A brighter idea for college dorms

Lighting innovations have taken the world by storm over the past few years, moving us from the incandescent bulb of Edison’s day, to LED lights that use 10 percent of the energy. This efficiency gain is helping colleges brighten up for less, and also creating safer, more pleasant dorm rooms, hallways and byways. Read about how North Carolina State University is lighting the way forward.

Sharing the land in India, supporting farmers in Mexico and Australia and other cool ways people are stopping desertification

Desertification threatens lands across the planet as weather extremes worsen and development strips areas of protective trees and vegetation.The process displaces farms, wildlife, green areas and impoverishes local people by stealing their means of support. But groups around the world are finding unique, organic and sustainable solutions that push back desertification.

Portland residents reject fluoridation, thwarting City Council that had mandated it

Portland voters soundly rejected fluoridation of the city’s water, reversing a 2012 mandate by the city council. Anti-fluoride forces are calling the vote a victory for modern science, which has identified excessive fluoride exposures as contributing to thyroid disease, bone damage and lower IQs among children.

350.org Massachusetts ends vigil over political ‘climate silence’ to escape the actual effects of climate change

We can probably safely award today’s “Most Ironic Story” award to 350.org Massachusetts.

The group had been holding a 24/7 vigil (that may be redundant) to draw attention to the “climate silence” that has characterized the presidential campaign and some races for Congress, such as the contest between Sen. Scot Brown and challenger Elizabeth Warren.

California’s Prop 23 looks increasingly combustible

When the Prop 23 proponents launched their grenade to blow up California’s greenhouse gas emissions targets, they likely hoped that the measure would sail to victory during the traditional shakeup of midterm elections.

But according to a poll released Monday, it ain’t happening.

A new Los Angeles Times/ USC poll of likely voters shows that most do not agree with Prop 23, which would roll back California’s progressive carbon emissions standards. The poll found 48 percent opposed Prop 23, compared to 32 percent who were in favor. The remainder were undecided.

Thinking, visioning and spending locally

Remember that old real estate adage, location, location, location? There’s a parallel theme among green advocates: Local, local, local. They want more local food, local attention to water and wildlife, businesses that keep jobs in communities, mass transit that reaches neighborhoods, farms connected to cities, and so on.

This is nothing new. We like our cities and somehow, they’ve gotten away from us, whether they’ve become a sprawling, sterile suburb or a congested, irritable metropolis. We yearn for something friendlier and more cohesive. We seek out “local flavor” when we vacation, surely a sign we want more when we’re at home.

10-10-10 Work Party shows that thousands worldwide want climate action

Climate change has been a matter of debate in government circles and a talking point on news channels for many years now. But increasingly, the climate change discussion — the need to slow global warming pollution, deforestation and the loss of wildlife — is becoming a citizens’ round table.
This past weekend’s 10-10-10 work parties, rallied people of all ages, economic strata and religious beliefs who turned out in groups of 5, 10, or 100 to build gardens, promote carbon neutral transportation, plant trees and protest fossil fuels.

Public health leaders send Congress a message: Let EPA regulate carbon pollution

America’s public health leaders have raised their voices against Congressional waffling over climate action, releasing a letter today signed by 120 top public health groups that urges Congress not to interfere with the EPA’s plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The EPA’s mandate to regulate carbon emissions has been a lightning rod in Washington, with some in Congress saying the agency does not have the authority to set carbon guidelines and penalize violators. States, such as Texas, have sued over the issue, also trying to stop the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.

California legislature passes Climate Change Community Benefits bill

Human rights and poverty activists in California scored a win on Tuesday when the legislature passed a bill that would earmark money from pollution fees to assist people communities that have been most directly affected by pollution. The bill also would help fund job creation.

The Climate Change Community Benefits Fund, or AB 1405, would mandate that a minimum of 10 percent of revenues from polluters fined under California’s clean energy and air pollution standards be set aside for job training, public health initiatives and pollution clean-up in low-income communities.

Sea Cliff N.Y. parents fight for better school nutrition

Denise Rieger spreads hummus on a whole wheat tortilla, chops up carrots, peppers and cucumber, layers on the vegetables and rolls the tortilla into a wrap. She prepares a fresh fruit salad of strawberries and grapes and puts everything in separate compartments of a lunch box for her daughter, Elle to bring to school. Rieger goes through this time-consuming preparation five days a week because she does not want her daughter eating what is being served for lunch in the school cafeteria.
“I won’t let my kids eat anything in the cafeteria, not one bit of food!” says Rieger.

Senate passes child nutrition bill that would improve school lunches

The Senate passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 on Thursday afternoon, reaching unanimous bipartisan consent on the measure to re-fund the existing child nutrition program before it expires September 30.
The bill would raise the federal money allotted for school lunches by 6 cents per lunch, make it easier for schools to use local farm-fresh food and push junk food out of the schools. It is supported by sustainability and nutrition advocates, as well as First Lady Michelle Obama who wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post to promote the bill.

Honor motherhood with a gift to help struggling moms in Haiti and other crisis areas

This Mother’s Day you can honor your mom by helping mothers in Haiti, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, the Congo, Afghanistan and about three dozen other countries who face daily challenges to feed and protect themselves and their children.

A mother in Tanzania (Photo: International Rescue Committee)

A mother in Tanzania (Photo: International Rescue Committee)

The International Rescue Committee has set up an online plan where people can “buy” specific items desperately needed by mothers coping with wars, disasters, homelessness, food shortages, unsanitary living conditions and other dangers. Many of these women are vulnerable to exploitation and sexual crimes because they live in war zones or in crowded refugee camps, such as those serving as shelter in Haiti since the 7.0 earthquake devastated that country in January.

Bike commuting is green, healthy & cheap, so why don’t more people do it?

Bicyclist (Photo: Savo Ilic/dreamstime)

Bicyclist (Photo: Savo Ilic/dreamstime)

It’s May, which means it’s Bicycle Month. Cities and cycling clubs around the country are promoting bicycle riding by sponsoring group rides and bike commuter events , culminating around Bike to Work Day on May 21. But the presence on the American calendar of a designated month to encourage bicycle transportation underscores the fact that most people in this nation get around by driving cars, not by riding bikes.