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Petroleum Giant Pulls Out of Tar Sands Projects in Favor of Wind Power

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With a loss of confidence looming over the Keystone XL pipeline, along with a drop in oil prices, many big companies are opting to halt their plans to extract oil from the Alberta tar sounds.

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Within the last year alone, Shell, the French energy company Total, and SunCor Energy of Canada have stopped their contribution to the tar sands projects. Norwegian oil giant Statoil is now the most recent company to pull out.

Statoil pulled its investments from the projects after winning a contract to construct an offshore wind farm in U.S. waters. The company reportedly sold off its tar sand assets within hours of learning of its victory for the wind farm off the coast of New York state.

The option to develop the wind facility put Statoil in the spotlight, particularly as public opinion has shifted from supporting oil extraction to cleaner alternatives. The victory for the oil giant came after a stressful bid process, but the outcome proved worthwhile, and now Statoil has joined a new coordinated program that will develop a series of wind farms off the Atlantic coast.

The Keystone XL pipeline, according to Brian Palmer of OnEarth Magazine, is necessary in order for tar sands projects to become profitable. He said that, without it, “a marginally profitable business [turns] into a completely unprofitable business — and that’s scaring oil producers off of tar sands projects.”

Tar sands oil is a significantly lower quality of version of crude oil, and so it sells for much less than the conventional type. While conventional crude oil is currently being sold for about $80 a barrel, tar sands oil sells at $20 to $30 dollars less. Also important to note is that, while it costs about $25 per barrel to transfer tar sands crude by rail from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico, the Keystone Pipeline would allow an immense cut, from $25 to $9 a barrel.

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If the price of tar sands oil continues to drop, and companies have to pay that extra $15 to $20 for oil-by-rail indefinitely, then suddenly the long-term viability of tar sands project will become very dubious, Palmer says. He also notes:

You need to move huge amounts of equipment to a very remote place in northern Canada to get the tar sands out of the ground. You need additional equipment to separate the bitumen — the stuff that actually makes oil — from the sand and clay. Then you need even more equipment to cook that down and turn it into something that vaguely resembles crude oil. When all of that is done, you still have to get the stuff to a refinery.

Oil companies and politicians in Canada have promoted two other pipelines to eliminate the need for the Keystone pipeline, however.

“The Energy East pipeline is sort of a Canadian version of Keystone XL, and it’s getting the same reaction in Canada that Keystone XL got in the United States,” Palmer explains. “Once it became a serious issue, lots of Canadian environmental groups started raising a fuss about it — for good reason.”

The Alberta Clipper is another proposal in the works, and would carry oil to Superior, Wisconsin. But Palmer says that plan isn’t going anywhere:

The issue is not expansion up until now. It’s future expansions. . . . If you’re an oil executive and you want to invest in a project that’s going to take 30 years, but you have no reason to believe it’s ever going to become profitable because you don’t have a pipeline, you’re going to have a hard time convincing your shareholders that’s a good idea.

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Thanks To Yao Ming, The Slaughter Of Sharks For Their Fins Is Down 80%

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Thanks to the efforts of Yao Ming, the destructive history of shark fin soup is on the decline and so is the ivory trade in China.

  • Reflect On:

    What is your relationship like with plant and animal life? Do you view it as below you? As there simply to fulfill what you want?

The support for a shark fin soup ban has skyrocketed in China thanks to NBA Hall of Famer and GOAT of Chinese basketball, Yao Ming.

Back in 2011, Ming became the face of an awareness campaign on shark fin consumption that has been effective in raising awareness about an issue many thought was untouchable within Chinese tradition and cuisine. As a result of this campaign, most recent government surveys have shown that shark fin consumption in China has fallen by up to 80%!

Shark fin soup is considered a Chinese delicacy and has a deep history in traditional weddings, banquets and prestigious events. The soup, although considered a luxury item, has slight flavors and isn’t all that unique. Given the amount of suffering and death that goes into creating the soup, you’d imagine there would be something more to it other than light flavors and texture. Then again, our treatment of animals on this planet for even the slightest human benefit has been shocking for decades.

As many as 73 million sharks end up in the global shark fin trade every year according to Oceana.org. In many cases, when sharks are caught, their fins are removed and then they’re thrown back into the ocean to die as they’re unable to swim.

In 2006, as many as 75% of Chinese citizens were unaware that shark fins were actually used in shark fin soup. After awareness increased due to campaigns like the one Yao Ming participated in, public education has shifted the perception on shark fin soup.

Shark fin consumption in China has fallen by up to 80% in the last 10 years. And it just so happens that Yao Ming’s activism on the issue has been going for the exact same amount of time.

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Ming Moved Onto China’s Ivory Trade Next… And Won

With Ming being China’s most powerful celebrity for 5 consecutive years between 2004 and 2009, you can imagine that, in a country of over a billion people, that truly says something in terms of public power. Ming was moved to take on China’s ivory trade and once again used his image and platform to raise awareness about elephant poaching. He teamed up with WildAid to eventually find success in making it illegal to buy Ivory in China.

Chinese state media Xinhua described the run-up to the ban as “one of the largest ever public awareness campaigns” with support from other celebrities such as actress Li Bingbing.

“We all know that there is ‘on paper,’ and under the paper, there’s still a long way to go to save the animals — and then save ourselves,” Ming told CNBC.

Yes, there is more work to be done. The way we treat our environment and the animal kingdom on this planet truly needs to change, and that change will only come from awareness and connecting to self. Great genocide takes place on our planet every single year… and it is that of animals for needless human consumption.

The Takeaway

Even the largest of challenges we face can be changed with the efforts of people. Sure, in this case, it was a celebrity with great influence, but in many other cases, it is large groups of people coming together. The March Against Monsanto is a great example of that. I recall when that was first starting out and we were one of just a small handful of websites who actively raised awareness about Monsanto’s actions – even when other partnering companies wouldn’t work with us because of our efforts in that area of reporting.

Slowly but surely, our stories and articles became more and more viral over the years. The conversations eventually moved to the mainstream, and over time, it is now being turned into action across the planet against GMO foods and practices. Something that started out with just a few people has grown into a global movement thanks to their tireless efforts to do the right thing.

We have the power to do great things. Something that seems small can build to be impactful over time, but even if it doesn’t, doing what inspires you is an incredible energy to add to collective consciousness and inspire others.

Change truly starts within. That’s why I created The 5 Days of You Challenge and made it available for everyone. With this challenge, everyone can begin getting in touch with themselves and making a difference in our world. Check it out here.

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Drugs In The Environment: The Importance of Properly Disposing Of Unused Medications

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Drugs taken by humans (and animals) find their way into rivers, lakes and even drinking water, and can have devastating effects on the environment.

  • Reflect On:

    Efforts are necessary at every level of society, including consumer awareness and education on how to properly dispose of medications.

Scientists have found evidence that common methods of household prescription drug disposal can contaminate the environment and produce unwanted effects in wildlife.

Recent studies have shown that chemicals associated with the breakdown of prescription drugs have been found in surface water and groundwater. According to this article published on the PBS website, scientists currently believe that this contamination does not pose a threat to people, but that it does have detrimental effects on wildlife.

Even though all releases of pharmaceuticals cannot be controlled, individuals can take precautions to dispose of unused or outdated prescription drugs properly in order to reduce their overall impact on the environment.

Pharmaceuticals Enter the Environment Through Household Waste

Homeowners have been told for years that toilet flushing was the safest way to dispose of unused or outdated prescription drugs; however, this is no longer the case. When medicine is flushed down the toilet, the waste enters the sewage system and is transported by pipeline to the local public wastewater treatment facility. These facilities are not designed to treat or remove pharmaceutical chemicals.

There are two waste streams generated at public sewage treatment plants. The first is treatment plant sludge. This material is composed of dewatered solids removed from the sewage entering the plant.

Sampling studies have confirmed that pharmaceutical chemicals are common in sewage treatment plant sludge. Usually this sludge is disposed of in local landfills, but in some cases, the sludge may be reused as fertilizer on local farms.

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When sludge is deposited in landfills, the movement of rainwater through the landfill can pick up chemical contaminants and transport them to underground aquifers. When used as fertilizer, the sludge is exposed to storm water runoff that can move contaminants into local streams and rivers. Either way, pharmaceuticals end up contaminating the environment.

Currently, sludge used as fertilizer is required to meet specifications for nutrient content, metals content, and bacterial content. There are no specifications for pharmaceutical contaminants.

The second waste stream from public sewage treatment plants is the release of treated water into streams or rivers. In this case, since treatment plants are not designed to remove pharmaceutical chemicals, those chemicals end up being released directly into the environment.

Treatment plants are required to meet specific requirements for the release of treated water; however, testing for pharmaceuticals is not one of those requirements.

Adverse Effects of Pharmaceutical Contamination

The effects of pharmaceuticals on wildlife were first documented by researchers in the United Kingdom in the 1990s. Since then, researchers all over the world have been studying this problem.

So far, the greatest effect has been seen in fish, primarily related to contamination by estrogenic compounds associated with birth control pills and female hormones. Male fish found downstream of wastewater treatment plants have failed to develop sperm and instead develop eggs.

Other studies have shown detrimental effects on fish and frogs by chemicals associated with antidepressant medications and on aquatic insects by anticonvulsant medications.

In addition, scientists are particularly concerned about the increase of antibiotics in the environment and the creation of resistant bacterial strains. This is already a huge issue within factory farming, as these animals are commonly fed antibiotics, which in turn are consumed by those who eat meat.

Environmentally-Friendly Disposal of Household Prescription Drugs

The National Office of Drug Control Policy has published guidelines on proper disposal of pharmaceuticals. These guidelines state that medicine should not be flushed down toilets or drains unless the label contains that specific instruction. The preferred method of disposal is through community drug take-back programs or household hazardous waste collection events.

Through these programs, medicine is collected from the public and taken to regulated hazardous waste incinerators. If one of these programs is not available, medicine should be placed in the garbage, mixed with coffee grounds or kitty litter, and then placed in sealed containers or plastic bags.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection and Prescription Drug Take-Back Programs

Consumers should contact their local public recycling program office to find out about household hazardous waste collection. In some areas, collection sites are open on a regular basis, either every business day or for a couple days each week. In other areas, special collection events are held once or twice a year on weekends. The local recycling program office should be listed in the telephone book.

To locate availability of take-back programs, consumers can consult the Product Stewardship Institute. Another source for information is the National P2D2 Network Prescription Drug and Drug Disposal Program Network.

Sponsorship and development of local collection programs makes a great activist project for communities or school groups. Such groups can partner with large retail outlets or pharmacies. The Northeast Recycling Council Inc. of Vermont has published a guide for local communities called “Holding an Unwanted Medication Collection for Community Pharmacies.” This booklet is available in PDF format on the Product Stewardship Institute’s website. A community-sponsored event could even make a great Earth Day project!

It’s also important to question why so many people are disposing of drugs without having taken them. Are we as a society too reliant on pharmaceuticals? Are we being given more than we need to help us, or to help grow profits for Big Pharma?

Sources :

Epa.gov : How to Dispose of Medicines Properly

Fda.gov : Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know

 

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The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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Portland To Generate Electricity From Turbines Installed In City Water Pipes

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Portland will launch a program in March 2019 that will begin generating energy via turbines in city water pipes beneath the streets.

  • Reflect On:

    This is great, but is this truly all we are capable of? Do we not already know there are much better and more efficient technologies available? Are we ready to shift our consciousness out of our current world to pave way for new technologies?

Where there is a will there is a way. This particular story is cool to me as it was an idea that crossed my mind years ago and it’s incredible seeing it being brought into being. But that idea was from 8 years ago, since then I have come to realize how primitive these ideas truly are. But more on that discussion in a moment.

Portland will be generating some electricity via water running through their city water pipes. Think about it. All the water that runs through those pipes to do the already daily tasks of washing, showering, drinking, cleaning and growing will now help to also generate electricity.

After partnering with a company called Lucid Energy, the city will begin to generate clean electricity from the water flowing under its streets. Thus far, Portland has begun replacing a section of its existing water supply network with Lucid Energy’s specially designed pipes that contain four forty-two inch turbines.

As water flows through the pipes the turbines spin and provides power to attached generators. Those generators feed energy into the city’s existing electrical grid. The project is known as the “Conduit 3 Hydroelectric Project,” and is scheduled to be fully up and running in March of this year.

The promotional video describes the technology and innovative idea of harnessing power through city water pipes:

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Unlike wind and solar, this solution does not rely on the weather, making it a more stable and reliable solution for energy. How much can it output? The current project will be able to power 150 homes over the course of the year. Keep in mind this project is only being rolled out in a section of the city.

Some limitations exist as well. Turbines will only work in pipes where water flows downhill. This is so water does not have to be pumped, as the energy necessary to pump the water would negate the energy generated from the turbines. However there are pluses, the system also monitors the overall condition of a city’s water supply network as well as assess the drinking quality of the water flowing through it.

A look at how the pipes function.

Are We Still Limited In Our Thinking?

While this idea is great and a step in the right direction, some deeper thought helps us realize how our current systems and structures do not easily allow for all-out solutions to our challenges to be implemented as everything we create has to fit within the confines of industry, creating jobs and limiting disruption. This is the result of a system, that at its core, is built on debt based banking.

We must come to terms with the fact that we will not see the advent of any real and practical solutions until we let go of this system of commerce and develop a world that truly allows humanity to thrive, and for technologies to be made available without the fear of disruption. After all, are we truly limited to the primitive forms of exchange we see being used today? Or is that simply what we have been convinced of? These are important questions to ask as they are the physical basis of how we are struggling as a whole.

At CE, we have been researching, working with, funding, and following future technology for over 8 years that could revolutionize the way we provide energy to society.

Wind, solar and even this idea are primitive jokes compared to what I have witnessed in labs with my own eyes. Why do these technologies stay hidden? Simple, not only does our infrastructure hold this back but so does our state of consciousness.

We explore this in detail in our interview with the president of the New Energy Movement Susan Manewich:

You can watch our entire 3 part interview with Susan on CETV.

As discussed, what we see projected in our world is a result of our overall state of collective consciousness, and what we decide to create and hold onto via belief in our current state of collective consciousness. It’s all an outward reflection. This is made up of our individual beliefs and actions compounded into the collective.

In looking at collective consciousness further, the very fact that we believe various things are not possible, and based on the fact that we hold onto to a system that does not truly support us so tightly, helps to keep these technologies suppressed and our world in a state of struggle.

The video below discusses collective consciousness in detail and how it relates to this issue:

The Takeaway

We are seeing steps in the right direction if you want to call it that. But are we limited in solving our issues by playing in the very system of commerce we have before us? The system that enslaves humanity and limits us via debt based banking?

It is only when we begin to shift our consciousness enough to step out of the world that we are in today that we will see the rise of new technologies that can solve the challenges we face today. There is truly no shortage of advanced technologies that can revolutionize our world, we simply are limiting our reality based on the state of consciousness we operate from.

Are we ready to let go of the world we seem to be holding onto so deeply even though we don’t seem to be happy within it?

Help Support Collective Evolution

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

SUPPORT CE HERE!

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