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EarthTalk: The Postal Service Reduces Its Carbon Footprint

US Postal Service makes strides in greening its operation and reducing its carbon footprint

EarthTalk® is a weekly environmental column made available to our readers from the editors of E/The Environmental Magazine Dear EarthTalk: What’s the latest with the U.S. Postal Service trying to reduce its environmental footprint? Starting delivery of some mail on Sundays doesn’t seem like a step in the right direction.  — Kerry Rawlings, Albany, NY As recent TV ads have been telling us, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has recently started delivering some mail on Sunday in what most chalk up to an effort to stay one step ahead of United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fedex). But while Sunday delivery may be convenient for consumers, environmental leaders worry that adding an extra day causes an unnecessary waste …

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Eco News Roundup: Green Energy Tips; Tiny Houses; Green Space; Eco Apps

Go Green by Switching to a Green Energy Plan and by Following These 10 Tips

Eco News Roundup for June 26: Resources from around the world to help live a more eco-friendly lifestyle This week features tips for adopting green energy in your home. How about the new trend toward “tiny houses” and living off-grid? Learn how physical and mental health improves with access to green spaces. Finally, we look at 13 apps you can use to help you lower your carbon footprint. Enjoy and please leave any suggestion for next week’s roundup in the comments section. Enjoy! Tips for Green Energy Over the past few years, many residential energy consumers from all over the globe have been considering taking a more eco-friendly approach to their home electricity consumption. Taking a truly green approach to energy …

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Pope Francis: Encyclical Calls for “All People of Good Will” to Care for Our Common Home

Pope Francis call on all people of good will to care for the Earth

A version of this post first appeared on GlobalWarmingisReal.com At a time when the influence of institutional religion is waning in many part of the world, Pope Francis remains one of the most trusted and popular people on Earth. Leader of an estimated 1.2 billion Catholics across the world, Francis has put the weight of his authority squarely behind a global call to action to stop what he calls “the ecological crisis” we all now face. Typically, a Papal Encyclical issued by the Pope is a top-level teaching document addressed to Catholics. In recent decades encyclicals have been addressed to “all people of goodwill,” and Francis’ latest Laudato Si (Blessed Be) is one such document. “This encyclical is aimed at everyone” the Pope said before …

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World Environment Day: Considering Our Relationship with Nature

World Environmental Day 2015

The following post originally appeared on our sister website GlobalWarmingisReal.com Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care – Today is World Environment Day, or WED. Every June 5th WED serves as a platform for the United Nations Environmental Programme to focus world attention on humanity’s relationship with our environment. Every day, as sunrise moves across the Earth, 7 billion people awake to face another day. For many of those 7 billion, just finding enough clean water and food for their families is the task of the day, every day, day in and day out. For them, their relationship to their environment is urgent and palpable. Often it is a struggle just to survive. Abject poverty still burdens much of the global …

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Eco-Friendly Gold Extraction: How Cornstarch is Revolutionizing the Mining World

Is there an eco-friendly way to extract gold?

Mining gold often comes at the expense of the environment. The use of cornstarch, however, could change all that, making the process much greener and less expensive.

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Hummingbird Conservation

Climate change and habitat destruction make vital and effort for hummingbird conservation

Feature post by Ernie Allison The fact that hummingbirds are the smallest birds on the planet which is probably why many people don’t even consider them when they think of where to focus their conservation efforts. Fact of the matter is that, despite their small size, hummingbirds have a huge impact on the ecosystem and no other creature could fill their unique niche. In line with the bees, hummingbirds are some of the most efficient natural pollinators and insect control forces around. Because of this, it’s important for us to make sure that we keep them around by helping out in our conservation efforts. Challenges Hummingbirds Face Hummingbirds have so many natural predators, more than most other birds, that the last …

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EarthTalk: Aging Coal Plants and Mercury Pollution

Reducing mercury emissions from old coal plants

EarthTalk® is a weekly environmental column made available to our readers from the editors of E/The Environmental Magazine Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that only a handful of outdated coal-burning power plants generate a sizable amount of the mercury pollution generated in the United States? If so, is anything being done to clean these sites up or shut them down? – Frank Pearson, Wichita, KS Our nation’s coal-fired power plants are increasingly being retrofitted with technologies to mitigate the output of various forms of pollution. But a number of bad apples do continue to cause more than their fair share of mercury emissions. This past March the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a leading non-profit, released a report showing that the …

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Solar Hornet

solar powered wasp!

Sometimes I like to write about topics that are simply cool, green news items and are not specifically helpful or useful. This is one of those times. Apparently scientists have known for some time that hornets create energy inside their exoskeleton. This was discovered after scientist Jacob Ishay noticed hornets were most active when the sunlight was most intense. Although it’s not clear why the insects generate the electricity and how they use it, the evidence is clear. The yellow tissue traps the sunlight while the darker tissue converts it to energy. We have seen and studied photovoltaic electricity production in plants and bacteria for some time, but never before in insects. Although not an exceptionally helpful observation, it could …

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Top 10 Green Stories (with commentary)

Deepwater Horizon tragedy among the top environmental stories of 2010

Top 10 environmental stories for 2010 Grist has released their top 10 green stories of 2010.  They are republished here with my own commentary. Republicans deny climate change (still).  It seems shocking, but yes, the republicans in Congress are still denying the scientific preponderance of evidence that the climate is warming at a dangerous rate.  This includes both current (outgoing) and incoming congressmen and women.  How can this be after so many of them campaigned with climate change as a major component of their platforms?  It’s politics folks. The house passed a solid climate change bill and the Senate promptly killed it in their typically cowardly fashion.  They sliced and diced until the bill had no teeth and made no …

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Green Schools of the Future

Designing a greener, more sustainable school

Educational institutions are often privileged to experience the latest in building technology.  Why? because they are charged by their communities to be the most forward-thinking, progressive-minded groups.  After all, they’re supposed to apply the latest technology because they develop it. In addition, institutions of higher learning often receive massive donations and grants to apply the latest technologies.  Even public schools are getting in on the green floor as they realize saving money on utility bills may be part of the solution to shrinking public budgets. Under ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), over $48 billion was awarded to the Department of Education that can be used for construction and weatherization efforts by schools. We can expect schools with passive solar …

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