Change (Peace, Love & Unity) is in the Air ... Time to GET IT !
You are ready for your Ascension? (Kryon Update: Apr 2014)

(Solar and Heliospheric Observatory - website /

Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“… 4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”

"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)
Google: Earthday 2013

Friday, April 25, 2014

Vermont passes bill to require warning labels for genetically modified foods

Governor Peter Shumlin says 'I am proud of Vermont being the first state to ensure Vermonters will know what is in their food', Associated Press in Montpelier, Vermont, Thursday 24 April 2014

The use of GM food has stirred concerns about the dominance of big agribusiness and the effect on the environment. Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Vermont lawmakers have passed the country's first state bill to require the labeling of genetically modified foods, underscoring a division between powerful lobbyists for the US food industry and an American public that overwhelmingly says it approves of the idea.

The Vermont House approved the measure Wednesday evening, about a week after the state Senate, and Governor Peter Shumlin said he plans to sign it. The requirements would take effect July 1, 2016, giving food producers time to comply.

Shumlin praised the vote. "I am proud of Vermont for being the first state in the nation to ensure that Vermonters will know what is in their food," he said in a statement.

Genetically modified organisms — often used in crop plants — have been changed at their genetic roots to be resistant to insects, germs or herbicides. The development in Vermont is important because it now puts the US on the map of governments taking a stance against a practice that has led to bountiful crops and food production but has stirred concerns about the dominance of big agribusiness and the potential for unforeseen effects on the natural environment. Some scientists and activists worry about potential effects on soil health and pollination of neighboring crops.

Twenty-nine other states have proposed bills this year and last to require genetically modified organism — or GMO — labeling, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Two other New England states have passed laws to require GMO labeling, but the legislation takes effect only when neighboring states also approve the requirement. They are Maine and Connecticut; neither neighbor Vermont.

The European Union already has restricted the regulation, labeling and sale of GMO foods. Several credible polls have found that Americans overwhelmingly favor the notion of labeling genetically modified foods. Organic farmers and others are praising Vermont's move, while the Washington, D.C.-based Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents food producers, called it a step in the wrong direction.

As farmers, Katie Spring and her husband are proud of how they grow their greens, carrots, potatoes, peppers and herbs and raise their chickens and pigs at their Worcester, Vermont, farm and are willing to answer questions from customers. As eaters, Spring feels like she and her customers have the right to know what's in their food, whether it's saturated fat or genetically modified organisms, which they don't use on their farm.

But the industry is opposed.

"It sets the nation on a costly and misguided path toward a 50-state patchwork of GMO labeling policies that will do nothing to advance the safety of consumers," the grocers' association said in a statement.

The association is disappointed that Vermont is going at it alone and had hoped for a regional approach. Trying to have 50 different state rules about what goes on food packaging "gets very costly, very confusing and very difficult for the entire food industry to comply with," said the association's president, Jim Harrison.

But others are praising Vermont as a leader, even though they expect the law to spark lawsuits. The bill includes a $1.5 million fund to be used to implement the law and provide legal defense against lawsuits expected to be brought by food and biotech industries.

"Every Vermonter has a right to know what is in their food," said Shap Smith, speaker of the Vermont House. "Genetically engineered foods potentially pose risks to human health and the environment. I am proud to be the first state in the nation to recognize that people deserve to know whether the food they consume is genetically modified or engineered."

But the federal Food and Drug Administration and an industry group known as BIO, for Biotechnology Industry Organization, say there's no material difference between food produced with genetic engineering.

The Vermont legislation says there is a lack of consensus among scientific studies on the safety of genetically modified foods, and no long-term epidemiological studies in the United States examining their effects. Genetically modified foods "potentially pose risks to health, safety, agriculture, and the environment," the legislation says.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association is urging policymakers to support federal legislation that would require a label on foods containing such ingredients if the FDA finds there is a health or safety risk. But many farmers see it as a David v Goliath victory.

"This vote is a reflection of years of work from a strong grassroots base of Vermonters who take their food and food sovereignty seriously and do not take kindly to corporate bullies," Will Allen, manager of Cedar Circle Farm in Thetford, said in a statement Wednesday after the House approved the bill.

Related Article:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Going solar with SunPower

Google Blog, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Just because Earth Day is over doesn’t mean we’re done doing good things for the planet. Yesterday we announced our biggest renewable energy purchase yet: an agreement with our Iowa utility partners to supply our data center facilities there with up to 407 megawatts of wind energy.

Today, we’re taking another step towards a clean energy future with a major new investment. Together with SunPower Corporation we’re creating a new $250 million fund to help finance the purchase of residential rooftop solar systems—making it easier for thousands of households across the U.S. to go solar. Essentially, this is how it works: Using the fund ($100 million from Google and $150 million from SunPower), we buy the solar panel systems. Then we lease them to homeowners at a cost that’s typically lower than their normal electricity bill. So by participating in this program, you don’t just help the environment—you can also save money.

A home sporting SunPower solar panels

SunPower delivers solar to residential, utility and commercial customers and also manufacturers its own solar cells and panels.They’re known for having high-quality, high reliability panels which can generate up to 50 percent more power per unit area, with guaranteed performance and lower degradation over time. That means that you can install fewer solar panels to get the same amount of energy. And SunPower both makes the panels and manages the installation, so the process is seamless.

This is our 16th renewable energy investment and our third residential rooftop solar investment (the others being with Solar City and Clean Power Finance). Overall we’ve invested more than $1 billion in 16 renewable energy projects around the world, and we’re always on the hunt for new opportunities to make more renewable energy available to more people—Earth Day and every day.

Posted by Rob Parker, Renewable energy team

Related Article:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Eight major UK renewable energy projects receive government backing

Five offshore windfarms and three biomass projects will provide millions of homes with clean power

Burbo Bank windfarm is one of the projects given backing under the
new deal Photograph: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

The UK government has agreed deals to financially support eight major new renewable energy projects that will power millions of homes.

Five of the schemes are offshore windfarms, which the Conservative party plans to back in its general election manifesto over cheaper but more controversial onshore wind power.

The projects will create 8,500 jobs and add 4.5GW of electricity capacity to the national grid, around 4% of the UK's generating capacity, or enough to power more than 3 million homes. The projects were worth up to £12bn in private sector investment, the government said.

The combined projects are expected to add 2% to an average household electricity bill by 2020, or £11 per household, but energy and climate secretary, Ed Davey, said the government's "whole package" on energy reforms would ultimately lower consumer energy bills.

Davey said: “These contracts for major renewable electricity projects mark a new stage in Britain’s green energy investment boom. By themselves they will bring green jobs and growth across the UK, but they are a significant part of our efforts to give Britain cleaner and more secure energy."

“These are the first investments from our reforms to build the world’s first low carbon electricity market – reforms which will see competition and markets attract tens of billions of pounds of vital energy investment whilst reducing the costs of clean energy to consumers."

The agreements are part of a transition to a new subsidy regime, with the old one being phased out in 2017. The deals agreed today are known as investment contracts and are an early form of the new "contracts for difference", which offer low-carbon generators a guaranteed price for their electricity. A similar contract for difference was agreed last year for the first nuclear power plant in the UK in decades, at Hinkley point in Somerset.

Industry welcomed the deals but said the UK needed more onshore windfarms, which the Tories are considering capping.

Maf Smith, deputy chief executive of trade body RenewableUK, said: "We’re pleased to see this vote in confidence for these five offshore wind projects, which will make an important contribution to keeping the lights on, and create much-needed growth in coastal areas."

"However, we need far more onshore and offshore wind projects over the next decade if we’re not to find our energy security threatened, and the UK further exposed to price shocks from imported fossil fuels, so it’s important that the contracts for difference regime works for all renewable energy projects, not just those that have secured early contracts."

The offshore wind projects include Dong Energy's 250MW Burbo Bank extension in Liverpool Bay, Statoil/Statkraft's 400MW Dudgeon off the coast of Norfolk, a consortium-backed 1.2GW windfarm off the coast of Yorkshire, Dong Energy's 660MW extension off the coast of Cumbria. 1.7m, and the 664MW Beatrice windfarm in the Outer Moray Firth in Scotland.

Three biomass projects have also been given the green light, including a conversion of one part of Britain's biggest coal power plant, Drax in North Yorkshire, plus Lynemouth Power Station in Northumberland and MGT's Teesside plan at Middlesborough.

A contract for a second unit at Drax was turned down, however, leading its owner on Wednesday to announce legal proceedings against the government.

Dorothy Thompson, chief executive of Drax, said: "Whilst we are pleased to have been offered an investment contract for our third unit conversion, we are disappointed by today’s decision on the ineligibility of our second unit. Sustainable biomass provides a very reliable, flexible and cost effective renewable power source for the UK consumer."

Drax's AGM in London was met by anti-biomass protesters on Wednesday, with three campaigners being removed from the meeting after unfurling a banner.

Oliver Munnion, a campaigner at the group Biofuelwatch, said: “Drax’s conversion actually allows it to burn more coal long into the future. Even after the conversion they’ll be burning some 3.7 million tonnes of coal every year from opencast mines in the UK and imported from places like Colombia, where communities have been forced off their land for expanding mines. Biomass isn't about renewable energy, it's about keeping old, polluting power stations running, when they should be closing down.”

Davey took a shot at the previous Labour government's record on renewable energy, saying: "Record levels of energy investment are at the forefront of the government’s infrastructure programme and are filling the massive gap we inherited. It’s practical reforms like these that will keep the lights on and tackle climate change, by giving investors more certainty.”

He also said the contracts announced today were part of the government's package of measures that would lead to lower household energy bills.

Davey told the Today programme: "You've got, for example, energy efficiency, product standards, which are all reducing the amounts of energy that people need and therefore cutting their bills. If you see something in isolation, yes, you can say 'well, that's putting up costs a bit' but actually, if you take the whole package, not only are we reducing people's bills overall but we're getting the secure, clean energy that we need to make sure our consumers and our businesses get the energy they need."

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at comparison website, said: “While delivering secure, clean energy is an important part of the government's energy market reforms, it is imperative that affordability and keeping household costs to a minimum remain at the heart of its policy. Although 2% over the next six years may not sound like a significant increase, with the average household energy bill now at an eye-watering £1,265 a year many consumers will be left feeling concerned by this announcement."

Green groups welcomed the agreements but called on the government to do more on renewable energy and offer greater clarity to the industry.

Alasdair Cameron, energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: "The government must prioritise cutting energy waste and further increasing renewable power, and abandon its reckless pursuit of fracking – which is dirty, unpopular and will not deliver for years."

Jimmy Aldridge, energy campaigner at Greenpeace, welcomed the commitment but said: "If ministers are serious about shaking off our chronic addiction to volatile, dangerous fossil fuels, they should drop their good cop, bad cop routine on clean energy and get on with the job of making Britain's energy cleaner and safer."

The government also said on Wednesday that more than £30bn had been invested in renewable electricity generation since 2010, creating thousands of jobs. Last week, the third part in a trilogy of reports from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that a switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources would not "cost the world" financially.

An Earth Day treat: lots of renewable energy for our Iowa data center :Google

Wildlife at the data center
We’ve been talking to MidAmerican Energy, our energy supplier in Iowa, about renewable energy since we started building our Iowa data center in 2007. Just in time for Earth Day, we now have a freshly inked agreement with MidAmerican Energy to supply our Iowa data center facilities with up to 407 MW of 100% renewable wind energy, as tracked by renewable energy certificates. This agreement will not only cover our current facilities but will allow for future expansion supplied by renewable energy as well.

This is our seventh and largest renewable energy commitment to date, bringing the total amount of renewable energy we’ve contracted for to over one gigawatt (1,000 megawatts).

We’ve entered into a few different kinds of agreements over the years - sometimes signing power purchase agreements (PPAs) with wind farm developers and sometimes working with our local utility partners. This agreement is similar to our 2012 agreement with our Oklahoma utility, the Grand River Dam Authority. In this case, MidAmerican Energy will sell energy to our Iowa data center bundled with and tracked by renewable energy certificates generated by projects that are part of its Wind VIII program.

PPAs and agreements like this one are a big part of the commitment to carbon neutrality we made back in 2007, and we’re working to make this whole process easier for other companies by advocating for renewable energy tariffs. Depending on the circumstances, any of these approaches can make sense, and we’re always on the hunt for new and creative ways to power our operations with renewable energy. But it’s not just our own operations we want to green: Google has also invested over $1B in 15 renewable energy investments around the world in an effort to put more renewable energy on the grid and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

We’ll continue working with MidAmerican Energy and all of our utility partners to find diverse ways to deliver clean, renewable energy to our data centers. Happy Earth Day!

Posted by Neha Palmer and Sam Arons, Wind Ninjas

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ornamental plants loaded with pesticides, including illegal ones, Tuesday 22 April 2014

Pesticides and Bee mortality. (
Ornamental plants sold in Dutch garden centres are often so full of pesticides they are extremely dangerous to bees, according to research by environmental organisation Greenpeace.

Illegal pesticides were found in over half the plants and shrubs tested by scientists, some of which have been banned for over eight years because of the danger to health.

Greenpeace bought 69 plants, bulbs and shrubs covering 31 different varieties at the biggest Dutch garden centres: Intratuin, Groenrijk and Boerenbond/Welkoop. The focus was on garden plants which are attractive to bees.

The plants were tested at a specialised laboratory and all but one was found to contain poisonous substances. In total, scientists found an average of seven different pesticides a plant. And 38 of the 69 plants had the residues of pesticides which have been banned.


Research has shown that pesticides are one of the reasons for the decline in the global bee population.

‘Some of the plants we tested were sold at garden centres as being bee friendly,’ Greenpeace spokesman Kees Kodde said in a statement.

‘But the poison used on these plants spreads out in nature and in the water supply and kills bees and other insects. This can only be stopped if growers stop using these pesticides, the government bans them and enforces that ban.’

Related Articles:

Question: Dear Kryon: I would appreciate a perspective on the following: There seems to be two opposed schools of thought with respect to pesticides and their use. One group categorically states that they are very dangerous and that they are responsible for causing cancers etc... (there's a very long list!!) The other group naturally claims that they are perfectly safe with today's technological advances etc. 

Answer: The chemicals you are using today are dangerous to your health. The more they are used, the more it will be seen over time. We have indicated before that there are far better natural scientific solutions to protecting your crops. Use biology to balance biology. It is non-toxic and simply an alteration of what already exists.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Fears grow over safety of North Korean reactor

Deutsche Welle, 21 April 2014

Shut-down of the reactor at Yongbyon indicates that Pyongyang is having trouble cooling the plutonium production plant and that a failure in the cooling system could trigger 'the release of radioactivity.'

Atomic energy experts are expressing concern over the problems that North Korea appears to be experiencing at its Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, which has been reportedly shut down earlier this year when the supply of cooling water from a nearby river was halted.

Analysis of satellite images by the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, released on the 38 North website, suggest that extensive rainfall and flooding in July 2013 dramatically altered the course of the Kuryong River away from the facility and may have filled collection cisterns and ponds with sand or river silt, as well as destroying pipes to deliver the cooling water to the reactor.

Images show that steam was released from the turbine building in February, suggesting that the turbines had been halted down ahead of the reactor shutdown, while snow had collected on the normally warm roof of the reactor building.

North Korean engineers were quickly called in to carry out excavations and the construction of a new dam, the institute confirmed, but the repairs appear to be insubstantial.

Short-term fixes

"Despite these short-term fixes, the danger posed by an unreliable supply of water for the Yongbyon reactors remains, particularly since the channels and dam constructed are made from sand and could be washed away by future floods," the US-Korea Institute warned. In the event that the secondary cooling system for the five megawatt reactor was to fail, it added, the result would be a fire in the graphite core and the release of radioactivity into the surrounding environment.

There has been no reaction from Pyongyang
to the international concerns
Even a minor accident could cause a leak, given North Korea's lack of experience in dealing with such problems, while an incident involving the experimental light-water reactor that is presently under construction would be potentially far more dangerous.

"Pyongyang has no such experience operating the new facility, the first indigenously built reactor of its kind in North Korea," the institute pointed out. "The rapid loss of water used to cool the reactor would result in a serious safety problem."

There has been no reaction from the North Korean government to the analysis, although the concerns that are raised ring true to those monitoring the regime and its activities.

"I have talked to officials and experts from other countries who have been to Yongbyon and they told me they were just nervous to be there," Daniel Pinkston, a North Korea analyst with The International Crisis Group in Seoul, told DW.

Little attention to safety

"North Korea is not famous for its labor standards or its attention to safety, and it is all pretty shoddy," Pinkston said. "And once it has been built, the same sort of technology conflicts will be in play, with safety standards at Yongbyon unlikely to be anywhere near as stringent as they would be in the rest of the world."

And if a disaster such as that which struck Japan's Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in March 2011 can happen in a heavily regulated and closely monitored atomic energy sector, it is hard to imagine the potential impact of an accident at Yongbyon, he added.

"This is absolutely cause for concern," Pinkston added. "Made worse by the fact that there is no monitoring by the [International Atomic Energy Agency], no international assistance to the nuclear sector, no transparency in what they are doing there, no oversight and very little likelihood they are operating according to international safety standards."

Developments at the site are being monitored by the South Korean authorities, which would be the neighboring country that would bear the brunt of any leak of radioactivity.

In her speech to the recent Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, South Korean President Park Guen-hye stated that a nuclear accident at Yongbyon could cause more devastation than the meltdown of the reactor at Chernobyl in 1986.

'Worse than Chernobyl'

And while analysts say that is unlikely, given the relatively small scale of the reactor in North Korea, it would cause serious concerns in north-east Asia, trigger panic in local populations, and heighten already elevated military tensions.

"Ideally, North Korea would be willing to open the plant to international observers and accept advice and help with running the facility, but that is clearly not going to happen," Go Ito, a professor of international relations at Tokyo's Meiji University, told DW.

Park Guen-hye fears a nuclear accident
at Yongbyon could be a huge disaster
"There has to be concern in Japan and all the other nations in the region if something did go wrong at Yongbyon," he said, adding that the facility is around 30 km from the west coast of the peninsula and about 60 km from the Chinese border.

There is also evidence that the people of North Korea themselves are increasingly aware of the danger posed to their health by the regime's commitment to developing both nuclear energy and atomic weapons.

A study of defectors carried out by the UK North Korean Residents Association showed that while Pyongyang insists that the people are firmly behind its development of a nuclear capability, the truth is very different.

Defectors say they fear wells they used for drinking water have been contaminated with radioactivity.

"Which ordinary North Korean would oppose the idea of using the vast sums of money spent on nuclear tests to resolve their food shortages?" asked author Kim Joo-il, secretary general of the organization. "Who would ever welcome the spread of birth deformities and a host of other diseases caused by radiation exposure?"

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Nuclear power capacity in China to reach 88 GW by 2020

Want China Times, Xinhua 2014-04-20

A nuclear power plant under construction in Yangjiang, Guangdong
province, March 26. (Photo/CNS)

China's nuclear power installed capacity, including that in operation and under construction, is predicted to top 88 gigawatts by 2020, said Zhang Huazhu, head of the China Nuclear Energy Association (CNEA), a national industry organization.

Nuclear power will play a bigger role in improving the country's energy structure, coping with climate change and controlling air pollution, he said earlier this week at an industry event.

China generated about 51.3 billion kwh of nuclear electricity in 2013, which translates into 55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions reductions, Zhang said.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

16% of soil in China could be contaminated: survey

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-04-19

Soil polluted with heavy metals in Baiyin, Gansu, Oct. 16. 2011. (Photo/Xinhua)

Sixteen percent of 6.3 million square kilometers of land surveyed in China was contaminated and 3% of the arable land surveyed was heavily polluted, according to a state investigation released on Thursday.

The investigation, China's first nationwide survey on the pollution of soil, was jointly conducted by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Land and Resources over a nine-year period.

Wang Shiyuan, deputy minister at the land resources ministry, stated that 16.1%–or over 200,000 square km–of the total surveyed land was polluted and areas that were suffering from the heaviest soil pollution were located in central and eastern China, where economic development has been considerable.

The heavily-polluted areas include the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta and old industrial bases in northeastern China, as well as some places in Hunan that contain large amounts of heavy metal.

An official at the enviromental protection ministry, Lin Yusuo, said that the sizeable ratio of contaminated soil could result in serious damage. The polluted farmland would hurt the growth of crops and some pollutants could enter the food chain and pollute agriculture products.

The contaminated soil could also pollute surface water, ground water and the atmosphere.

In 2013, cadmium-tainted rice in Hunan generated a lot of public attention, with many farmers in the Chinese province incurring significant losses as a result.

An investigation has shown that cadmium-related pollution had surged rapidly over the recent years and that the metal had become one of the major soil pollutants in China. Other soil pollutants included mercury, arsenic, copper and lead.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Smart solar energy for Africa

Deutsche Welle, 15 April 2014

The Berlin-based Mobisol company is bringing power to places where there has been none. By combining mobile phone technology and solar power generators, the company aims to electrify African homes.

To get an office in the Friedrichshain area of Berlin is not easy. After a long search Mobisol managed to rent an office on the fourth floor at the back of an old factory building. From a hallway rooms branch off where employees sit in front of their computers. One room is used as a small workshop. The walls are full of photos showing African people: standing around small solar panels in their villages, installing solar panels on roofs of corrugated iron sheets, watching TV in a small room, listening to radios or working with laptops. They are photos of African customers and colleagues.

"They are there to remind us that we are providing a service to the people on the ground in Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda, who are selling our products there," said Thomas Duveau, one of Mobisol's strategic heads. There are about 30 employees at the company's headquarters in Berlin. They work in various departments from software development to administration.

Thomas Duveau is a strategic
planner at Mobisol
The real Mobisol product is not made in Berlin. The workshop in the German capital is used to try out new ideas. All solar panels and batteries are purchased in China and shipped directly to Africa. Mobisol's most important product is made by the Schwedt company in the German state of Brandenburg. It is a yellow plastic box, the size of a shoebox.

Inside the box there is the control facility for the solar power system and a mobile phone SIM card that connects the box with Berlin. The only requirement for the technology to work is a functioning mobile network. That can be found, for example, in Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda. 85 percent of people there have mobile phones but not all of them have electricity. They frequently use their mobile phones for money transfers. For many, the only way to charge the phones was by using diesel generators. "Our solar power systems enable people for the first time to produce power in their homes," said Duveau.

Performance on demand

The smallest of the simple yet robust sets of equipment delivers 30 watts. In just one hour it can be installed on a roof from where it provides light for up to three lamps, while also powering a radio and charging a cell phone. The largest plant produces 200 watts and can power a refrigerator as well as lighting several rooms, a stereo unit and a TV.

The Mobisol power box is simple and robust
In Germany, a family of four uses an average of 3,500 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. In Tanzania, a family uses one tenth of that amount. Businesses, of course, consume more energy. In response to requests from entrepreneurs, Mobisol is currently developing a 600 watt system which can operate a small workshop.

Via the SIM card installed in the system, signals are received every hour in Berlin indicating whether the system is producing power. "If not then we send a text message request to one of our local partners, with the address of the customer, to quickly go there and check the status," Thomas Duveau told DW.

"That means we sometimes know before the customer that there is a problem with the system that needs to be fixed. That's a level of service that is quite rare in East Africa."

Customer service includes a toll-free hotline in the local language and the guarantee that a defect system will produce electricity again within 72 hours. 220 employees are working for Mobisol in East Africa, most of them in Tanzania. All were trained in their home country by German technicians.

One very important element for African customers is the micro-financing. Customers have three years to pay for the equipment. It then belongs to them. Depending on the size of the solar power system, they pay between seven and 33 euros ($9 to $45) per month. That is often less than they have been used to paying for kerosene lamps or diesel generators.

Mobisol has 220 employees in East Africa, all trained by German technicians

Payment models

Payments are made using mobile phones. 97 percent of the payments are transferred without any problem, said Thomas Duveau.

"Should a customer fail to pay an instalment, we have the ability to shut down the plant from Berlin, thanks to the SIM card incorporated in the system," he added. When that happens, the outstanding payment is usually quickly made and the equipment is turned back on again.

Regular payments are vital for the company's survival. During its first years, Mobisol received some funding from the European Union and from the German Reconstruction Credit Institute (KfW). 1,000 sets of equipment were financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Big plans for Rwanda

Judging by the age of the company and its employees, Mobisol is a startup.

Mobisol hopes to have 10,000
customers by the end of the year
Only three years ago, the first prototype of the solar power system was developed by three engineers in a garage in Berlin. The company started pilot projects in Tanzania and Kenya in 2012. In April 2013, the company made its first official sale.

Currently, the company has 3,000 customers and is expecting to have 10,000 by the end of this year. Thomas Duveau is confident that Mobisol could become Africa's largest energy supplier by 2020.

Currently, the company is negotiating with the Rwandan government which wants to provide 70 percent of the population with access to electricity by 2017. At the moment, this is only the case for 17 percent.

In Berlin, the company's strategists are currently considering how they can combine swift growth with good quality and service. Time is pressing - Mobisol has just received an enquiry from the World Bank asking if it can envisage large-scale production.

Google buys drone manufacturer Titan Aerospace

Deutsche Welle, 15 April 2014

Google has purchased the company Titan Aerospace, a manufacturer of solar-powered drones. The Silicon Valley tech giant wants to harness drones to bring Internet access to people living in remote locations.

Google announced on Monday that it had acquired Titan Aerospace, placing it in competition with Facebook to expand global Internet access using drone technology.

Google did not say how much the acquisition cost.

Titan Aerospace, based in the US state of New Mexico, is developing solar-powered drones that can run for five years at an altitude of 19,812 meters (65,000 feet). The drones look like gliders and have a wingspan of 50 meters (164 feet). The technology is expected to be ready for commercial operations by 2015.

"It's still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring Internet access to millions of people and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation," a Google spokesman said in a press release.

Facebook was also reportedly interested in acquiring Titan, but opted instead to buy Ascenta, a British company that specializes in solar-powered drones. The acquisition cost $20 million (14 million euros).

Google is also developing Project Loon, which aims to transmit the Internet to remote locations via large, high-altitude balloons. Titan Aerospace will also work on Project Loon, according to Google.

slk/jm (AP, AFP, dpa)
Related Article:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Taiwanese scholars find new clues to explain vanishing bees

Want China Times, CNA 2014-04-15

A laser-marked bee used in National Taiwan University's research. (Photo/NTU)

A group of Taiwanese scholars has confirmed long-held suspicions that a compound used in imidacloprid, one of the most widely used pesticides, is the culprit behind the worldwide demise of honeybees.

The results of their research show that the insects' ability to find their way home and learn how to feed are severely impaired when they are exposed in the larval stage to trace amounts of chemicals in the neonicotinoid class of insecticides, which includes imidacloprid.

Yang En-cheng, a professor of entomology at National Taiwan University, unveiled the team's findings Monday showing larvae that receive doses of imidacloprid — presumably contained in the nectar brought back to the hive by adult bees — of as low as 10 parts per billion (ppb), will grow into adults but will be unable to learn how to gather nectar or to navigate back to their hives.

Ten ppb of neonicotinoid, a product that is suspected to be the cause behind sharp worldwide declines in honeybee colonies since 2006, is not a lethal dose for the insects but can severely damage their central nervous systems, leading to the collapse of bee colonies, Yang said.

Yang observed how adult bees have to "learn" how to gather nectar by sticking out their proboscises when exposed to a scent. He found that larvae treated with low concentrations of the insecticide have this learning ability severely impaired after they emerge from their cocoons.

Moreover, Yang also found that adult bees treated with 50 ppb of the pesticide appear to show signs of discomfort and cannot find their way back to their hives.

Yang is among a team of researchers from the university in various fields, including engineering, that has been tracking bees by engraving codes onto them with lasers and monitoring their movements using infrared devices.

France first reported large numbers of bee deaths from unknown causes in 1994, and inexplicable "disappearances" of bees were reported across the United States in 2006, Yang said.

The number of honeybees, which pollinate 30% of the world's crops, is declining at a rate of between 10-30% worldwide each year, he added.

The European Commission, which has long suspected neonicotinoids of being behind the problem, decided last year to restrict the use of the class of pesticide for a period of two years.

The decision was made following a report by the European Food Safety Authority — the EU's risk assessment body for food and feed safety — that there is "high acute risk" for bees exposed to residue of the pesticide in pollen and nectar in crops.

A Romanian bee keeper is seen checking hives near
Bucharest, on April 4, 2014 (AFP Photo/Daniel Mihailescu)

Related Articles:

Romania keeps ancient tradition of bee medicine alive

Natural insecticide helps diversify Rwandan economy

Question: Dear Kryon: I would appreciate a perspective on the following: There seems to be two opposed schools of thought with respect to pesticides and their use. One group categorically states that they are very dangerous and that they are responsible for causing cancers etc... (there's a very long list!!) The other group naturally claims that they are perfectly safe with today's technological advances etc. 

Answer: The chemicals you are using today are dangerous to your health. The more they are used, the more it will be seen over time. We have indicated before that there are far better natural scientific solutions to protecting your crops. Use biology to balance biology. It is non-toxic and simply an alteration of what already exists.

More Than 900 Environmental Advocates Slain In A Decade As Concern For The Planet Grows

The Huffington Post – AP, Denis D. Gray, 15 April 2014

This January 1999 image shows Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari
 Maathai, environmentalist and human rights campaigner, carried to the courts
 after she was beaten by a mob after she confronted private developers that
had illegally taken land in the Karura forest. | EPA / Landov

BANGKOK (AP) — As head of his village, Prajob Naowa-opas battled to save his community in central Thailand from the illegal dumping of toxic waste by filing petitions and leading villagers to block trucks carrying the stuff — until a gunman in broad daylight fired four shots into him.

A year later, his three alleged killers, including a senior government official, are on trial for murder. The dumping has been halted and villagers are erecting a statue to their slain hero.

But the prosecution of Prajob's murder is a rare exception. A survey released Tuesday -- the first comprehensive one of its kind - says that only 10 killers of 908 environmental activists slain around the world over the past decade have been convicted.

The report by the London-based Global Witness, a group that seeks to shed light on the links between environmental exploitation and human rights abuses, says murders of those protecting land rights and the environment have soared dramatically. It noted that its toll of victims in 35 countries is probably far higher since field investigations in a number of African and Asian nations are difficult or impossible.

"Many of those facing threats are ordinary people opposing land grabs, mining operations and the industrial timber trade, often forced from their homes and severely threatened by environmental devastation," the report said. Others have been killed over hydro-electric dams, pollution and wildlife conservation.

The rising deaths, along with non-lethal violence, are attributed to intensifying competition for shrinking resources in a global economy and abetted by authorities and security forces in some countries connected to powerful individuals, companies and others behind the killings.

Three times as many people died in 2012 than the 10 years previously, with the death rate rising in the past four years to an average of two activists a week, according to the non-governmental group. Deaths in 2013 are likely to be higher than the 95 documented to date.

The victims have ranged from 70-year-old farmer Jesus Sebastian Ortiz, one of several people in the Mexican town of Cheran killed in 2012 while opposing illegal logging, to the machine-gunning by Philippine armed forces of indigenous anti-mining activist Juvy Capion and her two sons the same year.

Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan Jr., who heads the Philippine military's human rights office, told the Associated Press that a military investigation showed the three died in crossfire as troops clashed with suspected outlaws. "We don't tolerate or condone human rights violations and we hope Global Witness can work with us to pinpoint any soldier or officer involved in those killings," Tutaan said.

Brazil, the report says, is the world's most dangerous place for activists with 448 deaths between 2002 and 2013, followed by 109 in Honduras and Peru with 58. In Asia, the Philippines is the deadliest with 67, followed by Thailand at 16.

"We believe this is the most comprehensive global database on killings of environment and land defenders in existence," said Oliver Courtney, senior campaigner at Global Witness. "It paints a deeply alarming picture, but it's very likely this is just the tip of the iceberg, because information is very hard to find and verify. Far too little attention is being paid to this problem at the global level."

Reports of killings, some of them extensive, from countries like Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, and Myanmar, where civil society groups are weak and the regimes authoritarian, are not included in the Global Witness count.

By contrast, non-governmental organizations in Brazil carefully monitor incidents, many of them occurring in the Amazon as powerful businessmen and companies move deeper into indigenous homelands to turn forests into soya, sugar cane and agro-fuel plantations or cattle ranches. Clashes between agribusiness and the Guarani and Kuranji people in the Amazon's Mato Grosso do Sul province accounted for half of Brazil's killings during 2012, the report said. Human rights groups and news reports say killings are often carried out by gunmen hired by agricultural companies.

In Thailand, Sunai Phasuk of the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch echoed the report's assertion that an "endemic culture of impunity" was prevalent, and that governments and their aid donors must address this.

Prosecution of Prajob's suspected killers, Sunai said, was a "welcome rarity" in a country where investigations have been characterized by "half-hearted, inconsistent, and inefficient police work, and an unwillingness to tackle questions of collusion between political influences and interests and these killings of activists."

"The convicted tend to have lowest levels of responsibility, such as the getaway car driver. The level of impunity is glaring," he said.

After Prajob's murder, villagers lived in fear but in the end decided to sue the illegal dumpers and landfill owners, said the victim's brother, Jon Noawa-opas.

"Prajob's death has led us to fight for justice in this town," he said. "We can be disheartened and we were, but we also know that we have to do the right thing for our community."

AP reporters Thanyarat Doksone in Bangkok and Jim Gomez in Manila contributed to this report.