Saturday, December 19, 2015
This is a very cool study of the "old forests" that are undisturbed in the USA. The Northeast and the pacific maintained some undisturbed forests; the south was really bad. There are many plants, animals and entire ecosystems that rely on old forests. This study demonstrates how bad it is and how much worse it could get over the next few generations (of humans).
This is a 25 year study using landsat technology (through 2010), so it doesn't address the prior 200 years since the pilgrims came to visit north america.
One of the things that we harp on endlessly at this cite is the compounding effects of human actions. In this case. The study uses exponential decay to show the compounding effects of old forest degradation. In 100 years there would be only about 20% of the old forest left in a business as usual (BAS) scenario. But that number would drop to only about 4% in another 100 years. That means that in 200 to 300 years we could expect virtually no old forests to exist.
It would be interesting if the last 10 years are significantly different. The Great Recession caused commodity prices to plummet. Wood and paper were especially hard hit. The demise of coal -- mining and burning -- in the US would help as well. Urban sprawl, slowed to a crawl.
Haung points out that the big opportunities to mitigate (old) forest loss is in the south and by minimizing fires in the west. Of course, if we let the old forest go to near zero, we could have an easy opportunity for exponential regrowth. (I'm being facetious, of course, once forest -- especially old forest -- has be used for other purposes, it is nearly impossible to move it back to nature and keep it there for 100 years or more.)
Doctor Haung, what do you think the current trend might be? Are we starting to "bend the curve" (as the old addage in finance and climate change goes)?
Visit Dr. haung's Page at U of Maryland and see a link to the study here: http://geog.umd.edu/facultyprofile/Huang/Chengquan
'via Blog this'
Friday, December 18, 2015
Interesting how the BIG move in solar/wind in the USA is so tied to subsidies. At least for the next 5 years. But, soon, especially with the volume of growth encouraged by the subsidies, there will no longer be a need for subsidies.
The really big loser all around is (dirty) coal. Once the health and environmental costs of coal are factored in, coal moves from our cheapest source of electrical energy to one of our worst. As well, wind and solar are improving in performance rapidly.
And then there are the environmental factors of coal that start to get uglier and uglier once you start to count pollution, the health and safety issues and the contribution to greenhouse gases. Other types of energy like oil and natgas are increasingly throwing coal under the bus, too.
So, renewable electrical energy could be really booming over the next 5 years with the continued subsidies. Those subsidies are being phased out; but it all looks like an excellent plan forward toward a more renewable USA.
'via Blog this'
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Here is what it kind of a think if we keep doing business as usual! Things could be worse and sinner than previously expected.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
Monday, December 7, 2015
Chef Massimo Bottura on Why the Future of Food is in Our Trash http://www.wsj.com/articles/chef-massimo-bottura-on-why-the-future-of-food-is-in-our-trash-1449506020
We throw away about $700 worth of food each year in the USA. That's per person, last I saw, which was probably about 10 years ago.
Think of the products taken from the shelf because they are past the due date.
Capturing most of this food can go a long way toward feeding a hungry planet.