National Geographic: The Green Guide

From childhood, we’re told to drink at least eight glasses of water each day. Unfortunately more and more Americans drink those eight glasses out of plastic bottles—a convenience that stuffs landfills, clogs waterways and guzzles valuable fossil fuels.

Not only does bottled water contribute to excessive waste, but it costs us a thousand times more than water from our faucet at home, and it is, in fact, no safer or cleaner.

Water aside, the plastic used in both single-use and reusable bottles can pose more of a contamination threat than the water. A safe plastic if used only once, #1 polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE) is the most common resin used in disposable bottles. However, as #1 bottles are reused, which they commonly are, they can leach chemicals such as DEHA, a known carcinogen, and benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), a potential hormone disrupter.

While single-use water bottles should never be used more than once, some reusable water bottles simply shouldn’t be used. The debate continues over the safety of bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone-disrupting chemical known to leach out of the #7 polycarbonate plastic used to make a variety of products.


Yale University – e360 digest
06.20.08: Extreme Weather Events
Will Plague U.S. in Future, Report Says

A government report, synthesizing more than 100 academic papers, forecasts that as the world warms, the United States will be subject to prolonged droughts, heat waves and more frequent downpours like the recent ones that have left much of the Midwest under water. Issued by the U.S. Climate Science Program, the report forecasts that by mid-century, heat waves that now occur once every 20 years will take place once every three years. Extremely heavy rain storms that now occur once every two decades will occur once every five years, causing major flooding in different regions, according to the report. It also said that the southwestern United States will likely experience more droughts. The full report is available here.

Yale University – e360 digest
06.24.08: Hansen Urges Drastic Action
and Says Energy CEOs Guilty of “High Crimes”

NASA climate scientist James Hansen has told a House committee that the United States must lead the world in swiftly passing “transformative” climate change legislation or face disastrous environmental consequences this century, including a probable sea level rise of at least two meters and mass extinctions. Speaking exactly 20 years after first warning the U.S. Congress of the dangers of global warming, Hansen — director of the Goddard Institute of Space Sciences — also said that the heads of oil and coal companies who spread doubt about global warming and resist efforts to move to a carbon-free economy “should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.” Hansen called on Congress to approve sweeping climate change legislation in the next year that would include a tax on carbon and would phase out coal-burning power plants by 2025, unless they employ carbon sequestration technology.


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