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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Nature, Ecology and Renewable Energy Books

Books on Bees for sale online

Books on Trees and Forest Preservation

Nature and Ecology Books

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough, Michael Braungart

Earth The Sequel: The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming (Fred Krupp)

Farewell My Subaru; An Epic Adventure In Local Living by Doug Fine

Green Investing A Guide To Making Money Through Environment-Friendly Stocks by Jack Uldrich

Green Living For Dummies by Yvonne Jeffery, Liz Barclay, Michael Grosvenor

Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage by Daniel C. Esty (Author), Andrew S. Winston (Author)

Living Like Ed; A Guide to the Eco-Friendly Life - Ed Begley, Jr.

Natural Capitalism; Creating The Next Industrial Revolution by Amory Lovins and Paul Hawken

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America - Re-issued with new, bigger illustrations, by Roger Tory Peterson

A Safe and Sustainable World, The Promise of Ecological Design by Nancy Todd and John Todd

Silent Spring - Top selling environmental book by Rachel Carson

The World Without Us - Revealing bestseller by Alan Weisman

Books on Frogs and Amphibians

Green Power and Clean Renewable Energy Books

Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy by Jay Inslee / Bracken Hendricks

Careers in Renewable Energy by Gregory McNamee

The Citizen Powered Energy Handbook by Greg Pahl

Clean Electricity from Photovoltaics - Authors: Mary D. Archer / Robert Hill

The Clean Tech Revolution: Discover the Top Trends, Technologies, and Companies to Watch by Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder

Coming Clean by author Michael Brune

The First Billion Is the Hardest; On a Life of Comebacks and America's Energy Future by T. Boone Pickens

Freedom From Oil: How the Next President Can End the United States' Oil Addiction by David Sandalow

Future Energy - by Author Trevor Letcher

Green Your Place In the New Energy Revolution by Jane Hoffman and Michael Hoffman

Profiting from Clean Energy - Author: Richard W. Asplund

Stirring It Up; How To Make Money And Save the World, by Gary Hirshberg.

Untapped; The Scramble For Africa's Oil by John Ghazvinian.

Books on Elephants, African Elephant Books, Indian Elephant Books

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Cassava, a calorie-rich root crop; Africa's great hope?

Easy to grow tuber offers Africa hope

TheStar.com - Opinion - August 15, 2008

by Carol Goar

We can be so clumsy in our enthusiasm, so destructive in our haste, that African development experts have learned to speak carefully in our presence.

Dr. Nzola Mahungu, one of Malawi's leading scientists, sees cassava, a calorie-rich root crop grown in tropical regions, as Africa's great hope. But he dared not describe it that way during a recent visit to Toronto. He might have set off a stampede of well-intentioned but overzealous aid agencies.

Instead, he outlined the benefits and challenges of commercializing cassava in almost clinical terms.

It is one of the most versatile plants in the world. It is drought resistant. It can grow in poor soil. It can be left in the ground for up to three years and harvested as needed.

It contains the highest concentration of starch of any food crop. Its leaves are loaded with proteins.

The tubers can be eaten (like potatoes) boiled, baked or fried. They can be milled into flour for making bread, crackers, pasta and tapioca. They can be fermented to produce alcohol. They can be ground into fibres for paper, textiles, adhesives and dry cell batteries. Or they can be added to animal feed.

The leaves can either be eaten (like spinach) or used to increase the protein content of animal feed. The stalks can be burned as firewood. The residue can be used to produce ethanol.

These properties have led some agronomists to call cassava a supercrop. Mahungu is more cautious. He and his colleagues at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture are acutely aware of its potential, but know the importance of ramping up production at Africa's pace, taking into account the needs and culture of its people.

Full Toronto Star article on cassava as super crop for Africa

TD Canada Shoreline Cleanup Initiative improving Toronto and dozens of other waterfront communities

Over 90,000 kilos of junk has already been pulled from waters across Canada. Here is a page from Vanaqua.org webpage for TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup describing what they do.

The TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is a national conservation initiative that allows all Canadians to have a positive impact on their local environment.

More than just a program to pick up trash, we collect valuable data from each cleanup which then allows us to determine the major (and minor) causes of shoreline litter in each region.

Collecting the data makes the TD Canada Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup one of the largest contributors to the International Coastal Cleanup in the world.

All site coordinators who register through our website are sent a free 'Shoreline Cleanup Package' that provides all the necessary items to conduct their cleanup - including the data cards which are returned to the Vancouver Aquarium for tallying.

Once all the information is returned to the Vancouver Aquarium, all tallied information from across the country is then submitted to the International Coastal Cleanup for their worldwide stats and reference.

Further water conservation and water purification reading:

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300 hundred new colouful coral species discovered off Australia, new iguana species found in Fiji

An exciting discovery of 100s of new species near a reef off Australia delights and humbles the soul. Here is a story about this fascinating, enthralling underwater ecosphere, plus a report about a new igunana species found in Fiji:

Hundreds of new ocean species discovered near Australia

Research project studying marine life on reef off Australian coast

by Moira Welsh

Toronto Star Environment Reporter

A Canadian scientist leading a research expedition that studies marine life on Australia's Great Barrier Reef says hundreds of new species have been documented there – including 300 colourful soft corals and a parasite that eats the tongues of fish.

Researchers are analyzing and naming the marine life as part of an ongoing inventory of fragile reef ecosystems that will give scientists a baseline from which to judge whether species are thriving or dying from the impact of pollution and climate change, said Julian Caley, a University of Guelph alumnus.

"We went to places where people have been going for a long time ... so they were all very accessible places. And despite that, under our noses, we were picking up hundreds of new species," Caley said in a telephone interview from Australia.

"The important message is that there is an awful lot of stuff out there that we really don't know about."

Researchers left behind artificial homes – like underwater dollhouses – which they expect will become new residences for reef species. They plan to collect them over the next three years for future studies. The same structures will be placed in waters near Brazil, Hawaii and Pacific islands such as those of American Samoa.

Full Toronto Star article on new species discovered on Australia's reef

New species of iguana found in Fiji Islands

A team of Australian and US scientists have found a new species of iguana living in Fiji.

The newly discovered lizard is bright green with white bands, grows up to 90cm long and is thought to be highly endangered.

Associate Professor Scott Keogh from the Australian National University's School of Botany and Zoology said the iguana was the third species of the creatures known to inhabit Fiji.

Keogh said the origin of the Fiji iguanas, which have lived in the Fiji islands for millions of years, had long puzzled scientists.

He said they probably floated across the Pacific Ocean from the Americas 8,000 kilometres away, where all other iguana species live.

Full story on Iguana Discovery in Fiji Islands

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Friday, September 12, 2008

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Ike approaching Gulf Coast; links to Galveston Traffic cameras, Houston live webcams

Hurricane Ike slams into Texas on Saturday, September 13, 2008

Galveston live webcams, traffic cameras and video feeds of Hurricane Ike:

Twelve web cameras from Galveston Bay, Houston, Port Aransas and Matagorda

Eight Live webcams from Galveston.com

Twenty Houston traffic cameras, live webcams

Thursday, September 11, 2008

German researchers find 99% of dead bees contaminated with clothianidin,; Govt bans 8 neonicotinoids

Germany Bans Eight Pesticides from Neonicotinoid family, linked to Colony Collapse Disorder in Beehives

(NaturalNews) The German government has provisionally banned a family of pesticides conclusively linked to the massive dieoff of honeybees in a southern state.

"It's a real bee emergency," said Manfred Hederer, president of the German Professional Beekeepers' Association, referring to the collapse of bee populations in the state of Baden-Württemberg. "Fifty to 60 percent of the bees have died on average and some beekeepers have lost all their hives."

Government researchers tested the bodies of dead bees, and found that 99 percent had been contaminated with the pesticide clothianidin, made by Bayer. The pesticide had been applied to the seeds of oilseed rape in the nearby Rhine River Valley.

Bayer blamed the dieoff on the improper application of the pesticide, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified as "highly toxic" to honeybees. Normally, seeds to be sprayed with clothianidin and similar pesticides are treated with a kind of glue so that the toxin sticks. In this case, Bayer said, the glue was not applied, allowing the poison to get into the air.

Clothianidin is a pesticide in the neonicotinoid family. This class of chemicals is applied to seeds and then spreads into all the tissues of the plant. Based on nicotine, the neonicotinoids are toxic to the nervous systems of any insect that comes into contact with them.

"We have been pointing out the risks of neonicotinoids for almost 10 years now," said
Philipp Mimkes of the Coalition Against Bayer Dangers. "This [incident] proves without a doubt that the chemicals can come into contact with bees and kill them. These pesticides shouldn't be on the market."

The German government, apparently in agreement, withdrew the licenses for eight neonicotinoid pesticides, including Bayer's best-selling insecticide, imidacloprid. If manufacturers submit evidence that the chemicals are safe for bees, however, the government may reinstate the licenses.

Full Text of NaturalNews.com story on Germany banning clothianidin

Monday, September 1, 2008

Gustav spares New Orleans, washes out Republicans

Hurricane Gustav left New Orleans with only minimal damage, including minor flooding in the Ninth Ward.

The following article is from NOLA.com:

Storm surge tests Industrial Canal floodwalls
by The Times-Picayune
Monday September 01, 2008, 5:37 PM
Although New Orleans escaped serious damage from Hurricane Gustav on Monday morning, winds of the Category 2 storm pushed a 12-foot storm surge into the Industrial Canal, sending waves sloshing over the western wall and triggering minor flooding in the Upper 9th Ward.

Gustav's landing point was 72 miles away near Cocodrie, a low-lying fishing community in Cajun country. Cocodrie is about 20 miles from Port Fourchon, a vital hub in the energy industry where huge amounts of oil and gas are sent inward via pipelines to refineries. There had been fears of extensive damage.

Although Gustav went ashore as a Category 2 hurricane, it weakened to a Category 1 storm by early afternoon.

By mid morning, water was splashing for several hundred yards over the western side of the Industrial Canal's floodwall near North Claiborne Avenue, said Jerry Sneed, New Orleans' director of homeland security and emergency preparedness.

The incident doesn't pose a major threat, Army Corps of Engineers officials said. Water levels had dropped 2 to 3 feet by mid afternoon near the Claiborne Avenue bridge, New Orleans police reported.

But after lower water levels were reported, other witnesses said waves continued to spill over the west floodwall at Florida Avenue, closer to the lake and near the junction with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

There was no apparent problem with the wall on the canal's eastern side. It was built stronger and 2 feet higher than the wall on the west side after Hurricane Katrina.

The walls are considered an integral part of the plan to protect the area from flooding caused by a "100 year" hurricane storm surge, a term meaning that the storm has a 1-in-100 chance of occurring in any year.

An emergency response plan is ready should part of the wall fail, Corps of Engineers officials said.

The Corps has available on short notice six barges filled with rock and several hundred filled sandbags, each of them the size of a car. The sandbags would be dropped by large helicopters. But weather conditions would have to be good enough to allow the helicopters to fly, officials said.

"If something cracked, you would try to patch it. If something big happened, like the breach at 17th (Street Canal during Katrina), Black Hawks would fling the sandbags," said Capt. Jason Royston of the Corps' emergency operations center. "We have contingency plans in place, but the plan used depends on the assessment."

On Monday, the spillage was landing on cement pads, which reduce its impact at the base of the wall.

"We're confident in the stability of that wall," which was fortified after Hurricane Katrina, said Karen Durham-Aguilera, director of Task Force Hope for the Corps.

Although water was splashing over the wall, "it is not a breach," she said.

Federal officials said the high-water threat along canal walls would not have been as great, except for an obstruction caused by a lowered railroad bridge over the canal.

Chris Bonura, spokesman for the Port of New Orleans, said the L&N Railroad bridge, also called the Almonaster railroad bridge, was lowered because it cannot withstand hurricane force winds. The controls for the bridge were underwater on Monday morning.

There were no signs of seepage on the eastern side of the canal near the Danziger Bridge.

Nevertheless, Col. David Gooch of the Louisiana National Guard said the guard would evacuate anyone who feared the wall will give way.

"Obviously, there's an interest in getting people out of there as soon as possible,'' he said, adding that people who want out of the area can flag down Guardsmen in the trucks.

Corps officials are posted in bunkers and pump stations near the Industrial Canal and will continue to assess the health of the floodwall, Durham-Aguilera said.

Staff writers Frank Donze, Sheila Grissett, Laura Maggi and Gordon Russell contributed to this story.

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Water overflowing Industrial Canal into Upper and Lower Ninth Ward

USA Today UPDATE on Industrial Canal, Ninth Ward New Orleans:

Update at 11:10 a.m. ET: The Times-Picayune says a railroad bridge was left in the down position, helping boost water levels inside the canal. "What we're seeing is small overtopping, white caps,"Col. Al Lee, the Corps' local commander, tells the paper.

Original posting at 11 a.m. ET: The Times-Picayune just posted a photo that shows water flowing over a levee along the Industrial Canal in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Earlier, the paper reported that three vessels broke loose in that canal.

Mayor Ray Nagin tells WDSU-TV that levees along the Industrial Canal are being overtopped by the Hurricane Gustav storm surge. Water level at the canal was being measured at more than 11 feet high, according to Army Corps of Engineers data. The flood walls there are 11 feet high.

Overtopping levees is much less alarming than levee breaches, Nagin said.

(Photo by Lee Celano, Reuters.)

NOLA.com: Water coming over Industrial Canal floodwall
by The Times-Picayune
Monday September 01, 2008, 9:07 AM

The Army Corps of Engineers confirms that water is lapping over the Industrial Canal floodwall. Water is coming over the top in waves. Levee and Corps officials are assessing the floodwall.

The L & N railroad bridge across the Industrial Canal is in the down position, said Mark Lambert, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation and Development. That bridge is owned by the Port of New Orleans, but Lambert said DOTD has offered to send teams to the area to help raise the bridge.

Engineer Bob Turner, executive director of the East Bank Regional Levee Authority, said the bridge is causing a 3-foot backup of water in the canal. Turner has been in contact with the port and DOTD authorities about raising the bridge but it the controls are underwater.

Bonura said the bridge, built in 1919, is only able to handle winds up to 45 miles an hour, which means it cannot weather a hurricane in an upright position.

"Really, the public safety concern is that if it were raised during hurricane-force winds, the bridge could become unstable and fall on the floodwall or levee," Bonura said.

He also said that at the moment, there is no way to raise the bridge because the controls are under water and equipment can't be moved to the area.

It is the Port's usual protocol to keep these old railroad bridges in the down position during a hurricane, Bonura said. The canal is designed with that factor in mind, he said.

Col. Al Lee, New Orleans district commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, also said the wind is blowing water over the floodwall. "What we're seeing is small overtopping, white caps," he said. "The water is about 1 foot below the top of the wall. They say those walls have been significantly strengthened since Katrina and have slope paving to help prevent erosion."

St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jack Stephens and Parish President Craig Taffaro were on the Claiborne Avenue bridge, checking the water levels. Water was lapping over the wall on the Upper Ninth Ward side, but had not yet overtopped the side closest to the Lower Ninth Ward.

"It's better than seeing cement collapsing but it's not good," Taffaro said.

"We're worried about the pressure building up on this wall," he said pointing at the corner of the floodwall nearest to the Claiborne Avenue Bridge.

Full article: NOLA.com on water over Industrial Canal by Ninth Ward, New Orleans

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