Dear EarthTalk: Renewable energy production in the solar and wind markets currently receives about $7 billion in government subsidies annually, but is still not competitive against fossil fuels on a large scale. To what extent should the U.S. continue to prop up these industries as they compete against dirty energy?-- Jack Morgan, Richmond, VA
Dear EarthTalk: How do I learn about what pesticides may be on the food I eat?-- Beatrice Olson, Cleveland, OH
Along with the rise in the popularity of organic food has come an increased awareness about the dangers lurking on so-called “conventionally produced” (that is, with chemical pesticides and fertilizers) foods.
Fifty years ago, Rachel Carson's book, "Silent Spring", woke the world up to the perils of chemicals that promised food crops free of disease and insects, and time outdoors free of mosquitoes. The book is credited with starting the modern environmental movement. It was the birdwatchers that first alerted the scientists about robins literally falling from the sky soon after DDT was sprayed, as well as longer-term declines in birds higher on the food chain.
Dear EarthTalk: I understand there is good news about the recovery of bird species like the Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle and others owed to the 1972 ban on DDT. Can you explain? -- Mildred Eastover, Bath, ME
Dear EarthTalk: I understand there is an effort underway to allow all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, motorbikes, motorboats and other motorized vehicles into wilderness areas, which would overturn a long-standing ban. What’s behind this? -- Harry Schilling, Tempe, AZ
Dear EarthTalk: How do green groups feel about the new 2012 Farm Bill draft recently released by the Senate? -- Roger Wheeler, Miami, FL
Like so much of the legislation coming out of Washington, D.C., green groups are mixed on the new Farm Bill now making its way toward a floor vote. No doubt there are some conservation bright spots in the bill, but the question is: Are there enough and do they go far enough?
A decade ago, few people were talking about sustainability, especially in the South Bronx. It was there that Majora Carter founded programs for green-collar jobs, spearheaded policy changes, and helped transform a toxic dump into a riverside park. From a local movement to “green the ghetto,” she has inspired people across the nation to secure the environmental, educational and economic futures of their own communities.
Recently, several communities have voted to ban bottled water in their towns, citing concerns over plastic waste and environmental impact. But a backlash is also emerging from those who say singling out water is silly, given the many other sources of packaging that are just as harmful and that these efforts are “all wet”.