Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Anthropocene, "The Age of Human Forcing" Has Dawned According to a Science Paper

At Ars Technica, Annalee Newitz has an informative article on the newly named Anthropocene, "the age of human forcing". Her title is:

For the second time, we are witnessing a new geological epoch.

The article presents major points from "a paper published last week in Science, British Geological Survey scientist Colin N. Waters and many colleagues".

Monday, April 27, 2015

Wildlife at Chernobyl

The BBC Science and Environment News reports on
Hidden lives of Chernobyl's wildlife
including some nice photographs of the "locals".

Monday, August 8, 2011

Climate Change Lies: Bad Exemplars Portend Bad Science

John Hill at Environmental Trends writes with respect to climate change lies that Bad Exemplars Portend Bad Science.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Automobile Industry: Cars in Inner Cities: Urban Planning in Europe vs. the USA

See the New York Times debate on discouraging cars in inner cities at Car Clash: Europe vs. the U.S.

Germany Adopts Laws to End Nuclear Power Era by 2022

The German Spiegel Online News writes in A Revolution for Renewables: Germany Approves End to the Nuclear Era that:
"Germany's federal parliament, the Bundestag, passed a historic package of laws Thursday that commits the nation -- once and for all -- to a phase-out of nuclear power by 2022."
Germany in previous years has already taken great strides in shifting to renewable energies and e.g. massively subsidizing modern heating and insulation installations, so the German move is not surprising as such.

It remains to be seen whether a highly industrialized Germany will be able to rely solely on alternative energies and to keep from buying nuclear power from other countries if energy shortfalls occur.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Interactive Water Withdrawal and Use:Trend Compass Chart by EPIC Systems

Try this interactive chart of stats for water withdrawal and use
Trend Compass Chart by EPIC Systems
to get the year use the bottom middle right movable horizontal bar

Wind Energy Output Under Rated Capacity of Wind Generation Facilities

Wind energy facilities are apparently not up to their hype. See Brian Steed at Is the Energy Answer Blowing in the Wind? - Environmental Trends

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Germany and Italy Currently Represent TWO-THIRDS of the World Solar Market According to Martin LaMonica at CNET's Green Tech

If Germany and Italy currently account for two-thirds of the world's solar market, then what in the world is the rest of the world doing?

See Green Tech by Martin LaMonica at CNET News in
More countries, led by India, to fuel solar growth

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Endangered Species and Illegal Imports of Animal Trophies, Polar Bars: plus, Conservation & Environmental Protection in Germany

Erika Bolstad at the McClatchy Newspapers writes in Hunters' polar-bear trophies stuck in legal limbo about the effect of the Endangered Species Act on the sport hunting of polar bears in the northern regions of the world and the illegality of importing polar bear trophies into the USA, even if hunted prior to the Act:
"The Endangered Species Act prohibits importing animals that are listed as endangered or threatened. As a result, sport-hunted polar bear trophies from Canada can't be imported, the government argues, even if they were hunted before the bears were considered threatened."
It is estimated that there are about 25,000 polar bears left in a range across Canada, Russia, Greenland, Norway and Alaska, where local provinces also have their own rules about permissible hunting ("harvest rules"). For example, even U.S. law still permits Alaska Natives to shoot about three dozen polar bears each year. According to Bolstad, quoting polar bear expert Geoff York, The World Wildlife Fund, for example, does not oppose "sustainable harvests when they benefit local economies".

The tradition of hunting game for survival is as surely as old as the history of mankind so that it is difficult to oppose polar bear sport hunting on "strictly moral" grounds. Man's killing of animals for his own purposes is widespread on our planet. As one commenter to the article noted in replying to sport hunting critics:

"I don't know where you think your leather shoes, belts and double cheeseburgers come from...."

The opponents of course argue understandably that killing for sport rather than necessity are two horses of a different color, but there is a fine line there somewhere. That line raises the question of how many polar bears any geographic area can tolerate before they become dangerous or economically harmful and how much "sustainable harvesting" is required to keep animal populations healthy, regardless of the motivations of the individual hunters.

Here in Germany, for example, annual hunts of wild boar and deer and other animals are necessary in order to reduce overpopulation, which if uncontrolled results, for example, in wild boars literally invading human-inhabited locations and leaving a trail of destruction.

Moreover, wild boar and deer on German roads contribute heavily to thousands of accidents each year, with many human injuries, including fatalities, which has led many autobahns to be "fenced off" and special overpasses just for animals to be constructed at great cost in order not to bar animals from their natural territory. See e.g.

The "sustainable harvest" of animals by hunting is in fact necessary and regularly practiced in Germany and we take the following figures from the Deutsche Jagd Zeitung for the year 2007/2008 as an example: harvested were 447,000 boar, 1 million deer (yes, Germany has many deer and forests), 525,00 rabbits, 269,000 wild hares, 543,000 foxes, 29,000 racoons, and 26,700 racoon dogs. It is always amazing to this observer that a country so thickly populated by humanity as Germany still has such a massive population of wildlife. In this connection, the forestry profession is quite important and the local forester is a respected person.

Living in an intelligent harmony with plants and wildlife is essential, as shown above. In Germany the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz, BfN) publishes national Red Lists of endangered species which are supplanted by local state published lists as well.

The German protection of nature is detailed in English at WISIA Online, which points to the German Federal Nature Conservation Act (Bundesnaturschutzgesetz, BNatSchG) and the German Federal Ordinance on the Conservation of Species ((Verordnung zum Schutz wild lebender Tier- und Pflanzenarten, Bundesartenschutzverordnung, BArtSchV), as well as to the Federal Hunting Act (Bundesjagdgesetz, BJagdG) and the Federal Game Conservation Ordinance (Bundeswildschutzverordnung, BWildSchV).

Article 1 of the Bundesartenschutzverordnung (Bundesartenschutzverordnung - BArtSchV) provides a list of protected species, as these are protected in Germany by a variety of measures (e.g. "hunting bans, raptor nest surveillance, bat nesting boxes, amphibian tunnels, etc." ).

There are special restrictions imposed via the Foreign Trade Act (Außenwirtschaftsgesetz, AWG) the export list (Ausfuhrliste) and import list (Einfuhrliste) in the broader sense that protected animals and plants and their products can not be imported or exported pursuant to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, Washington Convention ()).

Protected animals can not be sold in Germany, also not on websites such as eBay, and violators can be imprisoned.