The Environmental Magazine

EARTHTALK(R): CONSERVING WILDLIFE THROUGH DNA

 

 

From the Editors of E - The Environmental Magazine

January 26, 2015 (San Diego) -- Dear EarthTalk: How are scientists using DNA to conserve wildlife? -- Jake Summerlin, Newark, NJ

Traditionally, conservation biologists have relied on field observation and sample and statistical analysis to help them understand the dynamics behind species loss, but today genetics is taking on an increasingly important role in helping quantify the biodiversity around us and even save some threatened species.

EARTHTALK(R): CLIMATE CHANGE DENIERS IGNORE SCIENCE

 

Photo Credit: NASA HQ, Flickr CC

Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), chair of the House Science, Space  Technology Committee, calls the Obama administration's 2014 National Climate Assessment--which squarely pins the blame for global warming on human industrial activity--"a political document intended to frighten Americans into believing that any abnormal weather we experience is the direct result of CO2 emissions."

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Are there still outspoken global warming deniers in Congress or the mainstream media? If so, what do they say when presented with scientific facts and anecdotal evidence pointing to an increasingly warming atmosphere?                                                      -- Ben Charles, Cary, NC

December 20, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - Given the preponderance of data showing rising temperatures around the globe in recent decades—along with the increasing frequency of extreme weather events—it’s hard to believe there are still any climate change deniers. But a recent survey by the non-profit Center for American Progress found that some 58 percent of Republicans in the U.S. Congress still “refuse to accept climate change.” Meanwhile, still others acknowledge the existence of global warming but cling to the scientifically debunked notion that the cause is natural forces, not greenhouse gas pollution by humans.

EARTHTALK(R): ROOFTOP SOLAR FINALLY COST COMPETITIVE WITH GRID IN U.S.

 

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E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I’ve heard that the price of getting solar panels installed on a home is lower than ever, but has it gotten to the point anywhere in the U.S. where it’s actually cheaper than traditional grid power yet?                             --Lester Milstein, Boston, MA

November 29, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - Rooftop solar panels on have always been the province of well-to-do, eco-friendly folks willing to shell out extra bucks to be green, but that is all starting to change. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the cost of putting solar panels on a typical American house has fallen by some 70 percent over the last decade and a half. And a recent report from Deutsche Bank shows that solar has already achieved so-called “price parity” with fossil fuel-based grid power in 10 U.S. states. Deutsche Bank goes on to say that solar electricity is on track to be as cheap or cheaper than average electricity-bill prices in all but three states by 2016—assuming,that is, that the federal government maintains the 30 percent solar investment tax credit it currently offers homeowners on installation and equipment costs.

EARTHTALK(R): NATIONAL SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM

 

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E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I hear that many school cafeterias have nutrition standards no better—even worse—than those of fast food chains. What can be done about this?      -- Betsy Edison, Nashville, TN

November 10, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Americans have done a great job making sure that our kids have something to eat at school regardless of socioeconomic status, with the National School Lunch Program providing low-cost or free lunches to upwards of 31 million students at 92 percent of U.S. public and private schools.

EARTHTALK(R): CLIMATE CHANGE

 

EarthTalk®

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that global warming is causing our crops to be less nutritious?

                                                                                                            -- William Persson, Glendale, OH

November 9, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - It is difficult to say whether or not the climate change we are now experiencing is negatively impacting the nutritional quality of our food, researchers warn that it may be only a matter of time. “Humanity is conducting a global experiment by rapidly altering the environmental conditions on the only habitable planet we know,” reports Samuel Myers, a research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health.

EARTHTALK(R): PLASTIC BAG BAN

 

EarthTalk® E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What’s the latest on efforts to ban plastic bags? How many U.S. locales have instituted some kind of ban, and have these initiatives made a dent in the amount of plastic litter?

                                                                                                               -- Melinda Clarke, New York, NY

October 11, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - California made big news recently when it announced the first statewide ban on plastic shopping bags set to kick in during the middle of 2015. Beginning in July, large grocery stores, pharmacies and other food retailers in the Golden State will no longer be able to send shoppers home with plastic bags, while convenience markets, liquor stores and other small food retailers will join the ranks a year later.

EARTHTALK(R): ECO-TRAVEL DESTINATIONS IN THE U.S

 

 

E - The Environmental Magazine                                           

By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

August 2, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) --Dear EarthTalk: Where are some good “eco-travel” destinations right here in the continental U.S. that I can consider for a family vacation?                                               -- Janet Devino, Brooklyn, NY

EARTHTALK(R): CHEMICALS AND OBESITY

 

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I’ve heard that, above and beyond our bad eating and lifestyle habits, some chemicals in everyday products are contributing to the obesity problem. Can you explain?

EARTHTALK(R): TASTY VEGETARIAN OPTIONS

 

E - The Environmental Magazine

Photo by Sid Sowder, courtesy Flicker

Dear EarthTalk: I recently became vegetarian for ethical reasons, but I am missing the taste of meat. Are there any tasty veggie options out there that can satisfy my desire for steak and chicken?    

                                                                                                             -- Missy Jenkins, Pittsburgh, PA

May 10, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Aside from its brutal treatment of livestock animals, the meat industry is no doubt one of the worst offenders when it comes to the environment. Producing one kilogram of beef requires 150 square meters of land and 15,000 liters of water, most of which is used to grow feed for the animal. That same kilogram generates 27 kilograms of climate-altering carbon dioxide, the equivalent of driving a car more than 100 miles. Indeed, beef has 13 times the carbon emissions of an equivalent amount of vegetable-based protein.

EARTHTALK(R): FOOD SAFETY

 

E - The Environmental Magazine

Photo Credit: Heather Buttrum, courtesy FlicKer

May 4, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Dear EarthTalk: What would you consider to be the key areas we need to improve to make our food safer for our health and easier on our environment?

 -- Billy A., Oakland, CA

Although we have come a long way in recent years with regard to the safety and sustainability of our food supply, we still have a long way to go. Toxic pesticides are still used on the vast majority of U.S. grown crops, while other hormone-disrupting chemicals are omnipresent in our food packaging. And excessive use of antibiotics in animal agriculture threatens to render many human drugs ineffective. Environmental leaders would like to see the federal government step up and institute regulations banning such substances in our food supply, but for now it’s still up to individual consumers to make the right choices.

EARTHTALK(R): EARTH DAY 2014

 

E - The Environmental Magazine

April 5, 2014 (San Diego)--Dear EarthTalk: What’s going on with Earth Day this year and how can I get involved? -- Christine B., Boston, MA

This coming April 22 will mark the 44th annual celebration of Earth Day, and the focus this year will be green cities. “As the world’s population migrates to cities, and as the bleak reality of climate change becomes increasingly clear, the need to create sustainable communities is more important than ever,” reports Earth Day Network, the Seattle-based non-profit that helps coordinate Earth Day celebrations and serves as a clearinghouse for related information and resources. The group hopes to galvanize the support of more than a billion people across 192 countries this Earth Day for increasing the sustainability and reducing the carbon footprints of urban areas everywhere.