The Greenest Building in the World
September 20, 2013 10:42 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
In honor of Green Building Week, we have searched high and low to showcase one of the greenest buildings in the world -and on a recent press trip to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, we may have found a winner. Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens may be known for its glass Victorian greenhouse built in the late 1800s, or even as the location where President Obama hosted the G-20 summit in 2009. But the real piece de resistance that puts the Conservatory on the map is their new Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL). The CSL is primarily home to many of the administrative, educational, and research offices associated with Phipps, however parts of the building are open to the public and there are plans in the works to connect the building’s indoor space to the outdoors by means of artwork and sound installations. So why does this building rank among the greenest in the world? For one, the facility is expected to meet or exceed three of the world's highest green standards. So far the facility has achieved LEED Platinum status, the highest of the US Green Building Council's certifications. Beyond LEED certification, the CSL is striving to achieve the Sustainable Sites Initiative SITES certification for landscapes. The CSL is currently in the process of obtaining state permits and will find out in October if they have achieved 4-star status which has yet to be achieved by any other project. Finally, the CSL is involved with the Living Building Challenge. Projects that achieve this level of performance must document net zero energy, which defines the most advanced measures of sustainability in the built environment.
Misleading "Natural" Food Labels May Soon Be History
September 20, 2013 08:46 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit
The only thing natural about the "natural" label is that such branding, naturally, often confuses consumers. But such misleading terms such as "natural" and "healthy" could soon become history, or at the very least score a makeover. Large food companies have hijacked such terms with dubious results—and never mind the fact "natural" is a loaded term. Is a food product only "natural" if it still has dirt on it after being yanked out of the ground? Is it still natural if ingredients, from whole wheat flour to goji berries to flax seeds, are pulverized, brominated, pasteurized and homogenized?
Ford getting serious about Electric Vehicles
September 20, 2013 07:55 AM - MOVEFORWARD, Electric Forum
Motoring giant Ford has today announced plans to introduce a further 200 electric vehicle charging stations across its US and Canadian offices, development campuses and manufacturing facilities. This is in addition to the existing 1700 charging stations currently installed across dealerships and Ford owned operations in the US and Canada. This is just one of many ongoing initiatives in the EV market that should see a dramatic increase in the number of charging stations in the short to medium term. So why is Ford looking to introduce more charging stations and what benefit will they be to Ford employees?
Measuring the speed of thaw
September 19, 2013 10:17 AM - Editor, ENN
Researchers have known that ocean temperatures are rising but up until now haven’t had any way of measuring the effects of this rise on Antarctica's glaciers. New research will now enable scientists to determine how quickly ice is melting under a rapidly changing glacier.
Chimp Haven wins $10,000 Grant for Chimp's Artwork
September 19, 2013 09:10 AM - Judy Molland, Care2
Watch out, Picasso! Make room for Brent, a 37-year-old chimpanzee! One of Brent's paintings recently won first prize and $10,000 for Chimp Haven Sanctuary. Chimp Haven Sanctuary is a national sanctuary in northwest Louisiana for chimps retired from federal research. This is the same sanctuary that will be receiving many of the 310 chimps that the National Institutes of Health recently announced it will be retiring from research. The primate, a retired laboratory animal, who uses his tongue to apply color instead of a brush, received the most votes in the chimpanzee art contest organized by the Humane Society of the United States. Five other sanctuaries competed, using paintings created during "enrichment sessions," but Brent's delicate smears of blue, violet, yellow and turquoise triumphed. When The Associated Press asked for a comment from Brent on his success, his handlers at Chimp Haven said that the chimp couldn't be reached for comment because he was asleep. Ah, the hard life of an artist!
Flying High on Research and Development
September 18, 2013 02:45 PM - Robin Valinski, ENN
Sixteen universities have been identified to participate in Research and Development grants to support the United States Government (USG) commitment to a reduction in greenhouse gases in the commercial airline industry. In response to ongoing global pressures to reduce the impact of commercial aviation on climate change the USG through the FAA is aggressively seeking alternative ways to reduce emissions. The goal of the United States Government (USG) is to achieve carbon-neutral growth for U.S. Commercial aviation by 2020, which equates to a reduction in carbon dioxide of 115 million metric tons (MT) over that time period. To meet this goal, the FAA has organized a Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) initiative to achieve efficient aircraft operations and greenhouse gas emission reductions operationally and through airspace infrastructure improvements.
Happy Pollution Prevention Week!
September 17, 2013 08:49 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
Hey everybody! Know what week it is? It's Pollution Prevention Week! Launched by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this week September 15-21, is dedicated to preventing and reducing pollution. According to the EPA, the US annually produces millions of tons of pollution and spends tens of billions of dollars per year controlling it in the form of clean ups, stormwater management, and education to name a few.
Optimizing Corn Production in the Face of Climate Change
September 16, 2013 04:35 PM - Robin Valinski, ENN
Kenya is no stranger to adaptation when it comes to food production. Kenya’s cultural and political underpinnings are reliant upon adaptation to current climatic conditions. Present predictions are that drastic adaptation will be necessary once again. According to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), climate change is likely to threaten maize production for farmers in certain areas of Kenya. Conversely, other arable landmasses that have been less suited to maize production are likely to become better suited to this important crop forcing agricultural officials and farmers to reassess their farmland use and suitability.
Indigenous people of Honduras granted one million hectares of rainforest
September 16, 2013 09:31 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
One-hundred and fifty years after a treaty with England granted the Miskito people rights over their land--a treaty which was never fully respected--the government of Honduras has officially handed over nearly a million hectares (970,000 hectares) of tropical forest along the Caribbean Coast to the indigenous people. The Miskito are found along the eastern coast of both Honduras and Nicaragua and number around 200,000. "This is an unprecedented and historic moment for our peoples," said Norvin Goff, chairman of Miskitu Asla Takanka (MASTA), a Honduras group representing the tribes."The entire region is at risk from illegal hunting, logging and clearing of land to graze cattle. The Miskito people can protect it, but only if we have title to those lands."
Severe flooding in Colorado linked to global warming
September 15, 2013 08:17 AM - Beth Buczynski, Care2
I live in Denver, Colorado, and for the past few days, we've had nothing but rain. Three months of rain in 48 hours, to be exact. The surge of water has caused rivers and streams to overflow their banks, drowning Boulder, Loveland, Longmont, Estes Park and many other towns along the Front Range under several feet of rushing water. Conditions were so bad, the National Weather Service felt compelled to use the words "biblical rainfall amounts" to communicate the risk to local residents. Any other time, extra precipitation is cause for rejoicing in Colorado. Ongoing drought has facilitated massive wildfires across the state for two years running. We'll take all the wet we can get, although as the past few days have shown, we'd prefer it doesn't all fall at once.