But is it clean or just renewable?

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Renewable Versus Clean (Modified by ArcheanWeb) — Original Credit: By Melanie Maecker-Tursun — Melanie Maecker-Tursun, www.ponymithorn.com, hello@ponymithorn.com, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia commons

Despite the many conversations and news reports about moving to clean energy, we still see confusion around the differences between clean energy and renewable energy. A recent article entitled “What Would It Take to Run a City on 100 Percent Clean Energy?” addresses the efforts by some U.S. cities to reduce their carbon footprint. The article does a great job of identifying key obstacles to carbon reduction, but it blurs the line between clean and renewable.

One of the examples given in the article is Burlington, Vermont’s claim they have reached an energy milestone by producing enough power from renewables to cover their electricity needs. This announcement is good news, and they have achieved an admirable milestone. Burlington reached this goal through benefiting from existing hydroelectric power supplies and “ample wood for biomass burning.” But there is a catch. …


The Drowning of the Bengal Delta

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Croc (Modified by ArcheanWeb) — Original Credit: By Subratakoloi — Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia

Our story picks up on the northern shores of the Indian Ocean, where the Bay of Bengal laps onto the shores of Bangladesh. The year is 2052, and 230 million people call this country home. Of these 230 million, over 200 million live on the delta. To understand Bangladesh, you must first know its life springs from the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta. This delta system, also known as the Bengal Delta, dominates the country’s geography and makes it one of the most fertile regions on the planet Earth.

The Bengal Delta also has the distinction of being a geological triple point. The delta marks a location on Earth’s surface where three tectonic plates meet: the Indian Plate, The Eurasian Plate, and the Burma Plate. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, this triple point creates the Bengal Basin. Geologists use the term ‘Basin’ to designate an area of sinking land. Water naturally flows to the lowest point, and thus the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers flow from the mountains and converge on the basin above the triple junction. …


American Sedition Goes Mainstream

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US Capitol Building (Modified by ArcheanWeb) — Original Credit: Photo by ElevenPhotographs on Unsplash

The events of January 6, 2021 laid bare a wound in our democracy as 147 members of Congress openly expressed their tacit support for a movement bent on attacking the constitutional foundations of our country. A mob of thousands descended on the United States Capitol Building with the intent of preventing a lawful certification of votes cast by the American people during the November 2020 election. The de facto leader of this insurrection is the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump. His key Congressional enablers are Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley. We cannot sugarcoat what has happened. …


Climate change threatens food, water, and shelter

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Living Earth (Modified by ArcheanWeb) — Original Credit: By NASA images by Reto Stöckli, based on data from NASA and NOAA. Instrument: Terra — MODIS — Earth Observatory: Twin Blue Marbles, Public Domain,

The year was 1967, and humankind had ventured into space. As a species, we are perpetual tourists. Photo keepsakes were a must-have once we left our earthbound domain, so in 1967 the first color photos encompassing the whole Earth arrived home courtesy of the Department of Defense Gravitational Experiment (DODGE) satellite. Digital photography was not what it is today, and the color photo was really a composite of three photos taken with red, green, and blue filters. Five years later, the Apollo 17 crew took the iconic “Blue Marble” photograph. For the first time in Earth’s history, the planet could be examined in a single view. …


A visit to the deep

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Ghost Ship (Source: ArcheanWeb), Credit for Ship — Original Source: CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=250720

Resting 5,900 feet (1,800 meters) below the ocean’s surface, submerged in a seemingly lifeless and stagnate grave, lies one of the ghost ships of the Black Sea. This wooden ship has rested, undisturbed, for 2,400 years, frozen in time. After being viewed by a Remotely Operated Vehicle’s (ROV) cameras, a small piece of the ship was raised and radiocarbon dated to the fifth century BC. Immune to the ravages of time, this bit of history is like a fossil in suspended animation, preserved in a watery time capsule by the absence of oxygen.

The Black Sea’s unique geography and hydrologic characteristics prevent the exchange of water from the surface to the deep. The Sea is stratified, and below a depth of 600 feet, the waters are anoxic. Natural oxygen exchange between the atmosphere and ocean keeps the upper layer of water in the Black Sea refreshed with oxygen. But the 90 percent of the Black Sea below the 600-foot mark is cut off from its only source of oxygen, making it a dead zone. …


A Thaddeus Barcelona Story — Segment 4

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Flight of the Android Bees (Modified by ArcheanWeb) — Original Credit: Photo by Boris Smokrovic on Unsplash

(Previous Segment: Delusional Humanism)

Spring was well underway in North River, and Thaddeus spent extra time each day at the Botanical Gardens, working on establishing beehives at several locations around the grounds. He focused on strategically placing the hives in areas where the bees would assist with pollinating a variety of the garden’s flowering plants and ornamental fruit trees. Still, the hives also had to be positioned so as not to endanger the public.

Grant, because of his beekeeping knowledge, was an unpaid consultant on this work. This particular morning, they are near the Northeast corner of the North River Botanical Gardens, marking out the location for a second hive. Grant reminisces a bit over the unforgettable, recent wedding on the grounds, while Thaddeus uses some white chalk and stakes with orange tops to mark the hive location. …


Transportation and the Urban Environmentalist

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EV Car Charging (Modified by ArcheanWeb) — Original Credit: By Oregon Department of Transportation — EV charger at Mt. Hood Skibowl, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Electric cars have been on the rise for over a decade now, and it was inevitable the trend would engulf other modes of transportation. Imagine a double-decker catamaran carting tourist on daily excursions up a river gorge — batteries recharged with one hundred percent clean hydroelectric generated power. Now stop imagining and get yourself to Niagara Gorge, where you can book a ticket on the Maid of the Mist.

About 3,500 miles away, on the other side of America, Washington State is working on a project electrifying its ferry fleet. The age of energy-efficient boating is on the way. But let’s be clear, this only makes sense when the electricity you need for recharging is clean. …


A business of the future

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Kelp Forest (Modified by ArcheanWeb)) — By NOAA’s National Ocean Service — Kelp Forest, CC BY 2.0,

Louis Pelton could be a farmer of the future. Not the type of farmer who awakens each morning to till the land, milk the cows, or feed the livestock. But instead, the kind of farmer who rises early and takes his boat into the open oceans. He prefers for fish to roam free and not spend their lives in small fetid enclosures, and he has no interest in catching them. Ironically Louis’ business provides his onshore farming brethren with needed food and supplements for their traditional enterprises. …


Are we victims of our own malaise?

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Laura takes another roof (Modified by ArcheanWeb) — Original Credit: By 2C2K Photography CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

A friend of mine recently took a cross country drive along the southern edges of the United States. He ate up the miles, taking crooked roads into patches of vast, remote wilderness simply to ‘have a look.’ But from mid-Texas eastward, he kept to the straight and narrow, blowing down Interstate 10. This path took him through Houston, Beaumont, Lake Charles, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Biloxi, and Mobile. He summed it up succinctly saying, “The 2020 hurricanes kicked the living shit out of them. They can’t even find a place to run and hide anymore.

We knew the initial hurricane outlook in 2020 indicated a busy storm season, but we didn’t understand how busy it would be. NOAA’s August 6th update predicted twice the usual number of named storms moving through Hurricane Alley by November 30th (the end of hurricane season). Hurricane Alley is a belt of warm ocean water stretching from North Africa to Central America. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms in Hurricane Alley, six of which become hurricanes. Typically, half of those hurricanes rise to Category 3 or above. The August prediction was for up to 25 named storms with 11 hurricanes, six becoming Category 3 or above. …


The MAGA Nation takes a psychotic break

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Mass Hysteria (Modified by ArcheanWeb) — Original Credit: Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

Much has been and will be written about the 2020 elections. Events unfolding in the autumn of 2020 proved to be both perplexing and unnerving. Despite the political intrigue, bizarre psychological manifestations gripping the MAGA public have proven to be as interesting as any political aberrations. In a fictional piece I recently published called “Delusional Humanism,” I explored the subject of Hypnotic Mass Hysteria and the psychological underpinnings causing large groups of people to break with reality. I thought I would extend this thinking from fiction to reality.

The first term, ‘hypnotic,’ refers to circumstances in which an individual becomes subconsciously receptive to ideas from another individual. Mass refers, of course, to a large number of affected people, and hysteria characterizes an uncontrolled outburst of irrational behavior. …

About

William House

Exploring relationships between people and our planet — Stories and articles promoting science, environmental awareness, and insights into the human condition.

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