Green Energy Policies

Green Energy Policies

The current trends in U.S. energy policy are encouraging, but also disheartening. There is reason to be encouraged by the Obama administration’s “green” energy policies. The New Energy for America plan proposed during the 2008 campaign, the recent plan for renewable energy tax credits, and the continued support for renewable energy production are all positive steps. However, all these progressive plans must make their way through Congress, which has been less than interested in acting on these policies. The attacks from those in Congress levied on the EPA, however legitimate or illegitimate on their own merits, damaged the popular perspective… read more

Fish Farming

Fish Farming

Rapid industrialization of the fishing industry has come at the expense of sustainability. If current consumption rates persist, some scientists have estimated that our fish stocks will collapse by the middle of this century, crushing the livelihoods of millions of people and eliminating a critical food source. Industrial fishing is associated with a number of problems, including overfishing of various species and unnecessary killing of commercially useless bycatch including dolphins, whales, sharks, other fish, and seabirds. Certain industrial fishing methods also damage ecologically sensitive areas. However, fish farming can also create problems. Ecologically valuable habitats have been destroyed and local… read more

Questioning Biofuels

Biofuels not the answer

Despite President Obama failing to adequately discuss climate change during this campaign, he has discussed renewable energy programs to combat climate change. He has maintained energy policy which uses an array of renewable energy sources and fossil fuels, taking a multi-faceted approach to the policy. However, within the array of renewable energy sources lies biofuels, which may cause more problem than good. Biofuels are typically from agricultural sources, and thus are difficult to sustain for years on end. Additionally, the environmental sustainability of the lands they are grown on comes into question, and it is unknown if the energy benefits… read more

Campaign Climate Silence

Campaign Silent On Climate

After the presidential debate ended last night, severe disappointment set in amongst many who had hoped climate change and the environment would be discussed. Despite over 160,000 signatures calling on moderator Jim Lehrer to ask the candidates about climate change, it wasn’t brought up at all. The closest any of them got to talking about it was Mitt Romney lying about gas prices and promoting the Keystone XL pipeline, and President Obama touting his “all-the-above” energy policy. It would nice if the reason was there “wasn’t enough time to get to climate change”, or there were “more pressing issues to… read more

Social Media Society

Social Media Society

The impact of social media on society’s development hasn’t fully been measured just yet, but we can see that its impression has spread worldwide and in places one wouldn’t expect. Recently, social networks such as Twitter and Facebook have become the mediums through which revolutions rise and fall, the final say in political elections, and the grapevine for all of the world’s gossip to flow. This behavioral trend would explain why nearly 1 billion users spend their time on Facebook, how Twitter has nearly 200 million followers, and how social media is replacing traditional media in some instances as the… read more

Evolution of Recycling

History of recycling

Ever wonder how recycling came about?  Actually, it has been around for longer than you might think. Forms of recycling have been in existence probably longer than the timelines date. Many sources cite Japan as the first on record to recycle paper as far back as 1031. Recycling efforts can also be seen predating the industrial era, including the re-use of metals in Europe. This came about mostly because of necessity, where materials were often spare and garbage removal didn’t exist. An Australian paper mill used recycled rags and turned them into paper in 1815, with paper recycling by homes… read more

Finding Common Ground

Successful environmental communication

Successful environmental communication and education projects aren’t just plucked from thin air. Programs need to be strategic. As such, they should be carefully designed. To this end, a key to success is the extent to which our messages align with the values and aspirations of our target audiences, the groups of people with whom we work. It’s not easy talking about the natural world with people who don’t seem to care about it. The trick is to identify people’s values and aspirations, then ascertain the most effective way to navigate the sometimes challenging terrain of what people hold dear in… read more

Green Energy In Jeopardy

Green Energy in Jeopardy

Green energy is in jeopardy—this is not surprising or shocking, and certainly not new, but the degree to which green energy is in jeopardy is increasing, and the U.S. House of Representatives is one of the primary culprits. On September 14th, amidst the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Cairo and Benghazi, the House of Representatives passed the “No More Solyndras Act”, which aims to prevent post-2011 Department of Energy (DoE) loans to green energy firms. The act is named after the failure of Solyndra, a green energy firm which received a $535 million federal loan in 2009 and went… read more

Bats: Ecologically Vital

Bats - ecologically vital

Bats can be found on all continents except Antarctica. They fulfill three ecological roles that are highly beneficial to humans: pollinating food plants, dispersing seeds, and controlling insect populations. More than 300 fruit plant species require bats for pollination, including bananas, guavas, and mangos. Without bats, there would also be no Tequila, as the Agave plant from which it’s derived depends on bats for pollination. In addition to the pollination services they provide, bats play a critical role in the seeding of tropical forests, which rely upon fruit-eating animals for seed dispersal. When animals consume fruit, they protect seeds from… read more

Big Oil Reaps The Benefits

Big Oil Reaps The Benefits

At the end of this year, the production tax credit for wind energy is set to expire. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has stated he would allow the tax credits to expire, and President Obama has said he would continue the tax credits. However, the decision has to go through Congress first, and it appears Republicans in the House of Representatives would be more than pleased to see the tax credits end. This week, 47 House Republicans urged House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to let them expire, metaphorically hammering a nail into the coffin of wind power. Despite 81 percent of… read more