Livin’ the Green Life

MINNEAPOLIS – A Twin Cities-based company, EarthSmart LLC, launched a new weekly hour-long national radio show on internet radio at www.voiceamerica.com from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursdays, hosted by the genial and knowledgeable Kim Carlson, The EarthSmart Consumer, founder of EarthSmart LLC and former Edge Life columnist.

"Livin’ The Green Life" is an upbeat, fun exploration of living a more sustainable lifestyle. Carlson and a host of experts chat about hip organic weddings, exotic eco-travel, indulgent spa treatments and eco-golf.

One of the segments, "Learnin’ The Green Life with Sarah," introduces a new green do-able weekly.

"Kim and I deconstruct and demystify a specific green living practice to give listeners the straight scoop on what works and what doesn’t, namely the eco-dilemma encountered while shopping and how various choices help or hurt my family and the planet," says Sarah Aadland, associate producer and Green Learnin’ guinea pig.

Carlson’s passion for the planet has led her to become an eco-conscious shopper, an eco-savvy entrepreneur and an eco-chic lifestyle maven. She practices what she preaches.

"Since the hurricanes and high gas prices, there is suddenly a much broader awareness of green lifestyle choices, but it’s still confusing for consumers," she says. "That’s why the time is ripe for this program. It’s filled with the newest earth-friendly and human-healthy products and ideas."

Listeners can tune in at www.earthsmartconsumer.com and click on "listen to the show." E-mail kim@earthsmartconsumer.com.

Environmental exposures linked to one-third of childhood disease

GENEVA, Switzerland – Globally, more than 33 percent of disease in children under the age of five is caused by environmental exposures, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a sweeping report issued today. The lives of as many as four million children a year could be saved by preventing environmental risk, the world health body concludes.

Taking children and adults together, as much as 24 percent of disease is caused by environmental exposures that could be averted by targeted interventions, the WHO report shows.

"This report is a major contribution to ongoing efforts to better define the links between environment and health," said Dr. Anders Nordstrom, acting WHO director-general. "We have always known that the environment influences health very profoundly, but these estimates are the best to date."

The report, "Preventing disease through healthy environments – towards an estimate of the environmental burden of disease," is the most comprehensive and systematic study yet undertaken on how preventable environmental hazards contribute to a wide range of diseases and injuries. Surveys of more than 100 experts worldwide and systematic review of literature went into the report, which identifies specific diseases impacted by certain well-known environmental hazards – and by how much.

The four main diseases influenced by poor environments are: diarrhea, the biggest killer; lower respiratory infections, the second most deadly; various forms of unintentional injuries not due to road traffic; and malaria.

Two of the measures that WHO says could be taken now to reduce this environmental disease burden are water related – the promotion of safe household water storage and better hygienic measures, as well as better water resource management. The use of cleaner and safer fuels, increased safety of the built environment, more judicious use and management of toxic substances in the home and workplace are also recommended to prevent environmentally caused disease and injury. – Environmental News Service

Earth Day & Google

Earth Day Network (EDN) has partnered with Google for the launch of the new Google Maps Summer of Green, an environmentally focused video and map guide to eco-tourism spots, chosen with the help of EDN. The presentation features the top U.S. travel city destinations of New York, Orlando, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Available at http://services.google.com/earth/green/, Google Maps Summer of Green enables users to discover green travel options by featuring guided virtual video tours of environmentally friendly destinations, including organic spas, hotels, restaurants, eco car rentals and green family friendly activities, such as nature museums and horseback riding outposts.

Google Maps Summer of Green create an overlay of video clips on the city maps, capturing green locations recommended by Earth Day Network, the premier global environmental advocacy organization.

"Earth Day Network is building an army of green consumers in this country," said Kathleen Rogers, president of EDN. "We are pleased to work with Google to encourage eco-tourism and green travel habits this summer which will ultimately move us all closer to a greener, safer America."

Google Maps Summer of Green will be live throughout the summer.

"Google strives to be a green company, from our environmentally friendly construction practices to the initiatives we support through Google.org, said John Hanke, director of Google Earth and Maps. "Many Americans are interested in green travel options and Summer of Green enables them to quickly and easily find green travel recommendations from Earth Day Network in a dynamic Google Map for top travel destinations."

Earth Day Network was founded by the organizers of the first Earth Day in 1970 and promotes environmental citizenship and year round progressive action worldwide. – Earth Day Network

Paramount donation

Paramount’s Classics has committed 5 percent of their domestic theatrical gross for their film, An Inconvenient Truth, with a minimum guarantee of $500,000 to be donated to a new bipartisan climate effort, Alliance for Climate Protection. The deal was announced by: Former Vice President Al Gore; Jeff Skoll, CEO, Participant Productions; and John Lesher, president of the specialty division. This unprecedented donation runs the entire length of the film’s domestic release.

An Inconvenient Truth, produced by Participant Productions which had previously pledged to contribute their profits to the Alliance, was acquired by Paramount Classics at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. It is a riveting documentary that weaves the science of global warming with former Vice President Al Gore’s personal history and longtime commitment to communicating the need to reverse the effects of global climate change.

"I hope that An Inconvenient Truth will be an action movie in the truest sense of the phrase -that the film will motivate people to take action to address the climate crisis," Gore said. "In addition, the more tickets that are sold, the more funds will be raised, giving the Alliance the opportunity to educate and galvanize millions more around this issue and inspire them to be a part of the solution."

"Mr.Gore and the filmmakers made a fascinating and startling film that we hope will have the power to promote change," Lesher said. "We are committed to bringing awareness to the climate crisis and are proud to support the efforts of Alliance for Climate Protection."

Alliance for Climate Protection will use the money for a major national education and organizing campaign to mobilize the public on global warming. The primary goals of the campaign are to motivate a critical mass of the public and influential constituencies to demand action to cut U.S. emissions and to make solving global warming a national political imperative, to implement solutions to global warming that cap and cut U.S. global warming pollution emissions in the near term, and develop a political consensus for further international agreements that include full participation by developing economies in achieving emission reduction targets.

More information on Alliance for Climate Protection is available at allianceforclimateprotection.org. – www.climatecrisis.org

Top corporate air polluters named

Researchers at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts released the Toxic 100, an updated list of the top corporate air polluters.

"The Toxic 100 informs consumers and shareholders which large corporations release the most toxic pollutants into our air," says James K. Boyce, director of PERI’s environment program. "We measure not just how many pounds of pollutants are released, but which are the most toxic and how many people are at risk. People have a right to know about toxic hazards to which they are exposed. Legislators need to understand the effects of pollution on their constituents."

The Toxic 100 index is based on air releases of hundreds of chemicals from industrial facilities across the United States. The rankings take into account not only the quantity of releases, but the relative toxicity of chemicals, nearby populations, and factors such as prevailing winds and height of smokestacks.

The Toxic 100’s top 10 companies are: E. I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., United States Steel Corp., ConocoPhillips, General Electric Co., Eastman Kodak Co., Exxon Mobil Corp., Ford Motor Co., Tyson Foods Inc., Alcoa Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland Co.

"In making this information available, we are building on the achievements of the right-to-know movement," Boyce explains. "Our goal is to engender public participation in environmental decision-making, and to help residents translate the right to know into the right to clean air."

View the Toxic 100 report at www.umass.edu/peri/programs/development/toxic100table.htm – www.world-wire.com

Study: Canadian health care system better than U.S.

Harvard Medical School has released a study revealing that Canada’s health care program is doing a better job of taking care of its citizens than the U.S. health care system…and at half the price.

"Most of what we hear about the Canadian health care system is negative; in particular, the long waiting times for medical procedures," said Dr. Karen Lasser an instructor of medicine at Harvard who worked on the study. But the survey found the wait times weren’t that different between the U.S. and Canada. What’s more, twice as much money is spent on medical bills per person in the U.S. in comparison to Canada, yet Canadians are healthier and live two to three years longer.

According to the survey results, "Canadians were 7 percent more likely to have a regular doctor and 19 percent less likely to have an unmet health need." U.S. respondents were almost twice as likely to go without a needed medicine due to cost. "Based on our findings, if I had to choose between the two systems for my patients, I would choose the Canadian system hands down," said Dr. Lasser. – www.organicconsumers.org

UPS Green Fleet Hits 100 Million Miles

The world’s largest package delivery company has a fleet of alternative fuel trucks that has racked up 100 million miles in delivering packages to homes and businesses.

UPS has invested more than $15 million in its alternative fuel fleet, which currently operates hydrogen fuel cell, liquefied natural gas, compressed natural gas, electric and propane-powered trucks in the United States, Canada, Mexico, France, Germany and Brazil.

UPS began to use alternative fuel vehicles in the 1930s with electric vehicles in New York. Still, UPS did not begin isolating mileage data for its green fleet until 2000. The delivery company also has partnered with government agencies and corporations to help advance the state of vehicle technology, including two such partnerships with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

UPS, the EPA and DaimlerChrysler are working together to obtain practical knowledge about operating hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in a commercial delivery fleet.

In 2004, UPS was the first company in the U.S. to deploy hydrogen fuel cell technology in a commercial fleet. Since then, the vehicles – which emit only water – have driven 34,000 miles making deliveries.

UPS’s second partnership with the EPA includes building and testing the world’s first hydraulic hybrid urban delivery vehicle. This multi-phase project includes two UPS truck prototypes with different full-series hydraulic hybrid drivetrains.

The company will begin testing the first vehicle later this year and another next year.

UPS also recently announced it will add 50 hybrid electric vehicles to its fleet over the next year. These electric hybrids will feature third-generation technology and are expected to deliver a 35 percent improvement in fuel economy over the vehicles being replaced. In addition, UPS will add 4,100 low emission vehicles in 2006 to the more than 8,000 such vehicles already in its fleet. – Environmental News Service

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