Tag: CONTACTS

cattle farms

Revenge of the bacteria?

The development and widespread adoption of so-called “antibiotics”—drugs that kill bacteria and thereby reduce infection—has helped billions of people live longer, healthier lives. But all this tinkering with nature hasn’t come without a cost.


The new skinny on dietary fat

Going “fat-free” might seem like an effective, safe way to lose weight when considering that fat contains nine calories per gram, compared to four calories per gram in carbohydrates and proteins.


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Still in denial about climate

It’s hard to believe there are still any climate change deniers. But a recent survey by the non-profit Center for American Progress found that some 58 percent of Republicans in the U.S. Congress still “refuse to accept climate change.”


Saving our soils and climate with biochar

Biochar is a naturally occurring, fine-grained, highly porous form of charcoal derived from the process of baking biomass—and it’s been associated with fertile soils for some two thousand years.


Getting kids into environmental activism

Young people can also get involved in environmental protection efforts right in their own backyards even without the support of a non-profit.


Rooftop solar finally cost competitive with grid in U.S.

Rooftop solar panels on have always been the province of well-to-do, eco-friendly folks willing to shell out extra bucks to be green, but that is all starting to change.


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.


Climate change and food’s nutritional value

It is difficult to say whether or not the climate change we are now experiencing is negatively impacting the nutritional quality of our food, researchers warn that it may be only a matter of time.


Improving school lunches

Americans have done a great job making sure that our kids have something to eat at school regardless of socioeconomic status, with the National School Lunch Program providing low-cost or free lunches to upwards of 31 million students at 92 percent of U.S. public and private schools.


Earth Talk: Sweden’s environmental leadership

It’s true that Sweden came out on top in the recently released ranking of 60 countries according to sustainability by consulting firm Dual Citizen Inc. in its fourth annual Global Green Economy Index (GGEI).


Can playing on artificial turf cause cancer?

Just when you thought it was safe to play soccer on that brand new synthetic turf field, it may be time to think again. Those little black dirt-like granules that fill up the space between synthetic blades of grass and make up some 90 percent of today’s artificial turf fields are actually ground-up car and truck tires. As such they contain a host of potentially noxious chemicals that can lead to a wide range of health problems.


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 Talk: Concerns about parabens in health, beauty, personal care products

First commercialized in the 1950s, parabens are a group of synthetic compounds commonly used as preservatives in a wide range of health, beauty and personal care products.


Earth Talk: Threats to air quality

The main threats to local air quality across the United States (as well as most everywhere else) remain smog and particulate pollution, which combined or acting alone trigger millions of hospital visits and health complications for citizens every year.


Earth Talk: Palm oil production and rainforest deforestation

Palm oil may be a good substitute for trans fats in that it stays solid at room temperature and is therefore useful as a food additive in things like snack bars. But it isn’t much healthier.


Earth Talk: Ethanol’s unrealized promise

Ethanol and similar “biofuels” made from corn and other crops seem like a good idea given their potential for reducing our carbon outputs as well as our reliance on fossil fuels.


Earth Talk: Tar sands oil development’s impact on birds

Each year tens of million of migratory birds “overwinter” in the Canadian Boreal forest, a vast tract of mostly uninhabited coniferous woodlands and wetlands stretching from Newfoundland to the Yukon.


Earth Talk: Dealing with mounting e-waste

With electronic equipment and gadgets the fastest growing waste stream in many countries, how to deal with so-called e-waste may in fact be one of the most pressing environmental problems of the 21st century.


Earth Talk: Antarctica ice melt and its impact on coastlines

Antarctica, roughly the size of the United States and Mexico combined, is composed of rock covered by glaciers some 16,000 feet thick. The glaciers form from fallen snow compacting into successive layers of ice, and they eventually move downhill toward the coasts and “calve” into the ocean as icebergs and eventually melt out into the sea.


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 Talk: Top U.S. eco-travel destinations

Where are some good eco-travel destinations right here in the continental U.S. that I can consider for a family vacation?


Earth Talk: Ocean debris

The so-far in-vain search for Flight 370 has indeed stirred up interest in the growing problem of ocean debris as objects thought to possibly be plane parts have repeatedly turned out to be just floating trash.


Earth Talk: Preventing wildfires

There’s no question that wildfires are on the increase across the American West and other fire-prone regions of the world, and most environmental leaders agree that global warming is largely to blame.


Earth Talk: Chemicals and obesity

Obesity is a huge problem in the U.S. and other industrialized countries. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity rates have doubled for American adults and tripled for kids and teenagers aged six through 19 since 1980. Today, 31 percent of American adults and 15 percent of youngsters are classified as overweight.


Earth Talk: Driverless cars

Just a decade ago most of us wouldn’t have dreamed we’d live to see driverless cars whisking people around, but things are changing fast and analysts now think they will be common by 2020 and account for the majority of cars on the road by 2040.


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 Talk: Is BPA as dangerous as we thought?

Developed in the 1950s to strengthen plastics and epoxy resins, BPA is today used in a wide range of products, including many plastic food and drink containers, the lining of most cans, some paper products, and dental sealants.


Earth Talk: Meatless Meat

With meat production expected to double by 2050 as the world’s human population tops nine billion, there has never been a better time to start curbing our enthusiasm for conventional steaks, hamburgers, chicken breasts and sausages.


Earth Talk: Keeping our food safe and healthy

Although we have come a long way in recent years with regard to the safety and sustainability of our food supply, we still have a long way to go.


Earth Talk: Apple Computer’s Green Initiatives

Long criticized for its lack of commitment to sustainability, Apple has really worked on turning things around over the past couple of years.


Earth Talk: Protecting the gray wolf

The gray wolf is still considered “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). But a June 2013 proposal by the Obama administration to “delist” the animals—save for a small struggling population of Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico—could change that if finalized later this year.


Earth Talk: Public transportation on the upswing

Transit ridership is indeed at its highest level in the U.S. in 57 years. According to data collected by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation in 2013—the highest number since the 1950s when many fewer of us owned our own cars.


Earth Talk: Mobile apps for environmental stewardship

Not surprisingly, there are thousands of green apps out there that make it easier for people to find and share information to help us all become better stewards of the natural environment.


Earth Talk: Keurig K-Cup coffee containers

Keurig K-Cups—those little one-serving coffee containers that allow people to brew one cup at a time in a specially designed Keurig brewing machine—are all the rage these days.


Earth Talk: Cap and trade strategies to reduce carbon emissions

Cap and trade, whereby big polluters must pay to emit greenhouse gases against a capped total amount that is reduced over time—has been in effect across the European Union (EU) since 2005. This so-called Emissions Trading System (ETS) requires 11,000 of the largest electric and industrial facilities in 28 European countries to participate.


Earth Talk: Global warming and our health

Global warming isn’t just bad for the environment. There are several ways that it is expected to take a toll on human health. For starters, the extreme summer heat that is becoming more normal in a warming world can directly impact the health of billions of people.


Earth Talk: Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology (or “synbio”) refers to the design and fabrication of novel biological parts, devices and systems that do not otherwise occur in nature. Many see it as an extreme version of genetic engineering (GE). But unlike GE, whereby genetic information with certain desirable traits is inserted from one organism into another, synbio uses computers and chemicals to create entirely new organisms.


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 Talk: Harsh winters and global warming

It’s tempting to think that the cold air and snow outside augur the end of global warming, but don’t rejoice yet. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), weather and climate are two very different beasts.


Earth Talk: Global Warming and the loss of whitebark pine trees

Global warming is having an impact on whitebark pine trees, a “keystone” species in high-altitude ecosystems across the American West, meaning they play an important role in maintaining the natural structure of many of our most iconic mountain regions.


Earth Talk: America’s Great Outdoors Initiative

President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum in April 2010 establishing the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to promote and support innovative community-level efforts to conserve outdoor spaces and reconnect Americans to the outdoors.


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Staunton newspaper history featured at R.R.Smith Center

The Augusta County Historical Society launches an exhibit, a lecture, and a book signing at the Smith Center on Thursday, January 23 to celebrate the history of newspapers in this community.


Earth Talk: Ocean sprawl

We are all familiar by now with “urban sprawl”—the uncontrolled spread of urban development into areas beyond the city. But environmentalists warn that the next frontier in sprawl is ocean sprawl, where the proliferation of fishing, shipping, tourism, resource extraction, energy development, military exercises and other human activity has begun to call into question just how vast our oceans really are.


Earth Talk: Dark factories

So-called dark factories — otherwise known as “lights out” or “automatic” factories — are manufacturing facilities that do not depend on human labor to get work done. While they may have some benefits for the environment they are certainly not beneficial overall considering the impact widespread adoption would have on needed jobs.


Earth Talk: Navy sonar testing in oceans impacting marine mammals

Active sonar is a technology used on ships to aid in navigation, and the U.S. Navy tests and trains with it extensively in American territorial waters. The Navy also conducts missile and bomb testing in the same areas. But environmentalists and animal advocates contend that this is harming whales and other marine wildlife.