global warming


I made beef stew yesterday because it was supposed to be cold and I knew that cooking it would warm up the house. Little did I know when I bought the ingredients that it would turn out to be warm outside.

There is something terribly wrong with temperatures in the 60s on February 17. People are wearing flip flops and the crocuses are shooting up out of the ground. While on a walk, I found some forsythia branches by the road and brought home a sprig with some blooms. Forsythia have always been the harbingers of spring for me – but not in February! What will it be like in July?

Forsythia in February

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Can baking soda curb global warming? | CNET News.com

Some scientists have proposed compressing carbon dioxide and sticking it in underground caves as a way to cut down on greenhouse gases. Joe David Jones wants to make baking soda out of it.

Jones, the founder and CEO of Skyonic, has come up with an industrial process called SkyMine that captures 90 percent of the carbon dioxide coming out of smoke stacks and mixes it with sodium hydroxide to make sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda. The energy required for the reaction to turn the chemicals into baking soda comes from the waste heat from the factory.

“It is cleaner than food-grade (baking soda),” he said.

The system also removes 97 percent of the heavy metals, as well as most of the sulfur and nitrogen compounds, Jones said.

I really hope there is something to this story – I’m all for more baked goods.

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Tavares' cocoa plantation. A cacao tree in a yard in eastern Brazil.

NPR : How Chocolate Can Save the Planet

Sounds so ideal – grow cacao and save the planet. Well, not quite but there is a group trying to save the Brazilian rain forest using selective tree removal and then planting cacao trees in their place. The product yield isn’t as high as traditional farming but the benefits (less disease, fewer insects, less invasive farming) can give the farmers a premium price for their crop since it’s more environmentally-friendly.

Check out the podcast or read the linked article. There are more pictures and links to other related sites.

Also, keep eating chocolate so we can make this happen.

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Colorful Maple leaves

NPR : In New England, Concern Grows for Sugar Maple

In central New Hampshire, a pair of sugar maple trees frames the doorway to a historic house. The trees were likely planted by the family that originally built the house around 1790.

“They’re wonderful gnarled trees,” says lumberman Jamey French, whose parents live here in central New Hampshire. “They’re in the latter stages of their life, all cabled now.”

The French family is enormously beholden to the sugar maple for the butcher blocks, bowling lanes and squash and basketball courts its wood has been prized for. It is wood that has been harvested and sold by four generations of this hardwood lumber family.

At heart a steward of the forest, French has been watching many tree species for signs of decline, particularly the sugar maple. It’s a touchy species living in a landscape of tangible, environmental change.

“I’ve seen multiple species of birds wintering over that were not common in my childhood: mocking birds and cardinals and titmice,” French says. “Look along the sides of roads, and between the salt, acid rain, potential heat and drought cycles, you see trees stressed and dying. Boy, this is happening right in front of our eyes.”

This is really scary. The thought of New England losing it’s beautiful maples because we killed them if just awful. We’ve been in a terrible drought in Virginia this year , in fact all through the mid-Atlantic and south. It really makes me wonder if anything can really help at this point. Is it too late already?

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