Summer catchup: our book in Chinese, Rainforest nuts, Port pollution, small solar and smog-eating concreteTuesday, July 23rd, 2013
* We are proud to announce the book around which this blog revolves, Smogtown: the Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles (The Overlook Press/Penguin Group USA – 2008), will be printed and published in Mandarin Chinese by the Shanghai Scientific and Technological Publishing House in the upcoming future. We’ll have more details about it and another equally big announcement soon, so dial back here when you can. Amazon link
* In our never-ending search for creative ways to fuse environmentalism with other facets of life, we were lucky enough to be introduced to this ingenious concept from writer/activist Kim Henderson, who must have the foodies of the world planning trips to South America. Nutrition was never so good for the world ecosystem.
- ” … I have a couple snacks for you that are nutrient-dense enough to satisfy hunger and naturally sweet enough to satiate your sweet tooth. In addition to providing fantastic nutrients for your body, they also help save rainforests giving you two things to feel good about! Incorporating them into your food plan might make the difference between failure and success in your weight-loss efforts … Sounds simple enough. But why Brazil nuts you may ask? Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, copper, magnesium, fiber, vitamin E, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. They are one of the few nuts to have enough amino acids to make a complete protein (important to vegans and hungry dieters). The fiber adds to a feeling of fullness, and selenium is a powerful antioxidant that is believed to help protect against breast and prostate cancer … Brazil nuts are not only good for your body, buying them and eating them helps the planet as well. Brazil nut trees have a unique distinction that makes them important to the preservation of the Amazon rainforest — they flourish only in the Amazon’s untouched rainforest … Basically, if you want to harvest Brazil nuts, you can only do it in healthy tropical Amazon rainforest. That’s the great news. A thriving Brazil nut trade keeps significant areas of the Amazon rainforest intact! …”
Kim’s book, which has a title that Paul Simon would love, gives consumers ways to support the rainforest before man plows them under and looks fantastic, too.
* Think you know green? The Daily Beast does on this rather subjective scale.
* What’s a good, old environmental debate without statistics and counterclaims bandied about? Answer: boring and nothing. From the L.A. Times:
- “Public health and environmental experts are disputing predictions that air pollution would be significantly reduced if a giant rail yard is built next to schools, parks and hundreds of homes in the Los Angeles harbor area. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and the Port of Los Angeles say the proposed 153-acre facility would take enormous numbers of diesel trucks off the road, reducing the risk of cancer and respiratory illness for those who live and work along the 710 Freeway. Rail and port officials say the $500-million yard — known as the Southern California International Gateway — would handle many of the big rigs that now must travel 20 miles north to drop off and pick up cargo containers at Burlington Northern’s Hobart Yard, one of the largest facilities of its type in the nation.The project is widely supported by labor unions, business organizations, elected officials and regional planning agencies that cite the creation of hundreds of jobs and the need to accommodate port growth. Public health experts at USC, environmental advocates and officials at the South Coast Air Quality Management District, however, contend that the project’s impact analysis overstates the air quality improvements.”
* We’ve been saying this for years. The solar movement won’t last until this movement is soldered among the people, not big corporations and agencies. Again, the L.A. Times:
- ” … Those large-scale projects are financially efficient for developers, but their size creates transmission inefficiencies and higher costs for ratepayers. Smaller alternatives, from rooftop solar to small- and medium-sized plants, can do the opposite. Collectively, modest-sized projects could provide an enormous electricity boost — and do so for less cost to consumers and less environmental damage to the desert areas where most are located, say advocates of small-scale solar power. Recent studies project that California could derive a substantial percentage of its energy needs from rooftop solar installations, whether on suburban homes or city roofs or atop big-box stores …”
* Smog ate us, metaphorically, in most cases, anyway, so isn’t it time we pay it back … with concrete shoes? We say hell yes! Read up science kids.
“What if the solution to smog was right where the rubber meets the road? Scientists in the Netherlands have found that installing special air-purifying pavement on city streets can cut air pollution nearly in half. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology outfitted one block in the city of Hengelo, Netherlands, with paving blocks sprayed with titanium oxide, which has the ability to remove pollutants from the air and turn them into less harmful chemicals. The researchers left normal pavement on an adjacent street as a control. After taking measurements for a year, the scientists found that the street outfitted with smog-eating paving blocks, also called photocatalytic pavement, reduced nitrogen oxide air pollution by up to 45% in ideal weather conditions and 19% over the course of a day …”