BBC Program on Fracking, featuring Professor Iain Stewart.

ReBlogged from Lack of Environment: http://lackofenvironment.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/my-final-word-on-fracking/#respond

iain_stewart

Professor Iain Stewart

***

Letter written to Professor Stewart by Lack of Environment, author Martin Lack: http://lackofenvironment.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/my-final-word-on-fracking/#respond

Herewith appended below is an email I sent today to Professor Iain Stewart (and copied to all those named in it).

Dear Professor Stewart,

I wanted to express my appreciation for the sensitive way in which you handled the issues in last night’s Horizon programme and for all the facts, figures and research findings it contained.  I was particularly interested in the evidence that shale gas has escaped from poorly-constructed wells in the USA.  Even if the UK can improve on the 6 to 7% failure rate in the USA, 100% success (i.e. no failures) is highly improbable.  Therefore, if fracking must be pursued (for whatever reason), this would make it imperative that the BGS establish baseline monitoring for methane as soon as possible. Would it be possible to get a copy of the transcript of the programme (or a list of References)?

Given my geological background and my MA in Environmental Politics, I have written a great deal about Fracking and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) on my blog.  However, having started out very much opposed to both Fracking and CCS, my position has evolved as a consequence of ‘exchanges of views’ I had last year with Professor Peter Styles (Keele) and with Professor Robert Mair (Cambridge/Royal Society).  As a result of these exchanges – summarised or linked to here on my blog – I would agree with Peter that we probably need shale gas.  However, I believe Peter also agrees with me that we probably cannot afford it*.  I also understand that the remit of the Royal Society specifically excluded the long-term sustainability implications of pursuing fracking.

Nevertheless, this leaves me wondering whether you could encourage the BBC to do a second programme to address the consequences of humans burning all the Earth’s fossil fuels simply because they are there; and/or the need for ‘Western’ per capita energy consumption to be drastically reduced?  Having read David MacKay’s book, Sustainable Energy: Without The Hot Air, I think our biggest problem is that most people do not think holistically about the problems we face or, even worse, they seem to think concepts such as ‘ecological carrying capacity’ are just eco-Marxist propaganda.  However, although it would seem that CCS is now going to be essential in order to minimise anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), I think it is also the biggest obstacle to getting politicians to take decisive action to decarbonise our power generation systems.

Even if such a second Horizon programme is not likely, I remain very appreciative of all you have done – and are doing – to raise the profile of ACD as an Earth Science issue that should be of concern to all.

Kind regards, [etc]

ReBlogged from Lack of Environment: http://lackofenvironment.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/my-final-word-on-fracking/#respond

* If fracking becomes the new energy boom, it is very hard to see how CCS will ever be able to be rolled-out on a global scale to keep pace with unabated CO2 emissions.

“Let Fury Have The Hour”, film by Antonio D’Ambrosio. Artist’s Unite!

YouTube Link:  $3.99     http://www.youtube.com/movie/let-fury-have-the-hour?feature=mv_sr

A documentary that chronicles how a generation of artists, thinkers, and activists used their creativity as a response to the reactionary politics that came to define our culture in the 1980s.

Director Antonino D’Ambrosio took seven years interviewing various artists who discuss how their work stems in large part from reactions to the conservative politics of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. They explain how their creative responses to what they felt were dehumanizing social changes allow them to find a way to affect the world. Among the many interviewees are Chuck D, Tom MorelloJohn Sayles, and Eve Ensler.

LET-FURY-HAVE-THE-HOUR

Shepard Fairey, Obey Giant Room - The Creek So...

Shepard Fairey, Obey Giant Room – The Creek South Beach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan greet Prime Min...

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan greet Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Denis Thatcher of the United Kingdom for the State Dinner at the North portico of the White House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bill Moyers, Lawrence Lessig on Government Spying, Big Brother’s Prying Eyes

Full Show: Big Brother’s Prying Eyes

June 14, 2013

Whatever your take on the recent revelations about government spying on our phone calls and Internet activity, there’s no denying that Big Brother is bigger and less brotherly than we thought. What’s the resulting cost to our privacy — and more so, our democracy? Lawrence Lessig, professor of law and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and founder of Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, discusses the implications of our government’s actions, Edward Snowden’s role in leaking the information, and steps we must take to better protect our privacy.

“Snowden describes agents having the authority to pick and choose who they’re going to be following on the basis of their hunch about what makes sense and what doesn’t make sense. This is the worst of both worlds. We have a technology now that gives them access to everything, but a culture if again it’s true that encourages them to be as wide ranging as they can,” Lessig tells Bill. “The question is — are there protections or controls or counter technologies to make sure that when the government gets access to this information they can’t misuse it in all the ways that, you know, anybody who remembers Nixon believes and fears governments might use?”

Few are as knowledgeable about the impact of the Internet on our public and private lives as Lessig, who argues that government needs to protect American rights with the same determination and technological sophistication it uses to invade our privacy and root out terrorists.

“If we don’t have technical measures in place to protect against misuse, this is just a trove of potential misuse…We’ve got to think about the technology as a protector of liberty too. And the government should be implementing technologies to protect our liberties,” Lessig says. “Because if they don’t, we don’t figure out how to build that protection into the technology, it won’t be there.”

“We should recognize in a world of terrorism the government’s going to be out there trying to protect us. But let’s make sure that they’re using tools or technology that also protects the privacy side of what they should be protecting.”

A former conservative who’s now a liberal, Lessig also knows that the caustic impact of money is another weapon capable of mortally wounding democracy. His recent book, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress — and a Plan to Stop It, decries a pervasive “dependence corruption” in our government and politics that should sound a desperate alarm for both the Left and the Right. Here, Lessig outlines a radical approach to the problem that uses big money itself to reform big money-powered corruption.

Producer: Gail Ablow. Editor: Rob Kuhns.
Intro Producer: Robert Booth. Intro Editor: Paul Desjarlais.
Photographer: Alton Christensen.

Lawrence Lessig on Government Spying.

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Photo of Aaron Swartz and Lawrence Lessig at t...

Photo of Aaron Swartz and Lawrence Lessig at the launch party for Creative Commons at O’Reilly’s Emerging Technology Conference. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

"Technology has exceeded our humanity"

“Technology has exceeded our humanity” (Photo credit: Toban B.)

Bill Moyers and Sheldon Wolin, 2008. Do we live in a Democracy?

Bill Moyers and Sheldon Wolin 2008  Video I

Bill Moyers and Sheldon Wolin 2008  Video II

***

Wikipedia:

Wolin’s work addresses participatory democracy with primary focus on the United States.

He makes a distinction between democracy as system of governance

and any of the formal political institutions of the state.

In other words,

he decouples democracy from governance

and towards a political system based on democratic principles.

***

Sheldon Wolin

Sheldon Wolin

Sheldon S. Wolin (born August 4, 1922) is an American political philosopher and writer

on contemporary politics.

He is currently Professor Emeritus at Princeton University.

His most famous work is Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought.

In 1950, Wolin received his Harvard University doctorate for a dissertation titled Conservatism and Constitutionalism:

A Study in English Constitutional Ideas, 1760–1785. After teaching briefly at Oberlin College,

Wolin taught at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1954 to 1970.

In a political science department that was largely composed of empirical studies of micro-political issues,

Wolin was a political theorist who managed to build that component of the program by bringing

Norman Jacobson, John Schaar, and Hanna Pitkin into the department.

He was a major supporter and interpreter to the rest of the world

of the theory behind the Free Speech Movement,

and he became a mentor to one of the FSM’s more prominent activists,

 Michael Lerner on whose Ph.D. committee he served.

He also published frequently for The New York Review of Books during the 1970s.

From 1973 through 1987, Wolin was Professor of Politics at Princeton University

where he mentored a large number of students

who have subsequently become leading figures in contemporary political theory,

including most notably: at Berkeley, Hanna Pitkin (Emeritus, Berkeley),

J. Peter Euben (Duke University) and Harlan Wilson (Oberlin), and at Princeton, Uday Mehta (Amherst College),

Wendy Brown(Berkeley), Frederick M. Dolan (Emeritus, Berkeley and California College of the Arts),

Dana Villa (Notre Dame), Nicholas Xenos (Massachusetts), Kirstie McClure (UCLA)

and Cornel West (Princeton).

At Princeton, Wolin led a successful faculty effort to pass a resolution urging university trustees

to divest from endowment investment in firms that supported South African apartheid.

Aside from Oberlin, UC Berkeley and Princeton,

Wolin has also taught at UC Santa Cruz, UC Los Angeles, International Christian University (Tokyo, Japan),

Cornell University, and Oxford University.

US President Lyndon Johnson (right) meets with...

US President Lyndon Johnson (right) meets with special assistant Bill Moyers in the Oval Office, White House, Washington, DC, 29 November, 1963. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Challenges New Shell Tar Sands Mines .

Sherman Alexie, Poet, Author, and Free Thinker…

http://vimeo.com/63878449

Sherman Alexie

Born on a reservation in Washington state, Alexie has been navigating

the boundaries in American and Native American culture for two decades.

He is the author of 22 books, including The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,

winner of the 2007 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, War Dances,

winner of the 2010 PEN Faulkner Award,

andThe Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,

a PEN Hemingway Special Citation winner.

Smoke Signals, the film he wrote and co-produced,

won the Audience Award and Filmmakers’ Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.

Smoke Signals (film)

English: American author, poet and filmmaker S...

English: American author, poet and filmmaker Sherman Alexie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Change the world by changing yourself? Eating less, anti-aging!

My grandmother often said, “You are what you eat.”

Here is the science to back this up, a video by

Dr. Michael Mosley. A Junk food addict!

***

“I changed my diet 18 years ago.

I love to eat,

just not meat!

I was getting that ‘chunky’ middle age body,

so I fasted! And the FAT never returned.

Also…I have not seen a doctor for ANY illness since!” 

                                                         D.A. Hartley

***

DSCN7668

***

I hope that you watch this video,

it just recommends a baby step, no radical diet,

but watching this could help you live a healthy life.

***

Reaching the ripe old age of 50, Dr. Mosley wondered how healthy

he really was. He found that he was only slightly overweight,

BUT

pre-Diabetic,

pre-Cancerous (6 types of cancer),

pre-Heart Disease.

***

THE ARTICLE…

What did cavemen really eat when they sat down to dine, morning, noon and night?

The Paleo Diet guys spun some interesting theories —

all of which turned out to be nonsense.

But the truth is, if you’re trying to isolate the “health key” to early man’s diet,

it really may hinge not so much on what he was eating.

Because one BIG health benefit early man had going:

he rarely got three squares a day.

In fact, it might have regularly been a day or two

(or four) between filling meals back in the bad old days.

So if you get a hankering to emulate cavemen, the key is probably this:

eat a fair amount less than you’re eating now.

This is the basic tenant arrived at when a leading British journalist and physican,

Michael Mosley, set out to become healthier and lose weight,

while making as few changes as possible in his life.

Dr. Mosley is considered the “Sanjay Gupta of England,”

and today we are recommending a video he recently produced on this subject.

Biologist Sandra Steingraber, Others Get 15 Days in Jail for Civil Disobedience Against Gas Co.

Published on Thursday, April 18, 2013 by Common Dreams

Sandra Steingraber, Others Get 15 Days in Jail for Civil Disobedience Against Gas Co.

‘My Small, Non-Violent Act vs. Larger, More Violent, Toxic Trespass’ of Inergy Corporation

– Jon Queally, staff writer
Seneca Lake, Geneva, N.Y.

Seneca Lake, Geneva, N.Y. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Inergy’s gas storage and transportation project in the Town of Reading,

right on Seneca Lake, threatens the water supply for 100,000 people.

The gas compression site they were blockading,

owned by Missouri-based Inergy corporation,

is part of an underground ‘gas storage operation’ near the region’s Seneca Lake, 

which provides drinking water for more than 100,000 area residents.

Opponents of the project, including those sentenced, say the project is a danger

to families, farms and the health of the local ecosystem.

In addition,

they contend, Inergy has continually undermined safety regulations

and blocked calls attempts to compell disclosure of vital

information about the nature of the project.

***

“My small, non-violent act of trespass,” said Steingraber to the crowd,

“is set against a larger, more violent one:

the trespass of hazardous chemicals into water and air

and thereby into our bodies. This is a form of toxic trespass.”

***

Opponents of the project, including those sentenced, say the project is a danger to families, farms and the health of the local ecosystem. In addition, they contend, Inergy has continually undermined safety regulations and blocked calls attempts to compell disclosure of vital information about the nature of the project.

English: Vineyards in the Seneca Lake AVA, vie...

English: Vineyards in the Seneca Lake AVA, viewed from the back porch of Wagner Vineyards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three upstate New York community members-cum-activists, charged with criminal trespass for blockading a gas company installation last month, were sentenced to 15 days in jail on Wednesday by a local judge in an upstate courthouse.

Among those sentenced was university biology professor and author Sandra Steingraber, who delivered an impassioned statement ahead of the sentencing explaining why she was compelled to civil disobedience and why she would refuse to pay the fine levied by the judge.

***

“My small, non-violent act of trespass,” said Steingraber to the crowd, “is set against a larger, more violent one: the trespass of hazardous chemicals into water and air and thereby into our bodies. This is a form of toxic trespass.”

***

Speaking with journalist Bill Moyers just one day prior to the sentencing, Steingraber explained why she and other community members felt in necessary to protest “plans to store millions of barrels of highly-pressurized liquid propane and butane — gases produced in the controversial process of fracking — in [local] salt caverns.”

Map of the Finger Lakes region of New York State.

Also sentenced on Wednesday were massage therapist Melissa Chapman and local farm owner Michael Dineen.

The courtroom at sentencing, according to reports, was brimming over with more than 150 supporters and onlookers.

The gas compression site they were blockading, owned by Missouri-based Inergy corporation, is part of an underground ‘gas storage operation’ near the region’s Seneca Lake, which provides drinking water for more than 100,000 area residents.

Opponents of the project, including those sentenced, say the project is a danger to families, farms and the health of the local ecosystem. In addition, they contend, Inergy has continually undermined safety regulations and blocked calls attempts to compell disclosure of vital information about the nature of the project.

“I do not take this step lightly,” said Michael Dineen, reflecting on his own actions. “My wife and I have a small farm in Seneca County. We grow organic grains and maintain a large garden we use to feed our and our daughter’s families. Our garden is irrigated with lake water. I believe the Inergy gas storage complex will, at best, damage the community, and has the potential to do catastrophic damage. Important information has been kept from the public with the DEC’s cooperation. I do this to attempt to protect the community when all other means have failed. I blocked the entrance to the Inergy gas storage facility because I believe that the institutions who, by law and purpose, are required to protect the people and the environment from harm can no longer be relied on to do so.”

Local Channel 34 News explained the case’s background:

On March 18, Steingraber and 10 fellow residents of the Seneca Lake region, in a peaceful act of civil disobedience, blockaded a gas compressor station site run by Missouri-based Inergy, LLP, on Seneca Lake. They did so to demonstrate their opposition to Inergy’s planned heavy industrialization of the Finger Lakes region, renowned for its natural beauty, vineyards, and tourism- and agriculture-based economy.

Inergy’s gas storage and transportation project in the Town of Reading, right on Seneca Lake, threatens the water supply for 100,000 people.

All 11 protesters, along with a legal liaison, were arrested and charged with trespassing.

On April 17, Judge Raymond Berry of the Town of Reading imposed a fine of $375 for trespassing for Chipman, Dineen, and Steingraber, the three people appearing that evening. All three refused to pay (their statements are attached), and the judge ordered that each spend 15 days in jail.

Steingraber’s full sentencing statement follows:

“Good afternoon.  My name is Sandra Steingraber. I’m a biologist and a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College.  I’m 53 years old and the mother of an 11-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter.  I’m married to an art teacher, and we all live in the village of Trumansburg, which is about 15 miles to the northeast, as the crow flies.

On March 18, 2013, together with 11 other local residents, I stood in the driveway of this site, which is owned by the Kansas City-based energy company called Inergy and located on the west bank of Seneca Lake. In so doing, I broke the law and am charged with trespassing. Before my arrest, I and the others with whom I linked arms, temporarily blocked a truck carrying a drill head from going where it wanted to go.  This is my first experience with civil disobedience. Here is an explanation of my actions.

First, and most importantly, this act of civil disobedience is a last resort for me.  Prior to this, I and other community members have taken every legal avenue to raise the serious health, economic, and environmental concerns associated with the Inergy plant.  However, time and again, we’ve been deterred from participating in the decision-making process. For example, Inergy has declared the geological history of the salt caverns to be proprietary business information, so that much of the basic science on the structural integrity of the salt caverns is hidden from view. How can we offer informed public comments and raise scientific objection when we are denied this fundamental information?

Inergy has asked for fast-track FERC approval and that we fear that authorities are poised to rubber stamp these applications before the public has had a chance to review all the relevant information and the full impacts of these combined projects have been considered.

This act of civil disobedience was also undertaken to bring attention to the fact that this company has been out of compliance with the Clean Water Act every quarter for the last 12 quarters—which is as far back as the data go–exceeding its effluent discharge limit.  For this behavior, the company has been fined, not once, but twice, to the tune of over $30,000.

Effluent discharge means that the company dumps chemicals directly into Seneca Lake, which is a source of drinking water for 100,000 people.

It is my belief that paying trivial fines does not excuse the crime of salting the lake.  And it’s because I have such a high respect for the rule of law that I will be choosing not to pay a fine for my act of trespassing and will instead will show responsibility by accepting a jail sentence.

Second, I seek by my actions to shine a spotlight on the dangerous practice of converting abandoned salt caverns into storage containers for highly pressurized hydrocarbon gases, namely propane and butane. Legal or not, this practice is tantamount to burying giant cigarette lighters in the earth.

This form of liquefied petroleum gas storage has a troubled safety record.  Leaks, explosions, and collapses have occurred in at least ten other places.  Additionally, the fleets of diesel trucks and the planned 60 ft. high flare stack—even absent calamitous accidents—will add hazardous air pollutants to our communities. Thus, my small, non-violent act of trespass is set against a larger, more violent one: the trespass of hazardous chemicals into water and air and thereby into our bodies.  This is a form of toxic trespass.

Lastly, I desire to bring attention to the rapid build-out of fracking infrastructure in New York.  Even as we are engaged in a statewide conversation about whether our governor should maintain or lift the current moratorium on shale gas extraction via horizontal fracking in New York, technology that further entrenches our dependency on shale gas—pipelines, storage, compressor stations, processing plants—is being rapidly deployed.  These infrastructure investments make fracking in New York State more likely and aid and abet fracking in other states, where it is associated with sickness and misery among people causes devastation to land, water, and air quality.

In a time of climate emergency, the transformation of the Finger Lakes into a massive transportation and storage hub for climate-destroying fossil fuel gases that have been fracked out shale in other states is the absolute wrong form of development.

I am a biologist, not a lawyer.  But when I looked up my crime on Wikipedia, here is what it said:

Trespass to land involves the wrongful interference with one’s possessory rights in [real] property. William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of Englandarticulated the common law principle… translating from Latin as “for whoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to Heaven and down to Hell.” In modern times, courts have limited the right of absolute dominion over the subsurface. For instance, drilling a directional well that bottoms out beneath another’s property to access oil and gas reserves is trespass, but a subsurface invasion byhydraulic fracturing is not [emphasis added].

In other words, trespassing laws are unjust. They make a criminals of people who stand on a lakeshore purchased by an out-of-state fossil fuel company only interested in the hollowed out salt chambers that lie 1500 feet beneath the surface, while, at the same time, allowing drilling and fracking operations to tunnel freely under homes, farms, and aquifers, shatter our bedrock, and pump the shards full of toxic chemicals.

I broke the law by standing in a privately owned driveway.  Fossil fuel companies are not breaking the law by trespassing into the atmosphere with heat-trapping gases and so creating planetary crisis.  There are the disparities that I seek to communicate with my actions and, out of respect for the fidelity of law, with my willingness to accept a jail sentence rather than pay a fine.

As a working mother of two school-aged children, this is a decision I have reached after much discernment.”

_____________________

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
***

English: Seneca Lake at Seneca State Forest.

BILL MOYERS and Company present…

Full Show: The Toxic Assault on Our Children

Friend Nature: This video is a MUST WATCH, Sandra Steingraber very eloquently describes how chemicals have invaded the human body, to alter our genetic makeup, and change our bodies.

 Related articles

Bill Moyers, My Hero! ‘The Toxic Assault on Our Children’ and ‘Dance of the Honey Bee’

BILL MOYERS and Company present…

Full Show: The Toxic Assault on Our Children

April 19, 2013

Biologist, mother and activist Sandra Steingraber joins Bill to explain why she was willing to go to jail — and did — for blocking access to the construction of a storage and transportation facility involved in the controversial process of fracking. Steingraber has become internationally known for building awareness about toxins she says are threatening our children’s health by contaminating our air, water and food, and talks to Bill about how we must take action stop these “toxic trespassers.”

With government captured by the very industries it’s supposed to regulate, Steingraber has lost patience with politicians and corporations, and says we need to work together now to prevent destruction to the environment.

Also on the show, Bill presents the short documentary “Dance of the Honey Bee.” Narrated by Bill McKibben, the film takes a look at the determined, beautiful, and vital role honey bees play in preserving life, as well as the threats bees face from a rapidly changing landscape.

Bill Moyers

***

Sandra Steingraber, Scientist & Author, Raisin...

Sandra Steingraber, Scientist & Author, Raising Elijah (Photo credit: SteveHarbula)

***This image was selected as a picture of the we...

The Dust Bowl, by director Ken Burns. Will this Ecological Disaster Return Anew? An interview with Paula Zahn.

Streamed live on Nov 15, 2012

http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/dustbowl/

THE DUST BOWL

Encore Broadcast April 23 and 30, 2013
8:00–10:00 p.m. ET on PBS

CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS

THE DUST BOWL chronicles the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history, in which the frenzied wheat boom of the “Great Plow-Up,” followed by a decade-long drought during the 1930s nearly swept away the breadbasket of the nation. Vivid interviews with twenty-six survivors of those hard times, combined with dramatic photographs and seldom seen movie footage, bring to life stories of incredible human suffering and equally incredible human perseverance. It is also a morality tale about our relationship to the land that sustains us—a lesson we ignore at our peril.

On November 15, join Ken Burns along with Paula Zahn in a live YouTube event and national dialogue regarding the Dust Bowl‘s legacy on both the environment and the culture of the United States. Panelists will discuss current drought conditions along with the importance of environmental awareness and the effects humans have on the natural world. Join the conversation at youtube.com/pbs. Submit questions at youtube.com/pbs or tweet using hashtag #DustBowlPB

(This is the archived version of the live event held on Nov. 15, 2012) The Dust Bowl premieres on PBS Nov. 18-19, 2012. More athttp://www.pbs.org/dustbowl

Ken Burns, Documentary filmmaker

Ken Burns, Documentary filmmaker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Buried machinery in barn lot in Dalla...

English: Buried machinery in barn lot in Dallas, South Dakota, United States during the Dust Bowl, an agricultural, ecological, and economic disaster in the Great Plains region of North America in 1936 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NOW PLAYING: Dust Bowl Preview