Nov 30, 2007

"The Electric Vehicle and the Burden of History"

We have learned so little with soooo much

1900: All US cars produced: 33% steam cars, 33% EV, and 33% gasoline cars. Poll at the National Automobile Show in NYC showed people's first choice for automobiles was electric followed closely by steam. Yep only 33% were gas...

Learn more EV history at:

CBS News Seeks 'Hip' Environmental Reporter, No 'Knowledge of Enviro' Necessary

According to a new job posting on CBS News has set a low bar for their reporting. CBS News is seeking a reporter for its 'eco beat' who does not need any "knowledge of the enviro beat," but must be "funny, irreverent and hip, oozing enthusiasm and creative energy," according to job posting. The potential CBS News employee must also be "vibrant" and bring "a dash of humor to our coverage."    (LINK)


Hey, Why would A news station care about content or exerprience when their own "green washers" and "climatologist" don't have them ;-)

EPA notifies BP of major clean-air violations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 07-OPA233 CHICAGO (Nov. 29, 2007) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 today notified BP Products North America Inc. of alleged violations of multiple Clean Air Act requirements at its Whiting, Ind., refinery. Click to read full.

DOE and Wisconsin Launch Industrial Efficiency Partnership

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the State of Wisconsin today announced a voluntary collaboration to promote greater industrial energy efficiency throughout the state.  DOE, Wisconsin, Wisconsin's Focus on Energy (Focus), and CleanTech Partners have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to foster increased awareness and use of energy efficient practices and technologies by industries.Read the full Progress Alert.

From  Laura B.

January 19, 2008 Due Date for Facilities to File Chemical "Top Screen" with Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued the Final Appendix A "Chemicals of Interest" list on November 20, 2007.  This rule requires affected facilities to file a "Top Screen" submittal within 60 days after the appendix was published, which is January 19, 2008. 
Appendix A has over 300 "Chemicals of Interest" and each chemical is classified according to hazards and security risks defined in 13 different regulatory categories.  A facility must register with the DHS and then file a Top Screen if it has any chemical listed in the Appendix over the specified threshold amount.  Although specific exclusions are provided for calculating quantities of certain chemicals, there is NO general exemption provided for small businesses, including agriculture or college laboratories, from the Top Screen submittal requirement. 
DHS is authorized to impose penalties of up to $25,000 per day for facilities that fail to comply with the regulation.
Some of the over 300 "Chemicals of Interest" are as follows:
  • Propane
  • Ammonium hydroxide
  • Aluminum powder
  • Ammonia
  • Ammonium nitrate
  • Butane
  • Chlorine
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Anhydrous sulfur dioxide
    For additional information, visit the DHS website:   
    To assist facilities in meeting the DHS requirement, FET is hosting the Emergency Planning and Anti-Terrorism Requirements for Facilities seminar on Thursday, December 6, 2007 in Brookfield, WI.  Visit the FET website at
     to register today.

Analytical Crack Heads on $50 a ton of CO2

Reducing US Greenhouse Gas Emissions: How Much at What Cost?
The United States could reduce projected 2030 emissions of greenhouse gases significantly at a cost of less than $50 per ton of CO2...

Haase Comments:

This report is free for a reason, it is not worth the paper it was printed on…
Citing a report that reflects a "cost" associated with reduction is a "oxymoron", but swaying public perception and information in a paper called a "Research Report", is both political and financial propaganda.
But, I guess this has become common place in the utilization of "global warming" tactics based on "fear and greed marketing 101" to make the few rich for the many to suffer.
Green energy technology is currently the most lucrative financial investment for any energy companys (and growing faster than the .com boon)… or is math not a "The Conference Board 's" strong point . It must not be to anyone who would call dumping $100 Trillion dollars "manageable costs … not requiring big changes in consumer lifestyles,"
Billions of Eco-Energy dollars are being invested by the strongest U.S. companies including BP, GE and even Google (FOR PROFIT).
According to the DOE (and a few other's good at math) a $100 Trillion dollar investment in the U.S. geothermal, hydro or nuke programs would get America off middle east oil and return billions of annual dollars into our nations economy for decades to come.
However, like all things American, I believe investors and our nations great innovators will build better private energy programs without the need for financially "bloated" government overrun utilities.
Regardless, just throwing trillions CO2 reduction scams will do nothing to stop the Indonesian and Asian impact growing three to four fold annually of both production of green house gases and energy consumption.
Just as America handed these nations the technology, jobs, finical markets and resources to create their new eco and energy problems…. We also need to show them how to properly mitigate and resolve these problems.
In 2006 Total US Greenhouse Gas Emissions were down 1.5% From 2005… and the ONLY way to pull Asia and Indonesia out of eco and energy destruction is to the lead "the way".
The American way, "Do more good than harm".
Seriously, the only way for the authors of this report to get anything constructive out of it is to "put it in their crack pipe and smoke it".
Have a good weekend,

Ocean fertilization won't work - final blow to controversial geoengineering option -

Scientists have revealed an important discovery that raises serious doubts concerning the viability of plans to fertilize the ocean to solve global warming, a projected $100 billion 'geoengineering' venture that has attracted a lot of criticism from environmentalists, climate scientists, civil society and oceanographers who think the scheme may destroy marine environments. The concept was recently deemed 'not scientifically justified' by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) (earlier post). The bioenergy community for its part is opposed to the idea, because it distracts attention from a much safer solution to global warming, namely the production of negative emissions from bioenergy. But now scientists deal the final blow to the controversial concept, saying it simply won't work.

Ocean fertilization, the process of adding iron or other nutrients to the ocean to cause large algal blooms, has been proposed as a possible 'geoengineering' solution to global warming because the growing algae absorb carbon dioxide as they grow. But research performed at Stanford University, the Carnegie Institution of Washington and Oregon State University, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, now concludes that ocean fertilization is not an effective method of reducing CO2 in the atmosphere because of the seasonal dynamics of the way in which algae sink to the bottom of the ocean.

This discovery is very surprising. If, during natural plankton blooms, less carbon actually sinks to deep water than during the rest of the year, then it suggests that the Biological Pump leaks. More material is recycled in shallow water and less sinks to depth, which makes sense if you consider how this ecosystem has evolved in a way to minimize loss. Ocean fertilization schemes, which resemble an artificial summer, may not remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as has been suggested because they ignore the natural processes revealed by this research. - Dr. Michael Lutz, lead author, University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science the sale of offsets or credits from ocean fertilization on the unregulated voluntary markets is basically nothing short of fraudulent.

Read more from Biopact team

Latest Toy Hazard: Asbestos

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, a group created by asbestos victims and their families, bought products from national retailers and had them tested at independent labs. One of the most disturbing findings was high levels of asbestos in powder from a toy CSI fingerprint kit. The powder is intended to be sprinkled on surfaces and brushed with a soft-bristle brush – creating conditions ripe for inhalation.

Andrew Schneider reports on the group's findings in the Seattle P-I, and notes that CBS, which licenses the kit, has asked its licensees to have the kits tested immediately and to remove the toy from the market if it's found to be unsafe.

Why is a small organization – which spent more than $165,000 getting products tested at government-certified labs – taking on the job of policing consumer products? Schneider explains:


Nov 29, 2007

"Water Implications of Biofuel Production in the United States".

Excellent discussion of the article I cited that personifies the correlation between current water draw downs and biofuel production.

...addressing the supply side of oil and gas depletion, much hope has been put into the scaling of 'biofuels', by applying new (and old) technologies to annual crops to create ethanol or biodiesel, thus providing chemically viable alternatives to the transportation liquids derived from crude oil. Much of the biofuels debate thus far has focused on their lower energy balance, vis-a-vis crude oil. While this is important, analysis of the impacts on non-energy inputs and impacts should a massive scaling of biofuels occur, urgently needs to be discussed. The National Academy of Sciences recently published a report titled "Water Implications of Biofuel Production in the United States". The paper outlines impacts and limitations on both water availability and water quality that would follow the pursuit of a national strategy to replace liquid fossil fuels with those made from biomass.

Read more VIA-

Also See my previous posts on issue filed under Waterwars

Andropause Called Workplace Productivity Killer

Quote of the day: (from

"Andropause is like death by hormones in the workplace. It kills productivity, it kills relationships, and it kills enthusiasm."

That usually cheerful guy in accounting has suddenly become impatient and moody. Co-workers grumble about the change but may not realize what's behind it: He is going through andropause - the male version of menopause.

Hitting men between the ages of 40 and 55, when their testosterone levels begin to decline, andropause can cause many of the symptoms menopausal women complain about: mood swings, extreme fatigue, temporary bouts of forgetfulness and yes, hot flashes.

"Andropause is like death by hormones in the workplace," says Dr. Lawrence Komer, a physician and medical director of Masters Men's Clinic in Burlington, Ont. "It kills productivity, it kills relationships, and it kills enthusiasm."

Employers can help men cope with andropause at work by educating everyone in the office about it, says Dr. Michael Greenspan, urologist and assistant clinical professor at Ontario's McMaster University. Knowing about it also can help managers and co-workers understand that a middle-aged male employee who has suddenly become irritable and unproductive may need medical help.

Go to the full story in the Toronto Globe & Mail (via

"What would Jesus buy"? God for sale from a Chinese Sweatshop

Shouldn't the Association for Christian Retail be asking themselves, "What would Jesus buy"?

The embarrassing fervor of selling has turned some Christian groups into a 'Den of Thieves', but even I didn't think it would include sweatshops.

Ed Brayton of "Dispatches from the Culture Wars" just broke a story on the use of child labor in Chinese sweatshops to produce items sold in Christian stores. Conditions in the shop mentioned don't even come close to meeting minimum standards as required by Chinese law, never mind meeting basic human rights.

From the first part of what seems to be a multiple part story:

The crosses are marketed in the United States by the Association for Christian Retail (ACR, founded as the Christian Booksellers Association). ACR supplies nearly all of the nation's Christian specialty stores with a wide range of items, including Bibles, Christian books, apparel, music, videos, gifts and greeting cards.

Perhaps its largest client is Family Christian Stores, a Grand Rapids-based company that is the biggest Christian retailer in the nation with more than 300 stores. ACR did $4.63 billion in business in 2006, at least a portion of it from the crosses made by workers at the Junxingye Factory in Dongguan, China.

So although I'm somewhat forgiving of sweatshops, I find this story upsetting. Conditions in the Junxingye Factory in Dongguan, China don't even meet minimum standards by Chinese law!

From the article: "Workers are paid just 26½ cents an hour, which is half of China's legal minimum wage (already set at a below-subsistence level) of 55 cents an hour. After fees deducted for room and board, the workers take-home wage can drop to just nine cents an hour."

I'm realistic in that I know how difficult it is for a consumer to determine where and how products are made. I would attach little or no blame to the owners of these crosses. However, as an engineer, I am well aware of the amount of research I do to determine how a product is made, and I'm also aware of the research done by our Procurement department to insure that products we purchase don't violate human rights. We fly our people to other countries in order to see their factories first hand.

And we are just some electronics company, ya know? Dedicated to our customers, and not particularly holy.

I would expect a company in the business of selling Christian goods would be much more careful than the company that I work for...
Read more from Calladus on Culture

Haase Comments: Holiday Consumption - Purchase from ethical companys and manufactures, the savings you reap may be the price of your soul.

Southeast Asia Paying High Environmental Cost For Palm Oil

"Green Team" -"Don't F*&^k with us were GREEN"!

Are "Green" activists ever a good idea?
While this is a tragic display of using "green" for a personal excuse to do anything...

I think I liked Will better as an elf.

Great Lakes oil town facing a toxic legacy head-on.

In the summer of 2004, Canadian health researchers made a startling discovery in the"the beloved community": sarnia,  Chippewa birth records for the city of Sarnia, an hour north of Detroit—for the past decade, female babies had been outnumbering male babies at a rate of 2:1. Further investigation revealed large numbers of miscarriages, a cluster of reproductive cancers in young women, and widespread neurological problems among the band's children.    (From By David Dempsey the Great Lakes Blogger"

Nov 28, 2007

Words to Gore and Bush for the global warming meeting...

"Let no man pull you low enough to hate him."
Listen, learn, love...   LMartin Luther King Jr.

Growth - Less is more, DOE on the right track...

DOE Report: Efficiency Could Cut Growth in U.S. Energy Use in Half

An aggressive pursuit of energy efficiency in the United States over the next 18 years could cut the nation's growth in energy use by 50% or more, according to a new report. The report, "Vision for 2025: Developing a Framework for Change," was prepared by the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency Leadership Group, which comprises more than 60 leading organizations, with DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acting as facilitators. The report sets a goal of achieving all cost-effective energy efficiency improvements throughout the United States by 2025. If that goal is achieved, the nation will spend $100 billion less for energy in 2025 than it would otherwise and will avoid emitting 500 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. The nation will also achieve $500 billion in net savings from its energy efficiency investments.

To achieve that goal, the report calls for placing a high priority on cost-effective energy efficiency improvements, creating energy efficiency incentives for utilities, and implementing the latest technologies. The report recommends establishing policies, incentives, delivery mechanisms, metrics, and utility billing systems that not only encourage energy efficiency but also measure its effectiveness and reward utilities for successful energy efficiency programs. The report also emphasizes the sharing of information, both regionally and nationally, and the use advanced communication technologies to keep utilities in touch with their customers and aware of how their customers are using energy. See the EPA press release (PDF 16 KB) and the full report (PDF 1.3 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

The National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency was developed last year by the leadership group, which includes 30 electric and gas utilities, 17 state agencies, and 12 other organizations, with DOE and EPA as facilitators. An additional 24 organizations are observing the work of the leadership group. Since its launch in late July 2006, 120 organizations have made commitments to advance energy efficiency under the National Action Plan. An EPA document released in conjunction with the new report tallies all those commitments and the achievements to date. The participating organizations include government agencies and utility commissions in 26 states: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. A number of utilities, corporations, and regional and national organizations are also participating. See the EPA Web site and list of commitments and achievements (PDF 646 KB).

Quote of week: "confidence is the ignorance of those who claim to know the answer"

"I am not ashamed of this ignorance of mine. On the contrary, I am ashamed of the confidence of those who claim to know the answer."

Freedom, not climate, is at risk ....

We are basing our current international law, consumer purchases and potentially our next leader of the free world on the "politics of global warming"

The President of the Czech Republic "climate change just propaganda?"
Due to advances in technology, increases in disposable wealth, the rationality of institutions and the ability of countries to organize themselves, the adaptability of human society has been radically increased. It will continue to increase and will solve any potential consequences of mild climate changes.

I agree with Professor Richard Lindzen from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who said: "future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century's developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age"

Regardless of your views on the "politics of global warming" this article is the viewpoint of many world leaders...

Take the Global Warming Test

Excellent little quiz available here, courtesy of

"tremendous." Job of inaction to Great Lakes protection laws

CBS recently produced a video on the quagga mussel problem in the Great Lakes, and the introduction of invasive species in the ballast water of ocean going ships. It's always good to see main stream media taking notice of Great Lakes ecological issues, even if they tend to be pretty superficial in their coverage.

In the video John Jamian, the President of the Seaway Great Lakes Trade Association, says ""I think the shipping industry has done a tremendous job, given the fact that they were not set up for this kind of business, in terms of solving these problems."

Hmm. I guess I'd be forced to agree if you could convince me that decades of inaction followed by active resistance to any laws forcing them to deal with the problem is "tremendous." And perhaps, while you're at it, you could explain exactly why they are not "set up" to solve "these problems." I guess being responsible corporate citizens just isn't in the business plan. Comment and link by By Steve Huyser-Honig

Nov 27, 2007

"Are Your Products Safe? You Can't Tell"

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Labels often fail to list compounds that can disrupt biological development
Chemical Fallout

Click to enlarge

Warning: Chemicals in the packaging, surfaces or contents of many products may cause long-term health effects, including cancers of the breast, brain and testicles; lowered sperm counts, early puberty and other reproductive system defects; diabetes; attention deficit disorder, asthma and autism. "U.S. regulators promised a decade ago to screen more than 15,000 chemicals for effects on the endocrine system. Officials identified the program as a top priority. Browner appointed the first panel of scientists to build a framework for how to screen the chemicals. She left the agency after the presidential election in 2000.

More than $80 million later, the government program has yet to screen its first chemical. So far, not one has been screened. The government's proposed tests lack new measures that would spot dangerous chemicals older screens could miss. Hundreds of products have been banned in countries around the world but are available here without warning." Read more from Susanne Rust, Meg Kissinger, and Cary Spivak

Key Findings A Journal Sentinel investigation found:
U.S. regulators promised a decade ago to screen more than 15,000 chemicals for effects on the endocrine system. So far, not one has been screened.
The government's proposed tests lack new measures that would spot dangerous chemicals older screens could miss.
Hundreds of products have been banned in countries around the world but are available here without warning.

MI- "Most sites will never be fully cleaned up," only focus is on mitigating risk.

... 20 years into cleanup work funded by $760 million in bond funds, these lurking threats remain and continue to multiply?

Why are poisons still in soil and water years after their discovery? Where did the cleanup money go?

Voters may remember them as the Environmental Protection and Clean Michigan Initiative bonds. But the protection and cleanup projects undertaken with that tax money voters approved in 1988 and 1998 were never intended to completely eliminate the sources of poisonous chemicals or gases, state officials say.
The reality is, many sites are too big, too complicated and too costly to even consider a complete cleanup, said David O'Donnell, supervisor of the DEQ's Kalamazoo district cleanup program.

Nov 26, 2007

How China is eating the world

People grumble about the price of bread and the gasoline, but they should also be aware that nations emerging from poverty - China, India, Brazil - are exacting a heavy price on those left behind.
  • The world is seeing some dairy prices up 200%, the cost of wheat doubling and pork up 50 percent.
  • In the past decade alone, meat consumption in China has been rising at an average of 2kg per capita a year. Over the past few decades, consumption of meat in developing countries has grown at a rate of 5 percent to 6 percent a year; with consumption of dairy products at 4 percent.
  • Meat consumption is growing 10 times faster in newly industrialised countries than in, say, bacon-loving Britain.
  • Poultry is the fastest growing sector worldwide: it represented 13 percent of meat production in the 1960s, compared with 28 percent now.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), about half of the world's economic growth this year will be accounted for by Brazil, Russia, India and China.

India, staggeringly, is contributing more growth to the world economy than the United States, but China is by far the most powerful engine of growth - more so than the US, the eurozone and Japan combined.

So, "China saves the world" - or at least helps to maintain global economic growth around the 5 percent mark. Were it not for China and these other emerging economies, the world might well be staring a recession in the face.

Yet this phenomenon is not an unalloyed economic good. As recent news about Rio Tinto and BHP demonstrates, the commodities price boom has led to huge valuations for companies in this field; great for their shareholders, but another signal that the insatiable Chinese demand for oil, copper, zinc, nickel and all the other raw materials of industrialisation is pushing the prices of those commodities to ever-higher peaks.

The International Energy Agency (ING) has warned that Chinese and Indian crude oil imports will almost quadruple by 2030, creating a supply "crunch" as soon as 2015.

Research from ING suggests that marginal Chinese demand for oil, as a percentage of the growth in total consumption, rose to around 72 percent in 2006, from 10 percent in the 1980s. This marginal demand could grow to close to 100 percent of total consumption growth in 2007.

Such an appetite brings with it its own dangers, both to China and the rest of the world. As China pushes the price of oil higher, for example, the UK is threatened with "slowflation" - where a slowing economy co-exists with higher prices of fuel - and food.

In January, President George Bush pledged a biofuel target of 20 percent of US fuel consumption within 10 years. This means more of America's corn harvest being put into the tanks of cars rather than the bellies of Mexicans, with upward effects on the price of grain.

"The 35-billion gallons of ethanol required to meet the 20 percent target will account for 40 percent of the US corn crop by 2017," Garthwaite says.

Worldwide, "the combined impact of these targets commits 96-million hectares or 12 percent of global arable and permanent cropland to biofuel production".


cal-osha Quote of the day:

"How many more deaths, anguish and sorry must be visited upon innocent mineworkers, their families and the communities in which they live before we can say enough is enough?"

Senzeni Zokwana, president of South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers in unveiling plans for a first-ever strike of gold and platinum mines over safety issues.

Go to home page at

Sex hormone in a can?

FOX investigates " Bisphenol A" after reading my blog?
You may not know it, but every time you open a can of soup, vegetables, even beer and soda you may actually be swallowing a sex hormone. It's been going on for decades and it's even approved by the federal government.  Watch Fox Story Here

Haase Comment- "If the general public had any idea of the consequences of using hazardous chemical to make consumables, they would all make smarter purchases that save our future"
Also see more reports on plastic risks here:
Online resources on possible risks and alternatives to plastics for children:
Environment California report:

Hydrogen and "Fuel cell cars won't save the world" VW, GM

Filed under "I told you so"

Looks like the beginning of a trend toward realism: By Joe on Solutions

One of the most senior forward-thinkers at Europe's bigger car-maker … Volkswagen's head of research Dr Jurgen Leohold told Autocar that he thinks fuel cell cars like VW's own HyMotion Touran research car are not the future of alternative power, and are only really being developed as a sop to ever-tightening emissions laws in places such as California.

Describing them as a "marketing exercise," he said their inherent problem lies with producing
the hydrogen fuel to power them, and in establishing an infrastructure of hydrogen filling stations. "Because hydrogen has to be produced using existing power, CO2 emissions are still an issue," he said.


Also see: Dream of hydrogen car goes down in flames

Ballard -- the Canadian fuel-cell company that once hoped to be the "Intel Inside of the hydrogen car revolution -- has sold off its automotive fuel-cell business to Daimler and Ford.

The story has a keen interpretation of the sale's meaning from Research Capital analyst Jon Hykawy:

[Ballard] would never contemplate such as move if it thought it had any chance of making good on the millions it has poured into that research -- and the vast financing it has been able to raise with promises of the hydrogen highway, a route to the future that has never materialized, but seduced investors with visions of cars that spewed only water from their tailpipes.

"If you knew, talking to your automotive partners, that they had a commercialization timeline that was three to five years out, I suspect you would be holding tight," said Mr. Hykawy.

Hykaway, like most independent observers of the automobile industry, is far more realistic about hydrogen than most advocates:

In my view, the hydrogen car was never alive. The problem was never could you build a fuel cell that would consume hydrogen, produce electricity, and fit in a car. The problem was always, can you make hydrogen fuel at a price point that makes any sense to anybody. And the answer to that to date has been no.

Ballard’s talks with potential buyers is admission that dream of hydrogen fuel car is dead: analyst The story has a keen interpretation of the sale’s meaning from Research Capital analyst Jon Hykawy:(more…)

-- but if I've said it once ..

Recent great lakes bird deaths

The likely cause:
How birds become exposed to botulism, Cooley explained, begins with a bacteria called clostridium botulism. This bacteria thrives in water with low oxygen levels producing a toxin that can get into sediments. Invasive species like quagga and zebra mussels filter the sediments and pick up the bacteria which they pass onto other aquatic life like round gobies which eat the mussels. From there, birds eat the fish.

death toll high for Great Lakes birds

As a conservative estimate of the total shoreline distance between these endpoints is roughly 350 miles, potentially 7500 birds have potentially perished within this region alone...

The top five species that we have documented [deaths of] are Common Loon (508), Long-tailed duck (505), White-winged scoter (207)...

The most notable Common Loon among our discoveries was a banded adult from Seney NWR who had been monitored for 14 years and during this time produced 17 chicks, including one this season. His discovery stands as the first evidence that a portion of the very high Common Loon numbers represents birds breeding in Michigan, where the species remains a threatened species...

Carcasses from a wide variety of bird species collected along the lake have tested positive for botulism E at the Michigan DNR's Wildlife Disease Lab. This current outbreak on Lake Michigan follows a trend of increasing botulism-related mortality on the Great Lakes; only Lake Superior has thus far remained exempt from the problem.

More about botulism E here:

Carcasses from a wide variety of bird species collected along the lake have tested positive for botulism E - at the Michigan DNR’s Wildlife Disease Lab.,1607,7-186-25805-75891--,00.html

Another ballast water gift. Will Congress ever slam the door on the sickness introduced by oceangoing vessels whose owners can (and must) shoulder the cost of stopping invasive species?

Comment and link from David Dempsey The Great Lakes Blogger

Nov 21, 2007

Research Company Tells Printer Vendors To Greenwash Image

Apparently without realizing or caring that greenwashing is a negative term, Lyra Research, which tracks the digital imaging industry, sent out an email newsletter yesterday with the headline: "Printer Vendors Need to Greenwash Their Image," CNET reports. The newsletter described how companies aiming to appeal to green consumers are painting a green face, without necessarily cleaning By Environmental Leader

GreenBust - you can't even find a single reference to being green on today

NBC's Vast Green Wasteland or Lipstick on a Pig

las-vegas-2.jpgWhat a total dud NBC's Green Week turned out to be. I thought that

  1. the shows would find clever ways to promote green themes
  2. this would launch NBC on becoming greener.

Not! Indeed, the only good news is that the shows bombed across the board. Looks like viewers aren't suckered by greenwashing.

As for #2, you can't even find a single reference to being green on today (you have to click on the tiny "corporate info" item at the bottom, and then look for the "Green is Universal" link under Headlines.). But, amazingly, what you will see on the NBC homepage is multiple ads for the Nissan Rogue, a cross-over SUV that gets 23 or 24 mpg! I guess green isn't really that universal. [And, coincidentally, the TV writers are striking in part because greedy producers won't share this kind of online ad revenue with them.]

The shows were very, very lame from a green perspective. The funniest was 30 Rock (click on David Schwimmer picture/Greenzo episode), but it was a brutal satire on corporate greenwashing. The only person who is genuinely green is Schwimmer, who is a stereotypically obnoxious about the environment. Al Gore has a funny cameo, but he is mainly spoofing himself.

Scrubs is pretty funny, but the janitor's effort to green the hospital fails for lack of interest. Thanks NBC! Grist was similarly disappointed with the Thursday night line-up.
Deal or No Deal had the models saying things like "Recycling is Cool, America" Recycling? Seriously? Uhh, that is like, so 1980s retro, please! Even dumber, Kermit the Frog (or what sounded like a lame imitation of him) was on the show to green it up, although he didn't actually say any environmental things that I recall. But he was green-colored!

What really convinced me this was not just a meaningless but actually a counterproductive exercise was that I happened to catch Las Vegas. NBC should be embarrassed for calling this a "green" episode (you can watch the episode, titled, "It's Not Easy Being Green" — gosh, how original — here):




CASPIAN - A new paper titled "Microchip-Induced Tumors in Laboratory Rodents and Dogs: A Review of the Literature 1990-2006" has been released by CASPIAN. The full, 48-page paper provides a review of the academic literature showing a causal link between implanted radio-frequency microchip transponders and cancer in laboratory rodents and dogs. In addition, a brief, four-page synopsis of the full report is being made available.

In six of the articles, between 0.8% and 10.2% of laboratory mice and rats developed malignant tumors around or adjacent to the microchips, and several researchers suggested the actual tumor rate may have been higher. Two additional articles reported microchip-related cancer in dogs.

In almost all cases, the malignant tumors, typically sarcomas, arose at the site of the implants and grew to surround and fully encase the devices. In several cases the tumors also metastasized or spread to other parts of the animals.

Dr. Robert Benezra, head of the Cancer Biology Genetics Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, was quoted as saying, "There's no way in the world, having read this information, that I would have one of those chips implanted in my skin, or in one of my family members."

Company Feeds Natural Gas Pipeline with Biogas from Manure

From  EERE :

Environmental Power Corporation announced early this month that it has completed a facility to convert manure and other agricultural waste into a methane-rich biogas that will be sold as natural gas. The Huckabay Ridge facility in Stephenville, Texas, will employ anaerobic digesters to convert manure into biogas. Bacteria in the oxygen-free digester vessels feed on the wastes, producing a gas consisting mostly of methane and carbon dioxide. Environmental Power then conditions the biogas to natural gas standards and distributes it via a commercial natural gas pipeline. The company is currently selling the natural gas to the Lower Colorado River Authority, and in October 2008, it will begin selling natural gas to Pacific Gas and Electric Company under a new 10-year contract. The Huckabay Ridge facility has the capacity to produce 635 billion Btu of natural gas per year, enough to provide all the energy needs for more than 6,000 average U.S. homes. See the Environmental Power press release.

Landfills are another major source of methane, and as North America's leading provider of waste services, Waste Management has a corner on the landfill gas market. The company currently captures and produces energy from enough landfill gas to meet the energy needs of a million homes per year, and in an environmental initiative announced in October, the company committed to doubling its energy production by 2020. But for the sheer elegance of its approach, it's hard to beat the Prometheus Energy Company, which creates liquefied natural gas (LNG) from landfill gas and delivers it to vehicle fleets in Southern California. The elegance comes in with the company's purchase of an LNG-fueled Kenworth tractor, which is now being used to deliver the LNG. So the company is burning its own landfill gas to deliver landfill gas to other users. The first 10,000-gallon shipment was delivered to the Orange County Transit Authority, which operates a fleet of 232 LNG-fueled buses. See the Waste Management press release (PDF 48 KB) and the Prometheus Energy press release (PDF 63 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

Nov 20, 2007

"Coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, is the crack cocaine of the developing world." -- Alan Zarembo, L.A. Times, 18 Nov. 2007


China is serious and pulling Polluter Finances

Reuters: Twelve polluting enterprises have had crucial bank loans recalled, suspended or rejected as China's new "green-credit policy" kicks into action, Friday's China Youth Daily said. Decades of heavy industrialisation have made water from some of China's lakes and rivers so polluted it is no longer usable, with untreated waste from factories and other enterprises pumped directly into water sources. The report did not name the companies but outlined several cases of which ..

VIA & Reuters News

"commodity" -- as in, Michigan's Great Lakes water is up for sale.

Grand Rapids Press and water as a commodity - Yesterday's Grand Rapids (MI) Press editorial distrusting the motives of a national water commission proposal is well-taken. A national water conservation commission makes more sense, not a panel that might just rework America's natural plumbing and take a gulp out of the Great Lakes. But just two weeks ago, the same Grand Rapids newspaper headlined an article about the commercial sale of Great Lakes Basin water from Evart, Michigan, with the word "commodity" -- as in, Michigan's Great Lakes water is up for sale. There's an obvious inconsistency in these attitudes (Full story links from David Dempsey here).

Nov 19, 2007

In America, "Safety" should not be a consumer "choice". it should be the industry standard.

Read it here: "The Six Sins of Greenwashing"

A study released today by Terrachoice Environmental Marketing randomly surveyed 1,018 common consumer products ranging from toothpaste to caulking to shampoo to printers, and found that 99% were guilty of some form of “greenwashing.” They have separated greenwashing into six categories, listed below. TerraChoice President Scott McDougall says “The products we surveyed made a total of 1,753 claims, and 99% per cent committed at least one of the Six Sins of Greenwashing. During a recent audit of "bigbox" stores.

I don't get out a lot to shop… however, I have had dozens of examples sent to me and viewed 100's of examples of "false and misleading" green claims on consumable products. Simply watching "treehugger" or GRIST stories may find 1000's.

TerraChoice's own study exemplifies one problem greater than any other.

There are NO, clear, relevant or constant standards that focus on protecting both the consumer and environment.

NO NEW standards need to be made. If these consumer products simply fell under FDA, OSHA, EPA, DOT and WHMIS standards… no consumer would be in the dark.

The problem is, then there would be no need for "green marketing" companies and "green" product branding as it WOULD and SHOULD be the law to protect consumers.

Sorry, with the millions of Americans homes tainted with toxic toy's, cleaners, food and cosmetics… it is about time we made this a solid law.

I do not need a "survey" to tell me 80%* of consumers would buy products that were "actually" safer for them and the environment.

These people were told that the toys they buy their children were "safe" and regulated by "standards".

I don't believe any "fuzzy & feel good" label Language can satisfy safety aspects of a product.

JUST start enforcing what is already know to be hazardous from these products.

And if "terrachoice's" standard protects better than all existing standards, I am sure that federal regulators would be happy to adopt it as the "industry standard" as they did with the paint industry.

Find Consumer sources for safer products and labels:

Green-wash (green'wash', -wôsh') - verb: the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.

17 million barrels of oil were used to manufacture, fill, and transport bottled water.

Did you know about bottled water?

  • Seventy-four percent of Americans drink bottled water, and one in five drinks only bottled water.
  • Worldwide, consumers spent $100 billion on bottled water in 2005.
  • Each year more than 4 billion pounds of PET plastic bottles end up in landfills or as roadside litter
  • Last year in the US, 17 million barrels of oil were used to manufacture, fill, and transport bottled water. That's enough to fuel 1 million cars for 1 year (in the US). This is a significant source of global warming pollution – furthermore, it's becoming a have and have not issue.

    As water resources shift with global climate change, water is going to become an even more precious resource than it is currently. Right now, we have more than 1.1 billion people who lack access to enough clean, safe water to meet their daily needs.

    The Think Outside the Bottle campaign is asking people to pledge to opt for tap water over bottled, and to support the efforts of local officials who are working for stronger public water systems. We are asking people to sign because:
  • water is a human right and not a commodity to be bought and sold for profit;
  • bottled water corporations are changing the very way we think about water and undermining people's confidence in public water systems;
  • up to 40% of bottled water in the US and Canada is sourced from municipal tap water;
  • some bottlers have run over communities' concerns and the environment when they extract water and build bottling plants to get local spring and ground water;
  • bottled water travels many miles from the source, results in the burning of massive amounts of fossil fuels, and contributes to the billions of plastic bottles ending up in our landfills;
  • worldwide there is a need for investments in public water systems to ensure equal access to water, a key ingredient for prosperity and health for all people; and
    solutions to ensuring water as a fundamental human right require people acting together and standing up for public water systems.

    To sign the pledge to stick with tap water and show corporations and public officials that you value it, click here.

    Rising allergies trend mystifying - How is that?

    With how we have changed our children's diets, immune systems by chemical influence in the last two decades how are experts possibly "mystified"?
    Most "experts" I know who have practiced in toxicology, nutrition and ecology ARE NOT baffled or  a all "mystified" by increases in certain cancer or allergies.
    In fact, the correlations in diet and environmental exposure are as alarming as they are preventable.   
    From Article:
    "Rising allergies trend mystifying"
    An explosion in numbers of Australian children with serious food allergies has bewildered experts and parents,
    Similar trends have been observed in the UK and US, but experts are at a loss to explain what is causing it.
    WHEN all Natalie Fine could see of her hospitalized six-month-old baby, Lucas, was a small pair of eyes peering out from head-to-toe bandaging, she couldn't help wondering what she had done wrong.
    She certainly didn't imagine soy-based formula -- recommended by her pediatrician after problems with a dairy-based formula -- could be the cause of his severe eczema, infected and requiring IV antibiotics.

    "When I was told he had a soy allergy I felt terrible -- as if I had been poisoning him with the formula," says Fine. Lucas was also found to have a severe allergy to egg white, and his mother was warned that if he came in contact with egg he could have an anaphylactic reaction -- the most severe manifestation of allergy which can cause swelling of the throat, difficulty breathing, a fall in blood pressure and, in some cases, death.
    Given the long list of foods that contain either egg white or soy, Fine was hesitant to give her son any food at first. "He lived on rice cereal and banana for quite a while," she says. Fine has since become more adventurous, but has become adept at reading the small print on food packaging, scanning for any mention of egg and soy.
    Fine's family is just one of many experiencing first-hand the effects of the dramatic rise in the numbers of children developing food allergies.
    But the biggest rise in food allergies is being seen not in adults but in children under five, as shown by data published in the October issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (2007;120:878-84). The study found a 5 1/2-fold increase in the rate of hospital admissions between 1994 and 2005 for food-related anaphylaxis in the under-fives -- a much greater rise than in any other age group. Shortages of allergy specialists also mean it can take months for parents to get an appointment.
    "There is some evidence that children who grew up on farms have lower rates of allergy -- particularly if they were exposed to farm animals and drank unpasteurised cow's milk," Tang says. "And we know kids with allergy problems have lower numbers of good bacteria like bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, and higher numbers of pathogenic bacteria, those that can cause disease, in their gut flora than healthy children."
    At birth, babies' gastrointestinal systems are sterile, but bacteria soon make themselves at home. "For children with allergy problems the imbalance in good versus harmful bacteria occurs within the first weeks or months of life," says Tang.

    Studies where probiotics (good bacteria) have been taken by mothers in the last weeks of pregnancy, and then by their babies in the first months of life, have shown a reduction in allergy symptoms for up to eight years of age. Tang is currently conducting a study to see whether giving a probiotic to the mother in the last four weeks of pregnancy is sufficient to gain the benefit.

    China "blacklists" 10 substandard cosmetic products.

    China has "blacklisted" 10 domestically made cosmetics, saying they contained chemicals that could cause the skin to atrophy, become discolored and be susceptible to disease, state media reported on Sunday.

    After a series of disclosures involving unsafe or substandard China-made products ranging from toys to pet food to tooth paste, Beijing has publicized efforts to improve quality and safety of products for export as well as for products sold domestically.

    Great Lakes loom as issue in '08 race for White House

    Toledo Blade: Will the Great Lakes become a key issue of the 2008 presidential election? Think about it. No fewer than four Great Lakes states - Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, and Wisconsin - are viewed as swing states. That doesn't even include New York and Illinois, the region's two most populous. The outgoing Bush Administration has disappointed members of both parties by failing to come through for the lakes after pushing for the most comprehensive inventory in the region's history, ...


    Best quote of weekend...

    -David Dempsey (Great Lakes Blogger)

    Nov 16, 2007

    Sooo false "the most fuel efficient SUV on Earth."

    What are they? - The most damaging vehicles on the planet...
    Ad's claim the 2008 Ford Escape hybrid was "the most fuel efficient SUV on Earth." Ford has said this for years and, for years, and that two other SUVs are just as fuel efficient; the Mazda Tribute hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid. As Hybrid Chevy Tahoe wins "Green Car of the Year" award
    There is so much wrong with this mentality... declaring a truck or more vehicles will help.
    Can hybrids make a difference in the near future? Short answer... NO
    Hybrids are a very long way from the 25% take-up assumed in this quick calculation but perhaps the most sobering statistic is that over the last fourteen years, traffic, as measured in vehicle-miles traveled, has been increasing at a rate of 1.2%. Just as increasing car weight squandered the last decade's engine efficiency improvements, increasing traffic is likely to squander any real efficiency improvements that hybrid technology can deliver.
    So, can hybrid technology really deliver increased fleet efficiency where the natural evolution of traditional cars has failed to deliver?
    First of all, it's important to remember the hybrid is not a new species so much as an evolutionary step. It looks the same, drives the same and uses the same fuel as a traditional car. The addition of batteries and an electric motor simply allows the internal combustion engine to be a little smaller and to be used more efficiently.
    As a rule of thumb, today's hybrid technology can increase the efficiency of a petrol car by around 50%. Coincidentally, this is approximately the same as the difference in efficiency between equivalent petrol and diesel cars. So, whatever today's petrol-hybrid technology could do for the fleet's CO2 emissions, the same could be achieved by increasing the number of diesels on the road.
    Only the diesel-hybrid, which has yet to be released, looks likely to raise the bar significantly.
    While hybrids may be able to reduce the rate of increasing emissions, it seems the only way to achieve significant reductions is to drive less.
    Find out more at:


    Congress Acts To Take Rocket Fuel Out Of Drinking Water

    "It looks like there's 100 percent exposure to the U.S. population to this rocket fuel contamination,"
    A Congressional subcommittee has taken a first step to keep perchlorate -- a main ingredient in rocket fuel --
    According to one government study, the chemical has seeped into our environment from old munitions plants and missile bases and into every citizen.
    The only Wisconsin site listed for possible perchlorate contamination is the old Badger Ammunition plant north of Madison, but the concern is that it's in the groundwater in states like Texas and California, where a lot of our food comes from.
    "It looks like there's 100 percent exposure to the U.S. population to this rocket fuel contamination," said Richard Wiles, who heads a Washington, D.C., advocacy program called the Environmental Working Group.
    "We don't think people should panic, but you do have to take this one seriously," Wiles said.

    Deck the halls with ... poison?

    Holiday items' lead warnings are getting more notice.
    The culprits are plastic coatings used in everything from wire insulation to Christmas wreaths (lead has been used for decades as a PVC stabilizer to extend life)
    label advises to wash hands every time handled... because the product contains lead that causes birth defects and cancer.
    "It didn't say 'may' or 'could.' It said 'does' and 'will,' " recalled the 39-year-old mother of two who immediately imagined her 3-year-son sticking his hand in his mouth after touching the cord. "Why are they still selling this if it contains lead?" As far as Elm's wreath, meets government standards."We believe there is no health hazard, but we label in conformance with California law because of the efficiencies of uniformity in printing packaging nationwide,"
    California voters approved Proposition 65 in 1986. It requires a warning on any product with enough lead or toxic ingredients to cause cancer or birth defects. The law, however, is mostly enforced by private attorneys who test the products, then sue for the lack of a label. Critics complain the tactics spawned an industry of bounty-hunting lawyers. Public-interest groups laud the law as a form of advocacy that replaces lax government agencies without costing the taxpayers. Companies complain about being held to stricter standards than federal law.
    Most big retailers have been on the hit list with Prop 65 allegations on everything from toys to hair drier cords.
    The California threshold for a warning label is 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood. A swipe of the cord left 0.5 micrograms.
    "An adult will wash their hands, but a child sees decorations as so mystical they can't keep their hands off," he said. "Then they put their fingers in their mouth."

    Wal-Mart Unveils Report on Green Efforts

    Wal-Mart Sustainability Update

    On November 15, 2007, Wal-Mart released a comprehensive report of its sustainability efforts, outlining initiatives to improve the environment, health care, diversity, sourcing and highlighting the work of its foundation. The report discusses Wal-Mart's sustainability initiatives and defines the challenges, as well as goals, for moving forward.

    In an October 2005 speech titled "Twenty-First Century Leadership," Wal-Mart committed to three large sustainability goals: to be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy, to create zero waste, and to sell products that sustain our resources and the environment. The report examines the progress Wal-Mart has made toward those commitments and details how the company has worked to integrate sustainable practices into its supply chain, the products it sells, the lives of its associates and the communities where it operates and sources.

    To read the full text of the report, including an introduction letter by President and CEO Lee Scott, please visit:

    Midwestern US states sign climate accord

    "Leaders from across the Midwest are charting a new energy direction for our citizens, our nation, and our world, creating high-paying jobs for our citizens and building a cleaner and safer world for generations to come," said Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, who currently chairs the Midwestern Governors Association.
    HAASE - Did I just hear someone say ChaaChing? Will this be real change or the same old subsidized trading schemes...  
    Not holding my breath until I see a real plan. 

    The Key to a Environmentally Sustainable and Happy Life

    "The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You don't blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the President. You realize that you control your own destiny." Albert Ellis

    Lifes basics cost 20% more this year-Please consider conserving.....

    While I read through my annual OSHA and labor stats I found the following of interest:  
    • Food prices are 5% higher this year than one year ago,
    • Energy prices are up nearly 15% 
    • Medical care 5%
    In the average family of four this is equal to about: $1,600 a year
    Also on average Americans will spend 10% more this holiday season as they fall 30% more into debt....
    Also, thanks to a 15% rise in dairy prices and a 45% hike in egg prices. Purdue economist Corinne Alexander said energy costs are higher and food retailers are passing that onto the customer in the food bill. She also said prices of foods made with wheat are up 10%; and while the Thanksgiving turkey will cost about 94 cents more than last year, prices of the trimmings are lower. Source: Extension Update
    I won't mention gasoline prices as they are painfully evident.
    And while polls suggest  Nearly Three Out of Four Americans Want Increased Renewable Fuel Use, I question weather these same people understand the direct correlation between the expansion of these "renewable options" with our energy and food prices?
    There are 1000's of viable ways to conserve our natural resources and reduce costs to our families.  But there are devastating programs touted as "green"  promoted through out our nation that are not only destroying our water and food supplies but have also increased the basic cost of survival in America.