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Archive for the ‘Green Living’ Category

Note: This is another segment of an interview with Huntington Beach mayor  Keith Bohr, conducted in November, 2008.

Water Conservation in Huntington Beach.

Q: What are some specific things we can do in Huntington Beach to conserve water?

Mayor Keith Bohr, Huntington Beach, California

Mayor Keith Bohr, Huntington Beach, California

Well you start with education before you make it a law. Don’t water down your driveways, sweep them. Do your sprinklers every other day. Only do them for five minutes.

People already know that. Right? They’ve been educated about that.

There’s still room for a ton of improvement. I’m trying to educate my gardener still. It’s a constant battle. What they’re doing with groundwater replenishment, that’s huge. A huge expense and I think it’s been well worth it. Don’t go make it salt water and try to desal it. Let’s capture it early. Put it in, let it filter itself through the whole normal process basically. I say do all three prongs. But then as we get closer, mandatory; it’s the law, you get fines if you get caught watering your driveway down. If you have a swimming pool like I do you can’t change that water but once every five years. You end up going on a shared water system and you get punished like on an electric bill.

Do you think there’s any chance of getting that passed on this new city council?

I would like to maximize the education and figure out how the gap relates on those tiers, like how many kids and people are in your household. You have to do several things to hit different baselines. If you have six kids obviously you should use more water than somebody who has no kids…When I lived in a condo for 15 years I had an electric bill of $15. Then I moved into a house where’s it’s several hundred and I go `holy schmoley, what’s going on?’ I went to fluorescents. So you pay attention. So the tier system would help incentify that, right? You think that water’s cheap. It is. You think of water, it’s something that’s so fragile and so scarce, it is…So it makes you wonder why it isn’t already more incentified. So I think that one of the things that we absolutely are going to. I don’t know if that’s going to happen on our term or not, but we need to start looking at that, absolutely. (more…)

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Sarah S. Mosko
OC Voice

For the nine in ten Americans who know next to nothing about nanotechnology (NT), there is little time to waste in getting up to speed because, ready or not, the NT revolution is well underway with new nano-engineered consumer products entering the market weekly.

Multi-walled carbon nanotubes exhibit unique properties. Photo courtesy of PEN.

Multi-walled carbon nanotubes exhibit unique properties. Photo courtesy of PEN.

Another reason, as voiced by consumer protection, health, and environmental organizations, is that NT products are being sold without adequate safety testing and government oversight.

The actual number of NT products in commerce is unknown because there is no labeling or reporting requirement, but over 800 have been tabulated by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN), an online inventory of manufacturer-identified NT goods funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

In 2007, at least $147 billion in global manufactured goods incorporated NT, encompassing such varied products as cosmetics, clothing, food, food packaging, and dietary supplements.  PEN estimates that figure will reach $2.6 trillion by 2014. (more…)

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By Sarah Mosko
OC Voice

It’s not much of a stretch to liken America’s relationship with cells phones to a once sizzling romance that ends in good bye.

Given all the environmental costs of cell phones, certainly the most eco-friendly cell is the one you already own.

Given all the environmental costs of cell phones, certainly the most eco-friendly cell is the one you already own.

Fated love affairs typically begin with blind infatuation and fiery passion before reality sets in, cooling the embers enough to allow more guarded, sometimes less attractive aspects of the self to surface. Interest wanes until the love object is abandoned or replaced by an alluring new one.

Americans relate to cell phones in much the same way. An old phone, with once novel features that drew fascination, is discarded with hardly a thought when an updated model makes it seem obsolete.

That consumers replace cell phones about every two years–with Californians purchasing in a single year nearly one new cell for every two state residents–makes this analogy seem less silly.

A parallel can be drawn too between the innards of a cell phone and what is revealed when one person lets another peek inside:  it’s not all pretty. Some nasty materials lurk behind the bright shiny casing, making cell phone disposal a knotty environmental issue, analogous to ending, with minimal damages, a relationship gone sour. (more…)

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By Sara Mosko
OC Voice

surfers

Surfing might seem like an earth-friendly sport, but a closer look reveals that the environmental impact may be more than you realize. Photo c1967 at Old Man’s Beach, San Clemente, California.

At first glance, surfing might seem like an inherently earth-friendly sport. Surfers paddle out and catch waves by sheer force of will and muscle. No need for fossil fuel-burning speed boats to get around. And, surfers have a reputation for caring about ocean pollution.

But a closer look reveals that, like most human activities, the environmental impact is far from nil and, consequently, there’s a nascent movement within the surfing industry to clean up it its act.

The Essentials
The bare necessities of surfing are surfboard, wetsuit, good waves and wheels to and fro. The waves are courtesy of Mother Nature, but the choices surfers make to otherwise outfit themselves determine the toll on the environment.

Lightweight polyurethane (PU) boards swathed in fiberglass cloth and polyester resin have been the industry mainstay since heavy wood boards were ditched in the 1950s. Because both PU and polyester are petrochemicals, the enviro impact starts with environmental degradation during petroleum extraction.

Then there’s the emission of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) during PU synthesis from two petrochemicals-a  ‘polyol’ plus a highly volatile and toxic compound called TID. The foam molding stage eats up plenty of energy and more air polluting VOCs are given off when the board is glassed. (more…)

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