Eco Op-Ed

Eco Op-Ed is your environmental forum. While not endorsing all viewpoints expressed here, we embrace the adage that a mind functions best when open; therefore, we welcome a wide range of ecological opinion. To join the discussion, add your comment below any piece.

Watch those Carbs: Join the 350 Club!
Friday, 01 August 2014 00:00  |  Written by Fiona Sinclair, Ph.D. | Commentary

Incandescent Light Bulb photo by Thomas BrightbillThe 100-watt light bulb has officially been turned off in Europe. Nearly two hundred years of high-illuminating incandescence has reached its final demise. As we turn into the ninth year of the 21st century, this evildoer of carbon emissions is relegated to the dustbin of history.

This is just a step though, a baby step. For every hour the 100-watt light bulb has lit the faces of dreamers, it has drawn on about 1/10th of a kWh (kilowatt-hour) of energy, most likely forced from its source in coal, gas or atomic fission and leaving a cloud of carbon or a mile of half-lives in their wake. Read on…

Bangladesh Confronts Climate Change With Eco Innovation and Floating Communities
Friday, 23 May 2014 00:00  |  Written by Marita Prandoni | Commentary

Boat School Exterior photo courtesy of ShidhulaiIn early June, a heavy cushion of wet air hangs over the isolated backwaters of Chalan Beel in northwestern Bangladesh, signaling the start of the seasonal, torrential monsoons. As the skies darken, Ratna Khatun and her cousins Shakila and Rupali file up a plank and into a sheltered deckhouse, several other enthusiastic children scurrying behind. The girls take their seats in the front row, which has been reserved for the most studious. Read on…

Steady State: A Sustainable Economy for the Southwest
Thursday, 22 May 2014 00:00  |  Written by Steven Kotler | Commentary

Urban Sprawl Phoenix Style photo by Alan LevineIn 1991, George Bush Sr. was President, something called “grunge” was beginning to ooze out of the Pacific Northwest, and I had just moved to Phoenix, Arizona.

Back then, the city was mostly empty space. There was a meager downtown, a few fringe settlements and nearby Scottsdale—which was the real boom town. But mainly the area was open desert: dry and bare and beautiful. Read on…

‘Got Raw Milk?’: The Pasteurization Scam
Friday, 16 May 2014 00:00  |  Written by Guest Contributor | Commentary

Milk courtesy of www.bluewaikiki.comRather than bow down and revere raw milk as ‘a holy nectar of the gods’ (as many of its hundreds of thousands of consumers do; 40,000 in California alone), I would like to more objectively examine the process of pasteurization and its broader role in conscientious living. Pasteurization, a process developed in the late 19th century by (quelle surprise!) Monsieur Louis Pasteur, exposes milk to brief stints of high heat, in order to kill off all bacteria and enzymes. And no bacteria means no scary germs, right? That’s what officials and dairy-industry moguls would like you to believe. But in actuality, raw milk, teeming with friendly bacteria, has many proven health benefits. Read on…

Monoculture Agribusiness: Harvesting the Seeds of Suicide
Monday, 03 February 2014 00:00  |  Written by Marita Prandoni | Commentary

Indian Farmer photo by Ananth BSIn just the single month of April 2009, more than 1,500 farmers in the state of Chattisgarh, India’s rice bowl, committed suicide after being driven into crippling debt due to crop failure resulting from low water levels, drought and switching to green-revolution, genetically modified rice varieties that require heavier irrigation. Read on…

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Eco Tip

Unplug appliances when not in use. Your electronics—computers, TVs, phone chargers—use energy even when they're turned off. Stand-by power can account for as much as 20% of home energy use. Save both energy and money by unplugging your devices, or put them on a power strip that you can turn off when they are not in use.  More tips...

Eco Quote

He who knows what sweets and virtues are in the ground, the waters, the plants, the heavens, and how to come at these enchantments, is the rich and royal man. — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), Essays, Second Series, 1844   More quotes...