Hawaii Contemplates Dumping Trash In Oregon

Oregon: the land of volcanoes, beautiful coastline, forests…and trash? Unfortunately, that might be the case if Hawaii gets its way. According to the Portland Tribune, Honolulu is quickly running out of space in their main landfill. In order to prevent overflow, the city has hatched a plan to send ships full of garbage up the Columbia River in Oregon, where trash will be put on trucks and trains headed to the Columbia Ridge Landfill. It may seem strange that Hawaii…

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Peru’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Might Be Unstoppable

Several days ago, I read a story about how Peru’s butterfly exports had increased 43% from January-April of this year. These are the butterflies that are pinned into glass frames for sale as gifts and souvenirs. I wondered if all of these butterflies included those that are exported illegally and those that are endangered. Questions of this kind were on my mind as just several days earlier my family had passed by a street vendor who sold animals illegally. One…

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How to Find Green Jobs

As a consultant who works with green companies, people often ask me how they can find a “green job”. Whether it’s alternative energy, transportation, green building, or any other industry experiencing a shift towards green, everyone wants to get involved. Fortunately, there are many resources both nationwide and here in Los Angeles that can help you on your quest. First, keep in mind that the best way to find out about any job, including green ones, is through networking. Most…

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BioTown, USA: Is Total Energy Self-Sufficiency Possible?

Sure, it’s easy enough for one person to attempt energy self-sufficiency: put a solar panel on your roof, run your car on biodiesel, and you’re halfway there. But how easy is it for an entire town to become self-sufficient? That’s the question that Reynolds, Indiana has been trying to answer for the past 3 years. In 2005, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels declared the town to be BioTown, USA—a model of energy self-sufficiency for the state. The town was chosen mainly…

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Do Peru’s Mysterious Chavín de Huantar Ruins Provide Hints As to Why Some Civilizations Disappear?

My family recently visited a place in Peru that we had wanted to visit for a long time. While not as famous as Machu Picchu, the Chavín de Huantar Ruins are quite fascinating in their own right. Most visitors after reading their guidebooks want to see a carved stone obelisk that sits at the center of underground passages in the “Old Chavín Temple.” Known as the “Lanzón,” the obelisk has various animal features, and is thought to have been worshiped…

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Want to Curb Global Warming? Start Recycling and Composting

Looking for ways beyond changing lightbulbs and taking the train to help reduce your carbon footprint? Turns out we all could make a big difference in greenhouse gas emissions by not throwing out so much trash and composting our food waste. That’s the message from “Stop Trashing the Climate,” a report prepared by The Institute for Local Self-Reliance, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and Eco-Cycle, a non-profit recycler. The study finds that waste prevention and increased recycling and…

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‘Kick the Habit’, the Slogan to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

“Our world is in the grip of a dangerous carbon habit,” UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon Ban said in a statement to mark the celebration of World Environment Day today. “Kick the Habit” (the ‘carbon’ habit) is the international slogan for the event that promotes a movement towards a low carbon economy. World Environment Day, conceived in 1972, is the United Nations’ principal day to mark global green issues and aims to give a human face to environmental problems and solutions.…

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Five (very good) Reasons For Home Made Renewable Energy in Britain

The case for homemade renewable energy (micro-generation) seems to get stronger and stronger. A new report commissioned by the British Government provides a series of compelling reasons to put a wind-turbine in your garden, solar panels on your roof, and a combined heat and power boiler in your basement. Lauded as “one of the most professionally conducted and robust pieces of consumer research into the micro-generation market”, the principle reasons for Britain to make a big push for micro-generation outlined…

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Is Fair Trade Mere Hype?

Imagine an elderly man toiling under the hot sun to weed a crop of cotton in a remote African village. When the crop is harvested, a middleman appears in the name of free market trade and purchases it at a ridiculously low price. Due to lack of information and access to markets, the poor farmer, like many others in his village, is left with little choice but to part with his crop. Most likely, he will not be able to…

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Boulder, CO Becomes the First U.S. Transition Town

The Transition Town initiative has been a fast-growing movement in the United Kingdom for over a year, with more than 50 towns currently signed up. Now the United States is catching up as Boulder, CO becomes the first official transition town in the country. The Transition Town movement started in Kinsale, Ireland when permaculture teacher Rob Hopkins started thinking about the possibilities of applying permaculture theories to entire towns, instead of just to individual plots of land. Hopkins’ Energy Descent…

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Willits, CA: A Relocalization Inspiration

  A few summers ago, I had the pleasure of spending some time in Willits, CA. This small, progressive town in Mendocino County harbors one of the best relocalization efforts in the United States, if not the world. “Relocalization” is the idea that communities should produce food, energy, and goods locally. The movement developed in response to peak oil and climate change concerns, and may just be our best hope for surviving our current environmental crises. The Willits Economic Localization…

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Drinking Water, an Italian State of Mind!

“Nasone“, the typical fountain of Rome “Ti Voglio Bere” (“I want to drink you”) is the name of a project realized in the city of Torino to promote the use of drinking water. The similarity with the overused sentence “Ti voglio bene” (“I love you”) remind us we should appreciate more this basic element that arrives free in our houses. Water is a public good even if the market wants to persuade us of the contrary. Water is not a…

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Will the Sunshine State Become a Major Source of Wind Energy?

I’ve always wondered why wind energy in Florida never seemed to get much attention. After all, there’s a good steady breeze every time I go to the beach and, even in my backyard (which is 2 miles off the coast), I have a little colorful garden spinner that’s whirring almost constantly. Still, every wind-energy potential map of the U.S. I’ve seen appears to leave the Sunshine State a pure blank. Some maps don’t even note any potential for offshore energy,…

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