Earthtalk Q&A

  • Evolutionary Effect: Wildlife Adapts, Evolves Thanks to Hunting
    Modern-day hunting practices are affecting the behavior and evolution of various wildlife species.
  • Pesticide Drift Takes Its Toll
    Pesticide drift is taking an increasing toll on populations of bees and other wildlife — as well as humans.
  • Saving the Planet By Ridesharing With Uber and Lyft
    Ridesharing with Uber and Lyft is a boon for the environmental if you factor in reduced congestion, pollution and energy consumption.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): The Answer to Our Environmental Prayers?
    Tech companies and environmentalists are increasingly utilizing artificial intelligence to help protect the environment, save wildlife, and stave off global warming.
  • Help Our Honeybees, Help Ourselves
    Doing your part to help bees come back will not only help guarantee that we can continue to enjoy the diversity of agricultural products we have come to expect on grocery store shelves.
  • Greener Gadget Makers: Fairphone Barely Beats Out Apple as Greenest
    In its most recent Guide to Greener Electronics, Greenpeace ranks Fairphone as the greenest gadget makers, but Apple follows closely on its heals given CEO Tim Cook's commitment to sustainability.
  • In Vitro Fertilization To The Rescue for Endangered Species Fertility
    Endangered Species Fertility: Researchers are now using fertility techniques developed for people — like In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) — to try to bring back endangered species like Africa's Northern White Rhino.
  • Greener Pet Burial: Why Not?
    If you want a greener pet burial, the backyard might still be the best option, but otherwise opt for aquamation over cremation.
  • Reusable Water Bottles: Glass & Stainless Steel Take Over From Plastic
    Reusable water bottles used to all be made out of plastic, but nowadays consumers are switching over to greener, healthier options made out of glass, stainless steel and even biodegradable materials.
  • Greener Guitars: Sustainably Harvested Tonewoods & Alternative Materials Take Center Stage
    The fact that the so-called “tonewoods” that guitar makers have relied on for almost two centuries are now harder and harder to come by has left guitar makers scrambling to support replanting efforts in far flung locales and looking for sustainable alternatives that still imbue their instruments with pleasing tonal characteristics and eye-catching good looks...
  • Man-Made Earthquakes: Another Negative Legacy of Fracking
    Man-made earthquakes are now common across Oklahoma and other parts of the Midwest and South thanks to the surge in hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") activity...
  • Green Apparel: Not Just A Color Choice
    Apparel manufacturers such as Patagonia, Scalable Press and Noso are finding new ways to shave their carbon pollution and otherwise green their practices to have less of an environmental impact moving forward.
  • Is Biodegradable Plastic The Answer To Our Plastic Pollution Problem?
    Biodegradable plastic made from biomass and even gaseous waste could be a big part of the solution to the growing problem of plastic polluting our land and waterways...
  • Avoiding BPA Exposure: Not So Easy Anymore
    A good old can of soup might not be as good for you as you would expect, given the toxic chemicals in the lining of the can itself. Experts say to fresh foods are always the safest way to go.
  • Particle Board Blues: Could Your Furniture Be Making You Sick?
    While good old particle board contains formaldehyde that can make you sick, safer alternatives use polyurethane as filler instead. Sealing particle board is another way to minimize exposure to toxic formaldehyde.
  • How Do Agricultural Inputs Affect Rivers, Lakes and the Ocean?
    Algae blooms and the poisoning of aquatic life are just a few of the problems associated with our overuse of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizer on our farms and in our backyards.
  • Can Light Pollution Really Cause Breast Cancer?
    The glow of city lights blotting out stars in the night sky has frustrated many a stargazer, but recent studies have shown that "light pollution"—defined as excess or obtrusive light at night—can actually have serious health effects, including a potential breast cancer link.
  • Want Better Sleep? Consider A Green Mattress
    Who would have thought that the comfy mattress you’ve been sleeping on for years contains dozens of potentially harmful substances and materials. Luckily for green-minded consumers, though, there’s never been a better time to find a truly “green” mattress.
  • Risky Rainwear: Outdoor Gear Makers Scramble to Find PFC-Free Alternatives
    Outdoor gear and clothing manufacturers are scrambling to find greener alternatives to PFCs to keep their jackets, boots and other gear from "wetting out."
  • Ready For A New Solar Roof?
    Forward Labs and Solar Frontier are two of the companies challenging Tesla's dominance in the nascent solar roof technology market...
  • Endangered Species On The Ropes
    The Trump administration has virtually launched an assault on wildlife and endangered species protections in place in the United States for half a century...
  • Strawless in Seattle: Why Are Straws So Bad for the Environment?
    The average American uses more than 38,000 straws over a lifetime without thinking about the implications of all this plastic going to waste and polluting our oceans.
  • Caring About Climate Without the Federal Government
    The Global Climate Action Summit, coming up next September in San Francisco, is the brainchild of California’s 79-year-old outgoing governor Jerry Brown, one of the country’s great crusaders for cutting carbon emissions despite lack of federal interest in solving the climate crisis.
  • Waiting for Hot Water
    To save water while waiting for hot water, you can cluster the tasks that require hot water so it doesn't have to send a new batch every time. Even better, insulate your home's water pipes or switch over to a tankless system.
  • Regenerative Agriculture: There’s No Tilling How Much CO2 We Can Save
    Regenerative Agriculture (RA) describes farming and grazing practices that help reverse climate change by rebuilding the organic matter in soil and restoring degraded soil biodiversity.
  • Stopping That Drain Clog Naturally
    Preventative maintenance and an occasional all-natural vinegar and water flush may be enough to keep your drains running free without the help of chemical clog removers.
  • Eco-Village Movement Flourishing Across United States
    More than 140 different intentional communities based around sustainability are in operation across the U.S., including Ecovillage at Ithaca (pictured here) which started in the early 1990s.
  • Shower or Bath: Which Is Better for the Environment?
    Showers typically use less water than baths, but only if the bather doesn't linger under the spray for too long and if he has a newer model — that is, more efficient — shower head.
  • E-Bikes: Better For Your Carbon Footprint Than Regular Bikes?
    If you factor in the carbon emissions associated with producing and delivering the extra food required to feed a rider of a conventional bicycle, charging up an e-bike from your grid-based electrical outlet may be better for the environment.
  • Drowning in Boxes: Is More Cardboard Recycling Really the Answer?
    The cardboard you recycle likely makes a 12,000-mile, fossil-fuel-spewing loop at sea (to China and back) in its journey of rebirth...
  • Is Legalizing Pot Really Beneficial to the Environment?
    Legalizing pot would have several benefits for the environment, from getting rid of illegal toxic grow sites on public lands to opening the door for widespread production of hemp as a crop in the future.
  • What the Bus? I Thought Trains Were The Greenest Transit Mode?
    Most of us assume that train travel—whether for getting around town, commuting to work or for long hauls—is the most eco-friendly mass transit “mode," but actually the bus may be even better...
  • Cleaner Indoor Air Quality Can Help You Sleep Better
    Good indoor air quality is key to a good night's sleep and overall healthy living, so do what you can reduce off-gassing furniture and paint and get your HVAC vents cleaned...
  • How Will Climate Change Affect Real Estate Property Values?
    Sea level rise, more frequent & intense storms and wildfires means fewer and fewer of us live in areas safe from some of the ravages of climate change.
  • Vegan Gifts: Give Something Animal Lovers Will Love
    It's no longer difficult to find good gifts for ardent vegans, from food to sneakers to clothing...
  • Future Trucks: Advanced Aerodynamics, Alternative Engine Designs Key to Greening of Trucking
    Tractor-trailer trucks have long lagged behind cars in terms of the adoption of greener technologies but that's all starting to change...
  • Better Bike Commuting With E-Bikes, New Routing Apps & Improved Infrastructure
    Thanks to battery-assisted e-bikes, increased bike lane infrastructure and apps to help direct cyclists to safer, faster biking routes, commuting via bicycle is more popular than ever in the United States.
  • B Corporations to the Earth’s Rescue
    “B-Corp” is a certification awarded by the non-profit B Lab to for-profit companies which meet rigorous standards of social & environmental performance...
  • Solving Transit’s Last-Mile Problem
    Getting transit riders from their bus stop or train station the "last-mile” to the doorstep of their home or workplace still plagues urban planners.
  • Lord God Bird Redux: Is the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Really Back?
    Birders are keeping hope alive that the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker will re-appear "on the wing" somewhere in the swamps of the Southeastern U.S...
  • Keeping Kids Safe From Environmental Hazards
    Kids are affected by the same environmental hazards as adults, only they’re more vulnerable given the fact that their bodies are still developing...
  • Hyper-Efficient Future Planes Coming Within Two Decades
    Within two decades we may all be flying around in hyper-efficient electric or hybrid-electric blended wing-body design passenger planes...
  • Is Grass-Fed Beef Actually Better for the Environment?
    Allan Savory points to the carbon sequestration benefits of grazing cattle on grasslands as an environmental justification for raising livestock...
  • Carbon Pawprints: How Our Dogs & Cats Contribute to Global Warming
    Unfortunately, our beloved dogs and cats do produce shockingly high amounts of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming...
  • Rooftop Solar: Now’s the Time to Get Started
    There’s never been a better time to go solar, given how much prices have come down while efficiency in converting sunlight to electricity has risen...
  • Climate Geoengineering: Now More Than Ever?
    Supersized space mirrors, salt spraying ships & sparkle blasting balloons—these are just a few geoengineering fixes to global warming...
  • Green Patent Sharing: Putting Health of the Environment Above Profits
    The idea behind green patent sharing is that inventors can share the rights to make use of certain patented technologies that benefit the environment...
  • Was Hurricane Harvey Caused By Global Warming?
    While global warming didn't cause Hurricane Harvey, it certainly played a role in how extreme the storm was in terms of high winds and heavy rain...
  • Global Warming Evolution: Wildlife Shrinkage on the Rise
    Scientists credit human-induced global warming with causing many wildlife species to become scrawnier with each successive generation...
  • Michael Bloomberg to the Rescue on Environment
    Thanks to charitable giving & leadership of cities on climate change, Michael Bloomberg may go down in history as one of the great environmentalists...
  • Climate Reality Project Turns Everyday People Into Climate Activists
    Al Gore created the Climate Reality Project as the nerve center of his advocacy & education efforts about the need to ratchet down carbon emissions...
  • Canada Leads Way on Nutrition With New Food Guide
    Canada's new Food Guide incorporates input from 20,000 Canadians and gives its neighbors to the south a whole new set of best practices to chew on...
  • The Environmental Conscience of Instagram
    Thousands of Instagram accounts are dedicated to raising awareness of environmental problems and providing solutions everyday people can embrace.
  • Triclosan & Antibacterial Soaps: Bad for Our Health and the Environment?
    Antibacterial soaps & other products with triclosan are under fire for not being effective while causing health & environmental problems...
  • Eco-Friendly Products Put Ocean Plastic Waste to Good Use
    Method Home, Lush, Dell, G-Star RAW and Norton Sunglasses are among the companies putting plastic ocean waste to use in their products & packaging.
  • Volvo EV Plans: Another Nail in the Coffin of the Internal Combustion Engine
    Volvo will only sell hybrid and electric cars beginning in 2019, signaling a shift in the auto industry toward more fuel-efficient cars...
  • Delisting the Yellowstone Grizzly: Good News or Bad?
    Yellowstone's grizzly bear population has bounced back since the mid-1970s, but environmentalists think the iconic predator still needs federal protection...
  • Gamify Me: Using Games To Reduce Carbon Footprints
    Gamify Me: Gamification is one tool in environmentalists' arsenal to help people reduce their environmental impact and carbon footprints.
  • Greener Booze: Why Stop Caring When It’s Party Time?
    Why stop caring at party time? With greener booze options proliferating at a record pace, that beer, wine, or margarita is looking pretty good...
  • E-Waste Nightmare: Cell Phones Getting Greener But Not There Yet
    We generate 50 million tons of e-waste around the world annually, much of which ends up improperly disposed of in landfills where toxins can leach out...
  • Climate Friendly Farms: Agriculture Adapts to Global Warming
    Farms and farmers across the U.S. are adopting climate-friendly practices to improve soil quality and save water as global warming kicks in...
  • A Greener Catholic Church
    Pope Francis wants President Trump to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate agreement, underscoring a greener outlook from the Catholic church these days.
  • Trump Purges Climate Information From EPA Website
    The Trump administration has removed several sections of the EPA website that featured information and data on climate change and global warming...
  • Solar Aesthetics: Rooftop Panels Never Looked So Good
    Rooftop solar has never looked so good, given new technology from Tesla, Solar Window, Dyaqua, Sistine Solar, Sunflare & others to improve solar aesthetics.
  • Fuel Cell Cars Already Here in California, Coming Soon to Northeast
    Fuel cell cars from Toyota and Honda are now available to drivers in California and coming soon to the northeastern U.S. as well once more refueling stations are built there.
  • Worse Than Fracking? Lithium Extraction For Batteries Hardly A Concern
    Lithium extraction for the batteries that power our cell phones, laptops & electric cars is hardly as risky for the environment as fracking...
  • Conventional Agriculture: Far From A Green Revolution
    You call this a revolution? Spraying fields with synthetic chemicals to keep pests down is no way to take care of the planet and its inhabitants' health.
  • Green Screen: Hollywood A-Listers Fight for the Planet
    A new wave of green celebrities is using star power to convince millions of fans to live greener lifestyles & speak up for environmental protections...
  • Is Paris Enough? So Far, Climate Commitments Don’t Quite Add Up Yet
    Is it true that the Paris climate accord won’t be enough to stave off cataclysmic climate change, even if the U.S. and others honor their commitments?
  • Trump Calls for Drastic Environmental Justice Cuts
    President Trump wants to cut environmental justice programs that ensure minority groups don’t bear a disproportionate burden from environmental threats.
  • Greens Bemoan Neil Gorsuch as Trump Supreme Court Choice
    Environmental leaders aren’t particularly jazzed about Neil Gorsuch as Donald Trump’s nominee to fill Judge Scalia's vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Environmental Heroes LaDuke, McKibben and Fox Inspire Millions To Take Action
    Environmental heroes like Winona LaDuke, Bill McKibben and Josh Fox have inspired millions of people to take action on behalf of protecting the environment.
  • What Good Has EPA Ever Done for the Environment Anyway?
    Without the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans would breathe dirtier air, drink more polluted water and live and grow food on contaminated soils...
  • Kitchen Compost: Turning Food Scraps Into Organic Fertilizer Without the Stink
    Composting your food scraps can cut way down on the waste sent to landfills while helping to produce nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden...
  • What Can We Do To Fight Trump’s Anti-Environment Agenda?
    Everyday Americans shouldn't feel helpless when it comes to influencing policy on environmental issues. Calling on your Representatives in Congress to let them know how you feel is the first step toward becoming part of the solution.
  • Urban Population Density: The Environmental Pros & Cons
    Experts weigh in on the environmental pros and cons of our the growing population density of cities across the United States and beyond.
  • Cleantech: Still The Next Big Thing For American Venture Capitalists?
    Is so-called cleantech (alternative energy and related sectors) still the next big thing for American venture capitalists?
  • A Revolution in Lighting: Back to Incandescents?
    LED light bulbs are the new vanguard in energy efficiency and lighting quality, but incandescent bulbs are on the comback...
  • Is Scientific Consensus Around Human-Caused Global Warming a Myth?
    Climate skeptics like Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) dispute the notion that 97% of climate scientists believe global warming is human-caused.
  • Vegan Cosmetics: Look Better, Feel Better, Do Better
    Vegan cosmetics are typically made from organic, all-natural ingredients, use earth-friendly packaging and don’t contribute to the harm of any animals...
  • What’s new with batteries these days?
    Battery manufacturers are making great strides in developing new technology that could revolutionize everything from handheld electronics to the cars and trucks we drive.
  • Fighting Trump: How Environmentalists Are Preparing for the Donald’s White House
    Environmentalists are stirring up public support for cutting fossil fuel development & reining in carbon emissions as Donald takes office.
  • What Will Be Obama’s Environmental Legacy?
    Barack Obama's environmental accomplishments include helping broker the Paris climate accord & adding 500+ million acres to America's conservation portfolio.
  • Social Media Activism: The Planet’s Best Defense?
    Environmentalists are using social media in many ways to raise awareness about and generate support for the issues they care about.
  • Vegan Leather: So Much Better For the Environment?
    Even without the animal cruelty, vegan leather has its environmental problems, given its toxin-laden base materials & the harsh chemical tanning & dying involved.
  • Self-Driving Cars Could Be Great for the Environment
    Environmentalists are bullish on self-driving cars as they could make automotive transportation significantly more energy efficient and could reduce traffic congestion and parking hassles.
  • The Perils of Parking: Round & Round We Go
    We waste lots of time and fuel and emit lots of greenhouse gases when we are behind the wheel circling around and around the block looking for parking...
  • Green Colleges Encourage Sustainability On Campus & Beyond
    Green colleges are encouraging sustainability with waste reduction & recycling programs, renewable energy installations and shared vehicles & bikes...
  • What Will Donald Trump Do About Climate & Environment?
    President Trump is horrifying environmentalists by threatening to scale back the EPA and trying to get the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord...
  • Chernobyl Wildlife Thriving 30 Years Later
    These days, wildlife is thriving around the site of the nuclear reactor meltdown at Chernobyl in the Ukraine three decades ago. Biologists say the lack of people in the "Exclusion Zone" thirty kilometers around reactor has made it easier for the animals that did survive — and their progeny — to now flourish.
  • Is Polyester Fleece Trashing Our Oceans?
    Polyester fleece clothing sure is cozy and comfy, but it just may be trashing our oceans by shedding microfibers in our washing machines that are too small for wastewater treatment facilities to filter out.
  • Green Thanksgiving: Eat Less Meat, Buy in Bulk
    Just because you don’t have to buy & wrap gifts doesn’t mean Thanksgiving is green, but there are lots of ways to make it more that way...
  • Wave Power Could Meet 1/4 of U.S. Electricity Needs
    Wave power could account for a quarter or more of U.S. electricity needs if we work to develop its potential around our coastlines, and could also provide other countries with a readily available renewable and free energy source.
  • What’s Killing All the Bees?
    Activists would like the U.S. government to ban a class of insecticides called neonics that they blame for wiping out the bees that pollinate a majority of our food crops.
  • Solar Meltdown or Boom?
    Just because Americans are warming up to solar doesn’t mean that every company looking to lead this power revolution has been able to manage the growth and navigate the tricky world of shifting subsidies and incentives...
  • Home Water Quality Testing: Peace of Mind Has Never Been So Easy
    Coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids and unhealthy pH levels, oh my! If you are worried that your water might contain these or other contaminants, at-home water quality testing is easy and relatively inexpensive...
  • Whazzup with ANWR?
    Senate Democrats Michael Bennet and Ed Markey introduced legislation last December calling for permanently designating the most sensitive sections of ANWR as wilderness off limits to development.
  • Artificial Cloning: Unnatural & Inhumane, or the Savior of Endangered Species?
    Some environmentalists consider artificial cloning unnatural & inhumane, but others see it as an essential tool to help save growing numbers of endangered species during the sixth great extinction crisis in the history of the planet....
  • Smoke Waves: Wildfires’ Dirty Little Secret
    Smoke waves can radiate out for hundreds of miles from wildfires, spreading particulate matter and causing health problems for millions of Americans who think they are safe and far from the fire lines...
  • How long have we known about human-caused global warming?
    ExxonMobil knew as early as 1977 that our enthusiastic burning of fossil fuels was leading to global warming — and since then has spent upwards of $30 million to promote so-called climate denial...
  • Where Do Vice President Candidates Pence & Kaine Stand on Environment?
    Not surprisingly given the current political climate, the respective Vice Presidential candidates, Republican Mike Pence & Democrat Tim Kaine, differ on most of the issues, including their policies on conservation, environment, energy & what we should do about climate change.
  • Solar Schools: Opportunities Abound to Help Schools Go Solar
    There's never been a better time for schools to add solar panels to their energy mix, given lots of public and private grants that can help foot the bill for the conversion....
  • Fusion Energy: Nuclear Gone Good?
    Nuclear fusion may be the most promising energy source that most of us have never heard of. Scientists first discovered fusion as a potential energy source in the 1930’s and have been quietly working on it ever since. Only recently, given societal pressure to find alternatives to fossil fuels, has fusion started to capture the attention of the media and policymakers—and now researchers are hoping the process can become a key source of safe, clean, reliable energy in the near future.
  • If humans ruin or outgrow Earth, are there other planets we can hope to colonize?
    As the human population swells and global warming compounds other environmental problems here on Earth, the notion of colonizing other planets is more appealing than ever. While we are far from being able to support human communities elsewhere in the solar system and beyond, environmentalists are increasingly interested in space exploration as one potential solution to our own earthly woes.
  • Why is Hawaii “ground zero” in the fight against genetically engineered crops?
    Hawaii has become ground zero for testing and trials of genetically engineered crops, and environmentalists worry about the implications for ecosystems throughout the islands and beyond...
  • Beyond Flint: Water Woes Affect 18 Million Americans
    According to a new report from NRDC, 5,300 different water systems across the country either shirked responsibilities to treat their water supplies to reduce lead levels, failed to monitor water supplies for lead, or neglected to report unsafe lead levels to the public or regulators.
  • Can Virtual Reality (VR) help save reality?
    While virtual reality is hardly a replacement for experiencing life itself, environmentalists are starting to use it as a tool to help everyday people appreciate the natural world around them and the environmental challenges we face as global citizens.
  • Is a coal-free future really possible in the United States?
    Given the influx of cheap natural gas and the ascendance of renewable energy sources, coal might not be able to mount a down and out...
  • Underwater Noise Pollution Threatens Marine Wildlife, Ecosystems
    Underwater noise pollution from military sonar, industrial activity & seismic testing is an increasing threat to marine wildlife & ecosystems...
  • Extinction: Global Warming Hits Home for Wildlife
    Extinction is yet another effect of global warming, with the Golden Toad, Bramble Cay Melomy already suffering the ultimate fate...
  • Musicians & Music Festivals Go Green
    Musicians & music festivals are going green by reducing plastic waste at concerts and venues, riding in biodiesel tour buses and eating locally...
  • Penguins on the Brink
    Five of the world's 18 penguin species are considered endangered and 10 other species are at risk according to IUCN.
  • Circus Elephants: A Thing of the Past for Ringling?
    Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey has transitioned its remaining circus elephants to a Florida-based facility focused on conservation, care and research...
  • Could Donald Trump Renege on Paris Climate Deal?
    The U.S. can't back out of the Paris climate accord for another four years, but that won't stop Donald Trump, if elected President, from trying to undermine the nation's ability to make good on its COP21 commitments.
  • Zika Virus: An Environmental Problem?
    Zika virus has spread far and wide as a result of human mismanagement of the environment. Trash build-up, dam building, deforestation and global warming each contribute to the spread of Zika and other insect-borne diseases around the world.
  • Electric Cars for the Masses, Finally!
    Electric cars and plug-in hybrids are finally getting inexpensive enough that everyday drivers can afford them...
  • The Next Inconvenient Truth? New Eco Docs Still Focus on Climate
    While potent in its day as the film that put climate change on the public radar, An Inconvenient Truth, now a decade old, is hardly the last word in green documentaries anymore. New Must-Sees Eco Documentaries Include Disobedience, The Cross of the Moment and Revolution...
  • Volkswagen Emissions Scandal: The Environmental Impact
    Volkswagen is ponying up $18.2 billion to deal with its emissions cheating scandal, but environmentalists wonder if all the money in the world will be able to repair the wound to consumer confidence...
  • Green Label Confusion: Legit or Greenwashing?
    As sustainability becomes more mainstream, more and more products today advertise their green credentials—with many displaying third-party certifications on their labels. But how can consumers know which certifications are legit?
  • Carbon Sequestration: Are Roadsides the Answer?
    Planting trees & shrubs on otherwise unused roadsides could help meet Paris climate goals, but not everyone thinks it's a good idea...
  • Activist Redux: Carrying the Earth First! Torch
    What ever happened to the radical environmental group Earth First!? Are they still out there and are there other radical environmental groups now doing similar work?
  • Peanut Allergy Rise Worries Environmentalists
    Do scientists think there's a big environmental component to the huge rise in peanut allergy cases in the U.S. and beyond in recent years?
  • Artificial Sweeteners: Can They Help Reduce Obesity?
    Americans consume as much sugar in a day as our ancestors consumed in a year — and our health is suffering as a result. But artificial sweeteners may not be a healthier substitute...
  • Rooftop Solar: Which States Are Friendliest?
    Northeastern and southwestern states among the best for residential solar, while some sunny southeastern states lag behind...
  • Trophy Hunting: Good for Wildlife, Conservation?
    Big game hunters insist that their hobby does a lot to spur conservation given the huge fees they pay to the countries that host them, but environmentalists aren't so sure...
  • Non-Stick Cookware: Safest Options?
    Non-stick cookware cleans very easily and some health-conscious cooks appreciate that it requires less cooking oil than uncoated varieties. But the convenient cooking surface comes with potential risks when it is used with high heat.
  • Are 3D Printers Safe to Use?
    Are 3d printers safe to use? High-tech gizmos could revolutionize manufacturing, but let's work out the health & environmental kinks first...
  • Is Genetically Modified Food Really Safe For Us To Eat?
    Many environmentalists still question whether all the genetically modified organisms in our food supply is good for us or the environment...
  • Trump’s Wall: Bad Idea for Border Ecosystems?
    The Sierra Club thinks Donald Trump's wall would be a terrible idea for the already compromised ecosystems around the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Whatever happened to Al Gore?
    Al Gore is still busy saving the planet through his Climate Reality Project, but is also revolutionizing capitalism with Generation Investment Management.
  • Chinese Worker Exploitation Claims Persist for Apple
    Is Apple really doing everything it can about claims of Chinese worker exploitation at its suppliers like Foxconn and Pegatron in China?
  • Endocrine Disruptors: Why So Bad?
    We can reduce the amount of endocrine disruptors we ingest by buying organic produce, avoiding processed foods & drinking filtered water...
  • Arctic Warming: Keeping Ice = Saving Climate
    The Arctic is an “indicator region” for the rest of the planet: small changes there can have profound ecosystem impacts elsewhere in the world...
  • How Can We Save Elephants Around the World?
    Environmentalists are scurrying to save elephants and other iconic African wildlife from extinction in the face of increasing poaching across Africa.
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership Bad Deal For Environment
    The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an international agreement seeking to unite the economic interests of 12 countries bordering the Pacific Ocean, but at what cost environmentally?
  • What environmental factors are contributing to the autism epidemic?
    Dear EarthTalk: What is the latest thinking on the environmental causes (if any) of autism? I hear so much conflicting information I don’t know what to believe.    —Bill Stribling, Austin, TX                         In the 1980s, about one in 2,000 American kids was diagnosed with autism. […]
  • Greens Cautiously Optimistic About Paris Climate Agreement
    While many environmentalists wish the Paris agreement had more "teeth," they are also glad to finally get something done and remain optimistic that participating nations will voluntarily ratchet up their commitments over time.
  • How are environmentalists using crowdfunding to get their projects off the ground?
    Dear EarthTalk: How are environmentalists and environmental groups using crowdfunding to get their projects off the ground?  —Sean Jackson, Baltimore, MD                         Crowdfunding relies on the collective effort of a large amount of individuals making online contributions to allow a project or venture to happen. ArtistShare, […]
  • What’s on the horizon in terms of new solar power technologies?
    Dear EarthTalk: What’s the latest in cutting-edge, hyper-efficient solar cells? Are we really moving beyond huge photovoltaic panels anytime soon?    —Michael Williams, Hartford, CT                         Many people still consider environmentalists’ favorite black panels as the cutting edge of renewable energy. However, the burgeoning solar industry has […]
  • Are there any green PACs working to influence elections?
    Dear EarthTalk: Are there any green PACs working to influence elections?   —Wilson McClave, Washington, DC                         As a matter of fact, green Political Action Committees (PACs) emerged as major funders last fall in the run-up to the 2014 Congressional elections, and look to play an even […]
  • Is recycling still worthwhile given the expense and emissions associated with it?
    Dear EarthTalk: Is recycling still worthwhile given the expense and emissions associated with it? —Michael Vitti, Norwalk, OH                         Americans generate about 254 million tons of trash and recycle and compost about 87 million tons of this material, which adds up to a 34.3 percent national […]
  • Where do the Republican Presidential hopefuls stand on environmental issues?
    The Republican presidential candidates strike fear into the hearts of environmentalists given their disregard for reducing carbon emissions and other plans to roll back progress on conservation.
  • Where do the leading Democratic candidates for President stand on environmental issues?
    Dear EarthTalk: Where do the leading Democratic candidates for president stand on environmental issues?    —Leslie Mazur, Hauppauge, NY                         President Obama, with his recent push to join the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, will be a tough act to follow on the environment. But each […]
  • Does Monsanto’s Roundup cause cancer or not?
    Dear EarthTalk: My neighbor uses Roundup in her yard routinely and tells me it’s harmless to people and pets, but I’ve heard that it is carcinogenic. Can you set the record straight? —Maise Alexander, New Hope, PA                         Monsanto’s Roundup herbicides contain three key components: the […]
  • What’s being done to clean up the concrete industry?
    Dear EarthTalk: I’ve heard that making and installing concrete takes a big toll on the environment. What’s being done to clean up this industry?   —Jenn Chadwick, Washington, DC                         The 20 billion tons of concrete produced around the world annually account for an estimated five to […]
  • What’s the difference between a carbon tax and “cap-and-trade” system for reducing greenhouse gas emissions?
    Dear EarthTalk: What’s the difference between a carbon tax and “cap-and-trade” system for reducing greenhouse gas emissions? —Marina Brown, New York, NY                         Most of us can agree that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a must given the rapid warming of the planet; just how to […]
  • What’s behind so many whales dying in the Gulf of Alaska?
    Dear EarthTalk: Do scientists have any idea why so many whales are dying in the Gulf of Alaska lately?   —Michelle DiCostanzo, New York, NY                         Over the past four months, 33 large whales have been reported dead in the Western Gulf of Alaska, which encompasses the […]
  • Can solar desalination help an increasingly thirsty world?
    Dear EarthTalk: What exactly is solar desalination and how can it help an increasingly thirsty world?   —Maryann Dell’Amore, Howard, MN                         Solar desalination is a technique used to remove salt from water via a specially designed still that uses solar energy to boil seawater and capture […]
  • How can my company start to scale back its paper use?
    Dear EarthTalk: My company talks the talk when it comes to the environment but could do so much more to reduce paper use. Do you have any tips to help get the higher-ups on board to reduce paper use company-wide? —Elena Sepulveda, White Plains, NY                      […]
  • What is biophilic design in architecture?
    Biophilic design incorporates natural materials, natural light, vegetation, nature views & other experiences of nature into the modern built environment...
  • Are the California redwoods in danger because of the drought?
    Dear EarthTalk: Are the California redwoods in danger because of the drought? — Jesse Pollman, Seattle, WA                         California is home to two of the three redwood tree species: coast redwoods and giant sequoias. The coast redwood is the Earth’s tallest tree, growing more than 360 […]
  • What advantages do vertical farms have over traditional gardens and farms?
    Dear EarthTalk: What advantages do so-called “vertical farms” have over traditional gardens and farms? Sylvia Pleasant, Washington, DC                         When Dickson Despommier’s book The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century was first published, there were no vertical farms. Now, it’s an exciting movement […]
  • How can drones help environmentalists?
    Dear EarthTalk: How are environmentalists putting drones to use to help further their causes?   — Joe Martin, Baltimore, MD                         Conservationists are utilizing drone or “unmanned aerial systems” (UAS) technology to gather highly detailed imagery and other environmental data that is traditionally challenging to obtain. Wildlife biologist John Takekawa and […]
  • Could carbon capture & sequestration be the savior of coal and our bridge to the energy future?
    Carbon capture & sequestration (CCS) for coal-fired power plants may be key to a greener energy future, if only we can convince utilities to adopt it...
  • Is off-shore oil drilling actually safer now than ever?
    Dear EarthTalk: Is off-shore drilling any safer for the environment today given lessons learned from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico?    —Leslie Jackson, Bern, NC                         The Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in 2010 resulted in 11 lost lives and hundreds of […]
  • Do orcas really live as long in captivity as in the wild?
    Dear EarthTalk: I’ve been seeing this ad on TV a lot by SeaWorld claiming they don’t take orcas from the wild and that orcas live just as long in captivity as they do in the wild. Are these claims true? —Mary Cleveland, Coral Gables, FL                         […]
  • How is that being around trees & other plants can help us feel good?
    Dear EarthTalk: How is that being around trees and other plants can help us feel good? — Amy Mola, Greenville, SC                         Trees are known to improve air quality by capturing six common air pollutants and toxic gases: ground-level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur […]
  • Are Polar Bears Faring Better Given Endangered Species Protection?
    Dear EarthTalk: How have polar bear populations in the Arctic been faring since the U.S. put them on its endangered species list in 2008, and what efforts are underway to protect them? —Melissa Underhill, Bangor, MER                         Biologists estimate that as many as 25,000 polar bears […]
  • What is the best way to recycle old paint, primer and stains?
    Dear EarthTalk: What is the best way to recycle my old and/or unwanted paint, primer and stains? —Kim Beeler, Lake Oswego, OR                         Has one of the many popular shows on HGTV inspired you to renovate your own home? If so, you’re not alone! Home […]
  • Is California’s drought the result of too much meddling by enviros?
    Dear EarthTalk: Is California’s epic drought really the result of too much meddling by environmentalists like some conservatives have suggested? —Betsy Martin, Butte, MT                         While no one questions that California is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in recent history, the […]
  • Can kinetic energy help replace fossil fuels?
    Dear EarthTalk: I recently heard about a cafe in the Netherlands that harvests so-called “kinetic” energy from its revolving door to power its interior lights. Is there potential for kinetic energy to provide significant amounts of electricity to help replace fossil fuels? —Doug Mola, Boise, ID                      […]
  • How is the USPS Greening Snail Mail?
    Dear EarthTalk: What’s the latest with the U.S. Postal Service trying to reduce its environmental footprint? Starting delivery of some mail on Sundays doesn’t seem like a step in the right direction. —Kerry Rawlings, Albany, NY                         As recent TV ads have been telling us, the […]
  • Do animals have legal rights?
    Dear EarthTalk: What are so-called non-human rights?   —Richard Montcalm, Jenkintown, PA                         Non-human rights is a term coined by animal welfare activist and lawyer Steven Wise, who has campaigned for three decades to achieve actual legal rights for members of species other than our own. His […]
  • How can I get my car ready for summer driving?
    Dear EarthTalk: Summer is near and I am planning a big road trip. Do you have any tips for boosting my car’s fuel efficiency on long, hot drives?   —Esther McCoy, Burlington, VT                         Ah, the summer road trip, that classic American experience. But long drives through […]
  • How can I stop the deluge of junk mail the mail man drops off?
    Dear EarthTalk: It seems like I’m getting more junk mail than ever these days. How can I stop the deluge?  —Grace Dixon, Houston, TX                         First of all, you’re probably right! Junk mail has increased to a massive scale in recent years, with the average American […]
  • Climate Refuge: Where Will You Go?
    If temperatures around the globe continue to rise in the face of human-induced climate change as climatologists expect, some of the world’s most populous areas could become uninhabitable. Rising sea levels will flood out coastal areas, while increasing drought will make survival in already arid areas difficult at best. While we may have at least a few decades of runway to prepare ourselves for the worst, advance planners might want to think carefully about where to put down roots now. Where will be your climate refuge?
  • What is the Great Green Wall of China?
    Dear EarthTalk: What is the Great Green Wall of China? —Jacob Williston, Tempe, AZ   Unlike the Great Wall of China, a 5,000-mile fortification dating back to the 7th century BC that separates northern China from the Mongolian steppe, the Great Green Wall of China — otherwise known as the Three-North Shelter Forest Program — […]
  • How Can Teachers Integrate Sustainability Into Their Curricula?
    Dear EarthTalk: What resources are out there for helping teachers integrate sustainability topics into their curricula?    — Melinda Zullo, Toronto, ON   Teaching our kids about sustainability and green living is one of the most important things we can do to safeguard the future of humanity and the planet we inhabit. The North American Association for […]
  • Should I Recycle My Old Disposable Batteries?
    Dear EarthTalk: Can I throw my old disposable batteries in the trash or is there a way to recycle them?    — Jennifer Brandstrom, Chicago, IL   Truth be told, those old used up disposable alkaline batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt, etc.) aren’t the environmental menace they used to be before the federal government mandated taking out […]
  • Is Our Tundra In Trouble?
    Dear EarthTalk: How much of a threat does climate change pose to the tundra ecosystems of the far north? — Seamus Hall, via   The tundra biome is among the coldest of the planet’s ecosystems. Its harsh climate means that plant life is unable to grow more than a few centimeters above the ground. The name […]
  • Are We Past the Point of No Return on Climate Change?
    Dear EarthTalk: What is the best way to measure how close we are to the dreaded “point of no return” with climate change? In other words, when do we think we will have gone too far? — David Johnston, via   While we may not yet have reached the “point of no return” — when no […]
  • Environmental Justice Anyone?
    Dear EarthTalk: What can communities do to keep polluters out of their neighborhoods? — Wendell Bovey, Los Angeles, CA   It’s unfair that communities which are less organized and less wealthy often shoulder the burden of hosting polluters like landfills, incinerators and power plants. “Frequently, these facilities end up in the places that put up the least […]
  • Can we really get off coal by 2050?
    Dear EarthTalk: How does the Rocky Mountain Institute think we can get off of oil and coal by 2050 and save money in the process? — James Greenville, Redding, CT Colorado-based sustainability think-tank Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) was founded in 1982 by American physicist and environmentalist Amory Lovins to research and promote market-based solutions to our energy […]
  • Should men be worried about environmental exposures too?
    Dear EarthTalk: We often see and read reports about environmental threats to women’s health, but aren’t there also concerns about which men should be especially vigilant? — Jay Walsh, Boston, MA   Indeed, women aren’t the only ones who should be worried about environmental threats. A recently released report (“Men’s Health: What You Don’t Know Might Hurt […]
  • Backyard Firepit Smoke: A Health Hazard?
    Backyard firepits provide a nice ambience but neighbors wonder whether the wood smoke is compromising their air quality especially as they leave windows open during the warmer months.
  • Could Common Household Chemicals Cause Obesity?
    A growing number of researchers believe that certain chemicals collectively known as “obesogens” — including some pharmaceuticals (especially antidepressants), nicotine, and perhaps most worrisome, many household cleaning products and air fresheners...
  • What Can I Do To Stop Wildfires?
    Dear EarthTalk: Why are wildfires on the increase and what can be done to stop them from happening? —Sandy Heffran, Albuquerque, NM There’s no question that wildfires are on the increase across the American West and other fire-prone regions of the world, and most environmental leaders agree that global warming is largely to blame. In a […]
  • Where are some good eco-travel destinations here in the Lower 48?
    Dear EarthTalk: Where are some good “eco-travel” destinations right here in the continental U.S. that I can consider for a family vacation?  — Janet Devino, Brooklyn, NY   Many of us are looking to green our lifestyles today and this commitment to Mother Earth can also include how and where we travel. And those of us looking […]
  • What can I do to help prevent deforestation in the Amazon?
    Dear EarthTalk: What can I do to help prevent deforestation in the Amazon even if I don’t live in the region?   — Janine Greco, Nutley, NJ The fact that our climate, our air and our water know no national borders means that the forests are our mutual responsibility. We all depend on their services and we […]
  • Are hydrogen fuel cell cars still a viable option?
    Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that fuel cell cars aren’t really any greener than conventional gas-powered internal combustion cars? —  Michelle Adamo, Portland, OR   A decade ago cars powered by fuel cells seemed like the future of green automotive travel, but many analysts now think otherwise. These futuristic cars run on hydrogen fuel and emit only […]
  • What’s wrong with ethanol?
    Dear EarthTalk: I thought that putting ethanol in our gas tanks was going help fight climate change, but lately I’ve heard reports to the contrary. Can you enlighten?  — Bill B., Hershey, PA   Ethanol and similar “biofuels” made from corn and other crops seem like a good idea given their potential for reducing our carbon outputs […]
  • How will Antarctic melting affect coastlines?
    Dear EarthTalk: To what extent is Antarctica really melting and what impact might it have on coastlines around the world? — Andrea Hutchinson, Cary, NC   The Antarctic continent, roughly the size of the United States and Mexico combined, is composed of rock covered by glaciers some 16,000 feet thick. The glaciers form from fallen snow compacting […]
  • What are the most dangerous threats to our air quality?
    Dear EarthTalk: What are some of the more dangerous threats to our air quality and what can be done to eliminate them so we can all breathe more easily? — Melanie Smith, Pomfret, CT   The main threats to local air quality across the United States (as well as most everywhere else) remain smog and particulate pollution, […]
  • Are over-fortified processed foods too much of a good thing?
    Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that much of our food—including cereals and snacks eaten by children—is actually over-fortified with excessive amounts of vitamins and minerals that can be dangerous to our health?   — Diane Summerton, Waukesha, WI   Added nutrients in the processed foods we eat could indeed be too much of a good thing, especially […]
  • Paraben Paranoia?
    Dear EarthTalk: A friend of mine recently stopped using skin and beauty products with parabens in them. What are parabens and should we all be avoiding them? — Betsy Johnson, Port Chester, NY   First commercialized in the 1950s, parabens are a group of synthetic compounds commonly used as preservatives in a wide range of health, beauty […]
  • How is ditching trans fats linked to tropical rainforest destruction?
    Dear EarthTalk: How is it that some food purveyors are contributing to the destruction of tropical rainforests by ditching unhealthy “trans fats?” — Billy S., Salem, OR   Most public health advocates applaud efforts by processed food producers, restaurants and fast food chains to get rid of so-called “trans fats”—partially hydrogenated oils added to foods to improve […]
  • Where did the plastic bags go?
    Dear EarthTalk: What’s the latest on efforts to ban plastic bags? How many U.S. locales have instituted some kind of ban, and have these initiatives made a dent in the amount of plastic litter? — Melinda Clarke, New York, NY   California made big news recently when it announced the first statewide ban on plastic shopping bags […]
  • Could Paris climate talks produce a real agreement?
    Dear EarthTalk: What are the prospects for reaching an international agreement to rein in carbon emissions significantly at the upcoming Paris climate talks at the end of the 2015? — Jason Cervantes, Los Angeles, CA   All eyes will be on Paris this coming December when climate delegates from around the world gather there for the 21st annual session […]
  • Artificial Turf Issues
    Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that playing on artificial turf fields can cause cancer? If so, how can I minimize exposure for my sports-loving kids? — Melanie Witmer, Syracuse, NY   Just when you thought it was safe to play soccer on that brand new synthetic turf field, it may be time to think again. Those little […]
  • Improving School Lunches
    Dear EarthTalk: I hear that many school cafeterias have nutrition standards no better—even worse—than those of fast food chains. What can be done about this? — Betsy Edison, Nashville, TN   Americans have done a great job making sure that our kids have something to eat at school regardless of socioeconomic status, with the National School Lunch […]
  • Is global warming making our crops less nutritious?
    Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that global warming is causing our crops to be less nutritious? — William Persson, Glendale, OH It’s difficult to say whether or not the climate change we are now experiencing is negatively impacting the nutritional quality of our food, but researchers warn that it may be only a matter of time. […]
  • Energy East: Worse Than Keystone XL?
    Dear EarthTalk: The proposed KeystoneXL oil pipeline from Canada into the U.S. seems to get all the headlines, but shouldn’t we also be worried about the Energy East pipeline? — Art Shea, Troy, NY   The Energy East Pipeline is a $12 billion project proposed by TransCanada Corp. that will combine existing, converted natural gas pipelines […]
  • Seeding Our Seas
    Dear EarthTalk: How do environmentalists feel about the concept of ocean fertilization as a form of carbon sequestration?   — Jeffrey Edwards, Pomfret, CT   Ocean fertilization is a technique whereby swaths of ocean are “seeded” with iron to promote the growth of phytoplankton (microscopic plants that form the base of the marine food chain), and is one […]
  • A National Food Policy?
    Dear EarthTalk: What is the “National Food Policy” that environmentalists and foodies are asking President Obama to enact by Executive Order, and how would it affect American diets? — Justin Brockway, Los Angeles, CA   A November 2014 op-ed piece in The Washington Post entitled “How a National Food Policy Could Save Millions of American Lives” makes the case for President Obama to sign into […]
  • Cape Wind Dead in the Water?
    Dear EarthTalk: What’s the latest on the controversial Cape Wind project off Cape Cod in Massachusetts? — Mitchell Barstow, Bern, NC   First proposed in 2001, the Cape Wind Project aims to put 130 wind turbines across 24 square miles of Horseshoe Shoal almost five miles offshore of Massachusetts’ Cape Cod to generate some 1,500 gigawatt hours of electricity per year from clean, renewable wind […]
  • Safer Insulation: Which Home Insulation Is Safest for Health and the Environment?
    Dear EarthTalk: The cold winter we’re having here in the Northeast has convinced me to finally beef up my home’s insulation, but I’ve heard that spray foam can off-gas noxious chemicals and pollute the indoor environment. Are there safer options? — Rose Donahue, Framingham, MA Making your home more energy efficient is certainly good for the […]
  • E-Waste Blizzard
    We are drowning in a sea of e-waste as a result of all the electronics we buy and then discard. Choosing products wisely and recycling old ones properly are ways to be part of the solution...
  • Are Our Coal Plants Killing Us?
    Dear EarthTalk: I saw a chart that quantified the negative impacts on our health of our reliance on coal as an energy source. It was pretty shocking as I recall. Can you summarize what we’re dealing with here? – Mitchell Baldwin, Boise, ID Coal combustion plants account for some 40 percent of Americans’ electric power generation. According […]
  • How are activists using divestment to fight climate change?
    Dear EarthTalk: What is Global Divestment Day and how does it relate to protecting the environment? – Michel LaPlante, New Orleans, LA With crucial international climate negotiations coming up in Paris in the Fall of 2015, the first ever Global Divestment Day took place on February 13-14, with activists and everyday people across six continents and […]
  • What are the environmental risks of synthetic biology?
    Dear EarthTalk: Should those of us who care about our health and the planet be concerned about the new trend in genetic engineering called synthetic biology? – Chrissie Wilkins, Bern, NC “Synthetic biology” (or “synbio”) refers to the design and fabrication of novel biological parts, devices and systems that do not otherwise occur in nature. […]