• When It's Greener To Build


    Whether with lightbulbs or buildings, many of us in the green building world are in love with conservation and efficiency. Of course, if the goal is reducing our footprint on the planet, better than doing something efficiently is to not do it at all—whether it’s turning on a light or making a building. The mindset of efficiency in the green building movement contains, at its logical extreme, a latent distaste for buildings themselves. This tension cuts to the core of our mindset as green builders.

    To get a glimpse of this, let’s examine a contrary question: “Is it ever greener to build than to not build?” Purists who believe in leaving the land untouched might reply, “No.” But surely this position is too extreme—should we only use existing infrastructure? Should we not have a built environment? Our architecture, no matter how efficient, will always exact some environmental costs. But concern about resource consumption should be a lens through which we examine buildings, not the definition of green itself.
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  • California Cleans Up Indoor Air Cleaners

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  • EU Sticks to Disputed Airline Emissions Plan

    BRUSSELS - The European Union stuck to its plans to include foreign airlines in its emissions trading system at U.N. meetings this week, despite opposition from the United States.  Airline emissions were top of the agenda of a tri-annual meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations body, in Montreal which ended on Friday.  The European Commission said in a statement there was no clear agreement on how to cut greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation and the EU insisted it had the right to include airlines in its trading system.

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  • EPA Orders Five Illinois Feedlots To Halt Stream Discharges

    CHICAGO - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has ordered five Illinois feedlots to stop all unauthorized discharges of manure and wastewater into area streams. The feedlots were told they had to comply with the Clean Water Act. The EPA also ordered several of the feedlots to apply to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for discharge permits under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.

    So far, none of the lots has been fined.
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  • Federal Courts And Climate Change Suits

    A federal court recently dismissed a landmark lawsuit brought by California against major automakers that sought to recoup the money the state has spent, and will continue to spend, to address the effects of climate change. The suit, which argued that the greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles constitute a public nuisance because they are a significant contributor to climate change, was dismissed Sept. 17 by Judge Martin Jenkins of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on the grounds that it was a political question better suited to the legislative and executive branches of government. The court’s reasoning, however, overlooked the important role that the judiciary has played in addressing politically charged questions throughout the nation’s long and historic common law tradition. While few would question the relative desirability of a regulatory response, when the political branches fail to act, the courts have a key role to play.
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  • Mountain mining called "genocide" of Appalachia

    Larry Gibson's tiny house sits in a green oasis on top of the Appalachian peak his family has called home for 230 years. The setting would be peaceful if not for the roar of machinery scraping away the surrounding mountain in search of coal.

    "It's a noisy, dusty place. They dynamite constantly," said Gibson, 61. "It's the genocide of Appalachia, the destruction of a people who have lived in these mountains forever."

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  • Brazil Claims First With Carbon Auction

    Brazil's largest city sold millions of dollars worth of carbon credits at an auction Wednesday in a deal that experts said paves the way for developing countries to make money fighting global warming.

    Brazil's Mercantile and Futures Exchange called Sao Paulo's sale of $18.5 million in carbon credits to Dutch-Belgian Fortis Bank the first such sale to be held on a regulated stock market and a significant step toward institutionalizing the carbon market.

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  • What Are You Washing Your Baby With?

    RIVERVIEW, Fla.- When new mothers are making a new commitment to live more natural, chemical-free lifestyles, they may think that changing diet alone is enough. Most families focus on moving into organic, farm- raised, or preservative-free food, a very good start. But, toxins hide elsewhere too. It's easy to miss the fact that large amount of chemicals are being absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin every day from soaps and shampoos. Not realizing that can prove to be a deadly mistake for their children over time.
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  • Hidden Hazards of Air Fresheners

    Washington - Could the floral scent of your air freshener contain toxic chemicals known to cause birth defects? NRDC recently tested 14 different air fresheners and found that 12 contained chemicals called phthalates (pronounced thal-ates), chemicals that can cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects and reproductive problems. Even air fresheners marketed as "all-natural" or "unscented" contained the hazardous chemicals.

    In addition to phthalates, air fresheners may contain allergens, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as cancer-causing chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde.
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  • Clinton Global Initiative Begins

    Across town from the United Nations General Assembly session, other world leaders, celebrities and scholars gathered Wednesday for the third annual Clinton Global Initiative conference to discuss subjects of global importance. >> Read the Full Article