Archive for September 13th, 2011

Major threats foreseen due to Europe’s changing marine environments

Major threats foreseen due to Europe’s changing marine environments

Sea levels, erosion top public concerns

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Posted 13 September 2011, by Terry Collins (Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ)), EurekAlert (American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)), eurekalert.org

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This map shows coastal areas most vulnerable to erosion.

Europeans face greater risk of illness, property damage and job losses because of the impacts of climate change on the seas around them.

Worried citizens, whose biggest related top-of-mind concerns are sea level rise and coastal erosion, are taking personal actions to reduce carbon emissions. However, they largely blame climate change on other groups of people or nations and assign governments and industry responsibility for mitigating the problem (though they perceive government and industry as ineffective on the issue).

Those are among the conclusions after scientists synthesized an extensive collection of academic papers published since 1998 on climate change and Europe’s marine environments, combined with a groundbreaking companion poll of Europeans on the issues, commissioned as part of Project CLAMER, a collaboration of 17 European marine institutes.

The 200-page synthesis of more than 100 EU-funded projects, the public survey, a new book based on the scientific findings, and a major new documentary film will be featured at CLAMER’s wrap-up meeting Sept. 14-15 in Brussels.

The research distillation captures a suite of documented and forecast physical, chemical and biological marine changes with far-reaching consequences, including sea-level rise, coastal erosion, melting ice, storm frequency and intensity, physical changes including the North Atlantic circulation system, chemical changes such as acidification and deoxygenation, changes in marine life patterns, and the ultimate impacts of all this on humans – both social and economic.

“We have amassed convincing and disturbing scientific evidence,” says CLAMER co-ordinator Carlo Heip, Director of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research. “We need to communicate it much better than we have. We must all heed the clear warnings of the hazards we face from what amounts to an uncontrolled experiment on the marine environment.”

Co-ordinated by the Marine Board of the European Science Foundation, with contributions from more than 20 scientists, the CLAMER synthesis and related book, both available to the public Sept. 13 at www.clamer.eu, examine the environments of the North Sea, Baltic Sea, Arctic Ocean, North-East Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.

The synthesis notes that it is difficult to predict precisely the impacts of climate change or attach cost estimates to them. As well, some impacts will be widespread while others will vary from place to place.

That said, the societal impacts forecast include:

Rising illness risk

Says the CLAMER synthesis: “Millions of euros in health costs may result from human consumption of contaminated seafood, ingestion of water-borne pathogens, and, to a lesser degree, through direct occupational or recreational exposure to marine diseases. Climatic conditions are playing an increasingly important role in the transmission of these diseases.”

IMAGE: This shows projected changes in species distribution.

More specifically, a team of researchers from Italy, the UK, Germany and the USA recently found, for example, that warmer ocean water is causing a proliferation of bacteria from a genus known as Vibrio, among the most dangerous of all bacterial pathogens, which can produce serious gastroenteritis, septicemia and cholera.

Some types of the bacteria and micro-algae are linked to shellfish-associated food poisoning deaths. Others harm marine animals, including mollusks and fish, “with major economic and environmental impacts,” the researchers say.

Published in July in the Journal of the International Society for Microbial Ecology, the paper reports “an unprecedented increase in the number of bathing infections that have been associated with warm-water Vibrio species in Northwest Europe,” and a “globally-increasing trend in their associated diseases.”

While the study was based on seawater samples taken near the mouth of Europe’s Rhine River and Britain’s Humber River, “the increasing dominance of marine Vibrios, including pathogenic bacterial species, may very likely occur in other areas around the world.”

Says the paper: “We provide evidence that Vibrios, including the (cholera) species, increased in dominance within the plankton-associated bacterial community of the North Sea during the past 44 years and that this increase is correlated significantly with climate induced sea surface warming during the same period. … Ocean warming is favouring the spread of Vibrios.”

Property damage

Sea level rise, combined with higher waves being recorded in the North Atlantic and more frequent and severe storms, threaten up to 1 trillion Euros worth of Europe’s physical assets within 500 m of the shore. And some 35% of Europe’s GDP is generated within 50 km, the synthesis notes.

“Sea-level rise of 80 to 200 cm could wipe out entire countries … causing sea floods, massive economic damage, large movements of populations from inundated areas, salinity intrusion and loss of wetlands including the ecosystem services that they provide.”

More frequent and intense storms, meanwhile, are projected for Northern Europe, especially in a band running from the south of England through northern France, Denmark, northern Germany and Eastern Europe. Annual damages are expected to rise 21% in the UK, 37% in Germany and 44% across Europe as a whole, with a 104% rise in losses from 1-in-100 year storms.

Smaller fisheries and northward fish migrations

The CLAMER synthesis suggests the need for Europe’s commercial fishery to reduce catches in places and make adjustments in others due to warming water, ocean acidification, and altered salinity and oxygen content.

“Some of the biggest [changes] will be required in Europe’s seas, where temperatures are rising faster than the open North Atlantic,” according to one research paper in the CLAMER collection.

Another warns of possible extinction of cod stocks in the Baltic Sea and calls for “a strategy … to ensure the persistence of Baltic cod into the twenty-second century.”

In the Mediterranean Sea, the catch of Aristeus antennatus (www.eol.org/pages/347714), a valuable shrimp, may experience “a true collapse” as changes in sea temperatures dramatically reduce, or even stop, the transfer of nutrients to deep waters.

Ominously, the biggest reductions in fish populations are forecast for low-latitude regions, many of which are already impoverished and face the greatest loss of agricultural production due to increased drought and storms. Researchers say the northern migration of some fish species poses a serious food security threat for poorer tropical countries where fish often constitute the largest source of protein.

The global pattern will apply to Europe, with the southern fisheries generally losing productivity while those in the north such as Greenland, Iceland and Norway are expected to gain.

With respect to the northward shift of fish species, the CLAMER synthesis notes one of the largest ever observed: the dramatic spread of the snake pipefish (Entelurus aequoreuswww.eol.org/pages/223062). Prior to 2003, the fish was confined to the south and west of the British Isles. It now extends as far north as the Barents Sea and Spitzbergen, about 3,000 km to the north.

European attitudes toward climate change and the marine environment

The online survey of 10,000 residents of 10 European countries — 1,000 from each of Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Ireland, United Kingdom, Norway and Estonia — reveals widespread concern about climate change, led by worries about sea level rise and coastal erosion.

Conducted in January by Brussels-based TNS Opinion, the survey, available to the public Sept. 13 at www.clamer.eu,is the first of its kind to focus on public perceptions of climate change impacts at the coast or in the sea. The poll findings are further explained by in-depth research, carried out by UEA, that involved UK public participants in group discussions.

Highlights:

  • Asked to select from a list the single most serious problem facing the world, 18% of respondents chose climate change, the second highest choice. By comparison, poverty and lack of food and drinking water was chosen by 31%, international terrorism by 16%, and a global economic downturn by 12%.
  • Concern about climate change is undiminished since a Sept. 2009 “Euro-Barometer” survey conducted for the European Union, despite the cool winter of 2010 in Northern Europe and “climategate” attacks on the IPCC and climate scientists.
  • Some 86% of respondents said climate change is caused entirely, mainly or in part by human activities. Only 8% thought it was mainly or entirely caused by natural processes; in the United States, around 32-36% hold this view.
  • Asked to name in their own words “an important environmental issue of relevance to the coastline or sea,” only 4% of respondents used the words “climate change,” with most citing pollution or overfishing. However, several climate change-related impacts were frequently mentioned, notably coastal erosion, sea level rise, melting ice caps and flooding. Coastal erosion and/or sea level rise and/or climate change were cited by 24% and 27% of Irish and UK respondents respectively.
  • Asked to comment on a list of 15 environmental issues related to the coasts or seas, respondents from all 10 countries said they had the greatest confidence in their understanding of, and were most concerned about, coastal pollution, over-fishing and melting sea ice. In last place, only 14% said they were informed about acidification of the oceans. However, nearly 60% expressed concern about that issue.
  • Italian respondents claimed the greatest concern about issues on the list; those from Norway, the Netherlands and Estonia, the least.
  • Not surprisingly, respondents living near the sea claimed more understanding and concern about all 15 issues than those further inland. But in an apparent paradox, Italy, the most southerly of the 10 countries, expressed the most concern about melting Arctic sea ice while Norway, the most northerly, voiced the least concern.
  • Surprisingly, citizens of the low-lying Netherlands worry less about inundation than the 10-nation average (61% of Dutch survey participants cited sea level rise and coastal flooding as concerns compared with 70% across all 10 countries). Meanwhile, Dutch participants trusted their government to deal with climate change adaptation issues more than citizens of the other countries studied. And, compared with all other countries, a lower proportion of Dutch respondents foresaw “major economic impacts from coastal flooding” within the next 20 years.
  • The in-depth research complimenting the survey explains that public concern and awareness depends on the extent to which issues are visible, subject to personal experience, or pose a direct threat to human populations. More remote and distant impacts are shown to be of little relevance to people’s lives (such as ocean acidification). Even where there are already tangible and fairly immediate local implications, people still find it hard to make a personal connection with many marine climate change impacts. For instance, even people living in high risk areas seldom see themselves as personally at risk from sea level rise and associated coastal flooding.
  • Asked when they thought particular climate change impacts would become apparent, over half of respondents in all 10 countries said ‘changes in the frequency of extreme weather events (e.g. storms),’ are already being felt.
  • The poll found a high correlation between respondents who said they are more “concerned” about the impacts of climate change and those who said they think its impacts will come fairly soon. Those who declared themselves “highly concerned” tended to think they could already see these impacts happening. Females were more likely than males to say that impacts are already apparent and, in general, those under 24 and older than 65 were least likely to say that impacts are already apparent.
  • Respondents’ estimates of sea level rise and temperature change were generally in accord with scientific forecasts, suggesting “some fundamental messages are reaching the public,” the survey report says. Citizens were able to accurately characterize changes in sea temperature that have occurred over the past 100 years, and they gave realistic predictions of anticipated sea temperature change as well as sea level rise in this century.
  • Scientists working in universities or for environmental NGOs are trusted as a source of information about climate change impacts in the seas and ocean far more than government scientists or those working for industry.Men distrust all of the organizations and individuals listed more than women do, and in almost all cases, people over 35 expressed more distrust than those aged between 18 and 34.
  • Personal actions taken by European citizens in response to marine climate change issues are shown to focus more on mitigating climate change (such as reducing energy use and using sustainable forms of transport) than adapting to its impacts (through protecting homes from flooding for example).
  • Public support for actions by national governments and the European Union is shown to be highest for policies to protect and enhance marine environments (for example through tightening controls on pollution) and reducing carbon emissions, while measures to adapt to the impacts of climate change are ranked the lowest.
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The poll was commissioned as part of the CLAMER programme by the Marine Climate Change Centre (MC3) at Cefas, the University of East Anglia and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas. Inclusion of respondents in the Republic of Ireland was co-sponsored by the Marine Institute, the Environment Protection Agency and the Heritage Council of Ireland.

Project CLAMER partners

Marine Board – European Science Foundation

Netherlands
Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)
Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

Belgium
Flanders Marine Institute

United Kingdom
Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science
Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
Natural Environment Research Council
Plymouth Marine Laboratory
University of East Anglia

France
Océanopolis
University of Brest

Denmark
Danish Meteorological Institute

Italy
Università Politecnica delle Marche

Greece
Hellenic Centre for Marine Research

Ireland
National University of Ireland – Galway

Spain
Spanish Council for Scientific Research

Norway
University of Tromsø

Project CLAMER, concluding conference programme

Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts, Brussels

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

18.30
Registration

19:20
Welcome and introduction to CLAMER, presentation of the CLAMER book
Dr. Carlo Heip (Project CLAMER coordinator, and Director, NIOZ)

19:30
Iceland, a land of fire, ice and climate change
Dr. Katja Philippart (Project CLAMER coordinator, NIOZ)

20:30
Première of the CLAMER documentary “Living with a warming ocean”, introduced by producer
Mr. Jean-Yves Collet (ComOnPlanet)

21:30
Reception

Thursday, 15 September 2011

08:00
Registration

09:00
Welcome and introduction to CLAMER
Dr. Katja Philippart & Mr. Quentin Cooper (Conference chair, science journalist, BBC Radio)

09:10
Overview of European research on climate and marine environment
Ms. Manuela Soares (Director Environment, DG Research & Innovation, European Commission)

09:25
Climate change impacts on marine ecosystems in Europe
Prof. Dr. Carlo Heip (Project coordinator, NIOZ)

10:00
IPCC, climate change research and the marine environment
Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri (Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – video message)
Prof. dr. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele (Professor, Université catholique de Louvain, and Vice-Chair, IPCC)

10:30
Coffee/tea break

11:00
Outcomes of the first pan-European poll on public perception and awareness of climate change impacts on the marine environment
Mr. Paul Buckley (CEFAS)

11:25
Exploring public understanding of, and responses to, marine climate change
Dr. Jason Chilvers & Ms. Geraldine Terry (University of East Anglia)

11:50
‘Testing the water’ – Raising awareness of our changing seas
Dr. Jan Mees (Flanders Marine Institute – VLIZ) & winner of video message contest

12:20
Morning session wrap up

12:40
Media availability session

13:45
Science for society: linking marine and climate change research with policy
Dr. Sybille van den Hove (MEDIAN)

14:00
All aboard: getting climate change research to chime with the wider public
Mr. Quentin Cooper

14:15
Nine parallel workshops
1) Climate change impacts and European marine policies
2) Understanding public understanding: the implications of CLAMER public perception findings for marine scientists and policy makers
3) Organisation of the European marine climate research community and agendas in the future

16:15
Plenary discussion on workshop output

17:00
Reception

In addition to the conference and related written and video materials, educational events were organized by Project CLAMER in 34 European aquaria and marine institutes throughout the summer of 2011.

 

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http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-09/fmi-mtf091211.php

Report: This Summer’s EcoSikh Punjab Summit

 

Report: This Summer’s EcoSikh Punjab Summit

Baba Seechewal addressing the participants

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Posted 13 Sepember 2011, by Staff, EcoSikh, ecosikh.org

 

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SEPTEMBER 13, 2011: EcoSikh hosted its first ever environment summit in Ludhiana this summer for the grass root environment organizations to build up a Punjab-wide network and to encourage cooperation among the various sections of society to save and ensure Punjab’s green and healthy future. Read the full press release.

EcoSikh is the newest of the international organizations which inspires and connects the Sikh community for environmental activism for protection and action against the global warming. EcoSikh links the Sikh beliefs and values for caring about the Earth.

The grass root environment organizations, activists, Government agencies, Industrialists, doctors and educationists from throughout the Punjab gathered to network building at Ramgariah Girls College, Millar Ganj, Ludhiana. The prominent environment figure, Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal who is well known for protecting and cleaning the waters of Punjab came to encourage the attendees’.

Addressing the participants, Dr. Rajwant Singh, convener EcoSikh, appealed that EcoSikh is here to facilitate a platform for the Punjab environment heroes join hands, grow as network and stand for our common cause.

“Clean environment and clean air and water is a basic human right and everyone has the right to these basic necessity. It has become an urgent issue for the future of Punjab,” he added.

“No action is no longer an option and we must support each other to bringing activism in all aspects of society.”

“All Sikhs of Guru Nanak are EcoSikhs and environment is a cause of helping the entire humanity (Sarbat da Bhalla) and all religions should stand up to save the Punjab to revive its green splendor and spread this message from their religious centers.”

“All religious personalities should join to become the voice of the voiceless in Punjab.”

“Public awareness regarding environment is one of the major tasks ahead of any worthwhile environmental work in Punjab”

Here is a link to the participants of this event.

Participants 2nd July EcoSikh Summit

 

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http://www.ecosikh.org/report-ecosikh-punjab-summit/

Rigoberta Menchú and Nobel Peace Laureates: Halt tar sands


Rigoberta Menchú and Nobel Peace Laureates: Halt tar sands

Nobel Peace Laureates Dalai Lama, Rigoberta Menchu and Desmund Tutu among nine urging: Halt tar sands

The 14th Dalai Lama

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Posted 07 September 2011, by Brenda Norrell, Censored News, bsnorrell.blogspot.com

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Censored News

Rigoberta Menchú

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and Nobel Peace Laureates Rigoberta Menchú of Guatemala and Archbishop Desmund Tutu of South Africa, joined six other Nobel Peace Laureates urging President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, an environmental disaster in the making.

The Nobel Peace Laureates recognized those arrested during the past two weeks of sit-ins at the White House. The 1,252 arrested included members of the Indigenous Environmental Network arrested with author and activist Naomi Klein. First Nations from Canada arrested included actress Tantoo Cardinal, Cree, from Alberta, Canada, where tar sands mining is already destroying the homelands of First Nations.

Debra White Plume, Owe Aku, Bring Back the Way, Lakota grandmother and activist from Oglala land in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, was arrested in the Indigenous delegation. After being released from jail, White Plume, along with Kandi Mossett of the Indigenous Environmental Network, met with US State Department official Daniel A. Clune, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environmental and Scientific Affairs. There they urged the State Department to consult at high levels with Native leaders and to consider Section 106 (tribal consultations) in line with free, prior and informed consent as set forth in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Mossett has lost two young friends to deaths because of the heavy oil and gas traffic that the boom industry has brought to her homeland of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara in North Dakota. Mossett sent a message to President Obama, to look her in the eyes and listen to her story before approving the tarsands pipeline. During the arrests in front of the White House, Obama did not acknowledge or address the protesters, which included Dene Chief Bill Erasmus from Yellowknife, Canada.

The Nobel Peace Laureates reminded Obama of his own promise for creating a clean energy economy. The Nobel Peace Laureates’ statement comes as another dirty war was waged over the dirty tar sands. In the dirty war of deceptive media, a tarsands campaign was waged on the Oprah Winfrey Network by the so-called “Ethical Oil” campaign which attempts to muddy the truth about the tarsands. This dirty media campaign promotes the tarsands by muddying the water about human rights. A counter-campaign called for a boycott of the Oprah Winfrey Network on Wednesday until the “Ethical Oil” advertisements cease.

The Nobel Peace Laureates point out the immense Ogallala aquifer in the Great Plains, in the heartland of the United States, which the proposed tarsands pipeline would cross, if approved. Those lands, between Alberta, Canada and Texas, include Indian country. The highly corrosive tarsands oil is likely to result in a pipeline spill and contaminate the region’s drinking water in the Ogallala aquifer. The danger to this water source brought Nebraska farmers to the White House where they were arrested during the past two weeks.

Dear President Obama,

We—a group of Nobel Peace Laureates—are writing today to ask you to do the right thing for our environment and reject the proposal to build the Keystone XL, a 1700-mile pipeline that would stretch from Canada’s Alberta tar sands to the Texas Gulf Coast.

It is your decision to make.

The night you were nominated for president, you told the world that under your leadership—and working together—the rise of the oceans will begin to slow and the planet will begin to heal. You spoke of creating a clean energy economy. This is a critical moment to make good on that pledge, and make a lasting contribution to the health and well being of everyone of this planet.

In asking you to make this decision, we recognize the more than 1200 Americans who risked arrest to protest in front of the White House between August 20th and September 3rd. These brave individuals have spoken movingly about experiencing the power of nonviolence in facing authority. They represent millions of people whose lives and livelihoods will be affected by construction and operation of the pipeline in Alberta, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

All along its prospective route, the pipeline endangers farms, wildlife and precious water aquifers—including the Ogallala Aquifer, the US’ main source of freshwater for America’s heartland. We are aware that Nebraska’s Governor Dave Heineman—as well as two Nebraska Senators—has urged you to reconsider the pathway of the pipeline. In his letter to you he clearly stated his concern about the threat to this crucial water source for Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers. The aquifer supplies drinking water to two million people in Nebraska and seven other states. We know that another pipeline that covers some of the same route as the proposed pipeline, and built by the same company proposing to build Keystone XL, already leaked 14 times over its first year of operation. Like you, we understand that strip-mining and drilling tar sands from under Alberta’s Boreal forests and then transporting thousands of barrels of oil a day from Canada through to Texas will not only hurt people in the US—but will also endanger the entire planet. After the oil fields of Saudi Arabia, the full development of the Alberta tar sands will create the world’s second largest potential source of global warming gases. As NASA climatologist James Hansen has said, this is “essentially game over for the climate.”

There is a better way.

Your rejection of the pipeline provides a tremendous opportunity to begin transition away from our dependence on oil, coal and gas and instead increase investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency.

We urge you to say ‘no’ to the plan proposed by the Canadian-based company TransCanada to build the Keystone XL, and to turn your attention back to supporting renewable sources of energy and clean transportation solutions. This will be your legacy to Americans and the global community: energy that sustains the lives and livelihoods of future generations.

Sincerely,
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate (1976) – Ireland
Betty Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate (1976) – Ireland
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Laureate (1980) – Argentina
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate (1984) – South Africa
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Laureate (1989) – Tibet
Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Nobel Peace Laureate (1992) – Guatemala
José Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Laureate (1996) – East Timor
Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate (1997) – USA
Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Laureate (2003) – Iran

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http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2011/09/rigoberta-menchua-and-nobel-peace.html

Caravan to Black Mesa 2011

Caravan to Black Mesa 2011

Join the Caravan in Support of Indigenous Communities Who Are in Their Fourth Decade of Resisting Massive Coal Mining Operations on Their Ancestral Homelands of Big Mountain; Black Mesa, AZ. November 19th – 26th, 2011

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Posted 13 September 2011, by Brenda Norrell, Censored News, bsnorrell.blogspot.com
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Communities of Black Mesa Have Always Maintained That Their Struggle for Life, Land; Future Generations Is For Our Collective Survival.

Greetings from Black Mesa Indigenous Support,

We are excited to once again extend the invitation from Dineh resisters of the Big Mountain regions of Black Mesa in joining a caravan of work crews in support of the on-going struggle to protect their communities, ancestral homelands, future generations and planet that we all share. These communities are in their fourth decade year of resistance against the US Government’s forced relocation policies, Peabody Coal’s financial interests, and an unsustainable fossil fuel based economy.

Participating in this caravan is one small way in supporting these courageous communities who are serving as the very blockade to massive coal mining on Black Mesa. The aim of this caravan is to honor the requests and words of the elders and their families. With their guidance we will carry their wishes & demands far beyond just the annual caravans and link this struggle with social, environmental, and climate justice movements that participants may be a part of.

By assisting with direct on-land projects you are supporting families on their ancestral homelands in resistance to an illegal occupation and destruction of sacred sites by Peabody Energy. We will be chopping and hauling firewood, doing minor repair work, offering holistic health care, and sheep-herding before the approaching freezing winter months.

Indigenous nations are disproportionately targeted by fossil fuel extraction & environmental devastation; Black Mesa is no exception. Peabody Energy, previously Peabody Coal Company (the world’s largest private-sector coal company) is continuing to scheme for ways to continue their occupation of tribal lands under the guise of extracting “clean coal”.

Peabody’s Black Mesa mine has been the source of an estimated 325 million tons of greenhouse gases that have been discharged into the atmosphere.* In the 30+ years of disastrous operations, Dineh and Hopi communities in Arizona have been ravaged by Peabody’s coal mining. As a result of the massive mining operation, thousands of families have had their land taken away and been forcibly relocated. Peabody has drained 2.5 million gallons of water daily from the only community water supply and has left a monstrous toxic legacy along an abandoned 273-mile coal slurry pipeline. Furthermore, Peabody has desecrated & completely dug up burials, sacred areas, and shrines designated specifically for offerings, preventing religious practices. The continued mining by Peabody has devastating environmental and cultural impacts on local communities and significantly exacerbates global climate chaos.

A trench carved out by a Peabody dragline in order to access coal seams. Photo: Jonathan LeFaive

Relocation laws have made it nearly impossible for younger generations to continue living on their homelands. Institutional racism has fueled neglect and abandonment of public services such as water, maintenance of roads, health care, and schools. Many of the residents in the regions of Black Mesa that we’ll be visiting are elderly and winters can be extremely rough on them in this remote high desert terrain. Due to lack of local job opportunities and federal strangulation on Indian self-sufficiency, extended families are forced to live many miles away to earn incomes and have all the social amenities (which include choices in mandatory American education).

It is increasingly difficult for families to come back to visit their relatives in these remote areas due to the unmaintained roads and the rising cost of transportation. As one of their resistance strategies they call upon outside support as they maintain their traditional way of life in the face of the largest relocation of indigenous people in the US since the Trail of Tears.

May we stand strong with the elders & families of Black Mesa in their declaration that “Coal is the Mother Earth’s liver” and join them in action to ensure that coal remains in the ground! Families of Black Mesa are determined to repair and end the devastating impacts of colonialism, coal mining, and forced relocation of their communities, sacred lands, and our planet. False solutions to climate change and large scale coal extraction must be stopped!

Drawing on the inspiration of the elders & families of Black Mesa, they offer us a transformative model for the strategic, visionary change that is needed to re-harmonize our relationships with one another and with the planet. But too often Black Mesa becomes invisibilized as other human rights, environmental justice and climate justice struggles are showcased and highlighted in both the mainstream & progressive media. The truth is that all of these struggles are interconnected and central to our collective survival is the need to increase the visibility of struggles such as Black Mesa, a decades-long indigenous-led resistance to the fossil fuel industry, in related movements for human rights, environmental, climate & social justice.

Forging links between people grounded in movements based on social and ecological justice and the Black Mesa resisters (who are also grounded in these movements) is essential to address the disproportionate problems of poverty and disenfranchisement to achieve social, environmental, & climate justice.

On-Going Resistance To The Continued Desecration Of The Sacred San Francisco Peaks:

Blockade Halts Ski Resort Destruction & Desecration of Holy Mountain. Photo: www.indigenousaction.org

The struggle to protect the San Francisco Peaks is part of an international movement to protect sacred sites and is intricately connected with the struggle to protect the sacred places of Big Mountain & Black Mesa, AZ. The San Francisco Peaks has considerable religious significance to thirteen local Indigenous nations (including the Havasupai, Dine’ {Navajo}, Hopi, and Zuni.) In particular, it forms the Dine’ sacred mountain of the west, called the Dook’o’oosłííd.

In recent months the San Francisco Peaks has been desecrated by Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort with permission from the US Forest Service by cutting 40 acres of pristine forest and laying miles of pipeline to spray artificial snow made of sewage water that would be bought from the City of Flagstaff. In response, there has been a convergence on the peaks to protect what has yet to be desecrated and create a long term form of protection for the Mountain including demonstrations, encampments, multiple lockdowns, further litigation, and tribes filing a human rights complaint with the United Nations.
If you’re visiting Black Mesa, then you will be likely be traveling through the vicinity of the holy San Francisco Peaks which is located just outside of Flagstaff, AZ. Stay posted for updates & how you can support the protection of the Peaks at http://www.truesnow.org and http://www.indigenousaction.org

Support the Action in Stopping the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) “States & Nation Policy Summit” in Scottsdale, AZ; Nov 30 – Dec 2, 2011:

ALEC- a conglomerate of legislators and corporate sponsors is planning to meet for their “States and Nation Policy Summit” just outside of Phoenix, AZ (Scottsdale) from November 30-December 2, 2011 . “The group’s membership includes both state lawmakers and corporate executives who gather behind closed doors to discuss and vote on draft legislation. ALEC has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months for its role in crafting bills to attack worker rights, to roll back environmental regulations, privatize education, deregulate major industries, and pass voter ID laws”.** Arizona politicians and the private prison industry, under ALEC, finalized the model legislation which became SB 1070, the harshest anti- immigrant measure in the country and a license for racial profiling.
Thanks to ALEC, at least a dozen states have recently adopted a nearly identical resolution asking Congress to compel the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop regulating carbon emissions (which they recently did): http://www.democracynow.org/2011/9/7/smog_v_jobs_is_obama_admin”.
A Peabody Energy representative is on the Corporate Board of ALEC. Kelly Mader, the Vice President of State Government Affairs at Peabody was given ALEC’s 2011 Private Sector Member of the Year Award. In these closed door ALEC meetings, it is no wonder that corporations such as Peabody serve state legislators their agendas on legislation which directly benefit their bottom line. Mader is due to attend the ALEC meeting in Phoenix.

Families of Black Mesa may need supporters to watch over their home and animals so that they can attend the ALEC demonstrations. Please contact BMIS if you can help with this as well as additional logistics such as funds, transportation, and lodging. Thank you!

The struggles on Big Mountain are directly connected to the struggles on the San Francisco Peaks and the movement to stop ALEC. Stay tuned for possible actions and protests in support of struggles to protect ancestral homelands & sacred sites, to stop corporate profiteering off the exploitation, suffering and degradation of us all -particularly indigenous peoples, migrants, the working class, prisoners, and essentially all of Mother Earth.

“Arizona Says NO to Criminalization, Incarceration, & Corporate Profiteering at the Expense of Our Communities” http://azresistsalec.wordpress.com/ *
For additional info on ALEC: http://alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed

Ways you can support:
Join the Caravan: Connect with a coordinator or create a work crew in your region. Contact BMIS so that we can connect you with others who may be in your region. So far caravan coordinators are located in Prescott, Phoenix and Flagstaff, AZ; Denver, CO; Santa Cruz, CA; Eugene and Portland, OR; and the San Francisco’s Bay Area. Meeting locations and dates will be posted on the BMIS website & our facebook page as coordinators set them up. This caravan will be in collaboration with the annual Clan Dyken Fall Food and Supply Run on Black Mesa. It is of the utmost importance that each guest understands and respects the ways of the communities that we will be visiting. Prior to visiting Black Mesa, all guests must read and sign the Cultural Sensitivity & Preparedness Guide: http://blackmesais.org/tag/cultural-sensitivity/

Host or attend regional organizational meetings in your area: We strongly urge participants to attend or organize regional meetings. Due to the large number of caravan participants in past years, we are limiting the number to just under 100 this fall. Please register early and plan on attending meetings held in your region. There you’ll engage in political education work and help regional coordinators plan logistics, fundraisers, and collect donated food and supplies ahead of time.

Trucks, chainsaws, & supplies are integral to the success of the caravan. The more trucks we have, the more wood, water and other heavy loads we can transport. Axes, mauls, axe handles, shovels, tools of all kinds, organic food, warm blankets, and did we mention trucks? — either to donate to families or to use for the week of the caravan–are greatly needed on the land to make this caravan work! We’ve got a 501-C3 tax-deductible number, so if you need that contact us. Please keep checking the BMIS website for an ongoing list of specific requests by Black Mesa residents.

A Navajo man holds up a piece of coal that is spotted with “fool’s gold”. Photo: Jonathan LeFaive

Challenge Colonialism! One of our main organizing goal’s is to highlight anti-colonial education within all the regional meetings leading up to the caravan. In addition to the Cultural Sensitivity Guide, we encourage you to bring articles, films, and other resources to your regional meetings & host discussions that further our collective understanding for transforming colonialism, white supremacy, genocide, & all intersections of oppression. We have started a resources list, which is now on the website.  Feel free to share with us any resources that you like so that we can build upon this list & strengthen our growing support network! In addition please check out our Points Of Unity.

Fundraise! Fundraise! Fundraise! As a grassroots, all-volunteer network, we do not receive nor rely on any institutional funding for these support efforts, but instead count on each person’s ingenuity, creativity, and hard work to make it all come together. We are hoping to raise enough money through our community connections for gas, specifically for collecting wood and food for host families, and for work projects.   Host events, hit up non-profits, generous food vendors, and folks in your own networks. An article that we want to highlight is ‘8 Ways to Raise $2,500 in 10 Days’. Check our website soon for this document, template letters to vendors, fundraising guidelines, and more. You can Donate here: http://blackmesais.org/donate/

Stay with a family any time of the year: Families living in resistance to coal mining and relocation laws are requesting self-sufficient guests who are willing to give three or more weeks of their time, especially in the winter. Contact BMIS in advance so that we can make arrangements prior to your stay, to answer any questions that you may have, and so we can help put you in touch with a family. It is of the utmost importance that each guest understands and respects the ways of the communities that we will be visiting. Prior to visiting Black Mesa, all guests must read and sign the Cultural Sensitivity & Preparedness Guide: http://blackmesais.org/tag/cultural-sensitivity/
Give back to the Earth! Give to future generations!
May the resistance of Big Mountain and surrounding communities on Black Mesa always be remembered, and supported!

With love,
Black Mesa Indigenous Support

Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS) is a grassroots, all-volunteer collective committed to supporting the indigenous peoples of Black Mesa in their resistance to massive coal mining operations and to the forced relocation policies of the US government. We see ourselves as a part of a people powered uprising for a healthy planet liberated from fossil fuel extraction, exploitative economies, racism, and oppression for our generation and generations to come. BMIS stands with the elders of Black Mesa in their declaration that “Coal is the Mother Earth’s liver” and joins them in action to ensure that coal remains in the ground.
Address: P.O. Box 23501, Flagstaff, Arizona 86002
Voice Mail: 928.773.8086
Email: blackmesais@gmail.com
Web: www.blackmesais.org

Facebook: Black Mesa Indigenous Support
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(Ed Note: Missing photographs were missing from the original article at the time this post was accessed.)

(Ed Note: Please visit the original site for more content associated with this article.)

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http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2011/09/caravan-to-black-mesa-2011.html

Plant data helps map potential ‘bio-cultural diversity’ hotspots

Plant data helps map potential ‘bio-cultural diversity’ hotspots

Potential ‘hotspots’ across Australia for finding plants used in Aboriginal traditional medicine have been identified through a partnership between an international biodiversity information facility and Macquarie University.

The study produced a map of potential ‘bio-cultural diversity’ hotspots – areas suitable for the occurrence of multiple species known to be used in traditional medicine. Credit: (From Gaikwad J, Wilson PD & Ranganathana S (2011) Ecological niche modeling of customary medicinal plant species used by Australian Aborigines to identify species-rich and culturally valuable areas for conservation. Ecological Modelling, in press, doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2011.07.005)

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Posted 12 September 2011, by Staff, ECOS Magazine (Csiro Publishing), ecosmagazine.com

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The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is an international, government-funded initiative focused on making biodiversity data freely available for scientific research and sustainable development. The Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) hosts the GBIF national node in Australia.

The modelling study brings together the ALA and the Customary Medicinal Knowledgebase (CMKb) research group, based at Macquarie University. Researchers used data accessed through the GBIF portal and Australia’s Virtual Herbarium (AVH) along with the latest modelling technology to identify suitable ecological niches for 414 plant species of medicinal importance.

The research, led by Macquarie University’s Professor Shoba Ranganathan, with Dr Jitendra Gaikwad as the first author, was recently published in the journal Ecological Modelling. The main outcome was a map of potential ‘bio-cultural diversity’ hotspots – areas suitable for the occurrence of multiple species known to be used in traditional medicine.

‘Many plants brought into Australia by early settlers have become an integral part of Aboriginal traditional knowledge. Global data on these plants is essential, and we obtained this from the GBIF,’ said Dr Gaikwad.

‘For Aboriginal people, their connection with the land is a matter of survival, emotion and culture – it is not just a piece of land for them.

‘So let’s say a mining industry identifies an area that is inhabited by an Aboriginal community. This methodology allows us to evaluate the cultural value of the land.

‘We have used medicinal value, but we can use other socio-economic, traditional knowledge and biodiversity conservation aspects as well.

‘The next logical step would be to select an area and validate the distribution of the species and the cultural value in the field. But before that, we need to have active participation of Aboriginal communities to validate the results.’

According to the Director of ALA, Donald Hobern, study represents ‘an exciting and novel use of multiple heterogeneous datasets to explore the linkages between phylogeny – the study of the evolutionary relatedness of life forms – ecology, chemistry and human use of biodiversity’.

Source: ALA/GBIF

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http://www.ecosmagazine.com/?paper=EC11039

Future Perfect: Affordable hydrogen fuel cells

 

Future Perfect: Affordable hydrogen fuel cells

Affordable hydrogen fuel cells: Affordable hydrogen fuel cells, the future fuel

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Posted 13 September 2011, by Rajeev Kumar, EcoFriend (Instamedia), ecofriend.com

 

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What’s happening right now

Hydrogen fuels cells are seen as the best alternative to combustion engine-based power generators. However, as the hydrogen doesn’t exist in abundance in its pure form, it has to be obtained from various other organic sources. But, some latest breakthroughs in hydrogen production technologies have made the production of affordable fuel cells possible and countries are taking more interest in the development of new technologies for the easy production of hydrogen gas and its use in the fuel cells.

 

Here are some of the recent trends for the production of affordable hydrogen fuel cells.

Trends

1 Eco-friendly car powered by hydrogen fuel cells

Hydrogen fuel Powered car: Affordable hydrogen fuel cells, the future fuel

Named as AAVA, this technological marvel has been designed by Mika Heykinen. The car is powered by hydrogen fuel cells and made up of green materials like glass, wool, recycled plastic, birch veneer and ceramics. It has glass roof and broad windows for bringing in natural lights and to offer a better view of the outside to the users.

2. Hydrogen fuel-cell powered kettle

Hydrogen fuel-cell powered kettle: Affordable hydrogen fuel cells, the future fuel

The futuristic kettle has been designed by Matthew Smith for use in the year 2100. It could be used anywhere without the need of electric wires. The hydrogen cartridges have been fitted in the center and the base of the kettle for converting hydrogen into electricity with the help of fuel cells.

3 BMW’s hydrogen fuel cell hybrid vehicle

BMW’s hydrogen fuel cell hybrid vehicle: Affordable hydrogen fuel cells, the future fuel

Developed by BMW, this hydrogen fuel cell hybrid vehicle has been designed for an emission-free ride on the city roads. The car is powered by a combination of the conventional engine and hydrogen fuel cells. The front wheels of the car are powered by conventional engine, while the rear wheels are powered by fuel cells. Also, both the power units can work together for providing short bursts of acceleration.

The concept

The hydrogen fuel cell uses hydrogen for producing energy. Like all other batteries, it uses two electrodes, a cathode and an anode separated by a membrane. Hydrogen is passed over one electrode which reacts with a catalyst to produce negative and positive ions. While the negative ions, or electrons, move out of the cell for use as electricity, the positively charged ion (H+) further reacts with the oxygen that is passed over the second electrode and produces water as the bi-product of the entire process.

The advantages

As compared to the other available batteries in the market, hydrogen fuel cells offer multiple advantages. Such as:

1. Fuel cells reduces our dependency on petroleum products and imported oil for energy.

2. It is one of the cleanest source of energy that produces only water and heat as bi-products.

3. Unlike other batteries, the fuel cells do not die out, as it allows the chemicals to continuously flow.

4. A Hydrogen fuel cell-based car engine is about 80 percent efficient in the use of total energy it consumes.

The impact:

The use of hydrogen fuel cell could become our best bet for mitigating global warming and rising fuel prices all over the world. A report by the U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Program had earlier said that hydrogen fuel cells are two to three times more efficient than other combustion engines. Considering the important role hydrogen fuel cells can play, researchers have sped up the process of developing new technologies for producing hydrogen for the fuel cells. Recently, researchers at the Berkeley University produced a photocatalyst that accelerates light-driven chemical reactions for producing hydrogen with the help of sunlight. However, this source of power is still not much popular and many are still having apprehensions.

 

Related Stories:

Future Perfect: Technologies for low cost hydrogen fuel cells

What’s happening right now:Ever since the former US President George Bush Jr announced the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative in 2003 ,major efforts both in the US and in other countries are being made to bring about what is termed as the hydrogen economy, in ordNew affordable and reliable hydrogen fuel cells from nanocrystals

When the world is burning down in fossil fuel, the worried scientist-herd is battling to combat its devastating consequences, by bringing in alternatives to the greenhouse gas producing fuel. One such proven effective alternative are the ‘hydrogen…Solidified hydrogen promises efficient fuel cells

Hydrogen has often been the target for environmentalists devoted to the cause of saving Mother Nature. Here is the latest development. Researchers at the University of New Brunswick have developed a method for converting hydrogen gas into a solid…Magnesium could replace hydrogen in fuel cells for more energy

Eco Factor: Magnesium stores 10 times more energy than hydrogen. The abundance of hydrogen in the world makes automakers and energy suppliers think it to be the fuel of the future. However, there is no dearth of brains who believe that hydrogen…

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http://www.ecofriend.com/entry/future-perfect-affordable-hydrogen-fuel-cells/

Belizean Barrier Reef Sunk by Quake

 

Belizean Barrier Reef Sunk by Quake

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Posted 12 September 2011, by Tim Wall, DiscoveryNews, news.discovery.com

 

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The last three decades haven’t been kind to the Belizean Barrier Reef, a 190 mile (300 kilometer) long section of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef system.

First, two dominant species of coral died off due to disease and an El Nino event. Then in 2009, large sections of the barrier reef slid into deeper waters and were destroyed after a magnitude 7.3 earthquake shook the Caribbean.

The quake, which originated 81 miles (130 kilometers) northeast of La Ceiba, Honduras, caused landslides on the undersea slopes where the corals grew.

A team from the Florida Institute of Technology recently reported on the devastation in the journal Ecology.

Belizean Reef

The researchers had been monitoring the reefs in the lagoons off the coast of Belize from 1986 to 2009. When they returned in 2010, they found that about half of the reefs in a 375-square-kilometer (144-square-mile) area had gone the way of Atlantis. Only sediment and coral skeletal debris remained where the reefs once were.

BLOG: WW2 Shipwrecks: Monitors of Climate Change

The quake made an already dire situation worse.

Staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis)  was the dominant species in the area for the past 4000 years, according to radio-carbon dating of reef cores. But starting in 1986, staghorn was virtually wiped out in the area by a bacterial infection called white-band disease.

By 1995, lettuce coral had taken over as top coral. Then a harsh El Nino in 1998 brought high temperatures and wiped out the lettuce coral.

“The prior losses of both staghorn and lettuce corals drastically weakened the resilience of the coral assemblages on the reef slopes,” says lead author Richard Aronson of the Florida Institute of Technology in a press release.

“In other words, if neither white-band disease nor bleaching had occurred, staghorn coral might have continued its millennial-scale dominance of the areas not destroyed by the quake,” said Aronson.

Staghorn Coral

After the staghorn and lettuce corals were gone, the area was taken over by seaweed, and an encrusting sponge which clung to the skeletons of the deceased corals.

BLOG: Australia No Scrooge on Coral Studies

By the time the quake struck there wasn’t much left of the reef Aronson’s team first studied in the 80’s. Much of what was left then sank into the depths.

BLOG: Coral Moves North to Beat the Heat

The possibility of natural disasters should be incorporated into conservation strategies, said Aronson.

“The rhetoric of conservation often includes the appeal of preserving ecosystems so that our children’s children can enjoy Nature’s bounty,” said Aronson. “That translates to about 200 years, but ecosystems last far longer than three generations of their human stewards. We challenge marine conservationists to plan on a millennial scale.”

“Rare, catastrophic events are the backdrop to human actions. Those rare events should be factored into determining the sizes of marine reserves and their levels of protection, whatever else might be expected to happen along the way,” said Aronson.

“After all, a once-in-a-thousand-year disaster could still occur next week,” said Aronson.

Tim Wall reports from Siguatepeque, Honduras, where he teaches journalism to fifth and sixth grade public school students.

IMAGES:

An island surrounded by reefs off the coast of Belize (Wikimedia Commons)

Coral and sponges on a reef in the Caribbean near Santa Lucia (Wikimedia Commons)

Healthy staghorn coral (Wikimedia Commons)

 

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http://news.discovery.com/earth/belizean-barrier-reef-sunk-by-quake-110913.html