It’s raining steadily here, and starting to feel more like winter. This hot coffee mug in my hands sure feels good, as we settle in for another sharing of the news.
Today, we focus on breaking news on the international oil front, and then we jump around from there.
Head of fourth largest international oil company, dies in a plane accident in Moscow.
Christophe De Margerie, CEO of Total, the French oil giant, was killed when his private jet hit a snowplow, during take off from Moscow over the weekend. There are preliminary reports, that the snowplow driver was drunk at the time of the crash. De Margerie was in Moscow attending a summit, with other investors, interested in creating opportunities with Russia. He was seen within the industry, as a charismatic and cutting edge leader, and his death puts many future projects in jeopardy.
De Margerie, was one of the most outspoken objectors to sanctions against Russia by the US and the European Union, saying that efforts to isolate Russia economically, were unbalanced and unfair. De Margerie’s company, Total, has been working with Lukoil, creating a transcontinental pipeline, to the proven oil and gas reserves centered in Siberia. Many see the loss of De Margerie, as a huge blow to international co-operation in the oil industry.
Matt Damon puts his celebrity, and his money behind clean water for all.
This summer, there was an internet meme about taking the ice bucket challenge, to bring awareness to ALSA or Lou Gehrig’s disease. It spurred many celebrities and regular folks, to dump buckets of ice water over their heads, to show support for those suffering from this disease. I was touched by Matt Damon’s ice bucket challenge, as he is my favorite actor, and he used water from his own toilets for the challenge. He was conflicted by the challenge, due to the drought in California, but he also wanted to raise awareness for Water.org, the international charity he co-founded. He explained to viewers, that many folks in developing nations do not have water to drink, that is as clean as our toilet water in the west. You can view his very moving ice bucket challenge on Youtube.
His charity, which works at the grass-roots level in the world wide water and sanitation crisis, just received a large charitable grant from the Helmsley Trust, to provide sanitation and safe water in East Africa.
Water.org then turned right around and made $2 Million available for micro-grants, over the next year, in Kenya and Uganda. The charity believes, that small loans empower families to take charge of the sanitation and water situation in their lives. They then become role models, for other members of their community. As so many feel charitable donations sometimes disappear, it is wonderful to hear of a charity that donates directly to those in need, and immediately affects their lives in a positive and life sustaining way!
If you are interested in finding out more about Water.org, and the programs they support for clean water for all, please visit their website.
Taking the concept of car pooling to the maximum, in order to boost sustainability.
It is a pretty standard belief, that Americans who live outside concentrated urban areas, that are supported by mass transit, must have a car to get anywhere. What would happen though, if true car sharing became available? Would Americans make the switch, foregoing unlimited use, for a more economical, scheduled and sustainable method of transportation? Susan Shaheen, of the Transportation and Sustainability Research Center at USC Berkley believes so, and she has the research to back up her claims. She was excited, as a graduate student, by the research results of a German study on car sharing, which showed that individual kilometers driven declined, and many car share participants sold their cars or did not purchase new ones. She set out to test the premise in the US, and enlisted 7,000 participants. At the end of the study, she noted that over half of the participants sold their cars, or didn’t buy a new one, because car sharing was available. This bodes well for the future, as more sustainable vehicle sharing programs, such as bike and scooter shares, come online in the main stream.
Get ready for a partial solar eclipse this Thursday!
This Thursday, October 23, 2014, at 5:45pm EST, a partial solar eclipse will be viewed in most of North and Central America, and parts of Russia. The partial solar eclipse will look like a big cookie with a bite taken out, and if you miss this one, you won’t see another until 2023!
Please remember to be cautious when viewing the solar eclipse, as extended naked-eye viewing can cause retinal damage. For more information on safe viewing practices, please check out the details at Exploratorium.
And finally, a little fly by…
Siding Spring comet buzzes Mars, and the orbiters get some up-close and personal beauty shots.
As many of you know, NASA, the European Space Agency and India, all have space exploratory craft circling Mars at the present time, in preparation for a manned mission to the red planet in the near future. Those space craft had to duck and cover over the weekend, as comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring came within 87,000 miles of the planet. Images have been received from the spacecraft, which are the first photos of a comet taken from the orbit of another planet. Siding Spring originated in the Oort Cloud, located in the outer solar system, and passes through once every million years or so. Researchers are excited by what they may learn, from such a close viewing of the comet.
That’s the news for today! I hope you have a rocking day, and come back to join me for more news tomorrow!
Be Well. Be Joy. Be Love!