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article archives at abelard's news and comment zoneecology archives:
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New translation, the Magna Carta


K 'Y

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europe's politicians continue to destroy cod stocks for politics and profit

This report is light weight, butis the best I have so far found on this latest European political sell-out.

“The 25 fisheries ministers of the European Union have rejected a plan to close areas of the North Sea to cod fishing. And for the fifth year running they have ignored scientists' pleas to stop cod fishing in the North Sea entirely, instead allowing a catch for 2005 of 27,300 tonnes, the same as 2004.

“ "You really have to ask if the ministers are serious about saving the cod," says Charlotte Mogensen, a marine biologist working with WWF, the Worldwide Fund for Nature, in Brussels, Belgium. Scientists fear that without drastic action, cod might disappear in the North Sea as it did in the 1990s off Newfoundland."

Those making most fuss against the necessary cuts were apparently the UK and France, with most others keeping their heads down with the exception of the Baltic states .

In case of you are unaware, reducing days of fishing does not tend to reduce the devastation because of an arms race for more efficient killing vessels ensues, and because of much cheating. Conservation zones are vital.

for a general survey, read
The end of the line Four GoldenYak(tm) award

related material
The tragedy of the commons, short briefing document

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/ecology2004-2.php#euro_fish311204


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destroyer toad invasion now closing in on darwin

“Cane toads were first introduced into Queensland in 1935, to control beetles that were ravaging the sugar harvest. But the toads found other invertebrates more to their taste, and have since competed vigorously with native insectivores. They have also defeated most of their predators; the bulging poison glands behind their eyes mean that a first encounter with a cane toad is often the last.”

“ Another project in the same area will examine the toads' appetite for invertebrates. One of Shine's undergraduate students, Matt Greenlees, has built a series of small metal enclosures in which he plans to put toads, to see how much damage they inflict on populations of insects and other invertebrates. Once the toads have colonized the Fogg Dam area, he will clear the enclosures and maintain them as toad-free habitats.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/ecology2004-2.php#canetoad_invasion211204

growing moves to declare ocean reserves

you should be informed –

“One-third of the world's oceans should be declared protected areas to stop the wholesale slaughter of fish species, an influential group of scientists said on Tuesday."

“ Around the world there's evidence that creating marine reserves -- areas where fishing is not allowed -- leads to a several fold increase in the size and number of fish, shellfish and other animals," commission chairman Tom Blundell said.

“A third of the Great Barrier Reef is closed to fishing and countries like New Zealand and South Africa have plans to designate between 10 and 20 percent of their marine environment as reserves," he added.

“But they were the exception, leaving only a minuscule fraction of the world's oceans protected from the depredations of commercial fishing.

“The commission said the move was affordable, citing figures that suggested closing 30 percent of the world's oceans would cost up to 7.5 billion pounds ($14.5 billion) a year compared to the 16 billion pounds spent subsidising commercial fishing."

“ The commission, though, said single-species conservation programmes were no longer enough.”

related material
The end of the line Four GoldenYak(tm) award
The tragedy of the commons, short briefing document

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/ecology2004-2.php#fishing_responsibly

green ratings - energy efficiency in buildings Three and a half GoldenYak (tm) award

A useful summary item, recommended reading.

“There are many ways to reduce a building's environmental impact. Consider the 48-storey Condé Nast Building at 4 Times Square in New York, for example, which was designed by Fox & Fowle Architects. It was one of the first examples in which green-architecture principles were applied to a large urban office building, and informed the drawing up of the LEED points system, since it uses almost every energy-saving technique imaginable.

“Special glass allows daylight in to reduce the need for interior lighting, keeps heat and ultraviolet rays out, and minimises heat loss in winter. Two natural-gas-powered fuel cells provide 400 kilowatts of power, enough to provide all the electricity needed at night, and 5% of the building's needs during the day. The hot-water exhaust produced by the fuel cells is used to help heat the building and provide hot water. The heating and cooling systems, located on the roof, are gas-powered rather than electric, which reduces energy losses associated with electrical power transmission. Photovoltaic panels on the building's exterior provide up to an additional 15 kilowatts of power. Inside the building, motion sensors control fans and switch off lights in seldom-occupied areas such as stairwells. Exit signs are illuminated by low-power light-emitting diodes. The result is that the building's energy consumption is 35-40% lower than that of a comparable conventional building.”

“ Going green saves money by reducing long-term energy costs: a survey of 99 green buildings in America found that on average, they use 30% less energy than comparable conventional buildings. So any additional building costs can be recovered quickly: according to the USGBC, the 2% increase in construction costs required to achieve a LEED gold rating typically pays for itself in lower running costs within two years. The traditional approach of trying to minimise construction costs, by contrast, can lead to higher energy bills and wasted materials.”

I think the few small illustrations are also useful.

In my view, there should be an illustration of the Avax building. I have located a so-so one, along with some notes, on page 8 of this PDF document. There is also a photo that does not show much useful here.

related material
lowering environmental cost of building construction, wood, steel or concrete?
conservation standards in the usa

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/ecology2004-2.php#green_ratings

fears for water and food supplies in asia as planet warms
An attentive scan is recommended.

The most populated area of the planet is estimated to be under increasing pressure:

“ [...] rapid melting of glaciers poses a major threat to the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and parts of China.

“Seven major rivers, including the Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra and the Mekong, begin in the Himalayas and the glacial meltwater during summer months is crucial to the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people downstream.

“But many of these glaciers are melting quickly and will be unable to act as reservoirs that moderate river flows. This means less water in the dry season and the chance for more extreme floods during the wet season.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/ecology2004-2.php#asian_pollution

eu destruction of african fisheries cited regarding extending bushmeat destruction

Using data from six Ghanaian nature reserves between 1970 and 1998, the research team found a massive 76 percent fall in abundance for 41 species of larger mammals.

Over a similar period the marine fish catch in Ghana ranged from 230,000 to 480,000 tons annually, varying by as much as 24 percent in consecutive years. When regional fish supplies dropped, reports of bush-meat hunters on the reserves were seen to rise. Likewise, bush meat for sale at 12 local markets was found to increase when fish supplies fell.

Brashares says wild animals that suffered most were large carnivores such as lions, leopards, and hyenas; primates including colobus and mona monkeys; and several herbivores (hippos, giant hogs, and bongo antelopes).

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/ecology2004-2.php#african_fisheries

death of the glaciers
recommended reading: Three  and a half GoldenYak (tm) award

“A glacier is an archivist and historian. It registers every fluctuation of weather. It saves everything no matter how small or big, including pollen, dust, heavy metals, bugs, and minerals. As snow becomes firn and then ice, oxygen bubbles are trapped in the glacier, providing samples of ancient atmosphere: carbon dioxide and methane. Records of temperatures and levels of atmospheric gases from before industrialization can be compared with those after -- a mere 150 years. We can now see that the steady gains in greenhouse gases and air and water temperatures have occurred only since the rise of our smokestack and tailpipe society.

“ A glacier is time incarnate. When we lose a glacier -- and we are losing most of them -- we lose history, an eye into the past; we lose stories of how living beings evolved, how weather vacillated, why plants and animals died. The retreat and disappearance of glaciers -- there are only 160,000 left -- means we're burning libraries and damaging the planet, possibly beyond repair. Bit by bit, glacier by glacier, rib by rib, we're living the Fall.”

“[...] the albedo effect -- the ability of ice and snow to deflect heat back into space -- is quickly diminishing. Snow and ice are the Earth's built-in air conditioner -- crucial to the health of the planet. Without winter's white mantle, Earth will become a heat sponge. As heat escalates, all our sources of fresh water will disappear.”

Also note:

“Global warming in the Arctic is happening now, warns the most comprehensive scientific report to date. The reports concludes that the northern ice cap is warming at twice the global rate and that this will lead to serious consequences for the planet.” [quoted from New Scientist.com]

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/ecology2004-2.php#glacier_death

mercedes smart car—a summary

“The problem was, with so little car out front, there was nothing left to crush between you and, say, an oncoming Escalade. So Smart designers invented the Fortwo's main style and safety feature: a bulky steel cell, visible inside and out, that frames the passenger compartment like a roll cage and absorbs the shock of a head-on collision. What happens if some Detroit-engineered behemoth plows into the featherweight Fortwo? I got a pretty good idea, watching a Smart-sponsored crash test with a Mercedes E-Class: The big sedan crumpled, and the Fortwo ricocheted. In a separate test, by the European New Car Assessment Program, a 40-mph impact with a concrete wall failed to dent the safety cell. They awarded the Smart a three-star crash rating - nothing like a Volvo but better than a Ford Escort, which weighs nearly half a ton more than the Fortwo.”

“ Body panels made from a hybrid of soda-bottle and CD plastic, the panels require no paint - the color is solid all the way through and therefore unscratchable. Interlocking parts make swapping panels easy.”

Note: 70mpg probably refers to American gallons (but the method of calculation is not mentioned).
70 mpgUS is 84.3 mph in UK gallons,
or 18.5 miles per litre/ 30 km per litre.

related material
Transportable fuels

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/ecology2004-2.php#smart_car

keeping the heat in during winter

Don’t pay to heat the universe:

  • “United States Department of Energy (D.O.E.) statistics show that 44 percent of the average home's energy use is devoted to heating and cooling.”
  • “Heat-loss through windows accounts for 10 to 25 percent of your home heating bill.”
  • “Insulate. Priority one is the roof, where rising heat tries to escape your home. If you already have insulation, consider increasing the amount in your attic. "It's basically adding another blanket on your bed," Silva said. "But be sure you don't separate insulation layers with a vapor barrier. Also, it's very, very important that the more you insulate your attic, the more you must ventilate. The attic is a space that you don't want to heat. Ideally, you'd want the underside of the roof to be as cool as the outside.”

Oh, and by the way:

“On freezers that aren't frost-free, defrost the freezer before the frost exceeds a quarter-inch thick. More frost makes the freezer work harder.” [quote from Bluejay]

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/ecology2004-2.php#conservation_tips

increasing pressures on food supply and arable land

“ [...] Last year saw a continued decline in worldwide grain stockpiles in spite of increasing production. Coarse grain stocks are now the lowest in three decades, with only about a 50-day supply (70 days is considered necessary for food security).”

“More food will not come from more land because, aside from fragile lands in Brazil, there is little new land left to exploit. New technologies will help, but we have peaked on the benefits of many of them. The green leaf can convert only so much energy to carbohydrates and proteins.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/ecology2004-2.php#food_supply

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