Allen Hershkowitz, Senior Scientist, NYC and throughout the world
In his most recent State of the Union Address President Obama declared that “Climate change is a fact.” While inside the beltway that declaration might have b… Continue reading →
Kate Poole, Senior Attorney, San Francisco
If Speaker Boehner were in search of real solutions to California’s ever-worsening drought, he may have noticed something startlingly green during his visit to the state last week. … Continue reading →
Senator Padilla, Senator De Leόn, and Senator Lara, supported by a diverse alliance of Californians, have announced a breakthrough compromise bill to address the economic and environmental costs of single-use plastic shopping bags. The new compromise approach in SB 270 has evolved from the previous bag bill, SB 405, and will allow shoppers to use or buy reusable shopping bags, and paper bags with minimum recycled content can be sold for 10 cents, but single-use plastic bags will be banned. The important compromise brokered by this group of Senators is to give California plastic bag manufacturers access to funds to retrain their workers and retool their plants to make other products.
According to an NRDC survey of data reported by 95 California cities, litter on California streets costs local government nearly $450 million dollars each year, and plastic bags are one of the most common forms of waste found in coastal cleanups. Once plastic bags escape into the environment, they can choke and entangle marine animals, especially endangered sea turtles and whales. Efforts to establish plastic bag recycling in the state have failed, and the bags cause serious problems for recycling centers, where they jam machines.
This latest effort builds on the single-use plastic bag bans passed in over 90 California municipalities. The Latino Coalition for a California Bag Ban applauds this as an important step in the right direction (Latino.Coalition-CA.bag.ban.pdf) – away from the wasteful throwaway habits that seemed like a good idea back in the 1950’s.
Until we can pass a comprehensive program to reduce plastic pollution, especially through producer responsibility, we need to join efforts in such far flung places as Rwanda, China, and the European Union to stop pollution from plastic bags. Like DDT, asbestos, and CFCs, plastic bags make the list of dubious items that just aren’t worth it.
Senator De Leόn and Senator Lara shake hands as Senator Padilla announces plastic bag compromise at press event held at Command Packaging, Vernon, CA. Photo by Carlos Zegarra.
Alice Henly, Resource Specialist & College Sports Greening Coordinator, New York
At last, it’s finals weekend of the Australian Open tennis championships, held at Melbourne Park since 1988, just ten minutes walk from the heart of Melbourne. As two weeks of dramatic upsets of top-seeded players, record-breaking heat, and unforgettable tennis wind to a close, much of Melbourne Park will revert back to a construction site.
In fact, unbeknownst to most of the hundreds of millions of viewers around the world tuning in to the 2014 Australian Open action on TV or online, Melbourne Park is in the middle of a major 15-year redevelopment project. The State of Victoria, the venue owner and operator, is spending over $700 million with the goal of establishing Melbourne Park “as one of the most sustainable sports and entertainment venues in the world.”
With these objectives in mind, the state is setting the impressive objective of achieving the USGBC’s LEED Gold certification for each of the buildings and arenas in the Melbourne Park sports complex. This includes reaching LEED Gold green building standards for Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena and Hisense Arena as part of the redevelopment.
In July 2013, the Eastern Plaza project, which includes a new National Tennis Centre and provides more indoor training courts for future Australian Opens, was the first building in the complex to be awarded LEED Gold Certification for New Construction. The new Margaret Court Arena is also currently on track to receive LEED Gold certification in 2015.
These green building goals require the entire Melbourne Park complex to conserve energy and water, meet green construction and material procurement standards, provide healthier interior environments, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help reduce operating costs.
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Some of the green accomplishments of the Melbourne Park redevelopment to date include:
Using reflective roof coatings that reflect over 70% of the sun’s heat, keeping buildings cooler during hot days.
Implementing a specialized court lighting system that provides high quality light while using less energy.
Using high-efficiency LED bulbs for all external lighting, as well as programmable lighting controls.
Installing onsite solar arrays, including a 42MWh/year system of 120 photovoltaic panels atop the National Tennis Center within the Eastern Plaza.
Recycling or reusing more than 80% of construction waste from the construction of both the National Tennis Center and Margaret Court Arena.
Doug Obegi, Staff Attorney, Western Water Project, San Francisco
Drought is a natural occurrence and a fact of life in California. And climate change is likely to make the challenges of drought even more difficult. While we … Continue reading →
The plastic bottles used to package common bathroom products like shampoo, lotion and body wash are indeed recyclable. But if you’re looking for a creative way to repurpose them first, we have five inventive ideas.
Greenlaw from NRDC China, NRDC China Program, Beijing
China Environmental News Alert
January 13 - 18, 2014
NRDC has been working in China for over fifteen years on such issues as energy efficiency, green buildings, clean energy tec… Continue reading →
A new plant in Glendale, Arizona promises to triple the amount of trash the city recycles each year when it begins operations in April. The facility, which is being built by Chicago-based company, Vieste, will be located on 6 acres of Glendale’s landfi… Continue reading →
David Lennett, Senior Attorney, Washington, D.C. and Beijing
Mercury is a powerful neurotoxin, adversely affecting childhood development even in small concentrations. Based upon blood testing data, federal scientists have estimate… Continue reading →