Roundup: Compelling Stories for the Month of June

Google Repurposes a Coal Plant

As coal plants shut down in many parts of the world, Google has its eye on a particular site, the Widows Creek coal power plant in Jackson County in Alabama.  The $600 million project hopes to repurpose the soon-to-be defunct plant into a data center, which will then be powered using 100% renewable energy.

Via Digital Trends

 

France’s Ecology Minister Singles Out Nutella for Palm Oil Content

Earlier this month France’s Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal appealed to viewers of French TV network Canal+ to boycott Nutella for its unsustainable palm oil content.

Our favorite spread for our morning toast has a lot of proving itself innocent to do.  (Image from Bloomberg)

Our favorite spread for our morning toast has a lot of proving itself innocent to do. (Image from Bloomberg)

“Oil palms have replaced trees, and therefore caused considerable damage to the environment,” she said.  Greenpeace however …

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Help! My Green Building Isn’t Physically Demanding Enough.

Our buildings are the exact antithesis of the Great Outdoors.  Buildings—especially the modern skyscraper with its complex of offices, commercial spaces, residential areas—have become beautiful enclosures.  Whereas in the past our hunter-gatherer ancestors were always on the go, prowling and hunting in the wild, we on the other hand willingly strap ourselves to our office chairs and become slaves to our sedentary jobs.  We don’t mind because anyway our buildings have deftly merged work, life, and leisure all in one place.

Let's make stairs fun to use again! (Image from  http://www.facilities.uiowa.edu/)

Let’s make stairs fun to use again!
(Image from http://www.facilities.uiowa.edu/)

 

That’s good and all, but sometimes we need green buildings to be a little more physically demanding.  Nowadays everything’s built for our convenience: elevators and escalators, and the most horrendous king of convenience of them all, walkalators.  I’ve seen people actually use the elevator to get to the, hold on, second floor.

Back at my very first …

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Safe Furniture for Better Indoor Air Quality

Not all furniture are created equal.  Your local artisan might have honest-to-goodness intentions when crafting a dining chair, but unfortunately that’s not the scenario in big-time factories that churn out products by the thousands each day.  Mass production, in its quest to speed up manufacturing processes and maintain quality, usually resorts to various nefarious chemicals that wreak havoc on indoor air quality, and ultimately harm human health and the environment.

Exactly how green is this office?  Let the furniture speak for themselves. (Photo from greenliving4live.com)

Exactly how green is this office? Let the furniture speak for themselves. (Photo from greenliving4live.com)

Some of the most common toxic chemicals lurking in our furniture include:

·         formaldehyde,

·         phthalates,

·         naphthalene,

·         triclosan,

·         chlorine,

·         ammonia,

·         polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs),

·         perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), and

·         perchloroethylene (PCE)

And …

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LEED Adopts SITES in the Quest for Sustainable Landscaping

The Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) has recently launched its newly adopted SITES rating system for sustainable landscaping.

Generally regarded as the LEED equivalent for landscapes, the Sustainable Sites Initiative (or SITES) was developed in the fall of 2009 as a joint effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, and the United States Botanic Garden.

A giant safety pin sculpture await the young and old at the New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpure Gardens. A giant safety …

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Recharging Our Aquifers Through Green Building

Back in 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson made a speech regarding water scarcity and conservation for an event called the International Conference on Water for Peace, attended by UN delegates from all over the world.  Coincidentally, a week earlier, President Johnson, had just signed a bill for realizing a plant in California that would double the world’s present capacity for desalting water.

Stark against the sun, the earth lies cracked and parched in drought-ridden California. (Image from Stateofthenation2012.com)

Stark against the sun, the earth lies cracked and parched in drought-ridden California.
(Image from Stateofthenation2012.com)

It’s amazing that as far back as forty-eight years ago—almost half a decade—the world’s leaders were already convening to ponder the state of our waters.  For the average person, such a conference might seem unthinkable, given the fact that we live in a planet that’s two-thirds covered with water.

But while the oceans of the world might seem endless and unfathomable, a lot of it…

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