Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Drill Baby Drill Punctures Alaska's Seafood Market

Red areas are most intensely impacted. 

Ocean acidification from climate change could take five billion dollars in seafood away from Alaska annually.

The ocean absorbs carbon naturally but there's so much carbon pollution in the air that it's changing ocean chemistry. This makes the ocean more acidic, which is bad, very bad, for most creatures in the sea including the ones we love to eat like salmon, haddock, clams, and crabs.

Dismal as this is, this research is a welcome red flag because many people don't start to care until they see how much money is at stake. The frightening economics around ocean acidification might inspire action.

"The fishing industry in Alaska supports over 100,000 jobs, and generates more than $5 billion in annual revenue. Beyond commercial fishing, around 120,000 Alaskans, roughly 17 percent of the state's population, rely on subsistence fishing to feed their families, according to the report.

The analysis found that communities most reliant on fishery harvests, with relatively lower income and fewer alternative job options, face the highest risk of ocean acidification," according to scientists in Newsweek.

What to do? Support clean energy and phase out fossil fuels. Alaska itself will have to re-think its "drill baby drill" mentality, or continue to shoot itself in the proverbial foot.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Renewable Energy Continues to Thrive

More people are working in the renewable energy industry globally according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

"With 6.5 million people directly or indirectly employed in renewable energy, the sector is proving that it is no longer a niche – it has become a significant employer worldwide," said agency director Adnan Z Amin in The Guardian.

The 14% growth in the clean energy industry is led by solar as more and more businesses and people are tapping into the sun's clean power. Read the full renewables report here.

Meanwhile in Germany, the perennial leader in renewable power not just World Cups, the offshore wind power industry enjoys over 100K employees and over $10 billion invested, according to Bloomberg.

With the need to support clean energy breathing down our necks and climate change flooding our feet, nice to see some good news. Thanks to Neighborhood Energy for pointing it out.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Leaving Sea Shells by the Sea Shore

I see people with buckets full of shells on Florida beaches as if prospecting for gold. What can they possibly be using them for? Aren't they just going to be thrown away in a year or ten, or left to collect dust in some box in a garage or attic?

Collecting seashells by the seashore seemed harmless enough until now. Researchers have found that collecting seashells is not good for the beach ecosystem. Shells support the beach structure, provide homes for all kinds of critters, and grow algae, which is lunch for many.

Nature has a purpose for everything.

The old wilderness mantra -- leave only footprints take only photographs -- certainly applies to the beach.

Does the damage compare to other ocean harms like ocean acidification and overfishing? Nope, but it's still a negative impact.

I did it. I had a large collection. I still hang onto a nice looking shell once in awhile, but I leave it on the sand when I depart. Fair enough.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Thank the EPA on Coal

Show your support for clean air today.  Here's an opportunity to write to the head of the EPA, Regina 'Gina' McCarthy, and the EPA staff.

Tell them you support their new restrictions on coal burning plants.

You can send Natural Resource Defense Council's pre-made note, or you can send your own words, which will have more oomph.

Maybe what I wrote will get the juices flowing:

Dear Regina 'Gina' McCarthy & EPA Staff,

You've already heard a ton of crazy rhetoric from the coal industry on your awesome new restrictions.

It's the voice of a tired, old industry trying to preserve a business model that simply costs all of us way too much.

Just know: we are with you as you take this flak. Please stand strong.

This is the right thing to do on so many levels. I come from the "ocean world," and climate change seriously threatens the health of the world's oceans. The oceans that feed billions everyday.

The time is now to turn this around and your restrictions on coal ring that bell.

It's our responsibility to protect our children and future generations from the effects of climate change.

This is a message of solidarity and urgency, and thanks -- thank you for putting people before polluters.

Link to letter. 

(Those last two lines were paraphrased from NRDC's note.)