Snippets

Snippets of environmental news content from EarthFix and other trusted places. Curated by Toni Tabora-Roberts.
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Biofuel makers have discovered that algae can make a good butter substitute. Seriously?

Biofuel makers have discovered that algae can make a good butter substitute. Seriously?

NOAA scientists are about to embark on a month-long expedition to study ocean acidification impacts on the U.S. West Coast. This video shares why this is such a big concern for the PNW’s huge shellfish industry.

Aboriginal jobs in the mining industry are a conundrum for native communities in Canada. An excerpt from The Tyee’s article reveals the rub:

According to the audit, the average full-time salary for Aboriginal mine workers after BCAMTA training is $52,959. That’s almost $20,000 more than the average Aboriginal wage in the province, and $8,000 more than the average entry-level wage in the mining industry.

But while mining has become a valuable source of employment, it’s also a source of frustration and anger for Aboriginal people. First Nations bands and organizations across the province have publicly condemned the opening or expansion of mines like the New Prosperity Mine in the Cariboo region, the Huckleberry Mine near Houston, and the Red Chris Mine near Dease Lake.

PNNL’s graphic illustration of a simple math model that shows impacts of aerosol particles on clouds, a complex part of calculating climate change.

The simple model of aerosol effects on clouds and climate shows the complex, physically based relationships between emissions, aerosol concentrations, droplet concentrations, cloud reflectance, and the Earth’s energy balance.

Emissions that contribute to climate change are leveling off in Oregon, according to a new report released Monday.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has finished its tally of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions for 2010, which is the most recent year studied. The report shows the state’s emissions held steady since 2007, in spite of population growth.

Emissions that contribute to climate change are leveling off in Oregon, according to a new report released Monday.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has finished its tally of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions for 2010, which is the most recent year studied. The report shows the state’s emissions held steady since 2007, in spite of population growth.

By midmorning, the smell of hot peanut oil dissipated and inside the tightly sealed laboratory known as Building 51F, a pink hamburger sizzled in a pan over a raging gas flame. Overhead, fans whirred, whisking caustic smoke up through a metallic esophagus of ductwork.

Woody Delp, 49, a longhaired engineer in glasses — the Willie Nelson of HVAC — supervised the green bean and hamburger experiments. He sat at a computer inside a kitchen simulator, rows upon rows of numeric data appearing on his screen, ticking off the constituents of the plume sucked up the flue. A seared hamburger patty, as he sees it, is just a reliable source for indoor pollution.

“I can claim Alice Waters’ influenced the recipe,” he said. “It’s all fresh and local.”

But Dr. Delp and his colleagues aren’t really interested in testing recipes. They are scientists at the Energy Department’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the morning’s experiment concerned another kitchen conundrum, a fight against physics: how to remove harmful contaminants caused by cooking.


Euphemistically known as waste-to-energy, the possibilities afforded by excrement are, well, excremental. David Waltner-Toews, a veterinarian, epidemiologist, scientist and author, wrote The Origin of Feces: What Excrement Tells Us About Evolution, Ecology, and a Sustainable Society, as well as other books about the intersection of humans and nature and its relationship to development. He recently outlined 10 ways that the use of such waste could do everything from promoting energy self-sufficiency to improving drinking water. 

Poop Power: 10 Ways Excrement Can Save the World
http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/07/23/poop-power-10-ways-excrement-can-save-world-150525

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it will experiment with shooting barred owls in Northwest forests to keep these aggressive birds from crowding out their more genteel cousins, the federally protected northern spotted owls.

The proposal will take effect in 2014 if it wins approval within the next 30 days. Read more…

How To Kill Barred Owls

The Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t spell out in Tuesday’s announcement how it would “lethally” remove barred owls. But it does in its environmental impact statement:

The plan calls for luring the owls with recorded calls and shooting them, or lure them with recorded calls and catch them in nets or other traps. The report calls this “as humane and efficient as possible.”

The nonlethal removal method is described as using a recorded call and catching the barred owls in nets or other traps so they could be eventually transported to “permanent facilities or release locations.”

An upside to unused oil rigs in ocean waters? Fish use them as habitat. Via Inhabitat:

Fishermen and conservationists have been lobbying the government to soften up on existing policies. In recent years, when a rig was no longer in use, the government required that all of the equipment be removed. According to FuelFix, less than 10 percent of about 800 non-producing oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico have ended up in the program since 2010, while more than 200 have been removed each year. Now, a new policy will give states more flexibility to review and designate dead rigs as artificial reefs, allowing them to stay in place.

Original version of this video, which includes a few expletives (understandably). A diver had a very close call with a pair of humpback whales and his buddy caught all the action on video.