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76 posts from February 2009

February 18, 2009

Daily Roundup: February 18, 2009

All Aboard: The economic-recovery bill signed yesterday puts $8 billion toward developing high-speed rail projects. Rahm Emanuel, who wants high-speed train development to be an administration legacy, was the chief bargainer. SustainableBusiness.com

Please Advise: Obama’s pick for chief science advisor, physicist and engineer John Holdren, has been confirmed. The Harvard professor has almost 40 years of experience working on energy and climate issues. Nature News

Greened Games: The U.N. declared that the $17 billion Beijing spent during the Olympics on greening efforts has resulted in significant and lasting gains. Scientific American

Too Much Sun: Experts predict that soon, the supply of solar-power products, such as panels, will way outweigh demand. Earth2Tech

Gobbled: A bird thought to be extinct was found in the Philippines. Then it was sold as food. National Geographic

--Avital Binshtock

Sustainable Companies in an Unsustainable Economy

Storm clouds The economic forecast seems gloomy as ever, with unemployment rates sky-high and companies scrambling to stay afloat. Desperate times may seem to call for desperate measures, but, at least in the financial world, that doesn't mean the environment has to suffer.

According to a recent study by A.T. Kearney, Inc., companies that maintain sustainable practices outperform their less conscientious peers by 15 percet during financial crises. Sixteen out of the 18 industries studied, green businesses surveyed led their field by an average of $650 million per company. The catch? There needs to be a genuine commitment to sustainable practices; a PR gimmick yields few rewards.

Continue reading "Sustainable Companies in an Unsustainable Economy" »

Book Review Wednesday: Books For Young Environmentalists

Books about environmentalism New for 2009 on the Green Life is a weekly roundup of books addressing a particular aspect of environmentalism. Today we're reviewing books that foster a sense of environmental awareness in children and young adults. Check back here every Wednesday to discover new and worthwhile books.

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters (by Lenore Look, $16, Schwartz & Wade Books, Jun. 2009): Pre-adolescent kids will love neurotic narrator Alvin Ho, who must tackle some of his many phobias to go camping with his father. The quirky, lighthearted novella is a great way to introduce reticent explorers to the outdoors.

How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming (by Lynne Cherry and Gary Braasch, $18, Dawn Publications, 2008): As the long-winded title of this book suggests, a serious study of global warming isn't exactly a picture book. But don't expect the subject matter to be a downer, either. Aspiring scientists will find ideas for experiments and suggestions for planet-friendly action in this informative book for 5th through 8th graders.

Continue reading "Book Review Wednesday: Books For Young Environmentalists" »

Carbon-Neutral Cities: If They Can Do It, So Can We

Antarctica Those scientists in Antarctica must be pretty smug. The Princess Elisabeth Station in East Antarctica just debuted the world's first carbon-free polar research center, featuring solar panels, wind turbines, energy-efficient buildings, even microorganisms and decomposition to allow scientists to reuse shower and toilet water. All week they've been topping their parkas with black fedoras and blasting their Sinatra records, singing, "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere."

Well, maybe not. But part of the idea behind building the emission-free base was to prove that if alternative energy is possible in one of the world's coldest, most inhospitable regions, then it's possible anywhere.

Continue reading "Carbon-Neutral Cities: If They Can Do It, So Can We" »

Honoring Black History Month: Slow, Healthy Food

Black History Month, eating healthy In honor of Black History Month, this week we’ll be sharing excerpts of the new book Blacks Living Green: Small Smart Steps, written by Dr. Sharon T. Freeman with a foreword by Carl Pope, the Sierra Club’s executive director.

From the section called "Money-Saving Household Greening Tips":

Tip#1:"Eat slow food. Studies have found that obesity rates are 20 percent and diabetes rates are 23 percent higher in neighborhoods with four or five times the number of fast-food joints. Eat more healthy, locally grown, slow foods."

Tip#2: Green Camping

Tip#3: Green Leadership

February 17, 2009

Daily Roundup: February 17, 2009

Sacred Water: The U.N. issued a report warning that three of South Asia's largest river basins (the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna, the Indus, and the Helmand) are at great risk. Environmental News Network

Army Green: $3.6 billion of the economic-stimulus package is slated to go toward greening the military. TreeHugger

Hey, L.A.: Bill Clinton spoke in L.A. yesterday, announcing a partnership between the city and his Clinton Climate Initiative; the plan is to install LEDs in 140,000 street lights. L.A. Times

Traffic Jam: In Beijing, almost 1,500 cars per day have hit the streets since Jan. 1. Grist

Beaver Appears: A beaver has been sighted in the Detroit River for the first time in 75 years, indicating that efforts to clean the waterway are working. AP

--Avital Binshtock

Green Video Contest

Calling all aspiring eco-filmmakers! Just Do One is sponsoring a short video contest. The best green-themed personal-action video will win a prize of $5000. The deadline for entries is March 1, so get those cameras rolling.

Need some inspiration? Check out the Sierra Club's video below and learn how to install a low-flow showerhead.

A Recipe For (Health and Environmental) Disaster

Kids and fast food"Hope lives" at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) but incredibly, so does fast food. CHOP is one of at least 59 U.S. children's hospitals to house fast-food restaurants. The reason: Administrators argue that hospital revenues depend on chains like McDonald's and Burger King. But whether they consider the true costs of the fast-food industry is up for debate.

Fast food has been detrimental to the health of American soil and American children. But how does one begin to calculate the extensive environmental and moral costs of the concentrated animal-feeding operations (CAFOs) that pollute our air and water?

Continue reading "A Recipe For (Health and Environmental) Disaster" »

Honoring Black History Month: African-Americans Provide Green Leadership

Black History Month In honor of Black History Month, this week we’ll be sharing excerpts of the new book Blacks Living Green: Small Smart Steps, written by Dr. Sharon T. Freeman with a foreword by Carl Pope, the Sierra Club’s executive director.

“Environmental engagement is not part of the media frame about the African-American community (or that of the Hispanic-American or Asian-American community for that matter). It doesn’t matter that the most solidly environmental block in the Congress has been, for twenty years, the Black Caucus.

Jesse Jackson, Sr.’s powerful environmental platform has been simply forgotten. It doesn’t matter that African-American mayors like Los Angeles’s Tom Bradley, or county officials like King County, Washington’s Ron Simms have been providing environmental leadership for decades.

Nor can the media actually absorb polling results that have shown for years that the African-American population is more concerned about pollution than the Euro-American community – understandably, since they suffer from more of it. Similarly, African Americans are more excited about solar power, more skeptical of corporate greenscamming, and more convinced that good jobs are clean jobs than anyone else in America."

-- From Carl Pope's foreword

February 13, 2009

Daily Roundup: February 13, 2009

Obama vs. Canada? When Obama visits Canada next week, he’ll likely confront leaders there about the detrimental effects Alberta's oil is having on the environment. Nature News

Resurrected: For the first time, an extinct animal has been cloned; it was a Pyrenean ibex, which died out in 2000. The clone only lived a few moments. National Geographic

Going, going… The European Union will auction environmental projects from developing countries to attract potential donors. To bid, be in Brussels on March 13. Grist

Efficient Partnership: Volkswagen and Toshiba have teamed up to produce an electric car. Environmental News Network

Houston, We Have A Problem: A NASA satellite launching on February 23 will measure the Earth's carbon dioxide levels in greater detail than ever before. Wired Science

--Avital Binshtock

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