Pollution

Taking on the E-Waste Problem
December 31, 2007 11:11 AM - Andrew Burger, Triple Pundit

Ongoing growth in volumes and disposal rates of electronic waste and scrap pose consumers, governments and industry with a growing threat to environmental health and safety. In its 2002 report “Exporting Harm,” the Seattle arm of the Basel Action Network revealed that about 80 percent of electronic waste brought to recyclers in the US is in fact not recycled here but exported to Asia, most likely China, where “it is melted down in primitive, environmentally damaging conditions including the cooking and melting of computer circuit boards in vast quantity.”

Smokers butt out in Germany and France
December 31, 2007 09:15 AM - Reuters

BERLIN/PARIS (Reuters) - For years, anyone needing a nicotine fix in a German pub or French cafe didn't even have to light up -- the air was already so full of smoke that they only had to open their mouth and inhale. But that all changes on Tuesday when strict new bans take effect in two of Western Europe's final bastions for smokers, Germany and France. There was long and fierce resistance to the prohibitions on tobacco that other countries imposed.

“The Story Of Stuff ” Challenges American Consumerism
December 30, 2007 10:57 AM - www.storyofstuff.com

Throughout the 20-minute film, activist Annie Leonard, the film’s narrator and an expert on the materials economy, examines the social, environmental and global costs of extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal. Her illustration of a culture driven by stuff allows her to isolate the moment in history where she says the trend of consumption mania began. The “Story of Stuff” examines how economic policies of the post-World War II era ushered in notions of consumerism — and how those notions are still driving much of the U.S. and global economies today.

McDonald's sees restaurants as green laboratories
December 29, 2007 11:32 AM - Reuters

The hamburger chain, whose iconic brand and presence in 118 countries has made it the target of anti-globalization activists, is using its scale and broad franchise ownership to address the issue. It is trying out a slew of individualized environmental initiatives, said Bob Langert, vice president of corporate social responsibility, in an interview, adding that it did not make sense to force one solution onto its entire system.

Prenatal X-rays don't raise kids' brain tumor risk
December 28, 2007 03:43 PM - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Overall, children born to women who received an X-ray while pregnant are not more likely than other children to develop a brain tumor, Swedish researchers report based on a study they conducted. However, the study hints that abdominal X-rays during pregnancy may raise the risk of a specific type of brain tumor called primitive neuroectodermal tumors.

Most older adults have brain disease: study
December 28, 2007 03:34 PM - Megan Rauscher, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Results of a brain autopsy study indicate that most older adults have significant brain pathology (disease), regardless of the presence or absence of outward signs of dementia. As part of the long-term Rush Memory and Aging Project, researchers evaluated the spectrum of abnormalities found in the brains of 141 older adults, with and without clinically evident dementia.

Unethical Ethanol Tariff
December 28, 2007 12:00 PM - Adam Dean, Global Policy Innovations Program

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and U.S. President Bush met last week at Camp David to discuss the future of ethanol. As the world's largest producer of sugar and a pioneer in the production of ethanol, Brazil is a key ally in Bush's plan to reduce America's foreign oil dependence and environmental footprint. Imports of Brazilian ethanol could be a major step toward achieving Bush's goal of reducing American gasoline consumption by 20 percent over the next ten years. As ethanol can be produced from sugar, increased consumption of the fuel in the United States could also lead to a higher commodity price for sugar producers in Brazil, with the potential to lift thousands out of poverty.

Beijing raises air quality goal for Olympics
December 28, 2007 08:09 AM - Reuters

Beijing is aiming for more "good air days" in 2008 as it prepares to host the Olympics in August, a senior official said on Friday, with the city's notorious pollution a major concern for athletes and organizers. Beijing recorded 244 "blue sky days" by December 28 this year, a day short of its 245-day target. The standard of a "blue sky day" has not been widely recognized by international scientists.

Hotels: Energy Star Earns Its Keep
December 27, 2007 04:24 PM - Glenn Hasek, Green Lodging News

Washington - There are currently 247 Energy Star labeled hotels listed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star for Hospitality website. Close to 3,000 U.S. hotels have participated in this free government program since it was launched in 2002—mostly hotels in the 200-room range but any property 20 rooms and up can benefit. The two largest hotels that have earned the Energy Star are the Sheraton Waikiki with 2,228 rooms, and the Sheraton Boston Hotel and Towers with 1,215. The smallest hotels with a label are the 60-room Laurel Super 8 Motel in Laurel, Montana, and the 85-room Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, Old Saybrook, Conn.

Survey: Green Takes Strong Hold with Architects, Designers
December 27, 2007 04:06 PM - Glen Hasek, Green Lodging News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Autodesk, Inc. and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently announced the results of the 2007 Autodesk/AIA Green Index, an annual survey that measures how AIA member architects in the United States are practicing sustainable design, as well as their opinions about the green building movement. The index shows that green building has taken a firm hold on the industry and has captured the attention of both architects and their clients.

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