For PM Environmental, tomorrow’s business starts with technology

PR Web - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 16:08

PM Environmental adopts EDRs workflow tool - PARCEL

(PRWeb May 06, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/05/prweb11825141.htm

Categories: Environment

The 12 things the Obama administration wants you to know about climate change

Grist.org - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 15:34

Climate change is affecting you, right now. Yeah, you.

That’s the message from the Obama administration today. “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” says the latest National Climate Assessment, published by the White House. Every few years, by law, the federal government is required to publish such a report; this is the third and most comprehensive one put out. It’s a hefty catalogue of changes underway in America’s climate and weather — and of the changes we can expect to experience as greenhouse gases continue to turn the world into a more exotic and less welcoming place.

“Summers are longer and hotter, and extended periods of unusual heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced,” the report says. “Winters are generally shorter and warmer. Rain comes in heavier downpours. People are seeing changes in the length and severity of seasonal allergies, the plant varieties that thrive in their gardens, and the kinds of birds they see in any particular month in their neighborhoods.”

The report is somewhat similar to the assessments published once or twice a decade by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Except that this report’s focus is solely on the U.S. And, unlike the IPCC reports, this one is actually a pleasure to look at – replete with graphics, animated gifs, and an easy-to-read website for those who would prefer to not slog through a huge .pdf or printed report.

The report divides climate impacts into 10 geographical regions: Northeast, Southeast and the Caribbean, Midwest, Great Plains, Southwest, Northwest, AlaskaHawai’i and Pacific Islands, Oceans, Coasts.

“Some of the changes discussed in this report are common to many regions,” it states. “For example, large increases in heavy precipitation have occurred in the Northeast, Midwest, and Great Plains, where heavy downpours have frequently led to runoff that exceeded the capacity of storm drains and levees, and caused flooding events and accelerated erosion. Other impacts, such as those associated with the rapid thawing of permafrost in Alaska, are unique to a particular U.S. region. Permafrost thawing is causing extensive damage to infrastructure in our nation’s largest state.”

The report painstakingly outlines the impacts of climate change across the nation on water resources (water won’t always flow out of your tap when you want it to), energy (more blackouts), human health (what rhymes with mosquito?), transportation (traffic jams and transit outages, especially near coasts), agriculture (food is getting harder to find — unless you’re a plague of warmth-fostered invasive pests), forests (drought, fire, disease, and ravenous insects where trees once stood), and ecosystems (weird seasons are pushing wildlife into hostile ecological terrain).

And it contains 12 main findings — big-picture things that every American needs to understand about climate change:

1. Global climate is changing and this is apparent across the United States in a wide range of observations. The global warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human activities, predominantly the burning of fossil fuels.

2. Some extreme weather and climate events have increased in recent decades, and new and stronger evidence confirms that some of these increases are related to human activities.

3. Human-induced climate change is projected to continue, and it will accelerate significantly if global emissions of heat-trapping gases continue to increase.

4. Impacts related to climate change are already evident in many sectors and are expected to become increasingly disruptive across the nation throughout this century and beyond.

5. Climate change threatens human health and well-being in many ways, including through more extreme weather events and wildfire, decreased air quality, and diseases transmitted by insects, food, and water.

6. Infrastructure is being damaged by sea level rise, heavy downpours, and extreme heat; damages are projected to increase with continued climate change.

7. Water quality and water supply reliability are jeopardized by climate change in a variety of ways that affect ecosystems and livelihoods.

8. Climate disruptions to agriculture have been increasing and are projected to become more severe over this century.

9. Climate change poses particular threats to Indigenous Peoples’ health, well- being, and ways of life.

10. Ecosystems and the benefits they provide to society are being affected by climate change. The capacity of ecosystems to buffer the impacts of extreme events like fires, floods, and severe storms is being overwhelmed.

11. Ocean waters are becoming warmer and more acidic, broadly affecting ocean circulation, chemistry, ecosystems, and marine life.

12. Planning for adaptation (to address and prepare for impacts) and mitigation (to reduce future climate change, for example by cutting emissions) is becoming more widespread, but current implementation efforts are insufficient to avoid increasingly negative social, environmental, and economic consequences.

So we have a lot to worry about. But the more than 300 experts who collaborated on the report, under the direction of the 60-member National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee, have plenty of advice for taking action. A response strategies section includes a mitigation chapter (“the amount of future climate change will largely be determined by choices society makes about emissions,” it reminds us) and a chapter dealing with adaptation (“adaptation planning is occurring in the public and private sectors and at all levels of government,” it notes, “but few measures have been implemented.”)

This graphic shows some of the changes that we’ve unleashed upon the world, thanks to our appetites for fossil-fueled power:

National Climate AssessmentClick to embiggen.
Filed under: Article, Climate & Energy, Politics
Categories: Environment

Tibet Travel Org CITS Updates Top Ten FAQs on Tibet Tours

PR Web - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 13:07

Mr. Kunga, a senior Tibetan tour guide of Tibet Travel Org CITS (http://www.tibettravel.org), answers top ten most frequently asked questions...

(PRWeb May 06, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/tibet-travel-faqs/2014/prweb11760406.htm

Categories: Environment

Pure Minutes Celebrates Mother’s Day with a Special Long Distance...

PR Web - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 13:07

Moms Agree, they look forward to that call on Mother’s Day.

(PRWeb May 06, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/05/prweb11813645.htm

Categories: Environment

Florida Governor Commits to Bill That Legalizes Medical Marijuana for...

PR Web - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 13:07

A&A Packaging comments on Florida's Governor Rick Scott signing of a bill that will legalize a low grade strain of medical marijuana, despite high levels of regulation and state compliance...

(PRWeb May 06, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/05/prweb11826477.htm

Categories: Environment

Fiberon Decking Wins Two 2014 Awards for Design Excellence [ADEX]

PR Web - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 13:07

Fiberon Decking garners two honors from the Awards for Design Excellence committee; products include Paramount Decking and Good Life Decking. With composite decking products winning both gold and...

(PRWeb May 06, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/04/prweb11780186.htm

Categories: Environment

Narconon Freedom Center Holds Easter Celebration

PR Web - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 13:07

Narconon Freedom Center drug rehab center holds annual Easter celebration dinner for clients and families at facility.

(PRWeb May 06, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/05/prweb11823253.htm

Categories: Environment

Nominations for Seafood Champion Awards Open

PR Web - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 13:07

Winners to be announced during SeaWeb Seafood Summit

(PRWeb May 06, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/05/prweb11824023.htm

Categories: Environment

Venstar and 981 Media Debut “Controlling Your Furnace or Boiler...

PR Web - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 13:07

ColorTouch Video Shows Owners of Older Heating Systems How to Save on Energy Bills

(PRWeb May 06, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/Venstar-ColorTouch/2Wire-Kit/prweb11827211.htm

Categories: Environment

Hemp is having its moment. Meet the miracle plant’s biggest champion

Grist.org - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 12:22

We’ve heard about the promise of hemp before: Its fibers are stronger than steel. Its seeds make for antioxidant-loaded superfood for you and your chickens. It can compete with fossil fuel as a viable alternative energy source. But ever since the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, the U.S. has skunked hemp’s potential.

Now, Mary Jane’s younger cousin is having a moment. Included in the recent farm bill is an amendment that allows research of the plant at colleges and universities. And more states have taken up the charge recently. Hawaii just passed an industrial hemp bill for research purposes. Both New York and Illinois are introducing similar legislation, and Missouri just passed a bill (now heading to the governor’s desk) allowing hemp extract to be used to treat epileptic seizures. And of the two states where cannabis is legalized, it’s already growing in Colorado.

Enter Doug Fine, author of the new book Hemp Bound and one of the miracle plant’s biggest cheerleaders. He’s met hemp farmers and researchers, checked out a hemp house in Canada, and even rode in a hemp-powered limo, all to prove that the plant is the next big thing for a sustainable future. He sat down with Grist to talk about why he believes hemp holds the key to “a food and energy revolution” that will also become a vital part of climate change mitigation.

Q. It seems like a very promising time for hemp! Now that research is allowed, what hemp possibilities are you most excited about?

A. It’s all coming together so rapidly. It’s such a magical time. When I went to research Hemp Bound I had no idea that the farm bill was going to include a hemp provision. I just knew that hemp was really important for the future of energy. That’s what I think is the most exciting thing about hemp – its potential for energy, its massive biomass that can be used to replace fossil fuels. While researching the book I found some very forward-thinking, sustainable farmers who said the cellulose stalks of hemp have big energy potential. So I wanted to connect the dots and see if there really was potential for hemp as a fossil fuel application. And it turns out there is.

Q. How does hemp work as an alternative energy source? And is it truly a feasible replacement for fossil fuels?

A. Individual farms can produce energy from their biomass waste and sell it to their regional grid. There are basically small power plants that use biomass, and the carbon exchange is all on the sustainability side of the ledger. The town of Feldheim in Germany turned one of Europe’s highest unemployment rates into zero unemployment by building a regional utility that put people to work collecting and using their farm waste in this kind of process. We can do this with hemp.

Santa Fe, N.M., actually had a similar plan for their whole utility system. It was scalable in size, affordable, carbon friendly, and community-owned, and the only reason it didn’t happen is that fracking kind of took the wind out of the sails of this project. So there are plans in place about how to do this in the U.S. But it’s not like old-school utilities are going to be happy to just lay down and say, “Sure, hemp farmers and communities, create your own utilities, bye, thanks, it was nice serving you.”

Q. You claim that hemp can potentially bring in “even more taxable revenue into the economy than its smokable relative.” How would that work?

A. Hemp-minded communities can do three things: invest in profitable seed oil presses, create textiles or fiber of some kind from it, and use products like hempcrete for building – and still have this biomass left over, this cellulose that we can use to create regional energy grids out of hemp.

The element that’s still coming together that we couldn’t really have predicted are these incredibly high prices that Canadian farmers are getting for their hemp-seed oil. They are making $300 per acre on it, 10 times what they make on GMO corn. And that is why hemp is going to end up being planted here. The demand curve for hemp as a super food is just happening now. Mainstream society is realizing how beneficial this is.

Q. So now that hemp is going mainstream, what would stop the cotton, synthetics, and paper industries from trying to oppose it?

A. I think it’s too late to fight it. The bipartisan cooperation on this issue almost makes you understand why the Rastafarians call the cannabis plant the “healing of the nation.” It’s getting unbelievably strange bedfellows together. There are Kentucky Republicans on the horn with the DEA saying let our farmers plant this, unbelievable stuff. The concern that some people have is not so much opposition from Big Ag but co-option. As long as there’s non-GMO hemp, I’m fine with there being millions of acres of hemp cultivated by everyone.

Q. You also mention in your book that hemp has some very practical uses for farmers. Can you talk about some of them?

A. An old-timer Nebraska rancher lady told me that her daddy used to plant hemp along the irrigation ditches in the spring. No matter how much flooding there was, it built this incredible root system that culled water and was erosion control and flood control. And then of course it’s also a high-protein snack for the cows and the fowl.

Hemp also filters toxins; it’s been used around Chernobyl to release radiation from the soil. The water demands are relatively low: One of Colorado’s first commercial hemp farmers, a very conservative farmer in Eastern Colorado struggling with drought and monoculture-damaged soil, found that planting hemp is using half the water than the previous wheat crop was.

Q. What about some industrial uses of hemp?

A. I saw an entire body of a tractor made out of a bio-composite of hemp fiber. It’s stronger than petroleum-based plastic and lighter, not to mention easily replicable – all the dangers and the horrors of plastic potentially removed. I mean, you know, thanks petroleum, it was a great century, you guys made a lot of things happen with plastics. But now we’re going to take what we know and go back to using biomaterials like hemp so that we have a future as a species.

Filed under: Article, Business & Technology, Climate & Energy, Living
Categories: Environment

Want to breathe new life into your city? Build a fence around it

Grist.org - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 11:03

This story is a part of a series about local food systems.

The roomful of environmental-science students at Fresno State didn’t exactly seem proud of their town. There were dismissive titters when political science professor Mark Somma suggested that Fresno, Calif., could be a place that drew people from around the world, seeking a higher quality of life.

The laughter didn’t slow Somma. Think of Fresno’s resources, he told them. It’s surrounded by some of the richest farmland in the world. It has a tremendous cultural diversity. It has views of the Sierra Nevada, and a river of Sierra snowmelt running along its northern border. And yet Fresno frequently pops up on lists of the worst cities. Every year it sprawls farther into the farmland, creating mile after repeating mile of identical strip malls and stoplights.

There used to be another city a lot like Fresno, Somma told the room. It too was an industrial, agricultural town — unlovely, uncool, unknown. But this town decided to embrace, celebrate, and protect agriculture. The city leaders drew a circle around their perimeter and promised not to develop farmland beyond that line. This focused development inward. Instead of growing out and hollowing out, the city grew up. Food culture, buoyed by the nearby farms, began booming. Locals started taking pride in their coffee, their beer, their meat, their dairy, their fruits and berries. Outsiders began to hear about this proud, gritty town that had pulled itself up by its bootstraps, and people started moving there.

The name of that town? Portland.

I’d always thought of the competition for land as a contest between rural an urban interests. Farmland and the rural culture inexorably makes way for suburbs and business parks. But what if it was possible to turn this competition into cooperation, to have cities that enriched farms and vice versa? Had Portland figured this out? If so, it was worth noting. I’d written about how, for all of its virtue and value, urban ag will not feed our cities — we’ll need farmers and farmland for that.

And then there was Somma’s suggestion that preserving farmland on the outskirts of a city could actually spark an urban renaissance. Could that really be true?

Of course there’s a little more to the story, said Craig Beebe, communications director for 1,000 Friends of Oregon, a pro-planning group. Back in 1973, an alliance of farmers, cities, and timber interests passed a law to protect farm and forest land. Signed by Republican Gov. Tom McCall, the law drew a circle around every city in the state, restraining sprawl outside those lines while making it easier for developers to build inside.

But in Portland specifically, other things were afoot. Residents organized to stop two freeways, and then found a way to divert the resources behind the freeway efforts to a light-rail system and developing the waterfront. “There was this feeling that, we are not just going to try to defeat things,” Beebe said. “We are going to reapply that energy toward building better things.”

So protecting farmland wasn’t the single factor in Stumptown’s rebirth, but it was a key element in making Portland what it is today.

“It’s been an essential tool to pull things together,” said Ethan Seltzer, a professor of urban studies and planning at Portland State University. Because the metropolitan area hasn’t spread like spilt milk, it’s still fairly easy to travel around the city on foot or by bike. (Portland has also poured a ton of money into bike lanes, and public transportation, which also helps.) That compaction also makes city services — roads, sewer lines, water pipes — more efficient. Extending those services to sprawling developments is expensive.

“You don’t have to build services to all hell and gone,” Seltzer said. And that’s allowed the city to invest in other things.

Preserving farmland has helped defined the city in less quantifiable ways too. Businesses from small tech startups to big corporations like Nike and Intel cite Portland’s connection to the surrounding land in their employee recruitment. Food from nearby farms has contributed to a booming restaurant scene. “Around here we have family rituals around the ripening of certain crops and cutting Christmas trees,” Seltzer said.

That’s not to say everyone likes the rules protecting farmland.

There are plenty of people in Oregon, even some of the law’s original supporters, who say the regulations are too baroque and restrictive. One of the people who dislikes the rules is John Charles, president and CEO of the Cascade Policy Institute, a libertarian think tank (surprise, a libertarian who dislikes rules!). Not only does he say the urban growth boundary has failed to make Portland a better place (he hates the way the city has changed), Charles questions the notion that we need to protect farmland at all: “There is no shortage of agricultural land or agricultural commodities and there never will be, as long as we allow markets to function.”

But, I said, isn’t this a place where you have market failure? It’s easy to build houses on cheap farmland, but it’s a one-way ratchet, it’s hard to remove the concrete.

“You don’t need farmland for crops,” Charles said. “You can grow them hydroponically. Who needs soil?”

Who indeed? Perhaps those whose faith in the free market is less than their faith in the scientific consensus. The mainstream forecasts suggest that we’re going to need all the good soil we can spare as the world population nears 10 billion, even counting hydroponics.

We’re also going to need more farmers to work that land more intensively — something we’re beginning to see in the Willamette Valley, south of Portland, where a retinue of young farmers produce food for CSAs, restaurants, and markets, rather than the usual commodity crops. “It gives farmers a different option,” said Jim Johnson, land use specialist at the Oregon Department of Agriculture. “It’s mainly small farmers, but it allows them to get going, and they can always expand.”

Roughly 70 percent of Oregon’s agricultural economy is based in the Willamette Valley, Johnson said, and 75 percent of the population is there. Farmers and city people can live, even thrive, together.

That’s not to say that Portland exemplifies a fully formed regional food system. Hardly. There’s local food going to boutique eateries, sure, but roughly 80 percent of Oregon’s agricultural production leaves the state, Johnson told me.

But in terms of simply preserving farmland, it’s clear that the program is working. It’s strange to drive out of Portland: Instead of crawling in traffic through suburbia, the city just stops and you are suddenly in rolling fields. Johnson protests when I suggest that the rules are overly bureaucratic. “If you want to develop something and you aren’t allowed to, you are going to say the process is broken,” he said. In fact, Johnson said, perhaps the rules should be stricter.

The state’s planning law doesn’t completely stop the development of farmland, David Dillon, executive vice president of the Oregon Farm Bureau, told me, “It just provides an orderly process to do that.”

The cities may periodically expand their boundaries, but still, Oregon has lost far less agricultural land than its neighboring states of Washington, California, and Idaho. And there has been a steady growth of the agricultural economy in Oregon since the 1970s, Johnson said.

Any idea that unites (generally conservative) farm advocates with (generally liberal) smart growth advocates seems like a winner. But Charles points out that other states have tried to adopt urban growth boundaries and failed. “If you’re leading a parade for 41 years and no one is in your parade,” he said, “you might have to rethink your assumptions.”

Just about everyone I talked to thought it would be harder to pass Oregon’s land planning law today. The U.S. has simply become too partisan and individualistic. It’s hard to make an argument in today’s America that we should sacrifice individual freedoms for the common wealth.

There are alternative tools in the toolbox for protecting farmland. Cities can institute agricultural zoning. Some communities are working on markets that allow developers to build higher and bigger if they also buy up and protect open land outside the city. Agricultural land trusts make use of conservation easements — a legal tool that limits the development of one piece of property at a time — or just buy up parcels. Then there’s the consumer approach: Buy-local campaigns, CSAs, and similar efforts help keep local farmers in business — and their land from becoming the next subdivision.

All of those things require buy-in from people who live in the city, however. And they have to believe that there’s something in it for them.

Which brings us back to Somma’s idea. Could farmland preservation revive a city? Basically, Somma was right: The urban growth boundary has been a key part of making Portland the city it is today. But Oregon’s planning law only came about because a lot of energetic people wanted some communal guidance of the way the state’s cities and countryside developed. In other words, if Fresno wanted to replicate Portland’s trajectory, it would have to start with a critical mass of its own homegrown smart-growth advocates — and get them working before they all move to Portland.

Filed under: Article, Business & Technology, Cities, Food
Categories: Environment

Hydro Dynamics, Inc. Launches New Portal and Logo Related to Chemical...

PR Web - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 10:07

Harnessing the power of cavitation, the ShockWave Power Reactor is a process intensification device that can have large benefits for chemical manufacturers. Hydro Dynamics, Inc. has launched a new...

(PRWeb May 06, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/05/prweb11818618.htm

Categories: Environment

Cheap 125 KHZ Proximity Card Readers Recently Released By China Access...

PR Web - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 10:07

SWAccessControl.com, a popular access control system supplier in the current market, has announced a new selection of 125 KHZ Proximity Card Readers. At present, all these new useful carder readers...

(PRWeb May 06, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/05/prweb11823660.htm

Categories: Environment

Krud Kutter Showcases Newest Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solutions at...

PR Web - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 10:07

Krud Kutter®, an eco-friendly line of cleaning solutions, showcased today its newest products including the Krud Kutter Parts Washer Cleaner/Degreaser, Krud Kutter The Must for Rust Spray Gel...

(PRWeb May 06, 2014)

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Categories: Environment

Born Skincare Celebrates Mother’s Day with Special Gift with Purchase...

PR Web - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 10:07

Leading provider of all-natural anti-aging skincare brand, Born Skincare, is offering a gift with purchase on all full-size orders placed during the month of May.

(PRWeb May 06, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/05/prweb11826068.htm

Categories: Environment

Baby’s DHA from Nordic Naturals Named the Official Baby’s Omega-3 by...

PR Web - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 10:07

Baby's DHA from Nordic Naturals now bears the title of the Official Baby's Omega-3 of the American Pregnancy Association.

(PRWeb May 06, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/05/prweb11826274.htm

Categories: Environment

Suntactics Launches New Compact Solar Charger

PR Web - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 10:07

sCharger-8 dubbed "the last portable solar charger you will ever need" by Suntactics reviewer.

(PRWeb May 06, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/suntactics/solar-charger/prweb11827202.htm

Categories: Environment

Chautauqua in Bloom Celebrates the Start of Warm Weather Tours in...

PR Web - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 10:07

Chautauqua in Bloom, a season of learning, May 24 - June 20, 2014, celebrates the start of warm weather tours in Chautauqua County. Experiential tours provide a social and fun way to learn about the...

(PRWeb May 06, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/05/prweb11824653.htm

Categories: Environment

R&R meets ROI: Metamorphosis Delivers New Value to the Corporate...

PR Web - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 10:07

Metamorphosis Retreats brings triple bottom line benefits to Concur Fusion with ecotourism solutions for corporate travel.

(PRWeb May 06, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/05/prweb11827047.htm

Categories: Environment

Clean Water Systems & Stores Inc Technicians Achieve WQA...

PR Web - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 10:07

Technicians specializing in water treatment systems have recently completed training and certification programs at Clean Water Systems & Stores Inc. The training program combined on-site training...

(PRWeb May 06, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/05/prweb11827390.htm

Categories: Environment