TAG: Environment

Conserving Rainwater

Conserving rainwater

Legend says that over two thirds of our earth is covered with water. But the sad part is that most of it is spread out as saline sea water. Only 3 percent of this huge volume comprises of domestically usable water. Further, this percentage shrinks to less than 1 percent when we talk about drinkable fresh water; that too locked in the ice caps. In the Middle East, over a dozen countries face problem of unavailable drinking water. In several Asian countries, unavailability of treated water forces the rural women to travel several miles every day and accumulate usable water… read more

What Leaves Reveal

Leaves

Leaves can seem little more than accessories to flowers and trees. However, they provide much more than colorful foliage or shaded escapes. They are essential to a plant’s health and we can benefit a lot from learning about the role leaves play in plant life. Doing so allows you to identify not only the condition of your plants, but of your living environment. It is true, plants need a good plot of land and plenty of sun. But they are also fueled by sugar. Leaves are essential in supplying them with the sugar they need as their blades are like nets of… read more

Warfare Threats

Chemical and biological warfare

The utilisation of harmful chemicals as a weapon in combat was banned by the international community through the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention) of 1997. The secretary general of the United Nations Dr Ban Ki-moon made a press statement wherein he emphatically discouraged Syria from using biological warfare against anti-government insurgents. The secretary general intimated that there would be dire consequences for Syria if it did not heed the call to refrain from using biological warfare, because chemical weapons have no place in the… read more

Organic Agriculture

grapes

Current industrial farming methods are responsible for mass deforestations; reduction of biodiversity; mining of non-renewable groundwater; and pollution in the form of pesticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics, and greenhouse gas emissions. Many critics of the organic movement argue that while organic farming is nice in theory because it’s so much better for the environment, it’s not a feasible method for feeding the world. A recent United Nations (2008) agricultural study found that although organic growing methods produce lower yields under some conditions, when best management practices are applied, they actually produce significantly better yields. Furthermore, such methods produce more healthy and… read more

Continued Climate Silence

Climate change silence

Climate change and the environment have been largely ignored by both the Obama and Romney campaigns, but the debates offered another hope for environmentalists and progressives for a discussion on solutions and strategies to combat climate change. However, it has been more of the same, with no mentions of the subject and still ignored. Worse yet, the debate moderators, Jim Lehrer and Candy Crowley, had the option to ask about climate change, but decided against it, favoring questions on the economy. The decision is fair, albeit annoying—the economy is an important issue which needs to be discussed, and voters are… read more

NASA Nailed It

Effects of Hurricane Sandy

Six years ago, scientists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York warned the city of the vulnerability to hurricane impacts in a changing climate. It was calculated that with a 1.5 foot rise in sea levels, a worst-case-scenario Category 3 hurricane could submerge the vast majority of the city, including “the Rockaways, Coney Island, much of southern Brooklyn and Queens, portions of Long Island City, Astoria, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, lower Manhattan, and eastern Staten Island from Great Kills Harbor north to the Verrazano Bridge.” These findings came on the heels of the release of… read more

Questions Raised By Sandy

Devastation of Hurricane Sandy

Obviously, Hurricane Sandy has, and continues, to wreak havoc on the eastern U.S. coastline, and it cannot be denied it is a big storm. Climate scientists, along with hurricane researchers, in their endeavors to learn more about the relationship between climate and hurricanes, have begun to ask critical questions about the impact of climate change. The first step though has been to acknowledge whether climate change has an impact on the size of the storm, or if it was just a naturally occurring large storm. The science is still out on that question (apparently), but there are scientists who have… read more

The Sustainable Garden

Chives, Jennifer Copley

Here are five tips for those who care about the environment and would like to develop their gardens with sustainability in mind. 1. Compost: Instead of throwing away food scraps and plant trimmings and buying plastic bags filled with compost, make your own. There are a number of methods, the simplest of which is to bury kitchen scraps, leaves, and trimmings from healthy plants in the garden and let the process occur naturally. You can also use a compost bin or tumbler, a worm composting system, or a bokashi composting system to speed up the process. Don’t add meat, dairy… read more

Growing Your Own

Cherry Tomatoes

Most people know that driving generates carbon emissions, which contribute to global warming. However, not everyone is aware of the impact that our current food system has on the environment. A UK study conducted in 2001 found that while a typical family’s year of driving generates around 4.4 tons of CO2, producing, processing, packaging, and distributing that family’s food generates 8 tons of CO2. Our current food system is unsustainable. While traditional agricultural methods require the equivalent of half a calorie of energy to produce a calorie of food, the modern system typically requires around 10 fossil fuel energy calories… read more

California Cap and Trade

Cap and trade to reduce carbon emissions

On January 1st, 2013, California will become the first state in the United States to implement a cap and trade program on carbon emissions for companies in the state. Similar to other cap and trade programs, California will set an overall ceiling on carbon emissions and assign allowable emission amounts for individual polluters, and charge for excessive emissions. Portions of the allowances will be allocated to utilities, manufacturers and others, and the remainder will be auctioned off. An interesting component of this cap and trade program is the number of allowances issued by the state will be reduced over time,… read more