There’s an abundance of snowy owls on the East Coast right now, likely caused by a boom in lemmings. Snowy owls summer in the Arctic, where they gorge on lemmings, the News-Journal explains, and in years where lemmings are plentiful, so are owls. A larger owl population means it’s more likely for some to make their way this far south.
In Delaware, they’re just excited the owls are there. According to the News-Journal, there are “at least five … as many as seven” in the state.
In New York, however, the Port Authority is less excited and, in the past few days, shot three of the birds.
Who shoots an owl? Well, according to the Port Authority, it was really the owls who started it. Five planes in New York and New Jersey “were struck by snowy owls,” the New York Times reports. (Usually we like to think that it’s the massively bigger object — i.e. the plane — that strikes the smaller object — i.e. the rare owl.) So, the Port Authority decided it would shoot the birds before they could hurt the planes.
In a turn of events that no one could have ever anticipated, people got upset when they found out about this. Now the Port Authority says it will trap the birds and relocate them to land in Long Island. We’d almost never say this under normal circumstances, but maybe snowy owls should consider the advantages of visiting Delaware.
Write a 500-600 word story addressing the following question: “How can cities contribute to the advancement of sustainable development and address issues including water, energy and waste?”
The post Blogging Contest: Win a Trip to Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week appeared first on Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit.
There probably aren't as many people reading your CSR report as you wish. These tips will help you increase those numbers.
The post Six Tips to Increase Readership of your CSR Report appeared first on Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit.
Karin Kreider, Executive Director, ISEAL Alliance, talks about her career, inspiration and recent accomplishments in our Women in CSR series.
Your soap and chocolate bar may now be slightly less bad for the environment, or is it too late?
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Sustainable business strategy is not just for MBA students - many classes have a mix of student disciplines. Dr. Deborah Rigling Gallagher of Duke University, talks about the challenges and rewards of these combined classes.
The post Sustainable Business Strategy in an Experientially Diverse Classroom appeared first on Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit.
Remember those things humans did for thousands of years to feed themselves before we came up with all kinds of newfangled methods? We might want to go back to doing those old-school things.
The United Nations recently formed the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, a 115-country group that’s trying to bring down skyrocketing rates of species extinction. During meetings in Turkey this week, the group is discussing a strategy that it thinks could help protect biodiversity: a return to indigenous systems of farming and managing land.
One example of a traditional farming technique that the group hopes to resuscitate: the ancient Chinese practice of rearing fish in rice paddies. Adding fish to a paddy helps manage insect pests without the need for pesticides, provides natural fertilizer for the crop, feeds birds and other wildlife, and produces a sustainable meat supply for farming families.
Other examples mentioned by the group include fishing restrictions imposed by Pacific Island communities and traditional crop rotations practiced everywhere from Tanzania to Thailand.
“Indigenous and local knowledge … has played a key role in arresting biodiversity loss and conserving biodiversity,” the group’s chair, Zakri Abdul Hamid, told Reuters.
Traditional farming techniques can also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why IPBES officials are hopeful that efforts to resurrect them will be kick-started with the assistance of funds from the sale of carbon credits.
The Food & Environment Reporting Network has a nice piece by Elizabeth Royte about farmers opting out of genetically engineered seeds to take advantage of emerging non-GMO markets. I’ve covered this ground myself, and like me, Royte had no problem finding farmers who said they could make more money without transgenics.
One new point of interest: It seems that small seed companies are rising to meet the demand. Royte suggests that the large companies protect their investment in GE seed by charging artificially high prices for their non-GE varieties. And that’s buoying upstarts:
Into this breach, smaller companies that specialize in non-GMO seed have leapt. West Des Moines–based eMerge Genetics has averaged 30 percent growth in each of the last five years. Sales at Spectrum Seed Solutions, based in Linden, Indiana, have doubled every year of the four it’s been in business.
Its president, Scott Odle, believes that non-GMO corn could be 20 percent of the market in five years.
It’s worth reading the whole, well-written piece.
The past week was a topsy-turvy one for the fracking industry in Europe, where leaders and residents are sharply split over whether frackers should be allowed to tap shale reserves for natural gas.
The U.K. government is so anxious to see fracking companies get to work that it confirmed it will offer big tax breaks to help encourage the sector. The country’s chief finance minister, George Osborne — whimsically dubbed the chancellor of the Exchequer — confirmed during his autumn budget update that the tax breaks would be put in place. He claimed a fracking boom would bring “thousands of jobs” and “billions of pounds of investment.” (Memo to the chancellor: Frackers have been known to lie about these things.)
While North Sea oil drillers pay as much as 81 percent tax to the U.K. government, Osborne told Parliament that taxes for fracking would be set at just 30 percent. (American state governments, by comparison, often pay frackers to help them offset the costs of drilling.) It’s all part of Osborne’s bid to reduce households’ electricity bills by £50, or about $82, a year, partly by reducing power companies’ environmental taxes, known as green levies.
The tax break plan sparked anger when it was first floated back in the summer, touted at the time by Osborne as the “most generous” tax regime for frackers in the world. And last week’s confirmation that the government would move forward brought more of the same. From The Independent:
Andy Atkins, Friends of the Earth’s executive director, said: “Yet again the long-term health of our economy has been completely undermined by the Chancellor’s short-sighted determination to keep the nation hooked on dirty and increasingly costly fossil fuels … MPs say they are unjustified — and they could be illegal.” The green group claims that Mr Osborne’s shale gas tax breaks could potentially breach EU law because they may represent “unlawful state aid” — putting shale gas operators in a “more favourable tax position” than the traditional North Sea producers.
Meanwhile, in Romania, anti-fracking protesters and unhappy locals sent Chevron packing after storming an exploratory drilling site. Reuters reported on Saturday:
U.S. oil major Chevron halted exploration works for shale gas in eastern Romania for the second time in two months on Saturday after anti-fracking protesters broke through wire mesh fences around the site.
Thousands of people have rallied across Romania in recent months to protest against government support for shale gas exploration and separate plans to set up Europe’s largest open cast gold mine in a small Carpathian town. …
On Saturday, about 300 riot police were deployed in Pungesti, 340 km (210 miles) northeast of capital Bucharest, to try to prevent an equal number of protesters, mostly local residents, from entering the Chevron site. Some broke through into the site, however.
The activists chanted “Stop Chevron” and held banners saying “No drilling allowed here”. Dozens were detained by police.
A valiant effort, but Chevron was back at work by Sunday.
Eddie Stebbings and Bee Bueche are wildlife wardens on Skomer Island, a seal colony and bird sanctuary off the coast of Britain. Mostly, they hang out with the 400-some seals that live there (including 180 new babies). But occasionally, they like to leave the island, and they’ve got a small rubber dinghy that takes them to the mainland.
One day, in October, a big bull seal — “about four times my weight, eight foot long and clearly not worried about people coming close to him,” Stebbings told the Telegraph — flopped into the boat and would not move. He stayed there for four whole days, leaving the couple no choice but to stick around the island.
The important detail here is that Stebbings and Bueche had just gotten married.
We think we know what went on here. The bull seal had clearly been watching Stebbings and Bueche get all mushy-gushy with each other, and thought, “Jeez, humanity needs to be spared these two for just a few days.”
It’s never good news to hear that a new breed of cockroaches has invaded your city. And it’s even worse when you learn that these cockroaches — members of a species known for its ability to endure all sorts of privations — are particularly unkillable.
The High Line, the New York park that turned a dilapidated stretch of elevated railway on Manhattan’s West Side into one of the city’s newest tourist attractions, may have brought a different kind of visitor: a cockroach never seen before in the US that can withstand the harsh winter cold.
Insect biologists at the city’s Rutgers Univeristy, Jessica Ware and Dominic Evangelista, said the species Periplaneta japonica is well-documented in Asia but has never been confirmed in the US – until now.
Most likely, the Guardian says, these cockroaches were living in the soil of an imported, ornamental plant at some nursery, and from there made it to the High Line, the landscape of which was designed “with a focus on native species.” (All of a sudden, the ambiguity of that phrase — “with a focus” — seems to matter a lot more. You can “focus” on local species and still totally import a plant full of exotic bugs.)
The Guardian also says that “the likelihood that the new species will mate with the locals to create a hybrid super-roach is slim.” We had not even thought of that, but now that we know it’s a “slim” possibility, we’re maybe freaking out a tiny bit. But, with or without hybrid super-roaches, a cold-resistant super-roach is a wonderful bit of schadenfreude for all the High Line-hating anti-gentrification forces to enjoy.
We’ve written before about Mosaic, the California-based company that acts as a Kickstarter for solar-power projects. They’ve already raised more $5.6 million for solar projects across the country. But every little bit counts, and the minimum investment in a project is just $25.
Now, just as you’re wracking your brains for what to get your weird hippie uncle, Treehugger reports that that the company’s about to start offering “gift cards for the $25 incentive that can be used as stocking stuffers.” HINT HINT HINT.
Seriously, we’re always saying around the holidays that we don’t need more stuff. Here’s a simple way to put that principle into action.
The Supreme Court hears argument Tuesday in EPA v. EME Homer City Generation – a case that offers everything a Supreme Court junkie could ask for in a potential blockbuster.
An industry challenge to an important Obama administration policy? Check. A decision by conservative judges on the D.C. Circuit striking down that policy? Check. Important stakes for the lives of ordinary Americans? Check. An early gift from Santa for Supreme Court junkies like me? Perhaps.
Let’s begin with the basics. EME Homer involves a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, a rule designed to address the longstanding problem of interstate air pollution. Simply put, pollution generated by power plants and factories in upwind states inevitably drifts downwind into other states, putting the health of millions of citizens in those states at risk. Congress has been trying to solve this problem for decades and, through the Clean Air Act, has given the EPA authority to address it — authority that the EPA has used to design the new rule at issue in EME Homer. However, the D.C. Circuit struck down this rule last year in a 2-1 decision authored by conservative darling Brett Kavanaugh over a powerful dissent by Judge Judith Rogers.
These background facts alone ought to make EME Homer a case worth watching, but there’s more — much more. Here are six reasons to keep an eye on EME Homer:
1. Lives hang in the balance: As lawyers, we often get stuck in a morass of legalisms like “Chevron deference,” “stare decisis,” and “administrative exhaustion.” However, in cases like EME Homer, it’s also important to step back and consider the human stakes. Simply put, if the government wins, fewer people in downwind states will get sick and die from air pollution — especially children and the elderly. Both the EPA and the American Thoracic Society peg the number of saved lives per year in the thousands — to say nothing of the non-fatal heart attacks, respiratory ailments, and missed days of work and school also prevented by reducing air pollution in downwind states.
2. Case No. 1 in an environmental double-header: This Supreme Court term is shaping up to be the biggest one for the environment since the Roberts Court decided Massachusetts v. EPA in 2007. The Court is slated to decide not just EME Homer this term, but also a challenge to the EPA’s recent efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA). As a reminder, Mass. v. EPA was a huge victory for the environment, with the Court clearing the way for the EPA to begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. The decisive vote was cast by Justice Anthony Kennedy. With the Obama administration pressing ahead with new regulations, this term may offer important clues as to where the Roberts Court — and especially Justice Kennedy — will stand in key environmental cases moving forward.
3. Another big term for big business?: EME Homer is also the first big case of the term for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which weighed in with an amicus brief in support of those challenging the EPA’s new rule. Studies by Constitutional Accountability Center show that the Chamber has won the vast majority of its cases before the Roberts Court overall — and a staggering 88 percent of them since 2011-2012 term. Furthermore, the Chamber has gone 8-and-2 in its environmental cases since Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito joined the court and, following a crushing defeat in Mass. v. EPA, is on a seven-case winning streak in environmental cases overall. Will this winning streak continue in EME Homer?
4. Don’t forget the founders: When they drafted and ratified the U.S. Constitution, the founders envisioned a national government with the power to address genuinely national problems, including problems that spilled across state lines and threatened interstate comity. Cross-state air pollution is just this sort of problem. And, as we at Constitutional Accountability Center argue in our EME Homer amicus brief, when Congress and the executive branch are acting to address such a problem, their efforts are entitled to great deference from the judiciary.
5. Conservatives, to thine own legal selves be true: For close court watchers, EME Homer also presents an intriguing legal dilemma for members of the Roberts Court’s conservative wing. Usually, when a lower-court judge loosens procedural rules to let parties raise new arguments that should have been raised in earlier proceedings and then goes on to read certain policies into, at best, an ambiguous statute (and over and above a contrary interpretation by a government agency), he or she can expect a rough welcome from the Court’s conservatives. Will conservative favorite Brett Kavanaugh — called out for both of these judicial crimes by Judge Rogers in her EME Homer dissent — receive similar treatment? And how will Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, in particular, respond, given that they both reaffirmed their commitment to deferring to government agencies just last term in City of Arlington v. FCC?
6. President Christie, I’m ready for my close-up: Judge Brett Kavanaugh plays a leading role in both of the big environmental cases before the Court this term, having written the majority opinion in EME Homer and an important dissent in the greenhouse gas cases. More important, he’s a rising star in the conservative legal firmament — a graduate of Yale Law School and former clerk to Justice Kennedy who went on to work on the Starr Report and then as an aide to President George W. Bush. Given his impressive academic, professional, and political credentials, Judge Kavanaugh would likely be on any Republican president’s Supreme Court short list. And his current position on the D.C. Circuit makes this all the more likely. Just ask Chief Justice Roberts, as well as Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg — all of whom served on the D.C. Circuit before joining the Supreme Court.
It’s 10 o’clock at night, a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. I’m sitting on the sand in Miami Beach, outside the city proper, eating fish tacos and pondering how it’s come to this.
Overhead, a full moon lights up a swirling nimbus of clouds like one of the hurricanes that occasionally slam into this coastline. At my feet, the surf pounds the shore where the Army Corps of Engineers recently harvested tons of white sand and grafted it onto the shoreline further north, where beach erosion threatened oceanfront condos (total price for the job: $15.8 million).
Suddenly, down the beach, a highrise comes unmoored, calving off of the glittering skyline and sliding into the Atlantic. I leap to my feet, ready to run for high ground, then realize it’s just a massive cruise liner, disembarking from the Port of Miami. My god, those things would make the Pacific Princess look like a glorified canoe.
I may be a little jumpy — cut me some slack, I’m not much of a beachgoer — but here on the edge of the continent, it’s easy to feel like things are coming apart. During my time here, I’ve watched storm drains cough up seawater, looked at climate scientist’s projections of huge swaths of South Florida submerged by rising seas, and listened to locals’ tales of surviving past storms that have reduced entire neighborhoods to rubble.
Miami Beach, which sits on a barrier island across the narrow Biscayne Bay from Miami proper, is quite literally on the front lines of climate change. In all likelihood, most of this buzzing hive of tourists rocking spray-on tans and swilling Snooki’s favorite drink will be waist-deep in water by the end of the century.
And the city itself isn’t far behind. A story in Rolling Stone this summer called Miami a city “on its way to becoming an American Atlantis” — a place that will someday be “a popular snorkeling spot where people [can] swim with sharks and sea turtles and explore the wreckage of a great American city.”
But I’m told that the reality here is more interesting than that — that locals are thinking seriously about how to prepare for the rising seas, that there might be a future here, albeit one where the houses are on stilts and you need a Zodiac to get to the Deco Drive Hookah Lounge. I came to see for myself. And over the next couple of weeks, I’ll tell you what I found.
This also serves as the jumping-off point for my new blog. I’m calling it “Underwater cities,” for a couple of reasons. First, obviously and depressingly, that’s very much where many of our coastal metropolises will be before it’s all over. But also, more optimistically, it evokes a sort of 1950s-comic-book-style utopian dream that we might be able to build a bubble around these pockets of civilization and save all that is wonderful within. (If it also evokes Otoh Gunga, well, I’m sorry.)
I like to think that kind of happy ending is possible, but I’ll say from the outset that I’m going on the assumption — a realistic one, I think — that we’ve missed our chance to turn the tide on climate change. The challenge now is to minimize further damage while preparing for the disaster nuggets we’we’ve already baked (and continue to bake) into this pie. For cities, this means that being “green” is no longer just a clever marketing ploy. Responding to climate change is now a not-so-simple matter of survival.
Climate change will take on different faces in different places, of course — and I don’t mean to suggest that The End Is Nigh (unless you’re white lemuroid possum or something, in which case you’re cooked). I’ve come to peace with the fact that my kids will likely experience changes — ecological, economic, social — that may look like something out of a Hollywood disaster movie. That’s just the way it is. The world is changing at a mind-boggling clip. We just have to roll with it. We have to adapt.
I have to wonder, however, as I sit here on these shifting sands, construction cranes jutting toward the stars, whether it’s too late even for that. Our political system, our building codes — hell, our brains — just weren’t designed for this kind of challenge.
As Elizabeth Kolbert wrote in a recent column for the New Yorker, commenting on President Obama’s executive order aimed at prepping the country for climate disasters, “one of the dangers of this enterprise is that it tends to presuppose, in a Boy Scout-ish sort of way, that ‘preparedness’ is possible.”
But like it or not, that’s the hand we’ve dealt ourselves. Walking away from this game is not an option. So hang on tight, kids, and bone up on those scout-tastic survival skills. It’s going to be a bumpy ride — and we’re all going to get wet, literally or otherwise.
When Total, the French oil and petrochemicals conglomerate, announced a joint venture Thursday with California biofuels company Amyris to produce low-carbon jet fuel and diesel, it was just the latest move into renewable energy by the fossil-fuel giant.
During the height of the green-tech investing boom before the 2008 global economic crash, oil companies from BP to ExxonMobil poured hundreds of millions of dollars into solar and biofuels. That served as both a hedge against a low-carbon future, and, not coincidentally, as a way to generate some green goodwill. It’s not a new phenomenon. Oil company Atlantic Richfield, for instance, bought an early solar panel maker back in 1977.
But that enthusiasm has waned in recent years. Oil companies as well as venture capitalists pruned their green-tech portfolios amid the worldwide downturn and the belated realization that some renewable energy technologies were not ready for prime time, while others would require billions of dollars to commercialize. BP — which had rebranded itself as “Beyond Petroleum” — shuttered its solar operations in 2011. ExxonMobil earlier this year said it’s reevaluating its investment in algae biofuels after putting $100 million into a company called Synthetic Genomics.
Total, however, has accelerated its investment in renewable energy. As BP was shutting down its solar business in 2011, Total bought 60 percent of SunPower, the Silicon Valley photovoltaic panel manufacturer and power plant developer, for $1.4 billion. “We see [solar] as a huge potential in the very long-term future,” Total executive Philippe Boisseau told me when the deal was announced. “As we look 20 years down the road, it can represent a significant part of the electricity mix and therefore the energy mix.”
The company has invested in biomass startups, and Total also bought 18 percent of Amyris. The San Francisco Bay Area company makes genetically engineered yeast that ingests sugarcane and excretes a renewable version of farnesene, an industrial hydrocarbon that can be refined into biodiesel and low-carbon jet fuel.
In the joint venture announced Thursday, Amyris and Total will form a company in Brazil called Total Amyris BioSolutions to make renewable jet fuel. With the European Union and Australia imposing carbon taxes on aviation emissions, the demand for green jet fuel is expected to skyrocket and all the major airlines have flown test fights powered by everything from used cooking oil to algae.
“As far as commercialization is concerned, the new joint-venture will benefit from the know-how and customer access of Total, which operates in more than 130 countries and is aiming to become a key supplier in renewable fuels,” Boisseau said in a statement.
With an endowment larger than all but four of the world’s largest hedge funds, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is easily one of the most powerful charities in the world. According to its website, the organization “works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives.” So how do the investments of the foundation’s $36 billion investing arm, the Gates Foundation Trust, match up to its mission? We dug into the group’s recently released 2012 tax returns to find out.
The Gates Foundation did not respond to requests for comment; however, its investment policy says the trust’s managers “consider other issues beyond corporate profits, including the values that drive the foundation’s work.”
In its most recent annual report to investors, private prison company GEO Group listed some risks to its bottom line, including “reductions in crime rates” that “could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and sentences,” along with immigration reform and the decriminalization of drugs. Military contractor DynCorp, meanwhile, has faced allegations of fraud, mismanagement, and even slavery from the Middle East to Eastern Europe.
The governors of eight Northeastern states are fed up with the air pollution that blows their way from states to their west.
In the latest high-profile move to crush the antiquated practice of burning coal in the U.S., the governors filed a petition with the EPA today that seeks more stringent air quality regulations on coal-burning states such as Ohio, Kentucky, and Michigan. That’s because pollution from those states’ coal-fired power plants reaches the Atlantic coastline, sickening residents there. From The New York Times:
[There is] growing anger of East Coast officials against the Appalachian states that mine coal and the Rust Belt states that burn it to fuel their power plants and factories. Coal emissions are the chief cause of global warming and are linked to many health risks, including asthma and lung disease.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut, who is leading the effort by East Coast governors to crack down on out-of-state pollution, called it a “front-burner issue” for his administration. …
Mr. Malloy said that more than half the pollution in Connecticut was from outside the state and that it was lowering the life expectancy of Connecticut residents with heart disease or asthma. “They’re getting away with murder,” Mr. Malloy said of the Rust Belt and Appalachia. “Only it’s in our state, not theirs.”
And there’s more big air pollution news this week. From the Times:
The petition comes the day before the Supreme Court is to hear arguments to determine the fate of a related E.P.A. regulation known as the “good neighbor” rule. The regulation, officially called the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, would force states with coal pollution that wafts across state lines to rein in soot and smog, either by installing costly pollution control technology or by shutting the power plants.
Bloomberg reports on that “good neighbor” court case:
The Supreme Court will hear arguments over reviving an EPA rule that would limit sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions in 28 states whose pollution blows into neighboring jurisdictions. All are in the eastern two-thirds of the country.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down the rule. It said the regulation was too strict and that EPA didn’t give states a chance to put in place their own pollution-reduction plans before imposing a nationwide standard. The Obama administration and environmental groups are appealing.
Some energy companies have been powering down their coal-fired stations, citing financial losses, but plenty of coal-burning plants are still pumping out pollutants. In October, Wisconsin Energy Corp. sought permission to shutter its 407-megawatt Presque Isle coal-fired power plant in Michigan. The request was denied by the regional grid operator, which said the region couldn’t manage without the power plant’s electricity supply. The grid operator is now in talks over compensation, to help the energy company continue operating the plant at a loss.
The Supreme Court case could decide the fate of Presque Isle and many other coal plants, so it’s one to watch. Another air-pollution case is also being argued tomorrow, this one in the D.C. Circuit Court over the EPA’s mercury rules. “This is the biggest day for clean air in American courts — ever,” John Walke of the Natural Resources Defense Council told Bloomberg.
The Obama administration recently sent a big message to the wind energy industry, imposing a $1 million fine under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for a wind farm that killed birds in violation of wildlife rules.
On Friday, the administration sent a different message when it moved to make such rules more lenient.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it would begin handing out permits that give wind companies permission to unintentionally kill protected bald and golden eagles for 30 years, provided they implement “advanced conservation practices” to keep the number of deaths low. Such permits had previously been capped at five years.
Some wildlife advocates were appalled by the move, which they had opposed. From The Hill:
In a statement sent to The Hill, the president of the National Audubon Society, David Yarnold, said that the administration “wrote the wind industry a blank check,” and indicated that a court challenge court be in the works.
“We have no choice but to challenge this decision, and all options are on the table,” he added.
The wind energy industry, meanwhile, tried to put the bird-killing habits of some of its operators in context, pointing out that similar “take” permits are available for dirty energy producers. From an American Wind Energy Association blog post by John Anderson, an expert on turbine siting, which, when done well, can be one of the best ways of avoiding bird deaths:
The wind industry does more to address its impacts on eagles than any of the other, far greater sources of eagle fatalities known to wildlife experts, and we are constantly striving to reduce these impacts even further. In fact, the wind industry has taken the most proactive and leading role of any utility-scale energy source to minimize wildlife impacts in general, and specifically on eagles, through constantly improving siting and monitoring techniques.
Remember, the federal government won’t be handing out permits allowing wind turbine owners to kill birds carte blanche. “The permits must incorporate conditions specifying additional measures that may be necessary to ensure the preservation of eagles, should monitoring data indicate the need for the measures,” the new regulation states.
The best insult to drunkenly slur at cops when they break up your college kegger is, “You’re not even GREEN!” At least, it might be if you’re a rich liberal nerd at Swarthmore College. After all, cop cars’ electronic systems guzzle energy when the vehicles idle, which happens a lot. But unfortunately for Swatties, one of their own has joined forces with the Swarthmore Borough Police to make the force solar-powered. Students now may have to resort to the time-tested “You suck!”
Two former Swarthmore students got the ball rolling, snagging $5,000 in funding from the college president to put solar panels on a cop car. Sophomore Kara Bledsoe partnered with Engineering Professor Carr Everbach to finish the job. It was a bit of a bumpy road:
Solar panels are normally flat and rigid, but to mount these panels to a car, Everbach had to use rubber panels…[P]olice officers don’t want to find that they have left a solar panel by the side of the road in the middle of an emergency.
Aside from these difficulties, the only mishap that has occurred since the first panels were installed this past summer has been a manufacturing malfunction in one panel that caused the system to short and begin smoking.
Went to college and started smoking, eh? Tsk tsk. Next the cop car will think it gets Nietzsche.
Space exploration doesn’t seem like the government’s highest priority right now. There’s some healthcare website to fix, a widening income gap, climate change, and my inability to find a matching pair of socks (thanks, Obama). But Bill Nye the Science Guy (who now just goes by Bill Nye — guess it’s a Snoop Lion sort of thing) wants to change that.
Nye and his trademark neckwear made a three-minute video urging Obama to dedicate $1.5 billion a year to space exploration, because funding for NASA and the Planetary Science Program is about to be cut. After all, new discoveries create jobs and boost morale and stuff:
Planetary science gets less than 10% [of NASA's budget], but it’s a part of NASA that does more than any other to inspire the public. Planetary science gives the agency a lot of bang for its buck.
Hmm. Maybe that $1.5 billion could come outta the $79.4 billion that Obama wants to spend on war in 2014? JUST A THOUGHT.