big Pharma is behind the impeachment hoaxclimate scientists lying, and real scientists declaring there’s no climate emergency. Aside from his prolific posting, there doesn’t seem to be any indication that he actually exists.”

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