Methane - Methane flames - red-tailed hawk - and us

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Today's NY Times daily briefing leads with that photo, and this:

A red-tailed hawk that was rescued recently after being injured by a methane flame in Lyndhurst, N.J. Wasteland there attracts 280 species of birds, but it has a permanent, near-invisible danger.

Of course, we can imagine ourselves as hawks, right? We do, part of the human spirit to do that.

The beauty in this photo was scorched, over its fields, by a "near-invisible" methane flame.

We can imagine ourselves into that too, right? Bad!


Methane is a greenhouse (read heat trapping) gas on steroids, approximately 30 times as potent as carbon dioxide. Methane is the primary component of "natural" gas, the kind we frack and drill for fuel. Other major sources of methane include livestock farming (think manure), landfills and waste (the source in our red-tail story), rice agriculture, and more.

We are now allowing ourselves to be sloppy, wasteful and dangerous our kids and theirs (not to mention to the hawks) by the cheap and lazy ways we deal with Methane.

Here is a good guide, for kids the Methane capture and use:

Note: this link is still up on the EPA site! It has not yet been replaced with kids stories of the beauty of the new coal age. That is, it has not yet been noticed by the President, not by Scott Pruitt. Shhhh, let's keep it under our hat until their reign of terror on the natural world falls.


We need to turn the tide on Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction.

In order to turn that tide we need to shift our investments, make them wisely

One critical investment we need to make is in a sweeping effort to capture and reuse methane - turn it into a sustainable source of fuel, keep it from trapping heat in our atmosphere - driving up our temperatures.

Let's do this thing

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Anna L Beale's picture

Yes ! to all this. AND- in addition to sane capturing of methane, we can participate in producing less, some options below:

"Here are several ways you can help reduce the level of methane in our atmosphere:

Support Organic Farming Practices

Organic farmers keep livestock longer instead of replacing old cows with younger calves. Young calves produce no milk but still contribute methane gases. Using a cow into its later years means the total number of cows is fewer leading to less methane in the atmosphere.

Eat Less Red Meat

If the amount of red meat consumed is limited, there will be fewer cows contributing to methane emissions.

Support Farms who use "digesters"

Anaerobic "digesters" utilize microorganisms to decompose cattle manure within a huge container. The resulting biogas can be harvested and used for "free" electricity production, rather than be expelled into the atmosphere. (highlights from this use, re link above::

  • Top producer. In 2009, Germany produced enough electricity from biogas to power 3.5 million homes.
  • A world first! Sweden has been operating a biogas-powered train since 2005. It shuttles passengers between two cities that are 75 miles apart.)

  • *
  • It is not hard to see the potential many-branching benefits supporting less methane use: if we do the things suggested above , in addition to less methane we can get more
-Personal health. Even the high animal protein paleo diet advises *small quantities* of *good quality* meats -both of which the recommendations above support
-Community. Organic farms are by nature smaller than factory farms, allowing you to know where your meat comes from, to have a connection to the farmers and to the land where what you eat has grown
-Active participation in creating a world where animals are treated well...and our children can breathe, eat, etc.
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