environmental

 
 

EARTHTALK — Conventional Agriculture: Far From A Green Revolution

TweetDear EarthTalk: Even though pesticides may take an environmental toll, isn’t it worth it given how many more mouths we can feed thanks to their use? —Mickey Jurowski, Palatine, IL The advent of new technologies coming out of World War II led agricultural researchers to start experimenting with new classes of chemicals they could use to boost agricultural production. As human populations swelled, these “advances” were applied around the world so farmers could grow more food to feed the hungry masses and stave off widespread famine. This transition from essentiallyRead More


EARTHTALK — Green Screen: Hollywood A-Listers Fight for the Planet

TweetDear EarthTalk: Who are some of the greener movie stars out there today and what are they doing to fight for the planet? —Stacey DiGiorno, Chevy Chase, MD While a handful of Hollywood A-listers—Robert Redford, Meryl Streep and Ed Begley Jr., to name a few —have been actively campaigning for the environment for decades, a new wave of green celebrities is using star power to help convince millions of fans around the world to live greener lifestyles and speak up for environmental protections and climate mitigation. Leonardo DiCaprio continues toRead More


EARTHTALK: Is Paris Enough? So Far, Climate Commitments Don’t Quite Add Up Yet

TweetDear EarthTalk: Is it true that the Paris climate accord as it stands won’t be enough to stave off cataclysmic global warming anyway, even if the U.S. and the other participating countries honor their commitments? —Astrid Taylor, Williams, MA To date, 197 countries have signed onto 2015’s landmark Paris climate accord (“The Paris Agreement”), which aims to limit global warming to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100 through voluntary emissions reduction plans. But skeptics argue that even if all participating countries follow through with their promised cuts, weRead More


EARTHTALK: Trump Calls for Drastic Environmental Justice Cuts

TweetDear EarthTalk: What is meant by “environmental justice” and how is it under assault in the new Trump administration? —Mike Garner, New Orleans, LA Environmental justice is defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin or income, with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.” In layperson’s terms, it means making sure specific groups of people don’t bear a disproportionate burden from potential and existing environmental threats. Traditionally,Read More


EARTH TALK: Greens Bemoan Neil Gorsuch as Trump Supreme Court Choice

TweetDear EarthTalk: If Neil Gorsuch is confirmed to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court, what will be the implications for environmental and climate policy? —Jim Metcalf, Newark, DE Environmental leaders aren’t particularly jazzed about Neil Gorsuch as Donald Trump’s nominee to fill the vacancy left on the U.S. Supreme Court following the death of Antonin Scalia in February 2016. For starters, the name Gorsuch brings back bad memories of the 1980s when Anne Gorsuch (Neil’s mother) slashed federal environmental funding by 22 percent as head of the U.S.Read More


EARTH TALK: Composting in the Kitchen Without the Stink

TweetDear EarthTalk: I’d like to get into turning my food waste into compost for my garden, but I don’t want a stinky pile of table scraps lingering in a pail in my kitchen or backyard. Are there any new high-tech ways to expedite the process? —Billy A., San Francisco, CA Composting is a natural process of recycling food and organic matter and exposing it to oxygen so it can decompose into a nourishing soil amendment. Whether you let your municipality process your food and yard waste into compost, or doRead More


EARTH TALK — Urban Population Density: The Environmental Pros & Cons

TweetDear EarthTalk: Isn’t the increasing urbanization of our world good for reducing our carbon footprint given the efficiency benefits of greater density? —Simon Vorhees, Oak Park, IL No doubt, the increased density of big cities leads to less energy use and fewer greenhouse gas emissions per capita. “The biggest factor is transportation, first, simply because trips get shorter, and second, because trips are more likely taken by transit, biking and walking, which are more energy efficient than cars,” says Dan Bertolet of Sightline Institute, a Seattle-based sustainability think-tank. “Density alsoRead More


EARTH TALK: A Revolution in Lighting — Back to Incandescents?

TweetDear EarthTalk: What’s new in eco-friendly light bulbs? Is it true that incandescent bulbs are back in a much more efficient form? —Barbara Birke, via e-mail The consumer landscape for light bulbs in the U.S. changed drastically in 2007 when Congress passed the Energy Independence & Security Act mandating, among other things, that household light bulbs in the 40-100 watt range needed to up their energy efficiency standards by at least 25 percent. This change effectively took the tried-and-true yet inefficient incandescent bulbs that lit up the entire 20th centuryRead More


EARTH TALK: What’s new with batteries these days?

TweetDear EarthTalk: I’ve heard that one of the big hurdles to growth in renewables is energy storage. What’s new in the world of battery technologies? And will better forms of storage really accelerate the development of solar, wind and other alternative forms of energy? —Maxwell Jay, Erie, PA It’s true that energy storage has been an Achilles heel in the emerging renewable energy sector, given the large environmental footprint required to produce and distribute our current crop of lithium ion and other types of batteries—and the fact that they doRead More