Water Supply

Will creepy photos or eco facts get Americans to quit smoking?

Will creepy photos or eco facts get Americans to quit smoking? In the age of shock and awe it takes a lot of effort to get a person’s attention, especially smokers. They’ve been told by medical professionals dangerous impact of their habit, but addiction keeps them puffing away. The FDA hopes that adding shocking photos on cigarette packs may make people quit, but they may need more firepower than stock photos.

Gulf oil spill shows the need to put a price tag on nature

Gulf oil spill shows the need to put a price tag on natureEcosystem services refers to vital services natural systems provide that, if damaged or degraded, are expensive or impossible to replace. In the rush to exploit non-renewable energy sources, the value of these services is not currently taken into account. As a result, private interests put public assets at risk to the detriment of both public and private enterprises.

The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill last year clearly shows the need to value ecosystem services. The Gulf Coast region provides important resources, such as nurseries for fisheries and wetlands to mitigate hurricane damage. These resources provide value simply by being there. Unfortunately, the economic benefits of wetlands and fish nurseries are not recognized until they are damaged by an event such as the BP oil spill.

Nubo water bottle system makes tap water taste terrific

Nubo water bottle system makes tap water taste terrificYou want to be healthy and drink water rather than soda or a sugary fruit drink. You know that bottled water costs 1900 times more than tap water. You know that bottled water uses 1.5 million barrels of oil per year for both the manufacture of the plastic and the transportation of empty bottles to the bottler and full bottles to stores. And you know that, in spite of the best intentions for recycling, 86% of the bottles are thrown away.

But your tap water tastes awful, too much like chlorine. Before you settle on buying bottled water, however, it might be worth trying the Nubo reusable water bottle filtration system.

Nubo’s innovative design integrates a water filter into in the bottom of the water bottle. The bottle is filled by removing the bottom cap and letting water pass through the filter. The filter uses coconut shell activated carbon, which removes up to 98% of chlorine, and is silver impregnated to inhibit bacterial growth.

Responsible fishing says good-bye to felt-soled wading boots

Responsible fishing says good-bye to felt-soled wading boots

As anglers explore new waters and interact with nature in a uniquely participatory way, they often develop a conservation sensibility. Because, in spite of high tech fishing gear such as Gore-Tex waders, graphite rods, and felt-soled wading shoes, the first prerequisite for good fishing is clean water, and that depends on a resilient, intact ecosystem. Yet – regardless of how conservation-minded they might become – anglers are unwittingly damaging ecosystems by spreading invasive species such as Didymo from watershed to watershed with felt-soled waders.

Felt-soled boots were introduced in the late 1980’s. Because felt soles gave superior traction on slippery rocks and made wading swift rivers safer, they were quickly adopted by anglers. Since felt soles stay damp a long time, however, they are also a haven to transport invasive species such as Didymo (Didymosphenia geminate).

Reusable water bottles keep money from going down the drain

Reusable water bottles keep money from going down the drainPeople in the US consume eight billion gallons of water in 50 million bottles annually, in spite of an abundance of nearly free, good tasting tap water. Instead of buying bottled water, a reusable water bottle and a little planning can go a long way to both save money and the environment.

So why do people buy bottled water? Mainly, because it is convenient. For health conscious people, grabbing a bottle of water while on the go or at a meeting is a better choice than a can of soda or a sugary fruit drink. Additionally, bottled water often does taste better than tap water. The taste of tap water can be hit or miss depending on its source and treatment, but bottled water is normally filtered and treated (at least we hope so).

What the frack is the matter with the gas industry?

marcellus shaleThe Oscar nominated documentary “Gasland” has riled the gas industry. An industry group even appealed to Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to disqualify the documentary by claiming that “Gasland” is filled with “errors, inconsistencies and outright falsehoods.” So what is the frack is this all about?

Unconventional natural gas development uses hydraulic fracturing – also called fracking – to extract natural gas from shale formations, such as the Marcellus shale. This process fractures the shale with high-pressure water and chemicals and releases the gas. The Marcellus shale formation, which underlays southern New York and most of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, is by no means the only reservoir of unconventional natural gas. Over 800,000 wells have been drilled and fracked in shale formations covering 34 states.

Energy companies hope Gasland gets no love at the Oscars

Energy companies hope Gasland gets no love at the Oscars Documentaries don’t get a lot of love in America, but an Oscar nomination can certainly grab them attention and a prime spot on your Netflix queue. Gasland, a documentary by Josh Fox on the issue of hydraulic fracturing of natural gas, also known as hydrofracking, is generating a lot of buzz. The film has riled up natural gas companies who are now trying to spoil Fox’s hope for an Academy Award.

In Hollywood, getting attention for a film can be a costly affair. Big budget movies like Transformers or Tron spend millions on advertising so you’ll buy a ticket. All Josh Fox had to do to promote his film was to get a lobbying firm called Energy In Depth angry. Created by industry heavyweights like BP, Halliburton, and Shell the firm is giving Gasland a lot of free publicity because they claim that the documentary contains falsehoods when it comes to hydrofracking.

Pepsi’s new x-factor: eco-friendly potato chips

Pepsi’s new x-factor: eco-friendly potato chips Coca-Cola and Pepsi have had one of the nastiest rivalries ever in the history of American business. Every year they try to one up each other in launching new flavors of snacks, or adopting hip green ideas like HFC free vending machines. Pepsi has taken the latest shot at the Atlanta based beverage giant with their new a web-based crop management system to help farm potatoes in the UK that will later turn into bagged chips or crisps under the Walker brand.

Many think of Pepsi or Coke just as beverage companies but they sell a lot more stuff in the supermarket than you may think. PepsiCo Inc. owns Frito-Lay which includes Lay’s in the US and makes Walkers Crisps (chips) in the UK. In the UK alone, Pepsi buys 350,000 tons of potatoes each year.

Remember the BP oil leak? Work on permanent fix resumes month later

Remember the BP oil leak? Work on permanent fix resumes month later Despite the magnitude of the BP’s oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, the topic is seeing fewer headlines now as general buzz and on it declines. It isn’t an imminent threat now, but the true fix to the problem is not yet in place and the company’s primary impediment is weather. A tropical storm forced BP to stop the drilling of a relief well on August 10, and it just resumed.

Right now the only thing stopping a continuation of the massive leakage is a cap of cement near the top of the original well. Not especially comforting, but according to BP the only way to fix the situation is to finish drilling a relief well that will redirect pressure away from the problem site. As with any other well drilling though, this new relief well comes with its own set of risks.

Top chefs back Gulf Coast seafood as BP Oil spill continues

Top chefs back Gulf Coast seafood as BP Oil spill continues Knowing where your food comes from is a popular topic among chefs. They want to know exactly where their potatoes were dug up from and if their beef was fed grass rather than corn. So, it’s no wonder that many chefs are wondering about seafood from the Gulf Coast in the wake of the BP Oil spill. A group of chefs including Chicago’s Rick Tramonto and Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio decided that they needed first hand knowledge of the situation.

The duo were joined by a number of chefs including Susur Lee and sustainable seafood advocate Rick Moonen in Louisiana last week. Their aim was to get as much information from local and federal officials on the safety of the seafood so they could educate their diners who had been asking a lot of questions.

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