by Samantha Javier @ 8:18 am post a comment »
- First up in recent environmental news – China will toughen its environmental laws to target polluters with possible penalties, suspensions, or shutdowns of those polluting. However, these punishments towards polluters have been met with skepticism as no legal reforms have been implemented to back these statements up. Read more about China’s “war on pollution.
- Even with 97% of climate scientists agreeing that “carbon emissions are dangerously heating up the planet” and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warming that “it’s 95% likely that most of the temperature rise since 1950 is due to greenhouse gases and deforestation” there are still adamant climate change deniers. This problem is “at its worst in the Anglo-Saxon world” because we don’t have to bear the costs of the coming climate change just yet and corporate interests influence these climate change deniers. Read more about corporate influence and climate change deniers in this article from the Guardian.
- I don’t know if many of you have heard, but during an oil drilling operation in northern Ecuador, it was alleged that Chevron deliberately dumped “billions of gallons of toxic wastewater and spilled roughly 17 million gallons of oil in the rivers and streams of the once-pristine (Amazon) forest.” The consequence was “a severe public health crisis amongst the indigenous people and farmers of the region” in the form of “cancer, birth defects, and disease.” Unfortunately, for those of you who would believe that the Amazon would get its retribution, it turns out that the case was corrupted with bribery and fraudulent evidence, leading to a federal judge blocking “U.S. courts from being used to collect a $9 billion Ecuadorean judgment against Chevron” for these damages. Read more about the tragic story and court procedures at The Huffington Post.
- To end with some good news, the Jaguar won a major victory when Federal wildlife officials set aside “nearly 1,200 square miles along the U.S. – Mexico border as habitat essential for their conservation” on Tuesday. Read more about the decision at biologicaldiversity.org.
global pollution image via shutterstock.com
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
by Katherine Shi @ 9:34 am 1 comment »
Did you know that less than 2% of plastic bags get recycled? How about this: Regular plastic bags often take over 100 years to degrade. Though cheap and convenient, plastic bags fill our streets, waterways, and landfills, and often do not ever become plastic bags again (even if recycled).
BioBag is a company that provides bags and films for the collection of organic (food, yard and pet) waste for the purpose of composting. Unlike your typical plastic bags which are made from polyethylene/polypropylene-based plastic, BioBags are created from an entirely unique material – a resin derived from plant starches, vegetable oils, and compostable polymers from renewable raw materials and fossil raw materials – a material called Mater-Bi. It can be readily composted (more…)
Monday, March 3, 2014
by Samantha Javier @ 7:24 am post a comment »
- With California facing extreme drought conditions, the rain this past weekend has been met with relief. However, this rain will not get California completely out of the drought it is facing. To create more drinking water the state is building a new facility in Carlsbad, calling it “the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere.” This plant will be finished in early 2016 and is expected to “provide up to 50 million gallons of fresh drinkable water every day.” The plant – which will cost $1 billion dollars – is “drought-proof” and will help alleviate San Diego’s and the rest of California’s need to import water. Read more at: npr.org
- Ocean acidification is taking a toll on marine life everywhere, and now its effects have claimed about three years worth of the scallop population in British Columbia. The waters of the Georgia Strait have “increased so dramatically that the PH levels have dropped from 8.2 to 7.3 in the past year.” Weather.com has a great article outlining the impact this event and the effects ocean acidification could have on the U.S. oyster industry.
- “Experts are more certain than ever that human activity is changing the global climate” and the U.S National Academy of Science with the United Kingdom’s Royal Society hope to move the debate about climate change away from (more…)
Thursday, February 27, 2014
by Katherine Shi @ 2:44 pm 1 comment »
Did you know that less than 20% of 50 billion plastic water bottles sold in the US every year get recycled? The creator of Treeson was inspired to create a sustainable alternative to plastic water bottle waste by approaching the problem from a different perspective: If people refuse to switch to using canteens and enjoy the “luxury” of having a disposable plastic water bottle, then why not create a water bottle that can be recycled for free?
Treeson wants to take back their water bottles after you’ve finished using them. Mail the empty water bottle to them for free (via any USPS mailbox) so they can use the returned bottles to generate clean energy. Their bottles are made with 100% plant-based non-GMO materials. They’re eco-friendly, toxin-free, compostable, biodegradable, and sustainable. Not enough to win your heart and mind over? Get this … with each bottle sold, Treeson plants one tree.
Now it sounds almost too good to be true, right? You might think the water tastes unfiltered, but Treeson uses only the finest natural spring water. It is passed through a purification process that models how the Rainforest purifies water as it goes through its canopy. Then Treeson adds both electrolytes that have been lost, and oxygen to give your body a natural boost. (more…)
Monday, February 24, 2014
by guest @ 9:00 am post a comment »
Over the years, solar water heating systems for heating domestic hot water have grown in popularity. Many countries around the world have mandatory requirements for use of solar water heaters. Now, the use of solar heating is finally becoming popular for home and space heating applications, not just for domestic hot water.
These technologies are becoming popular because of solar evacuated tubes. Evacuated tubes (also commonly referred to as “vacuum tubes”) allow for a much higher temperature than other types of solar collectors. The evacuated tube is a much more efficient means of capturing the suns energy, especially in the winter. Home owners living in Northern climates require constant, reliable space heating during the winter months, which has traditionally been difficult to accomplish with older methods of solar home heating. In order to provide adequate solar home heating energy, solar vacuum tubes are now used in the following process:
- The solar heating system captures the sun’s energy via a vacuum tube.
- This energy is transferred using a glycol based heating fluid.
- A small, energy efficient pump moves the heating energy from the solar collector and into the home for space heating use.
- Energy is then transferred throughout the house through a heat exchanger.
Examples of evacuated solar tubes include:
Solar heating is ideal for homes that have in floor heating, as the in floor heating system uses the same heating fluid as the solar heating system. A properly installed solar space heating system can also save the home owner up to 60% off their annual heating bill. Solar home heating systems also qualify for a 30% federal tax credit in the USA, which makes this a great time to make an affordable investment into green energy. Learn more about evacuated tube solar collectors at SolarTubs.com.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
by Jennifer Hui @ 11:42 am post a comment »
So, I’m going to write about something a little different today – the issue of environmental justice. I’ve been studying this in college, and I thought it was an important topic to share. I am far from an expert on environmental justice, but regardless, I definitely think it’s a conversation worth having because although it is a reality, it seems many people may not be aware of what it’s all about.
So, what is environmental justice? The EPA defines this term as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.”
Environmental justice is an issue because there are many injustices in the way environmental burdens are distributed. These injustices disproportionately affect low-income minority communities which consequently have residents with higher rates of asthma, respiratory illnesses, heart disease, and cancer due to the higher probabilities of being located next to hazardous waste facilities or industrial complexes.
Moreover, a lot of the waste we generate, such as single-use plastic water bottle (not by you folks of course!), end up in marginalized communities in developing countries like India. (more…)