THE GREEN PLANET BLOG - Our World and Environment...

All about conservation, ecology, the environment, climate change, global warming, earth- watch, and new technologies etc.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The ultimate in recycled bottles - a catamaran sailing from San Francisco to Sydney...

SAN FRANCISCO - APRIL 22:  Workers sort throug...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The ultimate in recycled bottles - a catamaran that can sail from San Francisco to Sydney...

Eco-adventurer David de Rothschild is set to sail from San Francisco in America to Sydney in Australia, in a catamaran made from 12,500 recycled bottles and with a mast made from an old aluminium irrigation pipe.

De Rothschild is a 31 year old descendant of England's banking dynasty, and his five crew will drink water recycled from their urine and eat vegetables grown hydroponically during the three month sea journey.

Now this has to be the ultimate in recycling and green in application.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

What is the future of the Glacier National Park in Montana...

Glacier National ParkImage via Wikipedia

Glacier National Park - Montana, USA

A jewel in the National Park system:

Known to Native Americans as the "Shining Mountains" and the "Backbone of the World", Glacier National Park preserves more than a million acres of forests, alpine meadows, lakes, rugged peaks and glacial-carved valleys in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Its diverse habitats are home to over 70 species of mammals including the grizzly bear, wolverine, gray wolf and lynx. Over 260 species of birds visit or reside in the park, including such varied species as harlequin ducks, dippers and golden eagles. The landscape is a hiker's paradise that is traversed by more than 750 miles of maintained trails. Glacier Park's varied climate influences and its location at the headwaters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Hudson Bay drainages have given rise to an incredible variety of plants and animals.

The park is named for its prominent glacier-carved terrain and remnant glaciers descended from the ice ages of 10,000 years past. Bedrock and deposited materials exposed by receding glaciers tell a story of ancient seas, geologic faults and uplifting, and the appearance of giant slabs of the earth's ancient crust overlaying younger strata. The result of these combined forces is some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet.

In 1932 Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park, across the border in Canada, were designated Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. This designation celebrates the longstanding peace and friendship between the two nations. Both parks have since been designated International Biosphere Reserves and together were recognized in 1995 as a World Heritage Site. Clearly this resource is deserving of world-class recognition.

But what of the future of the Glacier National Park?

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dolphin protection measures not working in NZ...

Dolphin protection measures In New Zealand not working;

Measures to protect Hector's dolphins in NZ is not working says Otago Univ researchers because too many areas of the country left out.

Hector’s dolphin is found only in New Zealand. A management plan (called a “threat management plan” because the species is considered Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)) prepared by the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries and the Department of Conservation shows that deaths in fishing nets are the most serious impact on the species.

University of Otago researchers say the highly threatened Hector's dolphin population around New Zealand is still declining despite new protection measures implemented two years ago.

Associate Professor Liz Slooten says too many compromises were made in the protection package and too many areas of the country were not included in the measures.

?For example, Tasman Bay, Golden Bay and Taranaki were left out and in other areas dolphins are declining because protection does not go far enough offshore."

Ms Slooten says the number of Hector's dolphins still being caught in the likes of gill nets is too great for the population to cope. She says Hector's dolphin populations are still declining and the current protection measures will still result in about 600 dying by 2050.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

British Airways agrees to UK jet biofuel plant...

London Heathrow AirportImage via Wikipedia

British Airways agrees to a deal for a UK jet biofuel plant...

BA says the plant will reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill
British Airways has struck a deal to build the first plant in Europe to produce jet fuel from waste matter.

Some 500,000 tonnes of waste will be used by the UK facility each year to produce 16 million gallons of fuel.

Construction of the plant in east London will start within two years. It is set to produce fuel from 2014, creating up to 1,200 jobs.

BA said the plant would produce twice the amount of fuel needed to power all its flights from London City Airport.

It would only account for about 2% of flights from Heathrow, however.

Greenhouse gas:

BA argues the plant will cut the amount of waste that is sent to landfill, reducing the amount of methane that is produced.

Methane is thought to be a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The plant will be built by a US company Solena Group, with BA committing to buy all of its output.

It will be another four years before it starts producing fuel, and it is unlikely to work at full capacity straight away.

The ideal source material for the plant is waste matter that has a high carbon content.

Biofuel creation:

The waste is fed into a high temperature "gasifier" to produce BioSynGas.

A chemical process called Fischer Tropsch is then used to convert the gas into biofuel.

Waste products from the process can be used to power the plant as well as supply 20MW of electricity to the national grid.

A solid waste product can be used as an aggregate in construction.

The fuel produced by the plant is certified for use in other countries, but not currently in the UK.

BA says it is confident of getting the certification by the time the plant starts producing fuel, either for use in a blend with traditional kerosene or on its own.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Solving the puzzle of the extinction of the dinosaurs in China...

Tyrannosaurus rex, a theropod from the Late Cr...Image via Wikipedia

In many of the posts here, "The Green Planet" writes of endangered species and climate change as well. Lets look at both subjects from another perspective - the past, in fact the distant past, about 65 million years ago. Right back to the age of the dinosaurs. But that story is being told right now in China, previously it was concentrated in America.

We have a good idea about the causes of the demise of the dinosaurs, this is to be confirmed very shortly if reports from China are accurate. Chinese scientist, Wang Haijun is reportedly certain the answer lies beneath a 300 metre ravine out in the countryside, 670 km southeast of Beijing, the capital city of China. This could be the final resting place where hundreds of dinosaurs lay huddled together in the final moments before their extinction millions of years ago.

There are fossils in that area: 15,000 odd bones from 65 million years ago in the late Cretaceous period shortly before dinosaurs became extinct on this planet. They support those well held theories of some "catastrophe" - explosions, global fires and sudden climate change.

Palaeontologist James Clark said the find is very important in understanding the reasons for the actual end of the dinosaur age.

The excavation is believed to be the largest dinosaur fossil site in the world. It is also evidence of a ground-breaking project in a country whose past governments rejected science as being part of the elite in their society. As the construction boom has swept China in recent years relics are being found that are causing history to be rewritten in China.

For decades most of the important research on dinosaurs centred around the USA - particularly in Utah and Montana. But attention has now moved to China with the most important discoveries in Zhuchang and other major sites.

During th 1966-76 cultural revolution scientists and other intellectuals were banished to the countryside, research institutions were closed and relics destroyed. But now modern China is pouring billions of dollars into archaeological projects - historical, ecological and palaetology - China has really become interestd in its very deep past.

Last March, 2009, a new fossil was discovered which indicated many dinosaurs actually had a featherlike fuzz, indicating a closer relationship between dinosaurs and birds. In inner Mongolia a whole herd of ostrich-like dinosaurs were excavated - giving researchers further insight into how the creatures grew up. There is undoubtably a treasure-trove of relics waiting to be found in China.

Researchers believe dinosaurs were killed and made extinct after a volcanic eruption, or perhaps more likely from a meteor impact, followed by flashfloods, landslides or a tsunami, that swept them all away. It is difficult to understand though why there are so many relics in one particular place. So very reminiscent of elephant graves in Africa where aging and dying elephants move together in their final days.Other dinosaur stories
Acknowledgements: Peter Petterson

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Amazing World of the Orcas...


The Amazing World of the Orcas

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Climate change yes, global warming no...

Climate change yes, global warming no...

We are all responsible for the future of the Green Planet:

This is my green blog where I regularly write on 'green issues' - global warming, climate change, pollution, conservation,ecology, environment, earthwatch etc.

Like many other people I believed all the propoganda about so-called global warming, until the coin dropped! In the Antarctic and the Arctic there are areas where the ice is melting in he summer time, and in other areas the ice still freezes regularly. That is not global warming. Australia has experienced droughts of the century, year after year. Many of the deserts continue to expand and waterways dry up or disappear all together. Man- made? Or nature out of control through climate change?

The recent climate change talks showed a lot of promise until they were captured by developing nations who saw an opportunity for a handout through increased aid. These developing nations, such as China and India with huge populations of over a billion each, are responsible for much of the pollution that contributes to the creation of greenhouse gases in any case. They wanted to have their cake and eat it too! They couldn't, or wouldn't understand. that in gaining wealth and resources that the developed world enjoys, they have to be responsible to the planet as well. They cannot emulate the irresponsible actions of the past.

What we all have to do, whether developed or developing countries, is to start actions at home and become responsible to our local communities and regions. We have to remember that water is precious and should not be wasted and contaminated by developing and developed local industries and citizens.

A small nation like my own, New Zealand, with a population of just 4.3 million should not be unfairly penalised because of its perceived affluence, and ridiculously accused of producing greenhouse gases through the effluence of its dairy herds.

In fact New Zealand has actually commenced its own program to combat its polluted waterways - streams, rivers and lakes. The clean-up of algae weed has commenced on more well known lakes such as Lake Rotorua, so as a consequence the work is getting a high public profile in this country. It sets a good example for those responsible for waterways in other regions of New Zealand.

A consensus of opinion is needed among all nations, whether developed or developing, on what action is necessary. There is always a price to pay for development of resources, and it should not be left to future generations. We are all responsible for the future of the Green Planet.


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