EarthTalk

Ethanol’s Unrealized Promise

Ethanol’s Unrealized Promise

Dear EarthTalk: I thought that putting ethanol in our gas tanks was going help fight climate change, but lately I’ve heard reports to the contrary. Can you enlighten?       –– Bill B., Hershey, PA Ethanol and similar “biofuels” made from corn and other...
Antarctica’s Melting and its Impact on Coastlines

Antarctica’s Melting and its Impact on Coastlines

To what extent is Antarctica really melting and what impact might it have on coastlines around the world? — Andrea Hutchinson, Cary, NC The Antarctic continent, roughly the size of the United States and Mexico combined, is composed of rock covered by glaciers...
Safer and More Effective Sunscreens

Safer and More Effective Sunscreens

With summer officially here now, what can you tell us about which sunscreens are safe and which are not? — Clara Rosen, New York, NY Skin cancer is by far the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more new cases each year than breast, prostate,...
Keeping Polluters out of our Neighborhoods

Keeping Polluters out of our Neighborhoods

What can communities do to keep polluters out of the neighborhoods? — Wendell Bovey, Los Angeles, CA It’s unfair that communities which are less organized and less wealthy often shoulder the burden of hosting polluters like landfills, incinerators and power...
Apple Computer’s Green Initiatives

Apple Computer’s Green Initiatives

Apple just put out a big PR campaign about its sustainability initiatives. Has the company made real progress in this regard or is this just more corporate “greenwashing?” And how are the other big tech companies addressing their carbon footprints? — Billy A.,...
Public Transportation on the Upswing

Public Transportation on the Upswing

What’s behind the rise in public transit in the U.S. in the last few years, and how does our transit use compare with that of other developed countries? — Angie Whitby, New Bern, NC Transit ridership is indeed at its highest level in the U.S. in 57 years....
Earth Day 2014: Greening our Cities

Earth Day 2014: Greening our Cities

What’s going on with Earth Day this year and how can I get involved? — Christine B., Boston, MA This coming April 22 will mark the 44th annual celebration of Earth Day, and the focus this year will be green cities. “As the world’s population migrates to cities,...
Global Warming and Our Health

Global Warming and Our Health

How is it that global warming could cause an increase in health problems and disease epidemics? Do we have any evidence that it is already happening? — Jim Merrill, Provo, UT Global warming isn’t just bad for the environment. There are several ways that it is...
Synthetic Biology

Synthetic Biology

Should those of us who care about our health and the planet be concerned about the new trend in genetic engineering called synthetic biology? — Chrissie Wilkins, Bern, NC “Synthetic biology” (or “synbio”) refers to the design and fabrication of novel biological...
Wind Power’s Bright Future

Wind Power’s Bright Future

What is the latest prognosis for wind energy to command a larger piece of the renewable energy pie? — Peter M., Akron, OH Hydroelectric sources of power dwarf other forms of renewable energy, but wind power has been a dominant second for years, and continues to...