Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Coal occupies a central position in modern human endeavors. Last year over 7000 megatons were mined worldwide. Powerful, yet dirty and dangerous, use of coal is expanding every year, with 2010 witnessing a production increase of 6.8%. Around 70 countries have recoverable reserves, which some estimates claim will last for over a hundred years at current production levels. Mining for coal is one of the world's most dangerous jobs. While deadliest in China, where thousands of miners die annually, the profession is still hazardous in the West and other regions as well  http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2012/01/coal.html

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-The Big Picture by Lane Turner

Monday, January 30, 2012

No relief in rising gasoline prices as refineries shut down

"On January 18, Hess announced the closure of its HOVENSA joint venture refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a major source of product supply to the East Coast," the Energy Department said. "That planned closure follows on the heels of the idling of two refineries in the Delaware Valley by Sunoco and ConocoPhillips and announced plans by Sunoco to idle another refinery in the region by mid-2012."

The Energy Department added, "The complete idling of the three refineries would collectively cut as much as 50% of current East Coast refining capacity."  http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-gas-prices-20120130,0,3885077.story?track=rss

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times –Money & Company by Ronald D. White




Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mill redevelopment in Lawrence, Lowell, Haverhill coming back strong after recession

When plans to turn the old Wood Mill in Lawrence into luxury condominiums fell through in 2007, city leaders held their collective breaths.

The embattled city had finally started reaping the benefits of recent mill conversion projects, including the much lauded Riverwalk office complex, and this setback had some observers wondering whether Lawrence could lose its footing at the infancy of its revitalization.  http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/01/12/mill_redevelopment_in_lawrence_lowell_haverhill_coming_back_strong_after_recession/?page=full

Article courtesy of Smart Growth Online from The Boston Globe by Katheleen Conti-Globe Staff

Smart growth is healthy growth

Good planning is good public health policy. Why do I say this? As a pediatrician, I see first-hand the negative health impacts of sprawl development on our children, whose asthma is worsened by air pollution caused by too much driving. Medical professionals have known that cities designed primarily around driving are responsible for traffic pollution and congestion; contribute to climate change; and limit opportunities for healthy, active lifestyles. Now the Southern California Association of Governments is considering the future of growth in our region, in the context of its "Sustainable Communities Strategy." I urge local and regional leaders to get involved in this process and actively promote good planning for our region that allows us to grow in smarter and healthier wayshttp://www.sbsun.com/pointofview/ci_19775754

Article courtesy of Smart Growth Online from The Sun San Bernardino posted by Dr. Sunil Saini

Street Makeovers Put New Spin on the Block

How community activists are taking city planning into their own hands and creating pedestrian-friendly blocks via pop-up urbanism.

The recession may have robbed city governments of the wherewithal to enhance public places. But some undaunted architects, planners, and community activists are trying urban design experiments that are deliberately cheap, temporary, and unofficial. And sometimes these modest but audacious interventions lead to altered municipal policies and lasting changes in the cityscape. http://www.miller-mccune.com/environment/street-makeovers-put-new-spin-on-the-block-38926/

Article courtesy of Smart Growth Online from Miller-McCune.com by Tom Jacobs

Take a Walk

For today's new-home market, the road to profitability may be a foot path

The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates once said that "walking is man's best medicine." Some 1,400 years later, it looks like the same prescription may be just what the doctor ordered for the housing industry as well.

According to "The 2011 Community Preference Survey," a poll of 2,071 American adults conducted on behalf of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 77% of those polled considered having sidewalks and places to take a walk one of their top priorities when deciding where they’d like to live. Six in 10 adults said they would rather live in a neighborhood that featured a mix of houses, stores, and businesses within an easy walk, than a community of only houses that required driving to get to businesses. http://www.builderonline.com/new-urbanism/take-a-walk.aspx

Article courtesy of Smart Growth Online from Builder by Claire Easley

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Studying the science of space junk

"Well, here it is," said aerospace engineer William Ailor as he paused next to the hulking metal shells arrayed along the plaza outside a visitors entrance at Aerospace Corp.'s El Segundo headquarters.

The stuff is junk. But, Ailor said, it's no ordinary junk. This garbage has traveled to space and back.

A 150-pound hollow sphere of blackened titanium is all that remains of a motor casing from a Delta II rocket that fell to Earth in 2001, landing in the Saudi
Arabian desert west of Riyadh. 
Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by Eryn Brown/Los Angeles Times

National climate change strategy proposed for wildlife

The United States has no national strategy for curtailing its contributions to climate change, but it does now have a partial strategy for responding to its effects. On Thursday, the Obama administration released a draft of the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy, a plan to coordinate responses to global warming across the country.  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/environment/la-me-gs-national-climate-change-strategy-wildlife-20120120,0,36043.story?track=rss

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MBTA riders lament proposed fare increases and service cuts during public hearing

NEWTON -- Nearly 300 MBTA riders wedged into Newton’s War Memorial Hall last night to express fear and frustration over the steep fare increases and dramatic service cuts proposed by the T.

At the first of 22 planned transit agency hearings on the proposals, riders called on officials to consider the life-altering impact those changes would bring, particularly to low-income, elderly, and disabled residents.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-Boston & Beyond Now- by Erick Moskowitz-Globe Staff



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Climate change skepticism seeps into science classrooms

A flash point has emerged in American science education that echoes the battle over evolution, as scientists and educators report mounting resistance to the study of man-made climate change in middle and high schools.

Although scientific evidence increasingly shows that fossil fuel consumption has caused the climate to change rapidly, the issue has grown so politicized that skepticism of the broad scientific consensus has seeped into classrooms. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-climate-change-school-20120116,0,2808837.story
Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gulf currents aided breakdown of oil after BP spill, study says

Rather than moving steadily away from the wellhead, oil-laced water often circled back, returning hydrocarbon-consuming bacteria to the plume repeatedly, authors say.


The geography and water circulation patterns of the northern Gulf of Mexico promoted the breakdown of oil and gas spewing from a busted wellhead during the BP oil disaster, according to a new study. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-gulf-oil-20120110,0,1839654.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times

USC researchers discover new, cheaper CO2 capture

Researchers at USC, right here in our backyard, have just announced a new, superefficient way to pull CO2 out of the air. And, potentially, out of effluents from smokestacks and other industrial sources. And to then release it again, recycling the capture material over and over.

The secrets? Sand. And plastic.  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/environment/la-me-gs-new-cheaper-co2-capture-discovered-20120106,0,7127959.story?track=rss

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by Den Kuipers



NM, lab reach deal on radioactive waste cleanup

POJOAQUE, N.M.—State environmental officials have reached an agreement with Los Alamos National Laboratory to expedite the cleanup of thousands of barrels of radioactive waste.

Environment Secretary David Martin told a special meeting of the lab's Citizens Advisory Board that it has agreed to have all the barrels currently stored above ground removed by June 30, 2014. Any newly generated waste will have to be removed by the end of 2014.  http://www.boston.com/news/science/articles/2012/01/05/nm_lab_reach_deal_on_radioactive_waste_cleanup/

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Jeri Clausing Associated Press


Monday, January 9, 2012

Ocean waves power a prototype generator in Newport Beach

After testing their wave-powered turbine near the Wedge, the entrepreneurs behind Green Wave Energy Corp. want Newport Beach officials' permission to set up a more permanent trial. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-the-wedge-electric-20120109,0,1686759.story Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by Mike Reicher





Friday, January 6, 2012

Pile less on

Happy 2012! Losing weight is a wildly popular New Year's resolution. With that in mind, this week's tips will help you slim down -- the green way.

It's an obvious statement: The more food you eat, the more resources you consume. Of course, you should absolutely be eating as much as you need to be healthy. But when it comes to eating for reasons other than function, that's when you start harming our shared resources and your own body. To follow the sensible "eat to live" ethos, prepare and serve yourself smaller portions at home. At restaurants where you know entrĂ©es will be huge, plan to split yours with your dining partner, or set half aside to take home. It's best to avoid buffets and other situations in which it's easy to overeat. An excellent tool to track your intake is the website and phone app MyFitnessPal

Article courtesy of The Sierra Club =Green Life

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Green Your Diet: Think vegan and vegetarian.

Aside from the health and weight benefits of a plant-based diet (vegans and vegetarians are at lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer), the choice to refrain from eating meat -- or simply being mindful about eating less of it -- helps the planet tremendously. Considering that livestock production is the cause of nearly 20% of the world's greenhouse gases -- more than the entire transportation sector -- and that animal factory farms pollute U.S. waterways more than all other industrial sources combined, it's clear how it would behoove us all to eat less meat. If you think you'll having trouble making the switch, try some carnivore-recommended faux meats.

Article courtesy of The Green Life (green.life@sierraclub.org)


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Slim Down the Green Way

Happy 2012! Losing weight is a wildly popular New Year’s resolution. With that in mind, this week’s tips will help you slim down — the green way.

Tool number one you'll need while managing your weight loss is a bathroom scale. While this may not strike you as being a product category with many eco-friendly options, they do exist: Whynter makes a bamboo scale, and Tanita's got a solar-powered one that's made from biodegradable plastic. It wouldn't be a bad idea to invest in a kitchen scale too, for greater certainty about portion size; Salter's bamboo version is an eco-minded choice.   Article courtesy of The Green Life (green.life@sierraclub.org)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Transit tax benefit decreasing to $125 per month in 2012

The IRS Commuter Benefits limits are set to change in January 2012. The current monthly limit on the tax benefit for transit and vanpools of $230 per month will revert to $125 per month in 2012.  The temporary increase in the benefit was set up under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and is set to expire at the end of 2011.   


This means that in 2012 an employer may give a tax-exempt commuter benefit to an employee, or allow an employee to use pre-tax income, of up to $125 per month for transit or vanpool passes.  The amount an employer gives over $125 per month will be taxable income for the employee.  The monthly limit for qualified parking provided by an employer to its employees for 2012 will increase to $240, up $10 from the limit in 2011. http://www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/CommuteSolutions/EmployerTaxBenefits/IRSCommuteBenefits.aspx

Article courtesy of King County WA website