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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 

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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 

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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 

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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 

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EARTHTALK: Avoiding environmental cancer triggers

Dear EarthTalk: I know that some of us are genetically predisposed to get cancer, but what are some ways we can avoid known environmental triggers for it?–B. Northrup, Westport, MA Cancer remains the scourge of the American health care system, given that four out of every 10 of us will be diagnosed with one form 

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EARTHTALK: Fisheries on the brink of collapse

Dear EarthTalk: I understand that many of the world’s fisheries are on the brink of collapse, “fished out,” to put it bluntly. How did this happen and what is being done about it?– Mariel LaPlante, New Orleans, LA Many of the world’s fisheries are indeed in crisis today due to years of overfishing, pollution and 

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A typical carpet, made from petroleum-based synthetic fibers, contains dozens of chemicals, gases, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other potential toxins—and they can compromise indoor air quality for years on end and cause dangerous reactions in the sensitive among us, including little ones and the elderly.?
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EARTHTALK: Healthy and green-friendly carpeting

Dear EarthTalk: I like the feel of carpeting, but I’m concerned about all the chemicals. What are some good non-chemical (but still soft!) options?–Jennifer Jones, Madison, WI Modern day carpets, in all their plush and stain-resistant glory, are wonders of technology and help make our homes and workplaces more comfortable. But the typical carpet, made 

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Some 98 percent of U.S. water treatment facilities use chlorine to clean drinking water supplies. If your water is from a well, there are expensive ways to remove it close to the source, but the most affordable approach is to filter it at the faucet or with a pitcher-mounted filter.
Credit: iStockPhoto

EARTHTALK: Chlorine in drinking water

Dear EarthTalk: I was wondering how toxic chlorine is, because my well water was just chlorinated yesterday and today the smell is still strong. I have a 4-year-old daughter and I’m concerned.–Rose Smith, via e-mail According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), chlorine levels of four parts per million or below in drinking water—whether 

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EARTHTALK: Food choices and water usage

  Dear EarthTalk: I heard that my food choices can affect the use and therefore availability of fresh water around the world. How so?–Denise Beck, Washington, DC Our food choices and the availability of fresh water are inextricably linked. The crux of the problem is that human population numbers keep growing—we recently topped seven billion 

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EARTHTALK: Addressing global food scarcity

Dear EarthTalk: What are the main drivers of food scarcity that lead to so much starvation around the world, and how can they be addressed?–Marjorie Millerton, Provo, UT Food scarcity is a bigger problem than ever as human population numbers continue to swell, putting additional stress on already fragile food production and distribution systems. And 

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