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Archive for the 'Sustainable Living' Category

OBAMA’S STIMULUS PACKAGE REWARDS LONG SUFFERING GREENS

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Energy, Eco -Chic, Global Warming, News Brief, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Energy, Sustainable Living, Will Wonders Never Cease Department on February 16th, 2009

PACKAGE CONTAINS OVER 60 BILLION IN DIRECT SPENDING ON GREEN INITIATIVES AND ANOTHER 20 BILLION EARMARKED FOR GREEN TAX INCENTIVES

The final stimulus package which President Obama is expected to sign into law today, President’s Day, contains many victories for environmentalists with over $6o billion in direct spending on green initiatives and another $20 billion earmarked for green tax incentives.

While this package is by no means a cure-all, it is a vital he first step into a new green age and is necessary to combat the ever-worsening effects of Global Warming.

That being said, here in no particular order is the breakdown:

$11 billion for the construction of an advanced Digital Smart Grid and $7.5 billion for renewable energy and transmission-line construction, which will enable the renewable energy to be moved from the rural areas that best lend themselves to wind, solar and thermal installations, to the cities where the power is needed;

$2.5 billion for energy efficiency and renewable-energy research;

$6.3 billion for local government energy-efficiency grants;

$400 million for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency for Energy for the development of alternative energy sources;

$500 million for green jobs programs through the Workforce Investment Act;

$5 billion to weatherize old buildings;

$4.5 billion to boost the energy efficiency of federal buildings;

$2.25 billion for the HOME Investment Partners Program to fund energy-efficiency retrofits for low-income housing;

$5 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program to fund the retrofits of 1 million modest-income homes, saving the families living there an average $350 a year;

$6.3 billion to improve federally backed and public housing projects with new insulation, windows and furnaces. For every dollar spent, such programs are expected to produce about $3 in electricity savings. The legislation also provides tax breaks for higher-income households making similar improvements;

$1.2 billion to fund the Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental cleanup programs, including the long neglected Superfund;

$510 million for energy-efficiency retrofits for Native American housing programs;

$420 million for energy-efficiency improvements at the Department of Defense;

$300 million for Department of Defense research on energy efficiency at military installations;

$6 billion for cleaning up toxins on former military sites;

$6 billion for new loan guarantees for wind and solar;

The package also extends tax credits for wind-energy production for three years where previously they had to be renewed year to year. But more importantly, the legislation allows renewable-energy developers to get cash grants in exchange for the tax credits, which is crucial in light of the current economic downturn and the fact that many companies engaged in renewable-energy haven’t had the profits against which to take a tax credit;

Over $17 billion for public transportation;

$8.4 billion for transit capital assistance programs;

$9.3 billion for high-speed rail, intercity rail and Amtrak;

$27.5 billion for highways though some of that highway money could be redirected to fund public transit, if states and municipalities decide it should;

$300 million in grants and loans for technologies that reduce highly toxic diesel emissions;

$6 billion for improvements to drinking-water systems;

A tax credit of up to $7,500 for families that buy plug-in hybrids;

The new bill also allocates $300 million for a federal fleet of hybrid vehicles.

But perhaps the best of all is what was left out of the final draft of the stimulus package: the $50 billion in federal loan guarantees to the nuclear industry, as well as all money for coal and for the farce that is clean coal.

Denis

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A BRIGHT SPOT IN A NASTY DARK CLOUD

Posted in Alternative Energy, Clean Energy, Sustainable Living on January 11th, 2009

FEDERAL BAILOUT PROGRAM CONTAINS BENEFITS FOR GREENS

Editors Note! I realize I am a little bit late getting around to the following posting, but for the last month or so – - basically since the Presidential Election – - I just haven’t have the urge to come to this place and spew down logic, sanity, or in some instances. vitriol for public consumption, no matter how loyal that public is. Blogger burnout, I hear the malady is known as! And to be honest my friends, it has been a long time in coming – seven long years here and over ten at the Recoveringliberal.com. Millions of words, most of which I’m proud of, though I do wish that I had spent more time on occasion getting the grammar and sentence construction better. But no matter, what’s passed is passed. I am now back and as critical and caffeine deprived as ever.

So here goes…

In the time I have been regrouping, much has happened. One of the major events worthy of comment is George Bush’s $700 billion dollar parting gift to the financial industry, know in financial circles and among those trying to sound smart as the TARP, which is short for the Troubled Assets Relief Program.

Talk about Christmas for adults, this bold and blatant giveaway to administration cronies on Wall Street and in the banking industry is just the latest clusterfuck in a presidential administration known for its clusterfucks. (Think Katrina, Abu Ghraib, Iraq, Afghanistan, tax breaks for the wealthy, etc.)

The sad fact is with over 50% of the cash disbursed, no one, not Congress, not the White House, no one knows what the hell the money went for. It was supposed to bolster the sagging financial industry with enough ready cash so they could start making loans again, and refinance the ones already issued that were troubled. But to date it appears that neither of these things has occurred, nor does it seem that they will be done any time in the future.

In essence friends, once again the American People (us) have been screwed!

But all is not gloom and doom, I am happy to report. First off, Congress could have, but did not release all $700 billion dollars requested to the Bush administration. Whether this was due to an inherent distrust of the Texas Mob Family – which I would like to think (and would probably be wrong thinking) was the reason, or the more likely reality that Congress just couldn’t get its shit together quick enough to hand out all the cash before Bush left office – is a matter for discussion. What needs no discussing is the good news that only half of the Tarp money – $350 billion dollars – is missing. But best of all – and the reason that this clusterfuck is even being discussed in an environmental blog – are that while Congress had the administration and the boys and girls on Wall Street over a barrel, someone or ones in congress had the good sense to tack some well deserved gifts for environmentalists onto this shit worthless piece of legislation.

These include:

A $3,000.00 credit for the purchase of plug-in hybrids;

The extension of the 30% tax credit for new solar power facilities through 2016; and

The replacement of the $2,000.00 tax credit limit for those who install solar panels on their homes with a more generous 30% federal tax deduction. The best part is that this deduction is in addition to any state incentives, which may be available.

Also included in the legislation were incentives for bio-fuel and wind, which while they are less generous than those offered for solar and for plug-in hybrids are real all the same.

Now we just have to have the money to buy the plug-in hybrids and the solar panels, which in our country’s current economic tailspin is not that easily forthcoming.

What the incoming administration needs to do – - among the thousands of things already on its plate – - is to figure out a way to make cheap, affordable financing available to homeowners to finance their conversion to solar. I think a program, which would allow homeowners to pay for the installation over ten or twenty years would be in order. This way the money that they would normally pay to Edison could be redirected to finance the conversion.

What do you think?

LIB

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NATURAL RESOURCES DEFICIT THE BASIS OF NEW REPORT

Posted in Health Watch, News Brief, Sustainable Living on October 29th, 2008

FULLY THREE QUARTERS OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION LIVES IN COUNTRIES WHERE THE RESIDENTS CONSUME MORE NATURAL RESOURCES THAN THEIR NATION HAS THE CAPACITY TO PRODUCE.

From the too scary to contemplate file comes a new report from the World Wildlife Foundation, the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network, warning that fully three quarters of the world’s population lives in countries where the residents consume more natural resources than their nation has the capacity to produce.

To put it another way, what this means is that three quarters of us are only able to sustain our standard of living by drawing on the agricultural land, forests, seas and resources of other countries.

What’s more, the report tells us, the deficit has grown to such an extent that we now need 1/3 more natural resource capacity then the entire planet is capable of producing. Extrapolate these numbers twenty years in the future and it really gets frightening as by then the experts predict we will need a second planet of the size and capacity of earth just to sustain life.

The report concludes that this reckless consumption of “natural capital” is endangering the world’s future prosperity, with clear economic impacts including high costs for food, water and energy.

Just what we need, more good news.

- – Denis

This report is based on data from two indicators:

The Living Planet Index – assesses the health of the planet’s ecosystems;

Ecological Footprint – measures human demand on the natural world.

The Living Planet Index tracked the population of 1,313 vertebrate species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals from around the world.

It found that these species had declined by about 30% since 1970, suggesting that natural ecosystems were being degraded at an unprecedented rate.

The Ecological Footprint measured the amount of biologically productive land and water to meet the demand for food, timber, shelter, and absorb the pollution from human activity.

The report concluded that the global footprint exceeded the earth’s biocapacity by 25% in 2003, which meant that the Earth could no longer keep up with the demands being placed upon it.

Read More

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CAMPAIGN 08: OBAMA & MCCAIN WEIGH IN ON THE KEY GREEN ISSUES OF THE DAY

Posted in Clean Energy, Global Warming, Sustainable Living on August 30th, 2008

CANDIDATES OFFER DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT SOLUTIONS TO THE SAME PROBLEM

obama-montage-large.jpgAfter eight years of the Bush administration deficating all over all things green, it is refreshing to not only have a presidential campaign where both candidates agree that global warming is real, that it is man made, and that it is the job of the Federal Government to play a part in reducing the threat, but one where both candidates are willing to get specific as to the steps that they will take to make our country a saner, healthier, more sustainable global citizen.

This being said, there are a rash of differences in the two men’s approaches to the crisis, which I, with the help of research from thedailygreen.com, have outlined below.

When I was putting this posting together, I could not resist from time time editorializing on some of the candidate’s positions. MY COMMENTS ARE IN CAPS!

GLOBAL WARMING

CANDIDATE OBAMA:

Would cut emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050; NOT ENOUGH!

His cap-and-trade regulation would include an auction of all pollution credits;

Would use the money generated to pursue aggressive renewable energy and energy efficiency goals that would create millions of new “green collar” jobs. ‘BOUT TIME!

CANDIDATE MCCAIN:

Would support a 60% cut below 1990 levels of pollution; DEFINATELY NOT ENOUGH!

Would allot credits to existing polluters, rather than auctioning them off. WHY SHOULD THE POLLUTERS NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR THESE?

NATIONAL SECURITY

CANDIDATE OBAMA:

Would wean the nation off of Middle Eastern and Venezuelan oil within 10 years;

Would invest heavily in renewable energy technologies;

Would improve the energy efficiency of cars and buildings;

Would enact new rules to make burning coal more expensive and to encourage the use of alternatives. ALL GOOD IDEAS!

CANDIDATE MCCAIN:

Would support drilling for more oil; VERY BAD!

Would support using more renewable and alternative forms of energy, including (so-called) “clean coal;” CLEAN COAL IS A FANTASY!

Would support greater use of nuclear power for electricity. WHAT ABOUT THE NUCLEAR WASTE?

NUCLEAR ENERGY

CANDIDATE OBAMA:

While he does not oppose the use of nuclear power, he always acknowledges the safety and radioactive waste arguments; NOT STRONG ENOUGH!

Would redistribute cash from the oil and coal industries to renewables. GOOD!

CANDIDATE MCCAIN:

Has made expanding nuclear power a central part of his energy platform by calling for the construction of 45 new plants by 2030. 45 MORE CHANCES TO POISON US ALL!

OFFSHORE DRILLING

CANDIDATE OBAMA:

Would accept offshore drilling only as part of a compromise to achieve broader energy policy goals, which include massive investments in renewable and alternative energy. ENOUGH COMPROMISES!

CANDIDATE MCCAIN:

Supports increased offshore drilling. “Drill here now” is his common refrain.A SERIOUS FLIP-FLOP FROM MAVERICK MCCAIN!

ETHANOL

CANDIDATE OBAMA:

Would maintain subsidies and tariffs that support the corn-based ethanol industry.
OLD BAD HABITS DIE HARD!

CANDIDATE MCCAIN:

Talks about opposing subsidies for corn growers; GOOD!

Strongly opposes the tariff on Brazilian ethanol, which protects domestic corn growers; BAD!

Supports the use of ethanol and the development of Cellulosic ethanol, but doesn’t get specific.
AT LEAST HE’S THINKING OF SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVES

ENERGY COSTS

CANDIDATE OBAMA:

Would enact a windfall profits tax on oil companies and use the money to give families a $1,000 “Emergency Energy Rebate;” GOOD!

Would invest in plug-in hybrid cars and boosting fuel economy, to help reduce oil imports; GOOD!

Would also take expensive grades of oil stored in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and swap it for cheaper grades; WHO CARES?

Would spend money generated by a cap-and-trade regulation designed to lower carbon emissions on projects to boost home energy efficiency, and to provide credits to people struggling to pay higher electricity bills; WISE!

Would require local utilities to derive 25% of energy from renewable sources by 2025.
NOT NEARLY ENOUGH!

CANDIDATE MCCAIN:

Would expand domestic production of oil and natural gas; SO 20TH CENTURY!

Would offer a $5,000 tax break to those who buy zero-carbon vehicles, (which do not yet exist); COULD BE PROMISING!

Would eliminate the 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on imported ethanol, which experts say would have a modest effect on price; HURTS AMERICAN FARMERS!

Would oppose a windfall profits tax on oil companies; A PAYBACK TO BIG OIL FOR THEIR SUPPORT!

Would focus on improving the energy efficiency of the federal government, hoping to drive down price by slackening demand; WISHFULL THINKING!

Favors the installation of so-called “SmartMeters” so individuals can better monitor their energy consumption and its cost; GOOD IDEA TO MAKE PUBLIC CONSCIOUS OF USE!

Would create predictable tax incentives for wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.
COULD BE GOOD!

- DENIS

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NEWS WATCH! CALIFORNIA SAYS A BIG YES TO SOLAR ENERGY

Posted in Alternative Energy, Clean Energy, Eco -Chic, News Brief, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living on August 15th, 2008

GOLDEN STATE WILL BUILD TWO SOLAR ARRAYS CAPABLE OF GENERATING AS MUCH ELECTRICITY AS A LARGE COAL-BURNING POWER PLANT OR A SMALL NUCLEAR PLANT

solarfarm2.jpegPlans have just been announced to build two solar power installations here in our home state of California, which during peak hours on a sunny day will generate more than 800 megawatts of power, or 12 times as much electricity as the largest solar farm does today.

The two solar farms, which will cover an estimated 12.5 square miles of San Luis Obispo County in Central California, are expected to generate enough electricity to supply 239,000 homes. Viewed another way, this is as much power as is generated by a large coal-burning plant or a small nuclear plant, without the obvious environmental devastation both of these energy sources creates.

Two California companies will split the task with Hayward, California-based OptiSolar Inc., building the larger of the two installations. Plans call for the privately held company’s Topaz Solar Farm to generate 550 MW of solar power when it is fully operational in 2013. The company plans to utilize amorphous silicon solar panels, which are less costly than the traditional silicon-based panels that dominate the market.

Joining OptiSolar Inc in the massive task is San Jose-based SunPower Inc., which will build a 250 MW solar ranch, also in Central California. SunPower’s silicon-based solar cells are among the most efficient in the industry at transforming sunlight into electricity. The latter project is expected to be fully operational in 2012.

Both deals, however, are contingent upon the extension of key federal tax credits the renewal of which is tied up in the congressional fight over offshore drilling.

Plans are for both companies to sell the electricity generated to Pacific Gas & Electric, to help the utility meet a state mandate that 20 percent of its electricity comes from renewable sources by 2010.

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NEWS WATCH! AMERICANS SPEAK OUT ON GLOBAL WARMING AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Posted in Clean Energy, Conscious Actions, Corporate Polluters, Global Warming, Sustainable Living on August 11th, 2008

POLL REVEALS MORE AMERICANS THAN EVER BEFORE WORKING TO REDUCE THEIR CARBON FOOTPRINT” BY DRIVING LESS, USING LESS ELECTRICITY AND RECYCLING

airpollition4.jpg

Americans in record numbers are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint despite the stonewalling of major politicians and much of the corporate elite, according to the latest ABC News/Planet Green/Stanford University Poll.

Of those quizzed, the majority believe that Global Warming is real, that it is caused by the actions of individuals and businesses, and unless significant lifestyle changes are enacted will greatly impact the lives of future generations. To aid in the fight against Global Warming, most Americans polled support a cap-and-trade system to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Not surprisingly, an overwhelming 64% of Americans polled now rate “finding new energy sources” as more important than improving conservation. Additionally, most Americans admit to supporting higher taxes on oil company profits, stricter fuel efficiency rules for cars, and legislative controls to prevent oil speculators from driving up gas prices.

For some reason, however, most of those polled – - a stunning 41% – - reject describing themselves as environmentalists. Among those distancing themselves from the trendy label are 70% of Republicans and 60% of Democrats.

Finally, on a disappointing note, 44% of those polled favor building more nuclear power plants, the most people to express support of nuclear power in 28 years.

POLL NUMBERS AT A GLANCE:

Ways respondents are reducing their individual carbon footprint:

71% of those polled are reducing their use of energy or goods whose production creates greenhouse gases.

59% are using less gasoline — driving less, or using smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, while others are carpooling or taking mass transit.

60% are cutting their consumption of power and water, and

33% are recycling.

Ways America can reduce it’s global carbon footprint:

78% of respondents support the institution of stricter fuel efficiency standards for cars.

61% would like the federal government to outlaw oil speculation by investors when the speculation results in higher prices at the pump.

55% would support a windfall profit tax on oil company profits, and

74% favor the institution of a “cap and trade” system with the government issuing permits limiting the amount of greenhouse gases companies can emit.

Of those supporting a “cap and trade” system, 57% would maintin this position even if it raised their electric bill by $10 a month, while a slightly smaller 47% would continue their support if the increase was $25 a month.

This system enjoys bi-partisan suport with 66 percent of Democrats, 52 percent of Republicans, and 60 percent of Independents expressing their support for the “cap-and-trade” system.

Why respondents conserve:

34% say it’s mainly to improve the environment.

25% acknowledge it’s to save money, and

41% attribute their actions to both reasons equally.

Why 30% of respondents are not conserving:

20% admit not knowing how to proceed.

50% consider it either unnecessary, too expensive, too inconvenient, won’t do any good, or they just aren’t interested.

GLOBAL WARMING:

80% of those polled acknowledge that global warming is occurring, with 25% of respondents listing global warming as the single biggest environmental problem in the world.

It’s effect on the planet:

74% of respondents blame Global Warming for causing the melting of polar ice.

Closer to home, nearly 60% of those polled credit global warming with increasing the frequency of extreme weather events like droughts and storms, while 43% blame unstable weather patterns in the area where they live on the phenomena.

Global Warming and the future:

81% of those polled believe that if significant action isn’t taken to address global warming, it poses a threat to future generations.

37% worry it will affect them in their own lifetime, and

73% worry that it’ll pose a serious threat in their children’s lifetimes.

Responsibility for Global Warming:

58% of those polled blame Global Warming on the actions of people. This number rises to 63% when commercial and industrial activities are added to the mix.

64% of women polled believe global warming is caused by human activity, as opposed to 52% of men.

Reducing Global Warming:

75% of those polled believe global warming will only be reduced if individuals make major lifestyle changes.

67% of respondents feel that the federal government should do more about global warming even if other countries do less.

Men vs. Women on Global Warming:

72% of women polled reported that global warming is “personally important to them, while

59% of men agreed.

Religion and Gobal Warming:

26% of those polled, who identified themselves as evangelical white Protestants, see global warming as very serious issue compared to 40% of non-evangelical white Protestants.

35% of those polled, who identified themselves as evangelical white Protestants, claim that global warming is “personally important to them” as opposed to 48% of of non-evangelical white Protestants, while

46% of those polled, who identified themselves as evangelical white Protestants, acknowledged that they would like to see the federal government doing more about global warming, compared with 64% of non-evangelical white Protestants.

Politics and Global Warming:

20% of those polled who identified themselves as Republican admitted that they consider Global Warming as very serious,

compared to 53% of Democrats for whom the issue is very serious.
polled.

Nuclear Power:

44% of those polled favor building more nuclear power plants.

Support for Nuclear by political party:

60% of respondents who support building more nuclear power plants listed their party affiliation as Republican; while

33% of Democrats stated their support for a greater use of nukes.

An Environmentalist for President:

42% of those polled say they’d be more likely to support a candidate who’s a strong environmentalist.

Buying Green:

75% of those polled believe buying environmentally friendly products is better for the environment.

67% try to buy them at least occasionally, while

46% try to buy them “whenever possible.”

Green’s meaning to America:

33% percent of those polled believe taking unilateral action actually would help the U.S. economy creating new businesses and jobs, while

22% believe such efforts will damage the U.S. economy.

On a less positive note, 44% of those polled worry that addressing Global Warming will cause them financial hardship.

Offshore Drilling and drilling in Nature Preserves:

63 percent of those polled favor oil drilling in coastal waters where it’s currently prohibited, and

55 percent favor drilling in wilderness areas.

My Notes! These last two numbers, while higher than normal in polls like this, are most certainly a reaction to $4.00 a gallon gasoline, and to the massive profits that the oil companies are enjoying as a result of the higher prices.

Sadly, the poll did not quiz respondents on how much oil they believed was in these currently protected areas? Had they done so, all parties involved would have been disappointed to learn that if all of the currently protected areas were drained dry of oil, there may – - and this is a very questionable may – - be enough remaining to supply the world for 5 or 6 months, tops.

So why then all of the interest from George Bush, John McCain and others of their ilk in drilling in and potentially damaging these areas?

What do the oil companies stand to gain from the tens, and perhaps, hundreds of millions of dollars that they are spending, and will continue to spend, on lobbyists and in the purchase of politicians to achieve this goal?

My best guess is that it is all about control. Most expert’s believe that short of a miracle occurring between now and Election Day, the Democrats will sweep all three branches of government come election day. And with the Democrats will come saner energy policy, and a government less willing to roll over and play dead at Big Oil’s beckoning.

So for those in the fossil fuel business, it’s now or potentially never. Let’s hope the latter comes to pass.

Till Soon!

- – Denis

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NEWS WATCH! GREEN CAR UPDATE

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Energy, Corporate Responsibility, Global Warming, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living on July 1st, 2008

GLOBAL AUTO INDUSTRY RUSHES TO MARKET ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES

vwtwindriveunderhood.jpgAfter years of stalling hoping to wait out the Environmental fringe’s calls for cleaner, less-toxic automobiles, the global auto industry – well, most of it, anyway – appears to have gotten the message that the public is serious in its desire for greener vehicles.

The result of the automakers newfound environmental evangelism is that rarely a week goes by without one announcement or another from a former proud polluter – oops, I mean conscientious, environmentally responsible auto manufacturer – about their latest green product either in development or about to be released to an impatiently waiting world.

These new products take many forms from tiny two passenger run-abouts all the way through larger 8 passenger SUV’s. Variety is the name of the game where power sources are involved as well with some of the new vehicles being designed to run on biodiesel, while others derive their power from electricity or from hydrogen fuel cell technology. Then there are the hybrids with gasoline electric, diesel/electric and hydrogen/electric the most popular.

Here at Libsearthwatch.com, we have made it a priority to keep you up to date on the latest products headed to your driveway in the months and years to come. Prior to now, this was an easy task to accomplish as the product announcements were few and far between. I am happy to say that this is no longer the case. Information announcing new products now floods our in-box on a consistent basis. To attempt to accommodate this wealth of new info, we are debuting the GREEN CAR UPDATE as a regular feature of the site. Hope you enjoy it.

-Denis

BATTERY COMPANIES READY TO ROLL OUT KITS TO CONVERT HYBRDS INTO PLUG-IN ELECTRIC CARS

For those hybrid owners longing to take the next step and make their cars totally electric comes the news that several battery manufacturers are preparing to roll out conversion kits that in some instances will make it possible for their hybrid to get upwards of 100 miles on a gallon of gas.

Read more about this great new development

Speaking of Plug-In Hybrids…

VW TO ROLL OUT PLUG-IN HYBRID NEXT YEAR

Veritable German auto maker, VW, has announced that it too will have a plug-in hybrid rolling off the assembly lines sometime in 2010. Helping VW fund this new entry is
the German government, which has agreed to kick in 15 million euros. The new VW will have an estimated all-electric range of 31 miles. Power supplies include an 82-hp electric motor and a 2.0L turbodiesel producing 122 hp.

Read more about this exciting new advancement

Let’s not forget fuel cell cars…

HONDA ROLLS OUT ZERO EMISSION CAR

hondafcxx-large.jpgAlways a leader in alternative technology, Honda motors has announced that it has shipped the first of their new zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cell cars which should be showing up at out local dealers in the not too distant future.

The FCX Clarity, which runs on hydrogen and electricity, emits only water and none of the noxious fumes believed to induce global warming. It is also two times more energy efficient than a gas-electric hybrid and three times that of a standard gasoline-powered car, the company says.

Read more about this exciting new advancement

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HEALTH WATCH! REGULAR MEDITATION LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE

Posted in Health Watch, New Scientific Data, Sustainable Living on April 15th, 2008

MEDITATING TWICE A DAY PROVEN TO SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE BLOOD PRESSURE

meditation1.jpgPracticing Transcendental Meditation or TM, as it is better known, a minimum of two times daily has been shown to lead to a blood pressure reduction of as much as 12-15 percent, according to a study published in the March 2008 edition of American Journalof Hypertension.

This translates to a reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular causes and a 15-20 percent lower risk of stroke, according to Dr. James W. Anderson, the study’s lead author in an article posted to Reuters Health over the weekend.

For the uninitiated, TM, is the process where a man or woman sits in a comfortable chair for 20 minutes twice a day and attempts to quiet the mind by focusing on a mantra. Where TM succeeds over other forms of meditation, per Dr. Anderson, is that it has the “unique ability to bring the practitioner into a ‘quiet zone’ that acts as a kind of “sanctuary” for a person, refreshing them and reducing stress.

-LIB

SOURCE: American Journal of Hypertension, March 2008.

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MOVE OVER, TUPPERWARE. THE ECOMOM PARTY HAS ARRIVED

Posted in Conscious Actions, Eco Warriors, News Brief, Sustainable Living on February 19th, 2008

PART “HINTS FROM HELOISE” AND PART POLITICAL SELF-HELP GROUP, THE ECOMOM ALLIANCE JOINS A GROWING SUBCULTURE DEDICATED TO THE “GREEN MOM

ecomoms.jpegMove over, Tupperware. The EcoMom party has arrived, with its ever-expanding “to do” list that includes preparing waste-free school lunches; lobbying for green building codes; transforming oneself into a “locovore,” eating locally grown food; and remembering not to idle the car when picking up children from school (if one must drive). Here, the small talk is about the volatile compounds emitted by dry-erase markers at school.

Perhaps not since the days of “dishpan hands” has the household been so all-consuming. But instead of gleaming floors and sparkling dishes, the obsession is on installing compact fluorescent light bulbs, buying in bulk and using “smart” power strips that shut off electricity to the espresso machine, microwave, X-Box, VCR, coffee grinder, television and laptop when not in use.

READ MORE…

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GREEN ENERGY INDUSTRY TAKES ROOT IN CALIFORNIA

Posted in Alternative Energy, Cool Products, Eco -Chic, Ethical Business, Ethical Living, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Business, Sustainable Living on February 2nd, 2008

IN RECENT MONTHS, THE INDUSTRY HAS ADDED SEVERAL THOUSAND JOBS IN THE PRODUCTION OF SOLAR ENERGY CELLS AND INSTALLATION OF SOLAR PANELS ON ROOFS

solarmodul1.JPGAs of this writing, three-quarters of the nations demand for solar energy and equiptment comes from residents and companies in California. This is not all that surprising considering that California has among the most warm, sunny days of any of the continental states.

But will it continue a grow to be a mainstream industry, or will it be doomed to fall by the wayside the way it did during the last solar boom in the 1970’s?

To be successful and more than a passing fad, solar energy needs to pass through to the mainstream and not be limited to the elite fringes of California society, as it is today.

In the posting linked below, MATT RICHTEL and JOHN MARKOFF of the New York Times take a closer look at this and other questions facing this fledging industry as it attempts to transition into the west coast’s go-to employer for the twenty -first century.

-LIB

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