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Pakistan just planted one billion trees to tackle deforestation and climate change


While the US president complains that his country is being treated unfairly and others aren’t pulling their weight, others are in fact pulling their weight. In less than two years, a province in Pakistan just planted 1 billion trees.

Pakistani provincial leader Imran Khan started the Billion Tree Tsunami Afforestation Project in 2015 and it now reached fruition. In less than two years, 1,000,000,000 trees were planted, even faster than anticipated (by the end of 2017). This is just one province in one country.

You don’t even need to care for the environment to understand why this is a good idea — it’s not just that they store CO2, trees provide a whopping number of environmental services. They regulate water regimes by intercepting rainfall and regulating its flow through the hydrological system.  They maintain and ensure soil quality, preventing erosion, and they’re key components in a wide array of ecosystems. 

“If you plant trees, we have discovered, by the river banks it sustains the rivers. But most importantly, the glaciers that are melting in the mountains, and one of the biggest reasons is because there has been a massive deforestation. So, this billion tree is very significant for our future,” Khan, leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, told Voice of America.

We’re also dealing with a deforestation planetary crisis. According to the World Bank data, the planet has lost 1.3 million square kilometers of forests since 1990. This is why the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) set up the Bonn Challenge in 2011. The Bonn Challenge calls for the global restoration of 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded lands by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030. So far, less than 30 countries have signed up to the challenge, but even so, there are reasons for optimism. This milestone achieved in Pakistan is one of them, one which will inspire others, Inger Anderson, director general of the IUCN says.

“IUCN congratulates the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa [where the trees were planted] on reaching this momentous milestone,” Anderson said. “The Billion Tree Tsunami initiative is a true conservation success story, one that further demonstrates Pakistan’s leadership role in the international restoration effort and continued commitment to the Bonn Challenge.”

Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, Pakistan. Image via VOA.

Pakistan is one of the countries experiencing the most deforestation, and also one of the most at risk of global warming. Decades and decades of deforestation have cleared the country to the point where only 3% of it is covered by forests. Nowadays, the government in the north-western region has banned the cutting and felling of most trees in the area, but the so-called “timber mafia” still operates around the region, illegally destroying trees and forests. While enforcing the law is still problematic, projects such as this one could determine the local communities to play a more active role. Up until now, this is exactly what they’ve been doing.

“But we could not have done it if the local communities were not involved,” Khan said. “The local communities first grew the nurseries and then amongst them people who then protected the trees, the saplings when they were planted. It is one of the most successful experiments ever, and we have 85 percent survival rate.”

In order to ensure the success of this story, over 13,000 small-scale nurseries, producing up to 25,000 saplings each, have been involved in the project. The provincial government offered a cash advanced and a guaranteed purchase after the trees mature. Several species were planted, including pines, walnuts, and eucalyptus, officials say. The estimated cost of this project was $123 million, but it’s not just the trees — the project also generated green jobs, and empowered unemployed youth and women in the province. Given its success, it’s been decided that an additional $100 million will be allocated to maintain the project through June 2020. This will ensure even more environmental services and benefits for the locals, the entire country, and the entire world.

“If the trend continues, there will be more birds , there will be more microbes, there will be more insects  , so there will be more animals  , so more habitats. The ecosystem will kind of literally revive in certain places. There will be more rains because we do need rains,” Hamaad Khan Naqi, WWF-Pakistan’s director general, told VOA.
The Kitchen Sink / Re: Trump declares opioid crisis a national emergency
« Last post by edpell on Today at 01:27:10 PM »
Give Afghanistan back to the natives and 90% of supply will be gone.
The Kitchen Sink / Massive rally against free speech in Boston
« Last post by edpell on Today at 01:25:54 PM »
Well, it looks like everything is going to plan.
Energy / NASA to Stop a Doomsday Supervolcano by Stealing its Heat
« Last post by azozeo on Today at 01:02:38 PM »

Beneath Yellowstone National Park is a giant volcano. The heat from this volcano powers all of the park's famous geysers and hot springs, so most tourists probably don't worry about having tons of hot magma under their feet. But perhaps they should: The Yellowstone supervolcano is a disaster waiting to happen.

The supervolcano erupts about every 600,000 years, and it's been about that long since the last eruption. That means the volcano could erupt any day now, and if it does it'll send enough dust and ash into the sky to blot out the sun for years, along with blowing a 25-mile-wide crater in the western U.S. That's why a group of NASA scientists and engineers are developing a plan to prevent an eruption by stealing the volcano's heat.

Volcanoes like Yellowstone spend hundreds or thousands of years gradually building up heat until they reach a critical point, and then they erupt. But outlets like geysers and hot springs can bleed out some of that heat, delaying the inevitable eruption.

NASA's plan is to drill a hole into the side of the volcano and pump water through it. When the water comes back out, it'll be heated to over 600 degrees, slowly cooling the volcano. The team hopes that given enough time, this process will take enough heat from the volcano to prevent it from ever erupting.

As a bonus, the scientists are proposing to use the heated water as a source of geothermal energy, potentially powering the entire Yellowstone region with heat from the volcano that wants to destroy it. A geothermal generator could produce energy at around $0.10 per kWh, competitive with other energy sources.

Of course, this plan is the definition of "long-term." In order to siphon off enough heat to neutralize the threat of the volcano, the geothermal generator would have to be run continuously for hundreds or thousands of years. But on the flipside, that means thousands of years of free geothermal energy.

NASA hopes its proposal will be adopted soon—after all, it's only a matter of time before the volcano erupts—and that their idea will be implemented at other supervolcanoes across the world. Hopefully these generators will be in place before any of them decide to explode.
Agelbert Newz / Short Videos
« Last post by agelbert on Today at 10:56:26 AM »
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Article that accompanied the above videos:
The Kitchen Sink / Re: Google and Yale
« Last post by edpell on Today at 09:51:59 AM »
I seek to be a favored pet of the AIs. Hasn't anyone watched the movie the day the Earth Stood Still?
SUN ☼ / Re: The Path of Totality: The Last Great Adventure
« Last post by DoctorWhom on Today at 06:52:51 AM »
AI is the beginning of the adventure. Default ape neurology will be a quickly forgotten stepping stone.

It's time for the Universe to establish an Earth capable of fostering intelligence.
SUN ☼ / Re: The Path of Totality: The Last Great Adventure
« Last post by RE on Today at 05:53:05 AM »
The leg of the Last Great Adventure from Seattle to Spokane was once again exhausting.

K-Dog got my crippled ass to the Seattle Airport around 5AM after a 4AM Wake Up Call.  Then the Wheelchair Jockeys got me to the gate and down to the tarmac to get on the regional prop-jet puddle jumper, where I drageed myself up the portable stairs into the plane.   Thank god for handrails!  I refused getting a hydraulic lift.

The flight was on-time, my pickup ride was not.  Brian set his phone for 7:15PM instead of AM.  I ended up waiting for him longer than it took to fly from Seattle to Spokane.

We spent until 4:30PM getting his Toyota Pickup with topper Prepped for the Bugout to the TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN☼.

First order of bizness was to go through Brian's old camping gear to see what he already had that we did not need to buy.  Fortunately, he just moved into a new Doomstead and recently went through all his stuff, so it was already very organized.  We got sleeping bags, tent, camp stoves, cooking gear, a table, some camping chairs, tarps and numerous other basic items this way.  Brian got the job of loading the preps into the Toyota while I sat on a Milk Crate and Supervised.  lol.  The Toyota bed and back seat was now about half full at this point.

Once loaded, we ran into our first glitch, my Smart Phone has been acting cranky, and without it I would have no internet connection at the campsite.  I would go insane for 4 days with no net connection!  :o  Besides. how could I report from the Path of Totality without a net connection?  The problem was the battery, which is 4 years old and shot.   It was very slow in taking a charge, and getting very hot.  Too much internal resistance.

We went on the net to Google Batt sellers in Couer d'Alene, and by some miracle Batts & Bulbs had ONE of my Batts!  This is a 4 year old model phone and the batt is not usually in stock anywhere.  So the first leg of the prep run was to Batts & Bulbs to pick this up.

After that, we headed over to Wally World to pick up some missing camping gear as well as the FOOD for this Bugout.  I had what I *thought* was a well stocked list that could keep us going for at least a week if the Woodstock Traffic getting out of the Path of Totality. "The New  York State Thruway's CLOSED, man!"  Brian however kept throwing in more stuff not on the list, and the result is a larder that either would last a month at least  for me, Brian & K-Dog, or can feed everyone who shows up at the same campgrounds as us. lol.

Jamming all this shit into the Toyota in the Walmart Parking Lot takes another 20 minutes, and now the bed of the Toyota is 90% full, but there are still a couple of missing Premium Camping Gear items I want that we need to pick up at Cabela's.  So we head over there, make the purchases and are just about able to jam them into the Toyota.  Finally, around 4:30PM we get on the road to Rexburg, ID, site of our campgrounds and directly on the center line of the Path of Totality.

It was pretty clear sailing and I set the goal of making it to at least halfway to Rexburg, which means getting past Missoula.  Which we did, but by 8:30PM we were both exhausted and hadn't eaten.  As we approached Missoula, there were numerous motels and expensive lodges and Brian wanted to stop, but I was adamant we needed to get past Missoula before calling it a day.  So we passed Missoula.

Problem was, as soon as we got to the east side of Missoula, everything disappeared.  There is close to nothing between Missoula and Butte.  So it was starting to look like we might be stuck trying to get some shut-eye sleeping in the car seats.  By some miracle though, we pulled off for a gas fillup in Clinton, and Poor Henry's Bar & Grill was nearby where we went for dinner.  Brian had a Prime Rib sandwich he said was very good.  I ate nothing but had a micro brew IPA which was very good too.  We then talked to the waitress who said there were two Bates Motels in Drummond, about 30 minutes further east.  First one had no rooms, but the call to the second one had ONE room left.  We reserved it, finished dinner and bolted for the Bates Motel.

I slept from about 10PM to 4AM, which is a lot for me at one stretch, and now am up with enough energy to recap yesterday's events   We'll probably head out of here around 8AM to finish off the drive to Rexburg, about 4 more hours further up the road.  K-Dog is somewhere behind us on the road, I think he left sometime last night and has a longer drive than we do.  Assuming we beat the real crush of traffic into Rexburg, we should arrive around 1PM to begin setting up camp.

Next report after camp is set up, probably late Saturday.


 Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, has excoriated President Trump for his equivocating response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., and urged him to apologize or risk subjecting the country to “an unraveling of our national fabric.”

Mr. Romney’s remarks, posted on Facebook on Friday, mark some of the strongest language from a Republican against Mr. Trump after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville and an attack by a driver that left a woman dead. Mr. Trump, on Tuesday, said “both sides” were to blame for Saturday’s deadly violence.

“Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn,” Mr. Romney wrote. “His apologists strain to explain that he didn’t mean what we heard. But what we heard is now the reality, and unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence an unraveling of our national fabric.”

Mr. Trump is scheduled to have a rally in Phoenix next week, raising concern about more possible violence. The mayor of Phoenix, Greg Stanton, said in a Twitter post on Wednesday that he was “disappointed” that the president would hold a political event “as our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville.” Mr. Stanton, a Democrat, urged Mr. Trump to delay the visit.

In his message to the president, Mr. Romney also noted that United States military leaders had distanced themselves from the president.
Continue reading the main story

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Recent Comments
William Kiper 6 hours ago

Failed candidate speaking out to create news and publicity for himself.
Martha 6 hours ago

Are you kidding? A man pf principle and courage? Romney is among the most unprincipled politicians out there. He proved it when he cozied up...
Alice F. 6 hours ago

Why can't we who voted for Obama stop our nit-picking and just thank Mr. Romney for his honesty and decency in speaking out against Trump? ...

    See All Comments Write a comment

“Our allies around the world are stunned and our enemies celebrate; America’s ability to help secure a peaceful and prosperous world is diminished. And who would want to come to the aid of a country they perceive as racist if ever the need were to arise, as it did after 9/11?” Mr. Romney said. “In homes across the nation, children are asking their parents what this means. Jews, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims are as much a part of America as whites and Protestants. But today they wonder. Where might this lead? To bitterness and tears, or perhaps to anger and violence?”

Mr. Romney called for the president to apologize.

“He should address the American people, acknowledge that he was wrong, apologize,” Mr. Romney wrote. “State forcefully and unequivocally that racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville.”

Mr. Romney was a leading contender to be Mr. Trump’s secretary of state, before the president chose Rex W. Tillerson. He has generally been muted in the controversies of the Trump administration.

But he was among the loudest of Mr. Trump’s critics during the campaign: At one point, he derided Mr. Trump as a “phony, a fraud” and warned of damage to the Republican party if he became the nominee. Mr. Romney also said during the campaign that he had concerns about Mr. Trump’s comments appealing to racists.

“I don’t want to see trickle-down racism,” Mr. Romney said on CNN in June 2016. “I don’t want to see a president of the United States saying things which change the character of the generations of Americans that are following. Presidents have an impact on the nature of our nation. And trickle-down racism, trickle-down bigotry, trickle-down misogyny — all of these things are extraordinarily dangerous to the heart and character of America.”

Mr. Romney added, “I think his comments time and again appeal to the racist tendency that exists in some people, and I think that’s very dangerous.”

On Friday, Mr. Romney closed his Facebook statement saying now was a “defining moment” for Mr. Trump.

“But much more than that, it is a moment that will define America in the hearts of our children,” he wrote. “They are watching, our soldiers are watching, the world is watching. Mr. President, act now for the good of the country.”

Other Republicans have lashed out against Mr. Trump for his remarks, as well.

On Tuesday, Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican and presidential hopeful in 2016, said white nationalists in Charlottesville were entirely at fault for the deadly violence in Charlottesville.

“The #WhiteSupremacy groups will see being assigned only 50% of blame as a win,” Mr. Rubio said on Twitter moments after Mr. Trump’s remarks. “We can not allow this old evil to be resurrected.”
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