• Nest Thermostat 2.0 Brings New Energy-Saving Features

    The Nest Thermostat has been available since last December. It has a number of very unique features that make it a great energy saver out of the gate. Now a software update that is automatically pushed out to Nest thermostats through their Wi-Fi internet connection brings enhanced capabilities. The new software update Nest 2.0 includes: Enhanced Energy History, a more in-depth look at your usage Airwave, a specific energy-saving application for the cooling season Additional remote features via web, iPhone and Android Updated internal menus The software update will be downloaded automatically over the next couple of days through the user’s Wi-Fi connection. Users should also be sure to update the applications on their mobile devices as well. Nest Labs was formed by industrial designers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, both formerly of Apple. They decided that applying some Silicon Valley magic to the lowly thermostat would attract tech-oriented homeowners concerned about saving energy and money and reducing their burden on the planet >> Read the Full Article
  • Pink on Green: How to Ignite the Second Electrical Revolution

    The electric industry is good at building things. That's how it solves problems. Is there a threat of blackouts? Develop a new natural gas-fired plant. Worried about climate change? Build wind and solar power. Does electricity cost too much? Install a transmission line to import cheaper power. But build-to-solve represents only half of the equation in the new world of smart grid. The other half, the part that stumps the industry, is solve-without-building. Rather than adding more energy, smart grid tries to wring maximum efficiency out of the system by changing the way we consume electricity. But it turns out, trying to direct human energy behavior makes cat herding look easy. To get people to pay attention to their energy use, utilities and private companies are experimenting with alluring gadgets and social motivators. So far, success has been minimal. Thomas Edison's light bulb has been such a smashing success for the last 100 years, none of us want to turn it off. So what will it take? The Edison Foundation recently looked outside the industry for some answers, inviting Dan Pink, best-selling author of "DRIVE: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" to speak at last month's Power the People 2.0 conference in Washington D.C. Consumer motivation has become a common conference topic. But Pink's talk was different. He stepped back and took a broader view and asked: How do we motivate the people who are trying motivate the consumer? Pink calls this "the science of how people do extraordinary things." >> Read the Full Article
  • Classes Make Bicycling in Los Angeles Easier

    It is 9 am and traffic is crawling on the 101 freeway...and on the 405, and on the 118. Sunshine pours through the windshield, turning your mind to thoughts of walking through the Santa Monica Mountains and biking down to the beach. Minutes are ticking by, marked only by the occasional horn honking loudly behind you. As for the gas you put in the car earlier? It is working its way towards "E." There is a way to reduce your fossil fuels consumption and make daily commutes enjoyable: bicycling. And a new organization is here to help make biking in Los Angeles easier. If you are new to biking or if the thought of peddling down crowded LA streets intimidates you, Sustainable Streets offers free safety courses to help ease your transition into biking. Courses are available in Burbank, West Hollywood, and along the beach in Santa Monica. Classes start with four hours in the classroom, followed by one hour on a simulated road, and then almost five hours of actual street riding. >> Read the Full Article
  • Wind Tops 10 Percent Share of Electricity in Five States

    A new picture is emerging in the U.S. power sector. In 2007, electricity generation from coal peaked, dropping by close to 4 percent annually between 2007 and 2011. Over the same time period, nuclear generation fell slightly, while natural gas-fired electricity grew by some 3 percent annually and hydropower by 7 percent. Meanwhile, wind-generated electricity grew by a whopping 36 percent each year. Multiple factors underlie this nascent shift in U.S. electricity production, including the global recession, increasing energy efficiency, and more economically recoverable domestic natural gas. But ultimately it is the increasing attractiveness of wind as an energy source that will drive it into prominence. Wind power accounted for just 2.9 percent of total electricity generation in the United States in 2011. In five U.S. states, however, 10 percent or more of electricity generation came from wind. South Dakota leads the states, with wind power making up 22 percent of its electricity generation in 2011, up from 14 percent in 2010. In 2011, Iowa generated 19 percent of its electricity with wind energy. And in North Dakota, wind’s share was 15 percent. >> Read the Full Article
  • Sustainable Seafood Guide: How to Save the Seas with Your Diet

    Maybe you have heard that eating beef is one of the biggest contributors to your carbon footprint, much more so than driving. However, if you are like many of us, you may not have thought about how eating seafood affects the environment. Whether you live by the coast or thousands of miles from the nearest shoreline, the biggest impact you have on the oceans is through your diet. Beyond its health benefits and its cultural significance, there is no denying how delicious lobster with freshly-squeezed lemon tastes on a hot summer day. With a seemingly (and deceptively) abundant supply of inexpensive seafood, it can be hard to say no to that double order of fish tacos. But can the seas really provide an endless bounty of food? >> Read the Full Article
  • Whole Foods Will No Longer Sell Overfished Species

    Fish is an important source of protein around the world. Fish provides almost three billion people globally with almost 20 percent of their average per capita intake of animal protein, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN. However, many of the world's fish populations are in trouble. In fact, 53 percent of the world's fisheries are exploited and 32 percent are overexploited, depleted or recovering from depletion. Enter Whole Foods and its commitment to selling sustainable sea food. >> Read the Full Article
  • General Mills Releases 2012 Global Responsibility Report

    General Mills today released its 2012 Global Responsibility Report, detailing the company’s progress in the areas of health, communities and environment. The 2012 report can be viewed or downloaded at GeneralMills.com. Highlights from General Mills’ efforts to nourish lives around the globe this past year include: Reaching the halfway mark toward achieving three of the company’s 2015 global sustainability goals: water, solid waste and packaging. General Mills is more than 50 percent of the way to achieving a 20 percent reduction in its water usage rate and a 50 percent reduction in its solid waste generation rate. In addition, the company has improved the packaging for 27 percent of its sales volume –more than halfway toward the 40 percent goal. >> Read the Full Article
  • Bottled water industry wages PR battle against tap water

    Worried by a dip in sales, Nestlé is among the companies waging a million-pound public relations war to turn the public off tap water and back onto plastic bottled water Bottled water is the totemic bête noire of the environmental world, a multibillion-dollar industry that takes what in the west is clean and readily available from the tap, packages it up in non-biodegradable plastic and sells it back to consumers at hugely inflated prices. And yet sales continue to rise. In 2010, more than 2bn litres were consumed in the UK – 33 litres per person, a figure projected to rise to 40 litres by 2020. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ocean Heating over the past hundred years

    In 1872 the HMS Challenger pulled out from Portsmouth, England to begin an unprecedented scientific expedition of the world's oceans. During its over three year journey the HMS Challenger not only collected thousands of new species and sounded unknown ocean depths, but also took hundreds of temperature readings—data which is now proving invaluable to our understanding of climate change. Utilizing the temperature data from the HMS Challenger expedition and comparing it to contemporary temperatures, researchers writing in Nature Climate Change found that the oceans' surface— where marine warming is most intense—saw temperature rise on average by 0.59 degrees Celsius (1.1 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past 135 years or so. This implies that oceanic temperatures have been rising for at least a century. >> Read the Full Article
  • Earth Hour biggest ever this year

    Last night, as Earth Hour beganits monumental journey around the globe, hundreds of millions of people united to demonstrate that we urgently need to take action to protect our planet. The largest voluntary action for the environment is reaching further than ever before. Earth Hour was celebrated in a record 150 countries and territories and 6494 towns and cities to send the message that our combined efforts are needed to change our future to one that is sustainable. >> Read the Full Article