Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Where Does Our Electricity Come From?


The Union of Concerned Scientists has put together an online interactive quiz about where our electricity comes from. The answers might surprise you. Hint: A lot of states (especially in the Southeast) are importing a lot of dirty coal from Wyoming and exporting a lot of their clean, renewable energy sources like woody biomass to Europe. Find out for yourself by clicking this link to take the quiz.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Movie Trailer: Carbon Nation

Check out this trailer for "Carbon Nation: A Climate Change Solutions Movie (That Doesn't Even Care If You Believe in Climate Change)."

It will be screening in these select cities in February and March:

2/11/11 - New York, NY– Cinema Village
2/18/11 - Los Angeles, CA - Laemmle Sunset 5 Theatre
3/4/11 – Portland, OR – Regal Fox Tower Stadium
3/4/11 – Seattle, WA – SIFF Cinema
3/11/11 – Austin, TX – Regal Arbor Cinema

Climate Crisis In Pictures


Queensland, Australia: The worst flooding in the last 35 years has devastated both human and animal alike.


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: The strongest rains in 30 years have killed 81 people, causing the government to declare a state of emergency.



Carmel, Israel: Orthodox Jews watch the massive forest fire that claimed 44 lives, making it the deadliest in Israeli history.



Pakistan: Heavy monsoon rains flooded one-fifth of Pakistan's land area, killed close to 2,000 and affected 20 million people.



Moscow, Russia: Record heat and drought created massive wildfires that brought heavy smog to cities, killing an estimated 56,000 people.


New York, New York: The December 2010 blizzard dumped 20 inches of snow on Central Park and was the sixth largest recorded snow storm in NYC history.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

L.A. Scraps Last Diesel Bus

Angelenos can breathe easier, literally, after the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Agency retires its last diesel bus on Wednesday. In doing so, it will become the only fleet in the country to run 100% on alternative fuels, in this case natural gas.

Click here for the L.A. Times story on how the transit agency is working to cut emissions of cancer-causing pollution.

Report: No Health Threat From Smart Meters

As a follow up to my investigative piece on the safety of Smart Meters, a new report released today confirms my findings that Smart Meters pose no health risks to the public. In the report, the California Council on Science and Technology states that the intensity of the radiation from Smart Meters falls well within federal limits for wireless devices.

Click here for a link to the San Francisco Chronicle story on the report.

Click here for a link to download the full report on the health impacts of Smart Meters.

Click here for my original story on Smart Meters and Radiofrequency (RF) radiation.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Progress at Ground Zero

On each visit to New York City I always make a pilgrimage to the sacred ground of The World Trade Center site where terrorists changed the world on that fateful September morning a little over nine years ago.

And each time I visit I come away disappointed at the lack of progress in rebuilding this massive graveyard where over 3,000 innocent souls lost their lives at the hands of a few misguided mad men. Why, I would ask myself, can New York build two new baseball stadiums and one new football stadium but let Ground Zero fall victim to politics and economics.

But this time was different. I visited NYC a couple of weeks ago and was amazed at the rapid pace of progress in lower Manhattan. One World Trade Center (formally called Freedom Tower) is already halfway to the top at 52 levels. When finished, it will be the tallest building in the United States. The PATH train station is up and running, carrying thousands of commuters every day from WTC to New Jersey and back. And the 9/11 Memorial should be finished in time for the 10th anniversary dedication this September 11th.

Here are recent photos of Ground Zero:



Video of snow storm at Ground Zero:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pictures: NYC Blizzard of 2010











Guest Post: Two California Schools Win Grid Neutral Awards at Green Schools Summit

Solar panel roofs cover the Milpitas High School parking lot. Image credit: Abdul Kalam

by Lisa Shoreland

On December 10, California recognized Yuba City and Milpitas Unified School Districts for the Inaugural 2010 “Grid Neutral” Awards at Green Schools Summit in Pasadena.

Grid Neutral

Back in 2004, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger passed the Green Building Executive Order (S-20-04), which called for the reduction of electricity consumption in state buildings by 20% by 2015. In response, California’s Grid Neutral Schools Initiative came about, with the Division of the State Architect working hand in hand with other government agencies and local school districts. By 2008, they had come up with a comprehensive guide, requiring energy cost cuts via on-site electricity generation and more, to aid California schools and colleges in going grid neutral.

To be “grid neutral” means to generate the same amount of electricity as the amount used. This year, all schools K-12 were considered in the categories of Distinguished Campus, District-wide Excellence, and Exemplary Teaching Tool. Yuba City and Milpitas schools pioneered energy efficiency, on-site alternative energy generation, and other forms of green initiative.

The Winning Districts

Yuba City Unified School District is leaps and bounds ahead of most American schools in terms of greening itself over. It won the Distinguished Campus award for its efforts in integrating energy demand-reduction and peak-energy saving as well as use of energy efficient A/C and lighting systems. The Riverbend K-8 School also received note for its renewable power generation.

Meanwhile, the Milpitas Unified School District snagged the District-wide Excellence award and the Exemplary Teaching Tool award for its strong and effective focus on solar power. The district installed photovoltaic system on stand-alone campus structures and financed the power system with solar power purchase agreements. In addition, the students themselves learned about solar power through their curriculum while teachers learned of sustainable professional development opportunities.

“What a tremendous job these school districts are doing in leading the way with green innovations in our public schools,” Governor Schwarzenegger lauded. “I love that our schools are integrating green design to achieve energy savings and preserve natural resources while also educating students on alternative energy solutions. It’s fantastic.”

Bio: Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at Go college, where recently she's been researching Student Grants and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing and hogging her boyfriend’s PlayStation 3. To keep her sanity she enjoys practicing martial arts and bringing home abandon animals.

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