L Prize: LED Bulb Competition

Philips Electronics LED bulb Source: Kimberly Janeway's blog at consumerreports.org

On the NPR show, Science Friday, it dedicated a whole show to the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prizes (L Prize) Competition and how Phillips Electronics is the first company to enter.  The guest speaker for this show was Jim Brodrick, Lighting Program Manager for the Building Technologies Program (with DOE).  Brodrick was very pleased to have Philips summit their bulb because he believes that this will spur other companies to enter. Continue reading

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Manure to Electricity

There is concrete evidence that climate change is mainly due to anthropogenic actions. We are emerging into a world where consumers are becoming more concerned on where their food is coming from and the impacts that food production has on the environment.  Recently, cattle farmers are targeted in terms of rearing practices and amount of methane gas cattle emit.  Although, methane is a natural by-product from a cow, there are increasing concerns with the high demand of beef and therefore an unhealthy amount of cattle that are reared to meet the beef consumption—especially in the United States.   Continue reading

Africa Makes a Stand

Africa Protest

Source: Newsdaily.com

African nations boycotted the UN climate talks in Barcelona, Spain because they accused the rich nations of having inadequate promises to combat climate change.  Although these nations agreed to resume work on the UN climate talks, this has showed that African nations are united and are willing to stand their ground—protecting their citizens, where these nations are most likely to be hit the hardest by climate change with water and food shortages, floods, droughts, and rising sea levels. Continue reading

A City’s Quest for a “Green Boulevard”

flying bus

Just yesterday I was looking through the Green American Fall newsletter, and read an article about Hasselt, Belgium (4th largest city in Belgium) reclaiming its streets from traffic nightmare roads.  In the mid-1990s this city was very similar to many US cities, with a massive suburban sprawl and urban businesses experiencing great deterioration.  There was an increase in traffic congestion, thus a plan to ease this by building another road around the city (already two known as “ring roads”).  By the advice of a green consulting group, the then mayor of Hasselt—Steve Stevaert—halted construction of the new road (saving billions of dollars) and decided to turn half of the inner ring road into a pedestrian friendly thoroughfare by being car-free.  This is now known as the Green Boulevard.  Additionally, he created a more accessible bus system by increasing the number of busses (40 total) and letting residents ride them for free. Continue reading

“The Global Deal”, A Need for Change

Global DealNicholas Stern’s, “The Global Deal” argues that we are facing the two greatest problems of our time, overcoming poverty and combating climate change. Therefore, it is essential that we find ways to increase the living standard across all nations while at the same time discovering ways to make living on this earth more sustainable over time. For the economists out there, Stern makes a commendable effort to create realistic targets to reduce global emissions and calculates the annual total cost of reaching the proposed targets. Continue reading

Sustainable Development-An Oxymoron?

The idea that a country is developed or underdeveloped is a relatively new concept; although it does have connotations of longstanding terms like ‘savages’ and ‘backwards’. During President Truman’s inaugural address, after World War II, he coined this concept and thus stating to the world that certain cultures were deficient and defective. This implied that the US could step in to show how these ‘underdeveloped’ countries could prosper.

Wolfgang Sachs argues in this book that the western style of ‘development’ has been wrong from the start, and continues to have negative consequences for other cultures. Continue reading

Issues of Environment Are Aspects of Peace

Although a majority of us were surprised by President Obama receiving the Nobel Peace prize, he has claimed that by his acceptance there is the goal for all nations to come together–not only in terms of disarming nuclear weapons but also the need to focus on combating climate change. He states that it is essential that we all acknowledge that global warming is occurring, and the need for all nations to accept responsibilities. President Obama has used this opportunity to express concerns about our environment, and gives the world a glimpse of the US position for the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen later this year.