Eco-Vocab: Compost

Compost: Decayed organic material (like food and yard debris) used to improve soil and provide nutrients as plant fertilizer.

Composting involves mixing yard and household organic waste in a pile or bin and providing conditions that encourage decomposition.

There are tons of kitchen scraps you can add to a compost pile – and only a few you shouldn’t since they can attract unwanted pests. Here’s a list of kitchen things that shouldn’t be composted: meat, fish, fat, grease, dairy, pasta & bread products, rice, and bones.

Click here for an easy guide on starting your own compost bin.

Domestic Drilling Doesn’t Lower Gas Prices

The Associated Press just released findings on a statistical analysis of 36 years of monthly, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and U.S. domestic oil production that found no statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump. And there you have it. In essence, drill, baby drill is just a pipe dream. Literally.

According to AP, “If more domestic oil drilling worked as politicians say, you’d now be paying about $2 a gallon for gasoline. Instead, you’re paying the highest prices ever for March.”

So why doesn’t domestic drilling lower the cost of gas at home? Oil is a global commodity and gas prices are subject to global actions that U.S. producers cannot control. Unrest in the Middle East and the increase of cars and production in China and India are two factors that contribute to rising gas costs. Continue reading

The Future We Want: What is the Rio+20 Earth Summit?

“Rio+20” is the short name for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. On June 20-22, the Brazilian government expects some 110 presidents and prime ministers to join 50,000 leaders and citizens in Rio de Janeiro for the Rio+20 Earth Summit, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the historic Earth Summit in 1992. It is anticipated that countries, corporations and communities will make promises there to take action on clean energy, green economy jobs, oceans, cities and other key areas.

“Rio+20 will be one of the most important global meetings on sustainable development in our time.”

– UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The official UN slogan for the conference is “The Future We Want” and they’ve launched a social media campaign around the slogan to help find out just what people envision that being.

“Through social media, we hope to reach an ever-growing number of people about the importance of the conference and the need to take action now to advance sustainable development.” said Sha Zukang, Secretary-General of the Rio+20 conference. He added that the movement was “critical for the success of Rio+20.”

What kind of world you would like to live in 20 years from now? Continue reading

New PBS Series ‘Food Forward’ Highlights Viable Alternatives to the Industrial Food System

Where does our food come from? Was it produced in a manner that was sustainable and didn’t cause harm to the environment? These are questions more and more of us seek answers to. Food Forward, a new series on PBS highlights ‘food rebels across America who are striving to create a more just, sustainable and delicious alternative to what we eat and how we produce it.’

Watch the inspirational trailer for Food Forward below.

Continue reading

Rosario Dawson Teams Up With Amtrak for National Train Day

EMA Young Hollywood Board Member, Rosario Dawson is joining Amtrak as a spokesperson for the 5th Annual National Train Day.

Dawson is a great fit for Amtrak being that she is an ardent environmentalist and as Emmett Fremaux, Amtrak VP, Marketing and Product Development says, she is “passionate about staying connected to her community and is someone who enjoys the journey, not just the destination.”

“I am delighted to join Amtrak and train fans everywhere in celebrating National Train Day. I love trains not only because they offer a more intimate way to see the country and experience the communities along the way, but also because they are one of the greenest ways to travel, which is a value that has always been important to me,” says Rosario Dawson.

A celebration of train travel and the ways that trains touch the lives of people across America, National Train Day will take place in Dawson’s native New York City, at train stations in Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles, and in communities nationwide, on Saturday, May 12, 2012. Continue reading

Sustainability 101: College Campuses Ban Bottled Water

In a move to reduce plastic waste and encourage the use of reusable bottles, colleges across the US are banning the sale of bottled water on campus. According to Mother Nature Network, more than 90 colleges have so far banned or restricted the sale of plastic water bottles.

Campuses are installing hydration stations (er, water fountains 2.0?) and loading up incoming freshman with reusable bottles that they can use to fill up.

Schools like Harvard, Brown, Princeton and Dartmouth have already gotten in on the bottled water-reduction action. The University of Vermont will begin phasing out the sale of water bottles on campus early next year. Continue reading

A Piece of “Power Felt” Can Charge Your Cell Phone With Body Heat

A team of researchers at Wake Forest University have developed a thermoelectric fabric (aka Power Felt) that converts body heat into an electric current. What that means is that you may soon be able to charge your iPhone by sitting on it.

Grad student Corey Hewitt explains that, “We waste a lot of energy in the form of heat. For example, recapturing a car’s energy waste could help improve fuel mileage and power the radio, air conditioning or navigation system.”

“Generally thermoelectrics are an underdeveloped technology for harvesting energy, yet there is so much opportunity.”

That potential opportunity comes in the form of using Power Felt to insulate buildings, clothing, and car seats to name a few. Continue reading