Archive for ‘The Solution’

Radical Natural Climate Solutions

Friday, November 16th, 2012

In the lead up to COP18, climate scientists are desperate for solutions, but few countries are willing to take bold action.  The world is on track for 6° warming: we have reached a point where radical and affordable solutions to fix our climate are urgently needed.  The solutions described here are low cost, natural and solve both short and long term global warming.

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Organic gives higher yields and much greater financial returns: US Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Pecan Trial

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

In a study conducted by the US Agricultural Research Service (ARS), an organically managed ARS pecan orchard consistently out-yielded a commercial, conventionally managed, chemically fertilized orchard over a five year period. For example, yields from the 20-acre organic test site surpassed the commercial orchard by 18 pounds (8 kg) of pecan nuts per tree in 2005, and by 12 pounds (5.4 kg) per tree in 2007. (Bradford J.M., 2008).

Furthermore, while he conventional management system generates about $1,750 per acre when the crop is sold, the ARS certified-organic-management system can gross $5,290 per acre.

Source: US Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Pecan Trial (J. Bradford, Integrated Farming and Natural Resources Research Unit) (ARS News Article)

Date: November 4, 2008

Source: Ecology and Farming ~ The magazine of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (Nov 2009, No.46, P 27) (Article)

Date: Nov 2009

Fungi Expert’s Solution for Oil Spill

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Now the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been contained, few in the media are delving into the severity of its continued impact on the planetary ecosphere. But mushroom expert, author and Bioneer, Paul Stamets, has a viable solution for the long-term clean-up procedure. Recently named as one of the ‘50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World’, he has made extraordinary discoveries about how the humble mushroom could be the key.

Fungi were the first life forms to inhabit the land 1.3 billion years ago; 600 million years before plants evolved. After asteroid impacts darkened the skies, de-greened the Earth and caused mass extinctions 65 million years back, the only organisms to survive were the ones that ‘paired up’ with fungi and learnt how to
be co-dependent.

“It’s time for another re-greening,” Paul thinks, “as Earth recoils from the on-going catastrophes inflicted by our species.” And cleaning up after oil spills, pollution, storm damage, floods and volcanic clouds is just another day at the office for fungi. It’s a process he has called mycoremediation and here’s how it works.

Beneath the fruit – or mushroom as we call it – fungal roots, known as Mycelia, spread outwards to create a vast mat of underground cells that permeate the soil. Now known to be the largest biological entities on the planet, a single colony can cover an area equal to 1,665 football fields and travel several inches a day. A massive network of whispering spaghetti, these ‘neurological’ tendrils intersect with neighbouring colonies and even fuse with the roots of other species to share water, food and communicate vital information.

Paul explains:

“Mycelia are the Earth’s natural internet – the essential wiring of the Gaian consciousness. The creation of the computer internet is merely an extension of a successful biological model that has evolved over billions of years.”

Once the Mycelium has taken root, it gets to work as a super-filter, producing enzymes and acids that break down the components of woody plants. But importantly, these same enzymes are excellent at disintegrating hydrocarbons – the base structure of all oils, petroleum products, pesticides and pollutants.

Through a series of trials, Paul’s team at Battelle Laboratories, in the US, made some astonishing findings. Soil that had been heavily contaminated with oil and hydrocarbons was inoculated with Oyster mushroom spawn. After four weeks, it was bursting with fruit, while 99% of the hydrocarbons had been destroyed. Only non-toxic components remained and even the mushrooms themselves revealed no traces
of petroleum.

“And then came another startling revelation,” Paul says. “As the mushrooms rotted, flies arrived. The flies laid eggs, which became larvae. The larvae, in turn, attracted birds, who apparently brought in seeds. Soon it was an oasis, teeming with life!”

Amazingly, Paul’s team also found that Oyster mushrooms are tolerant to salt water. Mixed with straw, which will also absorb oil, and encased in biodegradable hemp-socks that are called MycoBooms, the Mycelium is able to colonize and get to work underwater. Myceliated straw and woodchip tubes could also be placed at the shoreline to capture and break down the incoming hydrocarbons. Meanwhile, the mushrooms sprout to create floating gardens; gnats and flies gather, and fish, birds, bats and insects benefit from the emerging food source.

Ahead of the game, back in 1994, Paul proposed that world governments set up Mycological Response Teams who could be deployed after events, such as hurricanes and oil spills.

Mycoremediation centres could be hubs of learning; places to cross-educate others and build central bodies of knowledge for our future generations. In time, world leaders, policy makers, scientists, students and citizens would have all of the Mycoremediation tools necessary to address every single environmental event.

During his 30 years working with fungi, Paul has also made other significant discoveries. Mycelium can protect human blood cells from major infections, such as smallpox, hepatitis B, influenza, HIV and various strains of cancer. Another type of fungi consumes and effectively eliminates the bacteria E. coli, while one species – and the research is currently classified by the Department of Defence – will destroy biological and chemical warfare agents; especially VX, the same deadly nerve gas that Saddam Hussein was accused of using in the Gulf War.

“The time to act is now,” Paul says. “Waiting for science and society to wake up to the importance of these ancient old growth fungi is perilously slow and also narrow in vision… But an unfortunate circumstance we face,” he continues, “is that mycology is poorly funded in a time of intense need. We need to educate our friends, family and policy makers about these solutions and bring local leaders up to speed.”

In order to appreciate the many benefits of mycotechnology, including the ones not yet discovered, Paul believes we need to adopt a ‘mycelial perspective’ of the world and wholly understand how it is  interconnected with every living being on the planet.

“Your job,” he tells us, “is to become embedded into the mind-set of Mycelium and to run with it… Earth is calling out to us, and we need to listen.”

Source: Positive News UK

Date: 14 September 2010

Mangrove forests could combat tsunamis

Monday, July 12th, 2010

WASHINGTON, July 12 (UPI) — Coastal mangrove forests could substantially reduce the damage from tsunamis like the 2004 disaster that struck Indonesia, researchers say.

A study of an Indonesian coastline ravaged by the December 2004 tsunami has estimated the buffering capacity of intact mangrove forests, which could protect homes and buildings, ScienceNews.org reported Friday.

Forests of mangroves, with their dense, broad networks of thick roots that prop up the trees’ trunks, can absorb the coast-battering energy in tsunamis of various heights, the study says.

Shunichi Koshimura, a civil engineer at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, and his colleagues estimate that a 500-yard-wide forest of 10-year-old mangroves would reduce the force of flowing water in a 10-foot tsunami by 70 percent.

Koshimura said:

  • Mangroves make an effective bioshield against tsunamis,
  • It is not possible to build concrete walls along all the coasts.

They reported their findings in the Journal of Geophysical Research–Oceans.

Source: Mangrove forests could combat tsunamis – upi.com

Date: 12 July 2010

Victory against Frankenfoods: India blocks harvesting of GM crops

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Critics of genetically modified (GM) crops have secured a victory in India, where the environment minister has indefinitely blocked the approval of any further GM varieties.

GM cotton was approved for cultivation in India in 2002, and now covers 80 percent of the country’s cotton farmlands.

In October 2009, the country’s Genetic Engineering Approval Committee gave approval for the planting of a GM eggplant produced by Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Co., in partnership with Monsanto. The brinjal-variety eggplant had been engineered with genes from the bacteria Bacillus thuringniensis (Bt) to produce pesticide in its tissues.

The approval of the country’s first GM food crop sparked an uproar among farmers, environmentalists, health advocates and other GM critics across India. Critics objected to the unknown health effects of consuming or working near GM foods, as well as the risks that the plants could produce “genetic pollution” by crossing with non-GM varieties.

GM advocates claim that engineered foods are needed to address global food shortages, an assertion that critics reject.

Source: Victory against Frankenfoods: India blocks harvesting of GM crops – naturalnews

Date: 12 July 2010

Germany sets out zero-carbon road map

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Government report insists country could decarbonise electricity supplies by 2050

Germany has become the latest country to signal that it could decarbonise its electricity network with the release of a major new report arguing that it could switch to an entirely renewable energy supply by 2050.

Germany’s Federal Environment Agency, says the country could phase out fossil fuel power plants and replace them with existing renewable energy technologies such as wind turbines and solar panels.

Germany’s transition towards renewable energy is already under way, with the country well established as the world’s largest generator of solar energy and second-largest producer of wind energy after the US.

According to figures from the German government, the country already generates 16 per cent of its energy from renewable sources

A number of countries such as the Maldives, Norway, New Zealand and Costa Rica have set a target of becoming carbon neutral.

Source: Germany sets out zero-carbon road map - businessgreen

Date: 08 July 2010

Water well upgrades offer solution for Syria’s drought-hit northeast

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

An innovative approach to water resource management in Syria is estimated to be helping 18,000 people hit by a three-year long drought.

UNDP and its partners are upgrading a network of ancient water sources under the barren terrain of the country’s northeast, where water shortages have led to large-scale population displacement in recent years.

More than one million people, have been affected by the drought which has driven tens of thousands of families to urban settlements such as Aleppo, Damascus and Deir ez Zour.

Beginning in 2009, the Government of Syria, Spanish Development Agency and UNDP began rehabilitation of Roman- and Arab-built wells that were constructed some 2000 years ago.

Well rehabilitation involves cleaning and pumping out stagnant water, widening and deepening wells to increase water capacity, analyzing water quality, and finally handing over to local authorities and communities. The upgraded wells provide access to safe drinking water and undoubtedly improve quality of life.

These wells also contribute to sustainable and environmentally-friendly local development, protect traditional ways of life and reduce pressure on rural residents to migrate to urban centres, a move that can have devastating social and economic impacts.

Water scarcity is one of the most pressing issues facing the world today, particularly in the Middle East where populations are expanding and fresh water supplies are diminishing fast.

Source: Water well upgrades offer solution for Syria’s drought-hit northeast – Reliefweb

Date: 08 July 2010

Hotels in France embrace the virtues of going green

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Wood-burning stoves, in-room recycling, fine cuisine featuring local produce: from bed-and-breakfasts to five-star palaces, France’s hotel industry is opening its eyes to the lucrative advantages of going green.

Director general of Concorde Hotels, Bernard Granier said: “our goal is to limit our impact on the environment and considerably reduce our carbon emissions,”

The chic Fouquet’s Barriere, wants to cut its CO2 output — offers guests the use of a hybrid car or an electric scooter.

At the stately Bristol — leftovers from its three-star restaurants and kitchens are put through an industrial-sized processor that extracts water used to clean the floors.

Outside the French capital, more modest establishments are going beyond the usual norm of installing energy-efficient lightbulbs or asking guests to refrain from using too many bath towels.

The Temmos group of five three- and four-star hotels in the French Alps is striving to have all its properties bedecked with European Eco-label and international Green Globe certification.

Having recognised how going green can be good for business, the Gites de France network of bed-and-breakfasts has doubled to around 100 its number of certified “eco-gites” with such features as solar heating.

Source: Hotels in France embrace the virtues of going green – france24

Date: 06 July 2010

Renewables account for 62 percent of the new electricity generation capacity installed in the EU in 2009

Monday, July 5th, 2010

The “Renewable Energy Snapshots” report, published today by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, shows that renewable energy sources accounted for 62 percent of the new electricity generation capacity installed in the EU27 in 2009. The share rose from 57 percent in 2008. In absolute terms, renewables produced 19.9 percent of Europe’s electricity consumption last year.

In 2009, and in absolute terms, about 19.9% (608 TWh) of Europe’s total electricity consumption (3042 TWh) came from renewable energy sources. Hydro power contributed with the largest share (11.6%), followed by wind (4.2%), biomass (3.5%), and solar (0.4%).

With regards to the new capacity constructed that same year (27.5 GW), among the renewable sources, 37.1% was wind power, 21% photovoltaics (PV), 2.1% biomass, 1.4% hydro and 0.4% concentrated solar power, whereas the rest were gas fired power stations (24%), coal fired power stations (8.7%), oil (2.1%), waste incineration (1.6%) and nuclear (1.6%) (see figure1).

As not all installed technologies operate continuously 24 hours a day, figure 2 shows the expected yearly energy output (TWh) from the new capacity. The new gas-fired electricity plants will deliver yearly 28 TWh, followed by wind and PV with 20 TWh and 5.6 TWh, respectively.

If current growth rates are maintained, in 2020 up to 1400 TWh of electricity could be generated from renewable sources, the report concludes. This would account for approximately 35-40% of overall electricity consumption in the EU, depending on the success of community policies on electricity efficiency, and would contribute significantly to the fulfilment of the 20% target for energy generation from renewables.

However, it also advises that some issues need to be resolved if the targets are to be met. Particular areas of focus include ensuring fair access to grids, substantial public R&D support, and the adaptation of current electricity systems to accommodate renewable electricity. The study highlights that cost reduction and accelerated implementation will depend on the production volume and not on time.

Wind energy: with more than 74 GW of total installed capacity in 2009, it has already exceeded the 2010 white paper target of 40 GW by more than 80%. The European Wind Association’s new target aims for 230 GW of installed capacity (40 GW offshore) by 2020, capable of providing about 20% of Europe’s electricity demand.

Biomass: if current growth continues, electricity output from biomass could double from 2008 to 2010 (from 108 TWh to 200 TWh). However, other energy uses such as heat and transport fuels compete for this particular source, which could potentially hinder the development of bioelectricity. Being storable for use on demand increases its importance as a source of electricity.

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP): installed capacity is still relatively small in Europe: 0.430 GW in May 2010, about 0.5% of the total, but is steadily increasing. An estimated 30 GW could be installed by 2020 if the European Solar Industry Initiative ESII is realised. Most CSP projects currently under construction are located in Spain.

Solar Photovoltaic: since 2003, the total installed capacity has doubled each year. In 2009 it reached 16 GW, which represents 2% of the overall capacity. The growth will continue, as for 2010, installations of up to 10 GW are expected. Solar photovoltaic has also exceeded the capacity predictions formulated by in the EU white paper on renewable sources of energy.

Other sources of power: technologies such as geothermal, tidal and wave power are still at the R&D stage, so they have not yet been included in the Renewable Energy Snapshots. Yet, they are likely to be introduced to the market within the next decade. As far as hydro generation is concerned, no major increase is expected, as most of the resources are already in use. However, pumped hydro will play an increasingly important role as in a storage capacity for the other renewable energy resources.

Source: Renewables account for 62 percent of the new electricity generation capacity installed in the EU in 2009 – physorg

Date: 05 July 2010

Mainland sends farmers to Taiwan for training

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

A group of 19 farmers from South China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region started training courses on the latest agricultural technologies and management in Taiwan Sunday.

During their 10-day stay in Taichung, central Taiwan, they would learn from Taiwan agricultural experts, share experience with local farmers and visit local farms, said Zheng Mingpei, director of Guangxi’s agriculture department, which sponsored the training courses.

All of them are leading farm owners in Guangxi and some are heads of a local farmers association, Zhang said.

“I am interested in the management of tourism farms and I would like to learn how to operate eco-friendly farms. I have heard that Taiwan farmers do quite well in these two fields,” said Zhang Zhenshou, a farmer from Pubei county, Guangxi.

He also wanted to learn about how Taiwan farmers associations organize farmers in production and marketing.

“Taiwan has a natural environment and climate similar to Guangxi. It is a leader in developing highly efficient agriculture, growing new species of plants and processing produce. These are all worth learning,”

said Guo Shengkun, secretary of the Guangxi Autonomous Regional Committee of the Communist Party of China, who attended the opening ceremony. He has been in Taiwan for a formal visit since Thursday.

If Guangxi wanted to develop modern agriculture, farmers needed to improve their knowledge and update their ideas about management and marketing, Guo said.

“We hope such training can be regular.”

Guangxi plans to launch such training courses annually in the next five years, said Zhang Mingpei. Every year a total of 100 farmers would come to Taiwan, divided into five groups, each with 20 persons.

“Taiwan’s agriculture operates in a different way from the mainland. In the past 80 years, we have tried very hard to improve our efficiency and develop our farmers associations. I think mainland farmers can learn something and apply it to their own business,”

said Chang Yung-cheng, chief executive officer of Taiwan Provincial Farmers Association, which jointly sponsored the courses with Guangxi.

Mainland and Taiwan farmers could not only learn from each other, but also have better understanding of each other’s agricultural development, which would benefit cross-Strait agricultural cooperation, he said.

Source: Mainland sends farmers to Taiwan for training – chinadaily

Date: 04 July 2010

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Reversing Meat-Eating Culture to Combat Climate Change

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Livestock Production and Shorter-Lived Climate Forcers

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Plant-Based Diets - A solution to our public health crisis

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Leaders Preserving Our Future - Insights Paper - WPF - November 2010

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Maintaining a Climate of Life - Summary Report

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Livestock's Climate Impact

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Livestock & Sustainable Food

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Reducing Shorter-Lived Climate Forcers Through Dietary Change

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The global cost of biodiversity loss: 14 trillion Euros? - EU Commission (2008)

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Forests, Fisheries, Agriculture: A Vision for Sustainability (2009)

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