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Canary in a Coal Mine

By Ted Nelson
October 6, 2009
File under: Carbon Emissions, Climate Change, Electric Sources, Natural Resources


It’s not a secret that a big draw-back of renewable energy is cost. The direct financial costs borne by the producers, and therefore consumers, of electricity created from fossil fuels is lower than that of renewable sources like wind and solar. However, the argument in favor of renewable energy is that there are indirect costs of electricity generated from fossil fuels that are not borne directly by the producers or consumers, but by society at large.

These are environmental and health costs that do have a direct and meaningful impact on our quality of life, but are not directly paid by producers and consumers of electricity generated from coal and other fossil fuels.

These indirect costs are not as tangible as the direct costs: you feel the impact of your electricity bill on your budget immediately, while the health and environmental impacts of coal usage are hard to quantify. …read more of Canary in a Coal Mine here

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The Truth About US Energy Subsidies

By Ted Nelson
September 21, 2009
File under: Alternative Sources, Carbon Emissions, Climate Change, Electric Sources


A new study from the Environmental Law Institute in partnership with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, “Estimating US Government Subsidies to Energy Sources: 2002-2008,” shed light on US energy subsidies.

The study finds that fossil fuels received almost two-and-a-half times more subsidies over the 7 year period than renewables: $72 billion for fossil fuels compared to $29 billion for renewables.

Of equal concern is that 58% of renewables subsidies ($16.8 billion) went towards corn-based ethanol, a fuel that’s carbon credentials are in question and has been linked to increasing world food prices. …read more of The Truth About US Energy Subsidies here

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Going Green: Who’s In, Who’s Out

By Loretta White
May 18, 2009
File under: Alternative Sources, Climate Change, Energy Sources, Green Economy, Solar Energy


There is a huge transition to “going green” across the planet lately. Corporations looking to get on the green band wagon to; save money, get buyers loyalty, and get tax incentives have all lined up and started to do their part.

In this series I will focus on individual companies and projects that we as “green people” would like to know about and support. After all, if you had a choice between a green company and a “I don’t care about the environment” company, all else being equal, what would you pick?

I for one would rather support the company that has a “sustainability policy,” or a local small business apposed to a huge monopoly just because these are the players that cement our lives, add value to our communities and care about the consequences of their decisions and ultimately, they have to live here too! …read more of Going Green: Who’s In, Who’s Out here

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An Earth Day Celebration

By B. Adrian White
April 21, 2009
File under: Climate Change, Earth Day, Natural Resources


It is Earth Day, 2009 folks. If my math is correct, this is the 39th year that we have been observing this day.

The first Earth Day was on April 22, 1970. “The Partridge Family” was asking the world if they were happy. “Jesus Christ Superstar” was trying to figure out “what’s the buzz”. “Love Story” was driving tissue sales through the roof (this is not necessarily a fact but I am thinking it must have been true). And less than one year earlier in Cleveland, Ohio the Cuyahoga River had spontaneously combusted.

Lake Erie was on the verge of being sterilized by the impossibly large amount of pollution floating in its waters. The bald eagle was on the edge of extinction, not necessarily because of excessive hunting or even habitat destruction but largely because of a pesticide, DDT. Sickness and deaths in major cities like New York and Los Angeles were linked directly to air pollution. The planet was in bad shape. So how far have we come since that first Earth Day? I found myself wanting to know if we are making a difference so I did some looking. …read more of An Earth Day Celebration here

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Trees Give Many Gifts

By Loretta White
April 20, 2009
File under: Climate Change, Earth Day, Natural Resources, Saving money, Waste Reduction


Causes More Rain to Fall
Rainwater is absorbed by the roots of trees and transpired by leaves so that it can cycle back for use again as rainwater. Rain waters crops and refills drinking water supplies in reservoirs.

Just to see the way things are so highly connected and interlaced with each other, lets follow the wind. The sun’s heat drives the winds, then, the winds and the sun’s heat causes water to evaporate. When this water vapor turns into rain or snow and flows downhill into rivers or streams.

Trees Improve the Soil

The roots of plants hold soil in place. Fertile soil that is needed to grow crops would otherwise be washed away in rainstorms, decreasing the amount of soil available for agriculture. Rich soil transfers nutrients to food, which contributes to human health.

Fallen leaves and branches, by decaying, replace minerals in the soil and enrich it to support later plant growth. Roots also aerate the ground by helping air get beneath the soil surface. …read more of Trees Give Many Gifts here

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