Carbon Neutral - it's a term growing in popularity and one that you may have read about in the newspaper, seen on TV or even heard around the office. What does it mean to become carbon neutral?
The "carbon" in carbon neutral refers to carbon dioxide (CO2), a common greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels like coal, petroleum products and natural gas. CO2 is widely believed to be the main contributor to global warming - an alarming environmental trend in which the Earth's average temperature is increasing, resulting in melting glaciers, rising sea levels, unusual weather patterns and loss of wildlife habitat. Many of our routine activities add CO2 into the atmosphere, such as using a computer at work (making electricity), driving to the grocery store (using gasoline) purchasing household items (using more gasoline from product transport) and flying to visit relatives in another city (jet fuel).
To become carbon neutral you make choices that will allow you to essentially zero out or balance out the emissions you create.
Houses near highways harmful to children
A new study indicates that children who grow up within 1/3 mile of a freeway or busy highway may sustain permanent lung damage. The study found that the closer children live to busy highways the more likely they are to experience reduced lung function.
"Living near freeways is a health issue that we have known about for a long time," said Gennet Paauwe, with the California Air Resources Board. The findings were published by the British journal, Lancet. W. James Gauderman, an associate professor of preventative medicine at the University of Southern California said: "These pollutants are inhaled deeply into the lung and may have the largest impact on the smallest lung airways."
In Italy, a 1/4 mile stretch of concrete road, using, photocatalytic cement, (cement with titanium dioxide, a white pigment) was tested and not only did the road stay white, it purified the air above it! With traffic of over 18,000 cars a day, tests shows a reduction in nitrogen oxides of 60%.
In 2003, a church in Tor Tre Teste (Eastern Rome) was built of the same photocatalytic cement. Instead of being grey and covered with carbon pollutants, it is still a bright white. The concrete joints were not treated, and they are already grimy and dark.
Painters have long known that titanium dioxide, was a bright white pigment. But few people understood, or dreamed that this material actually absorbs and "eats" carbon based pollution.
Ben Boothe and Associates, (Environmental Solutions) was just named as winner of the environmental section of the BEST OF 2006 special September 5th issue of the Fort Worth Weekly Newspaper. Called the most "Enviro-Friendly Business" in North Texas (Dallas/Fort Worth Area), the article in part said:
From a clean water project in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to consulting for development of green neighborhoods in Arizona, Ohio, Texas and Florida to environmental impact research and impact studies on a old bombing range in Arlington, Texas, Ben Boothe is proving that you can go green and make a buck at the same time. Author, sometime political candidate, and head of a multinational financial consulting firm, Boothe added environmental consulting to his portfolio 10 years ago. The move was based on his belief that global warming is the single greatest threat to the planet, and on an entreprenuer's vision of turning changing times into profit.
Poison Fumes Killing Children
The world is beginning to see that people will not tolerate dangerous abuse of the environment. Not only is good environmental policy good for health, good for economic reasons, it is necessary for social stability.
The most recent case in point being demonstrations, blocked roads, burned tires and anger in the streets of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, near a site where toxic waste was dumped. 7 people died after inhaling fumes from the waste.
Water for Ecuador's Families
One country where I have had the pleasure of doing environmental consulting is Ecuador. This article provides a report on an effort funded by the World Bank, that may be of interest.
In 2001, the government of Ecuador with financing from the World Bank started assisting municipalities and local communities to carry out the Rural and Small Town Water Supply and Sanitation Project (PRAGUAS). Up till 2005, PRAGUAS has improved WSS services for over 250,000 people. The town component of the project supports municipalities which are willing to make their utilities more autonomous and to raise tariffs to obtain quick service improvements and choose their own management models. PRAGUAS has become the government's primary vehicle for addressing challenges in the water supply and sanitation sector.
Consider these facts when you think of your city or community. According to Merrill Lynch, an estimated $662 billion will be needed for water infrastructure rebuilding over the next 20 years. Most cities are already behind.
Cities such as Fort Worth, Texas, have long thought they were in "good shape". But if trends of consumption, weather, and increased depletion continue, these cities will be facing huge needs in the future.
The 'water industry' is currently a $420 BILLION market.
Children need clean water
Hygiene and Low Cost Sanitation Improvement for the Urban Poor in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar, is a city of 1.2 million people. It is growing, showing increased economic prosperity, and showing signs of great progress. I have worked there for years, have 3 businesses there, and work closely with business and government leaders to help the nation develop. One of the problems facing Mongolia, is the "Ger" (tent) areas. There, there is no sewer, and no public water, and thousands of people make daily trips to fill buckets of water at the few watering stations scattered around town.
Water Shortage at Angor Wat?
Even in Cambodia, water is a problem and an issue. The great rivers that feed Cambodia, have seen reduced levels, as nations "up river" are using more and more water for agriculture and industrial purposes. So Cambodia is working hard to increase supply, and better manage water. It has been my pleasure to visit Cambodia several times as a consultant for the World Bank, in areas of economic development.
I have personally inspected the great waterways of Cambodia, and personally seen the results of polluted water, corruption, and poor management of water systems there. But Cambodia is making progress, developing water systems for the great masses of the poor, and the emerging middle class. In Cambodia, no one would even dream of using water resources to benefit business development projects or to decorate the cities. There, they recognize that water is to important a resource to make a "decoration" for the rich.
Lakes are our lifeblood
Climatic changes, growing population, and over utilization of farming and industrial usage, has demonstrated an era of higher global temperatures, increased droughts, wide-ranging wild fires, losses of forests, disappearance of over 20,000 lakes world-wide, the diminishment of rivers, with 12 of the world’s largest rivers now not even making it to the sea.
Put frankly, demand and use of water is exceeding supply. Large cities are being forced to purchase water rights from farmers, converting prime farm lands into “water farms” for city use. Major lake systems show projected “outflows” exceeding replenishment.