Environment

environment

Dry dock to wet tap: Old ships become floating desalination plants

Last year’s hurricane season was not kind to Haiti. First, tropical storms Fay, Gustav and Hanna hit the Caribbean nation; then Hurricane Ike pummeled the island, flooding much of the country, wrecking roads and bridges and leaving Haitians desperate for food, water and other basics. To help the battered country, the United States sent hundreds of metric tons of supplies and hygiene kits aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kearsarge. The Navy deployed helicopters, landing craft and personnel to help local residents. And they brought in thousands of gallons of freshwater.

14 May 2009

Mining for iron oxides in coal mine sludge

The billions of tons of coal that miners extracted from Pennsylvania’s ground over the past two centuries have long gone up in smoke, but their legacy lives on in the state’s rivers and waterways. Nasty discharge — often with sky-high metal concentrations — from thousands of abandoned coal mines has been polluting Pennsylvania’s streams and groundwater.

30 Apr 2009

Earth: The movie (not the magazine)

Blogging on EARTH (the magazine)

Earth Day is over. But you don’t have to wait until next year to celebrate the planet. Disney’s new movie “Earth,” which opened Apr. 22, offers some spectacular views of the planet and its inhabitants.

23 Apr 2009

Capturing carbon from coal plants: Is it feasible?

On a remote patch of rolling plain in western North Dakota lies a massive labyrinth of buildings, tanks, towers, pipes and conveyors. This industrial behemoth — the Great Plains Synfuels Plant — is designed to turn the vast deposits of lignite coal that lie in the ground into substitute natural gas.

16 Apr 2009

Lack of water threatens "Garden of Eden"

Since the downfall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraqis and scientists from around the world have been working hard to restore Iraq’s once-lush marshes. But after several years of measurable improvement, drought and competition over limited water supplies threaten to reverse this progress. Those working on the marshes are confident that the marshes can come back — but whether the people who rely on these wetlands for their livelihood will be as resilient remains to be seen.

15 Apr 2009

Coal-to-liquids: Can fuel made from coal replace gasoline?

Amid all the attention to the converging of three energy-related crises — climate change, resource depletion and international extremism funded by the energy trade — a surprising energy choice keeps rearing its head: coal. That especially includes liquid fuels made from coal, which can be a substitute for gasoline, jet fuel and just about any other transportation fuel on which we currently rely.

08 Apr 2009

Rewriting rivers: What it means for river restoration

In 1702, Francis Chadsey and his family bought 200 hectares of meadow and upland on the banks of the Brandywine Creek in southeastern Pennsylvania. Within a year, he built a mill for grinding wheat, oats and barley. Like other landowners in the region, Chadsey also built a small dam on the creek. He most likely used local stone to erect the 2.5- to 3.5-meter-high structure, behind which a small pond sprang up. From the pond, a conduit carried water that spilled over a wheel to produce power to run the mill.

13 Mar 2009

Saving Energy and Water Through Superior Sanitation

Have you ever thought about using your urine to fertilize your tomatoes and cucumbers? Full of nutrients like phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen, urine can work wonders in your garden. How about composting your feces — packed with rich organic matter just waiting to be decomposed — to help your rose bushes and oak trees grow? If you don’t use feces for composting, then it could be a source of natural gas and hydrogen for use as an alternative energy supply. Or perhaps you would be more comfortable with the thought of reusing the water you wash your clothes in to flush your toilets?

03 Mar 2009

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