The Long Journey of Produce to Your Grocery Store

Summer fruits. (Photo credit: SFB579 :))

Seeing perfectly colored and ripe fruit and vegetables at the grocery store, it is easy to forget the long journey that they have travelled. In the United States, we are used to having access to any food we desire, whether or not it is in season or can be grown locally. Pineapples, bananas and berries are everyday items, regardless of where in the country you live.

A recent National Geographic article followed a load of strawberries from Watsonville, California, to their final destination in Washington, D.C. As the author, Daniel Stone, points out: …read more

The City Energy Project: Better Buildings, Better Cities

Chicago City Hall Green Roof

Earlier this year, 10 mayors of large American cities announced a partnership with the NRDC (National Resources Defense Council) and the Institute for Market Transformation in the new City Energy Project. The goal of the project is to improve large public and private-sector building energy efficiency to reduce energy use, and thus decrease city pollution and save residents and businesses money. If the project succeeds, the savings could reach $1 billion nationwide, and the hope is that these cities will act as a model for communities across the nation and the world.

But what …read more

Why I Walk: A Pedestrian Manifesto

Traffic Signal “Walk”, New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pedestrian, the word evokes mundane thoughts. No surprise, as one of its two main meanings is “dull.” The other meaning is a person walking along a road or in a developed area, hardly inspiring either. This is partly because contemporary society views walking as a tedious task, something which we try to cut out of every day life with gadgets and infrastructure such as escalators or moving sidewalks. Most people prefer to take public transit, drive their cars, or ride their bikes (all faster modes of transportation). This is especially …read more

Peak Oil and a Peek at Reducing your Oil Production at Work

Peak oil ahead (Photo credit: Viktor Hertz)

CNN contributor David Frum seeks to re-define the term “peak oil” for the United States in his article ‘Peak oil doomsayers proven wrong’.

The term “peak oil” was used to refer to the speculation that the world was nearing its peak oil production rates five years ago and that sometime in the near future (now), oil production would begin to dry up.

Fast- forward to today. World oil production continues to rise. The United States will reclaim its spot atop the list of most oil producing countries in 2017.

Instead of throwing …read more

Pedaling Towards a Decreased Carbon Footprint … and Fresh Bread

Exploring Europe’s efforts to promote cycling reveals cultural priorities as well as the day-to-day benefits over driving.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/31/opinion/sunday/the-dutch-way-bicycles-and-fresh-bread.html

Carmakers Back New Rules for 54 MPG

Following President Obama’s announcement for an increase in fuel economy for passenger cars, major car manufacturers in the United States embrace the tough new standards, culminating in a mandated 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/29/automakers-react-to-54-5-m-p-g/

Increase in MPG = Decrease in $$$ at Pump

A proposal to increase the average fuel standards for American cars and trucks to as much as 56.2 MPG by 2025 is the subject of negotiations among the Obama administration, the auto industry, and other stakeholders. The US currently lags behind Europe, Japan and China.

Increased efficiency standards can save consumers billions of dollars at the pump, decrease transportation emissions, and significantly reduce oil imports. Read more here.

Drilling Deeper – Shallow Logic

A New York Times editorial said that “drilling alone cannot possibly ensure energy independence in a country that uses one-quarter of the world’s oil while owning only two percent of its reserves. Nor can it lower prices, except at the margins.”

Advocates of increased drilling are overestimating supplies and the extent of potential price impacts.

The real issues are deeper than any drill can reach. Read the full editorial here, and consider this an opportunity to evaluate your driving habits:

Drive more efficiently Keep your car in shape Plan & combine trips Choose a more efficient vehicle …read more

Small Cars = Big Profits

American consumers are shifting away from gas guzzling SUVs and trucks and turning to gas sipping and environmentally friendly vehicles.

According to The New York Times (4/27/11), with its focus on building more fuel efficient cars, Ford Motor Company’s small car sales have pushed profits way up, resulting in its best revenues in more than a decade.

(Ford’s pretax earnings in North America grew 50 percent, to $1.8 billion. Its global revenue rose 18 percent, to $33.1 billion. In the United States, Ford’s sales jumped 12 percent in the first quarter, narrowly outselling its larger rival, General Motors,) For the …read more