Sunday, August 24, 2008
A massive crack in Petermann Glacier in Northern Greenland has at least one scientist predicting that a big part of the Northern Hemisphere's largest floating glacier will be gone within a year. Some experts said it's too soon to pin the blame on global warming.
Two studies released in 2006 found that despite the increasing snowfall that comes with global warming, Antarctica's ice sheets are losing far more surface area than the snow is adding.
A record amount of Greenland's ice sheet melted last summer -- 19 billion tons more than the previous high mark. And for the first time on record, the Northwest Passage was open to navigation.
"Bleached" coral reefs that protect coastal areas and harbor some of the most colorful life on Earth are dying prematurely because of warming ocean waters and higher levels of carbon dioxide.
Scientists believe global warming will increase the risk of wildfires by raising temperatures and causing an earlier spring. This 2003 California blaze burned more than 300,000 acres.
Mosquitoes that carry malaria or dengue fever are moving into formerly inhospitable areas at higher elevations. Global warming is expected to increase the range of mosquitoes and the virulence of their diseases.
Some 4 million acres of mature trees in Alaska have been killed by spruce bark beetles. Scientists believe that warmer temperatures have allowed the beetles to breed and mature twice as fast as normal.
The sun beats down on dairy cattle in Bakersfield, Calif. Rising global temperatures are causing problems around the world. Last year marked the warmest year ever recorded for Earth's land areas.
More than 100 cold-dependent species are in trouble. Polar bears have started dropping in numbers and weight and emperor penguin populations have shrunk by a factor of 30 in some areas.
In Pakistan this week, we saw the power of the people in action.
Ordinary Pakistani citizens rose up to fight President Musharraf's injustice and corruption, and, as a result, Musharraf resigned rather than face impeachment for his crimes against the constitution and judiciary.
Our friend from Pakistan writes: "While the US media's lens focused on the Taliban's resurgence and US casualties in the region, a political and secular revolution was taking place in the streets of Pakistan.
The fact that the people of Pakistan rose up against a US-backed military dictator and brought him down with such success is testimony to the will of Pakistan's civilian leadership which wants to save the country from corrupt leaders--both military and religious."
Let us take inspiration from the people of Pakistan.
We, too, want to rise up to save our country from corrupt and unjust leaders.
That's why we've been trailing Nancy Pelosi to urge her to put impeachment on the table (click here to read Linda Milazzo's stirring account of a recent disruption)
we will be in action at both the DNC and RNC conventions in the coming weeks.
That's why we encourage you to find out what you can do in your own community during the conventions. Click here to learn how to bring the message of peace to Obama viewing parties, and discover other creative, effective actions you can take in your neighborhood.
if you join us.
That's why we need you to mark your calendars for September 20th, when the peace community will come together in a massive effort to knock on one million doors for peace. We can do it
Also, click here to find out how to reach out to your neighbors with our peace platform and remind them that they have the power at the polls to bring peace into the election!
We saw how the power of the people made a difference in Pakistan.
Now let's pool our power to bring about real change in our own country!
With hope in all our ruckus-raising hearts,Alicia, Anne, Dana, Deidra, Desiree, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Jean, Jodie, Liz, Lori, Medea, Nancy, Rae and Tighe
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Dear Sonia Paz,
On August 7 Russian military forces entered Georgia in response to Georgian military actions against separatist forces in the breakaway region of South Ossetia. In response, the United Nations Security Council demanded Russian forces withdraw from Georgia. Despite this, Russian forces are still in Georgia and are still enforcing checkpoints in at least one city.
The Women's Fund in Georgia, a member of the Women's Funding Network, has been working with groups in Georgia that have been affected by the violence in the last weeks. Nana Pantsulaia wrote about the situation in an update and urged all concerned citizens to take action to help affected citizens in Georgia:
"Even though Russia denies hitting civilian targets, there are dead and injured all over the country. As for information sources, the Russian government controls the media, widely spreads misinformation and claims to be implementing peacekeeping activities in the conflict zones. Diplomatic missions in Georgia are evacuating their citizens as the situation is getting more and more dangerous.
"Due to the severe situation, many people continue to flee conflict zones and the regions of Georgia. The approximate number of people forced to leave their homes is now at 40,000. Most of the internally displaced people are in Tbilisi now and seek shelter and support.
"Please, everybody -- take some action -- do what you can to contribute to the immediate end of this horrible situation!"
Please consider making a direct donation to the Women's Fund in Georgia to enable them to provide timely and critically needed assistance to women's groups affected by the conflict. To make a donation to the Women's Fund in Georgia please visit the donation page on their Website by following this link: http://www.womenfundgeorgia.org/donate_en.htm.
PLEASE NOTE, THE DONATIONS TO THE WOMEN'S FUND IN GEORGIA ARE NOT TAX DEDUCTIBLE IN THE UNITED STATES AND ARE NOT MADE THROUGH THE WOMEN'S FUNDING NETWORK.
Visit our new home on the internet at www.wfnet.org/take-action/online!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
UNHCR resumes return operation for displaced in northern Congo
Displaced people prepare to go back home to Congo with UNHCR. UNHCR/C.Sani
To help them reintegrate, returning families are provided with a package that includes blankets, mosquito nets, kitchen sets, and plastic sheeting.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Mario Benedetti. . .
Sunday, August 3, 2008
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/oxygen-0731.html"Major Discovery" From MIT Primed to Unleash Solar RevolutionThursday 31 July 2008by: Anne Trafton, MIT NewsScientists mimic essence of plants' energy storage system. In a revolutionary leap that could transform solar power from amarginal, boutique alternative into a mainstream energy source, MITresearchers have overcome a major barrier to large-scale solar power:storing energy for use when the sun doesn't shine. Until now, solar power has been a daytime-only energy source, becausestoring extra solar energy for later use is prohibitively expensive andgrossly inefficient. With today's announcement, MIT researchers have hitupon a simple, inexpensive, highly efficient process for storing solarenergy. Requiring nothing but abundant, non-toxic natural materials, thisdiscovery could unlock the most potent, carbon-free energy source of all:the sun. "This is the nirvana of what we've been talking about for years,"said MIT's Daniel Nocera, the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at MIT andsenior author of a paper describing the work in the July 31 issue ofScience. "Solar power has always been a limited, far-off solution. Now wecan seriously think about solar power as unlimited and soon." Inspired by the photosynthesis performed by plants, Nocera and MatthewKanan, a postdoctoral fellow in Nocera's lab, have developed anunprecedented process that will allow the sun's energy to be used to splitwater into hydrogen and oxygen gases. Later, the oxygen and hydrogen may berecombined inside a fuel cell, creating carbon-free electricity to poweryour house or your electric car, day or night. The key component in Nocera and Kanan's new process is a new catalystthat produces oxygen gas from water; another catalyst produces valuablehydrogen gas. The new catalyst consists of cobalt metal, phosphate and anelectrode, placed in water. When electricity - whether from a photovoltaiccell, a wind turbine or any other source - runs through the electrode, thecobalt and phosphate form a thin film on the electrode, and oxygen gas isproduced. Combined with another catalyst, such as platinum, that can producehydrogen gas from water, the system can duplicate the water splittingreaction that occurs during photosynthesis. The new catalyst works at room temperature, in neutral pH water, andit's easy to set up, Nocera said. "That's why I know this is going to work.It's so easy to implement," he said. "Giant Leap" for Clean Energy Sunlight has the greatest potential of any power source to solve theworld's energy problems, said Nocera. In one hour, enough sunlight strikesthe Earth to provide the entire planet's energy needs for one year. James Barber, a leader in the study of photosynthesis who was notinvolved in this research, called the discovery by Nocera and Kanan a "giantleap" toward generating clean, carbon-free energy on a massive scale. "This is a major discovery with enormous implications for the futureprosperity of humankind," said Barber, the Ernst Chain Professor ofBiochemistry at Imperial College London. "The importance of their discoverycannot be overstated since it opens up the door for developing newtechnologies for energy production thus reducing our dependence for fossilfuels and addressing the global climate change problem." "Just the Beginning" Currently available electrolyzers, which split water with electricityand are often used industrially, are not suited for artificialphotosynthesis because they are very expensive and require a highly basic(non-benign) environment that has little to do with the conditions underwhich photosynthesis operates. More engineering work needs to be done to integrate the new scientificdiscovery into existing photovoltaic systems, but Nocera said he isconfident that such systems will become a reality. "This is just the beginning," said Nocera, principal investigator forthe Solar Revolution Project funded by the Chesonis Family Foundation andco-Director of the Eni-MIT Solar Frontiers Center. "The scientific communityis really going to run with this." Nocera hopes that within 10 years, homeowners will be able to powertheir homes in daylight through photovoltaic cells, while using excess solarenergy to produce hydrogen and oxygen to power their own household fuelcell. Electricity-by-wire from a central source could be a thing of thepast. The project is part of the MIT Energy Initiative, a program designed tohelp transform the global energy system to meet the needs of the future andto help build a bridge to that future by improving today's energy systems.MITEI Director Ernest Moniz, Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics andEngineering Systems, noted that "this discovery in the Nocera labdemonstrates that moving up the transformation of our energy supply systemto one based on renewables will depend heavily on frontier basic science." The success of the Nocera lab shows the impact of a mixture of fundingsources - governments, philanthropy, and industry. This project was fundedby the National Science Foundation and by the Chesonis Family Foundation,which gave MIT $10 million this spring to launch the Solar RevolutionProject, with a goal to make the large scale deployment of solar energywithin 10 years.