Our Thursday green news brings you the latest on green architecture, climate change, energy and communities:
- Pesticide Roundup found in 75% of tested air and rain samples: According to a new study from the U.S. Geological Survey accepted for publication in the journal Enviromental Toxicology and Chemistry, traces of pesticide Roundup and its toxic degradation byproduct called AMPA were found in more than 75% of air and rain samples tested in Mississippi. The researchers evaluated a wide range of used pesticides through weekly composite air and rain samples collected during the 1995 and 2007 growing seasons in the Mississippi Delta agricultural region. While Roundup has recently been found to be even more toxic than when it was originally approved for agricultural use, there has been no further regulation of its use, and its health effects are not minor. Research has linked exposure to Roundup to Parkinson’s disease and cancers. 80 percent of Argentinian children living in areas with excessive use of Roundup have been found with the toxin in their bloodstreams and in poor health.
- Using wastewater to solve water shortage problem: The extended drought in California is forcing farmers and businesses to re-evaluate the current water source options and how to better use wastewater. New innovating companies such as San Francisco-based WaterFX are looking into the challenge of reusing wastewater without consuming fossil fuels, which addresses both issues of water shortage and wastewater management. WaterFX is using solar power to desalinate drainage water from farms in the Central Valley. Another Boston-based company Cambrian Innovation use bioelectric technology to clean water and generate energy for a small craft brewery based in Cloverdale, California. As Matthew Silver, co-founder and CEO of Cambrian Innovation explained: “There is this giant problem of wastewater — billions of gallons from industrial, agricultural and other sources. The issue of management is large and growing, and there needs to be a new paradigm to approach these things.”
- Offshore wind farms as hurricane barriers: According to a new research from the Stanford University, offshore wind farms could be a possible solution to hurricane protection. The study found convincing evidence that these ocean-based power plants could be able to draw power away from topical cyclones, possibly saving lives and preventing extensive damages. As Stanford professor Mark Z. Jacobson, who has been perfecting a complex computer model to study air pollution, energy, weather and climate for the past few decades explains: “We found that when wind turbines are present, they slow down the outer rotation winds of a hurricane. This feeds back to decrease wave height, which reduces movement of air toward the center of the hurricane, increasing the central pressure, which in turn slows the winds of the entire hurricane and dissipates it faster.”