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Reese Halter's Blog


Tag Archives: Environmental Defense Fund

Snow gum, Victoria, Australia

Story ran in the Victoria Times Colonist January 22,2009

Seven western states and four Canadian provinces have joined forces in a plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions. An entire new source of long-term revenue is available to British Columbia’s (BCs) government, which will enable protection of massive tracks of old growth forests and fresh water supplies.

Under the Western Climate Initiative, Arizona, California, Oregon, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, B.C., Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec have agreed to cut the region’s carbon emissions by 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

The backbone of their plan is a cap-and-trade system. A similar approach was used in the early 1990s to combat acid rain around the Great Lakes caused by the pollution from coal-burning power plants.

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Story ran in Huffington Post July 5, 2012

A couple years ago artist Matthew Mazzotta’s idea of turning dog waste (methane gas) into renewable energy caught the world’s attention with the ignition of a continuous flame at Park Spark in Cambridge, Mass. Since then, his splendid public awareness campaign of turning dog pooh into biogas has inspired other students and entrepreneurs across America, Australia and the UK to take waste and turn it into lucrative energy.

The dog-park biogas process is relatively simple: Pet owners stoop and scoop using a biodegradable bag, and toss bags into a methane digester on one of the two air-tight 500-gallon steel tanks. Microbes and water in the septic tanks work in an oxygen-free zone breaking down the dog pooh; methane gas is released, rises and is ready to be used as energy. At Park Spark it is piped directly into an old-fashioned gas-burning lamppost.

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California Lutheran University Climate Change student assessment of Earth Dr Reese Halter's class

Story ran in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution August 16, 2010

Each spring during my childhood I planted trees with my dad and my brother, and the bees always intrigued us. Last year in late June (2009), I finished “The Incomparable Honeybee.” I was cautiously optimistic that the overall death rate among honeybees was trending downward.

Just before the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, the overwinter and spring bee survey numbers from across our nation were released. The numbers were startling; our humble honeybees are sicker than ever.

The honeybee deaths from 2010 were much higher than those reported in 2009. In 2010 the death rate was 34 percent, up from last year’s rate of 29 percent.

On average beekeepers in the U.S. lost 42 percent of their operational bees in 2009-10 compared with 23 percent in 2008-09. This loss is more than three times greater than what is considered acceptable at about 14 percent.

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Story ran in Zester Daily April 21, 2010

This spring marks the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day (2012), a time when citizens around the globe celebrate the bountiful blue planet and the fruits of its earth. Yet, something this year just isn’t right. Worldwide we are entering into the sixth consecutive year of hundreds of billions of dead Italian honeybees.

Is the honeybee trying to tell us something?

Have we reached what professor and author Rachel Carson warned us about in 1962? “Man’s attitude toward nature is today critically important simply because we now have acquired a fateful power to alter and destroy Nature. But man is part of Nature, and his war is inevitably a war against himself.”

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Story ran in Malibu Times January 13, 2013

Since 2006, seventy three million sharks, annually, have been slaughtered, that’s approximately a half a billion dead animals. That means as high as 90 percent of sharks around the globe have been decimated in the vast open oceans. Poachers are now even hunting sharks in reserves e.g. Columbia’s Malpelo Wildlife Sanctuary.

When top-predators are removed there’s a dreadful reverberation that results throughout entire ecosystems. Predators keep ecosystems in balance. They cull the old and weak – essentially ensuring a high level of fitness amongst their prey.

When humans brutally massacre sharks for their fins (fining them alive and throwing them back into the sea) food webs unravel. Currently, we are knowingly impoverishing all oceans. As a result, jellyfish populations are exploding and new diseases are emerging.

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White Sands, New Mexico

Children often ask: Why is history so important? For which I regularly answer – because the past is rich with information and lessons.

From about AD 800 to 1300 the Earth underwent a slight warming period so dubbed “The Medieval Warm Period.” Most places experienced milder winters and longer summers but temperature differences never amounted to more than one degree C or so. And everywhere was not necessarily warmer. For example, the eastern Pacific was cooler and drier.

Globally, the climate went through sudden and unpredictable swings. The most startling was the extent and duration of droughts.

The difference between 20 millimeters or eight-tenths of an inch of precipitation spells the difference between life and death.

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Story ran on Huffington Post, Feb 16, 2013

Honeybees are incomparable; their honey is one of Nature’s greatest riches attracting honey-hunting humans for millions of years dating back into the Paleolithic period as far back as the Old Stone Age.

Archeologists have documented almost 400 sites in 17 regions, including Europe, North and South Africa, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia, where ancient peoples recorded the cherished honey-hunt in detailed petroglyphs.

Shamans with supernatural powers climbed trees with vine ladders, carrying collection baskets tied to their waists, to fearlessly raid hives. The shamans knew that honey was loaded with vitamins and minerals.

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