In an age of global warming and increasing energy prices, living in a neighborhood where you can walk to stores or services in an important consideration.
Now there is a website that will calculate how walkable your neighborhood is. Just type in your address and it will calculate a walk score from zero to a hundred, with a hundred being the best.
Kensington, an older neighborhood that was originally built around a rail line scores a 69 out of 100. See how your neighborhood compares.
Co-op America reports that Dominion Power has canceled three of four planned coal fired power plants, including two in Virginia. This comes after a campaign that gathered at least 20,000 signatures opposing the plants.
Co-op America’s Climate Change Program Director Todd Larsen had warned:
Dominion’s plans for our future are a giant step backwards for America. At a time when energy companies are increasingly recognizing climate change, and even calling for federal regulation of carbon, Dominion is moving forward with three polluting plants that will pump enormous amounts of carbon into our skies. Dominion has refused calls to report out on its climate emissions and how it can curb them, despite growing interest from their own shareholders. Dominion is also pushing for nuclear power - touting it as a safe, environmentally sound energy solution - and ignoring local opposition and real concerns around safety and proliferation.
Now Dominion and the US Department of Energy have reported that three of four new coal-fired power plants are no longer scheduled to be built. Now they pledge to triple wind power investments in West Virginia over the course of this year, and also, at this year’s shareholder meeting, Dominion finally recognized the reality of climate change.
Activist pressure combined with the steady drumbeat of news confirming global warming fears can make a difference. This sort of pressure should be extended to other major utilities as well.
Okla. Senator Vows Block, Saying Author Stigmatized Insecticides
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn has effectively blocked a resolution to honor environmental author Rachel Carson on the 100th anniversary of her birth, saying that her warnings about environmental damage have put a stigma on potentially lifesaving pesticides, congressional staffers said yesterday.
In a statement on his Web site yesterday, Coburn (R) confirmed that he is holding up the bill. In the statement, he blames Carson for using “junk science” to turn public opinion against chemicals, including DDT, that could prevent the spread of insect-borne diseases such as malaria, which is spread by mosquitoes.
The male bovine fecal material that this S.O.B. is spouting reminds me of the right wing revisionist claims of the Vietnam War. Here he is negatively spinning the work of Carson. (Click here to see his claims debunked.) Tom Coburn is truly an S.O.B. to denigrate a woman who gave so much even as she was dying from breast cancer; a woman who hid her desperate plight because she knew in her bones that if the chemical lobby found out about her cancer, then they would distort that fact to claim that her work was biased. Coburn is an absolute slimeball.
Happy birthday, Ms. Carson.
Yet more disturbing news on the ecological front…
Antartica’s Southern Ocean, a crucial “carbon sink” into which 15 percent of the world’s excess carbon dioxide flows, is reaching saturation and soon may be unable to absorb more — a deeply troubling development, the journal Science reported Thursday.”This is serious,” said lead author Corinne Le Quere of the University of East Anglia and British Antarctic Survey.
“This is the first time that we’ve been able to say that climate change itself is responsible for the saturation of the Southern Ocean sink,” Le Quere said, adding that the trend was likely to intensify over time.
The four-year study, which the Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry also took part in, shows that an increase in winds over the Southern Ocean caused by greenhouse gases and ozone depletion has led to a release of stored CO2 into the atmosphere — preventing further absorption of the greenhouse gas.
The Southern Ocean, the world’s fourth largest, also is known as the Antarctic Ocean or South Polar Ocean, is completely in Earth’s southern hemisphere.
“With the Southern Ocean reaching its saturation point, more CO2 will stay in our atmosphere,” Le Quere said.
All told, Earth’s carbon sinks absorb about half of all human carbon emissions. Researchers said that since 1981, the Southern Ocean sink has ceased to increase, while CO2 emissions have increased by 40 percent.
“Since the beginning of the industrial revolution the world’s oceans have absorbed about a quarter of the 500 gigatons of carbon emitted into the atmosphere by humans,” said Professor Chris Rapley, director of British Antarctic Survey.
“The possibility that in a warmer world the Southern Ocean — the strongest ocean sink — is weakening is a cause for concern,” Rapley said.
What can be said about Rachel Carson that hasn’t already been said? All I can do is post this article; anything else would be superfluous. Here’s an article listing commemorative events in the area.
Rachel Carson’s Persistence and Pain In Focus 100 Years After Her Birth
Here, in a study that faces the garden, is where Rachel Carson would sit and write on days when she felt well. Here, in a bedroom with a dogwood outside the window, is where she would lie down and write on days when she felt worse.
On her sickest days, as Carson struggled with cancer and radiation therapy, she came back to her brick house on Berwick Road in Silver Spring and couldn’t write at all. Instead, an assistant read her words back to her, allowing her to edit even when she couldn’t sit up.
In 1935, with a master’s degree in zoology from Johns Hopkins University, the Pennsylvania native was hired as a government contractor to write scripts for a radio nature show, “Romance Under the Waters.” She made $6.50 a day. In 1936, Carson became a full-time science writer, and she stayed with the government for 16 more years. Carson also raised a grand-nephew, Roger Christie, whom she adopted as a son.These were less cautious times in wildlife management: Government officials were still handing out recipes for eating the animals they studied. Still, in 1945, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was conducting research on a widely used pesticide.
“DDT may have undesirable and even dangerous effects unless its use is properly controlled,” [my emphasis] said a news release, which Carson helped write.
“It stuck in the back of her mind, apparently,” said Mark Madison, a historian for the Fish and Wildlife Service, Carson’s employer for much of her career.
Of course, the right wing nuts will say that all we have to do is beef up our air conditioning…
Previous and widely used global warming computer estimates predict too many rainy days, the study says. Because drier weather is hotter, they underestimate how warm it will be east of the Mississippi River, said atmospheric scientists Barry Lynn and Leonard Druyan of Columbia University and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
Our Coast to Fix — or Lose
There has been much debate in the past 20 months over protecting Louisiana from another lethal hurricane, but nearly all of it has been conducted without any real understanding of the geological context. Congress and the Bush administration need to recognize six facts that define the national interest.
Gasoline and crude oil prices continued to rise this week over concern that there may not be enough supply for the summer driving season.
Refineries were shut down this week in Texas and Delaware at a time when stockpiles are running five percent below last year–at a 16 year low. At the same time, gasoline sales continue at an all time high.
But while the markets debate about short term conditions such as refiner outages, the elephant in the room continues to be the fact that oil production worldwide has plateaued the last two years and shows little signs of being able to support continued growth in demand.
Our future looks like a choice between conservation or shortages.
When it opened here in 2004 on a reclaimed mining dump, the Geosol solar plant was the biggest of its kind in the world. It is so clean and green that it produces zero emissions and so easy to operate that it has only three regular workers: plant manager Hans-Joerg Koch and his two security guards, sheepdogs Pushkin and Adi.The plant is part of a building boom that has made gloomy-skied Germany the unlikely global leader in solar-generated electricity. Last year, about half of the world’s solar electricity was produced in the country. Of the 20 biggest photovoltaic plants, 15 are in Germany, even though it has only half as many sunny days as countries such as Portugal.