December 15, 2012
Costa Rica, as the first Latin American country to do this, has approved legislation to ban sport hunting. Once they reformed their conservation of wildlife law on October 2nd, the new law of banned sport hunting but “still allowing culling and subsistence hunting”, was approved by President Laura Chinchilla. This initiative will help to support the biodiversity of Costa Rica that brings in it’s annual tourists, which is 5% of the country’s GDP.
December 12, 2012
Rose madder — a natural plant dye once prized throughout the Old World to make fiery red textiles — has found a second life as the basis for a new “green” battery.
More than 3,500 years ago, civilizations in Asia and the Middle East first boiled madder roots to color fabrics in vivid oranges, reds and pinks. In its latest technological incarnation, the climbing herb could lay the foundation for an eco-friendly alternative to traditional lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. These batteries charge everything from your mobile phone to electric vehicles, but carry with them risks to the environment during production, recycling and disposal.
How it works is basically that biologically based color molecules, like purpurin and its relatives, seem to be pre-adapted to act as a battery’s electrode. ”These aromatic systems are electron-rich molecules that easily coordinate with lithium,” explained Professor John.
This discovery will be made to come to market in the coming years. Knowing that this sort of green technology exists is important for the future of sustainable energy methods.
December 9, 2012
The key to a healthy lawn is nutrient-rich soil, and compost makes a highly effective soil amendment.
Preparation: buy or build a compost bin => sort your scraps (can technically compost anything biodegradable except for meat, animal products, grains, and pet wastes); plan to compost only vegetables, fruits, paper products and yard trimmings => cut large pieces with scissors or a knife to increase surface area for faster decomposition
Composting Method: Place a 2-4-inch layer of kitchen scraps and green plant matter at the bottom of your compost bin => Cover the green layer with a slightly thicker layer of shredded paper, woody trimmings and other high-carbon materials. => Continue adding layer after layer, alternating between green and brown => Mix the compost regularly, keep it damp but not overly wet => Begin a new pile or stop adding to the existing pile after a few months. Keep mixing and moistening it, and your pile will degrade into finished compost.
December 9, 2012
Hurricane Sandy, one of the biggest storms ever to hit the United States, lashed the densely populated East Coast on Monday, shutting down transportation, forcing evacuations in flood-prone areas and interrupting the presidential campaign. Fierce winds and flooding racked hundreds of miles of Atlantic coastline and heavy snows were forecast farther inland at higher elevations as the center of the storm moves ashore along the coast of southern New Jersey or Delaware on Monday evening.
The storm’s target area included big population centers such as New York City, Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
More than a million customers already were without power by early evening and millions more could lose electricity. One disaster forecasting company predicted economic losses could ultimately reach $20 billion, only half of it insured.
December 9, 2012
Environmental groups are suing Canada, claiming failure to implement the Species at Risk Act endangers wildlife along the Northern Gateway pipeline and shipping route. Ecojustice filed the litigation Tuesday in federal court in Vancouver, acting on behalf of five environmental groups: the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace Canada, Sierra Club B.C., Wilderness Committee and Wildsight.
The lawsuit challenges the federal government’s years of delay in producing recovery strategies for four species that would be affected by the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway project — the Pacific humpback whale, Nechako white sturgeon, marbled murrelet and southern mountain caribou. The habitat for all four species, which lies along the proposed pipeline and shipping route, would be impacted by the construction and operation of the Northern Gateway pipeline.
December 9, 2012
Apparently, environmentalism and economic growth really can go hand in hand. Workers in companies that adopting green practices and standards do so are found to be 16 percent more productive than the average.
December 9, 2012
The Obama Administration raised the federal fuel efficiency standards, known as CAFE, for model year 2025, to the level of 54.5 mpg. This will mean a nearly doubling of fuel efficiency compared to cars that are on the road today. The new policy was issued by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They claim it will reduce US oil consumption by 12 billion barrels and save over $1.7 trillion at the pump over the life of the program.
The new standards will encourage and perhaps require innovation and additional investment in advanced technologies, which are already available, such as plug-in hybrids and continuous variable transmission, for the auto industry. Government analysts predict that the higher fuel efficiency will save $8,000 over the life of each vehicle. The savings will be comparable with lowering the price of gasoline by approximately $1 per gallon. The new standards will also dramatically cut the import of foreign oil by 2 million barrels per day by 2025.
November 26, 2012
Two species of Fern have been named after Lady Gaga. Scientists say that they both have DNA sequences that begin “GAGA” and that they resemble the singer’s frequent costumes. ”We wanted to name this genus for Lady Gaga because of her fervent defense of equality and individual expression”, says Professor Pryer, one of the scientists responsible for this naming. The ferns reproduce, like most, homosporously. They also are able to produce offspring that are genetically identical to the parent plant – through asexual reproduction and their high number of chromosomes.
November 14, 2012
Mosquitoes are annoying to both man and beast. Some mosquitoes, however, can transmit diseases. Although the application of pesticides on lawns will kill mosquitoes, these agents can pose risks to human health and the environment. Some biological pest controls are safer than conventional pesticides, said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Botanical Controls: Volatile oils in some plants can repel and kill insects. Organic lawn and garden products formulated to counter mosquitoes often contain a combination of plant oils, including the essential oils of rosemary, thyme, peppermint, sesame, wintergreen and thyme
Microbial Pesticides:Microbial pesticides are naturally occurring microorganisms, such as fungi or bacteria. The most commonly-used microbial pesticide is Bacillus thuringiensis, each of which produces a unique combination of proteins that target and bind specifically to gut-receptor cells of mosquito larvae as they feed, causing them to starve.
Beneficial Insects: The praying mantis feeds on mosquitoes, as well as other common lawn and garden pests.
Bats: Another weapon in the war against mosquitoes on the ground is to fight from the air. Many of the more than 1,200 species of bats aggressively hunt flying insects.To employ bats as a natural mosquito control, you must purchase or build bat houses for them to roost in.
November 14, 2012
NatGeo actually has had a lot to say about lawns over the past decade, from the frivolous golf courses that dominate the American Southwest (that is still stuck in a drought, by the way) to our obsession with our lawns here in the Midwest.
Here is a website dedicated to “Lawn Science” do people get degree’s in this?
And here’s a weird one.. A website called Christian Science Monitor (actually reports pretty unbiased information) talks about .. you guessed it suburbia’s obsession with their lawns. This article was published in 2006, so clearly this has been growing for a long time.
Or did you read any of the articles about people getting in trouble with their communities because instead of a lawn they had large gardens. So not only do we care about our lawns we care about their lawns.. where do you think this comes from? Where do you think it will take us?