Tag Archive for Green News

Sea Turtle Deaths Anger Mississippi Residents

As a resident of coastal Mississippi for more than 30 years, Shirley Tillman is used to seeing a few drum fish, sea gulls or jelly fish wash up on nearby sandy shores. It’s a fact of life living by the sea. But in the past few weeks Shirley has come across something she’s never seen before; dead sea turtles washing up on beaches near spring break vacationers.
They are part of a growing number of dead fish, animals and birds she and other Mississippi residents have photographed washing in with the tides in recent weeks. For Shirley, a trip to the beach no longer provides the same relaxing refuge as before.
“It’s very upsetting,” says Shirley, a grandmother and wife of a Pass Christian home builder Read more

Can EnergyEfficiency Offset Our Lust for Electronics

Most home appliances have become more efficient over the past 30 years, but those gains have been offset by the influx of personal computers, televisions and related devices, according to data released today by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Over the past three decades, the share of residential electricity used by appliances and electronics in U.S. homes has nearly doubled from 17 percent to 31 percent.
In the latest update to its Residential Energy Consumption Survey, which is has updated periodically since 1979, EIA found that:
58 percent of U.S Read more

Rachel Sequoia Branches Out to Invite us to Share the Air for a Fee

For what may be the cutest, passion-born-of-youth presentation to a Silicon Valley venture capital company on record, the teenage Rachel Sequoia, microphone in hand and with nothing short of bare feet below, spoke to an audience of serious-looking members of a VC group as she pitched them for $500,000 in order to bottle air from different parts of the world which would allow for a much more fluid cultural exchange and an increased flourishing of pleasure, health and good will across the globe.
The Wall Street Journal decided that this was sufficiently noteworthy to tweet it within hours of its gaining viral momentum on YouTube and the VC group in question is apparently taking the notion seriously enough to opening a round to its funders. Whether this is just the smoke and mirrors of the viral phenomenon or not does remains to be seen.
Whatever happens with this will be yet another story. But what we have now is a young girl who is passionate about health and the importance of air in health. She is excited about the importance of travel to foster cultural exchange and invites us to inhale the joy of the air of different cultures and geographical locations by bottling the air from different places on the earth Read more

The Dangers of Nuclear IceNine

We were just about to start getting back into the nuclear energy business ourselves after refraining from building any new nuclear reactors for decades.
The great cautionary tale of the 19th century is Frankenstein, Mary Shelly’s novel. It’s the story of a brilliant scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who builds a monster out of spare parts and then breathes life into it.
Instead of being grateful to his creator, the monster runs away. It eventually destroys Frankenstein and everyone he cares about.
The great cautionary tale of the 20th century is Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut’s novel. It’s the story of a brilliant scientist, A Read more

A WinWin for Clean Energy

The nuclear tragedy in Japan and the disturbing upheaval in Libya and the Middle East have dominated the headlines, but it also serves as a haunting reminder that America’s own energy security may be in peril unless we accelerate efforts to more fully develop energy alternatives that are reliable, safe and sufficient to meet our future needs.
Achieving energy independence has been a laudable but daunting goal since the first energy crisis in 1979. Fortunately, the Obama administration and Congress have embraced policies intended to spur investment and development in renewable energy projects, but it will take a major effort by the private sector and the support of government at all levels.
The private sector is doing its part. They have invested heavily in new, innovative technologies, assembled the engineering and technical support, arranged the necessary financing, and have been engaged at all levels to secure the Federal and local permitting and ultimately the requisite utility and distribution outlets.
Solar Trust of America (STA) is one of many American companies that are investing millions and utilizing proven technology to achieve California’s ambitious goal of 33 percent renewable energy by year 2020. Such goals are unlikely without private-public collaboration.
It is our job to harness the solar potential in areas like STA’s thermal solar project site near Blythe in Southeastern California, utilizing our parabolic trough technology that will ultimately produce 1,000 megawatts of bankable electricity that is sufficient to supply 300,000 households with electricity, avoiding over 2,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Our business model is unique in that it encompasses the entire American-based supply chain that involves engineering and technology specialists, financing through private equity funds, creating new demands for steel and other metals, project development and construction of the facilities, and management and operation of the plants.
Finally, it is a job producer Read more

Fracking Tide Turns Frackers Get Mean

The PR tide seems to be turning against fracking, and predictably, the political rhetoric from the gas industry and its allies is turning nasty.
In upstate New York, for instance, Richard Downey, director of a local landowner’s coalition that hopes to lease its land to drillers, recently published an opinion piece in the Oneonta Daily Star playing the class warfare card — claiming pro-drillers are good, truck-driving local folk, while the antis are Volvo-driving, brie-eating NIMBY elitists against anything ruining the view from their estate.
Downey himself is a retired New York City teacher, and while his rhetoric seems less than measured, it’s typical of the posture displayed in letters to the editor columns across the state, many of which read like pieces in right-wing blogs — vitriolic, largely fact-free, and wrapped in the flag,
A recent editorial in The New York Post, for instance, did everything but claim anti-frackers are led by former Weatherman Bill Ayers, calling anti-frackers “Hard-core lefties and environmental groups” that include the Working Familes Party and MoveOn.org.
This characterization of the anti-frackers isn’t even true; in New York’s Marcellus Shale region, for instance, the anti-fracking forces include local families farming the same land since the Revolution. The same is becoming true in states as far apart as Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and Wyoming, where concerns about the effect of hydro-fracking upon ground water supplies are getting more pronounced everyday — together with lawsuits over the same.
But the rhetoric is a good indication of how defensive the frackers have become, as a rising tide of media stories about the dangers of fracking to the environment appear alongside reports of serious environmental accidents, and local governments banning fracking within their precincts Read more

Are the New Subsea Oilwell Containment Companies Ready Maybe

The BP well blowout last April exposed one of the biggest weaknesses of drilling in the deepwater: the inability of the oil and gas industry to contain a well blowout once it occurred. The industry was overly confident in advanced drilling and well control technology, and never contemplated that a well could blowout, burn down the rig, sink it, and then flow uncontrolled into the ocean environment for days, weeks, months as we so painfully witnessed on 24/7 television. As memory of the ongoing catastrophe fades, here’s a visual image to remind you of the depth of the crisis and magnitude of the damage:And another: The industry and the government agency charged with overseeing the offshore had never contemplated a blowout where every control and safety system failed, and the necessity for accessing a well without a floating rig over it. It had never been anticipated that a failed blowout preventer (BOP) rendered useless by the blowout itself and a wrecked riser on top of the BOP, thwarting every attempt to get into the well Read more

Up in Smoke The Insanity of Our Energy Policy

The energy picture in this country is fast becoming ridiculous. While people are suffering to fill their tanks with $4 dollar a gallon gasoline and small businesses avoid new hiring on the back of rising energy costs, we are literally throwing away our domestic energy supplies — just throwing it away.
It’s sad but it’s true. The newest and most exciting domestic find of crude oil in this country is in the Bakken region of South Dakota, in the middle of nowhere on the Northeastern corner of the state.
It may not look like much on the map, but the Bakken represents an amazing find of conventional crude oil and natural gas: Surveys expect the Bakken to yield as much as the total proven reserves of crude oil in the entire United States, as much as 20 billion barrels Read more

The Clean Energy Revolution Wont Be About Clean Energy

The uprisings in the Middle East and the growing austerity-induced unrest among workers in the US and Europe have provided new hope for environmental movement leaders who for years have struggled to mobilize the pubic to confront the looming catastrophes of growth-capitalism.
A good example is climate leader and 350.org founder, Bill McKibben. In February, McKibben authored a short blog post celebrating Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s decision to step down. He wrote of the revolution as a teachable moment for the climate movement, suggesting that if “a real people’s movement” could bring down an apparently immovable tyrant like Mubarak a similar movement could bring down the fossil fuel giants.
McKibben is right. As the overlords of the current world order, fossil fuel companies do have a lot to fear from a powerful popular uprising Read more

Life and Death Policies

Click the image to see American Family Voices’ new ad.
Contrary to the impression that some politicians and pundits give with their frequent goofy rhetoric and games, politics and policymaking is a very serious business, sometimes quite literally a life and death matter. The most obvious case of that is sending troops off to war, but there are many other life and death policy decisions our politicians have to make as well. The debates that happen on Capitol Hill matter a great deal. If you cut Social Security benefits and force seniors to pay more for Medicare, many seniors will have more trouble finding the money for groceries and utilities, and could freeze or starve to death Read more

What We Still Havent Learned From the Exxon Valdez Disaster

Twenty-two years ago today, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground the Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, and spilled nearly 11 million gallons of heavy crude oil, which eventually covered approximately 1,100 miles of sensitive coastline.
The environmental toll was devastating. Hundreds of thousands of seabirds, thousands of sea otters, and hundreds of seals were killed. To this day, oil remains in the sandy sediments of Alaskan coastline, and evidence suggests that the Pacific herring fishery, which has been closed for 15 of the last 21 years, has still not recovered from the effects of the spill.
While the Exxon Valdez spill was a very different spill than the Deepwater Horizon disaster, in terms of the type and amount of oil, the physical environment and the types of wildlife impacted, there are some striking similarities that suggest that we didn’t learn our lessons from the Exxon Valdez disaster Read more

The Wildfires in Hawaii Are a Loss for Our World

The wildfire created by the recent eruption of the Kilauea volcano on the Island of Hawaii has already burned some 2,000 acres in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to 23 species of endangered plants and 6 endangered birds. Because this fire now threatens a relatively pristine native rain forest that is home to Hawaii’s famous happyface spiders and honeycreeper songbirds, Park officials are quite rightly doing everything they can to stop it.
As a whole, Hawaii is a globally important paradise that is dying on our watch. Three quarters of all the bird and plant extinctions in the US have occurred within these islands, and one third of America’s threatened and endangered birds and plants now reside within this state Read more

Oil Industry Voices Its Side in Houston We Have A Problem

It’s easy to paint in black and white. It’s easy to deem one side right and thus the other side wrong. It’s easy for renewable energy advocates to stamp “evil” on the oil industry. But where does that get us? While simplified versions of reality are easier to digest, perhaps it’s only when the grey area is understood that results will be achieved Read more

Why Im Fighting For Clean Air

I’m what you might call an Older Mom. I’m 55, and my kids are in their twenties. I guess they’re adult kids, out of the house and living on their own. But you know what? Once a mom, always a mom Read more

Big Coal Giveaway

This week, in the heart of one of the nation’s best potential wind energy-producing regions, the Powder River Basin, the Obama administration handed away thousands of acres of federal land — land owned by you and me — to the coal industry.
Coal companies have been pushing to expand mining in the West, and they are no doubt uncorking champagne right now in celebration of this enormous gift. But for those of us who aren’t coal executives, the giveaway comes at a high cost.
The new coal will spew nearly 4 billion tons of carbon pollution into our air — the equivalent of building 300 new coal-fired power plants, or twice the amount of new coal plants proposed by the Bush-Cheney Energy Plan back in 2001. It’s not just the global warming pollution that’s worrisome. Burning coal produces all kinds of other toxic chemicals linked to serious health problems Read more

Big Oils Sleight of Hand

Headlines are blaring about the threat of $5-a-gallon gas, but what those stories don’t tell you is that big oil couldn’t be happier. Rising gas prices let big oil pull off an amazing sleight of hand — the industry distracts the public with calls for more domestic oil drilling as it digs into Americans’ wallets.
The industry’s Congressional allies call for an “all of the above’ energy approach, and the new “drill here, drill now” mantra, don’t have anything to do with lowering gas prices. They are a way for the oil companies to channel frustration about gasoline prices, and to keep us trapped in an “oil-centric” approach to energy Read more

The EPA Cleaning Up Crappy Water Since 1970

This is a story about crap — literally, tons of it. Piling up in Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and being sprayed onto farm fields, animal manure is polluting the nation’s waterways and is nearly impossible to regulate.
Last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a ruling [PDF] reversing the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requiring CAFOs to obtain a Clean Water Act permit in order to pollute. The court did uphold the EPA’s right to fine those that do pollute after the fact. Here’s the rub: Farmers are not responsible for manure that exits their property and enters waterways when it rains.
This is one of the many lawsuits against the EPA — issued by both environmental groups and pro-agribusiness organizations like the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Pork Producers Council, and United Egg Producers Read more

Obama Administration Announces Massive CoalMining Expansion

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar yesterday announced an enormous expansion in coal-mining that dwarfs the Obama administration’s clean energy initiatives — suggesting that President Obama’s response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster increasingly involves doubling down on other forms of dirty, unsafe energy.
A statement from Wild Earth Guardians, Sierra Club, and Defenders of Wildlife put the announcement in perspective:
In other words, despite his administration’s rhetorical embrace of clean energy, when push comes to shove, Obama is effectively using modest wind and solar investments as cover for a broader embrace of dirty fuels. It’s the same strategy BP, Chevron, and other major polluters use: tout modest environmental investments in multimillion dollar PR campaigns, while putting the real money into fossil fuel development.
President Obama seems to be rushing to make this embrace even tighter: in the last week, the administration announced four new permits for deepwater offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico — the same type of exploration that led to the BP oil spill disaster – even as a huge new oil sheen covers the Gulf of Mexico and inundates Louisiana beaches Read more

Your iPod Is Polluting China and LA and Wyoming Might Be Next

When you bought your last Apple iPod, you may have been aware that it had been manufactured at a factory in China, perhaps the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen in the province of Guangzhou. (Let’s put aside for the moment the working conditions there.) You may have been aware too that in manufacturing your electronic marvel, the Shenzhen plant emitted roughly 25 pounds of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. It’s even possible that you were aware of the 9-10 pounds of CO2 emitted in transporting the device to you from China. (See Apple’s environmental report for the iPod classic [PDF].)
Here’s what you probably didn’t take into account: The coal that powered the Foxconn plant in the south of China likely was mined in the far northern province of Shanxi, transported by truck or rail to coal terminals on the coast (e.g., the port city of Tianjin), and from there shipped by freighter to Shenzhen in the far south Read more

Newt on Knut

Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is in mourning. He is very saddened by the sudden passing of Knut the polar bear in Germany. He tweeted:
“Sad news! Just learned knut the polar bear died suddenly at 4,” Gingrich tweeted over the weekend. “Callista and I visited him in Berlin when he was 5 months old-he was cute.”
Knut’s passing was very sad Read more

The Energy Crisis Mindset

Japan’s Fukushima disaster, stoking fears we’ve tried to bury since James Bridges’s 1971 epic “The China Syndrome,” is a sobering reminder of the fragility of our planet’s energy sources. As if on cue, 24-hour cable news studios were filled with experts who lamented our reliance on unsafe nuclear power and dirty fossil fuels. And we, the American people, wrung our hands, wondering why “they” aren’t doing anything to fix the problem.
The pattern repeats itself all too often: crisis, followed by a spike in consumer interest in renewable energy and a rapid return to normal, as we hop into our big cars and laze around our energy-guzzling homes Read more

Farmers Markets Everywhere

Have you wandered through the farmers’ market at Union Square in New York City on a Saturday morning? One visit and you can feel the excitement surrounding the local food movement. The energy is palpable to watching hundreds of people bustling around stand after stand of upstate farmers’ healthy, fresh food. Even in the dead of winter, treasures are on display from local farms. And the community of local foodies and farmers is vibrant.
I don’t remember farmers’ markets all over the city when I was growing up Read more

Trace Radiation Isnt the Only Global Fallout From Fukushima

As Japan’s nuclear disaster stretched into its second week, traces of radiation from the stricken power plants showed up in several U.S. states, and as far away as Iceland.
With the reactors and uranium fuel rods still proving difficult to bring under control, the disaster could be the “death knell” for nuclear power, some analysts said. Countries around the world — from China to Germany — are taking a closer look at their nuclear plants and plans, while the U.S. intends to complete an initial review of its reactors within three months Read more

Green News Report March 24 2011 Audio

TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport.
The ‘GNR’ is also now available on your cell phone via Stitcher Radio’s mobile app!.
IN TODAY’S RADIO REPORT: Update on Japan’s nuke crisis: Tap water warning lifted for Tokyo infants, but spreading elsewhere; Workers at stricken plant hospitalized for radiation exposure; Nukes now less popular in the US (for some reason); King crab invasion at the South Pole; PLUS: Japanese villages struggle to maintain tradition amidst disaster… All that and more in today’s Green News Report!…
Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at [email protected] or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.
IN ‘GREEN NEWS EXTRA’ (see links below): Head exploder: GOPer wants creationism taught in school; WorldWaterDay: Which nations are most at risk?; BP Oil Disaster: Pipe piece caused blowout preventer failure; Google Maps now displaying EV charging stations; GA tree farm re-establishing American Chestnut; USDA gives GM crops boost over organics; Road salt killing Twin Cities’ lakes; EU Chief: French GM maize ban illegal; HUGE lease sale for WY coal; Lead, chemicals taint some urban gardens; EPA, DOJ sue MI’s largest coal plant; Canada is getting warmer: study …

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