Friday, April 10, 2009

Greenwashing Makes All Companies Dirty

The fact of the matter is greenwashing affects all companies, including those that are making a concerted environmental effort, by degrading consumer confidence. The effort your company makes is hampered by competitors when they mislead the public.

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Egg Collected by Charles Darwin Found After 200 Years, yes, an Easter Egg!

An egg collected by Charles Darwin on his HMS Beagle voyage and lost for nearly 200 years has been discovered by a volunteer at the University of Cambridge.

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Feds Agree on Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan

Less than a week after the Interior Department published the findings of a report claiming that 25% of the nation’s electricity could be supplied by offshore wind farms, the Department also reached an agreement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) over how the two agencies would handle the permitting and licensing of all types of renewable energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) of the United States.

On Thursday, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff signed a memorandum of understanding (pdf) that establishes a streamlined process by which Interior’s Minerals Management Service and the FERC will lease, license and regulate all renewable energy development activities on the OCS.

According to Interior Secretary Salazar, the agreement will spur the development of clean, renewable energy, which he called, “the growth industry of the 21st Century,” adding that, “Our nation’s economic future demands we lead that competition.”

Simply put, MMS will be in charge of regulating all offshore renewable energy projects, accept hydrokinetic projects like wave and tidal power. The memorandum of understanding explains the division as follows:

MMS has exclusive jurisdiction with regard to the production, transportation, or transmission of energy from non-hydrokinetic renewable energy projects, including wind and solar. MMS also has
exclusive jurisdiction to issue leases, easements, and rights-of-way regarding Outer Continental Shelf
lands for hydrokinetic projects.
FERC has exclusive jurisdiction to issue licenses and exemptions from licensing for the construction and operation of hydrokinetic projects on the Outer Continental Shelf and will conduct any necessary analyses, including those under the National Environmental Policy Act, related to those actions.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Inventor turns cardboard boxes into eco-friendly oven

When Jon Bohmer sat down with his two little girls for a simple project they could work on together, he didn't realize they'd hit upon a solution to one of the world's biggest problems for just $5: A solar-powered oven.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New Orangutan Population Discovered

Ecologist Erik Meijaard of the The Nature Conservancy posted on their site last week about the discovery of up to 1000 or slighly more Borneo Orangutans, which are an endangered species.

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Free At Last: How to achieve genuine energy independence.

Energy independence sounds like such a great idea. If only we could be free … of what, exactly? The single biggest energy exporter to the U.S. is Canada. And even the petrostates we don't like have to sell us oil at whatever price the market sets. We buy lots from Hugo Chávez in Venezuela.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dept of Interior: Offshore Wind Could Meet 100% of US Demand

According to a new report released by the Interior Dept, shallow-water offshore wind farms could supply as much as 20% of the electricity in most coastal states. The report, released last week by Interior Sec. Ken Salazar, said that the greatest offshore wind energy potential in the U.S. lies off the Atlantic Coast which holds 1,000 gW potential

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Sexy Or Repulsive? Predict on a Glance

Trying to find the balance between these two crucial behaviors is one of nature’s oldest dilemmas, according to Jeffrey Oliver, a postdoctoral associate in Yale’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and lead author on the study, which appears online in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

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Bottled Water Carries Hidden Cost to Earth

Good for You, Bad for Mother Earth? | $1.79 might seem like a small price to pay for a bottle of water. But it costs the Earth far more than that.

Compared to a liter of tap water, producing a liter of bottled water requires as much as 2,000 times more energy, according to the first analysis of its kind. The study also found that our nation's bottled water habit sucked up the equivalent of 32 to 54 million barrels of oil last year.

"The bottom line is that we should understand better the implications of our choices," said Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security in Oakland, Calif. "It suggests more ways to reduce energy use than maybe we otherwise think of."

Bottled water is a big business that is rapidly getting bigger. From 1976 to 2007, the average amount of bottled water drunk per person per year in the United States jumped from about 6 liters (1.6 gallons) to 116 liters (30.6 gallons).

In 2007, the last year for which numbers are available, Americans purchased more than 33 billion liters of bottled water. Globally, the number was 200 billion liters.

Even just since 2001, bottled water sales have increased by 70 percent in the U.S. We now buy more bottled water than either milk or beer.

But as consumption has gone up, so too have worries about what our drinking habits might be doing to the environment.

"It's a big deal," Gleick said. "And yet, no one had looked at all of the energy that goes into it. We didn't know."

To find out, he and a colleague considered three case studies: water that was bottled and used in Los Angeles; water bottled in the South Pacific and sent by cargo ship to L.A.; and water bottled in France and shipped in various ways to L.A. For each scenario, the researchers looked at all the energy involved in collecting, treating, bottling, labeling, packaging, cooling, and transporting the liquid.

Bottled Water Carries Hidden Cost to Earth
Emily Sohn, Discovery News e-mail share bookmark print

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For water that is consumed near its source, producing PET plastic bottles is the most energy-intensive step, according to their results, which appeared in the journal Environmental Research Letters. For bottles that make longer trips, transportation has the biggest impact.

In other words, buying water that was bottled near your home rather than in places like Fiji can help reduce your carbon footprint. Better yet, Gleick said, put away your wallet and turn on the faucet instead.

"We have very good tap water in this country," he said. "It's cheap. It's readily available. And it's much lower in energy use."

The research also shows how simple choices can have a significant impact on the environment.

"One of the conclusions we can all draw from this study is that novel materials and low-carbon energy can help," said Daniel Kammen, co-director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment at the University of California, Berkeley. "But our own behavior is critical to cutting down not just physical waste, but also carbon waste."

Monday, April 6, 2009

San Diego Asked to Lead Nation in Sustainability

In two days government agencies, public utilities, environmental groups and others will publicly demand that residents in San Diego dramatically change the way they live. The movement is for sustainability and it seeks that every man, woman and child in San Diego—about 1,256,951 residents to be exact—literally STAND FOR LESS— by reducing consumption of all types: electricity, gas, water and products that produce the waste that is clogging landfills. The model is the first of its kind in the country, and when it proves success, it could roll out to every city in California—in fact given California’s leadership on environmental issues, it could be a road map for cities across the nation. It will launch April 8, in Downtown San Diego at Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade Park, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The need for this campaign was born out of research which indicated that California residents were overwhelmed with sustainability information to the point of confusion, some so confused that they were not doing anything to contribute to the solution. The new campaign will unite all residents under one movement for change to, STAND FOR LESS.
The urgency of creating a groundswell of sustainability among residents stems from the Global Warming Solutions Act that in California means reducing greenhouse gas levels to those of 1990 by the year 2020. Collectively, the most aggressive state mandate in the country.
San Diego residents will be asked to take action by local groups and with the help of a public education social marketing campaign. They will be asked to do MORE for the environment and conservation of resources, by doing LESS, in every aspect of their lives. They will be asked to “sign on” and learn to be a STAND FOR LESS “activist” by going to www.standforless.com.
The California Department of Conservation is partly heading the initiative—with support from multiple partners including the City of San Diego, utility companies, environmental groups and government agencies charged with manning all of the precious resources for California.
I’d like to provide you with more specific details about the effort, copies of the advertising campaign, put you in touch with spokespeople of STAND FOR LESS including the California Department of Conservation, as well as the San Diego Mayor who is demonstrating his strong leadership by being the first to sign onto this important 18-month pilot. I’ll be following up with a phone call. Attached is the media alert with details of the launch event.

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