Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

220px-Air_Raid_Precautions_on_the_British_Home_Front-_Anti-gas_Instruction,_c_1941_D3948The 34th Beijing International Marathon was held on Sunday — an event long-planned by the government to highlight its economic development and tourism. It did not work out quite that way. Instead of a marathon, the race looked like a competition to see who could hold their breath for over 26 miles after pollution levels surpassed the hazardous level. It looked more like a medical emergency with hundreds of runners using oxygen masks to breath and using sponges to clean off pollution on their skin. The government of course reported only “moderate” pollution. When the Chinese government says that pollution is moderate, it may be time to be a couch potato at home like this lovely couple.

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Home Sweet Home

IMG_1470While I loved Italy and Sicily, I did long to return to my hikes on my favorite trails in Maryland and Virginia. I did my usual dawn hike this morning on Billy Goat trail and it was glorious with the leaves changing and the crisp autumn wind.

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300px-Chernobyl_Disaster1280px-Fukushima_I_by_Digital_GlobeOne of the chief objections to nuclear power is the catastrophic implications of nuclear accidents or leaks. No better examples of that danger can be found in the aftermath of the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters. Reports out this week show precisely how lasting such damage can be.

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Walrus_alaska

This extraordinary picture from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has many scientists worried as the latest sign of climate change. These are estimated 35,000 pacific walrus ashore on a beach in north-west Alaska. As mammals, walrus cannot swim indefinitely so they use their tusks to “haul out,” or pull themselves onto an ice floe or rocks. However, the loss of sea ice has left them effectively stranded.

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1412079277000-aralThese pictures from NASA are being called “the quiet Chernobyl.” It is the Aral Sea as seen in 2000 and as seen this year. The massive decline of water levels is particularly evident from the black line showing the shoreline in the 1960s. In the United States and other cities, the world is facing a water crisis that is being given relatively low amount of attention. However, pictures like these show vividly our self-destructive impact on the environment.

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Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 8.19.08 AM 1It appears that Christopher Walken’s advice of “more cow bell” works more for Blue Öyster Cult is no longer good for diary farmers in Switzerland. The iconic sounds of cows in the pasture with bells around their necks could soon be banned due to research showing that it is harming the hearing of the bovine. The choice is curtailing a pleasant tourist experience or herds of deaf cows.

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earth-screensaver_large220px-AlfedPalmersmokestacksChina has long proven to be one of the most destructive nations on Earth for the environment from air pollution that is diminishing the air quality of nations across the ocean to an insatiable market for endangered species products. After President Obama challenged China (the leading producer of greenhouse gases in the world) to match reductions of the West in carbon emission reductions, China refused and demanded massive payments, including Intellectual Property concessions, to convince it to make even greater cut in its pollution. Despite its ascendance into the top of world economics, China continues to suggest that it is another “developing country” and that the West should make the major economic sacrifices for environment. China did commit setting new limits domestically and will be working on joint projects with the United States. The United States has not been a leader in this area for some time but President Obama’s remarks were welcomed by the world environmental community. Conversely, India’s Environmental Minister summed up the obstructionist position of his country by asking “What cuts? That’s for more developed countries. The moral principle of historic responsibility cannot be washed away.” Well, given the rate of rising pollution in India, it will be hard to see anything, let alone cuts, if his country maintains this destructive policy.

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