Archive | Ideas, Humanities, & Education

Life on Earth: Quicker Start Than Thought?

COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Nov. 11 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they’ve discovered Earth’s climate was much cooler than thought billions of years ago, which may mean life developed earlier than thought.

Researchers from Texas A&M, Yale and Stanford universities say their findings could change current ideas about the formation of the earliest life on the planet. The scientists say they’ve determined the Earth’s climate was perhaps more than 50 degrees cooler than thought billions of years ago. That means conditions for life were much easier, and that life existing at that time was not under as much stress as previously believed.

Texas A&M geobiologist Mike Tice said the team examined rocks from South Africa that are known to be about 3.4 billion years old — among the oldest ever discovered. They found features in the rocks consistent with formation at water temperatures significantly lower than previous studies suggested.

“Our research shows the water temperature 3.4 billion years ago was at most 105 degrees, and while that’s potentially very warm, it’s far below the temperatures of 155 degrees or more that previous research has implied,” Tice said. “It means more organisms may have been around that were not necessarily heat-loving ones.”

The study appears in the journal Nature.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Nature & Ecosystems0 Comments

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Applauds California's Passing of Water Upgrade Package

SACRAMENTO, Nov. 4 (UPI) — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger congratulated state legislators Wednesday for passing a massive overhaul plan for California’s water system.

Schwarzenegger said in a written statement that the legislation, which includes an $11 billion bond measure that must be approved by the cash-strapped state’s voters, addresses the “lifeblood of everything we do in California.”

“Democrats and Republicans came together and tackled one of the most complicated issues in our state’s history,” he said. “This comprehensive water package is an historic achievement.”

The San Francisco Chronicle said the size of the bond measure and the fact it will be repaid through the state’s general fund could lead to “sticker shock” for many voters next November.

The project is California’s latest attempt to balance the needs of Northern California’s delta environment with those of Southern California’s cities and the state’s huge agriculture industry.

Some environmentalists scoffed at the proposal, saying it would do little to preserve the delta’s fish habitat or encourage conservation.

“The Legislature capitulated to pressure from big corporate water interests and passed a package full of outdated ideas and the same policies that have led to the current crisis,” Charlotte Hodde of the Planning and Conservation League said in a written statement.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Conservation, Fish, History, Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Policies & Solutions0 Comments

Massachusetts Town Using Goats As Lawn Mowers to Trim Grass & Government Spending

ANDOVER, Mass., Oct. 17 (UPI) — Officials in Andover, Massachusetts, say they are using goats to keep one of the town’s public meadows trimmed, even as they trim a bit of government spending.

Bob Decelle, special projects manager for the Andover Conservation Commission, said by allowing six goats to eat their fill of the grass at a public meadow, the town is saving money and helping the environment, The Boston Globe reported Saturday.

“Everyone benefits,” Decelle said. “The town benefits, the goats benefit, and the environment benefits.”

Instead of using town funds to hire people to mow the 3-acre meadow with heavy equipment, the town has dairy goat club leader Lucy McKain bring the goats to the site each day for an all-natural buffet.

“They’re very good browsers,” McKain said. “It’s a win-win. It’s pretty neat.”

“Economic times force creative ideas,” Conservation Commission member Gail Ralston told the Globe.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Conservation, Ideas, Humanities, & Education, People, Policy, Law, & Government0 Comments

Caribbean Clean Energy Projects Get Funding Boost

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Oct. 14 (UPI) — Caribbean clean energy development received a boost with new funding made available for innovative projects that are designed to ease the burden of fuel costs for the region’s poor countries and help them switch over to sustainable sources for domestic and industrial use.

The funding was pledged as grants from the Global Village Energy Partnership, an international non-profit organization that seeks to reduce poverty through accelerated access to modern energy services, and Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit, based in Eschborn, Germany.

GTZ is an international cooperation enterprise that promotes complex reforms and change processes in tough conditions in poor countries, to enable people to improve lives on a sustainable basis. GVEP International is based in London.

Caribbean countries were hit hard by the credit crunch brought on by the recession and accompanied by high energy costs.

Petrocaribe and other regional arrangements providing energy on special payment terms have not helped to alleviate conditions in communities that cannot afford crude oil and other conventional fuel imports, but also lack resources to explore or switch to sustainable energy sources.

The region is currently benefiting from biofuel development projects funded by U.N. agencies, but analysts say progress is slow.

The grants were channeled through an “IDEAS” contest for innovative uses of local conditions and materials to produce clean energy.

The contest was launched in March by joint sponsors GVEP, GTZ, the Inter-American Development Bank and the government of South Korea.

The contest received more than 1,000 proposals for improving energy efficiency and expanding access to renewable energies in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Winning entrant Ken Aldonza, director of Applied Renewables Caribbean, and two colleagues received $198,000 to develop a plant using excess and waste bananas to produce ethanol for use in transport fuel on the island of St. Lucia. The plant will be self-sufficient in energy, NewNet information service for new energy reported.

Bob Hathaway, a naval architect, will receive $83,000 to build an indirectly charged solar ferry to reduce damage to the island’s ecosystem caused by traditional stroke engines.

GVEP funding will also go into production of bio-ethanol from cheese waste in Chile, turbines for slow-moving rivers serving remote communities in the Amazon and pico-hydro franchises for rural Honduras.

The Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy has also called for entries by Oct. 20 for regional programs. Six winners will receive about $30,000 each and about $60,000 will go to an overall “Energy Champion” selected to send a strong message of sustainability to the Caribbean and Latin American region.

Prince Charles, heir to the British monarchy, who presented the prizes in 2009, said the awards “demonstrate what is possible, not only for small-scale projects, but what is achievable for the whole world. So much of what we need to build cleaner and more efficient communities is already with us.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Energy, Energy & Fuels, Energy Efficiency, Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Other, People, Regional, Solar0 Comments

Philadelphia Going Green with Rain Capture Plans

Philadelphia is rejecting the infrastructure of tunnels and sewage treatment plants for the green capture of storm water, water department officials said.

A $1.6 billion plan will create an oasis of rain gardens, green roofs, thousands of additional trees and porous pavement among other ambitious ideas to be carried out over 20 years, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday.

The new infrastructure will stall, if not absorb, the flow of billions of gallons of rainwater into the city’s sewer system — which often overwhelms the system.

The Philadelphia Water Department says the project will create jobs, increase property values, improve air quality, reduce energy use and even reduce deaths from heat stroke.

“This is the most significant use of green infrastructure I’ve seen in the country, the largest scale I’ve seen,” said Jon Capacasa, regional director of water protection for the Environmental Protection Agency, which has the final say on whether the plan passes muster.

Regulators and environmental experts are still examining the 3,369-page plan, the newspaper said.

Posted in Energy, Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Infrastructure, Other, Regional0 Comments

European Space Agency Calls for Climate Change Study Ideas

PARIS, Sept. 22 (UPI) — The European Space Agency says it will soon issue a call for suggestions for climate change studies to be conducted from the International Space Station.

ESA officials say they plan to use the space station as a platform to conduct research into global climate change. The ISS is a permanently manned orbital platform with a permanent crew of six. Its assembly will be completed next year, providing a multipurpose research facility in low orbit until 2015 and possibly beyond.

“Europe’s scientific community is already using the ISS in a multitude of areas such as life and microgravity sciences, and now Earth science and climate change initiatives are to be considered too,” the ESA said in a statement. “Potentially, the ISS can be used as an observation platform for studies into global change, supplementing observations from dedicated satellites.”

The space agency says it plans to issue a “Call for Ideas” next month to gauge the interest in deploying remote-sensing instruments for global change studies on the ISS. Depending on the level of interest and the suitability of the research proposals, ESA officials said the call might be followed by a specific “Announcement of Opportunity” for instruments or multi-user payloads.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Global Warming & Climate Change, Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Other0 Comments

NCES 2.0 Videos: Van Jones on Clean Energy Job Creation

This two minute video clip taken yesterday at the National Clean Energy Summit 2.0 features White House Council on Environmental Quality Van Jones.

At yesterday’s summit, Jones delivered a series of powerful remarks, comments and ideas, all of which demonstrated how clean energy industries can create jobs and lift Americans out of poverty.

Clean Skies then followed up with another video recap and interview with Van Jones taken at the UNLV campus. For more from Clean Skies, please click here.

Posted in Energy, Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Policy, Law, & Government1 Comment

180+ Green Minds & Environmentalists on Twitter

EcoWorld’s community manager Kendall Cooke (@ecoworld) recently compiled a list of his favorite green Twitter users. With #EcoMonday consistently trending upwards, it’s clear that Twitter is a natural fit for environmentalists to connect, share ideas and information.

If you’re new to Twitter like Kendall is, or simply want to follow some of the greenest minds out there, start here with our list.

  • @alexismadrigal
  • @algore
  • @altenergynews
  • @amazonwalkers
  • @amazonwatch
  • @amytropolis
  • @argam
  • @blynkorganic
  • @brighterplanet
  • @brightgreen
  • @britesprite
  • @buygreen
  • @carbonoutreach
  • @casinclair
  • @causecast
  • @chelseagreen
  • @climateproject
  • @cr8tivecitizen
  • @current_green
  • @daveburdick
  • @defenders
  • @derekmarkham
  • @earthable
  • @earthhour
  • @earthjustice
  • @earthkeepers
  • @earthshare
  • @ecochickie
  • @ecodiscoveries
  • @ecoeinstein
  • @ecofabulous
  • @ecofan
  • @ecofashionista
  • @ecogeek
  • @ecoglamourista
  • @ecointeractive
  • @ecojustice_ca
  • @ecopatch
  • @ecopolitologist
  • @ecorazzi
  • @ecosalon
  • @ecosphericblog
  • @ecovegangal
  • @ecowarriorr
  • @edbegleyjr
  • @ejgertz
  • @elaineishere
  • @elephantjournal
  • @envdefensefund
  • @enviroknow
  • @enzymeluv
  • @ericcoreyfreed
  • @fakeplasticfish
  • @focusorganic
  • @foe_us
  • @follownathan
  • @forddrivegreen
  • @forestpolicy
  • @gfriend
  • @ghill
  • @ghoberg
  • @globalgreenusa
  • @gmcheeseman
  • @goinggreentoday
  • @gpi
  • @greenadvantage
  • @greenandhealthy
  • @greenbiztweets
  • @greendig
  • @greeneconomynet
  • @greenergirl
  • @greenergood
  • @greenforall
  • @greengirls
  • @greengoody
  • @greeninsider
  • @greenlagirl
  • @greenmom
  • @greenmoms
  • @greenoptions
  • @greenpeace
  • @greenpeaceusa
  • @greenprofs
  • @greenrobeen
  • @greensara
  • @greenskeptic
  • @greensmith
  • @greenwoman45
  • @greenyourdecor
  • @gregorywendt
  • @grist
  • @guardianeco
  • @hlovins
  • @hoodedman
  • @howyoueco
  • @hyperlocavore
  • @idealbite
  • @impactdesigners
  • @inhabitat
  • @jamesfarrar
  • @jejacquot
  • @jenandcricket
  • @jerryjamesstone
  • @jetsongreen
  • @jmichaeledwards
  • @joannayarrow
  • @jsdavis82
  • @kevindanaher
  • @kevinedwardlong
  • @kgrandia
  • @kiwimeg
  • @ksuzj
  • @ladyvirescent
  • @lamamanaturale
  • @levifelix
  • @lighterfootstep
  • @liveearth
  • @marielhemingway
  • @mattgup
  • @maxgladwell
  • @mcmilker
  • @molfamily
  • @momgoesgreen
  • @moonfrye
  • @mothernaturenet
  • @mygreenside
  • @nature_org
  • @nikkijade
  • @nrdc
  • @nrdcswitchboard
  • @nwf
  • @oakleighvermont
  • @oliviazaleski
  • @opermigration
  • @oppgreen
  • @organicmania
  • @organicuniverse
  • @outsidemybrain
  • @pixxlz
  • @planetgreen
  • @podcarnews
  • @projectdirtlads
  • @recycleyourmat
  • @revkin
  • @richardbranson
  • @rnfrstalliance
  • @safemama
  • @seandaily
  • @sheagunther
  • @siemensbt
  • @sierra_magazine
  • @sirgutz
  • @smarterbuilding
  • @solarfeeds
  • @sroakes
  • @starfocus
  • @stephendinan
  • @stephhicks
  • @steveoffutt
  • @sustainablecomm
  • @sustainablog
  • @sweetorganics
  • @swimwithswain
  • @the_sca
  • @thecitizen
  • @theclean
  • @thegoodhuman
  • @thesmartmama
  • @thesoftlanding
  • @tomraftery
  • @treebanker
  • @treehugger
  • @treeyourworld
  • @twilightearth
  • @twungel
  • @ways2gogreen
  • @wilderness
  • @windpoweruk
  • @world_wildlife
  • @yalee360

Important Reader Write Ins…

  • @makower
  • @thegreengrok
  • @sethbaum
  • @heidicullen
  • @dr_andy_russell
  • @RealClimate
  • @greenupgrader
  • @chrisbaskind
  • @adamshake
  • @TheEcoist
  • @corey_latislaw
  • @WWF_Climate
  • @sampsa
  • @RayBeckerman
  • @ZEROGreenhouse
  • @anaelisaphoto
  • @CandyWWGM
  • @Bob_Williamson
  • @cop15
  • @350
  • @alexsteffen
  • @davidhodgson
  • @endovershoot
  • @RayCAnderson
  • @changents
  • @projectdirtlads
  • @timwirtz
  • @MarlainaQ

Be sure to leave a comment below or reply directly to @ecoworld on Twitter with your feedback. With all the bright minds in the world and with Twitter growing in popularity every day, we’re sure we’ve missed some great fellows to follow.

Posted in Ideas, Humanities, & Education14 Comments

Having Fewer Children Can Radically Impact The Environment

There are many ways to help curb our impact on the environment, reduce the carbon foot print, and go green for the preservation of Earth’s future, but some ideas are more radical than others.

Statisticians at the University of Oregon have been studying the long term effects a child has on our environment and have come to the conclusion that the fewer children a family has, the less their carbon footprint will be year to come. Reportedly the green house gas emissions of a child over a long period of time shadow other serious eco friendly practices, like using biodegradable materials, operating fuel efficient vehicles, and even utilizing energy efficient system for your home.

“In discussions about climate change, we tend to focus on the carbon emissions of an individual over his or her lifetime,” said study team member Paul Murtaugh. “Those are important issues and it’s essential that they should be considered. But an added challenge facing us is continuing population growth and increasing global consumption of resources.”

It is true that having more children does result in the addition of things that do impact the environment more. For instance a family may upgrade to a larger vehicle to accompany their growing a family, but that vehicle may not get great gas mileage. Also with the addition of more children comes more consumption of water sources, food from local agriculture, and the waste per child increases greatly.

For further reading on how Having Fewer Children could help the environment and the legacy impact a child has, click through to the full article.

Posted in Consumption, Effects Of Air Pollution, Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Other0 Comments

Eco Friendly Fashion

The practice of eco friendly processes has re-sparked new business prospect for Argentinan fashion, even with an unstable economy that once hindered new business relations and ideas.

Fashion maker, Baumm, has began coming up with new fashion lines that cross high end retail, fashion with eco friendly manufacturing and waste management. The company believes in still delivering a high quality product while pushing to use recycled and abandoned materials, such as vinyl, parachutes, bamboo fiber, and other types of green textiles.

The fashion made be produced with green practices in mind, but that does not mean it will be more expensive than your typically trendy apparel. The products are still priced competitively and can be considered one of the kind pieces, since the company relies on vinyl banners that companies are no longer using and wish to discard.

Read the full article on how style and sustainability work great and look great.

Posted in Consumer Products, Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Other, Waste Management0 Comments

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