Planet Earth Weekly

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


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What If?

Poem by Suzanne Hidore

What if, despite the facts, climate change is a hoax? Think about it…
What if the earth, despite the facts, is flat?
Would anyone have sailed across the ocean?
What if bacteria, despite the facts, isn’t the cause of infection?
Would we routinely get gangrene and attribute it to bad spirits?
What if cigarette smoking, despite the facts, isn’t a cause of lung cancer?
Would we all be breathing smoke everywhere?
What if immunizations, despite the facts, aren’t helping protect us from measles?
Would we start a measles epidemic?
What if coal and oil corporations cared more about people than profits?
Would we deny climate change?
Good planets are hard to find. Think about it.
Suzanne C Hidore

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Women: Reducing Waste and Pollution

Reduce Pollution

 

1 million women imageBy Lin Smith

Reducing Waste and Pollution

January 5, 2014–Since it’s a new year, and my first article of the new year, I was going to write about the 2014 predictions for Renewable Energy, as stated in the data recently released by EIA, the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Here is some of what they predicted: The EIA estimates that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels will increase by .4% in 2014 which “reflects projected growth in coal for electricity generation in response to higher natural gas prices relative to coal.” Coal is cheaper! But I believe, we, as individuals and communities, have the power to overturn this prediction and reduce emissions from Fossil Fuels in 2014–and that’s why I choose to write, instead, about 1 Million Women!

1 Million Women is a movement in Australia, by women, with the goal of reducing waste and pollution by working together, but setting individual goals. They have a vision of leading women in Australia, and eventually women at the global level, in making a positive environmental change and reducing the CO2 in our atmosphere The 1 Million Women’s movement was started by Natalie Isaacs and her friend over a cup of coffee one morning. They asked themselves, “What if  the our everyday choices we make as women add up to a big difference for the planet and future generations in reducing waste and pollution?” They started a movement to answer their own question and realized they have power! Cognizant that women in developed nations waste too much, harming the planet, they decided to start a movement with a goal of signing up 1,000,000 women committed to helping the environment–that’s real change!

Committed to Cutting CO2

Since 2009, they have over 83,000 women signed up and engaged in the movement. They are “committed to cutting over 100,000 tons of CO2, the equivalent of taking 240,000 cars off of the road for a year!”, according to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, where they were recently recognized as a Lighthouse Activity, shining a beacon of hope into the future of our planet. They are educating women on climate change and reducing waste and pollution! They have, also, developed a SAVE program, which is a practical guide to shrinking household bills, reducing waste and living more sustainably–projects for women written by women to utilize renewable resources and be conscientious about their day-to-day living habits.

Living Simply for a Healthy Planet

If you’re a woman who cares about the environment go to http://www.1millionwomen.com and join up. The website will give many suggestions for getting involved. In the article, “Six Ways to Live Simply”, they suggest easy actions to make a difference, one of which is the Power of the Purse: Make Every Dollar and Cent Work for You and the Environment. They will educate you in making financial decisions that support a clean environment by choosing a green investment fund. They state, “Every cent we invest has an impact on the future of everyone’s world as well as our own.” A million women in developed countries, voting with their money, can shift how industry sets up retirement funds for their workers. The ideas on this website are numerous!

Renewable Resources: Think Globally

The first 3 years of the 1 Million Women movement have been spent building its structure. Over the next three years they plan to work globally and according to their website, “Adapt the movement’s core message to a universal one of “Less is More,” aimed at both climate change impacts and wider resource management, based on the need for women in developed countries to consume and waste less, so that everyone can have a greater quality of life while preserving environmental well-being–we are daughters, mothers, sisters, grandmothers getting on with climate action!” And that is why I chose to write on the 1 Million Women’s movement, a beacon of light for our future, instead of the hard, cold facts set forth by the EIA! Happy New Year and let’sreduce waste and pollution in 2014!


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The Space Based Solar Project

Planet Earth Weekly

space based solar

By Lin Smith

June 30, 2013—What is Space Based Solar Power? Spaced Based Solar Power was first proposed in 1968 by Dr. Peter Glaser. It means collecting solar power for use on Earth–but from solar panels launched into space by solar powered satellites. In 1968, Dr. Glaser’s dream of getting solar power from a space satellite was treated by his fellow scientists as a pipe dream, the world was not ready to fund a project that sounded like science fiction, even though he was granted a U.S. patent for the solar stations in 1973. Today, John Mankins, a former NASA engineer, heads the program in the U.S. His goal–provide clean energy to every person on Earth for less than the cost of current energy sources. In 2012 NASA approved funding for continued research of the solar space project.

Mankins explains how the space panels would work, “After the…

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Global warming and climate change

Global mean surface temperature difference fro...

Global mean surface temperature difference from the average for 1880–2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By John Hidore
October 5, 2013—A Greek philosopher named Heraclitus (c. 500 BC) is reported to have stated “there is nothing permanent except change.” Nothing could be more certain than continuing change in the global environment. It has been changing since the formation of the planet some billions of years ago. What is significant about change today is the rate at which the planet is changing. Now hardly a day goes by without world news focusing on some event on the planet marked by changes in our environment. These events include global warming, acid rain, ozone depletion, deforestation, and the elimination of species. Any change in our environment has an impact on the human species and changes effect more people each day than ever before in history. The reason is simple. The global population is growing at a tremendously rapid rate. Next to the exploding number of humans on the planet, global warming and climate change is in all likelihood the most pressing problem facing every living species on the planet.

In 1896 Svanti Arrenius revealed that the likely effect of adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere would warm global temperatures. Carbon dioxide has now reached the highest level in the past million years and growth has exceeded the forecasts made just 13 years ago. As a consequence global temperatures are climbing faster than at any time in history. The decade of 2003-2012 was the warmest ever recorded in the United States and June 2012 through August 2012 global temperatures were the warmest ever recorded.

The volume of climatic data documenting the warming of the planet has exploded. Automated weather stations are now present in many isolated areas of the land masses. Data from the atmosphere over the ocean has also grown dramatically. Not only is more data available from shipping, but floating buoys record and transmit data to collection centers. The number of satellites that monitor atmospheric data have grown rapidly and the variety of data has expanded. New environmental oriented satellites are sending online data and many are in planning.

A big change in recent decades has been the increasing international concern that Earth’s climate is warming and the impact of that warming. Climate change and global warming are common items in the news media. Global conferences such as the Kyoto Conference, and the work of Al Gore and the International Panel on Climate Change present a consensus that the problem of climate change is a very serious one. Closely paralleling the prevailing viewpoint of most world scientists was the recent action taken by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. This group of scientists developed the Doomsday Clock in 1947 based on the threat of nuclear war. Midnight on the clock is the projected time of global catastrophe. In January of 2007 the clock was moved forward from seven minutes until midnight, to five minutes before the hour. The acceleration towards midnight was made when global warming was added to the nuclear threat.

Almost as soon as the world became aware of the problem of global warming, energy and automobile companies began a major effort to discredit the scientific data. The effort continues today. For years the propaganda was aimed at denying that carbon dioxide was in fact increasing. When in the last few years the evidence became overwhelming, the propaganda changed to refuting the evidence that the increase in carbon dioxide was a function of the burning of fossil fuels. They have taken the position that the changes are natural changes with nothing to do with human activity. Today this campaign is still proceeding with millions of dollars being spent to prevent any action being taken to reduce carbon emissions. Only when enough people demand that energy polices and consumption change will anything be done to stop global warming.


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Peabody Coal

PEABODY COAL COMPANY IN BLACK MESA AREA OF NOR...

PEABODY COAL COMPANY IN BLACK MESA AREA OF NORTHEASTERN ARIZONA – NARA – 544378 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Lin Smith

April 14, 2013—The United States is using less coal, resulting in less CO2 emissions being released by the U.S., but to keep profits flowing, Peabody Energy is exporting their coal to other countries. Peabody Energy (previously Peabody Coal) is the largest private coal company in the U.S., and its exports to China and India are set to increase from 1 billion to 5 billion tons by 2015. Though Peabody has made a small effort to invest in the development of clean air technologies….it exports coal to over 23 countries worldwide, where coal environmental regulations aren’t as stringent as in the United States. Newsweek Magazine has ranked Peabody Coal the least eco-friendly company in the United States.

In April, protesters converged on a Peabody CEO meeting in St. Louis to protest environmental and worker contract issues saying, “Peabody attacks pensions, lands, and climate.” They also protested the impact on health, land, and water resources of the Black Mesa section of the Navajo/Hopi Reservations, where Peabody has strip mines. In the 1960′s, Peabody Coal contracted mineral and water rights on a section of the Navajo/Hopi Reservations called Black Mesa. The contract was negotiated by a lawyer, John Boyden, who claimed to represent the Hopi and Navajo people, BUT was, reportedly, on Peabody Coal Company’s payroll. The lease agreement was for 14 million tons of coal per year to provide electricity for southern California, Nevada, and central Arizona. Today, the water and air are polluted in the Black Mesa section of the Navajo/Hopi land. Following is part of a letter written January, 2013, by Navajo/Hopi elders to Peabody Executives, requesting a meeting: “The 46 year strip-mining on Black Mesa is devasating for our people. Our people are facing forced relocation because of Peabody Western Coal Co. The coal mine does not effectively extinguish coal fires to prevent the toxic gases from being emitted. The gaseous pollution endangers the health of our people….before Peabody, there were natural springs and wildlife. The natural springs are extinct now and the water is polluted. Black Mesa residents now face hauling water 30 or 40 miles to their homes and livestock….the prestine Navajo Aquifer is irreversibly damaged….the healing process can begin with Peabody Energy ceasing further coal strip mining and putting profits into solar and allowing the residents of Black Mesa to return to their way of life….the Black Mesa people have endured physical, emotional, and spiritual losses, the people struggle to survive, as the southwest cities benefit from the cheap resources of our land…tens of thousands of our people were forced to leave their land to make room for your mine, making this the biggest forced relocation of Native people since the Trail of Tears.”

Not only is Peabody Energy a polluter without a conscience, they have refused to honor their contract with their coal miners, many having poor health conditions, including Black Lung. Here’s what big corporations can get away with–Peabody has recently shifted some of their assets to a new dummy company, “Patriot Coal”, in order to keep from paying “legacy costs” to miners. “Legacy costs” are increased healthcare fees and other benefit-related costs payed to a companies’ workers and retirees. “Patriot Coal” (Peabody Coal) is now in federal court declaring bankruptcy, where they expect their debt of one billion dollars owed to their miners will be “forgiven”.

Jim Hayes, of the Sierra Club, writes, ” Peabody’s profits have increased in recent years, as it carries out more uncontrolled pollution mining and expands it’s trade worldwide, especially to China.” The only way fossil fuels will stop polluting our atmosphere is if they stay in the ground. It’s senseless for one country to make an effort to move towards renewable resources but move the culprit, coal, to countries with no regulations. It’s all the same world, and our atmosphere doesn’t know the difference. The pollution is only entering the atmosphere from a different location on our planet.

As John Prine sang in his song, Paradise, “Then the coal company came, with the world’s largest shovel, and they tortured the timber and stripped all the land. Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken, then they wrote it all down as the progress of man….Mr. Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away.”

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How Did We Get This Way??

My Planet Earth

electric siteMarch 3, 2013–The science of 350: Scientists say that 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe limit for humanity. We are already above the safe zone at our current 390ppm, and unless we rapidly return to below 350 ppm this century, we risk reaching tipping points and irreversible impacts such as the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and major methane releases from increased permafrost melt. Up until about 200 years ago our atmosphere contained about 275 parts per million of carbon dioxide, which gave human beings the environment necessary to maintain life. It provided us with just enough warmth on Earth–not too hot, not too cold! Parts per million (ppm) is just a way of measuring the concentration of different gases. It means the ratio of the number of carbon dioxide molecules to all of the molecules in the atmosphere.
Beginning in 18th century, people…

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The Space Based Solar Project

space based solar

By Lin Smith

June 30, 2013—What is Space Based Solar Power? Spaced Based Solar Power was first proposed in 1968 by Dr. Peter Glaser. It means collecting solar power for use on Earth–but from solar panels launched into space by solar powered satellites. In 1968, Dr. Glaser’s dream of getting solar power from a space satellite was treated by his fellow scientists as a pipe dream, the world was not ready to fund a project that sounded like science fiction, even though he was granted a U.S. patent for the solar stations in 1973. Today, John Mankins, a former NASA engineer, heads the program in the U.S. His goal–provide clean energy to every person on Earth for less than the cost of current energy sources. In 2012 NASA approved funding for continued research of the solar space project.

Mankins explains how the space panels would work, “After the system effectively transforms the solar energy into microwaves, its Earth-facing side would then transmit the low intensity, low frequency waves toward Earth.” The beam of solar energy would travel through space to a target on the ground where there would be antennas within a six square mile area, putting the power through transformers in power plants. Power stations would transfer the solar rays into usable electricity.

The space solar panels are based on nature, the flower, which uses its pedals to collect solar energy. The mirrors of the solar compound would act as petals, directing solar power to the system’s photovoltaic modules (solar panels), which are composed of many PV cells, like the cells of the pedal. The panels would work like the solar panels on the ground, but would be suspended in space! The transmission of energy to Earth would have very little environmental impact, making it a major factor in lowering greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

The solar platforms would be built by sending already assembled solar panels into space and putting them together by robots. (Yes,  bringing robots into the mix does sound like science fiction, but we do have the technology to carry it out!) Reportedly, the construction and transportation of the stations would be less expensive than constructing the solar farms on Earth.

The sun produces a trillion times more energy than we need here on Earth. The longevity of the sun, 4 to 5 billion years, would provide our planet with an endless amount of power, making it our largest source of energy and would supply all our planet’s needs!
The space modules can also power our vehicles, using the electricity provided by the Space Based Solar system. As the National Space Society puts it, “It doesn’t help to remove fossil fuels from cars (gas) if you just turn around and use fossil fuels again to generate the electricity to power those vehicles. Space solar power can provide the needed clean power for any future electric transportation.”

“The first step is to build the solar station and test it here on Earth,” Mankins explains. “Next, build half a dozen and test them in orbit. It’s like any kind of production curve problem. You want to get to the point where you can make hundreds of thousands of these things as though they were PCs or automobiles. But it takes time to build up to that point. At each stage we need to increase the scale and the fidelity of the demonstration. First on Earth, then in low Earth orbit, then in high Earth orbit, first with one, then with ten, and then with hundreds.”

Beam that solar energy on down!

Artist's concept of Solar Power Satellite in p...

Artist’s concept of Solar Power Satellite in place. Shown is the assembly of a microwave transmission antenna. The solar power satellite was to be located in a geosynchronous orbit, 36,000 miles above the Earth’s surface. NASA 1976 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)