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

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Professor Iain Stewart

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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.

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World Bank: What Climate Change Means for Africa, Asia and the Coastal Poor

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A new climate report looks at likely impacts of present day, 2°C, and 4°C warming across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and South East Asia.
  • It describes the risks to agriculture and livelihood security in Sub-Saharan Africa; the rise in sea-level, loss of coral reefs and devastation to coastal areas likely in South East Asia; and the fluctuating water resources in South Asia.
  • Turn Down the Heat warns that poor communities will be the most vulnerable to climate change.

As the coastal cities of Africa and Asia expand, many of their poorest residents are being pushed to the edges of livable land and into the most dangerous zones for climate change. Their informal settlements cling to riverbanks and cluster in low-lying areas with poor drainage, few public services, and no protection from storm surges, sea-level rise, and flooding.

These communities – the poor in coastal cities and on low-lying islands – are among the world’s most vulnerable to climate change and the least able to marshal the resources to adapt, a new report finds. They face a world where climate change will increasingly threaten the food supplies of Sub-Saharan Africa and the farm fields and water resources of South Asia and South East Asia within the next three decades, while extreme weather puts their homes and lives at risk.

A new scientific report commissioned by the World Bank and released on June 19 explores the risks to lives and livelihoods in these three highly vulnerable regions. Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience (Read it in IssuuScribdOpen Knowledge Repository) takes the climate discussion to the next level, building on a 2012 World Bank report that concluded from a global perspective that without a clear mitigation strategy and effort, the world is headed for average temperatures 4 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial times by the end of this century.

Small number, big problem

Communities around the world are already feeling the impacts of climate change today, with the planet only 0.8 ºC warmer than in pre-industrial times. Many of us could experience the harsher impacts of a 2ºC warmer world within our lifetimes – 20 to 30 years from now – and  4ºC is likely by the end of the century without global action.

The report lays out what these temperature increases will look like, degree-by-degree, in each targeted region and the damage anticipated for agricultural production, coastal cities, and water resources.

“The scientists tell us that if the world warms by 2°C – warming which may be reached in 20 to 30 years – that will cause widespread food shortages, unprecedented heat-waves, and more intense cyclones,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “In the near-term, climate change, which is already unfolding, could batter the slums even more and greatly harm the lives and the hopes of individuals and families who have had little hand in raising the Earth’s temperature.”

The report, based on scientific analysis by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, uses advanced computer simulations to paint the clearest picture of each region’s vulnerabilities. It describes the risks to agriculture and livelihood security in Sub-Saharan Africa; the rise in sea-level, loss of coral reefs and devastation to coastal areas likely in South East Asia; and the fluctuating water resources in South Asia that can lead to flooding in some areas and water scarcity in others, as well as affecting power supply.

“The second phase of this report truly reiterates our need to bring global attention to the tasks necessary to hold warming to 2ºC,” said Rachel Kyte, the Bank’s vice president for sustainable development. “Our ideas at the World Bank have already been put into practice as we move forward to assist those whose lives are particularly affected by extreme weather events.”

Open Quotes

The scientists tell us that if the world warms by 2°C – warming which may be reached in 20 to 30 years – that will cause widespread food shortages, unprecedented heat-waves, and more intense cyclones. Close Quotes

Jim Yong Kim
President, World Bank Group

How does your garden grow? Flower remedies for healing…

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The Pomegranate tree (Punica granatum)

This tree was planted by my grandmother in 1955.

 Last year the fruit went into making jam,  grenadine, and vodka.

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Yarrow (Achillea millifolium)

 The flower of invulnerability. 

Achillea commemorates the Greek hero Achilles, who used yarrow to heal wounds.

Throughout history until the early part of the 20th century it was used in treating wounds,

and to staunch bleeding.

Its oils are anti-inflammatory and antiseptic,

the tannins are astringent and stop bleeding,

the silica promotes tissue repair.

An infusion is good for and eyebath, as skin lotion for varicose veins.

Good for the digestive tract, stimulates appetite.

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Yarrow stalks were used in China, to reawaken the spiritual,  I Ching used yarrow stalks for divination.

Last year I made Yarrow Beer. 

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Angelica (Angelica archangelica)

The flower of inspiration.

In ancient history it was a protective herb against illness, as well as evil spirits.

It stimulates the circulation, and is good for people who feel the cold.

It warms and invigorates the stomach, it is used for nausea, poor appetite and weak digestion.

It detoxifies the blood and protects against infection.

The oil is antibacterial and anti-fungal, a disinfectant uses to preserve food (wrap in leaves).

It relieves period and premenstrual pain.

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Apple tree, Yarrow, Borage, Chamomile, Lemon balm, Lavender, Rue, Chrysanthemum, Sage, and Thyme.

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Morning Glory with Feverfew.

Feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium, Tanacetum parthenium)

The flower of relief.

“Feverfew is ruled by Venus and hath commended it to succour our sisters to be a general strengthener

of their wombs, and to remedy such infirmities as a careless midwife hath there caused;

if they will be pleased to make use of her herb boiled in white wine,

and drink the decoction, it cleanseth the womb, expels the afterbirth

and doth a woman all the good she can desire of a herb”.

                                                               Culpeper

It is currently a remedy for headaches and migraine. Research and clinical trials

have shown that intractable migraines in 70% of sufferers improved after taking feverfew.

One in three had no further attacks. Can be eaten fresh, makes a bitter tea.

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Echinacea (Echinacea augustifolia) Purple coneflower.

The flower of wholeness.

Three of the nine species are native to North America, and have medicinal benefits.

Purple coneflower was one of the most important medicinal plants

known to the native Americans.

Applied externally to wounds, burns, insect bites and swollen lymph glands,

taken internally for headaches, stomach aches, coughs and colds, to treat measles and gonorrhoea.

From 1895 to 1930 American doctors proved the effects of E. angustifolia in healing boils and abscesses,

blood poisoning, postpartum infection, malaria, typhus and TB.

German studies in the last 60 years have proved the remedy for septic conditions,

rheumatoid arthritis, antibiotic resistance, whooping-cough in children,

flu, catarrh, chronic respiratory track infections, gynecological infections,

urinary infections and skin infections.

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Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

The flower of bees.

Lemon balm influences the limbic system in the brain which is concerned with

mood and temperament. A sedative, enhancing relaxation and inducing natural sleep,

calming tension and anxiety, and even mania and hysteria,

lemon balm is also restoring.

It can be taken as a tea frequently during the day or night.

Good for the digestive system, a bitter tonic support to stimulate the liver and gall-bladder.

A strong infusion in a warm bath will help calm you.

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Rue (Ruta graveolens)

The herb of grace.

Rue is a powerful remedy and low doses are the rule.

It is used in the treatment of strained eyes and headaches caused by eyestrain.

It is useful for nervous headaches and heart palpitations.

It is an antispasmodic, and is used in treating the nervous system for indigestion.

The rutin strengthens fragile blood vessels and varicose veins.

An ointment containing rue is good for gouty, rheumatic pains

and for sprained or bruised tendons.

In Chinese medicine rue is specific for snake and insect bite.

The tea expels worms.

CAUTION: Do not use during pregnancy. It can cause a rash.

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Borage (Borago officinalis) and Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)

Borage

The flower of courage. 

Borage has a relaxing effect, and is said to dispel grief and sadness.

Modern research shows that borage stimulates the adrenal glands, the organs of courage,

increasing the secretion of adrenaline.

The hormonal properties of borage are present in the seeds which contain gamma linoleic acid.

The oil from the seeds can be used for menstrual problems,

allergies such as eczema, hay fever, and arthritis.

Borage tea can be taken to clear boils and skin rashes,

for arthritis and rheumatism, during infections to bring down a fever.

The mucilage in borage has a soothing action to

relieve sore throat and to sooth cough.

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Chamomile 

The flower of equilibrium.

The famous physician Dioscorides recommended it as a medicine for fevers in 900 BCE.

The Egyptians revered chamomile for its medicinal virtues, for its power to cure acute fever,

and dedicated it to the sun god Ra.

It was one of the nine sacred herbs of the Saxons who used it as a sedative.

German and Roman chamomile’s are similar, and serve the same uses.

It relaxes and relieves tension and spasm, and recommended

for colic in babies, abdominal pain, and any digestive upsets.

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Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)

The flower of elation.

Clary sage is a relaxing tonic to the nervous system, and excellent for stress.

A tea helps headaches, asthma, migraine, insomnia and indigestion.

It has an antispasmodic action and can relieve muscle tension, abdominal pain and constipation,

reduce period pains and ease childbirth.

It will help lift the spirits in depression.

Used topically, it can be applied to the skin to draw out inflammation and infection.

Aromatherapy Oil

Clary sage oil can produce a heightened state of elation or

euphoria, deeply relaxing and sleep-inducing.

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Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

The flower of survival.

Used in medicine in Ancient Greece and was praised in herbals in the Middle Ages.

Taraxacum is from the Greek word, taraxo, meaning pain or remedy.

The leaves are edible, and may be used in salads, or cooked like spinach.

This plant is highly nutritious, rich in vitamins C and B, and pro-vitamin A,

and minerals potassium and iron.

Dandelion is a spring tonic, it expels toxins, wastes and pollutants through the liver and kidneys,

cleaning the blood.

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Garden and vegetables…to keep me alive and healthy…grown from seeds.

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Sources:

Flower Power, by Anne McIntyre, 1996, Henry Holt and Co. NY.

The New Age Herbalist, Editor Richard Mabley (1941), 1988, Simon and Schuster Inc. Gaia Books Ltd., London.

Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) in Scotts Valley...

Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) in Scotts Valley, CA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Feverfew

Feverfew (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Challenges New Shell Tar Sands Mines .

Navy Sonar vs. the Whale! Whale loses!

A Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), a m...

Thank you Pierce Brosnan!

“Whales should not have to suffer and die for military practice.”

The Navy’s reckless plan for training with sonar and explosives will put thousands of marine mammals in imminent jeopardy. Join me in calling on Defense Secretary Hagel to put safeguards in place that will protect our planet’s whales!

Take Action

 

Dear Friend Nature,

The Navy has announced new plans for training and testing with high-intensity sonar and explosives.

Unless we stop them, more than 1,000 whales and other marine mammals — including rare and endangered species — could be killed over the next five years.

Fortunately, NRDC is mobilizing nationwide opposition to this reckless plan.

Please join me in sending a message to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel right away.Tell him to direct the Navy to put safeguards in place that will stop this deadly assault on whales.

The scope of the Navy’s plans is staggering. They threaten entire populations of marine wildlife off the East Coast, Southern California, Hawaii and the Gulf Coast.

The Navy’s mid-frequency sonar will bombard whales with noise so intense — up to 236 decibels — it can actually cause their internal organs to hemorrhage.

There will be more than 5,000 cases of serious injury — such as permanent hearing loss or lung damage — and tens of millions of incidents in which marine mammals are harassed and harmed.

And these alarming numbers come from the Navy itself!

So it’s all the more distressing that the Navy refuses to put common-sense measures in place that could protect whales during routine training — especially because doing so would in no way compromise our military readiness.

Call on Secretary Hagel to chart a more responsible course by making the Navy take concrete steps to save whales from the deadly impacts of sonar and explosives. 

The Navy should start by avoiding key habitats where whales are known to migrate and raise their young — one of the most effective ways of reducing harm.

Time is of the essence. Once the Navy’s plan goes into effect, it will take a terrible toll on marine mammals for five long years.

Let’s not wait for thousands of whales to suffer and die before taking action. Please join me now in making your voice heard at the Pentagon in defense of whales. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brosnan
Actor and NRDC Member
Natural Resources Defense Council