weekly

 
 

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: Environmental Heroes LaDuke, McKibben and Fox Inspire Millions To Take Action

TweetDear EarthTalk: The environmental movement was built on the philosophies of people like Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson. But who are the great environmental visionaries of our own day and age? —Betsy Englund, Boston, MA Thoreau, best known for his book Walden taught us how to live a simple life and take pleasure in nature’s splendor all around us. Leopold’s 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, encouraged us to respect the land and its inhabitants and manage it with future generations in mind. And Carson, whose book Silent Spring isRead More


EARTH TALK: What Good Has EPA Ever Done for the Environment Anyway?

TweetDear EarthTalk: I would like to know what good the EPA has done for the environment?  —Mary W., via e-mail Without the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans would breathe dirtier air, drink more polluted water and live and grow food on contaminated soils. Polluters wouldn’t be held accountable for their irresponsible behavior, wildlife would have a more difficult time finding suitable habitat to raise their young, and greater and greater concentrations of greenhouse gases would jeopardize the ability of our own atmosphere to protect us from the heat ofRead 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


EARTHTALK: Rooftop Solar Finally Cost Competitive with Grid in U.S.

TweetDear EarthTalk: I’ve heard that the price of getting solar panels installed on a home is lower than ever, but has it gotten to the point anywhere in the U.S. where it’s actually cheaper than traditional grid power yet?            –Lester Milstein, Boston, MA Rooftop solar panels on have always been the province of well-to-do, eco-friendly folks willing to shell out extra bucks to be green, but that is all starting to change. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the cost of putting solar panels on aRead More