Opinion | America’s Killer Lawns – By Margaret Renkl – The New York Times

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Contributing Opinion Writer

Credit…William DeShazer for The New York Times

“NASHVILLE — One day last fall, deep in the middle of a devastating drought, I was walking the dog when a van bearing the logo of a mosquito-control company blew past me and parked in front of a neighbor’s house. The whole vehicle stank of chemicals, even going 40 miles an hour.

The man who emerged from the truck donned a massive backpack carrying a tank full of insecticide and proceeded to spray every bush and plant in the yard. Then he got in his truck, drove two doors down, and sprayed that yard, too, before continuing his route all around the block.

Here’s the most heartbreaking thing about the whole episode: He was spraying for mosquitoes that didn’t even exist: Last year’s extreme drought ended mosquito-breeding season long before the first freeze. Nevertheless, the mosquito vans arrived every three weeks, right on schedule, drenching the yards with poison for no reason but the schedule itself.

And spraying for mosquitoes isn’t the half of it, as any walk through the lawn-care department of a big-box store will attest. People want the outdoors to work like an extension of their homes — fashionable, tidy, predictable. Above all, comfortable. So weedy yards filled with tiny wildflowers get bulldozed end to end and replaced with sod cared for by homeowners spraying from a bottle marked “backyard bug control” or by lawn services that leave behind tiny signs warning, “Lawn care application; keep off the grass.” “

“No Mow May” Campaign Asks Us to Leave the Lawn Alone Until June to Help Save Bees – ReturnToNow.Net

Not mowing in May results in more flowers and nectar all summer long for struggling pollinators. Wildlife organization urges us to leave lawnmowers locked up until June.

April showers bring May flowers, and if you like food, you should leave those flowers alone.

Not mowing in May results in a greater diversity and number of flowers throughout the summer, a British wildlife organization called Plantlife claims.

The organization conducted an experiment in last year in which hundreds of homeowners agreed not to mow their lawns until June. Participants’ lawns produced a much wider variety of flower species and enough nectar to feed 10 times as many bees as normal lawns.

The longer your grass grows, the greater the diversity of flower species you get, Plantlife found.

Because of this, the organization recommends mowing only once a month at most all summer.

If you can’t wait that long – maybe you want a place to tan or for the kids to play – mow in sections or chunks. Make a cool pattern if you wish. Plantlife suggests a mohawk! Just leave plenty of long patches for the pollinators.”

Source: “No Mow May” Campaign Asks Us to Leave the Lawn Alone Until June to Help Save Bees

Clean Energy Is Surging- but Not Fast Enough to Solve Global Warming – By Brad Plumer – The New York Times

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By Brad Plumer
Nov. 12, 2018

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WASHINGTON — Over the next two decades, the world’s energy system will undergo a huge transformation. Wind and solar power are poised to become dominant sources of electricity. China’s once-relentless appetite for coal is set to wane. The amount of oil we use to fuel our cars could peak and decline.

But there’s a catch: The global march toward clean energy still isn’t happening fast enough to avoid dangerous global warming, at least not unless governments put forceful new policy measures in place to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

That’s the conclusion of the International Energy Agency, which on Monday published its annual World Energy Outlook, a 661-page report that forecasts global energy trends to 2040. These projections are especially difficult right now because the world’s energy markets, which usually evolve gradually, are going through a major upheaval.

via Clean Energy Is Surging, but Not Fast Enough to Solve Global Warming – The New York Times

Hydrogen – IEA

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More efforts needed
The global fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) car stock reached 8 000 units in 2017, with the United States and Japan accounting for nearly 90% of the global fleet. Focus on hydrogen is increasing from a variety of countries and companies, with the IEA also strengthening its own analytical capability.

Hydrogen’s potential role in the energy system
Hydrogen can link different energy sectors and energy transmission and distribution networks, and thus increase the operational flexibility of future low-carbon energy systems.

via Hydrogen

Opinion | The Future of Electric Cars Is Brighter With Elon Musk in It – By John Paul MacDuffie – NYT

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By John Paul MacDuffie
Mr. MacDuffie is director of the Program on Vehicle and Mobility Innovation at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Oct. 1, 2018

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Elon Musk’s decision to settle fraud charges against him — by paying a $20 million fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission and agreeing to step down as the chairman of Tesla, the company he co-founded — is the best possible outcome for both investors in Tesla and anyone who cares about the future of electric vehicles.

By giving up the chairmanship for three years, Mr. Musk will have the chance to focus on some of the huge tasks still ahead for the company, particularly raising the financing to meet the company’s looming debts. And the governance measures imposed by the S.E.C. — for new board members, better review of communications and a permanent committee of independent board members to monitor disclosures and conflicts of interest — are exactly what the company needs to prevent another social media-fueled debacle.

His leadership matters well beyond Silicon Valley. Tesla, under Mr. Musk, has been the single most significant force driving the global automotive industry — and the consumers who purchase cars — to take the prospect of a fully electric vehicle future seriously. No other electric vehicle initiative — from Nissan’s Leaf and GM’s Chevrolet Volt and Bolt to the new wave of luxury electric cars being rolled out by German automakers and new companies funded by Chinese billionaires — has achieved the impact on the public’s imagination, brand loyalty or sales success of Tesla. Those initiatives might not even have occurred without the prod of Tesla’s example.

via Opinion | The Future of Electric Cars Is Brighter With Elon Musk in It – The New York Times

2018 Karma Revero is an ‘ultra-luxury’ CA hybrid $130000 taken over by Wanxiang Group- Los Angeles Times

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The sleek, low slung Revero features design language from the pen of Henrik Fisker, whose company of that name built the original Karma.

Rising from the ashes of designer Henrik Fisker’s failed car company, the first units of the 2018 Karma Revero hybrid electric luxury super cars rolled off the Moreno Valley factory floor and onto Southern California roadways this week.

Ten went to dealer showrooms around the U.S. and Canada, where company officers hope they will inspire buyers.

Another 10 went to Laguna Beach, where on Monday they made their test-drive debuts before an avidly curious motoring press.

The Karma Revero is the new company’s first vehicle. Built largely from the platform Fisker envisioned before his company crashed and burned after producing a 2012 model year Fisker Karma, the new car is sleek, speedy and almost silent.

Sitting low, its wheels crouched beneath sinuous, strong shoulder and hip lines, the Revero’s silhouette may call to mind an Aston Martin Rapide, Jaguar F-Type, or Ferrari California T.

via 2018 Karma Revero is an ‘ultra-luxury’ hybrid

Forget Storing 20 Cleaners Under The Kitchen Sink – You Only Need Two | Greenopedia

With a cleaning product for every use imaginable, it’s easy to accumulate a ton of chemicals under the sink. And with all that clutter, how many times have you bought cleaners that you didn’t realize you already had?

Skip the clutter and the overbuying! There is almost nothing you can’t clean with just a spray bottle of white vinegar and a sprinkle of baking soda.

Clean With Vinegar & Baking Soda
Vinegar and baking soda are safe to use on nearly all household surfaces including porcelain, glass, fiberglass, chrome, steel, silver, vinyl, plastic and most fabrics.

They are a fraction of the cost of chemical cleaners. Both are non-toxic. And they are completely safe to use on dishes and glassware and around babies or pets.

via Forget Storing 20 Cleaners Under The Kitchen Sink – You Only Need Two | Greenopedia

How U.S. Tariffs Will Hurt America’s Solar Industry – By VARUN SIVARAM – NYT

“President Trump’s decision to impose sweeping tariffs on imports of solar panels and components is the opening salvo of his America First campaign to protect domestic manufacturers from Chinese competition. The stakes are high: Solar is the world’s fastest-growing energy industry, attracting over $160 billion in investment in 2017.

Yet these tariffs will do little to make American manufacturers competitive with dominant Chinese ones. Instead, they might actually discourage domestic investments in innovation, crucial to an American solar manufacturing revival. On top of this, the tariffs will cause collateral damage by slowing down the installation of solar panels in the United States, destroying more jobs than they create, and provoking trade disputes and retaliation.”

via How U.S. Tariffs Will Hurt America’s Solar Industry – The New York Times

Trump’s Solar Tariffs Are Clouding the Industry’s Future – The New York Times

“ZEBULON, N.C. — At this century-old farm just outside Durham, symmetrical rows of shining blue solar panels have replaced the soybeans and tobacco that Tommy Vinson and his family used to grow here. It is one of many solar farms that have sprung up around North Carolina, transforming a state long battered by global offshoring into the second-largest generator of solar electricity after California.

“It’s still reaping a very good harvest,” said April Vinson, who is married to Tommy. “It’s just not a traditional kind of farm.”

Across North Carolina, textile factories and tobacco farms have disappeared, giving way to fields of solar panels.”

via Trump’s Solar Tariffs Are Clouding the Industry’s Future – The New York Times

composting-pine-needles

Abundant and free in most parts of the country, pine needles are a great source of organic matter for the garden. Whether you use pine needles in compost or as a mulch around your plants, they provide essential nutrients and improve the soil’s ability to hold moisture. Once you know how to compost pine needles, you don’t have to worry about any adverse effects.

Are Pine Needles Bad for Compost?
Many people avoid using pine needles in compost because they think it will make the compost more acidic. Even though pine needles have a pH between 3.2 and 3.8 when they fall from the tree, they have a nearly neutral pH after composting. You can safely add pine needles to compost without fear that the finished product will harm your plants or acidify the soil. Working pine needles into the soil without composting them first may temporarily lower the pH. Another reason why gardeners avoid pine needles in compost is that they break down very slowly. Pine needles have a waxy coating that makes it difficult for the bacteria and fungi to break it down. The low pH of pine needles inhibits the microorganisms in compost and slows down the process even more. Using aged pine needles, or needles that served as mulch for a season, speeds up the process; and chopped pine needles compost faster than fresh ones. Make a mound of pine needles and run over them with a lawn mower several times to chop them. The smaller they are, the faster they will decompose.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Composting Pine Needles: How To Compost Pine Needles https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/ingredients/composting-pine-needles.htm

via Pine Needles In Compost – Are Pine Needles Bad For Compost