Planet Earth Weekly

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


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The Earth is Warming Up…And Fast!

Global Warming

The Earth continues to warm.

“Unless we take extreme measures now to alter the direction of climate, worldwide catastrophes will continue to take place!”

By Linn Smith

In the western state where I reside in the summers, record high and low temperatures continue to be broken. The average number of above 90 degree days each year in my city is 30. Since 2000 the number has spiked to 48 days above 90 degrees.

Global Warming

Climate Change

Surviving our Warming Planet

As the earth warms, we rely more and more on our air conditioners. Air conditioning, in many places, have become essential for survival. Phoenix, Arizona is an example of this. June temperatures hit a record breaking 106 degrees yesterday! Air conditioning will be essential for future survival, but as population grows and becomes concentrated in bigger cities, we will be vulnerable to power outages, leaving elderly and small children at risk.

Last week temperatures reached 100.4 degrees in Verkhoyansk, a small town in Siberia within the Arctic Circle, where the average temperature in June is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The rise in temperatures in Siberia has allowed for increased wildfires with greater intensity. May was the hottest in Siberia since records began. Also, permafrost melted which caused oil tanks to be unsupported, resulting in a massive diesel spill.

Global Warming

All Scientific data shows the same increases.

Unprecedented Warming Trend

Nasa.gov states, “The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades.”

Global Warming

Temperatures increase

Climate Warming Facts

Scientific graphs show that the rise in temperatures since the 1900’s correlate with the rise in CO2 in our atmosphere, which traps the greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere.

Scientific data shows the following facts:
*2010-2019 was the hottest decade on record.
* 2016 was the hottest year on record with 2019 being the 2nd hottest year since records began 140 years ago.
* 9 of 10 of the warmest years have been since 2005.
*The average temperature of our earth in 2019 was 1.71 degrees F above the 20th century average.
* In 2019 the amount of heat stored in the ocean surface was the highest on record.
* 2020 is on its way to being one of hottest years ever recorded, just behind 2016 (2016 was affected by El Nino which is known to be warmer years.)
* May 2020 was tied with May 2016 as the warmest May on record.

Global Warming

Stripes show visualization of our warming planet.

Through the study of ice cores, satellites and ocean acidity, scientist have been able to obtain accurate information over many years. The earth’s warming is causing not only the earth to heat up, but also extreme weather around the world, which is resulting in floods, fires, an earlier hurricane season and many other manifestations of climate change.

Scientists warned of world wide pandemics as a result of climate change. Unless we take extreme measures now to alter the direction of climate, worldwide catastrophes will continue to take place!

Climate Change


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Gardening and Hydroponics: Learning to Grow Your Own Food

hydroponics

Grow your own food without soil.

“The important thing is you’re learning to grow some of your own food sustainably.”

By Linn Smith

I get it…no one wants to get suited up in masks with sanitary wipes in their pockets, rubber gloves, i.e. donning your suit of armor of choice, to go into a grocery store these days to shop for food, only to bring it home, wipe it down, take a shower and wonder if you were exposed to this horrid Covid-19 virus that’s currently ransacking our planet. Where I live it is now against the law to enter a grocery store without a mask. How I appreciate the good old days when we could make a quick stop at the store on the way home from work and quickly run in to pick up something we needed for dinner!

Yard to Garden
Turn your yard into your garden.

Gardening

Today, there is a run on seeds for planting outdoor or hydroponic gardens at home. Folks are realizing that they may have room in their house or apartment for gardening or they conclude they may not need their entire English style lawns for recreation, instead converting them into gardens for readily available food in a month or so.

From yard to garden
You can grow your own food.

Whether you live in an apartment or have a yard, you can learn to grow your own vegetables and herbs. Many without a yard are getting acquainted with the indoor method called hydroponics, growing small plants without soil, where water provides the nourishment for plants. This type of gardening requires setting up your own indoor garden for smaller plants using seeds, nutrients, containers and a light source. The light source will vary according to the plant.

Kitchen gardening
Turn your kitchen into a garden.

Hydroponics

An excellent guide to starting your indoor garden can be found at www.https://www.thespruce.com/beginners-guide-to-hydroponics-1939215

Aquaponics
Fish and plant dependency.

Aquaponics

Being a teacher I have witnessed several examples in our school system that use aquaponics (a branch of hydroponics) and fish, which not only teaches kids about caring for fish and gardening, but the interdependency of nature, all while finding the benefits of bacteria created by the interdependency. Students learn to create a closed, self-sustaining system which also provides food for them. For more detail see: https://aquaponics.com/aquaponics-in-schools/aquaponics-information/build-a-mini-aquaponic-system/

Food scarcity
Empty shelves at grocery stores.

Food Scarcity

Whether you plant an outdoor garden or try your hand at indoor gardening, the important thing is you’re learning to grow some of your own food sustainably, as there may come a time when the grocery stores are not just sold out of toilet paper, which has been the recent circumstance, but also out of food.

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Climate Change and Overconsumption

Sustainable living

“Overconsumption exists when resources are consumed at an unsustainable level as measured by the ecosystem’s capacity.” Pielc.org

By Linn Smith

“Medical researchers and climate scientists note that viral outbreaks may become more common with the progression of the climate crisis, which is affecting the movement of humans, animals and pathoogens.”
Earth Institute/Columbia University.

Sitting here quarantined in Colorado I have consistent reminders to stay home. This isn’t too hard for me… yet…as a green belt along the creek is just a few steps away, enabling me to walk the dog or ride bike for miles. I am also fortunate to have good neighbors that are taking advantage of the same thing….but we do stay 6 ft apart!

Working toward 100% renewables

Making Changes to Save Our Planet

I have wondered if this is the kind of drastic measures we need, not only to stop the spreading virus, but also to make the changes necessary to save our planet. For years I and many others have been preaching ways to consume less. We are now making the changes out of fear and responsibility to save our population. We find ourselves using less because we don’t want to make those dreaded runs to the grocery store or order from Amazon, where warehouse workers have now been diagnosed with Covid-19.

I can’t help thinking that this is the type of fear we need to sustain humanity on our planet in the future…..for those are the beings that are going to be hit hardest by climate change and possible lack of food. Dr. John J. Hidore and I have provided the public with many articles stating scientific facts to support the future outlook of our planet, so I won’t bore you with statistics here.

Landfill

The Arizona landfill

This past winter I have spent many days hiking up the side of a mountain in Arizona, looking over my shoulder at the valley below. Deep in the valley appears to be a sizable mountain, but in actuality it is a landfill made into what appears to be a mountain, radiating toxicity. When I see this site I often think, “We can do better!”

The Effect of Impulse Buying on our Environment

We are an impulse-buying nation with very little thought into the future of how the products and packaging we purchase will eventually be that great mountain of garbage which dresses the landscape in every city, county, state and country. We fail to ask ourselves,”How will what I buy effect our environment in the future?”

I grew up on a farm in the Midwest. We grew and canned our own food, had dairy cows and chickens and were pretty self sufficient. The nearest neighbors were at least half a mile away. I learned to be resourceful and inventive out of necessity. It seems we have lost the ability to use our imaginations, accepting the fact that hopping in our gas guzzling vehicles and traveling to the store is the answer to all of our problems, i.e. our needs and wants. We fail to ask ourselves, “If I want this, what resources do I already have that I might use to make something that is close to what I want?” (This was pretty easy as a kid with a big imagination!) We can ask ourselves, “Can I borrow something that I need? Can I repair something? Can I convert something no longer useful to something I want?” Yes, many of us have lost the ability to create, convert or adapt!

Recycle

Create, Convert, Adapt

If it’s food, can I make what I need instead of buying it prepackaged at the grocery store? For example, I have lived, at least part-time, in the southwest U.S. for many years, beginning my teaching career in New Mexico. There I learned that you can eat just about anything in a tortilla and this habit has stuck with me throughout the years. I recently ran out of tortillas….but I have flour and I know they are very easy to make! (Just for fun here is a song about tortillas that depicts my sentiment exactly. It is sung by Petey Ronstadt, Linda Ronstadt’s nephew. I was fortunate to see him and talk to him a few times in Tucson. For a little entertainment, take a listen https://youtu.be/7-qQJzOq7u8)

So, swinging back from tortillas to climate change, is there something we can learn from these times of turmoil? Can we use less, drive less, stay at home more, borrow, make or ask ourselves, “Do I really need it? If I really do need it, could I buy quality goods that last longer, and have a plan to reduce, reuse or recycle?” The answer is yes. We can do it!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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The Future of Electric Cars: 2020 and Beyond (Part 1)

The electric car

Electric vehicles are on the rise.

“The spread of EVs may also open up opportunities to provide storage support for renewables.”

By Linn Smith

Elon Musk and Tesla are always igniting my interest in electric vehicles! My fascination with the Cybertruck first appeared a few months back when Tesla revealed this truck on Instagram. My first thought….what a really odd truck! But then appeared the tug of war between the Ford F-150, the most popular gas guzzler, and Tesla’s Cybertruck. The Ford truck wasn’t one of the heavier duty trucks produced by Ford, but it was a fun match to watch and the Cybertruck won hands down!

The Cybertruck

Cybertruck wins!

Why does the Cybertruck look so odd? Musk states this prototype contains layers of metals which are so heavy and thick they lack flexibility as in the typical auto, which often has softer curved lines. Musk says the actual truck will not go into production for at least a year and that the design will look “slightly better!”

The Cybertruck

Tesla’s newest creation!

Tesla and Rapidly Falling Prices

Musk recently stated on Twitter, “The first models, which will sport a trimotor setup, are set for production in late 2021. Less powerful models will begin production in 2022. Tesla has something for the here and now, too: The Tesla Model Y SUV is set to enter production next month.”

The Model Y starts at about $40,000 and will be Tesla’s first advance into compact SUVs. This will be offered for sale in the summer of 2020. As the price for a Tesla continues to decline (the Model 3 starts at around $35,000) profit for the company has shown growth in the last quarter….so Tesla continues strong!

Electric vehicle

Charge stations across the nation.

Electric Cars and the Source of Power

Before the critics start rolling in with negative comments, I am quite aware of the environmental impact of electric cars and the dependency on electricity, whether the power is produced by renewable resources or from coal burning power plants. Yes, it does make a difference, but we as a planet are moving toward renewables so, as I see it, this is no longer a point of debate. How we reach our goals may not be perfect, in fact it may be one step forward and two steps back, but the important thing is, we are headed in the right direction!

Electric Cars: Returning Power to the Grid

In a recent article at Physicsworld.com titled, “An Electric Car Future”, Dave Elliot states, “The spread of EVs may also open up opportunities to provide storage support for renewables via the so-called “vehicle-to-grid” (V2G) option. In this case, EV’s batteries could be used to balance the grid and its use of variable renewables. EVs will be charged from the mains supply at home or elsewhere, and at times their batteries could provide a source of power when there are shortages on the grid. There could be significant advantages from using vehicle-to-grid and associated home-based smart power and storage systems. Some see V2G as a way to convert cars from being an environmental problem into part of the “clean–energy” solution that would enable variable renewables to spread. V2G would also enable EV owners to earn some income from “renting out” their batteries. Obviously, V2G is only viable where there are grids and in many parts of the world that is not the case. Where there are grids, however, V2Gs must overcome potential real or perceived inconvenience issues. For example, in the worst case, car owners would not be happy to have their EV batteries drained flat when there was a power shortfall on the grid.”

So many possibilities with renewable energy and the possibilities are fast becoming realities.

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Generating Electricity at Night

solar at night

The new technology would allow panels to generate solar during the nighttime hours.

“The heat engines are made from a different kind of cell than a photovoltaic cell”

Linn Smith

When we think of solar panels we think of the sunshine bearing down on photovoltaic cells used to produce clean electricity. The big drawback has been lack of sunshine, which diminishes their ability to produce electricity during the nighttime hours and on cloudy days. For households surrounded by trees, I often hear the excuse, “We can’t install solar because the sun doesn’t hit our roof, yard, ect.”

There is some recent exciting news! Scientists have discovered a new way that solar can generate electricity with lack of sun and during nighttime hours. Researchers have discovered that if you want to generate electricity at night you need a system that does the opposite of what solar panels do during the day. They are calling the new tehnology anti-solar or “heat engines.”

nighttime solar

New panels for nighttime generation of clean energy

Photovoltaic vs Thermoradiative Cells

These “heat engines” are made from a different kind of cell than a typical solar photovoltaic cell normally thought of when producing clean energy. The new cell is called a thermoradiative cell and works the opposite of the photovoltaic cell.

Jeremy Munday, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UC Davis is currently busy developing nighttime solar cells that can generate up to 50 watts of power per meter with hopes of improving the power output with further research. Munday states, “Our device couples the cold side of the thermoelectric module to a sky-facing surface that radiates heat to the cold space and has its warm side heated by the surrounding air, enabling electricity generation at night.”

Nighttime solar

Anti-solar panels can generate nighttime energy.


In a recent paper published in the journal of ACS Photonics, Jeremy Munday explained, “A regular solar cell generates power by absorbing sunlight, which causes a voltage to appear across the device and for current to flow. In these new devices, light is instead emitted and the current and voltage go in the opposite direction, but you still generate power. You have to use different materials, but the physics is the same.”

With the ability to generate electricity around the clock, overcoming the lack of sunshine on cloudy days and long nights, we can move towards a sustainable planet, one more effort in combating our changing climate.

Renewable Energy

Resources:
Sciencedaily.com
http://www.inverse.com


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Droneseed: Fighting against Climate Change with Reforestation

dronesseed

drones and reforestation

“By using the newest technology of planting seeds by drones, Droneseed has increased the speed of reforestation.”

By Linn Smith

With climate change and the warming of our planet comes forest fires as evidenced by the recent fires in Australia. The wildfire season has gotten considerably longer and drought has fueled the fires. Rising temperatures evaporate more moisture from the ground and vegetation turns dry with lack of moisture. These events lead to a longer wildfire season. Acres and acres of forest and prairie act as tinder for any mistake by nature or man. Deforestation has many devastating results including erosion and furthering the effects of global warming by destroying a forest’s contribution to clean air, turning carbon dioxide into oxygen.

In the past reforestation depended on humans carrying seedlings, planting each nursery grown seedling by hand as they walked across the deforested areas. If reforestation does not take place in these areas, erosion washes away the top soil and unwanted invasive plants and ground cover may eventually take the place of native trees.

droneseed

reforestation

Droneseed

Droneseed is a relatively new company that is reseeding destroyed forests by dropping tree seeds by drones, mitigating the devastated areas. They are a Seattle-based group of people interested in using technology to help save our planet. They work with the Nature Conservatory and some of the largest lumber companies in the world. According to their website, http://www.droneseed.com, they are a team of “ nursery managers, foresters, ecologists, biologists, and engineers who love the data, theory, and the hands-on work necessary to grow forests.”

In an interview by Devin Coldeway (@Techcrunch), founder and CEO Grant Canary Canary stated, “I started looking into how it’s done today,” he told me. “It’s incredibly outdated. Even at the most sophisticated companies in the world, planters are superheroes that use bags and a shovel to plant trees. They’re being paid to move material over mountainous terrain and be a simple AI and determine where to plant trees where they will grow — microsites. We are now able to do both these functions with drones. This allows those same workers to address much larger areas faster without the caloric wear and tear.”

I have witnessed first hand the devastating changes from forest fires. With the beetle kill causing rapid flames to spread, the Hayman fire was Colorado’s largest, over 138,000 acres, rapidly spreading over the Colorado Rocky’s beautiful terrain. Riding past this area several years later revealed acres and acres of new ground cover with a few cabins that the forest service saved, standing alone amongst the baron, black terrain left by the fire.

forest mitigation

droneseed

Mitigation of Deforested Areas

Droneseed is on the forefront when it comes to mitigation of deforested areas. Using the newest technology of planting seeds by drones they have increased the speed of reforestation. According to Techcrunch.com, in the article, That Night a Forest Flew Droneseed, “Earlier this year, DroneSeed was awarded the first multi-craft, over-55-pounds unmanned aerial vehicle license ever issued by the FAA. Its custom UAV platforms, equipped with multispectral camera arrays, high-end lidar, six-gallon tanks of herbicide and proprietary seed dispersal mechanisms have been hired by several major forest management companies, with government entities eyeing the service as well.These drones scout a burned area, mapping it down to as high as centimeter accuracy, including objects and plant species, fumigate it efficiently and autonomously, identify where trees would grow best, then deploy painstakingly designed seed-nutrient packages to those locations. It’s cheaper than people, less wasteful and dangerous than helicopters and smart enough to scale to national forests currently at risk of permanent damage.”

drones

reforestation

Droneseed packages seeds to drop from their drones by studying the soil and matching the packages closely with the nutrients and soil PH of the area in need of reforestation. They dust the outside of the seed with capaicin, which creates the heat in hot peppers, to keep wildlife from eating the seed.

Droneseed expects to take its services worldwide, thus speeding the growth of deforested areas and pulling carbon dioxide out of our atmosphere and replacing it with oxygen. This process, in return, will slow down our planets warming climate, making our planet livable for future generations.


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President Trump Withdraws The United States From The Paris Climate Agreement.

Sustainable living

It’s our responsibility to change.

“Most Americans Support the Paris Agreement.”

By Dr. John J. Hidore

Geological evidence indicates that the earth is now the warmest it has been in the last 650,000 years. Data also indicates the 20th Century was the warmest century in the past 1000 years. Most of the warmest years of record have occurred since the beginning of the year 2000. Climate change is now taking place faster and faster and is responsible for historic catastrophes around the world. It is clear to the majority of human beings inhabiting this planet that there is a serious problem of change taking place in our weather and climate.

The Paris Climate Conference-Cop21

In the fall of 2015 the historic Paris climate conference-cop21 (Conference Of Parties) was held. Out of that conference came what is generally know as the Paris agreement. The main goal of the group is to keep the mean temperature of Earth from increasing less than 2 degrees above the pre-industrial average temperature. It has already risen about half that. This means keeping the global temperature from rising no more than another 1 degree F. By reducing this much it would bring the level of carbon dioxide back to where it was at the beginning of the industrial revolution.

building green

Cities, states and individuals must do their part in preventing climate change.

An agreement was finalized on December 12, 2015. It was ultimately approved by nearly all nations. The group committed to keeping the global temperature rise to 1 degree F by the year 2100. A key difference in this agreement from previous agreements is that each individual country could set its own goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement imposes no penalties for countries which do not meet their own goals.

Prior conferences wanted to set the goals for each country. Some poor countries still wanted the richest countries to bear the biggest share of the cost or to make the biggest cuts in carbon emissions. The wealthier countries did commit $100 billion a year to help pay the costs for the poorest countries.

Climate Change 2016 Elections

Climate Change-Trump has NO plan!

Trump and the Paris Agreement

During the election campaign of 2016 and as President, Trump stated he would take America out of the Agreement. During the presidential campaign in 2016 he declared that climate change was a hoax. He also stated that if elected he would take the United States out of the 2015 Paris Accord.

On Thursday, June 1, 2017 the president of the United States announced that he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement. The reason he gave was that the agreement was unfair to this country and, as president, he has the right to do that. That this decision on his part has trashed America’s image abroad is an understatement. The United State has been leading the effort to take action to reduce or halt the human induced portion of climate change. However, on Monday, December 2, 2019 President Trump again announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement. This left the other signatories of the agreement to plan action to combat climate change without participation of one of the major contributors to the problem.

Support of the Paris Agreement

Most Americans Support the Paris Agreement. Millions of individuals have now become activists on reducing climate change. People are changing their life styles to use less energy. They are publicly active to get local governments to cut energy use and to change to less carbon based sources of energy. The governments of a number of states have publicly declared they will continue to support the agreement. They will move ahead on measures to reduce greenhouse emissions and climate change.

California, which is the sixth largest economy on the planet, is pushing ahead to become a carbon free region. Other states are following suit even if they do not officially support the Paris agreement. The number of states has now reached about a dozen at the time of this writing. More will participate I am sure.

Clean Energy Plan

Support a Clean Planet for Future Generations!

Mayors’ Action on Climate

Groups of cities are actively working to reduce greenhouse emissions. More than 250 American cities officially adopted the Paris agreement. They are part of a group called Mayors National Climate Action Agenda. Among the cities that have agreed to support the Paris Agreement is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This is the very city which Trump stated he represented although he did not represent the Paris Agreement. There is no doubt that the position the current president of the United States has taken is a shock to the rest of the world, let alone to the majority of the people in this country. However, the people of this country will not turn their backs on the rest of the world. They will stand with all nations that are committed to reducing the extent of climate change which, is even at this date, resulting in catastrophes.

Island nation populations are being forced to move or cease to exist. Inland rivers are undergoing record floods. Extreme high temperatures are doing tremendous damage to plants and animals.

How great the catastrophes are in the future depends on what our nation, along with nearly all others, does in regard to climate change. Let the United States lead the way!


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Recycling: Creating Hope for a Greener Planet

Recycle

Recycle and Conserve

“European countries are recycling 35% to 40% [of their plastic waste]. The U.S. only recycles 10%.”

By Linn Smith

I am spending time in a suburb in the Southwestern part of the United States. After being a diligent recycler most of my adult life, I have come to realize that many households do not share my passion for doing their part to prevent further negative impact on our planet. Even though I’m conscientious about buying goods in bulk from local health food stores, I still accumulate some bottles, cans and plastics. It’s the world we live!

I have been in the Southwest for several weeks and have repeatedly asked people and businesses about a drop off place for glass and plastic. The answer is always the same….the surrounding suburbs no longer take drop off recyclables as rates have gone up and in some sections there has been complete halt on even curbside recycling for glass and plastic. Cans are less of a problem, as many are willing to turn them in for cash, but plastic and glass? My efforts have produced nothing.

Recycle

Recycling Shut Down!

Following is the message I found when trying to locate a place to drop off my recyclables:

**CLOSURE NOTICE**
All City of *****recyling Drop-off Centers Are Indefinitely Closed
Due to increasing recycling processing fees and decreasing commodity values, the City of **** has found it necessary to reevaluate its entire recycling program. While we value the importance and place high priority on conserving our natural resources, we must also take into account financial considerations to ensure we are able to maintain a sustainable program. The total operating cost for the City of ***** three recycling drop-off centers is approximately $250,000 per year. While we have been pleased to offer this service for many years and appreciate you visiting our centers, unfortunately the decision has been made to indefinitely close all three locations.”

Landfill

A newly formed mountain of waste.

The Landfill: A Mountain of Garbage!

I then sought out the local landfill. I couldn’t enter as the truck in the picture was on guard to keep out private citizens. But standing on the road running parallel to the landfill, I took in the site of a mountain newly produced by garbage from the city that won’t allow recycled dropoffs. As I stood in disgust of this newly formed mountain of garbage in our once beautiful desert Southwest, I wondered, “Where did we go wrong? Was it just a hundred years ago that people were growing their own food, canning, reusing their jars, sewing their own clothes, living what would now be called a sustainable life?”

Landfill

Guarding the landfill.

The site of all those recyclable materials sitting in a landfill in our beautiful desert for a hundred years and accumulating day by day, year by year is almost too much for me to comprehend. To me you either care about out planet, leaving future generations with at least the knowledge that you tried, or you don’t…..you further the “pig sty” concept of what use to be our beautiful earth. The choice is ours to not be lazy!

Where will our Recyclables Go?

The excuse for many cities is this….China quit taking our dirty waste which we had been shipping over to them since 1992 and that alone broke the recycling system in the U.S. Keefe Harrison, CEO of the Recycling Partnership, a nonprofit that seeks to boost the industry, stated “European countries are recycling 35% to 40% [of their plastic waste]. The U.S. only recycles 10%. How tragic is that? We’re fighting an uphill battle to make it cost competitive from day one. The U.S. has previously outsourced so much of its recycling to Asia that the domestic industry languished. And there’s the fact that plastic manufacturers keep making more and more of it, and consumer brands like Procter & Gamble, Nestlé and Walmart keep wrapping more consumer goods in it.”

According to an article in the Sierra magazine, China’s refusing to take our recyclables has given us the opportunity to develop a plan of our own if we care enough to go down that avenue. “The whole crisis narrative has been wrong,” says Steve Alexander, president of the Association of Plastic Recyclers. “China didn’t break recycling. It has given us the opportunity to begin investing in the infrastructure we need in order to do it better.”

Alliance to End Plastic Waste

There are many different types of plastic. Some can be recycled, some cannot. In the past companies have used the plastic most profitable without considering what happens to their product packaging.

Several petrochemical companies have joined big consumer brands in pledging to make most of their plastic recyclable, reusable or compostable within the next decade or two. Their group, Alliance to End Plastic Waste, has promised to spend $1.5 billion over five years to recycle their packaging products.

Every Bottle Back

Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper recently announced a plan, Every Bottle Back, to reduce their dependence on new plastic by collecting, recycling and remaking plastic bottles from plastic they have already produced. “Closed Loop Partners, the leading investment firm in sustainability, will manage upgrades to recycling infrastructure and fund upgrades to equipment at bottle recovery systems. The fund will also be used to help businesses that turn recycled bottles into plastic pellets for reuse in many products.”

The Ocean Clean Up

The Ocean Cleanup.

The Ocean Cleanup

Then there are the heroes of our planet.The Ocean Clean Up nonprofit organization, started by 25 year old Boyan Slat, is not only working on the clean up of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but has recently unveiled technology to clean up rivers that are streaming garbage to the ocean.
“The Interceptor is The Ocean Cleanup’s answer for river plastic waste. It is the first scalable solution to prevent plastic from entering the world’s oceans from rivers. It is 100% solar-powered, extracts plastic autonomously, and is capable of operating in the majority of the world’s most polluting rivers.”

The Interceptor

The Ocean Clean Up, Boyan Slat

But we cannot depend on a young man in his 20’s to clean up our planet, even though he has diligently done more than his part. We must all do our part also!

Sources:

*Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Dr Pepper team up for recycled plastics drive
Toby Hill,October 31, 2019
*NPR U.S. Recycling Industry Is Struggling To Figure Out A Future Without China August 20, 2019

Recycle

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Climate Change: Marine Heat Waves

The Ocean Heat Wave

The Blob shows the warmest ocean .

“In recent years large regions of unusually warm water have been observed in the global oceans.”

By John J. Hidore

Terrestrial heat waves have been a problem for the human species throughout history. They occur on all continents with the possible exception of Antarctica. Technically, they occur there as well. Terrestrial heat waves are defined as prolonged periods of unusually warm weather. What would be defined as a heat wave in one location would not be appropriate for another location, perhaps one not even too far away. An adequate definition might be, “A heat wave is an unusually warm or hot period lasting for days or perhaps weeks.” We associate them with summer but by this definition they can actually occur at any season. At least one country makes a clear definition of a heat wave and that is Pakistan. India defines heat waves and uses different temperatures in different parts of the country to establish what constitutes a heat wave. In the plains regions temperatures above 40 degrees C (104 degrees F) constitute a heat wave. They also define a severe heatwave for this region as experiencing temperatures over 46 degrees C (114.8 degrees F).

The Ocean Heat Wave

Breaking previous ocean temperatures.

Marine heat waves

In recent years large regions of unusually warm water have been observed in the global oceans. These large areas of warmer than usual water develop when surface winds drop in velocity or become calm and are now referred to as marine heat waves. These large areas of unusually warm water(MHWs) are defined in similar terms to heat waves on land as prolonged periods of unusually warm water. In the United States NOAA defines a marine heat wave as an event where the surface water temperature is warmer than 90% of past events whose temperatures were warmer than average for that particular time of year and location for at least five days. The term” blob” has been applied to them. The term was the name given to an event that occurred off the west coast of the United States in 2014-2015.

Pacific Ocean Heat Wave of 2019

A marine heat wave developed over a large part of the northeastern Pacific Ocean this past summer. It extended from Hawaii to the Pacific coast of the United States and stretched all the way from Alaska to California. Temperatures off the coast here rose by 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit. Off the west coast of the United States the blob resulted in a large loss of marine life from microorganisms to large fish. It subsequently affected marine animals and birds. The Hawaiian Islands had the warmest summer on record this year. The effects of the current MHW had a major impact on life in the ocean near the islands. The warmer water resulting in extensive coral bleaching damage to the reefs.

These events are a product of the 21st century, occur in the oceans around the world and are occurring more often and are lasting longer.

Warming Ocean Temperatures

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Heating your RV

“Staying warm can be challenging, especially in an RV.”

By Linn Smith

Winter is upon us here in North America and staying warm can be challenging, especially in an RV. We have a Mr. Heater which we sometimes use in the RV, but I have always used it for short periods only, because I have never been sure of the safety when it comes to carbon monoxide emissions… and the RV chat groups on the internet have ceased to put my mind to rest.

Some RVers say they would never use a Mr. Heater in small spaces, others say they have used them for years. These heaters have built in safety features so, except for leaks at the connections which can be checked for after connecting, they are relatively safe. Mr. Heater has a sensor that shuts them down when oxygen gets low and a tip over safety feature which will also shut them down.

Mr. Heater

Mr. Heater attached to outside propane tank on RV.

Heating your RV

I have friends in Arizona who use only the Mr. Heater to heat their RV, running a Mr. Heater 12’ propane hose assembly from their outside propane tank. There are videos on YouTube for setting this up by drilling a hole in the floor of the RV.

What is the carbon foot print of propane heaters? According to Seattlepi.com, “Propane, though a fossil fuel, is a relatively clean burning fuel which is attributed to its lower carbon content….though its combustion does produce some greenhouse gas wastes.”

Solar on RV

Charge your battery with solar panels.

Although you can make many arguments for and against the environmental impact of an RV, most full time RVers go south for the winter, where they have access to an ideal heat source…warm weather and the warm sun shining through the windows. Today more and more RVs are equipped with solar panels to keep their battery charged.

Charging the battery with solar

The “green argument” for heating an RV with propane? It’s not ideal, but you are heating a very small space and if you travel south for the winter, a heater is only used occasionally for several hours at night.

Heating with a Mr. Heater

During my spare time I began watching videos on the safety of Mr. Heaters and found one that pretty much put my mind at rest, a video on YouTube hosted by a charismatic Canadian full time RVer, Taylor Dzaman. Mr. Dzaman did his own very thorough investigation on Mr. Heaters called “Are Buddy Heaters Safe Inside an RV/Carbon Monoxide full test (review). The question he asked, “Can you sleep all night long with a Buddy heater turned on in your RV. What about a tent? A room in your home? Does it give off carbon monoxide?”

Here’s the link to his YouTube video: https://youtu.be/5vqyfOq0D-8

Heating your RV

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