With less than 5 percent of world population, the U.S. uses a third of the world’s paper, a quarter of the oil, coal and aluminum, and 19 percent of the copper. The U.S. ranks highest by a considerable margin in most consumer categories as well.
Most of us assume that all we need do to prevent sunburns and skin cancer from exposure to the sun is to slather on sunscreen. But consumers should be careful about which sunscreens they trust for themselves and, even more important, for their kids.
Biofuels (or agrofuels) can be a carbon-neutral energy source, but the overall process of producing them is far from carbon neutral, given the substantial amount of fossil fuels expended in growing, harvesting, processing and distributing them.
The Bicknell’s thrush is a migratory songbird that winters in the Caribbean but comes to northern New England to breed.
It's long been hard to find in the region – and conservationists say that’s becoming a big problem. In fact, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week it’s considering the Bicknell’s thrush for endangered species status.
We talk with Pulitzer Prize winning author Edward Humes about his new book, Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash. Americans are at the top of the heap for producing waste: over 100 tons per person in a lifetime.
Humes explores why we make so much garbage, the environmental and economic impact of trash…and why he believes this is a problem ordinary people can fix.
Dear EarthTalk: Do environmentalists think the Endangered Species Act has been a success or failure with regard to protecting biodiversity in the U.S.?-- Ron McKnight, Trenton, NJ
While that very question has been a subject of debate already for decades, most environmental advocates are thankful such legislation is in place and proud of their government for upholding such high standards when it comes to preserving rare species of plants and animals.
With a link between extreme weather and rising greenhouse gases, two thoughts are emerging. Many environmentalists say we should work toward mitigating greenhouse gases but others suggest the problems are irreversible and so we have to adapt to inevitable change. But for some this idea is uncomfortable. They worry that adaptation means giving up. Today we look at these two different thoughts around climate change and see where we go from here.
Dear EarthTalk: I couldn’t believe my ears: “genetically engineered mosquitoes?” Why on Earth would they be created? And I understand there are plans to release them into the wild?-- Marissa Abingdon, Sumter, SC
Often called New Hampshire’s “hidden coast, the Great Bay is considered an estuary of national significance. Yet, its future seems in question both because pollution has taken a toll on its ecosystem and because nearby communities, activists, and officials can’t agree on how best to eradicate it, even as all realize something must be done. We'll look at the Great Bay debate and see if some sort of compromise can be made?
Dear EarthTalk: Has an alternative to air conditioning to keep rooms cool been invented that is significantly cheaper and/or that uses significantly less energy than traditional air conditioning?--Ashutosh Saxena, Allahabad, India
Dear EarthTalk: I was appalled by the pollution haze I saw on a recent visit to Acadia National Park in Maine, and was told by a ranger that it was from smokestacks and tailpipes hundreds of miles away. Is anything being done to clear the air in Acadia and other natural areas where people go to breathe fresh air and enjoy distant unobstructed views?-- Betty Estason, via e-mail