Cool Green Morning: Thursday, July 2

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Published on July 2nd, 2009  |  Discuss This Article  

It’s another innovative day here at Cool Green Morning. Reducing emissions through better highway toll systems, making biofuel from human waste, using social pressure to achieve conservation goals… the world is full of creative ideas to help solve our environmental problems. Enjoy!

  1. It wasn’t a surprise, but it’s still good news: the EPA has granted the state of California the right to enforce its own automobile emissions standards, which are more strict than current national standards.
  2. Bark beetles are destroying forests in the West, and scientists think a warming climate is helping them gain a foothold. It becomes personal for one writer, who muses over the loss of 95 percent of the trees on his Montana land.
  3. All that stopping and starting for highway tolls has to be bad for the environment, doesn’t it? A 1998 Florida study said yes. In Texas, efforts to improve convenience and safety while reducing emissions has led to a new system that eliminates the stop-and-pay toll booth and replaces it with toll bills that arrive in the mail (unless you have the TollTag, a FasTrak or EZPass equivalent).
  4. The pressure’s on, and that’s a good thing. A new study found that farmers in China were more likely to sign up for a reforestation initiative if their neighbors also signed up. The study concludes that conservationists should be prepared to make use of social pressure to achieve positive environmental outcomes. 
  5. We’ve heard about making biofuel from algae, but here’s a new one: making biofuel from human waste. A University of Minnesota researcher devised this ingenious approach, which not only utilizes an existing, free and readily-available resource, it also helps solve another problem by cleaning up wastewater.

P.S. Cool Green Morning will be on holiday tomorrow. Have a happy Fourth of July, and be sure to check back on Monday for all the latest in cool green news.

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