EARTHTALK: Green walls

Dear EarthTalk: I’ve heard of green roofs, but what are “green walls?”– P. Spencer, Alcoa, TN Green walls (also known as biowalls, vertical gardens or vertical vegetated complex walls) are wall structures partly composed of or filled in with growing plant matter. More than just easy on the eyes, green walls work like green roofs 

Posted 5 years ago by

EARTHTALK: Is there safe nuclear energy?

Dear EarthTalk: Thorium is a naturally occurring element that is supposedly more available, more efficient and safer to use than uranium for generating nuclear energy. Is this true and, if so, why haven’t we made the switch?–Jane Westermann, Austin, TX Thorium, a naturally occurring radioactive element found in abundance in the Earth’s crust all around 

Posted 5 years ago by

EARTHTALK: Chemicals, pollution…and cancer

Dear Earthtalk: How clear (or not) are the links between the rising incidents of cancers around the world and the prevalence of synthetic chemicals in modern society?–Alberto Buono, Lee, MA With the World Health Organization hinting that cancer could unseat heart disease as the leading cause of death around the world, it’s no surprise that 

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EARTHTALK: Will eating garlic and onions prevent cancer?

Dear EarthTalk: Given the preponderance of carcinogenic chemicals out there today, is it true that eating certain foods like garlic or onions can actually help prevent cancer?– M. Stone, Boston, MA Natural healers have extolled the cancer-preventing virtues of garlic and onions for years, but only recently do we have enough scientific research to draw 

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EARTHTALK: Wet cleaning vs dry cleaning

Dear EarthTalk: Some drycleaners I’ve seen offer “wet cleaning” as opposed to dry cleaning. What’s the difference? Is it better for the environment?–Elizabeth Connelly, Tampa, FL The dry-cleaning industry has come under attack in recent years for its use of perchloroethylene (“perc”), a noxious chemical solvent that does a good job cleaning and not damaging 

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EARTHTALK: Gold mining with cyanide

Dear EarthTalk: Most gold mining operations use cyanide to extract gold from surrounding rock. What are the environmental implications of this, and are there alternatives? — J. Pelton, via e-mail Although “cyanidation”—the use of a sodium cyanide compound to separate a precious metal from finely ground rock—has become less common in other forms of mining, 

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EARTHTALK: Will U.S. limit its Greenhouse gas emissions?

Dear EarthTalk: What’s the latest in regard to putting limits on greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.? Is there any hope that Obama can get something done? – Bradley Johnson, Helena, MT Our best hope to date was 2009’s American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), a bill that called for the implementation of a 

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EARTHTALK: Genetic Pollution

Dear EarthTalk: What is “genetic pollution” as it pertains to the bioengineering of animals, fish and plants, and what happens if they cross breed with their wild cousins? — R. Ahearn, Rome, NY Genetically modified organisms are those that have been altered by scientists to include genes from other organisms (known as transgenes) that may 

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EARTHTALK: Banks funding destructive mountaintop removal mining

Dear EarthTalk: I understand that mountaintop removal as a way of coal mining is incredibly destructive. Didn’t a report come out recently that named major banks that were funding this activity?  – Seth Jergens, New York, NY Yes it’s true that many major banks invest in companies that engage in the environmentally destructive practice of 

Posted 5 years ago by

ENVIRONMENT: Pharmaceuticals in the water

Dear EarthTalk: Pharmaceuticals were in the news again recently, how they are polluting water and raising a host of health issues because we dispose of them both unused and used through body waste elimination. What can be done?–Lucy Abbot, Macon, GA Pharmaceutical drug contamination in our groundwater, rivers, lakes, estuaries and bays is a growing 

Posted 6 years ago by