Sustainability

EV Range Anxiety Cure?
April 24, 2013 06:15 AM - Roger Greenway ENN and Bill DiBenedetto, Triple Pundit

As an electric vehicle fan, I can appreciate the range anxiety concern. I am driving a Chevy Volt which is great since it has a range extending gasoline engine. Since I enjoy driving in in EV mode so much, and that range is only 35 - 40 miles for me, I decided to go all electric and ordered a Tesla Model S. This will be EV all the time, but with no on-board back up generator, will not be usable for really long trips until the charging infrastructure improves a lot. So I am keeping an older internal combustion engine car for use on long trips! ENN Affiliate TriplePundit reports on an approach to ending range anxiety for people who don't want, or can't keep an internal combustion engine back up car around. Fiat and BMW feel your pain and have come up with a solution of sorts that might boost their EV sales: They will give customers free access to conventional gas-powered cars when they need them for long trips. BMW's i3 electric car is entering the U.S. market this year, and will come with a free loaner conventional car for trips that exceed its 80- to 100-mile range. Customers also will have the option of adding a gasoline generator to the i3 for about $4,000, which would double its range. The retail price for the i3 is estimated at $42,000 to $48,000.

Understanding AC Refrigerant Standards
April 23, 2013 09:13 AM - Andrew Burger, Triple Pundit

Back in 1987, alarm about emissions of ozone layer-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and bromine gases led national governments worldwide to sign the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, a United Nations (UN) environmental agreement in which 197 countries and the European Union (EU) pledged to phase out production and use of CFCs, HCFCs and bromine gases. Though revised, more aggressive reduction targets for new refrigerant standards are being met, subsequent developments — rapid industrialization in large emerging market countries and the growing threats and costs of global warming — have complicated matters further.

UN Urges Member Nations Renew Pledges to Respect Earth
April 23, 2013 06:19 AM - United Nations News Service

Top United Nations officials today urged the 193 Member States to renew their pledges to honour and respect Mother Earth marking the day selected by the world body to promote harmony with nature and sustainable development. Today is a "chance to reaffirm our collective responsibility to promote harmony with nature," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Interactive Dialogue on Harmony with Nature held to mark International Mother Earth Day. Noting this year's theme, Faces of Climate Change, Mr. Ban urged the UN General Assembly "to confront the hard truth that our planet is under threat."

Earth Day - Hollywood Style
April 22, 2013 03:14 PM - BILL KEITH, The Credits

For years, Hollywood has celebrated Earth Day in order to raise awareness about environmental issues and to strike up a memorable dialogue about sustainable practices. And the film studios’ embrace of Earth Day has only strengthened over time. From PSAs to Paramount’s new micro-turbines, we take a look at the industry’s dedication to spotlighting one of the most important advocacy dates on the calendar. In 1990, the holiday got a pretty big boost from Hollywood when Time Warner called on some of their favorite talent to hammer home proactive things Americans could do to reduce their footprint on the planet. (Our favorites? A pony-tailed Kevin Costner teaching Meryl Streep how to recycle and Neil Patrick Harris as Doogie Howser giving a press conference about the health of his patient, "Mother Earth.") But in 2013, the film business's efforts have far exceeded PSA productions, and the good news is that a lot of progressive practices like electric car fueling stations, composting, a ban on plastic bags in commissaries, and required carbon emission reporting have become all but de rigueur on most major lots. As each of the main studios shoot to achieve "100% sustainable" status in the coming years, the pressure is on to determine creative ways to be the first to get there, and then some. In honor of Earth Day, we take a look at some of the ways Hollywood is committed to 'greening' up their practices:

A new tool against illegal logging: tree DNA technology goes mainstream
April 22, 2013 08:47 AM - Tanya Dimitrova, MONGABAY.COM

The role of tree DNA tracking is increasing in the fight against illegal logging as evidenced by prosecution cases in USA and Germany. Modern DNA technology offers a unique opportunity: you could pinpoint the origin of your table at home and track down if the trees it was made from were illegally obtained. Each wooden piece of furniture comes with a hidden natural barcode that can tell its story from a sapling in a forest all the way to your living room.

Freeway Air Pollution Travels Farther than Previously Thought
April 19, 2013 11:11 AM - Editor, ENN

Los Angeles is known not only for its celebrity clientele, but also for its congested roadways and heavy traffic, which consequently has led to severely polluted air, and the title of the "smoggiest city" in the United States. While air quality has improved somewhat in LA, a joint study by UCLA and the California Air Resources Board suggests that nearly a quarter of Angelenos are exposed to noxious plumes of freeway fumes almost every morning, far more people than previously thought.

Study Suggests Community Gardening May Produce Health Benefits
April 19, 2013 08:58 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

There are many benefits to community gardens. From greening urban ecosystems, to offering education and cultural opportunities, community gardens provide a venue for people to come together and stimulate social interaction. For individuals, these gardens also provide a venue for exercise, food production, and improved diets. These potential benefits have lead to a new study that reveals those who participate in community gardening have a significantly lower body mass index and have lower odds of being overweight or obese compared to their non-gardening neighbors.

Aerosols confirmed rising over India
April 18, 2013 09:49 AM - T.V. Padma, SciDevNet

While satellite data has shown aerosols — tiny polluting particles in the air — to be rising over India, a new study based on primary data gathered from measuring instruments installed in a network of stations confirms the trend. The study, by a team from the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, published online in Geophysical Research Letters last month (14 March), is based on the principle that aerosols absorb the sun's rays as they reach the earth's surface.

Lettuce Turnip the Radish Beet and Rocket
April 17, 2013 10:59 PM - Allison Winter, ENN

Permaculture is the branch of ecological design, which promotes development of sustainable and self-sufficient natural ecosystems. Focusing on twelve tenets, or design principles, that center on taking care of the earth while setting limits on consumption and redistributing surplus, the movement has yet to gain mainstream scientific acceptance. However, with help from a new album, "Permaculture — A Rhymer's Manual," Formidable Vegetable Sound System hopes to bring attention to permaculture and it's principles through their unique musical stylings. Globetrotting permaculture troubadour, Charlie Mgee has composed an entire album about sustainability, a topic most artists wouldn't think of touching without sounding too corny or too righteous. But who knew this new genre of edutainment (education and entertainment) would catch on? And who knew songs about permaculture could sound so cool and refreshing?

U.S. Air Force is Really Reducing Energy Use
April 17, 2013 09:00 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit

The U.S. Air Force is the largest energy user in the federal government. The federal government accounts for about one percent of total U.S. energy use, most of that is used by the Department of Defense (DOD). The Air Force accounts for 48 percent of the DOD's energy costs, which equates to about 2.5 billion gallons of aviation fuel, 64 trillion BTUs a year, and 35 metric tons of carbon. In 2012, the Air Force spent over $9 billion on energy, and 85 percent went to aviation fuel, which accounted for eight percent of the Air Force's budget. In 2003, energy was only three percent of the total budget.

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