Environment

It is raining in California as I write this but most of it will do little good. The rain is going to go to a gutter and the gutter will go to a stream and that will go to an ocean.

Yes, much of the fresh water that California has runs into the Pacific Ocean. You might wonder why the Pacific Ocean needs so much, since 96 percent of Earth's water is already in oceans, but the oceans are not asking for it. Instead, it is due to anti-science policies lobbied for by well-heeled California environmentalists.

Last summer’s Lake Erie toxic algae outbreak shut down the water supply for almost half a million people in Toledo and the surrounding suburbs.

Bottled water ran out in stores across the area, and residents fled the city in search of clean water — an option not available to Lake Erie’s diverse and fascinating array of wildlife.

The resulting call for action focused on setting toxin standards and reducing discharges of the fertilizer phosphorus, the primary driver of the toxic algae, to Lake Erie.


Deforestation could impact global food production by triggering changes in local climate, according to research on albedo (the amount of the sun's radiation reflected from Earth's surface) and evapotranspiration (the transport of water into the atmosphere from soil, vegetation, and other surfaces) as the primary drivers of changes in local temperature.
Rice is well-equipped with an effective immune system that enables it to detect and fend off disease-causing microbes but sometimes nature needs a hand.

A new study shows that rice immunity gets boosted when the plant receives a receptor protein from a completely different plant species, a result which may help increase health and productivity of rice, the staple food for half of the world's population, at least in countries that don't ban food science.
A new study has recommended against using nitrogen to fertilize radiata pine plantations after analysis of more than 1,500 soil samples gathered in timber woodlands in Bizkaia and the north of Araba-Álava in recent years.  Fertilizing using phosphorus is recommended in virtually the whole area in the study as it may be helpful in obtaining better yields on radiata pine plantations.  

There was an article on the ABC site this morning which gave us this alarming headline “Pesticide banned worldwide still used to grow 70pc of Australian strawberries”.

Shocking!

Except, well, there were a few teeny tiny but important details missing. Like the fact that the rest of the world is still using the “banned” pesticide too.


Lost in all of the hype and hysteria and White House panels on how industry is killing bees is the last indicator species that was being doomed by non-organic pesticides: frogs.
The country of France recently sided with environmental donors and mandated that new buildings must have solar panels or plants on the roof. Though the science is unclear, the belief is that this will naturally cool buildings or, in the case of planets, retain rainwater, reduce problems with runoffs and favor biodiversity.

Since environmentalists also once insisted that coral reefs should be built from tires, and that ending up costing 100X as much as it saved, politicians only agreed to partial coverings and only on new buildings in commercial zones. Time will tell if the plan is helping or if it is just a political placebo, like biofuels and wind energy.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service  of the United States Department of Agriculture has released its honey report for 2014 and found it's boom times for bees.

Hives increased again, another 4 percent, up to a whopping 2.74 million colonies, and honey production is up 19 percent. Yield per colony averaged 65.1 pounds, which is up 15 percent.

If there is a Beepocalypse, the bees have not gotten the memo.
A few years ago, bees suddenly had a sharp decline in numbers. This "Colony Collapse Disorder" as it is called, is a disorder in the sense that it is a recurring phenomenon, detailed for the last 1,000 years even when record-keeping just consisted of sporadic anecdotes. It was noted more frequently as record-keeping became more thorough. so it appeared far more often by the 1800s. By the 1900s, record-keeping had improved enough that there were seven recorded instances of this CCD phenomenon just in the United States.