Lifestyle

Why we need to reduce our "hidden water" usage
January 5, 2015 07:46 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen

The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) is urging coordinated action to reduce the amount of hidden water used in food and drink production – estimated at up to 1.8 million litres per person every year equivalent to an Olympic size swimming pool. Each person consumes between 2,000-5,000 litres of water embedded in their food, every day – or between 730,000-1,825,000 million litres annually. Currently, around 90 per cent of all freshwater is used by agriculture (70 per cent) and industry (20 per cent), leaving just 10 per cent for domestic use.

Plastic bag ban may be delayed in California
December 31, 2014 08:14 AM - Leon Kaye , Triple Pundit

California Senate Bill 270, passed by the state legislature and signed into law in September, would ban many retail stores from dispensing single-use plastic bags as of July 1, 2015. But in another example of a special interest perverting democracy when it does not get its way, the Plastics Industry Trade Association (SPI) has announced it has collected over 800,000 signatures to qualify for a statewide up-or-down vote in November 2016. Once that tally is confirmed, the July ban would be postponed until the following year.

You probably saw the sign gatherers at stores such as Target, where I was greeted with an appeal to sign my name and take sides with the “American Progressive Bag Alliance” in order to reverse this “backdoor deal” — until the fellow with the clipboard saw my reusable bags. “Oh, you’re one of those,” he said with an eye-roll, because as you know, someone like me who likes to wear labels, shops at Costco and makes mac-and-cheese out of a box (when no one is looking) is such a hippie.

Flavor and quality of wine impacted by Climate Change
December 30, 2014 09:07 AM - RP Siegel, Triple Pundit

It has been a challenge at times to get well-heeled and sometimes highly influential people to care about climate change. After all, having a great deal of money can serve to insulate someone from problems that afflict those less fortunate. Food prices going up, for example, not that big a deal. Coastal areas flooding out, go somewhere else for vacation. Many of those at the top of the heap are finding that business-as-usual is working very well for them, thank you very much. Besides, they might have significant investments in industries that could be threatened by changing to a more sustainable model. Perhaps, what is needed to get their attention is something that hits closer to home. Here is an item in England’s The Telegraph that might fit the bill: Apparently, rising temperatures in areas like France, Italy and Spain are affecting the flavor of certain wines. 

Trawling makes for skinny fish
December 29, 2014 02:05 PM - Tom Marshall, Planet Earth Online

Trawling the seabed doesn't just remove some of the fishes living there; it also makes some of the survivors thinner and less healthy by forcing them to use more energy finding less nutritious food. That's the conclusion of a new paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, based on the work Dr Andrew Frederick Johnson undertook while studying for his PhD at Bangor University.

Renewables Dominate New US Electrical Generating Capacity
December 24, 2014 10:01 AM - Clean Techies Staff, Clean Techies

According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, wind energy and solar power combined provided over 70 percent (71.82%) of the 873 megawatts (MW) of new U.S. electrical generating capacity placed into service in November 2014. Specifically, three wind farms came on line last month, accounting for 333-MW of new generation in service. These included Stella Wind Farm’s 182-MW Panhandle Wind Farm Phase II expansion in Texas and the 150-MW Origin Wind Energy project in Oklahoma. New wind generating capacity this year thus far has more than doubled that for the same period in 2013 (2,525-MW vs. 1,112-MW).

Fireplace and wood stove tips for a cleaner burn from EPA
December 23, 2014 08:23 AM - US Environmental Protection Agency

Across the country this holiday season, families and friends will gather around fires in woodstoves or fireplaces. But how you build that fire – and what you burn – can have a significant impact on air quality and health, both inside your home and out.

Whether you’re using a woodstove, pellet stove, or your fireplace, seeing smoke from your chimney means your fire isn’t burning efficiently or cleanly as it could. 

Woodsmoke contains fine particles – also called fine particle pollution or PM2.5 -- which can harm the lungs, blood vessels and heart. People with heart, vascular or lung disease, and older adults and children are more at risk. 

Here are some simple tips for building cleaner-burning fires this holiday season:

Going green has benefits beyond being good for you and the planet!
December 22, 2014 08:00 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen

You know that going green helps the environment and often your bank account, but it can also play a key role in reducing accidents. Green lifestyles are generally healthier ones, so don’t forget about that bonus perk when you go eco-friendly. Whether it’s reducing the amount of chemicals in your home, reducing the pesticides in your food, or avoiding the need for a DWI attorney because you never drive (especially not under the influence), here are a few ways eco-friendliness equates to fewer accidents: 

1. No chance of a car crash

Statistically, taking public transportation such as a bus or train, or walking or cycling, is much less dangerous than taking a car. Distracted driving is on the rise; just take a look at the official government (UK) Distraction.gov site for statistics on accidents caused from phones, radios, food and sleepiness. A greener approach to getting around is simply less prone to accidents than taking a car.
 

An app to save 400 million animals
December 15, 2014 09:57 AM - Alex Rodriguez, MONGABAY.COM

Brazilian biologist Alex Bager has been leading a crusade to raise awareness of a major but neglected threat to biodiversity in his country.

Every year over 475 million animals die in Brazil as victims of roadkill, according to an estimate by Centro Brasileiro de Ecologia de Estradas (the Brazilian Centre for the Study of Road Ecology) or CBEE, an initiative funded and coordinated by Bager. This means 15 animals are run down every second on Brazilian roads and highways.

"The numbers are really scary and we need people to know about them," Bager said.

To register cases of roadkill throughout the country, Bager came up with the idea of an app, now used by thousands of citizen scientists. And a national day of action in November saw hundreds of volunteers participate in events to highlight the impact of roadkill on biodiversity. 

New EU-wide food labeling rules apply this weekend
December 12, 2014 01:31 PM - EurActiv

New EU food labelling rules will come into force on Saturday (13 December). The aim is to ensure that consumers receive clearer and more accurate information about what they buy and eat. The new rules will force restaurants and cafés to list 14 different allergens in the menus - including nuts, gluten, lactose, soy or milk. Displaying allergens was until then only mandatory for pre-packed foods. Nano components will also have to be included in the ingredients list. Oils will need to refer to the plants used in their production, such as sunflower, palm or olive. Fresh meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry will need to carry a mandatory origin label, with a font size of at least 1.2 milimetres.   

Do Wind Turbines Affect Property Values?
December 9, 2014 09:20 AM - University of Guelph

Wind turbine developments have no effect on property values of nearby homes and farms, according to new research from the University of Guelph. Published in a recent issue of the Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, the study is believed the first peer-reviewed study on this issue in Canada.

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