Enviro News Round Up

We seem to be having quite a bit of a drop in posts around here! I’m hoping to rack up some goodies this weekend, but we’ll see. Until then, here is some fairly generic (yet oh so interesting!!!) environmental news.

Need a new reason to go on that diet? Well, turns out it’s going to help you use less gasoline. Vehicles in the United States are using at least 938 million extra gallons of gas annually in comparison to 1960 simply because the drivers are heavier. In 1960 an average female weighed 140 lbs, and the male was on average 166 lbs. In 2002 the averages weighed in at 164 and 191 respectively. The gas that the overweight users are burning up represents $2.8 billion if gas is selling at $3 a gallon. That’s enough to fuel the U.S gasoline addiction for three days straight. [sources]

Online news is the way to a greener future. It’s surprising that it has taken this long for publishers to start thinking about their eco-impact. The paper industry is the fourth-largest contributor of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. The average Time Magazine results in about 0.29 pounds of greenhouse gas-emissions. Rupert Murdoch has announced a plan to make News Corporation carbon neutral. “We’ve recognized that these are issues that are important to our readers and, increasingly, important to our advertisers,” says David J. Refkin of Time Inc. [source ]

As if it’s new news that humans are consuming the planet’s resources at an exceptional rate, but the WWF is reiterating that point for us. Humans are consuming the resources 25% faster than the Earth can renew them. This would mean that by mid-century we would need two planets in order to sustain human life. “Exhaustion of ecological assets and large-scale ecosystem collapse become increasingly likely,” says the report. The United Arab Emirates is hosting the most per capita degradation followed by the big bad U.S., Finland and Canada. Since 1961 the footprint of humanity has tripled. Good luck on cutting down the resource use by a full 50% to save the Earth. [sources]

Smog has been suffocating Southeast Asia over the last few weeks. Smog so bad that the visibility is as low as 650 feet in some areas, shutting down some airports. The big thanks goes out to the Indonesian farmers and the owners of timber and palm-oil plantations. They’re setting huge fires to clear all the land necessary for their work. This slash and burn practice is illegal in Indonesia, but since when has economic gain prevailed over environmental degradation? The air quality has gotten so bad that it is causing children to stay indoors, trigging common health problems that we see in North America during the summer, and putting a huge damper on tourism. Ironically this clearing is happening for the some of the palm oil to be used as eco-friendly biodiesel. [sources]