Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Hope Blogging

Florida's tomato pickers have won an important battle:

Fair trade is finally coming to the tomato fields of Florida, where farmworkers have won a remarkable victory in a 15-year struggle for better pay and working conditions. Last month, they struck a deal with growers to raise workers’ pay and to create an industry code of conduct, a health and safety program and a system to resolve worker complaints.
An Amazon tribe has created an indigenous forest carbon fund:
“Indigenous peoples have an outstanding track record in terms of forest stewardship, as has been demonstrated time and again by studies of conservation and deforestation rates, but they generally have less experience with managing the sorts of finance and investments that carbon market transactions entail,” says Jacob Olander, who is providing technical support as head of the Katoomba Incubator, a project of environmental non-profit Forest Trends (publisher of Ecosystem Marketplace). The incubator is designed to help local groups around the world develop expertise in payments for ecosystem services (PES), which are schemes designed to reward good land stewardship by recognizing the economic value of nature’s services.
A Canadian federal judge has ruled "that the Canadian government cannot rely on voluntary protocols and guidelines to protect orca critical habitat."
The judge brought acoustics into his decision by stressing that critical habitat protections must include ecosystem features, including prey availability and and noise impacts.
Apropos of which, Canada's House of Commons has voted to ban oil supertankers from the coast of British Columbia:

British Columbia is now one step closer to having a full legislated ban on supertankers off its north and central coasts. The opposition is sending a clear message to the Conservatives to legislate a formal moratorium.

Today's ban could seriously impact Enbridge, who has plans to develop a $5.5 billion 1,170-kilometre pipeline to carry dirty tar sands bitumen to Kitimat, B.C., where it would be loaded onto supertankers bound for growing energy markets in Asia.

And a federal appeals court has ruled that California air regulators can impose fees on developers to maintain air quality:
A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the local air district's rule requiring developers to reduce emissions from new housing projects by building features like bicycle lanes and energy-efficient cooling systems. If they don't do enough to preserve air quality, they must pay fees that have averaged about $500 per house.

A species of albatross previously thought to be extinct is alive and well and living in Hawaii:
For the first time ever, the birds have been found nesting on two tiny islands in the U.S., in the northwestern Hawaiian island chain. One nest with a couple of eggs inside was found on the Kule atoll, accompanied by two female birds; the other, on Midway atoll, contained fresh eggs and was guarded by both a male and female albatross.

The vermilion darter has won habitat protections in Alabama:
In response to litigation brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today designated 13 miles of stream in the Turkey Creek watershed in Jefferson County, Alabama, as critical habitat for the endangered vermilion darter, a beautiful, brightly colored fish....

Alabama’s rivers contain more unique species than anywhere else in the country, hosting hundreds of endemic freshwater species, including fish, mussels, snails, crayfish and turtles. The state also ranks second in the nation in terms of the number of species that have been lost to extinction.
Mountain gorilla populations have increased in the Virunga massif region:
"The survey results provide us with an excellent demonstration of how strong law enforcement efforts put in place to safeguard flagship species can advance species conservation, benefit local communities, and provide important revenue to governments," David Greer, African Great Ape Coordinator with WWF said.

The census, conducted between March and April of this year, found 480 gorillas, whereas 7 years ago there were only 380. The only other population of mountain gorillas occurs in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southern Uganda, which is thought to number 302 individuals and 4 orphans, making a total of 786 wild mountain gorillas surviving.
An Israeli company is attempting to harvest energy from passing trains:

Piezoelectric technology generates energy from pressure and stress on certain surfaces, and we’ve seen it harvest electricity from roads and dance floors to power lights and signs. Recently Israeli company Innowattech unveiled a new use for this versatile energy tech – they’re planning to install piezoelectric pads throughout the country’s railways to generate electricity....

A prototype of the energy-generating system was installed last year by the Technion University and Israel Railways in order to show the benefits of the technology. The project discovered that a railway track with trafficked by 10 to 20 ten-car trains could produce as much as 120 kWh, which could be used to power infrastructural systems such as signs and lights. Any surplus energy would then be uploaded to the country’s power grid.

Sail-powered cargo ships seem to be making a comeback:
Initially intended to operate within European waters, particularly in the North Sea and Baltic, the ship will carry 9,000 tons of cargo--about one-tenth of typical modern container ships but roughly five times the capacity of typical sail-powered cargo vessels at the height of the age of sail in the nineteenth century.
A huge PV plant has opened in Nevada:
The plant is located 40 miles southeast of Las Vegas, in Boulder City and features more than 775,000 First Solar panels spread out over an area of 380 acres. The project was so large that it required 350 workers to fully install the units. The plant’s completion means that it has now broken the country’s previous record of the largest PV plant which was held by the 20-MW DeSoto PV plant in Arcadia, Florida.
The tobacco mosaic virus may increase the storage capacity of lithium batteries:

Scientists in the U.S. had already worked out how to coat the tiny rod-like cells of the virus with conductive materials. But the recent breakthrough has seen the nanorods incorporated into battery technology, with astonishingly beneficial results. The tobacco mosaic virus is a perfect candidate because it's the right size and shape to aid construction of battery electrodes, and it's self-replicating and self-assembling and can bind to metal.

Tierstimmen. An official global warming debunking tool. High-speed photos by Edward Horsford. A working Lego version of the Antikythera Mechanism. And a very small chameleon:

India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka movies, 1929-1947. Yokohama prints, 1859–1870s. CriticalPast (via The Bioscope). Related: The biggest girl. Cartoons from the Weekly Freeman. Tree windmills and automata. And photos by Elliot Erwitt:

Greasy Christmas. Exploding cameras. Sun Ra's 1971 Berkeley lectures. The ghost of subways past. Filling the Frame. Sunrise at the Spiral Jetty. And a 1969 photo essay on IBM computers.

And not only that, but also — in addition — here's a movie as well, too.

(Photo at top: "Seasons change and people change" by chomdee.)


Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear some good environmental news in Canada. Now if only our government would revive train travel and generate electricity thereby--that would be more good news.

Anonymous said...

now we are going to bury you,

And the lesson from all of this? DOUBLE!

What do you want, you little ****ers?

more of these idiots


pz myers does not exist…

atheists, we’re gonna cut off your heads…


chris said...

Lillian, maybe when Rob Ford becomes PM? :-P

Thanks, Phila. I've added tree windmills and no tech magazine to my green list. Cool stuff.

Phila said...

I think you've got the wrong site, Anon. Thanks for stopping in, though.

Marcellina said...

So glad to see this stuff every week. You provide something rare and precious to those of us who need a little balance. Thank you again.