Thursday, June 30, 2011

Optimism on sorting Bristol's transport problems

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The Bristol Evening Post says 'Bristol's metro is not as far off track as you might think'. I hope they are right and can help build up momentum for change on this issue. As many of my blog posts show I'm in favour of a Greater Bristol Integrated Transport Authority that implements a sustainable transport plan. History points to lack of agreement and cooperation between the local authorities though. If agreement and cooperation is reached they still need to get the process of decision making right: exploring the situation; formulating problems, opportunities and systems of interest; identifying feasible and desirable changes; taking actions; and re-exploring etc as appropriate. They need to fully involve as wide a range of people as possible right from the start, ensure good quality, comprehensive information is widely disseminated, get genuine cross-party and cross-organisational cooperation, agree the right goals, get finances sorted, assess technologies fairly and broadly, find a combination of technical, behavioural and socio-economic change that will consistently take us in a firmly sustainable direction... Its nothing like as straightforward and obvious as this Post report - which has a strong technocratic, techno-optimist slant - suggests.

Ocean dumping that fights climate change

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Really interesting article in the latest Green World magazine called Save the whale, Save Ourselves? by Dr Luke Rendell from the University of St Andrews. It turns out that saving whales would not only protect magnificent species themselves - it would also help protect the human from climate change. Nice example of joined up, systems, thinking. Oceans absorb an awful lot of climate changing carbon emissions. However, the amount absorbed depends in part on the amount of iron present in sea water. Experiments where iron has been dumped into the ocean have shown increased, temporary plant growth and thus increased carbon uptake - but such artificial dumping could itself be highly damaging and unsustainable. If only there was a good source of iron, naturally available in-situ - there is and its called whale poo! Whales eat eg krill, or squid...concentrate and naturally make available iron to plants in the sea in their poo (eg Humpback Whale poo pictured). So, protect whales, whale numbers increase, whale poo increases, ocean plant growth is improved, more carbon is taken up and this helps fight climate change, which helps us through...natural carbon capture and storage. We should protect whales whatever mind you.