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Tag: earth talk

overheated

How can I make my car more efficient for my summer road trip?

Ah, the summer road trip, that classic American experience. But long drives through steamy weather can burn through a lot of gas and cause untold wear and tear on your car’s engine and systems while putting you at risk for overheating.


letter

How can I stop the deluge of junk mail the mail man drops off?

Junk mail has increased to a massive scale in recent years, with the average American receiving 16 pieces each week. While this might not seem like much, it adds up to weigh an estimated 41 pounds each year, according to leading anti-junk mail organization, 41pounds.org.


seattle

Where are the best places to live if global warming gets the best of us?

If temperatures continue to rise in the face of human-induced global warming as climatologists expect, some of the world’s most populous areas could become uninhabitable.


gobi

What is the Great Green Wall of China?

Unlike the Great Wall of China, a 5,000-mile fortification dating back to the 7th century BC that separates northern China from the Mongolian steppe, the Great Green Wall of China—otherwise known as the Three-North Shelter Forest Program—is the biggest tree planting project on the planet.


garden

How can teachers integrate sustainability topics into the classroom?

Teaching our kids about sustainability and green living is one of the most important things we can do to safeguard the future of humanity and the planet we inhabit.


batteries

Earth Talk: Should I recycle my disposable batteries?

Truth be told, those old used up disposable alkaline batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt, etc.) aren’t the environmental menace they used to be before the federal government mandated taking out the mercury, a potent neurotoxin linked to a wide range of environmental and health problems, as part of the Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act of 1996. T


earth

What can I do for Earth Day 2015?

April 22, 2015 is the 45th annual celebration of the first Earth Day in 1970, when 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies.


polarbear

Are we past the point of no return on climate change?

While we may not yet have reached the point of no return—when no amount of cutbacks on greenhouse gas emissions will save us from potentially catastrophic global warming—climate scientists warn we may be getting awfully close.


fire

Is backyard firepit smoke a health hazard?

With summer approaching, many of us are eagerly anticipating the first night we can gather with loved ones under the stars around our backyard firepits.


Amazon

Helping prevent Amazon deforestation

Most if not all deforestation is ultimately driven by our consumption, so avoiding products and companies responsible for deforestation is the logical first step.


protestors

Energy East: Worse than Keystone XL?

The Energy East Pipeline is a $12 billion project proposed by TransCanada Corp. that will combine existing, converted natural gas pipelines with new pipeline construction to carry oil some 2,800 miles across Canada from Alberta’s tar sands fields to export terminals in Quebec and New Brunswick.


phytoplankton

Seeding our oceans

Ocean fertilization is a technique whereby swaths of ocean are “seeded” with iron to promote the growth of phytoplankton (microscopic plants that form the base of the marine food chain), and is one of several promising geo-engineering techniques that could help mitigate global warming.


solar

Solar: Uncertain future?

In the U.S., a new solar project was installed every three minutes in 2014, and jobs in the solar industry rose from 15,000 employees in 2005 to nearly 174,000 today.


soyfoam

Earth Talk: Safe insulation

Making your home more energy efficient is certainly good for the planet and will cut your heating/cooling bills, but you’re right to worry about chemical off-gassing.


oldphones

Earth Talk: Blizzard of e-waste

With a record four million pre-orders for Apple’s best-selling iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, it’s more evident than ever that consumers want the latest in smartphone technology at their fingertips.


Divest

Divestment and fossil fuels

The climate movement has embraced divestment—that is, ditching stocks, bonds or investment funds deemed unethical or morally ambiguous—given how effective the tactic was in helping topple Apartheid in South Africa by shaming the companies still willing to do business there.


Smokestack

Health impact of coal

Coal combustion plants account for more than half of Americans’ electric power generation. According to Coal’s Assault on Human Health, a report by the non-profit Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), coal combustion releases mercury, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and other substances known to be hazardous to human health.


mcaf

Moms Clean Air Force: Naptime activists unite!

Moms Clean Air Force (MCAF) is a community of 400,000+ parents working to combat air pollution and respond to the climate change crisis.


sunscreen

Sunscreens get safer

The ingredients in some common chemical-based sunscreens are known to cause allergic reactions for some people and have been linked to reproductive and behavioral problems in animal studies.


tv

Televisions bigger and greener than ever?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Americans’ 275 million television sets burn through some 65 billion kilowatt hours of energy each year, representing four to five percent of U.S. household electricity consumption.


microbeads

Microbeads and marine pollution

Can brushing your teeth or using an exfoliating face or body wash be an act of pollution? Perhaps so, because over 1,000 personal care products contain tiny plastic “microbeads,” each about a half millimeter in diameter.


cheetah

Better living through conservation genetics

Traditionally, conservation biologists have relied on field observation and sample and statistical analysis to help them understand the dynamics behind species loss.


salmon

What fish can we eat?

Between mercury poisoning, overfishing and the environmental impacts of fish farms or “aquaculture,” some might expect to see a “Proceed with Caution” sign above seafood counters soon.


griz

What is being done to protect grizzly bears?

Before European colonization of North America, upwards of 50,000 grizzly bears—also known as brown bears—roamed free across what is now the continental United States.


couch

Moving beyond flame retardants

Putting flame retardants in furniture seemed like a good idea back in the 1970s to help protect against the risk of fire, but our insistence on safety has come back to haunt us.


earth-new

Assessing the risks of genetically engineered crops

Earth Talk examines the potential health and environmental impacts of so many genetically engineered organisms in our food supply.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Should plastic bags be banned?

California made big news recently when it announced the first statewide ban on plastic shopping bags set to kick in during the middle of 2015. Beginning in July, large grocery stores, pharmacies and other food retailers in the Golden State will no longer be able to send shoppers home with plastic bags, while convenience markets, liquor stores and other small food retailers will join the ranks a year later.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Are fuel cell cars green?

Fuel cell cars have not caught on and skeptics wonder if they ever will. One big hurdle is that creating hydrogen fuel turns out to be highly inefficient compared to other readily available fuels.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Is organic agriculture sustainable?

Dr. Henry I. Miller, former director of the Office of Biotechnology at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, argues that conventional farming—which uses synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers and often genetically modified (GM) seed stock to maximize yields—is actually better for the environment, producing more food and using less water compared to organic farming.


earth-new

Earth Talk: The bright future of wind power

Hydroelectric sources of power dwarf other forms of renewable energy, but wind power has been a dominant second for years, and continues to show “hockey stick” growth moving forward.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Teaching kids about climate change

Kids today may be more eco-savvy than we were at their age, but complex topics like climate change may still mystify them. Luckily there are many resources available to help parents teach their kids how to understand the issues and become better stewards for the planet.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Cheaper natural gas lowering carbon dioxide emissions

Carbon dioxide emissions are indeed lower than at any time since 1994, according to data recently released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). But if you think that the rise of the hybrid car, our embrace of public transit, walking, biking and those new windows on the house are behind the trend, think again.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Greener holidays

While the holidays are festive and fun, they can take a toll on the environment. All that shopping, decoration, food preparation and travel adds up to more carbon emissions and more waste. But there are ways to minimize our impact and still celebrate the season in grand style.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Cleaning up local waterways

Indeed, many of our local waterways have seen better days, thanks to decades of pollution. And cleaning them up and preventing further damage can be challenging, since much of the contamination has accumulated over time and results from what is known as “non-point source” pollution, which accounts for as much as 60 percent of the water pollution in the U.S.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Greener ways to frack for natural gas?

Hydraulic fracturing (known as “fracking”) is a method of causing fissures in underground shale rock formations to facilitate the extraction of otherwise inaccessible natural gas and oil. In a typical fracking operation, drillers inject a mixture of pressurized water and chemicals underground to fracture the rock and free up the gas and oil.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Reducing Waste in Retail Store Operations

Waste is an issue for all retail operations, given the need to take in and unpack large numbers of individual items and then display and package them up in a way that customers will appreciate.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Ecosystem damage from beach resorts

While they may put up with a lot of stress from wind, waves and weather, beaches and the coastal environments surrounding them are surprisingly fragile.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Concerns over essential oils

Essential oils are more popular than ever for medicinal and therapeutic purposes as well as in fragrances and flavorings for food and drinks.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Preventing beach erosion

Beach erosion is a huge issue for coastal areas in the U.S. and elsewhere. According to the non-profit American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA), all beaches endure storms and other natural disturbances that cause them to lose sand, but the causes of beach erosion are not always the same.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Sugar vs. artificial sweeteners

The production of sugar has indeed taken a huge environmental toll. “Sugar has arguably had as great an impact on the environment as any other agricultural commodity,” reports the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), citing biodiversity loss as a result of the “wholesale conversion of habitat on tropical islands and on coastal areas” to grow sugar.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Solar geo-engineering

Solar geo-engineering is a term describing any of various techniques for reducing the amount of sunlight that reaches the Earth and its atmosphere.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Early puberty may have environmental roots

Research indicates that indeed Americans girls and boys are going through puberty earlier than ever, though the reasons are unclear. Many believe our widespread exposure to synthetic chemicals is at least partly to blame, but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why our bodies react in certain ways to various environmental stimuli.


earth-new

Earth Talk: A Fierce Green Fire

A Fierce Green Fire is a new film documenting the rise of the modern environmental movement from the 1960s through the present day. It premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival and will be playing at select theaters across the country beginning in September 2013. Educators, environmental groups and grassroots activists also will be showing the film at small and large events from coast to coast over the course of the fall.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Human overpopulation

Ever since Thomas Malthus published “An Essay on the Principle of Population” in 1798, positing incorrectly that humans’ proclivity for procreation would exhaust the global food supply within a matter of decades, population growth has been a hot button issue among those contemplating humankind’s future.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Sharing is caring

The convergence of environmental awareness and consumer culture has created a whole new movement today whereby sharing is cool. Indeed, some environmentalists view sharing as key to maintaining our quality of life and our sanity in an increasingly cluttered world.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Ghost factories

In April 2012, USA TODAY published a series entitled “Ghost Factories,” a report on an investigation into lead contaminated soil in hundreds of neighborhoods around the U.S. where lead factories once operated. The investigation addressed the lack of action taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to test and clean up these sites despite having been warned in 2001 about the dangerous levels of lead contamination around the areas of these old facilities.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Sea level rises not letting up anytime soon

Since sea level measurements were first recorded, in 1870, global averages have risen almost eight inches. The annual rate of rise has been 0.13 inches over the past 20 years, which is close to twice the average from the previous 80 years. Future estimates for sea levels vary according to region but most Earth scientists agree that sea levels are expected to rise at a greater pace than during the last 50 years.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Sustainable communities and climate protection

Americans are becoming increasingly concerned about global warming even as Washington politicians continue to debate whether or not to mandate emissions cutbacks. In lieu of federal action, some states and municipalities are taking action on their own to reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions.


earth-new

Earth Talk: Global warming and mosquito-borne disease

If by pollution you mean greenhouse gas emissions, then definitely yes. According to Maria Diuk-Wasser at the Yale School of Public Health, the onset of human-induced global warming is likely to increase the infection rates of mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, dengue fever and West Nile virus by creating more mosquito-friendly habitats.


president obama

Earth Talk: Barack Obama’s climate change initiative

In what’s being billed as the greatest environmental initiative of his presidency, Barack Obama announced on June 25, 2013 that his administration is instituting stringent mandatory restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions by power plants, factories and other industrial sources. These sources combined account for roughly 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions across the U.S. The goal is to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions nationally by four percent below 1990 levels within the next seven years.