100,000 tires caught fire in arid Odessa, Texas earlier this month. The blaze was too much for local volunteer firefighters to extinguish as the isolated area’s closest fire hydrant is four miles away. So the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) came to the rescue. Turns out the government body has some value after all, despite what some politicians and the president think. The Texas tire fire started Sunday, April 9 around 3 PM. Roads were closed and local people were told to shutter their windows because of the toxic black smoke billowing from the fire. West Odessa Volunteer Fire Chief Jimmy Ellis told local news publication OA Online the fire was way beyond their means to extinguish. “We haven’t even been able to get down in the pit where it started because it’s so hot you can’t get down in that pit,” he said. “The rubber just stays hot and it will adhere to your boots and the bunker gear.” YouTube user SF1 captured the massive tire fire with a GoPro Karma drone. Related: Republican senator claims the EPA is brainwashing children Firefighters created a break around the pit to at least prevent the fire from spreading, and then the EPA arrived Monday the 10 to help out. In cases like the Texas tire fire – when a disaster is too overwhelming for local or state resources – the agency can provide strategists, teams, and equipment. GOOD said if the agency hadn’t gotten involved the fire may have raged for weeks. Burning tires can emit hundreds of toxic pollutants into the atmosphere, according to Gizmodo, and breathing in that smoke can lead to negative health effects. Investigators don’t yet know who was responsible for the tire fire. OA Online reported the pit of tires is on private property; their storage could have been against regulation. According to a recent Abilene Reporter-News article , authorities said the fire is finally extinguished. Via GOOD and Gizmodo Images via screenshot
Architect Tomislav Soldo designed a handsome mountain cabin that owes its existence to a fortuitously placed walnut tree. Set on a sloped site in the Croatian mountains, the 100-square-meter home was designed and built as an afterthought following the completion of a terrace beneath the shade of a walnut tree. Clad in Siberian larch painted black, the modern building features a ventilated facade and large windows that allow it to glow like a lantern at night. Located in Ogulin, the two-story compact cabin echoes the local vernacular with its use of timber and simple pitched roof . Two layers of black wood tar were painted onto the facade to protect the building from the elements and to minimize maintenance. The 30-centimeter-thick walls were constructed from aerated concrete blocks, saving the architects from adding extra thermal insulation and allowing for speedy construction. Thermal efficiency is improved with the installation of a ventilated facade made from Siberian larch cladding. Related: Salvaged wood clads handsome mountain cabin in Vermont In contrast to the dark facade, the interior features white-painted walls, light-toned timber floors, and black accents such as the wood-burning stove and window trim. The use of a light color palette, high ceilings, and large windows that overlook the mountains and forests give the home a spacious feel despite the small footprint. An open-plan kitchen, living, and dining room are located on the ground floor. The bedroom is placed on the mezzanine level and overlooks the living room below. + Tomislav Soldo Via ArchDaily Images by Jure Živkovi?
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Black mountain cabin lights up like a lantern at night
March 29, 2017 by
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Comments Off on Bye-Bye, Botox: 5 Natural, Needle-Free Ways to Look Younger
168: The number of chemicals the average woman puts on her body each day, according to the Environmental Working Group. 60: The percentage of chemicals that are absorbed by the bloodstream through the skin, our largest organ. What number are you…
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Bye-Bye, Botox: 5 Natural, Needle-Free Ways to Look Younger
Comments Off on Inside the big business of investing in supply chains
Kellogg, IKEA and others are seizing financial opportunities from improving lives and reducing the environmental impacts of millions of smallholders in supply chains.
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Inside the big business of investing in supply chains
Comments Off on House Republicans move to make methane pollution great again
Congressional Republicans are attempting to quickly dismantle former President Barack Obama’s environmental regulations to combat climate change . On Friday, the GOP-controlled House voted 221-191 to overturn an Interior Department rule that aims to limit “fugitive” methane emissions from oil and gas drilling operations on public lands. The natural gas is wasted through leaks, intentional venting, or burning off the gas — a process known as flaring. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global warming potential of methane (CH4) is 34 times stronger than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year time scale and 86 times more potent than CO2 over 20 years when climate carbon feedbacks are included. Three Democrats — Jim Costa (CA-16), Henry Cuellar (TX-28) and Collin Peterson (MN-7) — voted in favor of repealing the rule, while 11 Republicans opposed repeal. According to Open Secrets , a guide to money in politics from the Center for Responsive Politics, Costa received $94,525 from the oil and gas industry during the 2015-2016 campaign cycle, Cuellar received $165,305 in campaign funds from the oil and gas industry, and Peterson received $38,075 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry. Related: Aliso Canyon natural gas facility could reopen despite unresolved issues over leak “The rollback gives companies permission to waste $330 million dollars of public assets a year, and generate huge amounts of avoidable pollution that contaminates our air and has a devastating effect on public health,” said Elizabeth Thompson, president of the Environmental Defense Action Fund, in a statement . “We call on the U.S. Senate to protect the interests of the American people, and not cast a vote for business as usual for the oil and gas industry.” The legislation next goes to the Republican-majority Senate for a vote. In addition to allowing unchecked gas flaring again, House Republicans last week voted to repeal an Obama era rule designed to keep coal waste from contaminating streams and waterways. According to the Interior Department, the regulation protects 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests, preventing coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby waters. Via The Washington Post Images via Flickr 1 , 2 Save
January 12, 2017 by
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Comments Off on Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson says Trump is wrong about climate change
In a startling statement, Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson publicly disagreed with the President-elect’s position on climate change. While Trump has stated he wants to withdraw from the Paris agreement, and has characterized climate change as an anti-American “hoax,” Tillerson told Congress , “I think it’s important that the United States maintain its seat at the table on the conversations around how to address the threats of climate change, which do require a global response. No one country is going to solve this alone.” Tillerson’s position is an interesting one, considering that he’s the former CEO of ExxonMobil, a company that’s been accused of misleading the public on the existence of climate change since the 1960s . In fact, the company continues to fund climate-denial research to this day. Despite this, Tillerson insisted that he believes the “risk of climate change does exist” and that the consequences could be serious enough to “warrant action.” Related: Americans don’t trust climate change science because of fossil fuel industry’s disinformation While Tillerson has said Trump is aware of his views and he would be willing to advise the administration to take climate change seriously (perhaps with a bit more caution than environmentalists would like), it’s unclear if this could actually change Trump’s approach in any way. The administration’s other nominees have come out firmly against the very concept of climate change – including Rick Perry, Trump’s proposed head of the Department of Energy , and Scott Pruitt, the pick for head of the Environmental Protection Agency . Although Tillerson appears to grudgingly accept the reality of climate change, that’s no reason for the American public to let our guard down. The would-be Secretary of State did not address whether he believes climate change poses a threat to national security – an opinion held by the nation’s foremost military expert. He also refused to discuss ExxonMobil’s longstanding war against scientific research on the subject, and he would not give a firm answer on whether he would suspend US funding to the UN Green Climate Fund. There’s also the troubling matter of the former exec’s troubling ties to Vladimir Putin , which critics fear could compromise his ability to perform his duties effectively. Via Mother Jones Images via William Munoz and Wikimedia Commons
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Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson says Trump is wrong about climate change
Comments Off on How even skyscrapers can be circular
Buildings account for nearly 40 percent of energy usage. Prefabrication is just one way to lessen their environmental impact.
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How even skyscrapers can be circular
Comments Off on Is this how Monsanto can rehabilitate its image?
The only way to sequester carbon is through plants, the controversial seed giant says of curbing the environmental impact of farming.
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Is this how Monsanto can rehabilitate its image?
Comments Off on BP oil platform in the North Sea leaks and there are no plans to clean it up
There’s more odious news from BP this week: oil has leaked in the North Sea . About 95 metric tons, or almost 105 US tons, of oil leaked from BP’s Clair platform ” west of the Shetland Islands .” BP plans to allow the oil to “disperse naturally,” but The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Scotland is concerned about the environmental damage the unchecked spill could cause. On Sunday around 10 AM, “oil in water” leaked from the Clair platform into the sea after a “technical issue” with a system that separates “mixed production fluids” of oil, water, and gas, according to BP. They say they halted the leak “within an hour once the issue had been identified” and took the field offline. Related: BP gives top executives a 20% salary hike despite 7,000 recent layoffs Oil Spill Response Limited ; the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy ; and BP “oil spill and environmental experts” worked together to determine the best way to handle the leak, according to the company. In a statement, BP said, “At present, it is considered that the most appropriate response is to allow the oil to disperse naturally at sea, but contingencies for other action are being prepared.” Meanwhile, a RSPB Scotland spokesperson told The Guardian many “sensitive seabird species” could be at risk as they disperse from breeding colonies in Norway and the Shetland Islands out to the Atlantic Ocean. The spokesperson said, “We need to know from BP and the maritime agencies exactly what type of oil has been spilled, if it is breaking up in the water column, and what the statutory conservation agencies are advising. It is critical that there is a full and open report of what has happened, with assurances that the situation will be monitored, and details of seabird concentrations in the vicinity revealed as soon as possible.” BP said in their statement that through surveillance flights and “oil spill modeling,” they think the oil is moving north away from the land, and a recent flight revealed oil is already dispersing. Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons and BP Facebook
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BP oil platform in the North Sea leaks and there are no plans to clean it up
Comments Off on White House orders every government agency to consider climate change
The White House Council on Environmental Quality released a 34-page document on Tuesday directing government agencies to consider climate change in their environmental reviews. The Obama Administration said the policy is “intended to help agencies make informed and transparent decisions about the impacts of climate change associated with their actions.” The final guidance is the culmination of a six-year process shaping how federal agencies will factor climate change into their decisions. Under the guidance, agencies must consider a project’s impact on climate change via direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions as well as the effect global warming could have on the action. Examples include rising sea levels, extreme weather, drought and wildfires. The guidance could have wide-ranging consequences for federal projects – from roads to rail to fossil fuel infrastructure. Related: Obama to target Arctic and Atlantic oil drilling in fight against climate change “Simply put, this is a commonsense step that underlines the Administration’s commitment to addressing climate change,” Chase Huntley, senior director of the Wilderness Society ’s energy and climate campaign, told The Washington Post . “Federal land management agencies should implement this guidance without delay, and use cutting-edge science to make climate-smart decisions.” The environmental review process for government agencies is required by law under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) . Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on January 1, 1970, NEPA requires federal agencies to consider the environmental consequences of their actions. The introduction to NEPA states that the purpose of the Act is “to declare national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation; and to establish a Council on Environmental Quality.” + White House Council on Environmental Quality Via The Washington Post Images via Wikimedia 1, 2
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White House orders every government agency to consider climate change