Tuesday, June 26, 2012

REMINDER: Electricity Comes From Coal And Coal Spews Tons Of CO2 Into The Atmosphere

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/electricity-coal-carbon-atmosphere-2012-6

Electric cars are touted for being more environmentally friendly than petroleum fueled cars.

But make no mistake.  Electricity is not without its carbon foot print.

The U.S. Energy Information Association: just published it's Annual Energy Outlook (AEO2012).  The good news is that they expect total energy-related carbon emission in 2035 to be down from 2005 levels.

However, this chart breaking down their forecasts reminds us that energy generated by coal power plants spews as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as petroleum fueled transportation equipment like automobiles.

EIA coal

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Easiest Way to Get Rid of Weeds Without Harsh, Synthetic Chemicals [Tip Tester]

Source: http://lifehacker.com/5920582/the-easiest-way-to-get-rid-of-weeds-without-chemicals

The Easiest Way to Get Rid of Weeds Without Harsh, Synthetic ChemicalsEvery summer we wage a war on weeds. Instead of using commercial weed killer to eliminate those pesky weeds, we looked for more eco-friendly and cheap solutions and put them to the test to see which was best. Here are the results.

In this experiment, I tried 3 solutions: boiling water, white vinegar, and vinegar with some salt mixed in, and sprayed these to two areas with different kinds of weeds.

This is what the two areas looked like at the start:
The Easiest Way to Get Rid of Weeds Without Harsh, Synthetic Chemicals

Lovely, right?

Boiling Water: The Instant Weed Killer

The Easiest Way to Get Rid of Weeds Without Harsh, Synthetic ChemicalsThis is what the first area looked like right after spraying one side with vinegar and pouring boiling water on the other. You can see how fast the boiling water worked. The weeds started to turn brown right away. The vinegar-sprayed side, however, showed no change (not that I expected any that fast).

The Easiest Way to Get Rid of Weeds Without Harsh, Synthetic ChemicalsTwo days later, the area sprayed with vinegar did die off a little, but not as much as the boiling water part. I had read somewhere that adding salt to vinegar would increase the solution's weed-killing powers, but that actually wasn't the case here. That side seemed to grow even more weedier. Moral of this story: Do not feed your weeds vinegar and salt!

The Easiest Way to Get Rid of Weeds Without Harsh, Synthetic ChemicalsArea two shows the same results: Boiling water killed the weeds, but the vinegar was a bust.

Today, a few weeks later, the areas treated with boiling water still have no weeds growing, thankfully.

If I had a lot of corn meal and didn't think my dog would eat it, I would've tried spreading that around too as a preventative measure against weeds. For a whole area (like redoing a lawn), putting down a carpet of newspaper under mulch can smother weeds, but for small patches the boiling water trick seems to work best.

Know of any other chemical-free ways to keep weeds at bay?

Photo by Hermann Kaser


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

23 Ways The World Has Changed Since The First Environmental Summit In Rio

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/rio-earth-summit-2012-6

saudi arabia

Twenty years after the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, world leaders, policy experts and environmentalists are in Brazil for the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on sustainability.   

The world has seen some big environmental changes over the past two decades, including rapid population growth, land degradation and biodiversity loss.   

In 2011, the United Nations Environment Program prepared a report to illustrate how the planet has transformed since 1992. We've highlighted the most fascinating trends. 

There are about 1.5 billion more people in the world, an increase of 27%

The number of megacities (cities with at least 10 million people) has more than doubled since 1990. Tokyo is still the largest megacity with nearly 37 million people, more than Canada's total population

The population of China's Pearl River Delta has tripled to about 60 million people

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Algae-Powered Pods Provide Fresh Air in an Otherwise Polluted Environment [Environment]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5919478/algae+powered-pods-provide-fresh-air-in-an-otherwise-polluted-environment

Algae-Powered Pods Provide Fresh Air in an Otherwise Polluted EnvironmentIn what is becoming an increasingly polluted world, Chlorella, a portable, pod-shaped, air-purifying pavilion prototype (yes, all those p-words were in fact necessary), offers an oasis of fresh air in a zen-like and environmentally-friendly setting.

Algae-Powered Pods Provide Fresh Air in an Otherwise Polluted Environment

These algae-powered pods, designed by Adam Miklosi , utilize photosynthesis and oxygen therapy to filter the pollution out of urban air. A series of photobioreactors, consisting of a network of transparent plastic tubes, are at the design's core. Within these plastic tubes, 5 cubic meters of air-purifying, oxygenating algae are tamped down.

Chairs installed into a sliding rail encircle an "algae-fountain" in the center of the pod, creating a relaxing retreat where you can, quite literally, "take a breather."

It's only a shame the name sounds so much like cholera... [Inhabitat]


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

We Can No Longer Ignore That An Environmental Apocalypse Is Imminent [CHARTS]

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/environmental-collapse-rio-conference-2012-6

flood man

In 1992, global leaders gathered in Rio de Janeiro and made a pledge to protect Earth's climate and biodiversity.

Now scientists are lining up to explain just how badly that pledge has failed. Ahead of the June 20-22 Rio+20 conferencesignificant progress has been made on only four of 90 of the most important environmental goals set down twenty years ago. 

Three recent reports from the The Royal Society's 'People and the Planet,' The World Wildlife Fund's 'Living Planet 2012,' and the UN's own Global Environmental Outlook argue that climate change, population growth and environmental destruction are driving the Earth toward an irreversible collapse.

We've gone through the reports and chosen the most alarming charts and diagrams.  

OVERPOPULATION: The UN estimates that human population will reach between 8 and 11 billion by 2050 (and two out of three people will live in a city)

Most of that growth will occur in the least developed countries where food and clean water are already in demand

OVER-CONSUMPTION: The WFF report found that the world needs 1.5 years to replenish the natural resources that humans consume in a single year

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Super Salty Lake Looks Like a Strawberry Milkshake [Image Cache]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5915728/super-salty-lake-looks-like-a-strawberry-milkshake

Super Salty Lake Looks Like a Strawberry MilkshakePhotographed from above it looks like a pool of melty Strawberry ice cream, but Lake Retba, which runs blood-red through Senegal, West Africa, gets its unusual color from an unusually high salt content—in some up to 40-percent!

Microbiologist Michael Danson says that the water gets its candy-colored hue from the salt-loving organism Dunaliella salina (an algae). "They produce a red pigment that absorbs and uses the energy of sunlight to create more energy, turning the water pink," he told the Daily Mail.

To protect their skin from the harsh drying effects of the abundant mineral, salt collectors must first cover themselves in Shea butter before wading into the 3-meter deep lake. [DailyMail - Images via Barcroft Media]