These cartoons say it all!
Enjoy and share.
Waste Not, Want Not,
“Are Canadians turning a blind eye to the untapped potential of snow?” by Clark Kingsbury, assistant editor of WaterCanada.
IT IS NO SURPRISE that snow is cumbersome for cities. It must be removed from streets and disposed of as swiftly as possible, creating an organizational headache and a monetary burden. For example, the City of Montreal spent $120 million to remove 13 million cubic metres of snow in 2006.
Generally speaking, snow in Canadian cities is collected and dumped in a snow disposal facility (SDF), where it is left to melt over the course of the year. But alternatives where snow is treated as an untapped commodity rather than as an expensive nuisance are slowly being suggested both in Canada and abroad.
Patrick Evans is an architect and professor of environmental design at the Université de Québec à Montréal, as well as the author of the children’s book ‘Where the Snow Goes’. He believes that the snow Montreal receives can be used either as a source of energy, or as a “visible, celebratory, urban event.” Evans traces his interest in snow removal and its possible re-use back to his first winter in Montreal in the 1990s.
“I think it was the sheer unadulterated awe of witnessing the late night winter choreography of snow removal in Montreal’s narrow urban streets,” he wrote in an email. “Even then, I was immediately struck by the question: where does the snow go?”
… Evans suggests that we take a more creative and useful approach to snow removal—an idea that has been gaining traction at different locations around the world.
In their study, Potential Utilization of City Owned Snow Disposal Facilities for Seasonal Cooling in Ottawa, Canada, Paul Cipcigan and Frederick Michel state that more than 100 seasonal storage systems exist in Japan and China, as well as a seasonal cooling project at the county hospital in Sundsvall, Sweden, part of Västernorrland County.
Prior to the year 2000, the 190,000 metre-squared hospital used a conventional cooling system to control the indoor climate and to ensure technical equipment didn’t overheat. However, a new cooling facility was eventually constructed at a nearby repository for snow cleared from area streets. Snow is stored in a sever-metre-deep bowl-shaped asphalt basin and is insulated with wood chips during the spring and summer to slow the melting process.
According to the Vasternorrland County Council’s website, meltwater is “pumped through the heat exchanger where the water cools the technical equipment as well as the ventilation air, which passes through the hospital.” The water warms through this process and is used to melt more snow on its way back through the system.
Efforts have been made to incorporate similar technologies in Canada. Cipcigan and Michel’s paper describes…
“The principle behind the seasonal storage of ice/snow technologies consists of utilizing the energy stored as latent heat in the phase change of water into ice during winter. The natural snow/ice collected during winter is then stored until summer when it is used as a sink for the heat removed during cooling of buildings or other industrial processes.”
“The heat transfer is done through a heat exchanger and the cooling agent can be either re-circulated or discharged after use. The most common cooling agents used are water, ice/snow meltwater, and air, which are more environmentally friendly than the ones used by the conventional chiller systems.”
Cipcigan and Michel’s study, conducted in the winter of 2008/2009, investigates the amount of potential cold energy available from the Conroy SDF in Ottawa. “The cold energy,” the report reads, “is the amount of heat that can be consumed or dissipated during cooling.”
The report determined that in the winter of 2008/2009, the Conroy SDF held around 500,000 cubic metres of snow, from which an estimated 30,430 MWh was available. The study goes on to assume a 30-per-cent loss of snow before temperatures would necessitate cooling, based on the experience at the Sundsvall hospital. Even after the snow loss, the facility would possess an estimated 21,300 MWh of available energy.
The report also presented energy use data from a city-owned office building with 39,000 square metres of floor space, which was cooled during the warmer months by a pair of rooftop chillers. The
average annual energy consumption of the two chillers from 2005 to 2009 was 512 MWh, costing $51,200 based on the cost of energy in 2009.
Comparing energy consumption figures at the office building and stored energy at the Conroy SDF, the report states that the volume of snow stored at the Conroy SDF “represents the equivalent cooling energy for over 40 buildings similar to the one analyzed, with a total floor space of approximately 1.6 million square metres and an estimated annual energy value of over $2 million.” The value was again based on energy prices in 2009.
“If all city SDFs were filled to capacity—approximately three million M3 – the energy potential after a 30 percent per season loss allowance represents roughly 130,000 MWh of cooling energy, currently worth an estimated $12.5 million annually,” the report continues.
Although the City of Ottawa, citing issues of cost and space for snow storage, decided not to pursue the exploitation of snow and ice for its cold energy potential, Cipcigan and Michel’s report, along with successful examples in Sweden and elsewhere, highlights the possibilities available to those cities lucky enough to exist in a northern climate.
I don’t think I’ll see grass in my front or back yard until July or August!
Thank you to Sandy Rinaldo of CTV Evening News for the opening quote.
Also, thanks to themetafile.com for all the great images!
The title quotation, “Bet you didn’t know sponges are animals” is from Dr. Jonathan Bird, on his studies of living sea sponges.
Sponges live at the bottom of the ocean attached to the surface – never moving.
Sponges look like plants, but are multi-cellular animals.
Sponges are found in the Arctic, Antarctic oceans and the tropics on many coral reefs. These ancient animals have been around for 1/2 billion years.
The most common is the barrel sponge, some of which can grow larger than a person.
According to Jonathan these sponges are “not as cool as sharks, but still fascinating animals.”
youtube video “Jonathan Bird’s Blue World: Sponges!” published on Mar 11, 2014
A sponge might not look like much, but these simple animals with no brain or ability to move have lived on Earth for hundreds of millions of years. They can hunt prey and spawn, and Jonathan demonstrates how in this fascinating segment about the biology of sponges!
There are more than 14,000 videos and webisodes on Jonathan Bird’s Blue World’s site and Youtube – all entertaining, amazing and thrilling!
Arthur’s story is highlighted from the beginning, in the upcoming documentary, INSPIRED: The Movie.http://www.inspiredthemovie.com
(Thanks to filmmaker Steve Yu for putting this inspirational video together!) Published on Apr 30, 2012.
10 million views of the Youtube video (below) so far!
Arthur Boorman was a disabled veteran of the Gulf War for 15 years, and was told by his doctors that he would never be able to walk on his own, ever again.
He stumbled upon an article about Diamond Dallas Page doing Yoga and decided to give it a try – he couldn’t do traditional, higher impact exercise, so he tried DDP YOGA and sent an email to Dallas telling him his story.
Dallas was so moved by his story, he began emailing and speaking on the phone with Arthur throughout his journey – he encouraged Arthur to keep going and to believe that anything was possible. Even though doctors told him walking would never happen, Arthur was persistent. He fell many times, but kept going.
Arthur was getting stronger rapidly, and he was losing weight at an incredible rate! Because of DDP’s specialized workout, he gained tremendous balance and flexibility – which gave him hope that maybe someday, he’d be able to walk again.
His story is proof, that we cannot place limits on what we are capable of doing, because we often do not know our own potential. Neither Arthur, nor Dallas knew what he would go on to accomplish, but this video speaks for itself. In less than a year, Arthur completely transformed his life. If only he had known what he was capable of, 15 years earlier.
Do not waste any time thinking you are stuck – you can take control over your life, and change it faster than you might think.
Hopefully this story can inspire you to follow your dreams – whatever they may be.
Anything is Possible!
If this story can inspire someone you know,
please share it with them!
For more information about DDP YOGA, visit http://bit.ly/Kqewdp
To contact Arthur or Dallas Page about this incredible story, please visit http://www.ddpbang.com and contact them.
Related article link ~
In the U.S., road crews scatter about 137 pounds of salt per person annually to melt ice. Where does it go after that?
But all that salt has to go somewhere. After it dissolves—and is split into sodium and chloride ions—it gets carried away via runoff and deposited into both surface water (streams, lakes and rivers) and the groundwater under our feet.
Consider how easily salt can corrode your car. Unsurprisingly, it’s also a problem for the surrounding environment—so much that in 2004, Canada categorized road salt as a toxin and placed new guidelines on its use. And as more and more of the U.S. becomes urbanized and suburbanized, and as a greater number of roads criss-cross the landscape, the mounting piles of salt we dump on them may be getting to be a bigger problem than ever.
Data from long-term studies of watersheds bear this out. A group of scientists that tracked salt levels from 1952 to 1998 in the Mohawk River in Upstate New York for instance founds that concentrations of sodium and chloride increased by 130 and 243 percent, respectively, with road salting the primary reason as the surround area became more developed. More recently, a study of the Mohawk River in Upstate New York, for instance, found that concentrations of sodium and chloride increased by 130 and 243 percent, respectively, with road salting the primary reason as the surround area became more developed. More recently, a study of a stream in southeastern New York State that was monitored from 1986 to 2005 found a similar pattern, with significant annual increases and road salting to blame for an estimated 91 percent of sodium chloride in the watershed.
Because it’s transported more easily than sodium, chloride is the greater concern, and in total, an estimated 40 percent of the country’s urban streams have chloride levels that exceed safe guidelines for aquatic life, largely because of road salt.
This chloride can occasionally impact human water use, mostly because some penetrates into the groundwater we tap for drinking purposes. Water utilities most frequently report complaints of salty drinking water during the winter, when chloride concentrations are likely to exceed 250 parts per million (ppm), our taste buds’ threshold for detecting it.
This is an especially big issue for people on salt restrictive diets. Overall, though, road salt-laced drinking water isn’t a widespread problem: A 2009 USGS study found that fewer than 2 percent of the drinking wells sampled had chloride levels that surpassed federal standards.
Road salt pollution is generally a bigger issue for the surrounding environment and the organisms that live in it. It’s estimated that chloride concentrations above 800 ppm are harmful to most freshwater aquatic organisms. Because these high levels interfere with how animals regulate the uptake of salt into their bodies—and for short periods after a snow melt, wetlands nearby highways can surpass these levels. A range of studies has found that chloride from road salt can negatively impact the survival rates of crustaceans, amphibians such as salamanders and frogs, fish, plants and other organisms. There’s even some evidence that it could hasten invasions of non-native plant species—in one marsh by the Massachusetts Turnpike, a study found that it aided the spread of salt-tolerant invasives.
On a broader scale, elevated salt concentrations can reduce water circulation in lakes and ponds (because salt affects water’s density), preventing oxygen from reaching bottom layers of water. It can also interfere with a body of water’s natural chemistry, reducing the overall nutrient load. On a smaller scale, highly concentrated road salt can dehydrate and kill trees and plants growing next to roadways, creating desert conditions because the plants have so much more difficulty absorbing water. In some cases, dried salt crystals can attract deer and moose to busy roads, increasing their chance of becoming roadkill.
How can we avoid killing trees and making roadkill of deer while de-icing the roads? Recently, in some areas, transportation departments have begun pursuing strategies to reduce salt use. Salting before a storm, instead of after, can prevent snow and ice from binding to the asphalt, making the post-storm cleanup a little bit easier and allowing road crews to use less salt overall. Mixing the salt with slight amounts of water allows it to spread more, and blending in sand or gravel lets it to stick more easily and improve traction for cars.
Elsewhere, municipalities are trying out alternate de-icing compounds. Over the past few years, beet juice, sugarcane molasses and cheese brine, among other substances, have been mixed in with salt to reduce the overall chloride load on the environment. These don’t eliminate the need for conventional salt, but they could play a role in cutting down just how much we dump on the roads.
WATERCANADA MAGAZINE RELATED ARTICLE
“Where Does the Road Salt Go?”, written by Justin Clarke, appeared in WaterCanada’s Jan./Feb. 2014 issue.
DURING MY TIME as an environmental consultant, I toured most of Southern Ontario by travelling between job sites. Over the past 15 years, I have noticed changes to our roadside landscapes. As I watched city and town limits grow, roads were often upgraded and salted in the winter to assist the local traffic… Ultimately, we must find a viable solution to keep our roadsides safe and our natural environment healthy. We must stop prioritizing one over the other.
Justin Clarke who is the environmental
sales and services coordinator of
MAXIM Environmental and Safety Inc.
A brief excerpt from Avaaz.com taken from an e-mail received 03.06.14
Right now, the US government is about to make the defining climate decision of Obama’s presidency – whether to approve a monstrous pipeline that will transport up to 830,000 barrels a day of the world’s dirtiest oil from Canada across the US.
If approved, the Keystone XL pipeline will help pump billions of dollars into the pockets of a few companies… but also millions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere. It’s been called “a fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet”. Bold public action has delayed it once, and a court ruling last week has dealt a serious blow to the project. Now, if we act fast and in massive numbers, we can help kill it for good.
Please sign the petition here –
I really feel confident that you will not hesitate to sign this petition before it is too late once you’ve read the Huffingtion Post article below:
The following article “10 Reasons to Oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline” is taken from Huffington Post ‘The Blog’ posted on
02/18/2014 by Rose Ann DeMoro – Executive director, National Nurses United (AFL-CIO) and California Nurses Association.
With the clock ticking down on a final decision by the Obama administration on Keystone XL, it’s a good time to summarize reasons to oppose a project that looks more like a pathway to pollution than a gateway to our gas pumps.
Citing the threat to public health and how the project would hasten the climate crisis, nurses have been on the front line of protests against Keystone, a 1,700-mile pipeline that would transport 830,000 barrels of dirty tar sands oil every day from Alberta, Canada to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries, largely for export.
Here’s 10 reasons why:
1. No jobs on a dead planet
More jobs are certainly needed, but even the just concluded State Department assessment conceded Keystone would support only 35 post-construction jobs.
Infrastructure repair and promoting a green economy is a far better solution for the jobs crisis than a project that NASA scientist and climate expert James Hanson famously calls “game over” on the climate front.
If the threshold issue is jobs, nurses should support the pipeline as a full employment act in the volume of additional patients sickened by the pipeline’s health hazards and toll from accelerated climate change. But nurses see an inseparable link between environmental justice and the health of our communities and planet.
2. Don’t drink the water…
From the ground to the pipe to the refineries, Keystone’s tar sands oil, with its thick, dirty, corrosive properties, pose a far greater hazard than conventional oil — a major reason for National Nurses United and nurse opposition.
Toxic contaminants in the massive water needed for extraction are infecting clean water supplies with towns nearby Alberta experiencing spikes in cancer deaths, renal failure, lupus, and hyperthyroidism. Huge pipeline spills near Marshall, Mi. and Mayflower, Ar. have led to respiratory ailments and other health ills. Pollutants from tar sands refineries are linked to heart and lung disease, asthma, and cancer.
3. And don’t breathe the air
Mounds of Petcoke, the carbon residue of tar sands refining, piled up for export for burning, have produced toxic dust storms that have left area residents gasping near Detroit, Chicago, and other locales. Canadian scientists are also alarmed at mercury “wafting” into the air from tar sands production which, in chronic exposure, have been linked to brain damage.
4. An asthma nation
Nurses see an explosion of asthma sufferers, especially children. More than 40 percent of Americans now live in areas slammed by air pollution with levels of particle pollution that can also cause higher incidents of heart attacks and premature death.
Keystone will multiply carbon emissions and speed up climate change resulting in more polluted air, higher air temperatures which can also increase bacteria-related food poisoning, such as salmonella, and animal-borne diseases such as West Nile virus.
5. The gathering storms
In the last year alone, we’ve seen the worst cyclone ever to hit landfall, fueled by sub-surface ocean temperatures 9 degrees above normal, the largest tornado ever recorded, record droughts, and other unprecedented weather anomalies. While some discount the link to climate change, there’s no dispute that the past decade was the hottest on record.
Nurses, as volunteers with National Nurses United’s RNRN project can attest, treat the human collateral damage, thousands of patients affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Philippines, for example, who endured life threatening injuries and loss of their homes and livelihoods.
6. The carbon bomb
All workers and their families live in the same communities affected by the climate crisis and the pipeline health hazards. Despite naysayers who insist there is no environmental justification to block it, there is as much scientific consensus on Keystone as there is on the human hand behind the climate crisis, or the factual evidence of evolution.
In addition to Hanson, who calls Keystone “the biggest carbon bomb on the planet,” dozens of other prominent scientists signed a 2013 letter stating “the actual and potential environmental damage (are) sufficiently severe to reject Keystone to protect the climate, human health, and the multiple ecosystems this project threatens.”
In simple terms, Keystone would generate the carbon emission equivalent of 40 million more cars or 50 coal-fired power plants every year.
7. Not headed to your gas pump
Contrary to the myth, Keystone would contribute little to U.S. energy independence. The oil is headed to Texas ports for a reason — to be shipped overseas. TransCanada, the corporation behind Keystone, balked at a Congressional proposal to condition approval on keeping the refined oil in the U.S., and reports say TransCanada already has contracts to sell much of the oil to foreign buyers.
8. Pipeline or bust for the tar sands industry
Proponents insist that if Keystone is blocked, the tar sands crude will just be shipped by rail. Many disagree, among them a pro-pipeline Canadian think tank that predicts without Keystone, “investment and expansion will grind to a halt,” a view shared by the International Energy Agency, Goldman Sachs and some oil executives. Increasingly, it appears, the pipeline is the linchpin for tar sands development.
9. Which side are you on?
In one corner, the American Petroleum Institute, the oil billionaire Koch Brothers, other fossil fuel giants, the far right American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and politicians they influence — the same folks behind the attacks on unions, worker rights and health care and social justice reforms.
Standing with NNU in opposition are every major environmental group, farmers, ranchers and community leaders along the pipeline pathway, First Nations leaders, most Canadian unions, and U.S. transit unions.
10. A last word, from Robert Redford
“The more people learn about the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, the less they like it,” says actor/environmentalist Redford. “Tar sands crude means a dirtier, more dangerous future for our children all so that the oil industry can reach the higher prices of overseas markets. This dirty energy project is all risk and no reward for the American people.”
The following excerpts are from ‘How Exactly Wolves Change the Course of Rivers’ by Ray Molina of yourdailymedia.com Mar. 1, 2014
…Trophic cascade is when the behavior of top predators have a trickling down effect on their environment. Let’s call these predators the “one percent.”
The one percent may be vicious killing machines who think only of themselves, but even bad intentions could have good outcomes. We are finding out that their murderous ways can be useful in controlling the over population of herbivores that are eating more than their fair share, which leaves little for a multitude of other animals lower on the food chain.
Eventually there will be plenty of wolves, perhaps even too many, and at some point we may need to protect the rest of the food chain from these top predators.
But like most things, if not everything, there’s a time and a place.
I do wonder about whether or not the Ecosystems would have just found a new way to balance themselves out over time. Who knows how long that might have taken though, or maybe it’s currently happening in ways we cannot yet witness.
The main culprit of our Eco failures is you and me through our destruction of habitats through land-developing and hunting and pollution. We really blew it, and now we’re trying to cut our losses by celebrating animals that repair our mistakes.
In the video below, Author/Activist George Monbiot describes to an audience at TED the effects of Wolves that were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in the mid 90’s.
He describes how the wolves, in a relatively short period of time, have transformed the landscape and allowed more varieties of life to flourish. And wolves did it in ways we never expected.
It’s a humbling reminder of just how connected life on this planet really is.
The original TED talk by George Monbiot, gives numerous examples of how “rewilding” our ecosystem can give us back the earth our predecessors had the privilege of experiencing.
NOTE: There are “elk” pictured in this video when the narrator is referring to “deer.” This is because the narrator is British and the British word for “elk” is “red deer” or “deer” for short. The scientific report this is based on refers to elk so we wanted to be accurate with the truth of the story.
When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable “trophic cascade” occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix.
Narration from TED: “For more wonder, rewild the world” by George Monbiot. Watch the full talk, here: http://bit.ly/N3m62h