Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Whale sightings something to spout about

Spotters have reported record numbers early in the whale-watching season, delighting tourists, boaters and divers.


Gray whales cruise through Southern California waters every winter, but this month the migratory giants have shown up so early and in such numbers that they are astounding many longtime observers.

Whale spotters stationed at Point Vicente in Rancho Palos Verdes have logged a record 163 sightings so far this December, more than they have seen at this point in 28 years.,0,3865407.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times


Alberta tar sands expanding rapidly

When the first mine opened alongside the pristine Athabasca River in 1967, oil extracted from oil sands (also known as tar sands) was too expensive to compete with liquid crude. But now, with oil prices hovering at about $100 US per barrel, the costly and environmentally taxing process of pulling bitumen out of the clay mixture makes it economically feasible.,0,6620311.story?track=rss

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times –Greenspace by Dean Kuipers


SJC upholds DPU ruling approving sale of Cape Wind power to National Grid

The Supreme Judicial Court today gave its blessing to a novel power purchase agreement between Cape Wind and National Grid that was approved by the state Department of Public Utilities.

In a 34-page ruling written by Justice Margot Botfsford, the high court unanimously rejected every argument advanced by critics of the wind farm planned for Nantucket Sound.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by John R. Ellement



Tuesday, December 27, 2011

U.S. fights EU on airline carbon emissions

On Wednesday, the European Union’s highest court fended off a challenge from the U.S. and established greenhouse gas emissions controls for all airlines flying anywhere in Europe. Airlines now will be required to pay or trade for gas emission allowances, beginning Jan. 1, although the first year is largely free of charge.,0,762718.story?track=rss

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times -Greenspace posted by Dean Kuipers

Thursday, December 22, 2011

EPA regulates emissions of mercury, arsenic and many other toxins

Finally, some sanity regarding smokestack emissions. After decades of political squabbling, on Wednesday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, or MATS, which will dramatically cut the amount of highly toxic mercury and about 70 other pollutants released in the United States. The rules target the emissions from coal-fired power plants.,0,4536616.story?track=rss

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times Green Space posted by Dean Kuipers



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Why is radon the public health risk that it is?

EPA estimates that about 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are radon-related. Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Radon is an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water. Radon is a form of ionizing radiation and a proven carcinogen. Lung cancer is the only known effect on human health from exposure to radon in air. Thus far, there is no evidence that children are at greater risk of lung cancer than are adults.


Article courtesy of The United States Environmental Protection Agency

Bird advocates urge mandatory standards for wind energy projects

The American Bird Conservancy on Wednesday petitioned the U.S. Department of the Interior to replace its proposed voluntary guidelines for siting and operating wind farms with mandatory enforceable standards designed to make the technology safer for wildlife including migrating birds and bats.,0,2978806.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times –Greenspace post by Louis Sahagun

Breakthrough could double solar energy output

A new discovery from a chemist at the University of Texas at Austin may allow photovoltaic solar cells to double their efficiency, thus providing loads more electrical power from regular sunlight.

Not only that, but it’s way cheap. Chemistry professor Xiaoyang Zhu and his team discovered that an organic plastic semiconductor could double the number of electrons harvested out of one photon of sunlight.,0,3897047.story?track=rss

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times-Greenspace posted by Dean Kuipers



Neti pot danger? Two die from amoeba infection

Last week, Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals issued a warning to residents: Don't use tap water to rinse your nasal passages.

The warning came after a 51-year-old woman in the state died after she was infected with the "brain-eating" amoeba Naegleria fowleri, which enters the body through the nose and sometimes causes devastating meningitis.  Apparently, the amoeba lurked in tap water the woman used in her neti pot, a pitcher-like device used to rinse nasal passages.,0,6460552.story


Article Courtesy of The Los Angeles Times –For the Booster Shots blog by Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times

Comet defies death, brushes up to sun and lives

WASHINGTON—A small comet survived what astronomers figured would be a sure death when it danced uncomfortably close to the broiling sun.

Comet Lovejoy, which was only discovered a couple of weeks ago, was supposed to melt Thursday night when it came close to where temperatures hit several million degrees. Astronomers had tracked 2,000 other sun-grazing comets make the same suicidal trip. None had ever survived.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Seth Borenstein Associated Press Science Writer




Thursday, December 15, 2011

Expanding Houston light rail will create jobs

As I’ve mentioned before, the Obama Administration is committed to getting job-creating projects funded and under way more quickly in order to put people back to work, and to restore some of the economic security that middle-class folks have felt slipping away for the last few decades.

Yesterday, DOT took an important step in this process when Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff signed two agreements providing $900 million to extend Houston’s light rail system by an additional 12 miles.

America's fourth largest city deserves a world class transit system that will meet the region's needs for the 21st century, and the investments we're making will help accomplish that.

Article courtesy of Smart Growth Online From Fast Lane: The Official Blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation

Maryland mall to become a 'town'

Full Story: 

Plan envisions White Flint Mall becoming a ‘town’

The 30-year-old White Flint Mall on the Rockville Pike in North Bethesda, Maryland, "is going to be deconstructed," says Mike Cohen, the architect for its replacement. "It's not going to be a mall. It's going to be a town."

The Montgomery Gazette reports that representatives of the mall's owner, Lerner Enterprises, intend to replace most of the 850,000 sq. ft. building and surrounding parking structures with a collection of 21 buildings. The company envisions four new office buildings, a 300-room hotel, and 1 million square feet of shopping and restaurants.

Article from Smart Growth Online –Source: Montgomery Gazette post by Philip Langdon



The right course to smart growth

The folks who run the trolley, the Metropolitan Transit System, have completed the final touches on the Grossmont Transit Center. What a difference.

Once there were six football fields of asphalt parking lot, a trolley platform and nothing more. Passengers wanting to go to a shopping mall or a hospital on a bluff high overhead were confronted with a cliffside stairway. Disabled? Good luck.

The acreage has been converted into 527 apartment units and a parking structure for residents and trolley users. The dedication of two new elevators and a skybridge Saturday gives everyone access. Article courtesy of Smart Growth Online from The San Diego United-Tribune Editorial Board





Monday, December 12, 2011

Climate talks fail despite warnings

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - The hard-fought deal at a global climate conference in South Africa keeps talks alive but doesn't address the core problem: The world's biggest carbon polluters aren't willing to cut emissions of greenhouse gases enough to stave off dangerous levels of global warming.

With many scientists saying time is running out, a bigger part of the solution may have to come from the rise of climate-friendly technologies being developed outside the U.N. process.
Read more:

Article courtesy of by Karl Ritter Associated Press


EPA says 'fracking' probably contaminated well water in Wyoming

Reporting from Washington—

The Environmental Protection Agency said that hydraulic fracturing, a controversial natural gas drilling process, probably contaminated well water in Wyoming, a finding sure to roil the debate about expanding natural gas drilling around the country.

The EPA's new draft report found dangerous amounts of benzene in a monitoring well near the town of Pavillion, in central Wyoming.,0,1034865.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau


Advocacy group's extreme weather map brings climate change home

Climate change much? A new map published today by the Natural Resources Defense Council makes it plain that extreme weather attributable to climate change isn’t something that only happens in other parts of the world. Chances are you’ve had your own Hurricane Irene, or drought, or something like it in your own backyard.

The interactive map lays out 2,941 monthly weather records broken in communities throughout the U.S. from January thru October of this year, and traces an onslaught of severe storms, drought, flooding and calamity. The point is to show how climate change is affecting your community every day.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times -Greenspace




Thursday, December 8, 2011

Buffett investment in California solar farm could boost industry

The agreement by investor Warren Buffett's MidAmerican Energy Holdings to buy a $2-billion photovoltaic farm in San Luis Obispo County could bring a ray of financial sunshine to the battered solar-energy industry.

The scale of Buffett's foray into this sector of the renewable energy scene is considerably more modest than his $34-billion purchase of BNSF Railway, but it could provide the same kind of boost to the solar power business that the 2009 acquisition did to the railroad industry, experts said.,0,6937593.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by Ronald D. White


Friday, December 2, 2011

Geoengineering could save Earth -- or destroy it

DURBAN, South Africa—Brighten clouds with sea water? Spray aerosols high in the stratosphere? Paint roofs white and plant light-colored crops? How about positioning "sun shades" over the Earth?

At a time of deep concern over global warming, a group of scientists, philosophers and legal scholars examined whether human intervention could artificially cool the Earth -- and what would happen if it did.

A report released late Thursday in London and discussed Friday at the U.N. climate conference in South Africa said that -- in theory -- reflecting a small amount of sunlight back into space before it strike's the Earth's surface would have an immediate and dramatic effect.

Article courtesy of Arthur Max Associated Press



Thursday, December 1, 2011

Molten salt keeps solar power flowing

By storing solar energy in molten salt, BrightSource Energy can now build one less solar power plant.

The company said today that it is adding energy storage to three planned solar projects that will supply power to utility Southern California Edison.

Instead of building seven power plants to provide about 4 million megawatt-hours per year, BrightSource now expects to be able to meet that with six concentrating solar plants to be built over the next six years, including three that will have storage. It is now constructing its first project, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, which will not have storage.;txt

Article courtesy of CNET News by Martin LaMonica




Shrimp Farming in the Vegas Desert

Nearly a decade ago, I drove northeast out of the Davis Mountains of west Texas into the barren plain of the Permian Basin on the advice of a gourmand I trust. His directions: detour 25 miles off of IH-10 to a tiny town called Imperial and ask for a lean, weathered marine biologist named Bart. There, in the most landlocked place imaginable, Bart the biologist would provide me the most delicious shrimp I had ever eaten, grown in his backyard.

Article courtesy of Liberty Mutual’s Responsibility Project posted by Andrea Bennett



Curbside Composting in Portland

This month, the famously eco-conscious city of Portland, Ore., started a new – and controversially stinky – garbage collection program. The city is paring down its traditional garbage collection system in favor of “curbside composting;” compost materials (food scraps, egg shells, etc.) will be picked up weekly, while old-fashioned garbage pickups by the city will be reduced to twice monthly.

Article courtesy of Liberty Mutual’s Responsibility Project posted by Andrea Bennett



Capping Urban Highways Is A Growing Trend

A recent article in Architectural Record reported on the growing popularity of covering sunken freeways with “land bridges,” and using the found space to reconnect neighborhoods that were torn apart by the highway construction boom of the 1950s and 1960s. Seattle, Boston, and Phoenix have all constructed these highway caps, and Dallas is currently building a three-block-long park over a freeway.

Article courtesy of Smart Growth Online





Grants to create jobs, improve housing, transportation, and economy in urban & rural areas

WASHINGTON - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced the recipients of the 2011 Sustainable Communities Grants, totaling nearly $96 million. Twenty-seven communities and organizations will receive Community Challenge grants and 29 regional areas will receive Regional Planning grants. The goal of HUD's Sustainable Communities grants is to help communities and regions improve their economic competitiveness by connecting housing with good jobs, quality schools and transportation (see attached grant chart).

Article courtesy of Smart Growth Newsletter


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Colombia architect leads bamboo building crusade

Eco-sustainable bamboo is strong and beautiful and can take the place of wood and concrete in many building projects, architect Simon Velez says.


Reporting from Bogota, Colombia—

When it comes to uses of bamboo, many think of chopsticks, panda food or patio furniture. Simon Velez, on the other hand, envisions bus stations, churches or bridges.

The Bogota, Colombia-based architect is leading a global crusade for new uses of the plant, a giant member of the grass family, as a strong, eco-sustainable, aesthetically pleasing material that can substitute for wood and concrete in many projects.,0,3037760.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by Chris Kraul

'Entourage's' Adrian Grenier and Peter Glatzer SHFT Hollywood green

When "Entourage" star Adrian Grenier was introduced to indie film producer Peter Glatzer a number of years back, their mutual commitment to eco-friendliness and sustainability compelled them to work together. They put together the show “Alter Eco” for Discovery’s Planet Green channel in 2008, a reality show about folks moving the needle on sustainability. The pair saw a hunger for solutions, but realized they needed a new platform that could grow as they grew. SHFT was born.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times –Greenspace posted by Dean Kuipers


Invest in earthy shoes

To go green, you've got to start from the bottom and work your way up. This week's tips, then, are about how to take steps to minimize your literal footprint.

You probably know about Toms' buy-one-give-one model. Other shoemakers are following that company's lead, so when it's time for new footwear, choose an eco-brand. OAT shoes, for example, biodegrade to 90% in six months if they're in ideal soil (don't worry: they need microbes to do so, so they won't disintegrate on your feet). Simple Shoes are made from hemp, recycled paper, cork, bamboo, old tires, and other stuff that was once landfill-bound. For designer kicks, look to Beyond Skin, whose vegan high heels use faux leather. And for more eco-shoe ideas, click here.

Article courtesy of The Green Life by The Sierra Club



Sunday, November 27, 2011

Idea of civilians using drone aircraft may soon fly with FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration plans to propose new rules for the use of small drones in January, a first step toward clearing the way for police departments, farmers and others to employ the technology.,0,6584711.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by W.J. Hennigan

Canned soup linked to elevated levels of BPA

Eating canned soup may be convenient, but it can significantly raise the level of bisphenol A in a consumer’s body, according to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Bisphenol A, better known as BPA, is an odorless, tasteless chemical used in the linings in almost all canned food and drinks, and it is also found in many hard plastic bottles.

Growing evidence suggests that low levels of BPA may be harmful to the development of fetuses and young children

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Kay Lazar

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Keystone pipeline builder proposes changing Nebraska route

TransCanada Corp.'s agreement to skirt the porous, watery region atop the nation's most important agricultural aquifer was celebrated by Nebraska ranchers and conservationists who have battled the pipeline.,0,236918.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by Kim Murphy


Study finds parts of Japan no longer safe for farming

A team of international researchers has found that levels of radioactive material in farmland in parts of northeastern Japan exceed safety standards.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, found that Fukushima prefecture was “highly contaminated” after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was damaged in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.  

The level of radioactive material found in neighboring prefectures, such as Miyagi, Tochigi and Ibaraki, was lower but could still pose a threat to food production in some areas, the researchers said.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times –World Now-posted by Alexandra Zavis in Los Angeles


A project to change the retail landscape

Assembly Row’s developer plans to open dozens of outlet stores at the massive Somerville project, hoping to cater to Boston-area shoppers tired of trekking to the suburbs in search of bargains on popular brands.

Federal Realty Investment Trust said it expects to open as many as 50 such stores at the $1.5 billion complex, which is designed to be a mixed-use neighborhood with offices, stores, hundreds of homes, a new MBTA station, and a refurbished park on the Mystic River.

The strategy is a bold one, with Federal Realty betting that national retailers will break from the traditional practice of keeping their outlet stores far from urban centers to avoid undercutting their full-price stores.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Casey Ross





Friday, November 11, 2011

Panel cuts lobster catch to rebuild population

NEW LONDON, Conn.—A fisheries panel has cut the number of lobsters that can be caught in southern New England waters to help rebuild depleted populations.

The Day of New London reports ( that the reduction will take effect in 2013. It was approved this week by the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commissions' American Lobster Management Board.

Additional actions could include steeper harvest reductions and cutting the number of traps.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe from the Associated Press


NOAA greenhouse gas index climbs

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI) number today, which measures the direct climate influence of a select set of greenhouse gases, and the news is not good. The numbers continue to climb, further evidence that the greenhouse effect is on the rise.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times-Greenspace posted by Dean Kuipers


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hewlett-Packard tops Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics

Hewlett-Packard Co. has claimed the No. 1 spot on the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics released Wednesday. The Palo Alto-based manufacturer of printers, computers and other consumer electronics scored 5.9 out of a possible 10 points on the 17th iteration of the guide from the international environmental organization.

Hewlett-Packard took the No. 1 position due largely to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations as well as its suppliers, and a procurement policy that excludes paper from companies linked with illegal logging and deforestation. Computer maker Dell Inc., based in Round Rock, Texas, took second place, and also scored well for its greenhouse gas emission reductions and paper policies.

Article Courtesy of The Los Angeles Times Greenspace posted by Susan Carpenter




Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Russians desperately try to save Mars moon probe

MOSCOW—A Russian space probe aiming to land on a Mars moon was stuck circling the Earth after equipment failure Wednesday, and scientists raced to fire up its engines before the whole thing came crashing down.

One U.S. space expert said the craft could become the most dangerous manmade object ever to hit the planet

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Vladimir Isachenkov Associated Press

IEA: Time running out to limit earth's warming

PARIS—The chief economist for the International Energy Agency says the world is hurtling toward irreversible climate change unless governments cut fossil fuel subsidies and improve energy efficiency.

Fatih Birol says that even though governments the world over have put increasing energy efficiency at the top their to-do lists, efficiency has worsened for two years in a row.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by from the Associated Press




Thursday, November 3, 2011

Capping Urban Highways Is A Growing Trend

A recent article in Architectural Record reported on the growing popularity of covering sunken freeways with “land bridges,” and using the found space to reconnect neighborhoods that were torn apart by the highway construction boom of the 1950s and 1960s. Seattle, Boston, and Phoenix have all constructed these highway caps, and Dallas is currently building a three-block-long park over a freeway.

Article courtesy of  Smart Growth from The Chicago Tribune-by Blair Kamin-Tribune architecture critic




How many more coal ash spills need to happen before Americans are properly protected from this toxic waste?

Just yesterday a retaining bluff collapsed at the We Energies Oak Creek Power Plant in Wisconsin, sending toxic coal ash spewing into Lake Michigan. Coal ash, the waste product of coal-fired power plants, contains elevated levels of arsenic, mercury and lead -- and now it's spilled into the Great Lakes ecosystem!

Article courtesy of Mary Anne Hitt -Sierra Club



Friday, October 28, 2011

Obama administration announces desert 'solar energy zones'

The Obama administration on Thursday unveiled its road map for solar energy development, directing large-scale industrial projects to 285,000 acres of desert land in the western U.S. while opening 20 million acres of the Mojave for new development.,0,7889585.story


Article courtesy of The Los Angeles times by Julie Cart

Plastic water bottle-makers sued by California over green claims

California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris filed a lawsuit against three companies Wednesday for allegedly making false and misleading claims about their plastic water bottles' recyclability and biodegradability. The lawsuit is the first to enforce California's environmental marketing law, which  makes it illegal to label a plastic food or beverage container as biodegradable because plastic takes thousands of years to break down naturally and may never do so in a landfill.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times –Greenspace-Posted by Susan Carpenter



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Burning oil from BP spill produced carbon plumes

Chalk up another environmental impact from last summer's Deepwater Horizon oil spill: Nine weeks of burning off oil slicks from the surface of the Gulf of Mexico following the BP spill released an estimated 1 million pounds of soot into the atmosphere, according to a study released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


Article courtesy of the Los Angeles Times –Greenspace-posted by Julie Cart

Up to 20 millions tons of tsunami debris headed for U.S. shores

Prepare for a garbage deluge.

An estimated 5 tons to 20 tons of debris sucked into the ocean during Japan's massive tsunami is due to hit U.S. shores, University of Hawaii scientists say. The wall of water struck in March, so that means the garbage should be here -- sometime in 2014.

Hey, it takes a long time to cross the Pacific Ocean if you’re a couch. Or a fridge. Or a piece of a house. Or a Coke can.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times-Nation Now –posted by Deborah Netburn



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

California has 1 in 4 U.S. solar energy jobs, study says

Reporting from Sacramento

One in every four solar energy jobs in America is held by a Californian, and growth in the clean-tech industry is burgeoning nationwide, a new study said.

In August, California had an estimated 25,575 solar-related jobs out of 100,237 for all 50 states, according to the National Solar Jobs Census 2011. The census is scheduled for release Monday by the Solar Foundation, a research and education organization in Washington.

California's solar jobs tally was more than four times greater than runner-up Colorado, which had 6,186 solar jobs,0,3230671.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by Marc Lifsher



Robots built to help autistic children

Robots aren't known for their soft side. They build cars and defuse bombs; they don't, as a rule, make friends or deal with feelings. But a few groups of researchers around the world are working to build robots for an unusual purpose: Making emotional connections with autistic children who often struggle to interact with humans.,0,5798122.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by Chris Woolston, Special to the Los Angeles Times


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Target commits to 100% sustainable, traceable fish by 2015

The second largest discount retailer in the U.S. announced Thursday that it will sell only sustainable, traceable fish by 2015. Minneapolis-based Target Corp. operates 1,762 stores, many of which are converting to incorporate PFresh markets that sell fresh and frozen foods, including fish.

In 2010, Target stopped selling farmed salmon, Chilean sea bass and orange roughy due to various sustainability issues. It currently sells 50 different brands of fish certified by either the Marine Stewardship Council or the Global Aquaculture Alliance

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times -Greenspace posted by Susan Carpenter

Polar bears and greenhouse gases: Can one live with the other?

A federal judge ruled Monday that the government did not breach its obligations under the Endangered Species Act by failing to consider greenhouse gas emissions in efforts to protect the polar bear.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan also concluded that federal officials were within their authority in a rule allowing "incidental" harm to polar bears that might occur as a result of oil and gas activities in the Arctic -- provided that those activities already are authorized under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times-Nation Now posted by Kim Murphy

New Zealand fears oil spill from ship may worsen

A stricken cargo ship carrying tons of oil threatened to break apart off the coast of New Zealand late Monday and dislodge from the reef it rammed this month.

Salvage crews halted attempts to pump oil from the Liberian-flagged Rena as weather in the area worsened. The ship, which ran aground Oct. 5 on a reef 14 miles offshore, has spilled tons of heavy oil that has washed up on pristine beaches near the town of Tauranga on New Zealand's North Island.,0,1472943.story
Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by John M. Glionna

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Australia moves closer to law establishing carbon tax

The Australian government's goal of implementing a carbon tax passed its toughest test today as the lower house of Parliament overwhelmingly approved a package of bills that institutes a phased-in carbon tax, to be followed by a carbon-trading system.

The 18 bills now go to the Senate, where the law is all but assured of passage in mid-November.

According to Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the system will reduce Australia's carbon emissions by 159 million tons by 2020. Australia is the largest per-capita carbon polluter, with an economy deeply dependent on coal.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times –Greenspace posted by Julie Cart


Boston public housing going smoke-free in 2012

Boston is set to become the first big city in Massachusetts - and the largest in the nation - to ban smoking in public housing, beginning in September 2012.

In the next few weeks, about 25,000 tenants will receive letters announcing that their buildings will be smoke-free and that they will have to agree to the new policy when they sign their annual leases.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Kay Lazar




Thursday, October 6, 2011

Believe it: Bob Dylan is favored to win Nobel Prize in literature

According to Ladbrokes, Bob Dylan is the odds-on favorite to win the Nobel Prize for literature. The British betting house has Dylan as the top possibility, running at 5-to-1 odds, ahead of Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, who is in second place, and Syrian poet Adonis in third.
Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times -Jacket Copy posted by Carolyn Kellogg

Mattel drops paper company linked to Indonesia deforestation

It's official: Barbie has broken up with Asia Pulp and Paper.

Responding to a campaign by Greenpeace, toy giant Mattel, maker of the famed Barbie doll line, announced Wednesday that it will stop buying paper and packaging that the environmental group has linked to rain forest destruction in Indonesia.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times -Greenspace posted by Geoff Mohan

The value of being greener

Farmers find that energy efficiency pays off by saving money, protecting environment

There was a time when farm life was impossible without a big, beefy truck. Carting bales of hay and hauling equipment took a burly gas-guzzler.

At Otter River Farm, David Smith’s utility vehicle uses no gas at all. Zipping around his dairy in Winchendon, home to Smith’s Country Cheese, on a zero-emissions golf cart, Smith is blazing a path for greener and cleaner times in agriculture.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-Green Blog by kathleen Pierce Globe Correspondent

Scientists seek to document later fall colors

PORTLAND, Maine—Clocks may not be the only thing falling back: That signature autumn change in leaf colors may be drifting further down the calendar.

Scientists don't quite know if global warming is changing the signs of fall like it already has with an earlier-arriving spring. They're turning their attention to fall foliage in hopes of determining whether climate change is leading to a later arrival of autumn's golden orange and red hues.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Davdi Sharp/Associated Press

Thursday, September 29, 2011

'MythBusters' asks: Are motorcycles greener than cars?

A trend is afoot, according to "MythBusters" television host Adam Savage: "People are trading in their cars and driving motorcycles instead because they believe that's the more environmentally friendly choice," Savage said in Wednesday's season opener of the popular Discovery Channel show. "The logic is because motorcycles are generally more fuel-efficient than cars, they burn less gas and thus they must be better for the environment."

The question is: Are they really? As the MythBusters have done with each of the show's previous seven seasons, Savage and his co-host Jamie Hyneman set out to test the theory.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times -Greenspace posted by Susan Carpenter


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

MBTA testing plug-in hybrid Ram pickups

The MBTA this morning is taking delivery of 10 plug-in hybrid pickup trucks as part of a national test with Chrysler.

Chrysler is loaning the prototype Ram 1500 PHEV, an electrified version of its full-size pickup, to the MBTA and eight other municipalities across the country, including San Francisco and Albany. A $48 million grant from the Department of Energy, sourced from the $787 billion stimulus package in 2009, is paying nearly half the tab for the 140 PHEV trucks in the test fleet. Chrysler is footing the other $49.4 million.

Article courtesy of the Boston Globe's Boston Overdrive posted by Clifford Atiyeh

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Faster than light? CERN findings bewilder scientists

Physicists at the lab near Geneva say they've observed subatomic particles moving faster than the speed of light. If confirmed, it would defy Einstein — and upend our understanding of physics.,0,497738.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times By Eryn Brown and Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times




Hunting for good bugs to fight bad bugs

An entomologist couple at UC Riverside travel the world searching for parasites to counter imported pests. Their lab is a high-security warren of trick doors and rooms within rooms.,0,6104170.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shark extract squalamine fights viruses, study finds

An extract from sharks seems to fight a broad array of viruses, according to a study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The chemical, called squalamine, was discovered in 1993 by Dr. Michael Zasloff, now at Georgetown University Medical Center and the lead investigator of the paper. He’s been studying it ever since, mostly for its immune properties.,0,6211698.story
Article courtesy of The Los angels Times/ for the Booster Shots blog by Rosie Mestel

Tab for transit fixes soaring

More than $15 billion in repairs and replacements are needed to keep the state’s aging highway, bridge, and transit network in sound condition, an independent advisory committee warned yesterday.

In the Boston area alone, the day-to-day costs of operating the city’s decrepit subway, rail, and bus lines are so overwhelming that riders should expect a substantial fare increase, the first in five years, the top transportation official in Massachusetts said.
Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Eric Moskowitz

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

HUD Awards $13.3 Million to Revitalize Brownfields in Six Cities

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is awarding

$13.3 million to six cities to stimulate job growth and revitalize unproductive industrial areas (brownfields). The grants will generate total public and private investment of more than $166 million.

Receiving the grants will be the cities of Philadelphia, Cleveland, Toledo, Santa Rosa, Taunton (Massachusetts) and Ranson (West Virginia)

Article courtesy of Smart Growth Online Newsletter

Cities Reclaiming Alleys for Smart Growth Developments

A recent article by the Sightline Institute reports that backstreet alleys in some cities cover almost half as much space as all of the city's parks, squares, and existing pedestrian-oriented streets. City residents and planners are beginning to reclaim these alleys into "laneways," turning them into pedestrian passages, marketplaces, and gathering places. In many situations, the potential for laneways can be realized without taking away service functions like garbage collection.

Article courtesy of Smart Growth online newletter

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Drug Known as bath salts Ban Nears, Selloff Feared by Doctors

Nearly two weeks after federal drug enforcers announced the ban of ingredients used to make a synthetic drug known as "bath salts," doctors worry that smoke shops and convenience stores may unload the dangerous drug at cut-rate prices before the ban takes effect next month.

The Drug Enforcement Administration announced on Sept. 7 that it would use its emergency authority to ban three chemical ingredients to protect the public from "imminent hazard." That ban takes effect the first week of October.
Read more:

Article courtesy of The Arizona Republic by Ken Alltucker

EPA grants air permit for Shell oil drilling in Arctic

If you're looking for a smog-free venue, one of the last places left might be the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, the remote stretch of frigid water between Russia and Canada at the top of the planet.

To help open the door to offshore oil and gas exploration in the Arctic, though, the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday issued a final air quality permit that will allow Shell Oil's Noble Discoverer drill ship and the rest of Shell's drilling fleet to emit more than 250 tons of pollutants a year into the Arctic air while looking for oil.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times -Nation Now by  Kim Murphy in Seattle

US scientists testing earthquake early warning

PASADENA, Calif.—Elizabeth Cochran was sitting in her office when her computer suddenly sounded an alarm.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

A map of California on her screen lit up with a red dot, signaling an earthquake had struck. A clock next to the map counted down the seconds until shock waves fanning out from the epicenter north of Los Angeles reached her location in Pasadena: 5-4-3-2-1.

Right on cue, Cochran felt her chair quiver ever so slightly from a magnitude-4.2 that rumbled through Southern California on Sept. 1.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Alicia Chang-Associated Press Science Writer

Monday, September 19, 2011

Quake kills at least 40, injures hundreds in India, Nepal and Tibet

Rescue efforts in the wake of the magnitude 6.8 earthquake are hampered by rain, landslides and severed communications. Near the epicenter in India's northeastern Sikkim state, officials expect the death toll to rise after emergency workers reach isolated communities.,0,5813298.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by Mark Magnier





Friday, September 16, 2011

IBM's Watson supercomputer to give instant medical diagnoses

Instant diagnosis?

That’s the idea behind a new partnership between insurance giant WellPoint Inc. and IBM.

WellPoint, the nation’s largest insurer by membership, is tapping IBM's Watson supercomputer to diagnose medical illnesses and to recommend treatment options for patients within seconds in a new system that will debut at several cancer cancers early next year.

Executives at the two companies say that Watson, best known for defeating “Jeopardy!” quiz champions on the popular television game show this year, can sift through millions of pages of data and produce diagnoses virtually on the spot.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times


Arctic ice shrinks to near-record low

A blistering summer melted Arctic sea ice to near-record lows, and scientists say two more weeks of high temperatures could bring ice coverage in the polar region to the lowest since satellite measurements were first taken in 1979.

Article courtesy of the Los Angeles Times –Greenspace by Julie Cart


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Phoenix-area meteor activity reported

LOS ANGELES - A brilliant bright light seen streaking in the night sky over the Southwest was most likely a fireball -- a fragment of an asteroid that entered Earth's atmosphere, a NASA scientist said.

Residents from Phoenix to Las Vegas to Southern California's coastal areas reported to local authorities and media outlets Wednesday that they saw the light move quickly from west to east at around 7:45 p.m. PDT. Many reported the light as bluish-green and others as yellow and orange. Some captured video of the object.
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Article courtesy of by The Associated Press

California border crossing shutdown snarls traffic

SAN DIEGO - The morning commute threatened to be unusually long Thursday at the nation's busiest border crossing after all U.S.-bound traffic was halted the previous day because scaffolding had collapsed, falling on more than a dozen cars and injuring 11 travelers and construction workers.

Pedestrian traffic had resumed eight hours later after the accident at the San Ysidro crossing between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico, and 13 of 24 vehicle lanes reopened at midnight - well before the morning rush.

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Article courtesy of by Elliot Spagat –Associated Press

Rising sea levels could take financial toll on California beaches

Beach communities in California will suffer huge economic losses in tourism and tax revenues as rising sea levels eat away at the California coastline over the next century, according to a state-commissioned study released Tuesday.

As climate change warms the ocean, causing it to swell, storm damage and erosion will narrow the state's beaches and diminish their appeal to tourists, recreational visitors and wildlife, economists at San Francisco State predict.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times –Greenspace

Does apple juice have unsafe levels of arsenic?

The US Food and Drug Administration took the unusual step of issuing a statement that apple juice is safe, ahead of a TV talk show set to air today that will claim high levels of arsenic were found in some apple juice brands. The cable health show --hosted by Oprah fave Dr. Mehmet Oz -- will warn viewers about what it says are dangerous amounts of arsenic lurking in some innocent-looking apple juice brands, including one plastered with the Gerber baby.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Deborah Kotz


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Global warming effect seen in pole-to-pole data-gathering flights

Scientists who have just completed several years of pole-to-pole flights have uncovered data that confirms some of the deep worries about human-generated global warming that had been predicted by computer-based mathematical models.

The flights offered the most comprehensive look to date at greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere, warming the planet and setting off chains of effects on climate

Article courtesy of the Los Angeles Times -Greenspace by Geoff Mohan

Solar project taking shape

Groton Road array gets state financing

Two development companies have begun a $23 million project to convert a vacant industrial site in Westford into a solar farm that could generate enough electricity to power about 600 homes.

Workers are preparing the 22-acre site for the planned 4.5-megawatt facility, which will consist of an array of 14,000 ground-mounted solar panels on Groton Road, near Route 3.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-Green Blog by John Laidler Globe Correspondent

BP removes tar balls in Alabama

GULF SHORES, Ala. - BP workers used fishing nets to scoop tar balls off Alabama’s Gulf Coast beaches yesterday after the sands were fouled by gooey, dark gobs churned up by heavy surf from tropical system Lee.

Article courtesy of the Boston Globe-Green Blog by The Associated Press


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New York || Study Assesses Potential for Urban Agriculture in New York City

Columbia University recently conducted a comprehensive assessment of the potential for urban agriculture in New York City. The study identified almost 5,000 acres of vacant urban land likely to be suitable for farming, and also found that city rooftops are a vast, underused resource that could be transformed for food production. The study also identified benefits that urban agriculture provides in terms of green urban infrastructure, community development and food security.
Article courtesy of Smart Growth Network Newsletter

DOT Awards $745 Million for Amtrak's Northeast Corridor

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently announced nearly $745 million in grants for construction along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. Almost $450 million will go to upgrade electrical systems and tracks between New Jersey and New York City, resulting in better on-time performance and an initial increase in maximum operating speed to 160 mph. Another $300 million will alleviate major delays in Manhattan, with new routes to bypass the busiest passenger rail junction in the nation.
Article courtesy of The Smart Growth Network Newsletter

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

rail: Private rail security urged

Mesa and Tempe have a private-security company to monitor Metro light-rail passengers in their areas, but Phoenix has continued to rely on its police force to check on passengers and be on watch for crime at platforms and in the trains.

That appears about to change.
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Article courtesy of The Arizona Republic by Emily Gersema


Texas wildfires destroy at least 500 homes

A massive central Texas wildfire roared through ranchland and suburbs Monday, destroying nearly 500 homes — a state record for a single fire — as Gov. Rick Perry appealed for federal assistance to fight at least 63 blazes throughout the drought-dried state.,0,4287589.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Outsmarting traffic lights

Phone setup helps save on stop-and -go

The folks at MIT want to stop you from seeing red — red lights, that is.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Princeton University recently developed “SignalGuru,” a network of dashboard-mounted smartphones that can study traffic signals and tell you to speed up or slow down to avoid red lights.

Article courtesy of The Boston Herold by Jerry Kronenberg

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wind farm turbines blamed for bird kills

WASHINGTON - Six birds found dead recently in Southern California’s Tehachapi Mountains were majestic golden eagles. But some bird watchers say that in an area where dozens of wind turbines slice the air they were also sitting ducks.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-Green Blog by Darryl Fears-Washington Post

Monday, August 29, 2011

Calif. could be first state to ban foam containers

SACRAMENTO - Restaurant owner Gary Honeycutt says a push in California’s Legislature to ban the plastic foam containers he uses to serve up takeout meals could cost him thousands of dollars in an industry where profit margins are razor thin.

The bill by state Senator Alan Lowenthal, a Democrat, would prohibit restaurants, grocery stores, and other vendors from dispensing food in expanded polystyrene containers beginning in 2016.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe Green Blog by Associated Press