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Trading Solar Power for a Crypto Farm Stability

Crypto has been getting a bad rap in the news lately given how much energy it consumes to generate the financial bounty of new digital coins. A mass bank of ASIC-type number crunchers demand a lot of electricity, and that kind of power consumption day in day out leaves footprint that many are not comfortable with. However, being responsive to the times, a particularly creative crypto company has decided solar may be the big offset it needs to set things right, at least as far as that company’s activity online. And that offset is going to happen in Montana with a big new construct titled the Basin Creek Solar Project, covering over 1,600 acres.

Trading Power for Power

Madison River Equity LLC has planned a 300 megawatt project to address both its mining operations as well as provide power to another 40,000 homes. Currently, Montana itself as a state only produces a total of 117 megawatts. So, adding almost 300 percent more to the local grid is going to end up providing a massive utility boost for the state economy and region, no question. The 300 megawatts don’t come free; the planned crypto operation is expected to take 75 megawatts off the table for its own operations. However, even then, the entire project is a net gain for the state.

Great Things Aren’t Always Wanted

Unfortunately, even with the clear benefits to power generation for the entire state, local folks aren’t thrilled about the pending project. First, crypto mining is not a quiet affair. All those ASIC units needed to crunch the blockchain make a lot of noise, and combined it can seem like a massive jet engine going off. Further, the operation is not a 9 to 5 activity. Blockchain mining warehouses generally run 24/7, not turning off unless maintenance or a replacement is needed. A warehouse of them won’t be any quieter.

Second, a massive solar facility is going to add a visible disruption to the area as well. It takes a lot of land and space to build a viable solar farm that pumps out serious power. Again, the locals aren’t thrilled about their natural reserve suddenly being overtaken by thousands of solar panels across 1,600 acres. And the maintenance of such a facility is also going to produce a regular amount of by-product and eventual waste as well. Again, not something the locals are interested in.

Not a Sure Deal Yet

The big decision happens with the permit hearing scheduled for June 17, 2021. However, it’s very likely that the locals are going to want to have their say as well. Crypto might be a big moneymaker for some, but out in the rural area it’s starting to become a bit of a NIMBY issue, the kind of things folks want to stay back in the big city and not start showing up in their backyard.

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Jane Goodall Initiates Massive Billion Tree Reforestation Project Involving Fans

Renee Yates

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The loss of flora and fauna species due to habitat loss is among the most harmful and distressing outcomes of deforestation. Forests are home to 70 percent of ground plants and biological species, according to National Geographic. Deforestation endangers not only known species but also new species.

The rainforest trees offering shelter for some animals also create a temperature-regulating covering. Deforestation causes a more severe temperature change from day to sundown, similar to a desert, fatal for many residents.

Major Reforestation Effort

Many efforts have been established over the decades to mitigate the effects of deforestation. The Jane Goodall Foundation’s most recent efforts, on the other hand, are being considered ambitious and massive projects. Many individuals believe that individuals can restore forests all across the world.

Throughout the United Nations Climate Week, world-renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall started a grassroots initiative to promote their ecological renovation project, the Trillion Tree Campaign.

Trees for Jane is a neighborhood preservation and reforestation initiative founded by Jane Goodall, the empowering founder of the Jane Goodall Institute. Its purpose is to end environmental destruction and help restore the world’s diminishing stock of natural vegetation.

She voiced the film A Trillion Trees, which encourages everyone to grow a plant in their yards, roofs, or towns.

As the globe approaches a critical boundary in stopping climate change, their webpage strives to motivate, inform, and mobilize a worldwide audience to act now.

They believe that Trees For Jane will inspire a worldwide audience to help the UN’s aim of planting one trillion trees by 2030, from learners and lecturers to advocates, organizations, and politicians.

While Goodall urges everyone to plant trees, the documentary also emphasizes the necessity of tree protection and restoration. At TreesforJane.org, anyone may help by planting a tree or contributing.

What is Deforestation?

Deforestation is the planned, natural, or unintentional clearing, damaging, or otherwise removal of trees. It may happen anywhere with many trees and various greenery, but it’s happening a lot right now in the Amazon rainforest.

Global warming, logging, soil degradation, limited harvests, inundation, higher greenhouse gas levels in the air, and a slew of other issues for aboriginal populations can all occur due to reducing trees and various plants.

Greenhouse Gases Have Increased

A lack of trees permits a more significant quantity of greenhouse gases to be emitted into the atmosphere, in addition to habitat loss. Healthy forests absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and operate as excellent carbon sinks. Deforested areas lose this ability, releasing more carbon into the atmosphere.

The Atmosphere’s Water

The trees also help in controlling the water cycle, which helps to prevent the amount of water in the atmosphere. There is less water in the air to return to the soil in deforested areas. As a result, the earth becomes drier, making it impossible to cultivate crops.

Erosion of The Soil and Flooding

Soil degradation and coastal flooding are two further consequences of deforestation. Trees aid in the retention of water and dirt, which offers abundant nutrients for other forest life.

The land erodes and drains away without woods, forcing people to relocate on and continue the cycle. The barren soil left behind by this soil degradation is more vulnerable to flooding, particularly in coastal areas.

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Acequia Concerns in Drought-Ridden New Mexico

Kevin Wells

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Acequias have been the backbone of inhospitable climates for centuries. Pronounced ah-SEH-kee-ahs, the word means “one that gives water.” A network of gravity-fed irrigation ditches provides water to areas of the world where drought is common.

Rural New Mexico learned early on how to copy this method from the Middle East and North Africa. History has proven that nature and humans can help each other in times of unusual distress. The existence of freshwater is a necessity that has been made possible in New Mexico communities by following the methods of ancestors.

Technology vs Human Interaction

Technology has aided communities in tracing possible leaks in the underground system, but not to the degree of replacing human abilities. Community-owned and operated, there are between 600 and 700 acequias throughout New Mexico. Everyone works together to maintain and watch for the upcoming drought. Sharing with neighbors in time of need has definitely been the key to the successful program.

Decrease in Snow Melts

The biggest problem in the past two years has been the decrease of water that flows from the mountain snow melts. This is the primary source of water for landowners to keep crops hydrated. While the increasing droughts cause an inconvenience, those within the acequias communities have learned to cope.

Politics of Acequias

In 1923, the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) was formed to aid in keeping the watershed of Albuquerque from the limitations of development. Although not a part of the federal or state government, the creation was necessary for watching the upstream flow of snow melts some 1,200 miles away.

The New Mexico Acequia Association was formed 10 years ago to provide training to young people that are just coming onboard to land ownership in New Mexico. The importance of acequias and the traditional way of life are instilled in their minds to avoid any types of changes in the future. Many other programs have been formed to keep the acequia in place and operating smoothly.

Today, outsiders are confused as to the definition of Acequias. The word has taken on the description of a group of people within a community that works for a common cause. There have been years when water shortages have prevented healthy fruit trees and limits in freshwater supply. However, communities are united and always accept and share the bounty and less than bounty with neighbors in a concerted effort to keep the water flowing.

Unlike many programs and advances in technology, acequias have proven that learning from history can be an asset to the future. In other words, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

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Bringing the Homeless Closer to Home

Kevin Wells

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David McDonald as well as Kim Cornier are not, at first blush, two individuals people would connect as neighbors. As folks often judge others so quickly on sight, the two immediately seem to live worlds apart. Yet, ironically, David was Kim’s neighbor literally in her backyard. And as Kim puts it, she would not have preferred things any different.

The two very different people crossed paths in July, which set them on their fate from that point forward. David McDonald had, at least for the last five years, been verifiably homeless most of his time. However, here and there he would manage to get an advantage that would make things easier from day to day. One of those advantages which began to fail was an e-scooter he was riding for basic transportation when it blew a tire passing by near where Kim Cormier lived. Kim happened to be outside at the time working on a project with her laptop, and David took the chance to ask for a simple favor – would she watch his belongings while he tried to go find a replacement inner tube to fix his scooter. Being homeless on the street meant dealing with things being stolen all the time, so unless items were watched continuously, they had a habit among the homeless to get up and disappear.

Eventually, David returned, and Kim felt comfortable enough to ask David if he wanted to have dinner with Kim and her partner, Andrew. The invitation was a hit. The three people ended up having a great evening, lots of conversation, and most importantly connecting on a basic human level. There was also a hell of a lot of laughing, which is good for anyone in any situation.

For David, the evening was finally a nice break. He had been on a bad run of horrible luck that just seemed to be getting worse by the day. Prior to getting stuck in the homeless cycle, he had up until 2010 been a very comfortable owner of a gas station that earned David a six-figure income annually. However, as most in the consumer fuel business know, the profit margins are thin and money is made on volume only. When gas prices increased, people stopped filling up as much. The loss of volume and cut in gross sales literally swung David’s business from being in the black instead to sinking in the red. Eventually, the gas station failed and David lost everything trying to hold on. Then, with no income, he lost is home and finally his car. It didn’t help that a personal relationship failed during this time as well. When it rains it pours, but none of that rain was anything useful for David. Everything David knew disappeared in front of him within a year.

Eventually, David tried his luck again in Toronto, but when his daughter moved out on her own, David had no ties to the area and nothing to support him. So, he tried his luck out west, moving to Vancouver by Greyhound bus. It was a mistake, and the former business owner was quickly homeless. Somehow, trying to find something better, David took nine entire months to walk and bike his way back to Ontario. Finally, he found a makeshift home site in a park in Toronto, still homeless. There were moments for a few days or weeks where David was able to sleep on a couch or stay with friends, but it always came back to living on the street. Nothing would gel out.

David tried his hand a few times being a roommate, but he was frequently threatened and robbed by his own flatmates, oftentimes because his sexual preference as a gay man gave the impression of him being a weak target. Right after the tire blowout near Kim’s home, David was back on the street, feeling safer there than with roommates. Ironically, David would refuse to use homeless services frequently because he felt there were folks worse off than him who needed the money more.

Once she heard his story, Kim and her partner felt moved to do something about it. They decided to let David camp in their backyard. He would pitch his tent, be safe, and have a stable location to try to build from. And that started a friendship where David and Kim both blame the other as being the better person in their connection. That has since blossomed into a project that will now provide David a microhome, fully insulated, as a place to live and a replacement for his tent living. But for Kim and her partner, he’s not the homeless guy in their backyard; David is family now. And to David, Kim and her partner are angels when he needed help the most.

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Barcelona Went Green While People Had to Distance from COVID

Renee Yates

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When cities develop, they often replace older buildings and areas with newer development. Barcelona, on the other hand, has decided to restore at least eight hectares of prime city property with a green zone, banning vehicles and promoting far more pedestrian traffic usage. The local business coalitions are not thrilled.

A transformation happened in the Spanish town. Barcelona was reconfigured during the COVID pandemic when traffic was at a minimum and people were primarily contained to their homes and apartments. Instead of coming out to life as they remembered it, with a main drag of car traffic down Consell de Cent, the primary street had been put on a diet with a distinctly wide and yellow-colored fat sidewalk. It was one of the first of a number of changes in the pipeline to Barcelona to reduce car traffic and boost foot traffic.

Originally, the city design changes were pitched to the local neighborhoods as temporary, a tryout of sorts. However, much to the angst of businesses on the affected streets, they are not going away. Instead, the expected changes are going to be applied to another 21 streets, expanding foot access and doing away with cars. It’s a classic example being repeated worldwide where civil leaders saw an opportunity with the pandemic to make wholesale adjustments to city designs while the chance was available.

The idea was always in play. Barcelona’s planning department and various interests have been targeting some kind of change to improve pedestrian flow and reduce cars for decades. Once March 2020 came around with dramatic social changes in outdoor behavior, the opportunity was ripe for significant transformation. A full-blown project to institute more walking space, playgrounds and bike paths was put into motion. Ironically, one of the big arguments for the change was public-health oriented, needing more space for physical separation.

Barcelona is not going to suddenly become comparable to Paris, one of the most pedestrian and bicycle-friendly cities in Europe, but the changes have definitely been enough to stir up a lot of contention. The city business lobby is arguing the changes are job-killers, especially the transport of goods to retail storefronts as well as driving away customers who drive into the city for day visits. The city managers simply don’t agree. Instead, they argue Barcelona residents have adapted quite well, and the results are proof that turning the city into a green zone has improved city life for the better.

The same view is not fully shared elsewhere in Europe. London tried a similar strategy and a good number of phases ended up being reversed either through litigation or unpopular protest. Politics has a heavy hand in the game as well, with conservative parties pushing for more business growth and protection, including transportation access, while liberal parties focus on the environment and green-zone promotion. Barcelona right now is operating under a leftist/liberal government party, so the radical shift to green zones is consistent with the current political platform. Their plans easily carry through to 2030 with continued changes and city redesign.

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Father+Kids Time Increases in Modern Years Versus Prior Decades

Renee Yates

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The typical pattern of a father’s relationship with his kids in the past decades has been a distanced one at young ages to develop into a closer stabilizing contact as kids go into their later teens and become young adults. That pattern has been around for decades. And prior to that, kids barely had a relationship at all with their fathers until adulthood altogether. However, in recent years, a very different trend has developed. Young fathers are spending an incredible amount of time with their kids, far greater than ever before, which is a huge paradigm shift.

A Father’s Role

Psychologists and educators have long premised that a father’s role is a critical component to raising a child. For many households, the primary caregiver and role model for decades has been the mother, either because of a distanced father or no father figure at all. Many social scientists have also attributed society’s woes to the same issue as well. Whoever is right, they all agree on one point – a father figure has an impact on how kids grow up and see the world around them, just as a mother does.

Ground-Shift in Father Involvement

In the last few years, studies and researchers have noted fathers are not just increasing their time with kids, they are tripling it. The energy involved and activities have gone through the roof, from very early basic care such as diaper-changing to behavior and norms development as kids grow older. Everything from feeding to school and homework support to guidance has been getting invaded by the presence of more and more fathers. The mothers generally aren’t complaining, given the amount of work involved anyways.

Millennial fathers in particular have a very different view of their role in a family, quite a contrast from their fathers and grandfathers, who were distant at best or not present at worst. It’s not a perfect world though; Millennial fathers are still dealing with many of the same issues as their predecessors, including marriage challenges, divorce and child support differences. Nonetheless, they actively want to be involved with their kids, especially at young ages. And the involvement is not gender-specific either. The stereotype was that fathers focused on their sons the most. Millennial dads, however, are spending an incredible amount of time with their daughters as well, as well as redefining cultural rules about which gender does what work. Dishwashing, cleaning, child-rearing and clothing aren’t just a mother’s role in their minds. And their kids are learning this different perspective firsthand.

Recent Years Pushed Fatherhood Change Over the Top

2020 and the COVID pandemic really pushed things over the top as well. The fact that so many people had to work from home and remotely gave fathers far more exposure and time with their home life and kids. And that seems to have made an impact. Now, many are questioning why they can’t continue to keep working remotely and still be involved with their kids at home. How well that change sticks will depend on employers accommodating the shift or fighting it with demands to return or pay cuts for working remote.

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