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E / The Environmental Magazine – QNotes

EarthTalk: Tennessee coal ash spill

Dear EarthTalk: What were the environmental impacts of the huge coal ash spill in Tennessee this past December? — Dave S, Lynnfield, MA Environmentalists’ call for an end to the age of coal — one of the dirtiest and most common of all the fossil fuels we now use — took on new urgency this …

EarthTalk: Two Questions

Dear EarthTalk: What is the status of Hawaiian monk seals and how will the new national monument designation in the waters around the Hawaiian Islands affect them? — Polly LaBarre, New York, NY Easily exploited by hunters, whalers and fishermen in the 19th century, Hawaiian monk seals essentially never recovered. As early as 1976, the …

EarthTalk: Living near a gas station?

Dear EarthTalk: I am looking at possibly buying a house that is very close to a gasoline station. Is it safe to live so close to a gas station? What concerns should I have? I have toddler and infant babies. — Ranjeeta, Houston, Texas Despite all the modern health and safety guidelines they must follow, …

EarthTalk: Techie greening solutions

Dear EarthTalk: What are some of the leading proposed technological fixes for staving off global warming, and how feasible are they? James Harris, Columbus, Ohio While most of the world fixates on how to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases we emit into the atmosphere, scientists and engineers around the …

EarthTalk – What is microfinancing?

Dear EarthTalk: What is “microfinance” and how does it help poor countries and preserve the environment? — Eliza Clark, Seattle, WA The brainchild of Grameen Foundation founder Muhammad Yunus, microfinancing is a form of banking whereby financial institutions offer small loans to the poor. The idea behind the concept, which originated in Bangladesh in the …

Renting ‘green’ for the road

EarthTalk

Dear EarthTalk: I’ve heard that most of the big car rental companies have gone “green” lately. What’s the story? — Ari Zucker, New York, NY No doubt, rental car companies large and small have responded to increased consumer demand for fuel efficiency in the last few years by stocking up on gasoline-electric hybrids and other …

EarthTalk: Keep the old or buy new

Dear EarthTalk: Is it better to drive an older, well-maintained car that gets about 25 miles per gallon or to buy a new car that gets about 35 miles per gallon? — Edward Peabody, via e-mail It definitely makes more sense from a green perspective to keep your old car running and well-maintained as long …

EarthTalk: Desalinization worries

Online Extra Dear EarthTalk: With all the talk of desalinization of ocean water for drinking, what do we know about the impacts this might have on climate, ocean salinity and other natural processes? — Fred Kuepper, via email Due to its high cost, energy intensiveness and overall ecological footprint, most environmental advocates view desalinization (or …