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Ecobob Bi-Weekly Top 10 - 14th Edition

Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Welcome to the 14th edition of the Ecobob Bi-Weekly Top 10 where every two weeks we bring you snippets of info and links to interesting eco stories on the web. We keep you updated with any interesting news, events or happenings in the environmental arena.

1. Dwindling Oil Supplies

The world faces decades of economic turmoil and a vicious cycle of recessions as oil supplies run low and prices spike, according to a New Zealand Parliamentary research paper.

The paper, The Next Oil Shock, says that known oil reserves would last for another 25 to 32 years, but an oil ''supply crunch'' could occur in 2012 or shortly afterwards as demand rises and supplies fail to keep pace.

It was likely to be followed by a pattern of supply and demand crises.

''While the world will not run out of oil reserves for decades to come, it cannot indefinitely continue to produce oil at an increasing rate from the remaining reserves. Forecasts indicate that world oil production capacity will

not grow or fall in the next five years while demand will continue to rise.

View the full story...

2. Tracking Food

The rise of locavores (those who choose to eat locally grown/produced food) and the slow food movement are responses to the old adage “we are what we eat.” A vital ingredient in the new wave of food consciousness is control: we want to know about what we consume. Global food company Dole decided to respond to the challenge by establishing a traceability programme using state of the art global positioning RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology to trace products from the field to retail.

Dole’s traceability process tracks products at the farm, in processing plants, in transit, and at retail outlets. All Dole food shipments – including boxes and containers used in transport – are now labelled and coded so that the product, batch, country of origin and even producer farm can be identified at any time. For Dole’s organic bananas, customers can enter the three-digit code on the fruit’s sticker at the Dole Organic website to learn more about where they came from.

View the full story...

3. Managing Manure to Save Mankind

Photo: Author and farmer Gene Logsdon

It's an undeniable fact: the way we're currently dealing with our waste (both human and animal) is not sustainable in the long term.

•Each of the U.S.'s estimated 100 million cattle produce an average of 27 pounds of manure per day = 2.7 billion pounds of manure PER DAY = over 985 billion pounds of manure per year.

•Each pig produces an average of 8 pounds of manure per day. With an estimated 70 million pigs, American farmers deal with over half a billion pounds of pig manure per year.

•Americans flush away an average of 60 billion gallons of toilet waste per year.

That's a whole lot of waste, and it's not even counting waste from other animals such as goats, sheep, horses, or chickens. The way we are handling it: overwhelming our sewage systems, sequestering animal wastes in "manure lagoons," and throwing cat and dog waste in the garbage -- none of it is sustainable. The odor and methane from improperly handled livestock waste is harmful to those who have to live nearby, and to the environment as a whole. Our landfills are full of plastic bags of dog and cat waste, producing yet more methane. And all of that flushing takes an obvious toll on our fresh water ecosystems as well.

View the full story...

4. Electric car trials begin in Wellington

With 45 percent of journeys to work in Wellington being undertaken by car, truck or van, yesterdays launch in Wellington of a trial fleet of five battery-powered vehicles is a positive step toward emission reduction. It also makes Wellington the first city in New Zealand to trial production electric cars.

The Wellington City Council is working with Meridian Energy, Mitsubishi Motors, New Zealand Post Group and The Wellington Company to trial Mitsubishi iMiEVs in Wellington for the next two years. By the end of the year eight iMiEVs will be powering around the streets of the Capital.

The aim of the trial is to demonstrate that electric cars are viable in Wellington and will also help identify any barriers to their widespread adoption, such as the need for charging stations.

View the full story...

5. How to prepare for Post Oil living

By James Howard Kunstler

In the public arena, essayists often are criticized for not offering solutions to our looming energy crisis. Here are some suggestions for those tired of the hand-wringing and ready to do something useful.

View the full story...

6. Google Invests in Mammoth Offshore Wind Farm

Google has just sealed a deal that will help bring clean, renewable energy to almost 2 million households.

The company is investing in the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC), a plan to erect a 350-mile stretch of wind turbines 10 to 15 miles off the United States’ Atlantic coastline, where waters are relatively shallow. The AWC “backbone” will take advantage of strong, steady winds at sea and deliver energy via underwater cables.

If successful, the AWC will be the first operating offshore wind collection project in the U.S.

Calling the AWC “a superhighway for clean energy,” Google’s Green Business Operations Director Rick Needham wrote on the company blog(), “As those in the Northeast remember from the 2003 blackout, transmission is severely overstretched on the East Coast. The AWC project relieves grid congestion in one of two National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors which were deemed to have significant network congestion and need speedy creation of transmission capacity.”

View the full story...

7. Let the environment guide our development

Human growth has strained the Earth's resources, but as Johan Rockstrom reminds us, our advances also give us the science to recognize this and change behavior. His research has found nine "planetary boundaries" that can guide us in protecting our planet's many overlapping ecosystems.

8. Fragile Earth in wide-angle

In this image-filled talk, Yann Arthus-Bertrand displays his three most recent projects on humanity and our habitat -- stunning aerial photographs in his series "The Earth From Above," personal interviews from around the globe featured in his web project "6 billion Others," and his soon-to-be-released movie, "Home," which documents human impact on the environment through breathtaking video.

9. Youth swap fashion for farming

Young Japanese are on a mission to make farming cool again and cut Japan's frightening food deficit in the process.

View the full story...

10. Just for fun - The Big Sneeze


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