Not all hybrids are created equal. They range fro the very clean, very green Toyota Prius to the big, luxurious and only mildly fuel efficient Lexus RX-400h. Here’s a guide.
About Jim Motavalli
Posts by Jim Motavalli:
No one told Salamatou Adamou about the "birth dearth." A midwife and widow, she had already given birth to 12 children by the age of 37. "I am exhausted," she said as she struggled through labor with child number 13. Her large family is not all that unusual in drought-stricken Niger, a country where widespread poverty combines with strict patriarchy, early marriages, a lack of health care access and educational opportunities for women, sanctioned polygamy and adherence to fundamentalist Islamic tenets on procreation to produce the highest birth rate in the world, eight children for every woman.
In mid-2005, women around the world had an average of 2.7 children, according to the Population Reference Bureau. That seven-tenths of a percentage point above replacement level may not seem like a lot, but it is contributing to a dramatic population expansion, from 6.4 to 9.2 billion, between now and 2050.
It’s been a momentous year for cleaner vehicles (see "Getting There: A Guide to Planet-Friendly Cars," Consumer News, July/August 2004). DaimlerChrysler rolled out the first plug-in hybrid, albeit as a test vehicle, and announced it would soon import the fuel-sipping Smart city car. Several more manufacturers, including Ford, added new hybrids to their fleets. And the race to bring a fuel-cell car to market is getting hotter, as Honda and General Motors unveiled the latest versions of their hydrogen prototypes.
If soils do indeed achieve the higher profile they so desperately need, John L. Havlin will be one of the people to thank. The professor at North Carolina State University is past president of the Soil Science Society of America, and a dedicated campaigner whose work is helping to establish the House of Representatives Soils Caucus and a $4 million Smithsonian educational exhibit on the subject, opening in 2008.
As if songbirds didn’t have enough to contend with! Not only is their Latin American winter habitat threatened as forest canopy coffee growing gives way to full-sun plantations (see "Grounds for Change," cover story, November/ December 2005), but a recent survey of the birds in New York State finds they’re also dealing with high body levels of mercury.
Andy Hargadon is director of the University of California at Davis" Energy Efficiency Center, which works, he says, to "commercialize existing technologies." As he points out, the trick isn’t to invent new clean technology, but to get people to use it.