Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Holidays, Friends.

155 Marlee Ave. Apt. 201 Toronto M6B 4B5

All is well here, but I have decided to postpone my Christmas and New Year festivities until May. I’m working hard to get my next book, The Russian Quest for Peace and Democracy, to Lexington Press in March and I need every minute of the time. So I’m skipping the tree, gifts, parties, and even my traditional New Years Day bash this year. I expect the book to be beyond my control by May and I’ll throw a party or two then. I’m enjoying the work a lot.

Why am I behind schedule? Because I was “impresario” of a forum on nuclear weapons that was held in the Toronto City Council Chamber on November 13 and 14. It took a lot of work (17 months!) to get such eminent speakers and arrange video streaming of Mayor Akiba from Hiroshima, Pavel Podvig in Geneva and Rebecca Johnson in London. The whole event worked well. You can read about it in the forthcoming (January) issue of Peace Magazine (see http://www.peacemagazine.org) and watch the whole event on our web site – all the 12 prepared speeches, plus the welcoming speech by Toronto’s Mayor David Miller, plus the question-and-answer sessions after each speech. Do take a look: http://zeronuclearweapons.com and pass this link on to your unconcerned friends, because they need to know what we still have to handle.

Now I am trying to fulfill a request that several speakers made – especially Sen. Douglas Roche, who assured us that if we can get 5,000 short letters (not e-mails) sent to Prime Minister Harper asking for something, he will take note. Other speakers urged us to be sure to combine climate change and nuclear weapons in the same letter. So I’m starting my own campaign to accomplish this, and several peace organizations will join this in January. You can too.

So, as a personal favor, let me ask you to write (on real paper) a short letter to the prime minister (or if you aren’t Canadian, to your president) on behalf of a child (mine is on behalf of Aleksandra and Katarina Ajvazovic of Oakville, Ontario) asking him to save their world by working to (a) create a convention to eliminate nuclear weapons from the planet by 2020, and (b) bring the global concentration of CO2 down to 350 parts per million. That’s all you need to say. Send a copy of it or a note to me; I’ll keep tally. My email is: mspencer@web.net and I thank you for doing this! It’s the best Christmas present you could give me. His address:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister, 80 Wellington Street, Ottawa K1A 0A2

My life has been satisfying but quiet this year. Peace Magazine is going strong. One high point recently has been my purchase of a Kindle, which is a swell way of carrying up to 1500 books in my purse. So far, I have only one book on it, but it’s a good one and I’ll buy more gradually. I love taking it out to read in coffee shops and noticing other people’s staring (enviously, I like to imagine, but probably just curiously).

I just had my knee checked by an orthopedist, expecting to be told I need a metal replacement but he said it’s just a torn ligament — an easy thing to fix with an arthroscope. Wow, how great! I’ve had it for over 20 years and it could have been fixed right away if I’d whined louder. I’ll have it done in January or February.

For several weeks I’ve been trying to direct attention to “biochar” as the most promising way of removing CO2 from the atmosphere and burying it. The Rocky Mountains in BC and Alberta are covered with dead trees killed by the pine beetle, which used to die when winters were cold. They plan to burn those trees and send immense amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. What they should do is build portable ovens in which to turn the trees into charcoal and bury it. The Amazonian Indians did that thousands of years ago and the carbon is still there, sequestered and enriching the soil. It would cost a lot to make charcoal on such a large scale, but it would go a long way to offset the tar sands that Canada is insisting on exploiting, to catastrophic effect. The science has vetted the value of biochar, but the newspapers won’t print my letters to the editor, presuming, I suppose, that I am a crackpot. Just wait. In a year or so they will be covering it.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Erich J. Knight said...

All political persuasions agree, building soil carbon is GOOD.
To Hard bitten Farmers, wary of carbon regulations that only increase their costs, Building soil carbon is a savory bone, to do well while doing good.

Biochar provides the tool powerful enough to cover Farming's carbon foot print while lowering cost simultaneously.

Another significant aspect of bichar is removal of BC aerosols by low cost ($3) Biomass cook stoves that produce char but no respiratory disease emissions. At Scale, replacing "Three Stone" stoves the health benefits would equal eradication of Malaria.
http://terrapretapot.org/ and village level systems http://biocharfund.org/
The Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF).recently funded The Biochar Fund $300K for these systems citing these priorities;
(1) Hunger amongst the world's poorest people, the subsistence farmers of Sub-Saharan Africa,
(2) Deforestation resulting from a reliance on slash-and-burn farming,
(3) Energy poverty and a lack of access to clean, renewable energy, and
(4) Climate change.

The Biochar Fund :
Exceptional results from biochar experiment in Cameroon
http://scitizen.com/screens/blogPage/viewBlog/sw_viewBlog.php?idTheme=14&idContribution=3011
The broad smiles of 1500 subsistence farmers say it all ( that , and the size of the Biochar corn root balls )
http://biocharfund.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=55&Itemid=75

Mark my words; Given the potential for Laurens Rademaker's programs to grow exponentially, only a short time lies between This man's nomination for a Noble Prize.

This authoritative PNAS article should cause the recent Royal Society Report to rethink their criticism of Biochar systems of Soil carbon sequestration;

Reducing abrupt climate change risk using
the Montreal Protocol and other regulatory
actions to complement cuts in CO2 emissions
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/10/09/0902568106.full.pdf+html

There are dozens soil researchers on the subject now at USDA-ARS.
and many studies at The up coming ASA-CSSA-SSSA joint meeting;
http://a-c-s.confex.com/crops/2009am/webprogram/Session5675.html

Research:
The future of biochar - Project Rainbow Bee Eater
http://www.sciencealert.com.au/features/20090211-20142.html

Japan Biochar Association ;
http://www.geocities.jp/yasizato/pioneer.htm

UK Biochar Research Centre
http://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/sccs/biochar/

Carbon to the Soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it.
Cheers,
Erich

PS ; for your Xmas cards


A Visit From Saint Sustainability

'Tis the night before Christmas
and all through the soils
many creatures are stirring
to lessen our toils.

With Vilsack/Salazar in our stockings and Gore/Clinton in our caps,
We can all settle in for a short Christmas nap...

For planting comes early
and we need time enough
for our charcoal to settle
in microbes and duff

Copenhagen will be calling
for carbon to the earth
which will leave us all smiling
full of great mirth

Then from the compost
there came such a clatter
I arouse with my spade fork
to organic matter!

The wee-beasties were popping
in asexual love
the hyphae were shedding
Glomalin gloves
the nematodes writhing
in a holiday feast
a cornucopia for all
from mighty to least

So all the pyrolysis
should scale up, but quick!
to make the Earth jolly
just like Saint Nick!



Thanks for your important work
Erich

10:27 PM  
Blogger TheViewFromHere said...

I don't think that anyone is actually planning on burning the dead trees killed by the pine beetles, are they?
Have you obtained information from somewhere that indicates that there is a "plan to burn those trees"?
I believe that if they burn at all it will be from natural forest fires caused by such things as lightning strikes. Hopefully not deliberate.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Peter Jones said...

Dear Metta,

Noting your focus the following health and social care model
introduced through a website and blog -

http://hodges-model.blogspot.com/

- may be of interest?

Originally created in the UK by Brian E Hodges (Ret.) at Manchester Metropolitan University -

Hodges' Health Career - Care Domains - Model [h2cm]

http://www.p-jones.demon.co.uk/

- can help map health, social care and OTHER issues, problems and solutions. The model takes a situated and multi-contextual view across four knowledge domains:

* Interpersonal;
* Sociological;
* Empirical;
* Political.

Our links pages cover each care (knowledge) domain e.g.
POLITICAL:

http://www.p-jones.demon.co.uk/linksIV.htm

SCIENCES:

http://www.p-jones.demon.co.uk/linksTwo.htm

If I can help publicise events (gratis) please advise with as much notice as possible.

Best regards,

Peter Jones
RMN, RGN, CPN(Cert), PGCE, PG(Dip) COPE, BA (Hons.).
Community Mental Health Nurse for Older Adults,
Independent Scholar and Informatics Specialist
Lancashire
UK
--
h2cm: help 2C more - help 2 listen - help 2 care
http://twitter.com/h2cm

8:18 AM  
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7:11 AM  

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