Dec 29, 2007
Remember this little ditty? Though a bit dated now - the spot was originally aired in mid-2005 - this effort by GE to promote its "eco-imagination" campaign remains a classic in what not to do in green marketing.
GE was eventually pressured into dropping the ad campaign after it received numerous complaints from coal mining families. Companies (including GE) have grown more savvy over the past few years in "branding" themselves as responsible stewards of the environment - though greenwashing (unfortunately) is still all too common.
Dec 28, 2007
It's a baffling phenomenon that may have significant implications, because it could mean that soil cleanups and other measures don't address some of the major sources of human exposure to metals. - "Wrong" It is not a phenomenon and it IS addressed (EPA regulated) during cleanups.
"There's a lot we don't know about house dust and what makes it potentially worrisome is just the number of chemicals and various things that end up in house dust," - "Wrong" we know a lot and "Worry" is typically generated from lack of knowledge and understanding of risk the factors
Keeping a clean house won't stop the release of lead or flame retardants into house dust. But until researchers have a better understanding of how dust becomes contaminated and the level of risk it poses, it's the best solution to a perplexing problem. - "Wrong" clean homes include HEPA filtration that is proven to stop spread of these toxins.
Toxins in dust are NOT a new phenomenon that scientists are uninformed about.
Japanese engineers have found enough "flammable ice" to meet its gas use demands for 14 years. The trick is extracting it without damaging the environment. Japan is joining the U.S. and Canada in test drilling for methane even as scientists express concerns about any uncontrolled release of the frozen chemical. Some researchers blame the greenhouse gas for triggering a global firestorm that helped wipe out the dinosaurs.
"Methane hydrate was a key cause of the global warming that led to one of the largest extinctions in the earth's history," says Ryo Matsumoto, a University of Tokyo scientist who has studied frozen gas since 1987. . . Read more from BLOOMBERG
Dec 27, 2007
The 200 kilowatt Toshiba designed reactor is engineered to be fail-safe and totally automatic and will not overheat. Unlike traditional nuclear reactors the new micro reactor uses no control rods to initiate the reaction. The new revolutionary technology uses reservoirs of liquid lithium-6, an isotope that is effective at absorbing neutrons. The Lithium-6 reservoirs are connected to a vertical tube that fits into the reactor core. The whole whole process is self sustaining and can last for up to 40 years, producing electricity for only 5 cents per kilowatt hour, about half the cost of grid energy.
Toshiba expects to install the first reactor in Japan in 2008 and to begin marketing the new system in Europe and America in 2009.
Follow-up surveys indicate that the plants assessed in 2006 have taken steps to save 15.1 trillion Btu of natural gas and $75 million annually. More than 60 percent of the recommendations are in progress or planned, and 90 percent of participating companies were influenced by these assessments when it came to implementing new energy saving projects. For more information on the results of the 2006 assessments, visit the Save Energy Now results page: http://www.eere.energy.gov/industry/saveenergynow/partners/resultscfm.
by-laws at the draft stage pending adoption. (Mike Christie, 2007,http://www.flora.org/healthyottawa/BylawList.pdf) SourceDavid Schaller
Quote: "The fewer clear facts you have in support of an opinion, the stronger your emotional attachment to that opinion." - Anonymous
The resulting fuel rods and pellets could then be burned in nuclear reactors over the next few decades. In turn, the waste could be burned in a new generation of power plants called fast breeder reactors. Under this scheme, Britain would be near self-sufficient in nuclear fuel for the rest of the century.
Building new reactors is controversial. Apart from their high construction costs, analysts say uranium could become scarce and expensive, with supplies from Canadian and Australian mines drying up in the next 20 years. Reactors would then have no fuel.
Accidental Injury 1-in-36
Motor Vehicle Accident 1-in-100
Intentional Self-harm (suicide) 1-in-121
Falling Down 1-in-246
Assault by Firearm 1-in-325
Fire or Smoke 1-in-1,116
Air Travel Accident 1-in-20,000
Flood (included also in Natural Forces above) 1-in-30,000
Legal Execution 1-in-58,618
Lightning Strike 1-in-83,930
Snake, Bee or other Venomous Bite or Sting 1-in-100,000
Dog Attack 1-in-147,717
Asteroid Impact 1-in-200,000**
Fireworks Discharge 1-in-615,488
The Clean Water Act set out to "virtually eliminate" discharges to U.S. waterways by 1985. But a Post-Tribune analysis shows Indiana's major facilities discharged more than 378 million pounds of pollutants into Lake Michigan and its tributaries in just one year.
Dec 22, 2007
Dec 20, 2007
Acceleration wise, it's the same as a Maruti 800... and gets 58.8 miles per gallon. In the past, Tata has said its $2,500 car, which is due for release next June and will be on display next month, will be the cleanest in the world. Tata also has plans to make a compressed air and fuel cell car but most greens are not happy because dropping the price for a car so dramatically will mean an increase in the number of cars and, likely, more pollution.
Nissan may import the car to the United States or Europe, so the question is, might you buy the 59 miles per gallon $2,500 car in 2008?
JS Online likes to show a nice graphic and article saying how if everyone helped a little we can "save a lot"... These may seem like small and insignificant measures to help small families in local communities... however the average "sprawl lifestyle" with a 3,000 sqft home on a "clear cut" archer of land with two SUV's in the driveway can make a BIG difference with these little suggestions.
More importantly they state: Coal-fired plants are the most polluting way to generate electricity - contributing to air quality issues and public health problems. Coal plants also are the leading contributor to rising emissions of carbon dioxide.In regards to lowering emissions: "It's clear that some of these things are going to be easy, and some of these things are going to be pretty much impossible" for U.S. or state governments to implement, said Christopher Damm, a Milwaukee School of Engineering researcher who is forming an advanced energy technologies laboratory at the college.
"Efficiency measures are going to be the most cost-effective way to cut emissions in the near term," Damm said.
George Meyer, former secretary of the state Department of Natural Resources, says Wisconsin already is years behind in curbing emissions because it failed to implement global warming action plans in the 1990s.
Bruce Nilles, a Sierra Club lawyer, agreed. Wisconsin needs to move more quickly to shut down coal plants and embrace alternative energy sources, he said.
"Right now, we take our energy dollars and send them to Wyoming to buy coal," he said. "We just need to decide as a state that we want to lead in reducing our wasteful energy practices. It's not about doing with less - it's about being smarter with what we have."
Fruit-pickers, who typically earn about $200 a week, are part of an unregulated system designed to keep food prices low and the plates of America's overweight families piled high. The migrants, largely Hispanic and with many of them from Mexico, are the last wretched link in a long chain of exploitation and abuse. They are paid 45 cents for every 32-pound bucket of tomatoes collected. A worker has to pick nearly two-and-a-half tons of tomatoes a near impossibility in order to reach minimum wage. . .
Florida has a long history of exploiting migrant workers. Farm laborers have no protection under US law and can be fired at will. Conditions have barely changed since 1960 when the journalist Edward R Murrow shocked Americans with Harvest Of Shame, a television broadcast about the bleak and underpaid lives of the workers who put food on their tables. "We used to own our slaves but now we just rent them," Murrow said, in a phrase that still resonates in Immokalee today. (read more VIAINDEPENDENT, UK )
The key part of the new law raises the gasoline mileage requirements of cars and trucks by 40 percent to an average 35 miles per gallon by 2020, which will eventually reduce US oil demand by 2 million barrels a day.
Dec 19, 2007
Two real-world studies from Europe demonstrate the health damage done by automotive air pollution, especially the kind emitted by diesel engines.
Building on the successes of EPA's regulatory and non-regulatory efforts to reduce emissions from diesel engines, EPA has created the National Clean Diesel Campaign (NCDC). The Campaign will work aggressively to reduce the pollution emitted from diesel engines across the country through the implementation of varied control strategies and the aggressive involvement of national, state, and local partners.
NCDC participants are committed to reducing diesel emissions and finding innovative ways to protect human health and the environment. To fully address the challenges of reducing diesel emissions the NCDC is using a multi-pronged approach:
- Commitment to the successful implementation of the Clean Air Highway Diesel Rule (the "2007 Highway Rule") and the Clean Air Nonroad Diesel Rule.
- Developing new emissions standards for locomotive and marine diesel engines.
- Promoting the reduction of emissions for existing diesel engines through cost-effective and innovative strategies, including use of cleaner fuels, retrofitting and repairing existing fleets, idling reduction among others.
Programs for the Existing Diesel Fleet
Over the last five years, EPA has brought forward a number of very successful innovative programs all designed to reduce emissions from the diesel fleet. In conjunction with state and local governments, public interest groups, and industry partners, EPA has established a goal of reducing emissions from the over 11 million diesel engines in the existing fleet by 2014. Looking at these engines, EPA determined there were general sectors that provided the best opportunity to obtain significant reductions. In addition, school buses were identified as an area where diesel emission control can greatly help a susceptible population. These sectors are school buses, ports, construction, freight, and agriculture. Each program provides technical and financial assistance to stakeholders interested in reducing their fleets' emissions effectively and efficiently.
The Agency is devoting significant efforts to ensuring the successful implementation of stringent new standards for diesel fuel and new diesel engines. These standards are the critical foundation of EPA's diesel control program.
Beginning June 1, 2006, refiners must begin producing clean ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel- diesel fuel with a sulfur level that is at or below 15 parts per million (ppm)- for use in highway diesel engines. Low sulfur (500 ppm) diesel fuel for nonroad diesel engines will be required in 2007, followed by ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel for these machines in 2010, and for locomotives and marine engines in 2012.
Besides reducing emissions from the existing diesel fleet, these clean fuels will enable the use of advanced aftertreatment technologies on new engines. Technologies like particulate traps, capable of emission reductions of 90% and more, will be required under new standards set to begin phasing into the highway sector in 2007, and into the nonroad sector in 2011. These programs will yield enormous long-term benefits for public health and the environment. By 2030, when the engine fleet has been fully turned over, PM and NOx will be reduced by 250,000 tons/year and 4 million tons/year, respectively. This will result in annual benefits of over $150 billion, at a cost of approximately $7 billion. Similar stringent emissions standards for locomotives and marine diesels are now being developed. EPA is also working to reduce emissions from large commercial marine diesel vessels like cruise and container ships through the use of cleaner fuels and engines.
Together these programs will yield enormous long-term benefits for public health and the environment.
For years, the oil industry has said that oil prices determine gas prices, but our research suggests that politics have more to do with the price of gasoline than supply and demand.
In October, a local nonprofit consumer group, the Utility Consumers' Action Network, published a chart showing the relationship between high gas prices and presidential job ratings. The chart shows a "mirror effect" since 2001 establishing a strong correlation between low job approval ratings for the Bush administration and high gas prices. For example, when gas prices reached their zenith in May of this year ($3.45 a gallon in North County and $3.20 nationally), the president's job approval ratings dropped to a record low of 29 percent.... read more of this story here..
In addition, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) voted last week for new regulations that require all new taxicabs in the city to achieve 25 miles per gallon (mpg), starting on October 1st, 2008. The TLC requirements increase to 30 mpg a year later, and exempt accessible taxicabs. The new regulations effectively require a shift to hybrid taxis in the city and are expected to result in an all-hybrid taxi fleet by 2012. The regulations follow a goal set by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in May 2007. At that time, the city had only 375 hybrid vehicles in its fleet of 13,000 taxicabs, but since then the number of hybrid taxis has nearly doubled to 627, which is more than any other U.S. city. See the TLC press release (PDF 46 KB) and the article from this newsletter on Mayor Bloomberg's May announcement. Download Adobe Reader.
Hawaii education officials vow to increase safety inspections of public schools in response to a state report that found 55 violations at nine campuses and two offices this year. Most of the problems were found in shop programs and were considered serious enough to have killed or badly injured students or employees. By Alexandre Da Silva, Honolulu Star Bulletin
Go to the Full Story...
(CNN) -- The next time you fall sick and someone suggests it's because of something in the water, they could be right. According to the World Bank, 88 percent of all diseases are caused by unsafe drinking water...
Nanhu Lake in Chongqing, China. Around 70 percent of China's rivers and lakes are polluted.
The number are daunting. Annually, water-related problems are responsible for:
At any one point in time, 50 percent of all people in the developing world will be in hospital suffering from one or more water-related diseases. Most will be children, water-related diseases being the second biggest killer of children worldwide (after acute respiratory diseases like Tuberculosis), according to Water Aid. (Diarrhea alone has killed more children in 10 years than all the people killed in wartime since World War 2, according to UNICEF).
The situation in the developing world will be particularly difficult moving forward, the U.N.'s fourth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4) is warning -- by 2025, it says, the developing world's demand for water will have increased by 50 percent (the need of developed countries will have only increased by 18 percent).
Increased demand comes at a time when freshwater stocks are falling in many places. Already in western Asia, reports The Independent, freshwater stocks have fallen from 1,700 cubic meters per person per year in the 1980s to 907 today (and by 2050 it will be just 420 cubic meters).
But access to safe drinking water is not just a poverty issue. It affects everyone. And the reason has to do with how industry disposes of its waste.
According to UNESCO, up to 500 million tons of heavy metals, solvents and toxic sludge slip into the global water supply every year. In the developing world, UNESCO says, as much as 70 percent of industrial waste is just dumped untreated into the rivers and lakes. China is a perfect case in point. According to Greenpeace, around 70 percent of China's lakes and rivers are now polluted from industrial waste, leaving 300 million people "forced to rely on polluted water supplies."
Endangered groundwater - An industry that has many fingers pointing at it, however, is the agricultural sector. Currently, the Earth's readily usable mass of potable water represents around 1 percent of the total amount of water on Earth. The vast majority of that water -- at least 70 percent -- is used for agricultural purposes. And the "main source of water pollutants in many countries" is agricultural runoff containing nutrients and agrochemicals, the GEO-4 says.
According to the Earth Day Network, 14 million people in the U.S. now regularly drink water contaminated with carcinogenic herbicides. And arsenic levels in drinking water around the globe are now putting more than 140 million people in more than 70 countries at risk of lung disease and cancers.
Groundwater represents 97 percent of all freshwater that is readily available to us (surface water such as rivers and lakes accounts for just 0.3 percent) Nearly one-third of all people rely "almost exclusively" on groundwater supplies for their drinking water. In the U.S, 50 percent of the population (including 99 percent of its rural population) relies on groundwater.
Unfortunately, polluted groundwater is becoming more common. Already, 50 percent of groundwater samples tested by the U.S. Geological Survey contain pesticides. Arsenic contamination of groundwater has also been discovered in Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, China, India, Mexico and Thailand, reports Earth Day Network.
According to the WorldWatch Institute, toxic chemicals have contaminated groundwater supplies "on every inhabited continent."
Consumption Although soft drinks continue to dominate the beverage market and are responsible for most plastic beverage bottling, the staggering rise of bottled water sparked the backlash against plastic bottles. Sales of single-serving plastic water bottles more than doubled between 2002 and 2005 to almost 28 billion bottles.
Environmental impact The 1.5 million barrels of crude oil used each year to manufacture plastic water bottles in the U.S. could fuel 100,000 cars for a year. Thousands of tons of greenhouse gases are emitted transporting bottled water around the world. Just 23 percent of all plastic bottles are recycled, meaning some 52 billion end up in landfills or littered.
Saving grace The industry has reduced the amount of plastic in its beverage packaging by 40 percent during the past five years, and some companies such as Nestle are pushing initiatives to further lighten the plastic while others such as Coke are opening plastic-bottle recycling plants.
Alternatives Fill a reusable bottle with filtered tap water. Recycle the plastic bottles you do accumulate. Had the 2 million tons of plastic bottles thrown in the trash in 2005 been recycled instead, 18 million barrels of oil would've been saved. Sources: Container Recycling Institute, Earth Policy Institute
The day we "get used to" arsenic and even more troubling industrial/product chemicals in our bodies is the day we have lost our way.
[from David Dempsey] The 2008 studies will be part of a $2 million experiment in biomonitoring, which collects human tissue, hair, blood or urine to look for harmful contaminants.
But Brase worries that if a person is identified as exposed to chemicals, it might be blown out of proportion or misused in some other way. "If you come out with a study and 80 percent of children have some arsenic levels, that could incite the public to unnecessary concern and could push a policy agenda that may limit progress in this country," she said. Or it might lead to justified anger and policy reform to reduce chemical trespass into the bodies of children and other citizens.
The article appears to blur "biomonitoring" -- testing of human beings to determine what chemical substances have already invaded our bodies without our consent -- with the desire expose children deliberately to pesticides to see what happens. There's a big difference.
Adopting a style of research that has proved controversial in other states, Minnesota health officials are poised to test for arsenic in 100 children and for chemicals formerly made by 3M in 200 adults.
In 2006 China's carbon dioxide emissions contained about 1.70 gigatons of carbon (GtC) (source). By 2010, at the growth rates projected by these researchers the annual emissions from China will be between 2.6 and 2.8 GtC. The growth in China's emissions from 2006-2010 is equivalent to adding the 2004 emissions of Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia to China's 2006 total (source). The emissions growth in China at these rates is like adding another Germany every year, or a UK and Australia together, to global emissions. Source
But bottled water causes plenty of problems. Its production taxes the water tables of the communities where bottling plants are located, according to the Earth Policy Institute. Farmers, fishers, and others who depend on water for their livelihoods suffer from the concentrated water extraction when water tables drop quickly.
And then there's the energy use. EPI notes that: In contrast to tap water, which is distributed through an energy-efficient infrastructure, transporting bottled water long distances involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels. Nearly a quarter of all bottled water crosses national borders to reach consumers, transported by boat, train, and truck.
Or consider the fact sheet I received recently from the Pacific Institute, one of the most authoritative sources on water issues, and author of the biennial reference work, The World's Water. It cites data from the Beverage Marketing Corporation, which reports that
Americans bought a total of 31.2 billion liters of water in 2006, sold in bottles ranging from the 8-ounce aquapods popular in school lunches to the multi-gallon bottles found in family refrigerators and office water coolers. Most of this water was sold in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, requiring nearly 900,000 tons of the plastic. PET is produced from fossil fuels - typically natural gas and petroleum.
Based on this, the Institute estimates that in 2006:
- Producing the bottles for American consumption required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil, not including the energy for transportation
- Bottling water produced more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide
- It took three gallon of water to produce one gallon of bottled water
Given all this, should we be touting an eco-friendly plastic water bottle, or a carbon negative product shipped roughly 7,000 miles to market? Is this a valid environmental claim? Is that the best we can do?
It all brings to mind that age-old question: If a cannibal eats with a fork, is that progress? (Sweet words Joel;-)
Read full by Joel Makower
Dec 18, 2007
- Wisconsin in 1970 became the first state to ban DDT to protect eagles and other birds, helping spur the recovery of our nation's symbol.
- Wisconsin established the nation's first Ice Age National Scientific Reserve, preserving for future generations important features left by glaciers more than 11,000 years ago.
- Wisconsin in 1983 became the first state to meet the nation's Clean Water Act interim goal with all municipal wastewater treatment plants meeting at least secondary treatment with many more doing even better. Many of our most polluted rivers in the 1960s now support thriving fish populations.
- Wisconsin became the first state to receive authority from the federal government to carry out its own drinking water program and has since assured its citizens some of the cleanest drinking water in the world; year-in and year-out, fully 97 percent of all public water systems have met all health-based standards.
- Wisconsin in 1984 established the most comprehensive program in the U.S. for managing and protecting groundwater. In that same year, Wisconsin became the first state to pass a law to control acid rain to protect sensitive lakes in northern Wisconsin.
- Wisconsin was the first state to restore protection of its wetlands when federal law stopped in 2001.
Truck Drivers Face Elevated Health Risks from Diesel Pollution - Health Report
Diesel pollution is well known to be hazardous to human health. Groups at particular risk include workers in diesel industries, such as trucking and rail, and communities located near major sources of diesel pollution, such as ports and freeways. This December 2007 issue paper summarizes the alarming findings of one of the first investigations to measure drivers' exposure levels to diesel soot inside trucks serving our nation's ports. The issue paper also provides a set of recommendations for reducing health risks to drivers and local residents, including the immediate clean up of the port truck fleet, an increase in operational efficiency to reduce the time trucks spend at the terminals and a reduction in pollution levels from other port sources.
|WATCH THE VIDEO|
Workers discuss health concerns in the trucking industry.
Fact Sheet (302 KM pdf)
More Diesel Emission Information:
Dec 17, 2007
"What happened in the early '70s and what is happening today is that we have moved food input price to a new plateau. Ultimately, the consumer is going to have to absorb those increased costs," said Bill Lapp...