Thursday, December 31, 2009
OLEDs are being used more and more, and one company is incorporating them into wallpaper with the goal of making the technology good enough to light rooms withou the use of conventional lighting. However, two main problems have kept the technology from widespread use: the cost to create products using them and the short lifespan OLEDs currently have. The company hopes more research can make the technology cheaper and more efficient.
For more information on this next-gen source of lighting, check out this story from Business Green.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The dairy industry has set a goal to cut emissions by 25 percent in the next 10 years. As part of the agreement, the USDA will help support (i.e. fund) research into advanced nutrient management for livestock as well as support technological advances that could lead to increased energy efficiency and an increase in the use of renewable energy.
For more information, check out the story at Business Green.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
As was expected by most, the U.N. Climate Summit last week in Copenhagen did not result in a binding agreement on emissions reductions. While accusations from both emerging and developed nations point the blame at each other for hindering the negotiations, the important thing to take out of the discussions is that while most nations involved agreed that climate change is a serious problem and that action should be taken, no emission reduction targets were agreed upon.
What came out of the negotiations is a two-page document called the Copenhagen Accord. It serves as a political (not legal) agreement between nations, and the accord gives very little details on how the nations that sign it actually plan to fight climate change.
Reaction to the accord has varied depending on who you ask. Instead of telling you what people are saying about it, you can read the reaction of several climate leaders in their own words, courtesy of Business Green. Click here to check it out.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Help fulfill the hopes of needy children by donating a toy to our
Fill-A-Bus! At JFK Station December 14-18 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.!
Additional drop-off locations during the week of December 14-18 from 3
p.m. to 7 p.m. on:
Monday, Dec 14 at North Station
Tuesday, Dec 15 at Back Bay Station
Wednesday, Dec 16 at Government Center
Thursday, Dec 17 at Harvard Square Station
Friday, Dec 18 at Charles/MGH Station
Fill-A-Bus brought to you by the T and Radio 92.9. to benefit the
following Boston area charities:
MSPCC (Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children)
Roxbury Multi-Service Center
Yawkey Boys & Girls Club of Boston
Monday, November 23, 2009
Leaders from over 192 countries have been invited in hopes that their presence will help increase the chances that a politically- and legally-binding agreement is made. In addition to Obama, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have not confirmed that they will be attending the summit.
So, what do organizers of the conference hope to accomplish? The short answer is a legally-binding agreement on emissions reductions. The problem is that each country has its own agenda and own ideas on what should and should not be in such an agreement. This Daily Green story has more details on what the organizers are hoping to accomplish and the politics behind a potential agreement.
Friday, November 20, 2009
The bonds will basically serve as low-interest loans to people who want to start renewable energy projects, giving them an opportunity to begin projects despite the fact that other sources of funding have dried up because of the current recession.
Government officials hope that the bonds will get several projects, such as wind or solar farms, quickly into the construction phase of development. To read more, check out this story from Business Green.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Plugging leaks and stopping drafts in your home can quickly and easily result in saving 10 percent off your energy bill. If you want to go a step further, there are federal tax credits available for installing green insulation and energy-efficient windows and doors.
Stopping drafts can be as easy as noticing where they are in your house and caulking the gaps around windows and doors. This guide from The Daily Green can help you get started.
Monday, November 16, 2009
The study found that the roll out of a cap-and-trade system for emissions would speed up the development and adoption of clean technologies and create between 900 million and 1.9 million jobs. The study even concluded that the average household income in the U.S. could grow by about $500 to $1,000 as a result of the bill over the same time frame.
The report;s findings are in conflict with the arguments from many industry groups as well as many Republican lawmakers, who argue that the legislation will cost the U.S. billions and also cost Americans job.
For more on the study, check out this story from Business Green.
Friday, November 13, 2009
For instance, a new power saw will cost you around $150. However, many retailers and other places will rent it to you for $30. Given that most power tools are only used on average for a half-hour over their entire lifetime, this can save you a fortune. Other things you can save big bucks on renting include textbooks, sports equipment, camping gear, and other items.
Check out the full list on The Daily Green's website.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Such a move could slightly increase the chances of a binding agreement coming out of the conference. It is believed that the likelihood of a legally-binding agreement coming out of the talks hinges largely on the United States' willingness and ability to commit to emissions reduction targets.
The current bill would require the U.S. to cut emissions by 20 percent by 2020, but the bill has been met by opposition from both Republicans and moderate Democrats. Senator Kerry is holding bi-partisan meetings in hopes of working out a compromise that enough lawmakers will agree to vote for.
For more information on the U.S. climate bill and the Copenhagen climate change talks, check out this story from Business Green.
Monday, November 9, 2009
The research team examined 154 buildings with over 2,000 businesses to make their findings. The researchers found that tenants in buildings that had either Energy Star or LEED certification reported that their workers were five percent more productive in terms of workload and sick days. In addition, businesses in the greener buildings reported higher employee morale, lower employee turnover, and greater ease in recruiting new employees.
For more information on the study, check out this story from Business Green.
Friday, November 6, 2009
The biggest surprise, however, may be that Australia has passed the United States as far as highest emissions per capita. It is very surprising to see them higher on the list than countries such as the United States and Canada, which are colder and use much more fossil fuels for heating homes and businesses.
Both the United States and China pledged to address global warming and work on reducing their emissions at a recent U.N. meeting in New York. Both of these countries, as well as many other countries from around the world, will be meeting in Copenhagen next month for the U.N.'s Climate Change Conference. Representatives from countries around the world will work on negotiating a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which is set to expire.
For more information on which countries are the biggest polluters, check out this post from The New Ecologist.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
The delay will mean that any vote on the bill will almost certainly not occur until next year. This also means that no bill will be passed before the U.N. climate change summit in Copenhagen on December 7 despite pleas from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for the U.S. to set the tone for the discussion by passing its own binding legislation.
With a lack of legislation before the summit, the U.S. team of negotiators will not have any mandate from Congress on what they should negotiate for. This could limit the team's willingness to agree to binding carbon emission reduction targets, something that U.S. negotiators have been hesitant to agree to in the past.
For more information, check out this story from Business Green.
Monday, November 2, 2009
The man completed the trip during the Global Green Challenge, an Australian solar car race that has been held since 1987. The Global Green Challenge includes a division for production cars, which is what the Tesla was competing in.
The trip smashes the previous record of 241 miles, which was also held by a Tesla Roadaster. For more info on the historic trip as well as the Global Green Challenge, check out this story from The Daily Green.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Some of the green projects the college has undertaken include purchasing 3.5 million kilowatt-hours per year of renewable energy to offset carbon emissions, creating a plan to protect nine acres of marshland that the college owns, and planting native beds that conserve water. The college also has a new dormitory under construction that is expected to be LEED certified, according to college officials.
Seven state colleges, municipalities, or agencies received the award. For more info, check out this story from The Globe.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
While the energy use may not add up to much, you could be looking at saving hundreds of dollars when you consider that you will use a new television for five to 10 years, especially if it is a more expensive model. And, as people become more conscience of their energy use, you can bet that manufacturers will do their best to meet the demand for more efficient televisions, which will increase your options for saving money on your electricity bill.
For more information, check out this story from The Daily Green.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Granted, this report is from a trade industry group for the renewable energy sector, but it is obvious that green sectors, such as those listed above, are gaining jobs as more government funding is released for green projects and more private sector companies are popping up to meet the demands of consumers.
Interestingly, while the common perception is that green jobs that are created will be in high-tech fields, the report states that most of the jobs created will be in more traditional fields, such as agriculture or carpentry. For more info on the future of green jobs, check out this story from Business Green.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Republican senators who were previously opposed to any kind of climate change legislation have been hinting that they may support a bill so long as it included provisions to fund nuclear energy and domestic oil exploration. White House officials have said that both items are at least somewhat negotiable, meaning that whatever compromise is agreed upon will likely have at least some Republican support.
The talks between lawmakers are important as the UN's Copenhagen climate change summit in December quickly approaches. Progress on the bill will give U.S. officials a better idea of how to go about negotiating the provisions of a potential successor to the Kyoto Protocol.
For more on U.S. climate change talks, check out this story from Business Green.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
The map is based on a report that the office released last month, where researchers concluded that the world could see a four-degree rise (equivalent to seven degrees Fahrenheit) in temperature over pre-industrial averages by 2060. Temperatures would likely rise more closer to the poles and less in areas around the equator.
The map details scientists' conclusions on the impact of rising temperatures on water supply, forest fires, agriculture, and sea levels. Scientists have also concluded that increased health risks associated with malaria and other airborne diseases would likely occur.
"Climate change is a truly global problem that needs a global solution and it is a solution we have within our grasp," UK's Foreign Minister David Miliband said. "But to tackle the problem of climate change, all of us – foreign ministries, environment ministries, treasuries, departments of defense and all parts of government and societies – must work together to keep global temperatures to two degrees. It is only by doing this that we can minimize the huge security risks presented by a future four-degree world."
For more information and to see the map, check out this story from Business Green.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
All of the leading Asian automakers are jostling for position in the expanding electric car market, as each looks for the new big thing to ignite a spark in an industry-wide slump in sales. Both Nissan and Toyota announced at the show that they plan to have all-electric cars ready to ship in the United States by 2012. Toyota officials also said they company remains on track to deliver a plug-in version of the popular Prius to consumers by the end of this year.
For more info on the electric cars being displayed at the show, check out this story from Business Green.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The problem is that the interests of developed countries (such as the United States and most of Europe) and less developed nations (such as China, India, and Brazil) are conflicting. The developed nations want the less developed nations to commit to cutting a percentage of their emissions, but those countries say that the developed nations are the ones responsible for climate change and also have the money to make the cuts, so they should have to do most of the work. In a way, both groups have a good point and are right in a lot of respects.
However, debate over how the new agreement should be structured and what it should contain aside, if leaders fails to agree on a new climate change treaty, many green projects around the world are in danger of being shut down after 2012. Obviously, this would be a travesty, as much of the progress those projects have made would be lost. For more info on what is at stake during the global climate change discussions, check out this story from The Washington Post.
Monday, October 19, 2009
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said the new energy hub will "be the largest power converter in the world, making New Mexico the meeting place for America's electricity needs." The state and the company that would be in charge of constructing the converter are now seeking approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. If the project is approved, construction could begin as soon as 2011.
For more information on the renewable energy hub, check out this story from Business Green.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Members of the company's ExtraCare rewards program will have the opportunity to purchase a "Green Bag Tag" card to attach to their cloth bag. Every time they make purchases, the tag will be scanned at the register. After the tag is scanned four times, the customer will receive a $1 coupon as part of their receipt.
Company officials said its stores will have the tags in about two weeks. To read more, check out this story from The Boston Globe.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The bags are fitted with Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells. This marks the first time that DSSC technology has been used in consumer products. DSSC is a type of "thin-film" solar technology that allows solar panels to be manufactured quickly and molded to fit various materials. A similar techonology is being used in cell phones that are fitted with solar panels, which providers have started marketing this year.
The bags will be displayed at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair this week and will be capable of charging laptops, cell phones, cameras, and other devices. For more information, check out this story from Business Green.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
The company has teamed up with an Israeli bio-tech company, Applied CleanTech, to use one of Applied's technologies to complete the process of making ethanol. The technologies have the potential to save municipal waste water plants a lot of money by giving them a way to create revenue by selling energy.
For more information on these technologies, check out this story from Business Green.
Monday, October 12, 2009
University teams from around the country as well as teams from Germany and Spain have spent over two years building solar-powered houses. Like the decathlon at track & field competitions, the contest has 10 "events," or areas that the house are judged on: architecture, market viability, engineering, lighting design, communications, comfort zone, hot water, appliances, home entertainment, and net metering.
The purpose of the competition is to promote the world's growing need to find ways to harness and use alternative energies. For more info on the Solar Decathlon, check out this story from CNN.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Work crews will begin installing the photovoltaic system later this month, and a spokesperson for Patriot Place said construction will likely be completed by the end of the year. The use of solar power at the site will reduce emissions by more than 8,000 metric tons of CO2, which is the equivalent of taking about 1,600 cars off of the road.
For more on this story, click here.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The details are pretty simple. The U.S. Treasury Department will give you 30 percent of the cost of energy-efficient windows, doors, heating/cooling systems, water heaters, and other items. Other types of credits are available as well. For instance, if you purchase a $20,000 solar-electric system, you can get a tax credit for $6,000 of the cost.
For more info on other home renovation tax credits that are available, check out this story from The Globe.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
The vehicles on display were fueled by everything from electricity to lithium-ion batteries to compressed natural gas. Experts on the manufacturing and operation of the vehicles were on hand to answer any questions that fleet managers attending the event had. Industry leaders also spoke about the importance of using alternative energy vehicles in corporate fleets.
For more info on AtlWheels Fleet DAy, click here for a story from The Boston Globe.
Monday, October 5, 2009
In addition to being more sustainable than your average cell phone, the makers of the phone did a good job of making sure it would be "cool" enough to interest the typical cell phone user. The phone includes a slide-action QWERTY keyboard and sports one button links to popular website such as Facebook and Twitter. The Reclaim also comes preloaded with green and environmental tips.
For more information on this and other green phones, click here.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Last year, Boston passed a regulation that would have required fleets to be all-hybrid by 2015 before the courts ruled that it violated federal laws. The city justified the regulation by saying that hybrid vehicles are 74 percent more efficient than many of taxis currently on the road.
However, the Green Taxis Act of 2009, introduced by Senator Kerry in the Senate today, would allow cities to decide on their own whether taxi fleets should be all-hybrid or not.
“This legislation will help empower cities and towns across the nation, including Boston, to improve air quality, lower carbon emissions, and save cab drivers and passengers money,’’ Kerry said in a prepared statement. “We know we must reinvent the way America uses energy and once again Boston is leading the way.’’
For more info on the Green Taxi Act, check out this story from The Globe.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
According to The Daily Green, environmental groups praised the bill for many reasons, including:
- Creating new "green jobs" via the Green Construction Careers Demonstration Project and funding for the Green Jobs Act
- Setting a short-term target for greenhouse gas reductions of 20% from major sources by 2020
- Preserving existing Clean Air Act regulations that will allow the Environmental Protection Agency to curb greenhouse gas pollution from power plants and other major sources.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The bill would require a 20-percent emission reduction by 2020 from 2005 levels of CO2 emissions. The House bill requires a 17-percent reduction. Both bills target an 83-percent reduction by 2050.
The bill sets up a cap-and-trade system, which would allow industry members to buy and sell emissions within a total emissions cap. The House bill has a similar cap-and-trade system included.
The introduction of the bill is expected to ignite a climate change debate in the Senate within several committees before a debate on the Senate floor later this year. For more info on the bill, check out this story from The Boston Globe.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
As the pivotal conference approaches, scientific reports are coming out that are raising the stakes. The U.N. released a report this week that states that the world is on course for a 6.3 degree temperature increases even if all the proposed actions are implemented by every government worldwide. Part of the report is particularly scary as it states that the worst-case scenarios for global climate disasters are actually worse—and not as far in the future—as previously thought.
For a good summary of all the recent news in the global warming debate, check out this story from The Daily Green that contains links to six items that are making news.
Monday, September 28, 2009
The automaker announced a new vision that will attempt to produce cars that produce no harmful exhaust emissions or environmentally-impacting carbon dioxide. Yes, they said no emissions. And, the company is putting its money where its mouth is by investing $2 billion in the project through 2014.
Volvo and other automakers are working towards the 35.5 mpg federal standard that will be in place as of 2015. The standard was part of the federal legislation passed by Washington last year that legislators, unions, and automakers all agreed on as part of a compromise.
For more information on how automakers are going green, check out this story from The Daily Green.
Friday, September 25, 2009
So, what is one to do with these annoying little things? You can reuse and recycle them to save money and keep the environment cleaner. The Daily Green has put together a list of 11 ways to do so. Check it out here.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
The East Cambridge Planning Team, which is comprised of concerned citizens of the Cambridge and Somerville area, is hosting a presentation and public discussion on the subject of the Lechmere relocation on Wednesday, Oct. 14, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the East End House on 105 Spring Street in Cambridge. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss how to ensure that the new Lechmere Station does the best job possible of serving as a hub into the neighborhood. Specific topics will include pedestrian crossings of O'Brien Highway, preservation of current buildings, improving the new station's entrances and lobbies, and intregrating the station into the future North Point Street Grid.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Boston to Worcester and New Bedford to Fall River. Once the Commonwealth owns the lines, it will become possible for the MBTA to offer increased service. Currently, freight trains have priority over passenger trains, which limits the times that the passenger trains can run.
Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, who announced the agreement today, did not say how much the Commonwealth is paying for the lines or give any indication of a timetable for service changes along the lines.
“The Patrick administration is dedicated to improving freight and passenger rail system for the long-term health of our economy and our environment,” Murray told The Herald. “A vibrant rail network that serves both passengers and freight needs is an important part of our transportation system.”
For more info, check out the full story here.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
From buying local products to purchasing organic goods in a smart manner, these tips are sure to help you on your way to living a greener lifestyle. Check out the full list when you get a chance.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Here are some interesting facts from the report, courtesy of The Daily Green:
More than 95% of population growth is occurring in developing countries, especially in Africa and Asia, regions that account for more than three-quarters of the current population. U.N. demographers estimate that by mid-century, Africa will be adding 21 million people a year to world population and Asia 5 million.
Although the populations of Japan, Germany, Russia, and some Eastern European countries are already declining, U.N. demographers do not indicate a population peak among industrial countries as a group until 2036.
Global spending on contraceptive supplies and services totaled $338 million in 2007, considerably less than half the amount in 1995 — despite a 20% increase in the number of people of reproductive age in developing countries.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Environmentalists say the voluntary carbon market has doubled since the beginning of 2008. Using My Emissions Exchange, consumers can sell their credits to participating companies. The credits are currently trading between $10 and $25 on the site.
For more info on the voluntary carbon market and My Emissions Exchange, check out this story from The Daily Green.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
The good news is that the expansion of the hole has stopped, and scientists still believe that the hole will gradually get smaller as time goes by. As part of the protocol, the release of almost all ozone-depleting chemicals is not only regulated but flat-out banned by the end of next year.
There's a lesson to be learned here. While it's easy for man to cause environmental problems by releasing excess chemicals and carbon into the air, it takes decades, if not centuries, for us to reverse or stop these effects. For more info on the ozone hole, check out this story from The Daily Green.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Andy Palmer, head of the company's green vehicle program, said that even in countries such as the U.S. and China, where the majority of electricity is generated from fossil fuels, an electric car is responsible for 24 to 54 percent less emissions than a conventional car.
Nissan is currently working on its Leaf electric vehicle, which is slated to be released late in 2010. For more info, check out this story from Business Green.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
In addition, the study suggested that a global switch to renewable energy would prevent 10 billion tons of carbon emissions by 2030. If this switch were to happen, employment in the renewable energy industry would increase from about 1.9 million to about 6.9 million, according to the study. The study went on to discuss how job creation in the renewable energy field could be used to combat rising unemployment rates because of the current economic recession.
For more info, check out this story from Business Green.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Emissions from livestock make up between 5 and 18 percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, depending on who you ask. Methane warms the Earth at about a 20 times faster rate than CO2.
As the Earth's population continues to grow, more livestock will need to be raised to feed the growing population. Previously, the only option seemed to be to give up meat altogether, a stance that environmentalists have long championed. But, experts say that dietary additives could not only reduce methane emissions from livestock but also provide better nutrition for the animals and higher yields to farmers.
For more information on the potential of reducing methane emissions from cattle, check out this story from cnn.com.
Friday, September 11, 2009
For those of you that are interested in cutting your energy bill, this means that the televisions will cost you 40 percent less money to operate. Once you decide it's time to buy a television, you can search for Energy Star-rated televisions on the Energy Star website here. There are currently 19 plasma TVs and 199 LCD models that qualify for the rating.
For more information on this as well as how to recycle your old TV, click here.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Also in the link above, you will find clips and descriptions from three films debuting soon, including No Impact Man, The Age of Stupid, and Crude. These films depict various environmental injustices going on in the world.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Northern Arizona University researchers used samples of lake soil as well as data from weather stations in the Arctic to create a decade-by-decade history for the average temperatures of the region. From the year 1 AD until 1900, the researchers estimated that the region cooled by .2 degrees Celsius per 100 years. However, by 1950, the temperatures in the region were .7 degrees warmer than would be expected at the rate of change demonstrated during the previous 1,900 years had continued.
It is important to note that this data supports the data of other studies which has suggested that temperature patterns in the Arctic regions of the Earth have changed during recent years. For more information on the study, check out this story from Business Green.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
The state Department of Veteran Affairs has hired a Haverhill-based company called Veterans Northeast Outreach Center to assist with the job training and placement services necessary for the project.
“We are proud and privileged to have been selected,’’ said John Ratka, executive director of Veterans Northeast. “This provides an outstanding opportunity for veterans and their families to improve their quality of life."
The project is being funded by a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor and can be renewed for up to two more years. The grant is one of 17 that the department gave out to help veterans find jobs.
For more info on this project, check out this story from The Globe.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
This would alleviate one of the major drawbacks of electric cars—something often referred to as "range anxiety." Currently, electric cars only have a range of about 100 miles before they need to be charged. This can cause a feeling of anxiety in drivers who are used to going 300 miles or more in between trips to the fuel station.
For more info on this as well as the latest on automated driving technology (Who wouldn't love a car that drives itself?), check out this story from The Daily Green.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Company officials said the store uses fuel-cell technology and solar power to generate power. The use of green energy reduces the release of about 750 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, which is the equivalent of removing about 90 cars from the road.
“We are always looking for innovative ways to improve our green operations and to explore the newest renewable energy technologies and recycling initiatives,’’ said Lee Kane, a spokesman for Whole Foods Market’s North Atlantic region.
In addition to using green, self-produced energy, the store also recycles or reuses 80 percent of its waste.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
An EPA cooperative alliance with the supermarket industry, the GreenChill Partnership works with supermarkets to reduce their emissions of ozone-depleting and greenhouse gas refrigerants.
Whole Foods, a nationwide chain of supermarkets and a GreenChill Founding Partner, received the award for Most Improved Emissions Rate. Another food retailer with many outlets in New England and nationwide, Supervalu, was recognized for achieving its emissions target in 2008/09. Supervalu’s stores in New England are Shaw’s Supermarkets and Star Market.
To read the rest of this story, click here.
Monday, August 31, 2009
The Washington Post backs up this claim, reporting that oil and gas industries spent over $82 million lobbying Congress in the first half of 2009. The alternative energy industry spent only $12 million over that time.
The House has already passed a landmark cap-and-trade regulation. Whether the Senate passes it is yet to be seen. Environmental groups would like to see the Senate pass a version with more stricter requirements, while fossil fuel industry advocates would prefer if the legislation was never approved by the Senate. For more info, check out this story from The Daily Green.
Friday, August 28, 2009
You may have heard some of them. One of the worst offenders is the notion that cap-and-trade laws will cost jobs. New jobs will be created in renewable energy fields that will more than offset the job losses in other fields. Another one of my favorites is that cap-and-trade will make the U.S. less competitive than the rest of the world. This is amusing because the U.S. is behind almost all of Europe and some of Asia in enacting climate change regulation.
For more misinformation that is being spread about the proposed cap-and-trade regulation, check out these seven myths from The Daily Green.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Remember, farmers' markets are a great way to buy locally-grown (meaning sustainable) produce that is fresh. The markets also help support local farmers because the farmers don't have to give a bunch of their profit to distributors like they would have to if they sold their goods in supermarkets. If your dinner plans call for some fruits and/or veggies, search for a market that's on your commute home and give it a try.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
"It would be evolution versus creationism," said William Kovacs, the Chamber's senior vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs, drawing parallels with the Scopes trial. "It would be the science of climate change on trial."
The Chamber has been lobbying for a public hearing on the facts surrounding climate change since the EPA's recent announcement that global warming represents a threat to human healthy. The Chamber is likely to file a case in federal court should the EPA refuse to agree to a public hearing.
While this is likely just a PR ploy, a modern day Scopes Trial over climate change would definitely be interesting and, quite possibly, beneficial for many people who are unfamiliar with some of the facts surrounding climate change. For more info, check out this story from Business Green.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
This goes against conventional wisdom that suggests young people are the most interested age group in environmental activism and the best potential market for green businesses.
Fifty-six percent of young adult respondents admitted to leaving the tap running while brushing their teeth, and 40 percent said they turn the shower on a few minutes before getting in. These numbers are higher than the percentages of all respondents, but I wonder if it could be in part because younger people are more likely to answer the survey more factually than older respondents (just a guess)?
One of the conclusions of the study was that businesses would be wise to not assume that younger people will be automatically engaged in green business movements. This is similar to the idea that young people are "engaged" in politics, but often do not turn out to vote on election days, making it risky for politicians to rely on young voters to get elected.
Monday, August 24, 2009
The main page of the website will provide a street-by-street view of the city. Each street will be marked with symbols indicating what is currently being fixed and also what needs to be repaired.
“It’s about transparency,” Bill Oates, the city’s chief information officer, told The Herald. “Ultimately, the expectation is all city services will be mobilized” and connected to the system.
For more info on the website, check out this story from The Herald.
Friday, August 21, 2009
While hard copies of the books often cost $100 or more, the service allows students to purchase a PDF of the book for much less. And, seeing that students are required to buy books for up to six classes per semester, purchasing books is not cheap at all. Furthermore, the books are created and managed using open-source software, meaning that professors can edit the book and add supplemental materials as they please.
In addition to the obvious benefit of reducing costs, digital textbooks are also great for the environment because they cut down on the huge amount of paper required to print all of the textbooks that are used every year in the U.S. We certainly hope that this small, but growing, field continues to partner with more and more colleges and universities.
For more info on this digital textbook service, check out this story from cnn.com
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Vilsack said that protecting the forest has a number of environmental and economic benefits, including creating jobs, combating climate change, and conserving water. Climate change has largely been cited as a reason for the increase of in the number of catastrophic wild fires seen in the western half of the U.S. And, as more forests are destroyed, climate change only gets worse in a seemingly endless cycle.
Vilsack's plan calls for the government to create green jobs that restore forests, so the forests can be used as "carbon sinks" to lessen the impact emissions have on global warming.
For more info on what Vilsack had to say, check out this story from The Boston Globe.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
An interesting fact in the article: It is estimated that 30 percent of workday traffic comes from parents dropping their children off of picking them up from school. Imagine how much congestion could be reduced if parents had their kids either take the school bus or walk or bike to and from school.
To read more about this tip and others, check out the full story on The Daily Green's website.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Boston GreenFest also features the One Gallon Challenge, which challenges people to build automobiles that can travel 100 miles on a single gallon of gas. The One Gallon Challenge starts Thursday in Greenfield and ends at City Hall Plaza.
For more information on GreenFest, check out the event's official website here.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Researchers at UC-Irvine tested this by planting test lawns in varying temperatures. The researchers found that weeds, such as crabgrass and Bermuda grass, grow much better in warmer conditions because they grow more quickly than other plans, meaning they get to the resources first. Obviously, this takes nutrients away from the plants that you want to grow well in your gardens or lawns.
For more info on this, check out this story from The San Francisco Chronicle.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Instead of going out and doing the research for you, Greenopia has done the work for you. The web site has ranked wineries based on growing practices, efficiency of buildings, transportation, and packaging. Greenopia rates the "greenness," or environmental impact, of companies in a number of fields, including airlines, auto makers, fast food restaurants, and others.
For more information on which wines are the greenest, check out the ratings on the Greenopia web site.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
The U.S. Geological Society has been tracking the movements of three benchmark glaciers, two in Alaska and one in Washington, since 1959. The three glaciers are considered benchmarks by the government because they are in different climate zones and at different elevations. The study is yet another argument that the world is warming at a rate more rapid that anyone expected. For more info on the study, check out this story from cnn.com.
So, what can we do to combat the earth's warming? It's simple, really, and your company wants to help. Your company offers benefits and incentives to encourage you to do things other than drive alone to work and use more eco-friendly methods such as carpooling, transit, or bicycling. If you have any questions about what commuter benefits are available to you, don't hesitate to contact your Transportation Coordinator.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
In order to meet the requirement of cutting two percent of emissions each year from 2010 to 2020 (or 20 percent over the entire time), public sector officials will have to build more efficient structures, use more renewable energy, use less fuel, and hire more "green" contractors. Furthermore, private sector companies with government contracts will also have to show how they plan to cut emissions in order to keep their contracts with the government.
This is certainly good news for the environment if the President carries through with this executive order. To read more about the proposed executive order, check out this story from Business Green.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
All national parks contain picnic grounds and camp areas, along with nature trails and other attractions. For more info on as well as pictures of the 10 most visited national parks, check out this slide show from The Daily Green. These natural beauties are certainly worth preserving through the green practices that we discuss on this blog.
Monday, August 10, 2009
The lawmakers called the fare increases unfair, unjustified, and ill-advised. This news comes after the Patrick Administration bought out the contract of the MBTA general manager (also known as politely fired) and announced that any decision on the fare hikes would be put on hold until an internal review of the MBTA's finances is complete. The review is expected to be finished by November 1.
However, the workshops and public hearings on the fare hikes that were scheduled to begin today will still be held over the next few weeks. This would lead one to believe that the fare increase is still likely to occur in January as planned, but we can all hope that the state finds a better way to meet its budget deficit than raising more fares and/or taxes.
For more info on the news surrounding the fare hikes, check out this story from The Globe.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
But, instead of discussing the pros and cons of the program, we found this fun slide show that describes 10 of the "clunkiest clunkers," whether they are vehicles that are in terrible shape or that are terribly inefficient with gas. Click here to check it out.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
"People living and working on and around the dump sites, many of whom are children, are exposed to a cocktail of dangerous chemicals that can cause severe damage to health, including cancer, damage to the nervous system, and to brain development in children," Kim Schoppink, Toxics Campaigner at Greenpeace, told CNN.
Nigeria, and other countries in Africa, are leading importers of so-called e-waste, which is a term for all consumer electronics. Studies have found that the land around these e-waste dumps is often high in lead and other hazardous materials.
While only 20 percent of electronics are recycled safely (or given to charity), there is a growing movement for safe recycling processes for electronics. For more information on these e-waste dumps, check out this story from cnn.com.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Respondents in 15 of the 19 countries said they believe their government should put a higher priority on climate change policy, including the three biggest greenhouse gas emitters—the U.S., China, and Russia. The poll was conducted in China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Nigeria, Russia, Mexico, Chile, Germany, Great Britain, France, Poland, Ukraine, Kenya, Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, the Palestinian territories, and South Korea, according to the press release by the polling agency.
Interestingly, the poll also found that a good number of people overestimate how much they care about climate change because twice as many respondents said they care more than the average person than respondents that said they care less than the average person.
For more info on the results of the poll, check out the full results here.
Friday, July 31, 2009
A green roof is one that has been transformed using layers of vegetation and soil. The benefits of such a roof are numerous, including improved storm water run off and improved air quality.
If the ordinance passes, the city will give a $5 tax incentive for every square footage of roof that is converted to a green roof. There would be a $10,000 cap on the payouts.
If you'd like to read more about the proposal, check out this story from The Globe.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
The U.S. and China are the two leading emitters of greenhouse gases in the world. While the deal is almost entirely symbolic because it contains few specific details, the fact that the two countries can agree on this is a good thing as the U.N.-led climate change negotiations approach later this year. At the negotiations, countries from around the world will meet in Copenhagen in an effort to form a treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had this to say of the pact: "[The agreement] provides our countries with direction as we work together to support international climate negotiations and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy."
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
For those who are not familiar with municipal bike share programs, the way they work is pretty simple. The city will place bike "stations" around the city (mostly at public transit stops and other attractions). Anyone who wants to rent a bike can pay to unlock it and rent it for a set amount of time. When the rider reaches their destination, they drop off the bike at another station to lock it back up.
As far as the new details, here's a quick run down. The city has said it plans to have 1,000 to 3,000 bikes available at stations around the area. The stations will be 300 to 400 yards apart.
Under one proposal, bikes could be rented for $2.50 for a single rental or $40 for a yearly membership. A rental would be good for 30 minutes, and the rider would have to pay an additional fee after 30 minutes. The reason for this is the fact that, in other cities, the average bike sharing trip is less than 30 minutes long.
For more information on the bike sharing program, check out this story from The Globe.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Similar to other shoe manufacturers, Nike's supply chain has been shown to do significant damage to Amazon rain forest. By July 1, 2010, the company plans to make all Brazilian hide suppliers (the leather used to make their shoes) certify that their cattle are raised on land that is not cleared rain forest.
Meanwhile, Coke has pledged to be more "water neutral" than it has been in the past. The company has been accused by many environmental groups of creating water shortages in developing countries around the world. However, the company has pledged to return as much water as it uses to the water supply in these countries.
For more info on the supply chain changes at Nike and Coke, check out this story from Business Green.
Monday, July 27, 2009
The fuel, dubbed SolarFuel, is created in a process called helioculture, where carbon dioxide and sunlight are combined in a device that resembles a solar panel. Inside the device, engineered organisms (the company won't say what they are for proprietary reasons) absorb the sunlight and carbon dioxide. The organisms will then omit a combination of fuel ethanol, petroleum-derived compounds, and hydrocarbons that, in theory, can be used to fuel things.
While this process certainly is revolutionary, the big question (as with all biofuels) will be whether it can be produced efficiently in mass quantities. For more info on SolarFuel, check out this story from The Globe.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Seventy percent of the shoes are made from "environmentally-preferred materials." New Balance has gone out of its way to reduce waste in the production of the shoes, including shipping them without that useless paper you find inside shoe boxes. People have reported that the shoes are extremely comfortable because they are very light-weight and supportive. They also are very durable, meaning that even though they will cost slightly more than shoes that are not as eco-friendly, they should last longer.
While we would love to see major shoe manufacturers debut shoes that are made from 100 percent recycled and eco-friendly materials, this is definitely a step in the right direction. Check out this blog post from The Daily Green if you'd like to read more about the New Balance 70 shoes.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
To conduct the research, the company is teaming up with DNA pioneer Craig Venter and his biotech research company. Venter is credited with being instrumental in the completion of the Human Genome Project and is a regular on Time's yearly list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
"We believe that biofuel produced by algae could be a meaningful part of the solution in the future if our efforts result in an economically viable, low net-carbon emission transportation fuel," said Dr. Emil Jacobs, vice president of research and development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering, in a press statement.
As Venter said in another statement, the real challenge to this project will be creating the ability to efficiently mass produce any algae-based biofuel that is developed. Fore more info on ExxonMobil and Venter's work with algae-based biofuels, check out this story on cnn.com.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
This week, Honda announced that the car will go on sale in Japan in February and in the rest of the world later in 2010. The company is expected to announce specific launch dates for Europe and North America by the end of the year.
For more info on the sporty CR-Z, check out these stories from The Daily Green and Auto Blog Green. The Daily Green link includes videos of the car in action.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Because of the MBTA's growing debt issues as well as current economic conditions, MBTA administrators are rethinking a number of other proposed projects, including a downtown Silver Line bus tunnel and the Blue Line extension to Lynn. Because the projects other than the Green Line extension are not legally-mandated, they will likely be pushed aside until the MBTA's financial situation improves.
Clean air regulations require the MBTA to extend the Green Line to Union Square and Tufts University by 2014. There have been proposals to extend the line even further, to Route 16, but extending the line that far is not legally required, and, therefore, not likely to happen in the first wave of the extension.
Hopefully, both the state and MBTA's financial situation improves enough where they can fund all of the worthwhile transit projects in a timely manner because public transportation goes along way towards reducing congestion, pollution, and the harmful effects of global warming.
Monday, July 20, 2009
The report found that about 11 percent of energy consumed in the U.S. came from renewable sources, including hydroelectric, wind, biomass, and geothermal sources, during the month of April. While the use of coal is still the largest source of energy at 46 percent, the number fell by 13.9 percent from April 2008 to April 2009 and will likely continue to fall because of the increased emphasis on creating and using renewable energy.
You can click here if you want to review the hard facts and data from the DoE, or if you prefer an easier to digest version, here's a story from Business Green.
Friday, July 17, 2009
To create the index, Walmart is expected to do two things. First, it has a created a 15-question survey that it will send to suppliers to gauge the environmental impact of each product and company. Second, the company will fund a group of universities, retailers, suppliers, and government agencies to do a lifecycle analysis of the products. Not many details were given about this part of the plan, but we're assuming that means the group will examine the environmental impact of the creation, shipping, and disposal of each product.
The form that the Sustainable Product Index will take has not been determined. It could be a color-coded sticker, a number score, or something else, according to company officials. For more info on the index, check out this story from The Daily Green.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
One thing to note is that while the MBTA is pushing the fare increase option, it is also listing service cutbacks (or a combination of both) as an option. However, officials at the agency have said that service cuts alone would not be enough to meet the budget deficit. If you think the service cuts would be a better option than increasing fares, then attending one of the rider workshops and/or the public meeting would be a good idea.
If the fare increases have you thinking about changing the way you commute to work, remember that there are other cost-effective and environmentally-friendly ways to commute to work. While we still believe that transit is a great way to commute to work, carpooling is also a great option. Remember to register in our ridematching database to see if there are other commuters that match your commuting patterns. The more people we have in the system, the more likely it is for everyone to find a good match. If you have any questions about your commuting options, don't hesistate to contact your Transportation Coordinator.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
So, what's being done to mitigate this issue? A lot of work is already being done to make electronics more energy-efficient, from the personal computer level all the way up to the data center level. Many large companies are switching to green hosting providers that use solar-powered data centers. On the PC level, some companies boast creating computers and monitors that are better than current energy-efficiency standards (which, quite honestly, are not very strict).
On a personal level, we can support the energy-efficiency movement by buying electronics that meet or exceed Energy Star standards. Also, remember to do the little things, such as powering down your computer at night as well as setting it to run at lower power levels when you are using it. A little bit goes a long way.