Pyridine and North East England contamination

Dead crabs and other marine life

https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/22858596.pyridine-caused-mass-north-east-sea-life-deaths

The information on Pyridine states:

“Pyridine appears as a clear colorless to light yellow liquid with a penetrating nauseating odor. Density 0.978 g / cm3. Flash point 68 °F. Vapors are heavier than air. Toxic by ingestion and inhalation. Combustion produces toxic oxides of nitrogen.CAMEO Chemicals

Pyridine is a colorless liquid with an unpleasant smell. It can be made from crude coal tar or from other chemicals. Pyridine is used to dissolve other substances. It is also used to make many different products such as medicines, vitamins, food flavorings, paints, dyes, rubber products, adhesives, insecticides, and herbicides. Pyridine can also be formed from the breakdown of many natural materials in the environment.CDC-ATSDR Toxic Substances Portal

Pyridine is an azaarene comprising a benzene core in which one -CH group is replaced by a nitrogen atom. It is the parent compound of the class pyridines. It has a role as an environmental contaminant. It is a mancude organic heteromonocyclic parent, a monocyclic heteroarene, an azaarene and a member of pyridines.ChEBI”

https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/pyridine

The region is experiencing a push just now as aBrexit inspired ‘Freeport’ and dredging is part of the preparation:

https://www.teessidefreeport.com/

Consider the facts around dredging:

“Dredging is the act of removing silt and other material from the bottom of bodies of water”

https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/dredging.html

In the case of the river Tees, a site of centuries of toxic waste allowed to pollute the river when there was no regulation, and so all life in the river died.

Able-UK dredged, 2014

To clear out the silt, dredging began in 2014:

https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/business/business-news/major-dredging-work-able-uk-7536063

The work of dredging has to be maintained to keep the port clear:

https://www.dredgingtoday.com/2020/03/04/tshd-heortnesse-arrives-at-ap-tees

According to noaa.gov:

“Dredging is also performed to reduce the exposure of fish, wildlife, and people to contaminants and to prevent the spread of contaminants to other areas of the water body. This environmental dredging is often necessary because sediments in and around cities and industrial areas are frequently contaminated with a variety of pollutants. These pollutants are introduced to waterways from point sources such as sewer overflows, municipal and industrial discharges, and spills; or may be introduced from nonpoint sources such as surface runoff and atmospheric deposition”

In which case, if this was environmental dredging, the contaminants should not have entered the North Sea, but should have been safely disposed of where toxins could not even enter groundwater.

https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/21121371.arguments-continue-dredging-tests-river-tees

Teesside was famous for steelmaking, plus many other industries which made the air above a yellow smog for decades:

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/a?_ref=20

https://revisionworld.com/gcse-revision/geography/industry/heavy-industry-example-teeside-uk

The answer to this poisoning of marine life must be found and action taken to protect sea life in future from whatever mistaken error was made in this instance.

https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/thorough-crab-deaths-report-dubbed-26030691

If the cause was not dredging, then it might have been a virus:

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/other/unknown-virus-is-likely-cause-of-crab-deaths/ar-AA16BTgW

And then, as Teesside is one of the new Freeports, we must ensure strict biosecurity:

https://emcsindustries.com/helping-you-to-reduce-pollution-and-guard-aquatic-biosecurity/

How did a new pathogen arrive in these waters?:

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20230120-new-pathogen-likely-culprit-for-mass-crab-deaths-uk-study

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Desalination, long term solution to Drought

https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-who-rely-on-desalination.html

From the above map we learn Saudi Arabia has the most desalination plants in the world:

“eight plants using the reverse osmosis technology and 12 using the multi-stage distillation process. The country has the largest floating desalination plant in the world with a capacity of producing up to 882,867 cubic feet.”

United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Israel operate most of the world’s plants, design and build them for other countries.

https://www.water.vic.gov.au/water-grid-and-markets/desalination/desalination-background/desalination-history

The above provides a history of desalination, which they tell us has been understood by humans for thousands of years.

….”Greek sailors used to boil water to evaporate fresh water away from the salt, and Romans used clay filters to trap salt.”

The World Bank reports that at least 80 countries have water shortages and 2 billion people lack access to clean water. More disturbingly, the World Health Organization has reported that 1 billion people lack enough water to simply meet their basic needs, unfortunately in many countries water is scarce or contaminated.

Australia’s experience with desalination includes wood-fired stills at the Coolgardie goldfields 100 years ago, solar ponds at Coober Pedy, and electrodialysis for the first plant at Yulara.

There are about 270 desalination plants in Australia, most of them small-scale plants to desalinate seawater or brackish water for a range of uses. This includes drinking water supplies for communities or tourist destinations (e.g. Kangaroo and Rottnest islands), industrial processes, irrigation of sports grounds, and agricultural uses.

Desalination plants have been constructed in major Australian coastal cities to produce large amounts of drinking water for urban populations.

https://complete-water.com/resources/the-history-of-reverse-osmosis#when


The importance of the history and application of reverse osmosis is explained in the above article. Here are some timeline facts:

…..”Osmosis has taken place for millions of years and happens in our bodies every day.

The process of osmosis through semipermeable membranes was first observed in a laboratory setting in 1748  by Jean-Antoine Nollet, using a pig’s bladder as a membrane. He proved that a solvent could pass selectively through a semi-permeable membrane through the process of natural osmotic pressure and the solvent will continually enter through the cell membrane until dynamic equilibrium is reached on both sides of the bladder.

Over the next 200 years, osmosis was only a phenomenon observed in the laboratory. In 1949, the University of California at Los Angeles was the first to look to osmosis and semipermeable membranes for a solution of removing salt from seawater. Researchers from both the University of California and the University of Florida successfully produced fresh water from seawater in the mid-1950s, however, the product was not commercially viable due to high flux. John Cadotte, of FilmTec Corporation, later discovered that membranes with particularly high flux and low salt passage could be made by interfacial polymerization of m-phenylenediamine and trimesoyl chloride. By 2001, over 15,00 desalination plants were up and running, or planned for, around the world.

https://aqueum.com/water-treatment/unit-processes/desalination/msf/

The above link explains the desalination plant design which precede the American designed reverse osmosis system.

Multi-stage flash has been superseded by reverse osmosis. Older MSF plants are not environmentally friendly and they are costly, but when introduced were providing vital drinking and irrigation water to desert lands.

Multi-stage flash (MSF) is a thermal desalination process.  It distills water by boiling it under vacuum (also known as flashing), then condensing the pure water vapour.  It uses multiple shell and tube heat exchangers called stages.

MSF was the market leader in terms of sea water desalination for many years.  Around 2009 reverse osmosis overtook MSF as the most popular in terms of installed sea water desalination capacity.

Israel has recently built a highly sophisticated reverse osmosis plant which provides drinking and fresh irrigation water to land hit by 6 years of drought in southern Israel. Gaza lies in the same region but has no such facility although it lies on the coast.

Now Israel has achieved such a respected name for what it has achieved it is building a desalination plant, based in San Diego, California.

“Fast emerging technologies are now making desalination a viable proposition not only for the arid areas of the world but for places not usually associated with water shortages. IDE Technologies, a leading water sector Israeli company which is internationally recognized as a pioneer and leader in the delivery of sophisticated water solutions, is leading the charge.”

Of the new California contract they proudly state:

“Providing a new source of water in a state that has long suffered severe droughts, the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant will be quenching the thirst of roughly 10 percent of San Diego County, according to IDE. Employing advanced pretreatment and seawater reverse osmosis technologies, the plant is able to generate potable water of the highest quality while significantly reducing energy consumption.”

There are many coastal countries in the world whose peoples would not be dying from years of famine caused by long term drought if these same plants were to be built under a rescue plan. Then they could provide for themselves and not need costly aid from foreign intervention. No person should be without fresh, clean water.

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Wobbly polar vortex threat

How a wobbly polar vortex brings cold weather

“Judah Cohen, a climatologist at MIT and the director of seasonal forecasting at Atmospheric and Environmental Research, told Newsweek that, as average global temperatures rise, winter temperatures are increasing at a slower rate than expected.”

As the current dramatic winter storm hits Canada and particularly most parts of the US except California, again- as in 2014 – we learn the cause is a ‘wobbly polar vortex’ as it strikes vehemently down on the continent. See the 2014 coverage:

https://www.climate.gov/news-features/event-tracker/wobbly-polar-vortex-triggers-extreme-cold-air-outbreak

Another useful explanation at:

https://www.treehugger.com/polar-vortex-linked-to-climate-change-5112639

Here are some points from the above article, :

By

Olivia Rosane

Updated February 16, 2021 01:24PM EST

Fact checked by

Haley Mast

Normally, the polar vortex swirls from west to east in the stratosphere above the Earth’s poles, keeping cold air over the Arctic and Antarctica.5 At the same time, the jet stream also circulates, keeping warm air to its south and cold air to its north. 

Sometimes in the winter, the Arctic stratosphere will heat up through an event known as a Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW).6 This causes the winds keeping the polar vortex in place to weaken or even reverse, which in turn weakens the jet stream, making it wavier. The cold Arctic air is then brought down into the mid-latitudes. 

The polar vortex itself is not a new phenomenon, and NOAA says the term likely originated in 1853.

………the Arctic has been warming two to three times faster than the rest of the planet on average, and a growing body of observational research links this Arctic warming with extreme winter weather in Eurasia and North America, which has in fact increased in the past two decades7.8 

A 2018 paper found that extreme cold and snowfall in the eastern U.S. were more common when the Arctic was warmest.9 ……..

Another 2020 study found that the melting of sea ice in the Barents and Kara Seas was associated with a weaker polar vortex in mid-January to late-February, which was typically displaced over Eurasia.10 

https://les-yeux-du-monde.fr/actualite/situations-decryptees/43689-russie-arctique-quelle-lutte-influence

At the same time, sea ice melt near Greenland and eastern Canada was associated with a weaker polar vortex from December to early February, that was displaced over Europe.

This trend is a problem for both the U.S. and Europe, and the Arctic itself.

https://max.nwstatic.co.uk/newsimages2016/weekly/20181230/750x542x3909.jpg.pagespeed.ic.ZFG0azWeGU.jpg

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Servers that gobble electricity

Many billions of us now depend on internet servers to carry out the most vital to the most trivial day to day human involvement.

Like the air we breathe, we expect it to be there. But there are many threats to its future.

Climate change events such as Californian wildfires, plus dependence on massive energy consumption have not been designed into present systems resilience planning.

https://www.science.org/content/article/climate-change-threatens-supercomputers?utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DailyLatestNews&utm_content=alert&et_rid=330717162&et_cid=4443437&

Backup power can only be generators, and we run them on diesel. Fuel is finite, particularly oil based. So servers backed up by generators when there is an oil supply shortage is maybe not going to be the whole answer. Would you give priority to supplying diesel to servers over hospital generators?

https://www.theregister.com/2022/10/24/aws_irish_datacenter_diesel/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_content=article

And then there is the huge drain on energy by the global system banking industry with the additional drain from servers for cryptocurrency.

….”research by ARK Investment Management found the Bitcoin ecosystem consumes less than 10% of the energy required for the traditional banking system. While it’s true the banking system serves far more people, cryptocurrency is still maturing and, like any industry, the early infrastructure stage is particularly intensive.”

Computer systems require air conditioning to keep their locations cool. In Saudi Arabia it can take over 700,000 barrels of oil a day to run the nation’s total power plants.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-21/saudis-stuck-home-for-summer-burn-oil-to-power-air-conditioners

According to this company:

https://www.ecocooling.co.uk/applications/data-centre-evaporative-cooling

“The use of electricity in the IT sector has both financial and environmental significance. Many data centres consume as much electricity in their cooling systems as in their servers. This has both cost and power availability implications. It is believed the IT sector has a bigger carbon footprint than air travel and consumes over 5% of the developed world’s electricity. Many operators want to reduce their impact on the environment by consuming less energy.”

Leading on from my previous blog about ultrafine particulates found in the air we breathe, this company avoid that harm…..They say:

“When fresh air is used in a data centre there can be a risk of either particulate or gaseous contamination.  The quality of the air in the locality of the data centre can affect the feasibility of the use of fresh air. It is now normal to fit filtration to a minimum of EU4/G4 standards. EcoCooling would usually advise dual filtration for IT installations.  Air intake filtration (pre-filter jackets) is designed to eliminate potential contamination from external air. In addition cartridge filters can be used in either ducting or as replacement ceiling tiles to filter the recirculated air.”

As far as I am aware all filters are manufactured using petroleum based materials and are thus not biodegradable. They will be tossed into landfill after use and therefore become a plastic contaminant of groundwater.

Looking back on a 2017 blog about Twitter building infrastructure to support the platform:

https://blog.twitter.com/engineering/en_us/topics/infrastructure/2017/the-infrastructure-behind-twitter-scale

To save money, Elon Musk has said he was cancelling the Twitter use of servers in the Netherlands.

https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-deep-cuts-plan-seeks-server-cost-cuts-report-2022-11?op=1

The Netherlands server facilities are extensive:

https://host9x.com/netherlands-dedicated-servers.html

The Netherlands currently relies on these sources of energy:

https://www.trade.gov/country-commercial-guides/netherlands-energy

Distributing heat generated by data centres to local homes is a new and ‘about time too’ initiative:

https://www.theregister.com/2022/12/21/datacenter_district_heating/

Let us not forget the recent development of crypto currencies which depend on rows of computers working flat out 24/7:

Crypto miners are becoming a hazard to local communities:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/a-crypto-mine-is-making-life-a-daily-hell-for-a-small-town-in-north-carolina

We must not allow harm to the environment when building facilities which involve crypto mining. The cost-benefit analysis must put quality of the environment first, as should all new industrial sites.

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Air Quality: particulate pollution

Check out how safe your air is today in your part of the world by consulting this constantly updating map:

https://aqicn.org/map/world

Then consider, on top of many pollutants you know about, the one called ‘particulate pollutants.

Definition below from:

https://www.toppr.com/guides/chemistry/environmental-chemistry/particulate-pollutants

“Particulate matter pollution or particulate pollution is one of the deadliest types of air pollution in India and on a global level. The primary reason for the rise in particulate pollution, type of air pollution, is because of human activities. Major sources of particulate matter emission are factories, power stations, incinerators, industries, automobiles, and diesel generators. All of this is anthropogenic sources or due to human activities…..”

From https://i1.wp.com/eschool.iaspaper.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/particulate-pollutants.png

As an asthmatic I am always alert to such threats, but respiratory and heart and lung problems are reaching deadly levels due to industrial endeavours.

Governments are monitoring levels of the ultrafine invasive particles described here:

“………the most damaging particles are the smaller particles, known as PM10 and PM2.5. PM10 refers to particles with a diameter smaller than 10 microns (10µm) – that’s 100 times smaller than a millimetre. PM2.5 refers to particles with a diameter smaller than 2.5 microns, and these are known as fine particles. The smallest fine particles, less than 0.1 micron in in diameter, are called ultrafine particles………..while PM10 can reach your airways. Fine particles (PM2.5) may reach the breathing sacs deep in your lungs, and ultrafine particles may even cross into your blood stream. These particles can also carry toxic chemicals that are linked to cancer.”

https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/air-pollution/types

Countries both monitor and warn people if the Air Quality Index is unsafe,for example, Qatar:

https://www.iqair.com/qatar

It isn’t easy to monitor the ultrafine PM2 particles. NASA report says:

Jun 23, 2021

“Early in the pandemic, it was expected that satellite imagery around the world would show cleaner air as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns. But not all pollutants were taken out of circulation. For tiny airborne-particle pollution, known as PM 2.5, researchers using NASA data found that variability from meteorology obscured the lockdown signals when observed from space.

PM 2.5 describes the mass of nose-level particles, often produced anthropogenically, that are smaller than 2.5 micrometers, or roughly 30 times smaller than the width of a human hair. PM 2.5 is small enough to linger in the atmosphere, and, when inhaled, is associated with increased risk of heart attack, cancer and a host of other implications for human health.”

Nose-level particles attacking our health have been combined with the severe acute respiratory syndrome ( SARS) coronavirus attacks which invade our bodies through our nasal passages.

We have been double whammied!

Research in the Francis Crick Institute recently found “as someone’s lungs breathe in excessive amounts of PM2.5 — simply by being outside in polluted areas — potentially-cancerous cells are more likely to grow in the lungs, leading to lung cancer”

If we read:

https://www.stateofglobalair.org/health/pm

we see the facts laid out before us with the headline:

Health Impacts of PM2.5

“Fine-particle outdoor air pollution is the largest driver of air pollution’s burden of disease worldwide.”

Asia and Africa see the highest burden of disease from PM2.5.

The information gathered suggests:

“Together, population growth and aging of the global population are estimated to account for more than half of the increased deaths attributed to PM2.5 exposure over the past decade.”

Meteorological factors influence pollution:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26247953/

Industrial activity in one country can produce aerosols containing high PM2.5 levels which can be blown by winds into another.

For example, PM 2.5 pollution caused by the formation of secondary aerosols, especially nitrate, was carried from the US to Ontario in Canada.

https://theconversation.com/a-melting-arctic-and-weird-weather-the-plot-thickens-37314

Arctic ice remodeled Asian weather patterns, depriving industrial China of the natural wind-ventilation patterns it had come to depend on, and, as a result, blanketing much of the country’s north in an unbreathable smog.13 An obtuse-seeming metric called the Air Quality Index categorizes the risks according to an idiosyncratic unit scale tabulating the presence of a variety of pollutants: the warnings begin at 51–100, and at 201–300 include promises of “significant increase in respiratory effects in the general population.” The index tops out with the 301–500 range, warning of “serious aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly” and “serious risk of respiratory effects in the general population”; at that level, “everyone should avoid all outdoor exertion.” The Chinese “airpocalypse” of 2013 doubled the high end of that upper range, reaching a peak Air Quality Index of 993, and scientists studying the phenomenon suggested that China had inadvertently invented an entirely new and unstudied kind of smog, one that combined the “pea soup” pollution of industrial-era Europe and the small-particulate pollution that has lately contaminated so much of the developing world.That year, smog was responsible for 1.37 million deaths in the country. See:

Book: Uninhabitable Earth, by David Wallace-Wells

A study in Nagasaki, for example, showed:

“The correlation analysis results between PM2.5 concentration and meteorological data showed that temperature had a negative, and precipitation had a positive, correlation with PM2.5. There was a threshold in the correlations between humidity and wind speed and PM2.5. The correlation was positive or negative depending on the meteorological variable values, if these were lower or higher than the threshold. From the relationship with wind direction, it can be depicted that the west wind might bring the most pollutants to Nagasaki.”

In Taiwan another study:

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0249694

“revealed respiratory diseases are positively associated with PM2.5 concentrations in different areas of Taiwan”

Lanuse can greatly affect the PM2.5 levels. See:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5451913

Here is an extract from this article:

“The results indicate that the dominant factor affecting PM2.5 pollution in the Nanchang urban area was the traffic conditions. Significant variances of PM2.5 concentrations among different urban functional zones throughout the year suggest that land use types generated a significant impact on PM2.5 concentrations and the impact did not change as the seasons changed. Land use intensity indexes including the building volume rate, building density, and green coverage rate presented an insignificant or counter-intuitive impact on PM2.5 concentrations when studied at the spatial scale of urban functional zones. Our study demonstrates that land use can greatly affect the PM2.5 levels. Additionally, the urban functional zone was an appropriate spatial scale to investigate the impact of land use type on PM2.5 pollution in urban areas.”

Efforts to mitigate and reduce harm are studied in this article about supply chain emissions in India, which suffers a high mortality rate from illnesses caused by people breathing in PM2.5 particulates.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-91438-2

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.1c03957

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Wines and Spirits Industries: the realities of climate change

Around the world people are taking on the challenges of climate change. If they are to continue in their historic industries they must experiment but time is not on their side. Cooperation and sharing knowledge globally is a necessity to stay in business through adversity caused by climate change. Cutting dependence on fossil fuels doesn’t just help industry, it helps the local and global environment.

Wine makers are cooperating with one another to share ideas and set examples of good practice:

“Vintners are changing across the globe. Spain’s Familia Torres has committed to reducing emissions per bottle by 30%. Their actions include use of a biomass boiler that burns old vines and pruning canes, reducing natural gas use by 95%, use of recycled water, wide-scale use of hybrids and electric vehicles, and installation of solar arrays. 53 Torres and Jackson wineries founded International Wineries for Climate Action and encouraged other wineries worldwide to help address the challenges posed by a changing climate. 54”

The above quote from “Our Changing Menu: Climate Change and the Foods We Love and Need”by Michael P. Hoffmann, Carrie Koplinka-Loehr, Danielle L. Eiseman 

Another example of investing in proactive business protection is this famous producer of Tabasco sauce:

“The McIlhenny family of Avery Island, Louisiana, has been making Tabasco sauce for 150 years in the face of hurricanes and storm surges, such as Hurricane Rita, which came close to flooding their production facilities in 2005. They have invested in a 20 ft. (6 m) tall levee, a pump system, and backup generators to help ensure their annual production of 750,000 bottles of Tabasco sauce continues. 73 They are also restoring wetlands to help address the increasing threat of sea level rise. The tenacity and ingenuity of the McIlhenny family should give us hope that the Bloody Mary will be around for a long time, despite the many changes.”

The distilling industry is worth billions of dollars and so can only see benefits in maintaining profits by reducing use of fossil fuels. Many have switched to solar and other renewable energy sources and switched to electric delivery trucks.

Bacardi, the world’s largest family owned spirits company, has halved its water use since 2006, a leader in proactive preparation. It also states on its website:

BACARDI FIRST IN FIGHT AGAINST PLASTIC POLLUTION WITH 100% BIODEGRADABLE SPIRITS BOTTLE

October 21, 2020

Their HQ is Hamilton, Bermuda…..surrounded by ocean and therefore acutely aware of the crisis of plastic pollution, they have been proactive and made this great step forward not to be part of the problem but to be part of the solution.

In addition, as I write this I note:

“December 01, 2022–The 100% plastic free new Bacardi gift packs are a milestone in its mission to remove all single-use plastic from its gifting range by end of 2023.”

We must, each and every one of us, ensure we support this direction of industrial innovation.

Marble Distillery in Colorado saves 4 million gallons of water a year. But it has no choice as the river has shrunk through successive droughts. The Colorado River is one of the principle rivers in the South Western United States and northern Mexico, and a vital source of water for 40 million people. It is around 1,450 miles long and supplies Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Tucson. It is expected to run dry before it reaches the Pacific as climate change keeps reducing the river’s flow as we head toward 2050. Any industry dependent on large amounts of water from this river must adapt, but in the end, perhaps accept the river will no longer be a reliable source of plentiful freshwater in the near future.

Shrinking Lake Mead
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Concept of borders

Each human may have an idea of their own space, and a sense of where they draw their border concept lines. A person may stand too close to us and we will say ‘”don’t crowd me” or “get out of my space!”

A teenager may not permit easy entry to their bedroom, saying “at least knock first!”

We may not like the idea of any stranger walking through our gate and walking straight into our house. That may seem threatening and we could be alarmed. We may lock our gates and doors to avoid that happening.

We may put up walls and fences to stop animals as well as humans walking on to “our land”, even if we are renting the land, whilst we are there it feels like “ours”.

If we live in communities we will have a concept of what it means to “belong” to that community or be alienated from it even if we are in its midst. We may support one another in times of crises, maybe share what we have in times of hardship. We may all fight together against a community perceived enemy. That enemy may threaten our perceived border which may be marked by a river, an irrigation strip, a field or woodland. It may not be clear where the border even is to a stranger.

One of the earliest border disputes actually recorded in history was within what is known now as Iraq. Over 4,700 years ago there was a dispute in the area of the Tigris river. It was an Assyrian land and the Sumerian farming people lived there. Their belief system was of gods who influenced the success or failure of their farming efforts. All early farming still retained the previously nomadic tribal groupings. Thus, this border dispute was between 2 tribes on either side of an irrigation strip. What began about access to some especially fertile land ended as a war with many dead.

Read the story here:

https://www.labrujulaverde.com/en/2020/05/a-4500-year-old-mesopotamian-pillar-contains-the-first-deciphered-inscription-about-border-disputes/

In August 2017 I posted a blog about the movement of people of the Sahara. In it I put this:

 2007, Iain Stewart and joint author John Lynch wrote in their book Earth: the power of the planet, 2007, about a series of events which created the Sahara desertification:

 “A small change in the distribution of incoming solar radiation, due to a subtle change in the Earth’s orbit, had weakened the equatorial storms that fed the African monsoons. Within a few decades, the tropical summer rains that once watered much of Northern Africa had retreated south, and vast areas of woodland and marsh had become parched wastelands. Over the following centuries, the drifting sands of the desert spread north as well, and the ancient peoples who had farmed the once fertile Sahara heartland were pushed out. Part of the exodus moved east to settle a river valley that had previously been too marshy, and so began the Nile civilisation and the age of the pharaohs. Others remained in isolated havens where water was still available, but by 2000 years ago only one group of hardy people was left holding back the desert: the Garmanthians, skilled charioteers who held in check the southward advances of imperial Rome. But on their flank, the advance of the desert was unstoppable. By AD 500, the Garmanthian culture was gone, its people scattered to a nomadic existence and its ruins buried beneath the sand.”

Natural processes on this amazing planet create finite resources which humans utilise in order to improve their survival chances. As the resources run out or become hostile to life, they migrate to find safety, shelter, water and food. Our nomadic life is normal. But migration of humans in a planet of over 8 billion is now much more precarious and difficult.

Before Europeans spread across North America, tribes of indigenous people organised the land into territories for various tribes.

Similarly, as I wrote in an earlier blog in the theme of the Iberian Peninsula, the land was once divided into tribal areas.

And in Scotland:

The sense of territory occurred once nomadic people became farmers and settled in homesteads. But when lands would not be suitable for grazing animals which were owned by farmers, they would go with their animals to seasonal productive pastures and be travellers once more.

I have written, in previous blogs, of this travel-induced behaviour which links with ownership of animals seeking suitable pastures and water. Since humans began domesticating animals or having an interdependent relationship with herds, we are both protectors and exploiters of the animals we need for food and clothing.

But, with land less free on which to graze and find freshwater, fenced borders or limits of movement impede this ancient custom.

Interesting to read about the Sami culture and their ancient history ties to herding reindeer. Now they have to negotiate the route for their herds which once knew no borders.

And whilst they walk over melting permafrost, as in 2016, there is the chance of a repetition of what happened then. A reindeer carcass, once preserved in the permafrost, became exposed to the warming climate air. This released the anthrax spores which had caused its death 75 years earlier. As a result, 2,000 reindeer died, plus one small boy.

At the Mexican border, thousands are suffering bitter cold as the present (Dec 25 to New Year) plummet in temps caused by climate change wreaks havoc across the country.

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Fight the cause of the refugee crisis

The Walk
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Africa, the World’s leading creditor

The huge continent of Africa has been exploited, robbed and cruelly harmed for centuries. Yet we humans originated and evolved in that life giving landscape before the nomadic migrations to explore other lands.

I read Africa is in debt, like most countries of the world. See:

https://developmentreimagined.com/2022/09/26/africandebtcrisisrealstory/

Back in 2017 a documentary was made which explains how money flows away through illicit means from countries who would otherwise be in credit. I just watched that documentary on Netflix:

Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire. 2017 | PG | 1h 17m | True Crime Documentaries. As the British Empire declines, the London banking network creates a corrupt, obscure web of offshore wealth — with a lasting impact on the world today.”

https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/81467124

It explained the creation of the secretive second British Empire, the inner sanctum of the City of London.

I then found other written material on the Internet, and I picked out details relevant to Africa:

“Thus, “20 to 30 per cent of private wealth in many African countries is held in tax havens” and there were “almost 5,000 individuals from 41 African countries with assets of about $6.5 billion” in offshore bank accounts in 2015. In both cases, this type of major corruption is enabled by the (lack of) action of major powers.

The OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), which has its headquarters in Paris, is meant to fight offshore tax havens, yet none of its 38 members is African. [3] Regarding offshore bank accounts, the Tax Justice Network has shown that 10 of the most financially secretive countries fighting to defend bank secrecy practices are all major powers. Amongst them we can find the Cayman Islands, the USA, Switzerland, Hong-Kong and even Luxembourg, Japan and the Netherlands. [4] Numerous scandals these past few years – including Offshore LeaksLuxembourg LeaksSwiss LeaksMauritius Leaks [5], and Luanda Leaks (implicating Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of ex-President of Angola from 1979 to 2017) [6] – have provided evidence that IFFs and “major corruption” are organized “at the top” and have their headquarters in cities in the richest countries, such as New York, London, Paris, Berlin, and Tokyo.”

https://www.cadtm.org/Illicit-Financial-Flows-Africa-is-the-world-s-main-creditor

African people have not contributed to climate change in any major way, yet they suffer the impacts such as drought, resulting in famine, more than other continents. Without the outflows of their wealth being stolen, they could, potentially, coordinate a massive support for their fellow Africans. It seems the rest of the world benefits from their misery.

Zimbabwe
South Sudan
Somalia
The adverse weather conditions have only worsened since 2018

And let us always remember the timeline of European wealth creation which led to empire building and capitalism at its worst. The capture of Africans from their homeland and sending them to work in bondage for hundreds of years ahead:

https://www.preceden.com/timelines/54992-african-slave-trade-1450-1750

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Drought tolerant plants

Microbes living in and on the roots of plants keep them healthy just as the human gut microbes do. During drought conditions, plants increase the microbes which help them stay alive in drought conditions. Researchers have found they can inject more microbes when droughts are extreme, to relieve the stress of the plant.

In home gardens, the UK Royal Horticultural Society lists the variety of plants which have additional features they have evolved to make them drought resistant:

https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/for-places/drought-resistant

“Drought-resistant plants

As climate change presents us with the challenge of gardening with less water, choosing plants to suit our growing conditions becomes paramount.

Quick facts

Top five drought-resistant plants:

Jump to

Introduction

With some conditioning of the soil and careful watering, there is a considerable range of plants that can tolerate dry conditions once they are established.

Practical considerations

  • Plant any silver leaved, less hardy, sun lovers in April so they establish their roots well before winter arrives
  • Try to plant small specimens so that they get used to their growing environment gradually as they develop
  • Adding organic matter to the soil before planting can help to improve both water availability and drainage, but do not add fertiliser, as this can encourage too much lush growth which may flop in summer, require extra watering, and be affected by frost in the winter
  • Use mulches to retain moisture in the soil

Suitable plants

Many drought tolerant plants have silver or grey-green leaves, their light leaf colour reflecting the harsh rays of the sun. Some have a coating of fine hairs on their leaves or stems, helping to trap moisture around the plant tissues.”

Food insecurity is now a big issue for the world with endless threats from serious weather events, conflicts, breakdown of ecosystems due to mismanagement of farmland and so on.

The ongoing heatwaves have reduced major rivers to narrow, silt filled streams such as the Colorado and Mississippi rivers in the US, river Po in Italy, Rhine in Germany to name but a few.

As farmers lose their businesses, solutions are needed and we look to genetic alterations and new farming techniques to transform the ability to keep the food supply going.

Drought resistant crops are being selected by farmers who have found themselves no longer able to plant their usual crops due to climate change impacts.

https://businesswales.gov.wales/farmingconnect/news-and-events/technical-articles/drought-resistant-crops-future

The above article by a Welsh university department explains the new challenges for the future of farming in drought conditions, such as rainwater harvesting, succession planting or switching to winter crops.

The authors underline that globally we are experiencing greater “frequency and severity of drought, heatwaves and flooding are predicted to increase and pose a direct threat to food security across the globe.”

These researchers study the variety of genetic mechanisms which help or hinder crops when faced with unexpectedly arid conditions:

.. ………..”that in barley the movement of gas through the stomata and levels of chemicals (sodium and potassium) inside cells are more important than root length and the density of stomata in the leaves. Interestingly, this evidence indicates that barley relies more on osmotic adjustment at a cellular level than larger changes in morphology like root length. Such adaptations fall into the category of drought tolerance and may guide future breeding strategies.”

Other research is developing mechanisms for growing hops when climate change has damaged recent output. Here the researchers have created seed banks.

Hopsteiner, a global hops breeder supports the doctoral work of scientists cataloguing hop plants which grow in habitats threatened by climate change. They collect samples and grow them in a greenhouse and seeds are stored in a Repository to aid breeders and researchers.

Similarly, in an attempt to study plants which may be under threat, Seed Banks are being created. For example, Repositories in Mozambique are funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation and Farmer Field Schools.

Understanding a crop can lead to breeding an adaptable cultivar which will suit the changing climate. There are ideas for olives – see AdaptaOlive:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/360141320_AdaptaOlive_A_tool_for_assessing_the_impact_of_climate_change_on_olive_crop

As we saw from the devastating and ongoing crises in Pakistan recently, the floods obliterated the livelihoods of farmers along the Indus Valley, a major river. Whether it be drought or flood, the result is zero crop and animal farming.

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