Archive for May, 2012
A study published in March 2012 in Environmental Research Letters discussed the likely results of projected sea level rise (SLR) on coastal areas of the United States in the near future. In the write-up, Claudia Tebaldi, senior scientist at Climate Central, maintains that the potential multi-meter sea level rise (SLR) in coming centuries “threatens permanent submersion or displacement of extensive coastal land, infrastructure and ecosystems.”
But even the shorter-term SLR expected in coming decades, Tebaldi finds, “will still impact low-lying coastal areas by augmenting the water levels reached by storm surges.” Read the rest of this entry »
Dave Kepler, chief sustainability officer at Dow Chemical Co., believes that to meet the demands of a burgeoning population, “we will need more sustainable products and infrastructure — in short, a more sustainable economy.”
Writing for GreenBiz, Kepler says “sustainable chemistry” will play a key role in meeting the increasing demands for material goods in an environment of tight resources and energy supply. He writes that more than 95 percent of manufactured goods rely on certain “chemical building blocks” somewhere in their value chains — that is, basic chemicals from which other chemicals get made. For that reason, “integrating sustainability and green chemistry concepts — ‘sustainable chemistry’ — as a building block is a vitally important part of building a more sustainable economy.” Read the rest of this entry »
Anna Maria Island, Fla., has only about 1,300 year-round residents. It’s located on the Gulf Coast, approximately 60 miles south of Tampa. At first glance, you would think the town is just another quiet seaside place in Florida, with nice palm trees, a terrific ocean breeze and friendly people who thrive on helping tourists enjoy their stays.
But about eight years ago a local part-time resident named Michael Coleman teamed up with the son of a former governor, named Ed Chiles, and came up with an ambitious idea that was also outlandish for its time. Read the rest of this entry »
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) last month revealed new updates to its Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) at the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) caucus luncheon. The survey is designed to lead the development of future energy standards for buildings. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s a fun e-mail footer that shows up occasionally in place of the rather smug variation, “Consider the environment before printing this e-mail.” It also pokes a little fun at the fallacy that digital content is somehow exempt from harm to the environment. Regardless of whether an e-mail may save a small fraction of resources over a piece of paper, it’s important to understand that as more of modern life happens in the digital cloud, there is still an environmental cost. Read the rest of this entry »
Wal-Mart’s recent announcement of plans to significantly expand its sustainability scorecard program for its titanic supply chain will likely accelerate markets for more sustainable manufacturing technologies as well as industrial packaging used by manufacturers. Over 100,000 suppliers serve the world’s biggest retailer, which alone accounts for 3 percent of U.S. GDP, so its program is bound to have an impact on manufacturing.
The transport of solvent-based chemicals, automotive fluids and foodstuffs have traditionally belonged to the realm of epoxy-coated steel and glass containers and, subsequently, plastics packaging such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and specially treated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) containers. The use of less-expensive HDPE requires fluorine treatment to give the plastic the barrier properties — namely corrosion resistance – that are needed for the carriage of a wide range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and chemicals. Read the rest of this entry »
Cry Me a River: Despite the Help of Robots, America’s Waterways Are Being Threatened into Endangerment
America’s rivers have been the subject of so many songs, poems, books, movies and TV shows that I could waste the entire rest of your day listing them. But I’ll name just two to get you in the mood. “Swanee River,” by Stephen Foster, is a great song. A River Runs Through It, starring a really young Brad Pitt, is a beautiful elegy to nature and the healing powers of water.
I was thinking about rivers when I came across two stories. The first story, about the tale of a crack team of scientists in California that is trying to make a difference in how the cleanliness of rivers is determined and how they can be cleaned up, made me optimistic. The other story, a look at the dangers facing some spots that many of us love so much, made me pessimistic. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the most puzzling aspects of the global warming controversy is the divergent responses to the simple question: Have global temperatures been rising in recent years?
Sounds simple enough, yet I keep hearing two very different answers. One side says yes, temperatures have continued to rise; the other side says no, temperatures have not risen for about the past decade. Read the rest of this entry »
Smog is an ever-present urban problem hanging over many large cities today, primarily the result of car and truck emissions combining with industrial fumes. These emissions react in the atmosphere with sunlight, taking on a life of their own and often referred to as “photochemical smog.”
In the United States, nine of the top 10 smog capitals are in California, with the Riverside-San Bernardino, Visalia-Tulare-Porteville and Los Angeles-Long Beach areas making up the top three. The lone top 10 U.S. smog capital outside of California is Houston, Texas. More than 1 million people die each year because of elevated levels of outdoor air pollution, and many more become ill, according to the World Health Organization. The American Lung Association recently reported that about 127 million Americans – more than 40 percent of the U.S. population — still live in areas that have been graded with an “F” in air quality.
To help address the issue, the commercial sustainability industry has brought to market a number of solutions ostensibly designed to combat urban smog with technology. Read the rest of this entry »