Selling wind energy leases off the coast of Virginia: Is this a good idea?

September 16, 2013

Contrary to the claims of President Obama’s critics, his administration is proceeding to develop energy resources in new areas.

Just a couple of weeks ago experimental wind energy sites off the coast of Virginia were auctioned off.

Wind power farm at sea; Clemson University image, of unidentified ocean-based wind farm.

Wind power farm at sea; Clemson University image, of unidentified ocean-based wind farm.

Can these tracts be developed responsibly?  I have not followed the issue, and I have not read the Environmental Impact Statement on this sale (surely there was one, since this is a “significant federal act” with great impact on these waters and the coast of Virginia).  Surely this is safer and cleaner than oil leases; enough cleaner?  Far enough away to avoid destructive effects on wildlife and other resources?

What do you think?

Here’s the press release from the Department of Interior:

Interior Holds Second Competitive Lease Sale for Renewable Energy in Federal Waters


Historic Sale for Wind Energy Development Offshore Virginia Advances President’s Climate Action Plan

09/04/2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to create American jobs, develop domestic clean energy sources and cut carbon pollution, the Interior Department today completed the nation’s second competitive lease sale for renewable energy in federal waters, garnering $1,600,000 in high bids for 112,799 acres on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore Virginia.

Virginia Electric and Power Company is the provisional winner of the sale, which auctioned a Wind Energy Area approximately 23.5 nautical miles off Virginia Beach that has the potential to support 2,000 megawatts of wind generation – enough energy to power more than 700,000 homes.

The sale follows a July 31 auction of 164,750 acres offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts for wind energy development that was provisionally won by Deepwater Wind New England, LLC, generating $3.8 million in high bids.

“This year’s second offshore wind lease sale is another major milestone in the President’s all-of-the-above energy strategy and demonstrates continued momentum behind a robust renewable energy portfolio that will help to keep our nation competitive and expand domestic energy production while cutting carbon pollution,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “Today’s sale is the result of a great deal of collaboration and planning with the Commonwealth of Virginia, which has been a leader in advancing offshore renewable energy for the Atlantic coast and an enthusiastic partner in this effort.”

“Today’s renewable energy lease sale offshore Virginia is another significant step forward in the President’s call for action to address climate change and the Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy,” said Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy Beaudreau. “I congratulate Virginia Electric and Power Company and we look forward to overseeing their development of the Virginia wind energy area, which will create jobs, increase our energy security and provide abundant sources of clean renewable power.”

Efforts to spur responsible development of offshore wind energy are part of a series of Obama Administration actions to increase renewable energy both offshore and onshore by improving coordination with state, local and federal partners. The Virginia Renewable Energy Task Force has been a leading agent in intergovernmental collaboration for wind energy development offshore Virginia.

Since 2009, Interior has approved 47 wind, solar and geothermal utility-scale projects on public lands, including associated transmission corridors and infrastructure to connect to established power grids. When built, these projects could provide more than 13,300 megawatts – enough energy to power more than 4.6 million homes and support more than 19,000 construction and operations jobs.

As part of the President’s comprehensive Climate Action Plan, he has challenged Interior to re-double efforts on its renewable energy program by approving an additional 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy production on public lands and waters by 2020.

At the same time, under the Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, domestic oil and gas production has grown each year President Obama has been in office, with domestic oil production currently higher than at any time in two decades; natural gas production at its highest level ever; and renewable electricity generation from wind, solar, and geothermal sources having doubled. Combined with recent declines in oil consumption, net oil imports in 2012 fell to the lowest level in 20 years.”

BOEM auctioned the Wind Energy Area offshore Virginia as a single lease, containing 19 whole Outer Continental Shelf blocks and 13 sub-blocks. For a map of the Wind Energy Area, click here.

The auction lasted 1 day, consisting of 6 rounds before determining the provisional winner. In addition to Virginia Electric and Power Company the following company participated in the auction: Apex Virginia Offshore Wind, LLC. Following the auction, the Attorney General, in consultation with the Federal Trade Commission, will have 30 days in which to complete an antitrust review of the auction.

The lease will have a preliminary term of six months in which to submit a Site Assessment Plan to BOEM for approval. A Site Assessment Plan describes the activities (e.g., installation of meteorological towers and buoys) the lessee plans to perform for the assessment of the wind resources and ocean conditions of its commercial lease.

After a Site Assessment Plan is approved, the lessee will have up to four and a half years in which to submit a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) for approval, which provides a detailed outline for the construction and operation of a wind energy project on the lease. If the COP is approved, the lessee will have an operations term of 33 years.

BOEM is expected to announce additional auctions for Wind Energy Areas offshore Maryland, New Jersey, and Massachusetts later this year and in 2014.

For more information on what’s going on offshore Virginia, visit BOEM’s website.

23 miles puts it far enough out that it’s generally out of sight from shore.  Out of sight, out of mind?  Out of danger?  Out of disaster potential?

Does a coal-power company’s winning these leases suggest a scheme to keep wind power from being developed, to improve the case for coal?

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Doubt climate change? Here, have a cigarette . . .

July 9, 2013

Colorado River runs dry, Peter McBried, Smithsonian

From Smithsonian Magazine: The Colorado River Runs Dry A boat casts a forlorn shadow in a dry river channel 25 miles from the river’s historical end at the Gulf of California. Photo by Peter McBride (Go see the entire slide show; spectacular and troubling images)

As John Mashey has been quietly but consistently warning us for some time . . .

From ClimateRealityProject.org:

Join us and stand up for reality. http://climaterealityproject.org – This film exposes the parallels between Big Tobacco‘s denial of smoking’s cancer-causing effects and the campaign against the science of climate change — showing that not only are the same strategies of denial at work, but often even the same strategists.

If you watched that all the way through, odds are high you’re not a denier.  If you can’t watch it, you really should think about it, hard.

More, and useful resources:


One more time: Basic climate science with Bill Nye

July 4, 2013

What year is this? 2013?

Shouldn’t the Sputnik Revolution in science education have obviated the need for this video, like 30 years ago?

One more time, the basics of climate change/global warming, with Bill Nye the Science Guy explaining; from the ClimateRealityProject.org:

climate change, CO2, global warming, science, Bill Nye, environmental protection, Clean Air, Air Pollution

More:

Newsweek, March 4, 1957,

Cover of Newsweek Magazine, from March 4, 1957; notice this concern about U.S. science competency came seven months before Sputnik was launched by the Soviet Union. Science deniers then delayed action until after the Soviets demonstrated clearly that the U.S. was behind. (Image from Computer History.org)


Climate insanity

November 28, 2012

Watching New Yorkers get caught not-yet-prepared to stop the shutdown of the subways and electrical grid due to the Sandy storm surge at high tide, and noting that the ridicule heaped by denialists on those who tried to warn us about such storms, I asked at Climate Sanity about updates on their rosy “What? Us worry?” view of climate change.

Photo of water in 86th Street Station in Brooklyn, NY, after Sandy

Photo of water in 86th Street Station in Brooklyn, NY, after Sandy – photo found at Naked Capitalism. Denialists could note that subway crime was significantly reduced at the time of this photo.

Surprisingly, we got an answer.  ‘What?  Worry?  Us?  What surge?  You shoulda seen the Hurricane of 1938!  Why, back in the Jurassic there were even BIGGER surges . . .’

It’s a classic example of how rabid advocacy for a disproven position can predict that the rabid advocate will not change her/his mind, at least publicly.

More:

Cartoon by Joel Pett, USAToday, what if climate change is a big hoax

Cartoon by Joel Pett, USA Today


Wish we were there: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

November 6, 2012

You got the Tweet?

Miter Basin, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California; photo by Kristin Glover, NPS (public domain)

Miter Basin, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California; photo by Kristin Glover, NPS (public domain)

Photo from NPS employee Kristin Glover, at Miter Basin.

We should go see for ourselves, no?

If you go today, vote before you go.  This is one of the areas to be opened to energy exploration — oil and gas drilling or other mining — under Mitt Romney’s “energy plan” and the GOP National Platform.

More:


Romney, and Sandy: Res ipsa loquitur

November 3, 2012

Have you seen this?  Brought to you by Mitt Romney, the GOP 2012 Convention, and Sandy:

Res ipsa loquitur, a Latin term, used in law.  Means “the thing speaks for itself.”

Global Warming, Hurricane Sandy, Hubris,

More:


Clean Water Act at 40

October 18, 2012

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act.

In this photo, an entry in the 2012 Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder Photography Contest, can you tell the answer to Ben  Franklin’s not-rhetorical question:  “Is this a rising, or setting sun?”

Sun and ocean, entry in 2012 Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder Photo Contest

Sun and ocean, entry in 2012 Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder Photo Contest – click to contest site to see whether it is a rising or setting sun.  Photo by Ramsay age 14,
and Kyle age 43

We’re in the home stretch for the 2012 elections.  Are your congressional representatives among those who have pledged to cut funding for enforcement of the Clean Water Act?  Are they among those who have pledged to kill EPA?

How would that affect beaches like the one pictured above, by Ramsay and Kyle?

Nancy Stoner wrote at an EPA blog:

I am proud to be at EPA in 2012 for the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the nation’s foremost law for protecting our most irreplaceable resource. I often think about how a generation ago, the American people faced health and environmental threats in their waters that are almost unimaginable today.

Municipal and household wastes flowed untreated into our rivers, lakes and streams. Harmful chemicals were poured into the water from factories, chemical manufacturers, power plants and other facilities. Two-thirds of waterways were unsafe for swimming or fishing. Polluters weren’t held responsible. We lacked the science, technology and funding to address the problems.

Then on October 18, 1972, the Clean Water Act became law.

In the 40 years since, the Clean Water Act has kept tens of billions of pounds of sewage, chemicals and trash out of our waterways. Urban waterways have gone from wastelands to centers of redevelopment and activity, and we have doubled the number of American waters that meet standards for swimming and fishing. We’ve developed incredible science and spurred countless innovations in technology.

But I realize that despite the progress, there is still much, much more work to be done. And there are many challenges to clean water.

Today one-third of America’s assessed waterways still don’t meet water quality standards. Our nation’s water infrastructure is in tremendous need of improvement – the American Society of Civil Engineers gave it a D-, the lowest grade given to any public infrastructure. The population will grow 55 percent from 2000 and 2050, which will put added strain on water resources. Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution is increasingly harming streams, rivers, lakes, bays and coastal waters. Climate change is predicted to bring warmer temperatures, sea level rise, stronger storms, more droughts and changes to water chemistry. And we face less conventional pollutants – so-called emerging contaminants – that we’ve only recently had the science to detect.

The absolute best path forward is partnership – among all levels of government, the private sector, non-profits and the public. It is only because of partnership that we made so much progress during the past 40 years, and it is partnership that will lead to more progress over the next 40 years.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone who has been part of protecting water and for working to ensure that this vital resource our families, communities and economy depends on is safeguarded for generations to come.

About the author: Nancy Stoner is the Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Water

Tell us about your favorite stretch of clean water, in comments.

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Annals of DDT: Pesticide starred in 1944 Army film

April 5, 2012

In 1944, DDT seemed like a great idea.  The U.S. Army made this film extolling the virtues of the stuff, “DDT:  Weapon Against Disease.”  It runs just over 14 and a half minutes, from the Army Signal Corps.

The film recently found its way to the Internet Archives; I assume this YouTube version comes from there (I can’t embed the Internet Archives version).

Though the film does not discuss the dangers of DDT in any appreciable way, it’s a valuable contribution to the historical canon, simply to show what DDT advocates hoped the substance could do, near the end of World War II.

A transcript of the film is available at the National Library of Medicine on-line version.

 


Odd site to defend Peter Gleick’s exposing of Heartlandgate, citing the law that will let him skate

March 18, 2012

Much angst among Heartlandgate perpetrators over the increasingly obvious fact that Peter Gleick not only shouldn’t be prosecuted, but can’t be prosecuted under federal law, for duping Heartland employees into revealing their true intentions, to lie about global warming so people won’t “believe” it and support solutions.

Peter Gleick - World Economic Forum Annual Mee...

Peter Gleick, lifetime of informing the public accurately at a researcher's greatly diminished salary; Heartland Institute is spending thousands of dollars to convince people he changed suddenly. Who to believe? Here's Gleick at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2009 (Photo credit: World Economic Forum)

But this odd site cut through the clutter and posted the words of the relevant law, establishing Peter Gleick’s lack of criminality:

18 U.S.C. 1343:
Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both….

Did you catch that, Dear Reader?  Gleick would be guilty of federal wire fraud had he asked the perpetrators of Heartlandgate to send him money or property.

But all Gleick asked for was a copy of their agenda for a meeting, and the supporting data.  No money, no property.  Nothing of value.  Nor did he intend to use, nor could he use, any of that information to get money or property.

You noted, of course, the site is one promulgated by the Heartland Institute itself.

(Did they really mean it that way?  Probably not.)

(By the way — you may want to read the actual law from an authoritative source like the Cornell University Law Library’s Legal Information Institute (LII), and not a version filtered by people who deny global warming, nor its severity, nor its causes, or who don’t work to hoodwink gullible politicians.)

Peter Gleick:  Deep Throat of the climate denial scandals.

How can you tell whether you should be concerned, Dear Reader?

For example, if you’re a teacher, should you be concerned that in Heartlandgate, the Heartland Institute reveals itself to be working to “dissuade” science teachers from teaching science?  Or, if you’re just a concerned citizen, should you be concerned that you’ve heard precious little about the analysis of the documents released, from major news outlets?

If you are in any degree confused about who to believe in this issue, or worse, if you are convinced that there is a pattern of skirting of the laws by scientists (contrary to the evidence), you should be concerned that you’re not getting the full story.

More, Resources, Further reading:


Annals of Global Warming: Dramatic Links Found Between Climate Change, Elk, Plants, and Birds

March 14, 2012

Understanding the physics of the Earth’s atmosphere poses great problems — it is an astonishingly dynamic, fluid environment.  Understanding the relationships between species in ecosystems is no less complex, and no less vexing.

Wise followers of science recognize that when findings in biology, chemistry and physics, point the same direction, something powerful creates the convergence, and is not to be ignored.

So it is with these findings from the University of Montana and the U.S. Geological Survey, demonstrating clear links between climate change and the changing life patterns of large animals like elk, small animals like birds, and the plants the animals live in and consume.  This study is so complex that climate denialists haven’t figured out which part to deny, yet.  (This press release came out in January.)

From the USGS, with no adornment from the Bathtub, a press release on a letter in Nature Climate Change:

Dramatic Links Found Between Climate Change, Elk, Plants, and Birds

Released: 1/9/2012 11:30:00 AM

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communications and Publishing

In partnership with the University of Montana

Missoula, MT – Climate change in the form of reduced snowfall in mountains is causing powerful and cascading shifts in mountainous plant and bird communities through the increased ability of elk to stay at high elevations over winter and consume plants, according to a groundbreaking study in Nature Climate Change.

Red-faced warbler in Arizona, photo by Tom Martin, USGS

Red-faced warblers are one of the species affected by climate change in the form of reduced snowpack in the Arizona Mountains, according to a USGS Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit study. Photo by Tom Martin, USGS, May 1998, in the Coconino National Forest

The U.S. Geological Survey and University of Montana study not only showed that the abundance of deciduous trees and their associated songbirds in mountainous Arizona have declined over the last 22 years as snowpack has declined, but it also experimentally demonstrated that declining snowfall indirectly affects plants and birds by enabling more winter browsing by elk. Increased winter browsing by elk results in trickle-down ecological effects such as lowering the quality of habitat for songbirds.

The authors, USGS Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit scientist Thomas Martin and University of Montana scientist John Maron, mimicked the effects of more snow on limiting the ability of elk to browse on plants by excluding the animals from large, fenced areas. They compared bird and plant communities in these exclusion areas with nearby similar areas where elk had access, and found that, over the six years of the study, multi-decadal declines in plant and songbird populations were reversed in the areas where elk were prohibited from browsing.

Hermit thrushes in the Coconino National Forest, Arizona - 2005 photo by Tom Martin, USGS

Hermit thrushes are a songbird species that was strongly affected by plant community changes in mountains because of reduced snowpack and cascading ecological effects, according to a USGS Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit study. 2005 photo by Tom Martin, USGS, in the Coconino National Forest

“This study illustrates that profound impacts of climate change on ecosystems arise over a time span of but two decades through unexplored feedbacks,” explained USGS director Marcia McNutt. “The significance lies in the fact that humans and our economy are at the end of the same chain of cascading consequences.”

The study demonstrates  a classic ecological cascade, added Martin. For example, he said, from an elk’s perspective, less snow means an increased ability to freely browse on woody plants in winter in areas where they would not be inclined to forage in previous times due to high snowpack. Increased overwinter browsing led to a decline in deciduous trees, which reduced the number of birds that chose the habitat and increased predation on nests of those birds that did choose the habitat.

Elk excluded, aspen growth increases - photo by Tom Martin, USGS, Coconino National Forest

When elk are excluded, aspen growth dramatically increases - Climate change in the form of reduced snowfall in mountains is causing powerful and cascading shifts in montane plant and bird communities through the increased ability of elk to stay at high elevations over winter and consume plants. Here, you can see an example of the difference in aspen growth inside versus outside a fence that excludes elk. Photo by Tom Martin, USGS, in Coconino National Forest

“This study demonstrates that the indirect effects of climate on plant communities may be just as important as the effects of climate-change-induced mismatches between migrating birds and food abundance because plants, including trees, provide the habitat birds need to survive,” Martin said.

The study, Climate impacts on bird and plant communities from altered animal-plant interactions, was published online on Jan. 8 in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Elk in winter at Camp Creek Feed Ground, Northwestern Wyoming - USGS photo

Elk in winter at Camp Creek Feed Ground, Northwestern Wyoming - USGS photo

More:


Debunking claims of climate hoaxes, or evidence of the End of Civilization as We Know It

March 1, 2012

Found this on the Grist site today:

Grist infographic:  Idea of climate change hoax makes no sense

Grist infographic: Idea of climate change hoax makes no sense

The problem?  Far too many people not only don’t weigh ideas to see if they make sense, but instead they actively seek out ideas, no matter how crazy, just because they like the concept.

In short, the fact that such a chart is necessary at all suggests that it may not be useful.  Anyone who had the common sense to figure out that the globe is warming, and the scientists who say so are mostly honest as the day is long (and warm), won’t accept the judgment of Grist, either.

I mean, Peter Gleick exposed the immoral and perhaps illegal acts of the so-called Heartland Institute, virtually walking through the front door of the group’s offices and asking, “Will you show me all your dirty work?”  John Mashey’s painstaking work confirms Gleick’s blowing the whistle on Heartland, and Heartland’s fellow travelers.

What has Heartlandgate brought?  Heartland is spending thousands of dollars on a public relations campaign to impugn Gleick, and widely-read sites like the anti-science Watts Up get suckered in (well, Heartland was paying for Anthony Watts’ pet project . . . what should we expect?).  Even Andrew Revkin at his New York Times Blog can’t find his way to label actions as they should be labeled.

Will it make a difference to state the facts, the common sense version of reality?  My actual hope is that I am in error, and that such a graphic, if pasted around the internet, will make a difference.

Is my hope wholly misplaced?

Update:  At the Washington Post blogs, Stephen Stromberg wrote that Gleick erred by failing to follow the rule that climate scientists must be more than twice as morally straight as the “skeptics.”  I’m not convinced Gleick erred; he’s done yeoman service to exposing the truth.  I’m struggling to find any illegal act he committed.  Heartland claims there may be some fraud, but not all the elements of any crime of fraud are present.  If, as Heartland argues, the documents are fakes, there was no value lost.  If, as most of us suspect, the documents are not fakes, I still see no harm to Heartland in their having their feet held the fire on being honest with the IRS and the public.  Heartland claims an absolute right to fib to the public, and somehow Mr. Gleick interfered?  Where’s the harm to the public good?  Certainly not in exposing Heartland’s dark secrets.  No harm, no crime, in this case.


Robert Redford, for NRDC, on the Keystone Pipeline fight

February 24, 2012

My old sometime nemesis and rescuer Robert Redford keeps chugging along — getting sharper, politically, as he ages, I think.

Here’s his succinct summary of the Keystone Pipeline issue so far — with a plea for funds for the NRDC tacked on.  Any factual errors?

189,888

Grand Old Tinfoil Hat Party — really?

February 19, 2012

According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 23.9% of American adults are Catholics.  That translates to 68.5 million Americans, approximately

The GOP race seems to have come down to a Mormon and two Catholics.

How can it be that they got the two craziest Catholics in America to run for the GOP nomination? Surely they do not represent the best we could find among Catholics.

Did you see Rick Santorum yesterday, or today on Face the Nation?  What makes him feel free to be that ill-informed and crazy?  (No, the federal government does not run education in America.)

If we still made tinfoil hats in America, the economy would be booming, from either Santorum’s camp or Gingrich’s camp.

Update:  Video from CBS is now available.  Bask in the insanity:

More, Resources, and Related Articles from Zemanta:


National Radon Action Month: Test to see whether your home is safe

January 5, 2012

Press release from EPA today:

January 4, 2012

EPA Recognizes National Radon Action Month: Test for Radon Gas to Protect Health

21,000 Americans die from radon related lung cancer each year

WASHINGTON
– The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging Americans this January, as part of National Radon Action Month, to take simple and affordable steps to test their homes for harmful levels of radon gas. Radon, a colorless odorless gas, is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon can seep into a home from underground and if left to accumulate, high levels of radon can cause lung cancer. Improving indoor air quality by increasing awareness of environmental health risks, such as radon gas, supports healthier homes and communities.

“Testing for radon is an easy and important step in protecting the health of your family,” said Gina McCarthy, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. “Radon can be found in every single state. Nationally, elevated radon levels are in as many as one in 15 homes – a statistic that is even higher in some communities.”

Approximately 21,000 people die from radon related lung cancer each year in the United States, yet elevated levels of this health hazard can be prevented through these simple steps:

  • Test: EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend that all homes, both with and without basements, be tested for radon. Affordable Do-It-Yourself radon test kits are available at home improvement and hardware stores and online or a qualified radon tester can be hired.
  • Fix: EPA recommends taking action to fix radon levels above 4 Picocuries per Liter (pCi/L). Addressing high radon levels often costs the same as other minor home repairs.
  • Save a Life: By testing and fixing for elevated levels of radon in your home, you can help prevent lung cancer while creating a healthier home and community.

Radon is a natural, radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. It can enter homes through cracks in the foundation or other openings such as holes or pipes. In addition to testing for radon, there now are safer and healthier radon-resistant construction techniques that home buyers can discuss with builders to prevent this health hazard.

In 2011, EPA announced the Federal Radon Action Plan, along with General Services Administration and the Departments of Agriculture; Defense; Energy; Health and Human Services; Housing and Urban Development; Interior; and Veterans Affairs. This action plan will demonstrate the importance of radon risk reduction, address finance and incentive issues to drive testing and mitigation, and build demand for services from industry professionals.

More information on how to Test, Fix, Save a Life, obtain a text kit, or contact your state radon office: http://www.epa.gov/radon or call 1-800-SOS-RADON

More information on the Federal Radon Action Plan: http://www.epa.gov/radon/action_plan.html

R001


Paul Stamets at TEDS – fungus to save the world

December 29, 2011

Don’t laugh.  Listen and learn.  (Greg Marley, is your TEDS talk coming soon?)

Entrepreneurial mycologist Paul Stamets seeks to rescue the study of mushrooms from forest gourmets and psychedelic warlords. The focus of Stamets’ research is the Northwest’s native fungal genome, mycelium, but along the way he has filed 22 patents for mushroom-related technologies, including pesticidal fungi that trick insects into eating them, and mushrooms that can break down the neurotoxins used in nerve gas.

There are cosmic implications as well. Stamets believes we could terraform other worlds in our galaxy by sowing a mix of fungal spores and other seeds to create an ecological footprint on a new planet.

“Once you’ve heard ‘renaissance mycologist’ Paul Stamets talk about mushrooms, you’ll never look at the world — not to mention your backyard — in the same way again.” — Linda Baker, Salon.com


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