Environment

Unsafe levels of lead contaminate soil in hundreds of neighborhoods around the U.S. where lead smelting facilities operated between the 1930s and 1960s. Children under the age of six are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. Pictured: Rusty remains at an old lead smelting mill.
PHOTO: Simon Bowen

EARTHTALK: Ghost Factories

Dear EarthTalk: What are “ghost factories?”– Philip Walker, Hartford, CT In April 2012, USA TODAY published a series entitled “Ghost Factories,” a report on an investigation into lead contaminated soil in hundreds of neighborhoods around the U.S. where lead factories once operated. The investigation addressed the lack of action taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection 

Posted 6 years ago by

Most Earth scientists agree that future sea levels will rise at a greater pace than during the last 50 years. Coastal communities will suffer the most, as flooding from rising water levels will force millions of people out of their homes. Pictured: flooding in Marblehead, Massachusetts caused by Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012.
PHOTO: The Berkes

EARTHTALK: Sea level rises not letting up anytime soon

EarthTalk® Dear EarthTalk: Hurricane Sandy brought more sea water onto shorelines than I’d ever witnessed before and many communities near where I live are now being required to raise their homes up. What is the prognosis for sea level rise in the years immediately ahead? –Scott P., Fairfield, CT Since sea level measurements were first 

Posted 6 years ago by

Contrary to 
popular myth that most ocean 
pollution is oil spilled from ships, most of it is 
land-based litter. Pictured: Plastic litter on a beach, before clean-up.
PHOTO: Bo Eide, 
courtesy Flickr

EARTHTALK: The All One Ocean campaign

EarthTalk® Dear EarthTalk: What is the “All One Ocean” campaign?–Bill O’Neill, Los Angeles, CA All One Ocean is a non-profit campaign launched in 2010 by long-time author, activist and organizer Hallie Austen Iglehart with the goal of reducing the amount of plastic and other trash that ends up in the ocean where it compromises the 

Posted 6 years ago by

According to Maria Diuk-Wasser at the Yale School of 
Public Health, 
the onset of human-induced global warming is likely to increase the infection rates of mosquito-borne diseases like 
malaria, dengue fever and West Nile virus by creating more mosquito-friendly habitats.
PHOTO: U.S. Department of Agriculture

EARTHTALK: Mosquito-borne diseases on the uptick — thanks to global warming

EarthTalk® Dear EarthTalk: Is there a link between the recent spread of mosquito-borne diseases around the world and environmental pollution?–Meg Ross, Lantana, FL If by pollution you mean greenhouse gas emissions, then definitely yes. According to Maria Diuk-Wasser at the Yale School of Public Health, the onset of human-induced global warming is likely to increase 

Posted 6 years ago by

EarthTalkOrganic

Organic: Still a small slice of the pie

Dear EarthTalk: I understand that, despite the popularity of organic foods, clothing and other products, organic agriculture is still only practiced on a tiny percentage of land worldwide. What’s getting in the way?–Larry McFarlane, Boston, MA Organic production may still represent only a small fraction of agricultural sales in the U.S. and worldwide, but it 

Posted 6 years ago by

Household cleaning products are responsible for almost 10 percent of all toxic exposures reported to U.S. poison control centers. Fortunately,  there are plenty of safer alternatives available, from brands like Ecover, Seventh Generation, Green Shield and Earth Friendly Products, pictured here.                                                                                                 PHOTO: Earth Friendly Products

EARTHTALK: Alternatives to toxic cleaning supplies

Dear EarthTalk: I’m concerned about toxic ingredients in my cleaning supplies, especially now that I have young children. Where can I find safer alternatives?–Betsy E., Hartford, CT It is true that many household cleaners contain potentially toxic substances, so parents especially should make an effort to keep them out of the reach of children or, 

Posted 6 years ago by

PHOTO: Comstock/Hemera Collection

EARTHTALK: Air conditioning options

Dear EarthTalk: Now that hot weather is coming, I want to upgrade my home’s A/C. Which are the most energy-saving models and should I go central air or window units?- Jackie Smith, Cary, NC According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), energy consumption for home air conditioning units accounts for more 

Posted 6 years ago by

A century ago some five millions wild elephants roamed Africa. Today fewer than 500,000 remain, a result of poaching for meat and ivory as well as habitat loss due to expanding human development.  
PHOTO: Comstock

EARTHTALK: African elephants declining rapidly

Dear EarthTalk: How are populations of African elephants faring these days? What conservation efforts are underway and are they working? — Libby Broullette, Salem, MA A century ago some five millions wild elephants roamed Africa. Today fewer than 500,000 remain, a result of poaching for meat and ivory as well as habitat loss due to 

Posted 6 years ago by

EARTHTALK: Getting kids outside to appreciate nature

Dear EarthTalk: My kids just want to play videos games and watch TV all day. Do you have any tips for getting them outside to appreciate nature more?–Sue Levinson, Bowie, MD Getting kids away from computer and TV screens and outside into the fresh air is an increasing challenge for parents everywhere. Researchers have found 

Posted 6 years ago by

EARTHTALK: The Monsanto Protection Act

Dear EarthTalk: What is the “Monsanto Protection Act” and why are environmentalists so upset about it?–Rita Redstone, Milwaukee, WI The so-called Monsanto Protection Act is actually a provision (officially known as Section 735) within a recently passed Congressional spending bill, H.R. 933, which exempts biotech companies from litigation in regard to the making, selling and 

Posted 6 years ago by