PVC Floors Linked to Autism?

via Green Options by Cate Nelson on 4/9/09


A Swedish study found that the rate of autism is higher for children in houses that have PVC vinyl flooring. The children in the study were apparently affected by the phthalates that are emitted from the material.

Infants and toddlers who had vinyl floors in their rooms were twice as likely to develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than those with wood or aluminum floors.

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Water – cooperation or conflict?

via Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no> on 4/9/09

Water - cooperation or conflict?History shows that conflicts over water often emerge and give rise to political tensions, but that most disputes are resolved peacefully. However, the absence of conflict is, at best, only a partial indicator of the depth of cooperation. Measuring the level of conflict between governments over water is inherently difficult as water is seldom a stand-alone foreign policy issue. Oregon State University has attempted to compile data covering every reported interaction over water going back 50 years. What is striking in these data is that there have been only 37 cases of reported violence between states over water (30 of them in the Middle East). Over the same period more than 200 water treaties were negotiated between countries. In all, 1,228 cooperative events were recorded, compared with 507 conflict events, more than two-thirds of which involved only low-level verbal hostility. Most of the conflict events were related to changes in the volume of water flow and the creation of new infrastructure, which could affect future timing and volume of water flow. Looking back over the past half-century, perhaps the most extraordinary water governance outcome has been the level of conflict resolution and the durability of water governance institutions. The Permanent Indus Water Commission, which oversees a treaty on water sharing and a mechanism for dispute resolution, survived and functioned during two major wars between India and Pakistan. (UNDP Human Development Report 2006)

Pollution link with birth weight

via BBC News | Science & Environment | UK Edition on 4/8/09

Exposure to traffic pollution could affect the development of babies in the womb, US researchers have warned.

Biomass energy ‘could be harmful’

via BBC News and Sport Search: energy on 4/14/09

Biomass power could do more harm than good in the battle to combat greenhouse gases, the Environment Agency warns.

Climate Change And Atmospheric Circulation Will Make For Uneven Ozone Recovery

via Space News From SpaceDaily.Com on 4/13/09

https://i1.wp.com/spacedaily.com/images/ozone-animation-sm.gifGreenbelt MD (SPX) Apr 14, 2009 – Earth’s ozone layer should eventually recover from the unintended destruction brought on by the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and similar ozone-depleting chemicals in the 20th century. But new research by NASA scientists suggests the ozone layer of the future is unlikely to look much like the past because greenhouse gases are changing the dynamics of the atmosphere.

Common Soil Bacteria Can Have Antidepressant Effects

via Green Options by Derek Markham on 4/12/09


A recent study by UK scientists discovered that a common soil bacteria activates cells in the brain to produce serotonin and can alter behavior similar to antidepressants.

“These studies help us understand how the body communicates with the brain and why a healthy immune system is important for maintaining mental health. They also leave us wondering if we shouldn’t all be spending more time playing in the dirt.” – Dr Chris Lowry, Bristol University

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World’s First Carbon Capture Plant to Begin Operations

via Green Options by The Guardian Environment Network on 4/12/09

Air Pollution

The world’s first retrofit of a power plant with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology will begin operating this month in the south of France. By Alok Jha of the Guardian.

At a power plant at Lacq, energy company Total has upgraded an existing gas-fired boiler with CCS technology – a crucial step towards reducing carbon emissions from fossil-fuel power plants worldwide.

With renewable energy sources a long way from covering the world’s increasing demand for energy, many experts believe that developing reliable technology to allow countries to burn fossil fuels without releasing dangerous amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere is essential to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

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Will We Gather Clean Energy from City Streets, Sidewalks and Buildings in the Future? POWERleap Stomps Yes!

via Green Options by Lucille Chi on 4/14/09

POWERleap is a brilliant new concept in city building, sidewalk and street design.

“Think Fifth Avenue powered by the stampede of commuters! By harnessing the inherent energy in routine and recreational activity, POWERleap generates a new form of alternative energy on-site for immediate use. “

You never know, this just may begin in green building design and work its way into public and city and town square planning.

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Renewable building products – Construction Week Online

via “embodied energy” – Google News on 4/14/09

Renewable building products
Construction Week Online, United Arab Emirates
Second, timber is not a local material so it comes with significant embodied energy. Third, the weakening effects of the hot climate. Jim Meyers, Middle East Manager of Calvert Company Inc., the US-based glued laminated timber manufacturer,

A multifunctional perspective of agriculture

via Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no> on 4/14/09

A multifunctional perspective of agricultureIn IAASTD, multifunctionality is used solely to express the inescapable interconnectedness of agriculture’s different roles and functions. The concept of multifunctionality recognizes agriculture as a multi-output activity producing not only commodities (food, fodder, fibers and biofuels), but also non-commodity outputs such as ecosystem services, landscape amenities and cultural heritages.

Super skyscraper design takes it lying down

via CTBUH Global News on 4/14/09

Super skyscraper design takes it lying down

April 13, Shenzhen

The new Vanke Center in Shenzhen, Guandong Province, is a “horizontal skyscraper” designed by maverick architect Steven Holl. The maverick architect Steven Holl is turning the traditional idea of a skyscraper on its head – or rather on its side. The new Vanke Center is a “horizontal skyscraper” and is being built in Shenzhen, Guandong Province in April 2009. If it was stood up vertically, it would be as tall as the Empire State Building, but lying horizontally it stands just 35 meters…more

Green Roof 1.0: The Seaweed Houses of Læsø, Denmark

via Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst on 4/14/09

seaweed house in denmark

For centuries, people constructed buildings out of materials immediately available to them in their surrounding environment. It is only a relatively recent luxury, for example, that people have easy access to roofing materials like asphalt shingles made hundreds, perhaps, thousands of miles away.

On the island of Læsø, Denmark there still stand a handful of buildings that are excellent examples of what communities would do with what was immediately available to them — if only they had any of it left.

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Cannabis Houses Have Lower Carbon Footprint

via Green Options by Bryan Nelson on 4/14/09

Cannabis Plant

Houses built out of hemp instead of traditional building materials leave a ‘better than zero carbon’ footprint, according to new research out of the UK.

Aside from helping to combat global warming, building homes from the cannabis plant could also give a boost to struggling rural economies. That’s good news almost everywhere except for within the U.S., where industrialized hemp is still illegal to grow under federal law.

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Satellites Show Arctic Literally On Thin Ice

via Space News From SpaceDaily.Com on 4/7/09

http://spacedaily.com/images/relative-age-arctic-sea-ice-february-2009-sm.jpgGreenbelt MD (SPX) Apr 08, 2009 – The latest Arctic sea ice data from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center show that the decade-long trend of shrinking sea ice cover is continuing. New evidence from satellite observations also shows that the ice cap is thinning as well.

The Tate Gets a Design That Would Satisfy the Ancient Egyptians

via Gizmodo Australia on 4/7/09


The architectural design firm Herzog & de Meuron is designing the Tate Modern art gallery’s newest extension. For the Tate, its a display that will finally be able to represent its interior.

Never Mind the New York Times – Buy a Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb

via Green Options by Tina Casey on 4/7/09

buy a compact fluorescent light bulb.

An article in the March 28 New York Times contained some pretty unflattering remarks about compact fluorescent light bulbs.  Since the bulbs were never given a chance to speak in their own defense, I guess it’s up to us fluorescent bulb-huggers to speak for them.  So, here goes.

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