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The 90 Day Plan

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The 90-Day Plan: DAY 48

DAY 48

Support your community and BUY LOCAL.  While we're at it, buy American; our environmental standards are a lot higher than most other countries and right now, we need to keep as much revenue as possible at home.

Challenge:  Where is the closest farmer's market?  Have you considered joining a community supported agriculture co-op?  What are three ways a healthy diet helps to support a healthy planet?

For More Information:

Friday, August 6, 2010

Pacific Institute analysis of Prop 18 - the state water bond

The 90-Day Plan: DAY 47

DAY 47

Most food travels thousands of miles before reaching your plate.  BUY PRODUCE IN-SEASON to slash emissions.

Challenge:  Most produce stickers list the country of origin; calculate the total distance all of the your produce traveled in order to reach your home.

For More Information:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The 90-Day Plan: DAY 46

DAY 46

Choices we make as consumers influence the product we buy.  It is estimated that five-billion pounds of fish are pulled from the oceans every day; next time you BUY FISH, send the right message to fisherman practicing sustainable methods.  Before you buy another fish, use the top link to help make informed choices.

Challenge:  For every 4 fish caught, 1 is discarded as waste; this practice is known as bycatch.  Why is it difficult to fish for one species without catching another?  If this and other destructive fishing practices continue, what year should we expect to see the total collapse of commercial fishing (hint: it's is sooner than you may think)?

For More Information:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What's in the Water San Diego?

Just in case you're wondering what the green stuff is on the surface, check this site for more information:

News of Interest:

27 July 2010 - Green Slime in LA and Orange Counties

Green slime appeared at the surface of the coastal waters from Long Beach down through Newport Beach last week. Samples were collected by the County of Orange Health Care Agency, the Orange County Sanitation District and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. Researchers at University of Southern California identified the samples as being highly dominated by one species, Tetraselmis, which is very small flagellated chlorophyte. This is not a harmful species so there are no documented health hazards from this organism. The University of Southern California researchers have seen this species in past summers in southern California, but it appears to be more widespread this year.

To learn more about algal bloom monitoring in the LA and Orange County areas, click here.

Antonia Juhasz BPs Missing Oil...

John Delaney: Wiring an interactive ocean | Video on

John Delaney: Wiring an interactive ocean | Video on

Great concepts for the future of ocean exploration from John Delaney. Delivered with a few wonderfully read poems as well, consider this excerpt:

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea."

T.S. Eliot

The 90-Day Plan: DAY 45

DAY 45

DON'T THAW FOOD WITH WATER; instead, plan meals ahead of time and use the refrigerator to defrost food. 

Challenge:  If food is thawed in the sink or microwave and left out, what are potential health concerns?

For More Information:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

transportation and water

Since oil, water, energy, and transportation are all linked together, we’ve gathered a few links to promising designs for greater efficiency vehicles.



Gulf Spill Is the Largest of Its Kind, Scientists Say


NEW ORLEANS — The BP spill is by far the world's largest accidental release of oil into marine waters, according to the most precise estimates yet of the well's flow rate, announced by federal scientists on Monday.

Nearly five million barrels of oil have gushed from BP's well — and about 800,000 have been captured by containment efforts —since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, according to the latest data. That amount outstrips the estimated 3.3 million barrels spilled into the Bay of Campeche by the Mexican rig Ixtoc I in 1979, previously believed to be the world's largest accidental release.

The BP spill was already thought to be the largest spill in American waters, but it was unclear whether it had eclipsed Ixtoc.

"We've never had a spill of this magnitude in the deep ocean," said Ian R. MacDonald, a professor of oceanography at Florida State University.

"These things reverberate through the ecosystem," he said. "It is an ecological echo chamber, and I think we'll be hearing the echoes of this, ecologically, for the rest of my life."

Federal science and engineering teams, citing data that are "the most accurate to date," estimated that 53,000 barrels of oil a day were pouring from the well just before BP was able to cap it on July 15. They also estimated that the daily flow rate had diminished over time, starting at about 62,000 barrels a day and decreasing as the reservoir of hydrocarbons feeding the gusher was gradually depleted. Before Monday's announcement, federal scientific teams had estimated the spill in a range from 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day.

The teams believe that the current estimates are accurate to within 10 percent.

As the estimates of the number of barrels spilled increases, so, too, do the penalties under the Clean Water Act, which calls for fines of $1,100 per barrel, or $4,300 per barrel if the government finds that gross negligence led to the spill.

At 4.9 million barrels, that means that the total fine could be $5.4 billion — and, if gross negligence led to the spill, $21 billion. If BP successfully argues that the 800,000 barrels it has recovered should mitigate the penalty, then the figure drops to $4.5 billion and $17.6 billion, respectively.

The amount of oil estimated to be pouring from the well has been a matter of dispute from the earliest days of the spill. Federal and BP officials initially announced that no oil appeared to be leaking, then 1,000 barrels a day, then 5,000 a day, frequently repeating that spill estimates are rough at best and that the main goal was to stop the well. But criticism mounted that no effort was being made to measure the leak with more certainty.

The Obama administration announced the creation of a scientific group dedicated to analyzing the flow rate, which came up with a new estimate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day in late May, a figure that was met with skepticism. That, too, was later revised upward several times before Monday's announcement. Previous estimates came from analysis of videos from remote-controlled vehicles at the wellhead, modeling of the reservoir and measurements of the oil that was collected by surface ships in the response effort.

After BP capped the well, these measurements could be reinforced by pressure readings within the well. Those pressure readings were compared with pressure estimates when the well was first drilled to determine whether the rate had changed over time, which it apparently had.

The government is continuing to study the data and may refine the estimate.

Meanwhile, BP continued efforts Monday to permanently seal the well. It said it was preparing to conduct final testing on Tuesday to determine whether to go ahead with a plan to pump heavy drilling mud into the runaway Macondo well, in hopes of permanently sealing it by the end of the week.

During the tests, a surface ship will slowly inject small amounts of mud into the well to make sure the mud will reach the oil reservoir from the column of pipes and valves that sit atop it. If that is accomplished, BP will pump higher volumes of mud, and possibly cement, into the well, in an operation known as a static kill or bullheading.

BP executives said Monday that they expected positive results from the tests, which will also check the pressure of the well to ensure that it is safe to pump the mud.

The efforts come 18 days after BP placed a tight-fitting cap on the well that put a temporary end to months of leaking. Engineers had planned to begin the tests on Monday but had to delay when they found a small hydraulic leak in the capping control system above the well.

Kent Wells, senior vice president for exploration and production at BP, said on Monday that a day or two after the pumping of mud began, engineers would consider pumping cement into the well, which could permanently plug it. Engineers might also decide to wait for a relief well to be completed before pumping cement in. There is also a chance that they will pump cement during the static kill and later through the relief well, to make sure the runaway well is sealed.

"We want to end up with cement in the bottom of the hole, completely filling the entire Macondo well," Mr. Wells said Monday. "Whether that comes from the top or whether it comes from the relief well, those will be decisions made along the way."

An estimated 2,000 pounds of mud is to be flooded into the well this week.

Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who is leading the federal response to the spill, cautioned against rushing to declare the static kill a final victory over the well. "I don't think we can see this as the end-all, be-all, until we actually get the relief wells done," he said.

Mr. Wells said the last 100 feet of the first of two relief wells should be completed by Aug. 15. A final killing of the well by pouring mud and cement just above the reservoir could take a few days or as much as a few weeks. If the first relief well somehow misses its target, a second one is being drilled for insurance.

Campbell Robertson reported from New Orleans, and Clifford Krauss from Houston. Catrin Einhorn and John Schwartz contributed reporting from New York.

The 90-Day Plan: DAY 44

DAY 44

STAY OUT of HOT WATER.  Do you boiled water on the stove?  If you do, you probably noticed that it takes awhile to heat even that small amount of water.  Imagine what it takes to heat a 50-gallon+ water heater!

Challenge:  What are ways to make your water heater more efficient?  If it is time to replace the water heater, have you considered a 'tankless' or On-Demand option?  How much more efficient would a 'tankless' heater be for your household than the conventional heater?

For More Information:

90-Day Plan - 90 Ways to Save Water

Below the Surface - Atchafalaya River Expedition featured in Reader's Digest

Kristian Gustavson receives the American Red Cross "Hero of the Heartland" Award

David Gallo Shows Underwater Astonishments

Below The Surface Podcast

Robert Ballard's TED talk is an inspiring, optimistic look at the future hope of ocean exploration

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US EPA Water Science News

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