Planet Earth Weekly

Climate Change and Renewable Energy: Saving Our Planet for Future Generations


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Climate Change in The last Millennium: The little Ice Age

Beginning around 1750 the natural temperature record has been altered by the industrial revolution.

By Dr. John J. Hidore

October 12, 2018—-The Little Ice Age was the coldest period in historic times. It occurred from the 14th to the 19th centuries and was a global event. The coldest temperatures generally occurred during what is known as the Maunder Minimum around 1680. Beginning around 1750 the natural temperature record has been altered by the industrial revolution. However, the evidence is clear that the cold lasted until the late 1800s.

Little ice age

Little Ice Age

The effects of the cooler weather were substantially different from place to place. In the drier regions of the planet the cooling mainly resulted in drought of differing intensity. Large areas of Asia and Africa dried substantially. Changes in the Asian monsoons affected large populations. Some areas suffered drought and other areas unusually heavy rains. Extensive snow in the Himalayas resulted in massive flooding of some of the major rivers

Areas bordering the North Atlantic Ocean experienced drastic cooling. Mountain glaciers expanded, and in some cases, reached their maximum extent since the end of the Pleistocene glaciation. Three major periods of expansion of glaciers took place in the years 1600-1650, 1810-1820, and 1850-1860.

It was cold in Europe also. Alpine glaciers grew in size and advanced to lower elevations. The Thames River in England froze over many times. The inhabitants of the European region suffered tremendously. The Fourteenth Century was the worst. In Britain many villages ceased to exist. On the continent during the three-year period of 1315 to 1317, what is often referred to as The Great European Famine, took place. In some areas in eastern Europe up to half of the population perished from famine. The famine is believed to be due to the cooler weather and frequent and heavy precipitation. These two weather conditions greatly reduced the yield of food crops.

Greenland Settlements and the Little Ice Age

The little ice age marked the end of the Norse settlements in Greenland that had begun in the tenth century. In fact, in 1492 the Pope complained that none of his bishops had visited the Greenland outpost for 80 years. He was not aware that the settlements were already gone. Ice in the northern seas prevented traffic from reaching Greenland. In 1540 a voyager reported seeing signs of the settlements but no signs of life. The settlers had perished. After flourishing for more 400 years the colonies disappeared about 1410 A.D. Excavations show that at first the soil permitted burying bodies at considerable depth. Later graves became progressively shallower. The last survivor is believed to have perished in the middle of the fifteenth century. A Danish archaeological expedition to the sites in 1921 found evidence that deteriorating climate must have played a role in the population’s demise. Some graves were in permafrost that had formed since the burial. Tree roots entangled in the coffins showed the graves were not originally in frozen ground. It also showed the permafrost had moved progressively higher. Examination of skeletons indicate there was not enough food. Most remains were deformed or dwarfed. There was clear evidence of rickets. All the evidence points to a climate that grew progressively cooler, leading eventually to the settler’s isolation and extinction. By 1516 the settlements had practically been forgotten.

North American Colonies in the Little Ice Age

The colonies in eastern United States suffered from the cold of the Little Ice Age. The soldiers of the American Revolution suffered in the cold weather. Sometimes the unusual ice served as a useful tool. British troops, for example, slid their canon across the frozen river from Manhattan to Staten Island.

The year 1816 is known as “the year without a summer.” The year began with excessively low temperatures across much of the eastern seaboard. When spring came, the weather was cool, but not excessively so. In May, however, the temperatures plunged. In New England, frost occurred in every month of the year. In Indiana there was snow or sleet for 17 days in May. This killed off seedlings before they had a chance to grow. The cold weather continued in June, when snow again fell, devastating any remaining budding crops. No crops grew north of a line between the Ohio and Potomac rivers, and returns were scanty south of this line. In the pioneer areas of Indiana and Illinois settlers had to rely on fishing and hunting for food. Reports suggest that raccoons, groundhogs, and the easily trapped passenger pigeons were a major source of food. The settlers also collected many edible wild plants that proved hardier than cultivated crops.


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Boyan Slat and the Ocean Clean Up Project

Boyan Slat

Slat looks over his System 001.

“The System 001 is an unmanned system moving with the currents.”

By Linn Smith

October 7, 2018—–If you’re not following Boyan Slat’s attempt to cleanup the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), you should be! This young man put his heart and soul into this project and is currently headed for the great patch of garbage floating in the ocean.

#Boyan Slat

Garbage Patch swirls with the currents.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Slat is the poster child of sustainable innovation for his generation, putting his energy towards cleaning up the environmental mess past generations have created! According to some critics he may not have the perfect solution—but, who else is in the middle of the ocean right now trying?? Hummm, no one! And the mess has been floating and growing for years! Scientists have estimated the Garbage Patch would take 79,000 years to break down and dissolve in the ocean! With the models created by Slat, his system could clean up 50% of the mess by 2025! The majority of the Garbage Patch is large debris. Removing these floating pieces of plastic will prevent the breaking down into microplastics that wildlife and fish can mistake for food and eventually entering the food we eat.

Boyan Slat

Boyan Slat

Boyan Slat

Boyan Slat is 24 years old and the garbage patch is almost as old as he is. By the time it was discovered in 1997, it was already massive. At 16, this Nederland’s born youth went on a diving trip to Greece. “There were more plastic bags than fish,” he told MNN a few years back. “That was the moment I realized it was a huge issue and that environmental issues are really the biggest problems my generation will face.”

Instead of accepting the floating plastic as an adult problem that needs an adult solution, he went back to his high school and went to work solving the problem. Back in his high school classroom he invented a multilevel trawl with centrifugal forces that separated the plastic from the plankton and ocean life.

Boyan Slat

The Ocean Cleanup

System 001

“The System 001 is an unmanned system moving with the currents, looking like a u-shaped pipeline floating on top of the current. Beneath the pipeline is a 10 ft skirt which traps the plastic caught in the current, protecting sea life because it is solid and not a net.” Slat states, “Our systems fully rely on natural ocean currents and do not require an external energy source to catch and concentrate the plastic. All electronics used, such as lights, will be solar powered.

#theoceancleanup

Big Solutions for the ocean cleanup

Recycling the Ocean Plastic

What will happen to the plastic when it’s back on shore? Slat says he wants to turn it into The Ocean Cleanup brand of merchandise, selling it to support the cleanup of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. He states, “By producing merchandise that is not a single use item that might end up back in the ocean, it will reduce the chance of it ending up back in the ocean by 99%.”

Slat also humbly states, “Big problems require big solutions, if anyone has any better ideas, we’d love to know!”

This young man has the concentrated and innovative talent our planet needs!

You can follow the project currently underway on Facebook ((https://www.facebook.com/boyanslat) or see an up-to-date timeline on his site, The Ocean Clean Up, https://www.theoceancleanup.com/system001/. Also, you can find his TED talk on YouTube or follow on Instagram.

The Ocean Clean Up


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E-Waste: What Happens to those Electronics?

Renewable Resources

Building Sustainably

“E-waste does not belong in the landfills!”

By Linn Smith

October 1, 2018—Do you have a computer? Smart phone? Laptop? Half of the world’s population now uses the internet. In developed countries, nearly 90% of the population own some form of technology and many people race to get the latest up-to-date gadget without any thought of end-of-life disposal of that cell phone, laptop, or computer! There is no budget attached to the item purchased that reminds us of the need to recycle it, but what if we had to pay an extra 20% fee on the purchased item for recycling? Would that make you stop and think about its disposal?

In 2016, all countries combined generated 44.7 million metric tons of electronic waste. And where did it go? 4% was thrown in the trash, 76% was undocumented and just 20% was properly recycled.

The earth continues to warm

Fight against global warming!

Proper Recycling of E-Waste

What is proper recycling? Recycling electronics can be difficult because removing the wanted rare earth metals means removing glass, toxic metals, plastic and soldered connectors. Proper recycling is taking your unwanted e-waste to a certified company. A certified company has been audited to make sure the company is following strict regulations in compliance with state regulations.

Recycling electronics costs money, but often finding a certified company can cost less because the recycle center may receive subsidies from the local government. If the company isn’t certified you don’t know where your e-waste may end up. E-waste can create huge environmental hazards if not properly disposed of as it contains lead, mercury, cadmium and other toxins. Many uncertified companies are using unsafe methods to extract the wanted metals.

Earth Day

Clean Energy: Make It a Priority!

E-Waste: Thailand

China use to take e-waste, but now much of it goes to Thailand where environmental groups have submitted a letter to the government demanding that the government ban imports of toxic waste. Many factories in Thailand are using the unsafe method of burning the plastics of the electronics to get to the copper, gold, platinum and rare metals, creating toxic fumes in surrounding residential areas.

Rick Neitzel, Director of Exposure Research at University of Michigan, says, “As most users grow dependent on their cell phones, laptops, computers and tablets, the production of electronic waste continues to grow.” His team studied the toxins entering the bodies of workers in contact with metals from electronics, measuring the amount of lead and other toxins that find their way into the bloodstream. The blood tests show high levels of toxins!

Working toward 100% renewables

Working Toward Renewable Energy

Urban Mining: Used Metals

Some electronic manufacturers are using recycled metals from out-of-date electronics in manufacturing new phones. DELL will recycle 100 million pounds of e-waste by 2020 and Apple has developed a robot to take apart old Iphones, dissembling 200 Iphones in an hour and sorting the parts for recycling. The goal of Apple is to completely eliminate new rare metals from its manufactured Iphones, using only recycled metals (Urban Mining). An Apple representative states, “The challenge is to extract the metals at a cost that can compete with virgin metals in sufficient quantities.”

In Chili the attitude is to fix things because they figure they can make more money reselling a product than selling recycled parts.

Clayton Miller of http://www.Sustainablebrands.com states,”In the early days of my career I spent a good part of my time explaining to people what e-waste was, that it was hazardous and that it shouldn’t be in the landfills, but today I find that the majority of people want to ensure their discarded electronics are properly recycled.”

What can you do? Find a local, certified center near you to recycle your e-waste!

E-waste: Recycle!

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Refugee Population Explodes

“What the future is for global refugees is unknown.”

Overpopulaton

Overpopulation and turmoil leads to current migration patterns.

By Dr. John J. Hidore

September 21, 2018—–Refugees are a particular group of migrants. Refugees are people fleeing violence or being forced to move by violent groups and cannot safely return. Refugees have often been subject to practically every form of physical and mental abuse known to the human species. They include beheading, burning alive, and rape. Most refugees leave their home country but a large portion move from one part of their home country to another. Most people become refugees for being a part of a group of people that are disliked or hated by another group, which is often a larger group.

The refugee group may be identified on ethnic, religious reasons, or simply despised for economic reasons. An example of an economic basis might be a group of people that controls most of the good agricultural land. Many people have become refugees due to internal problems within their countries. South Sudan is one such country. More than 2.5 million people have, or are seeking safety outside their own country. The problem in the country is the struggle for power between different tribes.

Global Distribution of Refugees

There are refugee groups in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Perhaps the best known group of refugees today are those in the Middle East, particularly in Syria where the number of refugees from the civil war numbers in the millions. The United Nations estimates the total number of global refugees at more than 65 million. The number of refugees crossing national boarders is estimated to be more than 25 million.

By continent the numbers of refugee believed to exist are:
Africa, 6.6 million
Europe 6.1 million
Middle East & North Africa:2.6 million
The Americas: 480.000 .

By country the five countries which have contributed the most refugees are:
Syria: 6+ million
Afghanistan: 2.6 million
South Sudan: 2.4 million
Myanmar: 1.2 million
Somalia: 0.9 million (World Vision Star)

Refugee Camps

Scattered throughout the regions where refugees have escaped to are large refugee camps. A refugee camp is an area controlled by a government, national, or international agencies. A camp is constructed as a temporary featyre and the services are also provided on a temporary bases.

Worlds 10 largest Refugee Camps (Source: Raptim.org}
1. Kutupalong in Cox’s Bazarr, Bangladesh 885,000+
2. Bidi Bidi: Northwest Uganda 285,000
3. Dadaab Refugee complex: Kenya 235,000
4. Kakuma : Kenya 184,000+
5. Nyarugusu Kigoma Tanzania 139,000+
6. Jabaliea: Gaza Strip 119,000+
7. Zaatari: Jordan 80,000+
8. Yida: South Sudan 70,000+
9. Katumba: Tanzania 66,000+
10. Pugnido: Ethiopia 53,000 +

What the future is for global refugees is unknown. However, based on economic policies that exist around the world today and the growing global population it would quite reasonable to see the numbers rise.

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The Law of the River: Over Allotment of the Colorado

The Colorado River

The Colorado River is over allocated.

“The Colorado River has been over allocated from the beginning.”

By Linn Smith
September 11, 2018—-The Law of the River is a Colorado River Compact formed in 1922. It’s an agreement between 7 states in the Colorado River Basin. The upper division is Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming and the Lower Basin states are Arizona, Nevada and California. All management of the river is called the “Law of the River.”

High Precipitation in 1922

Tree rings have been studied from 1922 which show that the flow of the Colorado River during the original signing was at an all time high. The 3 years around the establishment of water rights were very wet years with high precipitation. Therein lies part of the problem of over allotment of the Colorado River. The river was at peak flow in 1922, allowing more than enough water for all.

The colorado river

Actions we can take to help preserve the Colorado River.

The Law of the River

The Law of the River declares the upper basin states should not deplete the flow of the river below 7,500,00 acre ft. (An acre foot would be equivalent to an acre of land being flooded with 1 foot depth of water) during any 10 consecutive years. But rainfall was at an all time high when the Law of the River pact was signed. With the rainfall patterns of 1922, this would have allowed for a roughly equal flow between the upper and lower basins and enabled widespread irrigation of the arid southwest to grow fruits, and vegetables, as it continually had done with very few problems in the 20th century.

Water depletion

Irrigation in the Southwest U.S.

The Colorado River and Population Growth

Today the population of states along the Colorado River has increased, requiring greater demand on the river, which has decreased, causing many legal water disputes. Over 40 million people, 18 million in lower basin states, depend on the Colorado river for water and the power it creates. Hoover Dam generates, on average, about 4 billion kilowatt-hours of hydroelectric power each year for use in Nevada, Arizona, and California – enough to serve 1.3 million people! Without the Colorado River and the power it generates, millions of people would have a greater dependency on fossil fuels.

Since the development of the river compact, California has been using the surplus water that other states haven’t used in the lower basin. But with population growth both Arizona and Nevada are claiming their water allotments, forcing California to resort to greater water conservation policies. Growth in the other lower basin states will not allow the surplus flow to California.
(see, https://planetearth5.com/2018/08/26/irrigation-and-water-depletion-in-the-southwest-united-states/)

The Colorado river

Farmers in the Southwest are left little water for irrigation.

!

The Drought in the Southwest

The Colorado River has been over allocated from the beginning and the flows were overestimated. The estimation was 17 million acre ft a year, but the flow has been much less for most of the years since the signing of the compact. Forecasts state that the Colorado river will only carry about 43% of the allotted water into Lake Powell in the future, as the drought in the Southwest has been taking place for the past 18 years, which some say is a permanent shift at least in part due to global warming.

Conserving the Colorado River

Kim Mitchell of Western Resource Advocates states, “People in the seven S.W. states must learn to live with less water. Unless we take decisive proactive steps now, farmers, cities, business and environment all will lose water….they must understand that more water is being pulled out of the river than is being replaced. The problem is compounded by a long-term drought and climate change.” U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Aug 15, 2018, anticipates declaration shortage in Sept 2019 that would trigger reduced water releases from federal reservoirs in the lower basin states.

Recently the Upper Basin states accused CAP, Central Arizona Project, of manipulating its share of water to keep Lake Mead low enough that the upper basin is required to send extra water, but high enough to avoid mandatory cutbacks in lower basin consumption. The water wars will continue!

Adoption of additional water conservation measures now is the best approach to protect the Colorado River as continued long-term solutions are developed.

Depletion of the Colorado River

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Climate Change over the last Millennium: The Medieval Warm Period

Global warming

Climate Change in the last 1000 years.

“A great variety of information and data indicate there were major fluctuations in the global climate during the last 1000 years.”

By Dr. John J. Hidore

September 3, 2018—-A great variety of information and data indicate there were major fluctuations in the global climate during the last 1000 years. There were periods when it was warmer than now and others when it was colder. Fluctuating temperatures brought significant changes in the global environment.

The Medieval Warm Period or Little Climatic Optimum

One distinctive climatic period during this time is what is known as the Medieval Warm period or Little Climatic Optimum. The period extended from about 950 to 1250 AD. This time was unusually warm for the millennium and was warmer even by present global temperatures. With the increase in temperature came increased precipitation in many areas. This increased lake levels. The Caspian Sea rose by some 18 meters (59 feet).

The medieval warm period was a global phenomenon. Perhaps the best evidence of this was that sea level rose. This had a widespread impact on the human population at the time. The rise in sea level forced the migration of large numbers of people away from the coast and into areas already occupied. This resulted in clashes between different groups and cultures. There was an expansion of Eskimo cultures around the arctic. Central Asian cultures also expanded into areas they had not previously occupied.

Climate Change

Global Warming over time.

Climate of the Western Arctic Basin

Contemporary literature from Iceland has aided in reconstructing of one of the most complete sequences of the Arctic Basin climate over the last thousand years. There is much data for Iceland from the following sources:

900-1590: information from Icelandic sagas about times of severe weather and related famine.
1591-1780: historical records combined with incomplete drift ice data.
1781-1845: a reconstruction of weather conditions as derived from the relative severity and frequency of drift ice near Iceland.
1846 to present: actual meteorological instruments.

Climate Change

The earth’s overall temperatures are increasing every year.

Iceland and Greenland’s Changing Climate

The Vikings settled Iceland in the ninth century. Evidence of agriculture and other activities indicate the climate that existed at the time. When the Vikings settled Greenland, it was quite warm, as Eric the Red discovered in Greenland in 982 A.D. In 984 A.D. the Norse founded the colony of Osterbygd on Greenland. While an icy land, it supported enough vegetation (dwarf willow, birch, bush berries, pasture land) for settlement.

The settlers brought cattle and sheep that not only survived but thrived for a considerable period. They established two colonies and began to farm. The outposts thrived and regular communications existed with Iceland. Between 1250 and 1450 AD climate deteriorated over wide areas. Iceland’s population declined. Grains that grew there in the tenth century would no longer grow. Greenland became isolated from outside contact. Extensive drift ice prevented ships from reaching the settlements.

Global Greenhouse Gases

Climate Change

Europe’s Changing Climate

In Europe storminess resulted in the formation of the Zuider Zee and the excessively wet, damp conditions led to a high incidence of the disease St. Anthony’s Fire (ergotism.). Chronicles contain many references to weather conditions of the time, including the Arctic Basin. William of Malmsbury, writing in 1125 about the Gloucester region of England stated “the area exhibits a greater number of vineyards than any other county in England, yielding abundant crops of superior quality….they may also bear comparison with the growths of France.” What is significant about this statement is that by the fifteenth century there was no wine industry in England. The most probable reason is a cooling of the climate since the twelfth century.

Climate Changed in the Interior of North America

There is ample evidence that the warmer conditions affected continental areas as well. Research shows that Indians in the Great Plains of the United States migrated as a result of changes in precipitation. A study by archaeologists and climatologists show for example, that Indians of the Mill Creek culture of Iowa deserted a thriving community about 1200 A.D. Precipitation declined rapidly at the time.

The abandonment of settlements in the southwest United States probably was due to drought. The historic settlements of Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde indicate that they supported large and prosperous communities. By 1300 A.D., these settlements were deserted.

Reasons other than drought certainly may account for the abandonment. However, tree-ring analysis shows that between 1276 A.D. and 1299 A.D, practically no rain fell in these areas.

Climate Change


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Irrigation and Water Depletion in the Southwest United States

Water depletion

Irrigation in the Southwest U.S.

“We need to work together to feed the world, but we also need to work together to save and monitor our water resources.”

By Linn Smith

August 26, 2018—- On the farmland of my youth in the Midwest, my brothers and I spent much time baling hay for our cattle, but water was plentiful and plants thrived with no irrigation. Cows were in green pastures in the summertime and in winter months we fed hay when grasses died.

Farming in the Southwest

When traveling to southern New Mexico and southern Arizona, I often see hay and cotton fields in the middle of the desert and semi arid terrain. It seems an unlikely place to grow crops that have high water needs! 

Today the Southwest is water-stressed with many lawsuits taking place, both privately and between states, over water rights. The projection is that reduced precipitation by mid-century will result in reduced runoff into the water basins that feed irrigated fields.

I recently heard a local resident from Arizona say that Saudi Arabia was buying land in Arizona and California’s arid landscape for growing hay and shipping it back to their country. The export of hay (grasses grown for feeding animals) is booming in the U. S., with the amount of hay leaving the west coast ports increasing yearly. In 2017, the total exports of alfalfa and other hay reached 4.2 million metric tons and is continuing to grow.

The fact that hay and cotton are being exported is healthy for our economy, as many U.S. farmers are growing and exporting this commodity, mostly from states that require little irrigation for agriculture. The issue is growing crops in the desert Southwest in what is fast becoming an area where water is not replenishing itself in the rivers and reservoirs.

The Colorado river

Farmers in the Southwest are left little water for irrigation.

Depletion of our Water Resources

What is healthy for our aquifers and rivers when they are not replenishing? Doug Kenny, Director of the Western Water Policy Program at University of Colorado, says about potential water shortage. “Right now, it’s the effort to maintain the levels of water stored in the big reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell. They’re about half full, which is about as low as they can go before mandatory cuts in water deliveries. It’s a math problem—managing water coming in vs. water going out. So far this century, people have pulled more water out than consistently flows in. That has to change.”

Saudi Arabia and the Southwest

 Most crops will only thrive with irrigation in the arid Southwest.  Saudi Arabia is confronting a major depletion in its aquifers which has brought its wheat and hay production to a halt. They have bought 1,000’s of acres in arid parts of the U.S., Arizona and Southern California (and several other countries), allowing them to take advantage of the U.S. water laws. The Laws of the Colorado River are currently under scrutiny by the Upper and Lower Basin states because of continuing depletion of the river and Lake Mead, which supplies water to the lower Colorado river basin states. Most crops will only thrive with irrigation in the arid Southwest.

The drought of Southwest U.S.

Lake Mead depletion

Southern California: Irrigating Crops vs Urban Use

In Southern California the Metropolitan Water District pays landowners to fallow their land, letting it lay without planting crops so that water is freed up for urban areas. Since 2005, over $200 million has been paid to farmers not to grow crops on this program. This allows water to be directed to Los Angeles and other cities in Southern California.

Has this program enabled corruption and profit from drought conditions? A single recipient, Fisher Ranch, owned by a board member of the operation, has received over $27 million a year since 2005 for leaving his land fallow.

Colorado River

Depletion of water for crop irrigation

The Water Crisis

As I continue to study depleting water conditions in the Western U.S., I realize in 20 years, if not sooner, we are going to be facing a water crisis due to climate change and over allotment of water rights and usage. We need to ask ourselves what changes are necessary today to alleviate the impending crisis.

Water shortage is going to be a complex problem in the future requiring many people to make sacrifices. We need to work together to feed the world, but we also need to work together to save and monitor our water resources. Education and awareness is a place to start.

The Southwest Water Crisis

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Lawns of the Future: Cash for Grass

cash for grass

Instead, plant food for pollinators.

“Together we can save precious water and invest in a more sustainable future.”


By Linn Smith

August 19, 2018—- Under Gov. Jerry Brown, Southern California has recently allotted $43 million a year to bring back it’s popular Cash for Grass program, a program which removes lawns and replaces them with  landscapes that require less water.

In the past Cash for Grass was implemented, but the program ran out of money, although it did manage to save a total of 237.3 billion gallons of water in the year it was in place. The past program was only partially successful, as it didn’t care what homeowners replaced their grass with, as long as it saved water.

climate change

The lawn of the future.

The New Cash for Grass Program

The new 2018 Cash for Grass program has strict guidelines. Here’s how it works:

In order to get the Cash for Grass rebate, homeowners must replace their grass with plants that are native, drought-tolerant varieties. Homeowners must cover 50% of the new area with drought-resistant plants and no more than 25% in rocks.

No bare soil can be showing. Bare areas must be covered with mulch to keep the soil moist. The homeowner must install some type of rain barrel to capture rain water from the surrounding area. The rainwater captured can be done by installing an underground tank that holds rainwater or digging trenches around plants to let rain soak into the roots.

Sustainable lawns

Cash for Grass

From Storm Drain to Ocean

In Southern California’s Cash for Grass program, no artificial turf may be used as it doesn’t give back to the ecosystem that produces food for butterflies and other pollinators or perform the necessary evapotranspiration—in other words, it doesn’t cool the environment! Also, artificial turf doesn’t hold water like healthy soil, but transports rainwater into street gutters which empty into the ocean in L.A.

Allowing rainwater to soak into the soil instead of running into the oceans will help replenish Southern California’s underground aquifers. According to http://www.dpw.lacounty.gov, “Storm drains in Los Angeles take rainwater and runoff from sprinklers straight to the ocean to avoid flooding, carrying contaminants to the ocean such as animal waste, auto fluids, fertilizers and pesticides which create health risk.”

Pollinator insects

Maintaining the health of our pollinator insects.

Urban Heat Islands

Allowing water to soak into the soil of a local area also helps cool large urban communities which have become heat islands. Heat islands are urban areas that have significantly warmer temperatures than surrounding rural areas because of city pollution and massive amounts of building materials. (For a history of heat islands see https://planetearth5.com/?s=heat+islands)

Greeley Colorado: Cash for Grass

The city of Greeley, Colorado recently implemented the same Cash for Grass program. They have started out by offering a free landscape lecture series on xeriscaping to residents. The class will cover the best way to transition from grass to a xeriscaped lawn, how to transform your landscape in a cost-effective way and planting areas that will attract the birds, bees and other pollinators.

Gov Jerry Brown says it well….. “Together we can save precious water and invest in a more sustainable future.”

Cash for Grass

Also see Planet Earth Weekly article: https://planetearth5.com/?s=history+of+lawns for further information


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Global Population on the Move: Few Places to Go

Overpopulaton

Overpopulation and turmoil leads to current migration patterns.

“There is no easy solution to the growing human stress, but there are humane solutions.”

By Dr. John J. Hidore

August 12, 2018—-People in many parts of the world move in a rhythmic fashion with the seasons. Some follow herds of livestock or wildlife that move with the seasonal rains. However, the use of the term human migration is generally applied to those people that move from one region to another on a long term, or permanent basis.

People have been migrating from the time the species originated. Today migrants number in the millions and they frequently cross national borders. They are fleeing from violence, hunger, unemployment, and poverty. Unfortunately, doors are legally closing for many of them and so they turn to crossing borders illegally. Most of these are soon caught and taken to detention centers. Such detention centers are found in many countries in Europe as well as in the United States, Australia, and Japan. How long they are detained in detention centers varies considerable. Some are held for a specific period of time and in some centers they are held indefinitely. Most are sent back to the country of origin. A few are granted entry visas.

migration and population

Overpopulation can lead to migration

Across the Mediterranean

In mid-summer of 2018, there are millions of people attempting to cross international borders. Up until recently there has been a major flow of refugees across national borders. Examples are the steady flow of refugees across the Mediterranean Sea into Greece, Italy, and other countries. At present a wave of nationalism is spreading across the earth greatly slowing or stopping this flow. This is visible in the alt-right movement in Europe.

The alt-right consists of a group of organizations made up of white supremacists. It includes neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers. As a result, immigration is being limited. The primary reason is there are no longer economic opportunities available for the incoming migrants in the destination countries. These countries are already experiencing over-population. Where there has been over-population in many of the less developed countries, it is becoming apparent even in the developed countries.

Overpopulation and migration

Overpopulaton leads to turmoil.

The American/Mexican Border

No place has the door been slammed harder than along the border between Mexico and the United States. The president of the United States (POTUS) has tried for all practical purposes to close the border. The difficulty in getting into the United States legally has been greatly increased. Crossing into the United States illegally has resulted in horrific measures to stop it. At the time of this writing there are still more than 500 young children that have not been united with their parents. Near the end of July, POTUS threatened to shut down the government if congress does not provide the money to build his wall along the border. This is an example of the turmoil each country faces in dealing with migration.

The World Problem

The examples presented here are just that. The problem also exists along national borders in Africa, Asia, and South America. Widespread over-population results in more and more attempted migration. At the same time there is increased resistance to immigration by more and more nations.

Adding another 83,000,000 people to the planet each year can only exacerbate the problem. There is no easy solution to the growing human stress, but there are humane solutions.

Population and Migration