Biochar is a naturally occurring, fine-grained, highly porous form of charcoal derived from the process of baking biomass—and it’s been associated with fertile soils for some two thousand years.
There’s no time like the present to teach kids to respect their environment and be willing to stand up to protect it. Of course, any good environmental education starts at home: parents should always keep in mind that they are role models for their kids, and should act responsibly. And most schools today incorporate issues of sustainability into their curricula. But kids who want to do more can sync up with one of any number of nonprofits focused on getting young people involved with volunteering and advocacy on behalf of the environment.
Deutsche Bank reports that by 2016 residential rooftop solar panels will deliver electricity to homeowners at rates equal to or lower than fossil-fuel-derived grid power in 47 out of 50 U.S. states — but only if Congress extends the generous 30 percent solar investment tax credit currently available.
Reusing greywater—that is, the waste water from sinks, showers, tubs and washing machines—for landscape irrigation may be the next frontier in the greening of the American home, especially if you live in an arid region where water use is restricted. In fact, reusing your graywater may be the only way to keep your lawn and garden healthy without taking more than your fair share of the community’s precious freshwater reserves.
While the potential risks of unleashing so many genetically engineered crops into our food supply aren’t known, researchers do think these so-called “frankencrops” are already wreaking havoc as a result of pesticide resistance.
Americans have done a great job making sure that our kids have something to eat at school regardless of socioeconomic status, with the National School Lunch Program providing low-cost or free lunches to upwards of 31 million students at 92 percent of U.S. public and private schools. But that doesn’t mean the food has been especially nutritious, and public health experts say it’s no wonder our kids are more obese than ever when we feed them trans fats, salts and sodas for lunch. Kids get half their daily calories at school, so what’s for lunch there has a big impact on health and lasting eating habits.
Just when you thought it was safe to play soccer on that brand new synthetic turf field, it may be time to think again. Those little black dirt-like granules that fill up the space between synthetic blades of grass and make up some 90 percent of today’s artificial turf fields are actually ground-up car and truck tires. As such they contain a host of potentially noxious chemicals that can lead to a wide range of health problems.
California made big news recently when it announced the first statewide ban on plastic shopping bags set to kick in during the middle of 2015. Beginning in July, large grocery stores, pharmacies and other food retailers in the Golden State will no longer be able to send shoppers home with plastic bags, while convenience markets, liquor stores and other small food retailers will join the ranks a year later.
Parabens are a common preservative in many health and beauty products, but is our constant exposure to them too much? Researchers worry that these endocrine disruptors are leading to more cancers and other health problems.