Warming Causes a Freeze

blog dying-coral-frozenSad news everyone: due to the rate at which coral reefs are dying off, researchers are considering take existing ones and freezing them for preservation.

The main reason, as we all know, for the quicker and quicker disappearance of coral reefs is due to the slowly increasing temperatures as a result of climate change. As warming continues, the option of freezing coral becomes a more attractive option to keep coral reefs a viable part of our climate-change-free-future.

To me, this is a sad state of affairs. According to the article, we are already past the point of doing anything to prevent a majority of the coral reefs from disappearing. How pathetic that we must create our own ‘Noah’s Ark’–  and scary, to say the least. Yet, I suppose it is better to take action on the things we can help, and this seems to be one way of doing so.

Full article here.

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Losing Battles but Winning the War

Blog CoalFiredPowerPlantLast Monday a lot of planning finally fell through to the dismay of a future coal-fired power plant. However, this meant good news for citizens in Minnesota and South Dakota and furthermore, for the general population at large.

Five years of developing plans went down the tubes as plans for the Big Stone II Project were rejected. This is all in thanks to the local grassroots support in these two states and not because of the regulators or developers involved.

You can read more about this news item here, but the main reason I wanted to point out this little piece of news is because this may seem insignificant in the scheme of things. However, in reading this article it gave me a little more hope that grassroots efforts can make a difference and battles can still be won. A staff member from the Sierra Club said, “This victory demonstrates that even when we may lose the battles—consistent pressure, engaged citizens, and strong partnerships can win the war.” Continue reading

What’s Beneath the Surface?

Antarctice IceNPR had an interesting story today about what lies beneath the Antarctic Ice. To the left is one of the satellite images planes have been taking from above. What’s really cool about the technology this plane has is that there are lasers and other sorts of devices that can actually take pictures of what’s under the surface. Gaining this kind of information about life underneath the ice will give great insight to scientists that has never been available before. This technology will also be useful because it can detect water under the ice which can help us understand in more detail, the effects of the possible melting of this ice within the context of climate change. Amazingly enough, there are volcanoes, lakes, and rivers under the ice as well. Apparently scientists already knew these can exist but these images give confirmation and more detail to this subject. This technology will be key as further changes continue to happen due to climate change. Scientists will be able to track changes underneath the ice as it melts and formations change.

To read the whole article, visit NPR directly.

Food Glorious Food

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For this week’s post I’d like to bring up the idea of food, particularly bioengineered food. Scanning the recent news, this seems to be an issue making a comeback in the global arena, especially in reference to developing countries.

Something I found interesting while looking for current opinions on this topic was a lack of consensus about whether bioengineered foods are a good or bad thing. A New York Times Article discusses whether biotechnology will become an answer for feeding those in developing countries who lack the means and resources to farm and utilize agriculture. Interestingly enough, this article makes no immediate and in-depth mention of the effects of GMOs, whereas another article I found on NPR’s website makes note of this issue. The article brings attention to the fact that the genes put into GMOs to give them their advantageous characteristics. However, there is concern as to whether these genes will have serious long-term, unintended effects. Continue reading

WBCSD Report on Eco-efficient Leadership

wbcsd_logojpgThe World Business Council for Sustainable Development published a report in 1996 on Eco-efficient Leadership for Improved Economic and Environmental Performance. I have decided to review this report for my second book report.

The WBCSD describes eco-efficiency as linking “the goals of business excellence and environmental excellence, by creating the bridge through which corporate behavior can support sustainable development.”

In this report, the WBCSD makes claims that eco-efficiency makes for great business and is great for the environment. I would argue that although yes, eco-efficiency can make good business sense, it is hard for me to believe that eco-efficiency is really implemented with the environment in mind. Although the WBCSD does not deny that businesses are out there for a profit (which is to be expected, as that is the nature of business), they make it seem as though eco-efficiency is really just a great marketing strategy. I took away that the environment is being used to somehow claim that a company is a better business. However, it seems to be that becoming eco-efficient is really, first and foremost, best for the business and not so much for the environment. Continue reading

Earth in the Balance

al-gore-an-inconvenient-truthEarlier this semester, Nancy and I did a review of Al Gore’s book Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit. In his book, he really stressed the fact that people today are so detached from nature that we view ourselves as a separate entity altogether. He claims that humans are neglecting the idea of the future and only acting in the present, making short-term goals.

I thought it’d be useful to highlight some key points from this book as well as give some facts that I took away from it which I also found interesting. Continue reading

Cradle to Cradle

Cradle to CradleI have just finished a review for William McDonough and Michael Braungart’s book entitled Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things and wanted to share my thoughts and get some feedback! The main tenet of this book is that Waste=Food. That being said, I focused more on the argument they made in regards to the idea of eco-efficiency as a means of working toward a ‘greener’ society. The authors’ main goal is not only to create products themselves that are environmentally sustainable and have as close to a ‘zero impact’ as possible, but also to convince others that this is the way of the future. Continue reading