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Archive for the ‘environment’ Category

Plant Releases Dangerous Chemicals, Doesn’t Tell

Posted by karmalily on April 21, 2009

In a move reminiscent of the cover-up surrounding the accident at Chernobyl, managers of a chemical plant of in West Virginia waited hours to inform emergency officials about a dangerous chemical it accidentally released. Two employees at Bayer CropScience were killed, with six firefightered made sick.

From the New York Times:

Devices meant to detect releases of the chemical, methyl isocyanate, known as MIC, had been disabled, and video cameras had been disconnected, steps that “raise concerns about an orchestrated effort by Bayer to shroud the explosion in secrecy,” said the subcommittee chairman, Representative Bart Stupak, Democrat of Michigan.

Apparently the plant thought that they could “refuse to provide information” to the board that was created to lead the investigation. They claimed that some of the documents requested contained sensitive information, and their release could jeopardize the plant’s safety. However, the law the company used to get out of releasing those documents was actually created to protect port security, and Bayer CropScience had to say they were under the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard.

This is worrisome because more people could have been hurt, and when you live near a chemical plant or any other such location, you want to know that you are secure and that the managers of the plant are doing everything they can to keep the chemicals safely contained. This is one example of how dangerous the inept leadership of companies can be. Officials should have been notified of the release of dangerous chemicals as soon as it happened, not hours later.


Posted in environment, politics, pollution | Leave a Comment »

EPA: CO2 is Bad

Posted by karmalily on April 17, 2009

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), carbon dioxide is bad. Really? The EPA is going to announce this “finding” soon, along with the fact that emissions from automobiles contribute to global warming. Really?

These facts are nothing new, and it is unbelievable to me that the EPA has not actually announced publicly yet that CO2 and cars are bad for the environment are adding to global climate change.

On the upside, however, once the EPA makes the official announcement, it means that regulations will be set in place. Regulations should have been in place a long time ago, but I’ll take it now instead of later.

Posted in environment | Leave a Comment »

Federal agencies to consult with wildlife biologists

Posted by karmalily on March 4, 2009

Remember in December 2008, with just one month left in office, when George Bush issued a new rule to federal agencies letting them skip meeting with wildlife biologists to determine whether or not a project would damage habitat to endangered or threatened species? Well, even though that rule is not officially off the tables just yet, President Barack Obama has suspended it while asking the secretaries of commerce and interior to take another look at Bush’s laws and decide if there should be a new law (and yeah, there should be).

It feels good to have a president who doesn’t just completely ignore the environment. I hope we see a plethora of new laws and rules put into effect by this administration in relation to better environmental standards.

Posted in environment | Leave a Comment »

Save $9500 with public transit

Posted by karmalily on October 8, 2008

According to new research released by the American Public Transit Association

A person can achieve an average savings of $9,499 per year by taking public transportation instead of driving… the average annual savings is a third higher than the average amount a household pays for food in a year, according to the Food Institute ($6,111).

We already know carpooling and using public transportation is better for the environment, but the knowledge that you can save almost ten grand by driving yourself is that much more convincing.

It’s time to get on the bus.

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440,000 Jobs Could Be Created by Solar Energy

Posted by karmalily on September 16, 2008

A new report released by the Solar Energy Industries Association finds that as many as 440,000 permanent jobs, and 1.2 million jobs altogether, could be created if the solar investment tax credit is extended by Congress.

“By extending the solar investment tax credits, Congress can provide an immediate boost to the floundering U.S. economy by creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and injecting billions of dollars of new investment capital into the economy, while at the same time driving down energy costs for consumers,” said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), based in Washington, D.C. “The solar energy industry creates jobs that are the foundation of our economy – jobs for manufacturers, construction workers, engineers, roofers, electricians, and plumbers. These jobs are needed now and Congress is in a position to extend the ITC and ensure that these jobs are created here in the U.S.”

The coal industry loves to put forth the idea that by creating clean energy, thousands of people will lose their jobs. Thus, one of the more striking finds from SEIA is this:

This figure [440,000 jobs created] reveals the strength of the solar job creation engine when compared to the current 79,000 direct employees of the coal mining industry and the 136,000 direct employees in oil and gas extraction.

Using job losses as an excuse to continue to use coal and other dirty energy sources is mostly a tactic used by the coal industry reps to convince people that coal is still the best thing we have to power our houses. If America and other nations were to quickly switch to clean, renewable energy such as solar and wind, the only people to suffer would be the coal czars.

Full Report: Solar Energy Industries Association

Posted in clean energy, economics, energy, environment, pollution, solar power | 1 Comment »

Bush Administration to Loosen Rules on Endangered Species

Posted by karmalily on August 28, 2008

Via USA Today:

The Bush administration is providing insufficient time for public comment as it seeks to loosen rules protecting endangered species…

an administration proposal… would allow federal agencies approving or funding dams, highways and other projects to decide for themselves – without input from government experts – whether endangered species are likely to be harmed.

Bush and his anti-Earth administration are obviously trying to pass this proposal without a lot of media attention and without giving people and organizations time to do much about it. Fortunately, members of congress, along with conservation groups, are calling for additional time. Let’s hope it comes out on our side, because we know that those federal agencies responsible for such major construction projects are not actually going to stop one of their projects because of an endangered animal.

Posted in bush administration, environment | Leave a Comment »

Smell the Roses While You Still Can

Posted by karmalily on April 12, 2008

A new study has determined that flowers are losing their scent due to pollution from power plants and cars. To make matters worse, not only are we facing a future lacking in the gorgeous scents of blooms, but insects won’t be able to find pollen. According to National Geographic News:

Flowers produce volatile scent molecules that bond with pollutants such as ground-level ozone, in the process breaking down the plants’ sweet smell.

With more pollution in the air, the aromatic molecules don’t remain potent as long and travel shorter distances on the wind.

What you can do
Since the pollution is coming from cars and power plants, the obvious solution would be to drive hybrids or plug-ins (or, even better, walking or biking!) and to either limit energy use or rely on pollutant-free energy such as wind or solar power.

Posted in environment, pollution | 1 Comment »

New energy positive building

Posted by karmalily on March 17, 2008

A new building in the United Arab Emirates, planned to be finished in 2010, will be the world’s first energy positive building. This means that it will produce more energy than it uses. It will be built in Masdar City, which is completely powered by renewable energy. A Chicago firm, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture has designed this remarkable tower. According to the press release, the building “will utilize sustainable materials and feature integrated wind turbines, outdoor air quality monitors and one of the world’s largest building-integrated solar energy arrays.”Masdar Headquarters

Posted in architecture, environment | Leave a Comment »

CREDO Mobile

Posted by karmalily on March 17, 2008

CREDO Mobile is a cell phone company owned by Working Assets that allows the user to donate to an organization of their choice every time they make a call. There is a long list of groups that you can support through the company, covering civil rights, economic and social justice, peace and international freedom, the environment, and voting rights and civic participation.

I love seeing new ways to make effortless changes. How hard is it to sign up with CREDO verses Verizon or Sprint? Unfortunately, at the moment the coverage isn’t as good as the more well-known companies (I was disappointed to see my area not yet covered). However, maybe the advancement of companies like this will encourage the big-name corporations to start making changes.

CREDO Mobile

Posted in activism, Easy activism, environment, good causes | Leave a Comment »

Global Warming’s Effects of Transportation

Posted by karmalily on March 12, 2008

According to a new study transportation is facing growing threats from global warming. These are the five biggies, from National Geographic News:

— More heat waves, requiring load limits at hot-weather or high-altitude airports and causing thermal expansion of bridge joints and rail track deformities.

— Rising sea levels and storm surges flooding coastal roadways, forcing evacuations, inundating airports and rail lines, flooding tunnels, and eroding bridge bases.

— More rainstorms delaying air and ground traffic, flooding tunnels and railways, and eroding road, bridge, and pipeline supports.

— More frequent strong hurricanes, disrupting air and shipping service, blowing debris onto roads, and damaging buildings.

— Rising arctic temperatures thawing permafrost, resulting in road, railway, and airport runway subsidence and potential pipeline failures.

I’ve said this before, but it’s sobering to realize just how much global warming is going to affect every aspect of our lives.

Posted in environment | Leave a Comment »