Friday, January 21, 2011

New data adds job creation to the many benefits of bicycle infrastructure

This week, a coalition of bicycling advocates introduced me to a new report showing that in Baltimore, MD, pedestrian and bicycle projects created nearly twice as many jobs per dollar spent than typical road projects.
In this case-study, "Estimating the Employment Impacts of Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Road Infrastructure," the Political Economy Research Institute compiled data provided by the city of Baltimore. They found that on-street bike lanes and pedestrian measures created more direct jobs, more indirect jobs, and moreinduced jobs per dollar than either road upgrades or road resurfacing.

More from the Department of Transportation:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Green Your Car: Warm It Up Manually

Dealing with frost on the car windows can be a hassle, and unfortunately, most people tend to get rid of it by sitting inside their cars while they warm up. Instead, reduce carbon dioxide by manually clearing the frost using an ice scraper and some elbow grease. Not only will this defrost your car in a more eco-friendly manner, but it’s a great way to warm yourself up as well. If you have to park your car outside overnight, cover up the windshield with a piece of cardboard. It’ll prevent frost from forming and save you and the environment a whole lot of grief the next morning.

Article courtesy of The Green Life (

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

DIY Air Freshener

Store-bought air fresheners aren't very good for the
environment; most are made of paper and filled with chemicals.
The next time you want your car smelling fresher, take matters into
your own hands by making your own air freshener. Find an old blanket
or old piece of clothing and cut out a shape of your choice. Next, affix
the cloth to a piece of cardboard (keep it the same size), decorate
it, then soak the fabric in your favorite essential oil.
Article courtesy of The Green Life (

Improve Fuel Efficiency

Daily Tips for Living Well and Doing Good from the editors of Sierra magazine
Driving is one of the least green modes of transportation,
but there are ways of being eco-friendly even while in a car. This
week's tips will help you have less of an impact the next time
you have to drive.

While zero-impact cars and fuels don't (yet) exist, there are
things every driver can do to improve fuel efficiency. One is simply
by driving at a smoother pace - rapid acceleration wastes gas
and increases emissions. Avoid drive-through windows, too: Unless you
drive a hybrid, idling next to a pick-up window for more than 30
seconds actually wastes more gas than turning off, then restarting
your car.
Article courtesy of The Green Life (

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The melting Arctic: a bigger-than-estimated impact on climate

The dramatic shrinking of Arctic sea ice and the Northern Hemisphere's glaciers and snowfields has reduced the radiation of sunlight back into space more than scientists previously predicted, according to a new study in the journal Nature Geoscience.

As a result, the ocean and land mass exposed by the melting ice and snow have absorbed more heat, contributing to global warming.

Read more:

Article courtesy of the LA Times Greenspace  by Margot Roosevelt

Monday, January 17, 2011

Evergreen Solar expands job-cut figure

Evergreen Solar Inc., which revealed on Tuesday that it will close its solar panel plant in Devens, now says it will cut more jobs than previously disclosed. However, the company also plans to invest millions of dollars in its existing research and development center in Marlborough, and remains committed to Massachusetts.

Read more:


Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Todd Wallack

Monday, January 10, 2011

Turning gas guzzlers into efficient hybrids

The black Lincoln Town Car that Tod Hynes has been driving around Boston looks like the sort of sedan that would ferry a well-paid executive. But under the hood and stashed in the trunk is a system that has turned the gas guzzler into a hybrid, nudging down its gas consumption. Read more:

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe  by Scott Kirsner

Friday, January 7, 2011


Many Americans first heard about fracking in 2010. It’s the controversial technology for extracting natural-gas, a practice that has subjected areas of the country to a drilling boom. Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune visited Pennsylvania to meet with people who've been affected by reckless drilling, and blogged about how the industry is "exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, parts of the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, as well as our country's hazardous waste and cleanup laws."

The Sierra Club's Activist Network, which launched in 2010, has one of its biggest and most active teams working on the issue.
Article courtesy of Sierra club Insider

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Some deep-water gulf drilling allowed to resume

The Interior Department says companies can restart work at 16 wells but must meet new safety standards.

In a move that could signal a long-awaited return to business as usual in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration announced Monday that it would allow 13 companies to resume deep-water oil and gas drilling that was suspended after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion last spring.

The administration had imposed a drilling moratorium after the April 20 accident at the BP well, which killed 11 workers and spewed millions of barrels of oil into the gulf in the country's worst offshore oil disaster. Read more:,0,6367447.story

Article courtesy of the LA Times

Green Your Fitness: Get Greener Gear

When getting fit, it helps to have the right shoes, the right clothes, and the right, uh, support. But before you go out to buy an armful of synthetic products (yes, spandex, nylon, and their brethren were invented in a lab), remember the many green-thinking companies that produce sustainable apparel and leave your money in their hands instead. And since we can already hear the chorus of comments chastising us for promoting the buying of something new, we’ll add that we agree that buying used workout gear is about as green as it gets — check your local Goodwill or equivalent for perfectly good threads
Article courtesy of The Green Life (

Dead birds falling from sky still mystify experts

Scientists still don’t know what’s causing flocks of birds to drop from the sky in the South, even as several hundred more fell dead onto a Louisiana highway.

The puzzling phenomenon started on New Year’s Eve when thousands of blackbirds were found dead in central Arkansas. Townsfolk spent their holiday weekend removing the remains of between 4,000 and 5,000 dead red-winged blackbirds. Scientists have descended on the town, trying to find a cause for the mass die-off.

In the latest incident early this week, some 500 birds were discovered scattered on a rural road in Louisiana's Pointe Coupee Parish, 300 miles south of the Arkansas site. Officials there are stumped as to what caused the birds to plunge to their death.

Read more:

Article courtesy of the LA Times- Greenspace Environmental News from California and Beyond-by Julie Cart


Time to talk tunnel on Cape?

BOURNE — It could be a third bridge for cars and trucks. Or a pair of new bridges. Or maybe, just maybe, that tunnel sticker many drivers have on their bumpers will finally be more than just a local joke.

The long-term solution for what to do about the 75-year-old Bourne and Sagamore bridges may be none of the above, but state and local officials, politicians and business leaders are focused on the problem more than ever after the traffic headaches from repairs during the past two years and the promise of more in the future.

Read more:

Article courtesy of The Boston Herald  By Patrick Cassidy / The Cape Cod Times


2010 confirmed as warmest year on record in Mass.

The unusually balmy start to 2011 yesterday seemed a fitting follow-up act to 2010, as final temperature data for the year confirmed that 2010 was the warmest on record in Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service in Taunton.

The average temperature last year registered 53.8 degrees, breaking the previous record of 53.6 degrees, set in both 1949 and 1953.
Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-Green Blog by L Finch

Monday, January 3, 2011

Swedish City Cuts Fossil Fuel Use with Waste

A decade ago, Kristianstad, Sweden vowed to end fossil fuel use. Very close to their ultimate goal, the city of 80,000 now uses essentially no oil, natural gas or coal to heat homes and businesses. The replacement energy source comes from byproducts from the city’s farming and food processing industries. A ten-year-old plant outside of the city uses a biological process to transform wastes including potato peels, manure, used cooking oil, stale cookies and pig intestines into biogas, a form of methane. The fuel can be burned to generate electricity or refined for car fuel.
Article courtesy of smart Growth Network

Urban Gardening Evolution

Urban farming is growing to accommodate more than community gardens grown in backyards and abandoned lots. Innovations for both individual and industrial scale urban farming are being developed across the continent. Business owners are beginning to use warehouses to meet the urban demand for locally grown and organic food. One example is an indoor farm that opened in Vancouver Canada, growing lettuce and spinach with high-efficiency LED lighting and a hydroponic system. Another farming opportunity for the individual agriculture enthusiast is the Windowfarms Project, which allows urban apartment dwellers to grow food in a modular, hydroponic “farm” that hangs in a window.
Article courtesy of Smart Growth Network

Car Connection Says Billboards Are Dangerous

The Car Connection, a website that reviews automobiles, recently published a list of the “7 Most Dangerous Things You Can Do in Your Car,” and reading billboards is listed among them as a “potentially deadly distraction.” Digital billboard technology is especially distracting, presenting a new array of challenges to drivers. These new digital distractions include bright screens that change every 6 to 8 seconds, and high-resolution signs that show video right next to the roadway. "The best advice is keep your eyes on the road," Car Connections editors say, but that can be easier said than done when it comes to out-of-car distractions. The human eye is designed to notice movement, particularly in our peripheral vision, so a bright, changing screen may in fact be nearly impossible to ignore.
Article courtesy of Smart Growth Network