Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No Impact Week is Coming! Sign up with HuffPost Green

The Huffington Post / HuffPost Green is launching the inaugural No Impact Week, beginning October 18. Sign up to learn more, and to join the No Impact Project mailing list. The No Impact Project is a nonprofit started by Colin Beavan, star of the documentary film No Impact Man and author of the book by the same title. The project has created a detailed guide to reducing your ecological and climate footprint, day by day, throughout the week. Borrow Beavan's books through OhioLINK. All 24 copies in the OhioLINK catalog were checked out when I looked, however, so purchasing your own might be the best bet!

Celebrate the National Parks, "America's best idea," with Ken Burns

From the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):
National parks are "America's best idea," filmmaker Ken Burns says in his new PBS documentary. He talks to NRDC's OnEarth magazine about the tragedy of wolf hunts, the need for wilderness preservation and the threat of global warming.

The National Parks film by Ken Burns has been spectacular so far. Tune in and you will be inspired by the stories of dedicated individuals who campaigned to preserve some of the most extraordinary wild places in our country.

The library has an enormous amount of material devoted to the national parks; just search national parks and reserve as a subject heading in OBIS to get started. Virtually explore any national park at the National Park Service web site.

Visit NRDC's Action Center at www.nrdc.org/action.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Environment Ohio Seeks Advocates for Clean Water Act Enforcement

Environment Ohio is launching an urgent campaign to document support for cleaning up and protecting Ohio's rivers and streams. You can join the campaign online.

From their web site:"Since 1990, Environment Ohio staff have filed 12 lawsuits under the Clean Water Act, forcing illegal polluters to pay over $2 million in fines. In a landmark case, Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel paid $700,000 for polluting the Ohio River." Read more.

Learn more about water pollution in Ohio from library materials found with a subject search in OBIS on "water pollution ohio", including this Scientific Investigations report from the U.S. Geological Survey:
Occurrence of organic wastewater compounds in the Tinkers Creek watershed and two other tributaries to the Cuyahoga River, northeast Ohio [electronic resource] / by J.S. Tertuliani.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Solar Panel That Produces Oil

This just arrived in my email from Scientific American, and was too intriguing not to share.
September 17, 2009
Oil Rig of the Future: A Solar Panel That Produces Oil
Researchers propose a novel approach to producing biofuel using diatoms

By Saswato R. Das
a brief excerpt:
"Scientific analysis of diatom oil has shown that it is very suitable for use as biofuel, says T. V. Ramachandra, a professor of ecological sciences at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) who is working on this project with IISc researchers Durga Mahapatra and Karthick Balasubramanian, along with Richard Gordon, a radiology professor at the University of Manitoba in Winnepeg.

[Rmachandra says,] "The oil can be as much as a quarter of the total mass of a diatom cell, and if a way could be found to efficiently wrest it from diatoms, he adds, a hectare of "diatom cultivation could produce 10 to up to 200 times the oil that is produced by soybean cultivation."

Read the article and many comments that express both skepticism and support, at the Scientific American web site.

Want more information on algae as a biofuel? Search:
(algae or algal or diatom*) and biofuel*
in ISI Web of Knowledge (from an OhioLINK library). Over 70 references result, including a number of articles in oil trade publications and business sources as well as technical papers on algae bioengineering.

The library has many books on biofuels, including some ebooks:
Biofuels, solar and wind as renewable energy systems: benefits and risks / David Pimentel, editor. Springer, 2008.
Biofuels for road transport: a seed to wheel perspective / Lucas Reijnders, Mark A.J. Huijbregts. Springer, 2009.

These books, published by Springer, are accessible electronically from any OhioLINK library on the OhioLINK EBook Center. They can also be accessed by OhioLINK members at SpringerLink.com.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Michael Pollan on Health Care Reform

Living on Earth interviewed Michael Pollan this past week (author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food), who argued that health care reform begins with improving what "we put on our plates."

Here is a snippet of the conversation, considering the difficulty faced by people on limited incomes who want to eat healthy food.
Pollan - "You can get 1,250 calories per dollar of chips or cookies but only 250 calories of carrots or broccoli. Um, that is due to the fact that the farm policies we have are favoring the really unhealthy calories. We subsidize corn and soy, which are really the building blocks of fast food. We subsidize feedlot meat, we do a lot to ensure that fast food is cheap. So, I think the personal responsibility argument breaks down pretty quickly and I think you really need to look at the environment in which we're eating and the system that is dictating the choices that we supposedly have."

Listen to this segment on loe.org for September 18, 2009.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Jane Goodall Trumpets Biodiversity on Diane Rhem Show

Why Study Biodiversity? - the big question of the focus for September in the Year of Science - was beautifully answered by Jane Goodall on the Diane Rhem show September 9. One remarkable example given by Ms. Goodall was the endangered burying beetle, which systematically buries carcasses that will provide food for its young and transports the tiny mites which eat fly larvae off the carcass. The marvels of co-evolution are evident in the life cycles of both beetle and mite, as well as the impact on the environment if that partnership is disrupted by the extinction of either.

Listen to the episode, and hear Ms. Goodall discuss the essential roles played by organisms of all types and sizes, the vast number of species in danger of extinction before they are even described or understood, and our dependency on biodiversity for maintaining healthy ecosystems that support human as well as other forms of life. A copy of Goodall's new book is on its way to the Science Library:
Hope for animals and their world : how endangered species are being rescued from the brink / Jane Goodall, with Thane Maynard and Gail Hudson.