Tips for a Greener Spring Cleaning

By Rachel Roberts

1193877_75283702With the weather finally starting to warm up this spring, it is time to begin to open those windows that have been closed for the last couple months, and begin your annual spring cleaning. The trouble for many environmentalists (like you and me), however, is that cleaning can be dangerous to our health and the environment.

So while doing your cleaning this spring, here are a few things to keep in mind to keep yourself and the environment happy and healthy:

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Makah Whaling in the Pacific Northwest

By Rachel Roberts

1387804_94842767Should Native American tribes with centuries-old cultural traditions built around killing whales be allowed to renew the practice now that whale populations are increasing again?

The Makah are a Native American tribe situated in Neah Bay, Washington. The recent controversy surrounding the tribe is a result of their desire to start hunting gray whales again—a tradition that dates back hundreds of years.

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The Power of Supervolcanoes

By Rachel Roberts

1405385_25816951According to a new study by researchers at the University of Utah, a magma reservoir under the Yellowstone supervolcano contains enough magma to fill the Grand Canyon 11 times (keep in mind the Grand Canyon is approximately 1,000 cubic miles). Supervolcanoes are volcanoes with the capacity to produce more than 240 cubic miles or rock and other debris during eruptions.

The discovered magma reservoir is estimated to be about 12 to 28 miles under the supervolcano and 4.4 times bigger than the previously known magma chamber under the volcano.

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Green Apple

By Rachel Roberts

Marie Kenny, 40, listens to Coldpay on her 60 gig iPod. Her and her husband own 3 ipods. Her favorite is the iPod nano.

Marie Kenny, 40, listens to Coldpay on her 60 gig iPod. Her and her husband own 3 ipods. Her favorite is the iPod nano.

Last Monday, Apple released its 2015 Environmental Responsibility Report. The report was released amidst another announcement by Apple regarding the company’s partnership with The Conservation Fund. Apple will be working with the non-profit to help protect over 36,000 acres of America’s working forest. Working forests are forests that provide ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, water filtration, flood control, and recreational opportunities.

The early pages of the report summarized Apple’s commitment to preventing climate change. The report stated, “We don’t want to debate climate change. We want to stop it. We’ve made real progress in reducing the impact of the things we control directly—in our offices, retail stores, and products. But there’s still a lot of work to be done to reduce the carbon footprint in our supply chain. And it’s our responsibility to lead that effort.”

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Can Saltwater Quench Our Growing Thirst?

By Brian Bienkowski

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It seems simple enough: Take the salt out of water so it’s drinkable.

But it’s far more complex than it appears at first glance. It’s also increasingly crucial in a world where freshwater resources are progressively strained by population growth, development, droughts, climate change and more. That’s why researchers and companies from the United States to Australia are fine-tuning a centuries-old concept that might be the future of quenching the world’s thirst.

“When it comes to increasing water supplies, you have four options: Increase your amount of reuse, increase storage, conserve it or turn to a new source,” says Tom Pankratz, a desalination consultant and current editor of the weekly trade publication Water Desalination Report. “And for many places around the world, the only new source is desalination.”

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Earth Day Summit 2015

By Rachel Roberts

EDS-squarishThis year marks the 45th Earth Day celebration; so take a bit of time from your day to think about what you can do to improve the environment we live in and live more sustainability. Attend an Earth Day event, plant a tree, walk to work, or go vegetarian for a day.

Check out the Earth Day Summit, the free 9-hour virtual Earth Day event that we’re co-producing with the Shift Network. This year’s Summit focuses on the deeper, underlying aspects of our personal and collective evolution that can bring about the critical changes needed for the earth, for humanity, and for all life on the planet.

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The China Impact

By Rachel Roberts

1402684_37873658For decades, the United States has held the infamous role of being the world’s largest contributor to global warming. This title, however, could soon be held by another major country: China. According to analysts, China is set to pass the United States as the main cause of man-made global warming since 1990.

The US Energy Information Administration estimates China’s total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will reach 151 billion tons since 1990, compared to the 147 billion tons produced by the United States.

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We’re All in this Together – Let’s Start Acting Like it

By David Doody

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Ever since a small percentage of U.S. parents decided to delay or forgo vaccinating their children against diseases like measles and whooping cough — some of which have been declared eliminated in the U.S. — many people have been upset, saying that parents of unvaccinated kids are putting everyone in danger. Those parents, the reasoning goes, are not upholding their end of a social contract we all should agree upon — one that calls for collective action for the common good.

This idea is somewhat unflatteringly known as “herd immunity.”Of course, the idea did not originate from the current vaccine debate, most recently at its peak over the winter of 2015. That debate has only served to highlight it for current observers. When specifically discussing vaccination, the idea is that those healthy enough to receive vaccines should be vaccinated — not just to keep themselves safe, but for the well-being of all, because as more people get vaccinated, the risk of exposure drops.

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Preventing the Greatest Threat to Humanity

By Rachel Roberts

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALowe’s announced just last week (April 9th) that the company will no longer sell products treated with neonicotinoids, also know as neonics. Neonics are a type of pesticide that scientists believe is contributing to colony collapse disorder (CCD). CCD is s syndrome in which worker bees from a colony abruptly disappear. In Europe, managed honey bees have declined by about 25% between 1985 and 2005.

This is not just about a threat to some random insect. The potential extinction of the honeybee may be the greatest single threat to humanity. Without honeybees, fruits and vegetables would not grow. Albert Einstein once remarked, “Mankind will not survive the honeybees’ disappearance for more than five years.”

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Climate Change as a Public Health Issue

By Rachel Roberts 

medical-doctor-1314902-mThe effects of climate change on our physical environment such as sea level rise, extreme weather patterns, and water shortages have been widely discussed and publicized by the media. The effects of climate change on our personal health—not so much.

As part of National Public Health Week last week, President Obama joined U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for a roundtable discussion on the links between climate change and public health.

At a speech at the Howard University Medical School, Obama said, “There are a whole host of public health impacts that are going to hit home, so we’ve got to do better in protecting vulnerable Americans. Ultimately, though, all of our families are going to be vulnerable. You can’t cordon yourself off from air or climate.

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