Jan 31, 2008


The Ohio EPA Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention has recently completed seven household and consumer fact sheets regarding typical wastes found in a home.
Handling Used Oil from Your Home (HC1)
Handling Gasoline, Kerosene, Diesel Oil and Heating Oil from Your Home (HC2)
Lead-Acid Batteries Generated from the Home (HC4)
Storing and Disposing of Paint from Your Home (HC6)
Electronic Equipment from Your Home...Don't just throw it Away (HC7)
Additional information is available by contacting the Ohio EPA Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention at 800-329-7518.
Source:  www.glrppr.org (thanks ;-)

Did Scientific American Steals Jimmy Carters Plan?

As usual... Scientific American has come up with a under expensed, over engineered plan to end U.S. dependence on foreign oil using solar energy.
President Carters dream didn't happen and Scientific American's won't unless a better "united" approach is not taken. Every state has "viable" renewable energy sources that can take the U.S. off outside sources in a decade. But, plans like this drive a renewable reality into just another "dream".  Read more on this here
Better than the poorly laid out trillion dollar conceptual idea from Scientific America ..  I would implore that just California enact a target date to be "off grid using ONYL renewable energy.
California holds over 10% of the U.S. population and consumes more than 15% of U.S. energy... still using natural gas for 50% of their needs (Yikes)
It would be nice if they could use all the "Free Energy" at their disposal as they have the highest capacity at their disposal:
CA Generating Capacity for renewable energy... Source (DOE)
    * Biomass: 1,022.0 MW
    * Geothermal: 2,463.0 MW
    * Hydroelectric: 13,109.0 MW
    * Photovoltaic: 41.0 MW
    * Solar Thermal: 354.0 MW
    * Wind: 1,922.0 MW
Then focus on selling excess renewable energy as a commodity like the French.

If California just supplied their own renewable energy and sold excess their boarding states we would reach Jimmy Carters dream of 20% renewable energy supplying the U.S.
Just a few decades too late ;-(

Ohhh how we forget...

On July 15 1979, President Jimmy Carter delivered his politically inopportune "malaise speech", remembered for its downcast assessment of the country's mood. Less well-known is this startling passage: "I will soon submit legislation to Congress calling for the creation of this nation's first solar bank, which will help us achieve the crucial goal of 20% of our energy coming from solar power by the year 2000."


Suffice it to say, 2000 came and went, and solar still provides less than 1% of US energy.

What will happen is a constant balance of tax, credits and subsidy's that continue to push energy options that ARE NOT sustainable... continuing to push our nation into a economic and environmental hole.


History and Math needed in U.S. Congress


Why not?

Wisconsin Man Designs Car that Gets 130 mpg

Hot Water + Polycarbonate Bottles = More Gender-Benders

We have been saying for a while that polycarbonates bottles can leach Bisphenol A, a gender bender chemical, and that it was time to ditch them; now a new University of Cincinnati study shows that the temperature of the liquid inside has the most impact on how much BPA is released. According to Martin Mittelstaedt of the Globe and Mail, "Adding boiling water to polycarbonate plastic bottles causes a dramatic spike (55 times as much!) VIA-hugg.com (Link)

Appeals court says Dow lawsuit should be class action.

Thousands of plaintiffs who sued Dow Chemical say dioxin from Dow's Midland plant got into the Tittabawassee River and has contaminated their properties, dropping house values and making the homes difficult to sell. Linked here

Harmful pesticides found in everyday food products.

Government promises to rid the nation's food supply of brain-damaging pesticides aren't doing the job, according to the results of a yearlong study that carefully monitored the diets of a group of local children.
The peer-reviewed study found that the urine and saliva of children eating a variety of conventional foods from area groceries contained biological markers of organophosphates, the family of pesticides spawned by the creation of nerve gas agents in World War II.
When the same children ate organic fruits, vegetables and juices, signs of pesticides were not found.
"The transformation is extremely rapid," said Chensheng Lu, the principal author of the study published online in the current issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.
"Once you switch from conventional food to organic, the pesticides (malathion and chlorpyrifos) that we can measure in the urine disappears.
Within eight to 36 hours of the children switching to organic food, the pesticides were no longer detected in the testing.
The study has not yet linked the pesticide levels to specific foods, but other studies have shown peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, nectarines, strawberries and cherries are among those that most frequently have detectable levels of pesticides.
Death or serious health problems have been documented in thousands of cases in which there were high-level exposures to malathion and chlorpyrifos. But a link between neurological impairments and repeated low-level exposure is far more difficult to determine.
"There's a large underpinning of animal research for organophosphate pesticides, and particularly for chlorpyrifos, that points to bad outcomes in terms of effects on brain development and behavior," Dr. Theodore Slotkin, a professor of pharmacology and cancer biology at Duke University in North Carolina, said in the April 2006 Environmental Health Perspectives.
"It is appropriate to assume that if we -- human beings -- are exposed to (this class of) pesticides, even though it's a low-level exposure on a daily basis, there are going to be some health concerns down the road," said Lu, who is on the Environmental Protection Agency's pesticide advisory panel.
The EPA says it eliminated the use of organophosphates on many crops and imposed numerous restrictions on the remaining organophosphate pesticide uses.
Congressional concern that children were being harmed by excessive exposure to pesticides led to the unanimous passage of the Food Quality Protection Act. At its heart was a requirement that by 2006, the EPA complete a comprehensive reassessment of the 9,721 pesticides permitted for use and determine the safe level of pesticide residues permitted for all food products.
"As a result, the amount of these pesticides used on kids' foods (has undergone) a 57 percent reduction," said Jonathan Shradar, the EPA's spokesman.
What to do
While the gut reaction of some parents might be to limit the consumption of fresh produce or switch completely to organic food, Lu cautions not to make the wrong decision.
"It is vital for children to consume significantly more fresh fruits and vegetables than is commonly the case today," he says, citing such problems as juvenile diabetes and obesity.
"Nor is our purpose to promote the consumption of organic food, although our data clearly demonstrate that food grown organically contains far less pesticide residues."
.... an all-organic diet is not necessary. He has two sons, 10 and 13, and he estimates that about 60 percent of his family's diet is organic.
"Consumers," he says, "should be encouraged to buy produce direct from the farmers they know. These need not be just organic farmers, but conventional growers who minimize their use of pesticides."
Understanding how fruits and vegetables grow can help guide the consumer, he says.
For example, organic strawberries probably are worth the money because they are a tender-fleshed fruit grown close to the dirt, so more pesticides are needed to fight insects and bugs from the soil. He adds apples and spinach to his list.
"It may also be money-smart to choose conventionally grown broccoli because it has a web of leaves surrounding the florets, resulting in lower levels of pesticide residue," Lu says.
Chensheng Lu's study was published this month in Environmental Health Perspectives (ehponline.org), a publication of the National Institute of Environmental Health Science. It was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and used federal laboratories to confirm the accuracy of his findings.
Read more from Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Jan 30, 2008

Joel Makower - "State of Green Business 2008," free download

State of Green Business cover I am pleased to announce the launch of a new report, "State of Green Business 2008," researched and written by my colleagues and I at GreenBiz.com. This is the first report to take stock of green business activities in the United States, and features the debut of the GreenBiz Index, a set of 20 indicators of green business progress that we will update annually. For example, it measures how efficiently companies are using resources, reducing toxics, purchasing green fleet vehicles and renewable power, and reporting social and environmental performance.

The report also features the 10 key green business trends of 2007 as well as dozens of "Editors' Picks," lists we've compiled of the best books, websites, reports, business initiatives, and other resources of the past year.

All together, we think it will help you better understand the green business landscape.

I encourage you to download this free 64-page report, available online at StateOfGreenBusiness.com.

Ethanol: A bad idea hits Colorado's gas pumps


Doyle's FutureGen project derailed by science and common sense

Well let us just pick our grinning jaws up off the floor: The U.S. Department of Energy has told lawmakers that it plans to pull funding for FutureGen, its ambitious and crazily expensive "clean coal" demonstration plant. The feds had planned to cover some three-quarters of the $1.8 billion price tag, and cited ballooning costs as its reason for backing out. The announcement pissed off lawmakers from Illinois, where the plant would have been sited and was expected to create 3,000 construction jobs. Sen. Dick Durbin (D) pledged that the state delegation "is going to make the case for FutureGen directly to the president," while Gov. Rod Blagojevich issued a statement saying the DOE had "deceived the people of East Central Illinois who spent time and resources competing for the project.

Most Companies Focus On Green For PR Value


Investors view the environment as a major long-term investing opportunity, according to the results of a survey of investors released by Allianz Global Investors.allianz4.jpg

Of the 1,003 investors surveyed, 49 percent said that over the next 12 months they were likely to invest in a company or mutual fund looking to provide solutions for environmental problems; 17 percent reported having already made such an investment.

While investors believe the environment is a serious business issue, they also believe that many companies have yet to view it that way. Nearly eight in 10 investors (78%) say most companies today focus on environmental issues for public relations value rather than financial value.

Jan 29, 2008

Go Green Initiative's School of the Week in Sheboygan, WI!

If you've ever looked at a map of the U.S. and wondered what goes on in Sheboygan, you're probably like the rest of us. But it turns out that they've got a school doing great green things. Because the Go Green Initiative's top honors this week go to the Holy Family School in Sheboygan, WI. They've teamed up with the local Police Benevolent Society to start a paper recycling program, and getting some terrific results.

Their science teacher, Chris Romps, points out his students have been involved making posters to promote recycling, weighing and taking out the recycling to their brand new dumpsters, and tracking their waste data from month to month.

Together, the students and faculty of Holy Family have recycled almost a ton of paper since school began, as well as plastic, glass, and aluminum. And they've also been conserving paper by using both sides of the paper and printing double-sided copies.

It's amazing what one school can do!

VIA: treehugger.com

Peak water in Saudi Arabia

Ugo Bardi has this striking image at The Oil Drum, showing the effect of Saudi irrigation in the desert.

"Saudi Arabian cultivated fields as visible using Google Earth. Each circle is an irrigated area of about 1 km diameter. The whole square is about 10 km side."

The post itself considers the impact of the depletion of aquifers in Saudi Arabia, and whether or not water can instead be supplied by desalination.

Are recycled paper bags better or worse for the environment

Read the full post at EcoGeek.

Whole Foods, which, for those of you who don't have one, is the world's largest eco-healthy food store, has just promised to completely stop using plastic bags. And while I like that they're, y'know, considering these things, it turns out that their logic may be faulty.

So EcoGeek decided to do a little research, and it turns out, the greenest thing about paper bags is the way people perceive them. Because they seem more natural, people think they're better for the environment. Well, it's a damn shame, but they're wrong.

Creating recycled paper, it turns out, is a much more energy-intensive process than creating plastic bags. That's why grocery stores prefer you take the plastic. Plastic is also much easier to ship, as it takes up way less space in packing, and they weigh far less per item of shopping you take home with you. And while we might worry that all that plastic is coming from foreign oil, the amazing thing is that even with all the billions of plastic bags we use every year, they constitute about 0.03% of our oil use in the U.S.. Obviously not the most pressing problem we've got.

Whole Foods' moving over to 100% recycled paper is actually going to be worse for the environment.

Great Lakes' Lower Water Levels Propel a Cascade of Hardships

Decreased ice cover on the Great Lakes, probably caused by increasing air and water temperatures and high winds, is a major culprit in lowering water levels, which have hurt the shipping industry, forced lakeside power plants to extend their cooling pipes, frustrated recreational boaters, dried up wetlands and left coastal landowners with docks extending over yards of unsightly muck.

In September, Lake Superior broke its 81-year-old low-water record by 1.6 inches, and last month it was a foot below its seasonal average. It appeared that Lake Michigan and Lake Huron would log record lows for January until storms helped levels stay above the marks set in the 1960s.

"And we're not talking inches, we're talking feet," Nekvasil said. "It's not just affecting the steamships; it's the steelworkers who depend on that iron ore, the workers at the limestone quarries. We move the raw materials that keep everyone else going."

"We firmly believe the changes we're seeing are impacting fisheries, possibly in a dramatic way," said Jeff Skelding of the National Wildlife Federation. "Disruption of habitat will impede fish species from being able to reproduce."

More than 99 percent of the Great Lakes' water is left over from melting glaciers, and less than 1 percent is replenished each year through groundwater, rainfall and snowmelt. Water lost through increased evaporation or diversion may be gone forever.

Read more By Kari Lydersen, Washington Post

Jan 28, 2008


MSOE Master of Science in Environmental Engineering
SYMPOSIUM 25-2nd 2007/2008 symposium
Co-sponsored by MSOE, URS, and Enviro-Safe Consulting 
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
6:00-7:00 p.m. Social hour with complimentary appetizers
7:00-9:00 p.m. Program Todd Wehr Conference Center (1st Floor)
MSOE Student Life and Campus Center (CC)
1047 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
(Street parking;
How do materials impact the environment?
What is the role of research in promoting by-products' reuse?
What is happening in the public sector?
What is Miller Compressing Company's approach to recycling and environmental protection?
What are opportunities for businesses?
What are by-product synergy partnerships?
Overview of current activities in industrial by-products and post-consumer waste recycling and utilization Tarun R. Naik, Ph.D., P.E., Research Professor and Director, and Rudy Krause, Assistant Director UWM Center for By-Products Utilization
The public sector perspective Karen Fiedler, Solid Waste Supervisor, Waukesha County Integrated approach to scrap recycling and environmental protection Joseph Kovacich, Vice President, Miller Compressing Company
By-product synergies partnerships Jeff Vilione, President, Enviro-Safe Consulting and Ken Jenkins, GeoSpatial and Sustainability Practice Leader,
URS Wrap-up Steve Brachman, Solid and Hazardous Waste Specialist, UW-Extension SHWEC
To register, send an email to:  rochester (at) msoe.edu  
WEB: www.bec.msoe.edu

Jan 25, 2008

Wisconsin survey shows overwhelming support for Great Lakes compact

From Steve Huyser-Honig

According to the Daily Telegram of Superior Wisconsin, a new survey conducted by Clean Wisconsin shows overwhelming support for the Great Lakes Compact throughout Wisconsin and across political parties.

The survey shows support for the Great Lakes Compact is as strong in regions of the state away from the Great Lakes as it is in communities adjacent to the Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. About 83 percent of Wisconsin residents living away from the Great Lakes support the compact.

Survey results also show political affiliation played little role in whether people support the compact. Respondents who identified themselves as Republican, Democrat or Independent demonstrated relatively equal support — 83 percent, 76 percent and 82 percent, respectively.

Let's hope the Wisconsin legislature gets the message and quickly adopts the Great Lakes Compact. Legislation in Indiana has passed out of committee in both the House and Senate amid overwhelming support from industry, agriculture, and environmentalists.

California has taken a wrong turn in reducing greenhouse gases by allowing corn-based ethanol into vehicle gas tanks

And the profits and Tax money are booming from it!

While California is heralded as a world leader in addressing climate change, An analysis by O'Hare and Alexander Farrell, U.C. Berkeley professor of energy and resources, showed that on account of land-use changes stimulated by greater use of ethanol in motor fuel, "the carbon intensity of California's gasoline" already has risen between 3 percent and 33 percent.

Ethanol can be expected to add more global warming gases in the years ahead as the percentage of ethanol in gasoline climbs, according to scientists.

The analysis comes after California lifted the cap on the ethanol content of gasoline from 6 percent to 10 percent last year in preparation for a low carbon fuel standard. The strategy is aimed at cutting the carbon intensity of motor fuel by 10 percent by 2020.

"All the numbers we've seen so far go the wrong way," said Michael O'Hare, U.C. Berkeley professor of public policy. "It looks like these numbers are pretty big."

"There are things that happen that you can't see," he said.

In a January 12 memorandum to the Air Board outlining their findings, O'Hare and Farrell wrote that shifting one acre of farmland from food production to growing corn for ethanol ripples throughout world agricultural markets. It can result in forest being cut down half way around the world for planting replacement corn for food. Then the forest no longer removes carbon from the atmosphere, but instead decays and releases carbon to the air.

"The analysis suggests that indirect greenhouse gas emissions are larger than direct [ones] due to the large amounts of carbon stored in ecosystems of all sorts," according to the analysis.

The miscalculation in part stems from the so-called GREET model, which the state relied on to make judgments about the life cycle carbon emissions attributable to various fuels, the analysis notes. That model does not account for indirect land-use changes when crops are turned into fuel. As a result, for instance, it underestimates the amount of carbon emissions caused when ethanol is made out of corn grown on conservation reserve program lands--usually fragile areas prone to soil erosion--by 155 times.

Jan 24, 2008

Bottled water industry's biggest problems...

Plastic Water Bottle Facts
        Crude Oil ... 3 fl oz.
    Water Required ... 3x bottle size
    Total Bottles
    Total plastic for bottles ... 900,000 tons
    Total CO2 produced ... 2.5 million tons
    Total oil used to produce ... 17 million barrels
    Total bottles not recycled ... 80%
    Percent of water from tap ... 40%
    Time to decompose ... Up to 1,000 years
The most glaring and egregious points of contention these fun facts bring up for me are as follows:
  1. So few plastic water bottles  are actually recycled - The EPA reported that 2006 overall national recycling rates were a misserable32 percent.
  2.  "landfilling" plastics make up at least 11 percent (by weight) of municipal solid waste landfills (PDF).
  3. A titanic 40 percent of that "pure spring water" Americans are chugging (and dropping a cool $15 billion/year on) is actually from the kitchen faucet.
  4. The other 60 percent of bottled water is pulled from uncharted, or at least untested, waters. According to a four-year study of bottled water by the NRDC, the FDA exempts "60-70 percent of the bottled water sold in the United States from the agency's bottled water standards, because FDA says its rules do not apply to water packaged and sold within the same state." Even when not exempt, the rules are usually weaker than EPA drinking water standards for tap water.
  5. Production of plastic water bottles requires three times the water the bottle will eventually hold. That's not even getting into the 17 million barrels of oil or the 2.5 million tons of CO2 resulting from plastic bottle production.
  6. And finally, the bottled water industry is literally draining the Great Lakes, which hold 95 percent of the U.S.'s surface freshwater. Even a Sustainable Water Resources Agreement, signed by eight Great Lakes states' governors and two Canadian provinces' premiers, allows for the unlimited removal of Great Lakes Basin water "in any container of 5.7 gallons or less" (Applicable Use #9, Article 207).
To summarize, bottled water for people outside of national disaster areas or developing countries = bad.
Reusable nonpolycarbonate water bottles = good.
As for me, I'll be slurping my coffee and water from the same five year old cup I got on a Disney trip from my Kids ;-)

MN polluted waters top 1,400

From David Dempsey

If all Great Lakes states were doing as good a job as Minnesota is in testing waters and identifying pollution problems, what would the Basin-wide total be?

Extensive testing has pushed the number of Minnesota lakes and streams known to be polluted to a record 1,400.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said Tuesday it wants to add nearly 300 "impairments" to the list, which is updated every two years.

[snip] The number could grow in coming years. Only about 18 percent of Minnesota's lakes and 14 percent of its rivers have been assessed so far. Of those tested, about 40 percent fail and are listed for at least one pollutant.

WoooHoo - EPA ordered to reopen libraries!

Two years after the U.S. EPA hastily dismantled one-third of its libraries, Congress has ordered the agency to restore the original library network. With no plan from EPA to reconsolidate holdings dispersed across the country, and in some cases destroyed, close observers of the libraries fear that restoration could be incomplete.

The congressional orders appear on page 35 of a statement (PDF: 2.5 MB) attached to the fiscal year 2008 (FY '08) budget (H.R. 2764) enacted on December 26, 2007. The statement allocates $1 million above the FY '08 EPA budget request, specifically to reopen libraries recently closed or consolidated by the Bush Administration.

Read full from pubs.acs.org

EPA - 'endangerment' from CA large car-driving emissions

WASHINGTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency's staff concluded last month that greenhouse gases pose a threat to the nation's welfare, which would require federal regulations to rein in emissions from vehicles, factories, power plants and other industrial polluters under the Clean Air Act, sources in the agency told The Times.

The conclusion, known as an "endangerment" finding, has been sent to the White House for review, and comes as the agency is under a Supreme Court order to examine risks from greenhouse gases. The agency also faces a lawsuit from at least 16 state governments over their attempts to regulate vehicle gas emissions.

Senate committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) released excerpts from documents she said her staffers were allowed to see but not copy. Boxer said Wednesday that Johnson had done a "terrible job," and accused him of stonewalling the committee's investigation.

"We need to know why a majority of our population, over 150 million people, have been denied an opportunity to clean up greenhouse gas pollution," Boxer said.

"Who is Mr. Johnson listening to?" said Boxer. "Who is giving him other advice than the advice he got from his well-qualified staff? . . . He needs to be held accountable."

But the documents show his staff concluded that "California continues to have compelling and extraordinary conditions" including its geography, climate and large car-driving population.
Read more from Staff writer Richard Simon and Janet Wilson from latimes.com

Haase Comments:

Stop the Blame game and take action CA: As reported today by the S.F. Chronicle:

“California exhibits a greater number of key impact concerns than other regions,” they wrote. The staffers listed all the risks that could prove the state’s case - from potential water shortages to rising sea levels affecting coastal communities to health threats from air pollution.

“Wildfires are increasing,” which could “generate particulates that can exacerbate health risk,” they wrote. “California has the greatest variety of ecosystems in the U.S.; and the most threatened and endangered species in the continental U.S.”

The question is why? Answer - Lack of positive action...

Where does the American public think the money comes from when government sues government? Billions of dollars that could be used for Environmental protection gets thrown away every in these federal/state bickering wars...

All of the $Exchange$ of your tax dollars debating action is dearly costing us million of dollars and 1000's of lives...

I said it before and I will say it again: Suing, talking and writing up violations is NOT action. Reducing, renewing and reusing is action.

PLEASE CA - Lead by positive action and the world will follow. The only entity stopping CA from cleaning CA is CA...

CA has great people, a great leader and can do great things if this energy was positively focused.

Jan 23, 2008

Times - Giant toxic cloud may bring flood and droughts to two billion people

Bangkok skyline

Not CO - "Brown Cloud" melting glaciers

Himalayan glaciers are melting, affecting rivers that supply water to people living downstream.
 "Brown Cloud" Particulate Pollution Amplifies Glaciers Melting
Jeopardizes Asian water supplies, contributes to Himalayan glacier melt
Himalayan glaciers are melting, affecting rivers that supply water to people living downstream.
A new analysis of pollution-filled "brown clouds" over south Asia by researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., offers hope that the region may be able to arrest some of the alarming retreat of such glaciers by reducing its air pollution.
The team, led by atmospheric chemist V. Ramanathan of Scripps, found that atmospheric brown clouds enhanced solar heating of the lower atmosphere by about 50 percent. The results are in a paper in this week's issue of the journal Nature.
The combined heating effect of greenhouse gases and brown clouds, which contain soot, trace metals and other particles from urban, industrial and agricultural sources, is enough to account for the retreat of Himalayan glaciers in the past half century, the researchers concluded.
The glaciers supply water to major Asian rivers, including the Yangtze, Ganges and Indus. These rivers are the chief water supply for billions of people in China, India and other south Asian countries.
"If it becomes widespread and continues for several more decades, the rapid melting of these glaciers, the third-largest ice mass on the planet, will have unprecedented effects on southern and eastern Asia," said Ramanathan.

Top 100 Evolutionary Endangered amphibians by EDGE

Just 15% of the most extraordinary amphibians threatened with extinction are receiving active conservation attention. The loss of these species would mean the loss of a disproportionately large proportion of the world's diversity because of the evolutionary history they represent.

Leading source of radiation exposure in humans in the United States.

Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium, which is found in soils throughout Wyoming. It can get into a home by seeping up through cracks in a building's foundation.

A home with a radon problem is fairly easy to fix -- easier than quitting smoking. Just make sure you hire a contractor that has been certified by the state of Wyoming and EPA to mitigate radon problems.

"My ideal is nobody gets lung cancer from radon. It's totally, totally preventable: Test, mitigate and you're good to go. You don't have to do it over and over again. If it's mitigated properly it's pretty much a one-time fix," Melia said.

Jan 22, 2008

Are we serious about renewables?

According to a recent Government Accountability Office report, the Department of Energy spent $3.1 billion on research and development for fossil fuels between 2002 and 2007, compared with $1.4 billion for renewable technologies. Electricity-related tax expenditures in the same time period for fossil fuels reached $13.7 billion, while renewable energy sources received $2.8 billion. Read more here

Jan 21, 2008

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Martin Luther King Jr.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Martin Luther King's Last Speech The Day Before He Died, Declaring Prophetically:
"I've Seen The Promised Land. I May Not Get There With You"

Immortally preserved in my mind and soul, Martin Luther King will be missed today and always. Chris

Jan 19, 2008

U.S. Gas consumption and our Hydrogen Future

Westerners not only have far more cars, but the distances they drive are also 3–4 times longer on average than those of Indians and Chinese. The United States alone—where monster SUVs roam and driving is considered a birthright— Fuel economy has stagnated for a quarter-century as cars grew larger, heavier, and more muscular. In New York, a Nano might be mistaken for a golf cart.
The way to a sustainable future will not be by denying people what they want (and clearly need), but by providing equally attractive alternatives that are less damaging.


Finally, CA Hydrogen Highway effort passed away.

These recent headlines from EVWorldwire tell the recent story:

Let’s hope the next one is: An End to Energy Subsidies

After all, there is nothing wrong with hydrogen as a molecule. It was just foolish policy of picking future technologies that led us down this road to waste (and false hopes).

The simpler answer, and the one that allows all innovators to play equally, is to tax fossil fuels and let the market sort it out.

Jan 18, 2008

Bush acknowledges peak oil (I let him know via email....;-)

Jerome a Paris reports that George Bush has been pushing the "soft peak oil" line during his arms sales mission to the middle east.
This is a pretty stunning admission, during his press conference in Saudi Arabia:
I hope that OPEC, if possible, understands that if they could put more supply on the market it would be helpful. But a lot of these economies are going -- a lot of these oil-producing countries are full out.
There are various definitions of peak oil - the "hard" one being actually declining production, with a "soft" version being production unable to catch up with latent demand and prices increasing instead. Then you can measure it for oil alone, or for oil plus various liquid substitutes that we are increasingly using (ethanol, processed tar sands, coal-to-liquids, etc...).

With the above quotes (repeated again below), Bush is clearly into "soft" territory, and could be argued to be in "hard" territory. There is no longer any argument in the industry that non-OPEC oil is peaking (that includes the International Energy Agency and even ExxonMobil), which means that any production increase must come from OPEC. If they are also producing "full out", you can reach your own conclusions....

And this was not just an isolated assertion by Bush - the topic was disucssed 3 separate times in the interview...
VIA peakenergy

WooHoo! New regulations on invasive species in Great Lakes

New regulations requiring all ocean-going ships to flush out ballast tanks with saltwater before entering the Saint Lawrence Seaway should help stop the introduction of new invasive species in the Great Lakes, environmental groups said.

The rules, announced Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Transportation, will require all ocean-going vessels to flush out ballast tanks with saltwater 200 nautical miles from any North American shore before entering the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

Department of Transportation officials said the new rules will be in effect until the U.S. Coast Guard finalizes its own ballast regulations. 

By read more David Dempsey "will it be different this time?

Jan 17, 2008

$170,000 in grants to recycle household unwanted electronics and expired medicines

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes National Program Office is requesting applications for an estimated $175,000 in funding for 8-10 cooperative agreement grants which would mobilize citizens and communities to collect and recycle household unwanted electronics and/or dispose of unwanted and expired medicines from within the Great Lakes basin.  Both prescription and over the counter medicines can be collected.  Selection criteria include the potential for a successful collection event taking place during the week of April 22, 2008.
The Request for Applications is available today through a link from:

Source Laura B. www.wmrc.uiuc.edu

Jan 16, 2008

Toxic Factories Take Toll On China's Labor Force

Over the holidays, millions of American children received Chinese-made toys powered by cadmium batteries.

Cadmium batteries are safe to use. They are also cheap, saving American parents about $1.50 on the average toy, compared with pricier batteries.[Cadmium Caution]

But cadmium batteries can be hazardous to make. In recent months, Americans have discovered the dark side of their reliance on cheap Chinese goods. From lead-tainted toys to contaminated pet food, the safety of Chinese products is suddenly an American obsession.

But in China, workers making goods for American consumers have long borne the brunt of a global manufacturing system that puts cost cutting ahead of safety. The search for cheaper production means dirty industries are migrating to countries with few worker protections and lenient regulatory environments.

Ms. Wang's ... recent post, in Chinese, said, "Basically, occupational disease could be prevented but it costs money. Money is the gold of bosses. And for them, the lives of workers are worthless."

The nickel-cadmium battery illustrates this trend. Once widely manufactured in the West, the batteries are now largely made in China, where the industry is sickening workers and poisoning the soil and water.

Now, some regulators and companies are taking action. This year, the European Union is banning the sale of nearly all cadmium batteries. A few companies, including Hasbro Inc., are eschewing the battery.

In America, five years after Hasbro stopped using nickel-cadmium batteries, Mattel and Toys "R" Us are yet to follow suit, but say they are exploring alternatives. Wal-Mart no longer purchases cadmium batteries from GP but declined to comment on whether it still uses them in its products.

Mattel says cadmium batteries have some performance advantages over alternatives, such as a better ability to retain a charge when not used for long periods.

Read full from Wall Street Journal

Berkeley Offers Free Sustainability Solutions to Residents and Businesses.

Berkeley, California is partnering with several non-profit organizations and agencies to help its citizens and businesses with many free solutions to common environmental problems. The City's website provides "Free Things"? These include: free energy efficient light bulbs, clotheslines, and other home energy-saving products and services; free used oil recycling services; free household hazardous waste recycling; and free safe disposal of mercury thermometers and expired medicines. The City also provides a free "Ask an Expert" about Green Building section on the website for both homeowners and businesses. Visit site here

GLRPPR News Updates

The GLRPPR News is now integrated into the Sector Resources.  Just as relevant calendar items and funding opportunities appear in the Sector Resources as well as on their own sections of the web site, now you can see relevant recent news items within the Sector Resources.  These recent news items also show up in the RSS feeds for the Sector Resources, New resources have been linked to in the Topic Hubs and Sector Resources. 
Here are just a few to check out:

SUV filling up with ethanol would use enough grain to feed the average person for one year.

More of US Grain Crop to be Consumed by Family Car
Tom Doggett of Reuters News Explains - Almost a third of the US grain crop next year may be diverted from the family dinner table to the family car as fuel, putting upward pressure on food prices, a leading expert warned on Tuesday.

Grain prices are near record levels as the United States produces more ethanol, now made mostly from corn, to blend with gasoline and stretch available motor fuel supplies.
Farmers, hoping to cash in, are expected to grow 30 percent of next year's grain crop for ethanol use as more refineries that process corn into fuel come online

"The price of grain is now tied to the price of oil," As a result prices will go up for poultry, beef and pork as well as dairy products because corn is the number one animal feed for farmers.

"Our refrigerators are stuffed with corn," Brown said. For example, feed prices make up about 40 percent of the cost of poultry alone, he said.

The pressure on food prices from ethanol will only get worse as the new energy law passed last month requires US ethanol production to soar from about 9 billion gallons this year to 36 billion gallons by 2022.

"What we see are cars beginning to compete with people for world grain supplies," "We could see a consumer revolt in this country." Read more via Reuters...
The GOOD Ethanol news from G.M. could not of come sooner:

University of Wisconsin Issues Toolkit for Local Government Sustainability.

Authors from the University of Wisconsin Extension and the 1000 Friends of Wisconsin have published "Toward a Sustainable Community: A Toolkit for Local Government." The toolkit provides ideas and descriptions of specific actions that a local government can take to transform itself into a model of sustainable practices. The focus of the toolkit is on the internal workings of local government, specifically energy, buildings, transportation, purchasing, investment and hiring. It provides practical tools for making these functions of local government more supportive of the long-term human and environmental health and well being. Further, it provides strategies that can be implemented through traditional means of policy development, fiscal administration, local government and education. Get yours here (PDF link)

RE: When will we see cellulose to ethanol?

GM has 5 Billion to make this happen and with 80% of their line of cars E85 compliant... it will be make or break for GM.

In the news:
General Motors Corp. is planning on making biofuel with garbage at a cost of
less than a dollar a gallon

Haase Comment:
I thought Cellulosic Ethanol was 5-10 years out... but, it's good to be wrong when the answer is right ;-)

And I hope GM is right. It would be a HUGE boost in our dwindling economy.

And making it from waste is key to sustainability and its success.

Jan 15, 2008

Eco-Friendly Web Sites Making Off With Your Green?

Lack Of Federal Oversight Means Donated Money May Not Be Used As Intended
Dozens of new environmentally friendly Web sites promise to help save the planet one donation at a time. But as CBS 2 HD found out, with no governmental oversight of these green charities, your green may end up in the wrong hands.
"A carbon offset is something that represents a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions," said Jennifer Martin of the Center for Resource Solutions.
Environmental groups like the Center for Resource Solutions say offsets are a valuable tool in the fight against global warming, but there are concerns.
"Consumers can't tell they actually received an offset because it's invisible," Martin said. "They can't hold it or see it."
Right now, there is no government oversight to make sure donations are invested as promised or that the offsets actually perform as promised.
"At a minimum, regulation should enforce that when companies are selling products, where they're making claims about greenhouse gas performance or climate neutrality of a product, that there's real data and verification to back that up," Martin said.
Now, the Federal Trade Commission is examining the exploding industry.
Until guidelines are established, experts say look for verification from an independent third party and because some of these companies are non-profit and others are for-profit, find out what percentage of your donation will actually go to the cause.

Within nine years Helium Reserve will be depleted - Sad clowns to follow

"Within nine years the National Helium Reserve will be depleted, according to an article in Science Daily. It quotes Dr. Lee Sobotka, of Washington University in St. Louis: 'Helium is non-renewable and irreplaceable. Its properties are unique and unlike hydrocarbon fuels (natural gas or oil), there are no biosynthetic ways to make an alternative to helium. All should make better efforts to recycle it.' (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a local article with quotes from Dr. Sobotka and representatives of the balloon industry.) On Earth, Helium is found mixed with natural gas, but few producers capture it. Extracting it from the atmosphere is not cost-effective. The US created a stockpile, the National Helium Reserve, in 1925 for use by military dirigibles, but stopped stockpiling it in 1995 as a cost-saving measure."

Team to chemically transform carbon dioxide into carbon-neutral liquid fuels.

Sunshine to Petrol Project Seeks Fuel from Thin Air

Using concentrated solar energy to reverse combustion, a research team from Sandia National Laboratories is building a prototype device intended to chemically "reenergize" carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide using concentrated solar power. The carbon monoxide could then be used to make hydrogen or serve as a building block to synthesize a liquid combustible fuel, such as methanol or even gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. Sandia researcher Rich Diver assembles a prototype device intended to chemically reenergize carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide, which ultimately could become the building block to synthesize a liquid combustible fuel.
Miller says that while the first step would be to capture the carbon dioxide from sources where it is concentrated, the ultimate goal would be to snatch it out of the air. A S2P system that includes atmospheric carbon dioxide capture could produce carbon-neutral liquid fuels.

The prototype device, called the Counter Rotating Ring Receiver Reactor Recuperator (CR5, for short), will break a carbon-oxygen bond in the carbon dioxide to form carbon monoxide and oxygen in two distinct steps. It is a major piece of an approach to converting carbon dioxide into fuel from sunlight.

The Sandia research team calls this approach "Sunshine to Petrol" (S2P). "Liquid Solar Fuel" is the end product — the methanol, gasoline or other liquid fuel made from water and the carbon monoxide produced using solar energy.

Sandia is a National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) laboratory.

CR5 inventor Rich Diver says the original idea for the device was to break down water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen could then fuel a potential hydrogen economy.

Read more VIA RenewableEnergyAccess.com

Photo Credit: Randy Montoya

Jan 14, 2008

Ketogenic diets most effective at reducing hunger and promoting weight loss

From The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, volume 87(1), pages 44-5
Healthy, obese men were given two different diets during their stay in the Rowett's specialized Human Nutrition Unit.  Both diets had a high protein content (30% of total energy value of the diet) but they differed in the amount of carbohydrate:  One diet was low in carbohydrate (4%) and the other contained a moderate amount of carbohydrate (35% total energy value).
"Weight loss during the two four week study periods was greater on the high-protein low-carbohydrate diet, averaging 6.3 kg per person, compared with 4.3 kg on the moderate carbohydrate diet," said Dr Johnstone.

An important part of this study was to unravel the physiological mechanisms behind this type of diet.  It is known that when people eat low carbohydrate diets, within a relatively short time their body has to switch from using glucose as a fuel to using something different called ketone bodies. Ketone bodies are appetite-suppressing and they may have an effect on the appetite centers in the brain.  It's also well known that protein itself is very good at making people feel full-up.
"In this study, we showed that on the high-protein low-carbohydrate diet the volunteers  became ketogenic within 1-2 days of starting this diet and so it may be that high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets are particularly effective because of the combined effect of the protein and the ketone bodies," said Dr Johnstone. 

Super Soaker Inventor Develops Efficient Solid-Sate Heat Engine

The Johnson Thermoelectric Energy Conversion System (JTEC) can achieve a solar conversion efficiency rate that tops 60 percent with a new solid-state heat engine. It uses temperature differences to create pressure gradients that are used to force ions through a membrane, instead of moving an axle or wheel.

The company, founded and headed by former NASA scientist, Lonnie Johnson, has also come up with an ambient energy conversion system as well as an electric heat pump.

The Johnson Ambient Heat Engine (JAHE) generates power from the daily ambient temperature fluctuations and uses a thermal mass as a stabilizing heat sink/source. The Johnson Ambient Environment Engine (JAEE) operates in a manner similar to a fuel cell, generating power from daily temperature, barometric pressure and humidity changes.

Read more from peswiki.com

Jan 13, 2008

jetsongreen.com - Green Building Week in Review





*WIR = Week in Review; a weekend showcase of excellent Green Building links.

Pres campaigns move to the Great Lakes...

From David Dempsey (Great Lakes Blogger)
...suddenly water becomes an issue.

Sen. John McCain promised this afternoon that as president he would not allow diversion of Great Lakes water to parched areas of the country and would work with Detroit carmakers to develop new technologies to lessen the nation's dependence on foreign oils.
"I would not take one drop of water," the Arizona senator told about 1,000 attendees at the Americans for Prosperity Summit at the Laurel Manor in Livonia. "That water belongs to the State of Michigan and the surrounding states."
On the other hand:
Environmental issues important to the Great Lakes are getting little respect and few commitments from presidential candidates.

Jan 12, 2008

Hypocrisy may be mans greatest sin.

PETA's deadliest year ever - "PETA raised over $30 million last year," Martosko added, "and it's using that money to kill the only flesh-and-blood animals its employees actually see. The scale of PETA's hypocrisy is simply staggering."

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An official report from People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), submitted nine months after a Virginia government agency's deadline, shows that the animal rights group put to death more than 97 percent of the dogs, cats, and other pets it took in for adoption in 2006. During that year, the well-known animal rights group managed to find adoptive homes for just 12 pets. The nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) is calling on PETA to either end its hypocritical angel-of-death program, or stop its senseless condemnation of Americans who believe it's perfectly ethical to use animals for food, clothing, and critical medical research.

For more information about PETA's massive euthanasia program, visit http://www.PetaKillsAnimals.com.

Website: http://www.consumerfreedom.com/

Compound reverses Alzheimer's in minutes

Researchers at the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) gave an Alzheimer's patient an injection of a compound called perispinal etanercept and noticed a "dramatic and unprecedented therapeutic effect" within minutes of the injection.
"It is unprecedented that we can see cognitive and behavioral improvement in a patient with established dementia within minutes of therapeutic intervention," said [Sue Griffin, Ph.D., director of research at the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)]. "It is imperative that the medical and scientific communities immediately undertake to further investigate and characterize the physiologic mechanisms involved. This gives all of us in Alzheimer's research a tremendous new clue about new avenues of research, which is so exciting and so needed in the field of Alzheimer's. Even though this report predominantly discusses a single patient, it is of significant scientific interest because of the potential insight it may give into the processes involved in the brain dysfunction of Alzheimer's."
Link (ViaBoing, Boing)

NYTimes: Shining a light on all those efficient new bulbs (that a few people really hate)

The Tracker vowed to post on a nifty story in the NYTimes's Home section on the gradual, oft-reluctant conversion by homeowners to high efficiency light bulbs. Reporter Julie Scelfo talked with an impressive number of people about their thoughts on compact fluorescents mostly, but also touches on newer, less-developed, or even more expensive bulbs. The Times put together a superb illus, hi res here, with a gaggle of assorted bulbs hanging on bare sockets. The story also had an ambitious chart. The Times science writer Andrew C. Revkin provides an intriguing back story to the published piece on his Dot Earth blog. The package thus provides a revealing profile of collegial cooperation in the evolution of a newspaper story.

Full text VIA http://ksjtracker.mit.edu/?p=5217

GREEN WASHERS - Beware (new FTC laws coming soon)

Tell the FTC how to regulate green ads before the Jan. 25 deadline
The Federal Trade Commission held a public hearing Tuesday (Jan. 8) on how to regulate "green" advertising and they still want to know what you think. You can watch web-casts of the workshop and anyone is invited to submit comments before the January 25 deadline. Details on how to file a comment electronically, by paper or even confidentially can be found at the FTC website here. As the New York Times reports, the FTC has not updated their green advertising guidelines or "green guides" since 1998. More than $54m was spent last year on carbon offsets, the Times writes, and there are growing concerns about about the level of "green washing" in paid media (i.e advertising that claims to be green or environmental but really isn't). The Times article on the FTC workshops includes many companies using carbon off-sets and the ad above for Volkswagen's Forest. The ad says VW will offset the first year of carbon emission of every car they sold for four months last year. What do you think about that ad?

Simple Test Can Prevent 20,000 deaths

(New York, N.Y.) Did you know that a simple test can protect you from a major cause of cancer? Each year, over 20,000 people die from lung cancer caused by exposure to radon, the leading cause of lung cancer deaths in non-smokers. Link to Radon Awareness month VIA-EPA

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Simple Test Can Prevent 20,000 deaths ":

Thank you so much for posting this. Despite radon in our homes being the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, so many people seem to be unaware of the risk. I speak to groups of health-conscious individuals, and few have had their homes tested because they have not heard enough. We need to raise awareness! Just to put it in perspective, we could save at least five times as many people from cancer by having every home tested for radon ($20 or less for test kits at the local hardware store), as if every citizen of the US was immunized against HPV, something we hear a lot about. Thanks for doing your part!

Lynne Eldridge MD
Author, "Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time"