No Clean Water? Suck It Up!

TECHNICIAN HOLDS SAMPLES OF “DIRTY” AND “CLEAN” WATER AFTER TREATMENT – NARA – 543808 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Suck it up!” may be the words residents of developing nations begin to hear more and more when in search for clean drinking water. Well, at least that’s what social entrepreneurs from companies like Life Straw are hoping the 780 million people that lack access to clean water will do. Like more than half a dozen water purification for-profit ventures that actively participate currently, Life Straw recognizes that clean water is a global concern.

Water.org morosely reports that 3.4 million …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

The Weather Outside Is Frightful

Jet streams flow from west to east in the upper portion of the troposphere. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been impossible to ignore talk of the polar vortex in recent weeks. Freezing temperatures, snowfall, accidents.. It’s enough to make you want to stay inside and hibernate this winter! If you’re wondering about the story behind the extreme weather, read on:

What is the Polar Vortex?

The polar vortex is a “large pocket of very cold air that generally sits over both the North and South Poles”. It is usually sequestered in this area by the encircling jet stream, keeping the …read more

What Does the Future Hold for Energy Use in America?

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, AER Energy Perspectives and MER.

After declining for several years in a row, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions grew by 2% in 2013. This was largely due to an increase in the use of coal by electric power plants in the U.S., after a rise in the price of natural gas.

While this still left the U.S. 10% below 2005 levels, it is a move in the wrong direction. These findings follow President Obama’s recent second term push for national action on climate change, and call for an increase in the use of renewable energy …read more

Can National Governments Lead the Way On Limiting Climate Change?

English: President Barack Obama talks at the DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week, President Obama called on the US government to lead by example and increase its use of renewable energy. The goal is for each government agency to get 20 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, which would nearly triple the current usage standards. In recent years, the US government has been notable for its inaction on environmental issues, and climate scientists have been frustrated by a lack of positive legislation, but recent moves by the Obama administration have …read more

Fire Threatens Water?

As a national parks enthusiast, I try to visit a new park at least every couple years. We visited Yosemite for the first time two weeks ago – yes, right around the time the Rim Fire broke out. At the time, the only signs of the blaze came from a road closer to the park’s Northwest entrance.

PHOTO: Hiking at White Wolf, miles from threatened sequoias at Tuolumne Grove

As the week went on, murmurs throughout the park began to increase, as did the smoke billowing into the sky that was visible from some of the park’s more …read more

Can America Be Energy Independent?

Fracking’s Radioactive Dumping Ground (Photo credit: Truthout.org)

The vision of an energy independent America has become a popular topic in the political arena. It has become part of the President’s platform, while media pundits tempt us with this dream. But can it actually happen?

Simply put, no. Unless the President decided to nationalize all of America’s energy companies, energy independence is something that could never exist in a free-market capitalist system. Yet we constantly hear about the plethora of energy options that big energy companies are moving forward to create an energy independent America.

It is one big marketing …read more

“Ask a Master Gardener”

From Engineer to Master Gardener: NAVFAC Pacific Employee Serves Community Selflessly (Photo credit: NAVFAC)

Would you like to know what is knocking out your Knock Out rose? Why the bloom is off your lilac? Do you have tomato trouble? The lavender blues? Are you eager to learn about safe, effective and sustainable horticultural practices? And, would you like to help share these with the community? In either case, the Master Gardener program may be for you.

If you need to have a plant or insect identified, a plant disease diagnosed, or just a gardening question answered, then “Ask a …read more

The Moment We Have All Been Waiting For? Obama on Climate Change

Obama_sweating_bullets (Photo credit: Floyd Brown)

Obama’s speech at Georgetown University in June shocked many environmental advocates, in a good way. For the first time Obama stated that he would not approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline if it significantly increases climate pollution.

This was a shock to many because of the previous inaction by the federal government on the issue of climate change (see Congress’s failure to pass cap and trade) since Obama’s pledge to reduce carbon emissions. Now, there are many more positive signs coming from the White House.

At the Georgetown speech, Obama laid out …read more