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Scott Morrison pressured by Britain, France and Italy to announce 'bold' climate action

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/11/02 - 4:37pm

Organisers of global climate summit tell Australian PM ‘there will be no space for general statements’

Britain and France are leading a group of countries calling on the Australian government to make ambitious new commitments to combat the climate crisis by next month if Scott Morrison is to speak at a global summit on the issue.

A letter sent to Morrison and other national leaders on 22 October called on countries to rebuild economies after the coronavirus “in a way that charts a greener, more resilient, sustainable path” that puts the world on track to limit global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

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Categories: Environment

With post election lawsuits looming...

The Field Lab - Mon, 2020/11/02 - 3:55pm
Trump has claimed numerous times (without merit) that mail in voting is subject to widespread fraud and has repeated over and over again that he plans on litigating election returns he deems "unfair" (i.e., if he loses) - and his minions have already tried to suppress votes in Texas and Nevada.  Today, a conservative federal judge rejected an effort by Republicans to invalidate more than 100,000 ballots cast at drive-thru voting location in Democratic-leaning Harris County, Texas, in a case that has been closely watched because of its potential to affect the presidential race.  A Nevada judge on Monday rejected yet another frivolous lawsuit filed by Trump's re-election campaign which sought to halt the counting of early ballots collected in Clark County, stating that the plaintiffs failed to produce any evidence that support their claims that election officials were violating state law.  Regardless of the outcome of the election, Trump is buoyed only by an army of lawyers and his private heavily armed militia of ignoramuses - home grown domestic terrorists with misplaced patriotism known as "Vanilla ISIS" or "Y'All Qaeda".  72,80,56,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

People of color more likely to live without piped water in richest US cities

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/11/02 - 1:00pm

Study finds more than 1.1m people live without indoor plumbing, with largest number of homes in New York and Los Angeles

People of color in some of America’s wealthiest cities are significantly more likely to live in houses without indoor plumbing essential for running water, new research reveals.

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Categories: Environment

Treat artificial light like others forms of pollution, say scientists

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/11/02 - 10:59am

Impact of human illumination has grown to point of systemic disruption, researchers find

Artificial light should be treated like other forms of pollution because its impact on the natural world has widened to the point of systemic disruption, research says.

Human illumination of the planet is growing in range and intensity by about 2% a year, creating a problem that can be compared to climate change, according to a team of biologists from the University of Exeter.

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Categories: Environment

Businesses making eco-friendly claims to be vetted by watchdog

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/11/02 - 10:34am

Competition and Markets Authority says rising demand may lead to ‘greenwashing’

Companies that market their products or services as eco-friendly are to be scrutinised by the UK competition watchdog to make sure they live up to the claim and do not mislead consumers.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it was concerned that a rise in demand for green goods could encourage some businesses to make misleading claims about the environmental impact of what they are selling.

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Categories: Environment

Climate crisis breaks open generational rifts in US families

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2020/11/02 - 8:00am

A sense of despair and outrage among young people over global heating is being met with indifference and dismissal among some older relatives

The climate crisis lingers in the back of Gemma Gutierrez’s mind, a gnawing anxiety that blossoms fully when she reads about wildfires, flooding or other climate-related disasters. It’s a nagging concern that clouds how the 16-year-old sees her future.

“I have a sense of dread,” says Gutierrez, who lives with her parents in Milwaukee. “I dread that in my lifetime the clean water I have now or the parks I’m lucky enough to be able to go to won’t be there any more. It weighs on my mind.”

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Categories: Environment

'In the sun they'd cook': is the US south-west getting too hot for farm animals?

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/11/01 - 11:00pm

As temperatures rise, farmers are being forced to adapt, experimenting with new breeds and cooling methods

  • Climate Countdown: The US is set to exit the Paris climate agreement on 4 November. Read more about what’s at stake

South-west of Phoenix, Arizona, in the hottest desert in North America, Beth and Tim Wilson use sprinklers to cool their 300 pigs. Nearby, the Adams Natural Meats bison ranch employs shaders and misters. North of the city, chicken farmer Dave Jordan says he cannot put his 10,000 birds out to pasture.

“If they were out in the sun, they would just get cooked.”

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Categories: Environment

Victoria unveils proposed cash for cans scheme ahead of rollout in 2023

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/11/01 - 6:35pm

Under container deposit scheme, Victorians will receive 10c for every empty can, small bottle and carton they drop off at a collection point

The Victorian government has called for public comment on a proposed container deposit scheme, due to be rolled out in 2023, finally ending its status as the only state or territory in Australia without one.

Under the proposal put forward by the state government, Victorians will receive 10c for every empty can, small bottle and carton they drop off at a collection point.

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Categories: Environment

Trump and God...

The Field Lab - Sun, 2020/11/01 - 2:54pm
“I am not sure I have,” Trump said when asked if he’d ever asked God for forgiveness. “I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don’t think so,” he said. “I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.”  James 4: 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up. 
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Lack of climate action over 50 years will cost Australian economy $3.4tn and 880,000 jobs – report

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/11/01 - 9:30am

If policies promoting net zero emissions by 2050 are adopted 250,000 jobs would be created and $680bn added to the economy

Australia’s economy will be 6% smaller, there will be 880,000 fewer jobs and $3.4tn in economic opportunities will be lost if the climate crisis goes unchecked for the next 50 years, a report says.

On the other hand, the analysis by consultancy Deloitte Access Economics found policies consistent with a target of net zero emissions by 2050 and keeping global warming to 1.5C could expand the economy by 2.6%, or $680bn to the economy, and create 250,000 jobs.

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Categories: Environment

Russia rules out cutting fossil fuel production in next few decades

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/11/01 - 6:24am

Energy minister says Moscow will also focus on clean-burning hydrogen and carbon capture

Russia has no plans to rein in its production of fossil fuels in the coming decades despite the global efforts to shift towards low-carbon energy, according to its energy minister.

Alexander Novak told the Guardian that Russia did “not see that we will achieve a peak in [gas] production anytime soon” because the world’s appetite for gas would continue to grow in the decades ahead despite its growing number of climate targets.

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Categories: Environment

UK's bid to power every home via offshore windfarms by 2030 at risk

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/11/01 - 5:52am

Germany’s RWE says outdated regulation is slowing investment in onshore electricity grid

Britain’s bid to build enough offshore windfarms to power every home in the country by 2030 risks being derailed by outdated regulation which is slowing investment in the electricity grid, according to one of the industry’s biggest players.

Germany’s RWE has warned that work to connect the growing number of windfarms off the UK coast to the onshore electricity grid will not keep pace with the government’s goals unless decades-old regulation allows for faster investments.

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Categories: Environment

On the horizon: the end of oil and the beginnings of a low-carbon planet

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/11/01 - 2:00am

With demand and share prices dropping, Europe’s fossil fuel producers recognise that peak oil is probably now behind them

A year ago, only the most ardent climate optimists believed that the world’s appetite for oil might reach its peak in the next decade. Today, a growing number of voices within the fossil fuel industry believe this milestone may have already been passed. While the global gaze has been on Covid-19 as it ripped through the world’s largest economies and most vulnerable people, the virus has quietly dealt a mortal blow to oil demand too.

Energy economists claim with increasing certainty that the world may never require as much oil as it did last year. Even as economies slowly emerge from the financial fallout of the pandemic, the shift towards cleaner energy has gained pace. A sharp plunge in fossil fuel use will be followed in quick succession by a renewable energy revolution, which will occur at unprecedented pace. The tipping point for oil demand may have come and gone, and major oil companies are taking note.

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Categories: Environment

'Crossroads of the climate crisis': swing state Arizona grapples with deadly heat

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/11/01 - 12:00am

Maricopa county is home to America’s hottest city, where deaths from the heat are weighing on voters’ minds

Even now, Ivan Moore can’t think why his father didn’t didn’t tell anyone that the air conditioning in their house was busted. “I honestly don’t know what was going through his mind,” he said.

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Categories: Environment

Pandemic Saturday

The Field Lab - Sat, 2020/10/31 - 12:07pm

 

Medical groups are slamming trump for resurfacing (yet another) baseless conspiracy on campaign stops that doctors are inflating the number of COVID-19 deaths in the USA in order to drive up profits during the pandemic.  How much lower can this man go...?

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Saving Green Tomatoes

Home Grown New Mexico - Tue, 2020/10/20 - 11:11am

 

Saving Green Tomatoes by Jannine Cabossel, the Tomato Lady

Now is the time to finish picking your ripe and green tomatoes as next week it will be in the 20s at night. If you wait till after a hard freeze, it will be too late.

How to save green tomatoes
If you have an abundance of green tomatoes on the vine, you still can bring them inside your house to finishing ripening them (not in a cold garage). Here’s how I do it although there are many ways to save them, I find using paper bags from the grocery store (yes that’s why you’ve been saving all those bags!) works really well.

How to pick tomatoes that will ripen

First you can tell which green tomatoes will probably ripen fully by looking at them. If you see the green is getting lighter on the sides, it will probably ripen as it has started the ripening process. Some have very dark tops and that is ok as long as the sides are a lighter shade of green. Also I just pick the bigger tomatoes as they are usually further along in the growing process versus the small totally dark immature tomatoes.

Use paper bags to ripen them

Place 2-3 layers of rock hard green tomatoes in bags as shown above-no more  that a couple of layers because as they ripen, you don’t want the ones ripening underneath to get crushed. Also discard any that have blemishes.

 

Place tomatoes that are just starting to get color in another bag and move the ones that are starting to color up from the ‘green’ bag. Look into your ‘green’ tomato bag every few days and move them to the ‘just starting to color’ bags.

Important tip: Put a slice or two of apple (any color) in each bag. The apple slice will release ethylene gas which is a natural ripening hormone that is in many fruits. It will speed up the ripening process of your tomatoes in your paper bags. Replace apple slices as needed. It really works!

 

Close up all the bags so the apple does it’s work and none of the gas is released. I fold the paper bags over several times and then I put either something on top of the bags to keep them closed or I shove them under a rack to help keep them closed as shown above.

The trick is you must inspect the bags every few days and move them to another bag as necessary. If you just put them in the bag and forget about them, you might wind up with a bunch of the ripen ones squished with the heavier unripened ones on top.

Once they have changed color but still hard, you should take them out of the bag and put them on the counter to finish ripening. Never put a ripe tomato in the refrigerator. A cold refrigerator dampens the taste.

This method is really good on extending the tomato season once the weather is too cold. They will never be quite as good as the sun-ripened ones but are still about 200% better than store bought ones. I use a lot of them that get a little too soft for pasta sauces and eat the rest.

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Solar Oven Cookery

Home Grown New Mexico - Sun, 2020/10/04 - 3:42pm

Solar Oven Cookery
by Alessandra Haines
September 2020

Looking back on this extraordinary summer of environmental and social turmoil a bright spot (quite literally!) has been regularly cooking in the solar oven. It is super easy, safe and versatile. It’s near impossible to burn anything and can be left unattended while you are out. No fossil fuels are used and no fumes are produced.

The oven I have been working with is a Sun Oven. It is basically an insulated box with a glass top and mylar reflectors. It works very well for patio use and is easy to move about and store. There are many varieties of commercial solar ovens available and a plethora of DYI designs. It is an incredibly simple device with really nothing to break down or go wrong.

The beauty of solar cooking is that you can eat well and NOT HEAT UP THE HOUSE!!!! As our temperatures rise keeping our interiors cooler in the summer is paramount. We all know that fossil fuel powered AC is not really a solution to a warming climate!

There are things that cook especially well in the solar oven that require long cooking times and I probably wouldn’t bother to cook in the regular oven or stove top in the heat of the summer.

For example, it works very well for any type of simmered soups or stock, stew, posole, cassoulet and polenta. Dried beans can be cooked in 2-3 hours with no soaking. Simmering only requires about 220F so even if the sun is less than optimal your liquid based dish will cook.

It’s perfect for roasting or baking: potatoes, yams, beets, turnips, carrots,
tomato, summer or winter squash as well as any type of casserole, enchiladas etc.

For baking anything in the 350-400F range is possible. My solar oven tends to max out at 350F so if its a cookie that wants 400F it might just take a bit longer. Smaller baked goods will cook faster. For example, banana muffins might be a better choice than a huge loaf of banana bread. The temperature can be adjusted by adjusting the angle of the oven to the sun and by cracking the lid open a bit which also releases condensation on the glass.

Cooking outdoors with the sun does require you pay attention to the weather. On occasion, if it clouds up, you may have to finish up your baked potatoes or whatever inside in the kitchen oven. The optimal cooking window is from about 11 am to 4 pm.

Cookware should be dark and heat absorbing rather than reflective such as foil or stainless steel.

Dark enamelware (black, red, blue, dark green) heats up the quickest as it is lightweight.

Cast iron or dark clay cookers also work very well and a black enamel toaster oven tray is the perfect size for roasting vegetables.

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Foraged Flavors of Santa Fe

Home Grown New Mexico - Sun, 2020/10/04 - 3:30pm

Our friends at Slow Foods Santa Fe are putting on the following event:

Foraged Flavors of Santa Fe/ZOOM Event

Speaker: Ellen ZachosDate: Tuesday October 6Time: 5:00-6:30 pm
For more info on this upcoming event and to sign up,
go to: Foraged Flavors of Santa Fe

 

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Superfood Security is a Seed Away: Doug Fine’s AMERICAN HEMP FARMER is here.

Doug Fine - Mon, 2020/04/13 - 2:54pm

 

Doug Fine’s AMERICAN HEMP FARMER is here.

As are many of us, I’m feeling grateful for a lot of things at the moment. In particular, I’m sure glad it struck the three-years-ago-version-of-me as a fun idea to write an optimistic, humorous book that also provides a blueprint for establishing food security in your backyard.

For whatever reason, folks seem to want “funny” and “uplifting” at the moment. And laughing your way to food security? Seemed like a pleasant route. Still does. I’m doing it today – my fingers are still dank with humus as I type. Hemp farming is pretty easy, it attracts bees, and it’s all around about the most fun you can have outside the bedroom.

What I’m describing (and living) is  my new book, AMERICAN HEMP FARMER. It details a season in the burgeoning and newly-legalized hemp industry from a regenerative farmer perspective. The premise is this: a billion-dollar industry is great, but only meaningful if the actual farmers benefit at the retail level from the hemp renaissance.

For customers, the  win-win is that regenerative farming modes result in by-far the best hemp products. It’s not even close. Like fresh squeezed OJ beats frozen concentrate. All while sequestering carbon.

Turns out we have friends in low places. In nurturing a hemp field, we’re not the only species midwifing our hemp crop by planting time. To name one of a few hundred million, I recently gathered and brewed some fluffy white steaks of my watershed’s mycelium allies (fungus), which my family and I applying to our preseason soil in a compost tea this week.

Which leads to the core reason I wrote the book, from the introduction:

Six years ago, a bear fleeing a wildfire in our New Mexico backyard killed nearly all of my family’s goats in front of our eyes. It wasn’t the bear’s fault: he was a climate refugee. It was June of 2013, and drought had weakened the ponderosa pines and Douglas fir surrounding our remote Funky Butte Ranch. Beetles took advantage, and all of southern New Mexico was a tinderbox. Ho hum, just another climate event that until recently would have been called a “millennial” fire.

That’s the paramount reason I’m an overworked employee of the hemp plant: The people I care about most are one blaze away from joining the world’s 20 million climate refugees. At least I get the pleasure of putting “goat sitter” under occupation on my tax form.

The conflagration convinced me that I had to do something, personally, to work on this climate change problem. After some research about carbon sequestration through soil building, it became clear that planting as much hemp as possible was the best way to actively mitigate climate change and help restore normal rainfall cycles to our ecosystem.

This is why I treasure much more than just hemp’s flower gold rush (CBD, CBG, etc.). I also love hemp seed’s superfood and hemp fiber. It’s why I carry a 3D printed hemp plastic goat nearly everywhere I go.

A biomaterials-based economy doesn’t just perform better in our stuff, it means goodbye Pacific Garbage Patch. That is, when everything, even our batteries, is compostable or reusable (I mention batteries because next-generation hemp-based supercapacitors are discussed in AMERICAN HEMP FARMER).

We actually have been given a realistic opportunity to bridge humanity’s climate stabilization mission with its digital trajectory. In AMERICAN HEMP FARMER, I endeavor to connect the dots in my work, my food, and my whole life, with the thinking that if enough of us do the same, humanity’s got a shot in this here bottom of the climactic ninth.

It’s a solution-based book. Which is to say, it’s chock full of my own mistakes, as well as the triumphs and travails of many of my regenerative farmer friends and colleagues. Michael Pollan argues that we have co-evolved with certain plants, including cannabis. To be sure, hemp/human relations do go back 8,000 years. AMERICAN HEMP FARMER broaches the proud history of government-supported Hemp For Victory gardens going beyond the well-known World War II “Hemp For Victory” effort, all the way back to George Washington himself: in fact, at Mount Vernon last fall, I helped harvest the first hemp crop since President Washington’s time – I did this in colonial clothing and with (trust me) a very sharp sickle.

And that was before nutritionists knew about hemp’s ideal Omega 9-6-3 balance, high mineral content, and rare amount of GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) — a fatty acid associated with anti-inflammatory properties, Whereas my family’s own hemp diet once bankrolled the Canadian economy, for the past there years it’s been free. Hemp got federally legalized in the 2014 Farm Bill, and I and my sons get in the soil at this time every year and grow it ourselves. In AMERICAN HEMP FARMER, you’ll even read about a study that indicates a hemp diet might combat obesity.

Sowing hemp is pretty easy, and the harvest is both copious (around 1,000 pounds per acre) and extremely delicious. And I eat a lot of it. Easily a cup a day. As do both my human kids and my goat kids. Indeed it’s very hard to keep the goats out of the field. Hemp seeds are an essential part not just of my family’s health maintenance plan, but of our food security plan. And anyone can do it.

AMERICAN HEMP FARMER is available everywhere now in book, e-book and audiobook form (I narrated the audiobook, which was super fun). And I hope that you find yourself at once giggling and learning as you read it. You can order it here.

Please feel free to share this Dispatch with your friends, family and professional networks. It would be great for folks everywhere to know that not just food security, but superfood security, is a seed (and a permit) away.

Meanwhile, it’s spring on the Funky Butte Ranch, and as AMERICAN HEMP FARMER advises, I’ve got my own hemp permit application filed, I’m building soil (just as the Funky Butte apricots burst into bloom), and I’m ready to grow another scrumptious crop. I like the feeling of knowing my family will thrive for another year no matter what.  When you read AMERICAN HEMP FARMER, you’ll see that you and yours can too. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy.

Some reviews follow below, and I’m sending immense thanks for your support/ in ordering this book and telling your friends. OK, I’m off to the field to dump more goat poop and alfalfa on the soon-to-be-planted Funky Butte Ranch hemp field

-Doug Fine

Funky Butte Ranch, New Mexico

April 13, 2020

Order AMERICAN HEMP FARMER here

Book Doug’s Live Event here.

 Subscribe to the Dispatches From the Funky Butte Ranch newsletter and follow Doug on Instagram and Twitter @organiccowboy

 

Reviews of AMERICAN HEMP FARMER

American Hemp Farmer would have been in George Washington’s library. President Washington grew hemp and was a passionate, regenerative agriculturist. Washington sought advice from those that practiced their trade. Doug Fine‘s American Hemp Farmer is a scholarly, practical and impeccably enjoyable work and a must-read for those who cultivate hemp or are interested in leaping in.”  –J. Dean Norton, Director of Horticulture, George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate.

“With American Hemp Farmer, Doug Fine shows he is not just our preeminent hemp author, he is one of the most important authors of our time. As I’ve watched him leap between tending goats on his Funky Butte Ranch and hemp fields in Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont and who-knows-where else, it sometimes occurs to me that he might be the most interesting man alive. The resulting book is an absolute must read.  –Eric Steenstra, Executive Director, VoteHemp

“A fantastic piece of Americana that shows the way to a sustainable future.” -David Bronner, CEO, Dr. Bronner’s Soaps

“I hope every hemp farmer and policymaker reads this book carefully. It details a roadmap for success, for farmers and the planet. And that’s probably because Doug doesn’t just write about hemp, he lives it.” —Cary Giguere, State Hemp Program Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

                                  Further Praise for Doug’s Work
“Fine is a writer in he mold of Douglas Adams.” —Washington Post

“Fine is Bryson funny.” —Santa Cruz Sentinel

Doug has written the best book of the year and a blueprint for the future of America.”                       –Willie Nelson

About Doug Fine

Doug Fine is a comedic investigative journalist, bestselling author, and a solar-powered goat herder. He has cultivated hemp for food, farm-to-table products and seed-building in four U.S. states, and teaches a college hemp class. Willie Nelson calls Doug’s work “a blueprint for the America of the future.” The Washington Post says, “Fine is a storyteller in the mold of Douglas Adams.”  A website of Doug’s print, radio and television work, United Nations testimony, Conan and Tonight Show appearances and TED Talk is at dougfine.com and his social media handle is @organiccowboy.

Book Doug’s Live Event here.

 Subscribe to the Dispatches From the Funky Butte Ranch newsletter and follow Doug on Instagram and Twitter @organiccowboy

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs
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