Environment

Matti Mattila via Flickr Creative Commons

 

How energy efficient is the Granite State? A new reports says not very, at least in terms of our buildings. Three years after Governor Lynch issued a Climate Action Plan, which included a call for more efficient homes and offices, UNH researchers find the state is way behind where it had hoped to be. We're examining what the problems are, as well as the prospects for future improvement.

Guests:

Wolfram Burner, courtesy Flickr

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

 

Dear EarthTalk: Is there any environmental risk from all that Japanese tsunami debris that is starting to wash up on the U.S. west coast? -- Bailey Thigerson, Seattle, WA

 

LA Wad, courtesy Flickr

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I recently saw an article extolling the virtues of natural gas as an abundant, inexpensive and domestically produced automotive fuel. Is this going to be the automotive fuel of the future and how green is it? -- Jason Kincaide, New Bedford, MA

 

Yesterday, in a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to uphold most of President Obama's signature health care law.  The decision came with mixed reactions in New Hampshire. Some applauded the ruling while others plotted political revenge. Both Democrats and Republicans have called it a political 'leg up' for their hopes in November, but only time will tell who is right?  Today we'll look at this decision, how it will affect Granite Staters and how it may play out politically both nationally and here in New Hampshire.

Guests

Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

 

Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

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

 

Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

 

Dear EarthTalk: The term “sustainable communities” gets bantered around quite a bit today. Could you define it for me?-- Holly Parker, Mechanicsburg, PA

Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

 

Dear EarthTalk: Iunderstand the Environmental Protection Agency recently took steps to limit pollution from power plants. What are the details?-- Maddie Samberg, via e-mail

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Diesel exhaust from trucks, buses, large ships and farm equipment is especially unhealthy. What progress has been made in curbing diesel pollution?-- Jackie Mitchell, Barre, MA

FogStock/Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I own a small business and would like to do what I can to minimize its impact on the environment. Can you help me?-- Jacob Levinson, New York, NY

 

Pesticide Action Network

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

 

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.

Silent Spring

Jun 1, 2012

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.

iStock Photo

EarthTalk®

E - The Environmental Magazine

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

U.S. Coast Guard

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I’ve seen a lot of warm and fuzzy TV ads, some sponsored by BP Oil, urging me to vacation in the Gulf of Mexico. But are things really “back to normal?”    --Paul Shea, Dublin, OH

iStock Photo

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Lead was long ago phased out of automobile gasoline, but it is still in aviation fuel and is now the largest source of lead emissions in the U.S. What’s being done?    -- L. Eber, Rye, NY

 

Comstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

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

Stockbyte

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

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”.

Guests:

International Fairtrade Certification Mark

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What is the “Fair Trade Your Supermarket” campaign? -- Brian Howley, Washington, DC

Tom MacKensie, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: The oil industry is planning what some call a dangerous strategy of drilling for oil on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Arctic Ocean. What’s going on?   -- Vera Bailey, New Hope, PA

 

Wichary, Flickr/CC

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Why is Greenpeace upset with some leading tech companies for so-called “dirty cloud computing?” Can you explain?                                                          -- Jeremy Wilkins, Waco, TX

 

Artyom Sharbatyan

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I understand there is to be another Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012, 20 years since the last one was held in the same city. What’s on the agenda this time?

                                                                                                -- Janet Grayson, Albuquerque, NM

Garbology

Apr 23, 2012
(Photo by Stinkenroboter via Flickr Creative Commons)

You may have heard that Americans throw away more than any other nation, but any idea of just how much? Each of us is on track to toss 102 tons of garbage in our lifetime. More than 7 pounds a day, and twice what we chucked out in 1960. Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Humes believes we are living in a state of garbage denial. His new book is called Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash. In it, he looks at the science, politics, and economics of waste.  

iStock/Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

 

Dear EarthTalk: I’ve heard that many air fresheners contain toxic chemicals. Are there any green-friendly, non-toxic air fresheners out there, or how can I make my own?      -- Jenny Rae, Bolton, MA

 

iStock/Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What are “catch shares” as a strategy for rescuing fish populations that are on the brink?                                                                                              -- Peter Parmalee, New Orleans, LA

 

It's been two years since the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 rig workers and unleashing the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The oil has long stopped flowing and BP spent billions of dollars to clean up oiled beaches and waterways, but the disaster isn't necessarily over.

Oil fouled some 1,100 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline, but today, in most spots, you can't see obvious signs of the spill. In Orange Beach, Ala., the clear emerald waters of the Gulf roll onto sugar-white sand beaches.

The Environmental Protection Agency's new air pollution rules for the oil and gas industry may seem like odd timing, as President Obama has been trying to deflect Republican criticism that he overregulates energy industries. But the rules weren't the Obama administration's idea.

Several years ago, communities in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming complained about air pollution from natural gas booms in their local areas.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules Wednesday to control the problem of air pollution coming from wells being drilled by the booming oil and natural gas drilling industry.

Currently, waste products from the drilling operations, which include a mix of chemicals, sand and water, can be pumped into open enclosures or pits, where toxic substances can make their way into the air. The new rules will require this fluid to be captured by 2015, and flared — or burned off — in the meantime.

Gaming the Forest

Apr 18, 2012
(Photo by Kevin Poh via Flickr Creative Commons)

A new app transforms tree leaves into currency…kind of changes your mind about raking season, eh?

The game, called Forest, will be demonstrated at the Computer-Human Interaction (CHI) conference in Austin, Texas, in May. It was designed by Jason Linder and Wendy Ju of the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.  

 

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