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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fill the tank - with biogas from food waste

Deutsche Welle, 30 March 2012

Leftover fruit and vegetables from markets don’t always have to end up on the compost heap. Researchers in Stuttgart are developing a new system aims to turn that waste into biogas for cars.

In affluent countries like Germany, food doesn't always land on people's plate - quite often it ends up in the trash instead. A recent study found that Germans throw away an incredible 11 metric tons (around 12 million short tons) of food each year.

In Stuttgart, Germany's de facto automobile capital, researchers are trying to feed some of this waste from the local fruit and vegetable market directly into a biogas plant. They're even building a service station for cars to tank up with the gas directly at the plant itself.

With the rising prices of petrol, biogas made from food waste could be an attractive - and more sustainable - alternative.

From the market into the tank

Stuttgart's wholesalers market is the third biggest in Germany. Titus Steiger, head of a busy fruit and vegetable trading company, is one of hundreds of traders and farmers based at there.

Leafy vegetables have to be sold quickly, he told DW, within three days. "After that we have to give them away. With herbs we only have two days," Steiger said.

The Stuttgart market produces 2,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of green waste, or biowaste, every year. Currently, these food scraps are collected by the city and composted.

In many regions of Germany, biogas from organic waste is increasingly being used to run heating systems and produce electricity.

The new project in Stuttgart is being run by the Frauenhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology and is set to show that energy from food waste can also be used to run cars. The experiment is part of a project called Etamax, which received 6 million euros ($8 billion) from Germany's Federal Research Ministry.

In this gleaming facility, food waste is transformed into fuel

In the pilot phase, the project will be collecting leftover fruit and vegetables from the nearby central market and several cafeterias, and then fermenting it into methane.

In a two-stage process, which lasts several days, various microorganisms digest the waste, which produces biological methane. After being pressurized, it can be used to fuel vehicles that normally run on compressed natural gas.

"Food waste has high water content and low lignin and lignocellulose content. That makes it ideal for this digestive process," Ursula Schliessman, a Fraunhofer scientist, said.

Lettuce or lemons: the right mix

Karl Kübler, who heads up Stuttgart's market, said the kind of food waste can fluctuate wildly according to season.

If it's melon season, for example, and "suddenly we have a cold spell, no one buys the melons and then we have a huge quantity of melons that are thrown out all at the same time," Kübler said.

The waste even varies from day to day. Sometimes there will be more lettuce thrown away, sometimes citrus fruits - which contain a lot of acid.

This means the scientists have to balance the pH of the material for it to be digested in the fermenter. To do this, different kinds of biowaste are stored in separate containers, where the pH and other parameters are measured.

"Then we have a specially developed system to calculate how many liters of waste have to be taken from which containers and then put in with the microorganisms," said Schliessmann.

The correct balance has to be maintained so that the microorganisms have a consistent environment in which to carry out their digestion.

Nothing is wasted

After the biogas is produced, fluid residue and any bits that cannot be fermented are put to use in other projects.

The water from the digestion process, which contains nitrogen and phosphorous, is used as a nutrient for algae, which can produce oil for use in diesel engines.

The remaining residue is turned into methane using another process - so that the organic waste is completely re-used.

The next step is to get the gas into cars.

Avoiding demand for waste

Since the system runs on food waste, it does not compete in any way with the actual production of food, as is the case when the biofuel ethanol is made from maize or other crops.

Ethanol has been the subject of a lot of criticism, especially because it uses up valuable land which could be used for growing food crops. Many also question whether it takes more energy to grow the crops than is produced.

But organic leftovers are just that. Right now in the best scenario they are composted, but for biogas proponents they represent considerable source of untapped energy.

Environment groups like Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), say it makes sense to use food waste for biogas.

Culture of waste: Worldwide, half of all food prodcued ends up in the trash

However, Berthold Friess, who heads the organization in the German state of Baden-Württemberg where the new fermenter is located, warns that technology of this kind should not be allowed to create an artificially high demand for food waste.

Studies have indicated that around half the world's food already ends up being thrown away. "The aim should really be to make sure as little food as possible is thrown away at markets," Friess said.

He also calls for the development of lighter, more economical cars and the improvement of public transport, to reduce the use of limited natural resources like oil and gas and to put less pressure on the climate.

Biogas in future energy mix

Schliessmann hopes that smaller biogas plants like this one could someday be seen in every city and play an important role in the energy mix of the future.

"The advantage of this kind of technology is that we can put it in the middle of a city where people are living because there is no smell and it is a closed system," he said.

When the plant officially starts up at the end of April, the German car company Daimler will fill up test cars with different mixes of methane gas to find out what works best.

Author: Irene Quaile and Kate Hairsine

Friday, March 30, 2012

Pesticides linked to honeybee decline

The first study conducted in a natural environment has shown that systemic pesticides damage bees' ability to navigate, Damian Carrington, Thursday 29 March 2012

A honeybee pollinates a flower in a citrus grove just coming into blossom.
Photograph: David Silverman/Getty Images

Common crop pesticides have been shown for the first time to seriously harm bees by damaging their renowned ability to navigate home.

The new research strongly links the pesticides to the serious decline in honey bee numbers in the US and UK – a drop of around 50% in the last 25 years. The losses pose a threat to food supplies as bees pollinate a third of the food we eat such as tomatoes, beans, apples and strawberries.

Scientists found that bees consuming one pesticide suffered an 85% loss in the number of queens their nests produced, while another study showed a doubling in "disappeared" bees – those that failed to return from food foraging trips. The significance of the new work, published Science, is that it is the first carried out in realistic, open-air conditions.

"People had found pretty trivial effects in lab and greenhouse experiments, but we have shown they can translate into really big effects in the field. This has transformed our understanding," said Prof David Goulson, at the Universityof Stirling and leader of one of the research teams. "If it's only one metre from where they forage in a lab to their nest, even an unwell bee can manage that."

Prof Mickaël Henry, at INRA in Avignon, France, who led a separate research team, said: "Under the effects we saw from the pesticides, the population size would decline disastrously, and make them even more sensitive to parasites or a lack of food."

The reason for the huge decline in bee numbers has remained uncertain, but pesticides, the varroa mite and other parasites, and destruction of the flower-rich habitats in which bees feed are believed to be the key reasons. Pesticide manufacturers and the UK government deny a class of the chemicals called neonicotinoids cause significant problems for bees, but Germany, Italy and France have suspended key insecticides over such fears.

A spokesperson from Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the new research did not change the government's position. "The UK has a robust system for assessing risks from pesticides and all the evidence shows neonicotinoids do not pose an unacceptable risk to honeybees when products are used correctly. However, we will not hesitate to act if presented with any new evidence." Henry said the new research showed current approval processes for the pesticides are inadequate: "We now have enough data to say authorisation processes must take into account not only the lethal effects, but also the effects of non-lethal doses."

The pesticides investigated in the new studies - insect neurotoxins called neonicotinoids - are applied to seeds and flow through the plants' whole system. The environmental advantage of this is it reduces pesticide spraying but chemicals end up in the nectar and pollen on which bees feed. Goulson's group studied an extremely widely used type called imidacloprid, primarily manufactured by Bayer CropScience, and registered for use on over 140 crops in 120 countries.

Bumblebees were fed the toxin at the same level found in treated rape plants and found that these colonies were about 10% smaller than those not exposed to the insecticide. Most strikingly, the exposed colonies lost almost all of their ability to produce queens, which are the only bee to survive the winter and establish new colonies. "There was a staggering magnitude of effect," said Goulson. "This is likely to have a substantial population-level impact."

The French team analysed the effect on honey bees of a new generation neonicotinoid, called thiamethoxam and manufactured by Syngenta. They fitted tiny electronic tags to over 650 bees and monitored their activity around the hive. Those exposed to "commonly encountered" levels of thiamethoxam suffered high mortality, with up to a third of the bees failing to return. "They disappeared in much higher numbers than expected," said Henry. Previous scientific work has shown insect neurotoxins may cause memory, learning, and navigation problems in bees.

A spokesman for Syngenta said: "Although we take good research very seriously, over the last four years, independent authorities in France have closely monitored the use of Cruiser – the product containing thiamethoxam – on more than 1.9m hectares. When properly used no cases of bee mortality have been recorded."

Julian Little, spokesman for Bayer Cropscience, criticised Goulson's study because the bees were exposed to imidacloprid in the labaratory, before being placed outside in a natural field environment to feed. "All studies looking at the interaction of bees and pesticides must be done in a full field situation," he said. "This study does not demonstrate that current agricultural practices damage bee colonies."

Goulson dismissed as "nonsense" Little's suggestion that the doses given to the bees were higher than in reality. Both Bayer and Defra suggested other field studies had shown no harmful effects to bees. Goulson said: "If they have done these studies, where are they? They are not in the public domain and therefore cannot be scrutinised. That raises the question of just how good they are."

Eco community enjoys organic life outside Moscow

RT.com29 March, 2012

Kovcheg eco village in Kaluga region (image from

While big cities like Moscow are giant magnets, attracting people from all over Russia, there are many who intentionally move out of town in pursuit of nature and harmony.

In the Kovcheg (“Ark”) eco-village, where more than 80 families share the land, little ones live with their parents in homes made of local wood.

Eco Village Kovcheg
Eating organic, locally grown foods and enjoying the heat of local fuel, they live at a much slower pace than children in the city.

“For me, moving here wasn't a shock or a serious change,” Natalia Strelnikova, psychologist and eco-village resident, told RT. “I knew how great it would be for our three children, and I was happy to move out of Moscow. In fact, I was never too excited about my life in the big city.”

Located in the Kaluga region, the settlement lies near what was once a bustling village 300 years ago, but is now a ghost town. Houses there are built from local logs using the local woodshop.

“We log ill trees and take them away,” biologist and village co-founder Fedor Lazutin told RT. 
“The bushes and small trees keep growing, so the forest can recover. Many trees don’t adapt well to the increasingly hot summers. So we are logging more and more diseased trees to save the forest.”

Local trees make the houses, local animals and garden plots make the food, and local bees make the honey. The economy is partly supported by crafts, but most people commute into the city one or two days a month to make what they need to support themselves.

“It was a gradual change,” Alexey Kanischev, a computer programmer and resident told RT. 
“We first moved from Moscow to Karelia to live in a village for two years. Then we came here. 
We made a lot of drafts trying to draw a plan of this house. Then we asked our neighbors for feedback and got our final draft of the house we are now sitting in with you. It's a special old Finnish recipe of wood paint.”

Green rules for eco villagers

The village’s residents have to be careful about what they build. The rules state that inhabitants are not allowed to mar the landscape with anything other than greenery or homes. They even invested their money to sink the electricity lines underground just to keep things natural.

The local common house is where you can find community culture, whether it is language or music classes. Each inhabitant must give back with teaching or offering their professional skills in some way.

When Andrey Gabov is not chopping wood for his family or enjoying the outdoors, he is giving lessons on his formidable local balalaika.

“I got here so to say following my soul,” Gabov told RT. “I wanted my son to grow up in a village, to run on the grass and swim in the river, surrounded by nature. To earn money I go to Moscow once a week, perform there, and I’ve got all I need.”

As for Natalia Strelnikova, she and her husband are planning for a few more additions to their family in the coming years – they claim they have got all they need under one roof, made by themselves.

Related Articles:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Scientists say the Holocene is over

Deutsche Welle, 28 March 2012

Scientists are calling for the official designation of a new earth epoch: the Anthropocene. Addressing the 'Planet under Pressure' gathering in London, they say one species has left an indelible mark.

Scientists are pushing to officially change the name of the current geological epoch, as the world prepares to take stock of its 20-year record of addressing global environmental problems.

Experts say designating the arrival of the 'Anthropocene,' or age of man, would capture the nature and extent of changes on the planet, and could spark a shift in how humanity thinks of its presence on Earth.

Pointing to climate change, dwindling fish stocks, continued deforestation, rapid species decline, and human population growth, Erle Ellis, an ecologist at the University of Maryland, said the vast majority of ecosystems on the planet now reflect the presence of people.

We are already past "a human-systems tipping point" where we should be wondering whether we are in the Anthropocene or not, Ellis said.

In future, he said, the evidence for the Anthropocene will be apparent in the sedimentation record: in the rapid increase in carbon deposits, in traces of cities, and the fossils of domesticated animals.

Welcome to the Anthropocene 

The Holocene has been conducive to
The new name would signal the passing of the Holocene, the 12,000 year stretch of history distinguished by the end of the last ice age and the relative stabilization of sea levels. 

Scientists hope it will also signal a psychological break. 

"We are currently accelerating into a new era", said Will Steffen, head of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University. An era, he added, that won't be as stable as the last, which gave rise to farming and civilization.

Anthony Giddens, the British political scientist known for his holistic view of societies, described the Anthopocene as a "runaway world" in which we have unleashed processes more powerful than our attempts to control them.

The term isn't new.  Since the atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen popularized the word in 2000, the Anthropocene has increasingly come to be accepted as an unofficial tag in scientific circles.

The International Commission on Stratigraphy is considering whether to formally recognize that we have entered the new period and is expected to reach a decision in 2016.

But that may be too late for some scientists.

Sparking a shift 

Paul Crutzen helped popularize the
 term Anthropocene in 2000
Some 2800 experts from around the world met in London this week for 'Planet under Pressure,' a conference that hopes to steer the direction of this year's Rio +20 summit – the 20-year follow-up to the Rio Earth Summit of 1992.

The experts discussed ways to break the lack of urgency in tackling global environmental problems.

According to policy documents drawn up by the conference organizers, this means looking at human wellbeing and development in a different way from simply measuring GDP.

It also means creating business models that incorporate the value of ecosystem services like crop pollination and purification of water and air: services that are not typically captured by GDP, but face pressure from economic growth. 

One such effort, called Future Earth, aims to bring together environmental and social research groups under one banner.

"This isn't about moving the deck chairs on the Titanic," said Diana Liverman, expert for the Environmental Change Institute.

Future Earth, said the organizers, is about connecting scientists from different fields and at least three countries per project to investigate what kind of era the Anthropocene is going to be. It should also provide solutions for mitigating or adapting to its rougher effects.

Ecologist Erle Ellis said humans have a choice of piloting "a good Anthropocene" or "managing a series of crises."

Author: Robin Powell
Editor: Nathan Witkop
Related Articles:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Monsanto and Genetically Modified Crops - Is there a cover-up?

Pravda.Ru, Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey, 19 Mar 2012

Does Monsanto know what it is doing? Do, we, the public have all the facts? Is genetically modified food safe? Are food products which contain it clearly labelled? Is Monsanto, knowingly or unknowingly, destroying the biosphere? Is genetically modified produce a health hazard? For those who do not wish to get scared, please do not read on.

Monsanto. Haven't we heard that name before? Yes, do you remember who created Agent Orange? Do you remember who created DDT? Do you remember who created Aspartame?

If we are what we eat, then we have a right to know the answers to these questions. And there are more. Why are cancers of the digestive system rising exponentially? Let us start with Monsanto's wonderful herbicide, Roundup.

The journal Current Microbiology has just released a report (1) on a substance called Glyphosate, created by Monsanto in the 1970s and used in Roundup. The report is shocking. It reveals that studies prove that Glyphosate is altering and destroying the micro-organisms in the soil, which has a potential effect upon the health of crops growing in it.

So devastating are the effects, according to the report, that some bacteria have disappeared from certain areas where Roundup was used to spray vast areas of land and apart from this, use of the product has spurred the appearance of superweeds, meaning that in turn farmers have to use greater and greater concentrations of the product. The soil is as a result being rendered barren for future generations.

Far more worrying are fears that the use of this herbicide is killing organisms whose benefit on a planetary scale has not yet been fully investigated and whose elimination from the ecological chain may have very serious consequences.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. What happens to Glyphosate? It works its way down through the topsoil to the groundwater below and from there finds its way into our water supply - underground water currents and springs. This is not conjecture: virtually all rain samples tested in the USA contain Glyphosate.

What does the US Department of Agriculture do? Why, nothing! And this, despite the fact that other investigations have warned that Glyphosate can be carcinogenic, reducing fertility and increasing risk of cancer because it is genotoxic, damaging the DNA chain.

The problem is not only restricted to the USA. Superweeds have lasting damaging effects upon the soil and nowadays already cover millions of hectares in the USA, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, the EU and South Africa.

Cancer, infertility, barren land, destruction of DNA, destruction of micro-organisms which may be crucial for the planet's ecosystem, superweeds...what else? Well it appears we have been here before. In fact, Monsanto has just agreed to pay out 93 million USD for the effects of an explosion at its plant in Nitro, West Virginia involving the herbicide 2,4,5-T which contained the toxic agent dioxin. But there are still 80,000 property damage claims against the firm.

In fact, an investigation of the Nitro Residents v. Monsanto case reveals some horrific allegations which involve contamination of the environment, cover-ups, falsification of name it. But hey, as a government contractor, Monsanto has always enjoyed government immunity in the USA.

And what was that about Monsanto not serving Genetically Engineered (GE) food in its own canteens? Well, when we take into consideration that Glyphosate destroys human kidney cells at concentrations 450 times lower than the concentration used in agricultural applications... and when we consider the very little information available on the real potential dangers lurking behind GE foodstuffs, it is hardly surprising.

What is unacceptable is that while the long-term effects of consumption of GE food are still not available, GE seeds are spreading round the planet on wind currents and on aquifers. Remember the respected scientist Arpad Pusztai?

Arpad Pusztai is an expert in biochemistry and nutrition who worked at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland. When he released information about his discovery that Genetically Modified potatoes create severe damage to the immune system and organs of rats, he was suspended, threatened with a lawsuit and handed a gagging order, while his findings were denied or distorted. The gagging order was later lifted and when he went public again there was a massive recall of products. The US consumer was, of course, the last to know.

Before I finish, a question: Why do mice, rats, geese, cows, pigs, elk and squirrels avoid eating GM foods when given the choice?

Who would like to be a Monsanto shareholder now? I sure as heck wouldn't.

(1) Effects of Roundup® and Glyphosate on Three Food Microorganisms: Geotrichum candidum, Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus

Sources: Greenpeace; NaturalNews

Court finds Monsanto guilty of poisoning

New Chapter sells out to Procter & Gamble, part of the global corporate elite

"Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Lose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth,  4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Pedal 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.)  New !   

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

China builds wind farms in renewable energy boom - video, Jonathan Watts and Ken Macfarlane, Tuesday 20 March 2012

Jonathan Watts reports from the Chinese desert province of Gansu, which is undergoing a stunning transformation. It is becoming the front line of China's efforts to reinvent its economy with a massive investment in renewable energy, involving the erection of wind turbines at the rate of more than one an hour and experiments with solar energy on a large scale

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dong to Spend $1.8 Billion Annually for Offshore Wind Projects

Bloomberg, by Sally Bakewell - Mar 12, 2012

Dong Energy A/S plans to invest about 10 billion kroner ($1.8 billion) a year on offshore wind projects to offset a “challenging” environment for gas plants as it ceases to build new coal power facilities, its chief said.

That’s about what the world’s largest developer of offshore wind parks spent last year on turbines installed at sea. “We think that is around that level we will be working at in the coming years,” Anders Eldrup, chief executive officer of the Fredericia, Denmark-based company, said by phone.

Dong announced today that Eldrup, who spoke in an interview on March 9, is stepping down as chief executive. Finance director Carsten Krogsgaard Thomsen will be acting CEO until a new chief executive is found, it said, adding that there will be no change in the company’s strategy.

Dong is focusing on renewable sources for electricity generation to shift from fossil fuels and cut emissions as the rising cost of gas depresses profits for burning the fuel. Profitability of burning gas in the U.K. has fallen 75 percent to 1.62 pounds ($2.54) a megawatt-hour in the last six months, according to Bloomberg calculations using broker data.

“It seems to be quite challenging times for the CCGTs,” or combined-cycle gas turbine plants, Eldrup said. The company doesn’t have “precise investment plans” for new plants as they are “not very profitable” now, he said. Dong operates gas- fired power plants in Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands and opened its first in the U.K. in south Wales last year.

“It’s a combination of the price of gas to the price of power because it is that conversion that gives a margin,” Eldrup said.

No Coal-Fired Plants

Dong will not invest in new coal-fired power plants as it seeks to cut by half its carbon-dioxide emissions from electricity and heat generation compared with 2006 levels by 2020. The company plans to convert “about half” of its remaining coal stations to use biomass, Eldrup said.

The company, with about 1.3 gigawatts of operating offshore wind farms and 1.1 gigawatts under construction, plans to build 3 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2020, Eldrup said. Dong may make investments of 10 billion kroner a year for the next two to three years in offshore wind, he said.

Dong will fund new offshore wind plants with company revenue and from selling shares in existing projects, Eldrup said. Dong agreed to sell 50 percent of a German park for 4.7 billion kroner to Kirkbi A/S, the parent company of Lego Group, and Oticon Foundation on Feb. 23, its fifth such sale.

Nations are promoting clean energy to curb emissions and meet European Union goals. The U.K. is planning to build 18 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2020 from about 2 gigawatts now while Germany targets about 10 gigawatts by the same year.

“We are constantly surveying the market for future projects,” Eldrup said. Germany, he noted, is an “interesting place and our close neighbor.”

Eldrup is resigning “by mutual consent,” the company said today. Krogsgaard Thomsen was named acting CEO as Dong started a process to find a permanent replacement.

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Sally Bakewell in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at

"Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Lose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth,  4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Pedal 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.)  New !    

Isle of Wight Council to invest in tidal power

BBC News, 17 March 2012 

The Isle of Wight Council wants to create a multi-million pound tidal energy facility off its coast to supply the island with electricity.

The wave farm would be installed on the seabed off
St Catherine's Point
The authority has already pledged £1m towards creating the Solent Ocean Energy Centre off St Catherine's Point on the south of the island.

The £1m has been matched by private sector investment, which will fund phase one of the scheme, to get the licences and consents for the site and seabed.

Phase two, to build a test bed and demonstration site, is expected to cost in the region of £21m, but two applications for government Regional Growth Funding in 2011 have already been turned down.

The success of the project now hinges on private sector investment.

Revenue and jobs

John Metcalfe, deputy director of economy and tourism at the site, said: "We have already got an agreement in principal with between 10 and 12 companies interested in the project. We've got companies committed from Canada, Finland as well as the UK."

The council has been working with the University of Southampton to gauge the potential of the project and it hopes, by 2014, private sector companies will begin basing their own tidal energy equipment at the site, generating revenue for the authority and jobs for islanders.

Stuart Love, the council's director of economy and environment, said: "We have been working very closely with Southampton University to demonstrate that there is the potential off our coast, not only to generate enough power for the island and more, but to create 700 jobs in the Solent region and up to 5,000 nationally so that is a significant impact on our economy.

"One of our key focuses as a local authority is trying to do what we can to boost the island's economy.

"We are proposing that we put money into this on the basis that in the long term that money will get paid back and once we have created the right environment the private sector will come in and will spend their money.

"The potential not just in terms of energy generation and sustainability for the island, but the number of jobs this will create and the impact for the UK's economy is massive."

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"Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Lose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth,  4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Pedal 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.)  New !    

Mysterious Honey Discovered That Kills All Bacteria Scientists Throw At It

Waking Times, February 10, 2012

John Stapleton, The Australian

Australian researchers have been astonished to discover a cure-all right under their noses — a honey sold in health food shops as a natural medicine.

Far from being an obscure health food with dubious healing qualities, new research has shown the honey kills every type of bacteria scientists have thrown at it, including the antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” plaguing hospitals and killing patients around the world.

Some bacteria have become resistant to every commonly prescribed antibacterial drug. But scientists found that Manuka honey, as it is known in New Zealand, or jelly bush honey, as it is known in Australia, killed every bacteria or pathogen it was tested on. 

It is applied externally and acts on skin infections, bites and cuts.

The honey is distinctive in that it comes only from bees feeding off tea trees native to Australia and New Zealand, said Dee Carter, from the University of Sydney’s School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences.

The findings are likely to have a major impact on modern medicine and could lead to a range of honey-based products to replace antibiotic and antiseptic creams.

Professor Carter’s two sons, Marty, 8 and Nicky, 6, think it’s funny the way their mother puts honey on their sores. But she swears by it, telling stories of how quickly it cures any infection.

“Honey sounds very homey and unscientific, which is why we needed the science to validate the claims made for it,” she said.

The curative properties of various types of honey have been known to indigenous cultures for thousands of years, and dressing wounds with honey was common before the advent of antibiotics.

"Most bacteria that cause infections in hospitals are resistant to at least one antibiotic, and there is an urgent need for new ways to treat and control surface infections," Professor Carter said.

"New antibiotics tend to have short shelf lives, as the bacteria they attack quickly become resistant. Many large pharmaceutical companies have abandoned antibiotic production because of the difficulty of recovering costs. Developing effective alternatives could therefore save many lives."

Professor Carter said the fascinating thing was that none of the bacteria researchers used to test the honey, including superbugs such as flesh-eating bacteria, built up any immunity.

She said a compound in the honey called methylglyoxal -- toxic on its own -- combined in unknown ways with other unidentified compounds in the honey to cause "multi-system failure" in the bacteria.

The results of the research project are published in this month's European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Southern Africa form biggest conservation area

Associated Press, by ANGUS SHAW, 15 March 2012

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Five Southern African nations on Thursday agreed to form the world's largest international conservation area in an effort to protect nearly half of the continent's elephants and a vast range of animals, birds and plants, many endangered by poaching and human encroachment.

At a ceremony in Namibia on Thursday government ministers from Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe put their official seal on a cross-border treaty set to combine 36 nature preserves and surrounding areas.

The World Wildlife Fund said the countries will cooperate on measures to allow animals to roam freely across their borders over 170,000 square miles (440,000 square kilometers), almost the size of Sweden.

The Kavango Zambezi area includes the Victoria Falls World Heritage site in Zimbabwe and Botswana's famed swampland of the Okavango Delta.

Conservationists say historical migration routes of animals have been curtailed by national borders and man-made conflict. The decades-long civil war in Angola saw elephant herds, notoriously skittish to gunfire, fleeing far from their own habitats.

Already, Botswana is dismantling a fence on its border with Namibia after steps were taken to curb the spread of animal diseases.

According to the treaty put into effect Thursday, the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, known as KAZA, is home to about 45 percent of Africa's elephants. Along with other game animals, it has a rare heritage of at least 600 species of birds and 3,000 species of plants.

Previous attempts to set up massive cross-border conservancies in Africa have failed largely because impoverished local communities weren't engaged to help before governments signed up, said Chris Weaver, the World Wildlife Fund's regional director in Namibia.

"This is very different. It has a very strong community focus," he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

He said local communities are getting jobs and revenue from tourism in return for their role in protecting the environment.

An independent secretariat has been established to coordinate work between state wildlife authorities and community groups across the region. The German KFW development bank plowed $40 million into getting the KAZA conservancy up and running, Weaver said.

Last year, he said, rural Namibians earned some $700,000 from their own conservation-related activities. The money went toward further training, transportation, water supplies and improvements for schools and clinics.

Weaver said in recent history wildlife and nature preserves traditionally belonged to state governments. That had encouraged poachers to steal animals from the state, a distant and alien owner.

Now the KAZA conservancy offered tangible benefits across the board to communities and member countries.

"It is good news for conservation in southern Africa," Weaver said.