We're in Hot Water all over the world!

Waters off Maine are seeing unprecedented warming temperatures

Waters off Maine are seeing unprecedented warming temperatures

The world’s oceans are heating up at an alarming rate.

In an article penned by noted AP Science writer Seth Borenstein, July was the hottest the world’s oceans have been in almost 130 years of record-keeping.

This translates to water temperaturs of 72 degrees off the coast of Maine and 90 degrees in the Gulf of Mexico. And worse, temperatures near the Arctic are up 10 degrees above average, creating devastating environmental consequences.

To see see a stunning map of daily sea surface temperature anomalies (differences from normal) from US Navy (in Fahrenheit) go to http://3.ly/fhs (it may say it’s not a secure site, but don’t worry).  The redder it is, the hotter the temps.

If this isn’t a wake up call, what is?

Monsanto Goes after DuPont

Pot and KettleIt’s a case of the pot and the kettle really.

Monsanto – long famous for strong-arming farmers and deceptive advertising for their oh-so earth friendly GMO seeds – has accused their chief competitor in the seed business, DuPont, of covert attacks on Monsanto’s business practices.

The chairman of Monsanto, Hugh Grant (no, sorry, not the actor), has accused DuPont of using third parties to attack Monsanto, saying these activities “were misleading to the public and a serious breach of business ethics far beyond honest competitor behavior.” He also accused DuPont of being “dishonest, disingenuous and downright deceitful.”

Now didn’t his mama tell him if you can’t say something nice, ….?

This is but one more “skirmish” in the battle between the two corporate giants. In 2006 and 2007, DuPont tried to block Monsanto from buying Delta & Pine Land Co., the then largest cotton seed supplier in the U.S.

This past May, Monsanto filed a lawsuit against DuPont for patent infringement. DuPont countersued, accusing Monsanto of being anti-competitive.

Between falsifying documents, name calling and mud-slinging, watching these two beheamuths is like watching a decent “B” movie without the popcorn.

For more details on this somewhat amusing story, see http://3.ly/mGR.

Affordable solar – coming to a town near you?

Solar panelsA non-profit plans to launch a financing progam that will make installing solar more affordable throughout California.

The California Statewide Community Development Authority (CSCDA) will model its program after a similar one in the city of Berkeley, which sells bonds to finance residents borrowing money for solar installation, to be repaid (with interest) over 20 years through property taxes. California cities and towns will be able to join this project without having to find their own investors.

“Our program offers a good offset to the biggest hurdle for solar – the big upfront costs,” said Terrence Murphy, a program manager at the CSCDA.

CSCDA also wants to extend the project to finance home energy efficiency improvements, especially permanent installations like insulation and temperature retaining windows.  It’s anticipated the program will kick off this Fall.

Cities and towns will be first in line, with residents and businesses to follow later.

This program could spur other states to implement similar projects. Now that’s what I call progress!

Freedom of Choice? Not for new car owners

Check Engine lightThink you can take your new car to your trusted mechanic for standard maintenance? Think again.

Unless Congress acts to pass the Right to Repair Act of 2009, drivers will be forced to take their cars to dealers for any and all repairs – at a hefty expense, of course.

Check out this video, then consider taking action. It could make a real difference the next time your car goes on the blink.

More GMO? Not from Egypt!

GMOAll agricultural imports to and exports from Egypt now must have a certificate that the product is not genetically modified.

Members of parliament have been calling for stricter rules and greater agricultural self sufficiency since some Russian wheat was rejected over quality concerns. Currently some Egyptian imports include genetically-modified products.

Agriculture Minister Amin Abaza reportedly said “no agricultural products especially wheat, corn and soy bean would enter except after examining samples from the cargo.”

Egypt is one of the world’s largest wheat importers and also imports other products such as corn, edible oils and sugar. It exports products such as vegetables and fruits particularly to Europe.

Wheat is GMO-free and buying GMO free corn would be possible, with supplies available from the Black Sea region, said one European trader.

As one of the world’s largest wheat importers, Egypt also import products such as corn, edible oils and sugar. It exports products such as vegetables and fruits, particularly to Europe.

So that’s one more nation that’s recognized that GMO foods just aren’t smart. When will the U.S. wake up to this?

GM renigs on partnership to collect mercury switches

GM drops out of industry partnership that collects toxic car switches

GM drops out of industry partnership that collects toxic car switches

GM has dropped out of in an auto industry partnership created to collect mercury switches and other toxic parts from recycled cars.

GM’s excuse? Their newly reformulated, post-bankruptcy company no longer makes automobiles with mercury switches and isn’t responsible for the older vehicles.

The other partners in the End of Life Vehicle Solutions (ELVS) partnership fear the pull-out will undermine their work, according to an Associated Press report. ELVS is scheduled to run through 2017, and, before its bankruptcy, GM was the program´s largest participant.

The AP reports about 36 million mercury switches were used in trunk lights and antilock brakes in cars built in the 1980s and ´90s. More than half of those switches are in GM vehicles built before 2000.

Just one more example of GM’s consistent disregard for doing what’s right. And we gave them how much money to help them survive? Can we do a recall?

New Global Standards to trace Tuna ‘From Capture to Plate’

TunaThe International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) announced passage of a new global standard to trace tuna from capture to consumers plates to help keep illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) tuna fish off of store shelves.

Processors now must keep detailed records documenting the name and flag of catcher and transshipping vessels, fish species, ocean of capture corresponding to tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO) area, fishing trip dates, fishing gear employed, date the company took ownership of the fish and each species by weight.

“Being able to trace a product back to its source benefits the environment, industry and consumers,” ISSF president Susan Jackson said. “Traceability is critical to conservation since poaching tuna creates a gap in information which negatively impacts meaningful, science-based management measures.”

The ISSF Product Traceability Resolution also mandates participating companies take product off store shelves if they discover it came from an illegal source.

So score another one for conservationists and for the fish. Charley Tuna must be smiling in fish heaven.