Wednesday, March 25, 2009

There is a War going on and Uncle Sam ain't feelin' it

In the blog world, actions do not speak louder than words. This is because words are everywhere. It's true. People blog with emotional force just for the release they need and the slim possibility that someone is listening. Thankfully, we live in a country where these words can be scrutinized, analyzed, accepted, disproven or simply ignored.

In the real world, actions are everything.

Marie Mason spoke loudly. In fact, she let out a roar that would make a grown Lion scared. In return, the American Government sent thunder, lightning, dark clouds and jail cells her way for 22 years. KABOOOOOOM!

Marie Mason is what we call an environmental activist. Her actions, though, are now essentially defined as terrorism. This is because justifications of actions don't matter to Uncle Sam and really, maybe they shouldn't.

The explosive fire Mason and Ambrose set at Michigan State University on 31 December 1999 caused nearly $1m (£680,000) of damage to buildings and equipment, but no death or injuries. The target was the office of the director of a genetically modified crop research program into moth-resistant food crops for Africa, funded by the US Agency for International Development and the biotechnology company Monsanto.

Professor Daniel Clay, who worked at the institute in 1999 and is now the director, said the attack had a severe impact on the staff. "It really was a shock," he said. "It was a very difficult period for all of us. People were frightened and we asked ourselves how close did this come to physically harming someone."

Along with Mason's ex-husband, the two nearly got away with the crime until evidence as discovered and reported.

Now the question of fairness arises. Is 22 years in jail fair. Nobody was killed but the damages were extensive. Rapists and murderers often get less punishment. How can one distinguish politically charged crimes?

The post 9/11 world is tricky. I'm thinking Uncle Sam does not mind bloggers. It's real confrontations that they will clamp down on.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Environmentalists see New Job Creation with GREEN Technologies

With the current economic downturn affecting various industries in the United States, many are hopefully of a new green economy, utilizing state of the art technologies to create millions of new jobs and products. While the economy may take significant time and patience to fully recover, many believe the glass is half full. With many states and cities committed to environmental awareness and change, the implementation of Eco-construction and alternative energy solutions will play a vital role in the transformation to a sustainable world and revitalized economy.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Premature Death Linked to Smog Exposure in Medical Study

A study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine found that long-term exposure to concentrated smog significantly raises the risk of dying from lung disease. The study found that the risk of dying from a respiratory disease is 3 times higher in metropolitan areas with the most concentrated ozone -- a precursor of smog -- than in those with the lowest ozone concentrations.

According to a statement from New York University's Langone Medical Center, this is the first nationwide study to evaluate the long-term effects of ozone exposure on human health. It is also the first to separate the the effects of ozone pollution from those of fine particle pollution (soot).

Co-author of the study, George Thurston:
"Many studies have shown that a high ozone day leads to an increase in risk of acute health effects the next day, for example, asthma attacks and heart attacks."

Thurston also said that the EPA's current standards for airborne ozone do not protect against the long-term effects of ozone exposure:

"It seems clear that even in cities that are approaching meeting the existing standard, you still have a substantial risk from the cumulative long-term exposure that's not addressed by the acute standard."

The Obama administration called for the stalling of a pending court case over the EPA's current smog standards to give the agency more time to decide on revising the controversial Bush-era air quality standards.

President of advocacy group Clean Air Watch Frank O'Donnell agrees that standards need to be stricter:

"There's certainly a great weight of evidence to document that tougher ozone standards are needed."

Monday, March 2, 2009

The GREEN Paradigm: Coming to a City Near You!

Moving to a green eco-friendly paradigm has become an important aspect in construction and building industries. As citizens of this planet, we have an inherited obligation to care and nurture the world we live in. Helping protect what many citizens want to keep: clean air, water, decreased pollution and healthy food, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining, restoring and enhancing the quality of this planet’s air, water and land.

Green building can and must be available to all people. They strive to produce changes on many levels including: 1) Helping citizens and homeowners to live green 2) Help business, farmers and health providers sustain eco-friendly practices. This will lead to a better quality of life not only for the country, but around the world.

Highly regarded throughout the 20th century, asbestos was considered the pinnacle of building materials, posing many intrinsic qualities that manufacturers loved. It’s fire resistant, durable and versatile components made it sought out by many industries. Asbestos was used in industrial products such as insulation, piping, roofing and flooring products. Many homes, buildings and public facilities constructed prior to 1980 may still be harboring asbestos and other toxic materials. There are now many green alternatives that replace the need for asbestos and can even reduce annual energy costs.

Conducting a study in 2003, the United States Green Building Council reported a savings of $50 to $65 for green constructed buildings. The use of recycled building materials such as cotton fiber, lcynene foam and cellulose can provide significant dividends for home owners. Cotton fiber is becoming a favorite insulation method. Made from recycled batted material, it is then treated to be fireproof. Water based spray polyurethane foam, lcynene, is a healthy insulation which contains no toxic components.

The “building green” philosophy is evolving to be more than a trend. Builders and investors are recognizing that eco-friendly construction provides not only long-term positive environmental benefits but also financial payoffs as well. These new environmentally-sustainable alternatives create healthier, quieter and more energy efficient homes in the 21st century.