Tag Archives | Environment

How human composting will change death in the city

joiseyshowaa (CC BY-SA 2.0)

joiseyshowaa (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Katie Herzog via Grist:

What we do with our dead can seem bizarre to outsiders. In a Tibetan tradition called sky burial, the deceased are cut into small pieces by a man known as therogyapa, or “breaker of bodies,” and laid atop mountains to be picked apart by vultures. Later, the bones are collected and pulverized with flour and yak butter and fed to crows and hawks. Feeding your loved ones to the same birds who eat roadkill may seem morbid to those of us in the West, but in Tibet, it’s both sacrosanct (these birds are sacred in Buddhism) and practical (ever tried to dig a grave in frozen ground?).

Tibet isn’t the only place with seemingly odd customs: In Madagascar, the bodies of the deceased are exhumed and sprayed with wine and perfume every few years. In Ghana, people are buried in coffins that represent their lives, so a fisherman might spend eternity in a box shaped like a carp and a farmer may spend it in a six-foot cob of corn.

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Wind Energy Was Largest Source Of New US Electricity In 2014

Joshua S. Hill Via CleanTechnica:

The American Wind Energy Association has commented on the US Department of Energy’s data released for 2014 this week, which showed that wind energy added “significantly more” electricity than any other resource across the year.

According to Department of Energy (DoE) Energy Information Administration (EIA) statistics, wind energy generated 4.4% of all electricity during 2014, maintaining its position as the country’s fifth largest electricity source.

Wind energy generated a total of 181,791 GWh of electricity in 2014, up 13,951 GWh over 2013 levels.

EIA-1

 

Continue reading. (And please mark this article as “interesting” over at CleanTechnica if you found it informative.)

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Bigger Than Science, Bigger Than Religion

Genesis Farm. (Photo: Michael Taylor/flickr/cc)

Genesis Farm. (Photo: Michael Taylor/flickr/cc)

Richard Schiffman writes at Common Dreams:

The world as we know it is slipping away. At the current rate of destruction, tropical rainforest could be gone within as little as 40 years. The seas are being overfished to the point of exhaustion, and coral reefs are dying from ocean acidification. Biologists say that we are currently at the start of the largest mass extinction event since the disappearance of the dinosaurs. As greenhouse gases increasingly accumulate in the atmosphere, temperatures are likely to rise faster than our current ecological and agricultural systems can adapt.

It is no secret that the Earth is in trouble and that we humans are to blame. Just knowing these grim facts, however, won’t get us very far. We have to transform this knowledge into a deep passion to change course. But passion does not come primarily from the head; it is a product of the heart.

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John Waters Narrates a Documentary about the Salton Sea

Narrated by John Waters and featuring the Salvation Mountain art installation, Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea explores the economic, political and environmental issues that face the Salton Sea, a one-time vacation destination for the rich and famous that is now occupied by an eccentric and individualistic populace.

 

h/t Open Culture.

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Indonesian Villagers Stand Up Against Illegal Miners

"Mount Merapi in 2014" by Crisco 1492 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Mount Merapi in 2014” by Crisco 1492Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Bambang Muryanto writes at the Jakarta Post:

Hundreds of residents from four villages on the slopes of Mount Merapi in Sleman regency, Yogyakarta, have taken it into their own hands to stop illegal sand mining near their homes and demand that Sleman regency take firm action.

They also took a stand by driving out heavy machinery from the sand quarry.

“We demand the heavy machinery be pulled out today,” said rally coordinator Maryono, during an event dubbed “the people’s hearing” at an intersection in Candi hamlet, Purwobinangun, Sleman, on Tuesday.

The protesters — hailing from Girikerto, Wonokerto, Purwobinangun and Hargobinangun villages — included housewives, teenagers and adults and called themselves the Concerned Residents Forum.

They also cut down several trees and used the trunks to block hundreds of sand trucks from leaving Purwobinangun, including those belonging to the Army’s ZENI Engineering Directorate.

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Fossil Fuel Propaganda Misfire Goes Viral

Peter Sinclair writes at Climate Denial Crock of the Week:

Every once in a while we can pull back the curtain and get a good look at the evil elves and Madison Avenue Orcs deployed by the fossil fuel barons. Look hard, climate deniers. This is the man pulling your strings.

Posted by a front group called the “Environmental Policy Alliance”, this corporate forged “viral” video popped up a couple days ago. Had to check and make sure this wasn’t a joke, but it’s real.

Check out the video above for the hilarious/bad caricature of Bill Mckibben, and for the ‘fossil fuel” girl friend, who I guess is supposed to be attractive, but unfortunately for the producers, looks disturbingly like “Mr Hanky” of South Park fame.  The piece is getting a lot of views, but maybe not for the reasons the client hoped.

Sourcewatch:

Big Green Radicals is a front group operated by the PR firm Berman & Co.

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Dinosaurs on Acid

tumblr_mmglm2NZmW1ruu68bo1_500

Via Phillip Smith at Alternet

Was brontosaurus blissed out on prehistoric psychedelics as he munched the swamp grass in Southeast Asia 100 million years ago? Scientists who have analyzed a perfectly preserved amber fossil from a cave there say it’s entirely possible.

The amber fossil contains evidence of the earliest grass specimens ever discovered—about 100 million years old—and that they were topped by a fungus similar to ergot, which has long been intertwined with animals and humans. Ergot is known as a medicine and a toxin. It is also the source of the psychedelic drug LSD.

In animals, ergot can cause hallucinations, delirium, gangrene, convulsions, or the staggers. And this research provides evidence that the fungus, the grasses it lived on, and the dinosaurs who gulped down huge mouthfuls of them, coexisted for tens of millions of years. Imagine a multi-ton behemoth wrecked out of its dinosaur mind stumbling around the landscape.

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In the lion’s den: my victory against Monsanto


Zen Honeycutt / Moms Across America via The Ecologist:

Moms Across America founder Zen Honeycutt took on Monsanto chief Hugh Grant at the company’s Annual General Meeting – and won, winning 53% of the vote on a call for Monsanto to reform its practices and safeguard the health of millions of children exposed to its toxic products – and Roundup in particular. In her own words, this is what took place …

The sounds of the boisterous rally crowd faded behind me in the distance as I walked toward building A of Monsanto Headquarters in St. Louis Missouri for the shareholder meeting.

The security stationed on the perimeter of the property, without a word between us, relayed my pending arrival to the headquarters, “Ms. Honeycutt approaching building A.” The staff inside also knew me by name and greeted me cordially.

After a thorough security check and receiving my ‘Shareowner’ sticker, I was escorted to a conference room where Lisa from SumofUs was also sitting.

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Monsanto Crops Pushing Monarch Butterfly to ‘Verge of Extinction’

A monarch butterfly on butterflyweed, a type of milkweed, at the Lenoir Preserve Nature Center in Yonkers, New York. (Photo: Don Sutherland/flickr/cc)

A monarch butterfly on butterflyweed, a type of milkweed, at the Lenoir Preserve Nature Center in Yonkers, New York. (Photo: Don Sutherland/flickr/cc)

Deirdre Fulton writes at Common Dreams:

Herbicide-resistant genetically modified crops have brought the iconic monarch butterfly to the brink of extinction, according to a new report presented by the Center for Food Safety to Congress on Thursday.

The report, Monarchs in Peril (pdf), is the most comprehensive look yet at how Monsanto’s ‘Roundup Ready’ crops have helped decimate the monarch population, which has declined by 90 percent in the past 20 years.

“This report is a wake-up call. This iconic species is on the verge of extinction because of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crop system,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director at Center for Food Safety. “To let the monarch butterfly die out in order to allow Monsanto to sell its signature herbicide for a few more years is simply shameful.”

As Common Dreams has reported before, and the new study makes abundantly clear, a critical factor in the orange-and-white butterflies’ decline is the loss of host plants for larvae in their main breeding habitat, the Midwestern Corn Belt.

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