Archive for the ‘Green Living’ Category

HEAT FORMS POTENTIALLY HARMFUL SUBSTANCE IN HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Tucson, Ariz - Researchers have established the conditions that foster formation of potentially dangerous levels of a toxic substance in the high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) often fed to honey bees. Their study, which appears in ACS’ bi weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, could also help keep the substance out of soft drinks and dozens of other human foods that contain HFCS. The substance, hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), forms mainly from heating fructose.

Honey Bee
A new study shows that heat can
produce a potentially toxic substance
in high-fructose corn syrup
that can kill honeybees and
may also threaten human health.

In the new study, Blaise LeBlanc and Gillian Eggleston and colleagues note HFCS’s ubiquitous usage as a sweetener in beverages and processed foods. Some commercial beekeepers also feed it to bees to increase reproduction and honey production. When exposed to warm temperatures, HFCS can form HMF and kill honeybees. Some researchers believe that HMF may be a factor in Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious disease that has killed at least one third of the honeybee population in the United States.

>>>>>Read the full Press Release in our HeartVigor.com News Page.

BYD AUTO (Build Your Dreams), F3DM HYBRID

Friday, January 30th, 2009

BYD AUTO F3DM HYBRID Here are BYD’s claims for it’s new Hybrid Car. Safety
Dual Mode (DM) Electric Vehicle features BYD’s new-generation Fe battery, which has high efficiency, a long cycle life and excellent safety performance.

Excellent Performance
BYD’s Dual Mode (DM) Electric Vehicle system features increased power and torque
Total output of 125kw (168hp)
The BYD F3DM performs like a car with a conventional 2.4-liter gasoline engine
It will give owners a new driving experience.

Low Cost
The F3DM consumes 16kwh of electricity per 100km (62mi)
The Dual Mode (DM) Electric Vehicle system adopts BYD’s latest-generation gasoline engine

Convenient Recharging
The F3DM can be recharged by using a normal household power outlet.

Environmentally-Friendly & Energy-Efficient
In everyday driving, most people (about 95%) will drive less than 100km (60 mi) per day
BYD’s Dual Mode (DM) Electric Vehicles can run at zero fuel consumption and zero emission levels in EV Mode.

Read the full story in our HeartVigor.com Green Auto News Page.

WIND, WATER AND SUN BEST FOR FUTURE ENERGY

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Wind, water and sun beat biofuels, nuclear and coal for clean energy, Stanford researcher says.

The best ways to improve energy security, mitigate global warming and reduce the number of deaths caused by air pollution are blowing in the wind and rippling in the water, not growing on prairies or glowing inside nuclear power plants, says Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford. And “clean coal,” which involves capturing carbon emissions and sequestering them in the earth, is not clean at all, he asserts.

Jacobson has conducted the first quantitative, scientific evaluation of the proposed, major, energy-related solutions by assessing not only their potential for delivering energy for electricity and vehicles, but also their impacts on global warming, human health, energy security, water supply, space requirements, wildlife, water pollution, reliability and sustainability. His findings indicate that the options that are getting the most attention are between 25 to 1,000 times more polluting than the best available options.

“The energy alternatives that are good are not the ones that people have been talking about the most. And some options that have been proposed are just downright awful,” Jacobson said. “Ethanol-based biofuels will actually cause more harm to human health, wildlife, water supply and land use than current fossil fuels.” He added that ethanol may also emit more global-warming pollutants than fossil fuels, according to the latest scientific studies.

Read more on this report and other Green News stories in our HeartVigor.com Green Living News Page.

CLIMATE CHANGE PUTS FORESTS AND PEOPLE AT RISK

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

Large areas of forests could succumb to climate change; scientists urge local adaptation responses to avoid disaster for environment, forest-dependent people in new report.

“The people living in forests are highly dependent on forest goods and services and are often very vulnerable socioeconomically,” said Locatelli. “They usually have a much more intimate understanding of their forests than anyone else, but the unprecedented rates of climate change will almost certainly jeopardise their ability to adapt to new conditions. They will need help.”

The report reviewed the scientific literature on the effects of climate change on forests and came to several alarming conclusions:

- By the end of the 21st century, tropical regions in Africa, South Asia, and Central America are likely or very likely to be warming at a faster rate than the global annual mean warming.

- Rainfall in East Africa and during the summer monsoon of South and Southeast Asia is likely to increase.

- Annual precipitation in most of Central America is likely to decrease; this region is the most prominent tropical hotspot of climate change. It is unclear how rainfall in the African Sahel and the Amazon will change.

- Peak wind intensities of tropical cyclones are likely to increase, in particular in tropical Southeast Asia and South Asia, bringing extreme rainfall.

- Droughts and floods are expected to increase globally, making water management more difficult.

“In many forests, relatively minor changes in climate can have devastating consequences, increasing their vulnerability to drought, insect attack and fire,” said CIFOR forest ecologist Markku Kanninen, a co-author of the report. “Burning or dying forests emit large quantities of greenhouse gases, so there is a chance that an initially small change in climate could lead to much bigger changes.”

Read more on this story and others in our HeartVigor.com Green Living News Page.

BRAZIL CONFERENCE ON RAINFOREST

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

The Head of Geography at the University of Leicester has addressed an international conference in Brazil on the use of modern radar technology for monitoring the rainforests.

Professor Heiko Balzter told 200 scientists and foresters in Brazil “We need advanced radar satellites for monitoring tropical deforestation and forest biomass”.

The researchers from South America, the US, Canada and Europe had come together for the 8th Seminar on Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems Applications in Forest Engineering in the city of Curitiba, Brazil.

Read more in our HeartVigor.com Green Living News Page.

TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT, BIOFUEL STANDARDS ARE NEEDED

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Society is in a race to find renewable sources of carbon-neutral energy. Cellulose-based biofuels hold promise, but we need to proceed cautiously and with an eye toward minimizing long-term ecological impacts. Without a sound plan, we could wind up doing more environmental harm than good.

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The United States lacks the policies needed to ensure that cellulosic biofuel production will not cause environmental harm, says a distinguished group of international scientists. The paper, published in the October 3rd issue of the journal Science, urges decision makers to adopt standards and incentives that will help ensure that future production efforts are sustainable, both energetically and environmentally.

Because the cellulosic biofuel industry is young, policymakers have the opportunity to implement science-based standards before large scale crop production begins. Early preventative polices could play a major role in minimizing the unintentional side effects of large-scale crop production, such as fertilizer and pesticide pollution, soil erosion, invasive species spread, the fouling of waterways, and species loss.

Dr. Kathleen Weathers, an ecosystem scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and one of the paper’s authors, comments, “Society is in a race to find renewable sources of carbon-neutral energy. Cellulose-based biofuels hold promise, but we need to proceed cautiously and with an eye toward minimizing long-term ecological impacts. Without a sound plan, we could wind up doing more environmental harm than good.”

Grain-based ethanol has already served as a lesson in the perils of embracing energy solutions before their environmental effects are understood. Most of the commercial ethanol produced in the United States is made from corn. When large parts of the landscape are converted to such resource-intensive, monoculture grain crops, as is the current model, the scientific consensus is that the environment suffers.

Moving forward, if cellulosic ethanol is to emerge as a feasible source of renewable energy, a vast amount of land will need to be used for its production. This land conversion - estimated to be as large as the amount of land in row-crops today - will change the face of the global landscape. Production standards and incentive programs could help minimize negative impacts and, in many cases, help farmers choose crops that provide valuable ecosystem services.

Weathers notes, “There is the real potential for science to inform sustainable cellulosic crop strategies; it’s about picking the right plant, or assemblage of plants, for a given landscape and managing crops in a minimally invasive way.” No-till farming can slow erosion and enrich soil; cover crops can sequester soil carbon and minimize nutrient run-off; and buffers can support beneficial insects such as pollinators.

But this won’t happen without making environmentally sustainable growing practices widely available and establishing incentives to farmers that adopt the techniques. The authors stress that as the technology to make cellulosic biofuels improves, and efforts become commercialized, both industry and legislators must adopt policies that reward sustainable crop production.

This is one of the first times such a large and diverse group of internationally recognized scientists have spoken with one voice on the issue. The 23 authors - some of the world’s top ecologists, agronomists, conservation biologists and economists - encompass diverse backgrounds and professional experiences.

Weathers concludes, “Incentives, such as substantial subsidies for cellulosic ethanol production, could send us hurtling down an environmentally tenuous path. I hope decision makers heed our recommendations. They emerged from a collaborative effort that cut across disciplines and ideologies, and we came to a strong scientific consensus.”

Press release Oct. 9, 2008 - Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

STEPHANE DION’S CARBON TAX EXPLAINED

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

EXCERPTS FROM THE LIBERAL PARTY GREEN PLAN

The time has come to do what is right - not what is easy - for our environment and for our future.

That is why the Liberal Party of Canada has introduced the Green Shift, a bold plan that will cut income taxes, put a price on pollution, fight poverty and position Canada to be a leader in the 21st century global economy.

Our plan is as powerful as it is simple. We will cut taxes on those things we all want more of such as income, investment and innovation, and we will shift those taxes to what we all want less of: pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and waste.

Energy costs are soaring all over the world. While energy prices continue to rise, we need to encourage energy efficiency. We need to change wasteful habits. We need to discourage polluting activities.

But an economic slow-down is also threatening Canada - too many jobs are disappearing. So we need to create new, well-paying, green jobs. We also need a fairer and more progressive tax system so that we help all Canadians become part of the solution to the climate change crisis while protecting lower- and middle-income Canadians and more vulnerable Canadians - seniors, the disabled, etc. - from rising energy costs.

Over four years, the length of a government’s usual mandate, we will put an increasing price on the greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil fuels, like coal and natural gas. This greenhouse gas pollution is what traps heat in our atmosphere and causes climate change.

Higher energy costs will be off-set by tax cuts. We will dramatically reduce other taxes, for individuals and for businesses. We will make sure that this dramatic tax shift is revenue neutral.

It cannot be, and we commit that it will not become, a tax grab by government. This commitment will be enshrined in legislation, and we will have the Auditor General look at the numbers and confirm this each and every year to Canadians.

But putting money back in the hands of Canadians is only part of the solution. Investing in renewable energy and conservation - helping families to use less and pay less - is also key to our plan. As part of our broader climate change plan, Canadians will have access to a full suite of programs to help them reduce their own carbon footprint and the pollution they produce.

This will allow Canadians to save even more money on their own energy costs, while helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution.

Our plan includes many other tax measures that will ensure no one gets left behind - specific measures for low-income earners, for families, for rural and Northern residents.

By the fourth year of our plan, we expect that a family with two children and a combined income of $20,000 will save almost $2,500; a family with two children earning $40,000 a year will save nearly $2,000; a family with two children earning $60,000 will save over $1,300, as will a family earning $80,000.

To attract investment and create jobs, our plan will also see corporations having their tax rates cut so they can invest more money in reducing their own pollution and increasing their energy efficiency.

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Editors note: Explained this way it almost makes sense.