Standing Rock Smoke Signals.

By Jerry Alatalo

Header8Alphabet Veterans for Peace has sent out the call to its membership across the United States to support the water protection efforts at Standing Rock, North Dakota. Thousands of men and women veterans from the United States Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy have already arrived or are on their way to the camp, where some 11-12,000 people of all races have gathered to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Arrival of the veterans has created in the minds of many images recalling the atrocities of Wounded Knee where hundreds of innocent Native Americans became victims of mass murder by U.S. government/military forces – leading to calls for restraint and caution to avoid any repeat of that or other historic tragedies. The most remarkable and disturbing aspect of the months-long events in Standing Rock has been the excessive use of violence against those opposing the pipeline’s construction, with opposition efforts carried out using Gandhian-style peaceful protest – prayers, unified purpose, wisdom, and non-violent civil disobedience.

The land on which the thousands protesting the pipeline have gathered was promised by treaties made with the U.S. government in the 1800’s to the Lakota Sioux/Standing Rock tribe. The specific language in those treaties said, “for as long as the sun shines…”. The U.S. Congress in 1954, depending on one’s interpretation, either took possession of the land beneath the camp by “eminent domain” or stole it, with the intended purpose of flooding it as part of a hydroelectric dam project. The dam project never materialized.

The standoff will have to become resolved in the courts, and the water protectors are working to avoid unnecessary violence if law enforcement personnel receive the orders on December 6 to clear the camp and its thousands of residents – now, including a large contingent of U.S. military veterans standing in solidarity for support of the environment, morality and legal justice.

While those who call for the pipeline’s construction have told the American people the project will benefit “all” as part of the nation’s drive toward “energy independence”, apparently the project, if completed, would result in 100% of the fossil fuels transported through those pipes being exported to foreign countries for profit. Millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent with law enforcement operations to clear the way for private investors to profit, jeopardizing the environment in the process – in particular the drinking water for millions of citizens whose sole source is the Missouri River and/or massive Oglala Aquifer.

U.S. Marine Corps-Korean War veteran and member of the Lakota Sioux tribe, 80-year old Buzz Nelson, has been closely associated with events at Standing Rock; his grandson is the chairman of the Standing Rock tribe, David Archambault. He recently sat down for an interview with fellow Marine Dan Shea, veteran of the Vietnam War, to share thoughts, concerns, and reasons for optimism surrounding the historic events in North Dakota.

For more thorough, in-depth information on the legal situation in North Dakota and effective ways to support the men and women of Standing Rock, please visit: www.LakotaLaw.org

(Thank you to Jim Lockhart at YouTube)

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Petropolis: The Dark Side Of Keystone XL Pipeline Debate.

by Jerry Alatalo

XL GreenlineAlphabet The debate over Keystone XL pipeline has been all over the news after the United States Congress voted for its approval. What was disappointing about the debates in the House of Representatives and Senate was how little mention the environmental destruction occurring in Canadian tar sands fields received. If the Keystone XL legislation were to be signed/approved by Barack Obama, and he says he will veto, it would encourage and facilitate intensification of tar sands extraction in many regions of Canada.

Certainly, construction of an estimated 1,200 mile pipeline across the middle of the United States will require many workers to complete. Estimates are as low as 35 of the number of permanent employees after the pipeline became operational. But what if the land needed across those 1,200 miles, instead of a pipeline carrying one of the world’s dirtiest fossil fuels, were utilized for a continuous line of solar panels and wind turbines?

Just guessing, but the number of jobs created in the manufacture and installation of 1,200 miles of solar panels and wind turbines, as compared to pipes, would be many times more. And compared to the estimated 35 permanent jobs after a pipeline was completed, one could reasonably estimate many times more permanent jobs as well.

Then, comparing construction of a 1,200 mile dirty tar sands oil/bitumen pipeline to developing a 1,200 mile renewable energy “pipeline” as each affects the economy, and factoring in the environmental consequences of each, one starts to understand how renewable green energy is easily the wiser choice. The economic benefits would be experienced by different interests/people, the negative environmental impacts of each are as far apart as is possible, however green energy advocates have a constraining factor related to their volume for making their case – they can’t buy politicians.

Residents of states along the proposed XL pipeline route have come to oppose its construction, and legal cases are both ongoing and forthcoming regarding “eminent domain” and no evidence of the United States’ absolute necessity to allow construction of the pipeline. In other words, the XL pipeline does not meet the “national security” criteria required for eminent domain to apply.

Landowners in states along the proposed route have legitimate concerns about leaving the land to their children and grandchildren in a healthy state; some have said no amount of monetary compensation from TransCanada will convince them to sell. Others convey their opposition to a pipeline by saying their land and its familial history, when considering possible oil spills, is a matter which strikes at the heart, and that they are very uncomfortable with the negative potentials. What if these same people were given the option to allow solar panels and wind turbines to become erected as an alternative to the XL pipeline?

One could guess their response to a renewable, green energy project on their land would be “no problem”.

Because renewable, green energy projects offer, indeed, no problems. Any man or woman who views the unique documentary film “Petropolis” which shows a helicopter view of a number of Canadian tar sands extraction facilities will understand fully the problems associated with the gigantic, absolutely devastating to the environment tar sands extraction process.

Petropolis was made in the year 2009 by Peter Mettler in association with Greenpeace in Canada, and it is uncertain how many more tar sands extraction facilities have become constructed and operational in the six years since 2009 like the ones in the film. However, if the Keystone XL pipeline were ever built, its presence would accelerate more environmental devastation as that which the film records.

Canadian tars sands cover an area the size of England. How much clean, green renewable energy could become produced if such a massive area became densely populated with solar panels and wind turbines?

Tar sands extraction in Canada is the world’s largest industrial, capital and energy project.

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(The following information comes from www.greenpeace.org)

Alberta oil is actually bitumen, a viscous crude comprised primarily of cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Unlike any other petroleum product, it requires extensive processing and refining to become thin enough to flow through pipes. There are no free-flowing streams of black gold in the Athabasca region — far from it.

The tar sands cover an area of land the size of England, which has been divided up and leased to the world’s biggest oil companies. These multinational organizations use mammoth machines to carve into the earth and excavate the sticky sand from the open-pit mines. The surface area that must be destroyed to get at the bitumen is called “overburden” by industry, but we call it the Boreal Forest.

The other type of extraction, called in-situ, essentially boils the earth. Massive quantities of steam and natural gas are used to melt the bitumen and pipe it back up to the surface, while fragmenting forests and destroying critical habitat.

Two tonnes of tar sand is needed to produce a single barrel of oil. Three to five times more water and energy are required per barrel than any other source known to mankind. The tar sands use more water every day than a city of two million people and consume enough natural gas to heat six million Canadian homes. Until the oil boom, the tar sands were too expensive to be economically viable. But our global addiction to oil has us scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Greenpeace activists from Canada, the US, and France and place a giant banner reading “Tar Sands: Climate Crime.” and block the giant tar sands mining operation at the Shell Albian Sands outside of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada on Tuesday, September 15, 2009 . Greenpeace believes the continued development of the tar sands and the lust for oil threatens to derail international climate action in December at the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen.

The tar sands generate 40 million tonnes of CO2 per year, more than all the cars in Canada combined. Because of the tar sands, Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions have grown more since 1990 than those of any other G8 nation, according to the 2009 national inventory report that Environment Canada filed with the United Nations.

As the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, the tar sands are the main reason Canada continues to block meaningful global climate regulations. The Canadian government ignores the warnings of the scientific community by aiming for abysmal targets that will leave us at nearly double the science-based target that we need to meet to keep the increase in global temperature below 2 C and avoid catastrophic climate change.

Key waterways like the Athabasca River are being polluted to the tune of 11 million litres of toxic runoff every day. The tar sands are lacing our air with dangerous toxins, poisoning communities with rare cancers and autoimmune diseases, destroying critical animal habitats and carving up some of our most pristine countryside.

While the tar sands are often touted as Canada’s economic driver, from a social costs standpoint, Albertans are paying a hefty price. The Alberta government has been cutting essential social services from hospital beds to Aboriginal services, while oil companies rake in record profits. And while the tar sands create jobs in the short term, two out of three jobs are in construction, meaning once the initial work is completed, those jobs disappear.

Yet despite all of this, the Alberta government has approved 100 per cent of proposed tar sands projects. Greenpeace is calling for an immediate end to new approvals, and a phase-out of existing projects.

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(Thank you to Mike C at YouTube)

Innovative Solar Energy Technology.

Posted February 23, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

earthblog4An architect from Europe has designed a unique product for collecting solar energy: “Rawlemon Spherical Solar Energy Generator”. This video is from YouTube channel “Rawlemon Ltd.” and, seeing it is one of two videos uploaded, the product seems at present in its initial stage(s) of development. The website to get more information on this invention is Rawlemon.com. At this time, the website is under construction so there is nothing further that I can convey about the potential of this solar energy innovation.

The reason I find this so interesting is because a similar concept came into my imagination.. My concept consisted of the same glass ball as the Rawlemon, made of the same type of glass used to make magnifying glasses. Everyone remembers when they were kids and used magnifying glasses to burn pieces of paper etc. So, a ball of magnifying glass seems like a good way to produce heat, with the ball shape allowing for continuous magnification from the sun no matter what time of day, eliminating the constraint of flat, rectangular solar panels having to become programmed to “follow” the sun across the sky.

The limited amount of information available on the Rawlemon because of the website modifications now under way does not allow one to find out what qualities the glass ball has with regard to magnifying properties. This video mentions concentrating 10,000 times the sun’s rays entering the glass ball, so this may mean that a magnification inducing glass is in place.

At any rate, the Rawlemon Spherical Solar Energy Generator may or may not be a product that revolutionizes the field of solar energy generation. At this point, we can only hope that it is.

Humanity Must Accelerate Transition To Renewable Energy.

English: Greenchoice is a renewable-energy sup...
English: Greenchoice is a renewable-energy supplier in the Netherlands. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Posted December 8, 2013

by Jerry Alatalo

Amory Lovins and Arnie Gunderson are two fellows who have been greatly involved in energy issues for a very long time. Both have come to the point where they are advocates of renewable energy in very intense ways, speaking out at every opportunity to show others why the great, world energy transition has to be sped up. The main reasons I have become a renewable energy advocate is very simple. Most importantly, fossil fuels’ significant contribution to environmental pollution and climate change. Then, because the energy from the sun and wind, as well as other renewables, is free.

Secondary, yet important reasons for a worldwide great transition to renewables, include the health of human beings and all life forms, a large reduction in the amount of military resources – which result in devastating wars, destruction, and worsening human relations – devoted to protection of fossil fuels’ production and transport, and the harmful effects of competition in fossil fuels industries globally.

After researching renewables in a not too intense way for some months, it just seems that the world’s people would want to move very strongly in this positive direction. My vision is of the Earth where every land has been covered with solar panels and windmills and industrial hemp, etc. for energy production, where every person has free energy in abundant supply. Where gas, oil, coal, and nuclear plants are energy dinosaurs, gone from the world just as whale oil disappeared many years ago.

The transition to renewables is now occurring, but it is simply not fast enough for me – and there are many millions of men and women around the world who feel the same. A personal hero of many renewable energy fans is Hermann Scheer from Germany, a man who was the driving force behind his country’s renewable revolution before passing away in 2010, who said, “a fast solar energy revolution is possible”. Amory Lovins and Arnie Gunderson are two people who belong in the same league with Hermann Scheer when it comes to advocacy for renewable energy’s tremendous potential.

With my personal experience of seeing a plane performing some kind of geoengineering exercise a few weeks ago, my determination to push for renewable energy on Earth intensified. Seeing a plane with a persistent contrail behind it extending for miles, and seemingly raining down “something” from the entire length of the formation, has me in a state where I am upset – I demand answers for what is going on with this activity. It seems that such an activity would not be necessary if the kind of fossil fuels emission reductions needed to halt global climate change were accomplished.

Geoengineering with planes around the world, with the spraying of aluminum, barium, strontium, and who knows what else, is an activity which some describe as done to reflect the sun’s rays away from the Earth, thereby reducing the temperature – the effects of global climate change. As geoengineering is almost a covert operation to most people, there is no real way to know what is actually involved. No politicians, media (but for alternative news from the internet), military, or business leaders are speaking to what is going on.

At this point I would lean toward the geoengineering theory which says that it is a cheap alternative to large, global changes in energy policies which would include a great revolution in renewable energy. Vested interests in the status-quo, powerful oil, gas, coal, and nuclear energy industries see geoengineering as a practice which keeps their positions of immense power, profits, and wealth intact. I suppose those who had been involved in the whale oil industry before it went extinct held on as tightly as possible before the end.

The obvious question for the human race is which direction to move in concerning energy production in this world. Is it the perpetuation of the energy status-quo, where greenhouse gas emissions stay at the same levels, geoengineering “experiments” getting conducted on the largest of scales – which a rapidly growing number of men and women warn is dangerously unhealthy to all life forms – to avoid dealing seriously with the Earth’s climate and environmental challenges?

Or is it the most powerful movement toward clean, green, renewable energy that the world has ever seen?

Watch this conversation between Amory Lovins and Arnie Gunderson, then let the world know where you stand. What energy direction do you think humanity – the world – should move toward?

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(Video source: Msmilkytheclown1 channel – YouTube)

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