Tags >> water
Jun 28
2009

Groundwater mercury

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , toxic , research , ocean , Health , food , fish , environment , coast , chemicals

Bruce Robinson

 The most harmful form of mercury is being washed into coastal waters through subsurface groundwater, a new study has found, and at rates far higher than from the air. That research was conducted at two Northern California sites, including Stinson Beach (right) in Marin County.

 

When we hear about mercury levels in fish, the actual compound is a form called mono-methyl mercury. U.C. Santa Cruz biochemist Dr. Adina Paytan (left) explains the difference, and what is known about how it gets converted.

 

Mercury washes out of the atmosphere more of less uniformly, but levels of bacteria in groundwater tend to vary widely. Dr. Paytan points to coastal areas with failing septic systems as likely sources for higher concentrations of subsurface methyl mercury.

While the biochemical conversion process can occur anywhere that mercury exists alongside the active bacteria, researcher Frank Black (standing, right) says the degree to which the methylated mercury is then carried into the ocean water depends a lot on the subsurface geology of a particular area.

Here's a source for background reading on Mercury in the Environment.

Jun 21
2009

Fungi

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , water , technology , Science , resources , policy , ocean , media , Marin , Ideas , Health , food , environment , business , author , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

Fungi are the oldest living things on land, and among their estimated two million varieties, they may hold many yet-to-be-discovered medicinal uses and other benefits.

Paul Stamets, founder and president of Fungi Perfecti , has written six books on mushroom cultivation including Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms and The Mushroom Cultivator. In this audio lip, he offers a short history of fungi:

As a dedicated mycologist for more than 30 years, Stamets has discovered or identified four new species of mushroom. Here, he talks about how it feels to make such a discovery.

 Among the many fungal processes that hold great promise for addressing human needs, Stamets points to one that could herald important changes in ethanol production.

 


 

May 28
2009

Clean Energy Bills

Posted by Bruce Robinson in West County , water , transportation , technology , speaker , solar , Sebastopol , resources , politics , policy , nonprofit orgs , jobs , government , environment , employment , economy , Congress , carbon , business , alternative energy , air quality , activism

Bruce Robinson

From Capitol Hill to downtown Sebastopol, people are finally talking seriously about climate change and clean energy legislation.

 Peter Oliver (left)  is the co-owner of Make Mine Electric one of the five businesses currently incubating at the new Blue Sky Center in Sebatopol (shown below). In this audio clip, he explains the two-pronged business model he and partner Brain Hall are rolling out there.

 

As a demonstration of his company's electric vehicle conversion capabilities,  Oliver drives the red replica Porsche 356 seen below, which is now powered by batteries and an electric motor rather than gasoline.

 

Even as progressives debate the policy details embedded in the federal energy bills under consideration in Congress, Barry Vesser (right) remains hopeful that some members of the minority party there will also be able to find reasons to support the new measures.

 

 

 

 For a more thorough explanation of the relative benefits and drawback of "Cap and Trade" versus "Cap and Dividend" legislation, click on the artwork to link to a downloadable booklet.

May 27
2009

Historic Ecology

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , technology , Science , resources , planning , parks , open space , Napa , history , government , environment , conservation

Bruce Robinson

We tend to think of history as a record of human activity, but a natural landscape also has a history all it's own, which is what is studied in the new field called historic ecology.

 

 The San Francisco Estuary Institute's study of the Napa River ecosystem  was a project that brought together a wide alliance of stakeholders, notes Robin Grossinger (right), and developed information that could be used for multiple purposes.

 

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