Environment

environment

Raising bees and capturing rainwater: U.S. prisons go green

Blogging on EARTH

The flagging economy may complicate federal aspirations for a green revolution, but at least one government entity has adopted the movement in stride: state prisons.

According to a recent report by the Associated Press, prisons across America now host the likes of compost heaps, organic gardens and solar panels in an attempt to save precious state budget money.

04 Nov 2008

Energy mission: "Kilowatt Ours"

“What if every time you flipped a light switch, a mountain exploded in West Virginia?”

In the new documentary “Kilowatt Ours,” filmmaker Jeff Barrie explains why that idea isn’t as preposterous as it sounds.

29 Oct 2008

Hot enough for ya? Investigating climate change in "Heat"

In FRONTLINE's urgent, ambitious new special "Heat," producer and reporter Martin Smith takes on a sweeping canvas of climate change, journeying from the disappearing glaciers of the Himalayas to the cement factories of India to the coal mines of the United States. There's a revealing look into the U.S.' role in the climate change conference in Bali last December, as well as into the plans of China's largest car company.

21 Oct 2008

'The Big Necessity' Reclaiming feces

In her new book, "The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters," freelance journalist Rose George argues that experts and citizens alike must overcome their aversion to all things fecal — or else face one of the most serious public health risks on the planet. If handled properly, George says, waste water can even be reclaimed as potable water. Recently, EARTH contributor Brian Fisher Johnson talked with George about her book, which was released on Oct. 14.

20 Oct 2008

The art of un-legislating

Taking public approval ratings at face value, it would be easy to conclude that the legislative branch of our government is motivated by an unfortunate blend of incompetence and arrogance. Certainly the repeated and well-documented failures of Congress to act on issues of national significance and its tendency to substitute rhetoric and pork barrel spending for meaningful action provide ample fodder for this well-worn reputation.

30 Sep 2008

Energy's the hot topic this week on the Hill

UPDATE: The House energy bill, which will allow offshore drilling and gives states incentives by sharing the revenues from drilling leases with them, passed yesterday (Sept. 16). The Senate bill is still pending, but a vote is likely sometime this week.

 

16 Sep 2008

West Virginia Coal: Dirty water, dirtier politics - but will there be a cleaner future?

Coal has always been king in West Virginia. For more than 250 years, the mining industry has ruled the Mountain State, sometimes running roughshod over worker’s rights, public safety and West Virginia’s mountain ecosystems in the push for higher yields. Coal mining is not without its benefits: West Virginia’s mines produce 15 percent of our country’s coal and half of our coal exports. And the industry provides 40,000 jobs and contributes $3.5 billion to the Mountain State’s economy. Now with U.S.

02 Sep 2008

Toxic tide

In the Gulf of Mexico lurk menacing masses of single-celled organisms known as red tides. Scientists have long known that the potent toxin they produce can kill fish and birds, wreak havoc on the human nervous system and cause wheezing, sneezing and asthma flare-ups. But new research suggests that it can also damage DNA, which could lead to more subtle, longer-term health consequences.

29 Aug 2008

New York's Dirty Secret: The effort to clean up America's largest oil spill

Wedged between the hard-bitten boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, N.Y., lies a six-kilometer-long slip of sickly green water called Newtown Creek. Dubbed the most polluted waterway in America, this tidal tributary of the East River has no natural headwater: The water that feeds the mostly stagnant creek is a combination of industrial wastewater, stormwater runoff and, after a hard rain, raw sewage.

28 Aug 2008

Mapping safer drinking water

Beginning in the 1970s, international aid agencies dug hundreds of thousands of wells in Bangladesh to help people access clean drinking water. The effort curbed diarrheal diseases, but it led to a new problem: arsenic poisoning.

Arsenic occurs naturally in some rocks, including formations throughout the Himalayas. When these rocks weather, the groundwater can become contaminated with arsenic. At high doses, arsenic is lethal. But even small doses can cause cancer and other health problems over time.

28 Aug 2008

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