" 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth..-Genesis 1
2008 "Earth Day Reflection"
We sometimes forget and admire God's creation around us when we get a "tunnel vision" in our daily busy lives-especially the BIG cities! I (Sal) challenge you all to at times go out to enjoy nature's beauty and explore God's beautiful creation (e.g. plants, animals, sky, etc..). I picked-up snowboarding this past winter to just get outside from being inside all the time. I would stand on top of the hill and just have a conversation with my Heavenly Father. I looked around the top of the hill where I started and marveled the view Well, "Happy Earth Day"...
As I wrote the above reflection on my facebook wall, I remembered my time when I visited the Philippines back in 2001. I didn't realize how clean we got it back in the U.S. (well, maybe just Minnesota-Morris especially)! My nose was itchy and I blew my nose to get the dirt and never saw much dirt from my nose in one blow! It was from just going through the heavily densed polluted metro city of Manila (captial of the Philippines). It's so bad there that 3M's face masks would be sold out there!
We need to keep our environment clean-not just for us, but the future generations that will be coming behind us!
Past Earth Day Activities
" 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.-Genesis 1:31
I remember growing-up in east St. Paul and our school had all the students plant trees at a nearby park (Battle Creek). It was always a memorable experience because we had the chance to just get out of the classroom and enjoy the weather outside. I then came home all muddy and dirty, but it was all worth it.
Just several years later, I went to Middle School or Junior High-we did an all day activity by cleaning up the neighborhood around the school. The group I was part of went across the street to this wooded creek area to pick-up trash. Since then, I've grown-up naturally to just pick-up trash around me-well, I try most of the time! What can we learn from this? We need to teach the young generation "good habits" of keeping God' creation clean while they are young. Thus, they'll do unto the next generation!
"In the space of two weeks, Hurricane Gustav has caused an estimated $3 billion in losses in the U.S. and killed about 110 people in the U.S. and the Caribbean, catastrophic floods in northern India have left a million people homeless, and a 6.2-magnitude earthquake has rocked China's southwest, smashing over 400,000 homes.
If it seems like disasters are getting more common, it's because they are. But some disasters do seem to be affecting us worse - and not for the reasons you may think. Floods and storms have led to most of the excess damage. The number of flood and storm disasters has gone up by 7.4% every year in recent decades, according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters. (Between 2000 and 2007, the growth was even faster - with an average annual rate of increase of 8.4%.) Of the total 197 million people affected by disasters in 2007, 164 million were affected by floods.
It is tempting to look at the line-up of storms in the Atlantic (Hanna, Ike, Josephine) and, in the name of everything green, blame climate change for this state of affairs. But there is another inconvenient truth out there: We are getting more vulnerable to weather mostly because of where we live, not just how we live.
In recent decades, people around the world have moved en masse to big cities near water. The population of Miami-Dade County in Florida was about 150,000 in the 1930s, a decade fraught with severe hurricanes. Since then, the population of Miami-Dade County has rocketed 1,600% to 2,400,000.
So the same intensity hurricane today wreaks all sorts of havoc that wouldn't have occurred had human beings not migrated. (To see how your own coastal county has changed in population, check out this cool graphing tool from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.)
If climate change is having an effect on the intensities of storms, it's not obvious in the historical weather data. And whatever effect it is having is much, much smaller than the effect of development along the coastlines. In fact, if you look at all storms from 1900 to 2005 and imagine we had today's populations on the coasts, as Roger Pielke, Jr., and his colleagues did in a 2008 Natural Hazards Review paper, you would see that the worst hurricane would have actually happened in 1926.
If it happened today, the Great Miami storm would have caused $140 to $157 billion in damages. (Hurricane Katrina, the costliest storm in U.S. history, caused $100 billion in losses.) "There has been no trend in the number or intensity of storms at landfall since 1900,"says Pielke, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado. "The storms themselves haven't changed."
What's changed is what we've put in the storm's way. Crowding together in coastal cities puts us at risk on a few levels. First, it is harder for us to evacuate before a storm because of gridlock. And in much of the developing world, people don't get the kinds of early warnings that Americans get. So large migrant populations - usually living in flimsy housing - get flooded out year after year. That helps explain why Asia has repeatedly been the hardest hit by disasters in recent years.
Secondly, even if we get all the humans to safety, we still have more stuff in harm's way. So each big hurricane costs more than the big one before it, even controlling for inflation.
But the most insidious effect of building condos and industry along the water is that we are systematically stripping the coasts of the protection that used to cushion the blow of extreme weather. Three years after Katrina, southern Louisiana is still losing a football field worth of wetlands every 38 minutes.
Human beings have been clearing away our best protections all over the world, says Kathleen Tierney, director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "The natural protections are diminishing - whether you're talking about mangrove forests in areas affected by the Indian ocean tsunami, wetlands in the Gulf Coast or forests, which offer protection against landslides and mudslides."
Before we become hopelessly lost in despair, however, there is good news: we can do something about this problem. We can enact meaningful building codes and stop keeping insurance premiums artificially low in flood zones.
But first we need to understand that disasters aren't just caused by FEMA and greenhouse gases. Says Tierney: "I don't think that people have an understanding of questions they should be asking - about where they live, about design and construction, about building inspection, fire protection. These just aren't things that are on people's minds."
Increasingly, climate change is on people's minds, and that is all for the better. Even if climate change has not been the primary driver of disaster losses, it is likely to cause far deadlier disasters in the future if left unchecked.
But even if greenhouse gas emissions plummeted miraculously next year, we would not expect to see a big change in disaster losses. So it's important to stay focused on the real cause of the problem, says Pielke. "Talking about land-use policies in coastal Mississippi may not be the sexiest topic, but that's what's going to make the most difference on this issue." View this article on Time.com
Related articles on Time.com:"
....see GoodnewsEverybody.com Science-Weather
Global warming, from Wikipedia ".. is the increase in the average measured temperature of the Earth's near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century, and its projected continuation.
The average global air temperature near the Earth's surface increased 0.74 � 0.18 �C (1.33 � 0.32 �F) during the 100 years ending in 2005. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes "most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gas concentrations" via an enhanced greenhouse effect. Natural phenomena such as solar variation combined with volcanoes probably had a small warming effect from pre-industrial times to 1950 and a small cooling effect from 1950 onward.
These basic conclusions have been endorsed by at least 30 scientific societies and academies of science, including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries. While individual scientists have voiced disagreement with some findings of the IPCC, the overwhelming majority of scientists working on climate change agree with the IPCC's main conclusions."
".. Susan Joy Hassol, the author of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment Report, remarked, "Climate change is happening now. This is not a distant problem. It is happening now in the Arctic, and the impacts are being felt now in the Arctic, and they'll be increasingly felt there and around the world."
But Michaels says before you buy a life raft, hold on. First of all, in the North Pole, that is ice that is floating in the ocean. If that melts at the end of summer, that means nothing to sea level. The South Pole, Antarctica is the largest ice mass on the planet. It is gaining ice, not losing it.
The Earth's temperature has been fluctuating since its creation. It was warmer 1,000 years ago than it is today, but then began to cool. Colonial America was gripped by the tail end of a period known as Little Ice Age, with some of the deepest snows and coldest temperatures in recorded North American history.
Michaels stated,�It was cold. In Jefferson's time it was definitely colder, and Jefferson writes in his book, "Notes on the State of Virginia�,�� The snow used to lie on the ground for months at a time; now it only does so for weeks or days��"
It lasted into the 1800s, with the year 1816 known as the "year without summer." And some climate scientists today are more worried about another ice age than global warming. But they have been drowned out by a worldwide movement that has branded global-warming skeptics as evil, even comparing them to people who deny the existence of the Holocaust. .."
"Despite opposition from some of their colleagues, 86 evangelical Christian leaders have decided to back a major initiative to fight global warming, saying "millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors."..
"...Global temperatures are known to be influenced by other, non-human-controlled factors, such as sunspot activity, orbital movement, volcanic activity, solar system effects, and so forth. CO2 emission is not the only plausible explanation for global warming.
...In regards to issues such as this, skepticism is not the same as disbelief. There are fragments of evidence to support both sides, and logical reasons to choose one interpretation over another. The question of anthropogenic global warming should not divide Christian believers from each other (Luke 11:17). Environmental issues are important, but they are not the most important questions facing mankind. Christians ought to treat our world with respect and good stewardship, but we should not allow politically-driven hysteria to dominate our view of the environment. Our relationship with God is not dependent on our belief in human-caused global warming..."
The film's thesis is that global warming is real, potentially catastrophic, and human-caused. Gore presents specific data that supports the thesis, including:..
According to Gore, he became interested in global warming when he took a course at Harvard University with Professor Roger Revelle, one of the first scientists to measure carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Later, when Gore was in Congress, he initiated the first congressional hearing on the subject. Gore's 1992 book, Earth in the Balance, dealing with a number of environmental topics, reached the New York Times bestseller list....
Producers Laurie David and Lawrence Bender saw Gore's slide show in New York City after the 2004 premiere of The Day After Tomorrow. Inspired, they met with director Davis Guggenheim about the possibility of making the slide show into a movie. Guggenheim, who was skeptical at first, later saw the presentation for himself, stating that he was "blown away," and "left after an hour and a half thinking that global warming [was] the most important issue. . . . I had no idea how you’d make a film out of it, but I wanted to try," he said.." A Convenient Truth-
Part of Caregivers of the Planet
Transformation Global Warming's Real Inconvenient Truth
By Robert J. Samuelson
Wednesday, July 5, 2006; Page A13 (washingtonpost.com) "...The trouble with the global warming debate is that it has become a moral crusade when it's really an engineering problem. The inconvenient truth is that if we don't solve the engineering problem, we're helpless. The Real Inconvenient Truth- Has Already Taken Fifty Million Lives, from jeremiahproject.com
by Rev. Michael Bresciani
"...The fact that fifty million human beings have suffered death at the hands of abortionists even while there is no proof of even one single death due to global warming is a total no brainer. No rocket science needed here, no math degree. What is needed is a whole lot less panic and a huge helping of honesty. It is a matter of the heart not the brain. The appeal to the heart can sway the hardest and even the most intelligent person even if the intelligence is of the more common pseudo-intelligent variety. Are acts that are de-humanizing, cruel, heartless and deadly given respectability because they are performed by those who are considered to be “intelligent?”.."
"The UMM GreenCorps team and The Recycling Association of Minnesota are proud to bring the Recycle Your Holidays ™ Holiday Light Recycling Program to Morris! Now through spring 2010 boxes will be placed at Willie’s Super Valu and Thrifty White Drug. Bring your old holiday lights, electric cords, telephone cords and appliance cords. Cord adapters and battery packs are not accepted. For more information call 320-589-6468 and ask for Katie or email email@example.com."
What Happens To Recycled Holiday Lights?
Thu Dec 10, 10:47AM PT - WCCO Minneapolis 2:20 | 319 views (video from news.yahoo.com) "Some recycled holiday lights end up at the Adult Training and Habilitation Center in Hutchinson, Minn., Chris Shaffer reports (2:12)..."
*see GoodnewsEverybody.com Challenges-Physically, Mentally, Handicapped, Vulnerable, etc...
Morris Area students and volunteers collected tons of electronics waste on Tuesday -- Earth Day -- at Morris Area Elementary School as part of a Service Learning Program project organized by the students.
Morris Area students and volunteers collected tons of electronics waste on Tuesday -- Earth Day -- at Morris Area Elementary School as part of a Service Learning Program project organized by the students.
The Morris Area High School Service Learning Program�s electronics waste recycling day Tuesday was a huge success, and students in the program would like to make it an annual Earth Day event.
The five-hour, free drop-off service was organized by the Student Energy Leadership Team, and
proved to be a popular attraction for people looking to get rid of televisions, computers or any of electronic items that can be hooked to them.
The recycling project filled a semi-trailer and nine roll-off containers, and traffic at times stretch out of the Morris Area Elementary School parking lot and down the hill on Columbia Avenue.
�The longest wait was 25 minutes, but people didn�t seem to mind,� said Cheryl Kuhn, the district�s Service Learning Coordinator. �People loved the service.�
About 50 students and adult volunteers unloaded vehicles and loaded the semi and roll-offs. Jack�s Recycling in Alexandria is taking the electronics waste and recycling components and properly disposing of material such as lead and mercury that are found in the electronics items.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Kuhn had not received an exact weight of the items, but estimated that each roll-off could hold between 6,000 and 8,000 pounds.
In addition to keeping harmful products out of landfills, the recycling project served to motivate students, who already are engaged in other eco-friendly activities as part of their Service Learning work.
�A student said to me, �It�s amazing that, as one person, how I can inspire an entire community,� � Kuhn said."
"Stevens County residents can dispose of old electronics devices free at the Morris Area Elementary School from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 22 -- Earth Day...
The free recycling includes computers, televisions and anything that can be plugged into a computer or TV. Traffic will be directed to the north parking lot of the school, located at 153 Columbia Ave., in Morris."
"Minnesota now has the dubious distinction of having the highest autism rate of all 50 states, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Research conducted in Minnesota shows that school districts near pollution sources (including EPA Superfund sites) have higher autism rates than those farther away. The Environmental Protection Agency maintains a list of superfund sites-maintaining information on Human Exposure and Ground Water Migration, Site Wide Ready for Reuse data, and whether or not construction has been completed to reclaim the site. In our region, one EPA Superfund Site is in the final stages of completion; the EPA is working to determine whether there were human exposures to contaminants at the Waite Park Wells in Stearns County .
Other sites that have been declared cleaned up and ready for reuse include the Morris Arsenic Dump, the Lagrand Sanitary Landfill in Douglas County , and ground water in Long Prairie previously listed as contaminated has been listed “under control.”
"BENSON, Minn. (AP) - Mary Jo and Luverne Forbord took 30 acres of good cropland and decided it's time to find out: Are productive conservation and bioenergy for real, or are they just the buzz words of the day?
So far the quest for that answer has been "frustrating," Luverne Forbord acknowledged as he led a couple dozen visitors recently on the Prairie Horizons farm between Benson and Starbuck.
Although the visitors expressed surprise at how well a mix of warm-season grasses - everything from bluestem and switchgrass to Canada wild rye - has taken hold on the 30 acres, Forbord said it has not been easy. The mix was planted just this summer, in the third of three consecutive dry years. The farm has seen only two inches of rain this summer season, the Forbords said.
The grasses are setting their roots deep where the Forbords once raised 200-bushel-per-acre corn. The land is rich but sloping, which makes it prone to erosion, they said.
After 30 years of operating the farm as a dairy, in 2002, the couple began raising Lowline Angus - a short-stature cattle breed - and converting croplands to pasture.
The 30 acres of newly planted grassland will be the farm's first biomass crop for energy. The Forbords intend to harvest the grasses in future years for sale in either Benson or Morris, where markets for biomass energy already exist. The Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company and Fibrominn in Benson and the University of Minnesota-Morris campus are all potential markets for the biomass the Forbords will produce.
Representatives from the ethanol company and the university weren't the only visitors who walked over the Forbords' grasslands with an eye toward turning this into tomorrow's green energy source. Mark Lindquist, biofuels manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said the state has an interest in seeing more grasslands planted as part of what is known as "productive conservation."
If the state is to improve water quality, and improve waterfowl and other wildlife populations, there is a need to increase the amount of grasses and perennials in the landscape, Lindquist said.
With corn prices that easily top $5 a bushel, more and more land is being taken from conservation programs and put back into row crop production. Developing bioenergy markets could help keep lands in perennial cover by providing economic opportunities for farmers, he said.
Biomass markets could also benefit the state in how it manages wildlife lands, according to Dave Trauba, manager of the Lac qui Parle State Wildlife Management Area. Trauba has used grazing cattle as part of his "toolbox" to manage prairie lands. Along with fire, grazing ruminants have always been nature's way of protecting prairie lands from invading woody plants, he said.
The DNR is also experimenting with occasional haying on some wildlife lands to achieve the same objective, he said.
That's why there are so many eyes on what happens to the Forbords' 30 acres. There is no doubt that the couple can manage grasslands: Despite those three dry years, their cattle are grazing in belly-high grasses.
But the Forbords want to know if the economics work for the farm. Their plan is to sell the biomass for energy when the markets are right, and when not, use the biomass instead as feed for their cattle.
There is a lot that is unknown, including the tonnage of biomass that can be harvested from lands like this, according to Stacy Salvevold, who helped the Forbords plant the land in her role with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Morris. But she said the biggest question is the most important one: "The farm end of the market is what is missing from the whole equation," Salvevold said.
At tour's end, Mary Jo Forbord said more is at stake than the economics of the farm. She would like to see grasslands returned to the countryside for the obvious environmental benefits, and more. She's hoping that the economics of biomass are right for returning more young people to farming as well.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)"
"FAIRMONT, Minn. (AP) - A leading European energy services company wants to make this southern Minnesota city a model for the Midwest by investing at least $120 million in a biomass energy plant.
The Fairmont Energy Center would be owned by Veolia Energy, a unit of French utility Veolia Environment. It would start operating in May 2011 if all goes according to plan, local officials were told this past week.
The Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, which sells wholesale electricity to 18 nonprofit municipal members, would buy the electricity produced by the plant. Steam could potentially be sold to local industries. The plant's generating capacity has not been determined.
The biomass would come from a variety of sources, including refuse-derived fuel (RDF), secondary wood waste and agricultural waste from crops such as alfalfa and soybeans. Refuse-derived fuel is processed trash, such as papers and plastics, that would be dried, condensed and shipped into Fairmont. The plant will not burn raw garbage.
By locating the plant in Fairmont, Veolia said it hopes to establish itself in the Midwest, showcase the new facility and encourage more biomass energy facilities in the region.
SMPPA and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are helping Veolia locate sources of biomass. And the company is in the process of signing a letter of intent with a supplier, Elodie Michaels, project director with Veolia's U.S. headquarters in Boston, told the Fairmont City Council and Public Utility Commission this past week.
"RDF is cheaper than any other fuel out there," Michaels said. "Our goal is to get as many green credits as possible for SMMPA."
SMMPA needs those renewable energy credits to meet state requirements that 25 percent of its energy come from renewable sources by 2025.
"SMMPA can do our project or buy wind," Michaels said. "Right now, our solution is more cost-effective than wind."
While well established in Europe, with nearly 200 plants and 5,000 employees, Veolia is relatively new to the United States.
Veolia will pick a site for the Fairmont plant in the next few weeks, choosing between demolishing the existing city power plant or a location in an industrial park.
E.J. Simon, the project's developer, is the middle man, coordinating efforts among Veolia, SMMPA and other parties involved in the process. In visiting biomass centers in eastern Europe, Simon said, he was amazed by the lack of smell and the appearance of the buildings, which might have passed for grocery stores in the United States. The plant would blend in with the other buildings in the industrial park.
As far as odor, the dried papers and plastics used for RDF doesn't smell, according to Simon, and neither do the secondary wood and other sources of biomass. The high-temperature technology used at the plant will further reduce odors and emissions.
Before any construction can begin, an environmental impact study must be completed. The study will take two years before it goes to the state for approval. Veolia said it does not anticipate any difficulties getting approval, since the plant would meet not only state and federal standards, but also European regulations, which are stricter than those in the U.S.
Construction itself is expected to take two years, with as many as 400 workers on site. Once complete, the plant would provide 20 full-time jobs.
Veolia Energy North America: http://www.veoliaenergyna.com/en
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)"
Half the trash! RiverCenter cuts waste
"It's a great place to watch the Wild, take in a concert or check out a trade show, but the RiverCentre complex in downtown St. Paul is providing much more
Augsburg College Releases Biodiesel Miracle
" Added: April 06, 2008 (Less info)
At a joint press conference held this morning in Science Hall 302, Augsburg College and SarTec Corporation officially announced the discovery of a chemical process that could free the United States from its dependence on petroleum diesel fuel. This revolutionary method to make biodiesel started with the curiosity of Augsburg chemistry senior Brian Krohn and ended with three Twin Cities scientists creating the "Mcgyan Process.".."
The setting was modest but the rhetoric was anything but.
Inside a drab third-floor chemistry lab at Augsburg College, a group of scientists on Friday unveiled a technology they claim could "revolutionize" energy production and free the United States from its dependence on foreign oil.
That's a tall order for a small liberal arts college in Minneapolis that, at least until now, was not particularly known for its energy acumen.
Nevertheless, Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow suggested the technology, which makes cleaner and cheaper biodiesel fuel, could be "one of modern day's greatest discoveries." ("Miracle," "history making" and "dream" were also liberally tossed about during the 30-minute news conference.)
Dubbed the "Mcgyan Process," the technology, inspired by the work of Augsburg undergraduate Brian Krohn, converts most feedstocks into biodiesel fuel without using much water or producing lots of waste.
Ever Cat Fuels, a start-up co-founded by Augsburg alumnus Clayton McNeff, is building a $5 million plant in Isanti that eventually will produce 3 million gallons of biodiesel fuel a year.
Normally, companies make biodiesel fuel by mixing soybean oil with a sodium hydroxide "catalyst" in a tank that's heated at a high temperature. But this "batch" process takes hours to complete and produces waste. The catalyst itself must be neutralized with either hydrochloric or sulfuric acid, two toxic chemicals.
The Mcgyan method employs a metal oxide catalyst that converts a mixture of alcohol and feedstock oils in a tubelike reactor to biodiesel fuel. This continuous or "flow" process makes it more efficient because it takes seconds to complete and produces little waste, McNeff said. Patents on the process are pending.
One of the feedstock oils can be algae oil, which can be produced in great quantities from wastewater. Xcel Energy Inc. has invested $4.5 million toward algae and other alternative energy work through the University of Minnesota's Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment.
The timing for Friday's announcement could not have been better. Oil prices reached record highs this week, twice breaking $105 a barrel. That's higher than the previous peak in April 1980, when oil topped $101, after adjusting for inflation.
Thomas Lee � 612-673-7744
"WORTHINGTON, Minn. (AP) - Ethanol's main by-product, which is sold as livestock feed, has raised potential food safety concerns.
Several studies have linked the byproduct, known as distillers grain, to elevated rates of E. coli in cattle. And now, distillers grain is facing further scrutiny because the Food and Drug Administration has found that it often contains antibiotics left over from making ethanol.
Ethanol production relies on enzymes, yeast and sugar to convert corn into fuel. And just as the wrong bacteria in the body can sicken people, it can also cause a variety of ailments in a batch of ethanol.
Mark von Keitz with the University of Minnesota's Biotechnology Institute said in ethanol production, the main enemy is a bacterial bug that makes lactic acid.
"What these organisms do is they also compete with the yeast for the sugar," said von Keitz. "But instead of making alcohol, they make primarily lactic acid."
If enough of the bacteria are present, von Keitz said fermentation can be ruined...."
"MINNEAPOLIS � (Nov. 15) � Metro Transit gave downtown Minneapolis workers and residents a look at the future of public transportation in the region when it paraded 17 of its 19 new hybrid electric buses up Nicollet Mall during the noon hour today...
�Gov. Pawlenty asked state government to lead the way to a sustainable future for Minnesota, and both the Council and Metro Transit have responded,� Bell said. �Metro Transit already uses a 10 percent biodiesel blend in its fuel � five times higher than the state requires. And it will double that percentage next year.�"
"A St. Cloud Metro Bus that runs mostly on used cooking oil will begin service today at St. Cloud State University, and some hope it will give a boost to an environment-friendly movement on campus and in the community..." St. Cloud Metropolitan Transit Commission (St. Cloud Metro Bus), St. Cloud, MN, from apta.com "
(Category: Providing more than 1 million and fewer than 4 million annual passenger trips.)
Now a two-time winner (1990 and 2007), St. Cloud Metro Bus is a public transportation agency on the move. Ridership on its U-Pass partnerships with area colleges has jumped 102 percent. Additionally, its Summer Youth Pass program has grown 1,400 percent. Its Dial-a-Ride door-through door for elderly and ADA ridership has an outstanding passenger per hour efficiency aided by computerized scheduling, AVL, and on-board computers. No wonder its slogan is the "people picker-uppers".
With an emphasis of always improving operations, it completed its transit signal priority deployment with 100 percent complete transit route coverage in 2005. The following year, it implemented a fully integrated bar-coded inventory system and "paperless" shop environment in the fleet maintenance area. Seamless communication between operations and maintenance staff aids identification and assignment of vehicle defects and scheduling preventive maintenance and improves logistical and fiscal maintenance management."
"MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) - A study by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency of wastewater treatment plants finds widespread, but low levels of pharmaceutical contamination.
The agency's researcher, Mark Ferrey, says the study examined 25 of the state's 500 municipal wastewater treatment plants. It reinforced what earlier, less comprehensive studies have found - that pharmaceutical compounds are common in rivers and lakes across Minnesota.
Ferry tells Minnesota Public Radio that the chemicals are well below levels toxic to humans, but the long-term effect on the environment is unknown.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)"
"Minnesota has overtaken Iowa as the nation's third-largest producer of wind energy, behind Texas and California.
The American Wind Energy Association says Minnesota added 405 megawatts of wind power production last year and had 1,299 megawatts of wind energy at the end of 2007. That edged Iowa's 1,271 megawatts.
The organization says U.S. wind power capacity is now about 16,800 megawatats -- enough to serve 4.5 million households with electricity.
Under legislation passed last year, Minnesota set a target of generating 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources such as wind by 2025.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)"
"Morris, Minn.,2—It is time to talk about climate change, and an opportunity to have that conversation will come soon. The Alexandria Citizens Climate Lobby will visit the University of Minnesota, Morris with Dr. John Abraham and Don Shelby on April 19, 2012 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for a conversation about climate change. The public is invited to join the conversation, which will take place at the Student Center in the Prairie Lounge and a light lunch will be served.
Dr. John P. Abraham is associate professor of engineering in the field of thermal and fluid sciences. He has served as a special adviser to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and published over 130 papers on thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid flow and energy. He is co-founder of the Climate Science Rapid Response Team formed in 2010 to provide accurate science information about climate change to the media and government. He received worldwide attention in May, 2010,when he engaged in a global smack down of Lord Christopher Monckton over climate misinformation Monckton was spreading in the non-academic community.
Don Shelby served as a reporter and TV anchor for over 45 years,(many at WCCO, in Minneapolis) winning all five of the nation's top journalism awards, including three Emmys, the Columbia-Dupont Award, Scripps-Howard Award and the Society of Professional Journalist Distinguished Service Award. In 1997 he won the Peabody Award—broadcasting's equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. Shelby recently published his first book, "The Season Never Ends." He intends to spend his retirement years working to better the environment and mitigate climate change.
The Citizens Climate Lobby is a non-profit organization with a purpose to create the political will for a sustainable climate and to empower individuals to have breakthroughs in exercising their personal and political power.
Expected topics within the climate change conversation include the current state of public awareness, how to increase public awareness, and media coverage. "
"Is NASA playing fast and loose with climate change science? That's the contention of a group of 49 former NASA scientists and astronauts.
On March 28 the group sent a letter to NASA administrator Charles Bolden, Jr., blasting the agency for making unwarranted claims about the role of carbon dioxide in global warming, Business Insider reported.
"We believe the claims by NASA and GISS [NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies], that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data," the group wrote. "With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled."
The group features some marquee names, including Michael F. Collins, Walter Cunningham and five other Apollo astronauts, as well as two former directors of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The letter included a request for NASA to refrain from mentioning CO2 as a cause of global warming in future press releases and websites. The agency's "Global Climate Change" webpage says that "Humans have increased atmospheric CO2 concentration by a third since the Industrial Revolution began. This is the most important long-lived "forcing" of climate change."
GRAPHIC FROM NASA WEBSITE
Of course, NASA isn't the only government agency to finger carbon dioxide as a key culprit in global warming.
The EPA website says that "Increasing levels of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since pre-industrial times are well-documented and understood." It goes on to say that "The atmospheric buildup of CO2 and other greenhouse gases is largely the result of human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels."
What does NASA say?
“NASA sponsors research into many areas of cutting-edge scientific inquiry, including the relationship between carbon dioxide and climate," the agency's chief scientist, Dr. Waleed Abdalati, told The Huffington Post in an email. "As an agency, NASA does not draw conclusions and issue 'claims' about research findings. We support open scientific inquiry and discussion...If the authors of this letter disagree with specific scientific conclusions made public by NASA scientists, we encourage them to join the debate in the scientific literature or public forums rather than restrict any discourse.”
Editor's note: We believe it's newsworthy when 49 former NASA scientists and astronauts pen a letter to the agency -- or to anyone -- about climate change. But what really raised temperatures is when we asked our readers to weigh in. We've removed the question because HuffPost is not agnostic on the matter. Along with the overwhelming majority of the scientific community (including 98% of working climate scientists), we recognize that climate change is real and agree with the agencies and experts who are concerned about the role of carbon dioxide.
"...Ferngully is a rain-forest, it is home to a race of fairies who have never seen humans and believe Humans don't exist and only exists in stories. That is until the arrival of Batty, a wacky bat who tells the Fairies that he has seen the Humans. Curious, when she sees smoke from Mount Warning, a fairy named Crysta travels beyond Ferngully and discovers a group of humans is destroying the rain-forest. Crysta discovers a human named Zak who is helping destroy the rain-forest and accidentally shrinks him. Once discovering the beauty of Ferngully, Zak and Crysta learn the Fairies and Ferngully itself are in mortal danger, when the humans free Hexxus, a evil oil-like creature who along time ago was turned into a tree when he tried to unleash chaos in Ferngully and has taken over "The Leveler" a logging machine as he begins his evil scheme to destroy Ferngully and only Zak, Crysta, Batty, Pips and The Beetle Boys can defeat Hexxus and save Ferngully from destruction. Written by Daniel Williamso...
FernGully The Last RainForest
"We've picked 10 places -- in no particular order -- that we think are doing a great job at putting residents first. That means they're obsessed with clean air and clean water, renewable energy, reliable city buses, trams, streetcars and subways, a growing number of parks and greenbelts, farmer's markets and, very important, opportunities for community involvement."..
"....Cows today are fed forages and grains and how those feedstuffs are raised and how the cow manure gets back to the land is the important part of the cycle that is being ignored, or not given adequate attention in some cases. On many of our farms, the crops are raised with minimum or no tillage and that’s a plus because it increases and preserves the organic matter.
We use crop rotations and perennial forage crops as part of the feed production plan. And of course, Michigan farmers today with the high cost of fertilizers are especially careful about re-cycling the nutrients from manure back to their cropping systems.
Farms that use perennial pastures with managed grazing systems are especially carbon-friendly because they use a minimum of fossil fuels, legacy carbon, to produce the feed and the “pasture crop” is a perennial crop. The bottom line is that we want our cropping system to capture or sequester carbon and increase the organic matter levels in our soil.
Don’t get caught up in trying to defend our dairy cows by saying they are more efficient today or that we use fewer cows per hundred weight of milk produced because that is admitting cows are the problem.
Dairy cows are not the cause of climate change. If we manage the cows and their feed production properly, cows actually can help us take carbon out of the air and store it in the soil. There are some production systems that will release more carbon than is captured; burning the rain forest for cow pasture, poor management of nutrients in cow manure, and feeding cows grain from systems that are depleting the soil’s organic matter, are examples.
If there is a problem it is not the cow, but the way we manage the farm system and its carbon cycle. Dairy farmers have the responsibility to be good stewards of the land and livestock for the benefit of the land, the livestock, the public, and themselves.
Environmental issues will become more important and we need to make sure people understand that cows and dairy farming are part of the solution and not part of the problem. Quit defending cows when they don’t need defending. Tell people how cows are helping our farming systems to be more environmentally friendly and more sustainable.
How To Go Green and Save Some Green At the Same Time
"Protecting the environment will make you feel virtuous and put some extra money in your pocket. "