Thursday, September 30, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Millennium Stadium is not satisfied with just playing host to football tournaments during the 2012 Olympics, it wants to become the UK’s first certifiably “green” venue as well.
Based in Cardiff, the stadium operators are looking to meet the requirements for British Standard accreditation, which is accepted as credentials throughout the events industry. Already earning the award are Earls Court and Olympia in London, but Millennium Stadium aims to be the first to receive the official green mark from the regulatory group.
Rainwater harvesting in the pitch irrigation system, infra red controls in the toilets to prevent unnecessary flushing and meters installed to monitor energy and water consumption have started the ball rolling at the iconic multi-event venue.
The body which awards the British Standard green mark will monitor the stadium’s “sustainability journey” with a pre-assessment in December.
The stadium’s manager, Gerry Toms said that the arena had always sought to be conscious of the environment and its impact, but now the venue operators are seeking to run the business as efficiently as possible. He added that major events at the stadium bring in more than £100m in cash into the local economy.
In addition to the infrastructure improvements, the stadium’s caterers, Compass Group UK continues to only serve products from local growers.
Darren Crossman, the stadium’s facilities manager said that all waste collected and generated by the stadium is recycled.
“We produce between 350 and 500 tons of waste per year and all recyclable material is segregated for that purpose, leaving only residual waste that cannot be treated.
“We have been busy upgrading the building management system to give a better control on equipment such as heating and ventilation and are looking at alternative ways to produce electricity, such as photo voltaic cells and small wind turbines.”
Environment Minister Jane Davidson said: “I commend the team at the Millennium Stadium for the efforts it is making to make the building more sustainable.”
Thursday, September 23, 2010
By Theodora Filis
A unique project to test clean electricity generation from the tides off the West Wales coast is to receive a £1.4m EU funding boost said Environment Minister, Jane Davidson. “Earlier this year I launched our energy policy statement A Low Carbon Revolution which outlines that Wales has the potential to produce nearly twice the amount of electricity it currently uses, through wholly renewable sources by 2025.”
Although not yet widely used, tidal power has potential for future electricity generation. Tides are more predictable than wind energy and solar power. Among sources of renewable energy, tidal power has traditionally suffered from relatively high cost and limited availability of sites with sufficiently high tidal ranges or flow velocities, thus constricting its total availability. However, many recent technological developments and improvements, both in design (e.g. dynamic tidal power, tidal lagoons) and turbine technology (e.g. new axial turbines, cross flow turbines), are suggesting that the total availability of tidal power may be much higher than previously assumed, and that economic and environmental costs may be brought down to competitive levels.
Because the Earth's tides are caused by the tidal forces due to gravitational interaction with the Moon and Sun, and the Earth's rotation, tidal power is practically inexhaustible and classified as a renewable energy source. A tidal generator uses this phenomenon to generate electricity. The stronger the tide, either in water level height or tidal current velocities, the greater the potential for tidal electricity generation.
The money will be spent on a feasibility study to develop DeltaStream technology and assess the suitability of a site in West Wales for tidal stream testing. It will be backed with £572,000 from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Assembly Government.
DeltaStream was conceived by Marine Engineer Richard Ayre with initial research funding from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Marine Nature Reserve. Experts from Cranfield University in England undertook detailed design and optimisation of the blade design with funding from Carbon Connections.
DeltaStream uses the same concept as a wind turbine together with ship propeller technology. The benefits of this design include:
Lightweight gravity foundation
Easy to manufacture
Easy to deploy and recover
Easy to maintain
Operates in varied water depth and velocity
Low environmental impact
The device will save substantial amounts of CO2 by the direct replacement of the electrical energy from fossil fuels or the growth requirement from a renewable resource.
As part of the package Tidal Energy Limited, the company behind the technology, will be able to carry out site surveys, environmental assessments and design work at the proposed demonstration site at Ramsey Sound, Pembrokeshire.
It is expected that the funding will lead to the deployment of a full-scale prototype device in 2011.
This environmental writer hopes to be writing about the success of this program in the near future
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Fluoride has been added to drinking water (about one-part per-million) for over 65 years. Currently 70 percent of Americans drink fluoridated water. In the last two years dozens of communities in US states (Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, Vermont, Washington, Maine, New York, Massachusetts, and California,) have rejected water-fluoridation.
Fluoride is a serious threat to health, causing many to question why it’s still being added to our tap water. Advocates of fluoride in water routinely dismiss those voicing concerns as conspiracy theorists, but what will be said about warnings that the volcanic ash now settling over Europe contains naturally-high levels of fluoride that may contaminate water supplies and threaten the health of livestock and people.
The American Dental Association, in a published statement, says that mothers should be careful not to prepare baby foods with fluoridated water from the tap, as the fluoride contained in it could be bad for developing babies' teeth:
"Recent studies cited in the report of the National Research Council (NRC), Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards, have raised the possibility that infants could receive a greater than optimal amount of fluoride through liquid concentrate or powdered baby formula that has been mixed with water containing fluoride during a time that their developing teeth may be susceptible to enamel fluorosis."
To be sure, the statement adds that fluoride prevents tooth decay, but admits that too much of the stuff is not good and can damage tooth enamel. The association also points out that "fluorosis is not a disease but rather affects the way that teeth look".
The effects of less acute fluorine poisoning range from discoloration and pitting of the teeth (dental fluorosis) to skeletal abnormalities, vomiting and diarrhea, kidney failure and spasms. Most of these maladies don’t show up except when people take fluoride supplements or drink water unusually rich in fluoride. But dental fluorosis seems to have become more common since the onset of fluoridation. Sensitive individuals suffer from fluoride even at extremely low levels. People with kidney problems are especially at risk because they cannot flush fluoride efficiently from their system.
These effects may be compounded by the largely unnoticed increase in average fluoride consumption. Foods and beverages processed with fluoridated water did not exist when health authorities set recommended fluoride levels in the water.
Fluoridation of water, salt, and milk varies from country to country. The water in the US is heavily fluoridated. Ireland is one of the few European countries where water is routinely fluoridated in an effort to “stop tooth decay”, yet the problem persists. Other EU countries have recognized that adding fluoride causes more problems than it solves and has stopped the practice.
Those opposed call it mass-medicating. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention honor fluoridated-water as one of the great public health achievements of the 20th century.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
By Theodora Filis
Half a million residents of Bhopal, India were poisoned when the Union-Carbide pesticide manufacturing plant released extremely volatile methyl isocyanine gas and other toxins into the air on December 3, 1984 killing 35,000 people and poisoning thousands more.
Twenty-five years after the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the Madhya Pradesh government, and the US Supreme Court have re-opened the case. Activists are considering this a small victory after years of petitioning for the rights of the people affected by the accident.
The Indian supreme court hopes to answer questions that have haunted the people of Bhopal all these years:
Should charges of culpable homicide be back on the table?
Who was responsible for the arrest and immediate release of Warren Anderson - Chairman & CEO of Union Carbide in 1984?
Why does the Bhopal factory continue to leak poisonous chemicals into the air, soil and water after 25 years?
Who was responsible for the clean-up, and why hasn’t anyone been held accountable?
Events of that day have been etched in the hearts and minds of activists and residents of Bhopal for over 25 years.
“3rd of December 1984 dawned like any other day at Bhusaval Junction the heart of Central Railway operations. It was a pleasant bracing winter morning and it was business as usual. But, by 6:00am it was evident a disaster had struck Bhopal. No trains were leaving Bhopal and those which entered just seemed to have disappeared into a ‘black hole’. Nobody knew exactly what had happened except that some gas had engulfed Bhopal leaving in its wake thousands of humans choking, coughing and blinded.“ V. Anand, Bhusaval Junction Manager
“The sight at Itarsi” said Anand, “was something straight out of Dante’s Inferno. Dozens of men, women and children were writhing in agony and we watched them in horrified helplessness. Death was a welcome relief to the victims, their eyeballs swollen red and bursting, every breath bringing agony to their burning lungs. The screams of the tortured bodies were in different languages. Train after train went past Itarsi discharging the bodies of the victims of the monstrous gas .”
The final question yet to be answered is how individuals primarily responsible for this disaster have escaped responsibility.
Thursday, September 02, 2010
By Theodora Filis
Q. My question to Theodora: Is if you had to put together a list of your top 6 environmental issues of the 21st century, what will they be?Happy answering! ~Bree
A. Depending on what part of the world you live in, each one of these environmental issues will impact you differently, yet each issue effects us all and demands global attention.
1. Climate Change
Climate Change has been the topic of more scientific research, political debate and public concern than any environmental issue of the past 10 years. Although climate change has sparked worldwide concern, it has failed to inspire world leaders to set aside their national agendas’ and work together toward a global strategy.
Recommended reading: “The Climate War” by Eric Pooley. Provides a behind the scenes look at the efforts to solve the climate crisis.
2. Global Water Crisis
According to the New Global Water Security Index, 10 countries worldwide, including 5 African nations are at “extreme risk” because of limited access to clean, fresh water. The effects of climate change and population growth will exacerbate the stress on these water supplies, potentially threatening stability in many regions. Among the nations most at risk are Somalia, Mauritania, Sudan, Niger, and Iraq. Other nations at extreme risk including Pakistan, Egypt and Uzbekistan are already facing internal and boarder tensions because of limited water supplies.
Global water crisis statistics:
3. Endangered Species
The disruption of the food chain and fragile ecosystems have been pressing issues from 2000 till now. Once a link is disturbed, every balance is lost. There is an urgent need is to save the environmental niche of endangered animals on a global scale.
Comprehensive list of endangered species by country:
4. Food Safety and Chemical Contamination
World Health Organization reports: “The contamination of food by chemical hazards is a worldwide public health concern and is a leading cause of trade problems internationally. Contamination may occur through environmental pollution of the air, water and soil, such as the case with toxic metals, PCBs and dioxins, or through the intentional use of various chemicals, such as pesticides, animal drugs and other agrochemicals.”
View the complete report: http://www.who.int/
“Despite increased awareness of the importance of these forests, deforestation rates have not slowed. Analysis of figures from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) shows that tropical deforestation rates increased 8.5 percent from 2000-2005 when compared with the 1990s, while loss of primary forests may have expanded by 25 percent over the same period. Nigeria and Vietnam's rate of primary forest loss has doubled since the 1990s, while Peru's rate has tripled.”
Global deforestation rates: http://rainforests.
6. Biodiversity and Land Use
Every type of land use involves utilization of land resources for human benefit. Biodiversity is a land resource that is more often the target for human utilization. Land use may therefore, have direct effects on biodiversity, especially when the form of land involves harvesting or modifying the land cover.
There are 4 other environmental issues that cause me great concern. They are Ozone Layer Depletion, Air Pollution, Energy, Oceans and Fisheries.