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

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Dutch to phase out subsidies for wood-fired power stations

DutchNews, October 19, 2020 


The government is planning to phase out the use of subsidies for power stations which are powered by biomass, or which generate heat for city heating schemes. 

Biomass is predominantly made up of wood chips and vegetable and fruit waste, but has come under fire as a source of fuel because of both high levels of carbon emissions and the over-use of wood, some of which is imported from the US

The agreement decision to phase out the use of subsidies was taken at Friday’s cabinet meeting because there are, ministers agree, enough greener alternatives for generating both electricity and heat. This would be on condition the alternatives are both achievable and affordable, economic affairs minister Eric Wiebes has told MPs in a briefing. 

The government will decide when subsidies should be phased out by the end of the year and has asked the environmental assessment agency PBL for its recommendations. 

The PBL had said in January that the use of biomass may be unavoidable if the Netherlands is to meet the EU targets on energy neutrality.  Without using biomass, the Netherlands will have to install wind turbines and solar panels more quickly than it is currently doing, and other difficult choices will have to be made, the PBL said. 

In total, 628 biomass installations in the Netherlands will get some €11.4bn in subsidies over the next few years, the AD reported earlier. 


In June, Swedish state-owned energy company Vattenfall said it had decided to postpone plans to build the Netherlands’ biggest biomass fired power station because of the ongoing discussion about how green biomass actually is. 

The plant was to be built in Diemen on the outskirts of Amsterdam, but both locals and the town council have major doubts about the project. 

The first step in finalising the decision involves the Dutch government giving clarity about its plans and the role of biomass in reaching climate change targets, the company said. 

The government’s advisory body SER has also recommended that subsidies for biomass power be phased out

Despite the subsidy decision, the government ‘remains convinced that the use of biomass is necessary in the transition to a climate neutral and circular economy by 2030 and 2050.’

Unilever's makeover: 'Woke-washing' or the real thing

Jakarta Post – AFP, Sara Magniette, The Hague, Netherlands, October 19, 2020

A picture taken on June 5, 2015 shows the logo of Unilever at the
headquarters in Rotterdam. (AFP/John Thys)

Unilever, the maker of brands ranging from Ben & Jerry's ice cream to Dove soap, is trying to win over customers with a socially responsible makeover, but activists say that some of it is just cosmetic. 

The Anglo-Dutch consumer giant has introduced a series of initiatives aimed at making it, in its own words, the world's most sustainable company, while also taking a position on issues such as racism. 

The firm, which releases third quarter results this week, has recently promised to halve its use of plastic by 2025, eliminate the use of fossil fuels in cleaning products by 2030, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2039. 

But the multinational behind Marmite yeast spread, Lipton tea and Knorr soups is "still a big polluter", says Meike Rijksen, campaigner for plastic at Greenpeace Netherlands. 

"We recognize that Unilever is doing more than most companies, but it is by far not enough," she told AFP. 

Unilever remains the fourth biggest producer of plastics polluting the planet, behind Coca-Cola, Nestle and Pepsico, according to a report in 2019 by Break Free from Plastics, a global coalition of NGOs. 

Greenpeace urged the firm to invest in renewable materials across its activities and to eliminate single-use plastics. 

Read also: Unilever to drop fossil fuels from cleaning products by 2030 

'Take action' 

Unilever has argued that "responsible" corporate behavior is good business, since it will attract young, more environmentally-conscious customers. 

"We make sure that our brands take action on the issues that consumers care about," Marlous den Bieman, media relations manager for Unilever Benelux, told AFP. 

Chief executive Alan Jope has himself said that "woke-washing is beginning to infect our industry", warning against companies promising action on social and environmental causes without following through. 

Unilever was one of the first major firms to joint a boycott on advertising on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in the US until the end of 2020 due to the "polarized election period" there. 

That same month Unilever said its Indian and Bangladeshi arms would rename their locally marketed "Fair & Lovely" skin-lightening cream in the face of the global "Black Lives Matter" protests. 

Meanwhile the group has also been adding some more "green" to its stable of 400 brands. 

It has recently bought the eco-friendly US detergent maker The Laundress and the Dutch "vegetarian butcher" De Vegetarische Slager. 

"Climate action is mainstreaming, and companies prioritizing it today can gain a competitive advantage," said Steven Tebbe of CDP, a London-based organization which runs a platform for companies and cities to share environmental information. 

Read also: Unilever, rivals mull changes amid globalbacklash against skin-lightening products

 'Broken system' 

"Not only consumers, but also investors and big corporate buyers are increasingly expecting companies to be transparent and take more urgent responsibility for their environmental impacts," Tebbe told AFP. 

Unilever has also announced a zero-deforestation policy and a "responsible" method of choosing suppliers for meat, palm oil and soya, three products notorious for contributing to the problem. 

"Their commitment to environmental disclosure and ambitious emissions target shows that climate action is deeply integrated into their overall strategy," Tebbe said. 

Greenpeace, however, feared that Unilever was effectively "greenwashing" its image. 

"Their whole business model is still based on environmental destruction. In the meantime, they are being praised internationally for their action on sustainability -- that is worrying," said Meike Rijksen. 

As one of the world's biggest producers of food and consumer goods, Unilever had to set a genuine example in bringing about a "fundamental change in the broken system." 

"They can and they should take this responsibility," added Rijksen.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Dutch will press ahead with controversial carbon tax for industry: FD

DutchNews, September 12, 2020 

The Tata Steel plant in IJmuiden. Photo:

The cabinet is pressing ahead with plans to introduce a carbon tax on industry, and the measure is included in the 2021 budget which will be presented to MPs on Tuesday, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Saturday. 

Officials had suggested earlier that the tax would be delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic and the reluctance to saddle industry with an extra tax. 

However, junior tax minister Hans Vijlbrief  told European finance ministers in Berlin on Saturday that the Netherlands would be pressing ahead with the measure and that he hoped other EU countries might make the same move, the FD said. 

This, he said, would prevent Dutch companies moving their more polluting activities to other EU countries to avoid the tax. 

The carbon tax is one of the most sensitive parts of the government’s plans to help realise the Paris climate targets and companies such as Tata Steel, Yara and Dow Chemical have already said the measure will damage their competitiveness. 


Vijlbrief also told EU ministers that the Netherlands is still planning to bring in a tax on flying in 2021, the paper said.  However, he said, he would look again at the date of January 1, given the impact of coronavirus on the aviation industry. 

‘On the other hand, what is a good moment?’ he said. ‘This is a form of transport which is not taxed in any way whatsoever.’ 

Germany, France, Sweden, Italy, Belgium, Luxemburg, Denmark and Bulgaria have already said they supported the Dutch call for an EU tax on flying. 8

Thursday, August 27, 2020

World's biggest rooftop greenhouse opens in Montreal

Yahoo – AFP, Sebastien St-Jean, August 26, 2020

Lufa Farms just opened what it says is the world's largest commercial rooftop
greenhouse, seen in this aerial photo in Montreal

Building on a new hanging garden trend, a greenhouse atop a Montreal warehouse growing eggplants and tomatoes to meet demand for locally sourced foods has set a record as the largest in the world.

It's not an obvious choice of location to cultivate organic vegetables -- in the heart of Canada's second-largest city -- but Lufa Farms on Wednesday inaugurates the facility that spans 160,000 square feet (15,000 square meters), or about the size of three football fields.

"The company's mission is to grow food where people live and in a sustainable way," spokesman Thibault Sorret told AFP, as he showed off its first harvest of giant eggplants.

It is the fourth rooftop greenhouse the company has erected in the city. The first, built in 2011 at a cost of more than Can$2 million (US$1.5 million), broke new ground.

Since then, competitors picked up and ran with the novel idea, including American Gotham Greens, which constructed eight greenhouses on roofs in New York, Chicago and Denver, and French Urban Nature, which is planning one in Paris in 2022.

A local Montreal supermarket has also offered since 2017 an assortment of vegetables grown on its roof, which was "greened" in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change.

Tomatoes are viewed at Lufa Farms, a company that just opened what it says
is the world's largest commercial rooftop greenhouse in Montreal

'Reinventing the food system'

Lebanese-born Mohamed Hage and his wife Lauren Rathmell, an American from neighboring Vermont, founded Lufa Farms in 2009 with the ambition of "reinventing the food system."

At Lufa, about 100 varieties of vegetables and herbs are grown year-round in hydroponic containers lined with coconut coir and fed liquid nutrients, including lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, bok choy, celery and sprouts.

Bumblebees pollinate the plants, while wasps and ladybugs keep aphids in check, without the need for pesticides.

Enough vegetables are harvested each week to feed 20,000 families, with baskets tailored for each at a base price of Can$30.

The company's "online market" also sells goods produced by local partner farms including "bread, pasta, rice, etcetera," Sorret said.

On the ground floor of the new greenhouse, a huge distribution center brings together nearly 2,000 grocery products for offer to "Lufavores," including restaurants.

Shopper Catherine Bonin tells AFP she loves the freshness of the produce but laments that some items are always out of stock. "I can never get peppers," she says.

Lufa Farms spokesman Thibault Sorret shows off vegetables grown at what it 
says is the world's largest commercial rooftop greenhouse in Montreal

Sales doubled during pandemic

"We are now able to feed almost two percent of Montreal with our greenhouses and our partner farms," said Sorret.

"The advantage of being on a roof is that you recover a lot of energy from the bottom of the building," allowing considerable savings in heating, an asset during the harsh Quebec winter, he explains.

"We also put to use spaces that were until now completely unused," he said.

Fully automated, the new greenhouse also has a water system that collects and reuses rainwater, resulting in savings of "up to 90 percent" compared to a traditional farm.

Lufa "more than doubled" its sales during the new coronavirus pandemic, a jump attributable "to contactless delivery from our online site," says Sorret.

Profitable since 2016, the private company now employs 500 people, around 200 more than before the pandemic, according to him.

It is currently working on the electrification of its fleet of delivery trucks and is in the process of exporting its model "to different cities around the world," starting with Canada and the United States, Sorret said.

"What's a little crazy," he recalls, is that none of the founders "had grown a tomato in their life" before opening the business.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

High-tech farmers sow seeds of revolution in Dubai desert

Yahoo – AFP, Shatha Yaish, August 18, 2020

Al-Badia market garden farm produces an array of vegetable crops in multi-storey format,
carefully controlling light and irrigation as well as recycling 90 percent of the water it uses

An ultra-modern vertical farm in the middle of the desert stands as a testament to Dubai's determination to spark a "green revolution" to overcome its dependence on food imports.

Al-Badia market garden farm produces an array of vegetable crops in multi-storey format, carefully controlling light and irrigation as well as recycling 90 percent of the water it uses.

"It's a green revolution in the middle of the desert," the farm's director Basel Jammal tells AFP.

"Each plant is given the amount of light, humidity, heat and water it needs. It's as if it were a guest in a five-star hotel," he says.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted global supply chains, has refocused attention on food security in the United Arab Emirates.

The UAE is rich in oil and ingenuity, but has little arable land and endures dry, baking summers.

That was not an issue decades ago when the area was sparsely inhabited by Bedouins.

The UAE's need to address its over-reliance on imports has inspired other 
strategies, including stockpiling and high-tech agriculture

But the wealth generated by oil discoveries since the 1970s sent expatriates flocking to the UAE.

Dubai now has more than 3.3 million inhabitants of 200 nationalities, relies largely on expensive desalinated water, and its food needs have grown and diversified.

'Choices for the future'

Dubai, like the other six emirates that make up the UAE, is heavily dependent on imports, which make up 90 percent of its food needs according to official statistics.

Produce arrives from all over the world by air and at Dubai's state-of-the-art port, stocking supermarkets with a range that compares favourably to those of any Western capital.

But in a region where geopolitical tensions with nearby Iran frequently threaten to boil over, long-term food security and self-sufficiency are key goals.

More than a decade ago, the UAE began buying or leasing agricultural land abroad, mainly in east Africa, to lock in supply even in times of crisis.

Abdellatif al-Banna is an independent farmer joining the innovation drive, 
growing pineapples in greenhouses using hydroponics and selling his production 
via an internet platform

Problems on the ground including political instability led it to look towards Australia and Eastern Europe.

But the need to address its over-reliance on imports has inspired other strategies including stockpiling and high-tech agriculture.

Jammal says his model farm where everything is controlled by computers, is a "choice for the future".

"We no longer want to depend on imports. We want to produce locally, all year round, without worrying about climate change, rainfall or drought," he says.

Like Al-Badia, a number of farms are springing up in Dubai and less-developed areas like Al-Ain and the mountainous emirate of Ras al-Khaimah.

Abdellatif al-Banna is another independent farmer joining the innovation drive, growing pineapples in greenhouses using hydroponics -- without soil -- and selling his production via an internet platform.

Not far from Dubai's coastline and glitzy skyscrapers, several farms raise cows 
in air-conditioned sheds that help provide the local market with dairy products

At his farm in Al-Awir, Banna also experiments with growing fruits, vegetables and even wheat in the cooler months -- producing enough grain for his family in what he hopes is a prototype.

Elsewhere, not far from Dubai's coastline and glitzy skyscrapers, several farms raise cows in air-conditioned sheds that help provide the local market with dairy products.

And in vast tanks overseen by a control room that duplicates Norway's sunrises and sunsets, salmon are being farmed in tanks, despite searing heat outside.

Free of shortages

Such farms are often private ventures but are actively encouraged by Emirati authorities, said Omar Bouchehab, who chairs Dubai's Food Security Committee.

Authorities have launched a plan to raise domestic agricultural production by 15 percent by 2021 and boost the use of agricultural technologies, he said.

A fruit and vegetable warehouse is seen in Dubai

At the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, while many developed cities saw shelves stripped of pasta, tinned goods and toilet rolls, Dubai did not experience any shortages in fresh produce or staples.

Thanks to airborne cargo services via giant carrier Emirates, which repurposed passenger seats to boost capacity, Dubai was even able to ensure the re-export of various food products to its neighbours.

At the Fresh Market, a large wholesale enterprise, workers busily transported and stored tonnes of imported fresh food. Executive director Redha al-Mansouri was upbeat about the emirate's food security.

"Dubai has an adequate infrastructure and a stock capable of meeting the needs of the United Arab Emirates, and even the needs of neighbouring countries," he said.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Scorching temperature in US's Death Valley could be global high

Yahoo – AFP, Ivan Couronne, August 17, 2020

A new scorching temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius)
recorded in California's Death Valley could be the highest ever recorded, US officials say

A temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius) recorded in California's Death Valley on Sunday by the US National Weather Service could be the hottest ever measured with modern instruments, officials say.

The reading was registered at 3:41 pm at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center in the Death Valley national park by an automated observation system -- an electronic thermometer encased inside a box in the shade.

In 1913, a weather station half an hour's walk away recorded what officially remains the world record of 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.7 degrees Celsius). But its validity has been disputed because a superheated sandstorm at the time may have skewed the reading.

The next highest temperature was set in July 1931 in Kebili, Tunisia, at 131 degrees Fahrenheit (55.0 degrees Celsisus) -- but again, the accuracy of older instruments has been questioned by some weather historians.

In 2016 and 2017, weather stations in Mitribah, Kuwait and Turbat, Pakistan recorded temperatures of 129.2 degrees Fahrenheit (54 degrees Celsius). After evaluation by the World Meteorological Organization both were downgraded by a few fractions of a degree.

The Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization said Monday it would start the process to verify the new US reading.

"This observed high temperature is considered preliminary and not yet official," said the US National Weather Service.

The sensor that recorded a temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit 
(54.4 degrees Celsius) on August 16, 2020 in Death Valley National Park, 

Heating up

Dan Berc, an official at the Las Vegas NWS office responsible for the site, told AFP that the sensor would be brought in for evaluation.

The investigation would take "at least a couple of months," he said, adding: "Growing up as a kid, I thought 130 degrees Fahrenheit was a really cool record." 

Validation isn't a formality, and long-held records have been thrown out after modern evaluation.

For decades, the heat record was officially the 136.4 degrees Fahrenheit (58 degrees Celsius) recorded in 1922 in El Azizia, now modern Libya. 

But a WMO panel that investigated it in detail between 2010 and 2012 stripped it of the title after finding multiple troubling aspects including a potential problem with the thermometers and an inexperienced observer.

The southwestern United States is currently enduring an intense heat wave, which scientists say are becoming more frequent and dangerous because of human-driven climate change.

Worldwide, the five hottest years in history have occurred in the last five years.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, nations committed to limit temperature rises to "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, mainly through sweeping emissions cuts.

These goals are seen as crucial to prevent triggering a series of tipping points that would cause irreversible planetary heating by the end of the century, making vast swaths of the planet inhospitable for human and animal life.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Wind and solar power at record high in 2020, coal dips: analysis

Yahoo – AFP, Patrick GALEY, 13 August 2020

Despite a near-record drop in power demand due to the pandemic, renewables'
share of the electricity mix was up 14 percent compared to the same period last year

Wind and solar produced a record 10 percent of global electricity in the first half of 2020 as the world's coal plant fleet ran at less than half its capacity, analysis published Thursday showed.

Despite a near-record drop in power demand due to the pandemic, renewables accounted for 1,129 terawatt-hours in January-June, compared with 992 in the first six months of 2019, according to a report by the Ember energy think tank.

Overall, the percentage of power drawn from wind and solar has more than doubled from 4.6 percent in 2015 -- the year of the landmark Paris deal on climate change.

On the other hand, generation from coal -- the most polluting fossil fuel -- fell 8.3 percent in the first half of 2020, the analysis showed.

This was despite leading emitter China increasing its share of the global coal fleet slightly.

"From 2015 it's an incredible amount of growth (in solar and wind), but even at 10 percent it's not completely transformational," Dave Jones, senior electricity analyst at Ember, told AFP.

"When we ask is it enough what we are really talking about is, how fast are emissions falling?

"Thirty percent of fossil fuel emissions globally are just from coal power plants, so coal fired power generation needs to collapse quickly in order to limit climate change," said Jones.

The analysis showed that many major economies -- including China, the United States, India, Japan, Brazil and Turkey -- now generate at least 10 percent of their electricity through wind and solar.

Britain and the European Union were singled out for particular praise, deriving 21 and 33 percent of their power from renewables, respectively.

'Not fast enough'

Under the Paris Agreement, nations committed to limit temperature rises to "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 Farenheit) above pre-industrial levels, mainly through sweeping emissions cuts.

The accord also aims for a safer cap of 1.5C of warming.

To reach this, the United Nations says emissions must fall 7.6 percent annually this decade.

Jones said that while 30 percent of coal's decline this year could be attributed to increased wind and solar generation, the rest was likely due to the economic slowdown caused by COVID-19.

"A large part of this is obviously due to the pandemic rather than long term trends and -- let's be honest -- it's not fast enough if your target is 1.5 C," he said.

A study published last week in Nature Climate Change found that absent a rapid switch away from fossil fuels, the unprecedented fall in emissions due to COVID-19 would do virtually nothing to slow climate change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that coal use needs to fall 13 percent every year this decade to keep the 1.5-C goal in play.

China, the world's leading polluter, reduced its coal production just two percent so far this year despite its economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.

"Where is China's plan to collapse that coal generation by 2030?" said Jones.

"At the moment it doesn't exist."

Friday, July 31, 2020

Wild bee decline threatens major US crops: study

France24 – AFP, 29 July 2020

One-in-six species of bees have gone regionally extinct somewhere in the 
world Ulrich Perrey dpa/AFP

Paris (AFP) - Wild bees are worth some $1.5 billion to key fruit and vegetable crops in North America, according to new research that warned declines in these pollinators threatens the productivity of economically important agriculture.

The study, which had funding from the United States Department of Agriculture, comes as evidence of steep drops in insect populations worldwide prompts fears of dire consequences for crop pollination and natural food chains.

Researchers from several US and Canadian universities looked at seven major fruit, vegetable and nut crops that are dependent on pollination -- by wild bees and managed honeybees, which are often transported around farms as hired crop pollinators.

While honeybees have traditionally been seen as the most economically valuable pollinators in the US, the study found wild bees play a much greater role than has been previously acknowledged, "even in agriculturally intensive regions".

"Our findings show that pollinator declines could translate directly into decreased yields or production for most of the crops studied, and that wild species contribute substantially to pollination of most study crops in major crop-producing regions," the authors said.

Researchers collected data from 131 farms in the US and parts of Canada on the prevalence of different types of bees, the amount of pollen distributed per flower visit and crop yield.

This allowed them to estimate that the nationwide annual production value of wild pollinators to the crops studied was over $1.5 billion, compared with $6.4 billion for honeybees -- a figure dominated by their $4.2 billion value to almond production.

Researchers found that in six crops -- pumpkin, apple, sweet cherry, tart cherry, blueberry and watermelon -- wild bee species deposited on average more pollen per flower visit than honeybees.

The exception was in California's vast almond fields, where there were often no sign of any wild bees at all.

Conservation value

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, found that five out of the seven crops showed evidence that a lack of pollinators was limiting production.

They concluded that agricultural firms would see little benefit in investing in pesticides and fertilisers without tackling wild pollinator declines.

Insects are the world's top pollinators -- 75 percent of 115 top global food crops depend on animal pollination, including cocoa, coffee, almonds and cherries, according to the UN.

In a landmark study last year scientists concluded that nearly half of all insect species worldwide are in decline and a third could disappear altogether by century's end.

One-in-six species of bees have gone regionally extinct somewhere in the world.

The main drivers of extinction are thought to be habitat loss and pesticide use.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

New corporate initiatives aim for carbon neutrality

Yahoo – AFP, July 21, 2020

Apple is stepping up its efforts on climate change, with a pledge to be carbon 
neutral across its entire business by 2030 (AFP Photo/Emmanuel DUNAND)

New York (AFP) - Nine global corporations unveiled an initiative Tuesday to step up efforts to move to a "net zero" carbon emissions society, while Apple announced its own plan to be carbon neutral by 2030.

A new coalition including US-based Microsoft, Germany's Mercedes-Benz AG, France's Danone and Anglo-Dutch Unilever aims to "develop and deliver research, guidance, and implementable roadmaps to enable all businesses to achieve net zero emissions," according to a statement by the group.

The initiative, known as Transform to Net Zero, aims to help businesses achieve zero emissions no later than 2050.

"Over the past decade, many businesses have committed to net zero targets. It is now time to accelerate the actions needed to achieve this essential goal," said Aron Cramer, president of the nonprofit consultancy BSR, which will serve as the secretariat for the initiative.

"We are now in a decisive decade, in which we must urgently decarbonize the economy, if we are to stave off the worst impacts of climate change."

Other founding members of the coalition include the Danish shipping giant Maersk, Brazilian personal care firm Natura & Co, US-based Starbucks and Nike, India-based tech firm Wipro and the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund.

"The gap between where we are on climate change and where we need to be continues to widen," said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund.

"This new initiative holds tremendous potential for closing these gaps. Especially if other businesses follow in the coalition's footsteps."

Apple goes green

Apple meanwhile said in a separate announcement it would become carbon neutral by 2030 for all its operations including manufacturing.

The California tech giant, which is already carbon neutral for its corporate operations, said the move would mean no climate impact for all its devices sold.

As part of an environmental update, Apple said it plans to reduce emissions by 75 percent by 2030 while developing "innovative carbon removal solutions" for the remaining 25 percent of its comprehensive footprint.

This includes investing in projects to restore savannas in Kenya and a mangrove ecosystem in Colombia to remove or store carbon.

"Businesses have a profound opportunity to help build a more sustainable future, one born of our common concern for the planet we share," said Apple chief executive Tim Cook.

"Climate action can be the foundation for a new era of innovative potential, job creation, and durable economic growth."

Apple said it has commitments from over 70 suppliers to use 100 percent renewable energy for Apple production.

As part of the effort, Apple will also establish an "accelerator" fund to invest in minority-owned businesses to contribute to the initiative, as part of its $100 million commitment to promote racial equity and justice.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Back clean energy post-virus, UN chief urges leaders

Yahoo - AFP, July 9, 2020

Guterres urged governments to make climate-friendlier action a condition for
bailing out airlines and others (AFP Photo/KARIM SAHIB)

Paris (AFP) - United Nations chief Antonio Guterres on Thursday urged world leaders to favour clean energy solutions as they pour money into their economies to save them from a coronavirus-induced meltdown.

Governments should exit coal, stop subsidising other fossil fuels, and pressure polluting industries to clean up their act in exchange for bailing them out, the UN Secretary-General told an International Energy Agency conference by video link.

"Today I would like to urge all leaders to choose the clean energy route for three vital reasons -- health, science and economics," Guterres said.

"Bailout support to sectors such as industry, aviation and shipping should be conditioned on alignment with the goals of the Paris Agreement," he said, referring to the 2015 treaty that commits signatories to capping global warming at 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

"We need to stop wasting money on fossil fuel subsidies and place a price on carbon," Guterres said, adding that "coal has no place in COVID-19 recovery plans".

He also called on investors "to demand that companies reveal transition plans to reach net zero emissions" and said that renewables offered "three times more jobs than the fossil fuel industry".

Governments across the world have pledged unprecedented sums to support their economies to cope with the fallout from COVID-19, with many politicians and NGOs calling for green policies to become an integral part of the spending plans.

The European Parliament, for example, has urged EU governments to put "the green deal at the core" of their proposed 750-billion-euro recovery plan.

In Germany, where the government has agreed to rescue flagship airline Lufthansa, the environment minister said that climate-friendlier policies by the airline would be part of the deal.

In neighbouring Austria, the government made "necessary measures in terms of climate protection" a condition for bailing out Austrian Airlines.

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20TH KRYON SUMMER LIGHT CONFERENCE, US (7), June 2-4, 2017 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) (Text version "The State of the Earth")

"....  A mini ice age is coming"Kryon, isn't that doom for the planet?"  Many have seen the artist's rendering of major earth cities under ice and all of the other things that go very well with science fiction movies. That's simply a painting of someone's doom scenario, not reality based in the history of the cycle. If you want to know what a mini ice age is like, just flash back in history and study what took place in about 1650. That was a mini ice age. Due to the change in the Gulf Stream (the ocean), the river Thames froze in London. Dear ones, it was cold, but it did not doom the planet. That's a mini ice age.

That's what you're facing, and I'll say it again. If you live in a cold climate, heed this advice: It's going to get colder. Get off the grid! Within the next 15 years, find a way of producing electricity independently or in smaller groups. This can be done neighborhood-wide or separately in homes. You're going to need this, dear ones, because the grid as it exists right now all over the world is not prepared for this coming cold, and the grid will fail. That's not doom and gloom, that's just practical, commonly known information. Your electricity infrastructure is delicate, too delicate. Prepare for a cold spell that may last for a couple of decades. That's all it is. Technology is racing forward to allow this. Don't let your politics get in the way of your survival. ..."

"...  This is controversial. The planet can't just "change the water". It does it instead with a "reboot of life in the ocean" using the water cycle. Watch for evidence of this as it occurs, and then remember this channel. This weather cycle is to refresh the life in the ocean so that everyone on the planet will have needed food from the ocean. Gaia does this by itself, has done it before, and it does it for a reason - so it will not stagnate.

Dear ones, indeed, you have put compromising things into the air and the water, but it has not caused this cycle. We have said for a very long time, stop killing the environment! The reason? It's going to kill you, not Gaia. Gaia is spectacularly resilient and will survive anything you do. However, it is you who may not survive if you continue polluting. All this is starting to change with your awareness, and you're starting to see this and move with it. But Humans are not causing the current weather shift. This will be known eventually.

What is happening has happened before, and it's almost like a reboot for the oceans and it carries a lot of dichotomous events. You're going to see reports of a dying ocean, but at the same time you're going to see unusual reports of too many fish and other sea life in places that were supposed to have a decline. You're going to see the life cycle of the ocean itself start to change and reboot.

The chief player in this renewal is a place you would not expect: Antarctica. I want you to watch for magic in Antarctica. It has always been the core of the refreshing of microbes and other kinds of life in your oceans and it's especially active during these mini ice ages. The process will cause currents under the sea to be filled with new life, delivering it to both hemispheres almost like an under-sea conveyor belt. ..."

"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, 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…


We've told you that one of the greatest natural resources of the planet, which is going to shift and change and be mysterious to you, is fresh water. It's going to be the next gold, dear ones. So, we have also given you some hints and examples and again we plead: Even before the potentials of running out of it, learn how to desalinate water in real time without heat. It's there, it's doable, and some already have it in the lab. This will create inexpensive fresh water for the planet. 

There is a change of attitude that is starting to occur. Slowly you're starting to see it and the only thing getting in the way of it are those companies with the big money who currently have the old system. That's starting to change as well. For the big money always wants to invest in what it knows is coming next, but it wants to create what is coming next within the framework of what it has "on the shelf." What is on the shelf is oil, coal, dams, and non-renewable resource usage. It hasn't changed much in the last 100 years, has it? Now you will see a change of free choice. You're going to see decisions made in the boardrooms that would have curled the toes of those two generations ago. Now "the worst thing they could do" might become "the best thing they could do." That, dear ones, is a change of free choice concept. When the thinkers of tomorrow see options that were never options before, that is a shift. That was number four.”

New Mini Ice Age

"The weather you have today, and all the alarming attributes of it, is a scenario of what was scheduled to happen on Earth anyway. I review again that the weather changes you are seeing prophesied by myself, 21 years ago, are not a surprise. The changes are not caused by the pollutants you put in the air. You call it global warming and that's a nice phrase, and perhaps that will get you to put less pollutants in the air – a very good thing. But what you are seeing in the weather shift today was not caused by Humans putting things into the air. It would have happened anyway in about 300 years."

"We've called this process the water cycle, since it's all about water, not about air. The water is the predominant attribute of Gaia and of the weather cycle you're seeing. More predominant is the temperature of it. The cycle is ice to water and water to ice, and has been repeated on this planet over and over and over. It is not new. It is not exceptional. It is not frightening. But it's a cycle that modern humanity has not seen before, and it's a long cycle that is beyond the life span of a Human Being. Therefore, it tends to be overlooked or not seen at all !"

"In the days of the Lemurians, the water level of the Pacific Ocean was almost 400 feet lower, and that's only 50,000 years ago. [Kryon invites science to check this out – the water level at that time.] That was a water cycle working, and the reason it was lower was due to so much of the water being stored as ice. Today you're going through another water cycle that will eventually lead to cooling. The last one was in the 1400s."

"Science sees that at about 1650. As mentioned, they are so slow there is no remembrance that a Human has of them except in past writings and in the rings of the trees. The time span of the changes is so great that environmental record keeping does not exist in the form that it does today. But you can still look at the rings of the trees and at the striations of the rocks and can generally figure out that a few hundred years ago, you had a mini-ice age. Now you're going to have another one."