Monday, May 23, 2011

Skepticism grows over products touted as eco-friendly

To Marina Meadows, green may be the new white. When she goes shopping these days, Meadows is often overwhelmed by a bevy of products touted as green, from Earth-friendly dish soaps and bamboo-derived towels to eco-detergents and plant-based soda bottles.

"Sometimes, I wonder if any of it's really green or if it's all a marketing scheme," Meadows said.

With booming interest in the environment, more companies are trying to cash in by promoting themselves and their products as green.


But environmentalists and some consumers are crying foul, saying that many companies are making the products out to be greener than they really are, a practice they call greenwashing. Read more:,0,6706379.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by Tiffany Hsu

Boston to offer electric car charge stations near City Hall

The city of Boston today will unveil three electric-vehicle charging stations near City Hall Plaza, providing exclusive downtown parking — complete with a power boost — for those who drive the environmentally friendly cars.

By putting the stations in a high-profile location, the city hopes to encourage drivers to abandon gasoline-powered vehicles and adopt the emerging electric option. Read more:

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-Green Blog by Andrew Ryan/Globe Staff




Friday, May 20, 2011

GE's 'green' engine offers new chance with military

WASHINGTON — For months, General Electric has fought an uphill battle to keep funds flowing for development of a next-generation F-35 fighter engine, a program the White House, Pentagon, and many in Congress oppose as wasteful — but one which would support hundreds of jobs at GE Aviation’s plants in Lynn and elsewhere. Read more:

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-Green Blog by Theo Emery-Globe Staff

Natural gas: study raises doubts on U.S. supply

The United States does not have a decades-long supply of inexpensive, locally sourced natural gas, according to a new report commissioned by the Post Carbon Institute, a nonprofit think tank that examines issues related to the economy, energy and the environment.

The report, titled "Will Natural Gas Fuel America in the 21st Century?," is a challenge to the commonly cited projection that domestic natural gas can meet U.S. demand for more than 100 years. It comes on the heels of the U.S. Energy Information Agency's 2011 Energy Outlook released last month that projected an almost fourfold increase in domestic shale gas production by 2035 and growing use of natural gas to generate electricity. 

Read more:

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe -Green Blog by Susan Carpenter


Largest wind blade testing center to open

The nation’s largest wind blade testing facility is opening for business on Boston’s waterfront. Governor Deval Patrick is scheduled to join other officials today for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Wind Technology Testing Center, the first commercial blade testing facility in the nation capable of handling blades as long as 90 meters. In 2009, US Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that Massachusetts would receive $25 million in federal stimulus dollars for construction of the testing center on Boston Harbor in Charlestown.
Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-Green Blog

China cracks down on lead emissions

SHANGHAI — China is cracking down on emissions of lead and other heavy metals following a spate of poisoning cases and reports that much of the country’s soil is contaminated with toxic materials. Read more:


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Send an Eco-Friendly Announcement

Put a new spin on an old tradition by sending sustainable graduation announcements to family and friends. Many companies now print photo announcements on 100% recycled, FSC-certified cardstock. You can even find wind-powered paper, or plantable announcements embedded with wildflower seeds. Then buy a sheet of the USPS's "Save Vanishing Species" stamps to donate 11 cents to endangered wildlife with each envelope. Or go paperless altogether by using use Evite's online announcements.

Article courtesy of The Green Life (

Safe and Complete Streets Legislation Introduced in U.S. House

Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Steven LaTourette (R-OH) have introduced the Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2011 (H.R. 1780) into the U.S. House of Representatives. The national legislation would direct states and regions to adopt policies to provide for the needs of all users of the transportation system, including people of all ages and abilities who are walking, bicycling, and taking the bus. The bill was referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Article courtesy of Smart Growth Online newsletter

Friday, May 13, 2011

Flood plan to save cities would swamp rural areas

BUTTE LAROSE, La. - In the latest agonizing decision along the swollen Mississippi River, federal engineers are close to opening a massive spillway that would protect Baton Rouge and New Orleans but flood hundreds of thousands of acres in Louisiana Cajun country.

With that threat looming, about 25,000 people in an area known for small farms, fish camps, crawfish and a drawling French dialect are hurriedly packing their things and worrying that their homes and way of life might soon be drowned.

Read more:

Article courtesy of by Michael Kunzelman-Associates Press




Markey: Back-up generators failed during tests at US nuclear plants

Nuclear plant emergency generators like those that failed in Japan following the tsunami, sparking that country’s nuclear crisis, also failed during tests at Seabrook Station and 32 other US nuclear plants in the last eight years, a new report by Massachusetts Congressman Edward Markey’s office shows.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations also do not require emergency diesel generators to be operational when there is no fuel in a nuclear reactor core – even though it could leave spent-fuel pools without any back-up cooling system in case power is lost, according to the report released this morning.

Read more:

Article courtesy of the Boston Globe-Green Blog posted by Beth Daley Globe Staff



Thursday, May 12, 2011

What's happening to the bees

To imagine a world without bees is to end up with a picture of a landscape looking like Mars, devoid of vegetation. Fortunately, we’re not there yet, but the honeybee — essential to agriculture throughout Virginia, indeed the world — needs your support to survive. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has become a global epidemic and can wipe out as much as 50 percent or more of any colony. Read more:

Article courtesy of the Loudoun Times by Dave Saunders of The Piedmont Virginia magazine

Fuel-efficient vehicles could save $7.2 billion annually in California health costs

California could save $7.2 billion in healthcare costs -- and prevent more than 400 premature deaths -- annually if the state adopts a 64 miles- per-gallon equivalent fuel economy standard, according to a report released Tuesday by the American Lung Assn. in California.
Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times Greenspace by Susan Carpenter

In the war on infections, add sugar

BU scientist discovers a surprising weapon to fight ‘persisters’

Persisters,’’ bacteria that evade medications by slipping into a zombielike state, then mysteriously reawaken to cause new infections.

In a study to be published today, Collins, 45, reports that he and colleagues have discovered how to make these bacteria, which are thought to underlie many stubborn infections, susceptible to drugs.

Their solution is deliciously simple: Just add sugar. Read more:

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Carolyn Y. Johnson

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The 2004 crash-landing of a returning NASA space capsule in the deserts of Utah had scientists fearing for a while that samples collected by the Genesis mission, sent to capture particles from the sun's solar wind, were lost.

But much of the collected material survived the crash, and it's now turning up surprises: discrepancies between the composition of the sun and the inner solar system, which contains the sun's four closest planets, including Earth.
 Read more:,0,223105.story
Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times -Greenspace by Amina Khan

An award to reduce potent greenhouse gases "you never heard of"

It was an unqualified win for the environment: The phase-out of ozone depleting gases used as coolants in refrigerators and air conditioners the world over.

But in the last generation, their celebrated replacement, while not ozone-damaging, has also turned out to be deeply harmful to the environment. Called hydrofluorocarbons, they are potent greenhouse gases and can persist for years in the environment. Growing in popularity, some projections say HFCs could account for 19 percent of heat-trapping emissions by 2050. Read more: Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-Green Blog posted by Beth Daley



Thursday, May 5, 2011

T shows 5 percent surge in ridership

Recovering economy, gas prices are cited

 Ridership on the Red, Orange, and Blue lines grew 6.9 percent in March, compared with last March, to 516,000 per weekday. The Green Line saw a 7.7 percent surge, to 227,900 daily. 
 Travel on the MBTA grew in March by the largest percentage in more than two years, probably propelled by recovering employment and soaring gas prices in the Boston area.
The T — including the subway system, buses, and commuter rail — recorded an average of nearly 1.3 million passenger trips each weekday in March, a 5 percent increase from the year before. The sharpest growth was registered on subway and trolley lines, where ridership swelled 7.1 percent, according to statistics released by the transit agency this week.
Article Courtesy of The Boston Globe (Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff) By Eric Moskowitz Globe Staff

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Auto pollution: California's carbon curbs upheld by appeals court

California's authority to pass its own air pollution standards, when they are stricter than federal law, withstood legal challenge Friday when a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Automobile Dealers Assn. did not have legal standing in the case.

Under the 1970 Clean Air Act, California may request waivers of federal standards in order to
enact its own, stricter laws -- a right granted because the state had its own pollution laws before the federal government’s Read more:

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times -Greenspace by Margot Roosevelt

Mass AG asks for hold on Pilgrim nuclear plant re-licensing

Attorney General Martha Coakley is asking the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission not to give the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant permission to operate another 20 years until it is clear it can operate safely.

Coakley, who has raised numerous safety concerns in recent years about the storage of spent fuel rods at the plant, says the radioactive leak from a spent fuel pool at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant underscores the need for more review of the pools at U.S. reactors. The Pilgrim plant, which has the same basic design as the Fukushima plant, has applied for permission to operate after its license expires next year.

Read more:

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

Washington || Multifamily Development Uses Zero Energy

A new multifamily residential demonstration that uses zero net energy is being built in Issaquah, Washington. The 10-unit townhome community uses smart design and cutting-edge technologies to radically reduce its environmental impacts. Called "zHome," the development will show that it is possible to build affordable multifamily homes that use zero net energy, 70% less water, emit zero net carbon emissions, have clean indoor air and use only low-toxicity materials. Read more:

Article courtesy of Smart Growth Online


New York/Connecticut || Bi-State Sustainable Communities Consortium Launched

The New York/Connecticut Sustainable Communities Initiative was announced on April 15. This initiative, funded with a $3.5 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant, will help reposition the New York-Connecticut region to fully harness its innovation capabilities in a competitive global environment, build on its strong foundation of energy efficiency, and become as equitable as it is efficient. Read more:

Article Courtesy of Smart Growth Online

"Food Hubs" Keep Economic Benefits in Communities

USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan has released the results of a nationwide analysis of "food hubs," an emerging business model that offers aggregation and distribution services for small and midsize food producers. Food hubs support local and regional food systems as an economic development strategy to keep wealth in local communities.

Over 100 food hubs across the U.S. generate sales of more than $1 million annually.  Article courtesy of Smarth Growth Online