Vivienne Westwood joins anti-fracking protest camp as 1,000-strong crowd descends on Balcombe
August 16, 2013

Up to 1,000 new protesters, including the fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood, started arriving in Balcombe today as the three-week protest against the possibility of fracking at the West Sussex village moved up a gear.

Like many of the existing protesters, the new influx of opponents plan to camp by the site for the next five days and organisers were furiously pitching tents, bringing in food and building make-shift toilets today, as dozens of extra police were drafted in.

Surrounded by activists, Dame Westwood called for a public debate on fracking, which she said could store up problems for decades to come if allowed to proceed.

"I’m anti-fracking and I’m here to protest. There has been no debate. They are trying to rush this thing through, for what?"

"I’m sure it’s bad and the only people who are going to benefit from it is this energy company….They all have vested interests. It’s a kind of club….Who do they [the government] think they are when I would say most of the country is really against fracking, particularly at this point in time, when we don’t know what’s at stake," she said.

The latest protesters, most of whom belong to a coalition called No Dash For Gas, will add to a core of about 200 protesters who started picketing the gate last month and have promised to take “direct action” rumored to include a plan to invade the site.

Cuadrilla, the company exploring for oil on the site to assess the potential for full-scale production, potentially using fracking, stopped drilling in anticipation of the heightened protest. The company, which is chaired by former BP chief executive Lord Browne, said it will only turn the drill on when it can be confident the site won’t be breached - expected to be towards the end of next week at the earliest.


The fourth protest against the increase of metropolitan public fares dof São Paulo (Brazil).
After 45 min. the demonstration was brutally suppressed by the military police, which used moral effect pumps, rubber bullets, tear gas and the police cavalry to disperse the crowd of about 10,000 people.
Several groups got together and started a battle by the Centre and the noble region of São Paulo … raising barricades and throwing sticks and stones at the Police while they chase the crowd Street by street … at a news conference the Mayor of São Paulo (Brazil) recognized that there was police violence, but did not indicate a possible reduction in rates that have increased in the last day 6/2/2013.
A TUMBLR was created with the complaints of the wounded.
We need your support! Another demonstration was scheduled for this Monday - here’s some additional information:
Submitted by:


The fourth protest against the increase of metropolitan public fares dof São Paulo (Brazil).

After 45 min. the demonstration was brutally suppressed by the military police, which used moral effect pumps, rubber bullets, tear gas and the police cavalry to disperse the crowd of about 10,000 people.

Several groups got together and started a battle by the Centre and the noble region of São Paulo … raising barricades and throwing sticks and stones at the Police while they chase the crowd Street by street … at a news conference the Mayor of São Paulo (Brazil) recognized that there was police violence, but did not indicate a possible reduction in rates that have increased in the last day 6/2/2013.

TUMBLR was created with the complaints of the wounded.

We need your support! Another demonstration was scheduled for this Monday - here’s some additional information:

Submitted by:

June 12th, 2013 — In the midst of recent national controversy surrounding government surveillance of the public, a recent Freedom of Information Act request to the Nebraska State Patrol has exposed evidence that TransCanada provided trainings to federal agents and local Nebraska police to suppress nonviolent activists protesting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline by arresting them on “anti-terrorism statutes.” The presentation slides, obtained by grassroots landowner advocacy group Bold Nebraska, target Tar Sands Blockade activists by name.

TC Slideshow_Who are the protestors?

“This is clear evidence of the collusion between TransCanada and the federal government assisting local police to unlawfully monitor and harass political protestors,” said Lauren Regan, legal coordinator for Tar Sands Blockade and executive director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center. “These documents expose the truth that the government is giving the nod to unlawful corporate spying. By slinging false allegations against peaceful activists in this presentation, TransCanada puts them at risk of unwarranted prosecution.”

Although TransCanada’s presentation to authorities contains information about property destruction, sabotage, and booby traps, police in Texas and Oklahoma have never alleged, accused, or charged Tar Sands Blockade activists of any such behaviors. Since August 2012, Tar Sands Blockade has carried out dozens of successful nonviolent direct actions to physically halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas and Oklahoma. All of these acts, as well as every pipeline protest in Nebraska, have maintained strict commitments to nonviolence.

“Try as TransCanada might to slander Tar Sands Blockade and our growing grassroots movement, we know who the real criminals are.” said Ron Seifert, a spokesperson with Tar Sands Blockade who was pictured in the slideshow. “The real criminals are those profiting from this deadly tar sands pipeline by endangering families living along the route and pumping illegal levels of air toxins into fence-line communities.”


“If anything, this shows the effectiveness of campaigns to stop the Keystone XL pipeline and fossil fuel extraction as a whole,” said Scott Parkin, an organizer with Rising Tide North America and a non-violence trainer also pictured in the slideshow. “We’ve been fighting coal, oil and natural gas for a long time using these time-honored tactics and strategies. We’ll continue to use them precisely because they have been so effective in making change throughout American history.”

Grassroots resistance to Keystone XL is growing in Texas and Oklahoma where TransCanada is currently digging up freshly laid sections of the pipeline that failed integrity inspections. The East Texas Observer reports that at least 70 “anomalies,” including dents and shoddy welds in the pipe, were identified in a 60 mile span, and in some areas these imperfections occur at a rate of three per mile.

“A discovery like this presentation reveals that TransCanada has no problem lying to authorities and intentionally misleading the public in pursuit of its own private gain,” says Seifert. “If TransCanada officials cannot be trusted to tell the truth about the peaceful nature of Keystone XL protestors, why should we believe they’ve told the truth about the integrity of their pipeline and the real threats it poses to the hundreds of rivers and creeks that it crosses?”

-  -  -  -

Submitted by

Just saw this on TarSand’s Blockade & Rising Tide FB Pages!

Be sure to click on the ridiculous “WHO ARE THE PROTESTERS?” slides being presented to police.

Hundreds protest fatal poultry plant blaze in China
June 4, 2013

Hundreds of people protested today outside a Chinese poultry plant where at least 120 people perished in a fire Monday. The blaze in the country’s northeast marked one of China’s worst industrial disasters. Survivors said they rushed to emergency exits that turned out to be locked; only a single exit was open. More than 300 workers, most of them women, were in the factory at the time. Scores were injured. Local officials said the cause was an excess of ammonia gas. Relatives of the victims blocked traffic, clashed with police and called for answers about the deaths of their loved ones.

Yang Xiuya: My daughter worked there. After the incident happened, they haven’t given us any explanation. It was time for my daughter to leave work, but the door was locked, so they were all burnt to death. The government isn’t giving us an explanation. We’re not moving until they give us an explanation!

Zhao Zhenchun: I don’t think safety was being managed properly. They need to work harder on this. This should never happen again. They paid the price with their blood. So many of these big disasters in China are caused by lax supervision.



British Columbia Government Rejects Plans for Enbridge Tar Sands Pipeline
Government officials cited a lack of evidence that the company has the ability to transport the heavy crude safely, nor could Enbridge prove that they would have a sufficient response to a spill should one occur.

If only we’d do the same in the United States.


British Columbia Government Rejects Plans for Enbridge Tar Sands Pipeline

Government officials cited a lack of evidence that the company has the ability to transport the heavy crude safely, nor could Enbridge prove that they would have a sufficient response to a spill should one occur.

If only we’d do the same in the United States.

River protest set for proposed central Indiana reservoir
May 17, 2013

Opponents of a proposed major reservoir in central Indiana are planning a protest aimed at highlighting what the project would put under water.

The newly formed Heart of the River Coalition will hold what it calls a “protest paddle” on Saturday, with kayakers and canoeists covering several miles of the White River near Anderson.

Organizer Clarke Kahlo tells The Herald Bulletin that the group is trying to build public awareness of what would disappear if the reservoir is built.

The proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir would back water up seven miles of the river in Madison and Delaware counties, covering about 2,100 acres. That’s slightly larger than Geist Reservoir near Indianapolis.


Environmental protests are becoming one of the biggest forms of social unrest in China – latest protests took place on Thursday over plans to build a petrochemical plant in the city of Anning.
May 17, 2013 

The refinery, if it goes ahead, will process more than 10 million tonnes of crude oil a year and 500,000 tons of the industrial chemical paraxylene (PX). China is the world’s largest producer of PX which is used in the process of manufacturing plastic bottles and other products and is carcinogenic. According to some media reports, up to 2,500 people took to the streets today and the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported that arrests had been made.

The newspaper quoted a 24-year-old protester saying “I hope this can be a good beginning for a dialogue between citizens and the government on major decisions”. The protest was one of the top trending topics on Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo and photos were posted of protesters wearing masks and waving banners.

This latest protest in Kunming is the second large protest in a week over environmental concerns about industrial manufacturing. Earlier this week up to a thousand people took to the streets in the Songjiang district of Shanghai against plans for a lithium battery factory amid concerns about water and air pollution. According to media reports, residents of the area marched peacefully chanting and holding signs saying “no factory here”. Yesterday, state media reported that the plant, which was to built by Hefei Guoxuan High-tech Power Energy Co Ltd, would not go ahead due to the public pressure.

"Everybody is texting the news, and there are plans for a celebration," a resident named Zhu was quoted by the China Daily newspaper and said that local people had viewed the plant as a safety hazard. We are delighted with the company’s decision because we love Songjiang and we want a safe and clean environment," she said.

The Chinese public are becoming increasing concerned about the state of their local environment and up to 80% believe that environmental protection should be a higher priority than economic development, according to a new survey. The survey, carried out by the Public Opinion Research Centre in collaboration with Shanghai Jiao Tong University, measured the public’s attitudes towards environmental protection and how they rate the government’s performance.

Such protests appear to be often tolerated by the authorities and, like the Shanghai protests, are sometimes successful in their goals. Last October, a week-long series of protests in Ningbo in eastern China by thousands of residents was sucessful in stopping work on an oil and petrochemical complex. The frequency of protests is rising as China’s increasingly affluent and middle-class society becomes more aware of environmental issues. The number of environmental protests rose by 120% from 2010 to 2011, according to Yang Chaofei, the vice-chairman of the Chinese Society for Environmental Sciences.

Yang a told a lecture organized by the Standing Committee of the National’s People’s Congress on the social impact of environmental problems that the number of environmental ‘mass incidents’ has grown an average of 29% annually from 1996 to 2011. He said that the number of incidents which involve concerns about dangerous chemicals and heavy metal pollution have risen since 2010.

The results of the new survey indicate that the number of such incidents is not likely to decrease any time soon. Nearly half of those surveyed said the government should spend more on environmental protection and over 60% of residents said government information about environmental protection is not transparent. And in a clear sign that the Chinese public is not going to let their voices go unheard, 78% of those surveyed said that they will participate in protests if pollution facilities are planned near their homes.


Dr. Vandana Shiva: the “GOLDEN RICE” hoax - when public relations replaces science to promote a technology for creating Vitamin A deficiency
May 15, 2013

Golden rice has been heralded as the miracle cure for malnutrition and hunger of which 800m members of the human community suffer.  Herbicide resistant and toxin producing genetically engineered plants can be objectionable because of their ecological and social costs.  But who could possibly object to rice engineered to produce vitamin A, a deficiency found in nearly 3 million children, largely in the Third World?

As remarked by Mary Lou Guerinot, the author of the Commentary on Vitamin A rice in Science, one can only hope that this application of plant genetic engineering to ameliorate human misery without regard to short term profit will restore this technology to political acceptability. Unfortunately, Vitamin A rice is a hoax, and will bring further dispute to plant genetic engineering where public relations exercises seem to have replaced science in promotion of untested, unproven and unnecessary technology.

The problem is that vitamin A rice will not remove vitamin A deficiency (VAD).  It will seriously aggravate it.  It is a technology that fails in its promise. Currently, it is not even known how much vitamin JA the genetically engineered rice will produce.  The goal is 33.3% micrograms/100g of rice.  Even if this goal is reached after a few years, it will be totally ineffective in removing VAD.

Since the daily average requirement of vitamin A is 750 micrograms of vitamin A and 1 serving contains 30g of rice according to dry weight basis, vitamin A rice would only provide 9.9 micrograms which is 1.32% of the required allowance.  Even taking the 100g figure of daily consumption of rice used in the technology transfer paper would only provide 4.4% of the RDA.

In order to meet the full needs of 750 micrograms of vitamin A from rice, an adult would have to consume 2 kg 272g of rice per day.  This implies that one family member would consume the entire family ration of 10 kg. from the PDS in 4 days to meet vitaminA needs through “Golden rice”.

This is a recipe for creating hunger and malnutrition, not solving it.

Besides creating vitamin A deficiency, vitamin A rice will also create deficiency in other micronutrients and nutrients.  Raw milled rice has a low content of Fat (0.5g/100g).  Since fat is necessary for vitamin A uptake, this will aggravate vitamin A deficiency.  It also has only 6.8g/100g of protein, which means less carrier molecules.  It has only 0.7g/100g of iron, which plays a vital role in the conversion of beta-carotene (precursor of vitamin A found in plant sources) to vitamin A. Superior Alternatives exist and are effective.

A far more efficient route to removing vitamin A deficiency is biodiversity conservation and propagation of naturally vitamin A rich plants in agriculture and diets.

The following is a list of sources rich in vitamin A which are used commonly in Indian foods. (microgram/100g)

(Amaranth leaves) Chauli saag= 266-1,166 -

(Coriander leaves) – Dhania = 1,166-1,333 

(Cabbage) Bandh gobi = 217 

(Curry leaves)-Curry patta = 1,333 

(Drumstick leaves)-Saijan patta1 = 283 

(Fenugreek leaves)-Methi-ka-saag = 450 

(Radish leaves)-Mooli-ka-saag = 750 

(Mint)-Pudhina = 300 

(Spinach)-Palak saag = 600 


(Pumpkin (yellow))-Kaddu = 100-120 

(Mango (ripe))-Aam = 500 

(Jackfruit)-Kathal = 54 

(Orange)-Santra = 35 

(Tomato (ripe))-Tamatar = 32 

(Milk (cow, buffalo))-Doodh = 50-60 

(Butter)-Makkhan = 720-1,200 

(Egg (hen))-Anda = 300-400 

(Liver (Goat, sheep))-Kalegi = 6,600 - 10,000 

Cod liver oil = 10,000 - 100,000

In spite of the diversity of plants evolved and bred for their rich vitamin  A content, a report of the Major Science Academies of the World - Royal Society, U.K., National Academy of Sciences of the USA, The Third World Academy of Science, Indian National Science Academy, Mexican Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Brazilian Academy of Sciences - on Transgenic Plants and World Agriculture has stated, Vitamin A deficiency causes half a million children to become partially or totally blind each year.

Traditional breeding methods have been unsuccessful in producing crops containing a high vitamin A concentration and most national authorities rely on expensive and complicated supplementation programs to address the problem.  Researchers have introduced three new genes into rice, two from daffodils and one from a microorganism.  The transgenic rice exhibits an increased production of beta-carotene as a precursor to vitamin A and the seed in yellow in colour. Such yellow, or golden rice, may be a useful tool to help treat the problem of vitamin A deficiency in young children living in the tropics.

It appears as if the world’s top scientists suffer a more severe form of blindness than children in poor countries.  The statement that “traditional breeding has been unsuccessful in producing crops high in vitamin A” is not true given the diversity of plants and crops that Third World farmers, especially women have bred and used which are rich sources of vitamin A such as coriander, amaranth, carrot, pumpkin, mango, jackfruit.

It is also untrue that vitamin A rice will lead to increased production of beta-carotene.   Even if the target of 33.3 microgram of  vitamin A in 100g of rice is achieved, it will be only 2.8% of beta-carotene we can obtain from amaranth leaves 2.4% of beta-carotene obtained from coriander leaves, curry leaves and drumstick leaves.  Even the World Bank has admitted that rediscovering and use of local plants and conservation of vitamin A rich green leafy vegetables and fruits have dramatically reduced VAD threatened children over the past 20 years in very cheap and efficient ways.  Women in Bengal use more than 200 varieties of field greens. Over a 3 million people have benefited greatly from a food based project for removing VAD by increasing vitamin A availability through home gardens.  The higher the diversity crops the better the uptake of pro-vitamin A.

The reason there is vitamin A deficiency in India in spite of the rich biodiversity a base and indigenous knowledge base in India is because the Green Revolution technologies wiped out biodiversity by converting mixed cropping systems to monocultures of wheat and rice and by spreading the use of herbicides which destroy field greens.

In spite of effective and proven alternatives, a technology transfer agreement has been signed between the Swiss Government and the Government of India for the transfer of genetically engineered vitamin A rice to India.

The ICAR, ICMR, ICDS, USAIUD, UNICEF, WHO have been identified as potential partners.  The breeding and transformation is to be carried out at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, Central Rice Research Institute, Cuttack and Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana and University of Delhi, South Campus. The Indian varieties in which the vitamin A traits are expected to be engineered have been identified as IR 64, Pusa Basmati, PR 114 and ASD 16.

Dr. M.S. Swaminathan has been identified as “God father” to ensuring public acceptance of genetically engineered rice.  DBT & ICAR are also potential partners for guaranteeing public acceptance and steady progress of the project.

Genetically engineered vitamin A rice will aggravate this destruction since it is part of an industrial agriculture, intensive input package. It will also lead to major water scarcity since it is a water intensive crop and displaces water prudent sources of vitamin A.

The first step in the technology transfer of vitamin A rice requires a need assessment and an assessment of technology availability.  One assessment shows that vitamin A rice fails to pass the need test. The technology availability issue is related to whether the various elements and methods used for the construction of transgenic crop plants are covered by intellectual property rights.  Licenses for these rights need to be obtained before a product can be commercialized.  The Cornell based ISAAA (International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Application) has been identified as the partner for ensuring technology availability by ensuring technology availability by having material transfer agreements signed between the representative authority of the ICAR and the “owners” of the technology, Prof. I. Potrykus and Prof. P.  Beyer.

In addition, Novartis and Kerin Breweries have patents on the genes used as constructs for the vitamin A rice. At a public hearing on Biotechnology at U.S. Congress on 29th June 2000, Astra-Zeneca stated they would be giving away royalty free licenses for the development of “Golden rice”.

At a workshop organized by the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Dr. Barry of Monsanto’s Rice Genome initiative announced that it will provide royalty-free licenses for all its technologies that can help the further development of “golden rice”.

Hence these gene giants Novartis, Astra-Zeneca and Monsanto are claiming exclusive ownership to the basic patents related to rice research.  Further, neither Monsanto nor Astra - Zeneca said they will give up their patents on rice - they are merely giving royalty free licenses to public sector scientists for development of “golden rice”.  This is an arrangement for a public subsidy to corporate giants for R&D since they do not have the expertise or experience with rice breeding which public institutions have.

Not giving up the patents, but merely giving royalty free licenses implies that the corporations like Monsanto would ultimately like to collect royalties from farmers for rice varieties developed by public sector research systems.  Monsanto has stated that it expects long term gains from these IPR arrangements, which implies markets in rice as “intellectual property” which cannot be saved or exchanged for seed.  The real test for Monsanto would be its declaration of giving up any patent claims to rice now and in the future and joining the call to remove plants and biodiversity out of TRIPS.  Failing such an undertaking by Monsanto the announcement that Monsanto giving royalty free licenses for development of vitamin A rice like the rice itself can only be taken as a hoax to establish monopoly over rice production, and reduce rice farmers of India into bio-serfs.

While the complicated technology transfer package of “Golden Rice” will not solve vitamin A problems in India, it is a very effective strategy for corporate take over of rice production, using the public sector as a Trojan horse.


Photos Source

Via pipperipembo:

something to think about when you catch yourself worrying about how messy your room is. looks like we need to shift our perceptions if we’re going to stick around here on earth. 

i heard an interesting talk about global warming, too. remember an inconvenient truth? and how the data went back a couple hundred years? well, some scientists got together to gather climate data from the deepest ice, before it melts. their data shows co2 and temperature levels from thousands of years ago.  so, while an inconvenient truth did a great job of bringing the fact that we need to change our habits into people’s living rooms, it pinned the cause of warming on human activity.  the ice tells a different story: we’re entering a cyclical period of warming. sure, humans have destroyed much of our habitat. but we didn’t make the oceans rise. we need to get over trying to “stop” global warming, and start working together to survive global warming. 

I reposted instead of reblogged (from pipperipembo) to format the infograph to make the images & text readable/aesthetically approachable from the dashboard.

Guatemala declares emergency after Canadian private-interests  spark protests as they try and destroy the lives of Guatemalans, despite loud & clear objections
May 3, 2013

The Guatemalan government has declared a state of emergency in four areas after clashes between police and anti-mining protesters in the south-east of the country. The interior ministry banned public gatherings and sent troops to four towns near a controversial silver mine.

Residents fear the Canadian-owned mine will drain their water supplies. They have not consented to the construction of the mine, have been ignored, and have taken to the streets in desperation to stop the Canadian private-interests from destroying their lives.

Protests have turned increasingly violent after it gained an operating permit in April. One police officer was shot dead on Monday, according to local media, and six protesters were reportedly wounded by gunfire from security guards a day earlier.

In another confrontation, protesters captured 23 police officers who were later freed, according to La Hora newspaper.

The owner of the Escobal mine, British Columbia-based Tahoe Resources, tried to frame the protesters as “aggressors armed with machetes, turned hostile”, and security guards fired tear gas and rubber bullets in response to the public’s cry for autonomy. The capitalist Tahoe Resources outright lied when they tried to claim that complaints that the mine could affect the springs were “totally unfounded”.

The mine, which is not yet operating, is in the district of San Rafael Las Flores, about about 70km (40 miles) east of Guatemala City.

The corrupt government said on Thursday it was outlawing gatherings in the towns of Jalapa and Mataquescuinlta, and the areas of Casillas and San Rafael Las Flores. A decree allows them temporarily to make detentions, conduct searches and question suspects outside the normal legal framework.


No Consent = No Mine

Even if the government tries to lock the people in their houses, the people have been abundantly clear – they do not want this Canadian capitalist ruining their lives & their communities. They decide. Not lawmakers. Not Canadian capitalists. The community has a choice and they have chosen to protect their homes or die trying. Support them in any & every way you can!

All spills in order of occurrence:

March 11 – 21: Gwagwalada Town, Nigera
A week-long leak of Kilometer 407.5 NNPC (Nigeria National Petroleum Corp) pipeline. No official number of barrels spilled released, however the spill saturated a hectare (10,000 sq metres) of marshy ground near a major water source.

Tuesday, March 19: Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories Canada
Enbridge Norman Wells Pipeline leaks 6,290 barrels of crude oil

Monday, March 25: Fort MacKay, Alberta Canada
Suncor tar sands tailings pond leaks 2,200 barrels of toxic waste fluid into the Athabasca River

Wednesday, March 27: Parker Prairie, Minnesota U.S.
CP Rail train derails and spills 952 barrels of tar sands crude oil

Friday, March 29: Mayflower, Arkansas U.S.
Exxon Mobil’s Pegasus Pipeline suffers a 22 foot-long rupture, spilling at least 12,000 barrels of diluted tar sands bitumen

Sunday, March 31: A power plant in Lansing, Michigan U.S.
16 barrels of an oil-based hydraulic fluid spills into the Grand River

Tuesday, April 2: Nembe, Nigeria
After suffering a reported theft of 60,000 barrels of oil per day from its Nembe Creek Trunkline pipeline, Shell Nigeria shuts off the pipe for nine days to repair damage

Wednesday, April 3: 350KM southeast of Newfoundland, Canada
A drilling platform leaks 0.25 barrels of crude oil

Wednesday, April 4: Chalmette, Louisiana U.S.
0.24 barrels (100 lbs) of hydrogen sulfide and 0.04 barrels (10 lbs of benzene) leak at an Exxon refinery

Monday, April 8: Esmeraldas, Ecuador
The OPEC-managed OCP pipeline leaks 5,500 barrels of heavy crude oil, contaminating the Winchele estuary

Tuesday, April 9: 29KM NE of Nuiqsut, Alaska U.S.
Human error during maintenance spills 157 barrels of crude oil at a Repsol E&P USA Inc pipeline pump station

Visit EcoWatch’s ENERGY page for more related news on this topic.

Self-healing “artificial leaf” produces energy from dirty water
April 10, 2013

Back in 2011, scientists reported the creation of the “world’s first practical artificial leaf” that mimics the ability of real leaves to produce energy from sunlight and water. Touted as a potentially inexpensive source of electricity for those in developing countries and remote areas, the leaf’s creators have now given it a capability that would be especially beneficial in such environments – the ability to self heal and therefore produce energy from dirty water.

While the leaf mimics a real leaf’s ability to produce energy from sunlight and water, it doesn’t mimic the method real leaves rely on, namely photosynthesis. Instead, as described by Daniel G. Nocera, Ph.D. who led the research team, the artificial leaf is actually a simple wafer of silicon coated in a catalyst that, when dropped into a jar of water and exposed to sunlight, breaks down water into its hydrogen and oxygen components. These gases can be collected as they bubble up through the water to be used for fuel to produce electricity in fuel cells.

Because bacteria can build up on the leaf’s surface and stop the energy production process, previous versions of the device required pure water. Now Nocera’s team has found that some of the catalysts developed for the artificial leaf actually heal themselves, meaning the process can work with dirty water.

“Self-healing enables the artificial leaf to run on the impure, bacteria-contaminated water found in nature,” Nocera said. “We figured out a way to tweak the conditions so that part of the catalyst falls apart, denying bacteria the smooth surface needed to form a biofilm. Then the catalyst can heal and re-assemble.”

Where similar devices are expensive to manufacture due to the use of rare and expensive metals and complex wiring, Nocera’s artificial leaf uses cheaper materials and a simple “buried junction” design that he says would make it cheaper to mass produce. Additionally, less than one liter (0.25 gal) of water is enough to produce around 100 watts of electricity 24 hours a day. And while it isn’t necessarily the most efficient form of electricity generation, Nocera likens the approach to “fast-food energy.”

“We’re interested in making lots of inexpensive units that may not be the most efficient, but that get the job done. It’s kind of like going from huge mainframe computers to a personal laptop. This is personalized energy.

“A lot of people are designing complicated, expensive energy-producing devices, and it is difficult to see them being adopted on a large scale,” he added. “Ours is simple, less expensive, and it works.”

Nocera believes the artificial leaf is likely to find its first use in individual homes in areas that lack traditional electric production and distribution systems. As well as being cheaper than solar panels, because the artificial leaf doesn’t directly generate electricity, but produces hydrogen and oxygen that can be stored, the electricity could be generated for use at night.

The research team hopes to integrate the artificial leaf with technology for converting the hydrogen into a liquid fuel to power everything from traditional portable electric generators to cars.

Nocera described the artificial leaf at the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society that is currently being held in New Orleans.


Ecosocialist Conference Supporting Organizations

550 barrels of crude oil leak into Tyler County creeks
February 27, 2013

Tyler County Emergency Management Coordinator Dale Freeman says 20,000 gallons of oil have spilled into Otter Creek off County Road 2590.  Tyler County officials were alerted to the spill Saturday by residents who noticed the oil in Otter creek; the oil company did not report the leak themselves, but instead tried to cover it up & downplay the significance. 

Otter Creek feeds Russell Creek and Russell feeds the Neches River. 

The pipeline is owned by Sunoco Logistics and the company says the leak has been patched up and oil is no longer flowing through the pipeline. 

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality are helping with the clean up. Crews have been ordered to work around the clock until it is complete.


This is consistent with environmental activists’ serious concerns that all pipelines leak - which is why we cannot allow Obama to approve Transcanada’s plan to build one of the largest hazards to American health in our history, with no benefit to the people who will become very sick for Transcanada’s profits. And that’s the power of ‘free market’ solutions for you; you get oil-tea.