Friday, August 31, 2007

The Mangrove Man
By Matthew Shaer
The Christian Science Monitor

Go to Original

Thursday 30 August 2007

Abdoulaye Diame is on a crusade in his native Senegal to save a plant crucial to curbing floods, filtering seawater, and regulating tides.

Fayako, Senegal - First the old man traces a slow, sprawling circle in the sand. Then gingerly, like a master painter, he fills out his portrait: a dozen triangles for waves, a smattering of rectangles for buildings, and a jagged line for the shore. "A few years ago," he says, "the water was down there."

For emphasis, he turns in his chair, and points at the beach. It is an unusually hot day, and half of the 50-odd residents of this small island are huddled under a small grove of palms at the center of the island. "We lived in those buildings for a while," he says. "The tide came up, so we pulled back to here." He marks the middle of a circle.

"The mangroves were a barrier against the water," explains Abdoulaye Diame, peering down at the old man's illustration. "When the mangroves started dying, the water started rising."

Mr. Diame, a Senegalese scientist, is a liaison between Fayako and the mainland. But in this part of Senegal, he is known mostly as a tireless advocate for the mangrove tree - one of the earth's vital and unheralded natural resources. With their thick copses and interconnected roots, mangroves are essential for purifying sea water, regulating the tides, balancing underwater ecosystems, and mitigating the effects of floodwater damage. For many West Africans, they are also a source of fuel and a support to marine life.

They are regarded locally with almost spiritual reverence.

But they're disappearing rapidly. By most estimates, more than half the world's mangroves have already been destroyed. The remaining plants, which grow in tropical and subtropical zones from India to Southeast Asia, die at a rate of 1 to 2 percent a year - largely because of pollution and the increasing salinity of some coastal waters.

In Fayako, a town located deep in Senegal's verdant Sine Saloum Delta, the effects are clearly visible. As the mangroves have vanished, locals are finding fewer fish to eat and no firewood to burn. More ominously, the tide rises a bit higher each year.

So Diame is trying to halt the destruction through a combination of reforestation and grass-roots activism. Each week, he pilots a boat around the serpentine tributaries of the delta, stopping at small towns to inspect progress on planting sites and help residents manage the remaining mangroves. He harangues village elders about proper tending. He works to introduce new agricultural techniques.

If he turns out to be successful, his program could become a model for other mangrove conservation efforts around the globe.

Diame is a tall man with broad shoulders and a steely stare that reflects the deeply personal nature of his work. He maintains roots in the region, where he was born and where he graduated from high school. In 1993, he traveled to Russia to attend Moscow State University, earning degrees in physical oceanography and geography. When he returned to Senegal, he set about using his new skills to help solve some of the delta's most pressing ecological problems. Chief among them: the precipitous drop in the mangrove population, caused in part by the polluting runoff from luxury resorts in the area.

"We tried to approach it in two different ways," Diame says. "We wanted to begin replanting the mangroves, but we also wanted to teach people here about how they could help."

The first step was to establish a center in Foundiougne. By the late 1990s, Diame had secured enough funding from Western organizations to begin work on a small complex outside town. He also began working with the Mangrove Action Project (MAP), a US-based nongovernmental organization with offices around the globe. Today, Diame acts as an advisor for MAP and a coordinator for the Western African Mangrove Network, which has staff in Nigeria and Ivory Coast.

But Diame is most devoted to the Sine Saloum Delta, an area where most of his family still lives. His office, which started as a single concrete building, is now a full research facility - with conference rooms, a dining hall, and thatched bungalows for visitors. Diame keeps many local residents on retainer to help with everything from fieldwork to cooking.

"One of the really important things is getting local people involved in the process of restoration," says Alfredo Quarto, the executive director and cofounder of MAP. "They have to own it."

Mangrove preservation efforts became something of a cause célèbre in the years following the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake. The temblor triggered a deadly tsunami in Southeast Asia, and many groups began focusing on the plant's effectiveness in limiting floodwater damage. Former President Bill Clinton, for instance, has become involved with an initiative called Mangroves for the Future, and every year a host of NGOs pour money into restoration efforts.

"Mangroves have so many functions: They filter out impurities; help prevent hurricane damage; they can sequester enormous amounts of carbon in their roots," says Mr. Quarto. "It's obvious that we need to save them. But the efforts have largely been a failure."

One reason, says Roy R. Lewis III, a scientific advisor to MAP, is that many groups simply dump money into affected areas, without monitoring how it's being spent. "It's a waste," says Mr. Lewis. "We're not dealing with applied management. The funding agencies are not facilitating local education. They're not even following up."

On a warm, cloudy summer morning, Diame drives through the center of Foundiougne, stopping his jeep near the town's dock. Dozens of children dart around his legs; he jokes with them in a mixture of French and Wolof, the local tribal dialect. He chats with a store owner. When the crowd dissipates, Diame walks to the edge of the dock and points to a small grove of mangroves on the shore. A few signposts poke out of the water, each marked with a large red X.

"This is an education project," he says. "It is different from actual reforestation - these were planted to sensitize people to the mangroves. We tell them, 'You can't use these for firewood anymore. You can't trample them, or play in them. You have to take care of them.' "

This is Diame's big gambit: If he can teach people to respect the plants, he will have taught them how to save their villages. So with the help of a handful of villagers, he compliments reforestation efforts with the creation of small displays around the delta. He brings residents of Fayako to tour the replanting sites. He teaches them to find alternate sources of wood.

So far, he's been moderately successful. The destruction along the delta, he says, has leveled off, and some of the reforestation efforts have taken root. But more important, Diame has succeeded in creating a practical approach to conservation. He has raised a general awareness of the plight of the Sine Saloum Delta - an awareness that originates in the local community.

"It's a start," says Diame. "For the people here, it's a good start."

Go to Original

Flooding Risk From Global Warming Badly Under-Estimated: Study
Agence France-Presse

Wednesday 29 August 2007

Global warming may carry a higher risk of flooding than previously thought, according to a study released on Wednesday by the British science journal Nature.

It says efforts to calculate flooding risk from climate change do not take into account the effect that carbon dioxide (CO2) -- the principal greenhouse gas -- has on vegetation.

Plants suck water out of the ground and "breathe" out the excess through tiny pores, called stomata, in their leaves.

Stomata are highly sensitive to CO2. The higher the level of atmospheric CO2, the more the pores tighten up or open for shorter periods.

As a result, less water passes through the plant and into the air in the form of evaporation. And, in turn, this means that more water stays on the land, eventually running off into rivers when the soil becomes saturated.

In a paper published in February 2006, British scientists said the CO2-stomata link explained a long-standing anomaly.

Over the last 100 years the flow of the world's big continental rivers has increased by around four percent, even though global temperatures rose by some 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.35 degrees Fahrenheit) during this period.

Today, as a result of the unbridled burning of oil, gas and coal, levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are around a third more than in pre-industrial times in the middle of the 18th century.

The new study takes the 2006 discovery an important step further by projecting what could happen to water runoff in the future.

If CO2 levels double compared with pre-industrial concentrations -- a common scenario in climate simulations -- the effect on plants alone would lead to an increase of six percent in global runoff, it says.

Until now, scientists have generally estimated an increase in runoff of between five and 17 percent compared with the pre-industrial era.

But this is based only on one yardstick, called radiative forcing. In other words, it only measures the warming effect that greenhouse gases have on the water cycle and not the indirect impact that CO2, the biggest culprit, has on vegetation.

The "radiative forcing" yardstick also predicts that higher temperatures will increase evaporation, causing greater water stress and longer droughts.

Both forecasts are offbeam, says the new paper.

By widening the picture to include the CO2-stomata factor, the likelihood is that the risk of flooding will be worse than thought, but the risk of drought rather less so.

"The risks of rain and river flooding may increase more than has been previously anticipated, because intense precipitation events would be more likely to occur over saturated ground," it says.

"In contrast, the risks of hydrological drought may not increase as much as expected on the basis of meteorological changes alone."

Flooding is a major problem, especially in poor countries that do not have the money to upgrade drainage systems to cope with runoff from saturated soils.

Since June, nearly 3,200 people in South Asia have been killed by heavy monsoon rains and snow melt. More than 20 million people have been affected in the eastern Indian state of Bihar alone.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Google News Alert for: hydrogen,wind,power

Fitial wants CNMI to be green energy hub
Saipan Tribune - Saipan,Northern Mariana Islands,Micronesia
"This is an ambitious project that involves windmill, biodiesel, hydrogen, and geothermal energy from the volcanoes north of Saipan," Fitial said. ...
See all stories on this topic

Maine should stop burning and develop true alternate energy sources - Portland,ME,USA
These are hydropower, wind energy, solar energy, and nuclear power. Currently, all of these sources combined supply a minority of the electric energy we ...
See all stories on this topic

Google Blogs Alert for: hydrogen,wind,power

By Ian Banerjee
Good introduction into issues of renewable energy, especially hydrogen and fuel cells. Drawings for children - very educative. Facts about renewable energy sources: Biogas, Hydrogen, Windpower etc. ...
Growing Ideas -

Google News Alert for: hydrogen,wind,powerInfinite...
By Daniel(Daniel)
Wind-generated Electricity to Power Hydrogen Refueling Station One of the first United States-based hydrogen fueling stations to use electricity from wind power to produce hydrogen from water is under way in North ... SOLAR TODAY - Home ...
The Great Lakes Zephyr - Wind... -

Wind Power Create Hydrogen Fuel in North Dakota
By kate
Business Week reports Senator Byron Dorgan will... [[ Visit to read the full article. ]]
Wind Energy Investing -

This once a day Google Alert is brought to you by Google.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Google News Alert for: hydrogen,wind,power

Infinite Energy
IcelandReview - Reykjavik,Iceland
Infinite. Geothermal, solar, hydrogen and wind. It's endless and as a person who reaps the benefits of renewable energy I must confess it rocks.
See all stories on this topic

Study: Emerald Coast could take on water if global warming trend ...
The Northwest Florida Daily News - Fort Walton Beach,FL,USA
Sisskin said Florida is set up perfectly to take advantage of renewable energies such as solar and wind power. With the amount of wind that comes off the ...
See all stories on this topic

Google Blogs Alert for: hydrogen,wind,power

Tourists get a glimpse of secret nuclear pastTimes...
By Daniel(Daniel)
BP Headed for Greener PasturesMotley Fool - USAThis suggests that BP's strategy to become a leader in wind power -- as evidenced by its acquisition earlier this year of Orion Energy's 1300 MW of wind ...See all stories on this topic.
The Great Lakes Zephyr - Wind... -

Geothermal can produce hydrogen?
By CarlR
"Hydrogen can be produced using diverse, domestic resources including fossil fuels, such as natural gas and coal (with carbon sequestration); nuclear; and biomass and other renewable energy technologies, such as wind, solar, geothermal, ... Community Forums -

Google Web Alert for: hydrogen,wind,power

Offshore Windpower
Using electricity costing 3.5 pence / kWh. from a variable source such as offshore wind power, the cost of producing hydrogen by the electrolysis of water ...

Researchers envision a hydrogen economy, fueled by wind and new ...
The cost of making hydrogen from wind is $1.12 to $3.20 per gallon of ... at the effects of converting all power plants to hydrogen fuel-cell power plants. ...

Hydrogen Storage in Wind Turbine Towers
wind turbine tower as a pressure vessel to more traditional hydrogen ..... Also, the power electronics and wind turbine control equipment normally ...

June 25, 2003: Wind Power Set to Become World's Leading Energy Source
Wind power is now a viable, robust, fast-growing industry. Cheap electricity from wind makes it economical to electrolyze water and produce hydrogen. ...

Spare wind turbine power to fuel hydrogen cars
GIANT wind turbines will be used to power a new breed of environmentally friendly cars that run on hydrogen gas under a pioneering scheme by Scots ...

Wind Hydrogen System
Large Scale Wind Hydrogen Systems. Sept, 2003. Ellen Liu. GE Global Research. g. GE Global Research. Wind Power and Large Scale Hydrogen Production ...

Wind-generated Electricity to Power Hydrogen Refueling Station
One of the first United States-based hydrogen fueling stations to use electricity from wind power to produce hydrogen from water is under way in North ...

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Xcel Energy
"Today we begin using our cleanest source of electricity - wind power - to create the perfect fuel: hydrogen," said Richard C. Kelly, Xcel Energy chairman, ...

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Tourists get a glimpse of secret nuclear pastTimes Online - UKA wax figure holding a wind-up telephone depicts the general who had to call Zhou Enlai, the Prime Minister, to tell him of China's success. ...See all stories on this topic
BP Headed for Greener PasturesMotley Fool - USAThis suggests that BP's strategy to become a leader in wind power -- as evidenced by its acquisition earlier this year of Orion Energy's 1300 MW of wind ...See all stories on this topic

Friday, August 10, 2007

RE: BP's plans to dump mercury and ammonia in Lake Michigan from Whiting, IN (Between Chicago & Gary) just so millions of us in the Great Lakes region can have more diluted toxins in our drinking water.

Rebecca D. Stanfield, Environment Illinois State Director wrote:
Hi Daniel,

I just wanted to send you a quick note to remind you about our BP Day of Action tomorrow. Here are the details for people in the Chicago area:

WHAT: Flyering at BP stations to let consumers know about BP's dumping plan.
WHEN: Tomorrow! Saturday, August 11, 2007, starting at noon
WHERE: Environment Illinois office, 407 S. Dearborn, Suite 701, Chicago, IL 60605 ph. 312-291-0696

You can meet us here in the office for a short how-to session, or just print the flyer and go to your neighborhood BP station. If you're doing the latter, please let us know when and where.

Please RSVP if you haven't yet to let us get a good count on how many people to expect:

If you're reading this message from beyond Illinois and can't make it to Chicago this weekend, please check out the BP Day of Action events that our sister organizations Environment Michigan and Wisconsin Environment are running:

BP Day of Action in Michigan:

BP Day of Action in Wisconsin:

If you still need to print out the flyer, you can download it here:

And remember, even if you can't make it to the event this weekend, stay tuned because we're planning more events in different locations in the future.


Rebecca D. Stanfield
Environment Illinois State Director

P.S. Thanks again for your support. Please feel free to share this e-mail with your family and friends.

Monday, July 30, 2007

UW-Madison News Release--Organic field day


CONTACT: Erin Silva, (608) 890-1503,; Bill Stangel, (608) 846-3761,


MADISON - The University of Wisconsin-Madison's Arlington Agricultural Research Station will hold its first field day devoted to organic agricultural production on Aug. 30 from 3 - 7 p.m.

Field crops, processing vegetables and market vegetables will all get some attention at the event, which will include information on organic weed management, cover and companion crops, soil quality, variety selection, vegetable crop trials, and no-till organic production.

The event will begin with field tours featuring ongoing research on fertility management strategies, organic soybean variety trials, organic corn seed treatments, cover crop options, and no-till organic production using crimped rye. Following the tours, there will be additional presentations on research projects involving organic processing vegetables, organic vegetable variety selection, cover crops for organic vegetable production, and weed management strategies.

A highlight of the tour will be a discussion of research using a roller-crimper for no-till production of soybeans with a rye cover crop.

"The idea is to lodge the rye severely enough so it doesn't stand back up," explains Bill Stangel, assistant superintendent of the Arlington station, who has been working with UW-Madison agronomists Josh Posner and Dave Stoltenberg to evaluate the effectiveness of various crimping strategies.

"We use it as a weed control tool," explains Stangel. "The rye serves as a mulch. It also has an alleopathic affect - the cover crop releases a compound that reduces the vigor of germinating weeds. Rye works especially well on small seeded weeds like foxtail, pigweed and lambsquarter. It also provides crop residue to protect the soil."

The presentations won't be limited to research being conducted at Arlington. Organic production specialist Erin Silva will talk about organic vegetable variety trials that she is conducting in conjunction with cooperating farmers at several locations around the state. Those trials include varieties of organic green beans, carrots, beets, edamame, cucumbers and cantaloupes.

The Arlington Research Station is located on Hwy. 51, about 5 miles south of Arlington and 15 miles north of Madison. Dinner will be available for a moderate charge at 6 p.m. Watch for Field Day signs. For more information, contact Erin Silva at (608) 890-1503 or In the event of rain, presentations will be held inside.

For questions or comments about UW-Madison's email
news release system, please send an email to:

For more UW-Madison news, please visit:

University Communications
University of Wisconsin-Madison
27 Bascom Hall
500 Lincoln Drive
Madison, WI 53706

Phone: (608) 262-3571
Fax: (608) 262-2331

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Concert Replay!
If you missed the Live Earth Concert, or would like to relive your favorite moment, pick the artist you want to watch.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Premiering on the Sundance Channel TONIGHT (07/10/2007) at 9:30pm local - Five Disasters Waiting To Happen:

Have you ever wondered what the face of Global Warming-induced sea level rise will look like? What the human costs could be, or who would be affected?

Well tune in to Five Disasters Waiting To Happen on the Sundance Channel tonight at 9:30pm your time and you'll get a very good look at where it's likely to start.

Who will be swimming, and who will cook? Who will be the largest group of nation-less people in Earth's recent history? Maybe ever? Could YOU be on the list?

Find out where Paradise will soon be lost in Five Disasters Waiting To Happen TONIGHT.

Dan Stafford

Friday, June 15, 2007

Two Simple, Easy Ways To Save On Your Electric Bill And Help Save The Planet

Learn about and use Compact florescent lighting. This is good sense and a relatively easy conservation method.

There are even a new type of such bulbs mentioned in the current issue of Popular Science magazine that have a softer yellow glow more like incandescent bulbs instead of the harsh blue light of common CF bulbs, for about $4.00 - one of the main objections of most people to using CF bulbs.

There is another very simple means of conservation of electricity that is also relatively painless. Install surge strips on all TV, stereo, and computer equipment and turn the surge strip off after shutting down these devices.

All such devices nowadays go into a "stand by" mode so that they come back up quickly when a person pushes the "on" button. They never truly shut off when people think they've been turned off - and so still draw power whether in use or not. This is why modern TV's no longer need to "warm up" before displaying a picture when you turn them on - they never really turn off.

The same is true of any device using those small black transformers to convert wall outlet AC power into low voltage DC power. As long as they are plugged into the wall they use the same amount of power regardless of whether or not the device they operate is in use.

Putting a surge strip between such devices and the wall outlet allows you to truly disconnect them from the electrical supply.


Dan Stafford
The Great Lakes Zephyr - Wind Energy & Hydrogen Journal

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Dead In The Water - airs June 19th at 9:30pm local time on The Sundance Channel:

This documentary shows the long and clearly devastating history of the privatization of public waters systems around the world at the urgings of large corporations and the IMF.

Obviously and clearly a gross failure to the people of the affected regions, many countries following down this dead end trail have suffered from massive disease outbreaks as those too poor to pay for water are able to find it only in questionable sources or die of thirst. In many cases, riots and massive public uprisings result after many deaths, and the water companies are booted out in abject failure, leaving the water supplies again under municipal control.

What's not discussed here is the stealth privatization of municipal water supplies happening in various areas of the US, which has not had first hand experience with this disaster-in-waiting with some notable exceptions in California. Needless to say, those exceptions are quite enlightening, but not of the burden people will bear, literally, having to carry water home in plastic jugs right here in the USA regardless of income level.

Dead In The Water features many common-sense arguments, and direct interviews with people "served" by first public, then private water systems. You'd love to think this can't happen in first world countries, but guess STARTED with a first world country of major proportions. Beyond that, there are decades of historic examples clearly exposed here.

In what I think is the most eloquently simple paraphrase of the best line in this movie, "Markets are driven to serve those with money, not those without. It's a failure of reason and logic to expect market driven systems to honestly and effectively serve the disenfranchised and destitute at the expense of their bottom line, which the obvious reason why services that peoples very lives depend on are best left in the public sector." ( In my mind, this also speaks volumes as to what is the missing chapter in classic Libertarian theory, which utterly fails to account for people in this position. Heads up, you Libertarian think-tankers, get on it if you want to get relevant. This issue gives a glaring example of what market forces will do to life-essential services. )

Watch Dead In The Water June 19th at 9:30pm local time on The Sundance Channel to learn the birthplace of the Water Barons - and what water privatization could do to, uhhhm, I mean FOR you and your family!

This film is an essential education for anyone who requires daily water to survive or thrive.

Look for my review of "Five Disasters Waiting To Happen" next week to appear at The Great Lakes Zephyr - Wind Energy and Hydrogen Journal, and at The First Church of Healing The Earth.

Meanwhile, take a good solid look at this must-see presentation of what we all need to work together on at 9:30pm June 19th on The Sundance Channel.

All the best,

Dan Stafford
Co-Chair, Progressive Democrats of Illinois

Owner and Publisher
The Great Lakes Zephyr - Wind Energy and Hydrogen Journal

The First Church of Healing The Earth

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Trouble in Hawaiian Islands Marine Monument on World Ocean Day

By Sunny Lewis HONOLULU, Hawaii, June 8, 2007 (ENS) -

Out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, environmentalists say all is not well in America's first national marine monument on World Ocean Day, observed each year on June 8. They are outraged at the recent decision of the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources, BLNR, to allow bio-prospecting in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument.

Conservationists and native Hawaiians are attending the BLNR meeting today in Honolulu to demand a moratorium on all research permits in this far-flung island chain that stretches for 1,400 square miles north and west of the main Hawaiian islands.

"The BLNR's decision is unacceptable," said Vicky Holt-Takamine, president of the 'Ilio'ulaokalani Coalition and a member of the Congressional commission developing a bio-prospecting policy for the state. Bio-prospecting is the theft of natural resources from native peoples. It should not happen in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands or anywhere in Hawaii," she said.

The conservationists argue that the BLNR should not grant rights to bio-prospectors when a law on the issue is being drafted. On the BLNR agenda today are several permits for a University of Hawaii research mission through the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. These researchers are seeking to collect thousands of samples of living organisms with the possibility of patenting the biological material they find.

The Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology received $2.3 million in federal funding for this research project last summer, but the permit applications were made public only last week.

The ship for this research mission, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hi'ialakai, is requesting permission to dump human waste in the monument waters. According to the permit application, the ship's waste system is broken and unable to separate grey water from black water, so the institute says it must dump both types of waste into the ocean on a daily basis. But dumping waste is prohibited in both the state and federal waters of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

"This is not the way to treat a fragile and unique marine environment," said Marti Townsend of KAHEA: The awaiian-Environmental Alliance. "Dumping waste water onto ancient, pristine coral reefs is inexcusable, especially when it is the federal government doing...

Full Story:

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Refugees Of The Blue Planet
- airs June 12th @ 9:30pm on The Sundance Channel:

The Refugees Of The Blue Planet is a beautifully shot environmental documentary that lays bare the fate that has already befallen tens of millions of people around the globe, and stands poised to overwhelm hundreds of millions of people as global warming and environmental degradation takes off with a vengeance.

This film does a wonderful job of laying bare the results of sacrificing environment and community for the sake of convenience and profit, without the usual requests for funding and projection of the producers' favored solutions that accompany so many documentary films focused on specific issues. In the end, the reader is left with a clear understanding of the nature of the beast, yet left to draw their own conclusions as to what actions to take - or not take, as they might believe best.

Shot on location around the globe, The Refugees Of The Blue Planet shows the direct human results of environmental catastrophes and exploitation in no uncertain terms. Whether the tragedies are engendered by run-amok weather or rampant environmental degradation as a result of industrial activities, the point is clearly driven home.

In some cases, the victims or refugees are who you would expect, but in many cases they are not. The viewer is left without the artificial sense of insulation from potential disaster that our disconnected-from-nature industrialized society is so good at fostering. There is a clear impression that anyone could be the next Refugees Of The Blue Planet.

The Refugees Of The Blue Planet is the lead of a series of environmental documentaries scheduled to air on The Sundance Channel this June and July. The next feature will be titled "Dead In The Water" and will air on June 19th at 9:30pm. This will be followed by "Five Disasters Waiting To Happen" at 9:30pm on July 10th.

Look for my review of "Dead In The Water" to be published early next week, followed by a review of "Five Disasters Waiting To Happen" the following week to appear at The Great Lakes Zephyr - Wind Energy and Hydrogen Journal, and at The First Church of Healing The Earth.

Meanwhile, take a good solid look at this must-see presentation of what we all need to work together on at 9:30pm June 12th on The Sundance Channel.

All the best,

Dan Stafford
Co-Chair, Progressive Democrats of Illinois

Owner and Publisher
The Great Lakes Zephyr - Wind Energy and Hydrogen Journal

The First Church of Healing The Earth

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dear Green Festival Attendee,

On behalf of Co-op America, I would like to thank you for attending our first Green Festival in Chicago!

As co-producers of the Green Festival, Co-op America is happy to announce that the event attracted over 31,000 people, proving just how much the green movement is growing!

Co-op America has been helping to grow the green movement for over 20 years by harnessing economic power -- the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace -- to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.

At Co-op America’s booth, we asked our visitors to step inside our photo studio and tell us their favorite green thing to do. Their answers are captivating and fun—affirming what people are already doing to go green and providing inspiration for all of us. Take a moment to check out the photos, or to look up your own.

Co-op America’s resources are excellent tools for carrying the spirit of Green Festival with you throughout the year. Here are a few of my favorites:

The National Green Pages™: Discover thousands of green businesses across the country, screened by Co-op America.

Responsible Shopper: Learn about the social and environmental impact of major corporations, and take action for corporate responsibility.

Climate Action Campaign: Join us in working with individuals, shareholders, and communities to pressure major polluters to curb climate change.

We also have regular e-mail updates that provide tips and actions to help build the green economy.

I'm looking forward to continuing the good work we started together at Green Festival!

In cooperation,
Alisa (signature)
Alisa Gravitz
Executive Director
Co-op America


Co-op America, 1612 K St NW Suite 600, Washington DC 20006 - (800) 58 GREEN -

(Yep, I was there. - Dan)

A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The EERE Network News is also available on the Web at:

May 23, 2007

News and Events

Energy Connections

  • EIA: World Energy Use to Grow 57 Percent by 2030

News and Events

Sixteen Cities and Five Banks Join Efficiency Effort for Buildings

Sixteen of the world's largest cities—including Chicago, Houston, and New York—have joined in a global effort to reduce energy consumption in existing buildings. The Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program, a project of the Clinton Climate Initiative, will draw on $5 billion in financing to be provided in equal amounts by five banks: ABN AMRO, Citi, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, and UBS. The banks will finance cities and private building owners to undertake energy efficiency retrofits. Four energy service companies—Honeywell, Johnson Controls, Siemens, and Trane—will conduct energy audits, perform building retrofits, and guarantee the energy savings of the retrofit projects. The companies will be assisted by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the U.S. Green Building Council. See the ASHRAE press release.

The municipal and private building owners will then pay off the loans, including interest, using the money saved by the energy retrofits. As a result, the projects create no net costs for the building owners while reducing their energy use by 20 to 50 percent. According to the Clinton Foundation, the available funding should double the global market for energy retrofits in buildings. The Clinton Foundation is also working with Microsoft Corporation to develop online tools to help cities monitor their greenhouse gas emissions. See the Clinton Foundation press releases on the retrofit program and the Microsoft project.

Such energy-saving agreements are often referred to as "energy saving performance contracts," and are widely used by companies and institutions, as well as all levels of U.S. government. Several recent examples are provided by Honeywell Building Solutions, an energy service company. In the past two months, the company has signed such contracts with the City of Perris, California; the housing authority in Columbia, Tennessee; Edinboro University in Edinboro, Pennsylvania; and the City of Quincy, Massachusetts. The Edinboro University project is a $9.7 million effort that will yield $1.3 million per year in energy savings. The Quincy project is a $32.8 million effort that will yield $1 million per year in energy savings, while an included water-metering project will add another $1.5 million in new revenue for the city. That contract is the first in Massachusetts since the state passed a law allowing municipalities to enter into long-term energy saving performance contracts. See the recent press releases from Honeywell Building Solutions.

EPA Proposes Criteria for Clean Vehicles Allowed in HOV Lanes

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed criteria last week for hybrid and alternative-fueled vehicles that states might allow to travel in the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, even when the driver is alone in the vehicle. The 2005 transportation act authorized such occupancy exemptions for HOV lanes to encourage the purchase and use of clean vehicles. The act also required EPA to set the criteria for such clean vehicles. According to DOE's Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC), some type of HOV exemption is currently offered in eight states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Utah, and Virginia—and the District of Columbia. See the AFDC Web site.

The EPA is proposing to require the vehicles to be either a dedicated alternative fuel vehicle or a high-efficiency hybrid vehicle. Hybrids must achieve either a 50 percent or better improvement in fuel economy during city driving, compared to a similar gasoline-only vehicle, or a 25 percent or better improvement in average fuel economy (using the EPA's combined city and highway estimates). The "dedicated" requirement for alternative fuel vehicles excludes flex-fuel vehicles, which can run on either gasoline or a blend containing 85 percent ethanol, because many flex-fuel vehicle owners fill their tanks with gasoline.

The EPA also requires the vehicle to meet stringent air quality criteria (either EPA Tier 2, Bin 5 or California LEV II) and to weigh less than 8,500 pounds. States will be able to set tougher criteria but not looser ones. The EPA will accept comments on the proposal for 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register, which as of Tuesday had not yet occurred. See the EPA press release and the proposed ruling.

General Motors Achieves a Record Distance in a Fuel Cell Vehicle

General Motors Corporation (GM) drove a fuel cell vehicle 300 miles on public roads last week, claiming a real-world distance record for traveling on a single tank of hydrogen. The Chevy Sequel drove across New York State, beginning its drive at GM's Fuel Cell Activity Center in Honeoye Falls, just south of Rochester, and finishing in Tarrytown, which is north of New York City. According to GM, the Sequel is the first vehicle in the world to successfully integrate a hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system with advanced technologies such as steer- and brake-by-wire controls, wheel hub motors, lithium-ion batteries, and a lightweight aluminum structure. See the GM press release.

New Hydrogen Fueling Stations Operating in California and Illinois

The ability to fill the tanks of fuel cell vehicles increased last week, when Southern California Edison and Chevron Technology Ventures LLC dedicated a new hydrogen fueling station at the utility's headquarters in Rosemead, California. The fueling station, which was partially funded by DOE, employs an electrolyzer to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen, producing 40 kilograms of hydrogen per day with 60 kilograms of hydrogen storage. The hydrogen will fuel a fleet of up to nine Hyundai fuel cell cars. See the press release from Edison International.

Photo of a fuel-cell-powered crossover vehicle parked at a fuel pump.

This new hydrogen fuel pump in Des Plaines, Illinois, is accessible to the public.
Credit: Gas Technology Institute

A hydrogen fueling station also opened at the Gas Technology Institute in Des Plaines, Illinois, in April. The state's first hydrogen station will produce hydrogen from natural gas or ethanol or through the electrolysis of water. It will be publicly available with credit-card access. According to a database compiled by the National Hydrogen Association (NHA), there are now 45 hydrogen fueling stations operating in the United States. See the GTI press release and the NHA database.

Hydrogen fueling stations could be a thing of the past if a new process developed at Purdue University proves successful. Purdue engineers have created an alloy of aluminum and gallium that spontaneously generates hydrogen when added to water. The gallium prevents the aluminum from forming an oxide coating, which normally blocks aluminum's reaction with water. The reaction converts the aluminum to aluminum oxide but leaves the gallium untouched. The trick to making this feasible, of course, would be to recycle the gallium while finding an inexpensive and energy-efficient means of converting the aluminum oxide back to aluminum. See the Purdue press release.

Racers Fall Short of Mileage Record at Shell Eco-marathons

Photo of small jelly-bean-shaped vehicle with three enclosed wheels on a curving racetrack.

The team from St. Joseph La Joliverie in France has again won the European Shell Eco-marathon with a fuel economy of 7,152 miles per gallon.
Credit: Shell

A record fuel economy set in 2003 continues to stand, as the best competitors in the United States and Europe have fallen short. At the 2007 European Shell Eco-marathon—held in Nogaro, France, from May 11th to the 13th—the winning team from St. Joseph La Joliverie in France traveled 3,039 kilometers on a liter of fuel, the equivalent of 7,152 miles per gallon. That fell far short of the record 10,705 miles per gallon set by a team from the same school back in 2003. This year's event also featured solar cars and hydrogen-powered fuel cell cars, with the best hydrogen car achieving the equivalent of 6,583 miles per gallon of gasoline.

Although fuel cell vehicles fell short of internal combustion engines during steady running on a track, the sole fuel cell entry in a new urban competition far outshone its gasoline-fueled competitors. Back in 2003, Shell introduced the "UrbanConcept" category, which includes vehicles with more practical designs that could potentially be used on actual urban streets. This year, for the first time, Shell added mandatory pit stops as a way of simulating the stop-and-go traffic of urban driving. Even under such constraints, a fuel cell vehicle achieved the equivalent of 1,311 miles per gallon of gasoline, while the best gasoline-fueled entry achieved 720 miles per gallon. See the European Shell Eco-marathon Web site.

While the European event featured more than 250 teams from 20 countries, the first Shell Eco-marathon Americas drew only 17 teams from the United States and Canada. The event, held in Fontana, California, on April 13th and 14th, was won by a team from California Polytechnic State University, which achieved 1,902.7 miles per gallon in the race, far short of its European rivals. Shell's final event of the year, the Shell Eco-marathon UK, will be held on July 4th and 5th in Corby, England. See the Shell press release and Eco-marathon Web site.

Energy Connections

EIA: World Energy Use to Grow 57 Percent by 2030

Less than a quarter century from now, the world will be consuming 57 percent more energy than it does today, if the latest projections from DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA) prove correct. The EIA's International Energy Outlook 2007, released on Monday, projects a growing thirst for energy in developing countries, particularly in Asia. The report sees coal as the fastest-growing energy source, while petroleum consumption increases by more than 30 percent. Meanwhile, liquid fuels produced from biomass, coal, and natural gas are expected to provide 9 percent of the world's liquid fuels supply by 2030. Overall, renewable energy barely increases its share of the world's energy supply over the next 23 years, growing from today's 7 percent share to about 8 percent in 2030.

The EIA's reference scenario does not include greenhouse gas constraints, and as a result, global greenhouse gas emissions increase nearly 60 percent by 2030. The report notes that developing countries produced more greenhouse gas emissions than the industrialized countries in 2004, and are expected to widen the gap in the future. By 2030, the EIA expects today's developing countries to generate 57 percent more greenhouse gases than today's industrialized countries. See the EIA press release and the full report.

The world's future energy needs seem particularly daunting given the current constraints on gasoline supplies, which are driving up prices in the United States. According to the American Automobile Association's "Fuel Gauge Report," the average price for unleaded gasoline in the United States has been setting new records most every day for the past couple weeks. Last week's edition of the EIA's This Week in Petroleum specifically addresses the record-high prices and notes that gasoline inventories are finally starting to increase. See the Fuel Gauge Report and the May 16th edition of This Week in Petroleum.

This newsletter is funded by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and is also available on the EERE Web site. You can subscribe to the EERE Network News using our simple online form

Friday, May 18, 2007

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Great Lakes Daily News: 18 May 2007
A collaborative project of the Great Lakes Information Network and The
Environment Report.

For links to these stories and more, visit

Michigan DNR aims to halt spread of fish virus
A deadly fish virus has spread into one of Michigan's inland lakes, prompting the Department of Natural Resources to propose new rules for boaters and anglers. Source: The Detroit News (5/18)

Wisconsin board OKs emergency fishing limits
Wisconsin natural resource management officials have approved rules on bait transfer and disinfection for state lakes infected with VHS. Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (5/18)

$20 million would clean up Lake St. Clair
Lake St. Clair would get $20 million in funds to battle pollution under the version of the Water Resources Development Act just passed by the U.S. Senate, but the bill must still be reconciled wtih the House version. Source: The Macomb Daily (5/18)

Signing of Greenway Plan welcomes 'a wonderful new beginning'
The newly approved Niagara River Greenway Plan means dedicated funding for a connected system of trails, parks and conservation areas along a 35- mile stretch of the Niagara River, from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. Source: The Buffalo News (5/18)

COMMENTARY: Preserve land assets to help economy
It's time for policymakers to begin thinking creatively about ways to preserve and invest in Michigan's assets in ways that will boost the state's economy. Source: The Detroit News (5/18)

Weeds to be sprayed
Phragmites, an invasive plant infesting the Lake St. Clair shoreline will be targeted by pesticide applications intended to limit the plant's spread. Source: The Macomb Daily (5/18)

Reclamation project giving marsh new life
Wetlands and shallow lakes that once covered hundreds of acres in Wisconsin's Vernon Marsh Wildlife Area are now mud flats - a move state biologists took to kill rough fish and cattails that have overrun the area. Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (5/18)

Mitten crab planning an attack on St. Lawrence
The Chinese mitten crab, an invasive species that has damaged other aquatic ecosystems, could attack the St. Lawrence River next. Source: Cornwall Standard Freeholder (5/17)

New trees slowly come to life in aftermath of forest fires
After forest fires across Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan,ecologists say that fire is part of forest regeneration and new growth is already taking root. Source: The Ashland Daily Press (5/17)

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ENN: Environmental refugees, Toyota hybrids, whales and sonar, and more Logo
Thursday, May 17, 2007

News of Note

In the eight years since the West Nile Virus made its first appearance in the United States populations of once common birds, like robins and crows, have dropped dramatically. More here.

Today's News

U.N. Professor Says Climate Change Is Creating New Refugees Who Deserve U.N. Protection
Increasing global temperatures and land degradation are forcing more people to migrate, creating a wave of environmental refugees who need U.N. protection, a professor at the United Nations University said.

Toyota Banking on Hybrids Despite Expected Arrival of Ecological Rivals
Toyota's commitment to hybrid automobiles was on full display Thursday when it unveiled its most expensive gasoline-electric vehicle yet -- the 15 million yen ($124,000) luxury sedan Lexus LS.

Environmental Groups Sue U.S. Navy Over Sonar Exercises off Hawaii
Five environmental groups is suing the Navy over sonar exercises off the coast of Hawaii that they say harm whales. Earthjustice filed the lawsuit in federal court in Honolulu on Wednesday, citing studies saying Navy sonar can "kill, injure, or significantly alter the behavior of whales and dolphins."

India Must Resist China Pressure on Tiger Ban, WWF Says
India must not support a Chinese campaign to lift a ban on trading tiger parts as any relaxation could wipe out the endangered cats, conservation group WWF-India said on Wednesday.

China Needs Responsible Timber Choice, Greenpeace Says
Greenpeace called on China's large DIY retailers on Thursday to adopt "responsible" timber-sourcing policies to allow the country's growing ranks of home renovators to buy legally imported wood.

Poor Indian Fishermen Threaten To Kill Rare Sharks
Fishermen along India's western coast are threatening to undo conservation efforts and kill hundreds of endangered whale sharks unless the government gives fuel subsidies promised to them three years ago.

>>>More articles at

Member Press Releases

The Road to Recovery : 100 Success Stories for Endangered Species Day 2007
By: the Center for Biological Diversity
For the second year in a row, the U.S. Senate declared an "Endangered Species Day" on May 18, 2007, to "encourage the people of the United States to become educated about, and aware of, threats to species, success stories in species recovery, and the opportunity to promote species conservation worldwide."

West Nile Virus Threatens Backyard Birds
By: Wildlife Trust
Scientists at the Consortium for Conservation Medicine (CCM), based at Wildlife Trust, New York, and the Smithsonian Institution's Migratory Bird Center report in an article appearing today in Nature that many species of birds, including backyard favorites such as tufted titmice and chickadees, are suffering serious declines from West Nile virus.

Official Mexican Norm 029 on Shark and Ray Fishing is a Watershed for the Conservation of Marine Organisms
By: International Fund for Animal Welfare
When Official Mexican Norm (known as NOM in Spanish) 029 on shark and ray fishing goes into effect today, it will make it possible to regulate one of the fisheries with the greatest impact on endangered marine species such as sea turtles, whales and sea lions. The populations of many shark species are decreasing, making it imperative to regulate their capture in order to stop the depletion of these populations, according to the following environmentalist organizations: Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental, COMARINO (Conservation of Marine Mammals of Mexico), Defenders of Wildlife México, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Greenpeace México.

Zoos Help Save Threatened Rainforest
By: World Land Trust
The Annual Conference and AGM of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) is the launchpad for a ground breaking partnership that will save some of the most endangered rainforest in the World.

Lawsuit to Be Filed to Protect Montana Fluvial Arctic Grayling
By: Center for Biological Diversity
The Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, Dr. Pat Munday and former Montana fishing guide George Wuerthner officially notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service May 15th that they will sue over an April 24, 2007 decision that the Montana fluvial arctic grayling no longer warrants protection as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. Rather than concluding Montana grayling are recovered and secure, the agency instead decided that extinction of the Montana population, which is the last in the lower 48 states, is insignificant.

Rehabilitated Manatee - A Success Story
By: Wildlife Trust
Wildlife Trust scientists and their colleagues in the Manatee Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP) are proud to announce that Mo, the much-loved manatee, having proven his ability to stay healthy and out of trouble, is no longer in need of monitoring. Wildlife Trust scientist, Lucy Keith removed Mo's tracking tags while he fed on a grassflat near the TECO power plant in Tampa Bay, thus ending a lengthy and enlightening relationship with the manatee that couldn't seem to find his way home.

Earth Report 'Blast' Airing on BBC World May 19, 2007
By: the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development
BBC World presents "Blast," an Earth Report documentary that chronicles the ongoing battle between blast fishers in the Philippines and the brave individuals risking their lives to stop them.

Hawaiian Monk Seals Monitored for Infectious Diseases
By: Wildlife Trust
Dr. Alonso Aguirre, Vice President of Conservation Medicine at Wildlife Trust, and a team of researchers report in an article published in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases that infectious diseases could pose a serious threat to the Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi). The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world and their numbers have declined in recent years. In addition to the threat posed by starvation, predation by sharks, and net entanglement, monk seals may be affected by biotoxins and infectious diseases.

Bush Touts Proposal for New Federal Alternative-Fuel Standards That Would Weaken Existing Law
By: the Center for Biological Diversity
In a Rose Garden appearance Monday, President Bush cynically portrayed his "20-in-10" alternative-fuel standard as improving current federal fuel-economy standards. In fact, the proposal is considerably weaker than current targets signed into law in 1992 by the first Bush president.

Rainforest Alliance to Laud Business Leaders for Environmental and Social Responsibility at Organization's 20th Anniversary Gala
By: the Rainforest Alliance
The Rainforest Alliance, a nonprofit international conservation organization, is pleased to announce the 2007 co-chairs and honorees that will be recognized at our 20th anniversary gala on May 16 in New York City. Receiving awards are companies and individuals that have significantly advanced the goals set forth by the Rainforest Alliance and have integrated environmental and social sustainability into their work.

Editor's Note : 'Network News' features press releases submitted directly by organizations in ENN's member network. This content is not specifically endorsed or supported by ENN and is not subject to ENN's editorial process.

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