Author name: Lisa Wojnovich

Laughing Gas: The Latest Environmental Threat

Nitrous oxide, more commonly known at your dentist’s office as laughing gas, is now the most prevalent man-made substance damaging the ozone layer. And it’s a greenhouse gas. Sadly, the joke’s apparently on us. In a report published in Science on Friday, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) located in Boulder, Colorado, have calculated

China Bans Scrap Polysilicon

In an effort to curb solid waste pollution, China banned the import of scrap polysilicon at the beginning of August, an effort supported by its current environmental laws according to its Environmental Protection Ministry. Scrap polysilicon is a low-grade form of silicon not pure enough to use in microchips. However, it can be used as

BP & Martek to Ferment Biofuels

The energy giant BP and Martek Biosciences, a Maryland based company that uses micro algae to produce oil-based nutritional and dietary supplements, signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) earlier this month to produce microbial oils for biofuels applications. Under this agreement, BP will provide the cash — up to $10 million for just the first

The Latest Medical Innovation: Recycled TVs

Researchers at the University of York have recently come up with a method of recycling that seems like it fell from the pages of a science fiction novel. They want to turn discarded television screens into components for biomedicine. The scientists have been studying methods of reducing the environmental impact of e-waste streams as part

Daimler’s First Electric Car

Most odd stories relating to the environment tend to revolve around researchers and scientists and their slightly off the wall discoveries. But not so today. Today, in news of the weird — or at least slightly surreal — I bring you Daimler, the German automaker, who announced last week their very first hybrid car, the

More Money for the Auto Industry

Three more car companies received sizeable loans from the federal government yesterday, but don’t worry; it’s not another bailout. In fact, the$8 billion is just the start of a larger $25 billion project called the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVM for short) that was thought up back in 2007 and funded by Congress

Coca-Cola Launches Eco-Friendly Packaging

In their ongoing efforts to achieve a more environmentally friendly image, the Coca-Cola Co. announced earlier this month that they will be launching new biobased plastic bottles for their Dasani water line later this year and vitaminwater next year. They’re calling their new packaging the “PlantBottleTM.” Plastic soda bottles are generally made from polyethylene terephthalate

The High Price of Rubber & the Devastation of Southeast Asia

Slash-and-burn agriculture may be bad for the environment, but in southeast Asia, the cure may be worse than the disease. Endorsed by multiple governments, at both the local and national levels, as well as numerous business interests, everyone from individual farmers to massive corporations has been replacing the traditional slash-and-burn, more technically known as swidden,

The Canary of the Sea

Scientists have been warning us that global warming may severely threaten the survival of marine populations for several years now. But in a new study, published in Science this past Friday, they may have just found the ocean’s equivalent of the canary in the coal mine when it comes to fluctuating ocean temperatures. There’s just

Canada’s Clean Coal Concept

Wednesday, Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice announced his government’s most recent plan for eliminating CO2 emissions. The Canadian government hopes to phase out electrical generation by modern coal technology in favor of carbon capture and storage (CCS) – the much debated and as yet unproven “clean coal” concept – nuclear power, and other, renewable sources of energy.

An Aquatic Invasion

The last time you visited an aquarium, you probably saw one. With their zebra-like stripes, multiple spines, and elaborate fins, they’re quite beautiful and incredibly distinctive. But red lionfish are also voracious carnivores that breed like rabbits and are poisonous to boot. And they’re invading the coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Greening the Empire State Building

New York City’s Empire State Building is the latest poster child for green innovation. Earlier this week, Anthony Malkin, president of W&M Properties, the company that owns the building, announced that they would begin a $500 million self-financed program to renovate the world famous landmark – $100 million of which would be used to reduce the building’s energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Unwrap a Smile…& Throw It in the Gas Tank

Ethanol and biodiesel. Corn? Certainly. Soybean? Of course. Sugar cane? In Brazil. Algae? Okay, sure. Why not? But McKee Foods has a new idea, and I can guarantee you aren’t expecting it. The maker of Little Debbie and Sunbelt snacks is far from the only American company to worry about the rising cost of fuel for their trucks or to consider greening their manufacturing plants. But they are currently looking into one of the more innovative possibilities to solve both problems simultaneously.

Oil Shale: Saving Grace or Environmental Catastrophe?

Did you know that the Rocky Mountains contain more oil than Saudi Arabia? Most people don’t. The problem is that, unlike the easily accessed and processed oceans of liquid oil under Middle Eastern sands, the Rocky Mountains’ petroleum is found in rocks called oil shale. Oil shale, which must be mined, is a type of sedimentary rock that releases oil when heated in specific types of chemical processes. The problem, according to environmental groups, is that producing energy from oil shale is even less environmentally friendly than using normal, liquid oil or even coal.

To Drill or Not to Drill?

Late in the Bush administration, the president lifted an executive order banning offshore drilling. A few months later, facing skyrocketing gas prices, Congress allowed a congressional moratorium, dating back to 1982, to lapse. Offshore drilling has been blatantly polarizing national politics ever since. In mid-February, the Obama administration road blocked the new offshore drilling plans

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