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[1THING] Blog: Archive for September, 2012

[ October is Children’s Health Month ]

Good health is important to have, and not always easy to keep, especially for children.  EPA has a mission to protect human health and the environmnet. Check out ways that it can be done

EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment requires us to continue to pay special attention to the vulnerabilities of children, and especially to children living in disadvantaged communities. Children are more affected by pollution than adults for many reasons. They are smaller, their organ systems are still developing, their play and learning behaviors expose them to additional environmental threats.

In October and throughout the year, they will work with parents, teachers, and health providers to promote healthy environments where children live, learn and play. Click here for 411!

Help children breathe easier

  • Don’t smoke and don’t let others smoke in your home or  car.
  • Keep your home as clean as possible. Dust, mold, certain  household pests, secondhand smoke, and pet dander can trigger asthma attacks  and allergies.
  • Limit outdoor activity on ozone alert days when air pollution  is especially harmful.
  • Walk, use bicycles, join or form carpools, and take public  transportation.
  • Limit motor vehicle idling.
  • Avoid open burning.

Keep  pesticides and other toxic chemicals away from children

  • Store food and trash in closed containers to keep pests  from coming into your home.
  • Use baits and traps when you can; place baits and traps  where kids can’t get them.
  • Read product labels and follow directions.
  • Store pesticides and toxic chemicals where kids can’t  reach them – never put them in other containers that kids can mistake  for food or drink.
  • Keep children, toys, and pets away when pesticides are  applied; don’t let them play in fields, orchards, and gardens after pesticides  have been used for at least the time recommended on the pesticide label.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables under running water before  eating – peel them before eating, when possible.
    Click here for several other things to do to help out a child’s health.


*Keep Every Kid Healthy


[ Monday 10/1 is World Vegetarian Day! ]

Shannon emailed this heads up to me. She wanted me to put the challenge out to you. Can you go meatless Monday 10/1? NO MEAT, FISH OR FOWL! ONE DAY & night/24 hours!

World Vegetarian Day, October 1, is the annual kick-off of Vegetarian Awareness Month. Make a difference this October by informing others about the benefits of vegetarianism. You will be helping to create a better world because vegetarian diets have proven health benefits, save animals’ lives and help to preserve the Earth.

Click here for more 411 and also find out how you can win $1,000 for going meatless!


[ Potato Latkes with Pear Applesauce ]

This could get you feeling more fall. Buy local, use organic and make it even yummier and Mama Earth Friendly! 🙂

Potato Latkes
Servings 6

1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and grated
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

1. Combine all ingredients except the oil in a bowl. Heat 3/4 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drop 3 tablespoons batter (1 per latke) into the pan. Flatten each latke with a nonstick spatula. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until golden brown — 5 minutes each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat, using all the batter and the remaining oil as needed. Serve warm.

Pear Applesauce

Makes about 8 cups

4 apples (such as Golden Delicious, McIntosh and Galas), cored, peeled, large dice
6 Anjou pears, cored, peeled, large dice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup apple juice
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1.  Toss the apples and pears with the lemon juice in a large sauce pan. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce to a simmer and cook, lightly covered, for about 15 minutes or until the fruit is softened but not mushy.

3. Remove the cover from the pot and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. The applesauce will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days


[ Cool place to check out in ATX… ]

The Community Impact newspaper had a feature article on Scott Ward and his ‘Strange Brew’.  ‘SB’ is a  24-hour coffeeshop on 5326 Manchaca road. There’s free Wi-Fi, paninis and organic fair trade coffee.  70% of  SB’s products come from AT. The coffee beans come from Third Coast Coffee.. The menu has everything on it from pastries, herbal teas, hot chocolate, Italian sodas , lattes in flavors like ‘Wedding Cake’ and ‘Pumpkin Spice’, and locally brewed draft beers. A customer fav is the organic Ethiopian Blend Drip coffee ($2.25), Ward plans to expand his Manchaca location and open another  with a kitchen in the Cherry Creek shopping center.


[ ATX goal… ]

ATX is working towards a zero waste goal by 2040. It will be done  one recycle at a time with the help of
YOU ROCKS to Balcones Resources & everyone helping out to get ATX waste free!

(KXAN) Balcones Resources built a $25 million facility that can process 25 tons of residential and commercial single-stream recyclables per hour.

Starting next month, Balcones will start processing 60 percent of the city’s residential curbside recycling. The company already handles a large portion of the city’s commercial recycling.


[ Recycling heads up!!! ]

I got the heads up from Shannon about Preserve.  Their products are made from materials that we recylce. Check it out!

Preserve products are powered by you and your recycling efforts. Through Preserve’s Gimme 5 program, you can recycle your #5 plastics—a kind of plastic that many towns and cities won’t recycle. Preserve transforms yogurt cups into toothbrushes and take-out containers into cutting boards—and a lot of other great looking, high performance products for your bathroom, table, and kitchen.  Whole Foods and other stores across the country have a place you can drop off your plastics to recycle. Click here to find the location nearest you!


[ ReStore sale Saturday ]

Habitat for Humanity does such great work helping folks have a safe and dependable roof over their heads. They couldn’t do it without the help of volunteers whether it’s helping w/ the build or making a donation to help out.  There are many products that get recycled through HFH, so they are also Mama Earth Friendly. On Saturday their ReStore is having a big sale. Check out the 411 below and go help others have a roof over their heads.

Celebrate World Habitat Day 2012 with Austin Habitat

What: SALE at the ReStore

Where: 310 Comal Street

When: September 29, 8 am – 5 pm

Why: Show your support for safe, decent and affordable housing throughout the world!

Enjoy 25% off! And bring the family for some special fun! Featuring special guest, Staci Gray,  who’ll be telling stories and singing  songs starting at 10 am.


[ NBC’s ‘Revolution’: Imagining the Ultimate Blackout ]

The NBC drama Revolution, which premiered last week, is set in a world completely devoid of electrical power 15 years after a massive, mysterious blackout. People go back to traveling by horse and on foot; villages grow their own food; iPhones become useless relics.

Some critics have complained that the show is short on explanations and jumps too quickly to an inexplicable future where we still have not figured out how to get the power back on, skipping over the juicy blow-by-blow of what happens directly after huge masses of people lose all access to electricity. Revolution does offer a few tidbits from the unraveling in its first two episodes, though: planes fall out of the sky, cars lie abandoned on highways, people stranded in the cities perish, and people commit murder for food, among other grim scenes.

Take Our Poll

In the real world, we have gotten some unsettling previews of what might happen when the lights go out for a long period of time. This photo gallery of the world’s worst power outages offers a few examples of blackouts around the world caused by storms, human error and other factors. Even though most of those outages lasted just a few days or less, they still drive home the mass misery that occurs when millions are left stranded in the dark. Most prominently this year, more than 600 million people in India lost power for two days in July (see photos from the blackout and an analysis of the country’s power situation).  A month earlier in the U.S. Northeast, where transmission lines are particularly burdened, a powerful derecho system of thunderstorms knocked out electricity to more than 4 million.

Aside from inflicting huge costs and disruptions that range from inconvenient to life-threatening, blackouts force us to recognize the many ways we are dependent on reliable electricity from the grid, and contemplate even for just a few hours what life might be like for the 1.4 billion people worldwide who do not have it. Do you worry about the stability of the electricity grid in your country? How would you fare in a long-term blackout? Weigh in on the poll above and in the comments.


[ Go Round Rock… Go Ikea!! ]

Round Rock has the solar flare ROCK’N on the Ikea rooftop!!

The stats:
– Around 6,664 solar panels spread across the rooftop making the Round Rock Ikea the store’s largest U.S rooftop solar installation so far.

-The panels will generate the amount of electricity that can power 206 homes annually.

-Ikea  was named one of the top 20 companies using solar power earlier this month. A few of the Top 20 companies include Crayola, Walmart, Costco… click here to check them all out!
Click here for the whole story! IKEA ROCKS IN ROUND ROCK!!


[ As Iraq’s Oil Boom Progresses, So Does Gas Flaring ]

Iraq’s oil production reached 3.2 million barrels per day (mbpd) this past August – nearly 1 mbpd more than it was a year ago. That growth is set to continue: Iraq, home to the world’s fourth largest proven petroleum reserves, plans to ramp up production to 10 mbpd in six years. Given that 95 percent of Iraq’s state revenue comes from oil, that industry is key to the nation’s post-war rebuilding.

However, the flip side of Iraq’s growing oil output has been a nearly uncontrolled burning of “associated gas,” which is raw natural gas released as a by-product of petroleum extraction. Natural gas is often found in oil wells, where it is either dissolved in crude oil or exists separately in a form of a cap on top of the oil.

Unless it can be captured and used for commercial purposes, associated gas is burned off upon reaching an oil well surface, or it can be directly vented into the atmosphere without burning. Because methane is a key component of associated gas, venting of gas deposits large volumes of methane into the atmosphere, while burning it releases carbon dioxide. Thus, gas flaring is a source of greenhouse emissions and also carries the cost of wasting a valuable energy resource and degrading air quality.

Iraq currently ranks among the world’s top five flaring countries, according to the World Bank. As the second largest producer of oil in OPEC, Iraq flared around 9 billion cubic meters of associated gas in 2011. According to some estimates, the southern oil fields of Rumaila, West Qurna and Zubair account for over 25 million cubic meters of gas per day.

The World Bank says that the gas flared in Iraq, which amounts to $5 million per day in lost energy, would be sufficient to cover all of the country’s electricity demand. Faced with electricity supplies available only a few hours a day and with shortages of clean cooking fuels, Iraq’s flaring of associated gas is a colossal waste of a precious resource. In fact, flared gas would be sufficient to cover all of Iraq’s electricity demand.

The practice of burning gas is a matter not only of energy use, but also of public health and the environment. Residents who live near oil fields have complained of asthma, irritated skin and other problems.  Aside from methane, flaring gas produces nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and other emissions that can affect vegetation and watershed.

The natural gas sector in Iraq lags behind its well-developed oil industry and, thus far, attempts to capture associated gas have been limited. Last year, Iraq’s Basrah Gas signed a landmark agreement with Royal Dutch Shell* and Mitsubishi to capture associated natural gas from southern oilfields and use it to fuel power stations and as feedstock for the petrochemical industry of this war-torn nation. The project aims to harness 2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas by 2017.

This amount is just a small fraction of the gas flared in Iraq last year, however, and Iraq’s oil production stands to increase dramatically over the next two decades. With a glut of natural gas keeping prices down, Iraq has limited incentive to focus on the potential of capturing and exporting gas while its focus is on growing oil production. As Robert Lesnick of the World Bank has noted, “The savings from shifting from liquid fuels to gas for Iraq’s power generation is estimated at several billion dollars per year, but this benefit is less than one week’s increase in revenues from targeted incremental crude oil sales.”

According to the World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership, Iraq has made flare reduction a priority in its energy policy and has launched a gas pricing study. Already, potential customers are waiting: Turkey and Jordan have reportedly expressed interest in gas imports from Iraq. It remains to be seen whether these developments will be enough to significantly reduce the amount of wasted natural gas now pouring into Iraq’s air.

*Shell is sponsor of The Great Energy Challenge. National Geographic maintains autonomy over content.