Decreased Air Pollution Equals Longer Life

The average life expectancy of Americans is directly related to the amount of air pollution we live with.
A report in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that decreased pollution particles from cars, diesel engines, coal-fired plants and steel mills have increased Americans’ longevity as much as 2.72 years, or 15 percent, since the 1980’s.
Two other large factors attributed to this increase are changed smoking habits and improved socioeconomic environment, researchers said. Clean air quality, however,  was by far the largest factor.
In large urban areas where air particle counts declined by 13 to 15 micrograms, longevity increased by 43 weeks.
See http://tinyurl.com/atmbwg for more details more of this report. 

 

This is yet another indicator that the quality of our environment and our quality of life, as well as our longevity, are directly and inextricably linked.

 

PepsiCo begins establishing it’s Carbon Footprint

Pepsi/Co, Inc., the Purchase, NY-based beverage company, has partnered with the Carbon Trust to begin establishing the carbon footprint of their products.

The first product to be measured is their standard 64 oz. Tropicana Premium Orange Juice container. Carbon Trust reviewed the scientific data and has determined and certified its carbon footprint is 1.7 kilograms.

This breaks down to 60 percent of its CO2 emissions coming from the growing and processing oranges, 22% from transporting and distribution, 15 percent from packaging, and the final 3% comes from consumer use and disposal.

Neil Campbell, President of Tropicana Products North America, says they’ll use this information to help reduce Tropicana’s carbon footprint.

Environmental impact awareness is the first step to creating change. So, what products are next to line up for carbon footprinting? Should be interesting to watch the line form.

 

Colleges Compete to Become Recycling King

Recycling’s up all across the country. But the recycling market is down, creating a difficult and concerning dilemma.

After several years of steady marketing efforts to consumers and the continued expansion of Waste Management’s and others recyclers’ curbside recycling programs, consumers across the country properly disposing their “paper, plastic, aluminum” more than ever before.

Now the about to be launched annual RecycleMania at college campuses across the country will add to the recycling conundrum. RecycleMania – begun in 2001 – has over 500 colleges vying to be named the top recycler in the pack.

So if we’re increasing not only our awareness of the need to recycle but our success in this, what happens to all the accumulated “stuff”? Does it sit in holding pits, waiting for the market to upswing? And does that upswing necessarily depend on greedy buyers waiting until the market reaches a high enough point for their tastes before expanding their take-in levels?

One thing’s for certain. Americans are increasingly demanding that more green strategies and policies be implemented – by government and corporations alike.

Perhaps a creative solution is possible, one that hasn’t been given serious consideration yet. Maybe it will take inventive minds partnered with sound business practices to recognize the path that will open the “green” gates wide. And soon.

So, go RecycleMania, go! Let’s have the totals go off the charts this year

 

A new Era Begins

America now has a new President. President Obama brings a new vision of possibility, of responsiblity. In his inaugural speech, the new Commander in Chief made it clear that he would extend his hand to anyone / any country that would unclench theirs.

He also outlined that our nation faces tough challenges and that it would likely be a long timeframe before these will be met. But they will be met, he firmly proclaimed.

The idea of having a visionary leader willing to make the “tough decisions” is refreshing and paves the way for a new, forward-moving policy in our government. One can only hope that those inspiring words will be followed up with determined positive, continuaingly effective action.

The eyse of the world are indeed watching as the new adminsitration begins its arduous and critical path.

An Intriguing Renewable Energy Storage Concept

In the latest move to utilize renewable resources to augment energy supplies, Hokkaido Japan’s Chitose Airport will start storing snow in 2010 for use in cooling it’s terminal during warm summer months. This practice will provide around 30% of the building’s cooling needs.

The concept, though unusual to Westerners, isn’t new to Japan. They’ve been experimenting on this northernmost Japanese island since 1988 with utilizing this cold wet resource, receiving between 20 and 30 feet of the white stuff annually. Already smaller public buildings there are equipped with this type of cooling and storage system.

Storage would be achieved by covering snow with heat-insulating material which would hopefully retain 40 percent of the mounded powder. The rest would be used as part of a thermal energy system (TES). This could result, says Japan Today, in an CO2 reduction of 2,100 tons per year.

 This is an idea that – if it works well – could be implemented throughout the colder regions of the U.S – from Detroit to Buffalo, areas where snow is a too-frequent winter visitor. An even more intriguing idea is the resulting dramatic reduction of salt compounds on roads and highways that such a system would create. This would be a double win for the environment.

Yet another cool green concept for the new Obama administration to consider.

 

NASA’s new Lunar Rover to be in Inaugural Parade

On Tuesday, the new Lunar Electric Rover prototype will make its debut in President Barack Obama’s inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Able to hold two astronauts for a fortnight of lunar exploration, this remarkable piece of space travel equipment will contain beds and a toilet.
An innovation of the newly designed Rover is its multi-directional ability, including side to side movement making it easily adaptable to rugged terrain.
The new Constellation program currently has U.S. astronauts slated for their next moon launch before 2020. The program’s goal is to establish permanent bases on the moon. Considered a next step towards exploring our solar system, the long-term goal includes colonization on Mars, an effort widely written about decades ago by well-known science fiction writers like Edward Burroughs.
NASA has indicated its plan to adapt the Rover’s technology to earth-based electric vehicles as well.

 

 

Obama to determine the fate of Cape Cod’s Wind Turbine Project

Will Cape Cod finally see wind turbines off it’s shores?

This controversial plan to provide renewable energy to power up to 75 percent of the island has been fought by one of the Cape’s most famous part-time residents, Senator Ted Kennedy, since it’s proposal in 2001.

The “Cape Wind” project would encompass 130 windmills across 25 miles of Nantucket Sound’s federally-protected waters.

The Kennedy family’s famous compound would have a ring-side view of the wind farm and they have actively been fighting its approval from the beginning. Robert Kennedy, Jr.- well knwon for his stances on environmetal issues – has been pushing to have this landmark program to be dismissed, a clear back-tracking to his public espousal of all things green.

It seems the Obama administration will be the deciding factor in whether this energy-saving project gets off the ground (see http://tinyurl.com/82hr8a.

Clearly the new president will have an over-full plate awaiting him in his first 100 days in office. Creating new jobs, stimulating the economy, numerous critical environmental issues, strategizing the closure of Guantanamo and the strategic pull-outs from Iraq and Afghanastan, to name but a few key issues.

We definitely live in interesting times. The road ahead will be bumpy, no matter how you look at it. Best to keep moving forward, with a little faith and hope all around.