Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Carbon payback times for crop-based biofuel expansion in the tropics: the effects of changing yield and technology

Biofuels from land-rich tropical countries may help displace foreign petroleum imports for many industrialized nations, providing a possible solution to the twin challenges of energy security and climate change. But concern is mounting that crop-based biofuels will increase net greenhouse gas emissions if feedstocks are produced by expanding agricultural lands. Here we quantify the 'carbon payback time' for a range of biofuel crop expansion pathways in the tropics. We use a new, geographically detailed database of crop locations and yields, along with updated vegetation and soil biomass estimates, to provide carbon payback estimates that are more regionally specific than those in previous studies. Using this cropland database, we also estimate carbon payback times under different scenarios of future crop yields, biofuel technologies, and petroleum sources. Under current conditions, the expansion of biofuels into productive tropical ecosystems will always lead to net carbon emissions for decades to centuries, while expanding into degraded or already cultivated land will provide almost immediate carbon savings. Future crop yield improvements and technology advances, coupled with unconventional petroleum supplies, will increase biofuel carbon offsets, but clearing carbon-rich land still requires several decades or more for carbon payback. No foreseeable changes in agricultural or energy technology will be able to achieve meaningful carbon benefits if crop-based biofuels are produced at the expense of tropical forests.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Five Ways to Help Save the Planet in 30 Minutes or Less

You may not be able to reduce global warming, end pollution and save endangered species single-handed, but by choosing to live an earth-friendly lifestyle you can do a lot every day to help achieve those goals.
And by making wise choices about how you live, and the amount of energy and natural resources you consume, you send a clear message to businesses, politicians and government agencies that value you as a customer, constituent and citizen. Here are five simple things you can do—in 30 minutes or less—to help protect the environment and save Planet Earth. Drive Less, Drive Smart
Every time you leave your car at home you reduce air pollution, lower greenhouse gas emissions, improve your health and save money. Walk or ride a bicycle for short trips, or take public transportation for longer ones. In 30 minutes, most people can easily walk a mile or more, and you can cover even more ground on a bicycle, bus, subway or commuter train. Research has shown that people who use public transportation are healthier than those who don’t. Families that use public transportation can save enough money annually to cover their food costs for the year. When you do drive, take the few minutes needed to make sure your engine is well maintained and your tires properly inflated. Eat Your Vegetables
Eating less meat and more fruits, grains and vegetables can help the environment more than you may realize. Eating meat, eggs and dairy products contributes heavily to global warming, because raising animals for food produces many more greenhouse gas emissions than growing plants. A 2006 report by the University of Chicago found that adopting a vegan diet does more to reduce global warming than switching to a hybrid car.
Raising animals for food also uses enormous amounts of land, water, grain and fuel. Every year in the United States alone, 80 percent of all agricultural land, half of all water resources, 70 percent of all grain, and one-third of all fossil fuels are used to raise animals for food. Making a salad doesn’t take any more time than cooking a hamburger and it’s better for you—and for the environment. Switch to Reusable Shopping Bags
Producing plastic bags uses a lot of natural resources, and most end up as litter that fouls landscapes, clogs waterways, and kills thousands of marine mammals that mistake the ubiquitous bags for food. Worldwide, up to a trillion plastic bags are used and discarded every year—more than a million per minute. The count for paper bags is lower, but the cost in natural resources is still unacceptably high—especially when there is a better alternative.
Reusable shopping bags, made of materials that don’t harm the environment during production and don’t need to be discarded after each use, reduce pollution and save resources that could be put to better uses than making plastic and paper bags. Reusable bags are convenient and come in a variety of sizes and styles. Some reusable bags can even be rolled or folded small enough to fit into a purse or pocket. Change Your Light Bulbs
Compact fluorescent light bulbs and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are more energy efficient and less expensive to use than the traditional incandescent bulbs invented by Thomas Edison. For example, compact fluorescent light bulbs use at least two-thirds less energy than standard incandescent bulbs to provide the same amount of light, and they last up to 10 times longer. Compact fluorescent light bulbs also generate 70 percent less heat, so they are safer to operate and can reduce energy costs associated with cooling homes and offices.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, if every U.S. household replaced just one regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb, it would prevent 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, the equivalent of taking 7.5 million cars off the road. On top of that, for every incandescent bulb you replace with an approved compact fluorescent light bulb, you will save consumers $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. Pay Your Bills Online
Many banks, utilities and other businesses now offer their customers the option of paying bills online, eliminating the need to write and mail paper checks or to keep paper records. By paying your bills online you can save time and money, lower the administrative costs of companies with which you do business, and reduce global warming by helping to prevent deforestation.
Signing up for online bill paying is easy and doesn’t take much time. You can either choose to have certain bills paid automatically each month or elect to review and pay each bill yourself. Either way, you will receive outstanding returns on your small investment of time.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Few Practical Suggestions

Let's face reality. Earth is going to be the first planet terraformed. The human race is killing our planet by flooding land, sea, and air with pollution and by over use. Plants and animals are unable to adapt quickly enough to the changes in the environment that mankind is causing. The Earth is becoming less capable of sustaining the world's population. Even humanity is at risk of becoming extinct because of the long term effects of global warming.

Here are my recommendations of what has to be done to save both the planet and humanity.

  1. Recycle everything! Instead of having our trash sent to landfills, everything that people consume and eventually throw out must be recycled. Therefore, we need recycling plants for batteries, electronics, organic (food and garden) wastes, medals, etc. in addition to recycling paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum. Even existing landfills need to be recycled. You can find out about different ways to recycle landfills from this article.
  2. Pollution Free Energy! Right now this is impossible, but I have faith in science to one day make this a reality. Reducing energy utilization, such as energy efficient light bulbs, cars, and washing machines will not solve this problem; but only delay this problem from being solved as soon as possible. You can read more about possible pollution free energy sources that could be cost effective from this article.
  3. Population Control. Right now, the Earth can not sustain the existing human population indefinitely, and this is not including the current population growth. As a result, the world's resources are quickly dwindling without replacements. The only logical solution to this problem is population control. Since the world can not indefinitely support the entire human population, then the world's population needs to decrease to a level so that the planet can sustain both humanity and wildlife indefinitely.
  4. Renewable Resources. Humanity is currently consuming more resources than the planet can renew, and this does not include non-renewable resources such as oil. Therefore, business will eventually have to convert to strictly self sustainable and renewable resources in the near future.
  5. Environmental Protection. The human race is destroying vast regions of the planet, so much so that the planet's ability of supporting life is decreasing. Throughout the world, forests and wild lands must no longer be allowed to be destroyed for human development, and this still may not be enough to support all wildlife. Land that has become infertile because of man's actions, such as strip mining and deforestation, must be revived by law. The world's oceans also need to be globally managed, since the world's fish population is suffering from over fishing. It is estimated that the world's oceans will no longer be commercially useful for fishing between 2030 and 2060. Even air pollution needs to be completely regulated until all air is clean and remains that way.
  6. Manage Global Warming. Global warming is going to decimate the human civilization if left unchecked. The four previous solutions above will help slow down global warming, but they will not prevent global warming. Therefore, further actions must be necessary to either prevent or manage global warming. For instance, when the world's oceans start to rise because the polar ice caps are melting, it will be necessary to intentionally flood large portions of land to prevent the world's ocean from destroying coastal cities and farmland. One way to help do this is to redirect rivers to not deposit their water into the oceans but into lakes, valleys, canyons, aquifers, empty oil fields, and where ever else possible. Another solution is to use seawater to flood large sections of unused land, such as deserts. These solutions will definitely have major consequences, but those consequences will hopefully not include the uncontrolled destruction of cities and countless lives.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Green Barley: A Total Food

The real power of Barley grass is found in the combination of all the nutrients making it a whole food concentrate as close to its natural state as possible and thus supplies the nutrients in a natural proportion.
There are many plants with satisfactory nutrition, but none that covers as wide a spectrum of nutrients as Barley grass.
Drinking Barley Green Juice has been commonly recommended by persons who study natural healing techniques. In recent years, it has become popular among those seeking a potent source of antioxidant and phytochemical properties attributed to deep green leafy vegetables.
In today’s world, “eating right” is becoming more and more difficult. It is no surprise that people who use our Barley feel it is the best thing they have done for themselves in a long time!
Easy to use and surprisingly palatable, our Barley is grown from select organic seeds at over 5,000 ft. elevation in the mineral-rich soil of an ancient volcanic lake bed. Our Barley is irrigated by pure mineral water and harvested at the peak of nutrition. Our Barley is processed “on site” and is guaranteed to be 100% pure green barley powder (dehydrated at 88 °F to lock in nutritional potency).
Our barley powder contains no binders, fillers, sweeteners or additives of any kind.
Green Barley contains the following:
Amino Acids and Proteins

Amino Acids are the building blocks of proteins; 20 of them are present in the body proteins in significant quantity. Proteins are the major constituent of every cell and body fluid (except urine and bile) and are thus necessary for the continual cell building, regeneration, and energy production that we need for life. An added benefit of the green barley leaf proteins is that they promote cell metabolism (the chemical changes we need to live) and neutralize substances that are bad for your health. Eighteen (18) amino acids are found in barley grass, including the 8 essential ones: that is: the amino acids that we must get from our diets; the body cannot produce them itself.
Enzymes, Vitamins, and Minerals

Green Barley leaves contain a multitude of the body’s spark plugs, the enzymes. Enzymes supply the spark that starts the essential chemical reactions, without which, we would be helpless: a bag of bones, unable to walk, talk, blink, or breathe.
Astounding amounts of vitamins and minerals are found in green barley leaves. These include: Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Copper, Phosphorus, Manganese, Zinc, Beta Carotene, B1, B2, C, Folic Acid, and Pantothenic Acid.
It contains:
11 times the calcium in cow’s milk
5 times the iron in spinach
7 times the Vitamin C in oranges
80 mg of vitamin B12 per hundred grams
Significant amounts of chlorophyll
Extremely Alkaline and More

Green barley leaves are extremely alkaline, so digesting them can help keep the body’s alkaline and acidity ration balanced. Our cells cannot adequately function if the pH range (which measure acidity and alkaline) is not in a narrow range. Most processed foods are acidic, and when we consume too many of them the acidity/alkaline balance is upset and this result in possible fatigue.
Green barley have anti-inflammatory, and anti-ulcer properties. It contains 2’-O-GIV an antioxidant activity superior to vitamin E. It may contribute to preventing the changes that often lead to cancer, rapid aging, and cell death.
Green barley has: Carotenoids, Flavonoids, Phytochemicals, Phytonutrients.

Green Barley is suitable for people who suffer from most of these symptoms

  1. High blood pressure

  2. High blood sugar

  3. High Cholesterol

  4. Arthritis

  5. Lack of energy

  6. Lack of strength

  7. Sleepiness

  8. Overweight

  9. Neck pain

  10. Rheumatism

  11. Feeling stress

  12. Easily gets tired

  13. Constipation

  14. Bad breath

  15. Gout

  16. Rhinitis

  17. Severe back pain

  18. Pre-menstrual tension

  19. Menopausal complaints

  20. Frequent urination

Download HWIC Green Barley Brochure and other materials from

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mapping the health of the Planet

Important progress has been made in reducing poverty and improving the quality of life over the past several decades. Life expectancy and per capita income have increased, infant mortality has decreased and there has been fuller involvement of civil society in decision-making. But significant progress is still required.
Billions of people, especially the rural poor, still lack access to nutritious food, clean water, sanitation, electricity or a healthy environment. Disenfranchised groups lack empowerment, opportunity and security: this is evidenced by the inequitable distribution of benefits from globalization; the limited access which many poor people have to productive resources and technological innovation; and the exclusionary land tenure arrangements found in many countries. Environmental degradation at the local (e.g. water pollution) and regional (e.g. land degradation) scales continues unabated in most developing countries – depleting natural capital, undermining the livelihoods of the poor, and limiting rural economic growth. And, at the global scale, the Earth’s climate continues to change, and biological diversity is being lost at an unprecedented rate, undermining the ecological basis for sustainable development.
Progress towards sustainable development depends upon better managing the Earth’s ecosystems. These affect human well-being directly through supplying such goods as food, timber, genetic resources and medicines, and such services as water purification, flood control, coastline stabilization, carbon sequestration, waste treatment, biodiversity conservation, soil generation, pollination, maintenance of air quality, and the provision of aesthetic and cultural benefits. And they affect it indirectly through impacts on poverty, health, livelihoods, security and economic development.

Human impact
The magnitude of human-induced changes in terrestrial and marine ecosystems is unprecedented. Some 40 to 50 per cent of land is now transformed or degraded. Some 60 per cent of the world’s major fisheries are overfished. Natural forests continue to disappear at a rate of about 14 million hectares each year. And other ecosystems such as wetlands, mangroves and coral reefs have been substantially reduced or degraded. Other human-induced impacts on ecosystems include alteration of the nitrogen and carbon cycles causing acid rain, eutrophication, climate change and increased rates of species extinction. All these changes have had significant, but largely unquantified, impacts on the production of ecosystem goods and services.
Projected demographic changes and economic growth will lead to an increasing demand for biological resources. This implies even greater impacts on ecosystems and the goods and services that flow from them. Projections suggest, for example, that an additional one third of global land cover will be transformed over the next 100 years; world demand for cereals will double within the next 25-50 years; demand for freshwater will increase to an equivalent of more than 70 per cent of run-off: and demand for wood will double over the next half-century.
The magnitude of human-induced changes in terrestrial and marine ecosystems is unprecedented
It is now well recognized that there is a trade-off among ecological goods and services. While converting a forest to agriculture may increase food production, for example, it may decrease the supply of clean water, timber, biodiversity or flood control – which may be of equal or greater importance. An integrated approach to agriculture, land use, and coastal and ocean management must be adopted to encompass the differing ecological, economic, social, cultural and institutional implications of sustainable use and conservation.
As the capability of many ecosystems to provide essential goods and services is being diminished, many governments are now beginning to recognize the need for managing these basic life support systems more effectively: this is particularly important as a tool for poverty alleviation. The importance of managing ecosystems better is also recognized in the private sector, both by industries dependent directly on biological resources (such as timber, fishing or agricultural firms), and those that are not (e.g. extractive industries such as mining). Companies increasingly recognize the importance of being good ‘corporate citizens’ by focusing on the triple bottom line of economic growth that is environmentally and socially sustainable.

Multi-scale assessment
The United Nations Secretary-General recognized the growing burden that degraded ecosystems are placing on human well-being and economic development in his Millennium Report to the United Nations General Assembly, and said:
‘It is impossible to devise effective environmental policy unless it is based on sound scientific information. While major advances in data collection have been made in many areas, large gaps in our knowledge remain. In particular, there has never been a comprehensive global assessment of the world’s major ecosystems. The planned Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a major international collaborative effort to map the health of our planet, is a response to this need.’
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) is a multi-scale assessment: this means that it comprises interlinked assessments conducted at different geographic scales, ranging from local communities to the entire globe. It has been authorized by the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention to Combat Desertification and the Ramsar Wetlands Convention, and is carefully coordinated with other international scientific assessments. It will also contribute directly to decision-making needs at sub-national scales and within the private sector and civil society.
The Assessment builds upon earlier sectoral and integrated assessments and focuses on three issues: the current and historical trends in ecosystems and their contribution to human well-being; options for conserving ecosystems and increasing their contribution to human welfare; and future scenarios for change in ecosystems and human well-being. Its ‘value added’ is in its cross-sectoral and cross-scale analysis.

Three issues
The multi-scale framework is unique. Other global assessments have included strong regional analyses (e.g. the third assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), but the MA also incorporates formal assessments undertaken at the sub-global scale, with their own stakeholders, authorizing environment and user-driven process.
The MA has been structured to ensure that it meets the tests of saliency, credibility, transparency, legitimacy and utility. It has been designed to:
  • meet high scientific and technical standards, including a rigorous and transparent peer review process;
  • be policy relevant but not policy prescriptive;
  • be independent from political pressure, while responsive to user needs;
  • include an open process for nominating and selecting experts ensuring regional, disciplinary, gender and stakeholder balance, while seeking to expand the community of experts conducting the assessment to include local and traditional knowledge;
  • ensure a balanced reporting of perspectives, identifying what is known and unknown, including key uncertainties;
  • embrace issues associated with risk assessment, management and communication;
  • be owned and authorized by all relevant stakeholders;
  • include an effective strategy of outreach and communication of the process and results.
Major sponsors include the Global Environment Facility, the United Nations Foundation, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, the World Bank, UNEP, and the Governments of Norway, China, Japan and the United States.
The MA will contribute to increasing public awareness of the impacts of ecosystem change on human well-being and of the steps needed to address them; improved national and sub-national decisions concerning ecosystems, human development and poverty alleviation; stronger business strategies that promote ecosystem health and the sustained enterprises dependent on it; and improved international and global cooperation in ecosystem management