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This category contains 74 posts

EarthTalk: What are some ways companies are using plastic waste from the ocean in their products to take a stand for the environment?

Dear EarthTalk: What are some ways companies are using plastic waste from the ocean in their products to take a stand for the environment?                                    —Simone LaTourneau, Boston, MA  A recent study published in the journal Science estimates that there are some 86 million metric tons of plastic in the world’s oceans today—and that every year […]

EarthTalk: Volvo EV Plans – Another Nail in the Coffin of the Internal Combustion Engine

  Dear EarthTalk: Does Volvo’s embrace of electric cars signal the beginning of the end of the gas-powered internal combustion engine? ­– Macy Vigneault, New Orleans, LA Volvo has announced that it will only sell hybrid and electric cars beginning in 2019, signaling a shift in the auto industry as a whole toward more fuel-efficient […]


Do environmentalists consider taking Yellowstone’s grizzly bear off the Endangered Species List good news or bad news?

Dear EarthTalk: Is the federal government’s decision to take Yellowstone’s grizzlies off of the endangered species list good news or bad news for the iconic bear? — Jeffrey Elder, Los Angeles, CA It depends who you ask. The majority of environmental and wildlife advocates would prefer to keep endangered species protections in place for Yellowstone’s […]


Greener Booze: Why Stop Caring When It’s Party Time?

  Dear EarthTalk: What’s the latest in greener booze? Are there any good organic beers, wines or liquors out there? Perhaps no other industry has responded to the greening of consumer preferences quite like beverage producers. From wine to beer to spirits, greener choices made from local and organic ingredients and packaged in lighter-weight containers […]


Climate Friendly Farms: Agriculture Adapts to Global Warming

Dear EarthTalk: How are farms and farmers dealing with climate change? —Michael Harris, Lorton, VA Agriculture may well be one of the industries hardest hit by the effects of global warming. The non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a leading environmental advocacy group, reports that warming-related drought and flooding is already behind tens of billions […]

At their Vatican meeting in late May, Pope Francis gave U.S. President Donald Trump a copy of the 2015 papal encyclical calling for urgent, drastic fossil fuel emissions cuts to stave off climate change. Credit: DonkeyHotey, FlickrCC.

Did Pope ask Trump to keep US in Paris climate accord?

  Dear EarthTalk: I heard that the Pope urged President Trump to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate accord. Since when has the Catholic church been involved in environmental politics? — Janine Morse, Rome, NY Concern for the health and well-being of the planet has always been part of the biblical tradition. “Sacred Scripture […]

A Boston-based start-up is developing “solar skin” photovoltaic panels that match the underlying rooftop. While these “camouflaged” solar panels cost about 10 percent more than typical photovoltaics, some homeowners would gladly pay an aesthetics premium so their houses don't stick out like sore thumbs in the neighborhood. Credit: Sistine Solar.

EarthTalk: Solar Panels

Why do rooftop solar panels have to be so big and unsightly? Are there any better-looking alternatives out there? — Maise Lipscomb, Helena, MT If aesthetics is the reason you’ve been holding off on converting your home to solar power, 2017 just might be the year for you to take the renewables leap. For starters, […]


EarthTalk: Fuel Cells

      Is it true that fuel cell cars are finally available for mainstream drivers in the U.S.? — Jack Mixson, Wilmington, DE For years, green car enthusiasts have been heralding the dawn of a new era of pollution-free driving powered by fuel cells, which combine readily available hydrogen with oxygen to fire up […]

EarthTalk: The Environmental Conscience of Instagram

Instagram, the photo-based social network which Facebook bought in 2012 for a cool $1 billion, continues to rack up new users, doubling its base to 700 million monthly active users over the last two years. Environmental groups, activists and photographers have realized that they can get their messages out more effectively by embracing this newfangled […]

The melting of the ice sheets around Illulissat, Greenland and elsewhere in the Arctic is accelerating thanks to global warming. Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten, FlickrCC.
 Ilulissat Greenland

EarthTalk: Global warming

Is it true that the Paris climate accord as it stands won’t be enough to stave off cataclysmic global warming anyway, even if the U.S. and the other participating countries honor their commitments? To date, 197 countries have signed onto 2015’s landmark Paris climate accord (“The Paris Agreement”), which aims to limit global warming to […]