Will the U.S. Senate Stand Up for Our Future and Derail the Keystone XL?
Rumor has it the U.S. Senate will consider a budget bill provision to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Here's what they need to share with their constituents:
1) It's great for Big Oil. Bad for America. And really bad for climate change, producing three times more global warming pollution than conventional crude production, and using vast amounts of energy and water, causing significant pollution to both air and water.
2) Canadian citizens are against tar sands pipelines too, fighting the Gateway Pipeline to their west coast—and through British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest—and the Trailbreaker pipeline to carry tar sands to east to Maine.
3) It's dangerous and dirty—it's dirty tar that's diluted with chemicals and then pushed through the pipeline at high pressure, which creates very high temperatures. It's more corrosive to the pipeline than oil, so it eats away at the pipelines, which then rupture and blow.
4) The first Keystone pipeline, already operating in America, has spilled 14 times and had to be shut down twice due to safety concerns, and another one of its pipelines exploded.
5) Tar sands spill are difficult to impossible to clean up. After more than two year and nearly a billion dollars in clean up costs, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that nearly 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River is still contaminated by submerged tars sands.
6) Pretty much all the oil goes to foreign countries after America takes all the risks. This will not solve our energy challenges, it will not improve our national security and it is not an American jobs program. (Thirty-five permanent jobs and 3,500 construction jobs over two years).
Those of us against this thing believe this is a bad deal for America and it'll make climate change considerably worse, faster. It will be the third new tar sands dedicated pipeline, which will lock us into a dependence on this destructive, dirty source for years to come.
We are not irrational extremists. We are people who believe that a clean and sustainable future is possible. We believe in American ingenuity when it comes to clean energy technologies. America has shown time and time again—remember the American Space Program—that with proper investment, we can meet any challenge in front of us. Tell President Obama to reject the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline.
And call your U.S. Senator today. Tell them this pipeline is bad for America.
Visit EcoWatch’s KEYSTONE XL page for more related news on this topic.
Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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