Why we should care more about the environmental impact of nutrients

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The Soil Association highlighted the issue of peak phosphorous and its threat to food security in their report: A rock and a hard place, in 2010 (which appears to be no longer available on-line?). And made several recommendations for the UK Government, it would like to implement.  In an article I posted in 2013, I highlighted the work Wessex Water was doing to recycle nutrients.  Using the waste from their bio-digester plant, which also produces electricity and bio-gas.  They also employ chemists to work with their customers, to ensure their land gets the right amount of nutrients.

Unfortunately, the Agra-chemical companies, who produce the fertilisers (mostly from fossil fuels) for industrialised farming industry.  Have the money and the lobbying might, to try and prevent, the large scale uptake of organic farming practices.  In fact, one of the issues being highlighted at the present time, is the pharmaceutical drug residue, that might be present in the recycled waste?  In September 2016, the European Commission’s Science for Environmental Policy, published a news alert.  It was titled: Applying sewage sludge to soil may spread antibiotic resistance.  It has been widely acknowledge, that their has been an abuse of the use of antibiotics in humans and animals.  From which the chemical companies also benefit from, as well as their trade in fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

Inside track

crop-spraying_chafer-machinery_flickrBack in 2007, Green Alliance examined the challenges and opportunities for the more sustainable use of nutrients, chiefly nitrogen and phosphorus, in the UK. It recommended a suite of policy principles to make a more circular system a reality.

Little has happened since in the UK. But last month I was asked to present Green Alliance’s policy principles to a conference of Nordic countries in Malmo, and to discuss how to take the agenda forward. I discovered that the ideas remain relevant and useful. 

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World Environment Day/Dia Mundialdo Ambiente

On Sunday 5th June 2016, Tavira Em Transição held an event for World Environment Day in Tavira.

It started with a conversation on the importance of the environment to the region and in particular, the issues with the exploration for gas and petrol in the Algarve.

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This was followed by music, which attracted more members of the public to stop and listen, to what was being said.

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There also was a petition circulating against the proposed exploration in the Aljezur, which is to start shortly.  Unfortunately, I left to cycle back to Monte Francisco before the finish.  But to me, it seemed the audience was growing all the time.

 

Repost: “Final Barton Moss trial ends with not guilty verdicts”

The UK Government’s pursuit of unconventional sources of fossil-fuels and new nuclear, at any costs. Shows clearly, that the Government is not serious about tackling the serious and urgent issue of climate change and climate justice. Using the Police as shock-troops against peaceful protesters, the Government shows, it is only concerned with the interests of corporations. It also highlights what an utter farce COP21 Paris was, as a number of signatories to the agreement, are still pursuing a fossil-fuel powered future! And, lets not forget, the police also, committed acts of environmental vandalism by chopping down trees, they thought, might be used by the protesters! As well as other acts of vandalism by the police and contractor for iGas.

manchester climate monthly

Via the excellent “Salford Star

FINAL BARTON MOSS TRIAL ENDS WITH NOT GUILTY VERDICTS

Star date: 27th April 2016

CALLS FOR PUBLIC INQUIRY AS FINAL THREE BARTON MOSS CHARGES QUASHED

After hundreds of charges brought by the Crown in relation to the Barton Moss anti-fracking protests of 2013 and 2014, the final three cases were heard today at Manchester Magistrates Court where the judge delivered `not guilty’ verdicts on charges of aggravated trespass.

Now, with the overwhelming number of charges either dropped or quashed, there’s a growing call for a Public Inquiry into the policing and cost of the response to the Salford protests…

Full details here…

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“The results today must add to the increasing demand for a Public Inquiry into the method of policing and cost to the public purse…” Simon Pook, solicitorToday at Manchester Magistrates Court, `not guilty’ verdicts were…

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‘Fracking’ will be done safely, right?

Lord Browne, was Chief Executive of BP from 1995 to 2007 and during his leadership, health and safety management deteriorated.  This led to a number of major incidents at BP‘s plants and ultimately the the March 23, 2005, explosion at the BP refinery in Texas City, Texas, which killed 15 workers, injured 180 others.  He has also been considered, ultimately responsible, for the disaster of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

Instead of being held responsible for this tragic accident and others and put on trial.  He sits in the unelected House of Lords, even spending time as a member of the UK Governments Cabinet.  Pushing the exploitation of unconventional fossil fuels, through the use of slick water, high pressure horizontal fracturing, ‘fracking’ in the UK.  This person has been behind the Government’s message that ‘fracking’ will be carried out safely and will not result in any environmental or health issues!  Despite the fact, health and safety in the UK, is now down to self-regulation.

Would you trust anything this person says?

Five killed at anti-China power plant protest in Bangladesh: Rally against Coal-Murders at Dhaka and Chittagong Press Club on Tuesday

Like the UK Government, the Indian Government says it is ‘green’ whilst doing everything to support climate changing fossil fuels!

By Raaj Manik At least five innocent protesters were killed after police opened fire on a protest of 1500 villagers who were protesting against two China-backed power plants in Chittagong, a locati…

Source: Five killed at anti-China power plant protest in Bangladesh: Rally against Coal-Murders at Dhaka and Chittagong Press Club on Tuesday

Final arguments as Cuadrilla fracking inquiry draws to a close

It is accepted that, at the best possible estimates, shale gas will supply the UK, for possibly 15 years. And yet, we have Babs Murphy of The North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, stating “It is our responsibility to ensure that the economic benefits [of shale gas] will come to local businesses. We owe it to future generations not to let this opportunities pass by”! So they think, for a short-term ‘gain’, future generations should be ‘inconvenienced’ and suffer the environmental consequences?
The Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) has produced a new report on ‘fracking’ waste water: energy. Stating that the management and disposal of wastewater remains one of the biggest hurdles facing the ‘fracking’ industry. It does mention the possible need of a in some cases a radioactive substances permit will be required, if ‘fracking waste water is re-injected. Has the issue of radioactive waste water been down-played? Because it is classed as NORM, normally occurring radioactive material? We know United Utilities discharged radioactive ‘fracking’ waste water into the Manchester Ship Canal and the EA allowed them to.
And are people aware of the recent Federal Jury judgement: Federal jury awards $4.24 million to dimock families in fracking case

The public inquiry into Cuadrilla’s plans to frack near Blackpool reached its final stages last week with the closing arguments from  half the groups involved.

Source: Final arguments as Cuadrilla fracking inquiry draws to a close

Diz nao as plataformas de petroleo e gás no Algarve

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Despite the outcome of the IPCC latest report, COP21 and a new socialist government in Portugal.  The new Portuguese Prime Minister says gas and oil exploration in the Algarve is to continue!  A group of concerned citizens in the Algarve have been campaigning against the oil and gas companies efforts to explore and exploit potential fossil-fuel deposits.  The campaign group Algarve Surfers and Maritime Activities Association (ASMAA) has been very active in raising public awareness of the issue.

These licenses are in areas that are environmentally sensitive, especially those off-shore and onshore the Algarve.  With parts of the Algarve being designated areas of Natura 2000 sites.  Also Algarve is economically dependent on fishing, sea salt, agriculture and tourism.  All of which would be adversely affected by oil and gas exploitation, even without any accidents occurring.  During off-shore exploration, seismic and sonar activity, have an extremely detrimental impact on marine life.

Our oceans are already being badly affected by pollution, global warming, acidification, overfishing and even excess carbon dioxide.  Carbon Dioxide intoxication was also covered by Portuguese papers: Peixes podem ficar intoxicados em meados deste século.  We are already feeling the affects of climate change, with major changes in our weather.  JP Sottile, writing for the Truthout magazine puts the argument against further oil and gas exploitation quite well: Mother Nature’s invisible hand strikes back against the carbon economy? 

I would call on the new Portuguese Socialist Government to cancel these oil and gas contracts.  And to revitalise the last Socialist Governments investment in renewable energy developments and energy efficiency.  The International Energy Agency (IEA) once praised Portugal’s efforts to strengthen its energy policy: Portugal 2009 review.  Though I would not agree with all the IEA’s recommendations, especially with regard to privatisation.

Terror, climate chaos, financial crisis are the costs of ‘doing business’

Unfortunately, Portugal, like the UK, is still pursuing a fossil fuel future, despite agreeing to the COP21 Paris agreement.  The Portuguese government has even granted oil and gas producers licenses to drill, onshore and offshore the Algarve.  Even though the area is part of Natura2000, is dependent of fishing, agriculture and tourism.  Even with a (so-called) Socialist coalition government, it looks like drilling will go ahead.  Instead of investing in energy efficiency and renewables!  Though there are groups such as the Algarve Surfers and Marine Activities Association (ASMAA), fighting these proposals.

The techno-narcissism of predatory neoliberal capitalism is locked into an endless war with the bastard monster of its own creation – Islamic State

Source: Terror, climate chaos, financial crisis are the costs of ‘doing business’

Total fined for North Sea gas leak

I have just seen an article about an incident, which could have been the North Seas’ Deepwater Horizon, but for favourable winds. The article in the Guardian does mention petroleum condensate causing damage to marine life: Total fined 1m North Sea gas leak. But the official press release from the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) does not mention any environmental impacts of the release: Total ep UK ltd., received record fine following largest ever North Sea gas release. There was another incident reported earlier this year: Shell fined. This is how the incident was reported in the Guardian, which includes other failures by Shell: Shell North Sea oil leak. Another major incident in a mature oil and gas field, by a major oil and gas company. There a numerous incidents that occur in the oil & gas fields, that the public never hear about: HSE offshore statistics. So how can any politician allow oil and gas production in environmentally sensitive areas or even unconventional sources, with a clear concisions?

Reforming harmful fossil fuel subsidies

We constantly hear from our politicians, mass media and climate change denialists, that renewables are heavily subsidised.  When the truth is exactly the opposite, with fossil fuels and nuclear being heavily subsidised at the expense of the tax-payer and energy customer.

Source: Reforming harmful fossil fuel subsidies