McDonalds says no to genetically modified potato

Sound the fryer timer. The potato wars have begun. Last week a new genetically modified potato designed to produce less of a carcinogenic byproduct when fried won approval from the USDA. This week, McDonalds says, naw, probably not going to use it. Food activists are elated. It’s starchy. It’s complicated. Read on.

Why the circus, fair or parade is ‘No Fun for Elephants’

This year we’ve been learning a lot about the abuse of animals used for entertainment. The critically acclaimed film Blackfish exposed how Seaworld’s whales are confined and mistreated, leading to a dangerous situation for trainers. Sadly, elephants are in similar straits. While circuses and elephant rides look like fun, the story behind the scenes is grim for these wild animals.

Energy efficiency experts name Austin as one of the most efficient cities

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy has identified six American cities as the most energy efficient. These top cities were praised for having strong programs urging residents to cut back on energy and water use, strict building codes to hold builders to higher standards, community education initiatives and more. The six top scoring cities are diverse, representing different geographical locations in hot and cold states, demonstrating that energy efficiency is possible when people make it a priority.

Petition asks Kraft to ‘Dump the Dyes’ from Mac & Cheese

Food bloggers and their followers have entered into a love and hate relationship with Kraft’s traditional Mac & Cheese. They love the idea that it’s there for when consumers need that warm embrace from the iconic comfort food. But they hate that it contains questionable synthetic food dyes, Yellow #5 and Yellow #6, linked to hyperactivity in kids. Today they took their conflict to Kraft headquarters outside of Chicago.

Arctic sea ice vanishing quickly, sets new low record

Sea ice in the Arctic dropped to its lowest level this September since scientists began tracking the size of the Arctic with satellites, breaking the previous record for the greatest loss of ice set in 2007.

The sea ice dropped to 1.32 million square miles on Sept. 16, which appears to be the lowest extent it will reach this year, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo..

Wind lay-offs rising as industry faces the end of tax subsidies

U.S. wind energy workers are losing their jobs as factories pare back in apparent response to the potential loss of a tax credit that has bolstered wind development.
Losses include layoffs and planned layoffs at wind manufacturing facilities in Tulsa, Okla., West Fargo, N.D., and in Little Rock, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reports.

Back-to-school with greener goods — it’s easier than ever

Getting our back-to-school game face on is hard enough without being forced into buying reams of virgin paper and plastic goods that fail to lighten our mood.

But going against the wave of cheap, plasticky school supplies is getting easier, and more affordable. There are a few hurdles that can trip you up. You may have to order from a couple different places, adding to your shipping costs and carbon footprint. But if you have any office supply needs beyond school, you could make up for that by ordering some of these supplies in bulk.

Eco gas for homes a new option for Illinois consumers

Illinois residents and businesses just got more options for heating their homes or workplaces with a new biogas/natural gas mixture.
The new blend, of 8 percent biogas captured from landfills and other sources and 92 percent natural gas, is available from Integrys Energy Services, a subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group.

EPA finds that BP dispersants are no worse than others

The EPA released the results of its second phase of texts on oil dispersants today, which show that the dispersant BP has used in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has about the same toxicity as seven other dispersants tested.
The lab results show that BP’s chosen dispersant, Corexit 9500A, when mixed with Louisiana Sweet Crude Oil is “generally no more or less toxic” than mixtures of the oil and other dispersants, according to the EPA.

Schweitzer Calls For “Clean, Green and American-made” Energy

By Barbara Kessler

For those yearning to hear more about the Democrats’ energy plans, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s vigorous speech Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention in Denver opened a more detailed dialogue on the subject.

Schweitzer, a first-term Democratic governor who chose a Republican lieutenant governor, called for “a new energy system that is clean, green and American-made.” He lamented U.S. dependence on foreign oil and what he labeled the Bush Administration’s single-minded focus on drilling to extract more oil, not just abroad but also domestically.

Earth Hour Saves Power

By Barbara Kessler Chalk up another one for the power of unified action. The worldwide Earth Hour, during which dozens of cities and iconic buildings around the globe went dark for one hour last Saturday, resulted in a clear drop in energy usage. According to ComEd in...

Just Go… Elf Yourself!

By Barbara Kessler It’s viral and environmental. Elf Yourself, that silly make-your-own e-card put together by Office Max is winning friends and amusing users during its second holiday season. Office Max reports that more than more than 83 million

Climate Change Compromise

An air of compromise broke through the simmering dispute over greenhouse gas limitations at the G8 Conference on Thursday. Just as it seemed there would be little agreement between Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President George Bush, the leaders,...

Bush Proposes Greenhouse Gas Talks

By Barbara Kessler President Bush proposed today that the world’s top polluting nations should gather for a series of meetings on the fall to set global targets for greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2007. The president’s proposal comes as other G-8...

Earth Day – April 22

We hope you've left some time in your schedule to observe Earth Day 2007 this weekend. The Earth Day Network is serving as a clearinghouse for events. So check for something close to home. Unless you live in the Washington area…then you might want to head...