Friday, 29 May 2009

The End of the Line

Released on June 9th is yet another scary movie but as far as I know it has nobody in black in a distorted mask in it (except metaphorically). Plenty of knives though. Sustainability definitely means that we should live in a way that does not mean the effective extinction of a major food source for humanity and yet what are we doing? See below.

Click for website of the film
Globally, some 75 per cent of wild marine fish are now said to be either fully-exploited or overfished, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO). That means these species require conservation and management in order to survive in their present numbers - which they rarely receive.

Taken from the film website and edited slightly.

The End of the Line is the world’s first major documentary about the devastating effect of overfishing premiered at Sundance Film Festival

Imagine an ocean without fish. Imagine your meals without seafood. Imagine the global consequences. This is the future if we do not stop, think and act.The End of the Line, the first major feature documentary film revealing the impact of overfishing on our oceans, had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary Competition. Sundance took place in Park City, Utah, January 15-25, 2009.

In the film we see firsthand the effects of our global love affair with fish as food.

It examines the imminent extinction of bluefin tuna, brought on by increasing western demand for sushi; the impact on marine life resulting in huge overpopulation of jellyfish; and the profound implications of a future world with no fish that would bring certain mass starvation.

Filmed over two years, The End of the Line follows the investigative reporter Charles Clover as he confronts politicians and celebrity restaurateurs, who exhibit little regard for the damage they are doing to the oceans.

One of his allies is the former tuna farmer turned whistleblower Roberto Mielgo – on the trail of those destroying the world's magnificent bluefin tuna population.

Filmed across the world – from the Straits of Gibraltar to the coasts of Senegal and Alaska to the Tokyo fish market – featuring top scientists, indigenous fishermen and fisheries enforcement officials, The End of the Line is a wake-up call to the world.

Scientists predict that if we continue fishing as we are now, we will see the end of most seafood by 2048.

The End of the Line chronicles how demand for cod off the coast of Newfoundland in the early 1990s led to the decimation of the most abundant cod population in the world, how hi-tech fishing vessels leave no escape routes for fish populations and how farmed fish as a solution is a myth.

The film lays the responsibility squarely on consumers who innocently buy endangered fish, politicians who ignore the advice and pleas of scientists, fishermen who break quotas and fish illegally, and the global fishing industry that is slow to react to an impending disaster.

The End of the Line points to solutions that are simple and doable, but political will and activism are crucial to solve this international problem.

We need to control fishing by reducing the number of fishing boats across the world, protect large areas of the ocean through a network of marine reserves off limits to fishing, and educate consumers that they have a choice by purchasing fish from independently certified sustainable fisheries.

The End of the Line premiere at Sundance will also kick-off a global campaign for citizens to demand better marine policies. Leading international environmental organizations are lending their full support to the film.

The End of the Line will be released worldwide in 2009 using multiple formats and venues including theaters, broadcast and cable television networks, film festivals, online video campaigns, aquariums, museums and special screenings for environmental and educational organizations.

"There is no better place than Sundance for The End of the Line to have its world premiere," said the film's director, Rupert Murray.

"Sundance has a long history of making cutting edge, issue-based documentaries matter." Murray's first film, "Unknown White Male" premiered at the festival in 2005.

Charles Clover, the book's author, said: "We must stop thinking of our oceans as a food factory and realize that they thrive as a huge and complex marine environment.

"We must act now to protect the sea from rampant overfishing so that there will be fish in the sea for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren."

"Overfishing is the great environmental disaster that people haven't heard about," said producer George Duffield.

"A recent global conference about bluefin tuna stocks saw almost no media coverage in the U.S. We hope this film really sounds the alarm. We can fix this problem starting right now."

"Reading the book The End of the Line changed my life and what I eat. I hope the film will do the same for others," said producer Claire Lewis.

The bleak future predicted for the sea by some scientists already exists in British waters, where in places overfishing has resulted in a simplified ecosystem vulnerable to total collapse.

In the Firth of Clyde, near Glasgow, the cod, haddock, saithe, brill and whiting have all been overfished. All there remains for fishermen to catch is Norway lobster, also known as langoustine or scampi.

In the absence of cod, which eat diseased Norway lobsters, some 70 per cent of Norway lobsters are now afflicted by the parasite-borne ailment known as smoking crab disease.

Prospects for the Clyde fishermen are not good.


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

CO2 and BS - Crock of the Week

Today is not all about flying! I'm back to shooting down the sheer garbage that deniers/inactivists try to fool the public with. The latest Crock of the Week video demolishes a few more of the lies they tell, and it actually shows a couple of clips of the most outrageous lies from the "Great Global Warming Swindle" which deniers and the gullible love to quote and represent as some sort of accurate info - what a joke!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Who needs Aviation fuel?

I'm on a theme today! This is a video of the Sunseeker solar powered electric aeroplane crossing the Alps. Take off starts about 45 seconds in. Very worthwhile watching in full screen if you have a good broadband service. Oh, BTW, the strobe effect makes the propeller look like it's not turning very fast but it is in reality.

Alps Crossing from Solar Flight on Vimeo.


Why am I stuck on the ground in Jersey?

A fantastic HANG GLIDING video from the recent Flytec race/rally in Florida. Brilliant air-to-air shots, loops, spins, a Russian girl having fun (not that sort of fun!), pump-up-the-volume soundtrack. Watch for the foot drag stunt in the lake.


Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Worms, tea bags and tissues

I mostly concentrate on the “big” international issues of sustainability but here’s a few words on composting and wormeries.

Just about every site on worm composting tells you to compost your teabags – ditto if you just have a normal compost heap.  Despite a lot of Googling I have not yet found anyone else who has spotted the following aspect.

After a few years of composting my kitchen waste in my wormery, I spotted that there was a layer of “net” forming in the worm compost and it proved to be “skeletons” of tea bags. I phoned up a couple of tea bag makers and discovered that, although mostly paper fibres, the manufacturers include a small percentage of polyester fibres in the bag material. This is to enable the bag to be heat sealed when they press the two halves together.

Although the worms do a good job of eating the tea leaves and the paper part of the bag , they obviously leave the polyester alone and it builds up to form an indigestible, non-compostable layer. The same thing happens in a conventional compost heap but the scrap of polyester is almost unnoticeable. Most people who want to make organic compost would not like this plastic residue in it so the solution is to rip your tea bags and pour the contents into your worm caddy or big compost heap and (sadly) put the actual bag into the rubbish. It’s easiest to do this when they have cooled down or dried out (if you have the patience).

I think readers should spread this news or we are going to have veggie patches full of increasing amounts of polyester!

I recently discovered that most facial tissues these days have temporary “wet strength” additives. I have a done a little research on this and the additive appears to be a polymer resin that does break down after it has done its job. So far, I can’t find out definitively if the break-down products of the polymer are helpful, bad or indifferent to making good compost so I’ll carry on researching until I find out (when I get some time). I’ll report back here then. I note that “Bounty” kitchen roll (recently renamed Plenty) is now supposed to stay strong so I suspect they have used a permanent wet strength additive that will not break down.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

How they brought the good news from Ghent to Eggs

Mark at "A view from the West" has a post about the Belgian city of Ghent, which is introducing a vegetarian day once a week. Click here for original story

The meat-free day is because of the large impact that a regular non veggie diet has on the Planet. Some estimates attribute 18% of human caused greenhouse gas emissions to this. I'm not going to add to these articles, but I encourage readers to follow up the links.

I couldn't resist, however, torturing the Robert Browning poem "How they brought the good news from Ghent to Aix" for this post's title. It doesn't quite work because Ghent is not going vegan for the day but tant pis...

Friday, 15 May 2009

400 Fruit trees points towards Paradise

A grubby "Paradise Found"? You will read about Transition on this blog quite often. It refers to the movement that is backing away from a fossil-fuel based shallow extreme consumer society towards a sustainable, renewable energy based one with local economies, community and local production being favoured. Globalisation may have some benefits but ultimately is proving to be more trouble than it is worth!

This inspiring six minute film, about the planting of a new orchard in Ireland captures part of the essence of what Transition is all about. Lovely background music too - watch the 400 Fruit Trees project in County Kilkenny and relax just a little bit.

400 Fruit Trees Project, Kilkenny from Future Proof Kilkenny on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Inspiring Hang gliding flying video

Here's a nice "spiritual" hang gliding video giving you an idea of what it's like up there. The colours make it look like an old film but the glider is right up to the minute - the model after mine - curses!

Carrotmobbing! Corporations will do anything for money!

Carrotmobbing is a sort of reverse boycott for environmental purposes. My blog sometimes features ecological economics which is fast approaching "the answer". I am certain that if the environmental costs of any goods or services (the "externalities") are taken into account that automatically the cleaner greener option would become at least the same price as, and probably cheaper than, the dirtier, more polluting, less sustainable items that are currently offered for sale by mainstream manufacturers. Same principle works for energy and food supplies.

Carrotmobbing is not ecological economics in action but is an intriguing twist on conventional consumer culture combined with a fun-day-out community atmosphere.It is based on flash-mobbing, which is where a large number of people arrange via text, internet etc to suddenly turn up at a designated location and do something unusual for a few minutes, e.g. form a high kicking chorus line then disperse leaving the passers-by wondering what the h**l is going on.

The "carrot" aspect is a reference to boycotting campaigns, which get people to boycott companies or countries for environmental, justice or human rights reasons, being a "stick" to hurt the offender. Carrotmobbing says to businesses that if they green up their act, that large numbers of people will descend on their shop and buy loads of their stuff - an economic reward or carrot. Here is a video of the first carrotmobbing in San Francisco, preceded by an explanation. Click here for the carrotmob website

Carrotmob Makes It Rain from carrotmob on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Cold Fusion and climate change together

  • This piece, taken from today’s Wall Street Journal shows that Obama’s Energy Secretary, Steven Chu (finally, a real scientist!) is at least thinking out of the box. Once they realise that it’s not JUST climate change and not JUST energy supplies that need to be solved  - it’s the whole non-sustainable nature of much of what we do that needs addressing holistically (I hate to use the word), then we might start to see real progress being made. I suppose I might be one of the “naysayers “ that the article refers to. At least they’re taking things more seriously than Bush and co.
  • Need a Real Sponsor here
  • May 12, 2009, 12:10 PM ET

Secretary Chu: Calling All Cold Fusion Inventors—and Other Revolutionaries

If you’ve got a plan to transform America’s energy future, now’s the time to put it on paper.


Put it in writing

Starting today, the Department of Energy is accepting proposals for energy R&D projects that “disrupt the status quo. The Nation needs transformational energy-related technologies to overcome the threats posed by climate change and energy security, arising from its reliance on traditional uses of fossil fuels and the dominant use of oil in transportation.”

The DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, modelled on a successful Defense Department research scheme, is offering up to $20 million assistance to make moonshots reality. Small thinkers need not apply: “We are not looking for incremental progress on current technologies.”

The $400 million program is part of the Energy Department’s new emphasis on breakthrough technologies. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has repeatedly said that the U.S. needs “Nobel-level” breakthroughs in energy technology in order to tackle the twin challenges of energy security and climate change. Some naysayers figure all the emphasis on technological breakthroughs distracts from the task at hand—using existing technology to tackle the same challenges.

ARPA-E is meant to help get new energy technologies through the “valley of death,” which happens when new ideas can’t make it out of the lab or when they can’t quite make it to market.

What kind of technologies is the DOE looking for? Whatever—as long as they meet four criteria: “reductions of imports of energy from foreign sources; reductions of energy-related emissions, including greenhouse gases; improvement in the energy efficiency of all economic sectors; and ensure that the United States maintains a technological lead in developing and deploying advanced energy technologies.”

That means 90% of the work must be done by American companies on American soil, the DOE says.

Some technology firms are champing at the bit—such as Califon, N.J.-based Energetics Technologies LLC, a firm that’s spent the last eight years working on cold fusion and which helped spark fresh interest in the subject from “60 Minutes.”

Photo credit

Bizarre effort misses the green point somewhat

This is rather crackers but shows the bizarre lengths some are going to...

The story and picture below were stolen from the marvellous ecogeek website (click here for ecogeek).

"On May 5th, scientists at the University of Warwick in England unveiled a race car that runs on chocolate, or at least the waste from a chocolate factory. The car, built to Formula 3 specifications, is even more distinct because it's also built using biodegradable materials.

The steering wheel, seat and car body are all made from plant fibres from carrots, flax, soybean and various root vegetables. The engine runs on a mixture of vegetable oil and chocolate waste. The makers claim that it's the fastest biofuel car to also be made out of sustainable materials and I'm claiming that it will be the first car whose description makes people hungry. It's built to reach a top speed of 145 mph and drivers will take it out for a full-speed test run in a few weeks to verify its performance.

The makers are calling it the "WorldFirst Formula 3 Race Car" and are taking it on a tour of several races where it will be on display, including the European Grand Prix and Britain's Goodwood Festival of Speed".

Mark Forskitt made me LOL. He says (in the comments below):

"It is a comment on the food vs fuel dilemma we face as a post oil society, isn't it? It deserves a place in the Tate gallery, perhaps"

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Climate Crock of the Week - party like it's 1998

Here is the weekly (almost) dose of "climate crock" which takes on a denier favourite - that global warming has stopped and that we are now cooling.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

The Story of Stuff

I had this famous cartoon on my election website so, because it is highly relevant to sustainability, I am reposting it here. Edit: MSN soap box is going to discontinue their video hosting service (which is where I put this video) so I am going to, instead, put a link to a YouTube version of it.

If you want to go directly to the author’s website to see it (recommended) then click on this link

  The film addresses, in a highly entertaining and amusing way, the trap we find ourselves in of apparently having to consume more and more "stuff" to keep the economy growing. It shows how the end result is almost certainly not what we need or should aspire to.

World Naked Bike Ride approaching

I suppose this event would be a non-starter in Jersey - they'd all be arrested for outraging public decency followed by their houses being searched by 10 police for evidence of nakedness!

A peaceful, imaginative and fun protest against oil dependency and car culture. A celebration of the bicycle and also a celebration of the power and individuality of the human body. A symbol of the vulnerability of the cyclist in traffic. The world's biggest naked protest: 50+ cities and thousands of riders participate worldwide, including around 2,000 in the UK in 2008. This year, rides take place across the UK between June 12th and 14th. Click here for World Naked Bike Ride UK website - **warning** pictures of nakedness and non-cars (and body paint)!!! Ditto for the global website click here for global website

I've sent the details to Deputy Daniel "Jersey Cycle Tours" Wimberley for his perusal...

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Monday, 4 May 2009

Two films to see - In Transition and The Age of Stupid

The first embedded clip is a trailer for the film "In Transition". The J-Can network (Jersey climate action network) click this link are thinking of showing this film as a counterpoint to the horror story that is "The age of Stupid" that we are also probably going to show locally. "In Transition" shows how we can move away from a fossil fuel based economy and, in the process, maybe get back a lot of things that we have rather lost sight of in recent years.

I already mentioned "The age of Stupid" in this previous post It is the new four-year epic from McLibel director Franny Armstrong. Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite stars as a man living alone in the devastated world of 2055, looking at old footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?

This clip is a trailer for the film although it's a bit confusing unless you know what it's about already!