Reading Keystone XL tea leaves: Is a pipeline in our future?

What the President said yesterday about the Keystone XL pipeline sounded sensible and straightforward. But what did the POTUS really mean in his climate action address? Roll the words around, toss them into the 24/7 Internet news cycle mixmaster, and you’ve got massive speculation. Obama could be indicating yes, or no, to Keystone XL.

Ozone Action Days — What they mean, and what you can do to minimize air pollution in Central Texas

We are all familiar with the term “Ozone Action Day” and typically associate it with a hot summer day. But what does it really mean? It means that sunlight is interacting with VOCs and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) (from car emissions and other sources) to create unhealthy air. Deanna Altenhoff explains how you can protect yourself and help Central Texas reduce this problem.

Bookstores, savor the last chapter

I am saddened when I visit most bookstores these days, and that goes even for the big chain stores that I know have made it difficult for local booksellers. I feel for all of them, because no matter what time of day I visit, it seems a little quieter at that time than it used to be.

Arkansas leak a sign of things to come?

While details regarding the cause of the rupture and the magnitude of the spill are still coming in, the Mayflower tar sands spill is yet another demonstration of the risks that tar sands pipelines pose to the communities and sensitive water resources they cross. At about a tenth of the full capacity of the Keystone XL tar sands pipelines, the 90,000 bpd Pegasus pipeline rupture offers us a small sample of the risk that tar sands pipelines pose to American communities.

Stop the Frack Attack rallies in Dallas

Dozens of people worried about the environmental effects of gas and oil drilling in the US, gathered at the Stop the Frack Attack conference in Dallas this weekend. Highlights included presentations by people whose water and land have been contaminated by fracking, and a Skype address by Gasland director Josh Fox, who urged people to “stand and fight.”

How we can cultivate a better food system in 2013

s we start 2013, many people will be thinking about plans and promises to improve their diet and health. But we think a broader collection of farmers, policy-makers, and eaters need new, bigger resolutions for fixing the food system – real changes with long-term impacts in fields, boardrooms, and on plates all over the world. These are resolutions that the world can’t afford to break with nearly one billion still hungry and more than one billion suffering from the effects of being overweight and obese. We have the tools—let’s use them in 2013!

Wind power breaks record in Texas; deserves continued federal tax credits

Despite having escaped this summer without rolling blackouts and the kind of heat we experienced last year, Texas is still dealing with the energy crunch issue. Luckily, our state is home to the nation’s largest wind power industry and it contains about a fifth of the country’s wind turbines. The Electric Reliability Grid of Texas (ERCOT), the Texas grid operator, announced that earlier this month wind throughout the state contributed 26 percent of the load on the grid, setting a new record…This is in addition to wind helping Texas avoid blackouts in February of last year, when a cold front proved too much for many traditional power plants.

The ‘sad green story’ is a fantasy; green energy is growing

To get back to some non-election topics…A couple weeks ago, New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote an op-ed entitled “A Sad Green Story” about the (supposed) travails of the green movement over the last 10 years. The idea that the clean technology sector is failing, or that it’s a bad investment, is common enough in the business world and pundit class. But it’s patently false. So what is Brooks talking about and what’s really true here?

Hurricane Sandy: An SOS to the world

Sting’s exquisite performance of “Message in a Bottle” hit just the right note for the Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together concert this past Friday.

Sandy, which savaged New Jersey, New York City and many points beyond with an estimated $20 billion in property damage from flooding, wind and rain could certainly be seen as an SOS to the world. More pointedly, it’s an urgent telegram to the U.S., where climate action has been hijacked by the world’s biggest hive of climate deniers, who’d like to either ignore climate change or wiggle away by labeling it “natural” and inescapable.

Hurricane Sandy and climate change: A scientist answers common questions

As Hurricane Sandy approached Virginia Beach, I watched churning surf form a troublesome backdrop to two skateboarders harnessing the wind to propel themselves rapidly along the boardwalk. Those same winds were piling up water to form a dangerous storm surge and portended a powerful blow that would ultimately cause widespread devastation throughout the region. Since that moment, I have been asked many questions about Hurricane Sandy. Here are answers to the most common ones.

How Walmart’s green performance reviews could transform the retail world

Walmart’s efforts to green its supply chain are about to get much more effective. Sustainability will now play a role in its merchants’ performance reviews, which help determine pay raises and potential for future promotion. This is a big deal: these merchants are high-level managers responsible for multibillion-dollar buying decisions. They’re the people who determine which products appear on the shelves of the world’s largest retailer.

Coal is plentiful, so let’s keep it that way

You know that argument about how the U.S. can’t really impact greenhouse gases because they’re spiraling out of control in other developing nations like China and India?
It’s illogical on its face, but that’s not stopping fossil fuel interests from pushing this idea.

Recycling would be good business — especially for mined metals

Waste not want not.

How many of us heard this little saying from our parents during our sloppy, wanton, wasteful childhoods?

I’d say the percentage who received this advice was higher than the current rate of recycling for all plastics, which comes in at an unimpressive 8 percent, according to an article in Scientific American about how we’re failing to recycle many raw resources, like metals and petroleum-derived plastics.

Salina, Kansas got ‘cooler and smarter’ — and you can too

You may feel that your hands are simply too full with work or raising your kids to get into the “saving the planet” business. If you are curious enough to look through Cooler Smarter, though, you will still find valuable information. Many of the choices offered in the book won’t just lower your emissions of carbon dioxide; they can also improve the quality of your life, save you money and time, and even improve your health.

Naked Face Project — challenging the need to ‘make up’

(This winter, Molly Barker and Caitlyn Boyle embarked on an experiment in going au naturel. Their Naked Face Project challenged other women to join them and explore life without having to put on a special face — or shave their legs or tint their hair — to win the world’s approval. In this blog Barker, the founder of Girls on the Run, considers her personal reactions and the implications for women of stepping back from societal expectations. We see this endeavor as having a green bonus, freedom from the toxic chemicals found in many cosmetics.)

Heat!

March came in like a lion. A fire-breathing, saliva-dripping, panting lion. A lion whom certainly sought shade if she lived in the continental US where temperatures blasted through records faster than you can say Happy St. Pat’s.
The heat, according to the news reports, was “unprecedented,” (Where have we heard this before? Oh yeah, last summer) with some 7,000 heat records being set or tied in the US, according to the US National Climatic Weather Center.

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