There is a saying that, in Texas, it’s “so windy we’re using a log chain instead of a wind sock.” The adage is true: according to the [Texas] State Energy Conservation Office, the state has been the number-one wind producer in the nation for the past two years. While this isn’t the best weather for maintaining that perfectly coiffed up-do, it holds great potential for rural residents seeking to trim their electricity bills. Thanks to federal tax credits instated to promote small windmill installation, ranchers and other rural Texans who set up the wind-harnessing technology for home, business, or personal use may be able to save a pretty penny.Click to continue reading »
Global warming has serious consequences for the international fishing community, but I’m also concerned that our soaring sense of wonder about something greater than ourselves might also be at risk.
A study published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that individual fish have lost half their average body mass, that fish populations have thinned drastically, and that smaller species are starting to dominate European fish stocks. Although overfishing probably played a significant role, the long, steady increase in fresh water and ocean temperatures caused by global warming takes the lion’s share of the blame.
“It’s huge,” said study author Martin Daufresne of the Cemagref Public Agricultural and Environmental Research Institute in Lyon, France. “Size is a fundamental characteristic that is linked to a number of biological functions, such as fecundity – - the capacity to reproduce.”
Small steps. Keep reminding yourself that the transformation to a globally green and sustainable mindset eventually will happen if enough small steps are taken.
From that perspective, the agreement between the United States and China to establish a jointly-owned clean energy research center fits right in. The agreement between the planet’s two most prolific polluters involves an investment of only $30 million, but maybe it’s a precursor of more to come.
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Major developing democracies face an interesting predicament these days. They have fought through decades of poverty and political irrelevance and have now landed on the world stage. Sure, a large percentage of their population may still live in shantytowns (India), or they may manufacture billions of inexpensive plastic items for export to America (China), but they have become socioeconomic forces to be reckoned with.
By Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact (Photo Credit: Davidson Read)
Whole Foods Market has announced that each of its 273 U.S. stores has been individually certified organic by CCOF, a non-profit, USDA-accredited third-party organic certifier.
“…It’s important for Whole Foods Market to maintain its certification as an organic retailer so our customers can trust that the organic food they choose has been sourced, stored, handled and marketed according to organic requirements,” said Joe Dickson, quality standards coordinator for Whole Foods Market.
In case you’ve been bluffing during all those happy hour Waxman-Markey debates, Jon Stewart is here to help you out in figuring out what this cap and trade stuff really means:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
And then he ends up with a great interview with Energy Secretary Stephen Chu (“of the Charleston Chu’s”) See below the fold… Click to continue reading »
Washington’s recent debate over healthcare reform has been quite a back and forth, to say the least. But, if a ClimateWire expert’s report is correct, the debate’s outcome could be more than complex: it could leave “blood in the water” for climate change legislation. Ick….Click to continue reading »
Developing brand and communications strategies to promote green products is top of mind for most consumer goods manufacturers and retailers, so they should be encouraged by the overall findings of the 2009 Green Brands survey that, despite the poor global economy, consumers still want green products.
The struggle to establish guidelines by which the world will cut greenhouse gas emissions continues. The newest development? China should, according to statements made Monday by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, have to invest more definitively in environmental protection measures. In other words, China will, should Locke’s plan come to fruition, have to “pay” to decrease greenhouse gasses.Click to continue reading »
Austin Energy, Austin’s municipal power utility, was the first in the nation to give consumers the option of buying green-powered electricity. And as recently as last year the city’s green power program, called GreenChoice, was number one in the nation, in terms of sales.
This year, 99% of the city’s allotment of green power remains unsold, even after seven months on the market, according to the Austin Statesman. The reasons for the abrupt failure of the GreenChoice program serves as a warning to other green power programs nationwide, as well as a case study in how, with renewable energy, sometimes when you win, you still lose.
Before I knew what “green washing” was, I knew what “green dry cleaning” was. I felt guilty every time I didn’t utilize the eco-friendly clothes-washing experts. After all, their methods were touted by so many sustainability proponents. However, as more and more supposedly “green” businesses are busted for green washing, a query is warranted: is green dry cleaning really just green washing?
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) recently reported that a number of self-proclaimed “green dry cleaners” may be just green washers in, ahem, a cotton plant’s clothing. The WSJ studied several companies that have “greened” themselves by eliminating use of a hazardous liquid solvent called perchloroethylene, or “perc.”
The solvent is a no-go for any truly eco-friendly dry cleaner: It is described as a “hazardous air pollutant” and a “probable human carcinogen” by the Clean Air Act and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, respectively. The Environmental Protection Agency is requiring cleaners located in residential buildings to phase out their perc use, and some states have passed to-be-instated bans on the solvent. (Dry cleaning industry reps say these claims are founded on inconclusive research.)
Ikea’s slogan is “low prices but not at any price.” Ikea is known for its cheap furniture that customers have to put together at home. A recent article in The Atlantic asked (about Ikea), “Can we afford to keep shopping at places where an item’s price reflects only a fraction of its societal costs?” One of the biggest societal costs is environmental. As Boston University professor Ellen Ruppel Shell, author of Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture, puts it, Ikea relies “on consumers to carry huge costs for the company.”
Ikea is the third-largest purchaser of wood in the world, behind Home Depot and Lowe’s. Ikea gets most of its wood from Russia and China. In 2007, a senior Ikea staff member told the Washington Post that only 30 percent of the wood it purchases is from China. The same year the Post ran an expose on illegal timber that quoted a Chinese factory sales manager, who said, “Ikea will provide some guidance, such as a list of endangered species we can’t use, but they never send people to supervise the purchasing. Basically, they just let us pick what wood we want.”
Israeli start-up ETV Motors is testing what it hopes will be the future of the hybrid electric automobile. The car, yet to be named, does not have an internal combustion engine like many hybrid vehicles. Instead, the Israeli hybrid has an electric engine (in the rear of the vehicle) that is comprised of two primary parts: a super-capacity (high density) battery and micro-jet turbine engine.
The 4.7-volt lithium battery will exceed the voltage of existing lithium-ion batteries, which typically have just 3.2 volts. By allowing for longer driving distances with a smaller battery, the high voltage is expected to increase the vehicle’s longevity.
Clever Englishmen and women have devised the world’s newest carbon calculator. Using streaming data from the agencies responsible for maintaining the UK’s power grid, RealtimeCarbon.org adjusts the carbon footprint of each kiloWatt hour of juice every five minutes.
While there are a plethora of carbon calculators out there, Real Time Carbon is the first to adjust to energy use fluctuations during the day. When carbon output is above average, the website announces a “carbon alert” in the form of a little blinking red button on the site.