Archive for April 7th, 2010

Energy Crops Impact Environmental Quality

A new review explores alternative approaches for providing the carbon-rich material used to create cellulosic ethanol.  While some have touted use of crop waste for conversion to fuels, this review touts important environmental benefits provided by crop residues, and suggests alternative crops for fuel production:

In the March-April 2010 issue of Agronomy Journal, published by the American Society of Agronomy, Dr. Humberto Blanco reviewed the impacts of crop residue removal, warm season grasses, and short-rotation woody crops on critical soil properties, carbon sequestration, and water quality as well as the performance of energy crops in marginal lands. The review found that crop residue removal from corn, wheat,and grain sorghumcan adversely impact soil and environmental quality. Removal of more than 50% of crop residue can have negative consequences for soil structure, reduce soil organic carbon sequestration, increase water erosion, and reduce nutrient cycling and crop production, particularly in erodible and sloping soils.

“Crop residue removal can make no-till soils a source rather than a sink of atmospheric carbon,” says Blanco, even at rates lower than 50%. Residue removal at rates of less than 25% can cause loss of sediment in runoff relative to soils without residue removal. To avoid the negative impacts on soil, perhaps only a small fraction of residue might be available for removal. This small amount of crop residues is not economically feasible nor logistically possible. Blanco recomends developing other alternative biomass feedstock sources for cellulosic ethanol production.

An alternative to crop residue removal is growing warm season grasses and short-rotation woody crops as dedicated energy crops. These crops can provide a wide of range of ecosystems services over crop residue removal. Available data indicate that herbaceous and woody plants can improve soil characteristics, reduce soil water and wind erosion, filter pollutants in runoff, sequester soil organic carbon, reduce net emissions of greenhouse gases, and improve wildlife habitat and diversity.

Whereas crop residue removal reduces carbon concentration, dedicated energy crops can increase soil organic carbon concentration while providing biofuel feedstock. Because of their deep root systems, warm season grasses also promote long-term carbon sequestration in deeper soil profile unlike row crops.

I’ve been watching the development of biofuels for years now, and there always seems to end up being a problem with each candidate.  Hopefully we can find a solution sooner than later that is both effective and safe for helping wean us from our oil addiction.

Read more>>

Visit the original post at: Conservation Value Notes

David Roberts Redesigns His Neighborhood
greener neighborhood grist david roberts
Image: David Roberts/Google Maps

If I was King…
David Roberts has a great post over at Grist about ways to make his neighborhood more “walkable, sociable, sustainable, and safe”. He came up with a list of suggestions (as shown on the map) that would make it easier for people to get to parks and public spaces, easier to meet neighbors, walk or bike to stores, etc. It’s a great exercise that more of us should do, or at least support the <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki… Read the full story on TreeHugger
Visit the original post at: TreeHugger

Kolbert: "Goofball weathermen, Climategate, conspiracy theories" are Distractions
kolbert-climate-change.jpg
Image via the New Yorker

If you’re not a regular watcher of climate issues, the major ups and downs (okay, so it was overwhelmingly downs) that comprised the media narrative of global warming over the last 6 months was probably pretty confusing. There were some hacked emails, overheated allegations, some noisy weathermen, and an extra-snowy winter. So what’s someone to do if they want to catch up on the goings-on without wading into the extensive coverage of the kind produced by climate bloggers like yours truly? That, friends, is why we hav…
Visit the original post at: TreeHugger

A forest epidemic turns into energy opportunity
Biofuel start-up Cobalt Technologies says it’s found a way to make biobutanol with wood from forests ravaged by pine beetles.
Visit the original post at: Green Tech

A forest epidemic turns into energy opportunity
Biofuel start-up Cobalt Technologies says it’s found a way to make biobutanol with wood from forests ravaged by pine beetles.
Visit the original post at: Green Tech

A forest epidemic turns into energy opportunity
Biofuel start-up Cobalt Technologies says it’s found a way to make biobutanol with wood from forests ravaged by pine beetles.
Visit the original post at: Green Tech

New Book Touts "Shocking" Reasons to Eat Organic
A new book describes the many environmental, health and safety benefits of organic foods.  As reported on The Early Show:

Matt Bean, a senior editor of the magazine, spelled out many of those benefits on “The Early Show” Tuesday.

Although organic food is more expensive than conventional food, Bean says making organics a part of your diet can have a big impact on your health and that of your family.

From the book, Bean says, “We discovered … some pretty shocking and convincing arguments” for going that route.

Health Benefits of Organic Foods:

More Nutrients: Studies show that organic foods may have increased levels of nutrients like antioxidants than conventionally grown foods

Fertility Health: Pesticides found in conventionally grown foods have been shown to reduce fertility

Immune System Protection: The chemicals in non-organic foods may also harm your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illness and some forms of cancer

Hormones and weight gain: New research has shown that some agricultural chemicals could actually be making you fat by interfering with your hormone levels.

Unknown effects of GMOs: Many people are concerned about genetically modified foods, especially since many of them have never been tested on humans. Organic foods are never genetically modified.

Given findings like this out there, there’s also an element of ‘peace of mind’ that comes with eating organic — especially when grown in our own garden (I’m proud of the food I grow, and it tastes great!) and purchased at local farmers’ markets (supporting our local organic growers and green economy).

Read more>>

Visit the original post at: Conservation Value Notes

New Book Touts "Shocking" Reasons to Eat Organic
A new book describes the many environmental, health and safety benefits of organic foods.  As reported on The Early Show:

Matt Bean, a senior editor of the magazine, spelled out many of those benefits on “The Early Show” Tuesday.

Although organic food is more expensive than conventional food, Bean says making organics a part of your diet can have a big impact on your health and that of your family.

From the book, Bean says, “We discovered … some pretty shocking and convincing arguments” for going that route.

Health Benefits of Organic Foods:

More Nutrients: Studies show that organic foods may have increased levels of nutrients like antioxidants than conventionally grown foods

Fertility Health: Pesticides found in conventionally grown foods have been shown to reduce fertility

Immune System Protection: The chemicals in non-organic foods may also harm your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illness and some forms of cancer

Hormones and weight gain: New research has shown that some agricultural chemicals could actually be making you fat by interfering with your hormone levels.

Unknown effects of GMOs: Many people are concerned about genetically modified foods, especially since many of them have never been tested on humans. Organic foods are never genetically modified.

Given findings like this out there, there’s also an element of ‘peace of mind’ that comes with eating organic — especially when grown in our own garden (I’m proud of the food I grow, and it tastes great!) and purchased at local farmers’ markets (supporting our local organic growers and green economy).

Read more>>

Visit the original post at: Conservation Value Notes

New Book Touts "Shocking" Reasons to Eat Organic
A new book describes the many environmental, health and safety benefits of organic foods.  As reported on The Early Show:

Matt Bean, a senior editor of the magazine, spelled out many of those benefits on “The Early Show” Tuesday.

Although organic food is more expensive than conventional food, Bean says making organics a part of your diet can have a big impact on your health and that of your family.

From the book, Bean says, “We discovered … some pretty shocking and convincing arguments” for going that route.

Health Benefits of Organic Foods:

More Nutrients: Studies show that organic foods may have increased levels of nutrients like antioxidants than conventionally grown foods

Fertility Health: Pesticides found in conventionally grown foods have been shown to reduce fertility

Immune System Protection: The chemicals in non-organic foods may also harm your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illness and some forms of cancer

Hormones and weight gain: New research has shown that some agricultural chemicals could actually be making you fat by interfering with your hormone levels.

Unknown effects of GMOs: Many people are concerned about genetically modified foods, especially since many of them have never been tested on humans. Organic foods are never genetically modified.

Given findings like this out there, there’s also an element of ‘peace of mind’ that comes with eating organic — especially when grown in our own garden (I’m proud of the food I grow, and it tastes great!) and purchased at local farmers’ markets (supporting our local organic growers and green economy).

Read more>>

Visit the original post at: Conservation Value Notes

New Book Touts "Shocking" Reasons to Eat Organic
A new book describes the many environmental, health and safety benefits of organic foods.  As reported on The Early Show:

Matt Bean, a senior editor of the magazine, spelled out many of those benefits on “The Early Show” Tuesday.

Although organic food is more expensive than conventional food, Bean says making organics a part of your diet can have a big impact on your health and that of your family.

From the book, Bean says, “We discovered … some pretty shocking and convincing arguments” for going that route.

Health Benefits of Organic Foods:

More Nutrients: Studies show that organic foods may have increased levels of nutrients like antioxidants than conventionally grown foods

Fertility Health: Pesticides found in conventionally grown foods have been shown to reduce fertility

Immune System Protection: The chemicals in non-organic foods may also harm your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illness and some forms of cancer

Hormones and weight gain: New research has shown that some agricultural chemicals could actually be making you fat by interfering with your hormone levels.

Unknown effects of GMOs: Many people are concerned about genetically modified foods, especially since many of them have never been tested on humans. Organic foods are never genetically modified.

Given findings like this out there, there’s also an element of ‘peace of mind’ that comes with eating organic — especially when grown in our own garden (I’m proud of the food I grow, and it tastes great!) and purchased at local farmers’ markets (supporting our local organic growers and green economy).

Read more>>

Visit the original post at: Conservation Value Notes

Keeping Things in Perspective: An Electric Car is About as Power-Hungry as an Air Conditioner
nissan leaf electric car and air conditioning photo
Image on left: Nissan

“EVs would come to an annual cost of between US$190 and $278 to consumers”
There’s no doubt that a large number of electric vehicles would use a lot of electricity. But the important question is: Would it be a manageable amount? There’s mounting evidence (see here, here and <a href=”http://www.treehugger.com/file… Read the full story on TreeHugger
Visit the original post at: TreeHugger

Climate link found in strange Arctic bird deaths

A pair of Northern fulmars in early May at their nest site at Cape Vera, Devon Island, Nunavut. Scientists observed six species, including the fulmars, dying in slapstick, albeit tragic, ways. Like scenes out of Gary Larson’s “Far Side” comic strip, scientists have discovered a tragicomedy playing out in deaths of Arctic seabirds.

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Far SideGary LarsonComic stripArcticPolar Regions
Visit the original post at: MSNBC.com: Environment

Climate link found in strange Arctic bird deaths

A pair of Northern fulmars in early May at their nest site at Cape Vera, Devon Island, Nunavut. Scientists observed six species, including the fulmars, dying in slapstick, albeit tragic, ways. Like scenes out of Gary Larson’s “Far Side” comic strip, scientists have discovered a tragicomedy playing out in deaths of Arctic seabirds.

Email this Article
Add to Newsvine




Far SideGary LarsonComic stripArcticPolar Regions
Visit the original post at: MSNBC.com: Environment

Climate link found in strange Arctic bird deaths

A pair of Northern fulmars in early May at their nest site at Cape Vera, Devon Island, Nunavut. Scientists observed six species, including the fulmars, dying in slapstick, albeit tragic, ways. Like scenes out of Gary Larson’s “Far Side” comic strip, scientists have discovered a tragicomedy playing out in deaths of Arctic seabirds.

Email this Article
Add to Newsvine




Far SideGary LarsonComic stripArcticPolar Regions
Visit the original post at: MSNBC.com: Environment

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