Here’s a roundup of some of the most recent news stories regarding water and the environment.
EPA’s water contamination investigation halted in Texas after drilling company protests: In 2010 when a family living near a fracking site in Texas reported that their drinking water was “bubbling” and flammable, the Environmental Protection Agency leapt into action. But like many other instances when the EPA linked a hydraulic fracturing operation to water contamination, it eventually softened its position after the mining industry protested.
Photo via The Huffington Post
Benetton shows its true colors and commits to toxic free fashion: Greenpeace secured a new recruit to its Detox Campaign today. United Colors of Benetton and partner fashion brands have committed to “eliminate all releases of hazardous chemicals throughout [their] entire global supply chain and products by 2020.”
Crowdfunded solar is here: “Looking for a way to support the spread of solar power and earn a good return on your investment while doing so? If you live in California or New York, your moment has arrived.”
Top ten water news stories of 2012: This round up of news stories published by Circle of Blue gives a great overview of where we stand now in terms of the global water crisis.
Gas-guzzlers finally adopt fuel saving technologies: Car companies adopt President Obama’s new fuel-efficiency standards, and show their stuff at the Detroit Auto Show.
Deepwater Horizon– 1,000 Days Later: Check out this infographic outlining the chain of events following the 4/20/10 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Fifth-Grader’s Petition Prompts Jamba Juice to Ditch Styrofoam: “Mia Hansen may only be 10 years old, but she has a thing or two to teach grown-ups about making the world a better place.”
Solar Oven Transforms Salt Water to Drinkable Water: An Italian designer’s “deceivingly simple device transforms salty water to clean drinkable water in one day of sun exposure – just by filling the top-mounted black boiler with salty water and tightening the cap.”
Methane Making An Appearance In Pa. Water Supplies: Families in Pennsylvania have been dealing with methane-contaminated water supplies, as well as dozens of mysterious, flammable gas puddles bubbling up on their properties. The state’s Department of Environmental Protection blames a nearby hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operation.
Underwater robots to ‘repair’ Scotland’s coral reefs: Underwater robots tasked with saving coral reefs are being developed in Scotland. Dubbed “coralbots”, they are being designed to repair damaged reefs in days or weeks, whereas naturally it would take decades.
The High Costs of Free Water: Because water itself doesn’t cost anything, its price doesn’t go up when water supplies become scarce. As a result, our use of water is free of one of the most powerful constraints on human behavior: its expense. Lacking a price restraint, water use has spiraled out of control in many parts of the world.
Pollution-hunting robot fish take to the sea: “Robot ‘fish’ developed by European scientists to improve pollution monitoring moved from the lab to the sea in a test [in Spain]… The developers hope the new technology, which reduces the time it takes to detect a pollutant from weeks to seconds, will sell to port authorities, water companies, aquariums and anyone with an interest in monitoring water quality. It could also have spin-offs for cleaning up oil spills, underwater security, diver monitoring or search and rescue at sea, they said.”
Prototype robotic fish scanning for pollution on the European coast: via Tech Investor News
Similar technology is being rolled out in the U.S too–Tweeting Robots Monitor Water Quality in California Rivers: “To keep an eye on the quality of the water in California, a team from the University of California, Berkeley has developed robots that don’t just swim around, they tweet their findings. The Floating Sensor Network is a new approach to measuring water quality, ditching fixed location sensors for mobile units that can monitor a variety of locations.”
Vermont Bans Fracking, Citing Injury Concerns: “Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin has signed into law the nation’s first statewide ban against fracking, citing concerns the oil- and gas-extraction practice could hurt the environment and public health.”
Water Safety Concerns Force Exxon and Imperial Oil Out of Idaho Scenic River Valley: “Push-back on the transportation of tar sands equipment through a wilderness corridor reflects civic resistance to North American fossil fuel boom.”
‘Last Call at the Oasis’: Why Time Is Running Out to Save Our Drinking Water: We live with a false sense of water abundance and it may be our great undoing. Last Call at the Oasis, a new documentary from Participant Media (Inconvenient Truth, Food Inc., Waiting for Superman) mostly focuses on how we’ve yet to grasp this news. The film delves into our addiction to limitless growth, our blindness to pressures from global warming, and the free pass that industry and agriculture get to pollute.