Canadians Take To The Streets To “Defend Our Climate”

Originally published in the ECOreport. On Saturday, May 10, thousands of Canadians took to the streets to “Defend our Climate.” Demonstrations  were held in every province except Newfoundland, as well as in the Yukon and Nunavik. The Canadian government appears to have leagued itself to the fossil fuel industry and is pushing numerous coal, natural

Canadians Take To The Streets To “Defend Our Climate” was originally published on CleanTechnica.

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Sudden Danger In Forest Thaw (Video)

Vermont ice jam, March 2014
Occasional spring thaws began several weeks ago in parts of the country. As Lewis and Susan Case hiked along Felchner Brook in the placid, mid-March woods of Vermont, they thought they were just making a nice amateur video of a brief walk on a cloudy day.

Suddenly, things changed. A roar smacked into the peaceful silence, and Felchner Brook exploded with hurtling water, ice, and debris.

Tom Skilling, Chicago’s famed weathercaster and meteorologist, explains:

“Flooding brought on by ice dams can hit with frightening strength and speed–as illustrated by this video posted by Bill Morris, National Weather Weather Service-Chicago hydrologist.”

Morris, who reports on Illinois river floods and timing, obtained the terrifying thaw footage from colleagues at the National Weather Service office in Caribou, Maine.

Creek flooding can be spectacular, but river ice jams, like the one on the Delaware on January 9, 2014 (above) cause disaster in many parts of the country. When an ice jam breaks in a river, it can carry the force of a tsunami. The wave is many times bigger than in a small stream. Trees, rocks, and large ice chunks race along with the suddenly freed water. The experts conclude:

“The Cases were lucky because Felchner Brook is small, but anyone caught unawares by a sudden large ice jam release would have little to no chance of survival.”

Breaking ice jams have also been recorded during the past month of thaw in Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Montana, and Wyoming. See YouTube videos here.

Sudden Danger In Forest Thaw (Video) was originally posted on: PlanetSave. To read more from Planetsave, join thousands of others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook (also free), follow us on Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

Magnetic Water Softening Solution Looking For Crowdfunding

Originally published on Ecopreneurist.


For those of us who live in areas with hard water, dealing with the effects of mineral deposits in our bathrooms, kitchens, and water heaters can be not only a total pain in the you-know-what, but can also be an expensive endeavor. Conventional water softeners tend to require regular maintenance and rely on replenishing the salt, which can end up polluting the local water system.

However, a new type of water softening process, which uses magnets instead of a salt resin and is considered maintenance-free, could end up being the most affordable and effective solution for homeowners in hard water areas.

The Akwamag system uses a “High Intensity Multipass” magnetic technology to treat hard water, by converting dissolved minerals into a crystalline structure that isn’t prone to “scaling” plumbing fixtures and which can be easily removed. The process is said to be able to soften an “unlimited capacity” of water and to not require any maintenance, resulting in an eco-friendly and cost-effective water softening solution.

Not only does the average salt-resin water softening system introduce a lot of salt to the local water system (up to 800 pounds of salt each year), but it also uses about 10,000 gallons of water per year, plus an estimated 10 to 25% more water in order to fully rinse clothes, bodies, dishes, etc., so having a more sustainable water softener could have a bigger impact than just reducing scale in home plumbing systems.

According to the company, the device can handle large volumes of water (continuous use), and the design overcomes inefficiencies found in other magnet-based water softening systems.

“Akwamag uses advanced magnetic water softening technology to replace existing water softening products.

Unlike existing water softeners, Akwamag’s patent-pending High Intensity Multipass™ technology can process unlimited water capacity at a fraction of the cost. And because Akwamag is not salt based, homeowners no longer have to worry about purchasing salt every month, or dealing with water waste and salt discharge.”

To get the Akwamag technology to the market, the company has turned to crowdfunding, and their Indiegogo campaign seeks to raise $26,000, with the first units being available to the campaign’s backers as early as July of 2014.

Magnetic Water Softening Solution Looking For Crowdfunding was originally published on CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 50,000 other subscribers: Google+ | Email | Facebook | RSS | Twitter.

EPA And Army Corps Move Today To Safeguard Clean Water

Rural stream (Karen Arnold)

It doesn’t take rocket science to draw a line between pollutants in small streams and wetlands and water quality downstream. Today, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers have united to propose a rule that will strengthen the Clean Water Act, applied to safeguard American water quality since 1972.

The rule will improve protection of the water that one in three Americans rely on to drink. It will apply to over half of America’s streams and 20 million acres of wetlands and will close an increasingly troubling loophole in the law on cooling water permits and oil spill contingency plans, among other impacts.

Polluting industries have led challenges to the Clean Water Act all the way the Supreme Court in 2001 and 2006. Their efforts increased confusion about and complexity within administration of the Act. In September 2013, the EPA moved forward on the issues, releasing a report that makes the scientific case for the rule by demonstrating the vital connection between smaller streams and wetlands and downstream waters. Citizens submitted over 150,000 public comments in support of the findings.

Predictably, oil, gas, and electric utilities, as well as some agriculture, construction, mining, and manufacturing interests, object to the proposed EPA-Army Corps rule. Owners of thousands of miles of fuel pipelines that transect wetlands, factory farms whose manure and fertilizers run off into surface water, and Big Coal, which empties mountaintops into watercourses, oppose the measure.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, which represents the interests of independent not-for-profit, member-owned electric generation, transmission, and distribution utilities, has voiced some of their concerns:

“Such an expansion of Clean Water Act rules would have significant impacts on co-ops by increasing the number and costs of permits needed for distribution and transportation corridor construction and maintenance and substations.”

NRECA serves 40 million people (only 12% of the nation’s population) across the US, yet it owns 42% of America’s electric distribution lines, which cover 75% of the country. Paradoxically, the electric cooperatives are more renewable-friendly than the utility sector as a whole (11% vs 8%).

As conservative forces often do, NRECA states its intentions in an apparently environment-friendly way: “to take all appropriate actions to protect the interests of electric cooperatives and their members to ensure that any Clean Water Act requirements allow utilities as much flexibility as possible to meet environmental goals to enhance water quality through scientifically sound, cost-effective methods.” Key words of debate here: “flexibility,” “scientifically sound,” and “cost-effective.”

Environmental interests note that the commonsense clean water rule does not protect any “new” waters not historically covered under the Clean Water Act. Also, it is consistent with the Supreme Court’s narrow readings of Clean Water Act jurisdiction.

Margie Alt, executive director of Environment America, a federation of 29 statewide, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organizations, comments:

“Whether we look back to the recent spill in West Virginia that left 300,000 people without drinking water [followed intensively by PlanetSave] or ahead to the dead zones that will blight Lake Erie and the Chesapeake Bay this summer, it’s obvious that our waterways are not as clean or safe as we need them to be—-for our drinking water, for recreation, or for the health of our ecosystems and wildlife. Today’s action by the EPA will help ensure that all our waterways get the protection they need so we can enjoy them for years to come.”

Says EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy:

“We are clarifying protection for the upstream waters that are absolutely vital to downstream communities. Clean water is essential to every single American, from families who rely on safe places to swim and healthy fish to eat, to farmers who need abundant and reliable sources of water to grow their crops, to hunters and fishermen who depend on healthy waters for recreation and their work, and to businesses that need a steady supply of water for operations.”

The Huffington Post published “Clearer Protections for Clean Water,” an explanatory blog by McCarthy, less than an hour ago.

The rule should help protect American waters from harmful development and previously unchecked pollution by energy companies. The EPA-Army Corps proposal is now under review at the White House Office of Management and Budget, which must approve it before publication in the Federal Register and acceptance of public comments.


EPA And Army Corps Move Today To Safeguard Clean Water was originally posted on: PlanetSave. To read more from Planetsave, join thousands of others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook (also free), follow us on Twitter, or just visit our homepage.

Wave Energy Project Looking For Support — Crowdfund It!

Can We Harness Ocean Waves to Power Your Home? from Experiment on Vimeo.

Wind energy experts have harnessed the movement of air to produce cheap electricity. The movement of water, waves, is another source of energy being explored and utilized.

To use wave energy to create electricity, one realizes the force of water.

Marcus Lehmann, who is 80% to his $9,622 wave energy funding goal with just 2 days left, inquires, “Can we solve future energy and freshwater crises with the Power of Ocean Waves?”

Marcus and his team clearly think it could help. “Our engineering team at UC Berkeley is developing a new Wave Energy Converter that is able to efficiently harvest this energy,” he writes.

“With your support, we can continue our development towards a first pilot plant in the ocean and want to reward our Top 50 backers with special Thank-You-Packages (details at end of the page)!”

Apparently, this isn’t the same old wave energy technology we’ve been covering for years, and the crew thinks it can be economically competitive. Furthermore, the team already has a prototype:

In our wave tank laboratory, we have developed a proof-of-concept-prototype and have successfully tested the functionality and ability of the converter to cancel waves and generate power.

While solar and wind power are currently cheaper and are more abundant, wave energy also has some advantages. “The main advantage of Wave Energy over Solar and Wind Energy is its high availability, reliability and higher power densities (Solar: 0.3 kW/m2, Wind: 3 kW/m2, Waves: 30 kW/m).”

Here’s more on the funds the team is pursuing and what they will be use for:

ocean waves project

Budget Overview

The budget will be used for:
1. Hydraulic Pumps – Two competing power take-off technologies will be tested separately: a) industrially available double acting reciprocating linear cylinder pumps, and b) large scale diaphragm type pumps.

2. Carpet Material – Carpet materials will be purchased from an industry partner and expert in elastomers.

3. Wave Gages – In order to evaluate the efficiency of the prototype under various sea states, the essential values that are to be determined experimentally are the wave height before and after the device and the generated flux. This will be measured with Wave Gages and a non invasive Electromagnetic Flowmeter.

4. Magnetic Flow Meter – For high accuracy real time measurement of the system’s performance, a magnetic flux measurement instrument will be purchased.

Head on over to the “experiment” page to chip in!

Wave Energy Project Looking For Support — Crowdfund It! was originally published on CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 50,000 other subscribers: Google+ | Email | Facebook | RSS | Twitter.

Solar Power Is A Huge Water Saver (World Water Day Infographic)

Every year on this day since 1993, the community of nations has focused on the importance of fresh water and advocated for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. Severe droughts experienced recently in places like the American West, the Horn of Africa, Russia, China, and Australia have highlighted the fact that humans are rapidly using

Solar Power Is A Huge Water Saver (World Water Day Infographic) was originally published on CleanTechnica.

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