Thursday, June 24, 2010

Report details efforts to prevent isotope from reaching Vt. water supplies

VERNON, Vt. — After pumping out 130,000 gallons of contaminated groundwater, removing 240 cubic feet of tainted soil, and spending about $10 million responding to a leak of radioactive tritium, Vermont Yankee officials said yesterday it will be at least three months before the cleanup is complete.

But they say that there is no evidence the isotope made it into drinking water supplies and that samples of water from the neighboring Connecticut River continue to show no detectable tritium levels. Continue story

Article courtesy of Associated Press by John Curran

Climate change panel taps experts in more fields

GENEVA — The UN science body on climate change, accused of ignoring its critics and allowing glaring errors to creep into its work, announced yesterday that a broader range of experts will write its next report on global warming.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change includes more women and scientists from developing countries, as well as authors with a wider range of backgrounds than previously — partly in response to recent criticism that earlier groups refused to address dissenting views.  Read more

Article courtesy of  Associated Press by Frank Jordans




BP reattaches dislodged containment cap

A temporary setback causes more leakage

BP’s effort to contain the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico suffered another setback yesterday when a discharge of liquid and gases forced the company to remove the containment cap that for three weeks had been able to capture much of the oil gushing from its damaged well.

Admiral Thad W. Allen of the Coast Guard, at a briefing in Washington, said a remote-controlled submersible operating a mile beneath the surface had most likely bumped a vent and compromised the system. Live video from the sea floor showed oil and gas coursing from the well unrestricted.

By evening, the cap appeared to be back on, nestled in place on the eighth try after about 90 minutes of effort. Live video showed remote-controlled submersibles frequently moving hoses out of the way so that the cap could be lowered over the spewing oil.

 Read more

Courtesy of The Boston Globe by Liz Robbins New York Times


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Biking and Walking increase...

Today, the Federal Highway Administration is releasing "The National Biking and Walking Study: a 15-year Status Report." This study, by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, discusses trends and outcomes in bicycling and walking since 1994. I think the news is pretty good.


Green Teen Week: Tune Your Tech

Most teens love having the latest gizmos, so if it's absolutely necessary to buy a new iPod, camera, or cell phone, consider environmentally preferable options and products that contain fewer toxic elements, are energy-efficient, or use recycled materials to encourage manufacturers to design green. As for the stuff you're replacing, be sure to donate or recycle it. Used computers that still work can be given to families or schools that couldn't otherwise afford them, which would also prevent more e-waste from heading to the landfill. 
Article courtesy of The Green Life (

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

MassDOT Will Promote Smart Growth and Complete Streets to Reduce Carbon Footprint

Building upon the state's Global Warming Solutions Act, the Project Development and Design Guide, and similar legislative measures, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) launched a comprehensive GreenDOT "environmental responsibility and sustainability initiative'' to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote walking, biking and transit, and support smart growth.

Smart Growth Sharpens Focus on Multi-Use Urban Parks

As the smart growth movement matures and applies the economic, social and environmental lessons of development patterns since the 1950s, it makes the significance of public parks and green spaces increasingly clear, according to National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Chief of Public Policy Richard J. Dolesh. John Frece, Director of EPA's Office of Smart Growth, agrees. ''EPA has always considered the creation of high-quality parks as essential to creation of livable, sustainable communities,'' said Frece, pointing out that a park provides ''an essential oasis in a busy, dense, urban environment'' and ''true environmental benefits that are beyond natural beauty.'' With EPA, HUD and DOT working through their Partnership for Sustainable Communities since June 2009 ''to inspire communities to do a better job'' in planning for sustainability goals, Frece said, ''It is logical that parks be an integral part of the next steps to achieve these goals.''

Article courtesy of Smart Growth

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On the trail of deep-sea oil

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. — The deep-sea photos on Vernon Asper’s laptop don’t look like much to the untrained eye: black squares with flecks of white and orange. But, he says, pressing a fingertip beneath one barely-there dot, that sure looks like oil to him.

Asper, a professor of marine science at the University of Southern Mississippi, will know more once he finishes analyzing data being collected by a deep-diving vessel built by iRobot Corp. in Bedford. The torpedo-shaped vessel, Seaglider 515, and several other seafaring robots are sliding through the Gulf of Mexico, assessing the oil in the water after a rig explosion off the Louisiana coast created a gusher that has turned into the nation’s worst environmental disaster.

Scientists will use the information gathered by the underwater gliders to map the oil swirling hundreds and thousands of feet beneath the ocean’s surface, and that will help them figure out how the oil is moving and where it might appear next. The information, collected with onboard sensors, is critical so cleanup crews can buffer the coast and know where to look for harmed wildlife. Government officials and researchers estimate that as much as 40,000 barrels of oil a day may have been leaking from the blown-out well drilled for BP, making it much bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989.


Article courtesy of The Boston Globe By Erin Ailworth



Monday, June 14, 2010

Driving green

Buying green is just the first step in reducing the environmental impacts of automobile use. Your choice of vehicle is most important, but how you drive and how well you maintain your car, van, or light truck will also make a difference.

  • Avoid "jack rabbit" starts and aggressive driving. Flooring the gas pedal not only wastes gas, it leads to drastically higher pollution rates. One second of high-powered driving can produce nearly the same volume of carbon monoxide emissions as a half hour of normal driving.
  • Think ahead. Try to anticipate stops and let your vehicle coast down as much as possible. Avoid the increased pollution, wasted gas, and wear on your brakes created by accelerating hard and braking hard.
  • Follow the speed limit! Driving 75 mph instead of 65 mph will lower your fuel economy by about 10 percent, and can dramatically increase tailpipe pollution in many vehicles.
  • When possible, plan your trips to avoid rush hour. Stop-and-go driving burns gas and increases emissions of smog-forming pollutants.
  • Combine trips. Warmed-up engines and catalysts generate much less air pollution, so combining several short trips into one can make a big difference.
  • Take a load off. Carrying around an extra 100 pounds reduces fuel economy by about 1 percent. Take a few moments to unload your cargo area.
  • If your vehicle has it, use overdrive gear at cruising speeds. When driving a manual transmission, shift up as soon as possible. Running in a higher gear decreases the rpm and will decrease fuel use and engine wear.
  • Try using the vents and opening windows to cool off before you turn on the air conditioner. Air conditioner use increases fuel consumption, increases NOx emissions in some vehicles, and involves environmentally damaging fluids.
  • Unlike many older cars and trucks, modern vehicles don't need to warm up and they have automatic chokes, so you don't need to step on the gas pedal before starting the engine.
Article courtesy of

Climate change concerns warm up

The number of Americans who believe that global warming is happening – and are concerned about it – are on the rise, according to a new national survey by researchers at Yale and George Mason Universities.

Since January, public belief that global warming is happening rose four points, to 61 percent, while belief that it is caused mostly by human activities rose three points, to 50 percent. The number of Americans who worry about global warming rose three points, to 53 percent. And the number of Americans who said that the issue is personally important to them rose five points, to 63 percent.

“The stabilization and slight rebound in public opinion is occurring amid signs the economy is starting to recover, along with consumer confidence, and as memories of unusual snowstorms and scientific scandals recede,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. “The BP oil disaster is also reminding the public of the dark side of dependence on fossil fuels, which may be increasing support for clean energy policies.”

Earlier this year, polls showed public confidence in global warming science was eroding. See here:

The poll also shows that Americans who said President Obama and Congress should make developing sources of clean energy a high priority increased 11 points, to 71 percent, while those who said that global warming should be a high priority rose six points, to 44 percent. In a seven-point increase since January, 69 percent of Americans said that the United States should make a large or medium effort to reduce global warming even if it incurs large or moderate economic costs.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe -Green Blog-by Beth Daley

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gore cites savings from action on climate

MANILA — Poorer countries that have borne the brunt of climate change’s effects will save, not lose, money by putting in place ways to rescue the environment, Al Gore said yesterday.

The former US vice president spoke to a forum in Manila in one of his first public engagements since he and his wife, Tipper, announced they had separated after 40 years of marriage. He would not answer audience questions about it, and reporters did not have an opportunity for interviews.

In the lecture focused on Asia, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate blamed global warming for droughts and frequent, more destructive typhoons, including those that have left millions homeless in India, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam over the last several years.

“When there are lots of them, much more frequently and they are bigger on average, how can we connect those dots?’’ he asked. “How long will it take us as a civilization to connect those dots in a way that causes us to demand that our political leaders and political systems react?’’

Gore said proposals to store carbon dioxide in the ground are expensive, and the best way to trap it is in plants. He added that China is a leader in this area, planting more trees than any other country.

Article courtesy of The Associated Press/ The Boston Globe


Greener Transportation for Massachusetts

Significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions is challenging for any state agency, but for the one in charge of creating and maintaining the infrastructure for driving, it’s bound to be even harder.

But now, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has promised – and is legally obligated – to reduce emissions over two million tons by 2020. Read that another way: If left unchecked, 2020 transportation emissions would increase by some 19 percent over 1990 levels. The newly announced targets, called GreenDOT, would lower emissions 7.3 percent below 1990 levels, or almost 30 percent below the unchecked prediction.

The agency is also redoubling efforts to encourage more walking, biking and public transportation riding and smart growth development.

“In the coming years, we will see the results in smarter growth, cleaner vehicles, and jobs devoted to building a lower carbon transportation system,’’ said Gov. Deval Patrick.

bb.jpgThe agency will get the greenhouse gas reductions in part by balancing highway system expansion projects with those that reduce emissions. Examples? More public transportation projects, street design that includes lanes for bicycles and more efficient fleet vehicles.

GreenDOT was designed as an adjunct to several existing state laws and policies such as the 2009 Transportation Reform Law that created the agency; the Global Warming Solutions Act and MassDOT’s Complete Streets design approach that calls for appropriate accommodation for all types of transportation users.

“GreenDOT helps realize the Governor’s vision for transportation reform by refocusing our transportation system on combating climate change by investing in healthier transportation options and building communities that support all transportation users,’’ said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Jeffrey B. Mullan.

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles said the GreenDOT effort will help create and maintain green jobs. Already, he said the state is home to companies that work in the arena, such as A123Systems, which manufactures batteries for hybrid buses, and ZipCar, the car sharing service.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-The Green Blog-Posted by Beth Daley

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cambridge Road Closures Update

June 3rd, June 4th, & June 5th

Road closure on Plympton St and Dewolfe St near Harvard for Cambridge River Festival.


No MIT graduation road closures.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Spill may cut into N.E. bluefin catch

Oil could harm spawning sites

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. — The fate of one of New England’s most prized fish may be unfolding more than a thousand miles away in the Gulf of Mexico.

Bluefin tuna — so desired by sushi devotees that a single giant fish fetches thousands of dollars — are believed to spawn off the United States only in the Gulf and mostly during April and May. This year, both coincided with the worst oil spill in the nation’s history.

As oil gushes up from the seabed and spreads, scientists are studying whether bluefin larvae the size of a pencil tip will survive the leak. The answer could have important consequences for New England, where many of the tuna migrate each year and where bluefin fishing season opened yesterday.

“I suspect the larvae and eggs won’t be able to escape if they [encounter] oil,’’ said Jim Franks, senior scientist at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory. To read more

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Beth Daley-Globe Staff

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summerize Your Home: Keep it Cool

Here comes the sun! Solstice is mere weeks away, so to help you make the living easy – and green – this week’s tips are about how to prepare your home for summer.

Without A/C, that is. How? First, seal and caulk to prevent heat from seeping in through
leaky doors and windows. (If you weatherized for winter, you’re set.) Then, move the air as much as possible. You can do this with a ceiling fan (make sure it’s rotating counterclockwise), by carrying a personal fan, or, if there’s even a slight breeze outside, cracking the windows on the house’s windward side just a tad, and on the other side of your home, opening the windows wider; this should create a stronger draft. 

If you simply must turn on the
air conditioner, make sure your unit’s filter is clean and get the refrigerant level checked – if it’s low, you may be wasting 20% of the system’s energy.
Article courtesy of The Green LIfe (

Disastrous effects of spill may be hidden in Gulf depths

Researchers see massive oil plumes; Fear impact on spawning season

NEW ORLEANS — Independent scientists and government officials say there is a disaster we can’t see in the Gulf of Mexico’s depths: the potential ruin of a world inhabited by enormous sperm whales and invisible plankton.

Researchers have said they have found at least two massive underwater plumes of what appear to be oil, each hundreds of feet deep and stretching for miles. Yet the chief executive of BP PLC — which has for weeks downplayed several factors, including the amount of oil spewing into the gulf — said there is “no evidence’’ that huge amounts of oil are suspended undersea.

Tony Hayward, BP chief executive, said the oil naturally gravitates to the surface — and any oil below was just making its way up. Researchers, however, say the disaster in waters where light doesn’t shine through could ripple across the food chain.

read more:

Article of The Boston Globe-Green Blog-By Matthew  Brown -Associated Press

Green Your Laundry: Ditch Your Dry Cleaner

Whether you lug a bag to the laundromat or roll a basket into the garage, you've got to clean your clothes. But doing laundry consumes a lot of energy and water, so this week we're providing tips for an eco-friendlier wash and dry.

Tip : Eco-Friendly Options

Rather than taking your suits to be doused in a chemical that's linked to cancer and air pollution, head to your local eco-friendly dry cleaner. (They do exist – here's a list!) Or try wet cleaning, which uses water and detergent but still presses your garments so they look polished enough for the office. If possible, avoid buying clothes labeled "dry clean only," and remember that dry cleaning isn't always necessary even if the care instructions say it is. Hand washing in cool water or in your washing machine on the delicate cycle is often a suitable alternative.
Article courtesy of The Green Life (