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Chris Keenan

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Everything posted by Chris Keenan

  1. Farmers in the U.S. will remember summer 2012 for its lowest corn yield of the past ten seasons. ‘Right to know’ activists will remember autumn, 2012, as the year California passed, or failed to pass, the GMO labeling initiative, otherwise known as proposition 37. Yet, there exists one more reason to remember both corn and GMO this season, as the multimillion dollar discount warehouse and grocery store, Wal-Mart, has elected to do something the organically minded “Whole Foods†and even the more mainstream, General Mills, will not, which is carry the conglomerate, Monsanto’s, first gen
  2. Gene-doping, the term for the newest in concerns for Olympic officials ever-vigilant for new forms of cheating is, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency, “the non-therapeutic use of cells, genes, genetic elements, or of the modulation of gene expression, having the capacity to improve athletic performance". Like soap opera plots, Olympic history has had it all, from mud-slinging to murder, with every drama reflecting the era in which it took place. For example, it seems nonsensical by today’s standards for a charioteer to win a race he fails to finish purely on the judgment of offic
  3. It seems like every time you turn around there’s a new solar product on the market for personal electronics like cell phones and mp3 players or solar panels for homes. In fact, some events like the Solar Decathlon are devoted solely to exhibiting the latest advances in sustainable solar power. There are plans for building your own solar power kits flooding the internet, although it’s recommended that for big solar panel installations you go to a professional. Yes, the race is on to see what company can create the most efficient solar panel, the ultimate goal being 50% efficiency. It seems
  4. Iberdrola Renewables recently announced that it had sold 50 Megawatts to the City of Santa Clara Silicon Valley Power (SVP) from its Manzana Wind Power Project that is still under construction. According the contract Iberdrola will provide 50 MW to Santa Clara for a period of twenty years starting from the commercial operation of the Manzana plant which is expected to be in the last quarter of 2012. SVP is Iberdrolla’s repeat customer according to Martin Mugica, an executive vice president of Iberdrolla renewable, who added that the company was delighted to be of help to SVP in meeting its r
  5. There are a range of green products in the market nowadays; if you think of a product, chances are, there is an eco-friendly version of it. Now the same can be said for San Francisco-based Good Vibrations, an adult store that has adopted “ecorotic†ratings, which inform consumers about how environmentally friendly an adult-themed product is. Good Vibes uses leaves to represent how green an item is, and their products can receive up to six leaves. Each leaf represents a specific ratings factor: body safe, free of animal products, rechargeable, natural ingredients, recyclable materials, an
  6. It's not always easy to get through to kids; engaging them in conversation about the environment can be tedious, especially if they are twitching from video game withdrawal and anxious to return to their XBOX. Luckily, there are games out there that appeal to kids while conveying important environmental messages. It may sound like a long shot, but experts agree that video games are a great medium for teaching kids and for conveying information that will stick in the long run. One such game is ominously entitled “Fate of the World.†It's a PC strategy game that deals with some pretty heav
  7. Wind power is a great form of energy; there's no doubt about that. However, there have been recent threats to the wildlife population that have collided with these green efforts. This upcoming January 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will publish new guidelines for wind farms. Some of these guidelines will be aimed at wind-farm operators, advising them on how to protect wildlife in conjunction with the wind farm. The reason for these new suggestions is because more and more endangered species have been killed in wind turbine blades. Most recently, an endangered bat was killed on a wind
  8. Nowadays there's an app for everything. There even happens to be many apps for the ecologically conscious, some of which are better than others. Let's take a look at some green apps that are particularly useful and which you may have missed. Green Genie is a super useful app for people who may not be eco-experts. The app provides tips on how to improve the environment and also includes a plastics directory, which deciphers the meaning behind those plastic numbers stuck on the bottom of plastic containers. Green Genie also suggests eco-friendly projects that recycle materials, like transform
  9. Wasting money on expensive wrapping paper is no fun, especially when that paper hasn't been recycled and will most likely be thrown in the trash without hesitation. This year why not do something different and wrap your gifts in something unique and memorable? There are many eco-friendly projects to choose from, but in this article we'll give you a few basic suggestions. Newspaper: Wrapping gifts in recycled newspaper is probably the most basic thing you can do to stay eco-friendly this year while sending a positive, green message. Feel free to decorate the newspaper with some blackou
  10. As going green becomes more and more chic, celebrities are embracing the movement and advocating renewable energy, green products, and the like. But supermodel Gisele Bündchen is no stranger to environmental issues, and this past Thursday she was named the Best Green International Celebrity at this year's Green Awards. The award show took place at the National History Museum in London, with candidates including Paul McCartney and musician Miguel Bose. Gisele has been a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Program since 2009 and has been a big supporter of environmental is
  11. China is a controversial country. They have long been criticized for their dangerous levels of pollution, but they have also recently received praise for investing a great deal in renewable energy. However, the negative tides that blacken China's reputation may yet lighten in color this week. A report released by the China Council of International Cooperation on Environment and Development included the influential opinions of over 200 experts (both international and domestic), and it ultimately concluded that China has the potential to create more than 9.5 million jobs over the next five ye
  12. The 2012 Olympics have been hyped for some time with officials promising some major green changes for the event. However, these promises may not be realized unless corporate sponsors are willing to step up to the plate and go green, as well. Locog, the organizing committee for the Olympics, originally claimed that the 2012 event would be the “greenest games ever.†Promises were made that were contingent on the support and participation of Locog's 55 sponsors, but not everyone was willing to comply. One of Locog's sustainability pledges is that 70 percent of all waste will be recyc
  13. Dutch company Philips is probably best known for its signature electronics; the company has been quite successful when it comes to producing TVs, stereos, and Blu-Ray players. But now the electronics giant has shifted gears, recently announcing a number of green projects, among them is the Urban Beehive. Home beekeeping isn't something that gets a lot of commercial attention, but Philips has taken the leap by introducing a uniquely styled system that, through its cool design and very green purpose, may find appeal among more consumers. The Urban Beehive is precisely what its title suggests.
  14. President Obama may face a considerable amount of opposition from supporters if he moves forward in green lighting a pipeline that would run from Alberta, Canada, to Texas. Obama's approval ratings have recently been on the decline, and with his 2012 reelection campaign coming up, it seems strange that the president would even consider doing something so environmentally controversial. Groups such as the Chamber of Commerce support the pipeline because it would create a lot of jobs, thus stimulating the economy. According to TransCanada, a minimum of 20,000 jobs would be created through
  15. In the past, films like “WALL-E†and “Avatar†have been released with a strong environmental message throughout the movies. These films are great because a large part of their target audience are kids, and these kids will be the ones passing legislation and making changes several decades from now. A recently released environmental film, perhaps, is “The Lorax.†Originally by Dr. Seuss, The Lorax was first released as a book in 1971. Interestingly, the book met some controversy in 1988. A town heavily dependent on logging lashed out against the book when the book was put on the seco
  16. In a recent British report, it is claimed that hundreds of millions of people might find themselves trapped in bad environments due to the effects of global warming. The report was issued by the United Kingdom's government committee the Foresight Group, which is led by Sir John Bennington. According to Bennington, “Millions will migrate into, rather than away from, areas of environmental vulnerability ... An even bigger policy challenge will be the millions who are trapped in dangerous conditions and unable to move to safety." According to the report Migration and Global Environmental
  17. The Occupy Wall Street Movement has grown and expanded to other states, countries, and continents. The movement in itself does not limit the issues at hand, but there are several issues that have gotten the spotlight. A lot of speeches have been made about the existing economic and political problems, but until recently, environmental qualms weren't given much attention. However, on October 30 as part of Climate Justice Day, there are a number of speakers who will be addressing a number of environmental issues such as mountain top removal/coal mining, fracking, nuclear issues, tar sands, an
  18. The United States receives many imports from Mexico on a daily basis, including possibly water. Four major American water districts are currently working on a plan that would build two big desalination plants in Playas de Rosarito. The reason? The Colorado River, which tends to often go through periods of drought, has spawned concern from both Mexico and the U.S. Both countries are currently dependent on the Colorado River for water. The proposed plants would theoretically eliminate the problem. The two desalination plants that are being proposed here would produce 150 million gallons
  19. The United States and China are at odds over China's exporting cheap solar panels to US soil. US solar firms are upset because Chinese solar panels are priced so low that American products can't compete. Consequently, President Obama has been asked by seven solar firms to place duties (duties of over 100 percent) on the Chinese solar imports. Naturally, Chinese solar panel manufacturers are displeased with this reaction. A statement was issued on the Chinese Commerce Ministry's website that reads, “If the U.S. government files a case, adopts duties and sends an inappropriate protectionis
  20. One of the biggest indicators of climate change are ozone holes, zones where the ozone that forms the protective layer of Earth’s atmosphere are too thin to be protective anymore. This is caused by greenhouse gases creating chemical reactions with sunlight which destroy the oxygen particles. This is more severe over the poles. The reactions that convert less reactive chemicals into ozone-destroying ones take place in the polar vortex. This is a circulation pattern created by the rotation of the Earth and cold temperatures in the Polar Regions. The last winter and spring were charac
  21. The 2011 Solar Decathlon, which is a ten day event where groups of college students create homes that are powered entirely by capturing the energy from the sun, is now in its fifth year. The idea behind the event is to not only allow minds to dream of alternative ways to live but it also shows the public, in a very visible way, how these dreams would become reality. Each year, the best and brightest minds come together to create sustainable solar powered homes to be entered into the annual contest. The students who participate in these events are working to send a two-fold message. They
  22. On October 4, the Just Label It - We Have a Right to Know campaign submitted a petition to the FDA demanding the mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The petition was signed by millions of consumers, and almost 400 businesses and organizations also back the initiative. GMOs are genetically modified organisms, also called GE or genetically engineered foods. This involves scientists making changes to the food on a molecular level which could not happen in nature. These changes may include mixing the DNA from two separate sources, and potentially from different species
  23. The GOP is notorious for their reputation on denying climate change and other environmental issues even though the evidence continues to pile up that these are very real concerns. The Tea Party movement in the GOP continues to make this a trend, but with even more strength. Since January, the GOP has voted at least 110 times to stop any progressive measures to solve environmental problems. Some members of Congress have reported that the Republican party continues to undermine environmental protection. The Congress members stated that the GOP is trying to allow for more toxic pollution, incr
  24. The U.S Chamber of Commerce has launched a campaign to lobby for Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The Partnership to Fuel America is run out of the U.S. Chamber's Institute for 21st Century Energy, and seems positioned to be the U.S. Chamber's main influence channel to drum up support for Keystone XL. The Keystone Pipeline System is a pipeline system that will transport oil from Canada to refineries in the United States and then expand to the U.S Gulf Coast. The U.S Department of State has extended the deadline for federal agencies to decide if the pipeline is in the national interest. The O
  25. With energy prices rising and increasing emphasis placed on finding renewable alternatives to the fossil fuels that power the multitudes of cars behind every garage door in America, the whispers of a wind farm coming to the Northeastern coast of North Carolina are being greeted with applause from landowners. The particular environmental requirements necessary to produce substantial outputs of energy are difficult to come by outside of tourist-popular coastal areas. While wind turbines are cleaner and make much better neighbors than coal and nuclear power plants, that does not mean that sigh
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