Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The carbon footprint of breakfast

We all enjoy our weekend breakfasts, complete with eggs, bacon, toast, AND orange juice. But if we sat back and calculated the carbon footprint of the meal instead of the calories, would it make us think twice about indulging? Pepsi Cola has calculated the carbon footprint of their Tropicana orange juice to be 3.75 pounds of carbon for each half gallon purchased. Check it out below. So the next time you sit down to breakfast, think about it first. Are your eggs local and organic? Your bread? How much vegetation was needed to feed the producer of your bacon or sausage?


Monday, June 29, 2009

What You Need To Know About The Climate Bill

On Friday, June 26th the United States House of Representatives passed the most sweeping climate legislation in the history of our nation. In the weeks to come the bill we be sent to the Senate -- where it will have to be passed for it to become law. Not an easy task.

What's in the bill? What does this mean for you and me? Below is a great Q&A answering some of those questions.

What You Need To Know About The Climate Bill

Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, June 25, 2009

600 U.S. Neighborhoods Have Air That Could Cause Cancer

I just came across this article on The Huffington Post. I thought you might find this interesting. What do you think. Let us know in the comments section!

600 U.S. Neighborhoods Have Air That Could Cause Cancer

Posted using ShareThis

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Facebook: Good for the environment?

That's exactly what Stephen Lino, Brad Bate, and Michael Keating of GreenOrder, a sustainability strategy and management consulting firm think. Check out the post below to learn more:


What do you think? Let us know in the comments section!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tips of the Day!

Every Friday, we are going to give our readers some easy tips on how they can be greener, save money, and conserve our precious resources.

Today's tips:

Buy organic or shade grown coffee whenever possible. The production of this coffee is much better for the eco system and better for you!

Use more natural, biodegradable cleaning products. Try this: In the microwave, heat one to two ounces of lemon juice and two cups of water in a microwave safe bowl for two to three minutes. Wait ten minutes, open the door and dunk a cloth in bowl and wipe out microwave. Amazing, non-toxic results!

Are you in the market for a new car? Consider a slightly used car with efficient fuel economy!

Today's tips were found at http://www.greenearthseattle.com/green.htm.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Renewable Energy: The Hip-Hop Video

Renewable energy is on a lot of folks minds these days. One place that is trying to harness the power of these energies is Beijing, China. The below video gives you more...Check it out:

China's Green Beat - Geothermal Energy in Beijing from John Romankiewicz on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

DIY Solar iPhone Charger - How to Make a Solar Power Iphone Charger - thedailygreen.com

This is the coolest thing that I have come across in a long time!!!! I know not everyone has an iPhone or the iTouch, but if you have anything that is charged with a usb cable this just might be for you. I'm thinking digital cameras, games, toys, etc.

DIY Solar iPhone Charger - How to Make a Solar Power Iphone Charger - thedailygreen.com

Posted using ShareThis

Monday, June 15, 2009

Do Right!

The Alliance for Climate Protection today released a new national television ad, Do Right, encouraging Americans to support the path away from foreign oil and toward clean energy now.

Every president since Richard Nixon has called for an energy policy less reliant on foreign sources. Now, the ad says, is the best time for us to act to ensure our country develops clean energy sources that protect our planet and helps our national security and creates-- jobs when the country is in need of a sustainable economic recovery.

For more information on the plan to Repower America, visit http://www.repoweramerica.org

Here's the commercial:

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tips of the Week...

Did you know that if you reduced your speed from 70 mph to 55 mph while driving you could increase your fuel efficiency by nearly 23%?

Did you know that buying a "magnum" bottle of wine is better for the environment? The next time you and your friends are out to dinner consider buying the magnum bottle instead of two bottles of wine! The larger the bottle the smaller the carbon footprint!

Did you know that by leaving your car running while you run into a store, back into the house, or for whatever reason you are getting ZERO miles per gallon? Don't idle people!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What happens in Vegas...

I came across this great video from UC San Diego:

"Scripps researchers tackle the holy grail of climate change modeling -- What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens on the way there is a different story. As imaged by Lynn Russell, a professor of atmospheric chemistry at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, and her team, air blown by winds between San Diego and Las Vegas gives the road to Sin City a distinctive look." (YouTube description)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Climate Change Could Create Climate Refugees

An alarming new study predicts that by 2050, 200 million people could be forced to migrate due to climate change. Areas in which the general population relies heavily on agriculture are most at risk. Unfortunately these nations generally struggle with poverty as well. Experts predict that without financial assistance and resources, climate refugees would crowd already over populated urban cities. An article from CNN further explains the challenges climate refugees could face: Climate Change Refugees

-Danielle Jenkins

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Greenest Car of the Year?

So, what car do you think would be the greenest? One of the many hybrids on the market? How about one of the Smart Cars? Well the answer is a diesel powered Volvo!

Check out the article by clicking here: Greenest Car of the Year!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Tips of the Day!

Every Friday, we are going to give our readers some easy tips on how they can be greener, save money, and conserve our precious resources.

Today's tips:

Ride your bike more...It's not just a great form of exercise, but it's also a really economical way to get around town!

Print on both sides of the paper! Most printers today give you the option to print on both sides. It's a great way to save on paper!

Keep your car trunk empty! Take out the golf clubs and all that junk to consume less gas!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Louisiana Science Education Act...

The Louisiana Science Education Act encourages the use of 'supplemental materials' attacking the science of evolution, origins of life, climate change, and research on stem cells and cloning.

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is approving a policy to implement it very soon, and the last day for public comment is June 9th. Below is a draft letter, provided by NCSE, that points out the flaws with the act and recommended changes that would support evolution education and remove the threat of creationist teachings in Louisiana state schools. Please feel free to use the below letter as a guide to form your own letter to the state Board, or simply copy this letter into another document and sign it.

NOTE: Comments must be sent by mail, and should arrive no later than June 9 at 4:30 pm. Please address them to:

Nina A. Ford
State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
P.O. Box 94064
Capitol Station
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9064

The Paleontological Research Institution will be sending a letter to Ms. Ford and the state Board later this afternoon on behalf of the institution, its staff, and national members. But every voice is very important, so please take a moment of time and contact your state Board with a version of the letter provided, and share this with any other concerned citizens in the great state of Louisiana.


Dear Ms. Ford:

Act 473, the Louisiana Science Education Act, is written so loosely as to allow creationism and other religious concepts to be taught in classrooms. In order to protect the civil liberties of students and to protect local educational authorities from costly litigation, BESE's policy implementing this act, which was adopted on January 13, 2009, must close any loopholes that might allow non-science into classrooms. In particular the following aspects of the policy passed in January, 2009, require revision.

Section C should have the sentence "Religious beliefs shall not be advanced under the guise of critical thinking" restored. This language is based on State Superintendent Pastorek's letter to LEAs on August 27, 2008, and serves as an important warning for teachers and administrators.

The process for challenging supplemental material laid out in section D of the proposed policy is unclear, ill-conceived, and onerous. The instructions for the Department of Education review are vague and confusing, and they unnecessarily complicate what should be a straightforward decision based on the professional expertise of Department of Education staff. In considering citizen input concerning supplementary materials, the process should not require a "meeting" at which "any interested party" could "present their arguments" (D.3). Such a meeting places a needless burden on the finances and time of concerned parents, teachers, and staff. It would be better to employ the extant system of public comment on textbooks for adoption, which allows written comments to be submitted by a set deadline. In the absence of any clear deadline for resolution of a challenge, it is likely that inappropriate material would remain in a classroom indefinitely after a challenge. A better procedure would allow the LDoE to generate a list of clearly inappropriate material based on their expertise and experience as educators, and provide that list to BESE for approval. Citizen challenges to those materials would be automatically sustained, while challenges to other material should be reviewed by LDoE staff based on a speedy process involving public comment and peer review by recognized experts in science and science education.

In addition, section D.4.b requires only that material be "scientifically sound and supported by scientific evidence." Materials which contradict the Louisiana Content Standards should be subject to additional review to ensure that they are not outdated or otherwise lacking in scientific credibility. Science classes should endeavor to give students a context to understand the current state of scientific knowledge, recognizing that "[f]or scientific ideas to become widely accepted, peers must review, analyze, and critique results through journal articles, replication of experiments, and presentations at scientific meetings" (Louisiana Content Standards, Benchmarks, and Grade Level Expectations for Science §301.B). Scientific claims which have not been reviewed by the scientific community, or which have been found lacking after such review, do not belong in science classrooms. Works which deny widely agreed upon scientific concepts like evolution and anthropogenic climate change are thus not appropriate for science class. Section D.4.b should thus require that information contained in the supplemental materials must be accepted by the community of scientists as valid, current, and
rigorous science.

Finally, the LSEA Advisory Committee had recommended a prohibition against teaching creationism in Section D.4.d, reading:

"Materials that teach creationism or intelligent design or that advance the religious belief that a supernatural being created humankind shall be prohibited for use in science classes."

This much-needed clarification was unfortunately removed from the policy before it was passed. It would prevent the use of inappropriate and unconstitutional teaching materials, and should be reinserted into the policy just as the LDoE's experts recommended.

Thank you for your consideration and your efforts to improve science education in Louisiana.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Climate Skeptics go to Washington

The Heartland Institute has been a purveyor of contrary viewpoints for a long time. They supported the tobacco industry and the "rights of smokers" over scientific proof that second-hand smoke is dangerous, and now they fight with the oil and gas lobbyists against the science that is predicting global, human-made climate change.

Yesterday they convened in Washington D.C. to spread their message to congressmen. I haven't heard any reports about the results, but you can read about their planned conference here.

Tell us what you think!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

How does Burger King feel about Climate Change???

I caught sight of an interesting article on Huffington Post earlier today.

Global Warming is Baloney

Apparently, some Burger Kings owned by a company called MIC allowed their employees to put up signs that said "Global Warming is Baloney." While the actual Burger King company promotes ethical and sustainable practices, obviously some of their franchise owners aren't as convinced.

The article brings to light some of the ironies in this dichotomy, too. Burger King has drive thru food service (hmm...not promoting sustainable transit), and their number one seller is the Whopper, full of yummy cow meat (lots of cows = lots of methane...also not sustainable). I'm compelled to agree with the author of the article above, at least these franchise owners are being honest.

From the perspective of a museum employee, I'm happy to see signs like this popping up on occasion. While in many ways its frustrating, as we try SO hard to educate the public on Earth Science, to see that we have much more work to do, it's also job security! In an economic climate like this, its great to know your job will be necessary for years to come.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Interesting Conversations

Happen on Facebook!

A colleague of mine, Don Duggan-Haas, forwarded me this exchange he had on Facebook. It's really interesting, and I thought I would share it with you:

Don was asked this question:

How many planted trees would offset my Honda Civic's yearly use? Yeah, yeah, I know. Not that simple. Humor me.

Here's his answer:
Lots and lots. And it depends on the type of tree. But seriously, let's step through at least some of what goes into the calculation.

Gasoline has a density of about .7 g/cc. That means a gallon of gas has 70% of the weight of a gallon of water. So, you can imagine that. Do imagine that. Imagine yourself holding a gallon jug that's 70% full. It would weigh about six pounds. Pause and think about that -- every gallon of gas you put in your car weighs about six pounds and after you drive for a while, that stuff is gone from your tank? Where did it go?

To answer that question, you need to think about what gasoline is. Most of the weight of that gasoline comes from the carbon within it. There's some hydrogen and a bit of other stuff too.

When you burn the gasoline, the carbon combines with oxygen, O2, from the air to make carbon dioxide, CO2. That means that the CO2 from your tailpipe weighs in at about three times the weight of the gasoline you started with.

Photosynthesis reverses that -- takes the carbon from the air and combines it with hydrogen and oxygen to make the cellulose (and some of the oxygen goes back into the atmosphere).

So, using VERY rough estimates, you should plant roughly enough trees to equal the weight of the gasoline you burned. Each gallon is about six pounds. Do you burn 10 gallons a week?

That's 60 pounds a week, or about 3000 pounds a year. You need to plant enough trees that they grow about 3000 pounds in a year.

I can easily lift a 12 year old scotch pine tree over my head (our five or six foot Christmas trees). So, a young pine is putting on maybe a few pounds a year.

Let's be generous and say five pounds a year. So, that'd be about 600 trees. Happy planting!

And don't even think about flying.
Thanks for sharing Don!