Here’s a refreshing idea that reaches beyond emergency preparedness for the most precious of commodities – water.
Blue Can Pure Water comes in recyclable single serve aluminum cans with a 50-year, shelf-life.
“Our philosophy is to reduce the use of plastic bottles with a sustainable product rather than legislative bans. Our vision is to scale our technology globally, taking on mounting consumer waste by putting a dent in the 63 billion plastic bottles entering oceans and landfills annually,” says Angela Morente Cheng, a co-founder of Blue Can.
Ratepayers in Washington State could save a cool $1.7 billion over 17 years if the Columbia Generating Station (CGS) nuclear power plant at Hanford is closed.
A 212-page economic analysis released last week by McCullough Research of Portland, OR notes that the CGS on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is the only nuclear facility that was actually completed out of the five plants begun there during the long and tangled history of Hanford. In addition, it contains a General Electric boiling water reactor that’s similar to those that were destroyed during the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan.
But the study is not about the risks of nuclear generation; it focuses on the economics of the CGS and its possible replacement with other energy suppliers.
Companies are realizing that there is both an internal price and an opportunity when it comes to carbon pollution.
An odd juxtaposition, perhaps, but a white paper from CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) North America makes the point that once a company establishes an “internal carbon price,” it can be used as an incentive and a core strategic planning tool.
This might be the father and mother of all contests from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: a challenge to come up with the “next generation” of condom.
That’s right, wrap your head around this, according to a foundation press release: “Quite simply, condoms save lives but new thinking is needed to ensure that men and women around the world are using them consistently and correctly to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.”
So earlier this year, the philanthropic organization delved into the prophylactic world when it launched the next generation condom contest. People were encouraged to erect a better condom, with an emphasis on new models that “preserve or enhance sensation.” Now that would be sensational, because it’s estimated that just five percent of men use condoms, mainly because they say this type of birth control/safe sex method is a downer when it comes to pleasure.
One could argue that salt and the human obsession with it aligns with the fabric of world history and civilization itself—in trade, production and culinary habits—points that Mark Kurlansky make in Salt: A World History.
We take things with a grain of salt, we work—some of us anyway—in the salt mines, tell salty salacious stories during Happy Hour and what would that potato chip or French fry be without salt? Pretty bland, and even the “salt substitutes” out there don’t quite fill the bill—or at least this Bill. And, fun factoid: did you know that salt is the only rock we eat?
Generally speaking, food tastes better with salt and the food industry, especially the processed food industry, knows this very well.
So when Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage maker, pledges to accelerate the reduction of salt across all of its food brands, that’s a pretty spicy development. Nestlé said this month that its planned reduction supports a World Health Organization salt target of no more than 5g of salt per person, per day, by 2025.
Look for Portland State University students climbing on the Walmart roof, the green roof, that is. Under a two-year research partnership between the Oregon school and the retail giant, PSU is building a green roof research site on Walmart’s new North Portland store.
Designing green roofs is not just about slapping huge solar panels on large rooftops. It’s also about using the space to filter storm water, enable energy efficiency, mitigate heat islands and provide habitat. The partnership will enable the collection of in-depth, real-time data on the largest green installation in Portland.
PSU’s Green Building Research Laboratory will deploy scores of sensors and a weather station on Walmart’s new Hayden Meadows store. It will feature 40,000 square feet of vegetative roof installed in three separate sections—each devoted to testing different aspects of green roof design, such as materials and soil depth. The remaining 52,000 square feet of white membrane rooftop will also be monitored by sensors, providing an opportunity to deliver side-by-side comparisons on factors including surface temperature, water flow and building operations.
Americans have displayed many emotions regarding the recent halt of government services, including anger. But The Atlantic may have put its finger on the mood of the American people during and after the shutdown: betrayal.
In her article, Molly Ball writes that “even before the recent government shutdown, congressional approval hovered around 10 percent, a minority thought the country was on the right track, and a ‘throw the bums out’ mentality was rampant.”
Railing against the “mess” in D.C. is a time-honored tradition for both parties. That’s pretty much business as usual, but the Republicans raised the ante to unprecedented levels by threatening and then using an extortive, hissy-fit strategy to shut down the government if they did not get their demands, mainly to defund Obamacare.
Dell’s ambitiously named 2020 Legacy of Good Plan is actually quite ambitious, and even more important, realistic and philosophically consistent as it attempts to forge a long-term culture of sustainability.
The computer and electronics maker calls it the “next step” in its Powering the Possible commitment and it outlines “our goals for the future of sustainability and corporate responsibility at Dell.” The 69-page plan, according to Dell, is a long-term and collaborative “framework designed to aggregate and accelerate the ways that Dell and its IT solutions help customers, Dell team members and communities make lasting contributions to the planet and society.”
Microsoft’s 2013 Citizenship Report describes an ambitious agenda that includes making its operations carbon neutral and using the “power of technology” to promote human rights.
The software giant’s fiscal year 2013 was pivotal on those points, as CEO Steven A. Ballmer writes in the report, because it took the “first big, bold steps” in its transformation to a devices and services company and in its citizenship work.
Some citizenship developments he mentioned:
Wasting 1.3 billion tons of food causes huge economic losses and a lot of needless hunger, but there are climate environmental issues deeply connected to food waste, according to a report from the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization.
FAO’s Food Wastage Footprint: Impacts on Natural Resources is the first study to analyze the impacts of global food wastage from an environmental perspective, looking specifically at its consequences for the climate, water and land use, and biodiversity.
Maybe it’s time to get serious about the development of alternative jet fuels as a way to aid both the airline industry and the environment, or at least throw more barrels of money at it. That is the American way, isn’t it?
The Federal Aviation Administration last week selected a group of universities to run a new Air Transportation Center of Excellence (COE) for alternate jet fuels and the environment. The COE, with Washington State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the lead universities, will explore ways to meet the environmental and energy goals that make up a large part of the Next Generation Air Transportation System, known as NextGen. The FAA says NextGen is the “transformation of how airplanes traverse the sky,” affecting pilots, passengers, air controllers and the aircraft.
The government-university partnership supports President Obama’s plan to address climate change, said Anthony Foxx, secretary of transportation. “The Center of Excellence will tap talented universities to help us take environmentally friendly, alternative jet fuel technology to the next level,” he said. “Airlines and their customers will both benefit from their work developing cleaner fuel that supports the environment and continued aviation growth.”
Air Canada’s second CSR report focuses on four areas of sustainability: safety, the environment, the well-being of employees, and community involvement. There are points of progress and but the airline acknowledges that further progress is needed.
In brief, not bad for a second effort by Canada’s biggest airline.
Citizens of the World “improves upon the first edition in a number of ways, including the fact it is based on a materiality assessment developed from an extensive survey we undertook to identify the sustainability issues of most concern to our stakeholders,” notes Calin Rovinescu, the airline’s president and CEO.
The coal industry’s plan to move millions of tons of coal through Pacific Northwest (PNW) terminals to China and other Asian markets received a body blow when Washington regulators said environmental impact reviews must consider the worldwide impact of burning the export coal in China.
One of the major battles surrounding the various proposals has centered on the “scope” of the environmental review process.
That question was answered on July 31 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Washington State Department of Ecology, and Whatcom County jointly announced the scope of their joint Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point, in northwest Washington State. If built, it would be the largest coal export terminal in North America, exporting up to 48 million metric tons of coal per year to Asia. The proponents of the terminal include Peabody Energy, SSA Marine, and Goldman Sachs.
There are good reasons that CH2M Hill is consistently ranked as the top U.S. environmental firm, but for those with long memories, the company’s innovative and ground-breaking involvement in the Rocky Flats nuclear waste site cleanup and closure is a great place to start.
The Rocky Flats Nuclear Production facility near Denver opened in 1952, but by 1992, when it was ordered closed by President George H.W. Bush, it was a disaster: one of the worst hazardous sites in the world. The Department of Energy estimated it would take 75 years and cost as much as $37 billion to close and clean up the contaminated 175-acre facility.
Various contractors had little success and by 1995, DOE acknowledged that a different tack was needed. Rather than continuing with the bureaucracy’s normal transaction-based project procedures, DOE sought a collaborative, innovative performance-based contract and governance structure that would drastically reduce the time and the cost of the cleanup/closure project.
Why is the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, method of drilling for natural gas and oil seemingly exempt from unintended consequences such as soil, water and air pollution, water waste and earthquakes, among other really bad things?
No need to answer that, but here’s another alarming outcome of fracking that could hit close to home, especially if your home is in Bradford County, PA, where 93 percent of the acreage is under lease to a gas company.
Nearly 63,000 residents there live above the Marcellus Shale and the fracking phenomenon is creating a new world of murky uncertainties around home lending, refinancing and the real estate market in general.