Environment

Manufacturing facilities that do not depend on human labor to get work done may have some energy saving benefits but are certainly not beneficial overall considering the impact widespread adoption would have on needed jobs. Pictured: a Robotic arm loading Coca Cola bottles into boxes and loading the boxes onto an assembly line.
PHOTO: om Maglieri, 
courtesy Flickr

EARTHTALK: Dark Factories

Dear EarthTalk: What are “dark factories” and are they good for the environment?–Mitchell Pearson, Erie, PA So-called dark factories—otherwise known as “lights out” or “automatic” factories—are manufacturing facilities that do not depend on human labor to get work done. While they may have some benefits for the environment they are certainly not beneficial overall considering 

Posted 3 years ago by

There are many resources available to help parents and educators teach kids how to understand the issues and become better stewards for the planet.   PHOTO: Global Imagination

EARTHTALK: Teaching kids about climate change

Dear EarthTalk: Do you have any tips for explaining global warming and other complex environmental problems to my kids?–Peter Buckley, Pittsburgh, PA Kids today may be more eco-savvy than we were at their age, but complex topics like global warming may still mystify them. Luckily there are many resources available to help parents teach their 

Posted 3 years ago by

Holidays are festive and fun, they can take a toll on the environment. One way to be greener is to get a real tree, especially a potted (living) tree, which you can keep for years after the holidays pass.  PHOTO: Leonora Enking, courtesy Flickr

EARTHTALK: Greener Holidays

EarthTalk® Dear EarthTalk: What are some ideas for being greener this holiday season?– Beth Livingston, Camden, NJ While the holidays are festive and fun, they can take a toll on the environment. All that shopping, decoration, food preparation and travel adds up to more carbon emissions and more waste. But there are ways to minimize 

Posted 4 years ago by

A typical fracking operation pumps some five million gallons of water and chemicals underground to break up the shale. About half the water is removed during the oil and gas recovery process, leaving the other half underground where it can contaminate aquifers and degrade soils.
(PHOTO: Flickr)

EARTHTALK: Greener ways to ‘frack’ for natural gas?

Dear EarthTalk: I hear there’s a greener form of fracking for natural gas and oil that uses carbon dioxide instead of water to access underground reserves. Is this really better for the environment? — Jason Burroughs, Erie, PA Hydraulic fracturing (known as “fracking”) is a method of causing fissures in underground shale rock formations to 

Posted 4 years ago by

The Ecology Center’s 2012 Consumer Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Cars compared over 200 different cars across the 2010 and 2011 model years. Those scoring the most kudos in regard to interior air quality include the Honda Civic, Honda CR-Z and the Toyota Prius, pictured here.    PHOTO: Toyota

EARTHTALK: Pollution inside Cars

EarthTalk® Dear EarthTalk: Can you discuss pollutants in car interior materials, and also pollution inside cars originating from gasoline and diesel exhausts outside the car? — Mervyn Kline, Philadelphia, PA The interior of your car may seem like a safe haven from air pollution, but it may actually be quite the opposite. Chemicals emanating from 

Posted 4 years ago by

According to the Climate Institute, the impact of the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was much greater in more developed sections of coastal Thailand where mangrove and coral reef loss preceded the natural disaster.
PHOTO: Alan C., courtesy Flickr

EARTHTALK: Ecosystem Damage from Beach Resorts

Dear EarthTalk: What are the environmental risks associated with beach resorts?– Shine Shoukkathali, via e-mail While they may put up with a lot of stress from wind, waves and weather, beaches and the coastal environments surrounding them are surprisingly fragile. The ecosystems which make up coastal areas have evolved over eons to their current natural 

Posted 4 years ago by

Some wonder whether our fascination with essential oils is so good for the planet, given that it can take hundreds if not thousands of pounds of plant material to make just one pound of an oil. Pictured: A lavender field at the Norfolk Lavender farm and nursery and distillery in Heacham, Norfolk, England.
PHOTO: Mary Hillary

EARTHTALK: Concerns over Essential Oils

Dear EarthTalk: What’s the skinny on essential oils? I love them, but a friend told me they are no good for the environment. — Mary M., via e-mail Essential oils are more popular than ever for medicinal and therapeutic purposes as well as in fragrances and flavorings for food and drinks. Typically produced by harvesting 

Posted 4 years ago by

There has been considerable talk of how dangerous synthetic sugar substitutes may be for our health, but little evidence of harm has actually come forth and their environmental impacts may be more reason for concern.
PHOTO: 
abbyladybug, 
courtesy Flickr

EARTHTALK: Sugar vs. Artificial Sweeteners

EarthTalk® Dear EarthTalk: I saw an article on sugar’s effects on the environment. Has anyone compared different sweeteners (artificial or natural) for their environmental impacts?–Terri Oelrich, via e-mail The production of sugar has indeed taken a huge environmental toll. “Sugar has arguably had as great an impact on the environment as any other agricultural commodity,” 

Posted 4 years ago by

Americans girls and boys are going through puberty earlier than ever, though the reasons are unclear. Many believe our widespread exposure to synthetic chemicals is at least partly to blame.    PHOTO: Christiana Care, Flickr

EARTHTALK: Rises in early puberty may have environmental roots

Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that American kids are going through puberty earlier today than in previous generations, and are there any environmental causes for this?–Paul Chase, Troy, NY Research indicates that indeed Americans girls and boys are going through puberty earlier than ever, though the reasons are unclear. Many believe our widespread exposure to 

Posted 4 years ago by

A new film by Academy Award-nominated Mark Kitchell, based on a 1993 book by Phil Shabecoff, documents the rise of the modern environmental movement from the 1960s through the present day. Pictured: Lois Marie Gibbs and other Niagara Falls, New York residents’ struggle against pollution buried beneath their Love Canal neighborhood in the 1970s.
PHOTO: A Fierce Green Fire

EARTHTALK: A Fierce Green Fire

Dear EarthTalk: What is the new documentary film A Fierce Green Fire about and what does the title refer to?– Gloria Howard, Washington, DC A Fierce Green Fire is a new film documenting the rise of the modern environmental movement from the 1960s through the present day. It premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival and will 

Posted 4 years ago by