Sustainability

Freeing the Elwha!
October 14, 2013 12:01 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Exciting and dramatic changes have taken place in the Elwha River in the last two years with the removal of two dams. The Glines Canyon Dam (1927) and the Elwha Dam (1910) were removed to restore the watershed’s ecology unblocking passage for migratory salmon. Salmon have already begun to find their way up the newly freed river. Since the time of their building many things have changed about our understanding of river system ecology causing an ever-increasing movement to remove them. The Elwha River dam removal project is currently the largest one in history.

Solar-powered car competition winner
October 14, 2013 06:22 AM - Tafline Laylin, Green Prophet

Stella, a solar-powered family car designed by students from the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in has won the World Solar Challenge 2013, ushering in a new era of efficient, practical cruisers that get all of their juice from the sun. Solar Team Eindhoven from the Netherlands spent over a year developing their family car, which features photovoltaic solar panels on both the roof and rear, according to Dezeen. The latter are flipped up to optimize solar absorption and generate energy while the car is not in use.

Why do food stores and restaurants toss good food?
October 13, 2013 07:45 AM - FRANK CARINI/ecoRI News staff

There’s a food craze taking hold in Greater Boston: Tossed-out food is being rescued from Dumpsters; past-expiration-date food is being promoted as a healthy alternative to fast food; shelters and pantries are being stocked with produced gleaned from farms. While many squirm at the thought of eating food salvaged from a Dumpster, Maximus Thaler has been Dumpster-diving behind Boston-area supermarkets for the past few years. He’s rescued ripe produce, fresh fruits, eggs, herbs and plenty of perfectly edible packaged food from being buried or burned.

Time to standardize EV charging in America
October 12, 2013 07:34 AM - Brad Berman, Clean Techies

Hard data collected from plug-in vehicle owners shows that the majority of EV charging takes place at home. Still, the ability to charge an electric car along the road—even if infrequent—can extend the distance each car can travel over the course of a day. Unfortunately, the public charging landscape is littered with complications and inconveniences brought on by multiple standards and incompatibilities between different vehicles and charge providers. Imagine if each brand of gas station required its own subscription, and each brand of car was compatible only with a certain type of gas nozzle.

Weighing the Benefits of Wind
October 11, 2013 03:28 PM - Thembi Mutch, The Ecologist

There’s a new wind blowing across Europe. Windpower is predominantly located in Germany, Denmark and Spain, and a recent European Union report predicted wind will power Europe’s demands several times over before 2020. In September 2013 the 'Montreal Protocol' committed G20 countries to reducing the 'super Greenhouse Gases' - hydrofluorocarbons produced primarily from fossil fuels, and as part of this, alternatives to coal, natural gas and oil must be found, as a matter of urgency. However even here dissent prevails - the recent International Energy Outlook Report predicted that globally, we will remain 80% dependant on fossil fuels until 2040, (with China and Asia increasing their consumptions considerably) and the results are cataclysmic.

OSHA potentially lets West Fertilizer off cheap
October 11, 2013 12:44 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

On April 17, 2013 explosions rocked the small town of West, Texas. Fire fighters initially responded to a fire at West Fertilizer Company owned by Adair Grain, Inc. but as water was used to put the fire out, an explosion incurred taking with it a neighboring 50-unit apartment building and parts of a nearby middle school, as well as heavily damaging a nearby nursing home. With many lawsuits pending, OSHA has made its initial determination with regard to the West Fertilizer Company leading federal workplace safety regulators to propose initial fines in the amount of $118,300 against the company. This number, given the magnitude of the occurrence is thought to be extremely low.

A Comprehensive Energy Productivity Portfolio
October 10, 2013 03:17 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Like a good financial portfolio, it appears that diversification is a successful strategy for America’s Energy Productivity according to the environmental action group, Natural Resources Defense Council. But, the NRDC notes that while the portfolio clearly should include a combination of all energies, the single most effective tool in maximizing our energy economy is to reduce consumption and extract the most out of every energy dollar spent.

Respect the Wolves
October 10, 2013 12:03 PM - Michael W. Fox of Project Coyote

Wolves play an integral role in maintaining the health of wildlife and ecosystems, and indirectly, livestock and public health. Recognition of this role and its ecological ramifications calls for greater respect, protection and increased numbers of wolves in appropriate habitats across North America. Current federal and state government initiatives, backed by diverse vested interests, are poised to reduce the nation's existing wolf population, which is contrary to the directives of sound science, reason and the public interest.

Team 11th Hour to run the most eco-efficient cross-continental sailing race ever
October 10, 2013 09:54 AM - Ali Peyton Chapman, Guest Contributor

World-class sailors Rob Windsor (Long Island, NY) and Hannah Jenner (Shropshire, England) are teaming up with Team 11th Hour Racing to run the most eco-efficient race in the history of sailing at the 20th anniversary of the Transat Jacques Vabre, considered the "Super Bowl" of offshore sailing. The team will set eco-firsts by implementing eco-friendly solutions to race more efficiently and minimize environmental impact during the month-long, 5,6000-mile sailing race that begins on Nov. 3rd in Le Havre, France and ends in Itajai, Brazil. Windsor and Jenner will be the first team to use microgreens on board and are believed to be the first team to eliminate trash dumping almost entirely during a major offshore ocean race. In all, Windsor and Jenner will implement a total of 11 on-board eco-friendly solutions.

European Union on Track to Reach 2020 Climate Goals
October 10, 2013 08:52 AM - Edouard Stenger, Clean Techies

According to the European Environment Agency, the European Union is already close to its 2020 climate objectives as it has decreased its emissions by no less than 18 percent between 1990 and 2012. Additionally, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and many others were already accounting for 13 percent of the energy mix in 2011. The European Union have a comprehensive energy and climate plan as it has three objectives: 1. to slash its greenhouses gases emissions by 20 percent from 1990 to 2020 ; 2. to increase its energy efficiency by 20 percent ; 3. to increase its share of renewable energy sources to 20 percent of the mix by 2020.

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