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E-Waste Nightmare: Cell Phones Getting Greener But Not There Yet (EARTHTALK)

TweetDear EarthTalk: What can we do to solve the e-waste problem caused by so many of us tossing our cell phones out and getting new ones every two years? —Sandy Bartram, Beverly Hills, CA As more and more of the world develops—and smartphones become ubiquitous—electronic waste (AKA “e-waste”) is a bigger problem than ever. Around the world, people generate some 50 million tons of e-waste every year, much of which ends up improperly disposed of in landfills where toxins common in electronics like lead, mercury and cadmium can leach outRead More


EARTHTALK — Climate Friendly Farms: Agriculture Adapts to Global Warming

TweetDear EarthTalk: How are farms and farmers dealing with climate change? —Michael Harris, Lorton, VA Agriculture may well be one of the industries hardest hit by the effects of global warming. The non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a leading environmental advocacy group, reports that warming-related drought and flooding is already behind tens of billions of dollars in American agricultural losses annually. Given this growing threat, more and more farmers are looking to incorporate tools and techniques—let alone switch up what crops they grow—to be prepared for the big environmentalRead More


Trivia Tuesday: 5 New Trivia Questions from “Page-A-Day”

TweetEvery Tuesday is a Trivia Tuesday on AmericaJR. Look for five new trivia questions and answers from the “365 Amazing Trivia Facts for 2017” trivia calendar. This week’s questions: The Houston Astros were one of the first professional sports teams to start doing what? Who is the band Fleetwood Mac named for? There’s one actor who has voiced a role in every Pixar movie, from Toy Story to Cars to Inside Out. Who is he? When Ben & Jerry’s began, its founders originally planned on making another food product beforeRead More


EARTHTALK: Trump Purges Climate Information From EPA Website

TweetDear EarthTalk: I understand that the Trump administration has been busy pulling information about climate change and other environmental issues off of the EPA’s website. What kinds of information and data are no longer accessible?  —Jim Harris, Norwalk, CA It’s no surprise that the Trump administration is looking to change course when it comes to federal action to mitigate climate change, but analysts have been surprised how quickly and drastically the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has “updated” its website to reflect the outlook of its new leader. The informationRead More


EARTHTALK – Solar Aesthetics: Rooftop Panels Never Looked So Good

TweetDear EarthTalk: Why do rooftop solar panels have to be so big and unsightly? Are there any better-looking alternatives out there? —Maise Lipscomb, Helena, MT If aesthetics is the reason you’ve been holding off on converting your home to solar power, 2017 just might be the year for you to take the renewables leap. For starters, several panel makers now sell “frameless” or “seamless” designs whereby photovoltaic panels appear to “float” on the roof surface, with sightlines unencumbered by big black metal framework apparatus. But getting rid of the framesRead More


EARTHTALK: Fuel Cell Cars Already Here in California, Coming Soon to Northeast

TweetDear EarthTalk: Is it true that fuel cell cars are finally available for mainstream drivers in the U.S.?  —Jack Mixson, Wilmington, DE For years, green car enthusiasts have been heralding the dawn of a new era of pollution-free driving powered by fuel cells, which combine readily available hydrogen with oxygen to fire up the engine. NASA created the first commercial grade fuel cells in the 1960s to power satellites and space capsules, and automakers have been talking up their potential for use in cars and trucks ever since. But theRead More


EARTHTALK: Worse Than Fracking? Lithium Extraction For Batteries Hardly A Concern

TweetDear EarthTalk: Is the extraction of lithium for lithium ion batteries really worse for the environment than fracking? —Mitch Newhouse, Oak Park, IL In a world of modern technology, lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are hard to escape; they’re in cell phones, laptops, and basically anything else with rechargeable batteries. In fact, the demand for Li-ion batteries rose from zero percent market share in 1991 to 80 percent in 2007, and the European Commission expects the tonnage of lithium used in batteries to double between 2010 and 2020. With no viable alternativesRead More


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