Environment

With upwards of 17 million U.S. households and offices possessing Keurig coffee brewers these days, billions of K-Cups are already ending up in landfills every year.
PHOTO: Aaron Paxson, courtesy Flickr

EARTHTALK: Keurig ‘K-Cup’ coffee containers

EarthTalk® Dear EarthTalk: What is the environmental impact of those “K-Cups” everyone seems to be using nowadays to make coffee at both home and office? — Chris B., Stamford, CT K-Cups—those little one-serving coffee containers that allow people to brew one cup at a time in a specially designed Keurig brewing machine—are all the rage 

Posted 2 weeks ago by hermiegarcia4gmailcom

Thousands of “green” apps now that make it easy for people to find and share information to help us all become better stewards of the natural environment. Pictured: A GoodGuide app evaluates a household product.                          PHOTO: GoodGuide

EARTHTALK: Mobile Apps for environmental stewardship

EarthTalk® Dear EarthTalk: What are some cool apps that work with a mobile phone that can help me get in better touch with the environment?– Mitchell Brown, Troy, MI Not surprisingly, there are thousands of “green” apps out there that make it easier for people to find and share information to help us all become 

Posted 2 weeks ago by hermiegarcia4gmailcom

The European Union reports that by the year 2020 emissions from sectors covered by the Emissions Trading System (ETS) there will be 21 percent lower than they were in 2005 and 43 percent lower by 2030. Pictured: A coal-fired power plant in 
Germany.  
PHOTO: Arnold Paul

EARTHTALK: ‘Cap and Trade’ strategies to reduce carbon emissions

Dear EarthTalk: If “cap and trade” has worked so well in Europe for reducing greenhouse gas emissions there, why haven’t we tried something similar here in the U.S.? — Sandra M., Bern, NC “Cap-and-trade,” whereby big polluters must pay to emit greenhouse gases against a capped total amount that is reduced over time—has been in 

Posted 4 weeks ago by hermiegarcia4gmailcom

The Union of Concerned Scientists reports that, thanks to global warming, insects previously stopped by cold winters are already moving to higher latitudes, a phenomenon that could expose an extra two billion people, mostly in developing countries, to the dengue virus over the next half century.
Credit: U.S. Department 
of Agriculture

EARTHTALK: Global warming and our health

Dear EarthTalk: How is it that global warming could cause an increase in health problems and disease epidemics? Do we have any evidence that it is already happening?  — Jim Merrill, Provo, UT Global warming isn’t just bad for the environment. There are several ways that it is expected to take a toll on human 

Posted 4 weeks ago by hermiegarcia4gmailcom

Environmental leaders are opposed to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline which, if approved and built, would transport tar sands fuels through the Midwestern U.S. to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. Pictured: A Rainforest Action Network anti tar sands pipeline protest in front of the Canadian Consulate in Chicago.
PHOTO: Rainforest Action Network

EARTHTALK: Dirty Fuels

Dear EarthTalk:What are “dirty fuels” and why are they so called?– Bill Green, Seattle, WA The term “dirty fuels” refers to fuels derived from tar sands, oil shale or liquid coal. Just like their more conventional fossil fuel counterparts such as petroleum and coal, they can be turned into gasoline, diesel and other energy sources 

Posted 1 month ago by hermiegarcia4gmailcom

Proponents of synthetic biology tout its potential for bringing about great advances in medicine, energy and cheaper foods. But health advocates worry that the risks to health and the environment may be too great. Pictured: a researcher using “synbio” to engineer new microbes as an alternative to yeast for turning complex sugars into biofuels.
PHOTO: Lawrence Berkeley Nationall Laboratory/Roy Kaltschmidt

EARTHTALK: Synthetic Biology

Dear EarthTalk: Should those of us who care about our health and the planet be concerned about the new trend in genetic engineering called synthetic biology?–Chrissie Wilkins, Bern, NC “Synthetic biology” (or “synbio”) refers to the design and fabrication of novel biological parts, devices and systems that do not otherwise occur in nature. Many see 

Posted 1 month ago by hermiegarcia4gmailcom

The 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster did cause many nations to reconsider their nuclear commitments, but many countries are still looking to nuclear power as a way to increase energy production without adding to greenhouse gas emissions.PHOTO: Kawamoto Takuo

EARTTALK: A Nuclear Power Resurgence?

Dear EarthTalk: I thought Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown would have sealed nuclear power’s fate, but I keep hearing otherwise. Can you enlighten?  — Jacob Allen, New York, NY The 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster did cause many nations to reconsider their nuclear committments, though many European countries—Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden—had 

Posted 2 months ago by hermiegarcia4gmailcom

The harsh winter we are having shouldn’t be viewed as a refutation of global warming, but rather as further evidence of a growing problem. Pictured: Trying to get around in Cortland, Illinois on January 4, 2014.    PHOTO: Michael Kappel, courtesy Flickr

EARTHTALK: Harsh winters and global warming

EarthTalk® Dear EarthTalk: Does the fact that we’ve had such a cold and snowy winter mean that global warming might not be such a big problem after all?– Lacey L., Lynchburg, VA It’s tempting to think that the cold air and snow outside augur the end of global warming, but don’t rejoice yet. According to 

Posted 2 months ago by hermiegarcia4gmailcom

The next frontier in sprawl may be on the high seas, where the proliferation of fishing, shipping, tourism, resource extraction, energy development, military exercises and other human activity has begun to call into question just how vast our oceans really are. Pictured: a fishing trawler on the high seas.
PHOTO: Jon Anderson/Flickr

EARTHTALK: Ocean Sprawl

EarthTalk® Dear EarthTalk: I recently heard the term “ocean sprawl,” which was a new one on me. We all know “sprawl” as it manifests itself above sea level. But in the oceans? Can you enlighten?– Bill Chadwick, Nantucket, MA We are all familiar by now with “urban sprawl”—the uncontrolled spread of urban development into areas 

Posted 3 months ago by hermiegarcia4gmailcom

Though natural gas emissions are still far to high for the fuel to be considered a global warming solution, lower overall CO2 emissions over the past 20 years are in large part due to the swapping out of coal at power plants and industrial facilities across the country for cleaner-burning and now more abundant natural gas.  
PHOTO: Portland General Electric

EARTHTALK: Cheaper natural gas lowering carbon dioxide emissions

EarthTalk® Dear EarthTalk: How can it be that carbon dioxide emissions are the lowest they have been in the United States in 20 years despite the fact that we have no binding federal legislation limiting them?- Jason Johnson, Port Chester, NY Carbon dioxide emissions are indeed lower than at any time since 1994, according to 

Posted 3 months ago by hermiegarcia4gmailcom