Posts tagged ‘technology’

July 3, 2011

Plastic Ocean


On the eve of our country’s birthday celebration it seems fitting to make my 100th post about the revolting mess of plastic floating in our oceans now called the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”. I am a avid surfer and lover of the beaches around the world especially southern california beaches where I grew up. Over the years I have noticed many times floating plastic in the waters as I paddled around. Specially plastic that holds beer cans together. Look I don’t mind if you want to drink beer at the beach but throw your trash away! Plastic in the water is ingested by sea life and it kills them and as a source of food for we humans it becomes uneatable. Ok so here’s an article I’ve picked up to repost. People it’s up to us to stop all this. The next time you see some jerk tossing plastic garage on the beach or in the water “school the fool” let them know this is unacceptable!

Fish in the North Pacific ingest plastic at a rate of roughly 12,000- to 24,000 tons per year, according to researchers from the Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition (SEAPLEX).

That’s news that should give all of us a bellyache.

Peter Davison and Rebecca Asch, two graduate students from SEAPLEX, traveled more than more than 1,000 miles west of California to the eastern sector of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre on the Scripps research vessel New Horizon, says Science Daily. They collected numerous samples of fish specimens, water samples and marine debris at both surface level and thousands of feet below the surface.

Of the 141 fishes spanning 27 species dissected in the study, Davison and Asch found that 9.2 percent of the stomach contents of mid-water fishes contained plastic debris, primarily broken-down bits smaller than a human fingernail. The researchers say the majority of the stomach plastic pieces were so small their origin could not be determined.

“About nine percent of examined fishes contained plastic in their stomach. That is an underestimate of the true ingestion rate because a fish may regurgitate or pass a plastic item, or even die from eating it. We didn’t measure those rates, so our nine percent figure is too low by an unknown amount,” said Davison.

You can see photos of the SEAPLEX expedition via Flickr. To get an idea of what the plastic bits found in the fishes’ stomachs look like, here’s a photo of the hundreds of shards of plastic found in the stomach of a sea turtle off the coast of Argentina.

The study was published in Marine Ecology Progress Series.

The SEAPLEX team mostly studied lanternfish, who have luminescent tissue; they play a key role in the food chain as they connect plankton with higher levels. As Asch notes, “We have estimated the incidence at which plastic is entering the food chain and I think there are potential impacts, but what those impacts are will take more research.”

The SEAPLEX researchers were specifically focusing on plastic ingestion and studying such effects as the “toxicological impacts on fish and composition of the plastic” were not part of the study, but would certainly be areas of study to pursue, especially as far the effects of plastic pollution on both fish and the ocean. Who knows what the fish we sit down to eat have themselves ingested?

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/over-12000-tons-plastic-ingested-by-fis.html#ixzz1R3mOAWQp

March 27, 2011

San Francisco Renewable Energy By 2020


green living by 2020 for San Francisco

San Francisco is an innovative city. The oldest “big” city on the west coast in also in many ways the most sophisticated. The city and its governing bodies always seems to be in the forefront of new movements. Remember Hippies in Haight Ashbury, Gay Rights and now eco-friendly living.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said recently at a gathering for solar enthusiasts in San Francisco that he believes the city can be functioning on all renewable energy in nine years. Nearly 800 people attended the event and paid $100 each as part of a fundraiser for the Vote Solar Initiative, which is a grassroots solar advocacy project backed by the Tides Center. They have about 50,000 members nationwide. They work at the policy level with legislators to make solar power more affordable to businesses and consumers. San Francisco currently generates about eighteen megawatts of electricity from solar power. The city offers various incentives for adding new solar installations, both for consumers and businesses.

Former Mayor Gavin Newsom said of their program: “GoSolarSF has more than doubled the number of solar installations in our City and created dozens of jobs. This program is literally transforming how our homes and businesses generate and consume electricity rooftop by rooftop.” (Source: getsolar.com)

Actually, it was Newsom who first put forth the goal of 100 percent renewable energy in San Francisco by 2020. One source said that in 2006, San Francisco was only at about 12 percent renewable energy, and that rate put them easily in the top ten U.S. cities for clean energy. Currently San Francisco receives a significant amount of its electricity from the Hetch Hetchy hydroelectric powerplant. It was recently reported that the city had failed to find a competitor to their main supplier, Pacific Gas and Electricity, who can deliver power from 51 percent renewable sources.

Some say the 100 percent renewable goal by 2020 is not feasible, but the director of the city’s Environment Department said the city had actually exceeded their very ambitious recycling goal of 75 percent diversion from the waste stream, so a very aggressive energy goal might be beneficial.

Take note other cities the sooner you convert to renewable energy the better it’ll be for all of us.

Image Credit: photo via flickr

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/san-francisco-100-renewable-energy-by-2020.html#ixzz1HpjrjVIt