When hiking and backpacking were popular in the 1970s, the number of environmentalists and conservationists rose accordingly. Since then, many content themselves to watch TV and remain city-bound. The internet exacerbated the problem. Science Daily said, “a recent fall-off in strenuous outdoor endeavors portends a coming decline in the ranks of conservation backers.” They’re not talking about simple tourists. The Nature Conservancy found that “only people who engage in vigorous outdoor sports, like hiking and backpacking, tend later to become supporters of mainline conservation groups, while those who only go sightseeing or fishing do not.” Their survey, however, only focused on those who supported the liberal environmental activist groups. Oliver Pergams (U of Illinois) predicted “tough times ahead” for conservation. “If you never get out into nature, you’re not going to care about it when you get older,” Pergams said. “The kids are where it’s at, and we’re losing our kids to other influences — they don’t go outside.” See also 02/04/2008.CEH is a strong supporter of outdoor strenuous activity as advocated by our sister ministry Creation Safaris, and of conservation ethics – which does not equate with “environmentalism” as interpreted by liberals. Conservatives and Christians should be among the greatest conservationists because they believe in a good Creator. The Creator is the owner and master of the world. We are mere stewards. One thing these researchers could do is get the Forest Service and National Park Service to loosen up the tight restrictions on getting into the wilderness. It’s scandalous how difficult it is to get wilderness permits these days. Stringent quotas are inflicted, party sizes are limited, and those who want to go often have to apply way in advance, fill out forms, pay fees, play the lottery and go through red tape – just for the privilege of enjoying nature. Then they get out on the trail only to find vast stretches of wilderness with hardly anyone else around. Government officials need to understand that they don’t own the earth. Sensible regulation is fine, but not taxing the citizens for something that belongs to them. With these hassles, no wonder more people would rather stay home. Park fees have risen dramatically since the 1970s (from $5 to $20 and higher). Campground fees are also comparable to what motel fees used to be. It’s environmental-activist groups that are often behind efforts to close the wilderness. They view human presence as some kind of disease. This is self-refuting on two levels; it denies humans are part of nature, and backfires on the environmental movement, like this article said. Christian/creationist doctrine has the answer. Rather than seeing nature as an evolved thing, with no purpose or reason, let’s teach people that nature is a fantastically-complex, interwoven system that was created for a purpose. Human beings are part of that purpose. We should stand in awe of the Creator and respect the work of his hands. He made it for us to use and enjoy and protect. The Judeo-Christian world view contains the seed of a sustainable conservation ethic. It doesn’t shoot itself in the foot like the liberal environmental movement must do if it tries to be logically consistent. If you would like some inspiration to see what hiking and backpacking can do for your soul, here is a photo gallery to reveal just a taste of what is out there, waiting to be appreciated. These photos were all taken in one 6-day Creation Safari. Who could look at beauty like this and want to leave trash or damage any of it? You can click on any picture for a description; use the back arrow to return. Click the link for a two-minute escape to reality.(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Statistics released by the World Bank indicate that food prices have increased by a staggering 83%(Image: World Food Programme) Khanyi MagubaneWorld leaders, starting to feel the pressure from disgruntled poor people, are taking the global increase in food prices and its effects seriously.On 22 April the World Food Program (WFP) hosted a summit on the food crisis in London. Josette Sheeren, the WFP’s executive director, warned that a “silent tsunami” of hunger is sweeping the world’s most desperate nations. She noted that the price of rice has more than doubled in the past five weeks and that China and India are currently facing an increased demand for their produce.British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who co-hosted the talks with Sheeren, said the spiralling prices threaten to plunge millions back into poverty and reverse progress on alleviating poverty in the developing world. “Tackling hunger is a moral challenge to each of us and it is also a threat to the political and economic stability of nations,” Brown said.In New York, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has also voiced his concern over the increase in food prices, calling for both immediate and long-term measures to tackle the crisis. “We need not only short-term emergency measures to meet urgent critical needs and avert starvation in many regions across the world, but also a significant increase in long-term productivity in food grain production,” he said.French President Nicolas Sarkozy has suggested setting up global partnerships among financial institutions, governments and the private sector to tackle the main reasons behind rising food prices.Scale of the problemRecent statistics released by the World Bank indicate that food prices have increased by a staggering 83% increased by a staggering 83%The organisation says high food prices are threatening recent gains in overcoming poverty and malnutrition, and are likely to persist over the medium-term. “Poor people are suffering daily from the impact of high food prices, especially in urban areas and in low-income countries,” said World Bank Group president Robert Zoellick.According to a World Bank policy document entitled Rising Food Prices: Policy Options and World Bank Response, increases in global wheat prices reached 181% over the 36 months leading up to February 2008, and overall global food prices increased by 83%. Food crop prices are expected to remain high in 2008 and 2009.The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is also concerned. Head of the IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn recently told French radio that soaring world food prices could have dire consequences, such as toppling governments and even triggering wars. The IMF chief says the problem could also threaten democracies, even in countries where governments have done all they can to help the low-income earning population.South Africa searching for solutionsSouth Africa has not gone untouched by the food crisis. Trade union federation Cosatu recently held a march in Johannesburg to protest against soaring food prices. They called on government to find a lasting solution to the problem.The government and the agricultural industry have also been in discussions to find ways to curb food-price inflation, which in recent months has seen the price of basic foodstuffs increase by 14% in South Africa.Government spokesperson Themba Maseko says the government is developing a strategy to address this challenge. He said the government is confident that the competition authorities, who regulate food prices in different industries, will continue to be vigilant and take strong action to curb negative practices that had also contributed to higher food prices.A researcher from the Institute for Security Studies, David Zounmenou, recently told the Mail & Guardian newspaper that in African countries where unemployment rates are high and social delivery low, an increase in food prices will certainly continue pushing people over the edge. “High food prices can only add fuel to this [unrest] and can be exploited by the opposition or other interest groups to create instability.”Other areas of Africa where violence has flared due to high food prices include Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal.Useful linksUN food and agriculture organisationWorld Food ProgramWorld BankInternational Money FundDepartment of AgricultureDo you have any queries or comments about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at [email protected]
The 5th annual South African Premier Business awards will take place on 7 December at the Sandton Convention Centre.Brand South Africa reporterThe South African Premier Business Awards, hosted by the dti, in partnership with Proudly South African and Brand South Africa, celebrates innovation and excellence. The awards recognise and reward entrepreneurs and businesses who have played their part in transforming and growing the South African economy.Lifetime Achievement winner, Dr Anna Mokgokong, with deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and trade minister, Rob Davies. (Image: SA Premier Business Awards)Listen to Ms Mpumi Mabuza the general manager of stakeholder relations at Brand South Africa speaking to 702’s Early Breakfast host, Relebogile Mabotja, about the 2017 South African Premier Business Awards.Businesses are encouraged to enter before the closing date for entries on 13 October. Since its inception in 2013, the prestige of the awards has grown with 133 entries across the 10 categories.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
MONDAY 18 NOVEMBER 2019MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY WELCOMES NEWLY APPOINTED BRAND-SA BOARD OF TRUSTEESThe Minister in the Presidency, Mr Jackson Mthembu and Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Ms Thembi Siweya welcomed the newly appointed Board of Trustees of Brand South Africa as appointed by the President, in terms of the Trust Deed of the Brand South Africa Trust, at the Union Buildings today.The Board is appointed for a period of three years, effective from 13 November 2019 to lead and oversee the work of Brand SA in developing and implementing proactive and co-ordinated marketing, communication and reputation management strategies for South Africa.The Board consists of persons who, viewed collectively, possess knowledge and expertise in marketing, communications, tourism, investment promotion, research and development, law, risk management, finance, corporate governance, leadership, community development, business management, academics and reputation management. The newly appointed Board of Trustees are:1. Ms Thandi Tobias – Chairperson of the Board2. Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng – Deputy Chairperson3. Ms Loretta Jacobus;4. Prof Yiva Rodny-Gumede;5. Ms Rachel Kalidass;6. Ms Muditambi Ravele;7. Dr Stavros Nicolaou;8. Mr Mlungisi Johnson;9. Mr Bushang Modipane;10. Mr Johannes Sebulela;11. Ms Tebogo Mamorobela;12. Ms Sisanda Bukeka Nkoala; and13. Mr Andrew Madella.In welcoming the Board, Minister Mthembu reaffirmed the confidence Government has in the collective skills, wisdom and experience of the Board of Trustees in repositioning our National Brand for local and foreign direct investment, tourism and trade in order to achieve greater global competitiveness.The Minister also emphasized the need for ethical leadership. “Brand South Africa should be exemplary in applying the principles of good corporate governance. It should be a shining example in this regard. It is with that example, that Brand SA “#ThumaMina” programmes like “Play Your Part” will bring confidence back into the brand South Africa” he said.The Minister further stated that the Board needs to focus on bringing about stability at the entity, chief among which is dealing with leadership and management challenges, fill vacancies, an urgent need to address staff morale in order to bring stability in the organisation. “More focus is needed in improving corporate governance, compliance with the relevant laws and ensuring that the financial results improve. We need to be exemplary and achieve a clean audit”, he added.Media enquiries: Nonceba Mhlauli, Spokesperson to the Minister in the Presidency on 0726233462/ [email protected] by: The Minister in the Presidency
• Kate Bapela Spokesperson Independent Electoral Commision +27 12 622 5700 [email protected] • Frequently asked questions about voting in the 2014 elections • Elections 2014: A guide to all registered parties • South Africa’s 2014 elections – a resource pack • Elections 2014: All you need to know • National order for ‘Free Mandela’ songwriter Jerry DammersSulaiman PhilipThere are armies on the loose in South Africa; legions of dedicated, earnest citizens, young and not so young wearing out shoe leather, and making endless pots of tea and mountains of sandwiches as they go door to door explaining the finer points of their party manifestos. Their t-shirts, the colours of the rainbow, identify their political allegiances.These are the election volunteers, the men and women who believe that democracy involves more than having the right to vote. They are the beating heart of democracy, and they are, as Ivan Scheier, a US pioneer of political volunteer management, said, “Doing more than you have to because you want to, in a cause you consider good.” For these South Africans, volunteering is not a choice; it’s a responsibility, which gives them a voice to shape and mould a democratic South Africa they can be proud of. It’s impossible to say exactly how many election volunteers there are. They are however all participating fully in building a democratic culture in South Africa. Meet the election volunteers “I will continue to vote and specifically vote for the ANC to ensure that it takes South Africa Forward.” Siphile Buthelezi (Image: Siphile Buthelezi) Siphile Buthelezi is one of the many good stories South Africa can tell. The son of a domestic worker and builder, the one-time taxi driver is now a lawyer, and an African National Congress (ANC) election volunteer; he likens himself to a foot soldier.“The ANC created an environment conducive for a black child like me to prosper. My family were beneficiaries of a government housing subsidy, running water, sanitation, electricity; and I was able to study thanks to a National Student Aid Fund Scheme bursary. Volunteering is my way of ensuring that the sacrifices of leaders like Chris Hani and Solomon Mahlangu and Nelson Mandela were not in vain.” For Buthelezi this means telling the good news story of South Africa over the past 20 years. He is committed to seeing the ANC retain control to build on the gains of the past 20 years. His duty, as he sees it, is to explain the path the government has set the country on and why it is important not to stray from it. “As a volunteer I get to deliver the good news about the ANC. Most SA voters don’t necessarily read party manifestos in detail, which makes it very important to have volunteers to verbally explain what the ANC is all about, what the ANC has done and plans to do in future. They are the only progressive force of change; SA voters love the ANC and still want to be governed by the ANC despite its shortcomings.” “AgangSA volunteers spread the good news of change that the party can bring to the nation.” Monica Brown(Image: Monica Brown) Monica Brown, an AgangSA volunteer in the Western Cape, who voted for the first time in 2009, says she “voted for COPE then because their promises were appealing and I felt my vote did not matter to the ANC or the DA”.Like all volunteers she understands that freedom and democracy allow her to live peacefully alongside neighbours who have made different choices. Brown has volunteered for two parties in her short political career; the one constant she has found is that voting is not taken seriously by South Africans. “We need to begin voter education at school level. South Africans can quickly take to the streets and protest, but they do not even register to vote. The fact voter education is a priority for AgangSA is one of the reasons the party appeals to me.” “I want to have an answer when my children ask ‘dad what did you do to secure our future?.” Raleigh Ellis (Image: Raleigh Ellis)For some volunteers the unpaid work they do is about building a sense of identity as South Africans. Raleigh Ellis, a Democratic Alliance (DA) volunteer in Hartebeespoort, in Gauteng province, voted in the 1992 referendum when eligible white voters were asked to decide the future of apartheid, but not again until 2011. “In my father’s house politics was not allowed to be discussed or tolerated. In 2011 I looked at my children and realised that I had to become involved or they would struggle in the future. I did not want to be faced with the question, ‘Dad what did you do to secure our future?’ Yes my opinion of voting has changed; it is part of your risk analysis when planning your family’s future.”Business-minded Ellis says South African voters do not understand that a strong economy and the freedoms of democracy are inextricably linked. He believes that voters need to see themselves as paying customers – their votes their currency – who should treat the government as a company that needs to react to their needs. “Political promises have financial implications; voters become gatvol [fed up] because government is unable to keep their promises. There are even some black DA supporters who are saying that things were better under apartheid – at least they had work. South Africans are still learning about their power in a democracy – as a volunteer I get to help them understand that the government they have is a result of the choices they make.”The established parties can afford slicker campaigns with paid staff, but smaller, newer parties have been able to build strong localised grassroots campaigns. In the Western Cape, especially in Cape Town, the Patriotic Alliance has made strong inroads in part because it has built its presence through on-the-ground volunteers. In her Western Cape Mitchells Plain home Elizabeth Prinsloo woke from a dream filled with an unshakeable belief that her God wanted to use her to spread His message in politics. She has found a new political home in the Patriotic Alliance, whose posters proclaim the Damascus conversion of their founder, former bank robber, Gayton Mckenzie. She says, “The Lord will get that man into parliament. I can’t say that the ANC or the DA did nothing for us, but we need a coloured man in parliament to speak for us.” Prinsloo burns with the anger of a woman who expected her life to change, but has seen her community stagnate. Volunteering has given her an avenue to remake her community as she imagined it at the dawn of democracy. “My grandchild has a matric but she is sitting at home; we have gangsters as role models for our unemployed children. My neighbours have tried all the other parties – it’s time for us to give someone else a chance,” says the pensioner who has signed up 1 000 new voters by her own count. “I volunteer not for myself but for the world I leave behind for my children and their children.” Elizabeth Prinsloo (Image: Sulaiman Philip)Keeping an ear to the ground through election volunteersThe popular US phrase, “all politics is local”, is especially true of South African politics. Faced with inherited problems that need to be solved while rebuilding a society, it sometimes seems to local communities that their government has forgotten them and their problems. Volunteers give parties an ear on the ground that allows them to find local solutions to local problems. All the parties contesting this election, the big and the small, know that winning or losing hangs as much on their “ground game” as it does on their message. For them it means giving their volunteers the right data for when they knock on doors and canvas their neighbours.In his book Dreams of my Father President Barack Obama narrates his experiences as a volunteer working in the poorer sections of Chicago’s South Side, where talking to people on different sides of the political and economic spectrum shaped his world view and sharpened his ability to look at issues from different perspectives. AgangSA volunteer Brown agrees that volunteering is the best classroom to learn first-hand the problems facing a community. “Your vote is your voice” she says, before adding, “In my short life volunteering is the most fulfilling thing I have done. I have developed skills I did not have and earned a renewed respect for myself. Today I am able to help my communities in a better, more effective way.” There needs to be a fundamental shift in the way that voters think about elections and how it affects their lives, says Ellis. In his experience he finds that voters don’t see the connection between a vote and how it can change their economic future. “Voters need to be more involved in shaping the plans of political parties and changing the fortunes of this country. As volunteers it is our responsibility to drive home this simple message.” Volunteering is an expensive exercise for political parties. It is inefficient, time-consuming and exhausting. But, and this is true especially in the final weeks of a campaign, it is better than any other tactic for reaching people and getting the message out. Get Out The Vote: How to Increase Voter Turnout is the bible of voter mobilisation. Written by Donald Green and Alan Gerber, political scientists at Yale University, they found that door-to-door canvassing remains the most effective tool for political parties. It produces, on average, one vote for every 14 home visits; personal phone calls and text messages are the next best, winning a vote with every 38 people contacted.And, as one anonymous wit once put it, “Don’t knock volunteers. Noah’s Ark was built by volunteers; the Titanic, by professionals.”
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Soybean herbicide systems have evolved back to a fairly high level of complexity to deal with the herbicide resistance we have in various broadleaf weeds. By the time we use a comprehensive mix of burndown and residual herbicides, we tend to be coming back with postemergence herbicides primarily for marestail, ragweeds, and waterhemp (and grasses). Postemergence tools available for control of these broadleaf weeds vary with the type of soybean trait being used, but can include glyphosate, PPO inhibitors (fomesafen, Cobra), glufosinate, dicamba, and soon 2,4-D choline. ALS inhibitors have become somewhat irrelevant on these weeds due to widespread ALS resistance, although they may have activity on some ragweed populations still sensitive to ALS inhibitors. Resistance to various sites of action can further limit the number of options.The following generalizations about resistance seem appropriate at this time:• Marestail — almost all populations are resistant to glyphosate and ALS inhibitors• Common ragweed — populations in some areas/fields are resistant to glyphosate and ALS inhibitors, and in some cases also PPO inhibitors. Other populations still largely respond to all of these herbicides• Giant ragweed — most populations have lost sensitivity to glyphosate and some are resistant. Many populations also resistant to ALS inhibitors, especially if they have glyphosate resistance. No confirmed PPO resistance yet.• Waterhemp — all populations are resistant to ALS inhibitors, most are resistant to glyphosate, some are resistant to PPO inhibitors also. Resistance is more widespread in areas/fields with longest history of waterhemp problems.In soybeans, we assume that regardless of the residual herbicides used at planting, giant ragweed and waterhemp will require postemergence herbicides. The same can be said for common ragweed that has resistance to ALS inhibitors — flumioxazin can provide some residual control of these populations but not to the point that postemergence herbicides are unneeded.Marestail is the one weed in this group that can often be adequately controlled with residual herbicides (assuming an effective burndown). Residual control of marestail is essential in RoundupReady and non-GMO soybeans, since there are no postemergence options. Residual control is also vital in Xtend soybeans, if the goal is to use dicamba only in burndown programs, avoiding postemergence use.Off-target movement of dicamba, which was widespread in 2017, has much greater potential to cause problems from postemergence application. University weed scientists are fairly united in their opinion that dicamba use would be better restricted to early season, in burndown programs. The other three weeds mentioned here do not necessarily require postemergence dicamba use, since glyphosate/PPO inhibitor combinations can still be effective. However, failure to use an appropriate residual program in Xtend soybeans can result in mid-season marestail escapes, driving a need for postemergence dicamba.We have been making the same residual herbicide herbicide recommendations on marestail for several years, and they are based on the following:• The ALS resistance means that the chlorimuron, cloransulam, or imazethapyr that is in many residual premixes provides no residual control.• The only other active ingredients with residual activity are metribuzin, flumioxazin, and sulfentrazone. Higher rates of Sharpen provide some residual. Dicamba and the 1-ounce rate of Sharpen provide negligiable residual which is short-lived.• The residual activity from any one of these actives varies from year to year and field to field in our research, resulting in inconsistent control. Control with metribuzin has been rate dependent — increasing with rate from 6 to 12 ounces of 75 DF.• Mixtures of two active ingredients provide more consistently effective control, which is the basis of our recommendation to add 6 to 8 ounces of metribuzin 75 DF to products that contain flumioxazin or sulfentrazone. It’s also possible to improve control by using 1.5 to 2 ounces of Sharpen with metribuzin, but this requires a 15- to 30-day wait to plant.Based on this we can put premixes roughly into one of three categories with regard to residual marestail control: most consistently effective (two actives), variable (one active); and no control. This information can also be gleaned from the marestail ratings in the herbicide efficacy tables in the “2018 Weed Control Guide for Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.” We can’t keep track of all generic equivalents so there are more trade names available for certain premixes than are listed here. Keep in kind that just because a premix contains the right components for maximum marestail residual does not mean it has the right ones for ragweeds. Most consistent residual (two actives), higher labeled rates required in some casesPanther Pro, Trivence, Authority MTZ, Ransom Variable residual (one active)Afforia, Authority First/Sonic, Authority MAXX/XL, Authority Assist, Zone, Broadaxe XC, Envive/Enlite, Fierce, Fierce XLT, Latir/Militia, Surveil, Valor XLT Variable residual sub-category — more metribuzin is needed depending upon product rateCloak DF, Canopy Blend, Matador, Intimidator, Boundary/Ledger/Tailwind No or little residualAnthem MAXX, Prefix/Vise/Statement, Pummel, Torment, Warrant Ultra, Zidua PRO Deficiences in residual on marestail for individual premixes can be compensated for by the strategies outlined above. For example, Zidua PRO has almost no residual activity on marestail, but is often applied with metribuzin. In this and any other case where metribuzin is carrying the full load, rates of 10 to 12 ounces 75DF will be more effective than 6 to 8 ounces. Some products contain metribuzin, but require additional amounts to reach a total metribuzin rate that has a chance to provide enough residual. Example: 4 ounces of Canopy Blend contains the equivalent of 2.7 ounces of metribuzin 75 DF, so our recommendation would to add about another 4 to 8 ounces of metribuzin 75DF, depending upon soil type.
Do Wood-Burning Power Plants Make Sense? NRDC: Burning Trees to Make Electricity is an ‘Environmental Disaster’Blows Against Two Carbon Reduction StrategiesHeating With Wood Pellets Update on a Wood Chip CHP Plant for BrattleboroShould Green Homes Burn Wood? Trying to head off a construction boomSchlossberg says that he and organizations he works with don’t have a position on wood heat and biomass CHP. So far, they’re focusing on biomass power plants, and trying to head off what threatens in parts of the country to become a construction boom for them. At the very least, Schlossberg says, he’d like those plants to try to stand on their own without taxpayer funding.Do you have an answer — how green is biomass energy, on a scale from 1 to 10? I know it’s tempting to throw up one’s hands and spout coprolalia, but stick with me for future columns as I explore other uses of biomass to meet our energy needs.Tristan Roberts is Editorial Director at BuildingGreen, Inc., in Brattleboro, Vermont, which publishes information on green building solutions. Read more Energy Solutions columns, including columns by Alex Wilson, for whom Tristan is filling in, on the Energy Solutions homepage. You can also keep up with Alex’s adventures on sabbatical at ATWilson.com. “On a scale from 1 to 10, how nice are you?”My nine-year-old neighbor put that question to me recently. He had been asked the question as part of an anti-bullying curriculum at his school, and he was trying it out on other people. I wasn’t sure how to answer it, and neither was he — “niceness” just doesn’t fit on a 10-point scale, in my mind. It did get us to talk a bit about what is nice and what isn’t, though, and he noted that there was less “meanness” at his school following use of the curriculum. Maximizing efficient use of a (very) limited resourceA discussion of biomass wouldn’t be complete without carbon. Biomass proponents say that it is carbon-neutral: for every tree burned at McNeil and similar plants, another tree replaces it in the forest. While that may be true, climate change is an urgent issue today, and it will take decades for that new tree to grow and absorb carbon. Schlossberg, also notes that “Burning stuff is what has gotten us into the climate change problem to begin with.”Given that our woody biomass is a limited resource, thermal electric stations like McNeil have a serious limitation: efficiency. Any power plant that extracts only electricity from a fuel source will typically be about 33 percent efficient. BED doesn’t publish efficiency figures, but according to Schlossberg, McNeil’s efficiency when burning biomass may be as low as 20 percent. The rest of the heat energy in the fuel is wasted as heat. Removing all that waste heat is the job of cooling towers using water.Heating with firewood in a modern, efficient wood stove gives an efficiency of about 80 percent. That doesn’t help us with our lightbulbs and dishwashers, though. However, there has recently been a push for new cogeneration plants from biomass: combined-heat-and-power (CHP) plants that generate electricity and then use the waste heat to heat and cool homes and businesses in the area. These plants can run at an overall efficiency of 70 percent or better. Both wood heat and biomass-fueled CHP produce air pollution, so public health concerns remain, however. Where there’s fire, there’s smokeThose emissions include everything from dioxin, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, chlorine, heavy metals, and particulate matter (PM) 2.5. “PM2.5” is particulate matter 2.5 micrometers in diameter — so small it can’t be seen, and so tiny that it can lodge deep in the lungs, bloodstream, and internal organs. American Cancer Society studies demonstrate there is no safe level of exposure, says Schlossberg.BED accurately characterizes McNeil emissions as being below regulatory thresholds, but the plant is still burning wood. Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and vice versa — and BED can’t possibly keep all the smoke from entering the air and ultimately the lungs of residents.Schlossberg is also concerned about the wood supply demanded by McNeil and other similar biomass facilities, either built or proposed. When McNeil is running at full load, it consumes 76 tons of whole-tree chips per hour, according to BED, or the equivalent of 30 cords of firewood. It uses 400,000 tons of chips per year, the energy equivalent of 800,000 barrels of oil. Wood use competes with other marketsAlthough BED says that McNeil uses low-quality trees as fuel, Schlossberg says that its use is competing with other possible outcomes for those trees: pulpwood (for paper), firewood, and leaving them in the forest. While the market determines where the trees end up, Schlossberg worries that the demand for electricity puts a strain on the forest and increases prices for other commodities, especially home heating wood.How much woody biomass is available for burning? According to BED’s website, Northern Vermont could conservatively produce about one million tons of wood chips per year — enough to power two McNeil plants. While that indicates that there is some excess capacity in the woody biomass market, it doesn’t sound to me like an unlimited capacity. There are numerous biomass plants proposed for New England, and Northern Vermont could only handle one more.Schlossberg quotes Department of Energy (DOE) statistics saying that biomass provides 0.9 percent of electrical needs nationwide. That’s a respectable showing, but it reveals that we would need a lot more biomass to make a dent in our oil, gas, and coal consumption (DOE, in its latest forecast, sees biomass electricity tripling by 2035). To this point, he dug up an interesting statistic from Harper’s magazine: if we cut down every tree in the U.S., it would meet our energy needs for one year. We don’t know what Harper’s assumed in getting that number, but it’s impressive all the same, in the devastation that would be caused for just one year of energy. According to the Burlington Electric Department (BED) website, “BED conducted studies to find a fuel source that would be locally available, reliable, cost-effective, non-polluting and publicly acceptable. Wood scored high on all counts. Using wood fuel as a generation source would put money back into the Vermont economy, improve the condition of our forests and provide jobs for Vermonters.” A different take on the same storyThat is the story told by McNeil’s owners, and it’s a pretty good one. For a different reading of this story, I talked with Josh Schlossberg, the communications coordinator for something called the Biomass Accountability Project (see the Partnership for Policy Integrity website for more info). I had heard a few months ago that Josh was very critical of biomass power and in part because he’s an old acquaintance who I know is a committed environmentalist, I wanted to learn more.“Biomass power should be in a different category than zero-waste, zero-emissions sources like solar and wind,” says Schlossberg, even though he acknowledges that each of those has environmental impacts.Topping Schlossberg’s list of concerns is public health. McNeil is 400 feet from a residential area of Burlington’s Old North End. Schlossberg quotes the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Emissions Inventory Database as revealing 75 different air pollutants coming from McNeil’s smokestack. Fueled by low-quality trees and harvest residuesIn 1978, Burlington voters approved a bond authorizing construction, with 71 percent of voters in support. The plant, which began operating in 1984, has a net electrical output of 50 megawatts. (For comparison, Vermont’s nuclear plant, Vermont Yankee, puts out 650 megawatts.) That is nearly enough electricity for Burlington, Vermont’s largest city. In 1989, McNeil was altered to also burn natural gas. According to BED, that allows it to be online more often, thus operating more economically.Burning wood produces emissions, but BED says that they’re well controlled. Stack devices keep particulate emissions to one-tenth of State limits and one one-hundredth of federal limits. Like other power plants, McNeil uses water for cooling. It draws that water from four wells located near the plant, and releases clean, used water into the Winooski River. Wood ash produced at McNeil is used as a soil amendment.McNeil’s wood comes from various regional sources. Seventy percent is “whole-tree chips” that according to BED, come from “low-quality trees and harvest residues.” Those include poorly formed trees that don’t have potential to be manufactured into useful products, and tree tops. Those chips are supplemented by sawdust, chips, and bark from local sawmills. McNeil even has a drop-off location for local residents for their wood and yard waste — everything from unpainted lumber waste to trees and limbs. How green is biomass energy?“On a scale from 1 to 10, how green is energy from biomass?”What would you say?Burning biomass for electrical production is, on its surface, attractive. Take the McNeil Generating Station in Burlington, Vermont, as an example. In the 1970s, the Burlington Electric Department (BED) was looking for additional power sources to meet rising demand for electricity. This was the era of the First Energy Crisis, and Three Mile Island. Oil and nuclear weren’t looking so good. RELATED ARTICLES
4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App The PlayStation 4 made a dramatic entrance Monday at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) — and Sony had way more tricks up its sleeve than anyone could have anticipated. With Nintendo rendered mostly irrelevant, it’s a two-party fight between gaming consoles these days.(See also: The Road Home: Rebirth Of A Sony PlayStation Fangirl)So how does Sony’s successor to the PlayStation 3 stack up against Microsoft’s Xbox One? Here are the raw specs, with some further thoughts below. 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… Tags:#entertainment#gaming#Microsoft#play#PlayStation 4#Sony#Xbox PlayStation 4: The New Gamer’s ConsoleWhen it comes to the next generation of gaming hardware, Sony didn’t show its cards quite as quick as its rival, instead calculating a pitch-perfect rebuttal to Microsoft at E3. Playing to each and every one of the Xbox One’s high-profile weaknesses, the PS4 is exactly everything that the other console isn’t.If you’re a gamer at heart, the new PS4 has your needs in mind. In a departure from a controversial new precedent set by Microsoft, Sony will not enforce DRM on the PS4. That means not only does the PS4 support extended offline use (the Xbox One needs to phone home once every 24 hours), but used and shared games get the greenlight too, just like they always have.The PS4 will offer specs very much on par with its rival and may even have a slight edge when it comes to graphics, but that will become clearer at launch. Still, gamers interested in motion-based controls will have to purchase Sony’s own Kinect-like PlayStation Eye separately for $59. Notably, Sony’s PS4 will be priced at $399 — a full $100 less than the Xbox One.Xbox One: A Casual Crowd-Pleaser… For A Price Related Posts If Sony has built an excellent gaming console, Microsoft is effectively positioning itself to sell an all-in-one entertainment central command system. With the launch of the Kinect back in 2010, Microsoft made a savvy move to capture the hearts and homes of not just gamers, but the whole family. Motion-controlled Kinect games were fun and interactive, not the stuff of the hardcore gaming set. With its family-friendly (and eminently hackable) new accessory, the Xbox 360 suddenly took a big bite out of Nintendo’s piece of the pie.Now, Microsoft will bundle each Xbox One with a Kinect — a telling sign that Redmond is intent on wooing the mainstream. The Xbox One puts a big emphasis on non-gaming entertainment, with baked-in support for live TV, big broadcast events and sports. All of this comes at a cost, of course, and the new console will sell for $499 — a considerable jump from the last generation.The Xbox One will require a periodic connection to the Internet so that Microsoft can be sure that you own all of the content you’re playing. Beyond DRM issues, the Xbox One won’t offer backwards compatibility, meaning that gamers’ existing Xbox game collections will be relegated to the shelf.An Epic ShowdownWith the Xbox One, Microsoft may have thrown out the baby with the bathwater. While its robust set of exclusive titles (Halo, Gears of War, Fable, etc.) will still be a lure for its core gamer demographic, Sony’s PlayStation hits all of the gamer-friendly notes than Microsoft seems to have stopped caring about.Still, with its mainstream entertainment features, Microsoft may not need gamers to sell its console any more. Meanwhile Sony has fashioned itself into a pied piper of sorts — and the lure of its affordable, DRM-free PlayStation 4 may prove irresistable for serious gamers.Lead image via Flickr user CesarCardoso, CC 2.0. Console images via Sony and Microsoft 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout taylor hatmaker 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…
Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now In the original Conan the Barbarian movie, the young Conan and his peers are captured and forced to turn a giant wheel called the Wheel of Pain, for reasons that are not apparent. Over time, all of young Conan’s peers die, and he is left to turn the giant wheel alone. Because he is forced to exert the effort to turn the wheel, he is transformed in the big, strong Conan that becomes a warrior.Without exertion, you don’t grow. Without having to push against real resistance, you do not grow. Without an obstacle, there is no need to reach deep down and discover what you are truly capable of.You have to push against your desire for comfort. You have to push against the tendency to procrastinate, putting off what needs to be done now and seek escapism and distraction instead.You must push back against your propensity to make excuses, to doubt yourself, and to allow your fears to prevent you from acting, all of which may be as heavy as the Wheel of Pain.You cannot leave the task you would rather avoid undone. If you are going to grow and develop, you have to act swiftly and without hesitation, doing what needs to be done until it no longer holds any power over you. The same is true for the difficult conversations about the tricky topics you hope you never have to address, which you need to treat like a bandaid you pull off quickly and violently to avoid dragging out the discomfort.Anything worth having is not gained without struggle, without effort, without exertion, or without some form of sacrifice. The more you have to push against the resistance, the more you value what you attain and what you become. The more valuable, the more you have to push.Adversity is a gift, even if you don’t recognize its value until some time later.