There has been a lot of research coming out lately about pesticides. It seems like more and more people are becoming aware of the effects of these killing chemicals on us, not just the bugs they target. The information is fascinating. I thought I might put it all together as a general resource and provide some avenues for you to improve your life by reducing your exposure. After all, some of these new studies link pesticides to ADHD, others link them to Parkinsons Disease and yet others point to food and water contamination. It seems like it must be pretty wide spread considering that we grow a lot of food that bugs also eat. When we spray those plants with insecticide, we submit the chemical to the plants organism and this remains present in the plant after death, after cooking, after eating and swallowing. So you must have a lot of pesticides in you. That’s just the facts.
April 13, 2010
I know you are hearing a lot about the water… the rivers, the oceans, the water in the tap.. and that it all seems complicated and overwhelming. Indeed, there are gyres of plastic in the ocean the size of a city and there are drugs in the tap water in New York City and the coral reefs are dieing off from pollution.. but there’s another one. One that hits really close to home and should be a major concern for you.
Recent studies prove that chemicals in the water supply (from the ocean up the waterways to your kitchen sink) are bending genders in wildlife. These chemicals are what is known as endocrine disruptors, similar to the BPA everyone has been talking about, and they change the sex in organisms. Aquatic organisms are switching from male to female and back again as a result of exposure to these chemicals. But the stuff isn’t isolated to distant waterways where nothing but creeping anemones sprawl on rocks and in caves; this stuff is right out there, where you might even be swimming. For sure, they are moving into the water that is used to make our tap water. No kidding.
June 8, 2009
Comments Off on Today is World Ocean’s Day!
From The Ocean Project:
The world’s oceans cover more than 70% of our planet’s surface and the rich web of life they support is the result of hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Nomadic peoples were collecting shellfish and harvesting fish long before the dawn of settled agriculture. Great human civilizations, from the Egyptians to the Polynesians relied on the sea for commerce and transport, and now, at the end of the Twentieth Century, our fate is as tied to the oceans as ever. We still rely on fish for a significant portion of our daily protein needs, and more than $500 billion of the world’s economy is tied to ocean-based industries such as coastal tourism and shipping. Perhaps most important, this vast mass of water acts to help regulate the global climate and to ensure that a constant flow of vital nutrients is cycled throughout the biosphere.
But all is not well in the sea. Increased pressures from overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and the introduction of invasive alien species have combined in recent decades to threaten the diversity of life in estuaries, coastal waters and oceans. Now a new threat, global warming, is making itself felt, and its impacts could be devastating for life in the sea.
There can be no doubt that our world is getting warmer. 1998 was the hottest year since accurate records began in the 1840s, and ten of the hottest years have occurred during the last 15 years. By examining growth rings from trees and ice cores drilled in Antarctica, scientists have determined that the past decade was the warmest in more than four centuries, and that the current rate of warming is probably unprecedented in at least 10,000 years. In 1992, the more than 2500 scientists comprising the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that the warming is caused at least in part by emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel use. As the world warms, the outlook for marine wildlife looks bleak unless we can turn down the heat by reducing concentrations of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere.
The startling changes already beginning to affect marine life may turn out to be merely the tip of iceberg. Global warming is predicted to worsen rapidly, with average annual temperatures expected to increase by about 3 degrees C by the middle of the next century. Changes of this speed and magnitude could set off a chain reaction in marine ecosystems with truly appalling consequences for life in the sea and for human communities that depend on it. However, if we act now to reduce carbon pollution from the dirtiest power stations and from vehicle exhausts, we stand a good chance of slowing the warming and helping to save a healthy ocean for future generations.
To read more about this serious issue, go to: The Facts .
To sign a petition for the U.N. to designate this day, June 8, as World Oceans Day worldwide go HERE .
April 21, 2009
This has been a huge issue for quite awhile now, with attention drawn to the numbers of fish in decline and the habitual overfishing for profit. I can remember a time here in my hometown when we could fish for whatever we wanted to, no quotas, no questions asked. But there were Trout and Redfish in the rivers and canals. Today, you are hard pressed to find either fish that is longer than a few inches. All the big guys are gone and all that’s left are their babies. It’s questionable how many of the newborns survive.
Now, this issue has spread out onto the world stage. The EU Ministers have now agreed to some changes in the fishing quotas, expanding the Cod quotas by 30% on the one hand and then limiting catches for other species with the other. The quotas have come about as a compromise between environmental groups and fishermen. The environmental groups are alarmed as they watch fish just disappear from the oceans, rivers and lakes. But fishermen are suffering a mighty struggle for survival with reduced catches, competitive markets and shrinking quotas.
April 2, 2009
I have another cool method of generating energy. There are researchers who are trying to harvest energy from various sources that are now working with a power generator that works in slow moving currents where traditional turbines have not worked effectively. This means that tidal streams and slow moving rivers in the US could generate something like 140 BILLION killowatt-hours per year or about 3.5% of our entire electricity demand. This is all according to the EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute).
In the past, most efforts to tap energy from slow moving current have used underwater windmills that use the force of the lift to turn their blades. This is because we have usually tapped air for energy and use it support boats and other water devices. But when you watch the way fish use water to propel themselves, you realize that they create vortices in the water that allow them to push off and propel themselves forward. This is why they are currently referring to this application as fish as fuel. But it has nothing to do with using actual fish as a source of fuel. Nobody is grinding up fish and putting it in an engine somewhere.
When researchers realized that these natural vortices could be used to drive generators, a new concept for creating energy emerged. A group of researchers have now created a machine called the VIVACE (Vortex Induced Vibrations for Aquatic Clean Energy) and yes I know it sounds sort of funky and even kinda geeky. But the cylinders in this new machine oscillate up and down in actual moving water. This is a first. It is especially exciting because the device works naturally in the marine environment and is non invasive.
January 29, 2009
Comments Off on Algae: The New Biofuel
I know it seems like I’m dedicating January to posts about the uses for algae but so much is happening in this sector, it’s hard to ignore. Besides the fascinating news that scientists now believe that algae production in the oceans will help alleviate the carbon explosion, I know hear about big advances in algae production as a biofuel. It seems that OriginOil has announced the successful automation of its Helix BioReactor system. The Helix is a groundbreaking technology that optimizes algae growth, making large-scale commercial algae production scalable.
The design of the Helix BioReactor utilizes low-energy lights arranged in a helix pattern combined with a rotating vertical shaft design, which allows algae culture to replicate exponentially within a smaller installation footprint. This system allows the replication of algae on a large scale basis, making it a viable source of fuel for all purposes, including automobiles. Now, the automation of this system is a key step towards continuous algae production, taking the work out of human hands and onto equipment that can run 24/7. Talk about reduction in manpower and labor costs! Like all automation, this process allows greater control of the growth environment and efficient, low-cost industrial algae production. It means that algae can be produced in jaw dropping tonnage and done so cheaply.
January 23, 2009
This is fascinating stuff and I just have to present it. It seems that a team of UK scientists have discovered a natural process that could delay, or even end, the threat of global warming. This is absolutely amazing but they are offering some convincing findings in their research. Imagine such a thing; an end to global warming. Just like that.
The researchers making this claim, working from aboard the Royal Navy’s HMS Endurance, have found that melting icebergs off the coast of Antarctica are releasing millions of tiny particles of iron into the southern Ocean, helping to create huge ‘blooms’ of algae that absorb carbon emissions. The algae then sinks to the icy depths, effectively removing CO2 from the atmosphere for hundreds of years. Doesn’t this seem like the Earth cleaning itself? Is it possible that it actually does this?