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‘Help us fight’: California farmers ask for more aid after deadly storms

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2023/02/23 - 4:00am

Despite a new relief fund in Sonoma county, farm workers face economic catastrophe when storms and fires strike

As a series of deadly storms whipped through California’s wine country, liquefying fields and turning vineyards into wading pools, thousands of farm workers in the region were forced to stay home. Though the power has been long since restored and roads reopened – many of them are still confronting an economic catastrophe.

For Isidro Rodriguez, the storms caused him to lose half his monthly income – about $1,100.

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Categories: Environment

As president, Jimmy Carter focused on energy conservation at a time of long gas lines

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2023/02/23 - 3:13am

In the 70s, Jimmy Carter's priorities included energy efficiency and a shift from foreign oil reliance. His actions were criticized then, but laid the groundwork for addressing climate change.

Categories: Environment

Serving $66 entrees for $18 an hour: the union push at an upscale New York restaurant

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2023/02/23 - 3:00am

If the workers at Lodi succeed, they could be leaders in a new labor-organizing movement at higher-end eateries – but supporters say there is fierce pushback

At an Italian-style cafe in New York City’s Rockefeller Center, workers move seamlessly between tables draped in white tablecloths dotting the covered patio. This is Lodi, where everything is business as usual, except for a new addition to some workers’ uniforms: a small button with gold lettering pinned to the lapel of their chore coats, announcing they back the restaurant’s first-ever union.

They are part of a surprising movement. It has been increasingly common in recent years for workers at chain restaurants and coffee shops, like Starbucks and Chipotle, to start union drives, but it is far rarer for this to happen at higher-end, independent restaurants – the Balthazars and Gramercy Taverns of the world.

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Categories: Environment

Discovered in the deep: a ‘night-time migration’ of marine life – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2023/02/23 - 1:00am

These images were taken by underwater photographer Robert Stansfield, from Southampton, UK, on a blackwater dive in the open ocean surround the island of Cozumel, Mexico.

‘The blackwater dives never fail to amaze me with the crazy alien-like life forms that drift past out in the open ocean, well away from a reef,’ says Robert. ‘The idea is to see the largest biomass migration on the planet. Every night a huge volume of life migrates up from the mesopelagic zone up to the epipelagic. This night-time migration gives us the opportunity to see life at the surface that normally lives well beyond recreational diving depths.’

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Categories: Environment

What are PFAS, how toxic are they and how do you become exposed?

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2023/02/22 - 10:00pm

Everything you need to know about ‘forever chemicals’ detected in air, water, soils, sediments and rain

You may not realise it but you have an intimate relationship with PFAS. The human-made chemicals are in your blood, your clothes, your cosmetics. They have been detected in air, water, soils, sediments, and in rain at levels that would be considered unsafe in drinking water in some countries.

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Categories: Environment

Winter storm sending heavy snow where California rarely sees it

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2023/02/22 - 7:06pm

The winter storm that's pummeling nearly half the United States means snow in parts of California that often don't see it.

(Image credit: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Family of Sydney man killed in New Caledonia shark attack remember ‘beloved’ husband and father

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2023/02/22 - 6:56pm

Chris Davis died after being bitten multiple times by a shark while swimming at Chateau Royal beach south of Nouméa

The family of a Sydney man killed in a shark attack while visiting a busy New Caledonia beach is mourning their “beloved” husband and father.

Chris Davis, a 59-year-old software engineer and triathlete, was swimming 150 metres from chateau Royal beach just south of Nouméa on Sunday when a shark bit him several times, according to reports.

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Categories: Environment

Australia to make area the size of Germany a marine park in Southern Ocean

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2023/02/22 - 5:49pm

Plan to triple size of Macquarie Island protection zone to shield ‘remote wildlife wonderland’

The Australian government plans to make an area about the size of Germany in the Southern Ocean a marine zone, strengthening protections around Macquarie Island for millions of penguins and seals.

The environment minister, Tanya Plibersek, announced that the government wants to triple the size of the Macquarie Island marine park, describing it as a globally significant contribution to marine conservation that would put 388,000 sq km under high protection.

Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup

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Categories: Environment

Labor won’t block new fossil fuel developments. Here are some options for a climate deal | Adam Morton

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2023/02/22 - 5:21pm

With the Coalition opting out of an adult discussion on climate policy, tough decisions lie ahead for Labor, the Greens and independents on what they are willing to accept

The long-running fractures that define Australian climate politics can do weird things to people who have been involved in it too long.

One observer with more experience than most had a moment of reverie this week, joking about a fantasy universe in which Labor, the Coalition and the Greens all made substantial compromises to transform the landscape, literally and figuratively.

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Categories: Environment

Health impact of tyre particles causing ‘increasing concern’, say scientists

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2023/02/22 - 5:01pm

Far more tiny particles now come from tyres than are emitted from exhausts but new tyre designs may help

Scientists are “increasingly concerned” by the health impact of air pollution produced by the wear of vehicle tyres. The particles are especially damaging due to the toxic chemicals they are made from, say the scientists from Imperial College London.

The warning follows UK government data that shows significantly more tiny pollution particles now come from tyre erosion than are emitted from vehicle exhausts.

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Categories: Environment

Misinformation is spreading that washed up whales died from offshore wind development

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2023/02/22 - 4:09pm

At least 12 whales have washed up on beaches in New York and New Jersey since December. People are spreading misinformation that off-shore wind development caused their deaths.

Categories: Environment

Trump’s environmental rollbacks in focus on visit to Ohio toxic train site

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2023/02/22 - 3:59pm

Former president criticizes Biden administration’s response to train derailment in East Palestine as he visits town

Donald Trump’s record of rolling back environmental protections was highlighted by critics on Wednesday as the ex-president visited the town of East Palestine, Ohio, and called the federal response to the toxic train derailment there earlier this month a “betrayal” .

Trump’s administration, which rolled back more than 100 environmental rules in total, watered down several regulations at the behest of the rail industry.

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Categories: Environment

Day long diversion...

The Field Lab - Wed, 2023/02/22 - 3:39pm

Just arrived from China (ordered 5 weeks ago).  Took way too much time to figure out how to load my own photos on it.  Also took way too much time to get it to display the correct local time and temperature.  It logs onto openweather.org to get the info to display.  I had to set up a free account and get what is called an "API key" - but the cube kept showing me weather for a different Alpine.  After a lot of searching, I finally found the suggestion that I had to enter the city, state, and country (Alpine,TX,US) - not just city and country (Alpine,US) as all the other directions instructed.  It is a rather tiny object.  The image on the screen is projected through a one-inch square prism cube.  You can get one here... 75,80,58,0,W 

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

US energy firms use Ukraine war to lock in long-term gas contracts, report says

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2023/02/22 - 4:00am

Oil and gas companies seek expansive contracts to tackle short-term problem of tight European gas supply

US oil and gas companies are pushing to solve the short-term problem of a tight European gas supply, driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with long-term liquefied natural gas (LNG) contracts, a new report shows.

The US fossil fuel industry has locked in 45 long-term contracts and contract expansions since the start of the war, according to research by Friends of the Earth, Public Citizen and BailoutWatch. That’s a major increase from the 14 such contracts signed in 2021.

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Categories: Environment

Alarming toxic ‘forever chemicals’ found in animals’ blood – study

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2023/02/22 - 4:00am

Analysis says hundreds of animals are contaminated with dangerous compounds linked to cancer and other health problems

Hundreds of animal species across the globe from ticks to whales have blood contaminated with toxic PFAS, a new analysis of previous peer-reviewed research shows.

Though the analysis does not aim to reveal how the exposure to PFAS affects wildlife, anecdotal evidence in some of the previous studies show the chemicals are likely sickening animals.

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Categories: Environment

Republicans in the US ‘battery belt’ embrace Biden’s climate spending

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2023/02/22 - 2:00am

Southern states led by Republicans did not vote for climate spending, but now embrace clean energy dollars like never before

Georgia, a state once known for its peaches and peanuts, is rapidly becoming a crucible of clean energy technology in the US, leading a pack of Republican-led states enjoying a boom in renewables investment that has been accelerated by Joe Biden’s climate agenda.

Since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in August, billions of dollars of new clean energy investment has been announced for solar, electric vehicle and battery manufacturing in Georgia, pushing it to the forefront of a swathe of southern states that are becoming a so-called “battery belt” in the economic transition away from fossil fuels.

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Categories: Environment

UN urged to help hundreds of seafarers trapped on ships in Ukrainian ports

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2023/02/21 - 11:00pm

Ships have been essential to enable safe passage of grain but more than 300 crew remain stuck on vessels that are key targets

• Russia-Ukraine war – latest updates

Shipping companies and maritime organisations have urged the UN secretary general to help evacuate hundreds of seafarers who have been trapped onboard vessels in Ukrainian ports for a year.

About 2,000 seafarers in 112 ships were berthed in Ukrainian ports across the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov before Russia’s invasion. After the war broke out, most crew were evacuated, but 331 seafarers remain stuck on 62 vessels across nine Ukrainian ports, including Mariupol and Odesa.

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Categories: Environment


The Field Lab - Tue, 2023/02/21 - 3:42pm
I am ending up using 3D printed timing wheels instead of all the aluminum ones I ordered. Sending them back for a $75 refund! Had a beast of a time figuring out a problem I was having with the second set of stepper motors. One of them worked just fine, but the other kept getting hung up and had very low torque. Tried 3 different motors and they all had the same problem. I finally found the hitch: In some earlier testing, I briefly wired up power to one of the motor drivers reverse polarity and it didn't run and the IC on the board got really hot. I rewired it and it seemed OK - but apparently, it wasn't. When I swapped out the board for a new one the problem was solved. Pretty satisfying seeing these run perfectly in sync... 79,85,44,0,W
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Status of Home Grown NM

Home Grown New Mexico - Wed, 2023/01/04 - 12:36pm

There have been some major changes in Home Grown board of directors. As a result we have decided to take a break from HG for 2023. Unfortunately there will be no classes/events for this year. The remaining Board of Directors will decide where we are going in 2024.

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Superfood Security is a Seed Away: Doug Fine’s AMERICAN HEMP FARMER is here.

Doug Fine - Mon, 2020/04/13 - 2:54pm


Doug Fine’s AMERICAN HEMP FARMER is here.

As are many of us, I’m feeling grateful for a lot of things at the moment. In particular, I’m sure glad it struck the three-years-ago-version-of-me as a fun idea to write an optimistic, humorous book that also provides a blueprint for establishing food security in your backyard.

For whatever reason, folks seem to want “funny” and “uplifting” at the moment. And laughing your way to food security? Seemed like a pleasant route. Still does. I’m doing it today – my fingers are still dank with humus as I type. Hemp farming is pretty easy, it attracts bees, and it’s all around about the most fun you can have outside the bedroom.

What I’m describing (and living) is  my new book, AMERICAN HEMP FARMER. It details a season in the burgeoning and newly-legalized hemp industry from a regenerative farmer perspective. The premise is this: a billion-dollar industry is great, but only meaningful if the actual farmers benefit at the retail level from the hemp renaissance.

For customers, the  win-win is that regenerative farming modes result in by-far the best hemp products. It’s not even close. Like fresh squeezed OJ beats frozen concentrate. All while sequestering carbon.

Turns out we have friends in low places. In nurturing a hemp field, we’re not the only species midwifing our hemp crop by planting time. To name one of a few hundred million, I recently gathered and brewed some fluffy white steaks of my watershed’s mycelium allies (fungus), which my family and I applying to our preseason soil in a compost tea this week.

Which leads to the core reason I wrote the book, from the introduction:

Six years ago, a bear fleeing a wildfire in our New Mexico backyard killed nearly all of my family’s goats in front of our eyes. It wasn’t the bear’s fault: he was a climate refugee. It was June of 2013, and drought had weakened the ponderosa pines and Douglas fir surrounding our remote Funky Butte Ranch. Beetles took advantage, and all of southern New Mexico was a tinderbox. Ho hum, just another climate event that until recently would have been called a “millennial” fire.

That’s the paramount reason I’m an overworked employee of the hemp plant: The people I care about most are one blaze away from joining the world’s 20 million climate refugees. At least I get the pleasure of putting “goat sitter” under occupation on my tax form.

The conflagration convinced me that I had to do something, personally, to work on this climate change problem. After some research about carbon sequestration through soil building, it became clear that planting as much hemp as possible was the best way to actively mitigate climate change and help restore normal rainfall cycles to our ecosystem.

This is why I treasure much more than just hemp’s flower gold rush (CBD, CBG, etc.). I also love hemp seed’s superfood and hemp fiber. It’s why I carry a 3D printed hemp plastic goat nearly everywhere I go.

A biomaterials-based economy doesn’t just perform better in our stuff, it means goodbye Pacific Garbage Patch. That is, when everything, even our batteries, is compostable or reusable (I mention batteries because next-generation hemp-based supercapacitors are discussed in AMERICAN HEMP FARMER).

We actually have been given a realistic opportunity to bridge humanity’s climate stabilization mission with its digital trajectory. In AMERICAN HEMP FARMER, I endeavor to connect the dots in my work, my food, and my whole life, with the thinking that if enough of us do the same, humanity’s got a shot in this here bottom of the climactic ninth.

It’s a solution-based book. Which is to say, it’s chock full of my own mistakes, as well as the triumphs and travails of many of my regenerative farmer friends and colleagues. Michael Pollan argues that we have co-evolved with certain plants, including cannabis. To be sure, hemp/human relations do go back 8,000 years. AMERICAN HEMP FARMER broaches the proud history of government-supported Hemp For Victory gardens going beyond the well-known World War II “Hemp For Victory” effort, all the way back to George Washington himself: in fact, at Mount Vernon last fall, I helped harvest the first hemp crop since President Washington’s time – I did this in colonial clothing and with (trust me) a very sharp sickle.

And that was before nutritionists knew about hemp’s ideal Omega 9-6-3 balance, high mineral content, and rare amount of GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) — a fatty acid associated with anti-inflammatory properties, Whereas my family’s own hemp diet once bankrolled the Canadian economy, for the past there years it’s been free. Hemp got federally legalized in the 2014 Farm Bill, and I and my sons get in the soil at this time every year and grow it ourselves. In AMERICAN HEMP FARMER, you’ll even read about a study that indicates a hemp diet might combat obesity.

Sowing hemp is pretty easy, and the harvest is both copious (around 1,000 pounds per acre) and extremely delicious. And I eat a lot of it. Easily a cup a day. As do both my human kids and my goat kids. Indeed it’s very hard to keep the goats out of the field. Hemp seeds are an essential part not just of my family’s health maintenance plan, but of our food security plan. And anyone can do it.

AMERICAN HEMP FARMER is available everywhere now in book, e-book and audiobook form (I narrated the audiobook, which was super fun). And I hope that you find yourself at once giggling and learning as you read it. You can order it here.

Please feel free to share this Dispatch with your friends, family and professional networks. It would be great for folks everywhere to know that not just food security, but superfood security, is a seed (and a permit) away.

Meanwhile, it’s spring on the Funky Butte Ranch, and as AMERICAN HEMP FARMER advises, I’ve got my own hemp permit application filed, I’m building soil (just as the Funky Butte apricots burst into bloom), and I’m ready to grow another scrumptious crop. I like the feeling of knowing my family will thrive for another year no matter what.  When you read AMERICAN HEMP FARMER, you’ll see that you and yours can too. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy.

Some reviews follow below, and I’m sending immense thanks for your support/ in ordering this book and telling your friends. OK, I’m off to the field to dump more goat poop and alfalfa on the soon-to-be-planted Funky Butte Ranch hemp field

-Doug Fine

Funky Butte Ranch, New Mexico

April 13, 2020


Book Doug’s Live Event here.

 Subscribe to the Dispatches From the Funky Butte Ranch newsletter and follow Doug on Instagram and Twitter @organiccowboy



American Hemp Farmer would have been in George Washington’s library. President Washington grew hemp and was a passionate, regenerative agriculturist. Washington sought advice from those that practiced their trade. Doug Fine‘s American Hemp Farmer is a scholarly, practical and impeccably enjoyable work and a must-read for those who cultivate hemp or are interested in leaping in.”  –J. Dean Norton, Director of Horticulture, George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate.

“With American Hemp Farmer, Doug Fine shows he is not just our preeminent hemp author, he is one of the most important authors of our time. As I’ve watched him leap between tending goats on his Funky Butte Ranch and hemp fields in Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont and who-knows-where else, it sometimes occurs to me that he might be the most interesting man alive. The resulting book is an absolute must read.  –Eric Steenstra, Executive Director, VoteHemp

“A fantastic piece of Americana that shows the way to a sustainable future.” -David Bronner, CEO, Dr. Bronner’s Soaps

“I hope every hemp farmer and policymaker reads this book carefully. It details a roadmap for success, for farmers and the planet. And that’s probably because Doug doesn’t just write about hemp, he lives it.” —Cary Giguere, State Hemp Program Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

                                  Further Praise for Doug’s Work
“Fine is a writer in he mold of Douglas Adams.” —Washington Post

“Fine is Bryson funny.” —Santa Cruz Sentinel

Doug has written the best book of the year and a blueprint for the future of America.”                       –Willie Nelson

About Doug Fine

Doug Fine is a comedic investigative journalist, bestselling author, and a solar-powered goat herder. He has cultivated hemp for food, farm-to-table products and seed-building in four U.S. states, and teaches a college hemp class. Willie Nelson calls Doug’s work “a blueprint for the America of the future.” The Washington Post says, “Fine is a storyteller in the mold of Douglas Adams.”  A website of Doug’s print, radio and television work, United Nations testimony, Conan and Tonight Show appearances and TED Talk is at dougfine.com and his social media handle is @organiccowboy.

Book Doug’s Live Event here.

 Subscribe to the Dispatches From the Funky Butte Ranch newsletter and follow Doug on Instagram and Twitter @organiccowboy

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs
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