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. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-colombia-bamboo-20111129,0,3037760.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. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2011/11/entourages-adrian-grenier-and-peter-glatzer-shft-hollywood-green.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GreenspaceEnvironmentBlog+%28Greenspace%29

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.


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. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-keystone-pipeline-20111115,0,236918.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 (http://bit.ly/sb6AIP) 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. http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/11/11/panel_cuts_lobster_catch_to_rebuild_population/

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.  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2011/11/greenpeace-guide-to-greener-electronics.html

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. http://www.boston.com/news/science/articles/2011/11/09/iea_time_running_out_to_limit_earths_warming/

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. http://archrecord.construction.com/yb/ar/article.aspx?story_id=165215636

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