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)

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change
In a bid to combat climate change, US President Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan on Monday, marking the first time power plants have been targeted by mandatory regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in the US.
Google: Earthday 2013

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Global hunger for plastic packaging leaves waste solution a long way off

Despite measures to increase recycling, discarded plastic packaging continues to blight Earth, Juliette Jowit, Thursday 29 December 2011

Indian children carry drinking water as they pass through a pond polluted
 with plastic bags and other discarded items. Photograph: Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP

Five hundred tonnes of Christmas tree lights and at least 25m bags of plastic sweet wrappers, turkey coverings, drinks bottles and broken toys will be thrown away by UK homes this Christmas and New Year. But only a tiny proportion of this festive plastic waste will be recycled.

Even at more typical times of year, only a little under one quarter of the UK's plastic waste is recycled, but over the festive period still less escapes the tip, according to survey by home drinks makers SodaStream. Globally, recycling of plastics is even smaller.

The outcome is a belief that planet Earth is being slowly strangled by a gaudy coat of impermeable plastic waste that collects in great floating islands in the world's oceans; clogs up canals and rivers; and is swallowed by animals, birds and sea creatures. In many parts of the developing world it acts as a near ubiquitous outdoor decoration, along roads in India, around villages in Africa, and fluttering off fences across Latin America. And when it is not piling up, it is often burned in the open, releasing noxious smoke into the surrounding area.

From the central parks of Moscow after the spring thaw, strewn with plastic uncovered by the melting snows, to some of the the most remote places on Earth - the summit of Mount Everest or the Tibetan Plateau - nowhere, it seems, is free of discarded bags, bottles, unwanted toys, used toothbrushes and lost beach shoes.

There are no global figures on the true scale of the problem, but according to the European Packaging and Films Association (PAFA) 265m tonnes of plastic are produced globally each year. In the UK at least, about two thirds of this is for packaging: which globally would translate to 170m tonnes of plastic largely created to be disposed after one use. Even at the almost unmatched European Union recycling rate averaging 33%, two thirds of that, or more than 113m tonnes, would end up in landfill, being burned, or cluttering up the environment that people and wildlife live in. Such a figure – almost certainly a huge underestimate, and excluding more "permanent" items from car parts to Barbie dolls – would be more than enough to cover the 48 contiguous states of the US in plastic food wrapping. If the world recycled packaging at the rate the US does, 15%, it would generate more than enough plastic to cover China in plastic wrap. Every year.

A few years ago the UK was seized by worry about plastic bags: communities went "plastic-bag free", and the then prime minister, Gordon Brown, announced he would talk to major retailers about phasing out their use. In the absence of much change, his successor as PM, David Cameron, recently re-raised the idea of a national levy.

In response, the plastics industry argues that the alternatives would be even more wasteful in terms of extra greenhouse gas emissions.

What would this world without plastic look like? Earlier this year Austrian-based environmental consultancy Denkstatt imagined such a world, where farmers, retailers and consumers use wood, metal tins, glass bottles and jars, and cardboard to cover their goods. It found the mass of packaging would increase by 3.6 times, it would take more than double the energy to make, and the greenhouse gases generated would be 2.7 times higher.

To understand this, consider the properties of plastic that make it so attractive to use: it is durable, it is flexible and does not shatter, it can breathe - or not, and it is extremely lightweight. As a result, food and drink are protected from damage and kept for lengths of time previously unimaginable. The PAFA says average spoilage of food between harvest and table is 3% in the developed world, compared with 50% in developing countries where plastic palates, crates, trays, film and bags are not so prolific. Once the food reaches people's homes its lifespan is also increased - in the case of a shrink-wrapped cucumber from two to 14 days. A less obvious benefit of plastic packaging is that by being much lighter than alternatives it greatly reduces the fuel needed to transport the goods. Because of the huge carbon content of our diets, it is estimated that for every tonne of carbon produced by making plastic, five tonnes is saved, says Barry Turner from the PAFA .A more surprising point is made by Friends of the Earth's waste campaigner Julian Kirby, who points out that because it is inert in landfill, plastic waste buried in the ground is a counterintuitive way of "sequestering" carbon and so avoiding it adding to global warming and climate change.

This focus on carbon and climate change, however, ignores the very reasons plastic bags, and plastic packaging generally, first gripped the public imagination – namely that it is such a highly visible result of our throw-away society.

Wales, Ireland and other countries have opted to levy a tax on plastic bags to deter their use but making deeper cuts to plastic waste will need other options too.

Many "ethical" products from sandwiches to nappy bags have switched to biodegradable plastics, made either from natural products such as cornstarch or by using a special additive which helps breakdown the plastic. However, Turner suggests this will remain a niche, because the process is expensive and – in his words – is "destroying" a resource that could be recycled.

Recycling plastic is particularly hard, because there are so many types, and because plastic melts below the boiling point of water, making it hard to remove contamination. Increasing recycling is, though, one of the two key areas focused on by the plastics industry, which estimates if every council in the UK operated at the rates achieved by the best local authority for each type of plastic – PET bottles, cartons, trays, bags and so on – the country could raise total plastic recycling from 23% to 45%. "On the go recycling" – currently almost non-existent – also needs to be dramatically improved by things like separated waste bins, or simply more bins in public places, said Turner.

To meet the industry's self-imposed target of zero plastic waste to landfill by 2020, however, it is largely looking to incineration, which is highly controversial with environment groups and local communities who worry about how waste ash is disposed of and breathing in emissions from the plants – despite the Health Protection Agency giving modern plants the go ahead as not damaging to health. Greenhouse gas emissions from such plants are also high: equivalent to 540g of carbon dioxide (CO²e) per kilowatt hour, more than gas power and more than 100 times that for nuclear.

Instead, environment and wildlife campaigners want far more attention to the "waste hierarchy" – reduce, reuse, recycle. To drive this change, the government this month proposed increasing all recycling targets, raising plastics to 50%. If enforced, that should encourage innovations, such as more food recycling (which research suggests reduces over-purchasing and so the need for packaging), and the recent development of a new dye for black plastic bags which, unlike the traditional compound, can be detected by the automatic sorting machines.

Further afield, 47 industry groups from around the world have joined forces to fund research and schemes to stop plastic from getting into the seas and oceans. While on land, countries without plastic recovery regulations could adopt a system used in several European countries like Belgium, where manufacturers are responsible for recovering a percentage of the plastic they produce. "The idea of producer responsibility is one of the ones people are most agreed on, but no-one's sure how," said Kirby.

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