Thursday, August 31, 2017

Rising Need for Energy Efficiency!!

Yes, this new industrial revolution we are living, which has amazing environmental and economic ramifications, runs best on getting smarter and more efficient in every single aspect of life.  And the financial returns of such a policy are enormous...historic.  

Variable Frequency Drives Market worth 24.8 Billion USD by 2021 preview image

Download PDF Brochure:
The variable frequency drive market is expected to grow from an estimated USD 18.61 Billion in 2016 to USD 24.8 Billion by 2021, registering a CAGR of 5.94% from 2016 to 2021.

The global market is witnessing significant growth due to increasing urbanization and industrialization in developing countries such as India, growing need for energy efficiency, increased activities in the construction, power transmission & distribution networks, regulations on energy efficiency, growing trend of industrial automation, regulations to ensure efficiency and utilization of energy.

Among the two major voltage segments of variable frequency drives: low voltage and medium voltage, the former held the largest market share in 2015. Low voltage variable frequency drives have become popular mainly because of their ease of operation and size which is 25-40% smaller than medium voltage drives. Moreover, medium voltage drives are complex and difficult to handle or replace in case of a failure during an operation.

The variable frequency drive market has been segmented based on power range into micro power drive (UP TO 5 Kw), low power drive (6-40 kW), medium power drive (41-200 kW) and high power drive (Above 200 kW). The micro power drive segment accounted for the largest market share in 2015. These VFDs are increasingly popular due to their wide application in fans, pumps, compressors, conveyors, extruders, among others.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Engaging with the UN’s sustainable development goals/The Telegraph

Great story on a much needed discussion.  Bringing every sector to the table of transformation is paramount if our fight to move forward in this journey of building a sustainable future.  Perhaps no segment is more important than the business world.

Just take a look at the Paris Accords.  Companies played huge, albeit, behind-the scenes, role in helping the negotiations and agreement.  Industrial and commercial players are a huge part of the problem.  Without question they must help lead us to better commerce.

Their support, despite wavering from Washington, tells us that the data, science and economic formulas around building a resilient, green economy is right on target.   We are on the right path.  We can literal smell success each step of the way.

The United Nations’ sustainable development goals include eliminating extreme poverty and tackling climate change CREDIT: YURIKO NAKAO

 BY Mike Scott 

Businesses and experts explain why companies are aligning with the UN’s sustainable development goals – and what’s in it for them.

In September 2015, 193 world leaders signed up to the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs), which outline what the world needs to do to bring about sustainable development by 2030, including eliminating extreme poverty and hunger, tackling climate change, reducing inequality, and putting sustainable water supplies, energy sources and industry in place.

The Business Commission for Sustainable Development says that meeting the 17 goals, which are underpinned by 169 targets,
could create almost 380m jobs and opportunities worth $12trn (£9trn) in sectors ranging from affordable housing and energy efficiency to circular economy models and advances in healthcare.

But for these opportunities to be harnessed – and the targets met – business involvement will be crucial. In a 2016 paper on how companies can help deliver the global goals, the commission said that to date, most businesses have barely registered the importance of working sustainably, but there are signs of change.

Create value

Consumers today expect companies to do more. There’s also growing pressure from investors to act. Steve Waygood, chief responsible investment officer at Aviva Investors says: “As an investor, we look after pensions that might not be drawn down for three to four decades, while, as an insurance company, we’re exposed to many of the issues covered by the SDGs. It’s up to long-term investors to encourage companies to take action.”

Companies are also recognising the business case for embracing the goals. They're beginning to understand that the way to create value for investors is to create value for society, explains Jose María Ortiz, managing director of development consultancy, Palladium.

“Twenty-first century capitalism is about doing well by doing good.
If you’re a big multinational, you’re not neutral. You have to contribute.”

The corporate world has moved away from seeing sustainability as being in competition with core business strategy, says Martin Chilcott, the chief executive of supply chain platform, 2degrees.

“There’s not just a competitive advantage, but a massive downside if you don’t do these things,” he explains. “We’re seeing more companies stating publicly the SDGs that they’re addressing.”

Aligning with business goals

One of the first things that enterprises need to do is to work out how the SDGs fit in with their existing sustainability plans. The SDGs

are both a call to arms for the business community, and a framework for how to make progress.

Property developer, Hammerson, looked at how the goals fit in with its strategy
to be “net positive” in carbon, water, resource use, and socio-economic impacts. Many companies say that it’s important to focus on the goals that are most relevant, or material, to your business.

For Hammerson, there are only four that are the most material for the firm, including affordable and clean energy, and decent work and economic growth, says Louise Ellison, head of sustainability at Hammerson.

She adds that it’s about focusing on what the business is already doing. “Sustainability is a huge subject. Unless you’re very clear on
what you can do, you can spend an awful lot of time and resources focusing on things that aren’t that effective.”

Simon Boas Hoffmeyer, sustainability director at Carlsberg, agrees, saying that while it’s easy to say that we have to work towards them all, it’s important to deal with those to which businesses can make the biggest contribution. “If everything is important, ultimately nothing is,” he says. “For us, the goals are the world’s biggest materiality assessment.”

The challenges

The goal that many companies find most difficult to get to grips with is the 17th SDG, “Partnerships for the Goals” – which requires partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society.

But for many, this is one of the most important goals. “It's a recognition that many of these challenges, such as climate action and life below water, are challenges of the commons,” says Mr Chilcott.

“No matter how big you are, on your own, you can’t address them; you can only do so by working together. The ideas of partnership and collaboration are central [to] the SDGs.”

A number of industry groups have sprung up to co-ordinate this collaboration. “The SDGs serve as a framework for much of the work that we do with members – they help structure our initiatives,” says Ignacio Gavilan, sustainability director of the Consumer Goods Forum. “We try to set up targets that are more aggressive than the SDGs, but based on their philosophy. For example, we have a goal of ending deforestation by 2020.”

Common Ground is an initiative set up by six biggest advertising firms specifically to address the SDGs.

“It’s an opportunity to align ourselves to this global agenda and it
has given us a clear focus,” explains Frank Krikhaar, global CSR director at Dentsu Aegis Network. As part of the initiative, it works on a pro-bono basis with an anti-malaria charity, Malaria No More, and Stop TB, to raise awareness of the issues around these diseases.

But acting on these commitments and making sure that they’re effective is the tricky part. To that end, Gold Standard, a certification body, has launched a new scheme to certify business contributions
to SDG targets, and in September, a group of investors, including Aviva, is to launch an alliance to benchmark company performance.

“Benchmarking will provide clear parameters in which a race to the top can take place,” says Mr Waygood. “It will provide companies with direction and awareness of the gap between their ambitions

and current performance.”

Achieving Sustainability with Solar at the National Museum of Bermuda

Great story and location for renewables.

Achieving Sustainability with Solar at the National Museum of Bermuda

As locations for large-scale solar deployment go, Bermuda is a pretty good one. The climate guarantees plenty of sun and the potential for significant generation of clean energy.
The National Museum of Bermuda has capitalized on the advantageous conditions with the recent launch of the largest ground-mounted solar project in the country. So far, so ordinary for a country with the climate of Bermuda. But the background to the project, and the long-term impact it’ll have on the community, is what truly sets it apart.

The installation is the product of a partnership to support the British America’s Cup Challenger, Land Rover BAR, that earlier in the year was training and competing around Bermuda as part of the 35th America’s Cup. The Land Rover BAR team have been quick to recognize their potential to contribute to local communities and to inspire others — and, when they were established mere years ago, set themselves the ambitious goal of becoming one of the world’s most sustainable sports teams.
It’s an aspiration they’ve lived up to with the support of their partners, including Low Carbon. The team has had solar panels installed at their UK headquarters in Portsmouth, and at local schools to support clean energy generation and local community engagement. And they brought the same commitment out to Bermuda with them.

Supported by Low Carbon and the Stempel Foundation, the Land Rover BAR team met their commitment to sustainability with the installation for the National Museum of Bermuda, covering more than 3,500 square feet and encompassing 194 panels. In practical terms, it will offset the team’s carbon emissions whilst training and competing in Bermuda, within two years.
The real value of the installation, however, will be seen for decades to come.

The panels have a lifespan of more than 30 years, and are designed to collect sunlight from both front and back. This will enable them to provide the National Museum of Bermuda with approximately 93,600 kWh of clean energy a year and save more than 43 metric tons of carbon emissions annually. That means, over the course of their lives, the panels could save nearly 1,300 metric tons of carbon and provide more than 2.8 million kWh of energy.

That in turns means the National Museum of Bermuda can reduce its electricity bills by up to 20 percent a year — providing vital financial resources it can reinvest in preserving Bermuda’s cultural heritage.

And this is before considering the role of the installation as an educational tool.
Since the installation first started, the panels have been used as a resource to educate local school children on how solar panels work and support the National Museum of Bermuda, and most importantly, the role of renewable energy in reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change.
Consequently, the National Museum of Bermuda’s ground mounted installation isn’t just an example of industry best practice and how renewable energy installations can deliver tremendous local value; it’s an outstanding example of effective corporate and social responsibility, and a demonstration of the benefits of how clean energy, carbon emission reduction, and education that can all be delivered through renewable energy.

All as a consequence of the aspirations of a sports team.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Three-ton slab from massive tree makes one of a kind bathtubs without glue or epoxy


TORONTO - Is it possible to make a solid wood bathtub out of a single three-ton mass of wood, without glue or epoxy? And can it be done sustainably?
"The general consensus is you can't even make a kitchen cabinet out of solid wood let alone a nearly 6-feet diameter bathtub," says Jonathan Kitzen of Timber Neutral, a Leiceister, U.K., studio which fashioned the tubs for Toronto retailer Amelie & Max. The big concern was, "Will it hold water?

Conventional wisdom holds that the wood will crack from uneven drying, and it could be too unstable, moving and twisting on location. But a similar wood project has been around for hundreds of years: the dugout canoe, which is water tight and floats despite many cracks and fissures.

Timber Neutral says there is something within the fiber of wood that no other material can capture - the vitality and uniqueness of an organic object. The tubs are said to be the fusion of high-tech craftsmanship and the originality and form of solid wood. Each is made from a solid, single 6,600-lb. block of wood that has been painstakingly carved down to create a two-person tub, with no two alike. Amelie & Max retail the tubs for $34,000.

Each bath is also given an individual identification, bearing the personalized name of a tree, reflecting both the personality of the bath and its exotic origin.
The trees, harvested in Columbian forests, must be very large to yield such a large block of wood, so Timber Neutral goes to lengths to make the case that the harvesting is sustainable.
"Few trees, perhaps one out of a million, grow to the massive size needed for the tubs," says Kitzen.
Trees are cut down, then pulled from the forest with a horse team before arriving at Timber Neutral's workshop. Each is then carefully designed based on the structure of the wood block. After a two-month process, the tub is complete, then left to dry for three years to slowly age and harden the wood, yielding a "one-off" product that can never ever be duplicated.

In Italy’s Drought-Hit Vineyards, the Harvest of a Changing Climate

Climate changes lead us to all sorts of environmental and economic clashes.  Droughts, floods, extreme weather are badgering many continents right now. Much of our current and future technology and investment will need to be directed towards building more resilient industries and communities.  

In Italy’s Drought-Hit Vineyards, the Harvest of a Changing Climate

Donneschi Zvonko, 49, harvesting pinot nero grapes in Neive. Due to the high temperatures this year, the winemaker Castello di Neive has started harvesting the grapes three weeks earlier than usual. Credit Alessandro Penso for The New York Times
A 2016 study by NASA and Harvard of grape harvest dates going back to the 1600s found that climate change pushed harvests forward drastically in France and Switzerland in the second half of the 20th century.

Other studies have suggested that traditional wine-growing regions in Europe and around the world will become too hot for the berries traditionally linked to their earth and climate, or terroir, and will be forced to adopt varietals built for heat.

The vexing possibilities are worthy of contemplation over a fine wine: What is Bordeaux if it becomes inhospitable to cabernet franc or merlot? What is Burgundy without pinot noir? What if southern England supplants Champagne as a home to sparkling wine?
In Italy, a heat wave this year, given the name Lucifer, is blamed for an expedited picking and reduced yields of Franciacorta sparkling wine. Wine production overall is expected to drop up to 15 percent nationwide.

Here in Piedmont, where an ancient ocean enriched the land with minerals and the sun kissed the hills in just the right way, the Italian news media noted with shock the harvesting of grapes for white wine in July.

The local chapter of Coldiretti, the Italian agricultural lobby, noted that the harvest of grapes for Barolo, which often used to reach into November, now took place weeks earlier.

“People are picking grapes in their bathing suits, and they used to be in gloves and overcoats!” local wine enthusiast Piero Comino, 63, said over a straw-colored glass of arneis in Neive.

On the hills under the Castello di Neive, six workers moved in pairs in mid-August, expertly cutting bunches of pinot nero grapes and dropping them in plastic red crates. A week earlier, they had already cleared an adjacent vineyard of the delicate grapes used to make their bubbly Spumante.

“It’s 20 days earlier on average due to climate change,” Ion Bruno, 50, a worker who has been picking the grapes for the last three decades, said as he clipped a stem.

Drought, more than heat, threatens the grapes, he said, adding that instead of steady rainfall, precipitation now comes in downpours that run off the hillsides and do little to slake the thirst of the vines.

“Decades ago there would be snow on the ground in November,” said his partner Bruno Novelli, 58, as they moved to a new vine. “And now it doesn’t snow anymore.”
Those changes require careful management from winemakers, several of whom said that, if correctly harnessed, the heat could improve their product.

Claudio Roggero, who as enologist at the Castello di Neive, decides, among other things, when to pick the grapes, strolled with satisfaction through the corridors of vines, saying the grapes looked perfect.

“If I left these grapes another week they could have been like this,” he said stopping in front of a rare sunburned bunch. “It’s very dangerous.”

In the middle of August, a thermometer planted in one of their vineyards showed heat in excess of 104 degrees Fahrenheit. “It went off the charts,” the wine estate’s owner, Italo Stupino, 81, said as he looked over the hills.

Mr. Stupino also pointed at vineyards destroyed by a hailstorm in April, and yet he expressed doubt that global warming drove the change.

“I believe it up to a certain point,” he said with a shrug. “The temperature goes up and down. We had hail in April, and I remember some hot, hot Augusts as a boy.”
That sentiment ran through the hills.

In Monforte d’Alba, just outside the town square, Giovanni Rocca stepped out onto his hills and happily chewed a grape he picked from his vineyard.

“The grapes are beautiful, the heat’s good for them,” he said, arguing that the vintage, which he said would probably come 10 or 15 days earlier than usual, was likely to yield a lower-quantity but higher-quality Barolo.

His son, Maurizio, 37, also spoke of the benefits of the sunshine. But he added that temperatures above 100 degrees “are not good for the wine; the berries become unbalanced and too fat, with too high an alcohol content.”

He said that they knew how to deal with anomalies, but that if intense heat waves became permanent, “We’ll have to plant bananas and pineapples.”

That, of course, would be a tragedy to the world’s wine connoisseurs, who have come to worship this region’s Barolos and Barbarescos, nebbiolos and barberas. The wine has also been good to its best producers.

An enclosed observation deck hangs like a giant helicopter cockpit over the hills of Alba at the headquarters of the Ceretto family, which produces nearly a million bottles a year.
The company’s employees will be out in the fields a week earlier than usual to pick arneis grapes for its wildly popular Blangé white wine, said Roberta Ceretto, 44.

But she was mostly unbothered by the heat, saying that while her employees might not be able to go on vacation in August in the future, the quality and culture of the area’s wines would survive.

“The dinosaurs didn’t go extinct in 20 years,” she said with a smile.
Not everyone is so optimistic.

In Barbaresco’s wine store, set up in a deconsecrated church, Michela Adriano, a young winemaker, said that while some skeptics thought 2017 would be recalled as the vintage of climate change hysteria, some leading winemakers were thinking hard about how to adapt to the new abnormal.

Angelo Gaja, perhaps the area’s most famous producer, has spoken often about the potential consequences of climate change on the area and its wines, Ms. Adriano noted.
And Mr. Reverdito, who has hung green nets to protect his own nebbiolo grapes from hail, said the nets had the added benefit of reducing damage from the scorching sun.

He exuded the same passion for his wines — comparing them at times to beautiful women — as other small producers in the surrounding hills.

But he feared that the lack of interplay of warm days and cool nights, of summer and autumn, threatened to overproduce the sugar and alcohol of a Barolo wine that should be elegantly composed, like “a symphony.”

“There is no more balance,” he said, lamenting the vanishing of the seasons. “And this is a disaster for us.”

Boston Tops 2017 Ranking Measuring Social Enterprise Activity in 21 U.S. Metropolitan Regions/RNN

Not surprising given MASS and New England's global reputation for excellence in innovation and sustainability.

Boston tops the 2017 ranking, which measures social enterprise activity in 21 U.S. metropolitan regions. Students who worked on the project also used it as a launchpad for an academic study presented at a conference in Rome. They were the only undergraduates who presented research at the international event, which featured paper presentations from doctoral candidates and academics.
Four undergraduate students from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business produced research for a new Social Enterprise Ecosystems Report, released Aug. 16 in collaboration with Deloitte, Capital One and Halcyon Incubator in Washington, D.C.
“Normally when undergraduate students attend an event like that, they sit in the back and take notes,” said Smith School professor David Kirsch, who advised the undergraduate consultants. “These students moved to the podium at the front of the room.”
When Halcyon approached the Smith School’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship about collaborating on the second edition of its Social Enterprise Ecosystems Report, Sara Herald, Associate Director for Social Entrepreneurship at the Dingman Center, jumped at the opportunity. “It provided a unique opportunity to connect our students with some of the nation’s most promising social entrepreneurs,” she said. 
Herald worked with Kirsch to recruit students in his Social Innovation Fellows program. Participants in the program do an applied project each spring as part of their yearlong fellowship, and Kirsch thought the Halcyon project would make an interesting challenge. Volunteers included Fasika Delessa, Sarina Haryanto, Aishwariya Chandrasekar and Evan Haas.
“Most of what the students normally do is a classic marketing problem, just applying known tools to solve it,” Kirsch said. “What happened here was the problem was in this unknown space called social enterprise ecosystems. We didn’t know what that meant. The students couldn’t just follow the well-trodden path to that set of tools and methods, and figure out what to do. They had to build it.”
The team started with two basic questions: Do social enterprise ecosystems differ from traditional enterprise ecosystems like the one in Silicon Valley? If so, to what extent?
While the students delved into the data, Kirsch came across a new academic conference looking for social enterprise research submissions. The timing seemed ideal. “It was the perfect storm,” Kirsch said.
The four students embraced the challenge, leading them to the first IESE-LUISS Conference on Responsibility, Sustainability and Social Entrepreneurship on April 18-19, 2017, in Rome....

Monday, August 28, 2017

Thousands of farmed salmon escape into the Pacific – after the powers that be said it wouldn’t happen Posted 7 by Envirothink

Well, how completed has our food supply become?  Given our environmental damage of rivers and oceans, we've pushed to raise fish on farms.  As you will see below, the results have not always been great, and just became much worse with this salmon release into the Pacific.
Perhaps this is like our discussions around AI.  A new frontier with dangerous potential ramifications, yet scientist and tech experts claim "there's nothing to worry about".  Really?  Who has "everything under control." other than Almighty God?  Our fate in the hands of a few bent on making money?  Not a good formula.
Lot going on in this story--failed safeguards, Mother Nature taking over, as usual, threats to native fish, threats to our native eco-system corrupted by man, etc.  Will fisherman come tot he rescue and clean up the escaped the farmed salmon?  If not there will be devastating consequences to deal with.
Contrary to assurances by fish farming concerns, thousands of farmed Atlantic salmon have escaped into the Pacific Ocean. They escaped from a damaged net pen at a Cooke Aquaculture fish farm off Cypress Island in Washington’s Puget Sound on Saturday, This has sparked fears that the farm-raised fish could threaten wild Pacific salmon.
According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), 305,000 salmon were in the net pen at the time. The company estimates that 4,000-5,000 fish escaped.
The concept and practice of farmed salmon has been a controversy since its inception.
Here are a few facts about the farmed fish or in aquaculture  industry:
  • Atlantic salmon are the most commonly commercially farmed salmonids.
  • Salmonids (particularly salmon and rainbow trout), along with carp, are the two most important fish groups.
Environmental groups have long criticized the practice of aquaculture. According to Food & Watch, “massive amounts of antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides are required to keep disease at bay just to keep fish and shrimp alive in overcrowded conditions (typically in nets, cages, or ponds).”
Crowded salmon pens where farmed salmon are pumped full of antibiotics and riddled with sea lice and tumors
There is a high risk of contamination from farmed fish. The risk to the surrounding environment – our oceans  – from uneaten fish feed, fish waste, and any antibiotics or chemicals used in fish farm operations can be disastrous to marine life.
And farmed Atlantic salmon that escape into the Pacific pose an even greater danger.
“Salmon farms are extremely harmful to wild fish because they break natural laws, releasing dangerous levels of viruses, bacteria and sea lice into the water,” the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society warns on its Operation Virus Hunter campaign website. “Wild salmon are declining wherever there are salmon farms.”
Environmentalists and others are also deeply concerned that these escaped fish will make it into our rivers, thus spreading their diseases to native fish there.
Farming fish companies like Cooke Aquaculture  Scotland have always insisted these penned in fish couldn’t escape. Sounds amazingly like when the tobacco industry kept claiming that cigarettes couldn’t cause cancer.
And here we are.
“Exceptionally high tides and currents coinciding with this week’s solar eclipse caused damage to a salmon farm that has been in operation near Cypress Island for approximately 30 years,” the company said.
So what’s the stop-gap remedy for this potential environmental disaster?
Farmed salmon vs wild salmon – a cautionary tale for consumers
Calling all anglers please!
Even though local anglers are concerned that the Atlantic salmon will eat local salmon, they’re now being called upon to go fishing for these escaped fish.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is encouraging anglers to specifically get out there and catch the escaped salmon, said to be 8 to 10 pounds in weight and considered safe to eat.
Safe to eat? When they’re known to be chock full of antibiotics and carry sea lice and riddled with open sores, swollen gills, tumors and deformities? Sounds appetizing, yes?
The Guardian reported in April that the sea louse, or salmon louse, is eating into farmed Atlantic salmon supplies in Scotland, Norway, Iceland and Canada, driving salmon prices higher and creating a “chemical arms race in the seas.” Salmon companies worldwide are spending an estimated $1.25 billion a year combined to tackle such outbreaks.
Compare farmed salmon versus wild caught. The difference in unmistakable.
So, just like the companies that are steamrolling to get natural gas pipelines laid across the country that they SWEAR won’t leak (and we know that they do and will), these companies are swearing that this is a tragic error created by an act of God.
Ron Warren, head of WDFW’s Fish Program, says there is no evidence farmed salmon pose a threat to native fish populations, either through disease or crossbreeding with Pacific salmon. To date, he said, there is no record of Atlantic salmon successfully reproducing with Pacific salmon in Washington’s waters.
All it takes is one and we’ve seen this happen with other scenarios already.
Isn’t it time consumers put our collective feet down and insist that these unnatural “farms” be scrapped and that conservation of wild fish be attended to? Can we really trust these companies to keep their word, when natural disasters are to be expected?
It’s time for commonsense to reign. And for consumers to speak up.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Raleigh-Durham Airport’s First Electric Airport Passenger Bus Fleet/RNN

Now, for some good news:  Electric transpiration takes over an airport.  Big, wonderful step.

We've been crying for this for years.  Airports, as you know, can be cancerous centers of heavy waste and emissions.  Yet, as proven here, as proven at airports like Denver International who we profiled on radio, they don't need to be.  

EV technology for heavy trucks and buses has taken massive steps forward.  In our view any vehicle that runs at the airport, carrying people or cargo, should run purely on clean energy.

Raleigh-Durham Airport (RDU) Authority has approved the purchase of four Proterra Catalyst E2 zero-emissions battery-electric transit buses and related charging infrastructure.  RDU selected Proterra as its battery-electric bus provider citing the company’s sustainability, performance and operational cost-savings excellence.  This purchase marks Proterra’s first airport customer and the first airport electric bus deployment in the Carolinas.
“Bringing zero-emission buses to airports throughout North America is an integral part of Proterra’s next stage of growth, and we couldn’t be happier to announce RDU as our first airport customer,” said Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra.
Currently, RDU shuttle buses transport on average 112,166 passengers and luggage per month between the airport’s two ParkRDU Economy lots and terminals with a diesel-powered fleet consisting of 14, 40-foot transit buses that are replaced every 7-10 years. Funded in part by a $1.6 million zero-emissions vehicle grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, the new Proterra battery-electric buses will replace four older diesel buses, resulting in the elimination 16.9 million pounds of greenhouse gases over the lifetime of these vehicles. 
“The purchase of these four buses demonstrates our commitment to a world-class airport experience,” said Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority President and CEO Michael Landguth. “We are excited about both the sustainable benefits as well as the improved passenger experience these new buses will provide...."

: Biggest Attack on The Amazon of The Last 50 Years/RNN

"Reap what you sow"  Ancient words.  As valuable today as ever.

Is it greed that drives us to push environmental limits?  Are we on a path of self-destruction as we threaten natural resources for a new gold rush?   Instead of living in an era of restoration, recognizing we've previously over developed and stripped away far too much habitat, we march on with our machetes.  

With sadness and remorse we bring you the bad news surrounding further destruction of the Amazon. See more at Renewable Now Network. com.

The decision announced on Wednesday by a decree of President Michel Temer abolished a protected area known as the National Reserve of Copper and Associates (Renca), created in 1984, during the military dictatorship, provoked protests by politicians, environmentalists, And industry experts.
The decree says that a region of about 47,000 square kilometers between Pará and Amapá is liberated for extraction of gold and other noble minerals. The Ministry of Mines and Energy says that protected areas of the forest and indigenous reserves will not be affected.
The enclosed area is larger than Denmark and has the size equivalent to that of the state of Espírito Santo, or eight times the size of the Federal District.
Opposition Senator Randolfe Rodrigues denounced the move as “the biggest attack on the Amazon of the last 50 years!..."


Thursday, August 24, 2017

How Food Policy Could Be Shaped by the Trump Administration/Food Tank

Trump's team is keen on cutting regulation.  No doubt that is a good thing.  God knows there is too much government and compliance.

Food policy is changing as well, as seen here.  Should we have less regulation on food production, distribution, sale?  What should government subsidies look like?

Generally, we believe the marketplace can dictate, and practice, good standards.  Farming is moving away from large, industrial centers.  Perhaps states and communities can jump in with good policy that is not onerous and causes, as the Feds do, undo delays, burdens, costs.

Since President Trump's campaign, he's talked about cutting regulations and spending, which could have far-reaching implications for federal food policy.

Since U.S. President Donald Trump was on the campaign trail, he has consistently vowed to significantly reduce federal regulations and spending. Some of the cutbacks he’s proposed since taking office could have far-reaching effects on federal food policy. In late May, Trump released his administration’s 2018 budget proposal, “A New Foundation for American Greatness.” This plan decreases funding for programs traditionally part of the Farm Bill, which could lead to some major food policy fights as legislators work on next fall’s bill.
The biggest cut in this area comes in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, said Peter Mueser, an economics professor at the University of Missouri’s Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs. Trump’s budget cuts SNAP by about 29 percent, or US$190 billion, over the next 10 years, primarily by increasing and enforcing the work requirements and transferring more responsibility for funding SNAP to individual states. Mueser said the first change could make it harder for people, especially in high-unemployment areas, to quality for benefits, and the second could give states that aren’t particularly supportive of SNAP an additional incentive to prevent more applicants from receiving assistance.
University of Missouri rural sociology assistant professor Mary Hendrickson, who studies sustainable alternatives to the current food system, said that when it comes to the 2018 Farm Bill, there’s also some concern that conservation and environmental policies might be stripped away. In addition, farmers’ crop and revenue insurance programs could be cut down, according to Politico, which could severely hurt their revenues.
With this administration, Mueser said, “almost everything is open to renegotiation. Trump is cutting things back, but the way he’s doing it is basically cutting around the edges.”
Like most presidential budget proposals, Trump’s will likely never become law, but it shows where the administration’s priorities lie as Congress works on its own version of the federal budget. This is also impactful when it comes to policies that aren’t specifically part of the budget, such as school lunches. In May 2017, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced at an elementary school in Virginia that he would be loosening some of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s landmark standards on sodium, whole grain, sugar, and fruits and vegetables in school lunches.
Hendrickson says it’s also important to pay attention to policies that don’t initially seem food-related. Some of the federal regulations Trump could strip—in areas such as investments, organizing corporations, and antitrust law—could slip under the radar but have deep impacts on farming, the food system, and consumers, according to Hendrickson.
For example, to start a cooperative or a corporation aimed at changing the food system, financial regulations shape the steps that need to be taken. “Investments that we need to make in alternative [food] systems to get them up and going are subject to how you can organize companies in this country,” Hendrickson says.
Hendrickson also said the current administration does not seem poised to enforce the antitrust policies in ways “that would reign in a lot of mergers and acquisitions,” which are especially important in agriculture, she said.  “There’s simply not a lot of appetite for that, given our current Supreme Court and our current Department of Justice.”
Makan Delrahim, Trump’s nominee for U.S. assistant attorney general for antitrust, is an experienced conservative antitrust lawyer who was an early supporter of Trump and helped facilitate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neal Gorsuch’s confirmation in the Senate. He has signaled a belief that mergers aid competition, rather than reducing it, and he has said he doesn’t intend to pursue antitrust cases against large companies and monopolies unless there’s specific evidence of wrongdoing or abuse of free-market principles.
Delrahim’s philosophy is especially important now, as four of the world’s largest seed and chemical companies are currently discussing mergers: DuPont with Dow Chemical and Monsanto with Bayer, whose chief executives said in January they had a “very productive meeting” with then-President-elect Trump.
When major seed and chemical companies merge, Hendrickson says, they combine their stock and eliminate certain offerings. This consolidation, which leads to loss of diversity in the marketplace, has significant effects on our food system, from both the farmer’s and the consumer’s perspectives.
“The concern is over choice in the marketplace, for farmers,” Hendrickson says. “Where are they going to buy their seeds, and from whom? If farmers don’t have any choice, does that constrain their actions on what kinds of decisions they want to take on the farm level?”
Any time federal cuts take effect, even if they’re not explicitly food-related, people begin to lean on local food banks more, said Janese Silvey, the communications coordinator for the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri. This is because food is not necessarily a fixed cost like rent or childcare, so she said people will try to stretch their food budget before scaling back elsewhere.
“Every time you see cuts to those services, you’re going to feel that at the food pantry,” Silvey said. “The pantries are going to see more demand. Even if we don’t get [federal] funding directly, we feel the effects.”