[GRRN] [earthsystems.org News] July 19, 2000

From: Shay Mitchell (shay@earthsystems.org)
Date: Wed Jul 19 2000 - 18:05:05 EDT

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    earthsystems.org news Volume 2 Issue 29

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    We are extending last week's issue and poll of the
    week through this week. Come tell us who you
    rely on for accurate environmental information.

    As you and people in your region crank the air conditioner up another notch,
    you may want to know the outlook for electric power brownouts or service
    disruptions during peak loads. The North American Electric Reliability
    Council (NERC) has published its latest analysis of your regional sub-grid's
    readiness for summer power demands. The report, "2000 Summer Assessment:
    Reliability of the Bulk Electricity Supply in North America" can be
    downloaded from http://www.nerc.com/~ac/syscond.html.

    http:// www.worldwatch.org

    Study Calls for Greater Use of Micropower Today's giant coal and nuclear
    power plants are failing to provide the high-quality, reliable electricity
    needed to power the new digital economy, according to a new report from
    the Worldwatch Institute, a Washington, DC-based research organization.
    Power interruptions due to the vulnerability of central power plants and
    transmission lines cost the United States as much as $80 billion annually.
    "We're beginning the 21st century with a power system that cannot take our
    economy where it needs to go," said Seth Dunn, author of Micropower: The Next
    Electrical Era. "The kind of highly reliable power needed for today's economy
    can only be based on a new generation of micropower devices now coming on the
    market. These allow homes and businesses to produce their own electricity,
    with far less pollution."

    The new micropower technologies, which include fuel cells, microturbines, and
    solar roofing, are as small as one-millionth the scale of today's coal or
    nuclear plants-and produce little if any of the air pollution of their larger
    cousins. Already, the multi-billion-dollar potential of the market for
    micropower has sent investors scrambling to buy into some of the new
    companies, sending their share prices soaring earlier this year.
    Further info: www.worldwatch.org

    The recent International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa, reminds us
    that Africa is dying. The HIV epidemic that is raging across Africa is now
    taking some 6,030 lives each day, the equivalent of 15 fully loaded jumbo jets
    crashing--with no survivors. This number, climbing higher each year, is
    expected to double during this decade.

    Public attention has initially focused on the dramatic rise in adult
    mortality and the precipitous drop in life expectancy. But we need now to look
    at the longer term economic consequences--falling food production,
    deteriorating health care, and disintegrating educational systems.
    Effectively dealing with this epidemic and the heavy loss of adults will
    make the rebuilding of Europe after World War II seem like child's
    play by comparison. Further info: http://www.worldwatch.org/chairman




    LOS ANGEL^¸±úCalifornia, July 17, 2000 (ENS) - The first two
    electric vehicles (EV) from the largest EV order in U.S. history have
    started to appear near Los Angeles. The Ford EV will be used by the
    U.S. Postal Service (USPS), and the first two units will be placed into
    use by the Fountain Valley Post Office. Five hundred EVs will be
    evaluated in the first phase of the program, and USPS has an option
    to purchase an additional 5,500 units based on the vehicle's
    performance and cost effectiveness. The units are produced in a
    joint venture between Ford Motor and Baker Electromotive of Rome,
    New York.

    Full Story: http://ens.lycos.com/ens/jul2000/2000L-07-17-09.html



    This Friday will be the first National Work at Home Day, aimed at
    encouraging employees to give telecommuting a try, for the sake of
    the planet and their own productivity. About 19.6 million Americans
    telecommuted to work in 1999, up from 4 million in 1990, and that
    number will continue to grow as technology and the Internet make it
    easier for many people to do their work from their own domiciles.
    Fewer folks trekking to offices means fewer cars clogging the roads
    and polluting the air. And word is that people who work at home,
    even just one day a week, are often more productive.

    straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, Jan Paschal, 07.19.00


    Thousands of Californians are embracing a new state program that
    gives residents $1,000 to junk cars and trucks that fail to meet
    emission standards. The program, launched July 7, aims to take
    50,000 polluting clunkers off the roads over the next four years.
    Residents can alternatively get up to $500 to make repairs that will
    help their vehicles pass smog checks. The state is spending $2.7
    million on radio and TV ads this summer to advertise the program, and
    the publicity drive is working. Between 550 and 1,000 Californians
    have been calling the government each day for program information and

    straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Nancy Vogel, 07.17.00


    Travelers to some U.S. cities can now rent eco-friendly cars. EV
    Rental Cars opened its first site at the Los Angeles airport in
    December 1998 and has since expanded to several other California
    airports. The company recently struck a long-term deal with Budget
    Rent-a-Car and has plans to open sites this year in Atlanta, Dallas,
    Houston, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. Its fleets include
    natural gas, electric, and gas-electric hybrid cars made by Honda,
    Toyota, and others.

    straight to the source: Christian Science Monitor, 07.17.00


    Poor citizens of Thailand have begun teaming up with non-governmental
    organizations and academics to protest environmentally destructive
    development projects being undertaken without their input. Over the
    past year and a half, thousands of people have demonstrated in the
    village of Pak Moon against a hydroelectric dam, funded in part by
    the World Bank, which is blocking the migration of fish that locals

    depend on. Last month, protestors halted operations at the dam's
    hydroelectric plant and got the authorities to agree to open the
    dam's floodgates for four months of the year to allow fish migration.
    "Poor people have been losers in the country's modernization for a
    long time, but we won't accept that any more,'' said Boonmee
    Khamraung, whose family farm is now at the bottom of the reservoir
    behind Pak Moon Dam.

    straight to the source: San Francisco Chronicle/Examiner, Associated
    Press, Busaba Sivasomboon, 06.30.00

    Enrique Penalosa, mayor of Bogota, Colombia, is championing the
    bicycle as the means to a cleaner environment and has directed the
    city to build nearly 125 miles of permanent bike paths. Penalosa
    instigated a car-less day in the city in June and a recent poll found
    that Bogota residents would support another car-less day, though they
    may be less enthusiastic about Penalosa's plans to call for a
    permanent ban on all cars in the city by 2015. But some enviros are
    critical of the mayor's efforts, pointing out that many trees have
    been chopped down to make room for the bike paths. Activists have
    tacked signs onto some trees that read, "This tree is condemned to
    death," and, "If you hear the chainsaw hug me." Others criticize
    Penalosa for neglecting public transport.

    straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, Paloma Dallas, 07.18.00


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