Green, green, it’s green they say …

Wired poses a?thoroughly modern riddle: what links the battery in your smartphone with a dead yak floating down a Tibetan river? Quote.

Brine is pumped out of a nearby lake into a series of evaporation ponds and left for 12 to 18 months. Various salts crystallise at different times as the solution becomes more concentrated.

The answer is lithium ? the reactive alkali metal that powers our phones, tablets, laptops and electric cars.

In May 2016, hundreds of protestors threw dead fish onto the streets of Tagong, a town on the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau. They had plucked them from the waters of the Liqi river, where a toxic chemical leak from the Ganzizhou Rongda Lithium mine had wreaked havoc with the local ecosystem.

There are pictures of masses of dead fish on the surface of the stream. Some eyewitnesses reported seeing cow and yak carcasses floating downstream, dead from drinking contaminated water. It was the third such incident in the space of seven years in an area which has seen a sharp rise in mining activity, including operations run by BYD, the world? biggest supplier of lithium-ion batteries for smartphones and electric cars. After the second incident, in 2013, officials closed the mine, but when it reopened in April 2016, the fish started dying again. End of quote.

Well, that sounds all very green, eco-friendly and sustainable, doesn’t it James? Quote. Read more »

Nick Smith and his bullshit over water will cost National votes

Looks swimmable to me

Nick Smith?has tits for hands. Everything he touches turns out to be a disaster.

His latest cock-up is to change the goal posts on water?quality and raise the nutrient allowances while claiming at the same time that he has cut them in half.

If I was a water campaigner I’d find a body of water that meets his swimmable standard and that is also a health hazard and challenge the dickhead to have a swim in it.

That is precisely what has happened.

A waterway that Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith once deemed “impossible” to improve to a swimmable condition would be?considered swimmable under proposed new standards.

Several other waterways ? including dry shingle beds?and rivers with toxic algal blooms?? would also meet the swimmable standard, despite clearly being unsuitable for swimming. ? Read more »

Report: RMA dysfunctional. Thanks to Peter Dunne, it will remain so

The Resource Management Act, a law I consider to have been political sabotage by Simon Upton before he minced off to warmer climes, isn’t fit for purpose. When there are show trials against those who held up progress in New Zealand then it will be Simon Upton found guilty of holding up progress the worst.

The Resource Management Act isn’t effectively protecting the environment and pressures will increase as the population grows, a new research report says.

The research, the first of its kind, was commissioned by the Employers and Manufacturers Association, the Property Council and the Council for Infrastructure Development.

It was conducted by the Environmental Defence Society.

The just-released report says the RMA has jurisdiction over many of the impacts of human activities on New Zealand’s fragile ecosystems, exceptional landscapes and unique wildlife.

“It has largely failed to achieve the goal of sustainable management,” it says.

“A lack of national direction has limited the potential of the resource management system to effectively and efficiently achieve its environmental goals.”

The report says the challenges are far from dissipating.

Read more »

Research confirms Rena disaster was mostly harmless

Research into the long-term effects of the Rena wreck has found some of the biggest ongoing risks are attributable to unexpected sources – including the clean-up effort itself.

Nearly five years after the container ship ran aground off Tauranga, a series of papers published in the New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research looks at the lessons learned.

A lead researcher, Waikato University marine ecologist Phil Ross, said the biggest threat was initially thought to be the oil, which coated rocks, beaches and birds.

However, thanks to a massive effort by thousands of people – heralded as the first-ever effective volunteer response following an oil spill – this risk was quickly dealt with.

So if not oil, what is the real threat of the Rena?

In the rush to get salvage vessels to the site, the authorities neglected to do the usual biosecurity checks, and belatedly discovered six foreign pest species on the hull of a barge brought over from Australia.

It was “just lucky” none of the pests established themselves, because they would have created a much bigger environmental problem than the oil itself.

“The legacy of the ship wreck wouldn’t have been the oil or the other contaminants – it would have been these invasive species that would have been here for ever, because once they got established in Tauranga, they would have spread around New Zealand.”

If you’ll excuse the nautical pub, that’s a bit of a red herring. ?The vessel?clearly was already visiting our waters and ports, as do many others, so the risk of these species coming here via the Rena is just completely overstated. ?? Read more »

Media bias on environmental reporting

There are reasons almost every day to believe the media are biased and only really interested in sensationalism, controversy and negativity.

Here is an example.

A few weeks ago The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment released a report that included some criticisms of farming and its effects on rivers.? It was negatively slanted and demanded greater action.? There were a couple of articles that followed that repeated the criticisms and together they got extensive coverage in all media with readers chipping in with negative comments.

Yesterday the Sustainable Dairying Group released a factual report on how things were going down on the farm ? progress on making our waterways even cleaner than they are now.? It is useful to remember that a few years ago the OECD tested 90 rivers in its member countries and New Zealand had three rivers in the top four for cleanliness ? the Waikato, Waitaki and Clutha ? all in intensive dairying areas.

The latest report should have been headlines in every media outlet.? Why?? Because of the vast number of improvements achieved, because of past criticisms that got headlines and because it is a great story of Kiwi effort and innovation.

Here are a few compelling stats: ?? Read more »


Face of the day

ADREES LATIF/REUTERS Pope Francis: "A selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity leads both to the misuse of available natural resources and to the exclusion of the weak and disadvantaged."

Pope Francis: “A selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity leads both to the misuse of available natural resources and to the exclusion of the weak and disadvantaged.”

Christians are getting slaughtered in new and terrible ways and the head of my former religion is worried about the ‘ rights ‘ of the environment?

Pope Francis declared on Friday (Saturday NZ Time) that the environment itself has rights and that mankind has no authority to abuse them, telling world leaders at the United Nations that they must take urgent action to halt the Earth’s destruction from the “selfish and boundless thirst” for money.



Politicians and main stream media are losing their audience

Now this is a fascinating poll result out of the states. ?How much do people care about Climate Change, and the environment in general compared to 15 years ago?


Read more »

Lessons for Auckland from Sao Paulo

S?o Paulo is in trouble this week as it looks likely to be dangerously close to running out of water to supply its residents.

It’s the 12th biggest city in the world and a place smart growth advocate’s like to tout from time to time of our intensive cities can work.

Except it has a big problem.

The city of Sao Paulo is home to 20 million Brazilians, making it the 12th largest mega-city on a planet dominated by shortsighted humans. Shockingly, it has only 60 days of water supply remaining. The city “has about two months of guaranteed water supply remaining as it taps into the second of three emergency reserves,” reports Reuters. [1]

Technical reserves have already been released, and as the city enters the heavy water use holiday season, its 20 million residents are riding on a fast-track collision course with severe water rationing and devastating disruptions.

But this isn’t a story about Sao Paulo; it’s a report that dares to point out that human societies are incredibly shortsighted and nearly incapable of sustainably populating planet Earth. In numerous regions around the world — including California, India, Oklahoma, Brazil, China and many more — human populations are rapidly out-growing the capacity of their local water systems. Even though keeping populations alive requires food… and growing food requires water… almost no nation or government in the world seems to be able to limit water consumption of local populations to levels which are sustainable in the long term.

Read more »

Is Labour changing its policy on Climate Change now?

Labour has said that climate change is one of the biggest issues facing New Zealand.

They also say repeatedly that the government’s solution or policies on climate change aren’t bold enough and that New Zealand must do more and that National is sitting on its hands while the world burns.

New Zealand’s carbon emissions are about 0.15% of the world’s emissions yet Labour says we must do more, set an example for the rest of the world and if we do that then other countries will lift their game

It appears though that their policy on climate is dead in the water.


Well because it fails their own logic argument.? Read more »

The problem with ‘ethical investing’

Yet again the Green party is lecturing us on ‘ethical investing’.

Can anyone see a problem with that?

The Green Party has called for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to quit its investments in companies producing fossil fuel.

The fund’s chief executive, Adrian Orr, said it took the issue of climate change seriously and expected its exposure to fossil fuels to fall over time, and investment in renewables to rise.

“But a simple divestment call? The world is just not that straightforward,” he said.

The fund, set up by the previous Labour Government to partially pre-fund future New Zealand Superannuation payments, had $676 million invested in companies directly involved in fossil fuel production as of last June. That represented about 2 per cent of the fund’s assets.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman, in a paper released yesterday, makes an ethical case for not investing in companies whose activities are literally fuelling potentially catastrophic climate change.

He also points to a financial risk of stranded assets, citing analysis by the International Energy Agency and other bodies that the world’s coal, oil and gas companies already have in their proven reserves at least three times as much carbon as can be burned without exceeding the internationally agreed target of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. ? Read more »