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Weekly Environmental Updates
A new report recommends that the nuclear industry focus on worst case scenarios such as the Fukushima power plant failure, tsunamis, floods and earthquakes in order to prevent disasters. The report points out that another Japanese power plant also hit by the 2011 tsunami fared better than Fukushima because earthquakes and possible flooding were taken into consideration when it was built. The study's technical advisor stated that engineers are not currently trained to consider events that may only happen "every 1,000 years".
In related news, earthquakes are a rising risk in the central and eastern coastal states, says the U.S. Geological Survey's latest update to their Seismic Hazard Maps. Parts of Utah, Washington, Missouri and Tennessee are among the highest risk states. Earthquake frequency in the central and Eastern U.S. rose to an average of 100 per year in 2011-2013 vs. only 20 per year from 1970 to 2000. There is concern that building codes do not take earthquake risk into consideration.
Raising beef causes much more damage to the environment than producing pork, dairy products, or poultry, according to a new study out of Bard College in New York. The study took air and water emissions as well as the use of land and water. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association calls the study "...a gross oversimplification..." and maintains that U.S. beef production has improved sustainability to the extent that the U.S. produces the lowest greenhouse gasses of any country in the world.
Kiteboarders are requesting further research before Cape Cod extends a ban on the popular sport to protect wildlife. The Cape Cod National Seashore enacted a ban on kiteboarding last month for nearly all waters that fall within its boundaries for fear that the kiteboards would scare birds such as piping plovers off their nests and disturb their feeding. Kiteboards consist of large rectangular kites attached to small surfboards that propel the rider over water or into the air.
Where would you find the greatest variety of birds ....the city, the suburbs, or your everyday forest? If you said forest, guess again. Researchers have found that the suburbs host the largest variety of birds, followed by forests that are defined as "temperate wild spaces". Suburbs reportedly serve up a greater variety of bird food as well as artificial garden habitats that draw birds. However, tropical forests have both the suburbs and the common forests beat when it comes to bird population and diversity.
Patagonia, makers of outdoor and fitness clothing, is now making a wetsuit with natural rubber derived from the southwestern desert shrub guayule. The wetsuits, which are comprised of 60 percent guayule and 40 percent neoprene, will be more environmentally-friendly than all neoprene suits. Patagonia reportedly plans to extend use of the new material to sneakers and yoga mats.
8/1/14
Roman Hills