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Green Americans and allies have been calling on the federal government for years to stop destructive mountaintop removal mining practices. Thanks to the thousands of people who have spoken up, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now taking a stronger stance on permits for this destructive form of mining. The EPA recently reviewed 79 permits for mountain top removal operations submitted by the Army Corps of Engineers and found that all of them would likely violate the Clean Water Act.

The permits are now being revised by the Army Corps of Engineers for re-submission. Coal companies are going to be using all their influence to get these permits approved. We need you to join us today and ask the EPA to stand firm on mountaintop removal mining. Together, we can make sure that the EPA has the support it needs to stand strong against the coal industry.

And, together we can encourage the EPA to go even further, and move to end all mountaintop removal mining, preserving communities from this threat for years to come.

Take Action Now!

-Cara

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Spring Cleaning

It’s Spring people and that means it’s Spring cleaning time. Usually Fridays is about buying stuff, but today I thought it would be a fresh idea to make good cleaners, instead of recommending good cleaners. That’s my idea!!!

Drain Cleaner – Try a plunger first, if that doesn’t work pour 1/2 cup baking soda down drain, add 1/2 cup white vinegar, and cover the drain. The resulting chemical reaction can break fatty acids down into the soap and glycerine, allowing the clog to wash down the drain. Do not use this method after trying a commercial drain opener–the vinegar can react with the drain opener to create dangerous fumes.

Scouring Powder can be made from baking soda or dry table salt.

Window and Glass Cleaner is easy with these tips: to avoid streaks, don’t wash windows when the sun is shining. Use a vinegar-and-water solution, cornstarch-vinegar-and-water solution, or lemon-juice-and-water. Wipe with newspaper unless you are sensitive to the inks in newsprint.

Floor Cleaner and Polish can be as simple as a few drops of vinegar in the cleaning water to remove soap traces. For vinyl or linoleum, add a capful of baby oil to the water to preserve and polish. For wood floors, apply a thin coat of 1:1 oil and vinegar and rub in well. For painted wooden floors, mix 1 teaspoon washing soda into 1 gallon hot water. For brick and stone tiles, use 1 cup white vinegar in 1 gallon water and rinse with clear water.

All-Purpose Cleaner can be made from a vinegar-and-salt mixture or from 4 tablespoons baking soda dissolved in 1 quart warm water.

I think that should be enough to kick start you into the joys of Spring cleaning…enjoy.

-Cara

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People who eat a lot of fish are increasingly falling victim to the debilitating effects of mercury poisoning. Women, in particular, are putting their babies at risk for irreparable brain damage when they eat seafood high in mercury while pregnant and even beforehand. According to the EPA, about 630,000 newborns in the United States every year–roughly 15 percent of all–may be exposed to dangerous levels of mercury in the womb.

I thought it was time for another petition to save the world on TDAAIT, it has been awhile, plus this one comes with a video.

Click here to go to the petition.

Thank you SaveOurEnvironment.org.

Take Action!!!

-Cara
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Two major studies have emerged recently that show the vegan lifestyle to be conducive to lower body weight. A Swedish study of 55,000 women and a British study of 65,000 men and women both found vegans to have lower BMIs (body mass index) and to suffer less often from obesity. Vegan food tends to be lower in calories by volume. And since plant-based fare is likely to contain abundant fiber, it satiates quicker.

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Be Green Now’s web site hosts a cool Carbon Calculator for all you car drivers. Figure the size of your carbon shoe here.

How do they come up with the figures you ask…

Vehicles

Vehicle emissions are calculated by determining the quantity of gallons of gasoline you use annually and multiplying that number by the amount of kg/CO2/gallon emissions rate. The resultant kg CO2 emitted by you was then divided by 1,000 to determine metric tons of CO2 emitted.

* Once you input your vehicle Year, Make and Model, we look up the average MPG of your vehicle and use the average of highway and city miles to determine the estimated fuel economy of your vehicle.

Electricity

To calculate the CO2 emissions you avoid, we simply multiply your monthly electric usage times the CO2 emission rate of typical system power in your area. The CO2 emissions rate is determined using the EPA’s eGRID 2006, Version 2.1, year 2004 database.

Air Travel

When you provide your actual flight data, we are able to accurately calculate your emissions resulting from air travel. We look up your flight Flight leg miles were converted to flight leg kilometers and were broken-out by short hauls (< 452 km), medium hauls (452km < x < 1,600km), and long hauls (> 1,600 km).The total kms traveled for short, medium and long hauls were then multiplied by the appropriate emissions factor for each haul distance.

Natural Gas

We calculate your emissions from natural gas usage by multiplying the appropriate CO2 factor by the quantity of Therms used annually.

I do love calculators.

-Cara

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Bypass surgery requires that your rib cage be opened, your heart stopped, and your body hooked up to an external pumping machine so a vein from some other part of your body can be removed and grafted as a replacement blood vessel to your heart. Memory, language ability, and spatial orientation remain impaired in 10 to 50 percent of bypass patients six months afterward. Side effects for some never go away. Gloom and depression affect between a third and three-quarters of patients. Many will require a second operation. A vegetarian diet, regular exercise, and spiritual nourishment have proven to reverse heart disease–the biggest killer in Western countries.

What I learned today on earthpledge.org was how to turn organic waste into energy.

Waste Not Want Not

Here’s what I know…

Why Waste=Fuel?

Current waste management practices in New York City are environmentally and economically unsustainable. Every year, the city landfills over 7 million tons of food and other organic wastes. According to the EPA, this biodegradable waste discharges over 1.8 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. The collection of this waste requires hundreds of diesel trucks, which both damage the city’s transportation infrastructure and further pollute the environment. In addition to these environmental costs, the financial expenditure of waste collection exceeds 1 billion dollars per year.

What is Anaerobic Digestion?
In a controlled, oxygen-free environment, naturally occurring anaerobic bacteria break down matter and produce energy-rich biogas (over 60% methane), which can be used to generate renewable energy or to power clean fuel vehicles. Anaerobic treatment has proven effective with a wide variety of organic wastes, including agricultural waste (animal manure), municipal solid waste (food and yard waste) and wastewater (sewage sludge, industrial sludge, and food processing waste).

Having recognized the environmental and economic impact of food and other organic waste, some governments —most notably those of the European Union, Japan, and Australia—have imposed restrictions and landfill taxes on garbage disposal to divert waste from landfills. These restrictions, in addition to government incentives, have led to the installation of hundreds of Anaerobic Digestion (AD) facilities that divert biodegradable waste from landfills, generate renewable energy, and mitigate the release of greenhouse gases. Over 125 European AD facilities produce more than 300 Megawatts of electricity (enough to supply 300,000 households), divert millions of tons of food waste from landfills each year, and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Benefits of Anaerobic Digestion:

  • Substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions, odor and other pollutants from food and other organic wastes.
  • Is a source of renewable energy: 1 ton of organic waste can generate over200 kWh of electricity—a day’s supply for 10 average U.S. households.
  • Creates a pathogen-free, humus-like fertilizer, superior to chemical fertilizers.
  • Reduces food waste volume.
  • Is compact and sanitary, and can be used in urban areas.
  • Employs a proven technology, with several facilities in operation since the late 1970s and close to one hundred more that have been constructed since the early 1990s.
  • Diverts municipal wastes from landfills, reducing the amount of fuel used and pollution generated by waste transportation.
  • Enables communities to recycle and reuse waste locally.

Initiative Information

Goal
Earth Pledge’s Waste=Fuel initiative aims to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions produced by urban, rural, and commercial organic waste, while supporting the development of a new source of renewable energy.

Waste=Fuel Objectives
Waste=Fuel proposes the use of AD technology to combat air and groundwater pollution, improve solid waste management, and reduce energy consumption. By promoting the use of AD—a sustainable waste management technology—to a range of audiences, and spearheading a variety of pilot projects, we aim to position AD as a viable and popular alternative to conventional food waste disposals methods.
Our objectives:
•Demonstrate the environmental and social benefits of AD application to our private and public sector communities.
•Encourage the adoption of AD technology by large-scale producers of organic waste.
•Work with cities and municipalities to create incentives around the adoption of AD.
•Use AD to divert 7 million tons of organic waste annually in New York City, generating significant 1.4 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, and preventing the release of 3.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

Digesters in the Private Sector implementation
With input from engineers, we are advising companies on the installation of an AD facilities at their locations. We are focusing these feasibility studies on companies that handle large volumes of organic waste, such as food wholesalers, compost farmers and restaurants. These facilities have the potential to divert a large fraction of their waste from landfill and provide energy in the form of heat or electricity as well as a compost material. In the process, these companies will improve their environmental portfolios by achieving greenhouse gas reductions.

Target Audience
Waste=Fuel Initiative reaches stakeholders in the food, waste, and energy industries. In particular, this initiative targets the hospitality industry, solid waste industry, energy suppliers, renewable energy investors, natural gas vehicle developers, academic institutions, and federal, state, and local agencies.

Waste=Fuel Resources and Links

General Information About Anaerobic Digestion:

ATLAS Project
The ATLAS Project, a European research initiative on energy technologies, details the history, uses, and benefits of anaerobic digestion. The website also notes the existing barriers to widespread implementation.


Biogas Works

An excellent introduction to the process of anaerobic digestion.

California Energy Commission
This site is an excellent source of information on energy issues facing California. The research & development section of the site discusses a number of innovative energy efficient technologies that are being explored for California, including anaerobic digestion.

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
This site explains the significance of methane, its cultivation and its uses.

University of Southampton
The University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, UK, offers extensive information on anaerobic digestion systems with illustrative diagrams.

Related Publications:

Biocycle Magazine

This journal about composting and organics recycling has a particular focus on cutting-edge waste management technologies including anaerobic digestion.

Environmental Business Journal
A publication that provides a strategic overview and an independent perspective on the different segments of and issues within the environmental business community.

Solid Waste Digest
A monthly newsletter providing the industry with strategic market information, data, and analysis on issues such as waste disposal pricing.

Waste News
Waste News reports on waste management, hazardous waste disposal, landfilling, waste generation and reduction, and recycling.

Waste not, want not. :)

-Cara

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Approximately 800 million people today live with chronic hunger, and 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes every day. Yet the world cycles nearly 43 percent of all the grain that is harvested through animals to produce meat. To get a feedlot steer to gain a pound, you need 7 pounds of corn. Likewise, additional pounds of pig, chicken, and farmed fish will cost you, respectively, 3.5, 2, and 3 pounds in feed. Of course, large portions of the added weight turn into inedible tissue, such as bones. The meat industry does endeavor to increase feed-to-flesh efficiency, but the “improvements” sadly come via genetic tinkering, growth enhancing drugs, and questionable feed.

Lips

Time to play. Today you can play, improving your memory while doing so and if you want, learn more on how to keep your lips soft, click here.

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Reason 2 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:

America’s farmed animals produce 1.3 billion tons of waste per year, or 5 tons for every U.S. citizen. (Just one cow produces 100 pounds per day.) And the pollution strength of it all can reach levels 160 times greater than that of raw municipal sewage. This vast accumulation is not neatly contained; manure is the most common pollutant today in America’s waters. Land sprayed with pig excrement is particularly toxic, since pigs contract and transmit many human diseases–namely, meningitis, salmonella, chlamydia, giardia, cryptosporidiosis, worms, and influenza. Manure is laden with phosphorous, nitrates, and heavy metals and emits ammonia, methane, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, and cyanide. Manure has always been seen as fertilizer. But in today’s quantities, it is an under-regulated industrial pollutant.

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